Considering the current world health crisis all events will be held online. Visit the calendar for details.
Over the past few years, I have periodically written a blog called "Spilt Milk" on a different platform. Please visit it. If you sign up for notifications you will receive emails telling you when I write more.
Below is the blog from my previous website.
Old Blog Stuff
Old Blog Stuff
These blog posts were written previous to my Spilt Milk blog. Because Vista Print has changed their format options I have not been able to insert the photos which originally accompanied the stories. There are lines with some which describe the photos. Over time I will make an effort to set a link to some of the photos and convert these blogs into a formal blog page.
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:40 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on July-15-14 4:17 PM
Join me on a spiritual pilgrimage, an opportunity to explore your own life experience in a safe group with others who want to be listened to deeply and explore the deep journey of the soul.
As a student in the Ontario Jubilee Program, I am required to organize and lead a spiritual journey group as part of my first year of study. The “purpose of this group is to learn to listen deeply to one another, to ourselves, and to Divine Presence. Each participant in the journey group is invited to share from his/her spiritual journey – what is sacred and transformative in their life. Sharing ranges from how you experience and know Divine Presence over a lifetime or simply about the life experience of the past few weeks or days.”
I am to choose three or four people I know who are on a spiritual journey and invite them to join the spiritual journey group to practice sharing and listening.
Ideally, the group will meet, in person, for 1 ½ to 2 hours – about once a month – from September through May. Once we have found the group members we will agree on a suitable time and place to get together.
In a peaceful, quiet meeting space, we will gather around a centrepiece and maintain an atmosphere which is contemplative and spacious (no judgment – no hurry).
A structured and proven method of sharing, listening and offering feedback provides a rich experience of caring and exploration of our experience with the divine and with life.
As a group we will:
· Set a timeline for the meeting
· Review guidelines which must include absolute confidentiality
· Each session one participant will be given the opportunity to share their pilgrimage.
· Listeners will listen with honour and intensity, without judgment, advice or rescuing. They will have the opportunity to offer reflection and insight and to share the effect of the other person’s story in light of their own experience.
The prayer of the Jubilee training and myself for this group is that, “… you remain open to surprise and tuned into your heart on this particular pilgrimage...”
Relevant or Ridiculed - Freedom of Speech
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:40 comments (1)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on May-15-14 11:33 AM
Building a new business is proving to be an adventure in balance but perhaps the most difficult fulcrum so far is the one between the need to become relevant and the danger of being ridiculed.
That is a danger we experience every day in our private lives to some degree. “Will they like me if I say that? Will I be part of the group if I do that?
The issue with doing it in business is not only a social one but a financial one. If they don’t like my view they won’t want to do business with me. If they do like my views they might even recommend me to someone else.
In the past few weeks, I have been warned by well-meaning friends to keep my politics to myself because it will be bad for business. It began when I took a stand for students at our local high school when they “bullied” into quitting their protest about the school closing.
Now when issues arise which make my blood boil, as that one did, I hesitate, wondering if I should say anything.
In my pursuit to develop some social media savvy and become “relevant” on the internet, I spend many hours a week scouring sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. In these cyber travels, there are many discussions and issues which are close to my heart. Some even provoke rather strong emotion and raise my blood pressure a bit.
One thing I try very hard to do is look at both sides of the question. A peacemaker at heart and a journalist by trade I want to be sure I understand all the angles and take into account all the opinions before I make a decision about an issue. Other times I just see purple and my opinion rushes out of my fingers on the keyboard like a tsunami. One thing I do know about myself is that I’m always willing to change my mind if the case is strong enough.
An issue about eagle’s nests being removed in lieu of wind turbines this week really got me cranked and once again I “blew off” about it before giving it much consideration. In retrospect and with more research I still believe my view is valid and right but should I say anything at all?
What is the cost of having political views when you are in business?
When my friend told me in the fall that it was bad publicity my immediate response was “Good or bad publicity is still publicity.” I still believe that to be true.
As a coach, I am asked to remain neutral and I have a proven track record in this regard. It is something I have learned and have also taught others. When I cannot bear the opinion I find a way to pull myself out of the conversation and try very hard not to hurt or harm the person I am speaking to by discounting their beliefs. They have a right to their opinion and as a counsellor or coach, it is not a place to change their mind. Rather, if their mind needs changing, it will be better accomplished when they arrive at their own conclusions.
I still believe in democracy and freedom of speech when it’s done properly.
I recall a journalism instructor explaining that freedom of speech is not about being able to say what you want to say, it is about everyone being allowed to have an opinion and to express it openly without fear of reprisal.
Freedom of speech is not writing anonymous letters in a newspaper. Freedom of speech is being able to write letters and have opinions with your name attached to them without worry that you will be discriminated against, shunned or blacklisted for having them.
As I write I find my own conclusion. In the spirit of freedom of speech, I will continue to express my opinions when I believe they must be expressed and I will defend anyone else’s right to disagree with me. For the moment I will continue to respond with passion and commitment when something is happening which I believe needs to be addressed. That is who I am.
I would enjoy hearing your comments on this subject.
A New Journal
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:35 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on May-12-14 7:36 AM
I started a new journal today.
Not everyone enjoys journaling but it is something I have done almost every day since I was in college.
There are many ways to do a journal but I prefer the old-fashioned "sit down with a pen and write it" sort of journal.
When I get close to the end of a journal I become almost anxious to start a new one and invariably leave a few empty pages at the end of the old one because I just can't wait any more.
Each time I begin a new one I wonder where I will be by the time the pages are full. What will be happening? How will my life have changed? Who will I have lost from my life? Will there be new people in my life? Will my career take a turn?
Over the years I put journals aside because I could not bear to hold the things that were in them. There was too much pain. Other times I have put them aside because I was beginning something new and didn't want to cloud it with the old ways and worries. I have even put one aside for a while while I went on a journey that needed it's own journal and then picked it up again later to finish it off.
Today I begin again. Clean pages. New hope. Empty pages to fill with life.
If journaling is something that interests you stay tuned to this blog and to my website. It is a topic worth exploring.
The Great Egret
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:30 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on May-01-14 2:36 PM
Some days are just too full of wonder to say anything.
See the entire collection of Great Egret pictures we took today on my Facebook page.
How do you Listen
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:30 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on April-07-14 11:00 AM
Take a little survey about how you listen here or on Facebook
Which of the following do you believe is most important to how well you listen?
1. The words
2. The tone of voice
3. Body language and facial expression
An overwhelming number of people believe the words they speak are what is really important in communication but they are wrong.
1. Words represent only 7% of communication
2. The tone of voice equals 38% of the message
3. The body language - particularly facial expression - represents an overwhelming 55% of the message.
With this in mind is it little wonder that text messages are so often misunderstood and even that telephone conversations are often very difficult. In a text, you are missing 93% of the message and in a phone call, you only have the benefit of 45% of the communication.
Three cheers for the inventors of Skype who managed to marry electronics and the total communication package.
The best listeners are those who listen to the whole package. The best conversations we have are those which involve all our methods of speaking.
Most of us (with the exception of those who are autistic) are very aware of body language. The recognition of it is mastered by the age of six months. It is the single most important element of how we communicate with one another.
You are an expert in body language already. Pay attention to what it communicates to you and about you today.
The Open-Ended Question
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:25 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on April-03-14 3:10 PM
Sixth in the Series on "Listening"
Learning to ask open-ended questions may be one of the greatest lessons to learn about communication. It gets more than grunts out of men and teenagers on most occasions and is a sure way to make people think you are smart. (They always think you are smart when you are talking about their favourite topic, themselves).
Asking open questions is a method taught to journalism students and lawyers for use when they need more information on a subject. It is a method which requires true listening so be sure you are ready to listen to someone if you ask open-ended questions.
Question: “Do you know how to ask an open-ended question?”
Question: Can you explain what an open-ended question is?
Question: “Explain what an open-ended question is.”
Answer: “An open-ended question is a question which has to be answered in a sentence or phrase rather than just one word or short phase answer.”
If you want to find out what your child did at school today you may say, “What happened at school today?” The usual response for anyone under 21 is, “Nothing.”
If you were to ask a more open question it might be, “Tell me about the things you did at school today.”
My mother actually taught me this method because she used it to find out what her kindergarten students pictures were about. When she asked, “Is that your father in the picture?” she might get a simple, “No.” If she said instead, “Tell me about your picture,” she would get a whole history of the family or discover that the picture is actually supposed to be of the tree outside the window.
Learning how to ask the right questions to a kindergarten student can be an open window to their life and can also spare teachers from being yelled at when they are way off base with their idea of what a picture is.
If you are trying to sell something to a customer and you say, “May I help you?” the response is likely to be, “No.” If you really want to engage with that customer and help find what they are looking for you might rather say, “Please tell me what you are looking for and I will see if I can help you find it.”
If you work at McDonald’s and you say, “Do you want fries with that?” it is because you don’t want to engage with a customer. All you want is a one-word answer. A McDonald’s customer could be in line all day if the cashier said, “Explain your reason for wanting or not wanting fries with that.”
So you are catching on, aren’t you? Oops. Wrong again.
Now please explain to me what an open-ended question is.
“Why” and “How” are good ways to begin an open-ended question although you still have to be careful about wording.
“Why are you asking open-ended questions?” could evoke, “Because I can,” which is not much of an answer but most people will find themselves an opening to a question like that and perhaps explain, “Because asking closed questions doesn't encourage conversation.”
The open-ended question doesn't make presumptions but allows the person to give thought and substance to their answer.
One of the most annoying closed questions people ask is, “How are you today?”
