It May Bear Fruit

This passage from Luke, chapter 13, resonates.

Don’t give up; try again; there is still hope; take action with care, try a different approach, Good can still result.

Yes. Yes it can.

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.'”


Operation: Little Kids

“Being a parent of little kids is sometimes like being a special forces operator.” That’s the way it’s been feeling these last few days.

Of course, we don’t have to apply lethal force in the course of conducting parenting operations; and certainly we are not in harms way (typically) when parenting. So no one is trying to kill us, and we’re not trying to kill anyone.

But there are similarities otherwise.

Sleep. Interrupted or otherwise, often there will not be enough sleep. You have to operate at the highest level possible all the same.

Frequently you will be operating at night. Therefore, stamina is critical.

Non-lethal, hand-to-hand combat might be necessary from time to time. Wrestling or JJT skills can help in this regard.

Attention to detail, ability to quickly adapt, and a sense calm and focus under mounting chaos and discomfort are all very helpful attributes for field operators and parents.

Often times things with little kids don’t go as planned. You might the best intentions and ideas as to how to proceed on a particular objective, and then things go sideways. You have to be able to quickly and complete adapt to move the mission forward, improvise, and make the best of it.

Finally, as in special operations, personal excellence, solid teamwork, and fundamental ability to leave your ego at the door will all help in parenting little kids. Parenting: It’s one of the highest callings there is anywhere.

#dadlife #dadslife #parenting #perspective #worthit


News of Chester Bennington’s suicide has me slowly shaking my head in frustration. The Linkin Park frontman left the world far too early, taking his own life at age 41. 

“Another one gone”, I can only think.

His passing marks the latest of several public faces that have meant so much to so many through their lives and art. And then each decided to end end it, check out, commit suicide.

Ronnie Montrose. Robin Williams. Chris Cornell. And now Chester Bennington. 

So very sad, for sure. But SO frustrating, too.  

These posts from twitter give some sense of the tragedy of suicide. In this case they’re about Bennington (mostly), but the themes of darkness and pain and resulting loss are universal.

Famous or not, EVERY life matters. 

No one should give up on hope, no one should give up on life.  

No matter how dark it is, there is light out there for you.  

Say No to the pain, don’t let it have the last word. Don’t let the anxiety and depression win.  

Stay in the fight.  Accept, and transcend, and KEEP GOING.

Finally, put this number in your phone. I just did. 

You never know when you might change someone’s life, by saving it.


So What’s With The Home Page Pic, Anyway?

Looking at the home page picture I’m using for this blog, it occurs to me that most (all?) everyone probably looks at that image and wonders, “What’s up with that picture, anyway?  Where was it taken?  Why the fountain?  Who’s the little kid?

So to clarify, there are several things going on at once that are either symbolic or personal or both, as to why I decided to use that image on my home page.  If you’re curious, read on…

First, I really liked the colors.   I like the way the blue looks extra bright coming through the water.  I like the contracts of the red in the sweater against the blue fountain basin. I like the shimmer and the shine of drops of water in the upper left corner, I just like the whole image collectively.

Next, I like having the bit of mystery to the person in the frame.  You can’t see the face, you’re not sure why the kid’s there or what the kid’s doing.  I remember several vinyl album covers growing up that had such a feel, and when I found this photo, that’s what came to mind.

I like the relationship between the fountain basin and the title of the blog, “Half Full, All Good.”  The basin’s not full (not even half), and yet the image is cool.  It’s good.  Maybe the kid just tossed a coin in the fountain with a wish for something good.  What else would the wish be for?  And what do I wish for that kid, if I could?  All GOOD.

Finally, the fountain just happens to be in the central square of my hometown.  So paying homage to that place, to where I come from, with that picture…that just seemed like the right thing to do.

The whole picture together conveys for me the feeling I try to nurture with this site.  Cool, a little different, real-life examples of good, wonder, lessons and inspiration in the seemingly mundane everyday, from anywhere.  Find it. Share it.  It gives me peace and some inspiration.  Hope it does the same for you.

And Voila!  There you have it.



On the lighter side.

We all run into situations when someone seems to overreact to a given circumstance.  Something that seems to get blown out of proportion, someone gets a little too excited.

A few idioms then, to help communicate this very common human experience.

In English there are several phrases that come to mind…

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch!” or “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

But what about other languages?   Here are a couple of samples.

