Category Archives: Family

Last Blueberry Muffin

I set the oven to 410 degrees and hit the start button.

Coffee is brewing.

I place the paper cups into the muffin pan.

My wife adds milk and eggs to the muffin mix as I drain the blueberries.

I mix the batter and fold in the blueberries.

As I am scooping the muffin batter into the cups, I am hit with a realization that this is the last blueberry muffins we will make for our oldest son… he moves into his college dorm room on Friday.

OK, I know that this is not really the last batch of muffins my son will eat on a Sunday morning with us. But this is the last Sunday we are together. My son’s life takes a drastic turn on Friday as he starts college. Everything changes. For everyone.

Now, major things won’t change. He will always be my son. I will always be here to read his poetry. He will always have a home to come back to; things like that. The foundation doesn’t change. But I can already start to feel the emptiness in our everyday life with this change.

His laughter at the dinner table. Raising his voice to make a point during a discussion. Playing Madden (I would always be the Vikings and he would be the Broncos). Texting about what to make for lunch. Watching an episode of the West Wing. The difficult aspect of change is the little things…

Next Sunday I will make blueberry muffins… I’m not sure how I will feel about the empty spot left as my son’s next chapter starts…

But I do know that I am proud of the man he has become.

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From point A to point B

We are always traveling from point A to point B.

We were born: point A.

We will die: point B.

This is the most important vector we travel. A vector is defined as a quantity that has magnitude and direction. Usually represented with an arrow. Our life is an arrow from point A to point B. It happens one day at a time. Many of us do not know where or when we will arrive at point B.  But I will come back around to this.

Our life is filled with other vectors, other paths from point A to point B. Some of them are defined clearly, like graduating high school or college. Other paths have a point B that is difficult to know. Every relationship we are involved in has an unknown point B. Many times our goals or dreams have an uncertain point B. These vectors are intertwined into our daily life. Time is a constant for us… in a sense, the direction.

But a vector also reveals the magnitude of the movement. The power or effort we use to travel toward point B. Or my favorite definition of magnitude from astronomy; the brightness of a celestial body seen by the naked eye.

Our life is a vector. We were born (point A) and we will die (point B). Time is constant for all of us along this path. True, many of us do not know when we will reach point B, but we are in control of the magnitude of our path.  We are in control of how much effort we put into a goal, into a relationship.

We are in control of how bright we live.

 

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Conclusion to LIFE Series.

It is 11:45 p.m. as I write this. This post will probably go live in a few days. I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about writing a conclusion to this series.

This series was centered on an idea I had as I sat on the floor waiting for my daughters to finish Cinderella Jr practice. Their performance was last week. Life moves on.

My oldest son is about two months away from starting college. Life moves on.

Earlier this evening my wife and I watched the twelfth Star Trek movie (one more to go). Each summer we try to watch a series of movies or TV shows. Life moves on.

Life happens every day. We choose to walk our path with love or something else. We have family and friends that share time walking with us. That’s L.I.F.E. and no matter how much we don’t want it to, life moves on.

I hope this series got you to think about your life. To consider how important love is to all the aspects of this life. Maybe to reconnect with a friend. To live your best life today, every day. Because life moves on. And you don’t get any of these days back.

 

Till the next post…

 

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E is for

The E in L.I.F.E is for every day.

Some stats:

You will laugh about 17 times today (“Daily occurrence of laughter”).

Your heart will pump about 7200 liters of blood today.

You will listen to 4 and a half hours of music today (“Time With Tunes”).

You will spend 10 hours consuming media (“Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time, and growing”).

You will spend 1440 minutes today of your life.

What did you spend those minutes on? Your goals? Yelling at someone on the drive home? Letting someone know you loved them? Adding shows to your “My List” on Netflix?

Our lives have big moments, some of them positive, others are heartbreaking. But most of our life is how we spend the 1440 minutes we are given each day, and that is important to understand for a few reasons.

The first reason is because we all have a last day. No matter what you believe regarding the afterlife, we all get one life. One path to walk. Each day is an opportunity to show love. To work towards a goal. To strengthening relationships. Or not.

