Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Special Thank You to Lara Olson Boswell

A while back I read an outstanding book called This Is The Moment by Walter Green and it held such a profound message tucked between the pages that I thought I'd take a moment to share something with all my readers. Too often we live out our last days with a feeling of regret, for moments we wished we had but are now too short to fulfill or that thank you we were meaning to share with a special someone has long since passed and one of you is no longer around. So I thought I would take time on my blog to acknowledge those special people from time to time. This is my legacy, if you will, of those special people I will highlight and share what impact their time with me has had.

I met Lara back when AT&T hadn't really become to corporate giant it is today. When customer care still held some meaning and significance; where you actually got service when you called in. Back in those days we had local call centers for the customer service calls spread around the United States. But buyouts and mergers being what they are, those were the good old days now remembered.

Lara Olson was a Customer Care Supervisor, which meant she was responsible for monitoring a team of representatives whose job it was to take your service related calls. Lara was quiet for the most part, not those loud, obnoxious bosses whose job it was to stay so focused on numbers and stats that you hated to come to work. Yet she was efficient in a gentle way. She responded to her representatives in a positive way, much like a mom would to her children who did outstanding work, she would be your biggest cheerleader and small moments of victory became giant milestones in the hearts of those representatives. I think every single member of her team grew in stature because of her kindness and loving attitude.

She was not the helicopter boss either, you know the kind I mean. The one's who standing around micro-managing every aspect of your work and making sure you colored within the lines. Lara was a creative, color outside the box type of person. The one you would never feel worried about if things didn't go well during some aspect of your job. She was a true coach and leader and NEVER failed to step up when the job or a representative needed help. She NEVER denied the opportunity for a customer to speak with a customer as most often did.

I never heard one bad thing ever mentioned about Lara's work performance or her as an individual, in fact quite the opposite. I believe she had one of the most loyal teams in Customer Care because she was so well liked by her team. If there was an issue, it wasn't due in part to Lara, but by someone who had pushed the bar too far to see how high it would go. As a Customer Care Trainer, it would be inevitable that we would work together, but never would I imagine I would have an amazing friendship with her and her beautiful family that lasted longer than our jobs did.

She became for me, one of those people you could talk to about anything. Since she had no door on her cubicle, it was always open!! :D We spent so many hours talking in her cubicle about everything under the sun and some days it was the only way to get through our work day and leave somewhat intact. In Lara, I found an ally! I found out what true friendship looked like.

To this day, Lara's personality is always positive even when deep down inside, she may be having the worst day of her life, you would never know it. She hides it quite well from most people, but those who really know her can see it. She is the spirit of calm that I so often lack at times. She is a great mom, to her daughter Keira, almost going on 5 soon! Now she is my favorite person to share taking vacations and trips to Disneyland with along with your amazing family! In all that time, she has never known except for the occasional phone calls, texts or emails, what she means to me in my life. I look up to her. She is my hero in so many ways, but most of all because I have the honor of sharing the title of friend and family with her.

We may not be blood-related by birth, but there is NOTHING I wouldn't do for this remarkable lady. If you find yourself lucky to have her in your life, or to be able to call her a friend or family, than you are truly rich beyond measure. You have found what most people lack in life by being able to share her friendship. To this, I say Thank YOU, Lara for being one of the most amazing lady's God had the opportunity to bring into my life. Thank you for sharing your friendship and family with me. You are a gift I will never take for granted and just wanted to take this opportunity to share this moment with you and let you know what you being in my life has meant for me.

(OK, now if you're reading this Lara, which I know you will, or someone will share it with you, you can stop crying NOW! I love you that much and wanted to tell you!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Perfect Moment

Too often all we tend to focus on are the negative things in our days. You may not think about it like it sounds but see if any of these things sound a bell in your head. Do you focus on all the things that didn't get done today? The traffic in front of you? Do you slow down and check out the accident that delayed you? The price of gas has gone up again? The cost of your grocery bill just got higher this trip? Another irritating sales call? You're computer is taking too long to load your page? The check you wanted to be in the mail is late? You just got bad news? Laid off? Unexpected health issue? Fighting with a family member? Wanting a bit of good news that isn't coming?

See where I am going with this?

When it the last time you noticed when everything was perfect?

The last time that you got to that appointment on time, with maybe room to spare; got that parking spot right in front that no one else noticed?; what about an unexpected visit from a friend or neighbor that cheered you up at that perfect time you needed it; got an raise when you least expected it; got a free minute to yourself; captured that perfect picture; the house is cleaned for once; the smile on a babies face; a fabulous sunset or sunrise?

