Double Down!!

Double Down!!

You know…sometimes inspiration just hits you twice, so a Double Post for today, you’re in LUCK!

So,  I was walking through the grocery store this evening, needing to pick up some essentials…you know, Cheerios and Milk!  Well, this particular grocery store caters to a specific crowd, usually the low-income crowd.  That means WIC and Food Stamps and all of that.

I’m sitting (okay I’m standing…I’m not THAT lazy) in line watching a mom unload her 2 carts full of groceries, whilst her three kids are running around screaming.  I offer to help, she snaps “NO, I’VE GOT IT” so I take my place behind her cart and wait while she finishes her labor.

While the check-out worker was scanning the groceries, the mom went to start bagging her groceries (yep, that’s part of the deal…great prices, U-Bag).  This time I didn’t offer to help, as I has already been told off.  The bill came in…I was astounded…I thought for a minute I had stepped into Costco, but alas….two full shopping carts = one huge bill.  Not to worry, she had her WIC checks and Food Stamps card, she was set….

Or, well….there was a problem.   I didn’t hear all of the details, but something was wrong….the balance wasn’t there, the checks weren’t good, not quite sure.  Bottom line, she couldn’t get her groceries.  As expected, she was furious, her kids started to cry, she stormed out of the place.

WOW….after that, I went ahead, fulfilled my duty as a grocery shopper and bought my groceries and went home.  I would have stepped up to buy hers….but I wasn’t prepared for the Costco X 2 prices that I saw….maybe someday I’ll have the cash flow to make someone’s day like that, but today is not that day.

I wasn’t upset with her for yelling at my assistance for help.  Obviously she is under a lot of stress.  I won’t conjecture what her full situation is or how she got there, because I have NO way of knowing and that sort of stuff has no use in this blog.  However, what I did walk away was with an infinite gratitude for what I have.

My wife and I have worked hard over the past decade to get where we are.  We’re not monetarily wealthy, but we are emotionally wealthy.  We have our son, we have each other and we BOTH have loving families that have been there and will be there for us if and when we need them.

I can only figure that this lady did NOT have that support system.

Here’s a favorite quote of mine…yes, MINE, I actually came up with this….I think 😉

“I have no control over which cards I am dealt, but I was blessed with the love and support to play them to the best possible outcome”

Double Down, Baby!  Okay, I just wanted to type that, I’m not sure it has true relevance to this article…but maybe it does.

To bring it back to the core…take a look at what you’ve got.  Use THAT to build toward what you want.  You can’t get there alone, so be grateful for the help you have around you…and if you don’t have help…find it.  No one needs to face the unknown without a little guidance.

Examine.

Time in a Bottle

Time in a Bottle

Yep…a old Jim Croce song.  I heard it today and it made me think about how I use my time.  If I could, would I save up time now to use later?  After careful consideration, I would not.

Am I saying that I wouldn’t wish for more time with those I’ve lost?  No, of course I would.  But would I go back and change decisions I’ve made in the past?  No, I don’t think I would.  There are always things in our pasts that we wish we could change, but remember that you are who you are BECAUSE of those things.  Every bad decision I made is a learned experience.  If I went back and changed one bad decision, what’s to say that I wouldn’t make that same bad decision later and maybe even at a more inappropriate time?

We could get into a discussion about time-travel and its repercussions, but that is not what this blog is about.  This blog is about examining your life as it is now and how to make the best with what you’ve got.  LEARN from the past, MAKE your future the best it can be.

A friend of mine recently told me that an old flame had sent him an e-mail saying that she wanted to meet him and catch up.  He asked me what his action should be.  He was engaged to be married and this person had been out of his life for 5 or so years.  In answer, I simply asked him what possible outcomes could come from re-starting the friendship.  What he told me was that he was hurt by her and that was his lasting impression.  Why should he let her back in?  What good would come  from it?  In the end, he did not respond to her and deleted the e-mail.

