Half Full, Happy Anniversary, All GOOD.

I started this blog three years ago this month, July. At the time I was looking for a way to share some thoughts, some insights, and further the good in the world.

Not sure how much good I’ve done, but I’ve definitely shared a lot of thoughts. Gotten some positive feedback along the way, which is good for me if nothing else. And I’ve certainly learned a lot.

I plan to continue blogging, sharing, pursuing the GOOD in this manner. I’ve also got another avenues coming down the pike later this yesr.

I’ll have an e-book up in the fall, before the holidays. It will be a sort of coffee table book, a short volume, about being a new dad. It will bring a little humor, and hopefully inspiration, to fathers. 

 I’m also designing a short podcast I’ll produce and share periodically.  Same goal: share a little insight, further the good in the world.

So whether you’re new to this blog,  or have been along these last three years, thanks for reading. Please share it with others. On we go toward the GOOD.

Misc Weekend

Trying to convince my three year old son to try dance class. NOPE. For that go anyway.

Back yard spruce. REALLY? Yep. A little goes a long way.

Beef cuts? Top serloin is close enough to tenderloin.

Chinese lady in the liquor store, 3 bottles of merlot? Dressed in earth tones, including a ball cap over shoulder length hair, never got off her iPhone.

“I don’t do swag” t-shirt on dude driving a red 328? Paradox of the valley.

The pink stretch hummer limo at the rose garden? Love the picture celebration location, in grandiose style.

Wife working half day Sunday means morning adventure time for the rest of us. Off to check out the new school where our oldest starts in 10 days. FUN!

Playground etiquette? Kids and I need to tune in.

New week underway. GOOD.


On this day, the Feast Day of Saint Ignatius, a series of ideas and prayers from Jesuits. It starts here: AMDG. “Ad majorem Dei gloriam.” The Jesuit motto, “For the greater glory of God.”
Prayer for Generosity: Eternal Word, only begotten son of God, teach me true generosity.

Teach me to serve you as you deserve.

To give without counting the cost, to fight heedless of wounds, to labor without seeking rest, to sacrifice myself without thought of any reward save the knowledge that I have done your will.


-attributed to St. Ignatius

“Behold God beholding you…and smiling.”

– Anthony De Mello, SJ.

Friday Faves, Issue #14

Another edition of Friday Faves (delivered on Monday), served up hot and fresh after spending the weekend in the slow cooker.  ENJOY.

Destination of the Week: Tucked in the middle of Austria, a little gem called Leoben

Quote of the Week: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ~Winston Churchill

Band of the WeekI can’t fight the feeling any longer. Gotta go with REO Speedwagon ~ 80’s heavy hitter. Epic ballads that made your heart ache.

Meal of the Week: Filet Mignon ~ Anniversary dinner over the weekend. This review isn’t mine, but it could be. I had the same experience (less the margarita, and the four-month old baby).

Website of the Week: One of the best places to land on the web when you want down-to-earth perspectives from people just like you. And this particular piece was both uplifting and motivating.  Not sure if you can improve your lot in life?  Read on.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome! LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Faves, Issue #9

This edition of the Friday Faves brought to you by the letter “G.”

Destination of the Week:   The Orange Free State.  Saw this place on a world map from the 1980’s.  It was in southern Africa.  The string of learning that ensued about colonialism in Africa, the Boers, and the role of the Dutch East India Company was swift and enjoyable. One more reason to visit South Africa if you get the chance.

Quote of the Week: “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way”.” –  Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Band of the Week:  A band that has morphed throughout the last forty years, no doubt.  But with (at least) one constant, the band leader Arturo Sandoval.  Great interview here to get to know him, the sample of samples of his sound, with his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, and something more contemporary.

Meal of the Week:  “I’ll die before I give you that BBQ sauce recipe.”  This makes me hungry.  And itching to smoke some beef ribs or brisket. Might happen this weekend.

Website of the Week:  And it follows from the Meal of the Week, straight up good meat makes good eats. Find it here.

There ya have it, peeps.  Your comments are always welcome.  And you can follow more of the muse via twitter.  My handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Faves, Issue #8

This edition of the Friday Faves brought to you by the songbirds in the front yard.  ENJOY.

