Tag Archives: Gratitude

A New Schnikism: Ken

I’ve got a great job. But, it’s hard work. And tonight, I stayed late, frustrated that some seemingly simple task was taking me forever and keeping me from spending time with my loved ones. So frustrated, was I, when I left work that in my head I was talking to myself as I walked to the bus, trying to think of a way to make it better. I entrenched in my thoughts, angered, tired and ready to go home.

As I walked, man stopped me on the street. He held up a paper and I immediately thought he was asking for directions. Impatiently I listened to him, looking for a way to cut him off as he launched to his tale of how he was down on his luck, really tired of living on the streets and trying to get into a local work program. One that would allow him to stay off the streets, get a shower, shave and regular haircuts.  At first, I just wanted him to stop talking and let me say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help,” so I could get on my way. I was cold and tired, ready to go home.

As I listened to his story, there was something about him; his honesty, his frankness, and a little something in his eyes as he looked me square in mine. “Tonight, I’m just trying to get a bed at a hostel for the night. I have spent all day gathering cans and bottles and have worked my way to up to five bucks. I know you’re busy, I know you want to get home, I just need a few bucks so I can reach my goal.”

While he was speaking, it sunk in; I have a great life, I have had some amazing things happen to me this year. I have been blessed and I have been fortunate. Before he could finish, I reached for my wallet and handed him the last cash I had, it was only fifteen bucks, a moment earlier I was trying to decide if I was going to stop at Starbucks for my five-dollar coffee. I thought spending my money this way was a much better investment.

When I handed him the money, he looked at me with a bit of astonishment and gratitude. He stuck out his hand and shook mine. “Thank you sir, my name is Ken and I really appreciate your generosity. Thank you for believing in me, I won’t let you down. Merry Christmas.”

It took me a moment to catch my breath, I wished him a Merry Christmas as well and headed on my way to catch my bus. In that moment, my whole night changed.

I know you won’t Ken.


Top 11 Posts of 2011

Well, we’re almost to 2012 and recently I posted my top 11 photos of ’11, so I thought I would dig around in my stats and share with you the items that a plurality of you decided to visit over the year. They’re ranked by number of views.

11: (Dis)Engaging Google+ – I’ve written that I’m not a fan of Google+. Based on my experiences, my opinion hasn’t changed from August 11, 2011.

10: 10 Things (About me) – Interesting, this post, written around my birthday in 2010 garnered enough views this year to make my list. I find it funny that it’s number 10. 🙂

9: Oh, to be Popular. #199 – My 199th blog post here. A photo essay of my top Flickr photos. Be sure to check out #1 if you haven’t already.

8: Crossroads. Help Me, Pathfinder! – A great post about my future education and where I want to go from here. I say it was a great post because it offered me some good conversations with people about the state of education, what I should focus on as I continue forward and helped me figure out where I truly am in my head.

7: Good Customer Service: America’s Tire – I’m thrilled that a “Good Customer Service” story made the list. The adage goes, a happy customer will tell no one, while an unhappy customer will tell everyone. That’s not true in my case, I try to give equal time to good and bad customer service.

6: O.H. in the E.R. – On of my funnier (and sad) posts about an ill-fated trip to the ER last August. My pain is your joy. The things you hear in an ER waiting room are rather funny. If you take the time to listen.

(Photo Credit: Sea Turtle on Flickr)

5: Following the Pack (or not) – A post from last February where I offer my commentary on a “gorilla marketing tactic” on Twitter that was horribly spammy. I found it interesting that my desire to speak up was met with extreme hostility and mob mentality, which border-lined on bullying. I still stand by my opinions and observations. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb. Be bold.

4: The Lone Zebra, an Educational Opportunity – Written regarding a kerfuffle in the Real Estate Community about copyright and trade dress infringement. This gave me an opportunity to put into real life practice some things I had been learning in my Business Law class. It was a great case study.

3: Guest Post: Judgment Between The Lines – I’m so thrilled you liked, or viewed, this post. It was an important post. A guest post by my close friend Sarah Salter, she writes about something I think we all struggle with: Judgement and its many forms. An extremely timely, timeless and poignant post, worthy of read, whether it’s your first time or tenth.

2: Missing The Mark: Sears – Christmas Customer Service – Wow. This post, written just six days ago, outlined some poor customer service I received from a National big box store. Outlining the systemic issues from corporate culture, to employee detachment (An employee adds his comments to the post) it has become one of my most popular Customer Service Commentary posts.

