I wrote about this idea earlier in the year, in the context of parenting.  It’s an obvious concept that makes a BIG, positive difference raising kids.  But it applies to so, SO many other areas.

Human beings are social animals.  We’ve evolved and succeeded (survived) because we’ve learned to work together. Teamwork is natural then, as a matter of productivity, optimization, practical approach.  Ego of course, another human trait, is another variable that comes into play and must be managed.

Communication is key.

Good Attitude is key.  A bit vague , though; where does it come from?  Empathy, Compassion, Collective, Common Cause (or Goal Focus).

Recent work with our kids’ soccer team is a great example where teamwork is super helpful.  And I’m not even referring to the children on the field.  I’m talking about coaching, parenting, team management.  All volunteer.

I watch the coach and assistant coach (my wife and another parent) talk during practice, and a little during games; they’re on the same page.  My wife comments that she’s had a couple great and helpful SMS communications with the assistant coach too, ideas about how to help the kids more.


And I think about the coordination that goes on between my wife and I as we roll into the weekend:  soccer practice is Friday night; we talk about the plan for the evening after practice, keeping our three kids moving along afterward so it’s smooth to bed, and then up Saturday for their game.  We talk about errands for the weekend, chores that are due, other activities planned and unplanned too.

Teamwork goes a long way.  Common Cause helps too.  Stay aligned with those that matter most.


Thoughtful Nutrition

Sardines. A top power food (think Omega 3’s, etc.) for those looking for good protein that is inexpensive, plentiful, and sustainable. Do a quick web search on “How healthy are sardines?”, and you’ll get several, similar lists explaining why sardines are good for you in pretty short order.

Fishy, of course, so you have to get through that taste obstacle, if you’re not naturally a fan of seafood. But it’s worth it. Tinned in olive oil, skin removed maybe for a added convenience, it’s got a little stronger flavor than canned tuna.

That said, word to the wise: Try to be a little thoughtful in your prep if those you live with have maybe a sensitive nose.

That’s how it is in my house, so I prepped in the washroom. Then I topped them with some parmesan, and sat down to eat with the fam.

Still there was that question at the lunch table a few minutes after I sat down, “What’s that smell?”

“Um, it’s my sardine lunch,” I admitted. I gobble it down, and quickly went to the kitchen to wash my plate.

Scent gone, nutrition had, everyone a winner in this case.



Thursday Lyrics Post: Hole Hearted

This band lit it up on the hard rock scene in the 90’s. Their guitar player was (is) amazing, singer strong with great stage presence, band right over all.

This tune was one of their acoustic numbers, decidedly not hard, but full of fun energy for sure.

Ooh yeah wooh
Hey hey hey hey hey yeah
Life’s ambition occupy my time
Priorities confuse the mind
Happiness one step behind
This inner peace I’ve yet to find
Rivers flow into the sea
Yet even the sea is not so full of me
If I’m not blind why can’t I see
That a circle can’t fit where a square should be
There’s a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Can’t be filled with the things I do
Hole hearted (x2)
This heart of stone is where I hide
These feet of clay kep warm inside
Day by day less satisfied
Not fade away before I die
There’s a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
Should have known from the start
I’d fall short with the things I do
Hole hearted (x6)
Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Gary F. Cherone / Nuno Bettencourt
Hole Hearted lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group 1990.

Moen Danco

We’ve had a leak in the kitchen sink faucet for quite a while.  Nothing major, but enough to have a slow drip going pretty consistently.  This past weekend I finally found (created?) a couple hours block of time to try fixing it.

I watched a couple short videos to determine the right sequence for dis-assembling unit, turned off the water, laid down a couple towels, and got into it.

Our faucet assembly is Moen brand.  There were no such replacement parts at Home Depot.  They had  a generic, analog cartridge made by Danco, so I decided to give it try.  It was the only option, really.  Otherwise, leak on? Not an option.

I got home and following the fairly simple steps of replacing the part.  It seemed to going going along ok.  I even got some of the calcium build up cleaned off the parts.  I was feeling good.  Then the last handle piece had a hard time settling all the way back on.  Gave it a few good taps with a hammer, down it went.

But the tapping with the hammer?  It did enough minor damage to the hole where the screw was to go back in to secure the handle to the fixture, that…? The screw wouldn’t go down.

Foiled?  Not quite.  I went out to the shed, to my stash / collection of bolts, screws, nuts, etc. I found a screw with a slightly smaller head, similar thread, and voila!  “Good enough for government work,” as the saying goes.