There are so many perfect moments in our days that slip past us because we have become so trained on looking at what isn't going right so we can fix it. Today, and only today, I want your focus to change. To focus on the perfect moments in your day, your hour, your minutes. Because believe it or not, once they have moved into tomorrow, we missed seeing them.

I challenge you today to see things differently; to pray a prayer with me that God will shift your focus and perception and when you catch yourself wanting to complain about something, your smile turns into a frown, or you are tempted to yell today, remind yourself that you need to look for the perfect. To see happiness in spite of that mess; to see love where you are focused on rushing through the day; to see beauty right in front of you today, instead of walking past. Take time. Take just 5 minutes to look around you and tell me what is perfect in your life today.

Then take 5 minutes or more every single day and challenge yourself to find those perfect moments that make memories worthwhile! Perhaps along this journey you will find joy, hope, happiness, laughter, peace and love again. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you'd be so kind to share them with me.

Dear Lord,

Help me today to find those moments, You are dying to share with me. Those moments so rare like treasure, that show me how great this life can be if I am willing to see it as You do. Help me to view things around me differently. Open my eyes to see them. Help me to not see the imperfections but the moments in my life I am too busy to see. Help me find more of them in my day. I ask these things in Your Perfect Name, Amen!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Meaning Behind Memorial Day

Memorial Day is more than just a holiday to celebrate a day off from work, to gather with friends and family to enjoy a great picnic or bar-b-que, watch a parade or to raise a flag in memory of those who served in the war. I found some amazing facts regarding this historical day and wanted to share it with you.

The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, are unclear.

In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America's need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers' graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.

No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and for many years, states observed the holiday on different dates. By federal law, however, Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Since World War I, poppies have been a symbol of remembrance on Memorial Day, honoring those who died in service to their countries. Red poppies are also a symbol of consolation.

The idea started in 1918 when American Moina Michael read the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written by Canadian John McCrae in 1915 during World War I. She began wearing and selling poppies to support veterans. Today, donations to veterans’ groups are often marked with a token paper red poppy.

Traditional observances at Memorial Day have diminished over the years. This day is for honoring those who have fallen in service (not all who have died). In honor, we raise the flag.

Let us not forget those who have died today as a way of remembering what the true price of freedom is. It's found in the cemetery's of those who have past away. It is in the lost abandoned fields of the grounds in which they have fallen, it's in the hospitals and hospice facilities where many are still recovering from the war, and in the hearts of those that still live and breath that came home because of something someone did to ensure that they would return home; most of all let us not forget those Missing In Action that have never returned home and have been denied their most basic right to freedom. As you can see, freedom does have its cost and it's worth remembering not just today but every single day.

As a honor to service men and women all over the world, whenever you see them, stop and say a simple thank you. It truly does mean so much to them. They are a true heroes and forever will be.

Thank you for all of you that have served this great country of ours for the freedom we still enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What do you see, really?

You've heard the sayings virtually everywhere, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear and even appearances aren't everything. Then why is it when we view things through our own eyes do we see things differently? Take for example many times, our own lying eyes. Each time we look at ourselves, what do we really see?

More times than not, we see flaws, imperfections, irregularities and every little thing wrong with us. Why don't we see what others see? Are we too judgmental on ourselves? Is our vision flawed? How can we change what we view?

Perhaps most of those questions very easily will be answered when we arrive in our eternal destination, the home we were meant to have, heaven, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. When sin entered this world through disobedience to God, our visions were forever altered. We had a profound difference of what was wrong with things, why certain things aren't good enough, and why we will never ever be truly content.

I often wonder what does God see when looking at us, when we are viewing ourselves in our mirrors? Does He see things are they truly are or does He see what the world sees? Why can't we then, learn to ask God through prayer to see things through His eyes? To stop judging what we can't see and accept things the way they are in love through God's eyes. This is my new prayer and I am hoping it will change a lot of things. I am praying it will change my heart and keep me from judging people based on what I see instead of what I know. I am praying it will lead me to look on people in unconditional love instead of what I perceive to be the truth.

I am praying that many others will have the scales removed from their eyes and we will begin to see this world for what it truly is, God's creation and so is everything in it. Let's put aside our differences and bind the enemy who would see to show us other views than the one God would like us to see. We need to remove the blinders that most of us have willingly let this world put on us, and start seeing the hurting, the needy, the hopeless, and give them help, provide for their needs and restore their hope. That's what it means to be a follower of Christ.

For some people no matter what you say will not make a difference to them until they can SEE things for themselves and for some, we may be the only version of the Bible that they will ever know. Let's make sure the message is perfectly clear. (Oh, and by the way, the picture on the top is sand, magnified 250 times, interesting what really is in what we think we see!)