Posts Tagged With: communication

English, Thou Art Cruel


You may have heard this before. But there is good reason to despise the English language. Especially for non-native speakers! Thing is, I love to write. I really do. So it pains me to admit that sometimes my writer’s block stems from loathing the English language and all of its dysfunctionally absurd “exceptions” to established rules of grammar. Follow me for a moment…

  • WOMB is pronounced “woom” and TOMB is pronounced “toom”, but BOMB is pronounced “bahm”.

Oh, uh… okay. :-/

Image result for wait what

  • A “pair of glasses”, a “pair of scissors” and a “pair of pants” actually refer to one item or article. But a “pair of shoes” refers to two items.  It could be argued that you’d look pretty silly with only one pant leg. But I think you’d also look pretty silly with only one shoe.

Here is a list of words that at first glance you would think rhyme. Think again. All of them are pronounced differently. ALL. OF. THEM.

Tough
Trough
Though
Through
Thought
Thorough

  • Colonel is pronounced “kernuhl”. So Colonoscopy should be pronounced “kernoscopy” right? WRONG.
  • It would also stand to reason that “take out” should not be “brought home”, but yet, it almost always is.
  • If one person doesn’t “show up” for a “showdown”, it ain’t gonna happen.
  • A “flight of stairs” involves no air travel whatsoever.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on Contranyms. That’s a can of worms even the most confident native English speaker would find disconcerting. If you dare, here’s a list.

Yet, I persevere. Because my love for writing outweighs my disdain for the words from which I must choose. 🙂

Categories: commentary, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fishing For Compliments


fishing for complimentsSome people are starving for compliments.  This is nothing new, especially on social networks. You know how it goes… in person they’ll throw those not-so-subtle hints out there, fishing for the compliments by baiting you with something like, “Aww fooey… my hair is an absolute mess. I can never do ANYTHING with it.”, teasing it playfully while hoping you’ll respond with something like, “Now come on… your hair it isn’t bad at all, it looks amazing!”

They’re funny things really… compliments.  I mean, sometimes one person’s compliment can be another person’s insult.  For instance, you’d be putting your life in danger telling some women they’ve gained weight, while telling some men the same thing might really stroke their ego.  Gender discrepancy being what it is…

But I still wonder… what makes a compliment effective? If you tell me you like my cooking, I’d appreciate it… but telling me you like a song I wrote would mean a world more to me.  I’ve noticed that for some people, the only compliments that really seem to matter are the ones regarding their appearance.  I suppose they need ongoing affirmation about how attractive they are (or they think they are, as the case may be).

So I’m curious, do compliments matter to you? If so, which would mean more… if I told you that I think you’re beautiful, or saying I love your intelligence?  …acknowledging your prowess in a certain sport or ranting about how well you write?  …or maybe it’s hearing that you have wonderful sense of humor, as opposed to hearing that I appreciate how organized you are?  Hmm…

Compliments… are they an absolute necessity or just a luxury?  Maybe it’s a combination of both.

Categories: opinion, Query | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Confessions of a Bibliophile


I’ve talked about my love of books several times in previous posts on my blog. So I don’t think it’s any secret that I have a tendency to devour them any chance I get. Lately, I’ve grown quite fond of audiobooks as well. With a life as full as mine (with work, church and 5 children), it becomes increasingly difficult to find a chunk of uninterrupted time to dedicate to actually reading a tangible book. My solution of late? I’ve been resorting to audiobooks that accompany my commute to and from work each day. It has been a wonderful supplement to my voracious appetite for good fiction. It allows me the convenience of exploring new worlds and environments without forfeiting quality time with my family or shirking other responsibilities. What I’m finding out most recently is that I am often influenced by the book’s content in my everyday life.

For instance, I was reading (well, listening to)The Last Survivors” aka “Moon Crash” trilogy by the wonderfully talented author Susan Beth Pfeffer and after getting halfway through the first book, I went home and had a lengthy discussion with my wife and kids about having an emergency preparedness kit, and then deciding on an action plan for reuniting if a catastrophic disaster should ever befall us and we’re all in different places.

Anyway, I am now listening to/reading (and hold your judgements please ;-)) the Fifty Shades trilogy of books. While some of the subject matter (and let’s be honest, quality of writing) is questionable, I am finding myself a little more cognizant of certain influences when it comes to intimacy, communication and being forthright about my desires and expectations. My wife does not mind the additional tools I’ve acquired through this process :-P. For me, reading books can be both entertaining and somewhat of a treasure hunt, where elements of the story can be applied in real life.

