Over the past few weeks my wife and I have been selling some excess items through Craigslist. The good part is that we sold a few of our items and made some extra cash, which is always a good thing.
The bad? We have also encountered people at their flaky, unreliable, and selfish worst.
Now that the Christmas season is in full swing, my wife and I have been enjoying (again) the endless parade of Christmas movies . . . especially those on Hallmark Channel. Yes, I know, these movies are often formulaic, corny and utterly predictable, yet isn't that why so many people tune in? If there is a time of the year when we want . . . need, "feel good movies" isn't it the Holidays?
Some of our favorites are The Christmas Card, The Note, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and Call Me Mrs. Miracle. This year we've discovered new favorites like Matchmaker Santa and Naughty and Nice! To find out Hallmark's schedule click here!
Now, if you've watched enough Christmas movies, have you ever noticed that the plot so often involves someone who lived in a small town, moved to the big city and then some situation occurs that brings the main character back home (grudgingly) to the small town where she grew up. There the main character discovers that what she was searching for in the big city was there all along in the small town and she gives up her Mercedes-Benz, Manhattan loft and job as a high-powered executive to spend more time with family and her high-school sweetheart, in the town she once tried so hard to leave and now can't bear to.
Why is it that the plots don't involve someone deciding that a 300 square foot condo in New York (or Chicago) renting for $2,000 a month, endless hours on a subway, being one person in a crowd of a million, and climbing up the corporate ladder on the backs of others is the way to go?
Have you ever noticed that these movies also often chronicle a reconciliation with someone in the character's life or a rediscovery of how important the relationships really are? A daughter returns home and realizes that she needs her mom more than she thought. A man comes home and learns that the little family business is not such a bad thing and maybe his dad was onto something. People discover that Starbucks is not a necessity and perhaps the lousy coffee at "Millie's Diner" offers something that a chain coffee house, in the big city can never provide.
We all long for good, authentic, close relationships don't we? We all want to be loved, cared for and valued. We all want to be appreciated for the people we are, not just the things we do, the house we live in or the cars we drive. We want to feel more than a name and a number in the midst of the crowd.
Maybe the folks at Hallmark are onto something. I mean, wouldn't you want to live in a Hallmark Movie?
How good have you been at cultivating the relationships in your life this year?
Keywords: hallmark channel, hallmark movies, hallmark countdown to christmas, the christmas card, the note, most wonderful time of the year, matchmaker santa, rommel anacan, relationship difference, training, consulting, motivational speaker
Stuck on the 405!
(I originally wrote this post a year ago, but since traffic in Southern California never goes away and the rudeness that it brings, I thought it we'd revisit it.)
A few nights ago, I was invited to a friend's house to watch some "Thursday Night Football." He lives a couple of cities away, about 10 miles or so. Normally it's a 15-minute drive on the 405 freeway. On this night, the journey took almost an hour!
When I got to my exit, traffic stopped completely. I thought maybe there was an accident, but when I approached the actual off-ramp, I saw the problem. Instead of merging into the lane before the off-ramp, scores of people decided they were simply going to race all the way to the point where the off-ramp began (but before they hit the off-ramp sign) and then cut in front of everyone.
The problem with this maneuver is as they try to merge their cars they end up stopping the flow of traffic in two lanes; the one they're coming from and the one they're going into. One guy even cut off a bus in front of me, trying to get in!
As I creeped along I saw that the two right-hand turn lanes were completely jammed because a couple of drivers decided they were going to stop their cars in the middle of the right-hand turn lanes to try and get their cars in the left-hand turn lanes.
Of course! Why not just stop all traffic by stopping your car in the middle of the lane? After all, it's not as if you couldn't make a u-turn and add only about 5 minutes to your trip. So, why not make every behind you pay for your error?
Whether we want to admit it or not, we're all connected to one another in some type of unspoken social contract. The contract dictates things like when a new cash register opens up, the next person in line should have first dibs, not the first person who notices the register is open. If you're in an elevator and you see someone running for it, you hold the door open, as a courtesy.
And repeat after me: If you get a phone call in church, the movies, live theater etc., you don't answer it and have a conversation!
