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WSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, 2014, Annie the Adventurer!

WSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, 2014, Annie the Adventurer!

Often, we get what we deserve. How we live paints the canvas of our lives. Persistence pays off. Going for what we want usually gets us there. Persistence, dedication, patience, perseverance and faith foster success. It’s cool to see people live this way. It’s nice to see my offspring do so! Annie’s college journey has delivered her to the job she wants. Her graduation culminates a transition between childhood and adult life. Her dreams include adventure, motherhood and providing health care to others. She is one fun lady!

Looks like she made it!

Looks like she made it!

Perhaps coincidentally, the sweet kitten Annie picked out over twelve years ago took her last breaths recently. Tali gave us a lot of love. She will be missed. She stayed when others left. Perhaps her last mission was teaching me that when everyone else leaves, God remains.  What more could we need?

 

Wild things!

Wild things!

Tali is always home!

Tali is always home!

I see great things when I look through centered eyes. I see misery when I look through the fog of discontent. Details of conditions are mostly irrelevant. My mission is clarified: live a centered life. Be a ray of hope, a wave of optimism, a laugh in the night, a smile in the rain and a hand when it’s needed. Embrace spiritual connectedness. I hope you dance!

Nick and Zach

Nick and Zach

Life has been really good, in so many ways. Can it get any better than this?

Summer has blessed me with new experiences, which widen my smiles and broaden my perspective. I’ve delighted in new scenery on my street bicycle, feeling power grow in my legs. I promptly rebounded from a head-on collision on my mountain bicycle; thank God for pneumatic tires and pedal clips! Adjusting to the clips has involved two minor falls, but now I have a steady supply of power.

I’ve upgraded my fairway metals and a loft wedge and tried some new putters. So far this year I’ve played thirteen rounds and a couple of scrambles. Recently, that’s more than some five-year stretches! It is still frustrating, challenging, inspiring and befuddling. My first handicap in decades is 18.8, as the beautiful shots have been counterbalanced by the despicable, penalized and ridiculous. Trees, OB’s, traps, deep grass, lost balls, duck hooks and more. Golf is God’s direct line to my spirit. I think He plays too. Wine Valley Golf Course near Walla Walla made me beam like a kid on Christmas. By the seventh hole, I was delighted to realize that it felt like my favorite course ever! Treeless, rolling hills lead to smooth, fast and rolling greens. Putts roll perfectly and every shot pattern can work. Holes are well designed and maintenance is wonderful. I invite you to join me there soon! Friday’s fundraiser at Walla Walla Country Club for St. Mary Medical Center’s foundation was well-managed.  There are two ugly holes there, one with a blind approach and one with a blind tee shot. WWCC is also well cared for, but it reminds me, like so many things, that humans get smarter with time. The newer courses are often better, especially when space and site selection are not big limiters. Next weekend I’m scheduled to play Circling Raven in North Idaho (for the first time) and this fall I hope to return to Palouse Ridge in Pullman. That’s three of the best courses in the region, so I’m a very lucky guy! May the birdies be with me…..

Grand Luau at Honua'ula

Grand Luau at Honua’ula

In June Nick and Jaslyn and Annie and Zach and I all enjoyed our trip to Maui and agreed that it was a fun and memorable week, perhaps the best of our lives. For most of us it was our first trip to Hawaii. We loved the Maui Hill 3 bedroom/3 bath condo. It was the perfect way to enjoy paradise. Snorkeling with sea turtles was amazing. Boogie boarding each day on increasingly larger waves was so fun! Every morning I took coffee on the deck and savored the blessings of utopia. Our Luau was fun and entertaining, and Lahaina and Kihei offered interesting shopping. We also had fun in the pool and hot tub. We all hope to go back as soon as possible. The wood carvings of sea turtles and tikis remind us of our adventure!