The reason this is annoying is not just because it is closed but because, in our society, it has come to imply the answer, “Fine.” If you really want to find out how someone is trying something different. This could include things like, “How was your day after you left here this morning?”, or “What has been going on in your life since I saw you last?” Asking "pat" questions gets "pat" answers. Working at changing your usual questions will get you much more interesting answers.
Closed questions are like multiple choice questions on a test. The better method, if you want to have meaningful dialogue is learning how to ask the questions which get the essay answers.
I promise it will, open doors, enrich your life and your relationships if you learn to do it well.
Wiki has a great explanation of open-ended questions at http://www.wikihow.com/Ask-Open-Ended-Questions
Don’t miss the video: it’s Hilary-ous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x90A9sd-c8k
An excellent list of open questions to help you get your head around the idea can be found at http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/fd/Open%20Ended%20Questions.htm
10 Things to Change if you want to be a good listener.
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:10 comments (0)
Posted on March-31-14 6:32 PM
5th in the Series on Listening
Most of us believe we are listening to people when they speak to us but if listening falls short in any of these 10 ways consider improving the skill.
Rate yourself with a simple 1 to 4 (4 being best) on the items below and come back to it from time to see how you are doing. I am reminded of something I need to work on every time I look at these.
When I listen I...
1. Make premature decisions - If you have already decided what is going to be said you may not be listening. The old adage about ASSUME holds true. " It makes an ASS of U and ME," but mostly you. (1 2 3 4)
2. Pretend to hear - The classic examples of this are the man with the newspaper around his face saying, "Uh Uh" to his family or the Mom doing dishes while the child tugs at her clothes. If you can't take a moment to really hear what someone is saying perhaps you would consider telling them you can't or just take a few seconds and really listen. As discussed in a previous blog, listening is a sacred art. (1 2 3 4)
3. Easily get distracted - Everyone has distractions but noticing you are distracted and doing something about it is essential to good listening. Perhaps you are waiting for someone and when footsteps come down the hall you listen to them rather than the person in front of you. A simple acknowledgement would help. Just say to the person with you that you are waiting for someone and that they can either stay and talk or you could talk to them later when you are less distracted. Perhaps you are more interested in the birds outside the window than the conversation in front of you. Be courteous enough to say that you just can't listen right now or ask them to watch with you for a minute. Then you can go back to your conversation. (1 2 3 4)
4. Get bothered with people’s peculiarities - It drives me around the bend when someone chews gum when they are talking to me. I have choices: learn to bear it and listen anyway, ask them to stop chewing so I can listen, or say that I can't listen to them right now. (1 2 3 4)
5. Write as I listen. - Note taking is very distracting to the person being listened to and even to the listener. If you are a scribe it 's not an issue but most of us are just listeners. In a classroom situation, it is expected but consider you may not actually be listening to the words if you are trying to write them down. Doodling might be more productive to your listening. When you listen one on one, consider asking permission to take a few notes because it will help you remember things without interrupting. This is a technique used in coaching. (1 2 3 4)
6. Avoid difficulties - There are some things people just don't want to hear. Maybe you have trouble listening to the same story over and over from someone who is in a rut. Maybe you have had some trauma in your life and hearing about a similar experience is very difficult for you. Find a way to deal with it. Acknowledge your lack of ability to listen and ask them to find someone else who can be a more helpful listener. Perhaps you can develop the skill of listening at the moment and put your own baggage on hold. (1 2 3 4)
7. React to offensive language - The short answer, if you really want to show people you care is, "Get over it." If there are rules in your location about the language it's OK to say some language is inappropriate. If not try to take it in stride. Some people just talk that way. They are not trying to offend or shock you so don't be offended or shocked. If you listen with an open and caring heart the language will eventually begin to fall away. When you respond, you will speak the way you like to be spoken to and they will begin to adapt to your style. If you are a grammar nut and cringe when someone says, "I seen it," you might want to swallow your pride and just listen. (1 2 3 4)
8. Prejudge - Judgement is a gift we have been given as humans. It helps us determine danger and make good decisions. It can also be an enemy to us when we use it to evaluate things that we really don't need to know about. In the training I do we play a game called "I see - I assume". For example, when you see someone has a wedding ring you assume they are married. If you are trying to "hit" on them that might keep you from being embarrassed. If you are trying to make conversation you might want to ask about their family. If you see someone wearing dirty clothes you might assume they didn't care enough to dress properly. You may not know they were splashed by a bus on their way in to visit you. If someone is of a race you have heard bad things about you may lose the opportunity to have a great friend because you couldn't hear past the colour of their skin. (1 2 3 4)
9. Want only the facts- Listen to hearts, not facts. What, for example, is more important about the party your friend went to? Does it matter who and how many were there or is it more important to find out if they had a good time and what made it good or bad for them? (1 2 3 4)
10. Wander in the conversation. This is similar to distraction but just a bit different. This is when you find yourself actually moving the conversation in a different direction. They may be talking about a bad day and you suddenly go off into a different line and talk about Mary's birthday party. (1 2 3 4)
Underlying in all of these issues is the basic commitment to listening. If we are not committed to a conversation we waste everyone's time and are devaluing the person we are listening to.
Take time to really listen. It will have great rewards.
Training available - If you are interested in becoming a better listener or having your staff become better listeners River of Hope Enterprises offers a course in listening. The training is usually offered in a six-hour training, which can be broken into segments of given all in one day. The material is easily adaptable to different venues of service. Please inquire about rates and availability.
Eternal Sound Waves
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:10 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-27-14 10:42 PM
Everything I've said
is floating around in space
can be heard
out of place
like a ghostly notion
whispering my name.
by: Jackie (with permission)
Discussing what I might write on this blog over dinner, some friends and I came upon a notion that sound waves are eternal.
When a word is spoken it travels to eternity on a never-ending wave. It may not be true but this old fable warms my heart. The idea of the prayers whispered by those who have loved me continuing to resound in the ears of a hearing and loving God reassures me. It causes me to wonder, if I listened deeply, carefully, would I still hear their love for me.
The downside is that hurtful and harmful words full of anger and hate, spoken by myself and generations of others, also float in that same space. If so, can those vile things still be heard by the innocent and hurt those who do hear deeply?
Perhaps in a perfect economy of sound, the good words spoken would have more power than the bad ones. Maybe by some Peter Pan spell, we could eliminate the bad and bring new life to the good by saying, "I do believe in magic."
True or not the notion makes me think we all need to be much more careful about what we say. Even if the waves do not go on forever the words we speak have an eternal effect on the ears and hearts of those who hear them.
With special thanks to Barb, Cindy and Jackie
Listening - A Spiritual Experience
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:05 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-24-14 8:07 PM
Third in a Series on Listening
"...listening is a sacred act...beyond technique when two or more people are deeply listening to each other...not only are we present to each other, we are present to something that is spiritual, holy, sacred."
Kay Lindahl, Founder of The Listening Center in her book, The Sacred Art of Listening
Consider for a moment that when someone speaks to you they are giving you a part of their spirit. Their life is in their words. Their heart is feeling something or experiencing something they want to share with you, or need to share with you.
If you think of listening as a sacred response to a sacred gift how affect the way you listen?
Let's talk about it. Comment below.
Communication - Does it Really Need Words?
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:00 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-17-14 9:52 PM
A book I am studying asked the question, “Do we need words to communicate?” As I meditated on the topic I remembered Great Grandpa Christie and how we used to communicate without a word. I knew I was loved and appreciated and I think he did too. Let me take you to that sweet place where a seven-year-old girl learned how to speak volumes without a word.
Great Grandparents, Wilbur and Margaret Christie (nee Secord), with me Grandpa's lap, my grandmother and their daughter, Luara E. Guiler, and my Dad, Christie RD Guiler. Circa 1958
If there was such a thing as green cotton candy that would be the colour of my great grandmother’s kitchen. It was a huge room, the entire one side of the old brick home on the farm. There were three large windows. One on each side of the fireplace and another on the street side. A long counter ran along the inside wall between the two doorways. One door led to the front hallway. The one at the back of the room had a small alcove and led to the dining room. There were also doors from the alcove out to the summer kitchen or shed and to the cellar. A small room which had been a pantry had been turned into a two piece bath.
The room was bathed in sunlight and smelled of fresh baking, simmering meat dishes mingled with the sweet aroma of great grandpa’s pipe.
The large table in the middle of the room served as the countertop for canning and baking and seated people who wanted to visit while the work was being done but mostly it was quiet when the house was full of company. The large dining room on the other side of the long stairway had not only a huge table but a couch and chairs. That was the place where most of the visiting happened. The large parlour beyond was saved for the more special occasions.
Back in the kitchen on the wide window sill of the back window sat an old radio with an ivory coloured plastic casing. The large knobs were easy to move for grandpa after he had the stroke. Often there was a crackle and noise from it with news or soft music. It was turned up on occasion to listen to important things like a ball game but the volume always went down as soon as someone walked into the kitchen. Listening to people was always far more important than anything else – (not counting hockey night in Canada which took precedence over every other event.)
Also on the windowsill sat a small packet of tobacco, a box of wooden matches and an ashtray which held a couple of brown wooden pipes with yellowed ivory mouthpieces. Beside the window was a big old chair with overstuffed red leather cushions. It must have been a forerunner to the lazy boy because the back moved to an angle which was more comfortable for long times of sitting. It had wide wooden arms and a wooden frame and there was a matching footstool which was oversized. On a silver plated stand stood a large ashtray which was used for emptying the pipe of its ashes when the smoking was done.
When I was visiting one of the wooden chairs from the table would find its way to the spot beside Grandpa’s chair. I would sit there and watch out the window with him as the cars passed along the road. He would look longingly outside sometimes and I wondered what he was thinking. He could not speak much because of damage from the stroke. It was a struggle to get a few words out. The whisper of people’s names was what seized his best voice. The gentle tone he used when he called for Great Grandma to get him something made me believe he must have used this gentle tone with her all of their lives together.
