Sugar daddy on the treadmill

I love sweet tea. It’s true. I have loved it enough to marry it since I was a single digit age. If I had a lover, a temptress, a little something on the side… it would be sweet tea. If I had to choose only one thing to drink from here till eternity — no, through eternity — it would be sweet tea. If I could bath in sweet tea… no, that’s just disgusting. But I do love the stuff.

Sweet tea, however, has lots of sugar, and because people tell me sugar is bad for me (in excess) I decided to start introducing the unsweetened variety of tea into my afternoon gallon — er, glass. I started off slowly, not wanting to get all crazy, and would just tap the dispensing handle at the restaurant to splash my sweet goodness. It was a shock at first, but like jumping into a cold pool, the shock wore off and I realized that cutting the calories wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Over time I would begin to push my sweet tea out, replacing it with the virgin sister, and now I’m down to an approximate 2/1 mix, slowly saying goodbye to my sugar-fest addiction.

Addiction? Did I actually just say that? You bet. Life is full of addictions. We like to think we have some sorted sense of control, but in fact, we are addicted to so many blessings and curses, fears, drives, substances, and each other. We are surrounded by addictive personalities, addictive foods, and addictive activities. Don’t get me wrong, addiction in and of itself is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, addictions are what make us inventors, artist, builders, creators of all things. Addictions also wreck and ruin us — the addictive tendencies that make the headlines — but not all addictions are evil. It’s about understanding an addiction, potentially embracing it, sometimes overcoming it, but always being self aware.

My addiction for the liquid gold doesn’t cause me to knock over convenient stores or pimp out my body for more of it, but it can have side effects that shorten my quality of life. Therefore, my personal choice is to continue to make that abyss-ful descent into sugarless tea and live another day. At least, that’s what I’ll tell myself.

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I just saw myself down the road

I was working for a barricade company back in the mid-90’s and just happened to be working alongside a very strange man. He was a temp employee, hired on as a favor from my boss. Let’s call him, “Tommy”. Well, Tommy had a weirdness about him that I couldn’t shake — Lord, he couldn’t shake it, and therefore oozed his weirdness everywhere he went. I couldn’t put my finger on it, couldn’t give it a name, and probably would have failed to describe it in a court of law after he performed some horribly disturbing act. He was just weird. The kind of weird that kept me on edge.

So, we’re probably 4 hours from home, down this seldom-traveled back road, digging post holes for signage, when out of nowhere Tommy stops digging and stares down the road. Naturally, I freeze, scared for my life and wondering if I told my wife I loved her that morning. I visually searched down the road to see what this potential madman was staring after. I saw nothing. I remained still, not wishing to draw undo attention, when Tommy finally spoke — “I just saw myself down the road.” What? What do you mean? Physically? Spiritually? In the future — are you standing there in the future, like you see yourself eating a burger at that place you always wanted to stop by? What do you mean you saw yourself down the road? Are there two of you? The question sent my mind in many directions all at once, and so much so that I feared I would also see myself down the road. I waited for what seemed like days as Tommy held his gaze. Suddenly, and without warning, he returned to digging.

It took me a moment to gather my composure and mentally check my drawers (not the wooden one that holds my socks). I was alive — at the moment — and possibly averted the worst of it. I continued my task, and eventually we climbed back into the truck for the long, and silent, ride home. I don’t think I ever took an eye off my fellow laborer.

This reminiscing takes me back 20 years — 20 YEARS! Yet I remember my near brush with the supernatural like it was last week. Well, last year, at least. Doesn’t seem like a generation ago, but indeed it is. Time is funny like that, passing us by without looking our way, minding it’s own business as if not a care the least about our schedules and plans. I gather, that like Tommy, time sees itself down the road. Rightly so, for time always moves forward. Allowing time to pass us, move ahead, overtake us each day as we scamper to cram another, and another, and another thing into the hectic-ness that’s life, is a shortsightedness that will ultimately leave us only looking back. The things we miss, fly past, and embrace only in our thoughts become what we see down the road of life that is as mysterious as it is sad.

So don’t waste it — live it. Make this day count for something that will outlive you. Be that someone that you want to meet one day. Change the world — even if just your personal little world — and breathe new life into an old dream. Don’t stop till you’re old and gray. By then, if you do see yourself down the road, it’s probably for the best.

