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July, 2012

  1. The death of a leader – Dr. Stephen Covey

    July 25, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I was so saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Stephen R. Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book was the first personal development-type book I ever read and I still regard it as one of the finest books in its genre of all time.  The only book that ever had more eye-opening impact on my thinking was The Bible.

    I picked up the book a lot of years ago, when I was working as a legal secretary in downtown Baltimore City.  I wandered into a bookstore on my lunch hour, spotted the book and was intrigued. I still recall how revolutionary the very first habit appeared to my early-20’s young self.  Habit One is “Be Proactive.”  Stop acting as though everything and everybody else directs your life. You direct your own life.  It seems very elementary now, but at the time, that was a complete lightbulb moment. Maybe when you’re only 2o years old, you’re still so used to childhood where most things depended on somebody else that some of us are a little late to this epiphany.  That was me – late to the epiphany. But at least I had one!

    I truly began to see that a large amount of what happened in my life was inside of my “circle of influence”; they were things I had power to change. Covey says, “The Circle of Influence is filled with the be’s – I can be more patient, be wise, be loving.  It’s the character focus” (Covey, 1990, p.89). I was in a not-terribly-healthy relationship in my late teens. Covey’s book revealed to me that it wasn’t just how I was treated by That Guy, but how I was allowing That Guy to treat me. My demeanor, my responses, my permission – I invited the behavior I did not like.*  I wish I hadn’t wasted that part of my life, but I’m glad I learned a better way pretty early on.

    The other six habits are certainly worth learning, too. I re-read that book from time to time. One would do well to live with integrity through the additional six habits – Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Synergize and Sharpen the Saw.

    Goodbye Covey. You were an outstanding example of a life well-lived.


    *Don’t misunderstand this as though I am saying battered women “ask for it.” I was not physically abused by That Guy. But there is an element worth considering here if you’re in a relationship that is unfair and imbalanced.

  2. Running on Empty

    July 18, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I feel like a loser weakling today, much like I felt two running-days ago. I’ve been keeping up the running, though I started running according to the program in Beginning Runner’s Handbook.  A couple of injuries led me to stop running all-terrain through the woods and to switch to the beautiful Western Regional Park not far from my home. Nicely laid-out asphalt running trails provided courtesy of Howard County deep-pocketed taxpayers. Seriously, that is one incredibly nice park.

    So, I’ve been running in run/walk intervals according to the book and was doing just fine, thankyouverymuch. But I am having a very hard time with 3/1 intervals for 40 minutes.  I have not made it through the whole set successfully yet. I’ve bailed twice now, with about 2 more intervals to go.

    I have no idea why I’m breaking down so early, and by “early” I mean compared to the visions I had of one day sticking a “13.1” or “26.2” sticker on my van. I’m already seriously reconsidering the 8k I thought I would run in August with my friend. I’m ready to hurl my Pineapple Smoothie all over the fine Western Regional trail before a marathoner would even break a sweat. It’s very demoralizing.

    Now, although I am running pretty early – 7:00 – 7:30ish – it has been hotter than the seventh stage of the Underworld around here, and I never have been too durable in the heat. So, when I’ve only run 6 intervals and I’m already sweating like a steer at the county fair, it may have something to do with our record-setting heat. But maybe that’s just a lame excuse. I really think it should not be so terrible difficult just to get a few miles under my belt on a regular basis.

    I have already been to the doctor a couple of months ago and everything they checked me for was good. No thyroid problems, no metabolic issues, good hemoglobin scores.  Did they miss something, though? Anemia? Lyme Disease? Or am I just in age denial? Or am I just being a weenie who needs to push a little? I don’t know. But today I feel like a loser non-runner self-deluded slug. Advice appreciated.



  3. The Life of a Purse

    July 7, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I have a friend I’ve taken with me everywhere for over a year now. Her name is Big Betsy and she is a descendant of someone named Vera.  Here is Big Betsy:


    Isn’t she cute? I love the shape, cut and size of this purse. I also still love the black-and-white print. I started thinking about getting a new Betsy, in purple, because I like that pattern, too.

    But why, though? I like my current purse just fine. Why do I start to think Betsy is just too darned old and I’ve got to replace her with a younger Betsy? I started to realize what a wasteful way of thinking this was. It is typical western thinking; in fact, some would marvel that I’ve used only that purse for this long.

    Why is it not typical to use things all the way up anymore? I still like everything about the purse, yet still feel some unaccountable urge to replace the purse because it is “old.” I would even buy a purse that is identical in shape and size and different only in color.

    The one complaint I could make that has actual merit is that the straps are worn some in the center, where they go over my shoulder.  However, I can easily see how I would remedy this.  I could cut two pieces of black “leather” fabric and make it like a sleeve that covers and reinforces the center of the strap.  This could even be done such that it appears it was designed that way from the start.

    I’ve been thinking perhaps I’ll just continue to use this purse for a long time into the future.  Sort of just see how much use I can get out of it. I wonder how many women actually do this.

    I recall a conversation with a soccer mom who told me she cleaned out her garage and could not understand how it was that there were about a dozen discarded backpacks in there. “There were all these backpacks in usable condition! I guess we just bought the kids new backpacks each school year without realizing it wasn’t really necessary.”

    That is why I don’t buy new backpacks – or lunchboxes – until I’ve seen a real problem with the current one.  Only my Magnificent daughter has a newer one, which I got her for high school; before then, all of my kids had their original (Target) backpacks and “Arctic Cool” lunch bags. I bought her new one because her old one was torn. I expect her newer one to last at least through high school and perhaps through college.

    The bag I use for college was a diaper bag I bought before we went to Disney in 2005. (Don’t worry; it isn’t lavender with teddy bears on it!) I will admit, I have considered replacing it with a rolling attache or something else that looks more adult. But I do enjoy using something fully, rather than running out to buy new. For the next however-long, I’m still going to be using the red Land’s End backpack (that was a diaper bag). It even has a little padded slot in the back, that was meant for a diaper changing pad, but fits my Macbook, so how perfect is that?