“Margaret”, he would say softly.
She would respond in an equally gentle tone with, “Yes Wib.”
They would have been married about 60 years at that time. In total, they were married 66 years.
His hands were weak then but it was easy to tell they had worked hard. The skin folded and shifted on the sunken frame and his nails were ridged. Purple veins stood high and looked like mountain ranges on the back of his hands. The two larger two fingers of his left hand were stained yellow from tamping the tobacco into his pipe.
As the youngest in the house much of the time it was my great pleasure to escape the adult conversation of the big dining room and sit holding those hands. We would inspect one another’s hands. He would softly rub his fingers and thumb over mine and look lovingly at my hand, smiling a soft and gentle smile in my direction. I would run my fingers over his tired hand, moving the skin gently and touching the ridges of his fingernails.
We sat for hours at a time it seemed. People would come and go making tea or getting cookies or sandwiches but we would just sit there watching outside and admiring one another.
In the most precious moments, his hand would reach for the tobacco and the pipe. With the dexterity of habit, when there was little strength for anything else, the pipe would slide into the packet and emerge with strands of tobacco hanging from the bowl. The fingers of his one hand would hold the tobacco in place as he moved the bowl and the bite close to his mouth. With it planted between his teeth he would gently hold the bottom in his palm while he pressed the sweet-smelling grass into the bowl.
A nod let me know it was now time for me to swing into action. He would reach for the box of matches and hand it to me with a look that said, “Now be careful.” I would slide the box open and carefully remove a match striking it on the rough side of the box. With a crackle of gunpowder, the flames would leap into the air and I would move it toward the bowl of the pipe where his other hand would hold it while he took deep pulls on the pipe until the tobacco turned red hot and the smoke began to circle around our heads.
I can still smell the sweet aroma and feel the softness of his skin against my small hand.
We each knew we were greatly loved...with hardly a word.
(Photo: Peggy (Margaret) Guiler age 6 with Great Grandparents, Margaret and Wilbur Christie, their daughter, Laura E. Guiler, and Peggy's father Christie RD Guiler)
How to Find Blogs
Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:00 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-13-14 1:55 PM
Blogs may seem a little elusive but now that I know what they are they are a little easier to find.
I'm a bit of a news junkie so the best way I can figure to find news blogs is to google "best Canadian news blogs". If you are a comedy buff you could do the same thing with ..." best Canadian comedy blogs" or if you prefer blogs about steam engines you can try entering that.
Google is a virtual, "Your wish is my command" sort of site and while it is far from perfect the more specific the search the more likely success.
Google, as well as many other sites, have specific blog directories as well. They are listed in detail and explained in a blog (imagine that) by Mashable.
I visited a few from the list on Mashable and this is what I discovered:
Alltop - the main page is a bit boring but if you hit the tags it gets more interesting. The "holy law" section (as in holy shit) is a lot of fun. Visitors can also build an account and specialize topics so it's easier to find what you like when you visit.
Technorati - is a little more fun at first glance with a good and bad list on the main page
Blog Catalog - also bright and catchy but the leads to big blogs at the top are sponsored so don't be tricked into thinking they are the most popular blogs of the day. They just paid the highest price to be seen.
After that, the list seems to deteriorate a bit and the sites are much less interesting. Many are geared to bloggers with discussion groups.
When looking for a blog by a specific person it might be a little harder to find. I tried to find the blog of my friend Dan Smith but am still looking. It likely has something to do with his very common name. Again being specific in your search is important.
When I searched my own name I was surprised at some of the things that popped up. It pointed to my blog about writing thank you notes, another I wrote for the United Way a while back and then some obscure post I had made in a condolences site for a friend who had died. Searching my name on the sites mentioned above, however, was futile. I'm just not famous enough...yet.
The next thing I need to learn about is categorizing posts. This could take a little more research so my next few blogs are going to be things I know more about.
Overwhelming Talk About Suicide
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 13:35 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on August-14-14 11:37 AM
Bryan Delahunt saving starfish on the beach. There are many troubling statistics in the world of suicide prevention but one which rises above the rest this week for me is that those who are bereaved by suicide are two times more likely than others, to die by suicide themselves.
In suicide prevention training we are taught to evaluate risk. If someone has lost a close friend or family member to suicide they are immediately in the medium risk category. Adding one more factor to the mix could easily put them over the top into the high-risk category.
Social Media is something I enjoy but this week it is making me uneasy at the least and overwhelmed at the most.
With the recent death of Robin Williams, the pages of Facebook and Twitter are filled with speculation, warnings and options for those who may be living with mental health issues that would lead them to suicide.
When I heard about the torment the media is putting the family through, particularly his daughter, my heart broke for her and I have found myself near tears ever since.
I know my own heartache from the rumour, speculation and taunts of thoughtless and ignorant people hurt me and my family deeply after the sudden, tragic death of my 16-year-old son.
We were told he had gone to hell by a church filled with people who disguised judgement and condemnation with caring. There were rumours about the cause of his death and unfounded suspicions about who the perpetrator was in the childhood sexual abuse which led to his actions. People talked about us behind their hands and some even went out of their way to avoid us. Perhaps they just didn't know what to say but "Hello" or even "I don't know what to say," would have been better than watching people cross the street or make a quick turn in the grocery store to get away.
As if the guilt we carry wasn't enough. Living every waking minute and many of the sleeping ones trying to put some reason into the loss is enough. Reliving the event for years is enough. The taunts and abuse of the ignorant and thoughtless on top of all that is unbearable.
Learn more about suicide and how to prevent it. Learn what to say to someone who may be suicidal. Learn what not to say. The Canadian Mental Health site and the Living Works site and the American Association of Suicidology are good places to start.
If you are someone dealing with suicidal ideation get help...quickly. This list from the Living Works site may be a start. Your phone book has crisis resources on the front cover. If the danger is imminent call 911.
Please read the official statement of the American Association of Suicidology regarding Robin Williams death.
A Response About Depression
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 13:30 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on August-12-14 2:09 PM
This morning I wrote to Arti Patel, a blogger with the Huffington Post, to encourage her to change her language surrounding suicide in a post she had written. (See my article on the Language of Suicide).
Arti wrote back with this request. "I am in the middle of working on a story now about depression and happiness, following the death of Robin Williams, which I am sure you know all over the Internet right now, would you be able to comment on this matter?"
The following is my response:
When you live with depression, happiness is a fleeting and distant thing. It is only found in moments not in days, months or years. Perhaps it is that way for everyone. I don’t know because I've never known life without depression. I have known some happy moments but they never last and easily overshadowed.
In my work with mental health consumers over the past 20 years, I have learned that while we cannot always control the depression we can, to some extent at least, control our response to it.
Medications are a miserable alternative but work for some. I cannot bear the side effects which range from high blood pressure and weight gain to having no "effect" and no desire to participate in life.
For some, like my son, the drugs can even be deadly. They often have a reverse effect and cause people to become more suicidal. In his case, at 16, the drugs which were intended to decrease the symptoms of PTSD from childhood sexual abuse, exacerbated his symptoms and caused him to end his life.
My own choices to deal with depression have been to embrace a close circle of friends who understand, and to use tools which work for me... journaling, yoga and prayer. I have sworn to myself and to those I love that I will reach out for support no matter how hard it is to do so when I am that dark place. I have kept that oath more than once in spite of the taunts to ignore it.
I know too well the devastation of losing someone close to suicide. Besides my son, I also lost my best friend to suicide. The darkness has knocked at my door too often.
I know that suicide is not wanting to die but rather not knowing how to live with the pain.
I also know that depression is a liar and it drives us into believing we have no value to the world and especially to the ones we love. It tricks us into believing we are a burden and often the rest of the world agrees by stigmatizing mental health issues and making light of them.
Certainly, the political will does not support finding solutions to this growing scourge. Suicide kills more people in Canada every year than were killed in the twin towers of New York, but still, we fund airport security with more zeal than we do mental health. More people die by suicide than in traffic accidents but still building safe highways takes priority over providing adequate mental health care in our communities.
I was saddened to hear of the recent death of Robin Williams and feel the enormous pain of his family as the media and the advocates of mental health all jump on the bandwagon to use his death as a springboard for their platforms without even knowing the truth. I think it is disrespectful of his family's wishes. It is also inconsiderate of others who are being seduced by the darkness and may believe the perverse hope offered by all those who are wishing him peace in the next life that he could not find in this one.
If you or someone close to you is suffering from thoughts of suicide there is help and people will listen. There are numbers in the front of the phone books and 911 always responds to imminent threats of suicide. Most communities have mental health staff working 24 hours a day to offer support. It is most often found through the hospitals. Lists of numbers for support can also be found through Canada Suicide Hotlines page.
I urge you not to print anything without reading the media guidelines from the Canadian Psychiatric Association or reporting suicide.
A Personal Note
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 13:25 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on August-11-14 11:03 AM
I painted this a few weeks ago. It was a place of beginning after a few months of just not feeling well and it encourages me every day when I look at to believe there is still much to be accomplished in this life.
Things have been a bit rocky of late but the sky is getting brighter in spite of small setbacks.
I would like to get back to the blog on a regular basis now that I'm feeling better so expect to hear more.
Thanks to my young friend Angela Hardy, artist extraordinaire, for inspiring me to take on new challenges. Amazing what a four-hour art lesson can do for your ego and sense of self-worth.
It really is good to use the right side of your brain more often. It is a place of rest and creativity. A place where the impossible becomes possible.
