Unanswered Prayers

Warning - this is a silly sappy thing, but hey sometimes I can be a silly sappy guy.

This morning driving in I was playing my (boring I found out last weekend) iPod when this song came on. (Good luck finding a better link than that. Garth is a little protective with his copyrights.)

I tried to sing along, (Don't worry, I was by myself) but every time I hear this song I break down crying like a blubbering idiot.

See, I had a high school sweetheart. We were together for 4 years. There are people in my family that still can't believe we aren't married.

Of course what those relatives don't know is that like (al)most every high school boy, I was an idiot. Dating around, doing things with my friends I shouldn't have been doing, in general being what many would call "normal," albeit not acceptable.

I'm not afraid to admit it I was young and stupid and I was a boy after all. To answer the inevitable question - Yes, I am trying to convince my daughters to stay away from the likes of me.

In any case, after many breakups and fights and countless discussions about "our future," my girlfriend had (rightfully) had enough and threw me to the curb.

I was devastated. I thought I had thrown away everything that was good in my life and I prayed to God hoping that she would one day take me back. Even as I dated other girls, I still thought there was a chance, and I'm pretty sure those other girls knew that too.

But one day - One day that all went away.

That was the day I fell in love with my wife.

Okay - it wasn't magical like the snap of a finger, and I'm sure there are many that will be happy to share just how difficult I made things with some less than stellar judgment, but as I got to know this wonderful woman more and more it became increasingly clear to me that she was "the one."

So one day, finally we sat down and had a talk. I don't remember how long the conversation really was, although I usually jokingly say it lasted 4.5 hours or so. Like I said, I was a snake, and more than your "typical boy."

I do remember that I wanted Netter to know everything. Full disclosure - no detail left unsaid, no stone left unturned. I knew that I wanted to be with her, and I wanted to give her all the reasons she might not want to be with me, so that if she decided she still did there'd be nothing to hide going forward.

Remarkably, by the true grace of God, Netter decided to stay with me. I hope I've never made her regret that decision.

We didn't run into my old girlfriend "at a home town football game," wouldn't that be cliché? We did meet at my 5 year high school reunion, and started to make peace with each other. Our families even exchanged Christmas cards for awhile.

What stands out most to me though is how it was so instantly obvious to me that God had indeed left my prayer unanswered for a reason, and reflecting a little more how obvious it is that I have spent my life with the woman I was truly meant to be with "for all time."

There aren't enough pages or posts to tell you all about how special Netter is, what a great Mom, what an awesome Wife and best friend, still I would be remiss if I didn't take a minute to share the reasons I have mist, (hey that's what I'm calling it) in my eyes today.

I don't generally believe in applying songs to your life. I think if manipulated in the right way, all songs could be applied to almost everyone's life.

But sometimes I make exceptions, and sometimes the choices aren't really ours anyway...

Just remember when you're talking to the Man upstairs...

Plugged In? Why?

What's your goal Jimmer? What are you trying to accomplish?

These questions have been popping into my head all day. This is partly because of my discussion with my wife last Friday, but also for another reason...

Last weekend I came to the realization that I am almost always plugged in. I spend the larger majority of my time on a computer at home or work, If I'm working in the public service area at work I'm usually still checking my Twitter account. Heck even my cell phone is set to get some of those Twitter updates.

Save driving (I only drive when I have to), sleeping(I don't sleep much and usually in fits and starts), showering and such - I'm plugged in.

Yikes! Right?

Or is it okay?

So, I'm back to the question - what's your goal Jimmer? Why are you always plugged in?

Let's break this down.

Here are the networks I plug into (almost) every day and my primary reasons for doing so.

Email - This is a must do. If I could, I'd get rid of email - ALL of it.

LinkedIn & Plaxo - This is purely professional, trying to make business contacts.

Facebook - This is admittedly more personal than anything, but I have also made some professional connections. Just today one of our HR folks tracked me down via Facebook.

Twitter - This is both personal and professional, but the larger majority of the people I follow I at least started to follow for professional reasons. Getting to know them and building relationships has been a bonus.

I think that may be my answer. I'm building relationships.

I'm also learning better ways to communicate.

I've talked a lot this year about finding a focus for my blog, thinking my subject matter was all over the map. Hmmm...

I've also heard quite a bit lately that a number of folks think my blog is all about self revelation, introspection and such - but not just for me, for my readers too.

Hey - wait a minute I think I've got it.

