Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Start Here for Excellence

Do you remember the first day of Kindergarten?  Everyone in your class was a beginner.  Excellence wasn't in anybody's vocabulary.  The same is true in every area of your life that you value.  If you're good at something it's because you gave it a try and stuck with it. 

One of the areas of my life I'm working at is being a better follower of Jesus.  Jesus likes baby steps.  Children are his specialty because they have no bad habits.  Imagine what he can do with someone who commits as a beginner who is not afraid to fail.  I believe Jesus can make all things new.  Care to join me?  Let's do this together.  This is day 1.  The only thing I know for sure is that I'm not an excellent Christian.  I need the basics and the first lesson is loving God with every fiber of my being and loving others the way I love myself.  This is going to take a while, maybe a lifetime.  If you don't notice anything different about me, please forgive me – I realize no one starts off being excellent and I'm still in Kindergarten.  If you're willing to sit next to me, thanks.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beware – Misery Loves Company

Beware of miserable people.  They are high maintenance.  If you stay around them long enough, they will drain all your positive energy to the point where you risk becoming miserable.  They are like Kryptonite.

The best way to spot a negative person is to look at their interactions with others.  You will see a pattern.  They are like mud wrestlers.  They will challenge anyone they can to a fight and their only goal is to get you muddy so they can feel better about their misery.  You will get muddy.  There's no escape except so keep your distance.  Do not engage.  Run.  Hide.  Do whatever you can to lead a peaceful life without any drama.  Misery loves company.  Keep your doors locked.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

It's easy to take things for granted,  especially when our lives are so far removed from the dangerous places in the world filled with war and terror.  That's why today is so special.  It's a day we remember all those brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives for our freedom.  Please take a moment and pray for those who lost a loved one serving our country.  Happy Memorial Day.  Have a great day.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Lessons in Your Mistakes

The further you venture outside your comfort zone, the more vulnerable you become to the unknown.  Warning!  You will make more mistakes here.  For me, it's the learning zone.  I'm a big fan of feedback.  Positive or negative, this is how you know what's working and what needs improvement.  That last mistake you made is your best teacher.  It's the most recent data you have.  Take your emotions out of the equation and use the data to make the necessary adjustments.  The wise man welcomes mistakes as learning opportunities.  The fool avoids errors at all costs and never improves.  Have a great day.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Follow Your Heart

Your heart has its own navigation system.  The challenge for many is that we hear too much noise from the wrong people and we turn off the navigation because of outside influences.  The road will get bumpy.  There will be heartbreaks along the way.  It's worth it, especially when the one seated next to you is the right one.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Life is a Series of Mulligans

I've been playing tennis since the summer before entering high school.  In dog years that was over two centuries ago.  And I do believe that those first 10,000 balls I hit were my worst.  Life is a series of mulligans.  If you want to get better, stay at it and focus on improvement.  This applies to any endeavor.  Choose something you enjoy so you will stay at it long enough to maximize your potential.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's All About the Challenges

It's an exciting time of the year right now.  The outside temperature is heating up just in time for my upcoming tennis playoffs next month.  Indoor tennis is safe and comfortable – no wind and no sun, just like the comfort zone most of us live in.  I'm venturing outside tonight into the elements.  That's where the real fun is because that's where the growth happens.  It's all about the challenges.

Your comfort zone may be a beautiful place but don't get too relaxed – nothing grows there.  Go outside.  Take risks.  Seize the day.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The 3-Step Process of Winning

Do you have what it takes to be a winner?  Zig Ziglar says you were born to win.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.  The part most who fail to win overlook is what is necessary prior to the victory.  It's a 3-step process, plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.

