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.

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)?

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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.

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.”

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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.”

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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

What are you creating in Life, LESSONs or RECIPES?

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder and/or think about the lessons others have taught you in life? If so, how have the lessons you learned at a young or older age continuing to influence your life so far? As with most things happening or have happened in my own life, I continually find myself reflecting back to things others have taught me most mornings, as these lessons are now helping me teach my own child lessons of his own. On that note, I recently came across a book published last year by the Andersons who are teachers in Michigan titled “Liam’s Fishing Lesson With Grandpa: Life Lessons of Liam and Lila,” that reminds me about some of the important life lessons we are taught but may or may not remember early in life. Needless to say, with any of my posts, there is nothing more that I love to do further than to point readers like you in the direction of other works, writings, and social posts so, you “like me” can continue to teach others (especially our children) about the true lessons of life.

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Additionally, as I continue to build my life around the lessons I have learned, I am also continuing to build this site with quality content and reviews. This is exactly what the Anderson’s book does and represents. The couples book is fictional and tells a real-life story about a young boy who one day decides he would like to go fishing with his grandpa in hopes of reeling in that big catch, which I believe we all are doing every day of our lives whether we are fishing or not… Hoping to reel in that big catch huh? Of course and with any adventure or lesson of life it isn’t always about the result. Rather and wouldn’t you agree that the lesson(s) we learn along the way is/are about… along the way, which this story demonstrates so well by using science, imagination, and illustrations to teach the little ones who at some point may or may not want to look back on the lessons others have taught them in order to teach others. Let us just hope they do for now. Furthermore, this story solidifies the lessons learned with a real life ecology (diagram) project, which the authors also made available in video format via YouTube, which of course… you can Do-It-Yourself (DIY)… Good stuff!

Nonetheless, with any story or lesson in life, they all must come to end or do they? Whether you decide to continue the adventure today by reading this fascinating book with your little ones (wouldn’t recommend it for those under 8) or end the lesson of any other day… that choice is completely up to you. However, remember if you continue the story, the food will still be there for you to eat later, and if you decide to end the lesson or story you need to still fire up that grill to cook the lesson. Or, in other words, fire up your imagination this weekend or any other week/weekend for that matter in order to create more long-term lessons and memories. Oh ya, that reminds me if you decide to read this story (you and your little ones 8+) the authors also leave you with a recipe at the end, which Liam uses to prepare that big one caught earlier in the day. What a perfect way to end a lesson or story especially now that we are well into the heat of summer. What do you think? Are you creating life lessons that your or other children can build upon or look back at or are you just simply creating a lesson to make a meal for that day? Whatever you are doing in life, I hope this story (get the book already) and post helps you realize what roles you and I need to play in order to create additional lessons and memories for ourselves and others we touch along the way.

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As with any/all of my posts, I would love to hear your thoughts and or opinions. Not to mention, if you want to connect further with the authors of this book do so via their Facebook page or connecting further with me on any of my/your social sites. Thanks again for stopping by and as usual until next time… KEEP SMILING  ╍●‿●╍

CHANGE is the One Thing We Can ALWAYS Count On

ChangesEven though there are a million and one ways to describe a happy family there is not a universal way to describe the change(s) you and/or your family will go through. In fact, the one thing that is constant in our lives and that we all can be sure of is that… things will change. Yes, this may mean things will change for the better or they might change for the worse, as more and more people struggle to balance life, work, and the needs of their family and/or lives.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English Naturalist

Ever since I was a young boy, I have never been afraid of change. Whether it was going to school, meeting new people, or going to new places I have embraced the changing landscape of my life, which is true to this very moment. However, it wasn’t until yesterday (my niece inspired me to think about this in her Facebook post) that I truly realized that change in my life is the one thing I count on and really look forward to the most. Even though my changing life has had both positive and negative aspects to it, for the most part it has been the negative aspects that have inspired me the most to embrace change further. Yes, I did say negative, since if I never had a negative experience I would have never moved from Michigan to Florida, gotten married/divorced, earned my Bachelor, Masters, or Doctorate, or even became a “Single Dad!”

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

Why then if “change is the law of life,” are so many people often frightened of change? Why don’t more people embrace changes in things such as technology, their lives, careers, or their family structure? Instead of thinking of change as a negative why, don’t we start to use the negative aspects of change as positive motivations for additional change? If you are anything like me you shouldn’t be afraid of change or failing (trust me it as it seems I have failed more than anyone I know) nor should you value other people’s opinions of change more than your own opinion of change. Don’t look at your disappointments in life as negative aspects of change but rather positive motivations for your long-term success(es).

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British politician.

Whether you are single, a cohesive family unit, or even a single parent if you want to be happier why don’t you give change a chance when it comes to advancing yourself, career, or raising healthy/happy children? As a single dad myself, I now realize this more than ever, as change has been the one thing constant enough in my life to help me build additional self-confidence, relationships, and my career even though these things may not had been the things I had always dreamed of. In order to further inspire myself and perhaps you through additional change here are a few things I do/have done over my life to embrace change.

1. Realize that your career and life will consistently change- The economy, people, and your career will change. Instead of feeling sorry about the situation, embrace it and adjust yourself to these changes.
2. Relieve your past experiences- Whether you are looking at positive or negative changes try to mold your future around them. Considering both positive and negative changes in your life will help you avoid these same changes later in life (perhaps this is more easily said then done?)
3. Take note of both positive and negative changes- Perhaps the best thing to do with anything or in this case, change in life is to write them down (i.e. positives and negatives). This should be as easy as starting or maintaining a journal or better yet with the advent of social media use Twitter, Facebook, or anyone of the other social sites to track your changes in your career or family. Remember documenting something in better than nothing in this aspect.

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Everyone whether you are young or old in a relationship or going it alone deserves to live a strong, happy, healthy, and successful life. If you identify both negative and positive changes in your past, perhaps you can do more to shape your future, while molding these changes into motivation that will help you change yourself or others you touch additionally. Remember if you have children to share with them not only the positive changes in your life but also the negative changes, as this also gives are beloved little ones the ammunition they will also need to embrace both the positive and negative changes in their own futures. As with any/all articles I write I would love your thoughts and/or your sharing/connecting further of this article on any of my/your social sites. Thanks again for stopping by and as usual 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

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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 ͡°)