Singapore Fireworks Celebrations '08 - Korean Fantasia 3
(Photo Credit: Synchroni on Flickr)

1: You’re Welcome?!? – A post from this summer, I volunteered at a women only half marathon this year, I was struck and moved that almost every single runner, no matter how fatigued or festive, took a moment to thank the volunteers, when all I really was doing was standing in the middle of the road. I’m very thankful and grateful that this is my number one viewed post. It makes me believe that you all enjoy a little bit of gratitude in our world and maybe we/I need to be sharing a little more of it.

I’m extremely proud of these posts and some of them I think are close to “my best.” I hope that this streak continues in 2012!

200 Blog Posts and 13.1 Miles Later

You’re all still with me. Really? I had this idea as I noted that I was getting close to a 200th blog post. Only two or so years into my little home on the web, I realize that I’ve found what I love about doing this; they’re my thoughts, stories, and life, unfiltered. Pen to paper so to speak, and you follow along. Whether it’s out of obligation or because you really enjoy what I have to say, you’re still here. I’m humbled by that. So, thank you and thank you again. Now onto #200!

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, Not because they never found it, But because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” William Feather

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Sure, I’ve had my share of setbacks, but I think they’re common in the regular ebb and flow of life.

Exactly one year ago, I was feeling miserable. A year ago, I looked like this:

Muppet Me

I’ve written about this before, my six-day stint in the hospital wasn’t really a pleasant one, it reminded me that maybe I am not as invincible as I thought. Shortly thereafter, I made a promise to myself: A half marathon by year’s end.

So today – as this post hits the ether – I embark on that goal. Today I will be running the “Holiday Half Marathon,” 13.1 miles. Some may think I’m crazy to do so, I was one of them.

Then I started running. My first run, the “Race for the Roses” 5k (3.1 miles,) was the longest run I had done out on the road when I started. It wasn’t too bad, but I wasn’t hooked. I was still somewhat lost. I hadn’t really understood the best way to train.

Then, in August, I really got serious about running. I started to run outside, since it was nice. I started planning routes around my home, enjoying the run. There are hills and I’m crazy, so I recorded video:

And then I noticed that I could run and I was consistent. But I needed goals, so I signed up for the Oktoberfest 10k Road Race (6.2mi):

And then the “Run Like Hell 10k (6.2 Mi)”

And the “Hot Buttered Run 12k (7.5mi)”

Since July 1st, I have run 158.6 miles. With my longest run to date being 11.2(ish) miles. That’s a lot of miles on these tires. And yes, I can’t wait to run some more.

I certainly have not done this alone. I really have to thank a couple of people who have encouraged me (Tim,) answered my questions (Cory and Clark,) and kicked my butt from time to time, when I needed it, of course (Mark.)

Mark & Tim, thanks for joining me on this and many other running adventures. Cory, thanks for “running me in,” as they say.

If you’d like to see my evolution as a runner as I’ve blogged it, check out my previous posts on the topic

So today: December 11th, 8 AM – I embark on completing my goal.

To finish a half marathon.

I have a goal in mind that I would love to complete. We’ll see if I can do it.

If you would like to watch me run it, and see my progress, you may catch a “glympse” here. Or, I may actually be live tweeting how much it sucks. Either way, I’ll cross the finish line, even if I’m crawling.

See you all on the other side.

You’re Welcome?!?

This weekend, I got to volunteer for an inaugural all-girl 5K and half-marathon called Run Girl Run. It was a fun event, but there was something pretty interesting that happened to me. I mean, I was a volunteer. I just had to get up, get in the car, and get to the event. As a course marshal, I just had to stand there at the 4.5 mile marker and make sure that someone stopped at the stop sign and that the runners made their way down the right side of the course.

As I left the main area to head over to my designated spot at 7:30 AM, there were only a few runners moseying around. I got to my location and waited:


Alone, I waited. I watched the occasional car drive by, I listened to the roosters crow; I even smelled the faint scent of someone frying bacon in the house next to my post.

And, I waited.

First runners
Hark! Ahoy! The first runners came heading up the road. I moved to my designated spot with my orange safety vest and ushered the runners in the right direction.

“Good job!” I said as the first couple of runners came by.

And they said: “Thank you for being here.”


Then the next group, “Thank you!” And the next, “Thank you for doing this!” and again, and again…

Wait, What? I said to the next ones, “You’re doing the hard part! Way to go!”

“Thanks for keeping us safe,” came the reply.

There were nearly 300 runners on the course, and no matter how out of breath they were, how they may have been struggling, they managed to say “thank you.”

And maybe I’m a moosh, but it still moves me.

