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My Ideal Day

gray asphalt road in between brown orange leaf trees during daytime

“What does your ideal day look like?”

Every day of my life I am striving to create my ideal day. Since this is a prompt I will assume that I am not working on this ideal day, but I will still wake up early to accomplish all of my goals – and to get more of the solitary actions out of the way before the wife and baby wake up.

I would start my ideal day how I start all days, with writing my Morning Pages (paid link). This act does take some time, between 30-60 minutes depending on how motivated I feel or how long I write. I have now completed this task 745 days straight and do not plan on stopping. While I wondered if it was worth it at times, I think that it has paid dividends in my life because it gives me time to think and to wrap my mind around things happening in life; or gives me time to manifest that which I want to happen.

After that I would lift at my brother’s gym, the Lifte Lab – a home gym of his dreams that he finally built after moving closer to home and converting his garage into his training dojo. No matter how much stronger he is than me, we always have a great lifting session where we push each other, but there is also just a whole other level on concentration and fun that goes into it because we are on the same wavelength when it comes to training.

My plan would be to execute on morning activities early enough to get home and cook a giant breakfast with Kyla & Zander. Once we were thoroughly fed, we would sit around talking as we always do, but my ideal day would be summer, so next up would be a walk in our favorite park in our hometown – or maybe we would find a new place to explore and hike somewhere in the woods. Lunch at a low-key restaurant that we have never eaten at would be a good next stop if we were even hungry after that big breakfast. It’s funny because I didn’t think we would miss going out to eat, but it is nice to get away at times, to explore the world, and to not have to clean the dishes afterwards. The pandemic and having a baby have put a slight damper on that activity, but that is okay because we are homebodies and love the company of each other, being with our baby and our dogs.

I think the next stop would be home to check on the garden and do some work in there. By the time summer rolls around, Zander will be walking & talking and then I will get to teach him all about how to garden and care for plants. This is a moment that I have been patiently waiting for and I am so excited to have a little helper who will follow me around and be my garden buddy. I can already foresee some plants getting ripped out of the raised beds, or maybe getting run over by Tonka trucks, but that is okay, it is all part of the learning phase of life and he will only turn 1 this summer. My guess is that he won’t be doing too much damage, but if his wiggling and rolling now is any indication of what is to come, he will be a wild little animal that will be hard to keep a handle on.

Our lives have changed so much in the past coupe of years that it is difficult to think what we would do next – or where we may end up. I do not want to drive all day on this ideal day, but I would love to have a bonfire on our land that we recently purchased and where will eventually build a home and the farm of our dreams. We will make it happen one day, but it will all happen according to a plan that is currently in the works, one that will fall from the sky and we will act surprised, but always had the faith that it would work out somehow, someway.

There is nothing quite like a fire under the stars with your friends and family. Some primal sense of wonder seems to awaken within you and deep questions of life, philosophy, and a search for ‘why are we here’ and ‘how did this all work out so perfectly’ spawn in your minds. Phones & technology have no place around a fire. You need only the crackle of the fire, the light of it, and to accustom your eyes to the darkness of the night and the ambient light from the stars and moon.

The perfect day would end with laying my head on my pillow next to my wife, a calm sleepy baby, and the dogs at the foot of the bed as we drifted into dreams that can’t be as perfect as the one we are living in.

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Emojis & Emotions

yellow painted eggs with various facial expressions

“What emojis do I like to use?”

After such a serious blog yesterday, maybe this will be a good change of pace. My most used emoji has to be the laughing face that I use in reaction to almost everything said in group chats, or that I will post as a caption on my Instagram stories to all the funny things baby Zander does. Laughter is medicine for the soul and, to me, it is the substance that makes life worth living – besides love.

The love emoji – the one with the face smiling and surrounded by hearts is another one of my favorites because it is how I often feel when I am bombarded with the blessings of life and an overwhelming feeling of love for the luck to have the best wife and a perfect baby boy. The love radiates like the sun through stained glass windows and illuminates my soul. Other emojis I use are mainly for descriptions of my Instagram posts.