What the Heck is a Blog Anway
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 11:55 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-10-14 11:58 AM
If the internet can be trusted as a source it seems the first blog happened only ten years ago and the strange term comes from marble in the mouth sort of experience.
A student, Justin Hall, is credited as the founding father of personal blogging. This online diarist began using the internet for a journal in 1994. His blog continues at Links.net.
Another web-based diary, created by science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle, added the video feature to blogging with his “Tour of the Web”. It was designed to help ordinary folks find their way around the very complicated new phenomenon, the "World Wide Web".
In the early years of the century, news services began to uses blogging. Now more people read blogs than newspapers. Perhaps you have been reading them without even realizing it. Huffington Post may be the biggest blog news outlet and was the first to put a concerted effort into online news publishing. Many other news agencies are fast building their blog followings. It may be the only way for the news media to survive because print is fast becoming obsolete. (More about how to find blogs in the next post on Thursday).
Creating a blog, until the early 2000’s, also meant the writer had to learn a new “virtual language” called HTML, the language of web site creation. Publishing a blog without this knowledge was a tedious task at best and impossible at least until about 2004 when companies like Word Press, Google's Blogger, and Tumblr began creating simpler ways for writers to publish online work. Those platforms have evolved so anyone who can use a simple word processing program and has basic internet skills can also create a blog or even a website.
The forerunner to the blog was that annoying bulletin board idea “Usernet”. I recall trying to use one for a collaborative project I was involved with. I got so many emails from people who used it to gossip and grumble rather than stay on topic I finally had to block the emails.
Now with blogs, I can be picky about what I receive and read. They are on my twitter and facebook feeds. I can add new ones and eliminate the ones I don’t like at any moment. The blog Newfangled claims, there are 70million blogs and says, “Estimates show that the total number of blogs doubles every six months.”
Just for the sake of interest the term “blog” was a bit a garble of words. In 1997, online diarist Jorn Barger, coined the term “Weblog” to describe what was then a sort of internet diary. In 1999 a programmer Peter Merholz, shortened “Weblog” to “blog.” You have to admit that “weblog” sort of runs around in your mouth like a marble before you can spit it out. Thanks for the short form, Peter.
On Thursday I will take a short look at "How to Find Blogs" and will begin to give some insight into "coaching".
Pictures on the Blog Post - Where can I find them?
Posted on 20 April 2016 at 11:50 comments (1)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-06-14 3:40 PM
I know from years in news work that pictures will draw readers to your articles faster than anything. They pull people's eye and draw their attention long enough to make them consider reading.
Test this theory yourself by looking at the newspaper classified section. Just open the page and notice where your eye goes. I'm willing to bet almost every time it goes to a picture of someone first, then maybe to a pretty graphics and last to a headline and text.
On a recent blog post I was searching for a picture in my usual places but just couldn't find one that worked so I decided to try something new. I now have an avatar on "Bitstrips". It turned out to be useful and fun.
I had seen postings from some friends on Facebook with their comic strips. Some were pretty good. I wondered if it might be a good alternative to trying to find "canned" photos or even using my own.
I love using my own photographs for postings but I don't always have something that fits. Google images are great but you have to be careful you aren't using material which is copyrighted and requires permission to use.
I wanted a picture of someone puzzling over their computer and wished I could do a "selfie" but I still had my jammies on so thought better of it for the sake of all of you.
Then I remembered those wonderful comic strip type photos that I see on Facebook from time to time.
I had no idea how to get to it so asked my friend Lea and she obliged me by telling me the name and how to get to it. Easy, peasy (sort of). I finally hit the right button and started creating my avatar. It was great fun. Then I discovered I could add other people to my cartoons too so my sweet partner, Bee (Brian Awde of Bee Handy), got to be my second creation.
I think these options might now be first on my list when I need a pic for my blog. Real people and great photos are always good but there are times when a little levity and simplicity go a long way.
If you would like to find out more about building your avatar you can visit Bitstrips on your Facebook feed or find it on iTunes.
How Often Should I Blog
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 11:50 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-03-14 10:38 AM
In exploring the ins and outs of blogging the big question which seems to arise is "How often should I post on my blog?"
In a quick study today on the subject I ran across some different points of view but there are common threads.
The first thing to consider is what the goal of the blog is. If it is to drive your business or make money from the actual posting of blogs they need to be posted regularly and often. If the purpose is just to have little fun there are no rules.
One site I visited was in stark contrast to most others and suggested it is far more important to spend time on promoting a few posts a month than it is to write frequent posts.
This opinion was refuted by most others. The consensus seems to be that the more you post the more likely you are to make money at it. There was also an agreement that no less than once a week is crucial to success with a blog.
One writer went so far as to offer a formula which looked something like this:
Fast growth = many times per day
Steady growth = 1 time per day
Slower growth = 2-3 times per week
Very slow growth and hobby bloggers = less frequently than 2-3 times a week.
A schedule was another common theme. If you publish only once a week don't miss. If you publish 3 times a week don't miss. Consistency is key.
The actual time of day of the blog posting or the days of the week was only touched on. The belief by most seems to be this is something that has to be played with to discover when the readership is best for the product and service.
So here I go. What days to publish and how often for me.
I'm going to go with Monday and Thursday. My hope is that the Monday blog might be a nice start to the week for the readers. Something to inspire and brighten the day. The Thursday might slip into the Friday read for many but it won't get lost to the weekend.
If you would like to check out some of the opinions I found you can visit these sites: Pro Blogger, About.com, DIY Themes.
A Nudge from the Universe
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 11:45 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on February-28-14 11:11 AM
It is what I love. I was trained to do it in Journalism school. It is something I have done almost every day of my adult life in my journal. Nothing would make me happier than to spend my days writing ...
...but I have to make a living.
A few months ago I was challenged by a yoga teacher friend of mine, to start exploring writing for a living. Since then it has been heavy on my mind and I have had some other nudges pushing me toward the idea.
At the grocery store, I met someone who is a recently published author and who I have known for years. He said, "As I recall, you are a really good writer. Why don't you write a book?"
Another friend who I also respect as an author and scholar said last week, "Why don't you write?"
The topper was the other day when I won a prize on the local radio station for a comment I made.
They asked, "What do YOU consider the first sign of spring in Norfolk County?"
I said, " Every year about March 10 the tundra swans return for their annual stopover in Norfolk. These majestic birds, the robins and heron all arrive about the same time but there is something magical about the haunting call of swans in flight. It seems to drill into my icy winter heart and cause the blood to flow again."
They responded with, "A perfectly poetic sign of spring! Congrats Peggy, you're our Friend of the Day!" and gave me some cool prizes. (A pass to the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show Wildlife Festival & Adventure Show - March 8th & 9th at the Aud! )
All of this may not seem to the rest of you like a Universal nudge, or a spirit inspired provoking, but to me it does...and so I begin.
I Promised Paula
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 11:40 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on February-26-14 12:01 PM
En route to kick-starting my blog, I ran across a friend who writes pieces of wisdom in her Facebook feed quite often and I suggested she also might consider doing a blog.
The discussion of "how do I do that?" ensued.
My promise to Paula was I would do some research and see if I could help her get started.
I asked her to give me a week and now, after eight days, I'm more confused than I was before.
I have had this blog for over a year but haven't used it the way many others use theirs. I lack consistency and often my blogs look more like essays. Obviously my flowing prose and remarkable wisdom ( :)) ) have not attracted corporate advertisers. Most of the comments I get are from spammers who want to advertise by posting their name on my blog. (Most are selling real estate somewhere in the desert.)
Not being a great reader of blogs - except when sent there by a "tweet" or a Facebook story - I haven't much of an idea of what works and what doesn't.
Almost every site I go to which suggests it can help build a blog wants to sell and up-sell. They have some very clever ways of enticing readers/listeners to spend money on learning "the secrets" of blogging. I almost fell for it.
The best tutorial I found was from the Goodwill Community Foundation. It gives a good basic understanding of options and doesn't hook you into upgrades. It is a slideshow approach which can be done at whatever pace works for the learner.
One thing all of the blog guru's seem to hold in common is, "The best way to learn how to do a blog is to start one." If you goof up no one is likely to read it anyway so it won't really matter.
I would add a warning that to start you don't need to spend a lot of money.
I was already using Vista Print for my business promotional needs so it was an easy leap to the Blog. The format for the website and the blog is easy - similar to word processing programs.
If a blogger wants to have their own domain name (recommended) it does not have to be expensive. One of the local web designers like Barber & Veri or World of Graphics can likely help you figure it out without it costing much. I wish I'd known about these alternatives before I started building my site. ( I'm hoping that the mention of it here will provoke some discussion from those in the know.)
My friend Dan has been blogging for a long time and promised he would help so don't be surprised if he chimes in on this.
So there you go Paula. It's a start. Keep writing.
This conversation is not finished and may be the topic of several more blog posts over the next few weeks as I explore and expand my own use of the blog.
Book Fair - A Unique and Inspiring Experience
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 11:40 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on February-23-14 2:25 PM
I love to write, and as most with a passion for words, I also love to read.
I've never been a particularly fast reader so I am very discriminating in my choices of literature. If it hasn't grabbed me in the first few pages I put it down. I often survey other readers about what they have enjoyed because I don't want to waste time with books that aren't worth precious time.
When I find an author I enjoy I am likely to read many of their books because I know they will please me.
Group Think - A Solution to Isolation of Working from Home
Posted on 20 April, 2016 at 11:35 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on July-05-13 12:18 PM
There are many pros and cons of working from home but the one I have found most difficult to deal with over the past year is the lack of contact and good conversation which I used to be exposed to in the workplace.