Now, I’m a mature man who is completely capable of gleaning the best parts of a story for practical use and leaving the dross safely tucked away between the pages. But it did make me wonder if other people are influenced in this same way. It also made me realize the importance of certain literature being reserved for those who are mature enough to handle its content. I guess this is similar to the potential influence of video games and violent movies on young children. Certainly some things are best appreciated for their entertainment value when we get older. But as a bibliophile, I look forward to the treasure hunt in the next book I listen to or read.

Any suggestions? 😉

Categories: personal, stories, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

DOVE NOTE #19: Like Fine Wine


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes “)

Like fine wine, some things only get better with time…

I like talking about my wife. Mostly because I’m hopelessly in love with her, and my interactions with her provide ongoing fodder for, among other things, my blog and my book.  But I’ve had people ask me, “What do you mean when you say you’re hopelessly in love with her?” Oh, well let me explain…

Being hopelessly in love means that there is no hope for my love for her ever changing.  She’s got my heart sewn up and it’s safely tucked away in her care. She and I work very hard to define our relationship as one that gets better as the days go by. We actively pursue peace through honest assessment and vulnerability. She knows the areas where I fall down and helps me get back up again.

We believe that success includes being able to own your mistakes. When you make excuses for something you’ve done, whether or not it was intentional, you rob yourself  and your partner of the opportunity to work together to modify future behavior and prevent it from happening again. Accountability also allows you to celebrate your accomplishments together. If I’ve overcome a paralyzing fear of public speaking through her encouragement, support and nudging, it becomes a victory not only for me, but for her as well. Being transparent with someone is not a simple thing to do, but it is possible and the rewards are endless. Better communication. Better understanding of our needs. Better intimacy. The list goes on…

In many relationships, it’s not enough to be intelligent, beautiful, outgoing or talented. Nope. Those things are great. But what matters most of all is personality and character compatibility. See, you can have two relatively nice people who both enjoy music and dancing. But life experience, coupled with how they were raised… whether or not they have siblings… how they get along with their parents… and personal temptations (money, alcohol, attention, etc) can all have an adverse affect. One person’s tendencies can push another person’s buttons.

For example, let’s say a guy grew up in a family that consistently avoided conflict by ignoring the obvious elephant in the room. The girl comes from a family that addresses conflict immediately so that it doesn’t fester and become a bigger problem. Put the two of them together and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. While she pushes for communication, he will constantly blow off having an uncomfortable conversation. She feels ignored. He feels pressured. Do they still share the same interests? Sure. Do they find each other attractive? Of course. But unless this issue is dealt with, the relationship becomes unhealthy and eventually unsustainable. It’s another sad case of good people who unfortunately weren’t good together.

It’s all about finding compatibility with someone who is equally committed to creating a healthy relationship. And no, it’s not automatic. It takes time, effort and patience. But the end result is becoming another couple that’s hopelessly in love. 😉

Categories: Dove Note, intimacy, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOVE NOTE #70 – Request Denied


Sometimes I have very hard days that are not always due to someone or some thing in particular. This is the story of one particularly hard day. Hard in the sense that it was very long and very exhausting. Plus, due to circumstances surrounding the fact that we were up late chatting with in-laws who were staying with us at the time, I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. So it was a long, hard day, precipitated by sleep deprivation. Not a good combination. The events of the day went something like this…

Up by 6:00am and left for work.

Got home from work around 4:45pm and stayed for about an hour and a half for dinner.

Left for a recording session that started at 7:00pm.

Headed home from the recording session about 10:45pm.

Needless to say, by the time I got home I was completed whipped.

When I walked in, my wonderful wife (who was also overtaxed, though I didn’t know it at the time) was in the process of cleaning the kitchen. She was also on the phone. As usual, I walked over to her to for a kiss (it’s something I do before I leave and whenever I return home). I noticed she seemed a bit stressed so I asked, “Are you okay?” She told me that she’s really, really, really, really tired (yeah, 4 “really”s). She then cupped the phone and said, “Can you help me clean the kitchen?” So I did what many men would probably do and I replied with, “You should stop and just do this later.” Followed by a smile, mind you. 🙂

BZZZT! Sorry, that’s the WRONG answer!

Yeah, that was the wrong answer. See, I mistakenly addressed her exhaustion instead of her request for help with the kitchen.  This set off a chain of events that seemed to spiral down quickly. And as much as I tried to recover, I really only made things worse.  What should I have said?  “Sure babe, I’ll help you clean the kitchen.” Setting aside my exhaustion for the sake of demonstrable support, acknowledgement of how she was feeling and of course, love. Crazy how that didn’t register in my mind at the time. For me, suggestion that she simply stop and return to it later was meant to relieve her from the pressure of feeling obligated to get it done right then.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come across that way to her. It sounded more like a flat out refusal to help her after the trying day she’d had.

You live and you learn.

And what exactly was the lesson on this occasion? Simple. Offering someone your suggestion on how to “fix” a problem is NOT the same as actually helping them with it.

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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