the search

 

 

In the previous article “Family Connections,” I discussed some of the reactions when people learn that one or both of the parents that raised them are not their biological parent. In this article, I explore the connections and feelings that often arise during the search for a person’s birth parents.

 

Now, rare cases exist where the person takes a DNA test and immediately finds their birth family, everyone loves each other, and they live happily ever after. However, that isn’t the norm.

 

Expectations

 

A person shouldn’t expect anything other than a rollercoaster ride when looking for a birth parent.  Emotions will go high when the person sees a DNA match. Then, they will fall through the floor when the match does not respond to messages or hides all their information. This process may repeat several times.

 

Likewise, the person searching may contact a DNA match, who puts them in contact with other family members. Just when they start building a strong connection, someone else does a DNA test and it blows a hole in the theory of who the birth parent is. Now, they are left dangling.   They feel connected, but they aren’t connected the way that they think they are. In some cases, they may not be connected at all.

 

News of a mis-connection can be almost as emotional as learning that one or both of your parents are not your biological parents. This is especially true in cases where the new connections were supportive and welcoming, while the parents that raised the person are deceased or the relationship with them is strained.

 

The Process

 

The process can be lengthy and the result is not guaranteed.   It is very easy for people to become too excited, which often scares off DNA matches. It is equally as easy for people to become frustrated, lose interest, and just give up.

 

The best possible approach is a slow, steady approach where the person makes lots of connections. This allows emotions to be more even while allowing the person to build relationships with people that are related, if only distantly. Building connections with these people helps the person learn information that is useful in solving their parentage puzzle. Possibly, more importantly, these connections help the person to feel connected to family.

 

The final article in this series “Found, Now What?” will discuss the ability to connect with birth families and the associated emotions.

 

family connections

 

 

As a genealogist, I have become involved in helping people find their birth parents. It is always an interesting journey and although there are various common scenarios, each journey is unique.

 

The Reactions

 

Some people who have found out that one or both of their parents aren’t who they thought they were express no interest in identifying and meeting their biological parents. These people usually feel a strong connection with the parents that raised them. Often their perspective is that there is no need to find out who their biological parents are given that they will always consider the parents that raised them as mom and dad.

 

Other people report always feeling like they were adopted or never believing that their dad was their biological father. These people are not at all surprised when a DNA test reveals that their intuition was correct. Many of them report feeling disconnected or like something was missing in the relationship.

 

Other people fit somewhere in between these two perspectives. Some are surprised, but embrace the possibility of connecting with more family. These people still view their parents as their parents, but are open to learning more about themselves and their roots. Some people that fall into this category are people who grew up as only children. They are excited at the prospect of finding siblings.

 

Another reaction is to feel lost and/or angry. In these cases, people feel as if they no longer know who they are. For these people, learning that one or both parents who raised them are not their biological parents is devastating. It can take time and professional counseling to get through this very personal crisis.

 

Connected?

 

To me, it appears that some people sense the lack of connection all their lives. But, others want what is comfortable or desire a connection with the parents that raised them so much that they fear knowing about their biological parents. Yet others are comfortable with any and all connections. It is a very personal situation and is unique to that person.

 

If you are going through this, know that although your situation is unique, most likely there is someone out there that has been through something similar. Seek counseling if you are struggling. Also, know that there are groups of people that can help you find your birth parents if you so desire.

 

The next article in this series “The Search,” will dive into expectations when searching for your family.

 

make an offer

 

In our previous article “Garage Sale Connections,” we discussed various kinds of garage sale shoppers. In this article, we will explore our experience having a garage sale where we asked shoppers to make an offer on items.

 

The Rules

 

For our “Make an Offer” sale, people selected the items that they wanted and then made an offer for the items. We reserved the right to counter-offer if the offer was too low. And, we jokingly included in the fine print that people making ridiculously low offers would be fed to the neighbor’s pet alligator.