Destination of the Week:    A town in the far south of Germany, near the border with Switzerland.  Ancient village.  Horse Parade every spring. Birthplace of a good buddy at work. Check it out.  If you’re in the neighborhood, definitely, visit Weingarten for a taste of ancient Europe.

Quote of the Week:  “It is so.  It cannot be otherwise.”  Attributed to an inscription on the wall of a cathedral in the Netherlands from the 1500’s.  Keep in this quote in your mind everyday.  It’s a good starting place for acceptance and progress.

Band of the Week:  Punch Brothers. Ahhh, who?!, you might ask.  Five dudes. Chris(mandolin), Noam (banjo), Gabe (violin/fiddle), Chris (guitar), & Paul (stand-up bass).   NPR was the likely channel.  So much more than just a “band”, per se. Example?Watch this bit on their residency at Oberlin College  HERE.

Meal of the WeekPho‘, aka Vietnamese soup.  On the menu today.  Been looking forward to it since Monday.  I’m planning on a variety with wonton, egg noodle, & chicken.  Gonna be DELICIOUS, I’m betting, at a place called Khanh’s just down the street.

Website of the Week:  Paul Salopek is walking. A long way. “Out of Eden“, is what they say.  How long?  How far? A seven year, 20,000+ mile journey. From the birthplace of our modern species in Ethiopia, through the Middle East and Asia, over to the Americas, and down to the Terra Del Fuego.

And you can join him.  It’s only just started really.  Here’s an update from the road, and good sample of Salopek’s awesome, engaging style of writing.

And that’s the skinny for this week.  Comments are always welcome.  And you can follow more of the muse via twitter.  My handle is @jhludlum ~

Have  a good weekend!

Blue Monday: Not What You Think

Sometimes Blue Monday can be good. In fact, sometimes the color blue can make Monday a little easier to cope with.  Allow me to explain.

The company I work for gave each employee a few Navy Blue, company logo-ed polo shirts several years back.  The idea is that we wear the same company shirt when we have client-facing meetings, have customers attending  training sessions at our facility, etc.   I decided several years back to make it a habit of wearing the company shirt on Mondays, whether or not I had a client meeting.  The motivation was a simple one.

If you work a “normal week” (unless you’re in the Middle East), Monday is the day we get back into the work groove.  We step back into our professional life, review our activities from the previous week, consider what needs to be done for the week, deal with any urgent matters that have come up, and generally start ticking items off the to-do list.

I figure it’s a good idea to take one variable out of the equation as the work-week begins. By wearing the company shirt on Mondays I don’t have to make the wardrobe decision in the early morning when I’m getting ready for the day.  It is already decided.

This approach works well for me.  I take my work seriously and make an effort to do my best every day.  That said, I have a little extra respect for Mondays. Monday can be difficult.  After all, it’s sorta like the ocean:  you never know exactly how it’s going to behave, what surprise it might spring on you, etc.

I read an article one time that Barack Obama pretty much wears the same color suits, most of the time.  This simple approach to fashion allows him to focus his attention on the many decisions he has to make as Commander-in-Chief.  By making his clothing choices more automatic, it’s one less thing he has to think about.

While I don’t have THOSE sorts of decisions to make, with three little kids at home and a busy life otherwise, I seem to have a lot going on most days.  Workdays start before five o’clock in the morning.  So picking the Navy Blue polo on Monday morning as I dress in the dim pre-dawn light makes it easier for me to get out the door and into the workday.

Like most things, it’s not a hundred percent.  Close, but not quite.  Today I wore a brown plaid shirt.  Just wanted to mix it up a little bit.  At least I had my Navy Blue over-shirt on too.

Friday Faves, Issue #7

This edition of the Friday Faves brought to you by the letters G, O (times two), and D.  ENJOY.

Destination of the Week: Jurong Island  ~ it’s a man-made island next to and owned by the country of Singapore.  Not a resort type of place though.  Maybe really interesting only if you’re into the petrochemical sector.  Then again, a man-made island is something to marvel, but for the shear physical effort and scale, if nothing else.

Quote of the Week:     That little phrase & song from the Lion King, it means “No Worries, for the rest of your days, it’s that problem-free, philosophy, Hakuna Matata…!”  And the “true” meaning? Here.

