Thursday, January 6, 2011

The New Year 2011

Every year starts off with anticipation of new horizons, new opportunities, and hopefully new challenges to conquer.  About five years ago,  I decided to not make new years resolutions. I decided that putting all that pressure on myself at the beginning of a year, that I should make improvements to my life as I find the opportunity to do so when I do so.   In example, I quit smoking in December about 9 years ago, when I smoked the last of the one in the current pack I had open.  I started working out, shortly after, but got really serious about in a spring one year.    During a round of golf one year, I decided to increase my strength.

The secret is to attack your own weaknesses and make positive changes when you're are your weakest.   That's when you will be the most open to the change that needs to be made.  If you're unhappy with your weight,  perhaps the time you'd really be open to dieting would be right after you looked in a mirror and didn't see the figure you wanted to.  When your frustrated with something that is the time to attack it.

One thing Ive found helpful is to take the big goals, and break them down into small achievable goals that by achieving them, you begin to achieve the main goal.  The most rewarding part for me, was that as I crossed off the smaller goal, I realize that I'm closer to reaching the original goal.  I have found that even large goals, are dwarfed by  dissecting them into manageable tasks which are far less intimidating makes them easier to succeed.    With each success, you'll find that your confidence will increase, allowing you to succeed more.    It will become a cycle of victories.  You'll feel better and your confidence will spread to everything you do. 

So if you made a resolution this year, perhaps take another look at it.  If it can be outlined into smaller goals, try putting them in a to do list of  self improvement.   It worked for me, and Its the only way I set goals now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Marraige Retreat Weekend

A year ago, My wife and I attended a Marriage retreat weekend through our church.   The theme was Gary Chapman's The 5 Languages of Love.  A great book and conversation piece.  If you just read the book, the insight you would gain is enormous.  If you read the book and actually put into practice the principles contained within, the results could very well improve your love life and relationship to levels you never thought possible.

Two weekends ago, We attended another marriage weekend.  This one was about intimacy, and communication.  I wasn't really sure what to expect on this one, and as always when you attend a church weekend, you always worry about if its going to be all about the power of prayer in your marriage.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer, but you also have to work at the prayer to make it come true.   You can pray to be wealthy all you want, but if your don't change your income, and spending habits, its not going to happen.  God helps those, who help themselves.  So the seminar started out with a wonderful video of communication.  It's always eye opening to me to see your issues and glitches portrayed by someone who has never met you, doesn't know you, and is presenting information to a large group.  Its very similar to the feeling you get when the Pastor or Priest at your church talks about a issue during his sermon, and you feel like he\she is zeroing in on you.  As the weekend progressed, my wife and I, Maryann, determined to put the work in required to get the maximum effect back, bared our souls, opened up our hearts and really poured out our feelings, good and bad to each other.    What we found out at the end of the weekend was, we're pretty good together.  Our Marriage is on a pretty good foundation.  We have a strong belief in Christ as our savior, and because of that, we have a very strong commitment to each other.  One of the facilitators, told a personal experience ,that at a very young age, when her children had witnessed them arguing , sat them down and said, We're never going to call it quits no matter how bad it gets.    Great advice and I wish I had heard that advice when I was younger.   My wife and I have had our troubles, and there were times when we both felt that might be the right answer.  I thank God that we never took that step.  It might be the right step for others, but never for us.   

At the end of the weekend, we were exhausted and really re-connected.  The one thing that stuck with us, was Marriage is work, hard work.  But then again... isn't everything that's worth having, worth working for?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The legends of the summer, a long time ago...

In my home town, there were a series of fields of battle, where ancient Gods battled in epic wars of speed, agility, strength and cunning. The Colosseum's were built by the Romans, Greeks or even Babylonians. These hollowed grounds were forged by fathers, who dreamed of fame and fortunes that the product of their loins would surely begin to forge on these platforms of grass and dirt. 

The ball fields were protected by carefully manicured mounds of peanut butter and coca.  They laid in waiting behind the massive steel structures of chain link and skyscraper sized poles.They seemed to tower forever allowing only the highest of clouds to pass unobstructed.  They began an invisible barrier that would separate the mortals from the Gods.   Looking through them onto the field showed a glimpse of a natural carpet which radiated so green that the City of Oz, would've wanted if such magnificent color ever existed outside the realm of battle standing before you.  The grass was enclosed by the finest sand, top soil, sweat collected from exotic lands far beyond our borders.  The sweat remnants of battles of Gods whose best days have since passed away.  

You waited on the wood benches adoring the edges of the field with great anticipation to be invited to play.  You leaped with joy inside when the long awaited hand motion or call were aimed in your direction.  You trotted across the milky white lines and were instantly transformed from a young boy, into the hero's of your youth.  We took the possession of locations assigned to us by the weathered seasoned dispatchers of knowledge.  We prepared for battle, we nervously awaited the coming wave of carefully directed onslaught.  We became one in a symbiotic relationship with the field of battle.  We moved like panthers and cheetahs, stalking and attacking a prey, that lowly sphere, the magic contained could transform you from a mere mortal into a steely God of the ball diamond.  After you won the battle, on the grass, you took conquest of the smallest part of the universe. The sphere of Gods is hurled at you, those who can stand against it earn respect, but only those who swing their massive weapons striking true, will earn the God title of Ballplayer.
The battles raged every day into the night, some soldiers were bestowed a victory,while others dreams of the perfect season were crushed, destroyed and dismissed, but fear not brave warrior, You still have next year to earn the legendary status.