Maybe I do have a focus after all. While the blog does cover a variety of topics they really all come back to the same things.

I'm all about the conversation, and building relationships. That's why I'm plugged in.

What do you think? Where do I go from here?

Who Wouldn't Want to be Me?

I call it "the other foot," sometimes "the other shoe" - and from time to time I just know it is going to drop.

It comes from nowhere without warning. Good days, Bad days, the foot doesn't care. When it gets here. It makes its presence known - sometimes longer than others.

What is it you say, this ominous thing?

Some might call it depression, paranoia, sadness or anxiety. I have learned to just call it, "the foot."

Something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, this horrible feeling of helplessness.

- and it hits me - HARD

I don't mind talking about it. In most if not all moments I am able to be rational and deal with it. Just wait for it to pass.

Sometimes Netter will catch me and ask what is wrong, even she has learned that if I say, "the foot," it is okay to just let it pass. She always asks if she can get me anything or do anything. I usually respond that I just need some time.

It wasn't always this way of course and there have been times in my life when the foot was worse than others.

The key is I know I'm not alone. I am able to reach out to friends and family who will support me through thick and thin. I've built a pretty good network in my 40 years, some good folks - and they mean the world to me.

I am also there for them whenever need be and I support them through their tough times sharing my experience and hopefully providing some help, some relief along the way.

Sometimes you've just got to find a way to be good to yourself and hold on tight.

This all makes the good times even better.

Sitting at dinner with my wife yesterday evening she asked me what I could do, what could we do to make me happier.

I was a bit puzzled.

"You know, in your job. What do you want to be? What are you going to do?"

I considered that for a minute - in truth I don't have the answer. Every day for me now is an opportunity. I'm trying and learning new things, being social, being techie, being positive above all else. I'm happier in my job than I've been in a long, long time.

After a moment I looked at my beautiful wife and I said:

"Who wouldn't want to be me? I'm not saying this just to say this, (okay I really said I'm not saying this just to blow sunshine up your a**) but look at what I have, how lucky I am. I have the world's best wife who supports me in whatever I do. You are my best friend You're a great mother to our children. I have two wonderful kids who are smart, and beautiful, and responsible young adults.

Sure," I continued "I've faced my share of adversity. I've buried a child, my Mom went through a divorce when I was little, I'm sure some things that no one would ever need or want to know about.

Do I wish we had less debt, or new cars or new carpeting for that matter. Sure I do. Who wouldn't? But I'm not going to dwell on those things.

I've got an incredible family. I've got awesome friends. Who wouldn't want to be me?"

Take that "foot."

Friday Feature 2 The Team The Team The Team

Friday Feature number 2 is about the importance of your team. To keep things timely, I thought I'd riff a little on the importance of this week and a very important team.

In the spring of 2003 after the Iraq invasion had begun a number of people asked me what I thought of the president "sending our boys over there."

My reply each and every time was exactly the same. It doesn't matter how I feel about it, those are our boys, American boys and I stand behind them 100% no matter what.

America, the land of the free, the home of the brave and sometimes - a house, a team divided.

As I wrote in this space in November - we cannot afford such division, now or at any other time for that matter.

Our country is supposed to be the most powerful, the most respected, and perhaps most importantly - the most united.

This is how we will succeed. This is how any team succeeds.

They play hard and they play united.

The dictionary defines team as "a group on one side."

I have a funny feeling that the inauguration tomorrow and other activities from the week are going to put us to the test when it comes to America being the group on one side.

Why you may ask?

Well for starters there are the same old tired political differences. Republicans vs Democrats or Liberals vs. Conservatives or whatever labels you may choose.

I remarked to a colleague yesterday that I did not remember the inauguration and the accompanying celebration lasting all that long i.e. starting before and ending after the actual inauguration date. (Hey, the last one was a long time ago. Sue me.) My colleague got a little defensive which was understandable considering she had been flamed earlier in the day for celebrating the day's activities.

As she later told me - I love the pageantry and tradition of inauguration. It really is so very American ;o) of course better if your guy wins ;o)

We're supposed to celebrate our victories. The Giants had a parade when they won the Super Bowl. The Red Wings had a parade when they won Lord Stanley's Cup.

So yeah, her guy won and that made her happy, but that wasn't the "only" reason she was enjoying the day.

There is a question of technology. Do you think the president needs his Blackberry? How 'bout a laptop in the Oval Office?

