Tapestry of Thoughts

Posted by on Jan 29, 2019 in Blog, Featured | 8 comments

Tapestry of Thoughts

I recently created a book of all of my monthly blogs that I’ve written going back to February 2012. There are 84 of them. I spent several hours reading through the book. As I was reading, I began to discover that the book is like a non-sequential memoir. These blogs contain my values, what I care most deeply about, and who I am. They are just captured more in stories than teaching points. So, as I was reading, I decided to pull out statements that did a good job of defining me.  Here is what I came up with…..

  1. I have become convinced that employees need to start sharing more positive stories of fellow employees acting with courage, taking responsibility, and displaying teamwork. Not just leaders. Everyone. If I were the CEO of a company, I would demand it.

2. Social media has brought people closer together and farther apart simultaneously. I miss both writing and receiving a hand-written letter. I miss walking down the hall to have a conversation. Sometimes I feel more disconnected than ever.

3. When I was in college and home for several weeks in the spring, my father came in one morning, woke me up, drove me to the freeway, dropped me off, and I began hitchhiking halfway across the country to visit my sister. As he was driving away, I remember the lonely feeling of being kicked out of the house. But I pushed on and had a great adventure. I’ve never looked back and have always appreciated my father’s loving nudge.

4. I liked wearing a suit to work one day when I was working with an executive team and the next day putting on a pair of jeans to work with manufacturing employees. I liked that every day was different. I liked competing for work with other consultants. And I liked being an outsider who pushed against the grain.

5. We now live in a “back-yard” society. When I grew up, we had a big front porch that we would all sit out in. Neighbors would walk by and chat. But that is becoming more and more rare. Everything is now in the back of the house. It cuts us off from each other and we’ve become more isolated.

6. Dylan, my older son, arrived home considerably late one night when he was in high school. He saw me sitting there waiting for him and calmly said, “Dad, I know I’m late. You can ground me or take the car away from me. I just don’t want to have a meaningful conversation about it now.”

7. I love when guests to Farn and my house ask about a painting, a book they noticed, or the music we’re listening to. It’s a way of giving them a piece of ourselves. But I find that most people don’t ask or even notice things any longer. They aren’t curious or are just moving too fast. And it makes me sad.

8. I know that I am triggered by landscape—the stars at night, small towns, back roads, quiet places, and the beauty of mountains. They all appeal to my introversion. What is it about the natural world that slows my heartbeat and opens my eyes?

9. I hate to see map-reading skills fall by the wayside. Very few people are interested in maps any longer. I love knowing where in the world I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. I just prefer to orient myself with a spiral-bound atlas or a big, awkward, hard-to-fold piece of paper in front of me.

10. What I love about writing a one-pager is that it forces me to be succinct and crisp with words. When I taught a class, on the first day I had students write one paragraph that captured their entire life.  Students found it both challenging and rewarding. Every word counts. It’s a good discipline to learn.

There’s always a message in our writing… what we write about, how we say it, and the feelings that emerge. I’ve learned a great deal about myself over these 7 years that I’ve been writing this blog.


  1. I’ve enjoyed every one! Love to you and Farn.

  2. Number six has always been my favorite. I wasn’t there but knowing about “meaningful conversations “, I can visualize the late evening secnario quite clearly.

  3. John, I especially like number six and number nine. I have a son and can relate well to six. Also, I was a geography/cartography major in college, so I have a lot of empathy for your enjoyment of maps/contour lines, etc.

  4. So glad that Dad put you on the highway. We had a grand time in Richmond !!! More grand times to come……….

  5. Number 10 reminded me of a Writer’s Workshop that a fellow teacher and I traveled to. It met several times throughout the semester. Each activity was rewarding and gave insight to my own writing as well as my ability to help students in the beginning stages of using writing to communicate. I was always a teacher who would try new things or strive to learn more about what we already do. I would sign up for conferences, classes, and workshops whenever I could. I found learning along with people from other schools and grade levels was often as valuable as what was presented. However, that Writing Workshop stands out as one of those that really made a difference.

  6. Thanks for continuing to share your heart and wisdom with us. Hope you are well and thriving John

  7. John, I always love your top ten lists. You’re great at taking the tapestry and pulling out the threads, and if there are not any threads you can make them up. Keep up the writing! 84 WOW. Pete

  8. You know that your painting of the roadway is a favorite of mine. I feel fortunate to have such a loving and connected extended family to journey with me through life. Your writings invariably make me think of our mothers who saw to it that our cousin connection was strong. Please know that I appreciate your creativity and sharing.
    Cousin Brooke

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