More than anything, I like using GIFs over using emojis. Emojis may be cute, subtle ways of conveying a feeling, but GIFs speak it loudly and boldly in a way that I think you can relate to better, you can feel it, and the message is more on-target than when you are sometimes forced to guess the emojis application – and whether it was meant to be cynical or sarcastic, whereas the GIF is an all-encompassing feeling.

What I love more than both emojis and GIFs are real-life interactions & reactions – the original emoji. I believe that at one point we will not turn into the coming meta verse, but we will turn from it. I believe that while phones bring us together in a sense, it also commoditizes people & denigrates your time. You feel spent and want to be reclusive from people after spending all day at home because you want to choose when & how you interact with people.

I think that if we turn from technology, we can reawaken the human desire within us that craves to talk to people & that seeks out genuine connection. I think that it can happen but we must discipline ourselves and live with a lust for life, realize the luck to be placed on this planet and embrace the blessings that abound.

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To Go Boldly Where No One Will

low angle photo of four high rise curtain wall buildings under white clouds and blue sky

“What does it mean to live boldly?”

So much has changed in the past two years that I do not believe that a traditional answer can even suffice here. We have been stripped of our rights to express any opinions – especially in opposition of the mainstream narrative. It is strange to me because now to live boldly, in my opinion, means voicing your opinion even when it grates against the popular, approved-by-the-government-and-your-keepers opinion. One almost cannot support Trump or oppose the vaccination – or even question it without vehement hatred and vile reactions from those who have submitted to the government’s illegal mandate.

I am not against science or vaccinations, but I am against anything that is forced against my will. Where they went wrong in the marketing of this was the fear tactics, the bullying, the coercion. If something works so well then why do I have to be persuaded with every perk from free donuts at Krispy Kreme to free marijuana in Washington or Oregon – or more nonsensically, a Hunger Games type of raffle in my home state where you could win college tuition as a minor or $1,000,000 as an adult.

When I was a little kid, my parents taught me to never take candy from strangers. And as I grew up, I learned for myself that those offering the world to me for a small favor in return, have something to hide. Again, I am not against the vaccine, but I am against the approach that was taken – and the reaction against those who won’t take it.

What it means to live boldly is to live freely, independent of the dictates of society, and to have the autonomy over your own mind & body. One of the greatest things about living in the United States of America is that our rights are granted to us by God, not by men, not by the government. Freedom of speech and expression is the first and foremost right that is explicitly listed in the Bill of Rights and it is one that has been eroded away slowly as the internet creeps across the petri dish of life and gradually devours everything in its way like a cancer.

I was always mindful of what I said or did to not upset people, upset the balance of delicate & sensitive minds who cannot endure a challenge to the beliefs they hold, while they simultaneously search for any opportunity to destroy beliefs & hope of their enemies; their countrymen. We now tiptoe around on social media in hopes of not being “shadow banned”, not being reported or ending up on some list, or worse yet, being banned outright because our thoughts may not be congruent with the current narrative. And while there are many more lines I could rattle off and rant about, living boldly is about living by example and not simply complaining.

It is easy to state what you are against, but I am more interested in knowing – what do you actually stand for? The greatest issue in our society is that we live in an incessant state of reporting on controversy, choosing our sides, and seeing that there are people on our side and on their side.

I have a better idea – stop listening to the news and think for yourself.

Newscasters and ‘the experts’ are people just like you and me who have flaws, they sleep at night, and take shits – we are all people on the same plane of existence. I think that once you understand this, then it is much easier to begin to live boldly because it offers hope for becoming something rather than allowing life to simply happen to you. We are all the creators of our reality and once we can orient this power in our minds, accept the awesome power & responsibility, only then can we live boldly, and more importantly, live freely.

What I want more than anything is for people to experience the power of God and the freedom that will course through your soul as a result. He is the only power who we should submit to. I think often we have a dilemma with God and we wonder – “how could you do this to me, how could you have done this to me in my life?” But we were never meant to understand it in the moment. The grand plan is far too great for us to comprehend or see its effects many years down the road, but one day you will have an epiphany and thank Him for the struggles that made your live your life BOLD.

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5 Things I am Grateful For

a person sitting on wooden planks across the lake scenery

“5 Things I am Grateful for Today”.