Maui snorkeling

Maui snorkeling

At Rainbow Beach in July we were scorched by the weather. On Sunday morning, Annie and I turned our first paddle of the year into an epic experience. I thought it’d be a short outing and absent-mindedly forgot sunscreen, food, money and backup beverages. We remembered to bring some water and adventurous spirits. It was very fun, so we had paddled several miles, through the channel and well around the other lake before we decided to paddle the entire perimeter of both lakes. Like a marathon, the course seemed to get longer and longer! New bays appeared, each one bigger than we remembered. They are effortless in a power boat. On a paddle board, not so much.  Stroke or sit dead in the water. Luckily, I’ve done a lot strength training on my shoulders this year. With little recent paddle training, the standing became tiring to our feet, however, so we eventually alternated between standing, kneeling and sitting. As the temperatures rose, we had to jump into the water or douse ourselves more often. We were hot, tired and thirsty. Hey, we’ve been here before. We can do this! This is like a marathon! After completing the south lake and passing back through the channel, we faced a tough challenge. Our energy was spent and it was a lot longer path to complete circumnavigating, as compared to straight-lining to drinks, food and shade. Could we make it? Should we try? Are we in late-race delirium? In the end, we couldn’t envision doing it again later in the week. It needed to be done. Let’s do it! Ironically, as we neared completion of a large bay and turned back towards our cabin, the wind came up. In our face! I flashed back to marathon training runs. It was four letter word time! Somehow, we made it, over 4.5 hours after starting out. Spent, thirsty, hungry, sun-burned, hot and victorious. That was one tasty Coke Zero! A dip in the lake, some food and a long spell of shade: how sweet it is! The ensuing days brought water-skiing, which was as thrilling as ever and delightful huckleberry treats. Seeing loved ones in a vacation setting is sweet deja vu. It’s especially rewarding to see the good choices and growth in people’s lives.

Annie paddling North Twin Lake at sunset

Annie paddling North Twin Lake at sunset

I’m sitting in Nick and Jaslyn’s living room now as they slumber, along with Annie. I’m stoked that I got over eight hours of sleep and a bit curious how much they will get. We all lifted hard at the WSU Recreation Center yesterday evening, focusing on our chests and triceps. They are quite inspirational, and I needed it! Today we’re doing back and shoulders. Tomorrow? The world! Or try to intimidate Pat with some big drives. Maybe even in the fairway? Nick turned me on to inspirational videos and I’m stoked to better my core muscles, which will open more doors and make things easier and more fun. Fun! Yes! Bring on the fun!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. My role models!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. My role models!

Yours may be in June. Or not. I’m having one today. It may be the perfect day for it. To be clear, today is not as much about my privilege of being father to my children. I get those special days throughout each year, blessed with adventures, discovery and laughter with Nicholas and Annie. Today I’m thinking of my Dad, James Gilbert Erickson, the patriarch of this diverse clan I call family.

So it’s golf and gardening for me today. Pinochle too, if I can find it. NBA basketball would be right. I’ll dine on fresh asparagus and salmon later. My goal is to be a living version of my Dad! Well, if only I could have kept it in the fairways…..

Life deals hard knocks at times. Today’s round of golf played out like a microcosm of my life. I made three triple bogeys on the front nine. How? Value golfing! Why take only one chip on a hole when you can have more? Why play on the short grass, with clear paths to the greens, when you can easily find more challenge? Those trees were planted for a reason! Isn’t a circuitous life more enriching than a simple, straight line to success? Well, I’ve only had one path. The winding road has been fun! And hard. And depressing. And saddening. But enough of the tough. Today’s stark reality is that the triple bogeys are the good times. They are, after all, simply golf. Typically no blood or death. Besides, a tough time in life is still life. LIFE! The greatest gift of all? So I may have grown a bit today. After I’d chopped it around the first nine in 54 strokes, my newfound golfing friend remarked that he had more fun playing with me today than any of his other golf outings. I felt honored. Perhaps it was because I remained courteous, friendly and hopefully funny, despite the tally building on my scorecard. My highest score in over forty years was one of my most pleasurable days of the year. I was playing a game I love in perfect weather. I am a lucky man.