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Harder days will come

Think it’s tough out there — breaking a sweat, chilled to the bone, dirt under the nails, dodging insults, hanging on for dear life as you dangle high above your comfy couch. Listen, friend, it’s only going to get tougher.

But seriously, no matter where you are in your journey, you’re most likely not at that place you’ll one day look back on and say something like, “That was the worst day of my life!” Might seem that way now, but chances are it’s bound to get worst. Will it? No one knows. But, let’s assume for a hot second that this moment is not the end all of bad moments; let’s set aside the doom and gloom thinking and imagine — stay with me — that there are days to come that will make this day look like a walk in the park. It could happen. This day could represent one of your better days. It could be the one you reflect on, while standing in a real poo of a day, and say, “Gosh, that day — back when — was just so great. Just so great.”

Why think like that? Why not? You might face today with so much contempt, so much anger, so much pain, and all for not. You might curse today — possibly the last best days you have — believing that it’s better to die today than to face tomorrow. You might think you know everything there is to know about today, hoping it will forever be forgotten. Or you might regret the moments you spent hating on today.

It’s the unknown. It’s all that you will discover, only once the moments has passed. So why not assume the best in this moment? What not assume that harder days will come, whether or not they will, because you don’t know — you can’t know — and celebrate today as a victory. It might a tough one, but it might be the best of what is to come.

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Climbing the molehill to reach the top of a mountain

Little steps… baby steps, like making your way across the shag carpet (assuming you were born in the late ’60s). That’s the pace that will often take you from where you are to where you long to be. You can see it — the other side of the room — but for reasons unknown you are enslaved to a mere one small step at a time. Frustrating? Your limitations are noted by those surrounding you who long to launch from their foundation and soar toward greater things.

But what about everyone who sees your efforts, yet cannot understand what drives you? What of the complacent and steady ones that are content small-stepping their way through life? Is their plight any less important? I say surely not. Even though some of us would hop onto a spacecraft for a chance to ride to the moon, the other, more calculated ones, are just as important to the mission of life. Details, hard steady work, heated debates, brain drain, risk taking, happenstance, and many other qualities are needed in order to achieve something great. It’s the collective partnership of many that leads to the singular discovery. No win-lose, instead, win-win when the people join together to create, build, conquer, overcome, and live in the moment.

Whether fast-stepping or slow-stepping, each step toward accomplishing something greater than yourself means being part of a team. Embrace your brothers and sisters, their strengths, their qualities, and live each step to the fullest as you change the world.

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Borrowing from the wise

Below is an August 12, 2013, article by Family psychologist John Rosemond. Worth posting.


Sometimes, the so-called “good old days” really were better. For example, if the data is correct, then the state of parenting in America has been in slow but steady decline since the 1960s. Child mental health and school achievement were much better back then, when the go-to parenting experts were grandparents.

In my public presentations, I sometimes begin sentences with “I’m a member of the last generation … ” and go on to describe some benefit we Boomers enjoyed that today’s kids, by and large, do not enjoy. Some of these sentences include:

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children who did not receive much adult attention.” As long as we were doing nothing wrong, our parents largely left us alone. They let us have the freedom to entertain ourselves, learn from our mistakes and fight our own battles.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children who were not allowed to have high self-esteem.” Back then, to express a high opinion of oneself was known as “acting too big for your britches.” Today, high self-esteem is supposedly the key to everything good in life. Problem is, it hasn’t worked out that way. Researchers have found that high self-esteem is associated with lots of bad stuff, like fear of failure and bullying.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children who did their own homework.” And we did much better in school. Our mothers were not accountable for our schoolwork. They held us accountable. It’s a very simple equation, really: The more responsible one is, the better one does.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children to grow up in homes where the relationship between our parents was a lot stronger than either of their relationships with us.” I’m convinced that one reason so many of today’s young people are eschewing marriage is because they didn’t see their parents having one, even if their parents lived together. They saw mother and father, two people devoted to them. We saw husband and wife. It makes a huge difference.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children whose parents, especially mothers, did not worry about us almost constantly.” It has got to be a burden on a child to be the object of lots of parental concern. I have to wonder if parental concern isn’t eventually self-fulfilling; as in, if you are concerned, then your child will give you something to be concerned about.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children to lie in the beds we made and stew in our own juices.” We were taught to take responsibility for our actions. When we did something wrong or failed to do our best in school, our parents told us we had no excuses. Life was not a soap opera, and we were not victims, which is why the next point is relevant.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children to leave home when children should leave home.” We left home as soon as possible because we were convinced we could make better lives for ourselves than our parents were willing to make for us. That’s a good thing for all concerned.