Oh there are conversations at home and there are short bursts of interaction on email, Facebook and Twitter but it is the conversations of change I really miss. In the workplace, especially if it is a proactive atmosphere, ideas are more often the topic than people or situations and it is those "thinking outside the box" conversations I long for: the conversations about how we would change the world; the new ways to think of a topic; the discussions which have no great emotional investment, where an idea which is different from someone else's is not a threat.
Because I find this great hole in my life of work from home I expect others of the 10% of the working population with home-based businesses are feeling a similar void.
In response, I suggest a regular meet up event in my home region. This regular meeting of the minds will take place in coffee shops with "WiFi" access in the later hours of the evening when we are all too tired to work but still too wound up to sleep. It is a time when there is hardly anything on TV that we can't rewind, download or find on NetFlix later.
There are hundreds of ideas out there on TED Talks and Upworthy and thousands more on Twitter and YouTube.
My proposal is to gather the group with some possible topics of conversation. The group can take a few minutes to come to an agreement about the topic. If everyone brings their laptop or other mobile device and a set of earphones, they can take a few minutes to listen to a 5 or ten-minute video. Then members unplug and have a conversation about the topic. If there is nothing the group wants to watch we just talk news or share about our businesses. It would not be a place to promote business so much as to support one another with ideas and encouragement. Business cards would be welcome but sales talks discouraged.
Group facilitation is one of the things I love to do and as each group develops it can develop its own agreements about "dos and don'ts". The personality of the group will change as often as the participants but that will bring variety and life to the environment.
Group Think Meetings
(If you want to visit longer that is your choice)
2nd Wednesday of the month
Port Dover - Tim Horton's
4th Wednesday of the month
Simcoe - Daily Grind
(I'll be there about 8:45 to help if you need help with set up for the internet.)
See you July 10th in Port Dover and July 24th in Simcoe.
Below are some links to some interesting thoughts about working at home. My favourite is the Coffitivity Site. I turn it on when I'm working quite often.
Think better in a coffee shop
Coffee shop sounds
Working at home – blogs about the advantages and disadvantages
A good TED talk example
Ted Talk options
Poetry Month is April
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 19:20 comments (0)
Posted on April-01-13 5:49 PM
Poems were everywhere in my childhood.
With a Mother who taught kindergarten, there weren't many days in our home when there wasn't a poem being used or taught in some form or other. I have Mother Goose nursery rhymes so firmly planted in my brain that they fall out on the command of one simple word or name.
Shoe - "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe...
Jack - "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick
Penny - "Hot crossed buns, hot crossed buns, one a penny, two a penny, hot crossed buns.
Kiss - Georgie Porgy pudd'n pie, kissed the girls and made them cry.
Cat - "Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such sport and the dish ran away with the spoon.
See what I mean. It's hard to even set the table without a poem in my brain.
Then there were the antics of my grandfather, Emerson McConachie, who also had a rhyme for every occasion. If he didn't have an occasion he'd make one just for the poem. My all-time favourite was:
" I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny
but it keeps 'em on the knife."
This little ditty was, of course, much to my mother's chagrin, was accompanied by a theatrical dipping the knife in the honey pot and then in the pile of peas on the plate. All grandchildren present were to follow suit.
He also had some insistence that I should know, from beginning to end, the Cremation of Sam McGee. I likely did know it and still do if I think about it for a while. I could hardly remember a two verse poem for my grade five teacher Ruby Wilbur. More than once Tom McClatchie and I suffered the consequence of her rather thick yardstick on our arms when we failed to recall a word. For Grandpa though, I could recite the entire 15 verse ballad and did it often.
It was somewhat of a relief that he never insisted I know Robbie Burns poems. It was sufficient that I could say with the appropriate brogue, his favourite line from "To a Mouse": "The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley." (For those of you who do not come from Scottish ancestry this means, "The best-laid plans of mice and men go often astray.")
When I was in grade eight my speech was about Canadian Poetess, E. Pauline Johnson. While I love her most famous work, "The Song My Paddle Sings" my favourite is always "The Cattle Thief".
In high school, I fell in love with Shakespeare when I heard it fall from the lips of Christopher Plummer in Stratford Ontario. It is truly a poetry to be heard and played, not read. The line I recall most is from Hamlet's speech in the graveyard to Horatio with Yorick's skull in hand sticks in my skull..."Alas, poor Yorick..."
Let's not forget the great songs that sing in our hearts which are poetry to music. For me, the best are from Broadway and in film. A handful of my favourites are, "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific, "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Susan Boyle's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserable.
For those of us who grew up in church the first poem, we learned formally was the Lord's Prayer. We repeated it daily for most of our lives until we left the public school system. Second to it was Psalm 23. Many of us could sing a good portion of the hymn book if we tried and our hearts leap when we hear the great songs of faith. That great psalm of David I read many times to my Great Grandma Christie when I was a child. It was her favourite and hence mine too.
My children too grew up on a feast of Mother Goose and Aligator Pie and my daughter, Christie, still has a large library of children's stories and verse which are read to her children as part of their daily ritual.
It is National Poetry Month in Canada and publishers, authors and schools all over the country are working together to bring poetry to life in our children.
We can all do a little to bring poetry back into our lives. Here are some ideas.
Find a kid to read to.
Find an adult to read to.
Visit a nursing home and bring some fun and laughter with a fun ballad.
Memorize a poem for fun and share it with everyone you meet.
Dig out your pen and write a new poem for yourself.
Ask your children and grandchildren what they are doing about poetry in their school this month.
This blog is dotted with poems written and sung. Take a few minutes to go back and read a few and listen to some wonderful music.
I'd love to hear what you have to say about poems in your life. ( Clean ones only please.)
Make a comment. It will be sent to me for approval and then you can see it online.
"Stuck" and Getting "Unstuck"
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 19:10 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-18-13 3:55 PM
There are many varieties and degrees of being "stuck" but the one thing they all have in common is that you can't get "unstuck" without help. There are, and have been, many things in life that I've found myself "stuck" in. As determined, positive or capable as I may have been it was always the words, the faith, the new perspective or the support of someone outside the situation that was able to move me forward and out of the mud.
Stuck according to the freedictionary.com is "caught or fixed: baffled, perplexed, full of confusion or bewilderment".
Life is full of things to get stuck in.
There are bad situations and difficult relationships at home and at work.
We get stuck in ruts about simple things like the menu for supper and the tough things like how to build a business or navigate a marriage.
Sometimes we get stuck in ideas, either our own or someone else's, about how things should happen and ways things should be done. Who hasn't been stuck trying to make someone else's great idea work and feeling like it just doesn't fit? It's like putting both legs in one pant leg. You get stuck.
Fear of the new gets us stuck.
Experience from the past gets us stuck.
Other people's opinions about us and about what we do get us stuck.
Our opinions about others get us stuck.
Our egos are very able to keep us stuck.
Our insecurities frequently get us mired down.
Other people's ego's and insecurities may have the same effect.
History and genetics sometimes get us stuck.
We get stuck for reasons that are real and for reasons which are imagined.
We get stuck because of mistakes we made and we get stuck because of mistakes that other people made.
We even get stuck when there has been no mistake at all...we are just stuck.
Coaching is about helping people move beyond stuck.
Personally I've been stuck in a battle with weight for about 30 years. Everything I do seems to make it worse rather than better. I've tried all the diets and been tested for all sorts of ailments which might make the situation worse. I've done exercise and it helped a bit but when I hurt my foot that went by the wayside. The yoga helps me keep moving but it's not helping with the weight. I've listened to Oprah and she and I both listened to Dr Oz. So far that hasn't helped either of us.
So what do I need to do? What I'm doing isn't working so rather than being stuck and beating myself with the same old stuff why not try something new. How about a naturopathic doctor? Wow! Who knew I had a thyroid issue that cannot be detected with standard tests. (My pharmacist did - thanks Mike). Get that on track and then look at next steps. Maybe a personal trainer would help. I've found one. She is someone who will come alongside without judgement and will encourage me. She is someone who has been down this road so she can understand the struggle.
Coaches don't have all the answers. In fact, they don't even pretend to have the answers because they believe you have your own answers. If you are afraid of the water you don't need a swim coach you just need someone you trust to encourage you get wet. Then you can get the swim coach.
.If you are stuck in the snow you might be able to wait for spring. If you are stuck in a tree you might wait till the leaves fall off so someone can see you or until the tree is cut down but that could be a long wait. Most of the time when you are stuck the only thing that will truly work is asking for help from someone on the outside of the situation. Someone who has perspective and who can help you explore options which you have absolutely no access to from your current vantage point.
Are you stuck? What are you waiting for? Find someone to help you get unstuck. I'm happy to help if I can and if can't I'll help you find someone who can.
Chances are you have the answer yourself and you just can't see it.
If you would like a childlike perspective on the adult situation of being stuck take a look at this delightful book by Oliver Jeffers. I plan to buy a few. (Click on the book & it will take you to the website. Be sure to watch the trailer.)
Thank you, River for being you!
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 19:10 comments (0)
Grandma Peggy: Posted on February-27-13 10:15 PM
This is my Grandson, River. The picture was taken in our garden two years ago.
I wanted to give a special mention to River this week because he has been growing his lovely red hair for over a year and this week he had it cut so he could donate it to cancer patients who need wigs.
He is an amazing young man and everyone who knows him loves him.
Thanks, River for the gift of hair and the gift of you.
I love you
Challenge to Write - Grab a Pen
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 19:05 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on February-22-13 6:29 PM
A video I watched today has inspired me to put out a challenge. The video depicts a young man putting away his tech toys and doing some things the old-fashioned way. He began to do things like write letters.
The very thought of writing letters took me back to days gone by. When I was a child my mother stood over me with hands on hips until I finished all of the thank you notes to grandmothers, great-grandmothers, great aunts and anyone else who had sent me any sort of present for Christmas.
