No Role Model Here – LiAngelo’s blame game

The recent arrest of LiAngelo Ball and other UCLA players in China for shoplifting has brought to the attention the insane polarization of this country and how even our common courtesy towards one another is dictated and driven by our political climate.

As most of you are aware, President Trump intervened on behalf of these college hoodlums that were arrested for shoplifting in a country whose laws are far more strict than our own.  These kids should have been rotting in a jail cell awaiting trial for their flippant disregard and disrespect for the laws of a country they were invited to visit as ambassadors for NCAA Basketball and UCLA, yet our President Donald Trump interceded on behalf of these athletes to bring them home.

LiAngelo Ball has subsequently withdrawn from UCLA to pursue his basketball dream in Lithuania due to the fact that UCLA indefinitely suspended him for his egregious actions while representing the university.  LiAngelo then further states that the ONLY reason that he thanked President Trump for intervening and saving his sorry butt was because UCLA made him do it.  He also claimed that the only reason he shoplifted was because the other two were doing it.  This kid has no regard for any rules and has no common decency in life.  He cannot take any responsibility for any of his own actions and continues to disrespect the very people who saved him from a very difficult self caused imprisonment in a foreign jail!  He should rightfully still be sitting there!

I do not care if you agree or disagree with President Trump politically,  he saved this kids future.

THANK HIM and MEAN IT!!!

If we cannot be gracious for something this significant due to political differences then we are doomed as a society.

What in the world has LaVar and Tina Ball taught their children?  The Ball family does not believe that rules apply to them, that they are better than everyone else and therefore do not need to follow them.

Social order is built on just that… ORDER.  Rules help create order.

My fear is this…  MY CHILDREN.

I have worked hard to teach my children gratitude, integrity, honor, respect, ethics, morals and hard work.  None of which the Ball boys possess.  Yet these athletes by the sheer grace of God have been given the opportunity to play ball and have millions of kids look up to them as role models.   (LaMelo Ball has over 2 million Instagram followers)

These are NOT role models!  These are hoodlums!  These kids represent the opposite of everything I have worked so hard as a parent to teach my children.  Sadly I hear from my son, “but dad, he is good ball player”  I DON’T CARE if they are the best players on the planet (which they are most definitely not!) , they are horrific examples for my children.

Sadly, too many parents will pay homage to them by purchasing the merchandise their father peddles from one conflict to the other as his boys and him are so good at causing.

As a parent, I choose to fight for the soul of my children and encourage them to support decent role models who deserve to have kids look up to them off the field before I let them talk about their play on the field.

 

Advertisements

Gratitude

journey

When we realize the power within ourselves to bring great people and blessings into our lives through the law of attraction we begin a journey towards realizing our full potential and bringing abut an incredible life. Our lives are a magnet with which we attract the very things into our lives that we focus upon. As we harness control of our thoughts and empower ourselves with the ability to focus on that which we desire we will be drawn like a magnet towards those desires.

Some will question immediately these statements without giving time to ponder the realities that are around them in regards to the fulfillment of this very analysis. Unfortunately many of our lives are filled with negative thoughts, people and energy. We focus upon that which we do not have instead of that which we do. We focus on problems instead of blessings. We spend our conversations on negative and depressing subjects instead of goodness and positive stories. Our news and media focus on the negative stories instead of the life changing and uplifting ones. Our movies are filled with violence, adultery, lust and deception. Depression is an epidemic and negativity abounds. The focus upon those issues attracts more of the same into our lives. Have you ever noticed that negative individuals tend to spread that negativity around and are often accompanied by others whom share that negativity?

Conversely, positive and uplifting individuals are magnets for like minded persons. Those people who focus on the good in life, their blessings, helping and lifting others and seeing the good in things are happier and always have the opportunities given to them. Doors are opened for these people. Its simple really why this happens, positive people attract others to them while negative ones repel them. The more people with whom you attract into your life, the greater the possibilities and the more doors that open. People enjoy associating with positive individuals, we all want to become like them as they reflect the happiness that is within them, happiness many seek to find.

If you want to see miraculous changes in your life, spend the next few months focusing on the positive and the many blessings in your life. Even the simple blessings will bring joy when we focus on what we have been given instead of what we want. Gratitude is fundamental to becoming the positive force in not only your life but in others as well. We will attract more positive people, energy and experiences into our lives as we focus upon the good in all things. Avoid negativity and negative people. See the positive in all things and you will find greater success in your life, both personal and professional. Focus on what you want to achieve, become and attain and you will find it as you eradicate the negative influences and attract the positive in all things into your life.

