Principles to Live By? Oh, Really? What Little Wonders?

truthholdingDo you ever wake up in the morning and ask yourself what events have or will have the most impact on your life whether today or in the future? Do you agree that some stories in our lives are like tiny ripples that do not carry much weight, while others are like large waves that hit harder, deeper, and with more impact? My story like your story is no different from a million others out there and it is no sadder, brighter, or glorious than that of someone else’s. Therefore, we all need to wake up and remind ourselves that it is just life and no matter what it (life) throws at you (us), it’s you… that ultimately sets the course of future events. Haha so what is the point? What am I trying to say here?

What is the story?

If you have been a reader of mine for any time, you know that my story is that much like a bag of mixed marbles. The more strange things that could happen will happen or the more marbles played the more different the results. Who said that anyway? Is that like Murphys Law? What may go wrong, will go wrong? After many difficult relationships (mostly cause of me) I spent many years as a single dad trying to figure out the who, what, when, and where of this single dad thing and trying to make my kids life as memorable as possible. WOW, that sucked! Actually, and while it may have sucked, I have had the opportunity to experience life as what life truly should be…fun, full of enrichment, love, and meaning.

Single Dad to Engaged Dad

Yes, and that’s right I have decided to take the next step in my life and marry the greatest woman that I have ever met. Not to mention that my kid is just one year ahead of her kid and they are like best friends. And, Yes… this is the woman of my dreams.  Needless to say and whether you’re in a relationship or going it alone you can benefit from what I have learned and the following the steps below in order to create your own healthy relationship(s).

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1) Be courageous…

…about realizing who you are. Many of us at some point decided that we would map out our lives—this could be as simple as where you’re going to live, how many children you will have, or what career you want now or in the future. This could also be encouraging or devastating to the point where you may not question whether it’s what you truly want or what life truly wanted for you. Therefore, when something unexpected happens that changes your life plans, shake it off, become vulnerable and encourage yourself to do more and then you can feel very more comfortable, brave, and ride those feelings (waves)because you may have just discovered what it is that you are truly in search of?

2) Be truthful…

…with yourself and others that you have contact with. Even though life hasn’t turned out the way you had planned or maybe it has, it does not mean that you have failed. There is no need to make excuses, judge yourself (others), or shy away from this truth. And YES… it’s okay to feel and hurt, as these are natural feelings and are a part of being honest with yourself. Accept what is and learn… it is what it is. The sooner you realize this the sooner you will be able to think clearly and take the next steps in the right direction with a positive mindset whether in a relationship or going it alone.

3) Be open…

…to an unusual life and to new understandings. There’s no point hanging on to what could’ve, should’ve, or would’ve been, because it will only make you (us) feel bitter and offended. With an open mind you can truly let new experiences into your life. You never know what exciting events may come your way, but that’s the beauty of it (watching waves whether peaceful or dangerous).

4) Be calm and kind…

…with yourself. Much like #2 and whether you believe what’s happened in your life is your fault or not, you must be gentle with and forgive yourself along with others.  It serves no one, especially not you, if you don’t “talk” to yourself or others encouragingly or lovingly. To create a life of purpose, we must first love ourselves then others, because only then can our actions come from the heart. And when your actions come from the heart, you will be able to see clearly, feel strong, and are sure of your choices.

5) Be trusting…

…of yourself and all others in the universe. All you can do is your best and go with the flow—and trust that your life is turning out as it should be. Going with the flow can be challenging, especially if you’re someone like me who likes to be in control (damn Leo’s). So remind yourself constantly that even when you try so hard to create a life that you want, the laws of nature may decide otherwise. And how you choose to respond to it is what matters most—that’s really what life’s all about anyway isn’t it?

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If you flow with the nature of life (waves), you will have the strength to handle everything that comes your way. I always wish that… I would have never heard of the saying, had I had known then what I know now… Why, well because if I hadn’t done what I did and met those people who I did, I wouldn’t be where I am today! Happy, satisfied and for once looking forward to more of what life has to throw my way only this time, as a family not as a single parent. How much more truth can that provide? Embracing a new relationship or riding/watching a new wave roll in can be downright scary but being courageous, truthful, open, calm, and trusting can help you roll in not crash into the beach. Now that summer has arrived get out there and catch a few new waves yourself and enjoy those memorable sunsets.