Finally, there is the matter of race.

Yes, I said it. Why wouldn't I? It is important.

Barack Obama is our nation's first black president. It should be duly noted. It should be celebrated. It should be marked in time so that no one could ever forget.

Racism exists. You may not see it everyday. I don't see it everyday, but it does exist. For that matter so does reverse racism.

This ugly topic and all that go with it cannot be forgotten, nor should they be.

However, these things cannot be our focus, and I pray that those who predict that it will be are wrong.

Our focus has to be on America, on making our team united.

We need to seize the opportunity that new leadership affords us and use it as a time for change, a time for growth, and a time to come together as one team.

Therein lies our success.

So I am calling on my countrymen and countrywomen - regardless of your political affiliation, the color of your skin, your age, or your creed to remember this week that more than anything else you are an American.

To break it down to the simplest terms I'll borrow a phrase from a classic American moment and movie:

When you pull on that jersey, the name on the front is a hell of alot more important than the one on the back.

The front of that jersey says USA.

Please note - This post is not intended to support anyone's side. If you read it that way, I suggest you read it again. I don't believe in sides. I believe in purple.

Dreams?

Do you ever try and figure out your dreams?

I don't have dreams very often, but when I do they are always and without fail - weird.

Last night, well this morning (I didn't actually fall asleep until about 5 a.m.) I dreamed that I was a coach at my parish, (not that odd) my house was flooded from a faulty roof, (we just got a new roof in November) and this made my Dad angry, (No idea, he hasn't been to my house in over a year).

I got into trouble for yelling at a player and making her cry. (I don't recall having ever yelled at a player to the point where they were even remotely close to crying.) I also calmed said player so well during the course of a ball game she was pitching, (just by taking the ball from her for a minute and looking at her with my "calm down" look) that she won the game and we were both heroes. A major league scout came and said I was totally "in control" of the game and she would definitely want me to run a game for her team (although I haven't been a head coach since K was 7.)

The win and the scout saved me at my trial with the lady in charge of the school, (my high school chemistry teacher?) who allowed me to keep my coaching job once I correctly identified the first commandment, although my father had missed on the eighth.

I was however to remain contrite.

Okay - what the heck does this dream mean? It's been bugging me all morning.

What would you do?

Yesterday we received this in the mail.
It's not the first time we've gotten something like this.

Meghan has also been invited to join Up with People and nominated to be included in Who's Who of American Grade School Students, (may not be the exact name) among other things.

For those of you who may not know we lost our Meghan Joy when she was 15 months old.

As you might expect every time we receive something like this it catches us off guard.

While we do everything we can to continue Meghan's legacy through her foundation we try not to dwell on the things that aren't happening.

Meghan's sister K (they are identical twins) is a sophomore in high school this year. She has a slew of experiences and accomplishments. We don't often talk about what Meghan might have experienced or accomplished.

Meghan's younger sister D is in 7th grade this year experiencing the trials and tribulations of adolescence. We rarely address the fact that D never had the chance to even know her older sibling.

It's not that we don't love to talk about our Meghan Joy. It's just that you don't want to dwell on the negative, and would rather pick our moments and times to stress the positive.

When Netter first told me about this letter she said that I would "get to make another fun phone call." Yeah - insert sarcasm there.

I have made these calls before. I have had lengthy email exchanges with company representatives.

Almost always they are apologetic. Only one has been defensive, I found out through the course of emailing back and forth that she had also lost a child. The mailing list came from a third party.

Ah, the mailing list...

While each Organization I've contacted has maintained that while they do use mailing lists there are still criteria that need to be met before they send out invitations.

Seems kinda preposterous doesn't it?

Meghan passed when she was 15 months old, it's hard to believe there is any reason she'd be sent any of these things except for the fact that birth announcements are published in the paper and obviously collected by these types of agencies for future use. That the further step is taken to find a current address for each student, (Meghan never lived in the house we live in now), makes it even more ridiculous.

In truth the whole thing has gotten almost comical which in and of itself is sad.

I'll call the National Benefit Life Insurance Company tomorrow and let them know what I think about all of this, and I'm sure there excuses will all be very similar to what we've already heard from so many others.

Or maybe I won't. Will it really make a difference? I've always called or emailed. What will happen, how will we feel if I don't?

What would you do?

NHL Television Coverage - Really?

(Note to the reader - the post below is all about hockey and I've been told may be very reader specific. I would love it if you took the time to read, but I understand if you're just not interested this time.)