I parred our tenth hole, nailed a birdie putt after a sweet approach on the eleventh, and parred the twelfth. I was one under par for three holes on the second nine, after averaging double bogeys on the first nine (with no hole better than bogey). I was scoring as good on the back as I was badly on the front. The birdie was especially fun, but how I handle life’s situations is more important than what they are. I shot a pleasant 54 on the front and a grateful 40 on the back. So am I a hacker or a pretty good golfer? Attitudinally, I’m getting there. We’ll see what happens with the scores. Maybe there’ll be more birdies. Like the hawk that tried to scare us away from its nest today. That’s a double birdie day!

What if I know of real solutions for affordable health care, but nobody listens? What if I know of a simple cure for some types of depression, but no one hears me? Stress reduction? Better health? Peace of mind? Contentment? Freedom?

Maybe we all have to figure them out on our own, in our own time. It’s cool that the answers are real and widely available! They’re almost free, yet priceless. I hope you agree, in the most real sense of all, via actions. Live well!

Smiles create smiles!

Smiles create smiles!

Once again, I choose happiness! My mind is still blown by the reality that it’s simply been a choice all along. No luck, no waiting for it to come. Just choose it now. Now! “Later” is just more talk. I love that many people keep reminding me of this free choice, because sometimes I forget, and happiness is way more fun!

Sure it takes practice. A pattern of negativity, whining and pouting doesn’t morph into refreshingly optimistic gratitude in an instant. Good things come to those who persevere!

I can’t deny that there are always beautiful, impressive, awe-inspiring things, thoughts, people, places and events wherever I am. The stark reality is that whether I appreciate and richly experience them is limited or enabled by my mind. My attitude, my openness, my closed-mindedness, my willingness and my awareness levels are key. Living fully is an option for all of us.

It’s not their fault or credit that you’re the way you are. Whatever, whomever and whenever. They can define you. Or not.

It’s a great opportunity!

What a bunch of blessings!

 

Coeur d'Alene in May. How will Portland go?

Zach’s mountain biking/proof of cross-training photo wouldn’t upload. I have no idea if that’s a sign. Here’s Annie and Frank after Coeur d’Alene in May. How will Portland go?

It’s almost time for another big test. Portland’s marathon eerily feels like going home. But I’ve spent almost no time in Portland; I’ve passed through several times heading to the beach and once caught a plane there for the 1998 Rose Bowl game. I truly believe that “home is where the heart is.” So I feel at home when I’m with family and friends, especially when at places overflowing with fond memories. Martin Stadium and all of Pullman will always be my home, as will Othello Golf Course, Twin Lakes, the Erickson farmstead, Bennington Lake, Bloomsday, St. Mary Medical Center, Eagle Cap, the Selkirk Mountains and many other places. Any new place with family and friends quickly feels like home as well. It’s a matter of the heart.

I know some cool people headed to the Portland marathon this year. I’ll be traveling with two of them, Annie and Zach, and I may run into some of the others. But I may not. It may be beautiful weather, but it may not. I may feel strong and run well, but I may not. It’s a mystery, yet to unfold. But I think I’ll feel at home. Even if Annie and Zach weren’t going, I think I still might. There’s something about large gatherings of energetic athletes that fires up my soul. I’m learning to feel the kinship all people can share and it makes my journey more enjoyable. Maybe everywhere is home!

I just keep getting higher! Maybe it’s in my nature. How lucky can you get?

On top of Eagle Cap, with Lostine River Valley in the background.

On top of Eagle Cap, with Lostine River Valley in the background.

Annie and Linda and I hiked at least 28 miles over our three-day weekend. On Friday we hiked to Upper Mirror lake and pitched my new tent at a heavenly campsite, with views of Mirror Lake, Upper Mirror Lake, Eagle Cap Mountain and the Lostine river valley.  Annie was so excited to become a certified mountain woman!

