Are You Experienced?

Sure there’s the Jimi Hendrix debut album from 1967, but that’s not (exactly) what I’m talking about.

In its most basic form, I’m talking about the experiences we have everyday, and making the most, or maybe TAKING the most, from every situation, every experience, every day. Here’s what I mean.

There are plenty of ups and downs everyday. Sometimes things go as planned and we get excellent outcomes. Often times the experience, and the result is something less. And that’s perfectly fine.

The key is to take the most that you can from every situation, In every instance there is something to learn, something to appreciate, maybe even enjoy; this can be the case even if things don’t go as you’d like then to.

Concrete examples from the last few days in my little corner of the world…?

To the fore of my mind, from five minutes ago. My younger daughter absolutely NOT wanting to put on her pajamas. Even though it was time to do so. Passed the time, actually. Should I have a daddy-meltdown, or just deal with it. “Deal with it” is the right answer. It worked out; she came around to cooperate. Just lovely.

Or a few days back, my family and I went to the snow for a couple days. Or that was the idea. Didn’t work out quite that way.

There was only remanent amount of snow at the cabin where we stayed. No good for any snow play there. Our kids were a little bummed.

At the snow park we went to they made snow, so there was enough for fun tubing we did the majority of the day. But that was it. The snow man mother kids wanted to make? We made him from chunks of iced snow. We did the best we could. And that’s how it fits. We made the most of the experience we had, even if it wasn’t the experience we’d hoped for.

And several times through out the holiday break there where conflicts that bubbled up over things that didn’t go as planned, or as hoped for, or both.

Bottom line? Make the most of the experiences you have, every one of them. As the Hendrix lyric suggests, “if you can just get your mind together, and come across to me…”, come across to this particular way of thinking.

Take what you can that’s good, and move forward. Your attitude, and your life, will be better for it.

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2018, That’s a Wrap

That’s a wrap. Not the yummy tortilla kinda “wrap”, mind you. Rather, I’m of course talking about the end of the year, 31 December, 2019 just a few hours away.

Notable from the year…

Faith proved again to be a major, positive influencer in coping, navigating, persevering through the rougher patches of water.

My father departed this earth early in the year, from the effects of stroke two years back. Several other folks in my world also passed on, at varied ages, for varied reasons. Life and Death were to the fore this year. Lots of prayer around that.

Our five year old son was in the hospital for a week suffering from viral and bacterial infections. He weathered the illness ok. I like to think it made him stronger; I know it made more certain of our family’s capacity to cope. It wasn’t easy, but we all made it through.

I took on a new role at work this past year. no joke, The learning curve has been steeper than I anticipated. I’ve had my share of challenges in the process. That said, I’ve learned a lot. And as the fiscal/calendar year closes up, I have come out more well-rounded in my understanding of my professional discipline, and have a more compelling skill-set as well.

We went to Hawaii with a lot of the family on my wife’s side: it was a great time, good travel, and lots of little moments of joy. Shaved Ice was the source of that joy several times throughout the week. We’ll go back. Maybe several times. To Hawaii; and for more Shaved Ice.

The kids played soccer. Sort of, with varied degrees of understanding and enthusiasm. The best part? My wife coached, and loved it. We got some good lessons in meeting new people, and helping kids take steps forward in trying new things, not giving up, and having fun in new ways.

I came to a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to serve the community. The good news is, I’m more completely committed to a life of Lionism, which I began a dozen years ago. Along the way? The best Thanksgiving Food Drive in our club’s 49-year history. Will continue to live the Lion motto: We Serve.

My X Factor seemed ready for school this fall, but it’ll be another year before she starts Kinder. When she gets there, she’s going to rock it. And her hair gets curlier by the day, it seems. 🙂

I became a more frequent fan of the hashtag. I’m a little behind the curve I think. Oh well. A few of my favorites were as follows; that last one ended up on our driveway a few times.

#bekind

#gratitude

#dadlife

#goodstuff

#love

Number One continued to float above the fray, demonstrating goodness, good attitude, good learning capacity. And she made great headway in learning to swim during the summer.

Overall?

I’m pretty damn sure that 2019 is going to be good. Because we’re going to make it so.

HNY2019

Or rather.

#happynewyear2019

Happy Christmas

It’s the middle of the night. I woke from slumber, thinking about the rough state this country’s in, the tough state our world’s in, and then this song comes to mind. And I feel a little better.

“Christmas Song”, Dave Matthews, c. 1993.

She was his girl, he was her boyfriend

Soon to be his wife, take him as her husband

A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling, dribbling baby boy

The Wise Men came, three made their way
To shower him with love

While he lay in the hay
Shower him with love, love, love
Love love, love
Love, love was all around

Not very much of his childhood was known
Kept his mother Mary worried
Always out on his own

He met another Mary who for a reasonable fee
Less than reputable as known to be
His heart was full of love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love was all around

When Jesus Christ was nailed to the his tree

Said “Oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be

I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene

Instead I fear I spill the blood of our children all around.”

