Hey Dads, ever wonder if you are making a difference to your kids?

OK, I have not written anything in over a year.  My fault and nobody else’s. Anyways, I have at least one thing on my mind based on some recent observations.  Hopefully some of you parents, especially the dads out there, can relate.

Comparison Between Olympics and NFL Hall of Fame

As of this writing the 2016 summer olympics are in full swing in Rio.  My wife and I have enjoyed watching Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles rack up gold medals and share genuine joy in their accomplishments.

We also watched the recent NFL Hall of Fame ceremony.  Among the inductees were Kevin Greene and Brett Favre.  While they may seem unrelated I would like to draw a parallel between them.

Although I am a big fan of the Green Bay Packers and Brett’s very emotional, heartfelt speech, the speech by Kevin Greene made a bigger impression on me.

 

Kevin Greene’s first point:  Thanks Dad

For those unfamiliar with the player, Kevin Greene was a walk-on at Auburn University who played linebacker.  He went on to have an terrific career in the NFL and ranked in the top five, all time, of sack leaders. Those that know him best say he was always full of energy and played with a lot of pride and determination.

maxresdefault

photo courtesy of NFL

In his speech, Kevin started out by explaining that he was the son of an Army colonel and one of 4 kids.  He mentioned that his family moved around from various military bases every 3 to 5 years.  Kevin’s father volunteered to be either the cub scout leader or assistant cub scout leader when Kevin and his brother were very young.

As the boys grew and took interest in various sports, Kevin’s dad again volunteered at various times to be either the head coach or assistant coach of little league baseball teams or football teams.

Then Kevin stated that every morning and every night he, his siblings, and his parents would gather around the table and share a meal.  Then Kevin looked out at the crowd, looked at his father, and thanked him for the sacrifices he made across the years.  The camera zoomed in on the retired colonel and it was obvious he was deeply touched by his son’s words.

Olympic Gold:  Lots of Hours Devoted to a Few Minutes

Watching the Olympics, I love to see the video of parents, spouses, friends, etc in the bleachers cheering for their loved one.  The majority of us will never understand the sheer volume of hours that the contestants devoted to preparing for their particular event.  And then, in the case of gymnastics, swimming, diving, track and field, and many other events, the actual competition may only last a few seconds to maybe a few minutes.  All of that sacrifice, hard work, toil and sometimes brutal mental conditions comes down to a brief few minutes that will live forever in history.

370FD25D00000578-3740657-image-a-17_1471248166621

photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

When it is all over, and the contestants realize they have won, it is common for them to look into the crowd to find the face of their loved ones and share this moment of glory.  Often times the contestant will likely go to the bleachers and find their family to get a hug and celebrate for a brief moment.

The Comparison

Often times we parents, especially dads, wonder if we are making any kind of difference in the world.  We go to work, take care of the house, spend times with our family and try to pursue a hobby or two but in the back of our mind we ask ourselves “Do I matter?”  or maybe we say “Am I doing anything that matters?”

Unless you are a brain surgeon, or police officer, or firefighter, you could easily say “I am just a __________(fill in blank with your occupation) who is trying to make ends meet.  Nobody really notices what I am doing and nobody understands the sacrifices I am making.”

The next time you feel this way, think about Colonel Greene and his son. Colonel Greene was just doing his job.  Going to work, spending time with the family, helping out with cub scouts and little league and doing all of the things that so many of us do.  But his son noticed.  His efforts had a significant impact on one person.

Just like the person competing to be an Olympian, the long hours of sacrifice, alone, quietly, will one day result in something much bigger than you.  You may not ever see further than others, but to coin the phrase from Isaac Newton, you could be the giant that allows another person to stand on your shoulders and see things never before seen.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Starting over . . .

On Friday August 7, 2015 I made a trip to the doctor’s office.  I was fighting a terrible sinus infection and needed some relief.  That day was a startling wake up call.

 

I_Need_to_Lose_Weight!!!_(3143635850)

When the nurse took my vitals and asked me to step on the scale, I almost cringed.  The number climbed up, up, up until it hit 278.

There are some folks who would say I am morbidly obese.  There are others that have competed on drastic weight loss shows that would like to trade places with me.  However, none of those people are me.  And I have decided to stop the way I am living.

For the past week I have stopped drinking sodas and junk food.  My breakfast has been two pieces of fruit per day.  Almost every lunch I have consumed has been some kind of salad.BikurimS

Thanks to the handy app LoseIt I can track my calorie intake each day.  As of Thursday night I am 1,693 calories under my target for the week.  By keeping up this rate, I can lose half a pound each week

 

This is the beginning of a 1,000 mile journey.  I have only made a few steps in this journey.  Some days will be tougher than others.  Some situations will likely encourage my bad eating choices.  But I will not give up this time.

