Beach Life

beach

 

 

 

 

This summer we went to the beach in Malibu for a couple of weeks.  We camped on the beach, and just played all day long.  It was relaxing.  Toes in the sand, no work (no cell phone even….I took my phone into the ocean on our first day there….sigh), the heavenly sound of the waves.  Our kids happily playing and building huge, colorful sand castles. (My wifey totally brought food coloring and gallon bags and dyed some of the sand. It was amazing!) We had so much fun just unplugging and playing and spending time together. And while I’ll admit, I had an enjoyable time, I hate going to the beach….well maybe not the beach, but INTO THE OCEAN.  Oh I hated every cry of “Daddy, come boogie board with me.”  Of course I went – because my wife made me – but the ocean is scary!   The ocean is dark and deadly and full of insane creatures like this:

shark

 

 

 

 

 

I am honestly pee-your-pants terrified of sharks.  Seriously. I have some intense galeophobia.  A phobia of sharks.  I have horrible nightmares of these devilish creatures.  My kids now think it’s quite funny to hide stuffed sharks under my blanket or give me t-shirts with sharks on them. But in all seriousness, I don’t do oceans.  So I was very proud of myself for even being able to help my kids boogie board and explore the beautiful tide pools.  Will we go back? Probably, because Dad doesn’t really get a vote when it comes right down to it. But I’m pushing for something a little more family friendly….like Disneyland.

This summer, spend time with your family.  Relax and unwind.  Throw your phone into the ocean if you need to.  And maybe even conquer….or at least face…a fear.

Whole30

You know how I said I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions? Well, this isn’t one of those…. It’s just an attempt to get healthier.  For all intents and purposes, I’m MIDDLE AGE.  Seriously.  Middle.Freaking.Age.  And honestly? I don’t feel any different (on the inside) than I did when I was 15.  (I just wish I could MOVE like I could when I was 15…)

So all my siblings texted me last week and said, “We’re doing Whole30, you need to join us! It will be so fun!” I laughed and said “Fun for YOU!  Enjoy!” And then the next day, I totally had a panic attack (unrelated to any of this…just crazy life) and it felt exactly like a HEART ATTACK!  Holy freaky.  Seriously.  So after a trip to the doctor, I’m feeling the need to change some things in my life. It seriously made me think about life and where I spend my time.  Too much time working.  That’s for sure.  I need to spend more time with my family and doing things that make me a better, more Christlike human being. I’m overall pretty healthy, but if I want to have a good quality of life years from now, I need to spend more time on that too.

So my wife and 2 oldest daughters are joining in.  We’re taking a step today at better health.  Cleaner eating (LOTS of veggies and fruits!), more love for our bodies and ourselves, and just a realignment of priorities.

Wish me luck….please!!

New Year’s Resolutions

You know what I hate about New Year’s resolutions? They are more than a little defeatist. Think about it. At first you’re all like, “I’m gonna totally and completely change my life!” You do okay with your impossible goals for a couple days, maybe weeks, but then you slip up. And that slip up leads to another, then another, then a bunch more until finally you give up on them mall together and feel like a complete failure, gain 100 pounds, lose your job, move in with your parents, and spend all day searching for grumpy cat memes.

cat-meme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, that got real. Sorry. I’m not sure where that came from.

Anyway, here’s the point: New Year’s Resolutions suck. But I still feel some kind of pull to better myself…dang it.

A few years ago a friend of mine shared what he does instead of making unrealistic goals. He choses a word. A single word. And that word becomes his guide for the whole year. As an example, last year my word was “Present” – as in I would be “in the now” with my decisions.

This year I had a kind of spiritual experience in selecting my word. I was on vacation in California with my kiddos and wifey and driving back I kept seeing this word graffitied everywhere. The word: AWARE. I don’t know if it’s a brand name something, or a band, or whatever but I do know that I saw it graffitied on a water tower, an overpass, a huge rock, and a billboard. The last time I saw it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is my word for the year. I am going to be AWARE. For me that means being aware of people around me. Focus outward.

So here’s to hoping your 2017 is full of change. Realistic change.

Stop acting your age!

Today’s advice is a little backward…you’ll see what I mean.

So, I’ve got 4 kids (3 girls and 1 boy). We really enjoy spending time together. Whether it be hiking, watching a movie, or shopping together. My wife and I have tried to make everything we do a little bit of an adventure. A couple days ago we went to the grocery store and just finished shopping. As we were leaving the store one of my daughters said, “Wanna race to the car dad?” “Sure,” I replied.

