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threw them a surprise party. I interviewed them ahead of time and told them that it was for a blog post I was working on about tips for a lasting marriage. My secret intention was to read their answers at the party, which everyone enjoyed. However, so that I uphold my word, here is a long overdue but timely post from my amazing parents’ experience, wisdom and humor. I interviewed them separately so the first time they heard the other person’s reply was at the party.
For those of you who know my theory about trees and clouds, you will clearly see that my dad is a cloud of clouds and my mom is more of a tree. More on that another time.
Me: What was the best advice you have received or been given on marriage?
Dad: I don’t know if it was best, but what comes to mind was a casual casual mini-moment in a sermon. It was the only time I was at this church as a student before we were married in Evansville. Just north of Chicago. I wrote it down. It caught my attention and it stayed. And it’s validity has been confirmed ever since in whatever area, money, decision making, relationships.. because it is a foundation point and that’s the key. Marriage is by faith. A person has no idea what it will look like. What twists and turns it will take, what flexibility it will require. And adaptability. And steadfastness that marriage the relationship will require. So you agree to it as a concept with no idea what it looks like but you agree to it by faith. You can’t go back. It’s very forward-looking in a positive directional sense. Colossians 3:15 says something that would be helpful.
Mom: I never remember these things. I don’t remember if someone told me but choose the right person. Be smart about who you choose.
Me: What do you remember about your wedding day?
Dad: There will be several things – 3 with no particular order.
1. As we were walking up the aisle, Lil noticed “You’re trembling. Are you ok?” Yes. But probably embarking on a whole new thing. Life in 10 minutes looked totally different.
2. We had discussed ahead of time, everyone attending was surprised, our vows were memorized (I had never said them perfectly until the right moment – to the relief and amazement of the bride). We had decided we would pray. I prayed the prayer of blessing over the microphone on the floor.
3. We had planned our escape from the several imagined people who would give pursuit. It worked flawlessly (even though no one chased). Footnote to that: talk to each other and plan well together.
Mom: It was fun. It was simple. Lot of our friends were there. And the bird got killed by the cat. Grandma Whitmore was looking after Mor-Mor’s bird [Anne’s great-grandmother]. And dad had a kitten the summer he was home. After the afternoon wedding and reception (cake, nuts and punch and tea and coffee), we went back to Willlowcrest [Anne’s Grandma’s home] to visit with family from out of town. And Grandma Whitmore was so upset. I had never seen her so upset. Everyone showed up. No glitches. I had no doubts. I didn’t have any second thoughts. Sure was simpler than weddings now.
Me: What is a fond memory of the last 45 years of marriage?
Dad: There are too many. (We came back to this one). People.
1. Outside our family: Qualified by significant relationships of mutual respect. Because wherever we lived, there was always at least one couple that was a cut above everyone else in every way and the close friendship.
2. Our kids
Mom: My goodness. I think probably the surprise trip to Glacier with Keebaughs before we left Idaho. I think just the experience of being in Idaho was really special. I don’t have unfond memories so it is hard to say the fondest one. Our trip to Vietnam. There have been lots of good ones.
Me: What is your secret for making your marriage last?
Dad: Goes back to flexible, adaptable and talking together. A LOT. A lot is not good enough. Talking together about all of life including working through processing discoveries, working through surprises. Related to those, to read a lot and pray a lot and maintain a forward perspective.
Mom: (chuckles) I don’t think I ever entertained the thought that it wouldn’t last. It was never on my radar that it wouldn’t last. So when I went into it, I went into it for the long haul. Seeing the positive side of things and not taking anything (I do take life seriously) but pessimistically seriously. Always believing that we would get through it and things would get better. Just life in general. Our common faith definitively contributed. Being willing to change. Holding in balance being dependable so we can count on each other (I never had a shadow of a doubt that he wouldn’t be there when I needed him) and being adaptable. Not being stuck in a rut.
Me: What is your favorite thing about the other person?
Dad: Three parts.
First one is my enjoyment, admiration and respect of how she has developed her talents and gifts. Because this is a long story and it did not come easily and it has only been in the last 22 years and to me it has been very very fascinating to behold.
2. Summary word would be her continual support. What was the question again? (that wasn’t one of the 3)
3. Her ability to succinctly communicate wisdom. Because I am an introvert and I look at someone who can express things well and I say, that’s really cool. I have to work at it – in contrast. Again, lots of illustration on that.