I still remember Aunt Myrtle's address at 44 Cameron Crescent because I wrote it so many times that it burned into my brain. My paternal Grandmother's only sister sent me a silver spoon every year. It was to add to my trousseau and by the time I was about 15 she switched to folks. I don't remember the pattern of the silver because it is long gone but I do remember the excitement of receiving gifts in the mail and the sweet notes that accompanied them.
The labour of writing thank you notes grew to be a love and when the silver stopped arriving it was not the metal I missed so much as the affection and the sense of belonging that accompanied our annual conversation.
There was a majesty about the whole process of letter writing. I used to have some of the most beautiful notes with delicate pictures and tiny envelopes. Later there were fine papers. A gift of writing paper never went astray with me. I loved the textures and tinctures. Some even had fragrance but if not it was easy to add. The blue, folding, air mail letters were of special interest.
With an improved ability in penmanship as I grew older the process of letter writing also grew from writing to loved ones to writing love letters. As fate would have it my high school sweetheart lived about an hour away and I only saw him in the summer when he stayed in his Port Dover cottage. The other ten months of the year were full of long letters back and forth. The sheer joy of going to Post Office and the skip in my heartbeat when I saw his handwriting on an envelope still makes me smile. These were the times when long distance phone calls were a luxury and stamps were five cents each.
How I wish I still had those letters. They were carefully tied with red ribbon every year and stored in a shoe box which was hidden in the back of my closet. They were not just letters. They were dreams on paper. They were the things that romance was made of. They were the fine tuning of relationship which was innocent and sweet. Those letters held the names of future children and the hope of home and career and growing old together.
There were other letters too. In grade 11 I met a boy who was on an exchange program from Belgium. He was a poet and artist and his letters would arrive with beautiful sketches and happy cartoons. I would send him one of my poems and he would return it with illustrations. We wrote so often that the post offices from Belgium to Port Dover knew us. They must have because one day I received a letter which he had forgotten to address properly before putting it in the post box. There was no town, province or country indicated. It only had my name and street name but it found it's way to me nevertheless. (That sure wouldn't happen today).
There were letters slipped into cards each Christmas. They were so fun to write. There was magic in telling special people who lived far away about things that were going on in my life.
Reading the notes sent to us about the things going on in faraway lives was also a treasure which lasted because it could be read and read again.
My favourite Christmas letter was from Doug and Jean Dixon. Doug was a school principal so had at his disposal a Gestetner. (Can you smell that ink?) Each year he would write a poem about the adventures of his family and send copies to all his friends and family. By the time Mom finished reading it aloud, we would both be laughing so hard we were racing one another to the washroom.
Writing notes and letters was the socially acceptable thing to do when offering thanks and in the circumstances of a death, and still is, though often it doesn't get done. It is something very difficult to do but in the ink, mixed with tears, there is some therapy, some solace, some sense of hope which rises in extending a hand to those who have offered theirs to us. With pen to paper, we acknowledge their love and care and in so doing remind ourselves that even in the desperate moments of grief we are not alone.
These are some of the memories and ponderings of what letter writing has meant and does mean to me. Now I offer a challenge to you and to myself to write one letter every week to someone - anyone. Letters to the editor do count but letters of complaint to Bell Canada do not.
Who might be the benefactors of our letters?
People we don't see often and need to catch up with.
Friends we do see often but who need to know how special they are to us.
Family with whom we would like to reconnect or mend fences.
A neighbour who has given us a gift of self.
Someone you would like to thank for something that they didn't know they gave to you.
A teacher who made a difference in your life.
A child who you admire.
Someone alone or in an institution
A single parent who needs some encouragement.
A business which you appreciate...
You continue the list.
In the comment spaces below please keep us up to date on what is happening with your letter campaign. Let us know that you have joined the ranks. There is no need to tell us who you have written to or who sent you letters but you are welcome to give us vague references to your stories.
I can't wait to hear of your adventures.
Blessings to you.
Customer Service - Our only sustainable rural advantage
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 18:55 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on January-28-13 4:07 PM
Communication for Business
When was the last time you went into a local business and knew you would be back when you wanted a similar product? On the other hand, when was the last time you went into a small business and knew you would never darken their door again?
For me, the star is my car dealership/repair folks at Town and County Automotive Sales and Service. They once made a mistake with my vehicle, owned up and paid for the expensive repair but they have my business for life and I advertise for them everywhere - even on my blog. I'm on my third vehicle purchased there and wouldn't think of going elsewhere. (Town and County Service, 7 Grigg Dr, Simcoe, ON N3Y 4L1 (519) 426-8989 or on Facebook)
On the other hand, the last time I swore off a business cost them not just a customer but a vote because it was was the office of an elected official. No names mentioned.
At the Norfolk Economic Development Symposium, held January 23 in Port Dover, keynote speaker Becky McCray told us some things we knew but needed to be reminded of in our effort to build a sustainable future in a rural area.
For me the highlight of her talk was Small Town Rule #5 - Learn Customer Driven Communication. She said, " customer service is the only sustainable advantage," and for small business, in a rural area I agree it is critical to survival. In the big city when you make a mistake with a customer there are hundreds more walking past the door but in small towns, the people walking past are friends or acquaintances of the one who just left unhappy.
If our only sustainable advantage in business is customer service some businesses have it nailed but there is almost always room for improvement.
Enter River of Hope Enterprises training and executive coaching
We all communicate. We use words, tone and body language to give messages to everyone around us. We communicate all the time whether we mean to or not. Sometimes that is good but it may also be what frightens away customers. In an age when there are so many choices for product and service it only takes one bad move or word to lose a customer. Conversely, it only takes one good word, observation or action to gain a customer for life.
When in business we broaden this communication influence with our advertising, social media presence and by simply living in the community. Like or not we are always only one tweet, phone video or coffee at the local hang out from gaining or losing customers.
In small towns, we compete with the big box stores and online shopping and we need to build our advantage. McCray points out several which include: catering to individual needs; knowing all we can about our customer, their families and environments; using all the tools we have including invoices, social media; catering to local preferences; listening to feedback and; being part of the community.
On limited budgets, with limited resources and time how do we support this notion and teach ourselves and our staff to do a better job of customer service? There are many ways and much of this is discussed in Communications and Listening Skills classes offered by River of Hope Enterprises.
One of the lessons in the training is the value of the smile. A very simple solution to keeping smiles on your face is to put mirrors around the work area, particularly by the phone. Train staff to let the phone ring a second time, look in the mirror and smile before they answer. The person on the other end can hear the smile in a voice. (If your staff have a hard time keeping smiles on their faces you might consider hiring an executive coach).
The second part of the telephone strategy is to develop a good opening line. If people only hear "hello" when they call your business they may think they have a wrong number. Work with your staff and customers to develop a short greeting which is friendly, not too long and memorable. Even something as simple as "Good Morning, River of Hope Enterprises, Peggy speaking. How may I help you!", gives clients all the information they need to move into the conversation. They know their business is important to you, that they have the right number, who answered the phone and have permission to speak. Don't make it too long and don't be too cute. The message on your answering machine is equally as important and be sure to check the message and get back to people asap.
Business like but friendly is key. Be sure to smile when you say it. Even if you just had an argument with the cook, forcing yourself to smile will change your attitude and certainly affect the person on the other end of the phone.
The communications and listening skills course being offered by us has been evolving for 25 years since I first used it for training telephone crisis workers. Its newest evolution is bringing it from social service to customer service.
The course is very interactive and gives the opportunity to practice in a safe and friendly environment. Sharing with others who have similar victories and challenges, you will learn basic communication models, evaluate strengths and weaknesses in communication and learn the basics of body language. There is also some focus on confidentiality, and constructive confrontation.
I often explain to those taking the course they are not really learning anything they don't know, they are simply learning that they know it. With this new awareness and improved skill, you will go out better equipped to manage in the marketplace and hold your own in customer service. You may even learn some things that will help you communicate better with family and friends.
Communication and Listening Skills Course
Tuesday evenings, February 12, 19 & 26
6:30 to 9 pm
Norfolk District Business Development Corporation
Details on the main page at www.riverofhopeenterprises.com.
Class size is limited to 15 so sign up early
by emailing: [email protected]
or call 519-718-4512
This course is adaptable and available for businesses and groups who might prefer to offer it in-house.
Another highlight of the Norfolk Event was the presentation of the new promotional video "Norfolk County - Ontario's South Coast".
Excellent work to local videographers at Rainey Media
Some additional help
(For Media Communications support I suggest Syd Bolton. From Brantford, Syd has written an easy to understand guide for using social media. There are two ways to purchase. Locally with autograph or on Amazon. Perhaps a good first step is to talk to your grandchildren )
For another interesting take on media advertising and "Why customer-driven communication is the future of marketing" listen to Seth Godin on Apptentive
Blue Monday - A Good Day to Find a Coach
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 18:55 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on January-21-13 11:28 AM
Blue Monday - Brighter Tuesday
If you aren't hibernating today it might be the worst day of the year.
Since Sky Travel first published reports of the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year the idea has caught the attention of media, scientists, and the general public in the northern hemisphere, but for those living the experience – whether it’s this Monday or next Monday - depression and "Seasonal Affective Disorder" (aka SAD) are real and painful.
Wikipedia calls Blue Monday “pseudoscience” while Sky Travel uses it for the promotion of a sunny vacation. The Hilton has jumped on the bandwagon and offers a cure for “Vacationitis”. They offer the following link (www.urgentcarecentre.hilton.com) but it doesn't work. Rather it redirects you to the Hilton site to book your vacation.
