One step at a time

How do you climb a mountain?
One step at a time.

How is everything going to get done?
One task at a time.

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
PhotonQ-Certainties on the gravitation of an Elephant
PhotonQ-Certainties on the gravitation of an Elephant

How do you manage a life that overwhelms you?
One step at a time.

Do the next thing. After you get done with the next thing, then worry about the thing after that. Nobody can take 2 or 3 or 50 steps simultaneously. Worrying about every step will drown you when you can only take the next step.

Break the overwhelming vagueness of everything up into steps and then work through the everything,
One step at a time.

This is what I’ve been having to tell myself and my wife lately as we work through the overwhelming life changes that are going on. What actions do you take to make the overwhelming parts of life more manageable?

William Stonewall Monroe

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They can’t eat you

They can’t eat you.

I hate uncomfortable conversations, making someone else frustrated, disappointing those around me, but sometimes it is necessary. My wife and I have been struggling with a few loose ends with the move, lately. Throughout the whole process there have been some uncomfortable conversations that have needed to take place betwixt us and some of those loose ends.

Will eat for food
Will eat for food by altemark, on Flickr

As the leader of our family, I get the pleasure of being the initiator of these conversations and the protector of our family if anyone is trying to push us around. As an empathetic being I much prefer everybody to get along. I would rather not stir the pot, but I must stand up for my family.

They can’t eat you.

My father in law has given me that piece of advice a number of times as I have been seeking counsel from wiser men than myself. “Call them up, write the email, after all, they can’t eat you.”

Often, the worse case scenario that we envision is vague and unrealistic. They can’t eat you is a fast way of saying, “the worse case scenario isn’t as bad as you think.” Remembering this has made it easier to remember my priorities and be a good bit more obstinate, in a necessary and good way, than I normally am. It is much easier to make someone upset when you realize that upset is about all they can be. Most of the time, that is as bad as it gets.

Write the email. Make the phone call. Make the decision. After all…

They can’t eat you.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you encourage yourself when you need to make difficult conversations happen. I would love to learn from your experience.

William Stonewall Monroe

Book review: Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis

As a matter of disclaimer I did receive a review copy of this book from booksneeze.com.

I give this book a four out of five stars. This book provides a great framework for anyone wanting to communicate anything. I’m still thinking through if it works for songs as well as speeches. (My first attempt is here: https://stonewallmonroe.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/how-to-write-a-song-from-a-speech-outline-part-2/)

At first the framework feels super restrictive. As you read, you must cooperate with the author and resist the temptation to tell yourself, “this won’t work for me.” Play along. Learn.

I love how Davis distills his knowledge, experience, and talent into understandable, digestible chunks.

As with many secrets to success, his method requires work. It requires practice. He begins by outlining the single most important element for effective communication (Focus) and then moves on to structuring a talk. Finally he discusses briefly some of the intricate details regarding lighting, humor, and other techniques.

Later in the book he naturally moves fast over the technical details. It is a small book and it would be out of place to have an in depth treatise on humor at the end. However, even his short coverage of the topics is insightful and useful.

While he does everyone and then throw in a joke or story that doesn’t quite fit with the context, overall this book is excellent. Like a song with a great hook, his SCORRE method will get stuck in your head. You will begin to SCORRE your own talks and the talks of others, so decide ahead of time to not bludgeon poor communicators with your new found knowledge post-read.

I can’t wait to use this method further and refine my applications of it. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who needs to communicate in any fashion and to anyone who simply wonders why great communicators are so great at it. This book demystifies communication.

William Stonewall Monroe

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed by life. Overwhelmed by what is left to do. Overwhelmed by the love of friends. Overwhelmed by the missing of friends. Overwhelmed by the love of family.

Overwhelmed
Overwhelmed by Island Capture Photography, on Flickr

William Stonewall Monroe

This just got real: In which we move to Alabama and we are having a baby

“This just got real” said my wife as I turned the keys in the ignition and we began to drive back to a home that wouldn’t be home much longer…

At the end of August, I lost my job. Ordinarily that should have, would have been devastating. Except… strangely enough, it wasn’t. We had a bit of an emergency fund, and as much as it can be, the layoff was amicable.

The provision of God was clear and we weren’t in panic mode.

Life continued to happen.
baby1

Alicia, my wife, started telling me, “William, I think I’m pregnant.” Our neighbors encouraged Alicia to take a test and lo and behold, she was experiencing the miracle of life.

God doesn’t do anything halfway, it seemed pretty clear that again this was his provision.

Life continued to happen.

I have never felt so desirable as a employee as I have during this period of no work. Also, never quite so blessed by all the friends and family. From the job hunt alone, I got many calls and interviews simply because a friend or family member passed my resume along.

In talking to my brother the day after the layoff, he mentioned to me a job that recently opened up for a Scanning Electron Microscope operator at UAB where he works and even better, my particular skill set and background fit perfectly with the position.

After wrestling and praying and worrying that paperwork wouldn’t come through in time, it did. I got the job, and start this coming monday. We are moving to Alabama.

The blessings kept rolling in.

This passed Monday, I called up the Informed Choices clinic in Iowa City. As we hadn’t been able to schedule any doctors visits without health insurance, I asked if we could just come in and make sure the baby was ok. They responded by scheduling us an Ultra-Sound for that afternoon. I don’t think an official Dr. visit could have been more encouraging. The ladies were the definition of kind and caring. And… we got to see the baby. The baby is a magical jumping jelly bean, squirming, stretching, curling up and sleeping.

Afterwards when we got in the car, Alicia said, “This just got real.”

I wrote this song for our unborn child.

We love this baby. We love that we are going to get to name this baby, and bring into a world where the impossible happens everyday if we are willing to recognize it.

We are about to get up and go eat breakfast with some dear, dear friends before picking up the rental truck and finishing off packing. We will miss this town. We will miss our church. We will miss the people that have made it home.

There are more people than I can thank here. If I haven’t thanked you yet, remind me. We are more blessed by friends and family than we know what to do with.

I lost my job, found a job, we are having a baby, and moving across the country. If this is what happens in two months in our lives, the rest is going to be an adventure that I don’t want to miss.

With love,William Stonewall Monroe

The whisking away

The whisking away and the not holding back,
the overwhelming and the giving of slack,
the moments that hide in the corner, waiting,
the times that be are the times that are a changing.

Wind Sand Swirl

Never is not an option,
and ever is the only adoption
Intwined, our histories develop and stride
surpassing the failings in things we have tried