I would like to add my two cents here.  It's how to handle a loss.  It involves reviewing each step to see what went wrong.  Could it be not enough planning, preparing and/or expecting to win?  Or maybe the opponent was bigger and stronger than expected?  I like to think of winning as a process that never ends.  It's a cycle that continues season after season.  Zig Ziglar offers great advice about the process of winning.  Give it a try.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rules of the Game

Life is a game.  The sooner you learn the rules and figure out how to maximize your moves, the more fulfilling the game.  I'm the first one to admit it gets complicated at times.  I do find the most challenging opponent on the board is my own self.  Each day is an opportunity to improve and play a little better than I did yesterday.  Don't ever quit.  Stay in the game.  Ignore the cheaters and the critics.  Show the world your best moves and inspire them to make their own lives better.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ode to the Citizens of Heaven

The longer you live, the bigger the list grows.  I'm referring to the citizens of Heaven.  My family said good-bye to our dad fifteen years ago on May 20, 2012.  He had directions to Heaven stashed away in his laptop.  We thought he checked in early when he disappeared for a joy ride with his wife, Molly, and we couldn't find him.  It scared the Hell out of us.  Dad was on Morphine but didn't know it because we crossed the name off the label.  And he didn't really know the neighborhood where he was visiting.

"I have the keys to Heaven," dad told me a few days before his disappearance.  How does a man who can barely walk escape in broad daylight?  I'm still trying to figure out how he managed to sneak out for one final joy ride with his wife who was in a wheel chair and could barely move.  I'll have to wait for the answer since both of them are now citizens of Heaven.

It's painful to lose a loved one.  They say time heals all wounds but I'm calling bulls**t.  My sister was clutching the road map to Heaven in her hands while in intensive care two years ago.  She made a U-turn just as the pearly gates where coming in to view in front of her.  Her doctors are calling it a miracle.  If you ask her how close Heaven is, she'll tell you, "turn right and go straight ahead."

I prefer to follow another of my "dadisms" from long ago, "take your coat off and stay a while."  I'm sure Heaven is a great place and it's filled with some amazing people I miss dearly, but there's work to be done.  I have unfinished business, including an overdue book to publish.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  And please pause for a moment to salute all the citizens of Heaven.  Have a great day.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

One Day or Day One?

This is the day the Lord has made.  You have the opportunity to decide if it's day one of the rest of your life or one day just like any other day.  Live well and be happy.  Have a great day.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spring Planting for Your Future Field of Dreams

Your future field of dreams is dependent upon what seeds you plant.  Lack of planting means no harvest.  Use your imagination and dream big.  Don't allow anything from your past to creep into your thoughts about your potential.  Be wary of the critics on the sidelines who are unfamiliar with farming techniques.  Get busy and plant.  Give your dreams everything they need to succeed.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Do You Know Your Biological Age?

You can't control your actual body age.  What you can influence is your biological time clock.  It's all about making healthy choices and slowing the seconds down.  Your sleep habits, food choices, exercise patterns and attitude all play a role.  I found a site that can help you determine your biological age and it only takes two minutes.  Click here for the link.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Got Gratitude?

It's a good idea to take inventory of everything you have.  Make a list of everything you're thankful for.  You might be surprised.  The older I get the more thankful I am for everything I have, especially my loved ones.  It's a great feeling when you live in abundance.  I do believe this comes from having an attitude of gratitude.  Give gratitude a try.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How I Changed My Food Misconceptions

Just because something tastes good, it doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy for you.  In fact, the people who package your food intentionally add ingredients so you will come back for seconds.  No wonder so many of us are addicted to the foods we eat.  The misconceptions spinning around in my head about food were contributing to my oversized belly and I needed a fresh start.  I emptied my fridge and pantry of all processed foods and gave the caveman food experiment a try for 45 days.

Healthy eating doesn't have to be science fiction.  It certainly doesn't need to be a mystery.  I believe it can be an adventure if you approach it with the right mindset.  And you can keep your friends in suspense if you don't spill the beans about your food secrets to losing weight so quickly.

Everyone has their own ideas about what's healthy and what's not.  Trust the skinny people.  Ask them how they eat.  Look for patterns.  Give the caveman food experiment a try for 45 days and see for yourself which foods agree with you and which don't.  You can't go wrong with fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds.  After 45 days, add one new food at a time and see how your body responds.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Obstacles.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  Friends.  Enemies.  Loved ones.  Thoughts.  Beliefs.  They show up uninvited at the most inopportune times.  Perhaps the greatest threat to your goals is self doubt – that nagging inner voice that never leaves, like a shadow.  I consider my obstacles as mile markers.  I expect them at every turn.  The bigger the project, the more mile markers.  Deal with them one at a time.  You will eventually reach your destination as long as you don't allow your obstacles to have the power to stop you.  Wisdom is acquired when you learn how to get past every obstacle you encounter.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bite-size Your Life

