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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Life is full of surprises.

About a year ago my daily routine was slightly disrupted. Like normal, I got up, got ready, and headed out to work. I stepped out onto my back porch to put my boots on, and a surprise awaited me. As I slid my right foot into my boot, I felt something by my toes. This was not uncommon, as my kids would drop things in there on occasion. As I thought to myself, "what did they drop in there this time?" I felt the thing in my boot begin to wiggle around.  A bit startled, I quickly pulled my foot out of my boot, and turned my boot upside down to dump the thing inside my boot out. 
It didn't come out. 
I had to decide that if I really wanted to wear those boots today, I needed to pull out whatever was in there by hand. I took a deep breath, not sure what I would find, reached in, and pulled out a small garter snake!
As I let out a not-so-manly squeal, I whipped the door open and released the snake back to nature, rapidly, to say the least!
As I stood there in utter disbelief as to what just occurred, I couldn't help but chuckle, thinking, "I could not make this stuff up."
I am completely predictable, and struggle with taking life a bit too seriously at times.  This moment forced me to stop a minute and laugh. It is so good to laugh.  Life is unpredictable at times, let's step out of the perpetual motion we are in, take a look at our lives, and laugh. We can do this, together.
Until next time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What are you wearing?

What is your disposition today? If you're anything like me, it's written all over your face. When I'm experiencing the frustrations and struggles of daily life, and finding it difficult to stay positive, all it takes is one look in the mirror to see the physical toll it has taken. Guess what? It's what everyone else see's too. 
I know the solution. 
When that guy I see in the mirror smiles back at me, my cycle of negativity slows down. My disposition changes. My countenance softens, and I like that guy who's looking back at me!  
Life is challenging. Donning a positive attitude as part of our daily attire will help us make a difference. We can do this, together. 
Until next time,

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Digging Deep.

During the summer of 1994 I had a job working at a summer camp. Half the summer I worked in the kitchen, (meal prepping, washing dishes), and the other half in maintenance (cutting grass, and upkeep of the camp).  It was a great summer, one that I think of often.
One particular task I was given while working maintenance was to locate a leak in an underground waterline. My boss showed me where he thought it may be located, handed me a shovel, and said "it's probably not buried too deep, so dig slowly."
As a headstrong and independent seventeen year old boy, "slowly" was not a word in my vocabulary.
As I pierced the rock embedded soil of NE Pennsylvania with the round point of the shovel, I decided there may be a better tool for the job.  I hiked up to the tool shed and found myself a pick.  I made my way back to where I began to dig and with all my might buried that pick into the ground, pulled, and loosened up the dirt.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself for this brilliant and quick solution, until the fourth swing.  As I swung the pick into the ground for the fourth time I felt a thud, and it occurred to me that it may not be just the soil, and that I had found the buried water-line.  Unconvinced that I had hit the waterline, I yanked on the pick handle, and it came loose, with a burst of water behind it, slapping me in the face, knocking me back, off balance, and drenching me with water and mud.  I quickly tried to put my hand over the spray, but the pressure was too much, and it just got me more wet as I stumbled around wondering what I was going to do, and how I was going to explain this.  Soon, the water pressure subsided to a trickle, and I looked around to see who was watching my foolishness. As I canvased the area, I looked over to see my boss standing at the shut off valve, head hung, looking at me, and then the wet ground.

That day I learned three things:

1. Think things through, develop a plan, listen, and take advice, as my solution is not always the best one.  

2.  It's important to select the right tool for the job.

3. How to repair an inch and a half  poly waterline.

The simple truth is that we often make mistakes in haste.  Mistakes are not "failures" unless we refuse to learn each and every day.

Until next time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Successful Communication.

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a parenting conference.  I learned something there that encouraged me to change my perspective in communicating with others. I found this very valuable and wanted to share it with you.
The speaker noted that the key to successfully communicating with your kids is understanding.  Immediately this statement hit home, I understood completely what he was saying, and found it relevant to my life as a whole, not only in my role as a parent.  
We all have an innate desire to be heard,  but first, we need to listen. We need to be approachable. We need to seek to understand what it is others are trying to say to us.  Is this frustrating at times? Yes. Does this require extra effort? Yes. Is this a worthy trait to incorporate into our lives to make us a better person? Yes. 
We can do this, together. I'll leave you today with a quote I've recently heard, (from an interview with Darin Kidd), and pray it inspires you as it did me;

"Be strong enough, long enough; be persistent, be consistent; go through it and grow through it."

Until next time.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Rose.

Have you ever gone out of your way, or done something a little bit extra, just to make someone in your life feel special?
Growing up, I used to love to ride along with my Dad in the summertime. He'd take me along to visit people, or just to run errands.  Most days if we went South from our home, we'd end up stopping by my Grandpa Thomas's farm.
Grandpa Thomas had a passion for gardening, and he always shared what he grew.  I remember every time we would stop, he would send home flowers from his garden to my Mom.  The flower I remember the most were the roses.  He grew the most beautiful roses you have ever seen.  Big, tip your vase over, vibrant roses, in all colors.
He could have left them right on the vine and kept them all to himself, but instead, he knew how much my Mom enjoyed the beauty and fragrant aroma of the rose, and he never let us leave without sending Dad home with a bouquet for Mom.
What will you do today to make someone in your life feel special?  Small, generous acts can have a positive, profound, and lasting impact on someones life.  Let's do this, together.
Until next time.