In Russian they say the equivalent of, “You’re making an elephant from a fly.”

In Spanish they say, “You’re making a storm in a glass of water.”

So whatever the language, it’s pretty clear that we humans overreact sometime.  When it’s your turn, remind yourself of this post.

And relax.


“It’s Not Rocket Science”

WW108_warrior_Leopard2011[Image of Wouter Weylandt c. 2010, racing for Leopold Racing]

“Focus and Perseverance go a long way. In other words? Hard Work Makes the Difference.”

Most things aren’t incomprehensible. Complex?  Sure. Takes some effort — sometime a LOT of effort — to understand and master?  Absolutely. But with most activities the majority of us need to master to live a happy, fulfilling, productive life (however that’s defined), those skills don’t amount to “rocket science”, as the saying goes.

To be sure, many things in the world take practice to get better.

Studying various disciplines and increasing one’s knowledge are varied subject matter, as well as honing the practical skills necessary in life — reading, driving, using technology, cooking, keeping track of your money — and at work, learning new professional skills, successfully accomplishing expected tasks in your current job, finding your way along whatever career path you’ve created or otherwise happened upon, and of course learning about any variety of academic subjects — these all require a similar approach:   Learning, Practice, Repetition.

The common traits necessary to work through any particular problem, issue, etc. require focus and concentration.  Often times “concept understanding” is needed as well, to have the right vocabulary and way of thinking about whatever the topic at hand might be. And of course, the other big factor important to being successful working through a problem?  TIME.

So often we try to speed through our work, find a short-cut, try the easy way to get to the finish line; this very strategy can “bite us in the ass”, as I hear around the shop.  Even seemingly complicated, technical activities require time more than anything else to finish the work, to accomplish the goal.

Whether it’s balancing your checkbook, working through project planning at work, fixing something in your house, or making a meal, the recipe remains simple:

Understanding + Focus + Time = Goal Achieved, Mission Accomplished.

The willingness to apply one’s self and commit to the hard-work repeatedly over a long period of time together establish the underlying theme for being successful in life.  It’s not rocket science, but there’s really no magic involved either.  It’s up to YOU. So if you want it, GET AFTER IT.


Nylon Mesh Beach Tote with Detachable Zipper Pouch Orange

It was 6:19am Monday morning when I realized, “I forgot the orange bag!”   I’d been up about two hours at this point, felt good about getting some running into my morning exercise routine, was in the car with the kids five minutes earlier than usual.  Then things went sideways.

The “orange bag” is what we put the kids’ clothes in when we go to day care each morning.  Sending the clothes to daycare means the kids get dressed there. This approach is easier for everyone. It creates a smoother, early morning departure and that helps a lot.  The timing in the morning is pretty tight. If things go according to plan, I make it to work a little before my start time. No stress.

Unless we forget something. Like I did yesterday.

I didn’t realize it until I pulled up in front of the daycare lady’s house.  I moved quickly, taking the kids into the house with a brief greeting, and then jumped back in the car to race home to get the orange bag.  I was ten minutes behind schedule as I accelerated down the freeway to the office.  And then the second realization hit me:  Acceptance.

I just needed to accept the situation as it was, take a few deep breaths, consider the worst case, and try to improve it.  I drove quite a bit faster than normal, but I made it on time.  And along the way, a few other topics where “acceptance” would help came to mind.

Like a short, testy conversation I had at home over the weekend about my lack of organization of items stored in the attic and in the garage.  Acceptance.  I need to do better.  I have the ability to do better.  The answer? Prioritize getting more organized. Acceptance.

Like at the office, when I get frustrated that I can’t control the work flow and shifting priorities. Acceptance. Be ready to adjust, anticipate, and stay organized with tasks and open issues. It was challenging initially, but over time I’ve improved.  Don’t forget that.  Acceptance.

I’m reminded of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and her seminal work, “On Death & Dying”.  The five stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, ACCEPTANCE.  Over the years the five stages have been found to apply not just to death and grief, but many experiences of loss.  Once you accept, you can move on.

I’m reminded of  Dale Carnegie too, and one of his many tidbits of advice on overcoming worry.  This process in particular is from Willis H. Carrier:  ” 1.  Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can’t solve my problem?  2.  Prepare yourself mentally to ACCEPT the worst–if necessary. 3. Then calmly try to improve upon the worst–which you have already mentally agreed to ACCEPT.”

