New Year’s Plans?

December 31, 2009

New Year’s Eve tends to be a lay low night for my family. We include Chinese food in the celebration- usually picking a favorite one of choice to take in some quick supper. This year we will be heading to a friends house to play some board games. Who knows if we will stay up for the full evening, but it’s best to keep things low key and close to home.

I do take into consideration the amount of drivers on the roads and keep myself out of harms way. I remember years ago when I was a deejay we would want to keep a close eye on people when the clock struck after midnight so that they could be safe enough to drive home or find someone sober who would be willing to drive the unsafe drivers home. It’s amazing how many times my co-partner and I would have to appease the people who wanted to hear “Freebird” several times for the end of the night.

Will you be making special goals and dreams for 2010? How will you measure your progress? Will it be something you keep in your head or are you willing to track your progress in a special notebook? Are you willing to seek assistance from others?

My goals include more seminars, more volunteering and spending more time engaging in preferred activities with my wife and daughters. I think I need to balance more my own personal goals along with family and professional goals. I would like to take more of my knowledge I’ve acquired through reading and personal experience to apply better in action. Much like building a muscle, continuous repetition and use will cause my life to grow and expand in ways I never thought possible.

I will be signing off for the year as my next post will hit the streets in 2010. I’m excited about the prospects for a new year, the new people I will meet and the old ones I’ll reconnect with. I sincerely enjoy all of the good comments and feedback I’ve been receiving through the months from both dear friends and people from all across the other sides of the world.

Be kind to one another, this is the only life you have to live and make it the best that you can.


Attention Please

December 30, 2009

One aspect of taking care of daughters that really sends my head for a tailspin is the fact that they feel that they know everything, have a solid plan and if you dare deviate from their mind you become an alien instead of loving, concerned parent.

My oldest will take one word and immediately tune out of the conversation. So if you chose to throw around a label, you better be careful that she doesn’t think you are putting her down or else incur her wrath of dismissal, anger or the slamming of a door.

What’s the challenge currently facing the family? Outside of the let down of holidays, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on other than living high on emotion and less upon reasoning ability. She’ll talk to me in the car about subjects she’s normally reserved for my wife- and then when my wife attempts to talk to her about those same subjects, it becomes a back and forth passive/ aggressive power contest. The only thing I can think of her need for more one on one attention.

An example of the confusion will be she’s come up with a new hair tie idea for girls with curly hair. She wanted to buy two products that she needs to make these hair ties- right before I took her to therapy. It didn’t matter to her that the wind chill made the air feel like Siberia. She wanted what she wanted right in the moment- and if I dare turn her down, I don’t love or support her idea.

Since she needed a pick me up after therapy, we went around the city looking for those items. If it meant getting her out of an angry state into one of more playful exuberance, than so be it. Overall the two items didn’t run me more than a few dollars. In the car she stated that she was hurt that in therapy her therapist labeled her based on one of her choices she’s been making for life- without really tuning in to the entirety of the message.

It’s interesting that as she grows older she wants to control more of the way the conversation is shaped. My wife and I believe it’s better to ask questions and make her really think about her thoughts and ideas. When she isn’t able to form a complete thought, she shuts down and thinks we are making her feel dumb. We are not. If you want to tackle issues head on, I think you should ponder and weigh the pros and cons rather than willy nilly going in with all of your guts- because there are many times that those tough decisions can have irrevocable consequences.

We have another day of therapy on the horizon, so maybe some of these matters will clear themselves up. You just wish that you could steer kids in the right direction, instead of them insisting on going down a rocky mountain without a clear path in mind. I am paying attention- I am happy that she trust me enough to engage in deeper conversations- and I hope she realizes I’m always open for two good ears for listening.

Can’t you tell the school vacation week is oh so much fun?

Spending Gift Cards Can Be Tough

December 29, 2009

I love gift cards. The amount of money doesn’t matter as much as people who are willing to get me cards related to my interests. My wife kindly got me a range of cards related to my interests in music, books and audio/ visual media. My extended family members added to the mix. So imagine my surprise when I spent a few hours yesterday finding the right combination of items for a smaller gift card.

You want to search for bargains. You also want to make sure that you buy items that either you can get a great deal on or are tough to find in your local shopping area. It’s not often I’ll be able to find an 8 CD Mark Victor Hansen audio program for under $10, so I figured that would be a good start on my journey. Building around this with other book material while keeping in mind the shipping and handling per item made the most challenging exercise for me.

In the end I picked out 3 items that will build my personal development library for 2010. My wife and I feel special enough to have 3 different restaurant gift cards this season to not only spoil our family with but also spoil ourselves. Creating separate days or nights of conversation, good food and great times.

I’ll be going to the movies this week with my oldest daughter. I can still remember going to the movies the first time with her to see at that time the first full length Spongebob Squarepants movie. My wife told me several times she would not be caught dead seeing that movie with her in public, so as a father you do what you must many times for the happiness of a child.

