Thankful for Things I do not Know

Burj Dubai
Burj Dubai by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

In a time where we have elections that lead to a change in our laws and weather events that affect millions in unpredicted ways, we are again reminded of the importance of people. Without each other, we have nothing. With each other, though, we are capable of doing things that previous generations thought impossible.

I am thankful that we live in a world where we continue to push forward by developing new things.

“Things” here can have many definitions. Some things are tangible consumer devices that bring us joy. Things like iPad Minis and 50″ 3D televisions. Other tangible things include healthcare robotic devices used for advanced surgeries. Or they can include larger things like the Tesla S, Motor Trend’s car of the year.

Things can also be new services. Khan Academy is changing the ways students learn. Uber is changing how people get private transportation in cities. Even simple things like booking a night in another city are made cheaper and better with services like Airbnb.

Things can also be ideas. Some ideas are new, like Rolling Jubilee’s idea to abolish millions of $$$ of debt. Or an idea that currency can be decentralized with Bitcoin. Or even an older idea of One Laptop Per Child that aims to empower children through education.

I’m thankful that we have all these things. I’m very thankful that we didn’t have many of them 10 years ago. Why? Because we have innovated.

The last 10 years have not been easy. We (as a country and a planet) have had economic challenges, fought in wars, and yet we have continued to innovate.

I am most thankful about the things I can’t list here. The things that I don’t know about, that only live in the labs or minds of people around the world. Things that will become a big part of my life or of the life of someone 10,000 miles from here.

I am thankful that we have continued to move forward, and we will continue to move forward.

30 Days of Thanks: Life Lessons from Lala and Poppe

Typically, I take a more light-hearted approach to my 30 Days of Thanks post, in the past professing my gratitude to our clients, the Dallas Cowboys and Kodak Moments. Topics that are seemingly less “tug at your heart strings” and more…globally grateful.

This year is different, and no it is not because of the Mayan Calendar hoopla. This year, I am thankful for my parents, Laura (Lala) and Russell (Poppe) Pemberton. I have always been thankful for them and I believe they know that. But this year, I have truly felt the culmination of 26 years (and 11 months) of love, support, friendship and encouragement. These attributes span far beyond the parental definition and more into lessons that have paved my day-to-day life. And for that, I am incredibly thankful…

[Cue the montage]

Work Hard

My parents always communicated the bigger picture…beyond sports, beyond high school and beyond college. If you want something, you sure as hell better be willing to work for it. And let’s be honest, as a kid, you “want” A LOT.

I wanted to be lead-off batter in the line-up. “Ok, I will take you to Decker Prairie Elementary so you can take reps everyday outside of practice.”

I wanted the Docs [Martins] with neon lacing. “Ok, you can iron your Dad’s shirts at 50 cents/piece.”

I wanted to go to Washington D.C. for the Presidential Classroom. “Ok, let’s draft up a letter asking people for donations towards your travel expenses.”

I am thankful that my parents not only made me work, but made me work hard for what I wanted. They were preparing me for my future and unknowingly instilled an unwavering drive and determination that makes me want to do better every day.

Raise the Roof and Celebrate

The Pembertons celebrate everything. Have you ever heard of a non-birthday? Well now you have – Happy Non-Birthday anonymous reader! My parents have always gone out of their way to let me and my brother know how proud they are of us. Whether it was through their words or partaking in a death defying 21st birthday stunt, they were there with their party hats in tow.

I am thankful that my parents celebrated our accomplishments, and encouraged us to celebrate in others. It is amazing what someone can accomplish when they have unconditional support.

Don’t Forget to Laugh at Yourself

My dad is famous for getting a laugh through his grandiose stories. You know, the one where the ball rick-o-shays off 5 trees, gets swallowed by a Big Fish and somehow lands in the hole for birdie. And my mother, bless her heart, has heard each one about a 100 times and laughs just as hard like it’s his first rendition.

I am thankful my parents taught me to enjoy the “funny” in life, embrace humility and laugh at yourself. Yes, that even means laugh at the time you looked like a little boy in a tacky Christmas sweater…it’s makes for a great story right?!

Happy Thanksgiving Lala and Poppe! Love you both!

