Hunger of body and heart

A few weeks ago we went to a very short (just over an hour) lecture by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. The lecture was about strengthening families and was basically a short rehash of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with a specific bent towards how the principles of the 7 habits apply to families.

I have long been a fan of Dr. Covey’s work, ever since the first time I read the 7 Habits book.  The book changed my overall approach to life, and frankly I think it’s words to live by for anyone and everyone.  In other words, I have drunk the “7 Habits” kool-aid.

There was one quote from Dr. Covey that I found particularly poignant during this particular lecture.  Speaking about interpersonal communication, he said:

The deepest hunger of the human body is for air.  The deepest hunger of the human heart is to be understood.

The part about the hunger for air is pretty clear.  Try going without food for 5 minutes.  Easy. Done.  Try going without air for 5 minutes.


That got pretty hard after about 40 seconds, didn’t it?

It makes sense that the deepest hunger of our hearts is to be understood.  It explains why we go to such incredible lengths to try and make people see things our way.  From arguments between friends to wars between countries, many a conflict has been a result of people trying make others understand them.

It’s interesting that Dr. Covey says that the key to interpersonal communication is to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  I wonder how many conflicts, from simple spats between people to major international crises, could be avoided if people tried to understand each other before making themselves understood.

In my experience, it only takes one person to practice this in order for it to work.  Two people may be talking, and both are dying to be understood.  If one of them decides to understand before being understood, a synergistic exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings is much more likely to happen.  It’s amazing how willing we are to listen and try to understand someone else when we know that they already understand us.

This is where we come to a mutual understanding. When both people understand each other, because both have really made that efford to understand and not just be understood, then real communication has happened and real results can be enjoyed and appreciated.

More invitations…

We’ve almost completely settled on wording for the invitations. Here are a few things we’ve learned in the process:

  • The wedding announcement/invitation is always written in the third person. Saying “we would like to invite you…” is not traditionally appropriate (not to say it’s wrong, just not the traditional way of doing it).
  • In a formal wedding invitation, all numbers are to be written out except those in an address. That is, you write “Wednesday, the twenty-third of August,” but “2000 west Adams”
  • Actually, EVERYTHING is to be written out – no abbreviations. The address is “2000 West Adams street,” never “2000 W. Adams St.”
  • The proper format for a date takes two lines, with the year on the second line. It looks like this:
  • Wednesday, the twenty-third of August
    Two thousand and six

  • You’re not supposed to write “10:00 a.m.” or ” 6:00 p.m.” either. You write “ten o’clock in the morning” or “six o’clock in the evening.” Technically if it’s obvious, you don’t have to have the “in the evening,” but it’s probably a good idea anyway.
  • There’s an entire hierarchy of dress standards for these things. The problem is, most people don’t really know what’s appropriate for such occasions (I certainly didn’t!) because they don’t do these kind of events that often. Apparently, for any event after 6:00 pm, full dinner formals are appropriate. That is, tuxedos and floor-length evening gowns. Anyway, the usual heirarchy is: black tie, black tie optional, semi-formal, semi-casual, casual. “Black tie” means tuxedos and evening wear. “Black tie optional” means that there will be people in tuxedos and evening wear, and while you don’t have to wear something that formal, it would be appropriate, and you should dress accordingly. “Semi-formal” is basically tuxedos and business suits. This is probably what most people would equate with their “sunday best.” “Semi-casual” is things like trousers and button-down shirts with loafers, etc…. Finally, casual is whatever you want, come-as-you-are, jeans-and-a-t-shirt, sandals, etc…. While we want our reception to be classy, we also don’t want people to go renting tuxedos, so we’ve decided on semi-formal, encouraging people to dress their best without having to do anything crazy like spend money on clothes they’re going to wear once.
  • There’s one other classification of clothing, known as “white tie.” White tie is full formal. Tailcoat, white bow tie, etc… This is the ultimate in formal wear for men. If Marcia has her way (which she will), I’ll be dressed white tie for the reception. That’s fine with me – even though I don’t do it very often, I do enjoy looking good.
  • If the invitation is to a wedding held at a church, you use the phrase “request the honour of your presence.” If it’s held anywhere else, or the invitation is only to the reception and not the wedding itself, the correct wording is “request the pleasure of your company.”
  • Finally, when providing addresses to the location of the wedding or the reception, you never include the zip code, and following the above-stated rule of no abbreviations, write out the full name of the state.