I loved the fact that her laughter would infuse the theater with a new found energy. I know that when she goes out on dates I’m going to recommend that the gentlemen think of other comedy movies or clubs to take her to, as she’s just so infectious and loud with her laughter you can’t help but get caught up in the laughter yourself. I think her sense of humor tends to be one of the best things about her personality, as she’s able to take certain events in stride and not get swept up personally by as much drama as teenagers tend to do.

We played a few Wii games yesterday and she would crush me at some and lose gracefully at others. She’s aware of the fact that consistently playing electronic games isn’t my number one activity these days, but I do enjoy the competitiveness and fun times generated when we do this. We also play a number of board and card games- quality of time matters so much compared to just setting aside a quantity of time.

So I have 3 more personal gift cards to get through for my Christmas season- and I think they will last me well into February. I don’t feel the need to immediately rush out and get every last cent spent. I’m a planner, I want to get the most value for the money and if I can find certain items on sale, I’ll take advantage of the deals. Take care of yourself and each other, thank you for continually reading and supporting this blog and other like minded blogs through the years.

Productivity While You Don’t Feel Well

December 28, 2009

Sorry that I haven’t been getting these entries out on a normal schedule. They are coming daily, however I’ve been fighting off a cold that I seem to have developed thanks to my wife. Plus vacation has threw me for a loop- who would figure that a person working overnights couldn’t get on a regular sleep schedule?

I spent a lot of time cooped up in my bed, reading. Books that I’ve been polishing off include:

Instant Wealth Wake Up Rich! – by Christopher Howard

Uniting the mind with hard work, passion and action, Christopher takes you through his journey into success and gives plenty of examples of what he’s been through and what historically works. I agree with much of his belief on people getting stuck in their plans versus just putting yourself out there, making corrections as you go along and just get those hours of education and experience to achieve what you ultimately want. I’m currently half way through the book and reading about excellent tips regarding mentors and teams of people you can form on your way to achieve financial freedom.

Escape From Cubicle Nation- by Pamela Slim

Ever want to work for yourself instead of putting in those long hours for someone else? Wonder how you can approach it without losing not only your mind, but your bank accounts? Pamela Slim gives you a great book to consider if you believe you have what it takes to make a subtle or drastic career move to working for yourself. What I enjoy immensely about this book are the numerous guest contributions, a lot of them from blog entries or book quotes through the years by Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Martha Beck, and Ramit Sethi among others- and this is the short list. She’ll give you questions to ponder, resources online to look into such things as business plans, tools you can use for capturing your thoughts, and how to seek out additional help when you need it.

Thanks to the good graces of my family, I have a number of gift cards to Barnes and Noble and to get more reading and audio/visual books into my hands. I believe continuous learning and application will be the key to me making more of an impact in 2010 than I have this year. I expect to take my writing to another level over the next 12 months. I plan on attending more workshops and seminars to gain insight from some of the best and brightest minds around the world.

It’s one thing to plan, it’s an entirely different motive to execute. There’s no better time than the present to get in the game and make new habits, improve subtly in areas that I’m interested in as well as seek out others who can help with my productivity. I love adoption, bowling, music, reading, writing and personal development- and I know if I’m able to carve out time for each of these interests while also taking care of my family and myself, I can lead a fruitful, successful life.

Keep pursuing your dreams, even if it’s only one moment at a time.

Help Wherever You Can

December 27, 2009

A child with their homework. An adult who needs a car door open when their hands are full of groceries. A fellow college student who needs assistance getting their paper just right with a second set of eyes. A boss who needs a presentation tidied up over the weekend. I’ve always been of the belief that if you have the ability to do something to help a fellow human being, then why not show them you can- especially if it’s something that comes natural and easy to you.

Writing is something I find pleasurable in all aspects. There were years in college where I felt the push and pull and stress of professors who challenged my thinking, my execution and my outlook on life- yet I believe I came out stronger and better with what I’m able to accomplish. I took a class my sophomore year that looked at the structure of sentences and grammar from a math perspective, and diagramming prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs became second nature to me.

I learned where to be expressive and where to be succinct. How to show and not tell. The power of words and the weight they carry when used in proper proportion and perspective.

I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to fix gear shifts, transmissions or the starter on a car. My mind does not engage well when asked to put together a book case from wood, nuts, bolts, a screwdriver and a set of directions. But I also know that with my limitations I can seek out better people who are suited to make sure my car runs smoothly and the bookcase stands straight and tall. I’m not afraid to ask for help.

I challenge you to write a list of 5-10 things you are naturally very good at- it can be things around the house, particular hobbies or interests, or even skills that you use at your workplace. Then think of people that could use your help and offer your assistance, or look for situations when you are out in public to help. Pay attention to people who ask deeper questions about an area of your interest. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversations about areas of their interest that you may be weak in and want to gain strength from.

I’m also not afraid of learning when I feel like I can find an expert through my local network of friends and family. The internet is an amazing tool to give you cursory information as well as the tools to seek out more thorough, advanced knowledge and skill acquisition. The librarians know me by first and last name, they understand that I feel like I can never learn enough about self-help, marketing, business, finances, personal development, psychology, philosophy and a whole host of sub-subjects under those headings.

