I Need Some Simple Luck


Think of the luckiest person you know. Try to name your guy (or girl) before you start making judgments about what real luck is.

Finding it hard? Name three people you're jealous of. Go ahead, do it. [I'll wait :)]

According to Ken Robinson in The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, you might be tempted to say those people-of-whom-you-are-jealous are just lucky; that's why they (not you) got to such a marvelous, lucky place. [Don't worry, I named three too, and I think they're lucky people indeed! :) ]

The truth is that you (and I) may never be able to accomplish the same things as those we envy, for a multitude of reasons (including going blind, which is a story you can read about in Robinson's book). Still, we can be lucky in our own right, if we just act a little more... like a lucky person.

Somebody even wrote a book about this stuff. It's called The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles. And to boil it down to its simplest components, this is what the author says lucky people tend to do:

1. create, notice, and act on opportunities

2. listen to intuition and do work to boost intuition (like meditation and mindfulness, right Camel? :)

3. expect to be lucky

4. believe they can turn bad luck to good

I'm not sure what contributes to such an approach to the world. (Maybe I should read the book :) But I know that if you (and I) are going to find a bit of simple luck, we might just need to go out and make it happen ourselves.


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I Need a Simple Answer


Yesterday I could feel it. That feeling I get when my life needs to take a turn. It's an uncomfortable feeling, because it isn't simple at all. It's just this amorphous blob of I don't know what needs to be different, but something does.

I was tempted to sit down and read, to fill up with more thoughts and avoid the feeling. Instead, I made a cup of Red Velvet tea and went outside. I continually underestimate the power of just sitting in the back yard and listening to the wind.

The snow, which had covered the grass so fully for the past month, was melting away. The air felt heavier than it has in a while, and there were more birds than I remember just a week ago. The red sled was dry, upside down on the porch. I thought about Laura Boggess's trampoline play.

Next thing I knew, I was whooshing down the short hill. Again and again. Something freed up inside me. A question bubbled to the surface. What do you love to do? Talk to people, I thought. Make things happen. Bring beauty into the world. It was the beginning of an answer, maybe to the larger question of what-needs-to-change. But it wasn't simple at all.

Right now, accepting that is the simplest thing I can do.


Also, do you have a photo that obscures part of an object? Why not share it with TheHighCalling.org's PhotoPlay? You might also enjoy Ann Kroeker's Slow-Down Fast.

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Do You Review? A Writing Opportunity


You know when Books and Culture gets hold of something, it's probably good.

Recently, Editor John Wilson highlighted Englewood Review of Books in a B&C podcast. It's a delightful mini-manifesto on how "print isn't dead" and neither is culture, using Englewood as a lively example.

I've gotten to know Englewood online and helped develop an informal partnership between them and TheHighCalling.org, because I agree with John Wilson: Englewood is cool.

Now Englewood is looking for book reviewers. Do you write good reviews? Why not contact Englewood and see about possible opportunities. Who knows, maybe John Wilson will read you next.

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I Need a Simple Goal

French Notebook

When a task is too large, people get overwhelmed and give up. I was reading about this recently in The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.

The particular change I'm looking for right now is social in its way. I want to learn French.

Except French is a whole LANGUAGE, for goodness sake. And I admit I lose heart again and again with the trying.

After thinking about the issue of goals and simplicity, I decided that instead of trying to "learn French," I will aim to fill a whole notebook with French in a matter of weeks.

That also seemed like a really big task, so I broke it down further. I will copy one chapter of the French bible per day into my notebook. I won't bother to look up words I don't understand, unless I really, really want to know the meaning. (I wanted to know the meaning of foules and was mildly tickled at the thought that it meant crowds and it sounds something like... um, fools :)

The simple goal is working. I'm starting to think in French (a real feat for someone who can hardly choke out merci at the baguette counter). I believe the volume of French per day, written down, is serving like an immersion experience.

Either that, or I am channeling Edith Piaf as I sing-song the New Testament in French each day. (Yes, I say the words as I copy them down. French can even make suffering and sacrifice sound romantic).


I needed a simple goal. And I found une. :)


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I Need a Simple Conversation Starter


I loved this brief article about Conversation Starters. And I still plan to buy the book it references. Seems to me it could be a good way to teach kids how to engage in their own attempts at the art of conversation.

In the meantime though, I decided I need a simple conversation starter. One that could make us laugh and think. So I've turned to TED talks.

It's only been a week, but my girls are already hooked. "Which TED talk are we going to listen to tonight?" they beam.

I leave the computer in the kitchen, turn the speakers towards the dining room, and it's like going back in time... to radio days. We listen, we laugh (the other night we cried).

And when it's all over, the conversation spills out non-stop. It's invigorating.

So far, one of our favorites was J. K. Rowling's discussion of the fringe benefits of failure. Frankly, I don't think any parental talk I could have given would have gone as far as that one graduation speech crafted for Harvard graduates. My Eldest sat wide-eyed, taking it all in.

Do you need a simple conversation starter too? An after-dinner TED might just be your answer.

(Note: some of the TED talks include very serious, potentially too-mature material. Watch first. My girls are 11 and 13, and I don't regret having listened to Rowling's talk with them, but you might feel differently about such things. :)

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.


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A Great New Place for Families (and Potentially for Your Writing)


I've been bloggy friends with Tina Howard for a couple of years now. I think she even interviewed me once about blog tours (yes, Tina? :)

Now I'm so delighted to see that she's blogging about cool ideas for families over at the Laity Lodge Family Camp blog. If you're a part of TheHighCalling.org Network, she might even feature your on-topic posts.

Anyway, if you're looking for a great family place or a new place to write check it out.

To be eligible for possible feature, consider joining TheHighCalling network.

family camp button

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