This blog will feel like a recap of all the writing I have done to this point because I feel that I sprinkle my gratitude into everything I write. There will be a few new things that may show up on this list, but anyone who has followed along for any of my blogs could probably guess my top 3 at the very least.

1. I am grateful for my wife Kyla. When Kyla and I first started “dating”, we were in the third grade, maybe more seriously in the fourth grade though haha. What even is dating when that young? I remember a lot of notes passed back and forth, and that was the extent of it because we didn’t have social media or cell phones. My parents must have known there was something special about this little girl when I wanted my Dad to chaperone our school trip to Camp Wilson so that he could meet her. Through the years we grew apart as we were put in classes with opposite lunch schedules until we finally went to a dance together in 8th grade and dated some in high school, but never “officially”. Our paths crossed a couple times after graduation, but it still took a couple years until we finally ended up together. It is funny how life works, how people move in and out of each other’s lives, but you cannot force God’s Will, and I’m glad we found our way back to each other because I have never been happier in my life than I am now. We have the perfect life with our two dogs Twiggy & Basil, our son Zander, and a whole lifetime of possibilities ahead of us.

2. It was tough to decide between number 1 and 2, but without the wild journey with 1, we wouldn’t have had my 2nd thing I am grateful for – my son Zander. There was always a part of me that knew I wanted to have kids – and yet another part of my brain questioned whether I could do it or handle the stress of it all. Two and half months after our wedding, Kyla was feeling funny and it turned out she was pregnant. I have never had such a weird feeling of joy & anxiety in my life. It wasn’t until we saw the ultrasound of him moving his arms around, and heard his heartbeat that I felt this was real. In that moment I choked back tears of joy and amazement, and it really sunk in that we would be parents; we were going to have a baby. The ensuing months of pregnancy were interesting and fun, but I wanted Zander to come so his Mama was not so miserable. The day that she went into labor, I felt a primal fear I can’t explain, but once he was safely out into the world, it was a relief to know that my baby and my wife were both safe. Hundreds of giggles and milestones later, I can say that I am a happy & proud Dad. Being a Dad can be stressful, but the joy of raising a child far outweigh any stress or negative feelings one could have. I am grateful when he cries because it means his lungs are healthy. I am grateful when he poops because it means things are normal. I am grateful for his life, and the joy he has brought into mine.

3. I am grateful for family. We are so blessed to have such loving & thoughtful parents who have loaded us up with clothes, toys, and baby accessories – and for the love they give to their first grandchild. The meaning of family takes on a different shape and type once you have a child on your own. It feels like you have been initiated into a club, but you also feel a deep appreciation for all that they went through to give you the best life possible. I don’t know how my parents did it, but they sacrificed and gave me the best life. Our grandparents also have a deep love for their great-grandchild and I love seeing the Happiness it brings everyone. Even my brother Adam and his wife Chelsea (who say they don’t want kids) are obsessed with Zander and I am grateful that he will have such a great aunt & uncle that he can learn from – and workout with.

4. I am grateful for my job. I currently work as a Business Development Rep at Ferguson Construction Company, and while I wasn’t sure if I would thrive at this job, I love it and the company. A strange turn of events – call it a mixture of luck & fate, and a dictate from God landed me at Ferguson. It was time for a change, time to remove myself from a position of comfort and to move onto new & exciting challenges that I didn’t necessarily think I wanted at the time. The truth of it all is that Ferguson is a company I have wanted to work at since I was little and my Nana (great-grandma) would take us on walks past the building. They had (and still have) a piece of modern art that looks like a giant concrete donut out front, and it always intrigued me. What went on in the building with the donut, red roof, and reflective glass facade? Growing up in Sidney, Ferguson was a staple to the town – it seemed that they built everything and you constantly saw the name. Of course, seeing the heavy machinery at work on the sites is also an alluring sight for a little boy – and even for me now as a grown man. It seemed that signs of Ferguson followed me, and I always felt pulled to it. When driving with friends in Columbus in college, I remember seeing a giant Ferguson banner off the highway and telling my friends that was a Sidney company. The position I now hold was one of the first jobs I applied for out of college, but as with Kyla, our paths would cross again and so now the journey begins – and we build from here.