“Sure,” I replied.

She started out, “On your mark, get set…”

I stopped her and said wait. Then I did what any good dad would do.

I cheated.

As I took off she laughed and called me the dirty rotten cheat I was. But, I’m getting older and she is almost as fast as I am. I barely beat her to the van. When she caught up I promptly proceeded to rub it in a little. You know… “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. I win! I win!”. Real great dad stuff.

'Ease up, Dwayne! It was a fumble, and he already feels bad enough! You don't have to rub his nose in it!'
‘Ease up, Dwayne! It was a fumble, and he already feels bad enough! You don’t have to rub his nose in it!’

When the rest of the family caught up with me, my son (who is only 9) looked at me and said, “Real mature dad!” He was stone-faced serious.

We all paused a beat or two then spontaneously burst into laughter.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes (and by sometimes I mean most of the time), acting your age is immensely over-rated. Who says a 38-year-old man can’t rub it in a little? Where does it say that adults can’t race, or play tag, or get grass stains? When was I supposed to to send my inner child on an eternal time out?

I say, stop it! Stop acting your age and start enjoying life. Especially if you have children. They won’t remember most of the things you say to them, but they will always remember the times you tried to make their lives more fun and meaningful.

Magic 8 ball.

You know what I haven’t seen in awhile? A magic 8 ball. Remember those things? If you don’t know what they are, well you can Google it, but the short explanation is that it is a toy that looks like a giant 8 ball. It is full of a dark liquid and there is a small piece of hard plastic at the top. Inside there is some sort of 20 sided dice with a brief “answer” written on it. Stuff like “Yes”, “It will surely be so”, “Your chances don’t look good”. So basically you ask it a question, shake it up, then look to see what the answer is.

Weird, right?

Well I’m learning something about myself. I’m a pretty indecisive guy. I obsess over small decisions every day and waste a ton of time fretting over the small stuff. Then, a couple days ago I saw a magic 8 ball and all sorts of memories started coming back about all the times my friends and I would play “I dare you” and then we would ask the magic 8 ball if we should do whatever it was that we were dared to do. After my trip down memory lane, I had this stroke of what I believe to be inspiration. What if I lived my life like that? Not to an extreme, mind you, but what if I just…decided to decide. Life can be a little scary. Much like those games of “I dare you” I used to play. But what I realized is that the times that the 8 ball told me to do something I was afraid to do, it usually ended up being just fine. Heck, I probably even ended up enjoying it. I’m positive that is how life would be if I would just say “Yes” to more things and adopted an attitude of adventure.

Well, this wasn’t much of a post, but it felt good to rant!

I’m gonna stop procrastinating…tomorrow. The day after that at the latest…hopefully.

Sooooooo. How are you? It’s been awhile. Yeah, I don’t really have any kind of excuse. I’m just a horrible disorganized person with a tendency to procrastinate. I’m working on it.

As a matter of fact, today’s post is something I’ve found that I think is going to help me stop being such a slacker. It’s an app called Trello. You can do a google search and download it.

Let me just say that I think it is going to be a great help for me. I can easily organize all the things I need to do in a day, week, or whatever. I can then color code them and rank them by importance, date to be done, or anything really! So far I love this app.

You’ll know you’ve found the right app because the logo looks like this:

trello

 

 

This app is free to use and you can install a desktop version on your computer and phone or tablet. Everything so far seems to sync seamlessly.

Well, sorry this post sounded like a shameless plug. I swear I don’t know anyone from the Trello company, nor am I receiving any remuneration. Just a little friendly advice from one procrastinator to another!

Conference…generally speaking

So, I know there are a couple things “they” say you shouldn’t talk about in a public forum:

  1. Politics
  2. Religion

Well, I broke that rule a couple posts ago (see “Beau and the Bible“) and I’m about to break it again. But I’m gonna break it completely…

I’m not only a Christian, I happen to be a Mormon.

There. Now you know. I’ms till proud of it. I know that there are a lot of misconceptions and rumors out there about my church.

not-mormon

 

 

 

 

 

All I’m asking is this: give us a chance for yourself before you believe the hype and gossip you hear.

As a matter of fact, this weekend there is a great opportunity to really find out what our Church is all about. You see this weekend is known as “General Conference” weekend for the almost 16 million members of the Mormon Church, or Latter-Day Saints as we prefer to be called. This Saturday and Sunday we will hear from many of our Church’s leaders. Basically we believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive Church, namely, Apostles and Prophets. We also have one of the biggest women’s organization on the planet led by faithful women who teach our church members as well. There are 5 sessions of speakers this weekend, each lasting about 2 hours. The sessions area as follows:

  • Saturday 10-12
  • Saturday 2-4
  • Saturday 6-8

then

  • Sunday 10-12
  • Sunday 2-4

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, we are willing to sit through 10 hours of religious teachings in one weekend. But that’s just how good it is.

So, in the spirit of this blog, I invite you to listen for some great advice this weekend during General Conference. I know that if you’ll listen with an open heart, you may just hear something that will bless your life, help you make a decision, bring peace to your soul, or courage to your life.

You can check out the live stream right here.

 

Short and Sweet…

Today’s post comes from my 12-year-old daughter actually. And her advice is short and sweet…just like her!

A few days ago we were talking about life. I asked if she had any regrets. She thought for a few moments then looked up at me and said, “Life’s too short for regrets dad!”

From the mouth of babes!

So my advice today is let go of any regrets and live your life to the fullest. Life really is too short to hang on to regrets and mistakes.

no-regrets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks my sweet little daughter!

“You know you’re doing your job right when they hate you!”

Saturday. Ugh…

I know, I know, who hates Saturday, right? I mean how many songs are there about the weekend? It’s supposed to be something to look forward to, and it is. Really. But there is one thing I dread about Saturday:

My kids.

Wait! Don’t go! I love my kids. I really do. They are the joy of my life. My reason for getting up each morning. But is anyone else out there tired of the fight that begins each Saturday when you try to get your kids to do anything productive?

My 8-year-old daughter is currently screaming in her room because I asked her to put some of her laundry away. There are like 3 pairs of pants, a couple shorts, about 5 shirts, and 1 dress. But by her reaction you would think I asked her to choose which of her dolls I can throw into an open flame!

My 14-year-old daughter is sobbing because I asked her to vacuum the front room. When I say sobbing, I mean hiccuping uncontrollably, can’t breath, red in the face sobbing. Again, it’s as if I asked her to shoot her dog.

My 10-year-old son is stoically crying as he dusts the coffee table.

My 12-year-old isn’t crying though. She’s at her friend’s house.

The thing that drives me the craziest is that we do this every Saturday. It would only take 1 hour max! But each and every week they are surprised that I would ask them to help me and their mom to clean. How?! How is this surprising?! And without fail, at least one (if not all) of them ends up telling me how much they hate me.

It takes everything I’ve got not to lose it, but this morning I remembered something I heard from my own parents a few years ago:

“You know you’re doing your job right when they hate you every now and then.” I guess it’s true. If I didn’t make them clean, or make them study, or make them eat their veggies, I wouldn’t really be doing my job as a parent. I’m not their friend. I’m their dad. Don’t misunderstand me, I want to be their friend…well at least I won’t to have a friendly relationship with them, but that’s not my job. Besides, who am I kidding? If given the option, what parent honestly thinks their kids would chose to hang out with them instead of their teenage peers.

So, it may not solve the immediate outpouring of hormone-induced hatred, but at least it makes me feel better as a parent! And this morning if what my dad said is true, I’m up for father of the year!

Beau and the Bible

You’ve probably seen this video before but I recently was reminded of it when a colleague of mine, Beau, gave me some good advice. I’ve been struggling with someone I work with and complaining at lunch about them. How, “if only they would…” and “I wish they would do more of…”

Beau’s a pretty nice guy but about as blunt as a sledgehammer sometimes. “Stop trying to fix ’em you moron.”

Ouch. But Beau and I get along well enough that I know he was trying to help. And the more I’ve thought about it the more I realized it’s true. It’s not my job to “fix” the people around me. Who says they need fixing?! Maybe I’m the one who needs fixing!

Then I was reading in the Bible (yes, I’m a proud Christian) and came across this beautiful gem: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

Ouch again. Okay, okay! I get it! God, or the Universe, or my conscious is trying to tell me something. So, the life lesson for me is this: When I’m tempted to “fix” something about someone I ought to step back and look at what needs fixing in my own life. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to make the people around us better, but we ought to be more careful about our definition of what it means to be “better”.