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Gina Fiedel
Web Design & Development since 1998 ~ Google+ Create Member
Web Design & Development since 1998 ~ Google+ Create Member


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Remember.... Humility

Questions never hurt anyone. And saying “I Don’t Know” doesn’t need to either.

What brings you to your knees? What demands that you say “I don’t know”? When do you really listen to what others and even your opponent or your debate “partner” has to say? How often do you question your own knowledge, your own willingness to change or to shift an opinion? What circumstances lead you to surrender? What does it take? To have some humility?

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” – Thomas Merton

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In Case You're Trying to Imagine The Scale of This Fire...
The Thomas Fire is BIG

Take a look at these template maps to compare the Thomas Fire that has struck Ventura, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Montecito and soon Santa Barbara with other U.S. cities.
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Capture moments of hope and joy.

My morning has been lightened by the song of a daughter of a friend in the UK. Maybe it can lighten yours.

To say this is a stressful time here in Santa Barbara and throughout the communities hit by the Thomas Fire is a gross understatement. In order to cope, I find myself somehow looking in every nook and cranny for moments of joy and hopefulness no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

Thank you +Kirstin Hancock!
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Okay. Get this. Here's a very (very) short family story.

I could be wrong and I have no way to double-check because KEYT doesn't have replay available for today's Thomas Fire town meeting and I was alone watching it this afternoon, but I swear that where the firefighting crews are staging up on the Gibraltar Saddle overlooking Santa Barbara is right where my parent's ashes are. There's a dome-shaped hill with a trail up the middle of it and that's our family's special spot.

Now, if you knew Roz & Ivan, you'd know what a kick they'd get out of their ashes to ashes front row seats.

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Here's a cool thought

When Santa Barbara makes it through this in the safest, smartest way possible, most, if not all of the front country ridge line will have fairly fresh burn scar from all the recent fires of the last decade combined and that will mean considerably less and less dangerous fuel for the next several years.

So we could, reasonably get a break for a significant amount of time. Not saying there won't be fires, but there won't be as much fuel to feed them.

That thought got me to sleep last night.
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Fire News

Fire movement and conditions changed overnight- local communities alerted around 2:30am Pacific. More mandatory & voluntary evacuation areas. Our near and dear including family are in each zone. We are watching closely. I don't think we will be in any danger today or need to evacuate today but it's getting considerably closer so we're getting into that frame of mind.

Our power is erratic so please don't worry if I don't respond to comments consistently.
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Mom! Why Does Everything Feel So Weird Today?

She's redder than red. The light is orange. The sky is danger.
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Fire Sky

It's eerie living. Ashy, orange air. Masks to go outdoors to the fragrant reminder of how vulnerable we are to the firey elements of danger. Wind that makes retaliation impossible. Life in the lane of pretty much out-of-control. A challenge of the times. Dark beauty. Terrifying losses.

All of that and we aren't even in the zone of the flames. Just imagine how much worse it is. For those that are. My heart breaks.
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Scary World We Live In. That's Not A Cloud
It's Smoke From A Massive Fire Seen Way Up Here In Santa Barbara

The Thomas Fire is burning out of control and I'm feeling heartsick for our friends and neighbors in Ventura. This stream of smoke from approximately 34 miles away is reaching all across the SB horizon and affecting air quality here. 50K acres as of 11:29am Pacific. Blue sky smells of smoke.
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The Most Glorious & The Most Frustrating Thing We’ve Got
We Might As Well Be Making Art

It takes that much attention and intention. That much interest and curiosity. That much dedication and perseverance. It instigates that much annoyance and maddening over-effort. That much irritability. And despondency. It undermines objectives. Falls flat much of the time.

And it also bears life to that much thrill, pleasure, beauty, excitement, joy, optimism, and love. It delivers a sense of efficaciousness, victory, innovation. And every so often, when we’re lucky or smart it transcends all else.

All those crazy, pendulum swinging things -just like making art. Which is, after all, a form of it, sitting neatly just under the giant umbrella of Communication with a big “C”.