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With Every Ending there is a NEW Beginning?

What is it they say? “With every beginning, there comes an end” or “with every ending new-beginningcomes a new beginning.” Just like I mentioned in a previous post “everything happens for a reason” or “it is what it is” I have to say that this so called all good things must come to an end also has to be true? Or is it? How do we know when things are coming to end then? What are the signs? Does this also apply to our relationships, education, career, etc.? Or is this saying just the cycle of life and products? Over the last week and if not the entire year, I have been asking myself this and many similar questions. Why? Well over the last year, I have started to pay greater attention to detail and the shelf life of many things including that of my relationships, career objectives, milk, groceries, vehicle, etc. Why if this saying isn’t true, do most things we purchase and consume have an expiatory date? It seems that YES, most things (if not all) have a beginning and an end? Or all good things must come to an end?

So how do we determine what exactly the beginning and/or end is? The obvious is we are born and then we die… YES? How about relationships or your career? If you are young or old you have probably noticed that, most relationships and your job, regardless of how you meet or the job you’re in all have trends. These trends usually go something like this… awesome beginning (honeymoon), an okay middle (comfort zone), and really bad endings (the dreaded unknown). In my life and regardless of whether in a relationship or career these trends seem to always go the same way but unlike the cycle of life (ending in death), I am still alive, kicking, and in the end have come out the other side as better person. I am a better father, a better man with the woman I love, and I am a better man in the job I am in. Does this then mean that we all should embrace change, new beginnings, and endings to things? Or is it just me? Do we need to give more chances to others, our partners, and career paths fostering and/or focusing more on the middle stage(s)?

uptown-girls

Let’s face it, the beginning of anything is downright scary just like my kid changing schools this year. On the flipside, the end is just as scary if not more! Starting something new or letting go of something you care about is extremely hard whether it is a relationship or your career. However, what I have learned over the years (especially raising my son, in relationships, and jobs) is that both beginnings and endings are a necessity of life, just as we are born and we die. In order for us to remain active, happy, and healthy, we must allow ourselves the opportunity for new beginnings in our relationships and jobs, just like we must allow ourselves the opportunity for endings, so we can create more beginnings. This my friends is what we must do because if nothing ever came to an end, nothing could ever begin. Without scary endings and new beginnings, I wouldn’t be the same person I am now just like I know you are. In fact, I couldn’t be happier at how things have turned out in my life with my son, my relationship, and career. Although I can’t say for sure how long I will be in this NEW middle part of my life (hopefully until I die), I can honestly say… For every ending, there is an even greater beginning. Don’t be afraid of endings and surely don’t let yourself be afraid of new beginnings.

Thoughts? If you have any, please feel free to leave your comments here, reach out to me online or in person, and/or through any of my other online mediums. Until next time my friends keep smiling, embrace those you’re with, do away with things stressing you out, and for heaven’s sake create some new beginnings already.

New Dating Relationships with Kids


Sexy-metetingIt has been awhile since I have written anything online and that is because like many of you, things have been moving along very rapidly in my life. As a single parent (all of you know this), I believe if someone offered to give me a few of their minutes or hours, I would be indebted to them for years to come which would hopefully slow things down or just give me a little extra time. However, I am sure at this point in my life things are not going to slow down anytime soon. Why? That is because I haven’t figured out a way to slow things down and/or no one is willing to give me any extra time. Oh ya, and after many years of being single I have finally found a woman that I am proud to call my girlfriend, which I spend a lot of my time with now. So what does that have to do with anything you ask? Well a ton! Now instead of working solely on raising my kid by myself, I am now working on raising my kid alongside that of another single parent. With that said, when you find someone you care about who seems to have some future potential for you, you are going to want to bring your children into the picture (this is where we recently were and where we are continuing to build our relationship around). Of course, you want your significant other to already know that you have children, which is why this was one of the first things we discussed on our first date. Otherwise, you may find a situation on your hands that cannot or will not add any value to a newly formed relationship. Not every man/woman is capable of accepting children that he or she perceives as belonging to another. Moreover, some men/women may be frightened of the responsibilities children represent. That is exactly why I waited on dating or getting involved because any negative feelings about children has/had to be high on the priority list. All people will have some reaction that may seem a bit odd, but that is not the same as having them say they hate kids and would never have them in their home.