Alright, everybody knows how much I love hockey. I define myself as a hockey player. I believe life is a lot like hockey, (i.e. When you really break the game down, and assume a basic skillset, it's really just about hard work and goaltending, just like life. You work hard, you accomplish much, and you have somebody in your life who makes the saves you can't. - Hey, it's a metaphor go with me.)

I even named my blog using a nickname my hockey team tagged me with.

So, when I see something about hockey that really bothers me, well, I have to speak up.

Monday night (1/12/2009) I saw, or rather I heard it. Watching the Red Wings' game on Versus Television, I listened to some of the most pathetic announcing I have heard for a sporting event in, well, I can't remember how long.

Now, no true hockey fan really loves the Versus coverage. A large majority of us are fans of CBC having grown up on Hockey Night in Canada.

Many younger fans became accustomed to ESPN's hockey coverage through most of the 1990's, and others watch only their hometown announcers, and their hometown team.

Unfortunately, there are also a whole bunch of folks who don't watch hockey at all. Okay, they might not think it's unfortunate, but I do.

I'd like to see the National Hockey League reach out to these people and at least let those who might want to, "learn about the sport."

With Versus - that ain't happening, although from Monday night's game some speculate that they might at least be trying.

I'm not so sure. Watching in our online chatroom with my fellow Wings' fans from across the land, (Yes, I chat online while watching the game) we often lament what we perceive to be a lack of good announcers on Versus.

"To be honest," I always say, "I don't generally hear the announcers. I'm just watching the game and chatting."

Monday night we all heard them. How bad was it?

Here, I'll let you "listen" in to our discussion.

(I'm using online monikers for the sake of privacy.)

About halfway through the first period, announcers going back and forth on which team is doing what, and generally being wrong about all of it.

From Detroit River we hear: "These Vs announcers are about as much fun as snot on a door knob."

I think he overestimated - moving on... Much discussion of how Versus, the former Outdoor Life Network came to be the home of NHL coverage.

From Jimbro, (that's me): Come on - nothing screams hockey more than "the former" Outdoor Living Network. ;-)

From Hockeytown101: Wasn't it Life?

Jimbro: You might be right Hockeytown, I don't remember Life, Living - it's all just the rodeo waiting to happen isn't it?

Hockeytown101: I don't remember Jim, I thought I heard "Life" either way yea, it is a giant rodeo station.

Getting back to the game I'll share these quotes from our discussion of the
announcer's word choices. Yeah, it seems I was running my mouth more than most,
but I couldn't help it.

Jimbro: Did he just say Ott went fondling? What the heck?

WingsfaninTN: fabulosity ?

Jimbro: How do you author a goal? "It was a dark and stormy ice rink..."

Jimbro: He ran into the knot, as the idiot announcers called the tie up in front of the net.

Jimbro: Mastadonic glove grab? What the heck is that?

Hockeytown101: That was a wooley mammoth save?????

Jimbro: Jimbro to the announcers: "Know how I know you're gay..?"

DtownDinah: Got him right in la bouche... (Yeah the announcer said that) I think the entire
French nation and all it's French-speaking allies just had simultaneous aneurisms.

Jimbro: Dallas had no tourists on the forecheck.

WingsfaninTN: I wonder what kind of words 3rd period will bring us?

DtownDinah: lmao...only time will tell! But I bet they'll be scrumtrulescent! And maybe some of our guys will author best selling goals to later appear on the New York Times list.

Jimbro: It was the best of ice, (Detroit) It was the worst of ice, (Dallas)

Jimbro: Get through the herd?

DtownDinah: That was like sorcery, apparently... (Dats goal)

(reference to Red Wings' star center Pavel Datsyuk.)

Jimbro: Wired it short side high-up where your Momma never does? Did I hear that right?

DtownDinah: LoL Jim we are on the same page...

Hockeytown101: Dats would be valedictorian at the school of awesome...lol

Jimbro: That's definitive. Bounced straight down. A whiff in tight makes sense, but everything sounds weird now.

Jimbro: Goaltending paraphernalia?

Jimbro: Nice work Ozzie. Lotta "stuffin'" though.

Detroit River: Jim- I can name two Purple Barneys in the Vs booth

Hockeytown101: I was thinking mastadon Jim and Wooley Mammoth came to mind

DtownDinah: Well whatever they are...no you know what I can't even come up with a witty retort. They just suck. Multiple levels of sucktitude.