I commented to Marcia yesterday that it’s a shame that when planning a wedding, there’s so much to learn, and you only use most of that knowledge once. Hopefully by writing it here, someone else can make use of what we’ve learned.

You’re not anybody until you’re on technorati

So, this site has existed for three whole days, and already technorati has picked it up.  I’m not sure how that happened, since they picked it up as jacobandmarcia.com, which I only registered on thursday night (and technorati had it by friday afternoon) and haven’t told anyone about it yet.

But here’s the great part: according to technorati, we are the 1,420,455th most popular blog on the internet! I’m so proud.

What’s really important?

In yet another brief fit of work avoidance curiosity, I was taught something interesting.  Look at the main news headlines of CNN, Fox News, and Google News, and then at digg.com, a web site that tracks the most popular web sites at a given moment, and (I think) a pretty good gauge of what people care about right now.

CNN, Fox, and Google seemed to agree that the most important stories of the day are terrorist plots in the UK, the JonBenet Ramsey case in Colorado (and now Thailand), and the war between Lebanon and Israel.

Digg, however, shows us that what people really care about right now is an amazingly accurate recreation of New York City – with Lego!  This site gets more than 1000 digg points than the #2 site of the day.  And for reference, the first mention of terrorists, JonBenet Ramsey, or Lebanon or Israel is #39 on the list, and it’s an interesting sattelite image of oil spilled along the Lebanese coast.  It got just over 500 points, compared to Lego City’s 3,600+ points.

This was pointed out by Joe D’eon, a commercial airline pilot who does a very interesting podcast.  He sees this as a sign that the mainstream media aren’t really telling us what we actually care to know.

And you have to admit, a Lego New York City is pretty cool.

The best part of waking up….

One of the interesting things about running a small business where you sell software on the internet is that people can buy what you’re selling without you having to do anything.  In my case, they go to my web site, click a couple links, and make the purchase entirely online.  When they do that, I get an email and a piece of paper comes out of my printer.

Lately, for some reason, the vast majority of my customers have been in Europe.  So most of these transactions happen while I’m asleep.  My routine in the morning is to get up, turn on lights, and glance at the printer to see if there are any invoices on the printer.  Of course, with the number of “overnight” customers I’ve been getting lately, there has been paper on the printer nearly every morning.

While I know that it doesn’t really amount to money for nothing, I am slightly amused at the thought of making money while I sleep.  It’s always nice to go to bed and wake up in the morning with just a little more in the bank than there was last night.

Of course, that’s not quite as nice as when Marcia comes to town in the morning and I get to see her first thing in the day and make her breakfast… That really is the best part of waking up.

Invitations

Wedding stuff today…

Today we started putting together the painfully long list of people to whome we intend to send wedding invitations. In about 30 minutes, we came up with roughly 200 people who will receive invitiations, and that’s without consulting our parents for lists of people that THEY want to notify. We’re making the invitations ourselves (correction: Marcia is making the invitations herself), so we bought supplies to do 300 announcements. Hopefully that will be more than enough, but if not we can always get more.

I have been tasked with shopping around to find the best price on getting pictures printed. There is an abundance of very nice digital cameras among our family and friends, as well as a few talented photographers, so for the announcement pictures we’re simply going to take them ourselves digitally and have them printed at a professional shop. Here’s what I’ve discovered: Walmart’s photo counter prints 4×6 photos for $0.19 each if you are getting more than 50. The relatively new online service Shutterfly charges the same 19 cents as their base rate, and the prices go down from there as you order in bulk. Buy 200 prints and they’re $0.15. Get 400 prints and they’re $0.14. The question is whether shipping makes up for it and still makes Walmart more economical.

Finally, last night in a fit of work avoidance curiousity I googled for “wedding blogs,” and found that Scott Adams, creator of the very funny Dilbert comic strip, recently got married. He astutely observed that when you take a product and attach the word “wedding” to it, you get to triple its price.

That’s why we bought the supplies for our wedding invitations at Staples and a scrapbooking store – no “wedding” stuff in sight there.

Thank goodness.