5. I am grateful for many things, but I think that it all ties back to God. I am grateful for God to have blessed me with such a wonderful and perfect life. It has taken years of struggle, but I finally feel that I am in the right place; where I am meant to be both physically & mentally. I thank God because in a way, our relationship with God is a relationship to ourselves, and I feel mine is finally healthy because I have submitted my troubles to Him and I know that everything will work out as it is meant to be. I thank God for Kyla and I thank Kyla for pulling me closer to God. All my life I have felt blessed, some might call it lucky, but I realized that it is the love of God and now that I can acknowledge that instead of trying to justify it as ‘the universe’ or ‘synchronicity’ or something else, I know who is looking out for us.

I am grateful for everything in my life: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – it all has an ultimate purpose if we can reorient our understanding and not get blindly caught up in our pasts or our current struggles. Life will always have struggles to overcome, that is kind of the point. How would anyone become great by living in comfort? Be grateful for your struggle because it gives you an obstacle to overcome & conquer and become the champion you were meant to be.

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Freedom from Assumptions

person hand reaching body of water

“What do people incorrectly assume about you?”

When first reading this prompt, I can see an avalanche of responses that could come tumbling down from it. It seems like a prompt that one could easily reveal their deepest inner feelings that make them self-conscious – but are those the things that people actually assume, or the things you imagine them to assume?

I will play along for one thing that people actually assume about me and that is my age. I am always told that I look younger than what I am – and have been told that for most of my adult life. From what I hear from old people, that is a good thing and will serve me well as I get older.

As far as I know, that is one thing that people incorrectly assume about me and if they assume anything else about me – I do not care.

At one point in my life, I may have answered this prompt much differently because I was young, dumb, naive, paranoid and self-conscious. I think that we all must go through that phase and when our minds are filled with self-doubt, I believe that our problems are products of our imaginations more than a product of reality. Maybe I am incorrectly assuming that people have their own problems, so they are not as worried about you as you think they are.

On the other hand I can see that many people would take this prompt as an opportunity to say that they are incorrectly assumed to be happy, healthy people with perfect lives, but really, deep down they are depressed and working through issues that no one can imagine. I think that most people do assume that life is generally good, generally normal (whatever that means) for all people. Of course we know that it is not true that we are all living happy lives in a sterile laboratory environment, but how do we get past the facade that people project to the world? Do these people who are unhappy beneath the surface really want someone to reach out? I can only imagine how depressed it could make someone if a complete stranger reached out and said they noticed it.

Then again, it could be a blessing that someone paid attention – and in contradiction of my statement in the blog yesterday, it could save a life. I think that there is a fear in the person who reaches out too though. Will they then become this person’s therapist or outlet for all things going wrong in their life? Maybe they are the nurturer who can handle that, but then again, maybe they do not have the intestinal fortitude or mental prowess to deal with a relationship connected by mental health issues.

I am speaking in great generalities here and mainly from my experience in my past life. I am a solitary person, but I want connection. I want silence, and yet I was to converse deeply. Temperament & the human psyche is a complex thing that we may never fully understand, and while I think that therapy may be an important step for some, when you realize the power is in the patient – and revelations & break-throughs are self-generated, you can awake a new power within your Self and end the dependence upon therapist or medication depending on your situation. Isn’t it funny how much I put up my guard only to dive into the depths of hidden sides of people?

I suppose it is only natural, but it takes me to my original point – no matter what assumptions people have of me – I do not care.

What matters is the opinions of my family, my friends, and most importantly, myself. No one else can alter my life, only I can do that; only I should be taking responsibility for that. Others may help me, but they have no autonomy over my life.

We have lost that idea of Self and autonomy in a world of mandates and sheepishly abiding by guidelines handed down by the propagandists & aristocracies that run our media & our government. I guess that another thing people incorrectly assume about me is that I will smile & nod along and follow the crowd – maybe they assume that we all will. What they do not realize is that a great majority of us believe in the principles that founded this country, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Many are willing to sacrifice their liberties for “safety” because they realize not what they are doing or saying, just as a tiger who was born in a zoo does not wish to be released into the wild to hunt for its food or protect his territory – neither of which he has the skills to execute upon what should be instinctual acts.