 

The sale had mixed results. Some people loved that they could make an offer. I believe they ended up buying more because items didn’t have a fixed price. Also, negotiations over the price seemed to serve to create a stronger connection as they often told us about what they were going to do with the items or why they wanted a lower price.

 

There were people, however, that really struggled with the idea of making an offer. Some of them didn’t know how to price the items, but others just couldn’t seem to comprehend the concept.

 

Culturally, Euro-Americans seemed to grasp the concept and be okay with it more than people from other cultures. People from cultures that like to barter seem to be thrown off by this approach, as they didn’t have a starting point. They didn’t know how to go about making a bid for the items. Plus, I sensed a reluctance to make a connection, which is really beneficial in this type of sale.

 

The Most Challenging Issue

 

The most challenging issue was language. When English was not the person’s first language or they spoke little or no English, explaining the concept just wasn’t possible most of the time. In those cases, we resorted to setting a price as that was the only way to make a sale.

 

We also set the price for children as they had no idea what to offer for something. Children always get good deals and generally speaking they are our favorite customers. A big portion of this is that they are the most open to making a connection.

 

Overall, I think we made as many connections or more with people doing the sale in this manner. Monetarily, things averaged out about the same as if we had priced the items. Some offered slightly more than we would have asked while others offered slightly less. There were a few cases where the offer was low enough that we counter offered and we were able to reach a deal in most of those cases.

 

Feed Them To The Alligator

 

We had only one case where we needed to feed a couple to the alligator. Each of them made offers that were just completely ridiculous. The man offered $4 for a nice cased dartboard and a set of very nice unique goblets. The wife offered something equally ridiculous for some other items. I explained the value of the items to them and they played innocent. The man said, “Well, I didn’t know. I just liked them.” Well, you don’t have to know a lot to know that those items are worth more than his offer. These are the type of people that are looking not just for a deal, but really to take advantage of you. They are not people with whom you want to make a connection because that makes you vulnerable to their actions.

 

In contrast to this couple, we had one gentleman carefully picked out some silk flowers. We found it unusual for an older gentleman to be selecting flowers with such care. In our discussion with him after the sale, we learned that he was buying the flowers to place them at the gravesites of his wife and daughter. His story brought tears to our eyes. So, despite selling the flowers for less than we would have liked, we were very pleased with the sale. We were happy to have made the connection for a brief time and happy to know that the flowers were going to honor two people he so obviously loved.

 

Bottom line . . . Connections can be found anywhere – even garage sales!

 

 

 

garage sale connections

 

Garage sales are an interesting time to both observe and connect with people from many different cultures who have many different reasons for being at the garage sale.

 

Some of the people are at the garage sale because they really can’t afford to shop in stores. Our garage sale is usually really good for them as we price household goods and clothing below the price at the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Thus, they can shop at our sale and spend less money. We have also been known to give them a very good discount even on these prices if we feel they have no money.

 

Observation

 

It sometimes requires some excellent observation skills to know which people are truly in need and those that are trying to make you believe they are in need just to get a deal. The two have very different energy.

 

Of course, there are people whose culture is about bartering. Realizing this is the case is important because they are always going to try to talk you down from whatever price is given. My favorites are those that insult you or your items if you don’t accept their very low price. They give me a chuckle. Connecting with them enough to know what is happening gains you money and saves hurt feelings.

 

Then, there are those that speak little to no English. We have found that some of them still manage to easily connect with us while others do not. Clearly, fluently speaking the same language is not required in creating a connection. Likewise, speaking the same language and even being quite alike does not guarantee a connection.

 

Best Connections

 

Some of our best connections are with casual garage salers. Some of them are out just to enjoy the day, some are looking for something to do and to have a conversation with people, and others just enjoy seeing items people have for sale. These people have time and often want to have conversations. We sell less to them, but sometime the connection and conversation lead to sales of unexpected items. They are probably the least predictable of all groups.

