Friday, March 28, 2014
Just a quick note to all of my many seven followers that my blog is about to move to a new address - chrisfondren.blogspot.com In less than a month, I will be marrying the most amazing man, the man I dreamed about marrying since I was a kid in elementary school. He is my world and he is my life. And since I will have a name change, I feel it is only appropriate to change my web address as well. Go ahead and make the switch. The best is truly yet to come!
Friday, September 6, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Friday, May 18, 2012
Oprah says that forgiveness is about giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. I disagree and this is why.
Forgiveness isn't about giving up hope. Hurt feelings exist for a reason and trying to change them never works. Absent of the other person's sincere and complete apology, forgiveness is about creating a better way that does not depend on the other person's actions or involvement. This way is not easy. It is far easier to forgive if you receive a sincere and complete apology.
When a person asks you for forgiveness, are they really sorry for what they did? A person who asks for forgiveness should make:
- A full apology
- A promise to never do it again
- Amends, in whatever way possible, and
- A sincere effort to establish a pattern of appropriate behavior moving forward
Wouldn't it be great if all you ever had to do was to say you're sorry and people forgave you? The reason it doesn't work that way is because humans are programmed with the common sense to protect themselves from being hurt, abused, misused and taken advantage of. It is a survival instinct, really. Don't ignore these instincts. Like I said, these feelings exist for a reason. If you are having a hard time forgiving, odds are likely that one or more of the four actions above were not taken by the person you are trying to forgive.
A word about #3 - Making amends isn't always easy and everyone should be considerate when it comes to making amends. Once something or someone is gone, you can't bring it/them back. But when you can't make a difference in that person's life, you can devote yourself to making a difference in someone else's life, and by preventing such things from happening to someone else, you can indirectly make amends to the person that was slighted. Also, if you can't fix what was broken, perhaps you can help that person find something to fill the void. Just the sincere effort alone is sometimes all it takes to make amends.
Finally, forgiving a person who hasn't asked for forgiveness takes more than resolve, but it has to be done. Anger serves a purpose also, but one can't ever allow it to reside within for long periods of time. Anger should be used a catalyst for change, not a way of dealing with problems. Once change is accomplished, anger should be discarded before it destroys your opportunities for happiness.
In order for you to move on, forgiveness takes effort and it takes tears, either on their part or on yours, and you will never forgive a soul by giving up hope. If you are on your own, you really have to work at creating your new plan until the old one no longer matters to you. Once you find a way to get back what that person took from you (joy, love, peace, money, etc.) you'll know you can forgive, simply because there will be no more angry tears. And holding a grudge when your life has been blessed is such a waste of energy, don't you think?
Forgiveness is hard work, but our souls were made to forgive and tears are just one of the tools we use.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I had two off-the-wall crazy ideas on the way in to work this morning, one of which I'm writing about now and the other I'll save for another day.
But what if....
Bad things happen to everyone. Terrible tragedies happen because of things we can't control, such as the weather or another person's actions. And then some days, we have bad days when little things go wrong over and over again. Maybe we lost our debit card, all of the traffic lights turn red when we approach them, we lose a button on our shirt, and the coffee maker stops making coffee. We joke about being cursed by our adversaries, as if there is some magical voodoo power people can conjure up to hurt their enemies. Yet (stay with me here) several times in history, we hear of people being cursed (check the Bible) by people just like you and me, and we chalk it up to silly superstition. I'm thinking... what if every time we have a bad thought about someone, every time we wish something negative upon someone else, it releases a hypothetical "curse" into the air, one that we have no control over who it lands on. What if, instead of Satan reigning down some evil upon us, or God enacting punishment upon the earth, we are really just doing it all to ourselves? What if we are the ones who create good, and therefore also evil? I know all of this is far-fetched, but you just can't ignore the fact that the world would be a better place if we all just got along a little bit better. Makes interesting conversation, maybe content for a good book.... maybe. It's not a very original idea, either. And, it's cool to stretch your mind and think about, too.
The next "But What If" will be about "knocking hump day into the next week".
What if we've been given control over whether or not tomorrow comes, and we just don't know it? If everyone, collectively, suddenly stopped setting goals, making progress and improving ourselves and the world, would we be given another chance or would it all come to an end?