My new tent saved us a couple of pounds of weight to carry!

A new tent saved us a couple of pounds of weight to carry.

We had a day to play while the rest of our group hiked up on Saturday, so we headed for the summit experience. Sunshine, exercise and smiles filled our day.

Like father, like daughter!

Like father, like daughter!

Do you think she likes it? I might call her Annie Adventure!

Spirit lady blossoms again!

Spirit lady blossoms again!

Gary and Laura and Chris joined us for a Saturday afternoon hike around the Lakes Basin before Mark and Georgia and Isaac arrived in time for dinner.  We shared tales and bright stars before sleeping hard and hiking to the summit again the next morning. We encountered more beautiful sunshine and then a few clouds.

Sunday morning service, Wallowa Mountain style!

Sunday morning service, Wallowa Mountain style!

Some of our lucky party were experiencing their first overnight backpacking trip ever. This wonderful place creates lasting memories!

Permasmile!

Perma-smile! That’s the Matterhorn on the right. I hear the view from the top of it is perhaps even better. Let’s go!

What better way to raise kids than this? We can do amazing things when we believe that we can. If we learn this early in life, how much more might we do?

4,000 plus feet of elevation gain over ten miles while carrying overnight packs? Kid stuff! Mark, Georgian and Isaac rock!

4,000 plus feet of elevation gain over ten miles while carrying overnight packs? Kid stuff! Mark, Georgia and Isaac rock!

What a life! Everywhere we looked we saw beauty. Can we apply this to everything we do? It’s there for the seeing; it’s just a little easier to notice in places like this!

Bring on the fun!

Bring on the fun!

Any guesses what’s next? Suggestions?

Living fully!

Living fully!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat.  How sweet it was!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. How sweet it was!

Nick made me eggs and hash browns, one of my very favorite breakfasts today. It was awesome! Annie’s celebrating Zach’s birthday with open-water swimming and hanging with Zach’s family. How cool! Like any weekend, I had about 400% more ideas than I have time to fit in. But it’s all good! I’m watching some U.S. Open golf, remembering wonderful games played with my Dad in years gone by. We had some great competition, and memorable times. Now I’m enjoying hackysack, bicycling, running, standup paddling, weight-lifting, skiing and swimming with my kids, among other things. The activity is much less important than the chance to spend fun times together. I’m one happy father! I love you kids!

My Dad taught us much about family, honesty, commitment, nutrition, willingness, priorities, love, kindness, adventure, gratitude and fun. I love you Dad!

Beautiful Annie savors God's incredible art!

Beautiful Annie savours God’s incredible art!

Can you train for a marathon by bicycling? Well it’s surely fun to try! I believe riding can be a key part of a wellness program. My heart desires variety, so I won’t be changing into a bikeaholic. But it’s fun!

That's me, enjoying incredible blessings!

That’s me, enjoying incredible blessings!

Annie’s husband Zach joined us for a ride in our favorite playground, around Bennington Lake. We pedaled our bikes from home to get there.  We are so lucky!

Zach refreshes with iced lemonade.  Yummy!

Zach refreshes with iced lemonade. Yummy!

I haven’t run for over two weeks, since the Coeur d’Alene marathon. Annie and I are trying to heal our foot injuries, before embarking on more running in preparation for the Portland marathon on October 6, 2013. It’s reputed to be an incredible experience. We have not been lying around getting lazy. Lots of biking, paddling, weight-lifting and other activities have kept us busy.  We’re loving bicycle season!

Technical riding is fun!

Technical riding is fun!

We tend to mix in single track riding, where we don’t prefer to race, with fast gravel road riding. It gives us a nice blended experience and chances to work on technical skills and cardio-vascular training. Neither of us prefer too much speed on the single track and the gravel roads allow side by side talking while riding.

Lost in time, in the zone...