The most predictable are the professional garage salers. They come, look for the specific items of interest, buy without hesitation, and leave just as fast. These people are generally not open to connecting, but are easy to spot.

 

All in all, garage sales can be an interesting way to observe people. Listening to people, watching how they look at items, and seeing what they skip over tells you a lot about them.

 

In the next article, we will discuss our experience having a “Make an Offer” Sale.

 

 

synchronous thoughts

 

Synchronous Thoughts

 

Have you ever noticed multiple people or companies having the same idea at approximately the same time? A famous example of synchronous thoughts is the development of the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray developed a telephone independent of each other.  However, they submitted patent applications for the telephone to the U.S. Patent Office on the same day.

 

The same or similar ideas arriving at the patent office close together is not uncommon. This is why the patent office added a requirement that inventors document when they initially conceive of an idea. Otherwise, it was simply a race to arrive at the patent office first.

 

My Experience

 

Having the same ideas as others is a normal experience for me. I’ve had numerous ideas that popped into my head that became commercial products or were patented by others within a few years. Ring (home security system) is such an example. Several years ago, I had the idea of using web cams, which could alert your cell phone, to monitor your home security. Today, the Ring system has a solution that is very much aligned with my idea.

 

Having seen similar ideas show up at approximately the same time many times, makes me wonder why this occurs. Some of these coincidences can be explained by a market need. In this case, multiple people expand the use of known concepts and technologies to create products and solutions.

 

How Do You Explain That?

 

There are other concepts, however, that seem to pop-up around the world seemingly without an explanation. Pyramids, for example, exist in different parts of the world. They vary in structure, but are overall very similar. Yet, there is no explanation as to how these massive structures were conceived by several independent civilizations that are believed to have had no means to communicate with each other.

 

Clearly there is something more at work here than people sharing ideas or evolving existing ideas into something new. Whatever is the source of this phenomenon, one of the purposes it serves or side effects of it appears to be injecting ideas into society.

 

Bringing Thoughts To Life

 

Once a thought originates somewhere in the Universe, the ideas take on a life of its own wandering through the consciousness until people act upon it. Even people that simply think about the idea are unknowingly assisting in making it a reality as their thoughts are blowing life into it. Eventually, the energy is overpowering and someone takes a risk and acts upon the idea to make it a reality.

 

Just think, if we all shared our ideas with the world immediately and openly and the world was willing to listen and act, so much more would be able to be achieved. Inevitably the world would become a better place.

 

Energetic Connection

 

 

Have you ever had a place, food, service, or professional recommended to you by someone you trust only to find that you don’t feel the same way? It has probably happened to most everyone. But, why?

 

Does It Resonate?

 

A business, house, church, or restaurant can be highly recommended and yet it just doesn’t seem to resonate with you. In the case of a restaurant, the food is good and the atmosphere is fine, but it just doesn’t feel quite right. For a church, the people can be nice and the beliefs aligned with your own. Yet, it too doesn’t feel right. The same can be said of almost anything or any one.

 

With relationships, your friend can introduce you to someone who seems perfect for you. That person seems to have all the attributes that you are looking for in a relationship. Still, there isn’t a spark and you may not even get along at all.

 

Energetic Connection

 

The reason for these reactions is that you do not connect with these places and people. It goes far beyond the logic that says that you should like these places. Instead, it falls into the category of an energetic connection.

 

Two people, places or things can have positive energy and seem to have much in common. However, the energy of the two is incompatible and they don’t resonate with each other. This does not mean that there is anything negative about either one. They simply aren’t an energetic match for each other.

 

Your Energy Knows

 

Thus, it is important to tap into your energetic sensors that give you that feeling of this is a match or not. If you simply rely on facts and logic, you will spend lots of time figuring out what your energy already knows.

 

Interestingly, if you tap into that energy, you will see the facts differently. Facts that might be interpreted as major roadblocks for something that is wrong for you will be dismissed or seen as minor bumps if it is energetically right for you. It is important to distinguish viewing facts with an energetic perspective from taking the facts and trying to make them fit because you want them to fit. These are two very different things.