The good news is that more and more of today’s parents are getting it. They’re raising their kids pretty much the same way kids were raised 50-plus years ago, with no cell phones, video games, or junk food. Their kids eat what’s put in front of them, sleep in their own beds, do their own homework, entertain themselves, have no excuses, and see, on a daily basis, what a real marriage looks like.

They may be a small minority, but the way I see things, they’re the future.

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Now, wait a second

Rushing in is most often a mistake. One must instead count the cost, weighing options and decisions, prior to making a grand and glorious entrance. I know this first hand — through rushing in — and more than once in my lifetime.

Still, there’s something to be said of pressing forward amidst resistance. If we all wait, calculating and determining the “safety” factor, then little will be accomplished in the long run. Sometimes it advantageous to break down the door and storm the castle — but only sometimes. Learning to read the situation on the fly can save headaches worth of embarrassment and backtracking. Therefore, I propose a list, a checklist, to precalculate and predetermine just how “safe” the castle-storming decision will be.

  1. Loss of life and/or limb. Risking your own life, limb, or well-being is a personal choice, but what of the life and limbs of others? Concern yourself with others.
  2. Financial pitfall. Every decision carries with it a bottom line — what will the choice to move, or stay, cost you in dollars and cents? Is the jump worth the fall after all?
  3. Tomorrow is around the corner. Time happens. What you feel at this moment, in this very moment, is already fleeting; what you do with this moment will decide your future.
  4. The big picture. You should have a mission statement, in life, and everything you do should fall inline with that mission statement. Going off script becomes an emotional choice that often carries a backpack of regret.

There you have it. Hold that impulse long enough to run through this trusty checklist and possibly save yourself years of financial, emotional, or physical therapy. And live a little.

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When I met you

There’s a golden moment in time that marks a major turning point in each of our lives. Be it a chance meeting, unexpected happening, planned endeavor, or any number of other possibilities, that moment will forever chance our lives. In what fashion, on what level, through what trial, we may never know, but rest assured that it will be the moment that brings an undeniable change.

Yet a single golden moment may not be all that lies waiting for you — could be that there are multiple events and moments that massage and bend your journey. And each one may add another layer of revelation along your path. Likened to the onion, only you aren’t peeling, you’re covering up, trumping the layer beneath. For to add another layer serves to remind you forever of the choices beneath. You will never forget that moment that changed you, once, and if, you actually discover that moment in time.

To live with fear, to wallow in anticipation, can be that very defining moment; therefore, embrace each day of living as if that time has already passed, and you are marching to that different drum which beats methodologically within you head and your heart. Want not for ownership, but strive to let go of the daily millstone. Lay hold of simple truths that ring loud in the absence of a noisy existence. Give where others take. Love where others fears. Empty yourself of the restless abandon and surrender to what is infinitely bigger than yourself.

And finally, when asked about that moment — whether you knew it or not — smile and share a piece of life’s beauty.

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Rate this

Yet another complaint against the MPAA. Why? Because they are holding ground against foul, violent, and sexual material in films.

“An NC-17 rating?!” cries the filmmakers and distributors, “What about my freedom of speech?” Pleeease, if I had a nickel…

My response to the “filmmaker” who pushes that envelope:

One would think that shamelessly anchoring a film in overtly graphic content could, perhaps, raise some concern for audiences around the world. But more importantly — what’s the point?! Why is it necessary to dip so low into the depravity of humanity in an effort to “entertain”? Really — as if simply telling a story about mankind sans visually depicting our darkest faults wasn’t enough. I know you think that wallowing in the mire will bring you some publicity — and it will — but what it won’t bring you is perspective. Perspective is the “big picture”, it’s standing up and looking around. Perspective is walking through a playground, watching the innocence of the children as they play. Perspective is witnessing the birth of a child, holding her close, and promising to protect her — always. Perspective is putting aside your “rights” as a filmmaker in order to take up a cause that is so much greater. Perspective means giving more than you take.

Telling stories should not be about pushing limits, or vying for negative attention, but rather it should be about moving people. You can shape thinking, challenge, humor, scare, or a number of other emotional combinations, but in the end, you’re still simply telling a story. Set aside the need to punish mankind for it’s ill and disgusting behavior, and choose instead to celebrate who we can potentially become.

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