Jimbro: Pure Ginsu of the 4 man box? Wow! I got nothin. That sucked!

DtownDinah: Dropping anchor and bunting one home...uuuh...which sport is this again?

Jimbro: Titillating contest. Yeah, that's what I was thinking. OMG!

We did try to give the announcers a little bit of a break -

WingsfaninTN: My husband is convinced they have a "key word" list for the evening.

jlewings: I have one good thing to say about the announcers tonight - at least they weren't downing the Wings and praising the opposing team. They may have been ludicrous with their comments, but I at least appreciate the Wing love. Also - I think they were trying to cater to "new" or "casual" fans. Not my cup of tea - I love some Mickey and Ken (Mickey Redmond, and Ken Daniels are the regular Red Wing announcers on FSN in Detroit.)

As is usually the case, the group didn't just discuss the announcers on Versus. We also have some issues with the commercials.

Rent-a-Car from Enterprise you say?

Jimbro: Sounds expensive? It is Mom, now get your a** in the car so we can get this thing back before they charge an extra day.

New Pizza Hut Natural Pizza your thing?

Hockeytown101: I wonder, now that Pizza Hut has that "natural Pizza" with "real taste" What the hell have they been making all these years? Fake pizza?

WingsfaninTN: Hockeytown- I was just wondering the same thing! and is it only this 1 pizza, and they will still sell the rest?

DtownDinah: Haha HockeyTown and WingsfaninTN that's what I thought when McD's was advertising their real all white meat chicken...

Hockeytown101: I know WingsfaninTN -it makes sense that all their pizzas would be natural, I guess I'm wrong.

WingNut1967: No because most everything Pizza hut uses is full of preserves...

We'll let WingNut have the last word from the chat room.

Seriously, please Gary Bettman on behalf of hockey fans everywhere - go to ESPN and do what you should have done after the lockout in the first place. Beg them, pay them, do whatever you have to do to get NHL games back on their network.

Then go find some sponsors that can make commercials that make sense and have fresh material for their ads.

Failing to do so could result in the most dire consequences for our sport – Do you really want to be as irrelevant as rodeo?

Oh the Weather Outside Is...

YEACH!

Somebody mentioned to me yesterday that having grown up in the cold and rain and snow of Michigan and Ohio I should love Winter.

I think she was kidding.

Winter? Really?

Again - YEACH!

Is there anything good about Winter besides hockey season? We know how to make ice indoors now you know.

Oh wait - something called Christmas? and New Years you say and the warmth of a fire and Oh alright, alright - I don't hate winter for the cold or the snow or the rain anyway.

Here's why I hate winter -

I can't drive in it.

Really, that's it. The one and only reason I hate winter.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of shoveling snow - but I remember building caves in the snow mounds our shoveling had created during a good old fashioned Michigan winter. I also remember a couple times we made some serious dough shoveling snow. (Hey, check me out - I'm a poet. Wish I'd done that on purpose.)

Sledding, snow men, snow angels, (Hey a little I.G. for the man, it hasn't been out in a while), hot chocolate, marshmallows, big woolen socks, big strong and heavy boots, Tuques, mittens, idiot mittens, Gloves and yes even special gloves.

All crazy cool stuff - until you have to drive in it.

Some folks are better than others driving in the snow. Some folks are crazier than others, and some folks are just plain stupid. Yeah, it had to be said.

Me - I'm just not good at it. Never have been. Not sure I ever will be.

Frankly, at this point in my life I have a hard time driving in a hard rain storm. Out traveling in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike last fall a gust of wind hit the car. I drove straight across 3 lanes of traffic and gave the steering wheel to my lovely wife.

That's right - I'm not just bad at driving in the snow, I'm also afraid.

I wasn't always afraid, but one morning last winter coming into downtown on I 670 I got caught in some stop and go traffic in the middle of a snow storm.

My little truck, (which weighs about 3 pounds on ice) and I were having some difficult to begin with - a little fishtail, a little tirespin, and a little sliding and then...

Cresting the top of the 670 turn into downtown my truck decided it was going to not just fishtail and not just slide. No, instead we were going to slide sideways entirely.

Now, I'll grant you that I was only going about 5 miles an hour and there were plenty of cars and barriers around to break our fall as it were. I wasn't worried about that.

I was worried about the semi that was bearing down on my passenger door as I started to slide sideways back across traffic.