We are all not what we seem on the surface, and that is okay. People will mis-judge us and mischaracterize us our whole lives, but we should not allow these misconceptions to shape our understandings of ourselves. Carry on with life and Live.

When the curtains close on life, none of those who judged you will be by your side still judging. You will be lucky to have your family on this side of Earth, but the Ultimate Judge beyond this life is the only one who should matter. When it is your time, it will all be between you and Almighty God – and he will welcome you with open arms, happy to have seen you glorify Him by living your best life.

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Writing your own Destiny

Though the day is frigidly cold, it feels like the pen is gliding over the paper with ease. Today’s bloganuary prompt is:

“What do you like most about your writing?”

Now that I am firmly entrenched in my writing habit, I love everything about it. This habit was born more than 2 years ago on New Year’s Eve, because I wanted to be ahead of my New Year’s Resolutions and for some reason, it seems like resolutions started on that exact day are bad luck. Why not take the initiative and make your dreams come true.

When you really think about it, you are the only one holding you back – no matter how many excuses you can drum up or people you can blame. I began writing using the book The Artist’s Way, which is where the Morning Pages technique came from. What I loved about this is that it gave me more of a reason to write, and it justified the type of writing I was doing. In a way, this writing begins as an exciting journey, but I believe that as your embark on the journey of stream-of-consciousness writing, you will eventually encounter your demons and be forced to face them; you will be forced to face yourself and to become vulnerable as your have never allowed.

One of the main benefits of writing for me has been this self-therapeutic aspect that has helped me to transform my life, my attitude, and to strengthen the relationships in my life, not to mention strengthening my relationship to myself.

Another part of my writing that I love is that it is daily, so there are no lulls in the story, though I may be focusing on different aspects of life. That is probably what I like the most: I am capturing my thoughts, feelings, and philosophy as we hurdle through space on this rock called Earth. I have captured so much beauty and transformation in my life. The day after I began writing, I proposed to Kyla. We got married later in the year and not even a pandemic could hold us back from the most perfect wedding we could have ever imagined. I also captured the beauty & excitement of her whole pregnancy with Zander, and I think that will be of great value to us all later in life.

To capture the awesome power of God in our lives has been nothing short of magical, but life is not all sunshine and rainbows, so I captured the dark side & the sad times too. In a way, I think that I greatly transformed over these past 2 years and thousands of pages. There was a lot of guilt, shame, and fear that I was holding onto in my soul that was dragging upon me like I was carrying chains and walking through sand. What I learned was that we must release ourselves from the self-imposed bondage that holds us captive in the regrets of what-ifs and yesterdays. I always think, “If I would have just reached out more, if I had just been there. Maybe it is my fault he is no longer here.” But while these thoughts seem noble, we must also realize there is a twinge of narcissism in them. You are not responsible for anyone else’s fatal decisions and you need to know that you did the best you could – their decisions were made up in their minds long ago.

So if the first lesson was to find joy & gratitude in life, the second lesson is forgiveness – and the release of soul-sucking negative emotions that serve no purpose other than to torture your psyche unnecessarily.

What I also like about my writing is that I wrote a variety of things. I tried not to be such a documenter, but it is natural to do so when you are keeping a diary of a certain kind so I am grateful that I will be able to see my subjective documentation of 2020 as it happened, not an oral history we talk about later. I will have it documented on how the United States of America was ripped apart, burned, and looted for months in the name of social justice, and how people were calling for the dissolution of the country & even our constitution. I have the tweets of President Trump documented in their range of “this is hilarious” to “holy shit, this is going to lead to World War III”. Life has been so topsy-turvy in the last few years – and maybe it always will seem that way when you are glued to the news – but this felt different, it felt as if there would be a revolution to overthrow the government. And somehow that tag got applied to the Capitol rioters, not those burning cities & police stations down; not those setting up “autonomous zones” and not those literally calling for revolution.

What a strange and crazy world we live in, and it feels the insanity will never end although I think some people are waking up. It is safe to say that politics consumed many pages of my writing, but that too will be valuable to look back on. I think I finally reached a point a few months ago where my brother opened my eyes at a time where I was already frustrated with alternative news.

