Tag Archives: business

From Grit to Grace

Yesterday, that grit that has kept me trekking through some of my longest struggles abandoned me and left me panicking.
I’m the one with the fight. Everyone expects it.
But, sometimes, I just fail at what’s expected of me.
When I got the call, I just started breathing these long, deep breaths from the gut. Meditate. That’s it.
Then, it all just hit me in the gut.
The grit was gone.
A heavy pounding pumped my chest and I knew the only way to survive this one was to cry. We’ve been so worried about this happening that the moment it happened, it felt like I’d used up all my grit just holding on to nothing.Grace
My husband lost his job, not because he’s a terrible employee, but because the company was bought out by another company who wants to streamline things. You can fill in the blanks for the rest of that story.
But, don’t worry I’m still working. I don’t make much money because, well, I’m a teacher. Need I say more?
He, however, is in the news business, an online producer, social media specialist, you name it. He has an immaculate background that includes loyaltyand hard work, but sometimes I wonder if that’s what employers even want anymore. I mean, doesn’t it just come down to who will work for the least amount of money, at least in the online news business?
There’s punchline in here somewhere.
I guess I’m the punchline because he just went to the bedroom and shut the door. He started looking for work immediately. I, on the other hand, turned on Spotify and listened to Prince songs (“Let’s Go Crazy” was the first song to play), randomly freaked out my kids with wild screeching noises, watched a couple of old episodes of Modern Family, drank three espressos, went running in the middle of the hottest time of the day in Miami, then told him to get ready because we needed to go to Happy Hour somewhere.
If you rewind through that list of crazy, seemingly random activities, you’ll see how I got my grit back or even better my grit turned to grace.
A good cry gets rid of unwanted crap.
Prince has grit, in death and life.
Singing liberates you, even if you can’t carry a tune.
Laughing about problems grounds you.
Espressos fuel you.
Exercise refreshes you.
Sweating cleanses you.
And, Happy Hour reminds you that life’s supposed to be fun and crazy.
At Happy Hour we played with a link on Facebook that morphs you into an old Hollywood star. He became Clark Gable and I turned into Grace Kelly.
We remembered that we were once just kids and we’re somehow still in love despite some really scary moments in life. We’ve done a pretty good job at making a life for ourselves and our kids and, frankly my dear, there are worse problems than this.
Grit

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Chapters in a blog: InSethspiration

That writer I wrote about, Nayia Moysidis, sent me inspiration through her heroism and unencumbered writing.

Author Seth Godin at PDF 2007
Author Seth Godin at PDF 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia

She also sent me in other directions, one of them being Seth Godin’s blog.

Many of you may know him already. After all, he is a creative writer, blogger, entrepreneur, and internet marketing master. Once I’d read one then two then ten of his posts, I subscribed to his blog and even bought a couple of his books.

So, when I read his post about Paracosms, I smiled, frowned, and sipped his words with my morning cappuccino.

Here’s the link to what he wrote:

Now, normally, I’d laugh, nod knowingly, or even brush it off as an agreeing to disagree moment, but this one kept me sipping.

I love books. They are my Bibles. If everything is wrong with my life, books will pull me away from it and bring me back better, renewed, ready to take on my own problems as if I had just taken a vacation.

No NetFlix series or award-winning film does that. No hour-long browsing session offers that. Those are just teasers, bites of chocolate for me. Books make my time worthwhile. Not every book, but the majority I’ve read have done their job.

So when he makes the comment, “Paper is magical.” It is, to me. I don’t have to take a pill or drown my sorrows in glasses of wine. I found this out a long time ago as a child who needed to escape reality. I opened my books and realized something that today’s generation doesn’t quite understand.

Those writers carried me into other realms, knocking down barriers, opening doors. I treasure their words.

Books are my “sacred cows” as Seth puts it.

So, incidentally, I’m exactly the person he’s speaking to in this post. That’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about what he’d written.

When I stopped frowning, I realized I just wanted to hold onto those desperate childhood moments. But, I’m not that child anymore. And, this world isn’t that one anymore.

He’s right. As much as I hate it, I know he’s right because I’m here with you and the rest of the blogging world.

I read your posts and draw inspiration, new knowledge, insights, and laughter. It breaks this world down and builds strength for another day. It’s a new way to read chapters of a book, in a blog.

