Monday, September 15, 2014

Always Ask Questions

 "Why? why? why? why? why? ...but why?"

We think of little kids as being the ones asking questions. As well they should. Think about it... every single thing is new to them. And we learn through repetition.
Fast forward.

Now we're supposed to be Older. Wiser.


Well, I believe it's inherent, even critical, for us to continue to ask questions. To stay curious.

Some people get groomed to go with the flow. Go along with things. I did not get that memo. I nearly brought my dad to tears one night as he tried to explain an algebra problem to me in high school. I didn't understand the problem, or how he was explaining it (I'm very creative, he's very logical). So I asked again. And again.

Simply put, if I'm curious. I'll ask till I understand.

And because of that, I have this house.

My first house.

Two years ago tonight, after submitting a well-crafted offer on a house in a multiple-offer scenario. I got a call from my realtor, "Wendy, I'm sorry to say you did not get the house." I was actually very calm and not rattled by the news — this despite never having bought a house before. But we had crafted a really good offer. And something seemed 'off.'

Then I repsonded by simply asking my agent:

"Would you mind asking the agent 'why'?"

He said he'd be happy to make the call, but it has never really changed anything before. Still, he did make the call.

A short while later, I received his call back... and their offer. He said the agent's assistant had accidentally mixed up the offers (in the multiple offers they'd received) but once they reviewed and realized our offer was the one that should have been chosen, he told me, "the house is yours." 

Moving in, gutting and re-doing a bathroom, creating a closet out of thin air (with no floor), gardening, painting chairs, power spraying a basement ceiling, knocking out walls? I was curious. I Googled.

Ask questions. Stay curious.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Such a nice way to start people

I have lived in DC now for just shy of a decade. One thing I have noticed when you meet new folks here — neighbors, colleagues, friends' friends — is that one of the first thing they ask is "what to you do." Also over the past decade I've acquired a niece (5), a nephew (2), a niece (2), and as of last night… a brand new nephew who I'm about to go meet for the first time. So he can't quite answer that question just yet.

It's so profound to me that a little human that wasn't here yesterday is now a force to be reckoned with and the only thing they have is the tool kit of the inherited traits of their mom (my little sister) and their dad (just pinned-on as Major in the Air Force the day before said birth).

Little Grant Robert Phelps has a great tool kit and a blank slate of an amazing life ahead.

He's a healthy baby. Mom's okay. He has a big brother Reed (2), and a big loving family. Blessed.

I'm leaving the house in just a little bit and I can't wait to kiss my baby nephew for the first time.

And over the years... see "what he does."

And with this in mind I share one of my ALL TIME favorite cards for welcoming a new baby to this crazy, insane, wonderful, challenging, beautiful world we live in:
"Baby's are such a nice way to start people..."

Welcome baby Grant. Welcome.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Please "may" I...


Day 4 — For as long as my now 5 yr old niece has been able to speak in full sentences, especially to ask for something, she (with her southern-upbringing) has been taught manners in how she speaks. Notable to me was how she asks for something.

I just think it's an endearing twist on what I'm accustomed to hearing.
How I've always phrased it: "May I please _______."
How Z asks the same question, "Please may I  _______."

With all the influence and chatter in our overloaded attention economy* — of what other people are saying or doing (or what they try to pursuade YOU to say or do) — I believe it's good to take a break from that once in a while.

So for 5/4 my #MAYBEiCAN pledge for that day was this:
#MAYbe I Can stay off of social media / blogging / even Pinning! for that day.

It was a nice break.

I couldn't swear off internet completely — I mean am in the middle of demo-ing/building a closet and hanging drywall. I needed instructions. :)

But yes, once in a while, not just in MAY, you're entitled to and you should say: "Please may I take a break"

* I wasn't able to find a link to a current Invesco commercial, but it beautifully illustrates this idea by having a group of chattering, blabbering, talking heads surrounding this man at every single point during his day (breakfast, his shower, the elevator to work). Taking a break from the online social peanut gallery is a good thing.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The blessings of "May"


Day 3 — Already, during this month which has expectedly inspired me...

There is the idea of a trying something...
to break life's monotony and let your dreams have a chance to grow... #MAYBE i CAN." It becomes almost a dare. And that's exciting! And 'exciting' moves us.