 

Tap into your energy today and decisions will become obvious!

 

 

old enough

 

 

The federal government has age limits on specific positions. For instance, a person must be at least 25 to be an US Representative, 30 to be an US Senator, and 35 to be President.

 

Age Minimums

 

All states impose minimum ages for at least some of the key local and state government positions. However, the age minimums vary greatly from state to state.

 

The craziest of all laws regarding public service that I have seen are in Vermont. In that state, a person must be a voter to be a town official. Thus, effectively mandating a minimum age of 18 to be mayor of even the smallest town.

 

Governor At 14?

 

However, in Vermont there are no age limits for any key positions at the state level. Thus, anyone who has lived in the state for 4 years (a state requirement) can run for governor. In 2018, Ethan Sonneborn, who was 14 at the time, sought the nomination for the Democrat candidate for governor. He did not get the nomination, but he was qualified serve despite not having reached the age of majority.

 

As a 14-year-old, Ethan was not old enough to vote, drive a car, get a tattoo without his parent’s permission, smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or possess a handgun. However, he was old enough to stay at home alone, possess a rifle or a shotgun, and be governor.

 

I seriously doubt that the founders of Vermont intended for the governor to be a teenager. However, no one in the nearly 230-year history of the state has ever bothered to change the age for governor. Perhaps no one paid attention before or connected the lack of an age specification to the potential contradiction and issues that arise if a teenager were to become governor.

 

Issues

 

Issues would arise due to requirements to attend school until age 16. Even with home schooling, there would be labor issues as child labor laws in Vermont restrict how much and when teenagers can work.

 

This leads me to the most obvious concern. How can a 14-year-old sign a bill into law when they are not old enough to sign a contract?

 

I suspect that if a teenager ever won the governorship, there would be lots of sudden “Ahha’s” and laws would be quickly changed.

 

 

Memory Triggers

 

 

Have you ever saw, smelled, or heard something that triggered a memory from a long time ago? I watched a movie the other night that included a scene about a high school student losing her grandmother. It reminded me of losing my grandmother when I was thirteen. I recalled the day after my grandmother’s funeral when I returned to school. A friend asked where I was the day before. I told him that I had attended my grandmother’s funeral. He insisted I was lying.

 

I found it odd that a friend would think that I lied about losing my grandmother. This is when I realized that not all people my age had lost loved ones. They were likely blessed with having their parents as well as all four of their grandparents living.

 

Death Was Familiar To Me

 

It was different for me. My father’s mother, who had just passed, was the last of my living grandparents. Plus, I had already lost my father seven years earlier. So, death was a familiar experience for me. It seemed, however, it was unfamiliar to my friend.  

 

The Right Trigger

 

This seemingly benign incident has stuck with me for many years. All it took was the right trigger for me to remember it.

 

It’s not uncommon for us to remember something from the past that would otherwise be long forgotten when a current event provides the right stimulus. Sometimes recollection of a memory results in a simple reaction of recognition. However, many times these recollections bring up emotions – both positive and negative. Sometimes, these “forgotten” memories are the source behind a person’s current day issues.

 

It is fascinating how our minds hold onto memories from so long ago and how they unconsciously can affect us today. Even memories that don’t have significance on the surface can have a lasting impact on our well-being long into the future.

 

Responding To Memories

 

As you experience past memories that may spontaneous arise, recognize them. If they are pleasant, welcome them. If they are negative, give yourself permission to release any negative emotions associated with that memory. Releasing guilt, fear, and other negative emotions can be a great healing experience. Don’t forget to be thankful for the experience and to forgive all involved, including yourself.

 

 

Creative Connections in Art

 

 

How many people think about “creative connections” when it comes to artwork? If you ask the average person on the street if art is creative, most will say, “Yes.” Some will think the two are synonymous. Personally, I would argue that artwork may or may not be creative; however, artistic works (not just something termed art) are always creative and make use of creative connections.

