Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things — Robert BraultPosts RSS Comments RSS

Getting the Screws Out

IMG 0343Yay, I just passed the 6 month anniversary of my foot surgery. It feels awfully good to have ditched the scooter, crutches and ugly black boot for normal shoes and a pair of heels! I’m not pain free yet, and according to my doctor, I have another 6 months of recovery to get back to my pre-injury status. It feels like I will never get back to normal, but I must be patient. It will happen…eventually!

In the mean time, I have reached another milestone in this odd journey. It’s time for the screws that have been holding my joint together to be removed. The joint should be stable enough to hold on its own now. They don’t want the screws551664 10151203832791967 711973847 n to break as I become more active, so out they come!

The surgery is Monday. It’ll be much easier than the last one, but you know how these things go. They are never pleasant or painless. I also found out that I’ll be stuck in the boot again for a couple of weeks — boo! Oh well, gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.

So, if you happen to think of me on Monday, say a quick prayer that everything goes well. And bid a fond farewell to those little silver appliances that have been temporarily residing in my foot.

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Half Empty

glass half empty1Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. It’s a time when I usually reflect back and consider the many blessings in my life. 2012 was not gentle to me or my family. The year presented us with a host of struggles, heartbreak, and uncertainty.

It would be easy to cling to a “glass half empty” mentality as I approach the holiday. Life is not perfect, and the last few months have been difficult. The challenges hover above like a dark cloud threatening to spew more rain. I wonder if it will get better, stay the same, or become worse. Only God knows what challenges lie ahead.

As I ponder these struggles, I am somehow reminded that I have much for which I should be thankful. Sure, I could sit on the couch focusing on my problems and the “empty” parts of life. Instead, I choose to see the glass half full and turn the issues over to God.

I can’t control what will (or won’t) happen in the future, but I can control my attitude. When I look back through the course of my life, the good completely outweighs the bad. The blessings are immense. That’s what I choose to remember this Thanksgiving. I choose the “half full,” not the “half empty.”

Does this make the problems go away? Of course not. Challenges will continue. Chronic illness will remain. Recovery from surgery will continue. Stress will be a constant factor in my job. Other struggles will play out in coming months. It will happen. I can’t change it, but I can choose to be thankful. I can choose to focus on the good in my life. That’s what I plan to do as this day of thanksgiving approaches. I will choose to be a half full kind of girl.

Chances are that you face insurmountable challenges too. Let’s be honest. We all do. Some are better at hiding them than others, but none of us are immune to life’s issues. If you have been consumed with the bad, it’s time to reflect on the blessings. They exist too. They may be simple. They may be small, but they are there. I guarantee it. You can find them if you try. Spend some time this week focusing on your blessings instead of the struggle. Be thankful. You will be amazed at what a difference it can make.

The choice is yours. The glass is sitting on the table. Is it half full or half empty?

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Blah Days

We all have them. They are the miserable days when you can’t fully explain why you feel tired or down. They creep up on you without warning and threaten to darken your mood like a cloudy day. Sometimes I fight it. On other days I just give in. I don’t have the energy to break out of the funk, so I just accept it and move on, hoping that tomorrow the sun will break through those clouds.

I’m not sure why they come. Maybe it’s just a side effect of life. The Bible says there is a time for every season — a time to laugh and a time to cry. Perhaps we’re given these “blah” days so we can better appreciate the good days. I don’t think we’ll ever truly know why these days visit us. They just do.

Today was one of those days. To be honest, it wasn’t just today. I’ve been having a series of “blah” days lately. I take them in stride, but it’s frustrating when you have absolutely no energy and would like to stay in bed all day.

I don’t have that luxury so I force myself to keep going, pushing through the “blah” and hoping my energy will return tomorrow. Maybe it would if I would get more sleep (or if a cure was found for my UC). Since that’s not likely, I keep pushing forward, one step at a time.

On these days it’s nice when a bright spot appears, and I had one tonight. My husband took me out for a little Valentine’s day celebration. We laughed, ate, and enjoyed the evening. It was a nice break from the stress of life/work and made my day a lot less “blah.”

I think I need to work more of these bright spots back into my daily life. It’s a quick fix for chasing away the blues.

Then again, maybe it’s just time for another vacation.