There is the idea that sometimes we need help to do this...
sometimes to give our dreams a chance, we need inspiration, or a jolt, or some help. A "Mayday" call if you will, is believed to be derived from the French expression "venez m'aider", meaning "come help me", the last two syllables of which sound similar to "Mayday".

And today, or actually last night in my kitchen, I realized that the page in my 2014 Quotables calendar for this month, MAY, was an Apache Blessing. Each phrase beginning with the wish, or asking, of the word "May..."

May the sun bring you new energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries,
May the breeze blow new strength into your being,
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.
—Apache blessing
...and a MAY breadcrumb.

Life is short. I have a great photo of me and my Grandma from a few months ago. I try to live with no regrets.

So today my third #MAYBE i CAN is...
 #MAYBE i CAN  take my phone to CVS and FINALLY print and mail this wonderful photo to my 96yr old Grandma. 

What will you try today?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Venez "m'aider": Come Help Me


Day 2 — #MAYBEiCAN resist hitting the snooze button.
(so there WILL be a visit to Starbucks today... for Ms. 'Friday*.' lol)

With this crazy month-long self-dare of #MAYBEiCAN, my goal is to break the suck of monotony in our lives, to try something new, or stop doing something that's not helpful, almost daring yourself.

And in thinking about "May" I got a little curious and looked up another MAY themed word: "Mayday."

I LOVED this.

I learned this upon my visit to Wikipedia:
Mayday is an emergency procedure-word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It's believed to be derived from the French expression "venez m'aider", meaning "come help me", the last two syllables of which sound similar to "Mayday".

Derived from a French expression? You know I loved that. 

A week or so ago, and for several days after, creative ideas began to hit me like lasers shooting from a bad homemade B movie. But I believe in respecting those wacky moments. Whether it works or not is not your concern. If you are a creative and this blessing of inspiration comes along... YOU FOLLOW IT.

This first of FIVE posts is to honor the FIFTH month we are now officially in. I'll be blogging/tweeting/FB'ing my #MAYBEiCAN each day. You know, in a sort of "May Day" to jump start change.

What might you do this month?

I hope you will help spread this around. #MAYBEiCAN 

* I am not a fan of the name-thing at Starbucks, so this was my decision: a different name, daily, based on the day of the week. Best was "Tuesday." Even Copper seems unimpressed by the error.
Monday, TUSEDAY, Wednesday...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"MAYbe I Can" Month

[ breadcrumb ]
I hereby declare MAY 2014 to be the first official #MAYBE i CAN month.

Each day during this month you simply act on and complete this phrase:
#MAYBE i CAN ______________________

31 days of fear-, doubt-, and procrastinating-busting loveliness... begins today.
It can be small.
#MAYBE i CAN NOT hit the snooze button and add an extra beautiful hour to my life.
It can be something you've been meaning to do.

#MAYBE i CAN print the photo of me and Grandma and mail it to her.
It can be something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
#MAYBE i CAN sing in public for the first time.
Many of you know my mantra is "stay curious." So I began wondering why if feels so tough to stick to a resolution from New Year's (you know beyond the first week of January), or to stick with a program you signed up for. Or why when we have those lingering wish lists or to-do's which occasionally tug at our hearts we opt to gently tuck them back away, for a little while longer, like sweet little children who just won't go back to bed. 

But then I wondered, if we make a subtle shift of wording from "THIS YEAR I WILL... " or "ONE DAY I WILL..." to instead say this: "TODAY, #MAYBE i CAN."
It becomes almost a dare. And that's exciting! And 'exciting' moves us.

Mine for the first day of MAY is:
#MAYBE i CAN   Post a new blog, and create my first hashtag

One down, thirty to go.

I'm in. Are you?

I believe that ANYthing that can motivate us to try something new, take a chance on ourselves, on our lives, or simply break the monotony of life can have an amazing impact on you and the people around you. Even if it's just one little thing. Once a day. In this merry month of MAY.

Exciting moves us. 

Please pin, repost, or use as your profile pic whichever color speaks to you below. I'd love to share this idea with as many people as possible. Also, here's the official list if you'd rather keep yours private. Bonne chance!

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