4. Probably has to do with flexible.
Mom: I think as groaner-ish as his sense of humor is, his sense of humor.
What was the question now?
His willingness to change.
O yes, we’re so different. But that’s what makes it interesting.
Ain’t that the truth.
I’m grateful to my parents for sharing and modelling real life love.
When we see Olympic athletes on the podium, we know they worked really hard to get there. But http://www.theessaymag.com/canada/ Steven Bradbury’s story struck me with a sense of awe about his incredible determination and persistence.
Australia’s first team to win a championship in a winter sport. They won the 5,000m relay at the World Championships. In 1992, his team crashed during the semi-finals in the Winter Olympics. In the 1994 Winter Olympics, he was part of the short track team that won bronze. On an individual level, he was knocked over by a rival in a semi-final and limped across the finish line for fourth place and was eliminated. In another race, he was pushed by a competitor (who was disqualified) and fell.
More dramatically, at the 1994 World Cup, his right leg was cut by a competitor’s skate and he lost 4 litres of blood. It took 111 stitches and 18 months before he was back up to full strength. He was considered a strong contender for the Winter Olympics but didn’t place in team and had crashes in his individual events.
Then, in what could have been a career-ender, he fractured 2 vertebrae during a training accident. A month and a half in a halo brace, 4 pins in his skull and screws and plates bolted into his chest. He was told he would never compete again.
And then, in the men’s short track at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, a series of unlikely events created the opportunity for him to be in the finals. Because he had 4 races back to back and he was up against stronger and faster contenders, his strategy was to stay on his feet and stay in the race.
Ironically, in the end, it was an ill-timed accident that opened the path for him to… well, see for yourself.
His perseverance is inspirational. Against all odds, he showed up and was ready for opportunity. And then he did a “Bradbury” – an Australian expression named after him for doing an unusual or unexpected success.
Where will persistence take you? And how will you show up – both at the race and in the unseen training in-between?
See that cursor blinking in the corner of your screen… staring at you as you sit down to craft your speech? And I say craft because giving a great speech is more than slapping a few buy levitra online thoughts together. The same content can be presented in different structures and may have completely different impacts on your audience.
Here are a 9 ideas on how to structure your speech:
1. The Sandwich: Opening, body and conclusion
This is the simplest structure (after not having one at all). More complex structures are a variation on this one. The opening thought needs to engage your audience and also introduce your topic. The middle section expands on the ideas or presents a solution and then the conclusion wraps everything up.
Tell an engaging story that illustrates the topic and wrap up with the moral or objective.
3. Stepping Stones:
Make a point, give an example, build your next point, give another example, make another point, give another example. The beauty of this structure is that you are building one idea on another using narrative, which is a powerful memory hook.
Use an acronym to mark the points in your speech. “The secret weapon to giving a great speech is using PIE: Passion, Interesting Visuals and Entertaining stories.”
5. Problem – Solution:
Identify and analyze a problem and then propose a solution. Describe the problem as the introduction in a way that engages your audience with the pain points of the situation. Then use the solution as the body of the speech, expanding on why your position solves the problem. This is a highly effective sales structure for a persuasive speech.
6. Problem – Cause – Solution:
Similar to the above, adding an understanding of what caused the problem in the first place.
7. Pros & Cons:
Organize points by arguments for and against something. This is a more balanced approach and good for educating, not necessarily persuading.
8. 2 options:
Similar to the Pros & Cons approach, this structure describes 2 options available and compares them. This can be an effective tool to educate as well as persuade about a proposed option.
This is one of the most powerful structures for speechcraft. A well chosen metaphor will engage your audience and allow them to see aspects of the topic in a new way. Expand on aspects of the metaphor in the body of your speech, building to a conclusion that connects the metaphor back to the topic. “Getting over my fear of public speaking was as tough as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. In order to do this, I had to have the right tools, an expert guide and the determination to keep climbing, no matter how low my oxygen got. The tools for climbing are… the tools for getting over my fear of public speaking are… A sherpa is an expert of the mountain who knows what the pitfalls are, how to get there faster and in one piece. My public speaking trainer….”
As you listen to other speeches, notice what kind of structure they use. What has the biggest impact on you? What has an impact on the audience?
Have some fun trying out these different speech structures and let me know how it goes.