Day 60: Cook Your Rice

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Today marks day 60 for this journey.  A journey that, 66 days ago, I had not yet conceived of.  Earlier this afternoon I had a conversation with a coworker who asked the inevitable question: Why?

I responded with the sentence has become my rote answer:  Because I want to. 

Isn’t that enough?  I’m doing this because I want to. 

I want to learn more. I want to be stronger, faster and in better shape.  I want to be more cultured.

I just want to be better.

There was certainly no better time to start this than the present.  And to be perfectly honest, I was afraid that if I didn’t start, I would find a way to explain the delay, then re-sell myself on that excuse over and over and over.  Eventually I would be looking back at a wasted opportunity.  I’ve had enough of those in my life.  It was time for no more regrets.

I heard this Chinese proverb today:

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Where are you today?  Are you cooking the rice?  Or are you talking about cooking the rice? 

Listen, I’m not a motivational speaker.  I can’t pump you up enough to run through brick walls.  I’m not going to increase your company’s bottom line by 150% with Five Magic Words.  I’m just a schmuck from Wisconsin who happens to be opening up and sharing his journey with you.  The best I can hope is that, somewhere along the way, you’ll be motivated to make one day better than the last. 

Of course, I’d love it if you popped over the Facebook page and clicked Like (or maybe followed along on Twitter).  Because, as always: This is simply my journal as I try to better myself. I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself. Make 2013 YOUR year.
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Quick Blast:  I think I already mentioned that I finished Dracula.  I’m now continuing to work through How to Win Friends…, as well as started Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.  I cooked a second dish this week, but wasn’t happy with the result, so I will cook it again and again until I feel I have it mastered: salmon cakes.  We haven’t had any new birds appear in the backyard, so no news to report.  I begin karate next week, and have managed to workout every day since last reported.  I clocked in another mile today.  My M.O. appears to be currently to knock out a mile every other day.  Until the weather breaks and I can get outside, I’m ok with that. 

Day 59: Mourning to Joy

Still dealing with some mourning over the passing of my grandfather this past weekend. I’m not depressed or sad, but I’ve noticed that his death did sap some of my motivation. Mostly, I believe, it was because it arrested my momentum. I’ve had to work hard to overcome the slide.

I came across this tonight in my devotional, so I thought I would share it. I know that I have to force myself back up on the proverbial horse- my grandfather was never one for quitting on anything, even broken old furniture. This quote from the book of Isaiah just seemed to sum up the way I want to feel…

…to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.

The author is saying that The Lord will replace mourning sorrow with joy. He will see to it that we are happy again. He wants us to be happy.

I rest comfortable in this knowledge.

I hope your days are filled with joy and perseverance right now. May tomorrow bring an even better day than today for you!
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Day 57: Gonna Be Real Honest…

Gonna be real honest right now…I really don’t feel like doing anything today. I really just want to flip on the boob tube, pour a glass of wine, chill out and do absolutely nothing. With the events of this past weekend, the hard work my wife and I are putting in trying to get her store up and running while taking care of the kids, and the general lack of sleep, I have nothing left in me.

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I’m on E.

Here’s the thing: we all have days like this. The secret is to not let it get into your head. You have to take them as they present themselves and overcome each. First, find a way to power through the initial onset of the feeling. (*BAM* I just did 25 push-ups). You have to get in control of the feeling. Yes, it is real. But by taking the reins, you maintain control instead of allowing it to control you.

Second, you need to look into why you’re feeling rundown. Here’s my quick checklist.

  • I had to perform a sleep study last Thursday and haven’t recovered with a good night sleep yet.
  • All three kids are sick with a cold, so nights aren’t restful right now.
  • My grandfather just passed away.
  • I had a long day at work today.
  • The stress of my wife’s potential opportunities is weighing on me, as well.
  • Physically, mentally and emotionally draining. That’s what the above list represents. (Just FORCED myself to do 25 more push-ups). I don’t have much left to give. It’s real, no denying that.

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    Third, seek the simplest solution. I am obviously tired. On my list above, 3 of the 5 are directly related to not getting enough sleep. The emotional low I’m feeling of grief can be helped with a good night’s rest. Also, I find I can focus and plan better when I’m rested, therefore I might be able to cope with #5 better if I get some sleep. Thus, my solution is simple. I have to get to sleep.

    (I just did 60 seconds of sit-ups and 25 more push-ups. Believe me, I’m struggling to get this in tonight).

    Fourth and finally, you have to force yourself to enact that solution. It’s 8:45 in the evening. Right now, I could turn on the tv and try to find something to watch. I could putz around on the Internet. Or I could force myself to go upstairs, brush my teeth, turn on a light, set my alarm and crawl into bed. With a good book. I can read a few chapters and have the lights off and be sleeping snoring in minutes.

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    For me, that sounds like the best course possible. As my daughter says whenever I mumble or stumble on a word: “Daddy, you’re running out of batteries!” In this case, sweetheart, you’re more right than you know.

    You can overcome these days. Put a plan into action to deal with them, stick to it, and you won’t let it become more than just an odd occurrence. We all have them. Frankly, we all need them. Try remind us to recharge and recoup. Just don’t let it wear you down, or else you might find it becoming the norm.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more push-ups and sit-ups to do.

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    As always: This is simply my journal as I try to better myself. I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself. Make 2013 YOUR year.
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    Day 56: Grandpa

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    No post yesterday, and just a very short one today.  It was a bit of a rough weekend around here.  I’ll let my Facebook status from this afternoon sum it all up.

    Sometime early this morning, my grandfather took his last, labored breath following a long battle with terminal illness. Barely a half of a heartbeat later, there was another line being cast into God’s favorite fishing hole, bobber already set. If anyone knows how to find that elusive lunker, it’s Grandpa.

    Also, Lord, if you’ve got any spare, unused (possibly dilapidated) dining chairs lying around, he’s just your man.

    Miss you Grandpa. Rest in the peace you’ve needed and so long deserved. Thank you for your patience, your guidance, your service to family and Country, and your love – quiet but never silent.

    Grandpa was a man of few words, like so many of his generation.  He served in the Navy during WWII, built a strong career in the middle and late part of the century, enjoyed working in his workshop, making furniture for the family, and truly loved fishing with Grandma in his free time.  I have never, and likely will never, think of fishing without thinking of Grandpa.  The two are ubiquitous in each other in my memory.

    Thankfully, we saw this coming for a long time.  Almost too long, such was the desire to see his suffering end.  I got my chance to speak my thanks and peace to him several times over the last year and a half.  I was fortunate, in that respect.

    Don’t take a chance.  You might not have the same opportunities to say goodbye.  Tell everyone they’re special to you.

    Love.

    Live.

    Miss you Granpda.

    Keep a keen eye on your bobber, Grandpa.  We'll fish together again.

    Keep a keen eye on your bobber, Grandpa. We’ll fish together again.

     

    As always: This is simply my journal as I try to better myself. I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself. Make 2013 YOUR year.
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