We are in control of our lives and success. No one else. It all stems from our choices, attitudes and gratitude. It’s a choice. Your choice. What will you choose? It’s your life, will you harness the power of the law of attraction and begin a miraculous journey towards your destiny?

“Our lives are what our thoughts make it” – Marcus Aurelius

Thanksgiving: More Than An Annual Event

Thanksgiving

As I reflected this past week upon the many blessings in my life for which I am deeply thankful for, I noticed many posts eloquently written regarding thanks and the things others are thankful for as well.  I thought about Thanksgiving and what it means.  It seems that annually we see an increase this time of year in people counting their blessings and in wanting to help others in need.  I wondered how long this feeling will last this year.  Will we make it past the 2nd week of January this next year?  Could we even maybe make it to February?  How about Spring?  How long will we remain thankful until we end up back into our old life and start focusing again on what we want instead of what we have?

I wonder what this world would be like if we could all spend an entire year focusing on our blessings instead of our wants.  Focusing on serving and helping those in need instead of focusing inward.  Spending our time in uplifting conversations instead of gossip and problems.  This past week leading up to Thanksgiving, nearly everyone I encountered or interacted with was pleasant, polite and in a cheerful mood.  Imagine what it would be like if we treated everyone like that on a regular basis, not just because of a holiday.

Being thankful and recognizing the blessings we have in our lives daily helps refocus our energy more effectively to be a force for good in our own lives, our families, communities, and nations.  Gratitude and being thankful for what we do have provides peace in our souls and provides a calm reassurance that things will be well in spite of sometimes seemingly difficult and insurmountable circumstances.

A truly thankful person does not boast of their thankfulness, they quietly thank God for the  blessings in life.  They are ones that others enjoy being around, they focus on good things in life and serve others willingly.   They are the ones making a difference in their families and communities, as they focus outward on others.

As we move towards the Christmas holiday and the season of giving, and receiving, may we spend our time being thankful for what we have been given and not on what gifts we want. As we say goodbye to another Thanksgiving holiday until next year, may we take with us the gratitude and thankfulness that we so abundantly shared with others this year and keep it with us daily and not just yearly.

Magical Meals – A Fathers Heartache part 11

IMG_20131125_3

The unlikely moments of school lunch are often the anchor to my children that keep us connected.  As many who have read this series knows that except in the most extreme circumstances, my ex does not allow my children to call me.  I am relegated to my one 4 hour visit per week and every other weekend, with exception to the scattered holidays we get together.  My time with my children becomes limited and often times painful for us as we are apart.  School lunch allows me the moments with my children to make up some of our lost time.  I travel 25 minutes from my office to their school as often as possible to spend 10 minutes with each of them sitting at the lunch table with them and all of their friends.  These moments are what I refer to as the magical lunch moments in our life.  Simple and short opportunities for my children and I to laugh and talk about school and what is happening.  Our time together seems to go quickly, yet these brief moments in time help secure our bond together. I live for the smiles I get from their shining faces when they see me standing in the doorway to the cafeteria waiting for them. They never know for certain what days I can break away from the office to have this time with them so it is always a surprise.

Over these long lonely years of missing my children, I have needed to search for the magical moments when I can make a difference for them in their lives, when I can show them how much I love and adore them.  Our school lunches together has been one of these magical moments I search for.  I learn so much about them as I sit and laugh with their friends at the table as we eat, they open up and tell me everything that is happening, they feel secure and safe, just like home.  I discover the games they play on the playground with their friends and how they treat others as well as how the kids at school treat my children.  I learn about the homework, the books they are reading and any issues with school and their sports.   I treasure these moments with them and the opportunity to connect.

Our mealtimes have become some of the most amazing opportunities to connect with one another as we sit around tables talking with one another.  My wife and I have found that our children thrive at the dinner table together. We talk honestly and openly about the things that are happening in our lives and it is an opportunity for our children, where they feel safe and secure in our home, to relax and truly open up to us.  The other day while sitting at dinner together, my dear wife asked Bridger and Londyn what they liked most about coming to our home, with no hesitation whatsoever Bridger responds, “this is family.”  WOW!  The emotions I felt as I tightened my grip on my wife’s hand under the table were overwhelming.  Finally!  I received the confirmation that what we have been doing has been the right thing and we were making the impact we have been striving so hard for all these years!

These opportunities to connect with my children have provided anchors to my soul to help me through some of the dark times when they are away.  This connection is what gets us through times like we enter now, as over the next month we will only have two 4 hours visits, 8 hours in 30 days of time together as a result of the holiday and weekend schedule and the conflict created with the holiday happening on my regularly scheduled weekend.  It is times like this when our school lunches become ever more magical, precious and all important.   The times that will anchor our souls as one.