Band of the Week:  Way back with this one, to the Eighties and the Canadian power trio…Oooops!  Not RUSH, but Triumph.  So many uplifting lyrics, rockin’ riffs, and ENERGY pouring out of these guys in their hay day.  Allied Forces was the album that hooked me.  Enjoy!

Meal of the Week:  Street Tacos. So many varieties.  So many options for delicious, fresh, and nutritious (really!) ingredients.  Here are a few examples of the goodness.  And if you wonder, “Just were DID tacos come from originally?”, this is a good piece on the topic.

Website of the Week:  Simple but sweet for those of you sitting at a desktop computer during the workday.   Especially if you work with people in other time zones, this site is VERY useful.

Happy October, peeps!

30 Ways to Stay Positive & Inspired

This collection is from a month-long campaign to create more GOOD in the world.  I hope some of these…even just one from the list, gives you a new idea, a new spark, and a path to creating more positive attitude for yourself.   As one of the points below highlights, “positive begets more positive; it’s infectious”, or something like that.  So give it  a try. Get after it. And stay after it.

  1. “No matter what, find the tasty kernel. And savor it. Toss the rest. It’s just chaff in the harvest of life.”
  2. Straight from Tim Ferriss. Absolutely true. “Make your bed every day.” Try it for a week. Feel the POSITIVE follow.
  3. Compartmentalize!
  4. Cultivate and maintain a good sense of humor. Find the funny in the everyday. I.E., “I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear.” Humor brightens your mood, and those around you too!-x.
  5. “Don’t compare yourself to others. If you do, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
  6. Foster Optimism.
  7. Practice Gratitude.
  8. “Celebrate other people’s joy and accomplishments. You’ll be surprised at how that effects you for the better.”
  9. When something good comes to mind, share it. The share perpetuates the positive within yourself, and it’s infectious.
  10. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
  11.  Smile and laugh OFTEN.  Maintain a sense of humor. Be cheerful.
  12. Remind yourself to savor: a good moment during the day, a pretty sky, your kid’s laughter, your dog (or cat) being SO happy you’re home!
  13. Don’t dwell on the negative. Instead, find and celebrate the positives, no matter how minor or small they  might seem.  The more you celebrate and are thankful, the more good karma that tends to follow.
  14. “Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.”.
  15. “It is so, it cannot be otherwise.’ ~ Inscription in Flemish in 15th century cathedral in Amsterdam.  The meaning?  Accept things as they are. THEN consider and take steps to improve them if need be, and if possible.
  16. Begin the day with 15 minutes of personal reflection, affirmations, reminding yourself to BE POSITIVE.
  17. Reward yourself frequently with little snippets of GOOD, whatever makes you happy:  a brief break at work or home doing chores, a bit of spontaneous entertainment (read, TV, internet wandering, a cookie,…).
  18. Lean in. Don’t avoid difficulty and struggle. Instead, shift your mindset. Life is difficult. Accept it.  Transcend it. On the other side? A more positive attitude.
  19. Music, lots of music. All kinds. Any kind. Let it left you. That’s EXACTLY what it’s for. Hold On. It’ll get better soon.
  20. Periodically, harken back to a another, maybe simpler time when you were happy.
  21. Let your hair down and have a slice of cold pizza for breakfast. Or have breakfast for dinner.
  22. Allow simple things to make you happy. Like birds eating from the feeder you put up.
  23. If something isn’t to your liking, don’t whine or wring your hands. Instead, change it, if you are able.  If not, accept it and move on.
  24. Celebrate within the small victories as big wins..
  25. Keep a to-do list, and USE IT, daily. Checking things off the list makes us feel more positive about progress and control.
  26. Journal. Everyday. Write something. Anything. But write it down. You’ll be surprised at the thoughts, and the insights.
  27. Ask for help. Accept help. And help others. We’re in this is together.
  28. Periodically center your attitude, and if you feel it’s slipping away from positive, purposefully RESET to GOOD.
  29. Consider the alternative. Studies show those who worry die young. So it’s not just fluff and fuzzy feel-good stuff, this positive thinking, it’s a matter of life and death.  Choose Positive. Choose Life.
  30. Believe that Positive is greater than Negative. Live that life. Share that life. POSITIVE Wins in the end!
Here are some resources to dig further into the GOOD.