Lost in time, in the zone…

Annie’s plotting her first ever open-water swim race this weekend. I think I’ll dust off the golf clubs, if I’m not too busy biking or standup paddling or ???? Life is so fun!

Wild thing!

Wild thing!

Thank you Lord for these amazing days! They just fill our hearts with joy and blood flow! Yay!

Biker chick. She loves it!

Biker chick. She loves it!

Nick and Jaslyn

Nick and Jaslyn

My son Nicholas is graduating from high school this week. What a wonderful time to reflect on what has been. It’s a great opportunity to consider what might be. Ultimately, it’s still most important to simply be!

Nick is better prepared for life in some ways than I was at his age. He is less ready in other ways. I have complete faith that he can handle whatever his life brings. I am excited about the paths he chooses to follow.

How will our lives become richer through this time of transition? I trust that Nick and I will learn much as he ventures out of the nest. Will he return to share the joy and knowledge he encounters? I hope so. Ultimately, my greatest hope is that he uses these gifts: faith, friendliness, fortitude, adaptability, appreciation, curiosity, hunger and desire.

I wish the same for you and I.

My First Marathon.

Go Annie!  🙂

It’s my choice!

I loved running the St. Patrick’s Day 10k footrace in Kennewick yesterday, for many reasons. It was fun to start strong and fast. My ego enjoyed passing some people along the way. My pride loved watching Annie finish with the best kick I saw, to beat out a woman who sprinted in her attempt to hold Annie off. I fed off the energy of hundreds of healthy people, assembled to celebrate the spirit of competition. I was inspired by the finely tuned bodies of the fast runners. I realized that the harder I work at it, the stronger I get, the faster I run, and the better I feel. This applies to so much more than running!

I choose to be strong, healthy, optimistic, adventurous, playful and fun. I choose effort, mental toughness, dedication, persistence and faith. I embrace challenge and resistance, just as I accept wind and rain. My spirit will soar like a sail on the sea, an eagle in flight, or a racer engaged. I will use healthy fuels to run faster, think more clearly and explore more widely.

I will enjoy this amazing gift of life, in the fullest way I can muster. I hope I always stay open to better and better ways to live!

St Pat's 10k 2013

Parasailing Frank

That’s me!  I’m a youngster, because I feel that I am. If I’m lucky, there may be time for being old later. If not, such is life. This youthfulness is really fun!

Stretching. Massaging. Toning. Pushing. Re-fueling. Resting. Meditating. Letting go. Researching. Imagining. Believing. Embracing. Accepting. Observing. Staying the course. Helping. Loving. Feeling. Joining. Solving. Releasing.

Joy! Beauty! Love! Excitement! Passion! Challenge! Desire! Success! Freedom! Blessings!

Kindness. Compassion. Gratitude. Sharing. Being.

Life is new, fresh and full of mind-boggling possibilities! Spring has sprung again, in a place that is dear to me: my soul!

Happy new day!

I had a good day at work. It came with some stress. I had a GREAT evening at the gym. It yielded a wonderful endorphin high! That’s only after pushing through five tough miles on the treadmill, with a progressively faster pace and an incline. The best things in life are not easy, but they are so very worth the effort!  🙂

These legs are made for running!  Lips? Must be for kissing! Arms? Hugging, holding, lifting, swinging, etc. Eyes? Beholding beauty, seeing the way. Nose? Smelling delightful foods, flowers, etc. Hands? A wide gamut, including massaging, cooking, recording, feeling. Tongue? Well, you get the idea…

Living fully is a broad topic. Perhaps encompassing all of our time and all of our being. It may be described by the intensity of the feelings it conveys. Born of faith, raised by curiosity, fueled by intrigue and married to love, fullness suggests discovery, adventure, challenge, risk, dedication, accountability, honesty, forgiveness, appreciation and flexibility.