The Importance of the Initial Meeting

 As I have learned over the last six months, kids are very smart regardless of their age. In fact, both of our kids figured out early on that we both had something going on long before we actually introduced them formally. Well, OK, maybe not initially, because we actually did a fantastic job at covering it up even the first time we meet. Do you ever run into random people while you are out in the community? That is exactly what my woman and I did in order to introduce the two kids, randomly ran into each other at a local mall for an afternoon lunch (hehe). The initial resistance was not there nor did we have to explain ourselves at that time. However, over our next few visits the kids started figuring things out by themselves. Therefore, I wanted to give everyone reading this a couple of suggestions (do not’s) for bringing two families together because eventually when your children find out they will surely know that your previous relationship is over and may find it difficult to visualize you with another man/woman.

  • Take a relationship slowly because you lower the risk of emotional backlash from your children as they adjust to your new life.
  • Do not include a new partner in too many of your family days at first. Make time for you and the kids even after you are officially together.
  • Do not spend your time focusing on becoming a family unit because you may  not be able to keep things in balance. You may be forced to skip some important stages of your relationship on the course toward greater involvement and commitment.
  • Do not have overnight visits until the children become comfortable with the viewpoint that your girlfriend/boyfriend is someone who may be here to stay.
  • Do not allow your children to feel threatened or fearful that they could lose you to this new suitor or that the new man/woman will change the rules of the family.

Don’t Rush In

What is it that they say? Fools don’t rush in or never get in a hurry to make another first-datemistake. At the same time, don’t let new opportunities pass you by or believe everything other people have to say. More times than not, you have gotten to this point of your life by making your own decisions whether they are/were good or bad. So, remember that you are on your way to building a completely new family configuration as a single parent with your kids and they, too, deserve your attention and your time while everyone works through the changes in their lives that a separation or divorce has brought. Also, remember that you don’t need to rush into anything… ever! You can take your time to allow everyone to get used to each other and for you to decide whether you really want to create a new family. If you have any doubts, there is nothing wrong with listening to your intuition and wait until either your feelings are resolved or you understand clearly that the relationship is not right for you. This maybe your last chance at a new and happy life much like it is mine. If important aspects are missing, wait for another situation to come along. Do not settle because you are lonely or think you will never have the right opportunity cause this could never be further from the truth. Pay attention to your children’s reactions to your new love, as they are a good indication of how things are really going. They often have their own way of sizing up a relationship, and may see something you do not. Keep in mind that you must constantly tell your children that you still love them and that no new relationship will change that, as my girlfriend is an expert in this category. Finally, tell them that you are all going to form a family and ask for their input if this is your ultimate desire, as it is mine. The more they feel a part of things the less frightened they will feel. You may be surprised because at this early stage of our relationship we surely are. If this is the right man/woman for you, your children may be as happy about things as you are… and won’t that make all the difference? As usual, I am glad you stopped by today and welcome all comments via any of my social networks. Until next time, remember to keep smiling and love the ones you’re with.

Do Simple “Experiences” Create the Most Long-Term “Memories”

memoryIs wondering why it is that most things we do personally or with our children have to be planned out? Do you ever find or catch yourself creating way to many lists for future endeavors, work, events, shopping, meals, tasks, etc., or better yet do you ever find yourself creating these same lists for your child(ren) future life? Why is it that we all have to plan so much? Is it me or were some of your earliest memories in life or as a child, experiences of things that were left unplanned? Or did you have to go to some fancy place or do something extraordinary in order to have a clear memory ingrained in your life long DNA?

