Tag Archives: dad

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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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.

 

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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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Was it worth it?

Ever have one of those days?

You know, when you are in a bad mood and you don’t really know why, but you still slam the cupboards or the utensil drawer so that everyone in the house knows you are mad.

Maybe you hit the steering wheel as the crossbars light up for the oncoming train. Maybe you walk down the hall, head down, frowning while people move out of your way.

Was it worth it?

Was making sure everyone knew you were in a bad mood worth it?  Was the time you wasted on negative energy worth it? Did the train pass quicker? Did your family enjoy your attitude at dinner? Did life just magically get better because of your mood?

Was it worth it?

I recently read the book, Life Is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance, by Valorie Kondos Field, the UCLA gymnastics coach. In the book she discuss why choosing a positive, high energy attitude is one of the keys to the team’s success. The book expands on the idea, but the core idea is that we choose our attitudes. And she is right.

For our everyday lives, our attitude is a choice, and we pay a price for those attitudes. We might gain something from it or we might damage something from the attitude we choose. I hate to admit it, but I have lost my cool with my children before, and felt guilty as I watched their eyes turn down and their brow change to the question, “What did I do?”

I have seen athletes miss opportunities because of attitudes. Same for students who bring in a difficult attitude in to class. I’ve wasted time with family and friends because I wanted to brood in my bad attitude. It wasn’t worth it.

Every attitude we choose has a cost for our lives… you decide if the attitude is worth your life.

 

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Blueberry Muffin Rant

I was going to write a post that just ranted about life.  About student apathy. About the cruelty of social media. About drivers that run red lights. About how parents abuse their children. I was going to rant about everything. As I made muffins this morning, I was in a sour mood for a number of reasons.

But as the timer went off on the oven and I pulled the muffin tins out, I had to smile as the warm aroma of blueberries and chocolate chip muffins filled the kitchen. I returned to cooking the scrambled eggs wishing everyone could have a Sunday morning breakfast like ours.  My youngest daughter came bouncing into the room, “Is it muffin day?”

“Yes, little one. It is muffin day.”

She curled up on the couch in a blanket, then started to ask me 5 year-old questions.

To be honest, I still want to rant. But I realize that my rant won’t change the unfairness in this world. Or stop somebody from writing a hurtful comment on social media. My rant would not save a child’s life today.

 

Sadly, I know that this post won’t do that either.  But instead of ranting, I choose….

I choose to believe that education is about growing as a person, not a grade.

I choose to read more books instead of looking at a screen.

I choose to listen instead of talk.

I choose to believe in sunsets and sunrises because you can see them from anywhere.

I choose to write poetry, blogs, and stories so that someone reads a message that they need.

I choose to post crazy photos on Instagram.

I choose to tell dad jokes to everyone.

I choose longer hugs and holding hands with my wife.

But most important, I choose to love, no matter how much the world keeps trying to hurt me.

I choose to love.

I choose LOVE.

 

 

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Little Treasures

My morning routine is different this year. My wife heads to school with our two middle daughters. My oldest son usually heads to school soon after. I wait another 40 minutes to take my youngest daughter to preschool.

This week my daughter and I have been playing a game she created, “Treasure.”

We start at the front door.

Our river.

Which is really a river. We cross the river by rope, or bridge, or however she decides we can cross. Next, we find a treasure hiding in the jungle (living room).

Our treasure chest.

On the drive to preschool she retells of our adventure with joy in her voice.

But what I have discovered this week is that little treasures are everywhere. Most of them are right in front of us.

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When is it the Right Time to do the Right Thing?

Sometimes it feels like a losing battle.

To reinforce the importance of doing the right thing. My wife and I spent the weekend at a youth basketball tournament with our two middle daughters. As you can imagine, there was all kinds of people and craziness. Youth basketball tournaments have a unique chaos to them.

First, understand we do enjoy seeing our kids play. We are thankful for the hard work it takes to run these tournaments. This post is not about that. It’s about people.

I’m not going to rant about all the stuff that goes on. From the yelling at refs, yelling at their own kids as they head to the car, or the way people disregard others around them. One child throwing popcorn all over everyone while his parents did nothing.

I’m going to use one situation, parking, to ask the question: When is it the right time to do the right thing?

If you have ever attended an event like this, you know that parking is difficult. There is never enough parking. Plus it is the middle of winter. But what is worse is the cars that blatantly take two spots by parking their cars so that the car is over both yellow lines. Or the person who parks so that the handicap spots can not be accessed. How about the cars that park away from the curbs so far it is hard for others to drive between the parked cars and the car six feet away from the curb.

My favorite is the glare you get because someone is driving the wrong way for the entry drive to the parking lot and you had the audacity to drive correctly and they have to pull their car to the side.

So, when is it the right time to do the right thing?

When no one is looking?

When we are all dealing with the same situation?

When there is an emergency?

 

When?

I believe we should do the right thing every time.

 

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