FINDING JOY IN THE JOURNEY

Family - Beach

Finding joy in our journey here on earth at times can seem daunting as life’s challenges and obstacles can create sometimes seemingly overwhelming sadness, sorrow and depression. Overcoming this cycle many of us find ourselves in at one point or another in this life is key to finding that lasting joy we all seek.  It is upon learning, understanding, believing and then acting upon the belief, that we are in control of our own happiness and joy, that we can finally take control of our own lives. We can discover the true joy that exists and that we alone control.  Perspective, gratitude and focus are some of the most powerful tools we have at our own personal disposal to change our own lives and find Joy in the journey.  We alone control these tools, ones that can be used to change or destroy our lives.  The choice is ours and ours alone, no one else can control that choice but ourselves.

Perspective and how we view ourselves, others around us, the circumstances we find ourselves in and the world around is critical to the level of happiness and joy we can attain in this life.  By shifting our perspective towards a more positive outlook and looking at things from a broader view of the world we can eliminate much of our self doubt we encounter along the way.  We will discover as we look through different lenses that the most difficult of life’s events can be overcome and that these moments can make us stronger. We will gain wisdom, understanding and clarity as we widen our view with which we see things.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Gratitude provides us the opportunity in our lives to see the blessings we are given each day.  As we identify and write down the things we are grateful for our hearts and minds will be opened to seeing the positive in our lives.   It may be as simple as a shirt on our backs, a dry place to sleep, to our children and families.  Sincere gratitude for what we have in our lives and the blessings we are given, opens our hearts to recognizing that happiness does not come from no problems in our lives, it comes from our abilities to handle the problems we are given.  Epicurus said it best “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Be grateful in all things.

Focus is a fundamental key to finding joy in our lives,  The law of attraction is immensely powerful, we attract into our lives that which we focus upon. Finding a clear perspective in everything allows us to master this law of attraction and bring these things into our lives we all desire, for “man is that he might have joy.”  The things that we focus upon in life are the things we attract in our life.  If we spend our time and effort focusing upon the negative things that happen to us, our circumstances, or what we deem “unfair” we will attract more the those negative situations into our lives.  An individual who is sick and spends their time focused on the sickness, always seems to get more sick.  Individuals who focus on others, and service to others, are always surrounded by great friends while those that focus inward and their loneliness, find themselves more lonely.  A positive focus in life will bring about positive effects in our lives.  We master that where we spend our time and energy (focus).

Our lives are meant to be filled with happiness, joy and love.    We alone control our success or failure in these areas.  We are the captain of our own ship, the choices we make with our perspectives, gratitude and focus will determine the level of success in life we find.

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”  Steve Maraboli

My Hospital Visit with a Dear Friend

Image

I spent part of evening yesterday visiting with a lifelong friend in the hospital.  His stay was a short one, overnight, yet he works out of town and we don’t visit often, other than the occasional text message or Facebook correspondence. I have known this friend for over 30 years, back to our school days and our lives have crossed paths many times as life has taken us in different directions. I sent him a message Tuesday to let him know that I thinking about him and hoped that the surgery would go well. Late yesterday afternoon after he had gotten to his room he messaged me to let me know how we was. After exchanging a few messages he told me he would love to see me and to come up.  Without hesitation I told him i would be up to visit.

I live about 45 minutes away so the drive there provided me much time to ponder and reflect upon my friend and our lives.  As young men we were both very driven and motivated. Our lives were very similar and we shared similar dreams and ideas about our lives and our future.  The paths we took in life started on a very similar path, we graduated from high school together, we both left to serve missions for our church.  Upon returning we began school, working and started our families.  As life became busy as it often does, we would go years without talking only to run into each other and pick things up where they left off.  Friendships like this don’t ever die, they continue regardless of what life brings.

My friend and I reconnected years ago through a devastating and deeply personal loss of his.  I did everything that I could to be there for him and to help him while knowing I could in reality do nothing.  This was going to take a lifetime and all I could do is love and care for him,which I have tried to do yet I know I have stumbled in this area many times for him.  I wish I could have been a better support for him in his time of need.

We discovered as we reconnected the similarities in our lives with our struggles and challenges we had faced.  We each had very different and unique obstacles before us, yet the pain of divorce, the lies and the deception of ex spouses, the fight for our rights as a father and other challenges were eerily similar.  We handled these issues in different manners, we had grown apart in our social, political and religious views throughout this time when we hadn’t been around one another, finding ourselves in many levels on the extreme opposite sides of some of the most divisive issues our country is facing.

