Can You Spot It?


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When our children were toddler’s I used to say to my wife, if anything happens and you decide to leave, the kids stay with me. A few years later, when they were teenagers, I said to my wife, if anything happens and you decide to leave, the kids go with you! The philosophy governing my grandson’s status is very clear; Everyone is expendable except, him. A little humor can go along way to keep you sane.

WISDOM- knowledge you actually use

I revamped my internal operating system some time back. For many years I approached everyday without being deliberate. I accepted feelings, thoughts, and actions as the collective summation of who I am. I viewed shortcomings, deficiencies, and flaws as permanent spots. Weaknesses that I felt guilty about. When shame took root I had an abiding sense of fatality and impending doom! I learned; what you think about you bring about. Doggone these irrefutable laws!

Taking control of your life means you don’t just observe. You’re not just a bystander. You can influence yourself. Make an impact on your daily life. Create positive outcomes. You can literally like the person you are and the life you’re living. There will always be the distasteful to deal with. From irate customers to irresponsible drivers. Some unpleasant things will continue to offer you ways to use patience. I’ve been told I have all the patience I could ever need, simply because, I never use any of mine. (Proud to report improvement!)

RESOLUTION- a firm decision to do or not to do something

There are four things I insist on every day! The decision to make this a daily ritual is, arguably, the best gift I’ve ever given to myself. Any day I can, check these off my to-do-list, I declare a great day. Time to celebrate!

  1. The Sweet Spot – Laugh so hard your stomach hurts.
  2. The Soft Spot – Cry over someone else’s pain.
  3. The Strong Spot – Help make life better for another person.
  4. The Solidarity SpotRefuse to think  destructive thoughts about myself or others.

This is my unfolding story and I’m sticking to it!

One of my favorite quotes;


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Your family, friends, strangers, and service workers provide abundant touch-spots to exercise goodwill. I love to write the note of encouragement, make the call to cheer someone, or affirm a person online. Pay a compliment to a cashier, look a security guard in the eye when I greet them, and acknowledge people by name. Connection is a choice. You will never run out of chances to make someone’s day!

A moment is waiting to take your breath away.  Can You Spot It? 



The Elusive Mortarboard!

Do Over by LPCF On Vimeo

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It would be nice if I could say that I’ve kept every commitment I’ve ever made. I could say that but, of course, I wouldn’t be telling the truth. Some foolish, misconceived, and emotional vows had to be let go all together. And some well-meaning intentions had to be clarified. Other declarations required a do-over. I’m still longing to seize certain desires in the depth of my soul. (reasons for living)

There’s one promise, I made to myself, that has remained constant. I will forever be a student of life. My devotion for learning, understanding, and meaning has never needed motivation. Periods of despair, darkness, and confusion always succumb to the greater pledge of finding the light. From my childhood until now, I learn.

What I don’t know troubles me. I recognize it as fear. A carryover pattern from feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and something missing. As I’ve gained proper perspective, and insight into reality, I’ve been successful in eliminating dominating negatives. Self-defeating self talk, wallowing in self-pity, mourning a life I thought I should have had nearly caused me to miss my life.

The could have – should have – would haves of life can be thoroughly debilitating. The ever-present “now” is the ticket to paradise. It’s never to late to get it right. For yourself. For those you love. Simply because you can. Comparing is chaining yourself to a journey that was never yours. We are bombarded with ads, about 5000 a day, specifically designed to make us believe we, can’t be what we want to be, unless we buy what they’re selling.

Prom on

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Whether it’s designer shoes, the latest technology, or motivational roadmaps if we aren’t convinced of our own inherent value we are prey for the prophet profit. Financing the seller’s dream. Nothing wrong, in my opinion, with enjoying the best of everything. If you can afford it. If it doesn’t enslave you. If it doesn’t prevent the real you from emerging. The untold riches aren’t in what we get. They’re in what we give!

I didn’t make it to High School Graduation. I’ve always been sorry I didn’t attend the Prom. I hear it was a lot of fun for many. I haven’t walked across a stage to receive a Degree. A number of Certifications and Licenses has been my institutional achievements. I’ve devoured as many seminars, workshops, and courses I could manage. I’ve read hundreds of books. I’ve had the good fortune to be around people who inspire me. I’ve also experienced shyster’s, con artists, and gamers. Part of my higher education is being able to differentiate.

