Jul 31

Keep Trying New Things

I did something new this week.  I attended a Cross Country (XC) camp with Connie and Colin in Logan, OH.  It was a life changing event.

When I came home from Phoenix, where I had surgery (another life changing event), I didn’t want to do much of anything.  It was all that I could to muster up enough ambition to get out of bed.  After I mastered that, I wanted to take a shower.  That didn’t thrill Connie, because both my eyes were still mostly closed.  She didn’t feel comfortable with me in a slippery shower with no handles.  Looking back, I can’t say as though I blame her.

Once the doctors at the OSU Driving Rehabilitation program allowed me to drive again, everything that I did was done at 55 MPH or greater.  Understandably, that scared the bajeepers out of Connie.  But for me, it was a way of growing.  It not only allowed me the freedom to get around on my own, but it also marked another task that I had accomplished.

As uncomfortable as it was, I had to continue to try new things.  Even trivial things, like getting my picture taken was, and still is, a major event.  To this day, when I look in the mirror, I see someone different, someone deformed, someone struggling in his own skin.  Regardless, I continue to push past my level of comfort.

This is really no different for you.  At least, that is, if you have a growth mindset.  This is the type of thinking that will keep you going in good times and bad.  It reminds of the line from Shawshank Redemption when Andy said to Red that it comes down to one simple choice, “get busy living or get busy dying”

Cross country camp with 45 like-minded young men and 10 adults reminded me.  It reminded me the importance of my state of mind.  It reminded me of the first time that I tried something new.  It reminded me of Love Energy Audacity and Proof.  I’ll tell you more about that later.

What’s your mindset?  Are you getting busy living?

Jul 10

Rely on others

The last two mornings, I’ve gotten out of bed, poured a cup of coffee and headed for the back yard.  Didn’t look through my email.  Didn’t check out Sports Center.  I DID do my morning stretches, but that’s it.  I headed to my little weekend oasis.  I don’t have a big sprawling lot with all kinds of room and wildlife, but I have enough.  Truth be told, I have more than I deserve and more than enough.

Once I get to the bottom stair on my deck, I have to take about 10 steps in the grass to get to my patio.It’s been damp the last few nights with temps in the low 60’s here in central Ohio.  Without shoes on, I tiptoe through the dew-soaked grass and make my way to the patio.  That’s where I take my seat.  No phone, no book, no problems.  Just me, my coffee and the occasional bunny or bird.

It’s at times like these, that I really want to appreciate all that I have.  I get to have a job, a house and a car.  I get to have a beautiful wife. I get to have three awesome kids that make me look good.  I get to have friends that care about me no matter what.  I get to have a birthday.  On top of all of that, I get to have problems.  Wait…what?  You heard me, I get to have the problems like you have.  I get to have problems that involve senseless worry over things that I have no control over.  I get to have problems that sometimes consume my thoughts.  I get to have problems that sometimes don’t belong to me.  That’s where I struggle.  This is ruining my morning.

We all have problems of some sort.  Whether they’re manifested or manufactured, we all have them. Some of them come from our own mistakes.  Some come from others and even some come from the evil one. One of my dad’s favorite sayings was, “if you never do anything, you’ll never make a mistake.”  There’s a lot of truth to that.  Life is about continually learning and growing.  One of the best ways to learn is to make some mistakes.  The real judge of your character is what do you do, once you’ve made them.  Once you’ve made a mistake or two, you’ll remember that and grow from the experience.

Before the learning process can happen, you have to rely on others to:

  1. Inform you that a mistake was made (sometimes it’s not obvious)
  2. Counsel with you on how to make reparations (making decisions in a vacuum is rarely a good idea)
  3. Walk with you through the process (the load is much lighter with more shoulders to carry)
  4. Pray for you in times of darkness

So, who are these others that you can rely on?  They are the ones that I first started to show appreciation for.

  • My beautiful wife
  • Three awesome kids that make me look good.
  • My friends that care about me no matter what.
  • My spawling family
  • …the list goes on…

The point is to remember to be thankful for the positive aspects of your life and not dwell on the problems.  We all have problems.  Because no matter how much goodness we have, we’d always like more.  No matter how happy and healthy we are, we’re always worried about that next bug.  We’re always disinfecting our lives, worried about what we can’t see.  We worry about the health and happiness of our extended family and friends.  We want to see them all happy and healthy, as well.  We worry that we’re too worried.  It can be maddening.

My prayer for you is that you “have enough” and can see through the would-be problems.  Let’s call this my gift to you.

Jul 03

Relationships to stand the test of time

One thing that enabled me to handle adversity was something put in place long before the storm of events hit. This “thing” didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen because I said that it should.  I didn’t put myself first and that certainly didn’t happen without effort.

This “thing” is the relationships that I have in my life.  Where do they come from?  How can I keep them?  Even better yet, how can I tell YOU how to get them and keep them?

I can only recommend how to get them and keep them, because relationships come in varying ways for varying reasons.

My wife is nothing short of a Godsend. By saying that we are in a “relationship” seems like a gross understatement.  Moving on…

I could name hundreds of people that have had an impact on me. But not all of these relationships come from people that are related to me – like Earl, Pete, Jeff, Bill, Warren and Rye.  Beyond those six, there is a name that I haven’t mentioned.  He’s the kind of friend that I could call in the middle of the night and ask him to meet me and he’d be there.  He’s been there for me and my family in good times and bad.

How did he become my friend?  I don’t remember wishing for a friend like him, but I can’t imagine life without him.  I don’t remember praying for a friend like him, but I remember praying with him.  I don’t remember thanking him, but I DO thank God that he’s in my life,

How did I keep him as my friend?

I paid him.  🙂

Well, that’s what he’d tell you.  But, I’d tell you that I’m blessed to have such a friend.  At the same time, there has to be a connection and there is a connection.  We both are approximately the same age, with wives from Northwest Ohio and kids that are of similar ages.  God put us together in 1999 and hasn’t taken us apart ever since.

Without the relationships in my life, I’m not sure where I would be.

I’d say that my advice to you is:

  1. Give more than you take.
  2. Trust others.  My dad always trusted everyone that he knew, until that trust was betrayed.  This is a great way to start.
  3. Be reflective.  Look back over the last 6 months, 6 years and even more.
  4. Reconnect with those people with whom you’ve lost touch.  We can all do better at that.  It may not seem like much, but it will have an impact.

Do you have any relationship secrets that you’d like to share?