I did what I think anyone would have done. I slammed my foot on the accelerator as fast as I could, caught some semi dry pavement and gunned my way to the exit ramp, horns honking at me all the way.

I made it to work, but had to sit in the truck for 10 minutes while I stopped shaking. I took a little inventory, calmed myself down and thought I would be fine.

I've never been the same behind the wheel of a vehicle again.

So there you have it. It's not winter I hate after all.

It's the wintry roads.

How do you feel about winter?

Friday Features - Comments

A friend told me a few weeks ago that he follows my blog and he follows my resume tips.

Resume tips? Huh?

"You know, that video about exporting your resume," he said.

Ah, that video - necessary information passed along quick and dirty with emphasis on dirty - that video is a mess. In fact, it has been redone and will come out with other CML Job Help Center Info. Additionally that video is pretty software specific - and no I'm not posting it on my blog.

Still, my friend got me thinking - I've been looking for more of a focus for my blog -or- Do I need another blog specifically for jobs and resumes I wondered?

I started asking folks who might know or have an opinion and the general consensus for a number of reasons is "No." An additional blog is not necessary or necessarily a good idea at this time.

Hmmm... Well, I still sometimes you know have more than just a story to share, and there are some subjects of interest to job hunting or coaching or teaching that I'd like to post on.

What to do? I mulled it over for a few days and decided that I would incorporate something new into my blog. A series of tips, tricks, shortcuts, advice or whatever you'd like to call it that I want to share.

After all - It is all about me right? (Kidding)

In reality this part of my blog will be all about you - I'm calling it my Friday Feature. Why Friday Feature you might ask? Well it's Friday and this is the first in the series so there you go.

(Note: Not all Friday Features will come out on Friday, but all Friday Features will be called Friday Features.)

In today's Friday Feature I want to talk about COMMENTS, or to be more specific the importance of comments as feedback which is so integral to not only our growth and learning as individuals, but also in many cases - one's self-esteem.

I'm not suggesting that anybody is responsible for somebody else's self esteem, but I think it's fair to note that feedback certainly has an affect on that aspect of our personality.

Now reading blogs isn't about coaching, but it is about the give and take of feedback or commenting.

As Chris Brogan writes:

"It’s hard to keep writing when you feel like no one’s watching, or that they’re not engaged."

As a coach, as a leader I have found that the best way to get results, the best way to enhance improvement, the best way to get more of what you like to see your players do is to give them feedback.

And - sometimes I've found that if I didn't give that feedback that's exactly what I got in return. i.e. Nothing for nothing.

I've had a few posts of my own that I labored over for hours and I knew folks were reading because I have that little feedjit traffic feed at the bottom of my blog. What I didn't know was what people thought. I admit at first that bugged me quite a bit.

"Wow!" I thought. "Do I suck that bad?" (If you know me you know there was some serious smoke coming from my head.)

But then I had some posts that generated a lot of feedback.

"Cool!" I thought, "I must be the greatest writer ever." Not really, but I was obviously much happier, more confident.

Then I finally got it. I joined the community at NHL Connect, The National Hockey League's online fan site. I have some friends there who blog about hockey and I was always reading their blogs and watching the incredible number of comments they had, the give and take, the conversation.

Well I love the conversation. So I joined. Just for kicks I threw up a hockey blog - something I just happened to have on hand. I wasn't there to blog as much as I was there to support my friends, but I didn't want to be the guy with no content and I had the story so there you go...

Of course my Connect friends immediately commented and welcomed me, (Thanks Juice, Jess, Kiki and everyone else) but then something happened that I had never anticipated.

The next day, (and still today so they must not update very much) I got blog of the day. It's true. You can see it here. One paragraph, but enough emotion for 10,000 words. Or if the link is broken I do have a picture. (I couldn't figure out a way to show the link's progression.)

Of course I was very proud and I posted on Twitter and Facebook and called Annette and the girls and Woo Hoo for me. But how the heck did that happen and why did I feel so darn good about it?

Well it happened because my writing touched somebody, and I felt so darned good about it because that somebody, those somebodies, let me know.

I gave this plenty of thought and I decided a few things.

First, I decided that while it's cool to write to touch somebody it's not always necessary. With that though goes the fact that while you've written for yourself you are just as likely to have to comment for yourself. Not a bad thing if you expect it. So I decided not to put so much pressure on myself if a post turned out to be more about me or for me and I didn't hear very much back from my readers. Still I would have to reconsider it that was what I truly intended.