Friday, April 15, 2011
Because I'm running late for physical therapy, I'm sprinting down the steps of the parking deck just a few minutes ago when my right foot gets tangled up in my flouncy bell-bottomed pants leg. In order to avoid the pain of landing face first on the concrete and to give me enough time to recover, I jump up my left foot and lunge forward over and down the last three steps, removing my right foot from its trap and landing squarely at the bottom landing, never missing a beat. This undoubtedly made no sense to the man behind me who, I'm sure, could only assume I'm so freaking happy that it's Friday that I jump for joy with a cute little back kick....and all in 2 1/2 inch heels.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I had a parking deck incident this morning. Don’t ask why I parked in the handicapped spot, just know that I did and it was only going to be for a minute AND, I spoke to the security guard who allowed it beforehand. So. I parked in the handicapped spot this morning for just a minute. As I’m pulling in, I hear this horrible scrrrrrrrrrrape…..FYI, for those of you who don’t know….I drive a Tahoe. Fortunately, the luggage rack on top was flexible enough to bend itself underneath a 12-inch thick concrete beam (which had absolutely NO business being there, by the way) and came out all in one piece on the other side. The problem? How to back out of the handicapped spot without ripping it off the top of the Tahoe. After much analyzing (should we let the air out of the tires? should we remove the luggage rack? can we move it forward and backward several times while turning, having only about six inches to work with so that I can drive ACROSS the parking spots and over the curb?), the head of security and I decided to try the moving back and forth escape method. The fifth or sixth time, maybe more, I backed up those six inches, I had turned it enough so that the driver’s side corner of the luggage rack slid underneath the concrete beam. HOPING it would stay true to its flexible nature, I took the chance and backed all the way out. Fortunately, the luggage rack is still on top of the Tahoe, albeit a little worse for wear and tear. But only a 6 foot tall Amazonian man or woman can see the damage….which by the way is the clearance I now know I should pay attention to when driving in parking decks.
Last Monday, I stopped by the restroom on the way to a meeting. Used a small ledge to put my briefcase, phone, badge and pen on, but added the weight of a roll of toilet paper to keep it from falling off the ledge. So, what did I have in my hand when I walked into her office for the meeting?? All of the above, PLUS the roll of toilet paper.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Does your chapter raise all of its own money? Do you solely provide services to your membership? Do you write, produce and distribute your own newsletters, pamphlets and brochures? Do you pay dues in as much as 25% to a national office staffed by people you've never met? Are you ever asked for input in shaping the organization's policies; or are decisions made, announced and then explained away? Can you name at least five important research projects funded in the past two years where results will have significant lasting effects? Can you name any? When you have questions, do you get real or scripted answers? Furthermore, do you know the salaries of all employees at the national level?
As part of a complicated and often overlooked sector, non-profits can shape themselves in many ways that would never be allowed in the business sector. This is the reason, in part, why there is an issue in the non-profit sector of having too many organizations providing the same services - otherwise known as "duplication of services". Too much money is being thrown away that could otherwise make a difference. It's time to realize that independent chapters are ineffective.
There is a movement in the non-profit sector to come together, work together and bridge the resource divide between all non-profits. Sharing resources and information that have historically been territorial in nature among non-profits is now a good idea. But, this has to start from within. Reach across state lines to your sister chapters. Use part of your chapter's funds, if you can, to take a trip to the national office. Sit down with them to discuss your opinions, not theirs. Be firm on this! Bring the whole chapter board if you need to. Remember, you aren't there to hear their compliments and/or what was already stated in the memos. If you want answers, you are entitled to them. You were the one who drove 30 miles to deliver a home-cooked meal. It was one of your board members who washed 400 cars on a hot sunny summer afternoon. It was a member from your chapter who ran 12 miles with your t-shirt on, when, just last year, she couldn't walk up a flight of steps.
You have a lot to be proud of! The spirit that brought you into this field is what is going to fix the problems we face in the years ahead. The need for charitable services is only going to increase while available funds decrease. We need a new plan, a new model. You've heard the term, "why fix what ain't broken". I'm asking, "why haven't we already fixed what is broken?" We don't have the time or money to reorganize and reallocate and restructure. Just start now! Demand interactive communication. Ask to sit in on every national board meeting. Introduce web meetings or teleconferencing. Come up with a communication strategy. Gather together your peers and approach the national level with a unified request to include you and other chapter leaders. Offer to chair a committee on enhanced chapter communications, social media integration, research policy review or non-profit networking. At the very least, know the direction in which each and every penny from your chapter goes. How much of it goes toward salaries, how much toward research, how much toward admin, and how much toward legal fees? The organization isn't a dog and you are the furthest thing from a wagging tail. You hold as much weight, as much importance, as the person who's currently getting all the credit.
Finally, create some fancy spreadsheets and bar graphs and communicate it to your members. Most importantly, don't abandon your organization to go it alone until you have tried to fix what is broken. People need you. Your organization needs you. This sector needs a few handymen and handywomen. Can you fix it?
Monday, June 15, 2009
...or something like that.