As I continue to grow older and especially now as a parent (single parent), I am continually, asking myself questions such as these, as I continue to provide advice and guidance to my little one. In fact, me and my little guy get out and do a lot of things (experiences) that I truly believe help create (memories) that will last a life time. However and as I have said in previous posts, I believe that some of my own and my son’s best memories are those experiences that are as simple as throwing a ball, doing household chores, or reading together. As parents, I believe that we all have the ability to create positive and happy present day experiences in life that will turn into some of the most impressionable and future memories for our young ones all without having to be rich or attend events that we think are leaving long term memories entrenched into our little ones memory bank. Yes?

The fact is almost all the “experiences” that our children encounter daily, weekly, or monthly are helping our children create “memories” that will help them later in life as an adult. All too often, I see others preparing themselves and their little ones for what others want them to be, not what they want to be. We as individuals and parents have great control over our lives “yes” but at least let us use that power appropriately and not use it to create present undue stress or control over our children’s lives. Life is already difficult enough without the added pressure that we place on ourselves at home, work, or at school. Maybe and just maybe if we dumb things down a bit and enjoy more of the simple everyday “experiences,” we would remember many more past experiences that helped up produce some of our best “memories.”

memory-work

I know that there are a million and one ways we can all dumb things down but here are three things we can all do today that aren’t subject to unseen future events.

1) Money, trips, and expensive events are not the only things that we should need to do in order to have experience that turn into a long-term memory. Being extravagant is such a big misconception and perhaps one of the most common things I see daily. So, we all need to do a better job at enjoying present day experiences, as we don’t need to spend so much time and money dazzling ourselves and little ones. Instead, we all need to appreciate more the small windows of time we are given with each other and just simply enjoy ourselves and children unconditionally.

2) Rituals are perfect for creating experiences that turn into long-term memories. There are probably endless “experiences” you and/or your family does weekly, monthly, or yearly (i.e. holidays, birthdays, festivals, etc) that help you create lasting “memories.” Instead of waiting for these big events, how about creating new rituals “experiences” such as Friday night pizza, Saturday morning breakfast, or Sunday night wrap of the week to create more long-term “memories?”

3) Finally yet importantly, we all need to do a better job at reinforcing all the positive experiences in our everyday lives. My son and I do this almost every day. Instead of discussing with others the negative things that happened today, why don’t you remember the positive things more by simply discussing the positive “experiences” you had that will ultimately become lasting “memories, not the negative ones. This can be as simple as creating a scrapbook, using social media, or simply writing more positive “experiences” down, so you can train yourself, brain, and little ones to notice these positive experiences, so you can have more positive long-term “memories.”

memory-quote-2

Creating everyday “experiences” that turn into long-term “memories” are simple and super important in our lives, as well as our children and others we touch. By using positive reinforcements in your daily life, you will find that you are laying down tile that will last a lifetime, not just carpet that will eventually be destroyed. We all owe it to ourselves and little ones to lead with the good not follow with the bad. I can’t remember all those expensive or fancy things I did as a child but I do have a vivid memory of all those experiences as simple as building a camp, riding my bike, or just simply spending time with my parents, what says you? What experiences in the past do you remember most that you have preserved in your long-term memory bank? Feel free to reach out here, personally, or any of my other social sites with your feedback, as I have said before… it takes an army, not just a team to accomplish more. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and until next time… KEEP SMILING

Had I Knew Then, What I Know Now- Dating?

Who hasn’t said to themselves or others… “if I had knew then, what I know now?” I find if-i-knew then-what-i-know now-greenthis saying so cliché but so true, especially as a parent or in my case a single parent. As cliché as it may seem and what I really mean by that is if I had knew when I graduated from high school (or the other 4 times), got married, or had my child that life would not goes as planned, perhaps I would have made better choices in forming a life and career. In addition, if living life and managing your career aren’t hard enough (i.e. continually posing the I had I knew then what I know now question) throw in single parenthood and you have a sure recipe for the unexpected, especially when it comes to dating or even for that matter meeting another person.