I’ve gotten over my lack of formal education much better than some have gotten over their B.S. I do have an appreciation for the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice for all those who spend years in the classroom. And use their acquired skills to make the world better. I also hold in high esteem, everyone who stays in school, outside houses of learning. When I see all the social chaos, lack of corporate integrity, and governmental corruption I know the wisest and brightest aren’t the most visible.

mortarboard on pixabay

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I do feel regret over academic shortcomings. Not because of what someone else might think of me. But, because of my love of learning. I will stay a student for as long as I’m alive. I hope to avoid my Cap and Gown for years to come. Part of my romance with life is keeping my mortarboard elusive!

What do you think about your level of knowledge?


A Belly Full!

FatCat by wackyvorlon on flickr

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Laughter is the best medicine. According to “A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. It boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.”

Feeling rundown? WebMD admonishes you to give your body a boost — with laughter. If people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off, says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and laugh therapist. (who knew) Having been a regular sit-down comic, performing for free over many years, I’m about to stand up and get paid. Laughter by itself might not be a cure-all. But working in concert with a positive attitude, the support of family and friends, a good sense of humor can pay huge dividends.

It is believed that we change physiologically when we laugh. William Fry, a pioneer in laughter research, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would reach after just one minute of hearty laughter. And laughter appears to burn calories, too. Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study and determined 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories. (Is this diet featured on Dr.Oz?) If I can bottle, and patent laughter, I’m gonna be rich. Oh yeah, carbs will still be a problem. Shucks, portion size does matter. Exercise too? Dang it!

Terminator by Paul Townsend on flickr

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I’ve been without a laugh before. I can attest it’s no fun. Personally, laughter has saved me, many times. A good old-fashioned belly laugh can transform you faster than two shots of 5-Hour Energy. (My own opinion. No supporting data available) More of my own insights reveal real life experiences, of deep laughter, can set you free. It’s also sustainable. Tip: Keep thinking about what made you laugh so hard. For as long as you can. Before you return to what occupied you before you laughed. Hey, if you don’t have your own plan use mine until you do. Just sayin!

The latest research also shows that laughter, humor, and happiness play a key role in longevity. My analysis is this; if you go around like you’re the designated bump on a dill pickle you might want to go ahead and make your final arrangements early. I know everything isn’t laughable. Certainly not to everybody. We were walking to a cooking class with our grandson when a bird, totally without regard for human life, did the unmentionable on his head. I’m not usually a hunter, but if I had Schwarzenegger’s machine gun, or even David’s sling shot there would be one dead bird laying in the street in downtown San Francisco. Our boy didn’t think it was funny. And it wasn’t. But his reaction was. I hid my chuckles the best I could.

I’m getting dressed one morning. With pants and shirt already on, I slipped into one sock when, the phone rings. I throw the other sock over my shoulder. I’m in a hurry but the person on the phone isn’t picking up on the signals. I finally escape Ma Bell only to find my other sock is missing. I conducted a thorough investigation before filing a missing sock report. I took the one sock off and put on another pair.

I head down the road and decide to make a quick stop at the store. I rush in, find what I want, head for check out. Standing in line something catches my eye. I look down to find the missing sock had mysteriously returned. I didn’t ask where it had been. I just reached up, graciously took it into my hand, and placed it in my pocket. My sock had come home. It was an intimate moment I desperately wanted to be alone with. Scanning my immediate surroundings, for possible intruders, I locked eyes with a woman who obviously had violated my wishes.

Missing socks by Casey Decker on deviantart

Image courtesy of Casey Decker via

Yes, she was laughing. At me! I had to laugh too. On the way out she asked me how long I had looked for the sock? I know it’s not nice to laugh at other people. And, if my intuition is correct, I’m too late to give you permission. You’ve probably  already had, a belly full, at my expense! Well, you’re welcome. Here’s to good health!

I invite you to share a personal funny in comments! 




Mirror Mirror!

man in broken mirror Jim Jackson

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Who doesn’t love a good nursery rhyme? I’m talking classics here. Remember, Wheels on the Bus? How about, Pat a Cake? Or, Humpty Dumpty? Ok, so I’ve dated myself. Maybe a little diddy from childhood conjures up warm memories for you. Times when you sat on the lap of someone making you feel loved, special. It’s quite possible you’ve performed some of your chart toppers, for the enjoyment, of your own child, niece, or nephew. Are you really going to try to convince us you didn’t have fun doing it?

I’ve had the best time making stuff up to sing to Jaden. Partly because I’m creative and partly because I don’t have many nursery rhymes committed to memory. Bedtime stories, when I was a child, weren’t a high priority at my house(s). Hey, everybody can’t have a storybook beginning. I mean, what would happen to the therapy industry? Self help wouldn’t even exist as a noble, life long, pursuit. Besides, Jaden likes my made-up tunes enough to request them. Alright. If you insist. I’ll give you one. Just one.