So, here is what you do to make a Father's Day video. First you take a program like the free easy-to-download Windows Movie Maker. This program requires you to have a 600 MHz processor, Windows XP, 128 MG of RAM, a 256 color video card, and a sound card and speakers (or headphones). If you plan to record your video to a CD, you need a CD drive with the capability of writing to the CD. It would also help to have an internet connection, which you obviously already have.
Not much to require, is it? Pretty easy stuff. Optional other equipment needed depends on how you plan to get your materials into the video. If you want your old baby pictures included in the video, you could use a scanner. Another option is to take them to a photo processing store (or the photo department at Wal-Mart) or Kinko's. They can scan your photos and email them to you or create a CD, post them online or download them to a thumb drive for you. Some copiers also have the capability of emailing color images, so check around wherever and whenever you are near a copy machine (surreptitiously, of course).
Obviously, the first step is to gather your images and get them on your computer. Many of my projects have this task covered already. Those people I am creating videos for are on Facebook, and their photos have already been uploaded to their online photo albums. In this case, I can simply right-click and save the images to a folder I've labeled "movie pics" on my computer.
Once you have all of the images in your properly labeled folder, open the program which you've already downloaded...you have downloaded the program, right? If not, do it now and come back to
In the task window on the left-hand side of the screen, click on "Import pictures". Browse to the folder which holds all of your photos and select all of them and click "Import".
Now you have all of your pictures in the main window, but they aren't yet in a video. One by one, drag and drop them into the window at the bottom of the screen. Make sure you see the words "Show timeline" at top of this window. This indicates that you are in storyboard mode, instead of timeline. Do this in the order you want them to be displayed (you can edit this easily later).
Once you have all of your pictures in the video, it is time to take the most important step. Now is the time to add a song. The song creates the mood and conveys the message of the video. All of the photos revolve around this song. You may already have a song in mind. Maybe it's your father's favorite song, or perhaps it is a song that simply reminds you of your father. (For me, that song is "Kind and Generous" by Natalie Merchant.) If neither happens to be the case, Amazon.com has a gazillion songs for you to choose from. Downloading songs (especially ones of good sound quality) are hardly ever free, but if they are, they are almost never legal. Amazon makes it very simple and cheap for you to snag your song. Most mp3's cost 99 cents or less, and if you are lucky, you could find it free.
Here are some suggestions, though.
Father And Daughter by Paul Simon
Daddy's Little Girl by Michael Bolton
Do I Make You Proud/Takin' It To The Streets by Taylor Hicks
Butterfly Kisses by Jeff Carson
Ready, Set, Don't Go by Billy Ray Cyrus
I Wanna Be Like You by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Oh How The Years Go By by Vanessa Williams
Lean On Me by Michael Bolton
That One Is My Dad by Keni Thomas
Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant
Old Country Songs:
A Boy Named Sue (Live) by Johnny Cash
Thank God I'm A Country Boy by John Denver
So Much Like My Dad by George Strait
They Don't Make 'Em Like My Daddy Anymore by Loretta Lynn
Lean On Me by Anne Murray
Love Without End, Amen by George Strait
Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line (Live) by Waylon Jennings
Daddy's Hands by Holly Dunn
Seein' My Father In Me by Paul Overstreet
Daddy Never Was The Cadillac Kind by Confederate Railroad
Daddy Won't Sell The Farm by Montgomery Gentry
You've Got To Stand For Something by Aaron Tippin
New Country Songs:
Song For Dad by Keith Urban
He Didn't Have To Be by Brad Paisley
Stealing Cinderella by Chuck Wicks
In My Daughter's Eyes by Martina McBride
My Little Girl by Tim McGraw
I Loved Her First by Heartland
Let Them Be Little by Billy Dean
Tough Little Boys by Gary Allan
Lean On Me by Rascal Flatts
Lessons Learned by Carrie Underwood
I Hope You Dance by Leann Womack
R & B Songs:
Dance With My Father (Album Version and Radio Version) by Luther Vandross
Wind Beneath My Wings by Elisabeth Withers
Rock (Alt Rock) Songs:
With Arms Wide Open by Creed
Daughters by John Mayer
Stand By Me by Playing for a Change
My Hero by Foo Fighters
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) by Billy Joel
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole featuring Natalie Cole
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life by Stevie Wonder
Lean On Me (Single Version) by Bill Withers
You've Got A Friend (LP Version) by James Taylor
You've Got A Friend In Me by Randy Newman
That's My Dad by Paul Peterson
It's For My Dad by Nancy Sinatra
My Heart Belongs To Daddy by Eartha Kitt
My One True Friend by Bette Midler
Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
I'll Be There For You (Theme From Friends) (LP Version) by The Rembrandts
My Father's Eyes (Album Version) by Eric Clapton
For Fathers Who Are Deceased:
My Heart Knows You Were Here by Laura Pursell
For an extra twist, try Comedy:
My Dad's Car by Bill Cosby
Finally, for videos "made by kids":
Rubber Ducky by Inside Out A Capella
I'd Do Anything by the Cast of Oliver
If none of these songs interest you, search for your favorite. It's bound to be there.
