The Final Daily Blog Post – Necessary Endings

Read a great book last year.

It is called Necessary Endings.

In the book, the author discusses the fact that sometimes we need to end things so that new projects can take root.

To that end, yesterday’s blog post – $ 377 will be the last daily blog post.

I will keep the blog up.

I will probably post from time to time.

But for now, we will take a break from daily posting.

Lots of fun new projects in the works.

Thanks for all of the support over the last year plus!

Jim

Blog # 377 – Can’t Be Beat

Resilient.

An ability to overcome.

To take defeat in stride, yet able to work harder.

Perseverance on steroids.

Tougher than the rest.

We soldier through.

As Clubber Lang said in Rocky IIII – “I can’t be beat, I won’t be beat.”

There are thousands of cliches and motivational quotes on remaining steadfast during tough times.

But cliches and quotes only get us so far.

It has to be internal, inside us.

An engine stoked by passion and determination.

A muscle that is exercised regularly.

An unwillingness to fail.

We need you at your best.

Focused and determined.

So that you can help us see the world differently, do things better or enjoy life in a new way.

Don’t quit.

Battle on.

We will see you on the other side.

You are a winner.

Blog Post # 376 – No Surrender

Music in my head.

If I listen to music during the day, the tunes usually bounce around in my head when i lay down at night.

By the time that I wake up, they are a full chorus.

Thank God for music and for the musicians who provide us with their art.

Mastering an instrument takes tremendous dedication.

Getting together with other musicians to form a band takes teamwork, more dedication and steadfast commitment to their craft.

Music is always around us, especially at important times in our lives.

At weddings.

Around the pool.

At birthday parties.

On our recent trip to Florida, I listened to the audio version of Born to Run, the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen.

Read by the Boss himself.

(He was a great companion to have on the trip. As I would listen to Springsteen explain what went into a particular album, I paused the book and went and listened to that album. Really cool!)

The book explains in incredible detail what it took for Bruce to become a master.

The hours and hours of practice.

Live show after live show.

The years of performing and hard work that set up his “overnight success.”

Born to Run gave me a whole new appreciation for the artistry and years of toiling it takes to make your dreams become a reality.

Galvanized me to do my best and to work harder.

No retreat, baby. No surrender.

Blog Post # 375 – Choose Contentment?

Careful what you wish for.  Or for wishing too much.

Sometimes we have these idyllic dreams of what our life will be like if only this or that happens.

We long for something more, something better, something else.

Unsatisfied with the moment.

With what we have.

We think we need something to fill a void.

Truth is, there is no void.

No emptiness.

We have everything that we need.

Right here, right now.

We may be flawed, we may be lacking, but we are okay.

Instead of dreaming of some future day when the stars align and everything falls into place, what if we choose contentment?

Choose to be happy?

Choose to live in the present moment?

If we stack together one content day followed by another, we end up with a pretty nice month, year, life.

For today, let us reflect on all of the blessings that we have.

All of the goodness.

Let go of the anger.

And be right here with those around us.

Peace.

Blog Post # 374 – Babies No More

When they first came, they woke us up every 2 hours or so.

Needing a clean diaper.

Or to nestle on their mother’s breast.

Their tiny screams would awaken us from a deep sleep in a moment.

Pop up!

Get to work.

Try and get them fed, burped and back to sleep.

A few hours later, we did it all again.

Little by little, they grew.

Hard to see the differences from day to day.

But with our digital camera snapping away, we could observe the growth over time.

Nowadays, we wake them up.

They want to sleep more.  

We awaken them to the world.

My father used to wake us up as children by singing up the stairs to us – “Rise and shine, marines.  Another beautiful day for the corps!  Jimmy!  Kerry!  Molly!”

He would continue on like that until you recognized that you were up and moving.

They still look like angels when they are sleeping.

We have these mornings together, but the clock is ticking.

One day, in the not too distant future, they will leave us.

Just like we did to our parents.

First one, then another and eventually the house will just have us.

And we will miss the baby cries, the poopy diapers, the wrestling, the loud sounds of life.

God bless them.

Blog Post # 373 – Self Advocacy

Quiet resentment.

Tough thing to talk about.

I would rather be mad at you and have you not know it than for me to just come out and say it.

Passive-aggressive, you bet.

Effective, not so much.

Amany often teases me that I sue the federal government all of the time, but that I am reluctant to send a meal back to the restaurant kitchen if something is not right.