My little boy’s sweet as apple pie

A little bit bold and a little bit shy

But when he smiles from ear to ear  He brings me a belly full of cheer

Proper Application Required

man in mirror Tommaso Lizzul

Image courtesy of Tommaso Lizzul

Daniel Pearson posted about a Reddit thread he came across where people were revealing the most embarrassing thing they learned late in life. One person stated, I absolutely hated skim milk, as a kid. This is because I thought it was pronounced “skin milk.” I assumed pieces of skin were floating in the milk. Off by just one letter and a life sentence as a result. Through this article I learned that I have been misquoting “mirror on the wall.” Thankfully, I wasn’t totally devastated. Having obtained my right to order fro
m the “55 and over” menu, I’ve had lots of practice dealing with mistakes. Mine and yours, if I know you.

Hanging around long enough to be called a survivor has its benefits. I was totally prepared for the big reveal, you know. When I discovered the exact words, and that I had been saying it wrong my whole life, I paused. It’s what I did next that shows everyone my mastery. When I learned it’s not “mirror mirror on the wall” but “magic mirror on the wall” I was initially in disbelief. I considered making an appointment. Stretching out on the couch for more sessions. Ready to spend money to get over it. Then I heard my inner voice say, loud and clear; “you’ve got this.”

Let me explain. We’ve all been mirrorized (embellished word). We’ve been looking into the words said to us, the ones that cut us deep. We’ve interpreted the actions of people, who didn’t know our value, as settled fact. Some of us have incorrectly accepted less, thinking, we are unworthy of any better. Many have preprogrammed mirrors. Every time we look at ourselves we know what to expect. We adventure only to its allowable limits.

Strip and Reapply

babyinmirror   by noirta tsu

Image courtesy of Noirta Tsu via deviantart

Magic Mirror is the correct line in the fairy tale. I’m trying to be gentle here. I want to let you down easy. There is no magic mirror in real life. All negative affects from hurtful actions, self-inflicted wounds, or words of terror are commutable. Able to be permanently pardoned. Any and everything done from a misspelled perception can be undone. No life sentence required. All the junk is temporal. It ends when you’ve had enough.

We stand still and travel from fantasy to reality. Wayne Dyer famously instructed, “when you change the way you look at things – the things you look at change.” You owe it to yourself to own what you see, think, and feel about yourself. Not sanctioning debilitating opinions and behaviors from others. If you agreed with them you have probably sabotaged yourself. The next time you look in the mirror don’t ask the mirror to tell you anything. Tell yourself, the truth about what, you see!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall I am ___________________________!

Excellence And No Trouble!

It’s a big deal for me to walk my grandson to school everyday. It’s only about a five-minute stroll down a very busy street. I say the same thing to him every morning as we weave in and out of sidewalk traffic. I tell him; you know it’s going to happen. What Papa? I’m going to love you more when you come home than I do right now. Sometimes I get a smile and sometimes I get a frustrated, you tell me that everyday, Papa!school walk

If I could line up all the little boys in the world and pick the one I want to be my papa boy, I would pick you. I know Papa, you say that all the time. Guess I have to keep finding new ways to say the things I want him to know. When we get to the school he always gives me a big hug and says, I’ll see you later, Papa! I whisper in his ear, or look him in the eye, and say our secret theme!


I want Jaden to get the best education he can, and then, I want him to get over it. He might be learning some things that he will never use. For me, Algebra was a test to see if I would stay in school, and nothing more. It deposited a bad memory I’m yet to get over. If not for the nice young lady sitting next to me, helping me Jaden I can do itunderstand, I might have made a picket sign and went on strike. I can’t remember ever using algebraic axioms to solve life problems. But, I have solved many problems. I wonder if that’s the whole point?

It’s important that Jaden learn, as early as he can, challenges are daily occurrences. Developing a masterful skill set, capable of navigating the most troubled waters, is necessary. Take life in stride is the foundational message I’m trying to instill in Jaden. If you are prepared, even for the unexpected, you won’t be sidelined. Learn to take a punch. When knocked down, learn, how to get back up!


I find a big difference between challenges and trouble. Challenges, arise organically, and are a natural part of living in a world with other people. There are differing thoughts, customs, religions, and governments. We are challenged to respect one another. And, treat each other with dignity. Trouble? Well, that’s what we generally bring on ourselves. Talking when we should be listening. Playing when it’s time to be working. Complaining when we’re suppose to be resolving.