The problem with the world right now is that very few people stand for something, and they do not even stand against it. I feel that people are not for Biden, but rather their stance is ‘not-Trump’. We cannot live & thrive in a society that is constructed on negations, and yet that is where our cynical, ill society is in its development.

Pardon that political interruption – as you can see, I have still not worked these issues, and if anyone ever can fix politics, then they will get ‘fixed’ in the bottom of a lake, if you know what I mean. It is simply a game that you cannot play if you wish to be happy.

One of the greatest things about writing is that sometimes you get struck with something other than your past, politics, or documentation of the joys of life. Sometimes you are thunderstruck with a creative idea that you write out a few lines, then you feel fear because you want to get it just right. You write a few more lines. Then a few more. Suddenly the inspiration washes over you like a warm wave in the ocean and you have begun the trip into fantasy land and you are writing a story. I have started several, but have 2 longer stories – one was over 150 pages and the other was 30 or 40 pages. I still believe that there is potential for both and as I type my Pages out, I am excited to come upon the stories so that I can continue onward with them and allow them to flourish once again, and eventually complete them, perfect them, and publish them.

What I love most about writing is that there are endless possibilities; and if you don’t like how your story is going, keep writing because it can only get better.

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Live, Laugh, Love my Life

laugh neon light signage turned on

“What makes you laugh?”

I have to say that I think these prompts are not my favorite because it does not put me in a position to be creative, but rather it puts me in a position of writing a biography. Perhaps that is the point of a blog, though, and people want to get to know the person writing the blogs more than they want to see their creativity or intelligence – or maybe that is where I am not executing well enough on the prompts and my approach is too straight-forward. We cannot blame the prompt of life, the outside forces, but we must look inside ourselves to see how we can manipulate it to our satisfaction.

What makes me laugh?

Everything makes me laugh. I feel that all my life I have been naively laughing at the world and looking for the joy in it. Even when I have been at the hospital with a broken bone or injury, I make jokes to lighten the mood for myself and others – and if there are no jokes coming from me, then things must be serious.

As a big fan of Adam Sandler when growing up, I love the stupid, slapstick humor that is on the edge of funny – or being a Dad joke. You could say that I highly identify with Phil Dunphy from Modern Family – and Kyla says that I am Phil Dunphy with many of the things I do and say. I remember the first time we watched Modern Family and she would stare over at me with a big beaming smile, or a face in disbelief when the similarities stacked up to a point where even I was reacting with amazement and a laughter that I had been holding in. Some part of me did not want to be pegged as the goofy Dad, but that’s what I am now and I accept that title with gratitude and pleasure. To be fair though, Kyla pegs me as just about every character, so either I have multiple personality disorder, or I am a theatrical guy with a wide range of emotions that I wear on my sleeve. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Kyla is a combination of Cam & Gloria – sassy, fabulous, and confident, but most certainly she has the theatrical output of Cam.

But beyond TV shows and Reels, what really makes me laugh is playing with my son Zander. It begins as soon as I get home from work. He will spot me when I walk in, or when I go to hang up my coat and this look of shock morphs into a smile so gigantic that it looks like he lights up like the sun rising over the horizon. His smile is so big that he bashfully hides it as I talk to him and Kyla playfully asks him,

“Who is that? Is that your favorite guy? Is that your best friend?”

The rest of the day melts away in a moment and my mind is only laser focused on this perfect little family we have.

Our dogs Basil & Twiggy are also going nuts this entire time, begging for attention and I try to give it to them without getting my dress shoes scratched or dog hair on my pants. No matter how many times she does it, I have to crack up when Twiggy belts out a “roo”, somewhat like when Huskies talk, and then I know I have to give her more love for a moment. Basil tries to copy her and belts out this cute mixture of a roo and a bark that we call her chicken bark, and then she gets her love too. Of course, Basil is doing all this with a tire toy in her mouth and usually a racquetball too.

In this crazy world with weak leaders, and constant talk of mandates, pushing of propaganda – all we can do is laugh and find joy in the small things. I used to be so tied up in it all and then I realized that it probably always was this way, and it probably always will be this way – meaning we could always look at the government and criticize – but what are you going to do about it?