Sunday afternoons...

I love my Sundays. I work for the weekends all week.  I love the solace, I love the lack of structure.  I awake on weekend, I often smell my wife's coffee brewing. The first few minutes I'm awake are the most important of my day. Its when I review my "schedule".   Sometimes its a crowded abstract of events and happenings and travel.  Then there are others that are clear and without structure.  These are the ones that I treasure the most.

I love when a weekend exists only to exists.  I love a weekend without substance, without plans, or agendas.  I find myself on these weekends, I'm able to relax and not think of anything.   My mind gets to rest, unwind and process life.   I sit in a easy chair and barely move.   All of my senses, take a rest.  Given my own devices I will fall asleep in that chair and doze peacefully for hours.  I can go for hours, without food, water even human contact.  I can exist by simply not existing.   I know at some point I must eat, and drink, and even seek out human contact.  For now I am content to simply exist.

There are so many things, I could be doing, should be doing. Instead I sit here, watching movies.  The leaves in the front yard pile up.  The projects remain undone.  The great American novel I wanted to write sits never started.  The only thing, that will be accomplished today, is the preservation of  energy.  I'm going to kid myself and say that Im recovering from my weekend workout.  but that is just a simple lie. 

I think what makes weekends these weekends is that they don't require a specific location, time frames or even participants.  They exist because I simply chose to exist.   I wish I could bottle these weekends  and store them away for those weekends that our so jam packed with event, participants and locations.  Since that's not possible, I'll just enjoy the weekend.

shhhh hear that?  exactly.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In the town where I was rasied...

with apologies to Kenny Chesney, I thought perhaps some insight as to where I came from, and how things were then might explain a lot about me , and why I am the way I am.

The town I grew up in was a very small town when I remember it first.  We had some paved streets, but we had more that werent  There was a fire road next to my house, that ran through some fields next to and behind my house.  My back yard began a series of fields and vacant lots that stretched a half mile to the interstate.  The adventures I had in those fields.  They were baseball fields, battlefields, jungles and long lost excursions into the frozen tundra.   Those fields were my home away from home.   We dug foxholes, forts, tunnels and of course built the required tree house, many times.  We had mini wars in them, we stole corn and hid in them, and we even raided trains from them. 

Those fields effectively worked as the border of the world for us at that age.  We were sometimes brave enough to venture to that edge.  We'd take a bag lunch, because it was long walk. We'd bring flashlights and extra clothes for the weather.  We'd be extra careful to avoid the wild animals that lived in the woods, we'd all heard tales of bears, and lions, but all we could ever catch a glimpse of were the extremely dangerous killer squirrels and possums.   There were a line of trees, at the southern border of the world, it was there we made a tree forts.  We were Sargent's , Lieutenants, Captains and Generals, Explorers and Indian Chiefs.   We'd take pieces of wood, from nearby construction projects, there were no slabs in a tree. These were massive tree estates.  We'd add on to each others elevated estates, a finished product would rival the Taj Mahal.  We'd always identify which additions we were responsible for.  You would write your name on the wall or ceiling you added. We spent the better part of the summers and falls in those estates.   Oddly enough, Girls were never allowed in the field, weeds or woods.  It wasnt their parents, it was the unwritten law of the men of battle.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Customer Service.

If you Own, manage, or work at an establishment that requires you to deal with customers, I have a tip for you.  You can choose to follow it, or run the risk of going out of business.  These rules are simple and apply to all businesses.  Where they are specific to one type of business Ive indicated so.

When I walk in, at least make eye contact.  If you want me to buy something say hello make me feel welcomed.  You don't have to tell me your life story, or your business secrets, but don't treat me as an intrusion and expect me to buy anything.

When I ask you a question, don't roll your eyes, or give me a big sigh, that's why you have a job, if I could serve myself without talking to you at all, you wouldn't be there.  one thing that pisses me off to no end, is to have to cough or say excuse me when you are reading the paper, magazine or watching the TV.   If you are on your cell phone and not taking care of me, expect me to get pissed.  If you don't like waiting on people go get a job where you wont have to.   Remember you made a choice to work where you do.  If you don't like that much that you spend your day being a miserable jerk, then quit.

When you see me standing and waiting, or I ask you if you work there?... don't tell me its not your job, department, shift, or area.  If you work there, GO and get someone.   If you were really smart, You'd be able to help me in any department.  Why?  Because that's how people move into management.

First impressions are lasting impressions.  So comb or brush your hair, your teeth.  Clean your nails, wear clean clothes. you know the basic hygiene your parents should  have told you about?  Yeah they weren't kidding.   Do your self a favor, don't wear excessive jewelery, makeup, facial piercings, or other accessories that aren't appropriate for the work environment.  Hey don't wear your perfume so heavy that we can smell you from a mile away.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

And what is working out good for?

Besides the fact that I love working out, and would do it for eight to ten hours a day if I could.  Physical Fitness has many benefits.  First is of course the increased physical condition. I also find that my mind is sharper, clearer and I am definitely less stressed.  

Now any of you that know me, know that I love golfing, and recently hosted and played in the Links Fore Lupus outing.  Well I will tell you that I hit the ball better than ever! Straighter longer and more accurately that ever before.  Its totally because of working out.   My core strength is the key.    I have a workout developed for golf that works and works quickly. 

If you're not working out, get working out, if you are, take a look at what muscles are in use for your favorite activity, and improve them.  tell me if you don't see improvement.