Maybe because I am a few years away from 50, but time has become more valuable to me. Each day is an opportunity to spend time doing wonderful things. Or we can do mundane or negative things. Yes, it is our choice on how we spend our time.

The second reason to understand how we live every day is the connection to the moments in our lives that are drastic. How we live everyday creates a foundation that helps us when the big moments happen in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it is a negative or positive moment, we will respond to those moments based on the way we live every day. We will respond with love or negativity. The foundation we have every day will not ease any pain we may feel, or make the joy from a moment last longer. Our everyday foundation helps us deal with the moment. It directs our next step.

Today is our life. How we live today builds our life. We will have our hearts broken. We will achieve goals. We will laugh. We will cry. Life is what we do now. What we do with the 1440 minutes. We don’t have a great life looking back on our last day… we have a great life today.

Below are a few media recommendations that correlate with this idea.

Books

The Big Sea by Langston Hughes is part of his story as a young poet. His story highlights how we live influences our goals and talents.

Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott reveals why every day matters.

Movies

Dead Poet Society is a complex movie about the tension between traditions and personal freedom.

The Truman Show is a movie about the beauty of everyday life.

Songs

Live Like We’re Dying” by Kris Allen is a good reminder to spend your time on the important stuff.

Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery highlights how everyday moments make for a great life.

LIFE is for… (concluding post next).

 

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F is for

The F in L.I.F.E is for family and friends.

I have a dadism I use sometimes when the kids are fighting or a situation is starting to get out of hand. “Family deserves the best from you.” For a number of reasons I feel this is the most important aspect of dealing with family relationships. We should treat our family the best.

The same is true for our friends. The way we love our friends and family dictates the joy and depth of our life. They shelter us during the storms. They give us directions when we have lost our way. They share in our joy of achieving our goals.  They motivate us when we encounter hurdles. Our personal success is never achieved alone.

Our relationships are a manifestation of our choices regarding love. Relationships take work, just as much work as any life goal we have. But that is the reason for love, to build relationships that reveal the beauty of this life. It is hard because each person in our life is unique, which means each relationship has its own set of guidelines. Each relationship then brings a different element of life and love to us. As we build our relationships with family and friends, we expand our understanding of love, of life. That is how we build an incredible life; love our friends and family.

Below are a few media recommendations that correlate with this idea.

Books

The article, “The Lonely Life of George Bell”, has stayed with me since the day I read it in the fall of 2015. It is sad, but so worth reading.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger has a deeper element about the importance of relationships woven through Holden’s observations of the uniqueness of people.

Movies

Over the Hedge is a great movie about the importance of family.

Remember the Titans has the same message about friends.

Songs

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I is for

The I in L.I.F.E. stands for the individual.

Each one of us has our own life to live. Even if you are a wife, or father, or a CEO of a company, you are responsible for walking your path in this world. There is so much to this idea, but I am going to center this post on how we walk the path because that is one aspect that influences the quality of our life. We may not get to choose the condition of the path before us or have control of the hardships that appear on the path, but we choose how we handle things. Like love, we choose our steps.

We choose how we walk every day. That means what we choose to do during the day, plus the attitude we have with it. I believe that too many people react to life instead of living intentionally. By reacting we forfeit the power of choosing most of our life. We miss creating an awesome life. We accept average. An average relationship. An average job. An average existence. We feel happy every once and awhile. Honestly, by reacting, we live far below our potential. Far below the life we could have.

It is easy to react. But have you noticed how negative our reactions are? How fast a reaction can bring down the vibe of a room? I know it does because I’ve done it. As a father of six, I have just reacted to my kids. I am busy, or have had a bad day at work, but my children just want my attention. As soon as I walk in the door they are bombarding me with questions or demands. When I just react to them it is usually with a frustrated tone. In an instant, the shine in their eyes fade. They usually will say, “Never mind,” and disappear from in front of me.

It takes time to break the habit of reacting. Living intentionally doesn’t remove hurdles or pain in our lives. In fact, living intentionally may be harder to do, but it creates depth to our lives that cannot be experienced if you just react to life. Joy replaces happiness. Meaning replaces feeling like life is mundane. We still feel pain. Our hearts will break, but there is not the feeling of being lost, as if everything has fallen apart. Choice replaces helplessness. Living replaces just surviving.