We’re left to find our own ways. The clues are everywhere. How does it make me feel? When do I feel truly ALIVE? Not just short-term feelings, but long-term healthy vigor. Wellness of spirit, mind and body. What steps lead to a path of fulfillment? Which sacrifices pay us back in overwhelming abundance of energy, strength, vitality, endurance and passion? Which roads lead to the person we’re truly meant to be? Who am I? When I find me, will I then find my truest and deepest joys? I am convinced the answer is yes, as the joy along the way has been tremendous!

Where does this path lead? I don’t know, but the view is amazing!

DSCN4884

It’s an exciting time to be alive! We read and hear so many interesting things. I sense that the biggest challenges give rise to the most amazingly inspirational people! Sometimes life seems surreal, or fantastically unbelievable. Feeling love, in its many forms, for people, activities, God, beauty, nature, achievement, adventure, excitement, creativity, music, food, meditation and more, can be awe-inspiring. It leaves me happy, peaceful, satisfied, invigorated, inspired, challenged and amazed, at various times. Perhaps this is the meaning of life: finding, enjoying and sharing these loves. Can there ever be too much of any of them? Perspective pollinates the blossoms of our souls. We get it from each other, when we’re ready, willing and able. Openness is beyond ego, greed, fear and blame. It’s kin to willingness and humility. It’s the best way to go. Thanks for being in the know and inviting me to the show! Let’s show God how grateful we are!

It’s really fun to keep on trying to find my way! This amazing gift of life feels more precious than ever now. No doubt it always has been, so what’s the difference?

My need to surrender grandiose illusions of control is spotlighted regularly.  So is my wish to passionately live the fullest life I can muster. For now, I reconcile the two by searching my soul for ways to live well, then practicing release of the pull to control results.

I’m striving to serve co-workers, balancing priorities and accepting that the bureaucracy will often go against my wishes. C’est la vie!

I’m engaging in regular exercise, signing up for competitions and listening carefully to my body. It will tell me what it can do. It tells me when to mix it up, take a break or hit the gas!

I read blogs and books to expand my thinking. I don’t know how enlightened I’ll become. It’s a fun journey!

I like waking up from a recent recurring dream: I’m throwing a long pass in a football game. Did I throw well? Will it be caught? Does it really matter? I’m throwing deep! Yay!!!

Belief.  Spiritual centering via faith.

Acceptance.  Honesty, letting it be, without spiritual disruption.

Love.  Emotional maturity, embracing the beauty in others.

Adaptation.  Accepting powerlessness, optimizing our power.

Nurturing. Ourselves first, via diet, rest, inspiration.

Commitment.  Intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally.

Exercise.  Today = 70 minutes level 9 intervals = 305 floors.   🙂

Annie and I hiked up Badger Mountain yesterday. We were considerably later than expected, as we should have expected. Isn’t that the way life goes? All of the reasons we were late were awesome!  We had great fun picking out shoes and “The Stick” with Heather at REI; she is so helpful and fun! Then a delicious Thai Spice lunch, with green curry and spicy chicken and vegetables:

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Then we restocked at COSTCO. Ever try racing through a crowd? So it was 4:15 before we left the car to tackle the mountain.  Here’s how fun it was:

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The mountain adventure fired our spirits! I’ve been getting increasingly stoked about running and other adventures! Thank you Heather and Annie! Annie was much stronger climbing the mountain than me; I was breathing hard trying to keep up. Then she started RUNNING up the mountain! She may be a little more ready for the Badger Mountain Challenge than I am, but I’ll be there and I’ll be fired up about it!  Here’s what adventures like this do for my spirit:

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The view just gets better as you climb the mountain, of course.  If you are blessed with delays, you might even get smiled upon like this:

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The sunset was magnificent! Pictures can’t begin to do it justice. We made if off the mountain, in the dark, around six o’clock.  Going with the flow gifted a wonderful show!

What if I soar, right out that door?

What if I fly, all across the sky?

Why should I miss such a delicate kiss?

Why pass by another endorphin high?

Perhaps I will smile at Ms. Grumpy-head;

maybe it’s time her spirit is fed!