30 Days of Thanks – Skype!

Year after year, I’m thankful for the same things…

  • Family
    Family

    • In less than two years, we’ve welcomed two new additions to our family!
      Nicholas I. Gomez and Taylor E. Nguyen!
       

  • Friends

    • This year I’ve made so many new friends at school, work and even out of thin air! I can’t imagine going a whole day without some of them!
       

  • Food

    • Sweets are definitely my weakness.. I’ve been able to limit myself from too much sugar consumption.. but there are just times when you need to down a dozen of the best cupcakes in the world!..just kidding, I shared them! They were from Georgetown Cupcakes!

    •    
      I was so lucky to experience Uchi in Houston,TX this year with my sister for my birthday! It was right after the Schipul Zombie Photoshoot (just imagine splotches of red ‘blood’ around my face and neck as I enjoy some uncooked fish)
  • and other things that start with the letter “F”… like flip-flops

However, this year I’ve added another item to be really thankful for..and no, it doesn’t start with the letter “F”.

For the year 2012, I am also thankful for SKYPE! It’s such a great way to keep in touch with the people we care about, especially getting to ‘see’ them even if they’re miles and miles away. And ‘the best things in life are free‘..right?

And I guess no matter how you try to explain it.. a long-distance relationship is a LONG-distance relationship when you’re not in the same city as someone else.. whether it be family members, friends, co-workers, or so on.  Not being a big ‘phone-person’ (check me out with my Samsung Behold).. Skype is definitely the next best thing for me when it comes to having a conversation with someone.. ‘face-to-face’.

All in all, I’m very thankful for the life I have..filled with so many people that I genuinely care for and for all the memories and experiences we’ve all shared with each other. Until next Thanksgiving!

 

Cheers,

Jan!

30 Days of Thanks: Thankful for – Body of Work

I am thankful for so many small things this year. Small acts, added together can make a much larger impact over the individual contributions. Being reminded of this, has allowed me to understand the random and planned acts of kindness, charity, faith, forgiveness and brilliance can change someone’s life. Sometimes it even changes a lot of lives.

An Artist’s Body of Work is made up a collection of pieces developed over time and often in a series of repetitive themes. I had a great Architecture professor, fellow professor, friend and fishing buddy that was also an artist. We lost Richard Ferrier to cancer way too early in his life. At his memorial, countless students, friends and colleagues commented on the special moment or gift that Richard (RB) left with them. There were stories of a kind act at one of the Universities we taught at, a personal reference to some needed help, or even an encouraging pep talk. He provided behind the scenes help and encouragement to several generations of artists and Architects. As I heard one story after the other, it was clear that no one person really knew ALL the good deeds RB had provided.

Thankful for a Theme of Art and Kindness

Driving home from that weekend, the stories began to overlap and the theme was clear. There was  a recurring study in kindness that characterized his true “Body of Work.” Sure, there was a legacy of paintings, awards and even archives in the Library of Congress to preserve his artistic work. But, small uncelebrated acts of humanity and friendship were the real collection. He had influenced and changed more people than we ever expected. Richards work was changing people’s lives.

I am thankful the ability to appreciate good design, to spell Winsor Newton watercolour with a ‘u’, to catch a trout in the cold tailwaters of New Mexico, to see someone fly in a WWII fighter plane. I am thankful for the lesson – To change the world, all it takes is small acts in recurring themes.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Slowly creating my Body of Work.

Thankful for You Houston.

I have so much to be thankful for. I’ve written here in the past about how I’m thankful for LOLCats, Aggieland, and my mom’s wise advice to always stay positive.  Today in particular I am thankful for the democratic process, my rights as an American, and those who serve to protect our freedom. And Twitter. I am definitely thankful for Twitter.

Thank You Houston!

This year for my 30 Days of Thanks post I want to take a moment to personally thank you – the people and the city of Houston, for all you have done for me over the last four years.

It was January 3, 2009  when I moved to Houston. In the years since then you have welcomed me and supported me every step of the way.

Houston is a unique place – the most diverse city in the country, a town that fosters business and supports the arts  – and earlier this year topped Forbes’ list of America’s Coolest Cities.  I have tried my best to take in as much of it as possible – taking in museums and restaurants and festivals and trying to keep up with everything Houston has to offer. Honestly, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.