Now it’s time to teach my kids. Acceptance.  It’s the best way to move forward practically, productively, and positively.  The best way to reduce worry and be happier.  The best way to live your life.

And the silver lining to that little SNAFU the other day?

It ended up that the daycare needed milk for the kids (that we supply), so it was good I went back home anyway, since the daycare lady hadn’t sent a milk request/reminder as she typically does the night before. All’s well that ends well.  You just have to accept the outcome and move forward.

#Worklife 1.0


Lately business has been a bit challenging.

With the energy sector in the space it is now (and has been for the past twelve months or so), budgets have been adjusted, belts have been tightened, plans have been scaled back.  In the capital equipment business, that means orders have slowed some, and the values have similarly shrunk.

There’s business to be had out there, but the sales cycle is often longer now, and the outcome more uncertain.  More rocks have to be flipped looking for opportunity, and you have to be dogged in your pursuit.   Lots of people are uncomfortable with the uncertainty, the slowed business. Candidly, I “feel” the same.  But at the end of the day, you can only do so much, and market reality is market reality.

Rather than trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat, you have to change with the conditions and keep moving forward.  Lots of folks think they understand the sales job. Many think they can do it (& many can for sure). But it’s not as easy as one might think.

Here are a few personal maxims that come to mind:

To thrive you must be able to adapt to change. And find inspiration everywhere. And self-motivate. And share the energy.

One of the key traits of a good sales person is managing, and overcoming, uncertainty. Lots of people struggle with that.

Patience, Perseverance, Tenacity, Creativity, & Positive Thinking: These are the main drivers behind successful sales people.  And probably safe to say, good life lessons for everyone.

Grit: What it Gets You


Listening to the radio on the way to work recently, they were doing a piece on “true grit”, defined for the discussion as Persistence, Determination and Resilience — and a rise of said attitude in the context of education.  Really though, it’s applicable across environments.

They had me at the introduction when they mentioned John Wayne’s film by the same name, “True Grit”, about a teenage girl who partner’s with Wayne’s character to find her father’s killer in the old west.  Great movie, great theme.  

The more I think about it, “grit” is one of those qualities I want to do everything possible to instill in my kids. To do so, I need to model that attitude for them at every opportunity.  it’s a trait that will serve them well throughout their lives.

What makes this trait an iron quality for life is that is not just for survival, but for happiness throughout our lives that we do well to be steeled against the inevitable adversities that life will deal us.

Webster’s New World Dictionary (1971) defines grit as “stubborn courage; pluck.”  These traits really get at the heart of what fuels the persistence, determination and resilience mentioned above as additional defining terms.  All these together describe a trait all of us would do well to identify and cultivate in ourselves as we go through life.  And the sooner the better.

After all, having determination, long-term fortitude, and the ability to bounce back from failures cause by our own doing or circumstances beyond our control are fundamental to successful…well…living!  

Consider educational situations when we’re students trying to memorize multiplication tables, or learning how to play the piano, or stepping on the soccer pitch or baseball diamond to practice — and there are countless other examples — where if we have the traits mentioned above, if we have grit, we’ll persevere through difficulties to improve, and maybe even succeed at our goal.  

Without that trait, without grit, we run the risk of mounting frustration, disappointment, and even diminished self-esteem as we struggle at any given task or objective.  And of course, when we enter the workforce as adults, having the grit to find a job, learn skills, seek promotion, develop professionally, makes ALL the difference.  

With the turbo-pace of work, how often people change jobs (either by choice or necessity),  the number of workers that are “1099” (contractors) versus “W-2” (full time employees with benefits), versus “laid-off and looking”, it’s clear that grit can help you cope with the stress and anxiety that comes from the uncertainty of today’s work environment.

Grit also is critical to parenting.  Being a father or mother is a 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, 365 days-a-year job.  Whether you’re feeling a 100%, or under-the-weather, or somewhere in between, your kid(s) need you. You’re the role model, you’re the source of support and direction and consistency. It’s up to you to come through for them.  Sometimes you have to dig extra deep, but that’s the job.  And it’s worth it.

It starts early, developing the life skills to be resilient, focused, and just plain not-willing-to-give-up.  Whether it’s learning to tie your shoes, graduating from high school, finishing an advanced degree in night school while working full time, or parenting when you’re feeling crappy, grit will help you be successful, and ultimately, a happier person.