My body is counting on me to do the right thing.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life Is In the Little Moments

I have not put up a post in quite a while.  Some of the stressful situations that led me to start this blog have eased up lately.  Two of the situations appear to be gone completely.  There are not enough words, nor strong enough words to express the relief I have felt in the last few weeks.  But I have made a few new observations that I thought I would pass along to anyone that might still be reading this little diary of mine.

All of these observations seem quite small in the grand scheme of things.  But they seemed so important at the time.

The first observation happened about 3 weeks ago.  I was sitting at our formal dining room table using my laptop to finish a writing project.  My two year old son, who has the same character traits as a young Tasmanian devil, was ripping and roaring around me and under the table.  He dropped one of his toys under the table and went to get it.  He got close to me and tried to hand the toy to me so he could crawl away from the table.  Since I did not reach out to get the toy he said “excuse me.”  My wife was nearby and we both glanced at each other in utter amazement.  It was nice to hear a two year old show some manners.

Three nights ago my little boy was busy running through every room in the house to demonstrate his speed. He slowed down and picked up one of the children books in his room.  He came busting through the living room, stopped in front of my wife, and said “momma, read me.”  There must have been some dust in the room because I suddenly had some water in one of my eyes.

Last night my precious wife was busy decorating the house for Christmas.  The nice tree, nativity scene, stockings, wreath, and fireplace screen all began to find their usual place in the house.  A set of fiber optic snowmen also came out of their boxes and adorned a shelf in the dining room.  Unfortunately the bulb was bad in one of these snowmen and he failed to light up.  So, my wife asked me if I could replace the bulb. I made a quick trip to Home Depot in search of this very unique type of bulb.  I read the package and realized that the new bulb had more watts than the old bulb.  I thought that would be nice since the old snowman had seemed a little dim the past few years.

I returned home and fixed the snowman and plugged him up.  My wife was elated and said “LOOK!  He is so much brighter!  What did you do?”  I explained about getting the bulb with more wattage and she was genuinely appreciative.  She told me three more times that night “thanks for fixing the snowman.”

What does all this have to do with anything?  Take time to notice what is going on around you.  Focus on the small details that seem meaningless. Those details might be a happy memory for you or a loved one sometime in the future.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Why do we need teachers, trainers, coaches etc.???

September means a lot of things to different people.  The beginning of football season is an exciting time, especially in the South.  Children are back to school full time and trying to find their spot in the different clicks, groups and factions that form, break-up and form again.  And of course dove season opens up in a lot of places.

Don’t worry, I am not going to spend 18 pages talking about bird hunting.  But my enjoyment of the sport is the catalyst for today’s wandering comments.

Like a lot of people I joined the Internet network called LinkedIn.  For those of you unfamiliar with the site it is very similar to Facebook, but it is geared more towards the purpose of business rather than social interests.  As I was searching for different groups to join on this site I ran across a few that are aimed at outdoor pursuits.  After joining some of these groups and reading some of the conversations I started my own discussion with a question.  The question “How many of you have used the services of a shooting instructor/coach?” received 4 responses from 4 different people and they all had a similar theme.  If you want to get better at something, do it a lot.  HUH???  They actually told me to shoot more often and pick a particular range to use predominantly.

I explained in my original question that I am a terrible shot with a shotgun.  I do not hit anything accurately and if I do hit something it seems like an accident.  The advice I was given was “keep doing it until you get it right.”  Maybe I like to argue too much, or maybe I have blinders on, but can someone please tell me IF I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG HOW IN THE WORLD CAN I DO IT ENOUGH UNTIL I DO IT RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!?!

Let’s change the setting.  Suppose I am learning to drive an 18-wheeler.  Every time I try to shift from 2nd gear and higher I grind the stuffing out of the gears.  To make things worse I cannot always get the gear selector in the right gear.  Should I just keep on grinding gears, hoping I don’t run over (a) a car (b) a person (c) a house (d) all of the above???

What if I want to be a fireman?  Should I run into the first burning building I see, armed with a squirt gun and a sponge and hope that I can suck up the flames enough to make it out alive?  If I make it out alive, does this mean I did it right and I should continue to use squirt guns in my efforts to put out fires????

