Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Have you ever had the urge to grab the shoulders of someone you are having a conversation with and say "I have no idea what you are trying to say!" Instead you just nodded and smiled, right? Classic.
Dan Pallotta writes about this problem of misunderstanding in this article.

 So, today with this post, I kind of decided to think outside the box and exceed blog-reader expectation by introducing a new concept, IIC (Improving Interpersonal Communication), which focuses on the way humans, using synergy, send messages to one another through a sort of mode of communication called words.

If you're still reading, you're either admirably loyal or pitiably bored.

That painstakingly long and boring sentence exhibits every "strain" of the "epidemic" Pallotta says is inundating the business world. But the problem is more widespread than that. It affects all of us.

Have any of these strains affected your communication? How can you combat them? As a creative writer, I sometimes find myself guilty of abstractionitis. I have to remind myself that figurative language should always enhance communication.

And for dealing with people around you who insist on using unclear language to mask their insecurity and stupidity, Pallota suggests a candid response: "I don't have any idea what you just said to me."

 Like mom always said, honesty really is the best policy. Keep it real, everyone. (Did you really think I could sign off this post without at least a couple overused cliches?)

Also, does anyone know what a Vally Girl is? It's weird, because I know what the term means, But I have no idea where it originated.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How many holidays?

Americans are funny. First we celebrate a holiday dedicated to gratitude. Then we empty ourselves of funds and sanity in a mess of madness called Black Friday. If that’s not enough, we exercise our exhausted credit cards once again for Cyber Monday. Saturday was feeling left out until the recent advent of its own holiday: Small Business Saturday. Although some may see it as just another excuse to spend, I support Small Business Saturday for two reasons.

1.       I appreciate alliteration.

2.       I believe entrepreneurship is the heart of our country.

Think: we just celebrated thanksgiving. Why did those Pilgrims come over here anyway? One reason was to create a community, a “New England.”  The gutsiest adventurers this country has seen set a precedent of entrepreneurship to be followed by Americans through the generations.

Not that I don’t see the caveats of the American Dream—greed, materialism, etc. What I do see is that most moms and pops are more concerned with paying the rent than clawing their way to wealth and fame. The majority of small business owners want to serve their community; the problem is that the community’s not serving them.

But small business affects more than just communities.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says “small businesses have played an important role in fueling past economic recoveries.”

If the government follows through with backing small businesses and consumers follow suit, the heart of our economy might become strong enough to pump enough blood to provide a much-needed economic turnaround.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Maybe I’m a pessimist, but Thanksgiving reminds me how often I’m not thankful. It’s a good thing, though, because it inspires me to quit complaining for more than one day a year.   

Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness isn't easy, but sometimes simple things like writing down what you're thankful for can help.

Arts and crafts time! This project is super easy. They suggest writing memories on a daily calendar and reusing it every year. Instead, wouldn’t it be cool to write something you’re thankful for every day? In the years to come you could not only consider what you’re thankful for on that particular day, but look back on your blessings from years past.

Try it. Maybe all that stamping will burn some of those extra calories. Then reward all that hard work with another piece of pumpkin pie. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Murder, She Wrote

This week when I was studying for a test I ran into a problem: I couldn’t read my own writing.

Time to start taking notes on the laptop.

Here’s an elegy for handwriting.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And I was like, "woe!"

 “Woe is me,” cries the college grad as he flips through the channels (daytime TV is so lame!) and eats Mom’s leftover fried chicken.
He pulls out his iPhone and checks his bank account. 3.54. Just enough to buy a latte! He heads to Starbucks and spends three hours  on his laptop looking quite busy and important.

He heads home and walks into the door the same time as dad, receiving a hearty backslap. “How’s the job hunt going, son?”

“Terrible,” says son dejectedly. “All of the executive positions in my field are already taken!”

To the college student/recent grad: Your cry doesn’t have to be “woe is me!” (rhyme not intended.) When you graduate, don’t be too haughty and highfalutin to just do something until you find your niche. You could learn some lessons, pay off some debt, make some contacts, and even enjoy yourself. According to this article, no one has a good job in their 20s anyway. Here’s to our 30s!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Charleston's Ship Comes In

It’s an age-old battle: the tourists against the locals. Now it’s manifesting itself in a fight between Charleston and cruise ships, according to this article.

First, can I just say I appreciate the fanny pack reference in this article? Nothing paints a more vivid picture of a hardcore tourist than a fanny pack. Not that I can legitimately dis the fanny pack. What other invention so brilliantly combines functionality and accessibility with a pretty snazzy fashion statement?

Second, since we are all entitled to our opinions, let me just throw mine out there: you’re not allowed to have an opinion on this issue unless you’ve been to Charleston.

The city has beauty that only centuries of history can create. I went there. I would have been tempted to think it was a shrimp and grits-filled mirage, but the pictures (which showcase my dismal photography skills more than the beauty of the city) prove it.

This giant ship kills the Charleston vibe from the skyline. I shudder to think of the damage the balloon hats and fanny packs will do inside of the city.

I get the point of the cruise ships. Millions of dollars will help the economy and blah blah blah and so forth. For once can something besides money be someone’s motivation? Often the easiest way to devalue things of worth is to be overly concerned with monetary value.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mightier Than the Pen

“Pray on every occasion, before every post, before every tweet, and before every click to send. Really.”

That was a tweet by @BurkParsons retweeted by my pastor last week.

I saw it and decided if I was really interested in eliminating flippant communication, this was a good place to start. So I mentally assented.

What I didn’t realize was how much praying that would involve. Personal, work, and school email plus Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and blogging adds up to an approximate average of 3,628 prayers a day. That kind of overwhelmed me. However, there were several times this week that I was able to stop and pray before a post and it kept me from doing something stupid.

But this weekend I got impulsive with online communication and inadvertently caused confusion and hurt. It was only after the fact that I remembered I should have prayed first.

Pray before every form of online communication? That sounds pretty radical. Although not quite as radical as praying without stopping. That was the apostle’s Paul’s admonition to the Thessalonians in God’s Word. 

Say what? Don’t we have other things to do, too? This section of scripture isn’t saying we should never do anything but pray. It’s referring to a constant attitude of prayer, needed now as much as ever with all of the forms of communication we have today. And sometimes, even often, that attitude does require us to drop what we’re doing and ask God for guidance.

The pen is mightier than the sword, and the web supplies the pen with more speed and scope than ever. We need Divine strength when wielding a weapon with that kind of power.