I find it easier to fight on behalf of other people than I do for myself.

Am I alone in this?

Advocacy is a passion, a calling.

Fighting against big, powerful, overreaching forces is important.

But I guess self-advocacy is important too.

If we don’t stand up for ourselves, perhaps no one else will.

For today, let me speak my truth.

My truth.

Do it in an honest, gentle and caring manner.

But do it nonetheless.

Backdated resentments do me know good.

The better option is to be upfront and honest.

And let the chips fall where they may.

Blog Post # 372 – No More Books?

Books can be highly addictive.

My mother instilled a great love of reading in me.

She served on the Richmond Heights Public Library Board and taught grade school many years.

Books were always around our house.

We participated in the summer reading program every year at the library.

Some of my best memories with my mom involve talking about books.

Two years ago, we had the chance to see one of our favorite authors, John Irving, speak at Powell Hall.

Nowadays, I cannot go into a bookstore without coming out with a few new tomes for the nightstand.

And that is the problem.

There they sit.  Books that look great on the shelf but which I can never find the time to actually read.

Running around with four kids and their hectic lives contributes to that.

So does managing a growing law firm.

But there is also the problem of my shrinking attention span.

Fact is that I probably don’t need any more books.

If I simply read all of the books that I already own, I would be an old man by the time that I was finished.

Lots of great ideas in there if I can ever find the time to unleash them.

When Amany and I found out that she was pregnant, we read a lot of books about pregnancy and child rearing.

After our son was born, Amany’s mom found her reading a book about babies.

“Time for reading is over,” she said.  “Time for action.”

Books can be a crutch.

Instead of taking action, I like to read another book on the topic of growth or change.

C’mon man.  Put down the book.

Get to work.

Implement more, read less.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Blog Post # 371 – Unique You

You are one of a kind.

No other like you.

Someone else may look like you.

Talk like you.

But there is only one of you.

Your talent set is unique.

Your life experiences belong to you alone.

You are here today – breathing, talking, listening.

It’s all you.

So what are you going to do with yourself?

What are your dreams?

Where is your art?

What can you, and you alone, contribute to the planet?

We need you at maximum capacity.

We need your voice.

Life may seem tedious.

Ridiculous.

And sometimes, perhaps even a bit odious.

Your light can overcome that.

Your voice is what we need.

Please contribute.

Create.

Postulate.

And dive in.

We support you.

We trust you.

We need you.

Today is the day.

Blog Post # 370 – Where Are We Going?

Where are we going?

What is our goal?

How are we going to get there?

Do we have a plan?

Is it written down?

Have we broken down the steps that it will take for us to get there?

How granular can we get?

Is it the right goal?

Are we headed in the right direction?

Have we gone off course?

Are we going to need others to help us to get there?

Can we help others get to where they want to be?

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a certain step.

One step, followed by another, followed by another.

Are we doing what we can today to take the right step?

A step towards our goal as opposed to away from our goal.

Are our goals feasible?

Attainable?

Measurable?

For today, let us really drill down.

Get to the nitty-gritty.

And state clearly and with purpose where we are headed and why we want to be there.

Peace!

Blog Post # 369 – More Structure, Not Less

Structure.

There is something within me that mildly rebels against structure.

Too many rules.

Too much scheduling.

Too many hoops.

I can participate in these time constructs.

But only up to a point.

When I get overwhelmed with too many appointments or “have to’s” or “should do’s,” I look for an out.

This past week, the boys and I went on a spring training road trip while Amany and my daughter went to San Diego to take in the sights and visit with her brother.

I had many motivations in taking the boys.

1. Baseball
2. Quality time with the boys
3. The boys had never really been on a road trip
4. A week without a lot of rules
5. Baseball

As for the week without rules, let me just say that I learned to see the value of rules and of planning ahead.

I let the boys pack themselves. One boy forgot his toothbrush and his tennis shoes.

I let the boys play a lot of electronics in the car. They got bored with that eventually.

I did not check the weather forecast before we left. So I ended up having to buy a cheesy Clearwater FL sweatshirt at Walgreens.

A little more structure and a little more planning would have helped.

We enjoyed our free time. Enjoyed it a lot.

But there is certainly something to be said for more structure, not less. More oversight, not less. More planning, not less.

Makes us appreciate what we have right here in old St. Louis.