It is better to release your psyche from the madness & to focus on that which you can control.

Begin with your immediate surroundings and work your way out – actually, begin within yourself. If there is no light within your soul to laugh and burn the fuel of confidence of your Self, then you will never be truly Happy. Cheap laughs are easy to come by, but the deep belly laughs are a product of a full life sustained by love for others, love for life, love for your Self, and love of God.

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Homegrown Inspiration

black and white connected hands love

“Who is someone that inspires you and why?”

Throughout my life I have felt somewhat left out because it seemed that so many people admired famous people – athletes, actors & actresses, or musicians. I feel like I tried to feel that, but I was more inspired by real people who surrounded me.

When I was growing up, it was my parents because it seemed that they could do anything, like they were all-powerful, and I know that they loved me very much. It was easy to see that many other parents did not do for their kids what my parents did for me and my brother.

The things that I can recognize as an adult are that my Mom would go into work in the wee hours of the morning so that she could pick us up from the sitter’s earlier and we didn’t stay there all day long. My Dad worked long hours to provide us with a blessed life where we never went without. I thought for a while that I did not get to spend as much time with my Dad when growing up, but he was there every morning making us breakfast and getting us ready for school, not to mention that he got Thursdays off, so we would spend the whole day with him.

Often we played around the house, but I also remember making trips to McDonald’s playhouses, or we would go putt-putt golfing, or even go-karting when there was a place in our town that had all of these amenities. And how could I forget one of the ultimate staples of our childhood – going to the arcade at the mall. I often forget these things because many of them have since closed down and have been long-forgotten by the world. Hell, I don’t think that they even have playgrounds or the playhouses at McDonald’s anymore – probably too much of a liability – or kids just got too fat and only want to play with their iPads or phones.

Those were good times indeed and my Dad was definitely someone who I looked up to as a child, and someone who inspires me now to be as great of a Dad as he was.

My Mom was, and is, also someone who inspires me though. Moms always get left in the dust, especially in a house of 2 boys and a Dad – 3 boys against 1 girl. I do not think that most boys will say that their Mom inspires them, even if she does. As I said, my Mom worked early in the morning so that she could pick us up early in the day – and she got Wednesdays off, so that was our day to adventure with her, and really every day was since we were always together. Her days off were just as fun as days off with our Dad, but in a different way. I remember days of making homemade play dough, or helping her make cookies and getting to lick the spoons and beaters after the mix was made. I also remember going on lots of walks through Tawawa Park where we would appreciate the beauty of nature and get to play on the swing sets or look for cool rocks in the creek.

One of my favorite things was going to Children’s Home Hill and having a picnic. This place used to be an orphan’s home and it was a spooky old house that sat atop a steep hill that overlooked our city. It was peaceful & sunny, and I remember it being windy as we sat on a blanket eating our picnic lunch, and I think we also painted rocks one time we were there too.

As me and my wife work every day of the week, I have been wondering how I have so many memories of playing when I was a child, but now I realize that my parents sacrificed so that only 3 days of our week was spent at the sitter’s and we spent 2 weekdays at home with one of them. I am forever grateful for the life they gave me and still feel some sense of guilt for the trouble I caused them in my teenage years, though I am not sure I can hold myself in that position, and I know that they do not either.

For those reasons, my parents both inspire me.

Now that I am a Dad to a perfect little boy, what my parents did for me & my brother inspires me even more, but I also found a deeper inspiration for the love of my life, Kyla my wife. Kyla has always inspired me with her genuine character and the fun that she brings to life. Her smile and laugh is infectious and so is her attitude. I feel that she helped me to overcome my self-doubt that has so suffocated me up to this point of my life because of her honesty, frankness, and her pure belief in me. I really do not think I would be mentally where I am today without her.

What I have discovered through the process of life – from our perfect proposal at the top of a hill in Tawawa Park while the sun set through the trees behind us, our perfect wedding that was surreal not only in location but in the pure essence of love that I felt radiating from all who attended, and then her being pregnant and giving birth to our beautiful boy – is that we were meant to be together.