Shall I serve Mrs. Pain-in-the-ass?

Provide her with help, in lieu of more sass?

How to get through to Mr. Know-it-all;

what if he’s me?  Can I take that fall?

If pessimism rears up and darkens the day,

what will I do?  What will I say?

What about dismay?  What of despair?

How will I become a breath of fresh air?

Will I bring joy?  Will I spout love?

Riding a spirit sent from above?

I’ll try, yes I will, it’s the best plan I’ve found!

If I miss it a bit, I’ll do better next round!

A day in the life of the Shankster

I tackle the challenges that keep streaming in

to an electronic in-box that measures my wins,

since our mission is worthy: we help people heal.

Addressing co-workers, I try hard to peel

back the layers of pessimism, contempt and dismay

while laughing and joking and mixing in play.

Extra stress builds up, so I head to the Y,

Striding and lifting and stepping to highs!

I’m inspired by soreness, I feel that it’s good.

It promises muscles that work as they should.

Depleted, yet smiling I seek out some chow

Delicious re-charging that sweetens the now.

I spar some with Nicko, in words or in play,

his spirit’s a bright spot in almost every day!

I move off to blog world to see what you’ve found

blissfully noticing my feet on the ground!

I will smile today. Over and over again! It’s a great plan; I borrowed it. I’m supposed to pass it on to you.  Will you take it please?

🙂

It’s never been more clear to me that attitude is everything.

I can always find many things to be grateful for. It is gratitude that carries me to happiness. Making a gratitude list has rescued me from despair, discouragement, loneliness and the like.  It’s medicine for self-pity.

I can always find many things to complain about. I can choose to be disgruntled.  That’s a silly way to live.  We only get so much time. I want to enjoy mine!

I can choose to live in happiness. It should be an easy choice! I haven’t always had this clarity. I’m so grateful to be grateful!

I woke up again!  Yippee!  I’d dance around the house, but walking is hard.  Judging “good” or “bad” is truly beyond me.  How would I know?  I’m just me.  That’s freeing.  No pressures, just opportunities.  How to see them all?  Both opportunities and the myriad of ways to respond to them.  How to choose well?  How to expand awareness?  Culture wellness?  Open new ideas to polish older ones?  Humility, variety, discovery, adventure, curiosity, surrender, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness and acceptance?

Happy new day!   🙂

We are offered unlimited life paths, with so many forks in our roads.  Bountiful chances to stray, play, grow and show just who we are.  These choices define exactly who we are.  If we truly accept that we do indeed have all these choices, and believe that we can follow any path we like, we are free in spirit.  When we search our heart and soul to discover who we really are, we can make conscious choices to follow our values.

I had to start with empowerment.  Conscious or not, EVERYTHING we do is a choice.  How powerful!  So I am responsible for who I am.  No one else did it.  They did do everything they did.  I chose, often passively, reactively, irrationally, emotionally, defensively, selfishly and/or irresponsibly, how to respond or act.  These are lessons, whether I learned them or not.  They tend to repeat themselves.

So the troubles I’ve faced resulted from choices I’ve made.  Likewise for the sobriety, growth, peacefulness, acceptance, joy and gratitude.  I know in my heart that when I make the best choices I can, with as much faith, honesty and humility as I can muster, life will go better than if I reverted to making choices based on greed, pride, lust and fear.  The details make the story fun. Every step we take is on the biggest stage of all.  It’s almost always “take one.”  There are few Mulligans, do-overs or re-takes.  It seems like a good idea to be on our best behavior!

Frankly speaking, here are some of my beliefs:

  1. I can’t turn chocolate into muscle!
  2. Variety really is the spice of life!
  3. Our ideas and actions can inspire others.  Your blog posts inspire me!
  4. Belief, or faith –> positive change.
  5. Inspiration + action = success.
  6. Success –> more success –> synergistically better life!

Hi Mary!  I want you to become pregnant, but no sex, okay?  It’s a little faith test for you!