OK, back to my topic, kind of.  Years ago I worked with a guy that was attempting to pass his A-class Commercial Driver’s License test.  He was riding with other experienced drivers and trying to pick up on how to shift gears and using the air brakes.  But he stunk at it.  He flattened a 3 foot tall pole that was designed to stop trucks from hitting a gas dispenser.

The company he worked for brought in one of their trainers.  The trainer jumped in the passenger seat of the truck and told my friend to hop in the driver’s seat.  The trainer explained, before the truck was cranked, what they were going to do.  He instructed my friend on how to double clutch and how to monitor the RPM gauge in order to properly change gears.  He also told my buddy to relax.  This was a skill that has to be learned.  Guess what?  In one 45 minute driving lesson my buddy was driving better than people with 3 years of experience.  His teacher knew how to explain the process, the steps that would lead to success, and how to self monitor in order to correct mistakes.  After all, most people make mistakes and they need to know how to do something RIGHT in order to recognize when they did it WRONG.  (very different from the advice I was given) 

Most things cannot be learned from simply reading a book.  It takes a skilled, patient instructor to show us how to do things properly and how to avoid bad habits.  So, I ask you, is there something you want to learn?  Is there something that your children want to learn and you think “huh, I can teach them how to do that.”  Take the time, the money, and the sacrifice to find a good teacher, no matter what it may be.  It will be the best investment you have ever made.

Till next time, . . . . . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Action . . . the cure for most everything

I was sitting at my home computer a few days ago attempting to finish up a project.  I wanted to finish the writing before me so I could go to bed before midnight.  I needed my sleep.  After all, I have a day job that has this funny quirk: if I quit showing up, they will quit paying me.  I was a little frustrated that I had so many things putting demands on my time.  But then I remembered “oh yeah, it’s not that bad.”

You see, about 6 months ago I did not have a job.  I also had very little money.  My motivation to living one more day was my wife and children (and they are still my best motivation).  However, a number of days passed when I did not care if I woke up, ever again.

OK, I know how morbid that sounds.  But I had to get that out-of-the-way to explain what happened next.  I was working at night, part-time, delivering pizzas.  Occasionally, during the days, I would get some small jobs with a relative.  Then I got fed up.  I started applying for any job remotely close to what I thought I could do.   I applied for jobs in Birmingham, Alabama and Tuscaloosa, Alabama and even Dallas, Texas ( I have an uncle in Texas who offered to let me stay with him for a short time)

I started looking for part-time work I could do in the day.  I started offering my services as a freelance writer to any poor soul with an email address.  Then it happened.  I received an offer to interview for a job about 3 miles from my home.  I went to the interview and received a job offer two days later.  Some people contacted by email and asked if I still wanted to write for them.  SURE!!  A former contact called me and asked me did I still offer math tutoring services?  SURE!!!  She hired me and then referred me to one of her friends!!

What happened???  I took action.  I got off my expanding backside and did something.  And it has happened again.  I have started monitoring what I eat.  I am planning my meals a day or two ahead of time.  I stopped drinking sodas 5 times a day and switched to water.  Guess what?  I lost 7 pounds.  And counting (I hope.  Doctor visit tomorrow)

What are you worried about?  A big financial bill looming in the near future?  Work more, or work harder, or sell something.   Are you afraid your marriage is about to go tumbling over the rocks?  Turn off everything but the overhead light and get in your spouse’s face and talk to them.  Don’t wait until an appropriate time because it does not exist.  Talk to them, take them on a date, do the thing you did when you were dating that made your spouse brag to all of their friends.  Are you petrified that your health is crumbling?  Start taking a walk after supper and switch everything you drink for water.  Afraid you might get fired?  Go talk to the boss.  Tell him “I don’t want to lose my job.  What can I do to ensure I get to stay here?”

Nike said it better than me, so I will copy them “Just do it.”  Take action, it will probably fix most everything that is bothering you.

Till next time . . . . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Do you wait for happy or do you deliver happy?

Before I begin, I realize the grammar in my title is not perfect.  But it was intentionally designed that way.  Since my last post I have received a few wonderful comments.  Verbal comments, email messages and notes on Facebook indicate that a lot of people enjoyed the little story.

As I mentioned in Good Samaritan I could not get the story out of my head.  I replayed it in my mind over a hundred times before I wrote it all down.  Since I have shared the story with all of you it is still echoing around in my watermelon head.  And it changed my focus on something that a few of you may see as a small item. 