The basic element of this social contract is that it requires people to look for out for their own interests along with the interests of others. It means that we agree to make sacrifices when necessary for the greater good and that just because we want to do it doesn't mean we should.
Can you imagine how much better things would be if people just remembered these words of leadership expert and author John Maxwell, "With one small exception, the world is made up of other people."
Now it's your turn! What are some of your relationship pet peeves?
keywords: 405 freeway, traffic congestion, rommel anacan, relationship difference, social contract, john maxwell, relationship, communication, serving others, training, speaking, consulting, orange county california, southern california
Pearl Harbor-70 Years Later
Yesterday was Veteran's Day and at our church they played a video of a man who was serving on board the battleship USS Nevada on December 7, 1941. Nevada was moored right behind the USS Arizona when the attack began and he recounted his experience of shock and surprise as enemy planes filled the air and he realized he (and the United States) was under attack.
It has been more than 10 years now since I have visited Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. Growing up in Honolulu, I have visited the Memorial more times than I can remember. Yet, I am struck by how much the battleship sunk in the attack still moves me.
As I've stood on the gleaming white bridge that spans Arizona I've watched countless people react, reflect and think about what happened on this spot, so many years ago. I've looked down on the ship, to see gun emplacements, open hatches, and droplets of oil floating to the surface. The flagpole that towers over the Memorial is attached to the severed mainmast of the ship and is not attached to the Memorial. In the portion of the mainmast that is visible, you can see a small ladder that leads into the ship.
At the rear of the Memorial is the Shrine Room, where the names of the men who were killed during the attack are listed. There are over 1,100 names on the white marble wall. At 7:55 that morning on December 7th, all were alive, by 8:15 most were not. These men woke up that morning at peace, found themselves at the start of World War 2 and are still serving (eternally) on board Arizona today.
I know that the countless millions of people who have visited the Memorial (including me) are able to leave that spot in Pearl Harbor and return to our families, friends and lives because so many of the men who served on Arizona and all of the men and women who were lost on December 7, 1941, were not able to.
So I'd like to just say "thank you" to all of the men and women who have served or are serving in our nation's armed forces. And to all of the men and women who laid down their lives for all of us, I hope we never forget the love they had for us, that they would die so that we could live.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Moving Forward! (Now What?)
I was up pretty early this morning heading to a men's Bible study group that I attend. Along the way I saw signs and bumper stickers for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and it moved me to see how in just a few hours those signs of a long campaign are now irrelevant. The American people have spoken and the country moves forward.
So what can we learn? I'll leave it to the experts to unpack what the election means in political terms, I'd like to look at what you and I can take away from it, regardless of whether you voted for Obama, Romney, someone else, or none of the above.
Tomorrow is election day which means that we can all FINALLY stop seeing much of the political rantings on Facebook and Twitter and you can be friends again with all of the people who are voting for the "other" guy. Isn't it funny how people that you "used to like" all of a sudden sound like the enemy when spouting out against Obamacare or Romney's experience at Bain Capital?
In the midst of this season I ended up developing an unlikely friendship with a fellow through Twitter. Our dialogue began when he tweeted a question, basically wondering how in the world anyone could vote for the political party he is totally against! And while I try to not jump into the political fights on social media, I felt compelled to answer his question, since I support the party he doesn't! He replied back and we've been going back and forth ever since.
Our "trash talking" between each other is always honest, sometimes brutal and generally respectful. He has had some wicked one liners against who I am supporting and he has given me "props" for my digs against his candidate. Yet, our conversations now trend more towards what we have in common and where we agree, rather than on the things we know we disagree on.
Before the weekend I tweeted him a note saying that it's almost over and that I have enjoyed our back and forth during this season. He replied that he has enjoyed it too.
We weren't going to change each other's minds about who to vote for, but that's not the point. Once we got past what divides us and didn't allow those divisions to get in the way of getting to know each other, we found out that we actually like each other and can respect and validate each other's views, even when we don't agree with them.
Relationships are built on what unites us...not what divides us, right?
How have you managed your relationships with people you disgaree with during this poltical season?
Keywords: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Election 2012, Rommel Anacan, Relationship Difference, communication, relationships, disagreeing politically,
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