 

Types of Artwork

 

To better understand this thought, let’s look at various types of artwork.

 

Reproductions

 

If an artist sets out to reproduce another artist’s work exactly, they can show great craftsmanship and talent, but very little creativity will show. If you see creativity in the piece, then the artist has failed at their objective.

 
Crafts

 

Some people consider crafts completely separate from art, but for the purposes of this discussion I will include them.   Crafts where you follow instructions are very much like making a reproduction. The difference is that not as much care is usually taken to exactly reproduce the item. However, other crafts are open to creativity. For instance, a craft where kids (or adults) create a snow globe may be very creative. The entire design other than the concept of a globe is left to the crafter. This is where a craft becomes an art and where creative connections can come into play.

 

Connections can be as simple.  Perhaps you want to add to create in scene in your snow globe. Suddenly, you remember that you saw a small plastic tree in the toy box. You run, get the tree, and add it to your creation.

 

Connections, however, can be quite creative. One example would be is the crafter decided to change  the liquid in the globe to oil so that the “snow” will be suspended in it. Another possibility would be to use hairspray to create a sticky surface so some of the snow would stick to the surface without using glue, which might show on the project.

 

Paper Arts

 

I call the paper artwork that I do paper arts because I am always creating new designs and techniques. Putting two very different stamp sets together to make a card or scrapbook page can be a creative connection. Other examples are using a part of a tall plant to create grass, adding color to emulate leaves to change a winter tree into a summer tree, and wetting paper so that it curls and can be formed into flowers. The creative connections can come in the form of materials used, design, using materials in ways that they were never intended, and even the basic inspiration.

 
Paintings And More

 

When creating paintings, drawings, & sculptures, creative connections can come in terms of techniques, subject matter, and interpretation. The more different an art piece is from the basic fruit bowl, nude, or landscape, the more likely it contains creative connections.

 

Creating new creative connections is the part of art that I like best.

 

The above is an updated version of an article that I originally wrote on 6/29/2012.

 

Defining Success

 

 

I recently read Time Magazine’s article, “I Raised Two CEOs and a Doctor. These Are My Secrets to Parenting Successful Children.” It was an excerpt from Esther Wojcicki’s new book How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results.

 

Two CEOs and a Doctor

 

Esther’s daughter Susan is the CEO of YouTube while Anne is the CEO of 23andMe. Meanwhile Janet is a professor and researcher. Esther and her husband are both educators, having met at UC Berkley. Clearly, the entire family is quite accomplished.

 

Although I haven’t read her book, the article mentions teaching children trust, respect, independence, collaboration, and kindness. I agree that all of these attributes lead to well-adjusted adults and I am sure played a significant part in her daughters’ lives.

 

School Connections

 

The article, however, does not mention other key factors in raising children to become CEOs. It helps greatly when you have the means and connections to attend schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. The education is not the most valuable attribute of these schools; it is the connections. The connections you gain at these schools and the image associated with these schools are what helps you leap to the top of the business world.

 

Opportunity and connection play a huge part in success as described in this article. Personally, I would rather Esther had written a book about how to raise your children to be healthy, well-adjusted adults. To me, that is being successful as a parent.

 

Success?

 

Being a CEO isn’t necessarily being successful. Yes, it is making lots of money and if that is your definition of success, then it is equivalent to success. However, the person isn’t always happy or well-adjusted. On the flip side, thousands of people are very successful in their lives without ever seeing the inside of a corner office.

 

Defining success as being well-adjusted, working hard, and doing your best includes so many more people that CEOs. Stay-at-home moms who raise amazing kids are absolutely as successful as a CEO. The same can be said of millions of men and women in a variety of other jobs.

 

You can be successful no matter your life circumstances. It is all about the person you choose to be, not your occupation.