The blood of our children all around

The blood of our childrens all around

So the story goes, so I’m told

The people he knew were

Less than golden-hearted

Gamblers and robbers

Drinkers and jokers

All soul searchers

Like you and me

Like you and me

Rumors insisted he soon would be

For his deviations taken into custody

By the authorities, less informed than he

Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers

Searching for love, love, love

Love, love, love

Love, love was all around

Preparations were made

For his celebration day

He said, “Eat this bread, think of it as me

Drink this wine and dream it will be

The blood of our children all around

The blood of our children all around

The blood of our children’s all around

Father up above

Why in all this anger do you fill me up with love, love, love?

Love, love, love

Love, love was all around

Father up above

Why in all this hatred do you fill me up with love?

Fill me love, love, yeah

Love, love, love

Love, love, and the blood of our children all around

PERSEVERE

My “Word That Matters” for 2018.

“This word speaks to me everyday.

I have it engraved on a band I wear on my wrist.

It says ‘keep going, never give up, go forward, don’t be deterred by obstacles’.

It speaks to all of us where we are, to be strong and brave and committed to making things better.”

Listen

Listen.

There is an awful lot we can learn, and a lot of joy to be had as well, when we listen. When listening carefully, we also deepen our awareness, and strengthen our ability to cope and understand and thrive in the world.

The other morning very early, I made the decision not to get up to take the dogs out for a walk in the usual pre-dawn darkness. Instead I chose to lie in bed after feeding them, and just listen. 

The sounds that whispered through the room? The gentle creaks of of our antique sleigh bed when my wife adjusted herself next to me, and the deep breathes of sleeping kids in the other room, across the hall. Somewhere outside, off in the distance, I heard a truck beeping as it backed up to a delivery dock. 

Our house makes sound itself too. You can hear it creak like the bed, as temperature warms and the wood expands. The heater in the hall bangs awake as the metal grate heats up. The day is set to begin.
Another good example for listening, is my ritual of listening to the morning news via NPR podcast on the way into work. And then also, enjoying a little classical music on KDFC before arriving to the office.

And finally, there is Pope Francis‘s tweet from this week about listening and it’s effect of soul.

He wrote on Twitter under his @Pontifex moniker: “This is the first step in order to grow on our journey of faith: listening. Before speaking, listen.”

Amen.

It’s not always easy. If you’re a talker like me, sometimes it’s really tough. But it’s worth it. 

Listen to those around you. Listen to your friends, your partner, your spouse, your co-workers, your kids.we

Listen and learn and love. Good way to start the day, good way to live everyday. Listen.

AMEN.

Priorities

“Shoe Pile.”

It might seem a bit odd, a pile of shoes next to a shoe rack. I often think that when I walk by that spot in our house. After all, shouldn’t those shoes be properly stowed in the rack?

But then if you count the shoes, you pretty quickly note there are more pairs if shoes than cubby holes to hold the shoes. And what you likely don’t know is that the rack is meant for kids’ shoes. Mostly, anyway. And those size 9 green crocs are too big for any of our kids, in any event.

“Wait…”, you think, “…what’s a pile of shoes got to do with priorities, anyway?” Actually, I’m not exactly sure, but let’s see if we can get there together.

Sometimes, maybe a lot of times, we’re in a hurry to get to the next thing, once we get home. And so we throw off our shoes upon arrival, and they end up in the pile.

Priorities.

What ever it was, it was more important that putting away your shoes, and maybe other stuff too, in the moment. I’m sure some folks might be appalled at this approach, this blatant disregard of order. But it’s the way it is often times around here.

There’s another example of priorities that comes to mind. I have this phrase in my Outlook calendar that comes up every morning at 5am:

“Every day, start this way: What matters most? Family, Friends, PB, Friends, Community.”

It’s a reminder to keep my priorities straight every day. At least for me, for the priorities I have myself. People mean a lot to me, my family and friends, my clan, my tribe…and never want to lose sight of that.

Other things fall by the way side often due to these priorities, things I’ve committed to, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I do my best. I sometimes fall short. And when I do, I take a deep breath, and I keep going forward.

Priorities. Get ’em. Keep ’em straight. GOOD.

Even if the shoes end up in pile. 🙂

A Dad’s Log: 6 Minutes

It’s been a busy day.

I was up very early to do some work before everyone else got up. Got the usual dogs walk in before settling down with the laptop.

After I finished up and was ready to head out, I had some extra wrangling to do with our four-year old, to get her dressed for the day care drop off.

After I dropped her off it was straight into the fray at work. Funny thing, “the fray” isn’t anything overtly intense, just the usual demands for a guy doing my job. But since it’s a relatively new job for me, so I’m still climbing that learning curve.

It was none-stop until it was time to depart for an afternoon dentist appointment. That went surprisingly well.

And now on the way home, stopping by an office to drop something off for a friend, I’m a little early, he needs a bit more time for the hand off, and so voila! I’ve got a few minutes, and that’s enough time for a short blog post.

Nice to have a few minutes to “just…sit.” I see people at work sometimes, just sitting; I often think, “I need to do a little more of that.”

Oh wait! I just did. Well, sort of. I was tapping away putting these words down…but it felt like a break.

Yea, I need to do more of that. GOOD.