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the demands of daily life?  I can relate.  Certain parts of my life are fixed.  I choose not to disturb my sleep schedule because when I do, other problems arise from lack of sleep.  My day job and commute time are also fixed.  All other available time is broken down into bite-sized portions I can consume one hour at a time.  This works for me.  Start your day with some easy-to-eat appetizers, activities that don't require large blocks of time.  Consume your most important tasks like a seven course meal, each portion small enough to devour without feeling out-of-control.  Consider your favorite tasks as dessert and save them for the end of the day.  This meal plan will help you with your time management.  Have a great day.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms.  This is your special day.  May you feel pampered by your loved ones today.  I would like to give a shout out to my mother who raised six kids.  We are fortunate to have someone so caring in our lives.  I am who I am today because my mother never gave up on me, even when I wanted to give up.  She never stopped believing in us.  I know where her perseverance comes from – her faith.  My mother is a relentless prayer warrior.  She's the one person you want on your side when the chips are down.

There's a reason God asks us to honor our mother and father.  Take a look at Ephesians 6:1-3, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

You will find my mother's words of wisdom between the lines of all my blog stories and books.  She inspires me.  I thank God for her.  Happy Mother's Day, mom.  I love you.  Enjoy your special day.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rate Your Happiness at Your Day Job

Someone asked me yesterday, "if you got a call from Google asking you to come aboard, would you quit your day job?"

My response was simple and quick.  "No thanks, I have everything I need."  I'm sure Google is a great company and I have nothing against them.  My answer reflects my level of happiness where I am today.  Happiness is something you create from the inside.  It's a choice to make the best of every situation and you get what you give.  It helps when you can find a way to be on the same page with your spouse or significant other.

Take a moment and evaluate your happiness at your day job.  If you're not at a 10, ask yourself what you need to do to raise the bar.  Look in the mirror.  That's where you'll find all the opportunities to create a better work situation and a more fulfilled life.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pursue Your Top 3 Passions

Don't ever let anything or anyone stop you from pursuing your top three passions.  Can you name them?  What are they?  If you had to think for a while, chances are you're not allowing them an opportunity to develop.  This can really crush your spirit because you're not living up to your potential.

My three top passions are tennis, writing and cooking.  Cooking is new on the list.  I discovered how much I enjoy it when I was searching for creative ways to eat during the food experiment my cousin asked me to try.  The more time I devote to my top three passions, the happier I am.  If you want more happiness in your life, spend more time on your top three passions.  Put them on your calendar today and pursue them.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

When Birthing a Book Gets Complicated

Today is the 11th day my book is overdue.  Although the gestation period for a book varies from author to author, I really thought I could force my due date since I'm publishing independently.  It doesn't work that way, especially when complications arise.  Ask any writer what his or her greatest fear is and most likely the answer you will hear is fear of rejection.  In fact, most books never make it to full term because of rejection.  I have a different challenge.  My unborn baby is malnourished and needs intensive care.  I'm going through an editing and re-writing process and I really don't know how long it will take to do it right.  My most precious resource is time and I'm doing my best to manage it wisely so this book can be born soon.  Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to Tweak Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Today's post is in honor of the "Iron Nun," Sister Madonna Buder, a religious sister and senior Olympian triathlete.  She takes exercise to a whole new level.  Imagine swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a full 26.2 miles – at the age of 82!  She's competed in 325 triathlons including 45 Ironman distances.  And she's still going.  Sister Madonna Buder started training at age 48 in order to tweak her mind, body and spirit.  One of her spiritual advisors told her it would bring relaxation and calmness. 