This was a great example of learning from his mistakes.  If she just wanted to make amends and that’s it, she’ll e-mail again.  He knows that he’s happy right now, and there is no reason to drag his past into his present….in this particular case, it would NOT help his future.

So, think about what you might be holding on to.  How much time are you trying to store in a bottle?  Is it holding you back from fulfilling your potential?  I hope not.  If it is, it’s TIME to let go.

Examine.

Care More

Care MoreA friend of mine posted this today on Facebook:

“In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.”

A very simple quote….a very simple design to live by.  Stop caring less, start caring more.  A lot of times when I see people who have ‘given up’ on their hopes and dreams, it is because someone (and quite possibly themselves) have stopped caring.

When you stop caring about what is to come or what is happening around you, you stop believing….you just stop.  Remember what I’ve said before.  Every action in life needs to be, in some way, promoting yourself to move forward.  A stagnant life or a life in reverse is counter productive and will only lead to unhappiness.

Change is incremental.  Change is also contagious.  If you start changing your life, others around you will start to notice.  If you start caring about something you may have ‘given up’ on, the effect on others can be profound.  It can be two-fold.  It can motivate them to start caring more about what you are doing and become positive re-enforcement to you.  It can also allow them to start caring about dreams and goals they may have given up.

Stop caring less, start caring more.  Spread the love, joy and happiness you start to feel.  The change can be astounding!

Examine.

Open up your eyes

Open up your eyes

Open up your eyes and tell me what you see.  “I see the computer screen!”  Yeah yeah yeah, smarty-pants.  Open up your life to those around you and tell me what you see.  “I see my hot co-worker!”  Jeez!  Why are you reading my blog at work?  Actually, never mind….read away, heck, send an e-mail out promoting my blog will you?

I digress….

I have found in the past few weeks that we, as a society, tend to close ourselves off to those around us and get ‘tunnel vision’.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  There are times when extreme focus needs to take place.  For example, running a marathon, cramming for an exam, reading Examine The Glass, etc, etc…

But what happens?  Well, sometimes you might be SO focused you forget about some peripheral stuff.  For example, stretching your legs, typing that report for the other class, reading Examine The Glass, etc, etc…

You get what I’m saying?

You’ve heard the old saying, “The stronger you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers…”  Well, it’s from 1978…I believe Leia Organa said it to Grand Moff Tarkin on board the Death Star.  Yep, most of my famous quotes come from Star Wars….deal with it!  🙂

Well, it can be applied to life in general as well.  The more your focus on one task, the more other tasks will be forgotten or neglected.  So, open your eyes.  Live in the moment…but don’t get LOST in the moment.  Always keep the big picture in mind when living day-to-day.

I can guarantee that if keep your eyes open to new possibilities, you will find new possibilities.  Broaden your horizon and take it all in.  Less things will ‘slip through your fingers.’  I promise.

Examine.

Time Heals All Wounds…?

Time Heals All Wounds...?I’ve been thinking about the word legacy today.  How is legacy defined?  What will our legacy be when we’re gone?  Does it even matter?

More personalized, how does the legacy of a thought or an action define how we perceive others?  Does that perception change over time?  Does time, actually, heal all wounds?  Maybe, maybe not.  The choice is yours.

Are you defined by one moment or a series of actions?  Do you define others the same way?  I would like to believe that one simple action cannot, or should not, trump all others.  There are exceptions, of course.  A heinous crime cannot be overlooked by a series of good deeds.  But a mistake should not always the basis of judgement when looking at the big picture.

Remember that no one is perfect.  If perfection, in a human being existed, we would be able to reproduce it on a mass scale.  But it does not.  Mistakes happen.  Lapse in judgement happens.  If it happens once or twice, it should be noted, but forgiven….if it happens continuously, that makes it a pattern….a legacy, if you will.

Take a look at your relationships, at your friends and acquaintances and decide for yourself how you really ‘see’ them.  This past week, we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He has his great quote about the content of our character.  THAT should be what our legacy is about.  Take in the BIG picture.  Don’t judge every miniscule effort, but the actions as a whole.