The Big D will always be my hometown (don’t hate), but I have been incredibly blessed to find a great home here. And I cannot be grateful enough.

A Few of My Favorite Things about Houston:

1. A Full Events Calendar    In a city as big as Houston, there is always something going on!

I am privileged to get to go out and support fantastic clients like Miller Outdoor Theatre, Susan G. Komen Houston, and The Art Car Parade. Some of my other favorite events have been Comicpalooza  Comic Convention, Free Press Summerfest, and the Rodeo!


Left to Right: Houston  Rodeo, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Free Press Summer Fest, Houston Beer Festival, Comicpalooza

2. The Food! – I often tell people the best part of moving to Houston is the food. The diversity of backgrounds and cultures in Houston meld into a mixing pot of delicious opportunities to explore. My latest obsessions are El Gran Malo, Benjy’s, and Petrol Station. (And I am always open to suggestions!)

Houston Food Truck Fest 2011

3.  The Schipulites  –  I work with some of the most talented, hardest working people I have ever met. I learn from you every single day. I have great mentors here and a great team. I couldn’t ask for more.

Thank You!

I have to thank you to all of you in Houston for welcoming me with open arms. Here’s to many more Houstoniversaries to come!

Inspired by Looking Beyond the Window

Looking in Florence, ItalyI am a small town girl, who grew up in small town Texas. Really. CNN said it was the smallest typical small town in America for the Millennium 2000. It was a great place to grow up safely where the rest of the world didn’t set the pace. My mom chose it so she could care for my father in his later years of aging health care and not worry about their little girl when she couldn’t keep an eye on her every minute. It worked, I have some great memories even if I grew up rather quickly. But, it didn’t do much for my world view and experiences.

One of the greatest gifts of my Mom gave me was the encouragement to learn about other cultures and travel when possible. So much so, that it required faith and living out her dream. On the eve of a summer study abroad for Architecture in Italy, she was hospitalized for a heart attack. A phone call from my sister while I was packing interrupted the hundreds of little decisions about what to pack in only a backpack and carryon for 10 weeks. A long night, and several conversations later, and I was on a plane at her pleading. Mom never traveled across an ocean, but dreamed of it for her daughter. In all that was going on, she told me “Go! Learn about the world and have a better life that I dreamed of for you! Live out my dream for me.” It’s hard to argue with a 115 pound (when soaking wet), wiry, Texas born and bred Mom. And, her cardiologist promised to take good care of her.

What I learned on that first trip abroad was to experience everything different than in my world, appreciate the differences and similarities. I came back inspired by history, art, architecture, culture and the people that make all these things so vital. Umm… good red wine and cheese as well, but that is another post. I learned with historical significance what we do in this world, in this lifetime, affects those who will come after us and builds on the body of work for our humanity. Could I have learned these things without traveling abroad, yes. Would I be the same person, no. My mom somehow knew this more than I did. She knew I needed to experience people and living differently. I know my place in this world is here in Texas, but I also know in small ways, I am connected to a larger picture and have so much more to learn from others.

Mom did get released from the hospital and we shared great stories about my travels and many more trips and escapades. She lived vicariously until her heart couldn’t keep up with her spirit anymore. Her eyes shined with each story and photo and in retrospect, yes, Mom was right. Mom, Thank You for inspiring me to experience more about the world other than what is outside my living room window. Even when I had to leave your side under extreme circumstances, you inspired me to be a better neighbor to human culture.

Book Give-Away: Greater Than Yourself

Update: We Have a WINNER!

Happy Thanksgiving folks! I hope that you have a wonderful Holiday. Thanks to all the folks who shared their comments about being inspired.

Now onto the important FREE Book thing – we dropped the names in the magical internet hat at www.Random.org and  Jim Struck has won the Schipul Thanksgiving Book-Away! We will be sending over a copy of Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. Congrats Jim! We would love to hear your thoughts on the book once you get a chance to read it.

Thanx again everyone for sharing – now…   go eat some Turkey!