Here are just some of them:

http://freepennypress.wordpress.com/

http://abreakfastserial.com/

L’écriture

http://imdbwords.wordpress.com/

http://nettrobbens.com/

http://littlemisswordy.wordpress.com/

http://teacher-preneur.com/

http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/

http://jessicavealitzek.com/

http://somestolenmoments.wordpress.com/

http://momopolize.com/

http://scotterb.wordpress.com/

http://malcolmscorner.wordpress.com/

Venezuela’s Avatars Remind Us to Vote

Sometimes our heroes live under the ground, having never even been written about.
Sometimes our heroes live so far from us, we don’t even know who they are.
Sometimes these heroes are just walking along the streets that no one else will walk.
Sometimes our heroes need us to be heroes, speaking up, supporting them.

Some of my heroes brave the streets of Venezuela every single day, careful to watch who’s around them, careful to steer clear of this street or that, not that it makes much of a difference. They’re still robbed and kidnapped, often enough, they’re murdered. With crime increasing year after year, I wonder if I’ll ever see Venezuela again.

Capriles vs. Chavez

My husband’s family, those who remain there, visits us. They won’t let us visit them. Why can’t we visit? Why can’t we take our children?

It’s the same old story:  Politics. Men. Ideals. Ideas. Egos. Egos. Death.

My children might not ever see the way the mountains look when the sea meets them along a dirt road free of stoplights and buildings in the small islands just off the coast of Venezuela. They might not see the tiny, wooden restaurant ahead. They might not sip the fresh pineapple drink then break the soft-corn cachapa with their fork and mix the tangy with the sweet on their tongues.

But, it doesn’t matter because they’ll be safe. Safe from the violence that taunts Venezuelans on a daily basis, safe from the mask of right and wrong.

This weekend millions of heroes, just like us, will vote, here in the states (in particular in New Orleans) and in Venezuela. Chavez shut down the Venezuelan consulate in Miami. So, the Venezuelans now living in the United States have to vote in New Orleans because they can’t vote in Miami where many have taken refuge since Chavez became president.

When they vote they’ll attempt to right a wrong, a clear, undeniable wrong:  Hugo Chavez is president. It’s wrong because since he came to power  the crime and death rate increased so drastically that paranoia seems a silly, antiquated word.

On Sunday, October 7, 2012, Venezuelan’s will vote for Hugo Chavez or his challenger Henrique Capriles.

Hugo Chavez has managed to remain in power for about 14 years. The opposition and human rights observers call his government repressive because of his control over the media. Moreover, according to Venezuelan Violence Observatory, there have been 118,541 murders in Venezuela since Chavez took power.

To make matters worse, the Venezuelan government has condemned the American Convention on Human Rights withdrawing from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Guadalupe Marengo, deputy director for the Americas at Amnesty International said in a press release, “This move is an affront to the victims of human rights violations and to future generations of Venezuelans who will no longer be able to access this regional body when their rights are not respected in their own country.”

Venezuelan’s are heroes just for enduring. Their voices are being shut down by the man who’s supposed to fight for them.

If the voters are heard, someday you may be lucky enough to visit Venezuela, you’ll find beauty beyond Caracas, its capital. You’ll find islands and tiny villages with people who create possibly more amazing art and other products than any of us could dream of.

Most of you may not even care much about Venezuela. It was only mentioned in Avatar by the “American” colonel who fought Jake Sully to the death. The colonel spoke of Venezuela as a “mean jungle.”

That’s actually true as of the time of this post, but it wasn’t always that way.

Fifteen years ago my then-boyfriend and I, my now-husband and I, took our first trip there together. We knew then, like with many major cities, that we shouldn’t go to certain places at certain times when visiting his family in Caracas. We knew where to go, when to go. He had left because of crime, his Christmas presents stolen, and there weren’t many to steal.

Crime was a problem even 25 years ago when my husband’s family left for the United States. But, Chavez promised to close the divide between rich and poor. To say he did not deliver is an understatement. In fact, he lied. He still lies. The facts tell the truth.

When we were able to visit, the city itself, Caracas, made no difference to us except for family, food, and certain sites that we found necessary to visit and revisit as if we knew it might disappear someday. Simon Bolivar had once liberated the people, so we visited his statue and smiled, not really considering we’d spend over ten years without seeing it again. Certain districts such as the clothing centers, we frequented because, really, we loved buying great, cheap souvenirs.