As the story goes on, how about these “everything happens for a reason,” or “it is what it is?” Are these statements also cliché to you or do these statements carry the same merit as “had I knew then what I know now?” Does everything really happen for a reason or are things truly, what they are? Again, if single parenthood wasn’t hard enough and as time goes on, I must admit that I do believe everything happens for a reason and things truly are what they are just like if I had knew then what I know now. Nevertheless and as I continue down this new road in my life, what things can I do to further embrace these clichés and turn my poor judgment in picking women into a future built around a special woman that provides support, patience, and more importantly positive energy to me and my son?

everything-happens-for-a-reason-blueIt has been several years since I actually dated (i.e. had any type of relationship outside of raising my child). Before you ask, I’ll let you know that I have in fact tried almost every type of dating and even fishing off my own companies peer. However, each time I run into a potential partner, I find myself pushing her away before she can even ignite the relationship flame that burns inside of me. Why is this? The truth is I feel guilty that any potential relationship outside of raising my child will take away from his long-term success and happiness’s. More importantly, I feel if I do in fact fall for a new woman that I could potentially end up loving her more than I love my son (is that possible?) How then does one balance raising a child, continuing to build their career, and finding potential happiness with a new partner in this fast paced life we all seem to live these days?

I started this blog several months ago to not only write about life as a single dad but also ask questions that some of you may also have. Or better yet relate my personal and business life to yours, while providing sound advice and incorporating your feedback into my everyday life. Therefore, and especially since I want to get back it-is-what-it-is-limeinto the dating seen I know that I must lower my guard, feel less guilty, and stop questioning every little thing. Had I knew then what I know now, everything happens for a reason, and it is what it is have all changed my outlook on life but using these in a negative fashion instead of a positive fashion is what I (we) all need to do a better job at especially when forming new relationships. How about you? If you are single or especially a single parent how are/have/or do you tackle these questions in reference to the dating seen? What are some of the positives you have used? On the other hand, what are some of the negatives you have experienced?

As a parent, raising a child is probably one of the hardest things I have done or we can do and making sure we don’t let them down should always be our number one priority. Therefore, I welcome any and all replies here or on anyone of my other online profiles from y’all. Until next time and as usual don’t forget to keep smiling since it really does look good on you (>‿◠)✌

Stop Trying to be so MAGICAL & Just Relax

magic-kidJust stop it already! That is what I keep saying to myself anyway. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article on saying no more often to our children and it is something that I am continuing to make ends with in regards to raising a kid that is not spoiled beyond belief. Within this timeframe, I have also been asking myself why it is and more importantly, why it is I continue to catch myself saying yes, and trying to make my kids life so magical.

While I spend most of my time as a contractor for FedEx now a days, in the past I have been (still involved but not nearly as much) a blogger, consultant, teacher, and mentor that helped(s) to inspire others, their businesses, families, and children. Through these interactions and the continued evolution in my own life, I have had a front row seat to some good and bad behaviors others are and/or have exhibited in their own personal and business lives. These behaviors regardless of whether they are good and bad have allowed my own personal and business life to evolve. More importantly, I am continually learning that in business and life we do not need to hold some sort of magical halo over others and especially our children (i.e. trying to create some sort of MAGICAL world), as this usually doesn’t allow others (especially children) the opportunity to thrive or gain independence just like saying yes so often. Does that make since?

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” ― J.K. Rowling

As my time passes at becoming a better parent, my own parenting model also continues to take shape. What I mean most by that is what I (we) need to do more of is focus on the little things in our lives and not on all those magical moments others would lead you to believe are so important. I remember growing up in a world that was less connected online and more connected in real life. Not that it’s bad to be connected through social media but let us not use this as a median to compare ourselves with others all while trying to outduel each other. Additionally and as great as sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc are we should not let these and other social sites dictate to our young ones that there is some magic in doing things in excess to create some sort of magical childhood. Instead (this is especially important in a business acumen) let us get back to basics. Let us all do a better job at stretching our own child(ren’s) imaginations alongside ourselves by laying on the couch, taking a walk, or just sitting next to your little one(s) while you share a giggle or two. This my friends would be getting back to basics in a business since, while helping to create a more magically childhood for our children, not to mention relieving the stress of trying to keep up with the so called Benjamin’s (i.e. others on your friends list that consistently are trying to outduel everyone else on their friends list).