***

It’s November again in Schipul-land (well, it’s really November everywhere else too, but is makes for a good opener) … and we are once again focusing on thankfulness. This November we are celebrating the sources of our inspirations… those people, quote, movies, books, etc. that have influenced us, motivated us, inspired us to do bigger, better, awesomer things.

To celebrate our celebration of inspiration we have a super special giveaway!

While our blog posts are sharing those things that have helped us get farther down the road of life, we want to give away a copy of book that focuses on how we can all give to someone else’ to inspire them, help them grow, lift them up, guide them through the obstacles of the work place, or community space, or fill-in-the-blank space.

Greater Than Yourself
Greater Than Yourself

Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership is a book devoted the idea that the goal of genuine leader is to help others. To help those around us become more capable, confident, and accomplished than we are. That’s right… a leader’s goal is help the people we lead to be Greater Than Ourselves.

“Real leadership, in other words, is an extreme act rooted in love and motivated by a desire to create a better world’ whether it’s the world of your company, team, neighborhood, or family.”

Written using the now very popular allegorical form, Greater Than Yourself wraps the three tenets of Greater Than Yourself’ Expand Yourself, Give Yourself, and Replicate Yourself – inside a fictional narrative. We follow the main character on his journey towards understanding and embracing the “GTY” way of life.  The book is a short and sweet read… ending with a perfectly useful recap of the steps to the Greater Than Yourself philosophy. It strips out the entire story and gives you the guidance you need to embark on your “GTY” way of life. The book is also supported by a vast and active online community at www.greaterthanyourself.com

My favorite quote of all time, the one that keeps inspiring me over and over again is the Marianne Williamson quote stating, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” It will come as no surprise then that one of my favorite quotes from this book is right in line with this idea…

“One tricky part of a Greater Than Yourself project is that you cannot truly give in a worthwhile way to those around you without accepting within yourself the qualities the program emphasizes. You must be willing to expand yourself, to give your abilities to another, to tap into the greatness inherent not only in you, but it those around you.”

So’ we want to inspire you! We want to inspire you to inspire others! We want to give you a copy of “Greater Than Yourself.”

How do you win this amazing book? Glad you asked:

  1. Leave a comment below’ who or what has been a source of inspiration in your life?
  2. That’s it!

We will pick a winner using the random integer generator on Wednesday, November 24th.

PS –Be sure to let us know a good way to contact you when you win!

Do what you do, do it well, and don’t stop till it’s done

Photo by Ed Schipul

The people that I’ve always respected and admired  in my life  are people that have worked hard for their success. I believe that anyone can be  successful at something if they work hard enough to get there.  My underlying value system has me programmed to work as hard as I can to achieve what I want in life. If I’m not successful, it only means that I’m not done yet.

One of the people that exemplifies the characteristics that I admire is Will Smith. In this compilation video, he talks about his belief system and how that system  got him to where he is in his life.

I don’t aspire to be like Will Smith, but I do identify with a lot of the things that he says. Except the part about the treadmill (2:35 minutes in); he can have that.

I can never claim to be the hardest working person (in show business;   hit me!) but I know that once you choose to do or choose to be, you’re half way there.  

Life is too short to not  commit  so get out there and get it done.

Thirty Days of Thanks – YOU!

crowdsurf

This month, the Schipul crew has taken a look at some of the things we are thankful for with our 30 Days of Thanks series – and boy did we get a WIDE variety!!  At the end of a month dedicated to introspection and family, we are left feeling more blessed than ever.

Our final shout out for our 30 Days of Thanks is to YOU! Whether you are a client, a local  Community member, part of the Schipul tribe or just stopping by to see what’s happenin’,  we are glad you are here and part of our lives.

At our company, we put a lot of focus on Storytelling – both online and offline.  One of the most crucial components of any Story are the diverse characters that we interact with.  The greater the variety and the depth of the interactions between characters, the more interesting and exciting the Story.

Without you, we’d just be a group of nerds tapping away at our keyboards.  With you in our world, we’re constantly growing, connecting, networking, learning and pushing ourselves in any way we can.

Thanks for being you and thanks being a part of our tribe.  Lots of warm fuzzies from the Schipulites.  We think you’re pretty swell.

Photo thanks to Flickr user chrisjohnbeckett