I feel a connection to this special person who doesn't believe in age barriers.  If I could add one thought to her lifestyle – training "religiously," my recommendation for tweaking your mind, body and spirit is eating "religiously."  In layman's terms, this is eating Nature-made foods as opposed to man-made processed foods.  Give it a try.  You may feel inspired to run, swim and bike like no other, except Sister Madonna Buder.  I trust the One she follows.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cinco de Mayo Test Results Confirm Caveman Food Experiment a Long-term Success

My primary care physician told me I'm the poster child for good health.  I visited him last week for my annual physical and he ordered some blood tests.  My HDL (good) cholesterol is higher than ever at 69 and my triglycerides are down 68% from the pre-caveman high of 244.   These numbers are important because they reveal what's going on inside the body and predict the level of risk for heart attacks, stroke and other diseases.  I was in the danger zone with three strikes against me prior to entering the caveman food experiment.  It's been 20 months since I became the first lab rat and I feel like a million bucks.  The other lab rats are shedding pounds as well.  I'm happy to report that one of the volunteers who is being monitored by his physician during the experiment is now down to just one blood pressure medicine because his body is responding favorably to the caveman food lifestyle.

If your doctor isn't happy with your lipid panel readings or you feel like your belly isn't ready for a poolside appearance this summer, here's the Reader's Digest version of the 45-day Caveman Food Experiment:

  • Stop eating all processed foods
  • Cut out all alcohol except for up to 2 glasses of wine per day
  • If you see a label on your food package, don't eat it unless all the ingredients are natural
  • No pop allowed
  • No dairy allowed
  • Avoid flour
  • Eat as much fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds as you desire
  • Weigh yourself daily and track your results
  • Visit your doctor after 45 days and order a blood test to see your results
Please notify your doctor of your intentions to try this experiment before you begin and do this under your doctor's supervision.  It's possible your needs for prescription pills may change.  I'll be sharing more about my journey to better health soon and there will some fun recipes to try.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Heart is Still Beating

There's no book yet.  The good news is the heart is still beating.  I'm happy to report that the intensive care is helping.  I'm going to be in the cave for a while using my primitive editing tools.  Stay tuned.  Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why You Should Expand Your Comfort Zone

I asked my wife yesterday why she thought I was so happy in our new hometown.  "Your pendulum swung the furthest," she said.  "The rest of us were ready to make the move but you had to come a long way in order to make the transition, more than the rest of the family."

I thought about her comment.  She's right.  I was so stuck in my comfort zone that I was really frozen.  That's what comfort zones are – tiny prison cells with no windows.  I had all the excuses for staying locked up.  She had the key to set me free.

Your comfort zone is as big as you want it to be.  Push yourself and you can stretch it.  I'm rather uncomfortable again because I missed my May 1 book deadline and I'm surrounded by chaos.  That's okay.  Comfort zone upgrading requires effort.  There are growing pains.  It's worth it.  My pendulum is in motion.  How about yours?  Are you ready to test the limits of your capabilities?  Have a great day.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

When the Wheels Fall Off the Bus

I know how it feels when the wheels fall off your bus.  It hurts more when you time everything to the minute and then something unexpected or unplanned derails your timeline.  I'm still a big believer in time targets even though I missed my book release date by a wide margin.  What happens next is also what separates the winners from the losers.  I see an image of astronaut Steve Austin in my mind, played by Lee Majors in the Six Million Dollar Man.  He's doing his best to hold everything together but he crashes and burns.  The doctors claim they can rebuild him and make him stronger and better.  If you have no clue what I'm referring to, click here for the YouTube intro clip.  That's what I'm doing now with my book.  I'm rewriting chapters and enhancing the limbs with bionic parts.

I'm playing in my last regular season tennis match today.  Post season is next month and two of the three teams I'm playing on are undefeated and moving forward.  If all goes well, we're headed to the regional playoff matches in August and September.  There won't be any opportunities for book signings or author talks until after our busy season at my day job.  I'm slowing down with my writing in order to get the editing right and also maintain my sanity.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Stop the Insanity in One Step

My favorite definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.  Favorite solution?  Do things differently.  Use your mulligan wisely.  Your do-over needs careful consideration.  That's what the 45-day caveman food experiment/challenge is all about – doing things differently.  You can do this in one easy step.  Before you take the step, take a look at the insanity in your life.  Step on the scale.  Wrap a measuring tape around your waistline.  Visit your physician for a check-up.  Is some insanity showing up?  You're not alone.  And blending in with all the other people who have big bellies is not the outcome you should desire.