The process of Zander’s birth was scary because it was just us & our amazing midwife – no family because of covid stuff and we just wanted to experience life for ourselves, not under direction of any other. But I also realized how strong Kyla is. She almost birthed him naturally as she wanted to, but even when she got the epidural and birthed him, I was terrified, amazed, and felt a love that I did not know existed. Watching her transform into the most amazing, caring, and compassionate Mom has inspired me beyond words. Not only is it in the caring, but she is working full-time and doing all the other house duties she can. I do not know how she does it, but she’s amazing, and that inspires me deeply and inspires me to help with anything I can from laundry to cooking & cleaning because it has to be a team effort.

I think that this experience has also helped me to appreciate the love & sacrifices that my parents made to give me such a great life. We must realize that we may not always know of it in the moment, but life is crazy & hectic and we need to give our people and ourselves grace. I am grateful for all who inspire me – and while I stuck to the parent theme, I could write a whole other blog on my brother, my twin separated by 3 years.

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Learning Languages

low angle view of lighting equipment on shelf

“What is something you wish you knew how to do?”

My list of regrets is somewhat short because if I wish to do something, then I will try to set my mind to it and accomplish the task or learn the skill. That being said, there are many things that I still wish I knew how to do and the two main things that pop into my head revolve around foreign languages and being able to express myself in a more creative way.

I wish that I could play music and I wish that I could write computer code.

“But if you put your mind to things and accomplish them, then why are these things still on your wish list?”

That is a great question and I have tried my hand at both in the past. As arrogant & ignorant as this sounds, because these skills did not come as easily to me as other things, I found it difficult to continue to dedicate my time & resources to them. Then again, maybe it is something that I need to treat like my Morning Pages – or weight lifting. I need to schedule my time and actually put in the work, even if it is only intermittent to begin.

What I have found in life is that if you really love something and you find you have a burning passion for it, you will find the time, make the time, and somehow, some way it will become your reality. I do not know that I have the time currently with all the passions I have ranging from writing to gardening and weight lifting to yoga – not to mention the time spent with family and my 5-month old son. As he grows, I hope he too finds an interest in music and then maybe we can learn together on my keyboard – but as I think about it, yes that would be nice, but I would rather be throwing a ball back & forth or playing with Legos, or drawing pictures and coloring with crayons. To me, that is what being a kid is all about, not necessarily being disciplined and sitting at a piano being punished to play Mary had a Little Lamb, stuck inside while all of his friends are out playing.

Maybe I will change my tune as life progresses.

I find it funny that I could not stick to this prompt for long without veering off and justifying why I never made these things happen in my life. Clearly I am too hyperactive or distracted to sink time into pounding wrong notes when I could be out exploring the world or playing games.

When I romantically think about playing music, I envision that one would immerse themselves into the music and the power of expression would flow through and you would have the ability to express yourself in ways that words never could tell and art could never show. Yet how long until you are able to get to that point? How long will you play Hot Cross Buns – and then how long will you spend on the famous Beethoven piece working to perfect them?

At this point in the development you are simply a technician and I think my problem with it all is that I want to be the magician who can release my emotions through the music rather than recite that which others have created for me to play.

In a way, coding has a similar path and trajectory. There is a ton of learning time – is is a whole new language – and yet I find coding more attractive because it seems like a puzzle to figure out as opposed to a tight rope to be perfectly walked. Of course, you must have your input perfected to get the output desired. With coding, it seems that there is more of an intrinsic AND extrinsic benefit, and it could be subject to much less scrutiny & judgement because you do not perform for anyone, you write the code and it performs for you. The possibilities for the output is endless and you are limited only by your knowledge of the language and your creativity – and maybe the function of the language itself to some degree.

Maybe I am too scatter-brained and lack the discipline to learn the languages of music & coding, and maybe my brain is wired differently to where these are not my calling or where I will find fulfillment in my life, but still, these are two things I wish I knew how to do, and one day will get around to figuring them out.

What do you wish you could do? And what is holding you back from it?

It seems when we desire to learn new things, we often get in our own ways more than anything and the anxiety we build is more of a creation of our minds than a reality of the process of learning.