Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"That's The Way It's Supposed To Be" or "That's The Way It's Always Been"

The family was gathered for Easter dinner. The youngest newly married daughter was preparing her first family dinner. As she was about to put the large ham in the oven to begin baking, her mother stopped her and said "You have to cut three inches off the ham before you bake it." 

Puzzled, the daughter asked her mother why? 

"Because that's the way my mother taught me to do it," said the mother. 

Still puzzled, the daughter went to find her grandmother. 

"Nana," she asked, "Mom says you have to cut 3 inches off of the ham before putting it in the oven to bake. Why?" 

"Well, that's how my mother taught me to do it, and it's the way I've always done it," replied the grandmother. 

Well, the daughter's husband had heard all of this and he wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery. He went into the living room where the family was gathered around great grandmother. 

"Nona," he asked, "Grandma says you taught her to cut 3 inches off of the ham before putting it in the over. I'm puzzled. Why is that necessary?" 

"Well, dear, when I was a new bride, just starting out, I baked my first ham for Easter dinner. The ham was 18 inches long. The largest roasting pan I had was 15 inches long, so I had to cut three inches off of the ham to make it fit the pan."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Not To Brag...

...But here's an email I received from one of my employees today.

You rock.

Thanks boss!

See you tomorrow.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Little Decisions

It's the little things that make life worth living.

Do you know what makes me happiest?
Long bike rides. Short walks. Cold ice cream on hot days. Playing with little kids. Watching a sunset from a deck while drinking ice tea. Snowboarding. Swimming. Exercising. Free time. Getting adequate sleep. Having nothing pressing that needs to be done.

There's nothing really big or expensive or difficult about any of those things (excluding an snowboarding vacation to Colorado). My life would be amazingly satisfactory with all those little things. Now, I don't want to limit myself to merely satisfactory, but all things considered, if satisfactory is where my life ends up, I'm ok with that. And its just the little decisions that lead to these tiny outbreaks of happiness. Going for a walk. Not expensive. Not difficult. Not really time consuming. All it takes is a little decision and, voila, life is good.

I've been caught up on the big decisions lately, at the expense of the little decisions. Both have their place, but I've focussed on one set to the neglect of the other. I've also allowed some of the big decisions interfere with some of the little decisions, at the expense of my happiness. I'm going to change that in the near future.

-Not all big decisions are negative and not all small decisions are positive. I know that. I've just been focussing on the wrong types of each lately.
-Happiness, in and of itself, is hollow. Making decisions solely for the benefit of my happiness is like trying to live off cotton candy the rest of your life. It's not as good as you may think.

Here's some of my little decisions.

I will never ever sacrifice all my free time for the sake of people, places and things. As an introvert it absolutely saps me of all my energy and renders my ability to derive happiness from those things void.

I will go to bed earlier. (Probably the easiest thing on the list.)

I will swim more regularly.

I will exercise more regularly.

I will only play in one sports league at a time, if at all.

If I decided to undertake major renovations, I will contract the whole thing out.

In the battle between free time and money, free time wins 99% of the time.

I will ride my bike more regularly.

I will not procrastinate. (This one is so hard for me)

I will read more.

I will pray more.

I will sit and do nothing more.

I will learn to dance. (Conquering my fears one at a time)

I will spend more time with God.

I will have at least one night a week free from all commitments (starting in the Fall when I finish up some of my other commitments)

That's probably good enough for now. As I accomplish those things I'll add new goals to the list.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Big Decisions

I've got some big decisions coming up in the next few weeks.

My career is headed down 2 different directions at the moment. It's been a wild ride, but I have to make a decision which direction I want to go very soon. Both have advantages and disadvantages. One pays better. One offers a better schedule, mostly. Both may lead to promotions and increased pay, increased scheduling benefits, and a fulfilling career, but they are very different from each other.

For me, either job would be fulfilling. They are both challenging and productive. They make use of my skills and abilities. I feel like I am accomplishing something in both roles. And both sides of the company I work for are pulling for me to go their direction.

What is the deciding factor?
My family.
The family I don't actually have yet.

