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Common ground in a cookie

Common ground in a cookie

The other weekend, Holly and I got together with some of our good friends and took the time to sit around a meal (composed of food from each of our unique cultural backgrounds).

It was a diverse group...

John is from Colombia, Renata from Brazil; Holly is from Canada, and Christian moved to the US from the Philippines. And I am of Italian heritage and grew up in Pittsburgh.

It was a great time. We had the chance to share about our unique cultures, experiences, and memories. And the food really seemed to play an important role in bringing us back to our roots as well as bringing us together in conversation.

…Specifically, some cookies which I’m now going to tell you about…

I recently found this Italian bakery which sells the same cookies that my grandmother and Great Aunt Zizi used to make when I was a kid.

As soon as I bit into this cookie, memories flooded my mind – remembering that taste and smell, and all the occasions associated with it.

…And it was also interesting to discover that as a group of friends (from different cultural backgrounds), we each had very similar stories and traditions all around some simple foods.

There were Brazilian cookies, Italian cookies, coffee from Colombia... We were taken back to different times and places in our lives, by simply enjoying a bite of a cookie.

And more beautifully, we were able to share that memory and experience it with one another.

…And it really got me thinking: we are much more similar than we are different.

In our society today, there seems to be a big push to divide. It’s so easy to point out our differences and view them in a negative light.

… But what if we learned to embrace our unique cultural backgrounds and took the time to listen to one another’s stories and to discover our commonalities… and to find unity rather than division?

You’d be amazed at how much commonality you can find in a cookie.

Every day, people are asking and searching for ways we can learn to get along…

Well, as you’ve probably realized, we can’t rely on the government or the media to bring us together.

Maybe the answer is as simple as having some cookies with some people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Because the truth is, we’re more alike than we are different.

Maybe it starts with some cookies.

Your invisible power…

One of my favorite books is by a woman by the name of Genevieve Behrend. The title of the book is, Your Invisible Power.

I was recently reminded of a quote from this book, which goes like this…

“When all is said and done, happiness is the one thing which every human being wants, and the study of visualization allows you to get more out of life than you ever would before. Increasing possibilities keep opening up, more and more, before you.”

Happiness… Joy… Optimism… Delight…Cheerfulness... Exhilaration…

When you stop and think about it, it really does boil down to happiness, doesn’t it?

But the question is… do you see yourself as happy? Do you see yourself living a life that inspires happiness from within?

If you don’t see it, if you don’t experience it at first in your mind, it’s not going to be a reality in your life.

So, what makes you happy? Or perhaps I should rephrase that: are you going to choose to be happy? Are you going to choose to live a life full of happiness?

You have to visualize it. You have to see it in your mind’s eye. And then you live it out.

How I spend my morning

How I spend my morning

Pretty much every morning between about 8:30 and 9:30am, I sit on the couch with my little buddy Caleb, who’s 5 years old (Holly’s older son), and we watch the stock market together.

People have lots of different hobbies. For me, the stock market is my hobby. If you were to ask me what I do outside of work, outside of spending time with Holly, her boys, and our friends, following the stock market is where it’s at for me.

So, as I spend my mornings with Caleb, it’s really interesting to watch him soak up knowledge and information.

…And to see how quickly he learns.

Just the other day, his online pre-school teacher Mrs. Henegar was sharing with us a story from class that week. The letter of the week was “W.” Mrs. Henegar was asking each of the kids to share words they could think of that start with the letter “W.”

Suddenly, Caleb had an intense look on his face. He kind of paused to make sure everyone was looking at him and listening.

He then intently said, “’W’ is for watching, like watching the stock market.”

…But it didn’t end there, and this is where it gets funny.

After Mrs. Henegar said, “that’s right Caleb,” he then piped up and said, “Mrs. Henegar, can I share something with the class?”

And she said, “of course Caleb.”

“You know iPhones and tablets, that’s Apple. You need to watch Apple (*as in watch the stock lol*) ...”

He then went on to say, “You know Mrs. Henegar,” and he started to make this upward motion with his hand.

“When the stock market goes like this,” and he then made a quick downward drop with that same hand, “that’s when you need to buy.” (Lol.)

We’ve only been watching the stock market together for maybe a couple of months, and he has already picked up on that concept alone, which, might I add, many adults still don’t understand.

Now obviously, investing in the stock market requires a lot more understanding than just knowing when to buy, but that is a pretty profound concept for a 5-year-old to have grasped.

By the way, in full disclosure, this is not me giving you investment advice.

I just thought that was a pretty funny story to share with you. And also, what I took away from this incident is the importance of having an open mind to new ideas and new concepts.

Isn’t it interesting that when we’re young, we really do soak up whatever is being taught in our environment, like a sponge?

Whether what’s being fed to us is positive or negative; whether that information serves us or plants a seed of limitation in our mind;  at that age, our little minds just soak it up and accept it as truth.

Now, as adult learners, we have the opportunity to take what we were programmed to believe as little humans, and to re-evaluate and ask ourselves, is this serving me?

Is this helping me move forward in the direction of my dreams, or is it holding me back?

And if you find that it’s holding you back, then I’d say it’s time to do some reprogramming. It’s time to plant some new ideas; some new beliefs that will support your dreams and goals – rather than hinder them.

So, take a page out of Caleb’s book, and just ask yourself the question, what can I learn today that’s going to help me move forward in my life tomorrow, a year from now, ten years from now, and beyond?