As I drove to the hospital I thought about the irony of this, here was one of my closest lifelong friends I have ever known.  This was a man that I knew without doubt or hesitation I could call on a moments notice for help and he would give me the last shirt off his back or his last meal to help me.  Our friendship has never been threatened or challenged as a result of our differing opinions and beliefs.  While visiting in the hospital we discussed briefly some of these explosive issues, ones that usually would cause extreme arguments, in this case we always respect the others opinion and agree that we will never agree on these issues. There were no arguments, only discussion as we talked about them.  The fact is that he has been one of the best friends I have ever known, certainly the most loyal.

As we talked, a comment he made resonated deep within me, it all revolves around compromise.  He said that if we were the last 2 families left on the earth and we needed to build a home for our families and we only had time to build one home, we would never agree what needed to be in the home, yet we would build one that would meet both of our families needs because our families needed it.  We are very similar this way, we will both put the needs of others ahead of our own.  We compromise.

Imagine the problems that could be solved with compromise, compassion and friendship.  The chasms that separate families, communities, friends, and this nation would all disappear with true compromise and placing others needs before our own.  To my dear friend I say, thank you for the time yesterday and for your lifetime of friendship.  There is no distance too great between those who care for each other.

A LABOR DAY SAMARITAN IN MAJESTIC WYOMING

Tetons

My wife and I love short weekend retreats.  Oftentimes we wake up in the morning and leave with no destination in place.  We have discovered many wonderful little roadside attractions over the last 4 years.  These wonderful trips have created amazing memories for us and opportunities to meet some wonderful individuals along the way.

This past Labor Day Weekend was one such trip.  My wife and I decided last minute to get away and go in a direction we had never gone together.  We headed for Wyoming and the Tetons.  We were excited for the much needed time together hiking and enjoying the mountains as we always do in a new and majestic setting.   We anxiously left home and headed for the Tetons, just us and our baby girl.

The trip took an unexpected turn as we neared our destination, we had arrived just outside of a little town called Afton, Wyoming about 80 miles from our destination when our Jeep overheated.  We sat on the side of the road as we waited for the engine to cool down then examined the hoses and radiator.  Strangely, nothing appeared to be broken so we filled the radiator up and head onward.  We overheated again, the sun had set and we were nearly 10 miles from Afton with our 8 month old daughter.

We sat on the side of the road for a few minutes as we contemplated our options.  We said a prayer for help and got out to look at the car again, wondering if we could fill up the radiator again to crawl into Afton.  As soon as we opened the hood,  a truck stopped by, this young man hops out and says “hi I’m Mike, can I help you?”  My wife and I quickly exchanged looks of relief and gratitude with one another as we graciously accepted Mikes help.

As we looked into the Jeep, we noticed that the pulley on the water pump had fallen off and water was coming out of it, we were not going anywhere!  Mike quickly pulled his truck around, hooked on a tow rope and pulled us into town and to a hotel parking lot.  This good Samaritan proceeded to walk into the lobby of the hotel with us to make certain there were sufficient rooms available,  After we checked in, Mike asked me for my cell phone number and told me that he would call me in the morning around 7 am to help us further.

Sure enough, the following morning Mike called as promised.  He told me on the phone that he would be there to pick me up in about 30 minutes.  Mike had made arrangements for the local auto parts store, which was closed due to the labor day holiday, to open up long enough for us to get a water pump to install.  Mikes friendship with the owner had made that possible.  After obtaining the necessary parts from an extremely kind and generous owner of the parts store, Mike and I headed to his office to verify the torque specifications for the water pump, then we headed to Mikes house to move some vehicles around out of the driveway so as to have access to his garage.

We then met my wife and daughter back at the hotel where we again placed a tow rope on the Jeep and towed it to Mikes home.  We proceeded to take out the old water pump and replace it.  Mike had to the necessary tools to make this happen.  We were unable to get the jeep into the garage, so we stood in the down pouring rain outside the garage as we replaced it, all the while Mike was urging me to stay in the garage to stay dry, I was unable to oblige that request as I was so humbled by this mans sacrifice and willingness to serve that I was going to be there assisting him on my car.

Graciously and humbly we thanked Mike for his extreme kindness, generosity and service to complete strangers.  Mikes example of service was truly an answer to our prayers the night before for help and assistance.  Mike sent me a text message hours later following up to make certain that my beloved wife had been able to see the Majestic Tetons for the first time.  He was more concerned about her and what she had hoped for on this trip than his time, inconvenience and rain as he helped us.  His unquestionable desire to help others provided a much needed service that we were in need of.  My wife and I will forever be grateful for his service to us in our time of need.

Thank you Mike and may God bless you and your family!  You are a remarkable example and a fine young man!