Most of our demons possess us when we develop bad habits. I know an exorcism is more dramatic than creating rituals that lead to a fulfilling life. Only we can decide whether we’re dealing with challenges or trouble. Excellence is the arch-enemy of mediocrity. And, excellence is always an option. No matter what! The problem with shooting yourself in the foot, repeatedly, is you eventually run out of toes.Jadenandpapa

Our secret theme is simple; Excellence and no Trouble!

What is your theme, mantra, or ritual that keeps you heading in the right direction?


For The Love Of Pajamas!

windowshopping by peter barr on

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Being on the outside, looking in, isn’t always a bad thing. Case in point; Window Shopping. Looking at stuff, without touching, smelling, or trying anything on is a way to save big. Of course, you won’t be able to parade around in designer trends or the latest fashions.


I have a friend. I won’t mention his name but, his initials are, Rick Dempsey. We share an affinity for shopping. Some have suggested that we are a couple of guys in touch with our feminine sides. As if shopping belongs exclusively to females.

I can tell you whether we felt stressed, depressed, or on top of the world we could shop. I’m definitely the better shopper. One time we went to Tijuana’ back when good deals, especially for leather, were worth the trip. On this bargain hunt we had another friend with us. Our guest and I negotiated respectable deals before we headed back across the border. Dempsey claimed he wasn’t looking for anything and didn’t make a purchase.


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It’s common for traffic to be backed up to get through the border checkpoint. There were merchants, including sad-looking children, knocking on the car windows trying to sell you something while you’re stuck in traffic. It takes a lot of self-control not to buy things. This day Dempsey failed miserably. He impulsively purchased an awful green colored purse. claiming his wife loved green. He believed it to be leather. It turned out to be pure vinyl. He tragically overpaid.

Oh yes! We were relentless. For the hour drive home we didn’t let him catch his breath. Laughing at him. Teasing him. Bad color, paid too much, and vinyl to boot. We get to his house and he proudly presents his prized purchase, in hope of redemption, to his wife. Her response was priceless. What made you buy that? she asked. I was thinking of you, he quipped. You can always use another purse, he begged. And you love green, he demanded. I don’t need another purse, she stated. And this green is terrible. Plus, it’s vinyl. I don’t remember how long I was on the floor but my stomach was sore from laughing for several days. Buy with your emotions and suffer the consequences. In retail and in life.

Make Certain!

Turnabout is fair play. It’s Christmas time. Dempsey and I are shopping at Nordstrom’s Rack, in San Diego. One last gift for my wife. We’d been shopping for hours. We combed the store and I was striking out. Money was tight. I was hoping to find an unbelievable deal for fifty bucks. We were about to reach the exit doors when I spotted the sale rack. Everything for $20.00.

I tore into it. Boom! 100 percent silk pajamas. Small and petite. The gods had smiled on me. I pulled them down and headed to check out. Feeling like once again I  had out done my friend. Did you find everything? the lady asked. Yes ma’am. This is my last gift. I’m done Christmas shopping two weeks early. I pulled out thirty dollars to cover the sale and tax when the lady said, that will be a hundred, seven dollars, and thirty-two cents.

There must be a mistake, I said. I got these off the rack that said everything for $20.00. I’m sorry, she replied. Somebody must have hung them there by mistake. Dempsey was just about to die laughing. I had bragged about what a good shopper I was. Displaying my discipline when he tried to get me to buy things. Saying, he knew my wife would love it. I held my ground until I came up with the deal of the season. He showed no mercy. Obviously holding a grudge. Relishing in his chance to get back at me for Tijuana’.

spilledmilk Joel Montes de Oca flickr

Image courtesy of Joel Montes de Oca via

The lady asked if I still wanted the pajamas. There was a long line. She said I’m sure your wife will love ’em. I didn’t have enough money. I pulled out a credit card and completed the transaction. My best buddy was choking on his retribution. Although Tina wore them they were not her favorite. They were cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and slippery too. If it’s not what it’s advertised to be it’s best to put it back. In retail and in life. 


Have you made any bad purchases?



Things That Make You Go Hmmm….

Define yourself or someone will do it for you. Actually, others will define you no matter what. But, if you define yourself you will always know the truth -RA

Three things that made me go “Hmmmm”:

  1. The day I realized the only thing I need is clarity.
  2. The day I understood forgiveness is not connected to worthiness.
  3. The day I became love I stopped looking for it.

    euphoria by h.koppdelaney on flickr

    Image courtesy of h,koppdelaney via

Please share what makes you go, hmmm.