Mental health professionals know that moods drop severely in January. It is a rough month for many people. It is a long month for people who work. There are no days off in site until mid-February and the only celebration days involve American football or bagpipes and haggis. Snow and cold keep us in and hinder even our walking efforts. The days are getting longer but it’s still dark by the time we get home from work and it was very likely gloomy on the way in.
We could hope that a return to hockey and inauguration day might help the mood a bit but for non-sports fans, and Republicans this could even make it worse.
This would definitely be a good month to be in New Zealand, but most of us, especially those who live with depression in the Northern Hemisphere, don’t have that luxury. In fact, the very thought of having to figure out travel schedules and finances to make the trip would send our depressive state into a tailspin.
A quick scan of the Google recommendations for Blue Monday offer some interesting and helpful ideas for turning the day, albeit the month, around. In the movement to solution-focused work about Blue Monday, even its creator, Dr Cliff Arnall, is now more concerned with researching happiness.
My personal favourite in the Google lineup is a Star interview with Paul “Pinball” Clemens. He says, “...any day above ground shows potential" and suggests “people don’t need to be fixed they just need someone to listen to them”, so listen. He also suggests helping someone, dressing for fun, celebrating the small stuff, and finding something you love. For Clemens putting hopes and dreams back in your life is key and that means finding something to look forward to.
An article in the Telegraph suggests seven ways to brighten your day. They are: bring winter to summer; try a new hobby; get spirituality; consult a debt consolidator; cuddle up with someone; explore treatment options for SAD; and get a puppy. Consulting a debt consolidator might seem a little difficult but taking positive steps is usually good medicine. (If the cuddle option doesn't appeal you it may also be a sign of depression or that you are one of the 40 over 40 - in either case, medical advice could be considered).
For a little levity in your day, you might consider a CWTCH. Confused.com offers a short instructional video which may make you laugh. (If you are really depressed you might only smirk.)
An article in The Huffington Post warns of the difference between “down” and “depressed”. Certainly, we all get down but when it persists you might consider the benefits of medical and clinical support. For that, a good starting place is your EAP, your family doctor or the local Canadian Mental Health (CMHA) office. CMHA also offers many helpful resources online including links to local offices.
Coaching is not, and should never be, a substitute for mental health support, however, it can be a place, to begin with preventative measures in supporting your mental health and moving forward to a brighter Tuesday.
On this Blue Monday, River of Hope Enterprises is offering Two free coaching sessions to anyone (anywhere in the world who can use Skype) who books the session before Friday, January 25, 2013. Call 519-718-4512 or email [email protected]
The New Years Penny
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 18:55 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on December-29-12 2:10 PM
There was a tradition at my Grandparents home where I spent each New Year’s Eve as a child. The dining room window was carefully opened and pennies, minted in the year at hand, were carefully placed on the window sill, usually in the snow. In the night something magical happened – I know not what - and that penny was blessed as the old year passed and the new one arrived.
In the morning with great excitement, we would open the window and retrieve the pennies. They were then carefully wrapped in small pieces of foil and placed in wallets or pockets where they would be carried for the year to bring good fortune.
In my search for the root of this tradition, I ran across a couple of possibilities. It is one tradition to put out all the "old stuff" before the evening and then to retrieve a gift of gold from outside after midnight to bring good luck to the house. There wasn’t gold in our homes but a copper was the next best thing, a shiny one was a must. (See Snopes for a list of interesting traditions - http://www.snopes.com/holidays/newyears/beliefs.asp)
The general theme of the new year traditions is to frighten away evil and attract good luck and fortune to your home. Making loud noises is to frighten evil away and bringing gifts to people on new years day brings them hope for prosperity. Even work has some tradition on that day. You are supposed to do something productive however not too much, regarding your work to ensure a productive year. There is also a theme of clean starts and new prospects which is shown by traditions like wearing new clothing.
This time of new beginnings and seeking ways to increase our fortune and good standing is a good time to look at beginning new habits and trying new ways of doing things. It is a time of transformation and hope. It is a time when, even in the dark of winter, the light begins to grow and give us faith that better things are to come.
Wishing you the very best for you and yours in 2013.
We all have some things we want to work on and change this year. I certainly have had changes to make in my life and I'm sure you have some new directions to pursue as well.
If you have a new years tradition you would like to add please feel free to write it in the box below.
For a few more interesting traditions visit: http://www.novareinna.com/festive/atw.html
Twelve Days Before Christmas
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 18:50 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on December-11-12 11:27 PM
The twelve days of Christmas begin when you kick off your shoes and say I’ve done all I can do, the stores are closed and if it’s not done it won’t get done. The twelve days before that are the ones that cause unbearable stress and make tensions high at home, in the workplace and in your heart.
We all know this is not what “Christmas” is supposed to be about. It is supposed to be about “Peace on Earth” but often in this countdown, it seems to have quite the opposite effect.
As a coach, I ask people to take a few minutes of their busy week to take stock and plan. It is a few minutes well spent because it is a time for sorting priorities and focusing our energy on what is really important. (I need a coach too by the way.)
To help you do that during these busy days I want you to ask yourself a few simple questions. Please grab a piece of paper and take a few minutes to answer them. No one else has to see it but you might consider keeping it somewhere close at hand when you are done.
1. List the four most important things you need to get done before Christmas
a. At Work
b. At home
2. Prioritize each list of four by placing a value on it – that is on a scale of 1-10
(10 being most important) what are their values?
3. Look at the two lists and decide which is most important to you. Put a value on them of 1, 2 .4. You should now have a pretty good idea of what is important to you over the next few days. 5. Consider this – if you had to take one thing off each list what would it be.
Cross it off if you can. If you can’t cross it off, consider how to simplify.
6. Of the things which are left on your lists, are there any that can wait until after Christmas.
If yes cross them off.
7. Make another list of the three things you would benefit from doing for yourself over
the next 12 days. (Go for a walk, visit a friend…)
a. Prioritize the items on this list on a 1-10 scale
b. Add a fourth thing that you would like to do but don’t think you have time for.
8. Look at your three lists.
a. Which one is most important now? Change their numbers if you need to.
b. In light of changes, decide if there is anything you could cross off.
c. You may add one item to each of the first two lists if you crossed one off previously.
d. Change any priorities that need to be changed.
Even if your list is still full you have 12 days to accomplish these 12 things. Before you start doing each thing on the list consider how you will do it in a way which is best for you, your work and your family.
Also consider taking 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to make a list of things to be done, prioritize it, have another cup of coffee and jump in.
A wise person once told me, “If it doesn’t matter in eternity, it doesn’t matter.”
May all your busyness have eternal benefit.
If the Walls Could Talk
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 17:10 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on November-27-12 2:32 PM
If the walls could talk...photo by Peggy GuilerNational Day of Listening - November 27
Who knew there was a day for listening? It should be every day but today is as good a day as any to begin.
As a coach listening is my business. Teaching communication and listening skills over 15 years I note there are many levels of listening. We can listen to words, inflexion, tone and body language but perhaps the most important thing is listening to the heart.
To do that we need to find some reason to listen, a reason to be invested for the short moment or the long discussion. We have to find a reason to care about what the person will say to us and listen as if something about our lives will be affected by what is said.
Here are a few questions you might try asking someone close to you – or even someone you have just met. Listen with your heart to their heart.
What have been the happiest moments of your life?
What are some of the saddest moments?
Who have been the most important people in your life? Tell me about them?
What are the most important lessons you have learned in life?
What have you done in your life that you are proud of? (Children are wonderful but in this case, they don’t count.)
What would you change in your life if you had the opportunity?
What would you have missed if you changed that?
If you ask any of these questions and then start to talk about your own answers you aren't really listening.
Reflecting on these questions yourself might support a few quiet moments just for you today. If no one is around to listen be sure to listen to your own heart. You might even try to journal the answers.
If you are interested in learning more about listening skills for yourself or your business please contact me. River of Hope Enterprises offers a variety of options for learning communication and listening skills.
The standard six hours (two sessions) course is easily adapted for use in the workplace or for small groups.
The full course will be offered in the new year. Watch for details.
Also available are short seminars on journaling.
Please keep in touch with what is happening by entering your email in our contact list. (To the left of the page) . You may also subscribe for updates to the blog by clicking the orange RSS feed button and by staying in touch with us on Facebook.
Listen well! It will change your life!
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 17:10 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on November-14-12 11:47 AM
Those who have lost someone close still want to enjoy Christmas and share laughter and love with the living but it often feels as if there is a shadow hovering over the season. The shadow is one which is the deep sorrow we feel from the loss of those who have been part of our Christmases past.
River of Hope Enterprises springs from such sorrow and is my way to honour both the living and the dead.
I have three wonderful children who have inspired me and taught me much. Christie, Gayle and Bryan are the light of my life always. Sadly my son Bryan died in 2000 at the age of 16 and left a huge hole in our hearts and lives.
My daughters and my grandchildren Hope, River and Leo, have helped me to hang on to life when it seemed too hard to live. Friends who have cared for and held my hope when I could not are too numerous to mention. Nancy, Sandy and Shirley have a special place on that list.
This year we lost my Dad, Chris Guiler. The blessing said on Christmas morning will never be the same. When it is said this year, and always, our hearts will remember him.
In this post, I would like to offer some ideas and open a discussion about how we cope with loss at Christmas. (Details about how to enter the discussion are at the bottom).
Many funeral homes and churches offer "Blue Christmas" services to support people who are grieving. I encourage you to find them and participate. There is great healing in grief shared.
Most of us don't want to dampen Christmas for the loved ones who will be with us that day and we also want to find some joy in the day for ourselves.
Ceremony is proven by the ages to be a way to help us heal. Often in our modern lives, which do not include religious practice, we forget about a ceremony. Even if religion is not a part of your life you can find some sort of tradition to help you cope with the season.