B, I decided that when I was touched by what someone wrote I would be sure to comment or even - OMG Hold your horses there young man - share that moment - that piece with others.

I know, I know - Hey, women and children first okay.

III. I went out and commented on a lot of the blogs I read regularly, not nearly as many as I would have liked, but a whole lot more than I had been. I even commented on blogs I hadn't read previously and added new friends in the process. (Thanks DrLori)

4th. I tried to share blog posts I had read with my Twitter and Facebook community and tell them why. Here is a good New Year's resolution post. Here is a good Fashion post, and here is a good post on the NHL's Winter Classic.

In every instance of sharing I received a positive comment from someone who had gone to the post from my link or some positive feedback from the writer themself.

The give and take of feedback.

So the next time you go to a blog, maybe even one that you read regularly - before you do a quick read and move on, I would ask you to pause and consider giving at least some feedback to the writer.

A quick "good job," or "I liked this about your post," can go so much further than you may ever consider possible.

If you're a blogger and you don't get a ton of comments or feedback or you're worried about lack of feedback, stop and consider why. But no matter what, with credit to Chris Brogan:

Keep trying. Persist. Try new things. Experiment. Comment elsewhere to build relationships. And don’t give up. Blogging is more fun when there are comments, but your ideas are still just as valuable just being out there.

I'm glad that you share, and I'm glad I get to share with you.

Resolutions

I'm not working tomorrow. In fact, January 2nd is the one day of every year I try not to work. It's too depressing.

Now you might think I say that because it is the end of the holiday season, but that's really not it. Well, my reasons for not working January 2nd have a lot to do with one particular holiday tradition, so maybe it is true. I'll let you be the judge.

Across the land last night hundreds, heck, millions of people watched the clock strike midnight and made their New Year's resolutions.

This means that tomorrow at the library we, (well not me) will see people who are going to exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking, learn about technology, build a resume and get a better job, and on and on and on.

Now, I hope (today's WOTD), that a large number of these folks are successful in their endeavors. The reality though is that a larger number will fail.

In just a few weeks, the treadmills at the gyms will once again be empty, the restaurants will once again be full, and the junk food and tobacco business will once again be booming.

I just think that's depressing.

A few years ago, I decided I wasn't going to do resolutions anymore. I was sick of the failure, of saying things like, "I'll try again in the spring," or "I'll do it for Lent."

Instead I set about finding a way to actually accomplish something instead of revisiting failure.

I began by working on True Intent. As I've talked about before, that goal is to:

Always try to consider peoples' true intent when interacting with them and respond accordingly and without bias.

Now this is an ongoing exercise, so I can't say that it's a "resolution" per se, but I do remind myself each year to stay true to that goal and I take a little inventory to see how I've done during the course of the preceding year.

This year, I think I did okay. I still lost my temper more than a few times, was less than patient in a couple of situations, and probably added some sarcasm that wasn't necessarily called for.

It's always a work in progress.

Today, I am asking myself if there is an end goal from that progress, and while I don't think there is as human interaction will never end, I do think it is part of something larger that I have been working on without even knowing.

That would be the process of self improvement. Yeah, I'm putting it all together now - the Year of Inventory, the desire to get along better with others, wanting more people to know the real me. In general, the need to tackle some things I've been avoiding for years.

Duh, Jim - the process of self improvement. Good for me, but darn I can be slow sometimes.

Okay, so I'm asking myself, "what's next? What do I want to work on improving in 2009?"

Heck I don't know. I've been pondering that question all day long, walking around the house, staring at the t.v. screen, watching football and hockey, looking at my cluttered desk. You know - taking inventory.

I'd like to read more. I'd like to have better sleep habits, and maybe even make myself into a morning person. (Is that possible?) I'd like to refinish a couple pieces of furniture that have been sitting in my garage for far too long. I'd like to finish a few projects at work that have been sitting in my "to do box," for quite a while. I'd like to blog more, and write more effectively.

That's just the list of things I've come up with today. The total number of possibilities are really probably endless. Self improvement is not something that we ever finish or check off a list. Nobody is perfect as they say.

But where to begin? How do I "not fail?"

I have my lovely wife to thank for providing the answer to this question. Netter always says:

"Just do something. As long as you are doing something you are making progress and that's really all that's important."

And so I begin - that pile of clutter won't be there for long.

What's your New Year's resolution?