A few lessons from this little weekend effort:

1/ Youtube has a lot of helpful content.

2/ Don’t give up if things don’t work immediately.

3/  With house projects, and building/repairing in general, be prepared to improvise to get the job done.

And that faucet?  No more leak.  The handle is a little skewed, but oh well.  That’s life sometimes.  A little skewed.  But it still works.  And life goes on.


Dadlife, Dark Side

I talk a lot about the positive. I promote the upside of things, look for the silver lining even in bad situations. That’s the fundamental credo of this blog: be positive, find positive, share positive.

But sometimes the dark side creeps in. Sometimes the dark side is strong.

Sometimes it’s been a long day, or a long week, and I’m grumpy, and irritable. And sometimes my kids don’t listen very well; sometimes they’re not very thoughtful, or themselves aren’t in the best mood.

Sometimes everything starts to come off the rails. And then what?

Then I’m irritated that the dishes are piled up in the sink. Then I’m annoyed the kids’ shoes and clothes are here and there in the living room. Then my fuse gets pretty short. I start barking at them instead of talking calmly. And my volume goes up a little.

The dark side wins for the moment.

Usually though, I catch myself pretty quick. Take a few deep breaths and reset my patience. But often I also tell the kids, “Grumpy Daddy” is on the edge, so it would be best for you all to do what you’re supposed to, you know the deal.”

Generally that works out OK. The dark side doesn’t stay too long. And I know I’m only human, so sometimes the dark side gains a little ground.

It’s up to me, it’s up to each of us to battle, to keep our emotions and ego in check.


Let Love Make Us Whole

Nearly every day I pray. And nearly every day this idea is woven into the prayer: that love can fill in the holes in people’s lives.

I think about the many who suffer horrible circumstance, and I believe love can make the difference. It likely won’t deliver people from their circumstance, but it can help them cope and survive, and even thrive.

I think about those who will die today, especially those in extreme situations, maybe children, maybe babies, on the migrant road, or in a detention jail, or in a refugee camp, and I ask myself, “What could make the difference? Their fate is pretty well sealed…”.

I think about myself, imagining the day I die, when ever that is…and I think about the people I know who have died, and those who have lost loved ones. And I believe in those final moments, that’s when all that matters is love. The day I die, the last thing I want to feel in my body on this earth is love. If we are the ones left behind, feeling love, being filled with love, that is the answer. Love makes it better.

I think about the mother of one of the children that was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School; her response to the unimaginable horror and pain and anguish of having one’s child murdered? Love. Active, instructive, deliberate effort to show and teach empathy and compassion to others.

Love. It’s the fundamental value and gift that can and does change the world everyday. If we let it. If we make the effort. If we let it guide our actions.

If we’re angry or sad or full of holes and grieving, let love wash the hurt and anger away, let love make us whole again.

Hell, if everyone let love guide their actions, and be more of the solution everyday, there would be so much less suffering in the world, fewer wars, less violence. I know that’s rather pie in the sky, but the fundamental is absolutely true. Love makes the difference.

And to clarify, I’m not talking about hot pink bubble gum love, or candle-lit, dreamy-eyed love, I’m talking about “I got your back” love, “I’m here ’til the end” love, “we’re in this fight together” love, “yes I’ll help you” love.

Let THAT love guide you. Let that love fill in your emptiness, let it be a salve to your wounds, let love in. And give it every chance you get. When you give it, that fills in the holes too.

Let it be so. Let love make us whole.

More on Scarlett Lewis’ efforts found here:

Into the Weekend

Lots of lessons this week; seems like there are always lessons. And often they seem to be repeats. Maybe we keep learning the lessons we need most?

I round out another week, thinking about the mistakes I made, the things I could have done better, the victories I had, the tidbits of getting better I picked up.  I think about the highs and the lows with my family, with a co-worker, with those around me otherwise.

Many of the lows are in my own head, my own perception or reaction to things that occurred.   What could I have done differently?  How could I have handled things in a more balanced manner, taken more of the active high road, lived up to being my best self more often?  It’s a weekly, daily, even hourly journey and path we must stay on to be that best self.  Would that I could be that more often.

And then in the end, Friday afternoon became Friday evening on a field at Hoover.  Our kids playing with their teammates, getting ready for another Saturday soccer game.

There’s been challenges there too; tough getting a bunch of kids who don’t know each other, haven’t played much soccer, and aren’t terribly enthusiastic about playing the game to do so. Then again, that’s how you learn. Try, fail, keep trying.

Good lessons all around. And here’s to the weekend now. Make it GOOD.