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

magical-childhood

Long story short and what I am trying to say here is whether you are going it alone or in a relationship with another person while trying to raise a little one or ones remember that us parents can easily make our child’s growing up magical by being simple. We do not have to take continuous vacations, throw extravagant parties, or take our kids places often. However, what we all should do a better job at is focusing on creating a magical childhood for a kids by simply being there for them, talking to them when times are tough, and simply hanging out. There are an excessive amount of parents out there that don’t even make an attempt to spend time with their children, even call them, or provide any type of support (financial or mental). Do not be one of those parents and simply take the time today, tomorrow, or the next day to spend a few minutes enjoying your child or children because time goes by way to fast for us not to. Don’t be like some of those other parents out there that overdue everything, simply do something, just a little something to create a real magical childhood for your child(ren). Until next time my friends have fun, creating real magical moments not made up ones. Oh ya and don’t forget to KEEP SMILING (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Why Do We Need to Say NO Anyway?

No!

Have you ever asked yourself what the true meaning of NO is? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, they define no as “a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer.” Doesn’t this definition seem pretty simple and straight forward? Why then do most people (especially parents) have such a tough time saying no to certain situations, others, and most importantly to their kids? Let’s face it saying no is probably one of the hardest things to say because most of us don’t want to hear it ourselves or be considered the bad guy especially when it comes to parenting our children, yes?

If you have been a reader or follower of mine for any length of time, you know that for as many years as I can remember (or you have read) I have been involved in sales/service throughout my career. With that comes a lot of NO’s. I have heard no told to me in just about every situation. The good… I no longer let a no get me down. The bad… I’m not completely sure that I am a good teacher to my kid in the no category, as I find myself saying “yes” to him quit often. Why is this? Why can I take a no but not dish out enough no’s in the parenting arena? Well the only way I figure I can combat my own weaknesses with the word no is to actually put into writing a couple ways to use no in a positive manner to actually help myself (more importantly) my kid grow up with a better idea of what no can lead to in the future for himself.

1) Honesty is the Best Method– I often hear other parents being talked into different items at different stores by their children even if they know they can’t afford it. Even if it’s a pack of gum or candy bar, more of us need to do a better job explaining to our children that even an extra dollar spent isn’t/wasn’t in the budget. A little honesty in saying no can/should go a long way and I would like to believe later in life my kid (yours too) should be more equipped to purchase things that he/they really need, not things he/they merely want. Be honest with them now and they will be honest with themselves and us later.

2) Find Replacement Words (Phrases) – Who doesn’t want to use other words that mean the same thing? Using alternative words or phrases for a simple no is a good way to mix things up, yes? We just mentioned that honesty with our children goes a long way perhaps instead of consistently saying no let us try to use more phrases like “maybe another time,” “let’s think about it,” or a simple as “not today!” These phrases are not a clear-cut no and give all us parents different ways to say no without be dishonest.

3) Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) – One of my favorite phrases throughout my sales career has always been KISS. This basically means that the more you talk the less people are going or be willing to buy. Why not use this same approach with our children when saying no? Instead of telling our kids no over and over again or using lengthy explanations, why don’t we try shorter explanations like “it is not okay to take the snack, controller, or toy away from that kid,” then simply give your kid an alternative like another snack, controller, or toy. This eliminates the use of no and replaces it an alternative explanation… KISS!

No-Alternative

Saying no to anyone, especially our children is hard. However, most people and more importantly children need to hear it and if they don’t then more times than not you’ll end up with a spoiled rotten brat, friend, or relative. I know this is a work in progress for my little family but I will continue to use my own strategies suggested earlier as well as others y’all might suggest. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and remember to keep smiling regardless of the circumstance.