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Air Conditioning and Timeshare Sales

When I was a kid my father made us suffer through countless timeshare presentations. I’m not certain why he was drawn to them. Part of it may have been the complimentary gift and/or hotel accommodations they promised, but I’m convinced that he also loved to haggle with the sales people. He was never interested in buying their product, but he liked to debate with them. He enjoyed the banter, enjoyed stringing sales people along, countering their arguments and winning. For him, it was fun. For us, it was pure misery.

We would sit there for hours, complaining and dreaming of the vacation we were supposed to be enjoying while he was debating with a timeshare sales person. Those moments are still etched in my brain so much that I refuse to participate in any type of timeshare presentation today. I can’t bear it. The high-pressure sales tactics and ridiculous arguments for why you need to purchase their product now irritate me. I don’t buy into it. I never have.

Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I learned something from those interactions. I learned not to believe everything salespeople say, no matter how much of an expert they present themselves to be. I learned to be skeptical, discerning. I learned how to present compelling arguments in a negotiation, and I also learned how to walk away without purchasing something.

These skills have come in handy throughout the years. I never make an important purchase without proper research and never, ever buy when being pressured. I don’t trust sales people. I don’t make purchases based solely upon their recommendation. Instead, I consult many sources, get second opinions, and read credible, third-party reports.

By now you may be wondering what all of this has to do with air conditioning. The connection is not immediately clear, but keep reading and it will all make sense. Our A/C unit began to fail yesterday. Living in Texas with 100+ temperatures, we take our air conditioning very seriously. It’s not a privilege; it’s a necessity. This morning, my husband called our reliable A/C company, but they couldn’t send a technician to our house until Wednesday — not soon enough! He called other companies, found one that could send a technician today, and our adventure began. From the moment the technician walked into the house, he was already working on his sales pitch. He was smooth. He spit out jargon about new industry regulations, efficiency, and claims of shoddy work done by our builder…it went on and on. His ultimate goal was to get us to buy a new unit for $13,000.

I quickly saw through his act and so did my husband. He deftly maneuvered through this guy’s pitch, not falling for any of the warnings of doom. Ultimately, only a small repair was needed, and the salesman waived the service fee.

We now have a working unit, along with a cold house, and $13,000 still left in our bank account. I wonder how many people actually fall for the lies, though. The tactics must work most of the time, or the company wouldn’t employ them. It surprises me that people would fall for it or feel pressured into making that type of decision based on the recommendation of one obviously biased individual (without a second opinion). Most people are aware that they should avoid timeshare salespeople, but these types of individuals exist in all industries. Don’t be fooled by them, even if they come disguised as a harmless, unassuming A/C technician.

For me, I learned my lesson at an early age. Even though I despised it, all of those boring, tedious time share presentations were worth it and may have saved me a few thousand dollars today. Thanks Dad!

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Time for a Block Party

We joined the fun at the block party in the Dallas Arts District on Friday evening. Hosted by the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the party featured live music in Strauss Square, gourmet food trucks on Flora Street, performing arts center seat “test drives”, games and a backstage tour of of the performing arts center/Winspear Opera House. While most of the activities were enjoyable, I was most excited about the backstage tour. I’ve seen many performances at the venue, and I have performed in small, community theatres, but I have never been backstage at a facility that does large-scale, Broadway productions.

It was a lot of fun and really interesting.

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View of the theatre from the stage.

Our seats next year are near the guy sitting with a pink ball. SO close! Can’t wait!!

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Another view of the performance hall from the stage

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Huge staging areas on the side of the main stage. They can drive semi-trucks into these areas when large productions are here. They had 13 for Billy Elliott.

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System of counter-balances for the curtains, lights, props, and staging

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Backstage Dressing Rooms

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Hallway where all of the actors and performers sign when they perform here.

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Close up shot in the hallway

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Meyerson Symphony Hall and Dallas sky

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My two best friends posing for the camera outside of the ATT PAC

After the party, we walked to our favorite downtown Mexican restaurant for dinner, Jorge’s. If you get tickets to a show in the Arts District, be sure to check it out. We always go there for dinner before a show. They have excellent food and great service — reservations are highly recommended!

We had hoped to watch the Dallas Theatre Center’s production of The Wiz at the Wylie Theatre, but by the time we arrived at the block party all of the tickets had already been sold. Maybe we’ll catch it on another weekend.

It was a great night with two people I love dearly. And now I know what’s happening behind the scenes when I see a performance at the ATT PAC. The only thing that would be better is if I were performing there. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

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