Turn people into superstars and you’ll be amazed how good you feel seeing them ascend to the stars. I always believe it’s better to bring someone up than to tear someone apart. This tends to be a time of year where people work on New Year’s Resolutions- a fresh start if you will. Become an accountability partner to a friend in need and not only give them your confidence and be in their corner, but also be willing to help provide tools and resources so they achieve their dreams.

Somewhere in your life, someone gave you that attention and spark you needed to move forward when you didn’t think you could accomplish something. That’s why I think it’s important to not let your natural talent go to waste, help others to help themselves and the world will be a better place for this.

Family Time

December 26, 2009

While others will be rushing the stores to return gift items that either didn’t run in their size or they didn’t exactly enjoy, my wife and I will be heading out to spend more time with our family. One of the things I enjoy is the fact that we can have fun without having to break the bank- as I believe we will be playing a mixture of card games and board games to entertain us.

We’ve spent hours playing penny poker (which often turns into quarter poker), charades, Farkle, or any other number of conventional board games. It brings out competitive juices, memories from the past and lots of fun and laughter. My children get to participate on an equal basis which I think pulls them closer to us and to my in-laws.

My parents always wanted me to learn many of the same interests they had at an early age. This probably explains why I’ve become such a voracious reader through the years. My mother had no problem explaining to the local librarian that in my pre-teen years I was ready to handle some of the older mysteries from adult authors- she didn’t worry that I would have a sinister mind, that I truly enjoyed the art of the detective story and wanted to study the craft from the best of the best.

Bowling would be a sport that as an individual I could play right when I was able to throw the ball down the lane. Our local center didn’t have bumpers in the gutters, so shooting low scores would be something I’d have to handle from an early age, or else learn how to keep the ball on the pine from foul line to pin deck. While the age to start in the bantam leagues originally was 8, I yearned to start my league experience at 6 and my parents petitioned the local bowling association to let me join early. This probably helped me as far as my social development, as bowling would bring about relationships with people from all over the town who I may or may not have the chance to hang out with in my regular classes.

When I hit my teenage years naturally my inclination to spend time with friends over family became clearer. My wife helped me understand within my own family that I couldn’t become a hermit the rest of my life, so she would push the issue to establish relationships with my daughters. Either through their own interests in music and hobbies, or with the basic building blocks of board and card games. I enjoy playing Sorry, Connect Four, gin rummy, Jenga, or any number of special board games that make our children use their intellect and imagination to play.

So create family time at least once a week. Make some special snacks or prizes for the winners of each game. Emphasize effort over necessarily mastery. It’s taken us a long time to break our youngest child for instance out of wanting to cheat or gain advantages to attempt to win over naturally learning the basics of a game. She’s slowly developed the understanding that others are willing to play if you are willing to play games without ulterior motives.

And now I must get ready to head over to my in-laws. I think we have some Family Feud on the horizon.

Christmas, Christmas, Time For Cheer

December 25, 2009

I hope you are having a great day celebrating this special holiday. To me Christmas means tradition, family, friends, love and laughs. The times attempting to figure out the cryptic codes my in laws set up for our presents. The food, the conversation, the games we play once we open the presents (charades, penny poker, other board games).

Every time I get the chance to think about my childhood, I think back on the first time I got the chance to play a video game system (Atari 2600… everyone remember the primitive graphics?), the pleasure of having a tape walkman to bring my music anywhere I wanted to go and the laughter of watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation over my aunt and uncle’s house. The looks on certain family members faces when they open a gift they’ve been longing for all year long. I never cared about the amount of presents I got, or even how much was spent. I felt grateful to be given anything, as I never really felt the need to have the latest, biggest or best high ticket items.

I gain more appreciation when I see the looks on my daughters faces. The first Christmas my oldest lived with us, she had never seen the sheer amount of presents my wife and I provided for her. Yes we went a little overboard. But I don’t think she ever had quite a Christmas like that- and it’s a memory that sticks with her forever. Instead of asking for one or two items, we were able to provide her with a variety of clothes, games, and toys.

So don’t forget the spirit of giving, even more so on the other 364 days of the year. Give of yourself freely without any expectation of return. Give because you know it’s the right thing to do. Fill up the love meter for someone else who needs it. Volunteer where you can at your local food bank, a homeless shelter or another group that you feel deserves attention and your support. Together we can make a small impact that will build to a bigger impact on the world. Charity begins within your own mind, and then connects when you take action into your outside network.

One of my goals within 2010 is to spend at least one day per month volunteering to help others in some capacity. I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress and maybe we can pool our resources together to give wider support to the causes we believe are important.

In the meantime, enjoy the next 24 hours. Set aside any personal disagreements or beefs you may have and just enjoy yourself. Let everyone see your shining personality and good nature. Until next time, be good to yourself and others.