Thursday, May 05, 2011
I once told my children that if you didn’t get out of bed until eight am the day was already half over. Joan would look at them through the steam of her coffee and let them know that while they should always respect their father, what I just said was a matter of opinion. I am out of bed and ready to go no later than six am. I have a to-do list and I am at my most effective for the remainder of the day when I can accomplish things early on. It gives me confidence. It makes me focused and I have a clear vision of my purpose. I track my food much better and I am more apt to exercise. Before I go to bed each evening I pretty much know the first five things I need to do when I get up in the morning. When I live this way, no one can stop me. I, you see, have a plan.
Joan, on the other hand, gets out of bed when she is done sleeping. Her first order of business is coffee followed by Matt Lauer. If she doesn’t have to work in the morning she and Matt have multiple cups of coffee followed by the newspaper. A shower comes, when it comes, unless she has to work. We have a kitchen table that seats eight. The kids are grown and gone but it still seats eight. Joan and I eat on about a quarter of the table. The rest if it is piled with her “stuff.” The only time she has ever threatened to leave me is if I mess with her “stuff.”
We have two totally separate ways of approaching life and we both are very successful people. We have different ways of communicating and we are both extremely effective in getting our message across. There isn’t anything either one of us wont tackle, we choose to wrap our arms around it a different way.
There is not only one way to do things. I could probably have put that a bit more eloquently but the simpler the better. There is no one way to lose weight and maintain a healthy life style. I am a flexetarian. Joan has never met a piece of beef she doesn’t like. I exercise daily, she exercises three or four times a week. We are fortunate that we have learned two things over thirty seven years of marriage. The first is to respect each other’s views and choices and the second is not to get taken in by every fad and idea that comes around the corner.
It took me awhile to realize those things. I would always look at other people and how they did things and measure myself against their achievements. I always came up lacking. That was their life style it wasn’t mine. The first thing I did was totally embrace John, warts and all. I realized that I wasn’t hurting anyone getting out of bed at five am to start my day. I get seven hours sleep and I do fine with it.
Go your own way. Find the things that truly convince you that this journey is worth all the effort and above and beyond everything else ---------------- be the extremely unique you that you were created to be.
That is why I love you so very much. Now------------------ Go celebrate who you are.
Shoot, the day’s half over. I gotta go.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
The suns out, the basement has no water in it and the work has just begun. We were fortunate. We ended up with water about a third of the way up the baseboard in three rooms. It’s drained, it smelled and we are cleaning up. We are happy.
Apparently the rest of the world isn’t, or at least my part of it. I went to K-Mart to buy a utility knife to cut out a bit more carpet and the lady in front of me at the register was complaining it was cold. She was happy the sun was out, that it wasn’t raining but did it have to be so cold. Cold as she defined it is about 56F. There is a bit of a breeze. Trust me, I’ll take it over what we had the past two weeks. Apparently she wouldn’t. It wasn’t enough the sun was shining and the sky was that really pretty blue. It needed to be warmer. She went on and on.
My friend Archie is 86. Every morning he gets up at 3:00 AM and mops the floors, dusts the counters, and folds towels at our local YMCA. He told me one morning that “Any day above ground is a good day.”
I wished it hadn’t rained, but it did. I wish it wasn’t cold but is. I wish my basement was the way it was two weeks ago but it isn’t. Og Mandino wrote a book called The Greatest Miracle in the World. That miracle is you and I. That miracle is our innate ability as human beings to rise above, to persevere, and to ultimately triumph. It starts with how we feel. My feel hit the ground today. I have all my faculties and now I’m going back to work in a warm house that has electricity and people who love me.
How’s about you?
Monday, May 02, 2011
There’s a part of my life I always look back at with fascination. I was twenty two and given the responsibility of supervising sixty five people. It took me a few months but I realized why they hired ten people at a time. A year later only three of us were left standing. Thirty seven years later I’d like to tell you it was because of my agile mind and superior intelligence. I survived because of something a boss told me during my first week as a supervisor.
“Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.”
I embraced it, I lived by it and then having become a success I forgot about it!!! It came home to me this week as we cleaned up our basement after it flooded twice in three days. As we sorted through what we could keep and what needed to be tossed Joan and I had more than few conversations that started with “You know if we had…..” Most of those conversations turned into “What we are going to need to do in the future is …” The little things. The very small, day to day things we don’t give a second thought to are the things that become our salvation when a crisis hits. When the little things in my life are mostly in order I’m ready to handle the big stuff. I can clear my schedule, pool my resources and deal with the situation. The big things, as my boss said, take care of themselves.
The big thing for me is the scale. No matter how good I feel I approach it with trepidation. I don’t recall the veggie at every meal as I stand on it with eyes closed waiting for results; I recall the bite of cake I took off my granddaughter’s plate. The little things are what get me there. The little things are making sure I log ALL my food and realize a calorie isn’t always a calorie! The little things are following my exercise plan and oh yeah making sure I take a day off once per week. The little things are creating that balance between diet and exercise and getting enough rest during my day to make sure my body functions well. Yes, there are variables. There is water retention, weather, and lack of sleep…….. I could go on and on. When I monitor the small things in my life, I’m ready for whatever comes next.
The little things require an investment. It may be time, it may be money. I don’t have a lot of trouble dropping twenty bucks on a large pizza and garlic bread or eating at Olive Garden but I get all worked up over spending the same amount of money on an exercise video. The little things are really dull and boring most days. There is no magic in the little things. They are often like a six month old child, screaming, whining and fussing until we pay attention to them.
I am always looking for the eternal placebo, the quick fix, the magic bullet that will turn me sleek and svelte. It does not exist. What remains is my ability to manage myself, my health and the day to day things that make John a successful and mostly healthy human being.
The little things are the things that get me there so that when that fifteen foot walk from the bedroom to the bathroom happens once a week, I’m ready for it.
“Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.” Thank you Ray.
Friday, April 29, 2011
We reseeded our lawn last fall. The drought from last summer killed most of the grass. We thought it was a good time to reseed. I have to tell you that initially I wasn’t very pleased with the result. The lawn care service told me to let it get so long that it appeared unruly and then cut it on the highest setting. They told me not to worry about the weeds I saw, they were dormant when they killed the lawn out last year. Our goal was to establish a strong root system. It looked uneven, unkempt and in general a big mess --- Until I cut it yesterday.
As my mower made its path I saw where the lawn was rich and thick in many places, a bit sparse in others and downright bare in a few. The little voice inside my head said “Just like you.”
In many ways, before I found Spark I was like my lawn, dead or dying. I had to painfully kill my old habits and reseed with new ones. Those took time. They will take forever. Like my lawn, it wasn’t a pretty picture when I began. I started and stopped, turned left, turned right, and looked for my balance, my niche……
I started to see growth, see changes and rejoiced when I found those rich and verdant places my life had taken root. I was encouraged where I saw new growth even if it was sparse. I knew, with time, and care i.e., healthy eating habits, rest and exercise, that it would grow strong and full also.
Yes, there are still weeds. They were dormant and weren’t recognized. Some still aren’t. The lawn care man told me the new grass with a strong root system would strangle the weeds eventually and they would die out. That’s what I look forward to in my life, finding and removing the weeds that prevent new growth.
I stood on the street for a few minutes when I was finished and decided the lawn looked pretty good after all. Just like I do
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