One job allows me to have a schedule so unchanging I will always be there for my family. I'd be free on weekends, on holidays, for birthdays, anniversaries, little league, special events, etc... The other gives me quite a bit of time off too, but not nearly so scheduled. Nothing that I could bank on. And it is prone to changing the day before. I don't want that for my family. I don't want to break my promises because "work" has changed its mind. I've made a lot of decisions the last 3 years to set my self up to be a husband and a father. A lot of those decisions involved choosing to earn less money so that I could be available to my wife and kids. The sad thing is, those things seem like a lifetime of impossibilities away right now. I'm putting myself in position for a position I may never have. And that's where the doubt and second guessing come in. Maybe I should choose what's behind door number 2 instead. Forget about the possibility of having a family some day, go earn as much money as possible and seek out the craziest adventures I can find. I do have that option. And yet, I'm hoping and praying for something more, and because I have faith, I am choosing something less to make room for some greater.

It is a really tough decision. But I think I always knew what I would decide, even before the options became available to me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Life Well Lived

A guy I went to school with just died yesterday of Cancer. He had been fighting it for over a decade. The majority of the time I knew him he had cancer. People are starting to share their condolences on line and its caused me to stop and think about life and mortality. Actually, I was thinking about those things for a while now, but this death pushed it to the forefront. What do I want to say on the subject? A lot. What I'll actually say won't be so long. My mind is going in a radically different direction than most others are at this time, and I'll only say what I'm going to say because I know that those who might be bothered by it don't know of this space.

Some lives are not well lived.
Some lives are a waste of the potential they possess.

I believe that God can redeem all lives but sometimes death arrives before that life is redeemed.
And I'm not just talking about a spiritual, non-material, eternal redemption.
I'm talking about the here and now.

Rarely do I ever go on some speech or "sermon" or rant that is not aimed at myself first, before making it to any innocent bystanders. This is no exception.

I want to live the life God wants me to live. I haven't quite figured out what that life looks like yet, but I'm constantly trying to seek that out. I'm closer to whatever that may be on a daily basis than if I had never tried to seek God's will for me life. I believe that my inspirations and motivations are divinely influenced because I've given my life to God. As such, seeking out the desires of my heart is also seeking out the desires of God's heart for me. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to desire things and search to fulfil your desires. As long as you are also seeking to live in God's will, the two will line up.

If some lives are not well lived, it only stands to reason that others are.
I want to live a life well lived.
I don't know what that all entails, but I am very certain that I'm not there yet.
There's so much more I want to do and be a part of still. There's so much baggage I want to shed and leave behind. If I were to pass away tomorrow, would I be satisfied with where my life has lead, who my life has touched, and what my life has accomplished? I'm not sure. Probably not.
And that brings me to the question that's been running in the background of my life for almost as long as I can remember. How do I get there? I see other people seeming oblivious to the ebbs and flows of life arrive at the destinations I want to arrive at with no effort whatsoever. Then I look at myself and see huge obstacles and difficulties in my way to achieving what others achieve so easily. It's extremely frustrating. And I tend to be a person that thinks through many scenarios and possibilities and circumstances before making a move which bogs me down in inactivity instead of propelling me to action. Should I just turn off my thinker and engage my doer? That's not the type of person I am, and yet the type of people who are seem to accomplish more than my type simply because they don't even comprehend the obstacles in their way.


What does a life well lived look like?
I know what I think it looks like. I may write a post on that some day.
What does it look like to you? Are you there yet, or even heading in the right direction?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013


How is it August already?


Ok. This is post number 300! Celebrate good times, come on. It's a celebration. I had planned to write some epic and memorable post when I hit 300. Of course, there have been about 10 posts over the years that I have actually taken down or deleted, so this is probably closer to 310. Regardless, this is the 300th post to make it online and stay.

Let's see... What should I talk about?

I honestly don't know. I've been so busy with so many things I just felt like writing a post when I found a few moments of peace and quiet.

Oh, I went to Ohio last week. I did some stuff...

I went to a bridge opening. It's as exciting as it sounds.

I went to a play in the park. It was really good. I had a much better than anticipated time.

And I woke up at 4am this morning to go flying.

So, that's my Summer. And it's almost half over. :(

Well, I need to go check some more things off my To Do list.
-Fix Car
-Get rid of old appliances
-Renovate a rental property
-Finish renovating another rental property