I guess my trials are not even worth mentioning…..

So…..MERRY CHRISTMAS as well!

Belief.  Faith.  Trust.  Confidence.  How self-limited are we?  Some of us do amazing things.  Are all of us capable of so much more?  What evidence do I have to support any claims?

Well, let’s consider physical achievement.  Obesity is a widespread health problem.  Do some of us feel that physical health is beyond us?  Other people can complete Ironman triathlons.  Were they destined to do so, or did they simply believe in health, practice healthy habits, continue to believe, and dedicate themselves to their chosen course?

Some amazing singers have jumped to the big time stage from shows like American Idol.  One day they’re a normal person with a normal life.  In a very short time, they become big stars.  They believed in their dream and found a way to make it happen.  I’m guessing many performers with even more talent have never become famous.  That’s just fine, if their path is what they wanted.

Many of us have big ideas about how to improve society.  It’s a bit tricky trying to control how others conduct themselves.  But we certainly can have faith in our own ability to live our ideas.  If they’re good, perhaps they’ll be contagious!  If I think the answer to the world’s problems lies in love, then I can practice loving!

There are thousands of impressive rags to riches stories.  Are the ones who succeeded simply the ones who never stopped believing and worked persistently?

I like to do a variety of things in life; perhaps variety really is the spice of life!  Does this lack of specialization prevent me from becoming great?  Perhaps, but should it be used as a rationalization to be less than my best?  Can I write something better than my best so far?  Can I work out just a bit harder, or in new ways?  Can I serve people better?  Can I listen more patiently?  Can I make tastier and healthier meals?  Can I seek out exciting adventures?  Can I do my best in everything I do?   Can I inspire others?  Can I find inspiration from their masterpieces?  Can we work together to do even more amazing things?  Look at what people have done so far!  They’re people like you and me.  Creative, open-minded, resourceful, inspired, dedicated, faithful, persistent, strong and loving people.  That sounds like us!

What a great way to celebrate the winter solstice: building muscles and watching a classic movie.  The common theme is ass whippings!  After work, I stopped by the gym to do leg weights and spinning.  I’m either building muscles or becoming a sadist. I hope it’s the first option!  Who does Bulgarian split squats for entertainment?  Leg presses for pleasure?  Why should dead lifts bring smiles to my face?  Why am I grinning after adduction and abduction?  Joyful lunges?  Is this perversion?  Or is there a wonderful secret hidden here?

Captain America was very fun to watch again!  The good guy wins!  It’s sad that he slept through his dream date, but the beauty of the romance before the preempted dance painted a masterpiece.  The joy of the chase!  Captain Steve was a great guy who won the heart of the soulful woman by being the best that he could be.  I LOVE happy stories!  Who needs more depressing examples of how not to live?  I love sagas that show good morals, positive living and faith!  It pleases me to see that sometimes, good movies are still made.  The Avengers is another one.  Maybe I should watch it again now!

Emotions can be like a roller coaster.  What if someone asks “how are you doing?”  Do you give them an automatic answer, or an honest assessment?  If you’re honest, do you give an emotional answer?  Or use a thoughtful awareness of the overall trends in your life, such as focus, open-mindedness, wellness, compassion, integrity and achievement?

I sense that things are going very well in my life.  I’m single, so I don’t enjoy the emotional highs of being in love.  I’m sober, so I don’t have the intense highs of drugs.  My kids are leaving the nest, so my focus is changing.  Yet I sense that I’m wiser, better conditioned, calmer, more centered and more accepting of who I am.  I have nostalgic moments, but I’m not losing myself in them.  I aim to do the next right things, striving to be the best possible version of myself.  I have faith that whatever else happens will thereby be good.

I went to a Christmas party this evening.  It was fun to enjoy the camaraderie, good-natured kidding, great food and friendly people.  Will my fire burn brightly?  Perhaps it depends on how well I prepare the fuel!

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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