Sunday, January 20, 2013

The parable of the Wontons

Chinese food......  One of my favorites.  I am not too picky.
I like Royal Wok for the quick lunch buffet for $6.20.
I like Orange chicken from Panda Express.
 I like Fong Garden because they deliver.

Thursday after a long day at work Travis and I decided to phone in an order to Royal Wok and pick it up on the way home for dinner.  After some discussion on what Hank would like, Travis called in our order and we headed up to North Main Street to pick it up.  I sent Travis in with some cash and then sent a couple of quick emails out while I waited in the car.  Travis came out with a large box that seemed way to big for our order, but didn't think much of it.  We headed to home.

Travis and I continued to chat, when my curiosity got the best of me at the stop light.
"What did you order again Trav?"  I ask.
"Sesame Chicken, Beef Lo-mein,  Beef and Broccoli, white rice and wontons." He says.
 I glance back to the large box in the back seat of my car....   I reached back and opened one of the top Styrofoam box.  The box contained 10 wontons.
"Um, Trav, how many wontons did you order?"  I ask.
"I asked for 5." he says.
I open the next Styrofoam box and see another 10 wontons.   I count the Styrofoam boxes..... there are 5.   I begin to laugh.
"Honey, I think we have 5 ORDERS of wontons, instead of 5 wontons."
Travis spins around and looks at the back of the car.
"No way!"  He says.

We pull into the garage and carry the box into the house where upon further inspection, we see that there are, in fact, Five boxes of wontons.  50 wontons for me, Travis and my 84 year old father.

We had a good laugh, and I thanked  Travis for the smile he gave me.   Luckily, he has a good sense of humor and the wontons will live on in family folklore.  But it got me thinking....

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place"  
                                                                                                          George Bernard Shaw 

Travis thought he ordered one order of five wontons.  The person on the other end of the line heard five orders of ten wontons.  How often do we not communicate very clearly with each other? How often do we think we know exactly what the other person meant?

So many problems could be avoided if we had better communication with each other.  I know I often struggle with listening, understanding, not assuming things and allowing my bias or perspective to cloud the conversation.   I avoid conflict and sometimes don't want to have the difficult conversations because I am not sure how to have them.   I keep working on them.  Little steps by little steps I try harder to be a better communicator, because relationships are worth it.  People are worth it.   When you are struggling to understand someone,  think of the parable of the wontons.   Are you saying what you really mean?  Are you hearing what the other person really is saying?   Sure, our 50 wontons was a pretty painless price to pay for a moment of miscommunication,  but sometimes, the stakes are a lot higher. 

How about our communication with our Heavenly Father?  Do we really communicate with him though meaningful prayer, or do we toss out our order for 5 wontons?  Improving our communication with our Father in Heaven is a great step to really learning how to talk to someone.  God loves you.  He wants to hear from you, and he wants to talk and understand your needs and concerns, joys and happiness.  Improving the communication there will have a huge impact on our life.

Communication.  We can all take a minute and do a little bit better job., and in the process, we will all make a difference in our amazing world,  one random woman at a time. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Fasten your seatbelts!

It really was only a little bit ago that I was writing about 2012 knocking at the door. 
 How did it fly by so quickly??  

I have given up on writing resolutions, mostly because every year I write loose 20 lbs, live on a budget, have sparkling clean cabinets and closets, put scrapbooks together, cook more often and be a better person...... so, really, do I need to say those again??? 

Today on facebook I saw a picture and a quote from President Monson from   I wanted to share it here.

“Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Decisions Determine Destiny.”
                                                                                              Thomas S. Monson

"Many people agree that the key to successful change is to set realistic goals and recognize achievement and progress when it is being made, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear to be."

So this year, I am not going to measure life by the yard.  The scoreboard is unplugged.  The comparison chart  in my brain that I use when I see one of my amazingly talented friends do something I can not do and I suddenly feel like a failure is disconnected.   I am going to use the mirror as my measure and I am going to listen to the spirit to guide me to do what the Lord needs me to inch at a time.   Two events this past year taught me the lesson of an inch at a time.  