There's a small group of people in my life who decided to stop the insanity.  They took action.  They will tell you the step is not easy but it does stop the insanity if you're willing to change your eating habits for 45 days.  My life is completely changed now that the three-and-a-half sacks of 10 pound potatoes are gone forever.  Now I eat the same foods over and over (fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds) and expect the same healthy results.  One challenging step in the right direction is worth a lifetime of sanity.  Are you in?  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

60% Caveman Eating is a Passing Grade

Changing your eating habits is no easy task.  I've been told by some of my friends it's impossible to do the 45-day caveman food experiment without cheating.  I realize the "rip the band-aid off" approach isn't for everybody.  Keep in mind small changes add up.  If you can't bear the thought of restricting your food choices to fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds for 45 days, try out the experiment in increments.  60/40 means you're eating right 60% of the time while satisfying your cravings 40% of the time.  Your health will improve.  Gradually cut out the foods that are giving your waistline trouble and see if you can get to 70/30.  Keep in mind your ideal results are in the 90% or above category.  In fact, once the 45 days are complete, it's okay to eat small amounts of red meat, fish and chicken.

Take a look at the food on your plate at every meal for a week and decide how you would rate your choices.  One or two extra servings of veggies can dramatically change your food grade.  You can do this.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Progress Report

Michelangelo never stressed himself out by putting deadlines on his creative works.  He simply looked at a slab of rock and decided to cut away all that was unnecessary until his masterpiece was revealed.  That's what editing is – removing what's unnecessary to get to the heart of the matter.   I'm not sure how long it will take to get my next project launched but the lesson I learned is to keep my time targets private so I can maintain my sanity.

There are only four mistakes you can make on the tennis courts assuming you figured out how to avoid missing the ball completely – hitting the ball long, into the net, wide right or wide left.  There are four corrections or adjustments to get the ball in the court.  The same is true writing a book – too much or too little.  I'm concentrating on smart mistakes until I can get the ball in the court consistently.  Too bad Michelangelo isn't around so I can ask him what to do if I accidentally chiseled the head off my baby.  That's okay.  I'll figure it out.  Just don't ask how long the editing will take.  I'm making progress.  By the way, two of my tennis teams remain undefeated in league play and we're headed to the playoffs.  I'll be balancing my writing and my tennis and hope for successful outcomes on and off the courts.  Stay tuned.  Have  a great day.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

An Inspiring Song

No, there's no book yet.  Yes, there are labor pains.  Don't hold your breath.  It's going to be a while.  I'm not in control here.  The one in charge is silent at the moment.  It's eerily familiar to a story I recall about Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus who was in desperate need of healing.  The sisters sent word to Jesus.  Jesus did the unthinkable.  He waited.  Lazarus died.  It was all part of God's plan.  A resurrection from the dead is much more impressive than a healing.  That's why I trust God with everything, even if some prayers aren't answered.  The song below was playing the other day when I was driving to my day job and it summarizes how I feel in the final stages of labor and delivery.  I find it soothing during a complicated pregnancy.  Enjoy.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Labor and Delivery???

I'm reminded today how similar birthing a book is to pregnancy.  When my wife was pregnant with our first son over a quarter century ago, the nine month process seemed rather routine – until the very end.  Our son wasn't paying any attention to the due date on the calendar.  There wasn't much I could do during those final thirty-four hours of labor and delivery except hold her hand when things got complicated.  The scariest part was staring at the monitor and watching our son's heart beat drop like a bad day on the New York Stock Exchange every time my wife had a contraction.  All we could do was pray.  That's where I am today on the expected release date of my third book.  Even though this isn't my first rodeo, there are complications and this book will not be delivered on time.  Intensive care is needed in the editing room.  I knew from the beginning that an on-time delivery date would require a near perfect writing regimen.  The truth is I'm not writing the chapters – I'm living them.  This is one heck of a roller coaster ride and it's not over.

Thank you for your patience during this labor and delivery process.  I'm going to take my foot off the accelerator pedal and slow down for a few days.  This birthing process may take a while.  The good news is that while my stress levels are higher than ever, my blood pressure remains stable at 121/72.  I'm using the same breathing techniques my wife learned in Lamaze.  Hee, hoo, hee, hoo, I'll be happy when this is through.  Stay tuned.  Have a great day.