Picture this scenario:  I work in a professional office with access to the internet, office phone, fax, and my personal cell phone.  My wife has similar access at her job minus the internet.  Due to time constraints, my wife and I will exchange cell phone text messages through out the day.  Usually it is simple stuff such as “Hope you are having a good day” or “would you like to meet for lunch” or “my co-worker just said something hilarious blah, blah”.  OK, you get the picture.  I was looking at some of the recent messages from my wife and they made me smile.  One made me chuckle.  AND THEN IT HAPPENED.  I pictured my wife, at work, with cell phone in hand, SMILING as she typed one of those messages.  In my mind (and sweetheart, if you are reading this and I am wrong, don’t spoil it for me) I pictured her going out of her way to add a little joy to my day.

She did not buy me a new pickup truck.  She has not booked an exotic hunt for me in Argentina or South Africa.  She did not show up at my office with a new iPad. She sent me a $0.10 text message.  But it made me happy.  It improved my day.  It added to my love and appreciation for her.  It reminded me how grateful I am for our wonderful marriage.

I asked the question in the last post “Am I helping others?”  And I already had a wonderful example right before my vulture shaped nose.  My wonderful wife.

So, I ask the question again, Do you wait and hope and whine about not being happy, hoping that something good will happen and improve your day?  OR, do you send a sweet text message to someone you love?  Do you call an old friend and say, hey, hope your doing good, we need to go out Friday and share a meal.  Do you call your parents and say, hey, thanks for being a great mom/dad.

There is an old expression that says “don’t sweat the small stuff.”   However, I am a firm believer that if we will pay attention to the small stuff, the big stuff will take care of itself.

Till next time  . . . . . . . . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

In This Dog Eat Dog We Live In The Good Samaritan Still Exists

 

I witnessed something recently that shocked me and warmed me at the same time. 

The first part of the story will shock those of you that have been reading my little journal.  I was sitting in a doctor’s office (current count: 3rd visit in 4 weeks, 3 more scheduled in the next 4 weeks) waiting for the LOVELY (sarcasm) front office staff to give me my “new patient” tome.  

As I waited for the fork lift to gently drop the paperwork into my lap I heard the staff say “Ms. Patient, can we see you please?” (names changed to protect the innocent, especially me).  Ms. Patient, who appeared to be a senior citizen of approximately 65 years, eased to the front desk.  The staff manager explained that there was a mix up with Ms. Patient’s previous visit and she owed $10. 

“Would you like to put that on your credit card, Ms. Patient?” came the question. 

“I don’t have a credit card.  And I don’t have $10.” said Ms. Patient.

“Well, Ms. Patient, we will need to reschedule your visit. Our blah blah, muckity muck policy says blah, blah garbage and that is just our policy.”  (sidenote: I paraphrased because I tuned out the garbage part)

With complete despair on her face, Ms. Patient did not know what to do.  I will add here that this doctor’s office is a SPECIALTY office.  She did not walk in off the street to have someone look at a zit on her forehead.  She was here for a real problem.  Suddenly, before Ms. Patient could walk away from the front desk, another patient stepped up.  We will call this patient Pam. 

Pam said “Excuse me, I am not trying to pry, but did I understand that this lady needs $10 in order to see the doctor?”  The staff and Ms. Patient both nodded.  Pam continued “I am here with my mother.  I hate the thought of someone being turned down for such a small sum of money.  I will pay it.”  And with those words she removed her checkbook from her purse and paid the amount.  Ms. Patient leaned over and said something to Pam that I could not understand to which Pam replied “No ma’am, you don’t need my address or my phone number.  You don’t have to repay me.  You need to see the doctor.”  The staff took the check and Ms. Patient returned to her seat with a tear coming from her eye.

I was truly shocked.  I have seen people assist strangers on the side of the road by changing a tire, or offering a ride to the nearest service station.  I have seen people help an elderly person with their groceries coming out of a supermarket.  But this was a first.  I was blown away.  I wanted to shout and dance and rejoice over the fact that someone treated a stranger with KINDNESS.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Am I being kind to the people in my house? On my street?  At work?  At church?  What am I doing to lift a hand to my fellow-man and make their life just a little bit easier?  What about you?

Till next time . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Good news should be repeated . . . A LOT!!

A business associate of mine wrote something wonderful in his blog post recently.  He started with a story explaining the first time he heard Patrick Henry Hughes perform. (By the way, he heard him LIVE, not on a video)

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Hughes, check out the video below.

At the end of Patrick’s performance a short video was displayed (similar to the one above) and then Patrick’s father came out on stage.  The crowd went nuts cheering for the father-son duo!!!!