Now, to get the song into your video, you follow the same steps you did for the photos. This time, however, you click on "Import audio or music" from the left side and browse to the audio file. Click "Import" and then drag and drop it at the beginning of the video in the bottom window.
Now is a good time to view your video for the first time, but first let's save it. You know how to click on file/save, I'm sure. You also know how to name it and to save it in an easy to remember location. The most memorable, I've found, is the desktop.
So, now it is saved, let's view it. Click on the first picture in the bottom window and then click on the "play" arrow in the right square window. By default, each picture displays for about five seconds. If you have enough pictures, your music will probably run out before your pictures do (somewhere around 40 pictures). You can then just delete your least favorite pictures or you can edit how long each picture displays. Keep in mind there is a reason the default is five seconds. That gives the average viewer enough time to view the picture and feel the emotions you hope they will feel from viewing it. For this reason, I recommend deleting least favorites over shortening the display time of the photos.
If, on the other hand, your pictures run out before your music has ended, you need to add more pictures or increase the display time. If any of the pictures have more than two faces in them, you can add an extra second for each face. It might also be a good idea to move this picture to a special part of the song, like a repeat of the chorus or where the words of the song perhaps match the event depicted in the picture. For example, if the picture is of a family reunion, you might move the picture to a part of the song where the lyrics are about family. The added display time will not be noticed as much when the lyrics fit the picture. This can even enhance the video. Also consider doing this for any picture that matches the lyrics of the song.
So, if you choose to shorten or lenthen the display time, switch to "timeline" by clicking "Show timeline" in the bottom window. All you have to do next is click on that specific picture and drag the right side of it to make it shorter or wider. A new window will show you the length of the photo's display as you move your cursor back and forth.
Keep playing with it by adding or deleting photos, moving photos, and increasing or decreasing each photo's display time until you are really satisfied with the length and quality of the video. The best videos result in the most emotional output (a complicated way to say they should make the viewer cry). Once you are satisfied, if not crying yourself, you could skip to "Finish Movie", or you can keep enhancing the video by adding special effects and transitions.
To add these extra touches, you again use the left task window. Options are to "View video effects", "View video transitions", "Make titles or credits", and "Make an AutoMovie". These options make the difference between homemade looking and professional looking, in my opinion. You can have a photo slowly zoom in or out, you can add a sepia tone to the photo, or you can add a "video camera" look to it. The options aren't endless, but they are aplenty. Here is where I'm taking off the training wheels and letting you test your creative skills for yourself. There is nothing you can do wrong here, so have fun.
When you are ready to wrap up your video, you'll use the left task window to click "Save to my computer". I suggest saving two versions of the video. Save one for "Best quality for playback on my computer" and one for "Best Fit to file size". The first is a best quality video and the second is for uploading or emailing. I try to keep the videos I am sharing to below 6MB. Most videos you create here are going to be well above that, so when you save as "best fit to file size", reduce the size to 6MB or less. The loss of quality will not be noticable. If you aren't satisfied, you will always have the first version to try again with. When you are finished saving the two versions on your computer, you can then save it to a CD if you wish. The very last thing you should do is save the project as a .mswmm file (Microsoft Windows Movie Maker). This file is the raw file you can use to edit the movie later.
Many new TV's can play these videos from a thumb drive. If your father has one of these, you can plug the thumb drive into the TV when he isn't looking and then viola! you have just surprised him with your father's day gift (that cost less than a dollar but is crammed full of memories and emotion). Another way to give it to him is to post it on Facebook (provided he is one of your friends on Facebook). You can also set it to play on his computer, or you can mail him the CD (with a custom crayon colored cover) or include it in the gift you actually spent a lot of money on. If you have one of these new TV's, maybe you should cook dinner for the whole family and play it on your TV. (Well, I tried.)
Now, having given you all of the tools to make this yourself, if you still feel that you are just too pressed for time and you want someone else to do this for you, email me at christiglaser(at)gmail(dot)com and I will gladly do it for you. In fact, I'll even give $4 of every order to the Alabama Chapter of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation. (Everything I do, I do for you... and the MG group.)
I hope you have a wonderfully amazing Father's Day with your family. Hold every moment with your father dear to your heart. Forgive if you need to. Love with every breath, and leave him with a kiss.