Examine.

Inspiration

Inspiration

Let me tell you about my 2012 so far.  Two weekends ago I went to Disney World and supported the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.  I am the coach for their Rally Athlete program, which trains normal people like you and I to complete endurance events, namely a half and/or full marathon.

As a part of this weekend, I met with 11 people who I had previously only communicated with via e-mail.  I was able to put faces to name and running style to human beings.  These are people who have been training for 20 weeks to complete a 13.1 or 26.2 trek through the wonders of Disney World.  Not only did they train to do this, but they raised over $10,000 for Childhood Cancer Research.  Inspiring.

While we were there, we partnered up with two other organizations, St. Baldricks Foundation and Caleb’s Crusade against Childhood Cancer.  All total, I think we had over 40 participants in the races, raising even MORE money for a great cause.  Inspiring.

Last weekend, I kicked off our Rally NW team in the FREEZING cold, windy and rainy day. We had around 40 people show up…they listened to me jabber on, ran a 5K and listen to me jabber some more, all the while shivering and probably cursing me under their breath.  But they did it…why?  They are raising funds for Childhood Cancer Research.  Inspiring.

Inspiration can be found on many different levels, in many different ways.  I’ve just mentioned several examples of what inspires ME right now.  It inspires me to keep volunteering and dedicating my time for a cause greater than my own.  Not only that, but it inspires me to make sure I keep my priorities in life.  It motivates me to keep my balance so that nothing in my life progresses at the expense of another part.

Take a look at what inspires you.  What keeps you going?  Obviously something does, as you are reading this, thus keeping going.  I have often found that the simple act of charity goes a long way.  Whether what you give has monetary, sentimental or time value, it is giving something to help others.  This in turn, helps you keep perspective on what you have.

Be grateful for what you have.  What you HAVE should inspire you.  Inspire you to get more or to give more.  Oh, and here’s the big secret…the more YOU give…the more YOU inspire.  Someone or something inspires you….you, in turn inspire someone else…the cycle keeps going.

Pay it Forward?  Examine and find out…

The Lesser of Two Evils

The Lesser of Two Evils

Happy 2012 to everyone!  I hope the holidays treated you well.  I hope you thought of others and thought of yourself.  I hope that 2012 brings you a new year of happiness, new adventures, new beginnings and no regrets!

The beauty of the new year is it gives you an ULTIMATE chance to start over.  Right?  Right!  Take a look around you and see if you need to change things up.  Take a look at your life and see what great things need to be expanded upon and what evils need to be purged.

This leads up to today’s topic…the Lesser of Two Evils.  Funny expression, really…but widely used.  Just remember, as the shirt says above, the lesser of two evils is STILL EVIL.  So, I then ask, why choose either?

If you’re faced with a situation where both outcomes are negative or less than appealing.  Why not go a different route all together?  Sure, I know this isn’t always possible…sometimes decisions need to be made in a snap-worthy fashion…but not all times, and I’m willing to gather, not MOST times.

You know what it really is…the decison is EASY.  A lot of times, a “lesser of two evils” situation is pondered because the outcome is fast and dirty….gets near enough the results you want to make it attainable.

Well, don’t let this happen to you!  Make 2012 a NO EVIL year.  Okay…let’s be real.  A LESS EVIL year!  Purge the negativity, Enhance the greatness.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Volunteer more
  • Go outside and walk/run/jog three times a week
  • Save all of your spare change for a month and treat yourself to a movie/mini golf/bowling/etc.
  • Reach out to a family member you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they are doing (ON THE PHONE)
  • Take a weekend trip to the other side of your state.
  • Snuggle with the one you love!

There, take that and run with it!  NO EVIL on that list, am I right?

Examine the Glass!

‘Tis the Season

'Tis the Season

You’ve heard the cliche’, it is the time for giving.  The time for others.  Well, as important as that is, make sure you take care of yourself and your family too.  These are undoubtedly hard times.  But there is good all around us.

