Let’s Discuss: Reputation or Experience

file000162092220(Let’s discuss is a new category of posts with a problem I’d like your help to solve/question to answer/etc. I often try to post what I know/believe to be true, but- let’s be honest- that’s rather limiting. So- help me out- what do you know? Let’s discuss…)

So…

This is kind of twofold, but how do you know/decide what is most important when it comes to people: Their REPUTATION or Your personal EXPERIENCE of them?

So what happens when you have a good relationship with someone and another person you also have a good relationship with has a TERRIBLE experience with that same person? Say… in school, you get along great with a teacher who your friend can’t stand. Or a relative that you get along with but other relatives don’t? And I don’t just mean the totally reasonable “we just don’t click” conflict. I mean, genuine wrong/bad things happened in their interaction that you did not personally experience, but they did. My sister’s father abused me. That is not my sister’s experience of him. So, if I refuse to attend an even where he is present and she is upset?

How do you navigate that?

Even think about faith. A faith I love leaves others cold. Or worse, others have experienced abuse by the faith that saved me.

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I gotta’ say, I think it matters.

And here’s the second situation about reputation or experience, what if you hear something bad about a person? How much do you listen? I know it seems like you have to go with your own experience, but at what point do you honor and pay attention to what you’re being told? With my first husband, I was given some information just prior to our wedding that I took as a part of the past (before me) and what he and I were building together, well, that was the future.

Yet…later, that past came to gobble my future with him right up. What if I had just listened- really listened- to what I had been told? If we only go off personal experience, are we setting ourselves by not letting the experience of others’ matter? If we go by what others say, then are we limiting ourselves from new relationships?

It’s like getting a bad reference from a past employer. At what point do you assume people can have a fresh start and what point do you let others’ be your guide and possibly prevent a lot of problems?

So…I’ll pour the drinks, and fill me in. What do you think? Have you experienced something like this in your life? Let’s Discuss!

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Redwoods: Down Side of a Writing Life

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(Cover preview for episode 6!)

I’m currently writing and mommying full-time. And it’s great. But-this time of year- brings up a few downsides too:

*No office party. Last year I was in charge of planning the party for the organization I worked for (in what I refer to as my resume-career). And it was so fun! Photo booth, DJ, catered food, open bar, games, light effects…

*No break room. There is no place where people are bringing in their baked goods or boxes of candy. No clients sending gifts of cheese and salami. No boss showing up with a pink box of decadent pastries…

*No time off. Of course, I take time off, but there is no paid holiday, no natural lull in the calendar.

I saved my contest-winning ugly sweater from last year and pulled it out this year. I folded it and put it back, maybe next year a bunch of writers can put something together.

The upside is I wrote a “Christmas” episode of The Roaring Redwoods. There were gorgeous trees, garland, baked goods, and fun parties. It even snows! But no pine needles to clean up or actual baking to do. And the parties were filled with only the best kind of drama.

Have a wonderful holiday- whether it involves a real or imaginary party!

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Life Without Dogs

How can you not love a dog like this? Even if she is a shedding machine.

Aspen with her “baby” Dallas.

In a stunning bit of life, my other dog passed away. Her decline was so sudden and her pain so intense, the decision was easy. The aftermath- not so much.

Aspen came to us as Crystal. The story is we had gone to an “animal fair” just to see the animals. Though there would be many adoption agencies there, WE WERE NOT GETTING A NEW ANIMAL.

Before I even have the kids out of the car, I exclaim, “Oh look at that white one!” And Crystal became Aspen.

She was shy when we met her, but in our home, it was clear something very wrong and terrible had been done to this dog. Her fears were too great, too numerous. Bells, whistles, cars, other dogs barking, men, the list went on and on. We knew she had been starved, but it was clear to me that whatever her life had been before us was beyond neglect, someone had intentionally harmed this dog.

And yet.

She still loved. She didn’t give up. And it took a long time, but she seemed to put a lot behind her. And she blossomed into a great dog. When Little Sir came along, she was as close to a nanny as I got. I trusted her to help me round him up. She found him too exuberant at times and would just move to a safe distance.

I didn’t see her do it, but I know she killed a skunk in our backyard. It was near the deck so I’m pretty sure she kept it from getting in the house.The funniest thing happened when she and my other dog, Stockton, took off. Aspen came home with purple stripes and smelling like marijuana.

I have no idea where she went, but it was eventful and fragrant there.

Her peaceful nature and beauty soothed even those who didn’t like dogs. My Grandma who really only likes little dogs, loved Aspen. She often told me I could leave her there. Another friend of mine who did not really like any dogs, would stroke Aspen’s soft white head. Aspen pretty much raised our kitten Dallas. You know those stories of animals that soothe the crazy horse or the damaged Veteran? That could have been Aspen.

There was something in her wounded spirit- or the healing she had found- that just quieted you. Gentled you.

The happiest I ever saw Aspen was at the beach. It just seemed as though the wonderfulness of the waves, sand, and all those dog-mazing scents took over and she left every bit of trauma behind her. It was a beautiful sight.

So now, I don’t have a dog. It’s the first time in many years. It’s so strange. All these habits and routines that no longer apply because I don’t have a dog. No dog bed, no reason to keep the cat food up high, no dog hair, no dog to greet, no dog to take care of leftovers.

I stayed with Aspen to the end. I had to because I would not let her leave this world alone or afraid. She had had enough of that in her life. And I had to because I knew she would do the same for me.

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