Hiking to La Fortuna waterfall in Costa Rica.  

La Fortuna is a beautiful waterfall in the Costa Rican Jungle.  It is amazing.  The only issue with La Fortuna, is..... the stairs.   I am not sure how many stairs there really are.  Some say 400.  Some say 500.  Some say 900.  One guide to the area just lists  it as a "slippery and precipitous trail." 

It is a hike and it is "slippery and precipitous"  (in case you were wondering what that word meant...)


  1. Dangerously high or steep.
  2. (of a change for the worse) Sudden and dramatic.
Dead on definition.....BTW......
While you are headed down, you keep seeing the waterfall in the distance, so it looks awesome, and you are excited.... but there is this nagging feeling in your gut that what comes down must go up... and unless there is a hot air balloon, or elevator at the bottom of this baby, you are walking it back up... 

This was my second trip to La Fortuna, so I knew what to expect.  It had nearly killed me the summer before.  Part of me wanted to skip it.   I had seen it before.  I could just relax and enjoy the quiet of the jungle, and let the group go down.... but I knew better.  I knew 50 was lurking around the corner, and I needed to hike those stairs at La Fortuna again.  So I did. 

One step at a time. 

And it was amazing.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world..... and I made it back up those slippery and precipitous stairs... all 400, 500 or however-many-hundered of them there are....

One step at a time....

Then, this summer I climbed the GREAT WALL OF CHINA.   

My son Travis and I on the Great Wall

I was on the trip with an amazing co-worker, Lauren, and her husband, Adam.  We decided to head to the "harder" side of the wall as it was less crowded, and we were sure the views would be great.   Most of our students took off to see how fast they could do the wall, so the three of us ventured off up the wall.  At first, it was like everything we did in China.  We would slap each other and jokingly say, "Hey! We are in CHINA!"   The hike up the wall became harder and harder and steeper and steeper.  My Colorado body was dripping in humidity sweat.  

 Lauren and Adam would pause for me to catch my breath.  At times, I was tempted to just turn around.   After all,   I was in China.  I was on the Great Wall.  It was amazing and I had seen it.  I could go back down and get a cold Orange Fanta and wait for the rest of the gang.  But Lauren reminded me that I really wanted to get to the top.  We wanted to go all the way up!!!  We could do it, one step at a time, and we could stop anytime we wanted to. ( Now, my young friend Lauren had no trouble whipping up the wall, she was just being kind to her older friend....)  

Then she said reminded me I was days away from turning 50.  How cool to remember that the year I turned 50 I climbed the great wall of China.  We did it.  We hoofed it up the wall.  I marveled at the scenery.  I marveled at the architecture.  I thought of those who lost their lives building that wall.  I thought of those it defended in times of war.   I was climbing history, and I had no idea if I would stand on that ground again in my life.  I was going to the top.    

One Step at a Time.... 

Now I was grateful to have my friend Lauren there to poke me and prod me to remind me that I really did want to go all the way to the top.  We all need friends to cheer us on when times get tough or when we feel we can't do it.    Hopefully we all remember that we have a friend who never leaves us, as hard as the road may get, as difficult as the challenge may be, our Savior, Jesus Christ is always beside us.  He cheers us on and knows the deep potential for excellence that is within all of us.  He knows how hard the road is because he walked it himself.  He knows how to succor us.  

So this year..........

  • I may not loose 20 lbs....  (although I really am going to try!) 
  • I may not really live on a budget... (although I married a financial that will help!) 
  • I may not have sparkling clean cabinets and closets..... (although today I did organize my sock drawer!) 
  • I may not do scrapbooks..... ( but I made my son a great memory book of our trip to China for Christmas!) 
  • I may not cook more often....(although I made a mean pulled pork today in the crock pot!)
  • I may not become a better person.......(actually, the chances of me becoming better are in my long as I try....a little bit... every day.....) 
 You see, because Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Decisions Determine Destiny..So let's all make 2013 a year of inches.  Because we all make a random woman at a time!