Even though I share my life with my wife and children, I am responsible for how I walk the path I am on. By choosing my steps I create an amazing journey. Choose your steps, today can be an incredible journey.

Below are a few media recommendations that correlate with this idea.

Books

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a book that is part autobiography, fiction, and inspirational. Dan Millman takes the reader through his spiritual journey during his time in college. (There is a movie based on the book.)

Start With Why by Simon Sinek is a business book, but you will quickly connect the dots to how aligning your choices with your why changes how you live.

The American Scholar” speech by Ralph Waldo Emerson is centered on education, but he spends some time discussing the importance of understanding how powerful we are to live our lives.

Movies

The Rookie is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who made it to the major leagues as a 35 year-old rookie. The story highlights how difficult but amazing our paths can be.

Rocky is not the boxing movie you remember. The story is about love, how difficult achieving dreams are, and living life on your terms.

Songs

I am Mine” by Pearl Jam deals with the idea that this life is ours.

Excavate” by Macklemore looks at what is important in life.

 

Share this post with anyone you feel would enjoy it.

F is for… (you will have to read the next post).

 

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L is for

The L in L.I.F.E. stands for love.

And I mean all aspects of love; romantic, sibling, friendship, and humanity. I have written about the power of love before (Why Love Series), but this post is centered on three ideas that make love a foundation to a great life.

  • First, love is action.
  • Second, love is showing a person that their life matters to you.
  • Finally, love is a choice.

All three work together to create a powerful life. Before I dive into the aspects I just mentioned, I want you to know that I also know that there is a magical aspect to love, an unexplainable power that no blog post can express. There is an emotional aspect of love, a crazy stirring in our hearts when we gaze into the eyes of our partner. Or a joyful pain in our chest when our children hug us. But the power of love is not just in those magical moments. Love is a factor in our lives when we choose to act so that another person knows they matter.

Action is important. Yes, saying that you love someone is important but love is expressed through action. A date night. Playing My Little Pony on the living room floor. Taking a walk. Watching a movie (without a phone). Dancing in the kitchen. All relationships need action to grow. This is the most powerful way you show someone they matter to you; spend time together.

Action isn’t the only way that you can show someone you care about them… how you talk is important, too. How you talk to a person and how you talk about them with other people makes a difference in the relationship. I’m learning that how you talk about a person to others is a factor that builds or destroys a relationship over time. A powerful factor. If you tear down a person to others, if you bring up all their faults, just vent to others, that negativity will filter into your view of that person. You’ll soon find that negativity move into the way you talk in the relationship. That’s not love.

We are not perfect. We all have flaws. We all are works in progress. Our words either build or destroy people. That includes text or social media. The way you speak shows people how much they matter to you. Your words are one example of how we choose to love.

The most important factor is to be honest about how much of love is a choice. You decide to open your heart. You decide to be respectful. You decide if you are going to love someone. There is an emotional aspect to love, but those emotions can be generated by the actions you take. It doesn’t matter what type of love or relationship it is.

Want your relationship with your partner to be more romantic? Do something to generate those emotions, like buy flowers, or dance in the kitchen. Want to have a better relationship with a friend? Do something. Send them a handwritten note or go out for coffee.

It sounds simple because it is. Love is choosing to act in a loving way to the people who matter to you. And that is part of a great life of a great relationships.

Below are a few media recommendations that correlate with this blog post.

Books

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is a must read for so many different reasons. But at the heart of the book is the idea of how important love is in all relationships.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a great book to consider how the people in your life view actions as a way of understanding love. The book will equip you with ways to express love to people.

Movies

Hoosiers is more than a basketball movie. The movie deals with the idea of forgiveness, family, and why it matters to do the right thing in relationships.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a great movie that highlights the importance of action in life. Now, I don’t endorse missing school, but can’t deny the message about friendship and living life.

Songs

Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw is just a great song!

Tim McGraw on Stage

My photo of Tim on stage singing the song.

Share this post with anyone you feel would enjoy it.

I is for… (you will have to read the next post).

 

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