What would be the harm in considering communication to be an art?

My thought is that it is indisputably an art and I’m even sure enough not to imagine I’m the first person to say so. There’s even a really great magazine called “Communication Arts”. What that ultimately means is that we’re in constant experimental mode. We’re having to call upon our sense of creativity and inventiveness at all times.

But the very hardest part? Well two, actually. First, it’s having a wholesome desire.

Second, it’s how to navigate the internal communication that is taking place every nanosecond of every moment of each repeating round of twenty-four hours. We are always in communication with ourselves. And it’s crazy in there. It takes intricate introspection and terrifying patience to get snuggled up with our own minds and how we are communicating to ourselves -on the inside.

But, that’s where some beautiful golden key lies in wait for those moments when we’re crystal clear. Or even just able to unravel enough to be honest. The moments in which we are not deceiving ourselves, running amok with inaccurate perceptions. Able to get in line with the perceptions that may not belong to us but to someone else, hopefully, the person we are in communication with.

The golden key seems to be able to unlock moments in which we are able to observe honestly, listen with openness, try to line up our thinking with someone else’s enough to truly hear enough to be able to truly respond.

Good communication is no small thing. It’s to be treasured. Sought out. Because ultimately, it’s not only how we connect with the world but it’s how we express who we are, shape our identity. Like making art. Just like making art. Risky. Daring. Glorious.

”Paying attention, truly listening and understanding and valuing the perspective of someone else is part of being human.” +David Amerland

I’ll add that paying attention, truly listening and understanding and valuing what is going on in your own mind will go a long, long way in being a human with a full heart; connected, truly communing, learning and growing.

The Things We Say

From a certain perspective I’ve spent all my adult life working as a communicator ( Whether working as a journalist (, a consultant (, a writer (, speaker ( or analyst ( I have always been fascinated and challenged by how much or how little we understand in any given context where the sharing of information takes place.

When even the pauses in a conversational flow have meaning as Elizabeth Stokoe demonstrates in a brilliant TED talk ( you have to ask whether spoken communication is something we were truly designed to do:

If language was designed for thinking instead of communicating and we use it for communication because it’s a tool we have ( there’s still a connection between what we think and what we do:

For those familiar with the issues of search know that disambiguation plays a huge part in it ( What has not always been entirely clear is the fact that ambiguity in language may actually be an advantage (

When it comes to communicating within more formal parameters, it would appear that we are incapable of doing it correctly without some planning: Developing a communication strategy, in that context, requires a clear understanding of goals and objectives ( Unsurprisingly then leadership (and identity) become part of the core competencies that need to be applied here:

Communication itself, at times, seems to be an issue: And even couples who, supposedly, have a strong foundation because of the nature of their relationship, can have deep communication difficulties: There is some good news in all this. Like every problem we face, better communication can be achieved by taking a different behavioral approach:

Communication is a relational skill: To be done effectively it requires empathy ( and it requires trust: When everything is transactional ( it looks like communication and its attendant skillsets crop up with great regularity.

Team communication techniques ( are not that much different to the ones we employ with individuals on a one-to-one basis ( Paying attention, truly listening and understanding and valuing the perspective of someone else is part of being human. And being human means being social (

Changing how we do something requires us to change how we perceive it and for that to happen we need to change how we feel about it:

We have been communicating for a very long time even if we aren’t quite sure when we first started to talk to each other ( And while there are many competing theories on how language evolved ( it’s clear that we are the only ones who can use language the way we do, even if we are not the only ones who can talk (

Our tendency to anthropomorphize our Pets ( reveals more about us than it does about them.

Communication challenges us because context changes it. Communicating context is challenging. In case you think I am being solipsistic here ( consider the fact that our channels of communication and the dynamic principles that guide them evolve faster than our ability to communicate effectively, at least not without some training and practice.

I hope you’ve done the right thing here and managed to accurately communicate your needs so that, right now, you’re awash in quality black coffee, have cookies, donuts, croissants and chocolate cake to fall back on. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.
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