Catholic churches, yes, a necessity.

Cachapas. Empanadas. Café of any kind. Arepas, Venezuelan-style. We ate. We drank. We enjoyed.

I miss it all so much as I sit safely here, in Miami.

We Americans take certain rights for granted. We also don’t understand the extent to which voting affects these simple beauties in life that go without our appreciation.

We also don’t recognize the hero within because, well, we’re everywhere. We’re Avatars and we don’t even know it. We definitely don’t appreciate our powers.

Let Venezuela’s plight, those invisible heroes among them, among us, let Venezuela’s vote count. Let it remind you who you are:

Powerful.

Powerful.

Avatars.

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Mission Accomplished

In the last post about Writer’s Bloq, I had announced I’d deliver snippets about the Kickstarter campaign all week long. But, by the next day, Writer’s Bloq met the goal of raising $15,000.

Their Bloqparty Tour begins in Massachusetts then winds through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, D.C., and right on over to New York. You can find out more information at http://www.writersbloq.eventbrite.com/

There’s this piece of me that aches at the thought of missing out on these events.

Mission Accomplished

If I weren’t shackled to my husband and kids in Miami, I’d be making plans to journey to at least one. So, to all of you who enjoy the freedom that I don’t, take a moment for yourself and click your way into a writer’s haven.

There will be plenty of art, drinks, literary mingling, and more.

Occupy Avoids Phantoms of Failure

Unemployed men queued outside a depression sou...
Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone, 02-1931 – NARA – 541927 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The undercurrent of dreading the inevitable percolates beneath our heavy layer of cheap perfume. We fear becoming sick then losing our jobs or the other way around. It doesn’t matter because if one happens so will the other. Then, we’ll also lose healthcare. We fear so much that we accept too much.

I look at other mothers and fathers, men and women, and we nod, we smile, a resigned not yet angry smile. Occupy Wall Street hit an impressive nerve. Secretly, in those quiet corners after work ended, we smirked, vindicated for our silent sufferings.

But now, when I look back at Occupy Wall Street, I look back even further.

The Great Depression plunged Americans into a surprise hell where a response left them mute then violent. Today you can view the violent protests on YouTube.

My great grandfather, whom I had the pleasure of knowing for a whole two years before his death, owned a bakery in Chicago, Illinois. He hired as many people as he could invent jobs but still couldn’t help the majority of the people who’d been abandoned by their employers. He fed people free bread on a daily basis. He made sure he sent word to anyone he knew that there was a good man or woman ready to work. He did all this with a push and a shove from my great grandmother who never let anybody she met go hungry.

Even so, they couldn’t help everyone. In fact, the amount of people they could help was simply too small. The circumstances had cut too deep, the wound unable to heal. So the masses had to speak up.

Like the Occupiers, they mustered the strength and anger to do something, anything about their situation. Whether born from desperation or frustration, it really didn’t matter because that’s more than many people could or would do.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 1st week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My great grandfather watched his all-American, capitalist ideals drop from the tears in his eyes as he handed men and women their dignity in the form of bread.

In the 1920s, there were those who misspent their money on extravagant delights. It was a time of overindulgence and rebellion that set Americans up for failure.

The similarities between that and the outrageous spending habits of the 90s blend quite nicely. In 1931, about 60,000 people protested new eviction laws in Chicago. Violence erupted, some were killed, many injured. Read more about it at http://griid.org/2011/08/03/this-day-in-resistance-history-–-the-chicago-eviction-riots/

Protests are cries for help, shouts of the guttural kind, when people just can’t stay quiet any longer. Riots happen when no one listens.

Right now, many of us still have our stuff. But, we’re struggling—our eyes show it.

We, the workers, we’re tired.

But, whom do we blame? Them? Do we blame the credit-crazy monsters of the 80s and 90s? Do we blame the people who bought into the idea that you can live a luxurious life and still pay your bills? Sure, why not. Maybe we can even say, “Look what you did. Take responsibility for it.”

Then what? Do we dig a hole for them and say, “Jump in,” pushing them if they won’t go, covering them in dirt, suffocating them?

Or, do we offer them a hand, a piece of bread in the form of dignity.

Written by Lisa Chesser