When my buddy returned home from his conference he told his friends about the experience and someone told him the old quote “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!”

We all face crap in our lives.  Some people lose jobs, parents fight and split up, children made bad decisions that tear out their parents hearts, money seems to be a big issue for most folks, and the list goes on and on.  Yet these little issues pale in comparison to the day-to-day STRUGGLES faced by someone like Patrick Henry Hughes.  If that is not enough to encourage you, check out this other individual who actually has it WORSE than Mr. Hughes.

If you are going through a rough time in your life, take heart.  It will get better.  There are those that have it a lot tougher than you.  And there are those that care about you and want to help.  Don’t try to go it alone.

If you have seen the stories of either one of these two men previously, please look over it again.  If you have not seen them before, please share this with your friends.  Their stories are truly inspiring and deserve to be repeated often.

Till next time . .  . . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Am I The Only One Who Thinks This Is Ironic???

OK, I am going to try and tip-toe around this subject to avoid any copywrite laws or defamation or any other frivolous namby pamby comments. 

For the 2 or 3 people that have been reading this blog you have likely noticed that I am attempting to lose some weight.  Since I feel that a lot of good, free stuff can be found on the internet I have been looking for an exercise routine I can do at home.  I don’t know how or when, but I came across a particular website for a particular guy (see picture) and I have one question:  IF YOU ARE A FITNESS EXPERT, WHY ARE YOU FAT???

Faces covered to protect Larry from lawsuit

 The big guy on the left, wearing the black shirt, is a proclaimed fitness expert, along with other titles.  I read over his website and he may be great at various things.  But, unless my prescription glasses are acting like a camera and add about 75 pounds to everyone, this guy is HEAVY!  What is up with that??

His website talks about how he can help other personal trainers improve their business.  If you want to tell other personal trainers HOW TO BE A BETTER personal trainer, shouldn’t you resemble the Adonis sculpture???

Why am I ranting about this, you ask?  I work in the business of sales.  And I grow so tired of seeing people making claims that seem to be so off the wall or just flat out contradictory.  Would you take advice on getting a good tan from a person that has lived all their life in Siberia?  Would you go to the rural parts of Arkansas to find an expert on deep sea fishing? 

Honesty and integrity are difficult commodities to come by in the present world.  I would like to see more people take stock of themselves and be honest in EVERYTHING they do. 

And by the way, the diet is not going so well.  I am supposed to be exercising along with the diet.  BUT, since I have a fever fluctuating between 100 and 102 every other day, I don’t really have the energy to exercise.  Yeah, I know, quit whining and just do it.  Somebody call the WAAAMBULANCE.

Till next time . . . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Success! (Sort of)

 

I have been away for a couple of days and wanted to relate some good news.  The diet is working.  Now, before you start looking for numbers explaining the pounds I have lost or the increase in strength, forget it.  I have not measured either one of those stats.  But, since I cheated a total of three times last week I have noticed a difference in the way I feel. 

When I gorged myself on pizza and Mountain Dew (see last week’s post Weak Flesh) the food was GREAT when I ate it, but I felt miserable later on.  Later in the week I had hamburgers, fries, and the world leading Coca-cola for supper.  Again, I felt awful afterwards.  So it would seem that after two weeks of eating nothing but meat and veggies my body is starting to enjoy it and it is kicking my fanny when I stray off course.  If any of you are trying to improve your lifestyle with better eating habits, let me be your example:  it can work. 

Do I still have cravings for the fattening good stuff?   You bet your favorite hat I do.  While I am typing this I have pondered fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, and cheesy fries.  But the miserable feeling afterwards just is not worth it.  So, I am eating my celery with natural peanut butter, drinking my water and enjoying the future new “Larry” in my head. 

Another bit of good news; all of the effort I have put into jump roping has seemed to pay off as well.  Ever since I was a teenager (and a WHOLE LOT SKINNIER) I have had trouble standing on my feet for long periods of time.  My knees would ache and remain sore for a couple of days.  I stood on my feet for the better part of 6 hours on this past Saturday.  My feet were sore, but my knees are not hurting at all.  I don’t know if it is the Vitamin D supplements I am taking or the exercise or a combination.  But I can tell you I have no plans of stopping either one of them anytime soon. 

So, have you tried a new eating lifestyle?  Which plan did you follow?  What kind of results have you seen?  Post a comment for myself and others to see and be an encouragement to someone today.  And if you would like to get an email notifying you of the latest blog posts or new pictures, or some rant that I put up, just click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right hand column.

Till next time . . . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment