Why You Should Listen When Your Wife Puts a “Bug” in Your Ear…

 “Lady Middleton resigned herself… Contenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle reprimand on the subject, five or six times every day.”

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Ok…by way of confession, I used this story in my last blog to relate a different life principle. That is one of the great things about the stories of our lives…they have multiple teaching moments if we look for them…now…back to the story.

I really enjoy a nice bowl of cereal for breakfast while reading a good book. Since cereal only requires the use of one hand, it is easy to shovel in luscious energy with your head positioned low and just over the bowl, while using the other hand to turn the pages and to keep anyone out who might have wandered inadvertently into the area where this intense and hallowed awesome morning ritual is taking place.

Recently, I prepared a nice bowl of a cereal with raisins. I added extra raisins and a good banana and settled down for a nice relaxing morning session of reading and eating.

About halfway through, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, an unusually large clump of raisins in my spoon surrounded by white milk. It was staged close to my mouth hopper waiting for the previous spoonful to adequately clear which only took a moment. I didn’t stop reading or even stop to take a look at it and into my system it went. I noticed as I chewed on it that it did not have the same texture that I came to expect when eating those juicy raisins but that sensation was but a footnote to whatever had my attention in the book.

Sometime later while back at my desk computer, I noticed something lingering in my mouth. It was actually hard to get a hold of but once I pulled it out, I was shocked to find the leg of a roach….yes shocked and grossed out and yukked out and holy cowed out. Yep…my nice clump of juicy raisins was just a nice juicy cockroach. Below is a picture of it.

roachHad my wife told me before (perhaps multiple times) to close the bag of cereal with a close pin before returning it to the cupboard?

Well…yes.

Was she right?

Well…yes.

Did I get what I deserved?

Well…no…I mean who deserves a roach in the mouth? Yuk!

One more time…Did I get what I deserved?

Well…yes.

Yes…I should have listened to my wise and loving wife. Instead of a bug in the ear, maybe I just needed a bug in the mouth to change my disobedient and lazy ways. It worked. I will now pay extra close attention when she says there is a “fly in the ointment” or “bug in the batter”.

A HighFive Your Life principle is to give heed to the bug in your ear that your wife places there from time to time. It will most likely make your life just a little easier.

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What Do Bad Thoughts and Roach Legs Have In Common?

When the negative thoughts come – and they will; they come to all of us – it’s not enough to just not dwell on it… You’ve got to replace it with a positive thought.
Joel Osteen

I really enjoy a nice bowl of cereal for breakfast while reading a good book. Since cereal only requires the use of one hand, it is easy to shovel in luscious energy with your head positioned low and just over the bowl, while using the other hand to turn the pages and to keep anyone out who might have wandered inadvertently into the area where this intense and hallowed awesome morning ritual is taking place.

Recently, I prepared a nice bowl of a cereal with raisins. I added extra raisins and a good banana and settled down for a nice relaxing morning session of reading and eating.

About halfway through I noticed out of the corner of my eye, an unusually large clump of raisins in my spoon surrounded by white milk. It was staged close to my mouth hopper waiting for the previous spoonful to adequately clear which only took a moment. I didn’t stop reading or even stop to take a look at it and into my system it went. I noticed as I chewed on it that it did not have the same texture that I came to expect when eating those juicy raisins but that sensation was but a footnote to whatever had my attention in the book.

Sometime later while back at my desk computer, I noticed something lingering in my mouth. It was actually hard to get a hold of but once I pulled it out, I was shocked to find the leg of a roach….yes shocked and grossed out and yukked out and holy cowed out. Yep…my nice clump of juicy raisins was just a nice juicy cockroach. Below is a picture of it.

roachSince I try to discover the good life principles in the bad things that happen, I immediately started thinking about how this experience might have a life application. Besides the immediately clear wisdom of closing the cereal bag tight in between meals and looking at what I am eating, I looked deeper.

A friend of mine recently sent over a link to a church produced video helping parents approach the subject of pornography with their children. The message of how to help our children and grandchildren deal with these bad thoughts is so important. The link is below.

http://media2.ldscdn.org/assets/primary/preparing-children-against-pornography/2015-08-001-what-should-i-do-when-i-see-pornography-1080p-eng.mp4?download=true

Just like the roach in my cereal, we can, with hardly noticing, consume things mentally that are not healthy for us…and once they are in our brain, they seem to linger longer and are harder to remove. We need to be diligent about preventing them from getting in and then steady and strong about getting them out.

A HighFive Your Life principle is to pay attention to what we and our family members consume physically and mentally and to notice when we are chewing on raisins and when we are chewing  roaches.

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Siete atributos de un marido que valga la pena (unos pensamientos de padre a hija)

“La gente busca un traje de baño con más cuidado que su propio esposo o esposa.. Las reglas son las mismas. Busca algo que te haga sentir cómodo. Deja espacio para el crecimiento.”
Erma Bombeck

“Un buen matrimonio tendría que ser entre una mujer ciega y un marido sordo”
– Michel de Montaigne

Mi dulce amada, has llegado a la edad en que la posibilidad de encontrar el “hombre de tus sueños” llega a ser más y más probable que sean en los siguientes próximos años. Sé que cuando se involucran los sentimientos románticos, será difícil de ofrecerte consejo que quizás parezca ser negativo o sin apoyo. Por ésta razón, te sugiero los siguientes siete atributos del “marido ideal” que, según yo, deberías de estar buscando mientras atraviesas el pantano lodoso para encontrar el hombre indicado que te destelle.

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Seguro de sí mismo
Espero que sea apuesto, pero estoy más interesado en que él sea feliz consigo mismo. El “ser de buen ver” es mucho menos importante que el de “ser seguro de sí mismo, contento y feliz.” Si él es el último, tendrá una fundación sólida de la cual él podrá incrementar su amor por ti. Si esta cómodo consigo mismo en el sentido más puro… Si su autoestima no está basado en la opinión de los demás, podrá amarte de manera que alcance los límites del maniquí en el escaparate que es simplemente “ser de buen ver.” Su confianza se manifestará a diario porque aun cuando las cosas se pongan duras, no se lo pensará dos veces en escogerte como esposa ni en su habilidad de cuidarte.

hudson 1

Buen trabajador
Esperamos que sea hombre de medios económicos, pero estoy más interesado en que sea diligente y buen trabajador. Si llega sin recursos económicos pero trabaja arduamente, será buen proveedor y se considerará su pobreza una bendición. Será temporal y tu y él podrán derrotar los desafíos económicos. Los huesos y músculos desgastados, que superaréis juntos será un alivio para vuestras almas. Estoy seguro que él podrá cuidar de ti y de tu familia si es diligente y buen trabajador. Un beneficio adicional que recibirás, si él es diligente, será que sus hijos tendrán mejores oportunidades de aprender cómo trabajar y cómo entender el resultado del esfuerzo y expectativas. Asegúrate de que sus hijos aprendan la diferencia entre cuidar a los necesitados y habilitar a los perezosos. Un esposo que trabaje duro para su familia ayudará inmensamente a lograr este fin.

hf3

Te respeta
Esperamos que él te quiera y que nosotros sepamos cuánto te respeta. Las demostraciones de afecto están bien pero no nos impresiona tanto a tu madre y a mí. Queremos saber que él te respeta como persona y que aprecia la sabiduría, el intelecto, y las opiniones que nosotros te hemos dedicado en nuestra vida, ayudándote a desarrollar. Si él te respeta no tratará de dominarte. Si te respeta, su amor siempre quedará brillante y sobrevivirá las etapas duras que seguramente vendrán. Si te respeta te amará como persona y no solamente como su esposa o la madre de sus hijos. Si te respeta te defenderá a ti y a tu honor y tus pasiones y siempre se quedará atónito de la buena suerte de ser tu esposo.

Gary photos 039

Se compromete a ti
Esperamos que nos quiera, pero estamos más interesados en que te quiera a ti, y que esté más comprometido a ti que a nosotros o su propia familia. Esperamos que sea buen yerno pero estaremos contentos si es un gran padre y esposo. Les veremos en reuniones familiares y vacaciones y esperamos visitar a nuestros nietos…pero vosotros sois el uno para el otro y eso llegará a ser el vínculo más importante de vuestras vidas. Las decisiones en dónde criar a vuestros hijos y cómo criarlos será una decisión conjunta. Aunque puede que recibáis consejos de otros, un compañero que se comprometa a encontrar las soluciones que os acomoden a los dos, creará más paz y armonía en vuestra relación.

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Te hace sonreír
Esperamos que él te haga reír pero estaremos contentos si te hace sonreír. No hay razón para vivir vuestro matrimonio con agonía y estrés. Esos momentos llegarán pero deberán de ser breves. Espero que le encante la vida. Espero que trate bien a ti y los de tu alrededor. Espero que disfrutéis el uno del otro y que las risas permanezcan en tu casa, aun si os entretengáis en reíros de vuestras propias equivocaciones y debilidades. Espero que disfrutes de simplemente estar con él…que al conducir a través del país te entretendrías por su habilidad de crear felicidad entre la miseria. Una sonrisa tuya vale más que todo el oro del mundo.

IMG_0870

Un hombre de fe
Espero que sea un hombre de fe. No se requiere que tenga todas las respuestas pero las preguntas le deberían humillar y no amargar. Es un pretexto dejar la fe porque uno tiene preguntas no contestadas. Se requiere un hombre de entendimiento profundo a meditar el universo y saber que existe algo más grande e importante que él. Este entendimiento le permitirá a apreciarte en un sentido más noble mientras el entiende que no es el centro del universo.

IMG_7600

Te desafía
Espero que te trate como princesa pero que no haga todo por ti. Será increíble si él abre la puerta por ti, pero las cosas que realmente importan, espero que logre desafiarte. Cuando estas siendo desafiada creces y encontrarás felicidad y satisfacción a lo larga de la vida. Espero que te deje hacer tu propio anzuelo y hacer balance de los gastos familiares. Espero que se turnen en mantener el prepuesto familiar y las finanzas domésticas. Cielo, sé una princesa generosa y no una reina ingrata, que exige y exige mientras más espera. Espero que él exija lo mejor de ti sin quitarte la habilidad de intentar, fracasar y volver a intentar. El equilibrio entre esperar lo mejor de cada uno mientras que sean seres humanos imperfectos es un talento que los dos deberían de fomentar.

IMG_5352

Soy hombre y conozco a los hombres. Sé cuales son nuestras debilidades y inclinaciones. Sé que mi yerno no será perfecto…pero quiero que sea capaz de mejorar y crecer porque tu harás que mejore si él te deja hacerlo. El puede y debería de ser tu mejor amigo y la persona que te adora más en este mundo porque cuando yo me vaya de este mundo, así será. Sin embargo, tu misión debería de ser paciencia y amor porque no suele ser fácil librarte de todas esas manchas masculinas difíciles de quitar de un solo tirón. De hecho, pienso que querrás que el mantenga unas de esas manchas, aun si a veces te parecen tontas. Es posible que dure años, pero si tiene lo básico de autoestima, trabajo arduo, de respetarte, de comprometerse a ti, de hacerte sonreír y ama la vida, es un hombre de fe y te desafía, tendréis la fundación de una vida feliz juntos.

DSCN1138

Te quiero, mi cielo. Eres un tesoro para tu mamá y para mí. Por si acaso, como quiera el hado, nos traigas a casa un hombre que no posea ningunos de los atributos que acabo de mencionar, sé que te amamos…y sé también que lo querremos…y lo querremos tanto que tu lo podrás soportar hasta que lo tires al pantano de nuevo. Sabrás cuando llegará esa hora porque ya no te valdrá la pena. Usa el cerebro junto con el corazón mientras escoges al hombre con quien quisieras criar la próxima generación de nuestra familia.

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Bacon…to Die for…

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”
Doug Larson

(not a relative but I love his way of thinking)

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Let’s face it…anything that actually tastes really good is generally not good for you to eat. If the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden would have been a piece of Hickory Smoked Bacon (the most noble of all fruits for any man), Adam would have taken the first bite!

Every day, we try to balance out what we should eat with what we want to eat. Admittedly, there are some people who have no attraction to food at all and could care less about the luring appeal of carbs, fats and sugars but their loss is our gain…pun intended.

Of all the controversial fake food products that are meant to make me think I am having fun but at half the damage to my body, the one that offends me the most is turkey bacon. Introduced as a healthier alternative to good old greasy bacon, it has found its way into my home as an ally to my wife who is trying to help me to a healthier lifestyle.

Recently, we had all of our adult kids over for the holidays and I was assigned to prepare breakfast. I love doing that and gladly accepted. Instead of the recommended eggs, I immediately started whipping up some pancake batter and setting the table with butter and maple syrup. The only thing missing was bacon.

Turkey bacon was available and I reluctantly started frying it. I was not surprised a few minutes later to notice that there was little activity in the frying pan. There was no sizzling sound. There were no drops of grease flying gleefully from the pan towards my eyes…it was quiet. There was no aroma tempting my neighbors to come by and pay a visit or waking my slumbering children and luring them downstairs for breakfast. The turkey bacon just lay there in the pan with no worries at all…it looked like a quiet game of cards instead of tackle football game in the backyard.

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Real bacon is an adrenaline rush to cook. It is an activity with risk that brings out the alpha male in all of us. When I fill the frying pan past capacity and grease is going everywhere, there is a danger that I may lose my eyesight or that we may have a fire. Bacon that hangs over the edges of the frying pan taunts all normal safety concerns and stays there until the body of the bacon has shrunk up enough to all fit inside the pan.

There is nothing dull about my morning bacon battles. To make it even more of an adrenaline rush, it is done with the tinge of marital guilt…I know I am doing something between just being mischievous and having an outright love affair with the bacon…I am doing it at my own peril and against the wishes of the leader of the home…I know that when the battle is over at the stove and I need a fire hose to clean up, there will still be heck to pay…and yet real bacon is too tempting to ignore.

Real bacon has an aroma that says…stop whatever you’re doing…it is time to eat…and bring your best game to the breakfast table because you know there is not going to be enough for everyone to get their fill. In order to de-vilify the bacon, once the battle at the frying pan is complete, it is placed on a paper towel which soaks up 100% of anything that might have been wrong with it. At that point, you can resist only a few seconds before taking a sample and that waiting period exists only to protect your now watering mouth from frying also.

After a pound of bacon has been cooked, anyone passing by grabs a piece. You fight to keep the kids out of it but eventually you have to give in. It is just too good to keep in inventory…just three pounds left to cook and then maybe there will be enough to put on the table. Bacon is one of the few food groups that is consumed a piece at a time by the whole family before they sit down at the table. Bacon is so strong that it makes everyone a thief.

But my turkey bacon that I had that morning made no noise and had no driving aroma. As I cooked it there was only a gradual turn from pink to brown and black. I finally decided to put some butter in the pan to spice things up. I am sure it defeated the purpose of the healthy bacon but at least it sounded like something was cooking.

I love my marriage and so turkey bacon has a place in our home but let’s not pretend that it is bacon. It should be called something else…maybe turkey lettuce or turkey cucumbers…but don’t insult the honorable and noble name of bacon. Bacon may be to die for but dang, it makes this life some much more fun to live for…can I get an Amen?

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Five Tips for Stress Free/Work Free Weed Eating After Age 50

We were all weekend warriors and yard fanatics when we were young and raising a family (free labor) but after you turned 50, priorities and body parts began to shift. It seemed like a good idea 20 years ago to plant all of those shrubs and flowers but now a rock garden and a condo sound pretty good. As with many things, there is a new right way to do things if we really want there to be and so allow me to share five tips for proper weed eating after age 50. Only four things are required to get started:

1. A battery-powered weed eater
2. One battery and charger
3. A wet towel
4. Lazy streak, poor health or poor work ethic..any one of these will suffice but if you have all three it is even better.

Tip One
Purchase a Battery-Powered Weed Eater

     IMG_9983

The most important tool to make this work well is to purchase a battery-powered weed eater. A gas weed eater is good in the sense that you can never get them started so little work is done but the danger is that you still burn a lot of calories trying to get it started and maybe even sweat a little which we are trying to avoid. Nor is an electric weed eater with an extension cord a good idea unless there are constant power outages in your area. The miracle of the battery-powered weed eater is that the battery runs out. It is critical to purchase just one battery which should give you about 20 minutes of spinning the string. This time can be spent cutting grass or if out of sight, a pair of vice grips can hold the trigger down and you can talk to your neighbor while it cuts the air.

Tip Two
Secure a Wet Towel

IMG_9972

As you leave the house, ask your wife for a damp towel, presumably to help you cool off in the grueling sun. As soon as you have a safe opportunity (wife not looking), use the wet towel to moisten your shirt in areas usually reserved for sweat. You may have to use your water bottle that you have also asked your wife to provide, presumably to fend off dehydration, to drench areas that the towel could not get.

Tip Three
Work in the Worst Area of Your Yard

IMG_9964

It is important that your wife thinks that you are trying. By choosing the worst part of the yard, there is built-in empathy and sympathy. Progress is slow and hard. It is you and her against the darned old worst part of the yard. If it is near a lake where the danger of snake bite or gator attack can be introduced as a possibility, you will fare even better. Hopefully, that part of the yard is also hidden from her view. Turn on the weed eater while constantly checking to see if your wife is near. The more you run the motor the quicker the battery dies down. If a few blades of grass or weeds get in your way, don’t drop your head and complain…nobody is perfect. Stay in this area of the yard until the battery dies.

Tip Four
Oversee the Charging of the Battery

IMG_9947

Electricity can be deadly. Volunteer (though not verbally to your wife) to make sure that the charging of the “only” battery you own goes well. It is better that your wife not know the sacrifice in the face of danger that you are preparing to make. Choose a comfortable seat as this may take several hours. Take this opportunity to re-hydrate and re-energize your body with staples that you may have around the house. If you can not find any, a quick trip to the closest convenience store will provide you with nutrition and sustenance.

Tip Five
Enjoy Your Work Product

IMG_9951Not everyone has the ability or desire to do what you have done. Take a moment to enjoy the journey. Allow several hours for this part of the work day as it may be the most important.

IMG_9953Upon waking up, check the battery. Stare at it for ten seconds and make a “hmphh!” sound and then plug-in the charger. Make sure that any feelings of guilt are immediately disregarded.

You are done. Another Saturday of weed eating (and a few chips and sodas) are under your belt. You will find that this method only slightly adjusted will work well with other projects that you may have on your honey do list. It is not however, recommended for projects such as getting the house ready for sale or for divorce proceedings.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Attend Your 40th High School Reunion

“The good old days are now.”
Tom Clancy

class reunion 40 078

There are a variety of reasons why most of us don’t attend high school reunions. Most of them are just excuses that wilt away after the first few minutes of arriving. You soon realize that nobody else remembers names well either and that looking at name tags is only socially awkward for a moment and can be minimized by wearing dark sunglasses. You also realize that the relentless process of aging is a common challenge that nobody avoids. Yes, there are excuses for not attending but there are more compelling (yet sometimes subtle) reasons that make attending your reunions every now and then a must.

After just attending my 40th High School reunion, allow me to suggest five reasons why you should attend yours.

Reason One
These Are Your True Friends

These are the friends that you grew up with…that you probably knew in grade school…that came over for dinner and spent the night at your home. These are friends whose parents you admired, respected and sometimes feared but who you knew really did love you. These are the friends with whom you discovered and did many things for the first time…your first time driving…your first date…your first kiss. You played sports with them and took tests with them. Though you may have not seen them for decades, the memories of your youth are a huge part of what makes you who you are and so your bond with these friends extends beyond the years. It is the basis for true friendship and true kinship. A great reason to go to your reunion is that a few hours of fellowship with each other is all that is needed to remind you that you were lucky to have grown up together. That is worth the effort to be there.

Reason Two
We Are Mortal

class reunion 40 163

One of the most sobering parts of the reunion was a poster that was painstakingly made with great love and care that showed our classmates who are deceased. On the poster among other classmates, was a beautiful girl who was one of my first heart-throbs, the funniest guy in the class, a fellow football player, a great grade school friend, a guy I had just spoken to recently…it is impossible that these classmates are no longer alive and yet they are gone. This poster will never shrink and will only grow over time. A great reason to go to your reunion is to renew friendships with awesome people there is no promise you will ever see again.

Reason Three
Your Friends Need You and You Need Them

I had a different feeling at the conclusion of the reunion than at the beginning. In the natural process of catching up on everyone’s life you haven’t seen in many years, what should be obvious to all of us began to sink in. Life is tough and each of us goes through trials that challenge us to the very core. There was not enough time at our reunion to share all of our burdens but I became more sensitive to the deeper emotions of our classmates as the hours went by. Underneath the laughter and smiles there was in many cases, sadness and despair. Health challenges..the death of a loved one…a child in trouble. A long drawn out discussion was not needed. Sometimes a longer than normal hug communicated compassion and shared burdens. A kind word…an understanding look…even shared silence lifted spirits. Sitting on a football bleacher a moment of faith was shared with me… sitting on folding chairs moments of empathy between old friends closed the decades of being apart. A great reason to go to your reunion is to make it not about you but about your friends and to be there for them and to share in life’s burdens with them. I was lifted by the strong shoulders of my classmates.

Reason Four
Laughter Is Just Plain Good for Your Soul

You cannot go to a reunion and not spend most of your time laughing. It is impossible. There are just too many sports blunders and school bloopers to keep one from slapping his knees and wrenching his gut. Even though our memories may have faded, there are just too many people with partial recollections to stop the stories from coming. They may not be accurate but they sure are funny….at least to us. I am convinced that there is something therapeutic to remember and laugh. It is good for the soul and is another great reason for going to your reunion.

Reason Five
We Are at the Age When Our Ability to Change the World Is Near It’s Peak

I was so impressed by my classmates that came. We had people from all different vocations and backgrounds. The one thing we had in common was almost 60 years of wisdom. We are at an age and stage in life where some of our best work still lies ahead of us and we are in a position to achieve it. Whether through helping with grand kids or working with charities or as volunteers, we now know the ropes…we know how to get things done. While at the reunion, I heard of dreams and aspirations regarding making this world a better place that reminded me of what is most important. Your 40th reunion will be full of people who care and who have the talent and resources to make the world better. Attending my 40th class reunion reminded me that people are good and that there is great cause for hope in our future.

I am sure there are many more excuses to skip your next reunion than there are reasons to attend….but the reasons  to go are more compelling. May I recommend that you let your hair down (if you have any), relax and unwind. You will have a good time and be a blessing to your friends and they to you if you just go. The good ol days can be now also.

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