Christmas was a huge event for my children and me. We never had much in the way of gifts but my focus was to make memories. One of those was to decorate the tree on Bryan's birthday. Another was to share a glass of brandy after opening our Christmas ornament gifts on Christmas Eve. Now a small Christmas tree is placed on Bryan's grave on his birthday, December 12. Ornaments and trinkets find their way to that tree from I know not where but it is there for all of to share a moment and a memory with him. I still take two glasses, a candle and a little nip of brandy to Bryan's grave on Christmas eve. I don't cry as much or as long as I used to but it allows me to "get it out" and then move on to a lovely day with those who are here. This year, because Bryan is buried beside my Dad, I will likely take an extra glass.
I am thrilled that for the past two years Christie and her children have been able to help me decorate the tree in my home on Bryan's birthday. It took us a long time to be able to do that again but now it is fun and we have lots of laughter. We still hang all Bryan's ornaments on the tree along with the ones that he and his sisters gave me each year. It is an old tradition revisited with some sorrow but much joy.
Grief is likely the most individual and loneliest emotion any of us will know. What works for one does not always work for another. Some of the people in your family may not want to be part of what you have planned and may not even want to hear about how you are coping with the season and the loss. That is OK. We all have to grieve in our own way.
Some other things which people find have helped and some ideas of my own are below. Take what works for you or be inspired to create your own.
Write a letter to the person and place it on the tree, burn it and allow the smoke to rise to heaven or tie it to a balloon and let it go.
Candles are always a great tribute. Light a special one somewhere in a window and sit with it for a while remembering alone or with others. My tradition has always been to light a "Christ Candle" for the window on Christmas Eve. It is lit to help the Christ child find his way to our homes. Perhaps another candle could be added to memorialize those who are gone but who we wish could find their way to us to celebrate the day. (Some dollar stores have five days candles used in Catholic traditions).
Take an hour out of the busy season with your family and sit together and remember. Just allow everyone to get the pain out and recall some of the fun shared with the person they lost. Consider making a special hour on another day so it doesn't cloud Christmas. Some families prefer to do this on Christmas day but it may be difficult, especially for children.
Set the table with an empty spot for the one who will be missed this year. (get permission from everyone before doing this as it may be very upsetting to some).
Offer a toast to the dead and to the living at your Christmas dinner.
Buy a string of blue lights or a box of blue balls for the tree and take time to share memories or just by yourself to hang them.
If Christ is still part of your Christmas you might consider reading or listening to this poem - My First Christmas in Heaven (I have a framed copy of it that I tuck under the tree).
Make up your own ceremony. Discuss possibilities with family members and see what they would like to do.
I hope these ideas will inspire you but also that you will find some comfort in them.
For those who might like the more distant support of others with similar experience on the internet, I have created a closed group called "Blue Christmas" on Facebook. You can join the group by messaging me on FB or sending me an email. It is my honour to maintain the site for your use.
Blessings to all as we move toward the season which brings light in the darkness.
Support Local Food Banks
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 17:05 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on November-12-12 12:08 PM
You can make a difference to local families this Christmas by having Kraft donate to the local food bank.
By visiting the www.kraftfoodforfamilies.ca site every day from now until December 31 you prompt Kraft to add 50 cents toward the food bank in your area. The food bank with the largest number of clicks will receive an extra $5000.00 from Kraft.
The process is fairly simple. When you get to the site you enter your name and email and then move to the next page where you asked to select your region (Ontario) and then your local food bank (in my case the Simcoe Caring Cupboard) from a drop-down menu. Then you need to do a little more work by moving the food picture to a box and then the box to a building. That is done by clicking and holding the picture of the food items and dropping them in the box, then picking up in the same manner and moving it to the building. It may sound complicated but the prompts on the site are fairly clear and simple.
When you are finished a message will inform you of what the total donations are to your food bank. Today when I did it said, "Simcoe Caring Cupboard Food Bank has reached $643.50 in donations."
Let's see how much we can make for our local families this season.
I challenge you to put the notice on your "facebook" site every day until the new year to remind your friends about doing it.
If you have any trouble navigating it call me at 519-718-4512. (If you have children in the house they can help )
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 13:55 comments (0)
Trade Show First - Thanks NDBDC
Peggy Guiler: Posted on October-18-12 5:00 PM
WOW! My first foray into the world of Trade Show today.
The Norfolk & District Business Development Corporation (NDBDC) put on a great show. There was an opportunity to mingle and share about business, some inspiration and sound ideas from speakers and loads of information about new programs and opportunities. All of this topped off with fabulous food from the ladies of the Vitoria Community Centre and some fun with other "newbie" entrepreneurs made for a delightful day.
There are so many interesting and unique businesses in Norfolk. It was nice to see some of the folks who are making them work. We really do have a lot to offer in the way of innovative and unique business in this county.
Some of my favourites today were the bakery in Vitoria (butter tarts and bread melt in your mouth) and Tara and Marty's mobile chair massage which is always a relaxing moment at an event or in my living room. Just to sweeten things up there was amazing chocolate from McFarland's Olde Tyme Sweet Shoppe on Norfolk St. N.
The guest speakers inspired and taught us much.
Michael Lewis from London shared about things we do in business which will sink the ship and how to avoid the proverbial icebergs.
Syd Bolton from Brantford was great fun and talked about using social media to promote business. He even has a new book on the subject. He certainly has some creative and fun ventures and proves geeks aren't all just geeks. You can find out more about Syd on his personal computer museum site or just google him and find where it takes you. It is an adventure.
The man assigned to keep us awake after lunch did a great job. Larry Anderson of Trigger Strategies in Fort Erie had some tips on the moments of truth in customer service and about putting customers first. No snoring was heard during that talk for sure.
There was a news flash from Canada's Entrepreneur Gateway. For those young entrepreneurs out there it is worth noting that the age for the supports for this program has been pushed from 34 to 39. Visit CYBF.ca to learn more.
To my fellow new business developers who are in the OSEB (Ontario Self Employment Benefit) program with me and who had lots of laughter to share a warm thank you for the fun and comradeship.
Special thanks to Sue Loveless and her team for all their hard work to make a great day.
Thanks also to Dan Weist of SNAP for taking this picture for me.
A Tribute to My Dad
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 13:55 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on September-24-12 4:06 PM
Today is the first day of official business for me however it is somewhat overshadowed by the recent death of my father, Christie R.D. Guiler.
With that in mind, I would like to dedicate this post and my blog to him. Read on to learn why.
My Dad taught me many things. Most of them had to do with sailing and water. The lake was his passion and he loved nothing more than to be on the tiller of his boat (in a picture) or any boat.
His sailing career began early when, as a teenager, he managed to secure a crew spot on a large yawl from Cleveland. The Bagatelle often visited Port Dover in the summers. There he learned to sail and from then on his goal was to spend as much time as possible on the water.
If he couldn't be on the water he liked to be in or at least near it. He was an accomplished swimmer and snorkeler. He taught me to swim before I learned to walk.
Vacations always included water and one of the most memorable was a trip he took the Bahamas with a friend, Doug Cameron. They sailed a trimaran in the warm waters for a week and it gave him a lifetime of stories to tell.
For many years he was involved with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron and was commander in Port Dover a few years back. He taught the power squadron courses and always enjoyed knowing that people would be more careful on the water because of what they learned.
Racing sail was another passion. It began with Larry Woods, another sailor of Port Dover fame, and moved into crewing for Jack Maytham and then Ash Winters. When the sea was too rough for old salts, Dad and his friend Ken McArthur, took to being the official starters and recorders for the Wednesday races in Port Dover.
At about 70 sail became a bit of challenge so Dad got himself a little "stink boat" (zodiac) that he and his wife could putter about in. They had wonderful times running to Long Point, Dunnville and mostly to Hoover's Marina in Nanticoke for lunch.
Dad's other favourite pastime was watching the boats on the Welland Canal. He would go down and spend a couple of days watching them several times each summer. He knew all the boats that frequented the locks and had a radio he could listen to which kept him apprised of their whereabouts in the canal. He explained that the silent boats, usually navy vessels, were on a locked frequency so we couldn't hear them but we could see them.
Dad was a storyteller extraordinaire. The best part of any experience was the story it would provide.
Besides his love and respect for water, Dad's other great gift to me was the love of a good story. And so my blog will be dedicated to him because I love a good story too and I will try to share many with you.
Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 13:50 comments (0)
Peggy Guiler: Posted on August-15-12 3:59 PM
Summer has come to close but my new business is about to begin. I am jumping into the venture with great anticipation and expectation.
Since I discovered the coaching world almost a year ago I have been dreaming of and working toward this moment.
It has been a different sort of road. Much to learn. New skills to develop. Old skills to readjust. New ideas to explore. Old ideas to put to rest.
It has all been a wonderful journey to this point and I am grateful to the many people who have helped me along the way.
To my partner "Bee", many thanks for your love and support while I figured this all out and had some really difficult moments which affected us both.
To my daughter Christie and her children, thanks for your love and encouragement. Christie's own business development of "the twisted fish" helped me believe I could do this. Her children; River, Hope and Leo offered me inspiration for the name and the courage to move ahead.
My friends - so many of you - have helped me believe in myself.
Some practice clients are offering me their patience while I learn to move from peer support to coaching.
To my own coach, Bruce Swan, and the team at Essential Impact a huge thanks for seeing my potential and encouraging and equipping me to move forward.
The Norfolk District Business Development Corporation for their help in building business proposals and cash flow charts
I truly believe that the principles and practices of coaching are what will move the citizens of the world in it's drastically changing paradigm into success in the coming years and I am excited to see where the brilliance and ingenuity of those I will serve to take us.