My favorite movie around this time is “Love Actually.”  It sums up this season in it’s opening monologue with the statement that “Love Actually is all around.”  I LOVE that statement.  It’s there, you just need to look for it.  If you’re open to it, if you look for it, you’ll find it.

If you’ve found it, try to share it.  Don’t force it, but put it out there.  Good vibes abound.  I know, I know…there is a lot of stress during the holiday season.  ALL the more reason to focus on the little things that make your life happy.  No matter how much people try to deny it, there ARE things worth living for….though through the stresses of the time and the memories that abound during this season, they can close themselves off.  If you know someone like this, be there to comfort.  If you ARE one of these people, realize that people have the best intentions when they try to approach you.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook “Can i just have a ‘do over’ today?!” to which I replied “Yep! Most of us call it ‘tomorrow’! :)”

Very simply….tomorrow is our chance to make right what went ‘wrong’ today.  Expand it….next year is our chance to make right what went ‘wrong’ today.  Okay, that’s a bit grandiose…how about, next year is our chance to improve upon our lives.  How?

Well, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know the answer to that….

Examine the Glass

Update

Update

 

Just a quick post wanting to let you all know what I am still here.  Sorry for the lack of posts as of late.  Been busy, the holidays are here and spending time with my wife and son have taken the upmost priority! 🙂

Also, I’ve been hashing out ideas for my book…I have a long flight coming up in the first week of January, so I might see if I can hammer out a few thousand words and get the ball rolling.

That being said, I’m looking for some “preview” readers…any takers?  Mom, if you’re reading this, you’re already on the list! 😉

Happy Holidays everyone!

Rememberance

RememberanceI would like to start off by thanking ALL who have served our country.  In whatever capacity you served, you have made it possible for me to live my great life in this great country.

I come from a family of veterans.  My grandfather was a veteran. My father is a veteran.  My uncles, cousins, in-laws and friends are/were veterans.  But for this post, I would like to share a story about my grandfather.  It provides insight into the man he was and one of the many reasons my son’s middle name shares his.  This is an excerpt from an article written by his (at the time) step-son back in 2007:

Early this past Thanksgiving morning, under a slate-grey Oregon sky, my step-dad passed away. Having battled a particularly virulent form of cancer, his death was not unexpected, but it came on the heels of something far more remarkable, an action that revealed the core of the man and the generation to which he belonged.  

Burt was 86-years-old, a WWII veteran of amazing resilience and fortitude, and, even within a few weeks of his death, a man of nearly constant motion. Refusing a wheelchair or even a walker, he exemplified the “can-do” spirit of that generation by fashioning a crude but effective walking stick, replete with a hard plastic tip. He could frequently be heard thumping around the house and outside. My mother called it his “pogo stick.”

On the morning of Nov. 11, mom was in the kitchen when she heard the familiar thumping on the sidewalk outside. She was shocked. Burt had been going downhill for weeks, and every step—in fact, nearly every movement—brought agonizing pain. What could possibly impel him to walk outside now? 

Looking out the kitchen window, my mom saw something that brought tears to her eyes.  There on the sidewalk, facing the house, with a face wracked by pain and his left hand holding on to his “pogo stick” for dear life, was Burt. He brought his right hand up to his face in a classic military salute, giving homage to the flag that mom had put out only moments before. After this somber ritual, he quietly shuffled inside. There was no fuss or fanfare, and neither he nor my mother spoke about it. For my step-dad, it was the quiet last gesture of a proud man.

I miss my grandfather.  As I re-read this, I can clearly see it happening as if I was there.  It truly exemplifies the kind of man he was.  The discipline and dedication that he showed through his life not in a small way influenced my aspirations as a man.  I was blessed with two great male role models, my father and my grandfather.

Both Veterans.  Both heroes.

Make sure you thank a Veteran today.

Examine.