Play and Work, Work and Play: What’s the Difference?

It really comes down to how you perceive what you’re doing. If there’s one thing I learned from my father – it’s to enjoy every minute of your life. And if you truly enjoy what you’re doing, there is no distinction between work and play. A dear friend of mine, Bill Benner, shared this quote which pretty much sums it up for me. It’s a perfect philosophy for “Living Life to its Fullest.”

The Newest Addition to the Ledson Team

Taylor Lynn Ledson was born on July 28 at 10:20 pm. Wow! I had almost forgotten what an incredible experience it is to see your child being born. Every time I look at Taylor Lynn I feel like I’m rediscovering the meaning of life, just as I did with my other children.

Steve Ledson with his father, Barker “Noble” Ledson.

Taylor was stubborn; she didn’t arrive until days after her due date. We think that’s a strong indication that she is a Ledson through and through. The second she came out, she turned her head and stared directly into my eyes. I’ve never had a pair of eyes penetrate so deeply – I had to catch my breath. It was an amazing bonding experience. With blonde hair and blue eyes and that serious Ledson look, you cannot deny that she’s my daughter!

When she finally arrived, I realized how you can forget life’s best moments, the tangible sounds and touch and smells of a baby. Oh, that indescribable new baby smell – so pure and clean and unlike anything else on earth, sweet and milky. If you could bottle this stuff, people would buy it by the case. New baby smell is like a magic potion that makes you forget about everything else on earth! Even the spit up makes me smile.

Her feet are tiny and fragile, but I know they’ll eventually take her great places. And then there are the half-moon fingernails – they’re so exquisite they almost break my heart.

And when she opens her perfect little mouth and lets out that beautiful cry, telling us she’s hungry or wet, I just smile. Years from now it will break my heart to see her cry, but now it’s the most joyful thing I can imagine hearing! I can hear the Ledson spirit and zest for life in that cry.

I find myself just staring at this bundle of possibility, wrapped up in a cotton blanket, sleeping like only a newborn can. I try and savor each moment, because I know from experience how fast it really goes. She’ll be sitting and crawling and walking and running before we know it. She’ll be catching her first fish, riding her first horse, getting up on water skis for the first time, going to her first day of school, and before you know it I’ll be walking her down the aisle. But for now, she sleeps like an angel (during the day, of course) and cries at night for our love, attention, and mother’s milk.

Having a baby is a different kind of love. I can’t compare it with anything. As I said, I’ve done it before, but every time I am just as astounded by my intense, wonderful emotions.

Chapter Four: Lyle’s New Perspective

When I was in Colorado a couple of weeks ago enjoying club members and dear friends at our annual winemaker dinner at 240 Union Street, I couldn’t believe how many people were curious about Lyle. I’m really happy to give you an update; it was so nice to hear your concerns and it made me so happy to discover that you take the time to read my stories. And even enjoy them!

For those who haven’t read my previous blogs about Lyle, let me give you a brief history. About seven months ago I came across three kids vandalizing a construction site of mine. I jumped out of my truck and they took off running, so I yelled for them to stop. Two of the kids ran away. But one kid stopped, and to make a long story short, Lyle and I struck up a relationship.

We began having regular chats. I quickly learned that Lyle hadn’t seen his father in eight years, and he was having some problems at home – he and his mom live with his grandmother because they can’t afford to live on their own.

We don’t teach anything about how to live and how to think in school. We teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but no life skills. I told him that the first thing he had to do was change how he perceives what is happening around him, and what is important to him. We’ve been talking a lot about how you go about changing your perspective, because it’s the key to a happy and successful life. When you’re used to taking the negative approach or lashing out when something happens, it’s not easy to change your reaction. Especially if that’s all you know.

Photo by Robbi Pengelly. Courtesy of Sonoma Index-Tribune.

I’ve had numerous conversations with Lyle about how to train his mind to always find the positive in any situation, and I see it working. He’s getting along better with his mom now. Instead of perceiving that she’s being unreasonable when they have a disagreement, he now tries to look at things from her perspective – she works long hours and doesn’t have an easy life.

Lyle recently started working for me at the winery as a runner. When you finish a job, I told him, don’t wait for someone to come to you and ask you to do something. Never stand still.  I know you want to get a car and want to be in control of your own life. And if you want to be in control you have to take control. So the minute you finish one project, go ask someone what else you can do. Be a shining star.

The other day I was pulling into the winery, and there was Lyle, picking up trash on the side of the road, with a smile on his face. Who wants to walk on Sonoma Highway picking up trash? But he wasn’t kicking dirt clods or glaring – he was really smiling. And it made me feel great inside – because I realized that he’s taking in what I’m saying and it’s starting to work. Even his mom has noticed a difference.

She sent me a card the other day thanking me for the changes that she sees in Lyle.  It almost brought tears to my eyes.

When I walked into the winery a couple of days ago, Lyle turned around and his face was just beaming. He grabbed me in front of all the people in the kitchen and gave me a great big hug. He said, “Man, I’m so thankful for you. You’re the man. You’ve changed my whole life.”

Of course, he’s the one who had to work hard to view life’s challenges in a different way so he could change his life. I just gave him the road map.