Maybe there’s something we can all learn from this group of runners with moxie — saying thank you to a person, no matter the circumstances should be the norm, not an exception. How great we all can feel with just a hint of gratitude, just a sliver of acknowledgement.

As all the runners and walkers came by, they said thank you, and I was only one person on the course. I am truly certain they thanked everyone along the course.

Run Girl Run

Aw shucks ma’am, I’m just doing my job.

…Like the wind

So, if you’ve followed me on Twitter, Facebook, anywhere, you’ve heard me, no doubt, lamenting my decision to run a 5k.

Well, I did it last weekend. I just wanted to share some pictures from it.

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement.

What I was struck by, was a couple of things, First, there were SOOO many people, I think they capped participation at 5,000 runners. That’s a lot of people.

I almost ran it all, there was a mean, mean hill at the end. I tried hard, but I had to walk for a couple of seconds. My finishing time: 32:24 (10:26 minute miles, on average.) The photographer got me running, this is a pretty cool shot. 🙂

Do You Believe then Belong or the reverse?

I heard an interesting generational statement not to long ago. It referenced the Older Generation’s ability to belong to something then believe in something, the person went on to say that my generation has to be convinced they believe something before they’re willing to belong.

This stuck in my craw.

I’ve been pondering that for almost a whole week. I keep coming back to it. I’ve been involved in so many things recently. Things I believe in, things I belong to, but rarely do I think of the two of them in conjunction. In my experience, if I belong to something, I must believe in it, Right?
Used Under Creative Commons: Thank you to Aftab

I think a more important thing to examine right now is the feeling of not believing, or those feelings when you don’t belong. I think we all have those moments in our lives. We believe what we believe and we’re hard-pressed to be convinced otherwise.

Right now, I’m not sure what I believe, or sometimes where I belong. I think that’s partially due to so many changes happening at once. I, like many of you, am fearful of change; leaving our solid ground, our substantial footing, stepping off the cliff, even to dive into the clearest blue skies.

Right now there are two things that I keep telling myself: I believe I am loved. I belong right here, in this moment.

Both of those things have been affirmed moreover in the last few days, more so than I’ve even been able to express. I try to remember to say thank you, but I may have forgotten so please accept this as my mea culpa if I haven’t reached out to you.

Believe & Belong or Belong & Believe, but do them both with equal dedication.

Are You Talkin’ to Me?

I’ve had an interesting day. Sure I did some of the normal things: shopping, moving boxes, preparing for the next week, the usual things. Those aren’t the interesting parts of my day, I won’t bore you with those details, (I know, usual, right?)

Today I was invited to go to church with some friends. Normally, I would roll my eyes, say thank you, and politely decline. Something told me I should go. I had so much other stuff to do, I could have easily spent my time in other haunts, but today, it just felt like a good idea. Besides, it gave me a chance to hang out with these friends.

I got distracted and when I looked at the clock, I realized that I only had a few minutes to get ready and out the door, so out I went, got in the car, and made my way to the church, parked in the back forty acres and made my way into the church. The Church was HUGE. It had super auditorium seating. Enough about that, normally my attendance, while rare, wouldn’t incite a blog post, but the message. This was pretty strange for me. The message was about isolation vs. community. Hmm.

Some of you may know, I’m going through some rough patches lately, my natural defense is to look inside, sort it out, find the logical answers, deal with the good and the bad and make light of it. Seems easy enough, right? Sure. Normally that works for me. Lately it’s worked, sort of, sure I’m a little downtrodden, but I’m getting over it. Sure, I may be spending some extra time in my head. Maybe guarding myself a little more than usual. I know some of you have noticed it. I know you care, I appreciate it, I do. Do I know how to ask for help, I do; do I know when to ask for help, I do; I think. Sure, I may be burdened, but I don’t want to burden others with it. I know, some of you would easily handle it. I know some of you would really be helpful, I get that.

Anyways, Listening to the message today at church, I spent a considerable amount of time wondering why the pastor was talking to me and my situation? Why do I choose to barricade myself off when I’m feeling a little stressed/overwhelmed. I don’t have a good answer to that question. I just know that I’m feeling a little out of sorts. Why I chose this day to go to church or why the church chose this day to give this particular sermon, I could say I don’t know, I could also say that there was some greater plan involved. Neither one of those do I know for certain are the case. I’ll just say this, I’m holding my head above water, I’m holding on with both hands right now, and it seems that someone/something/somehow, was speaking to me today, I listened, I’m still listening, and I’m still here. And I’m still doing alright, really.