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How to Live At Peace (With Yourself)

I shared this on my Facebook page and figured it is worth sharing here as well. On March 11 of this year, my dad's oldest brother passed away and I journeyed back to my roots in the Midwest to see him off and to comfort my dad and cousins. This past Sunday afternoon I received news that one of my dad's sisters who was at the service passed away. A mere nineteen days separated their passings. Which makes four relatives gone in a seven month span of time. In between this both of my children were hospitalized one week apart from each other for a combined six days. On Christmas Eve, my son thankfully walked away from a car accident that left my former car in pieces.

I'm not sharing for sympathy or likes or shares or accolades or condolences or anything. And I'm not going to be cliché and proclaim, "Life is too short." Rather I would encourage anyone reading this to dispense with the BS as I have (if you have BS anywhere in your life), embrace the ones you love today, tomorrow and everyday thereafter until you no longer are able. Live a rich life. Make rich connections. Enjoy the little things. Don't get caught up in nonsense and shut it down when you are the source of said nonsense.

And...be sure to embrace the rough times too so they make you better and stronger rather than render you bitter and useless.

photo credit: anieto2k via photopin cc

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Ultimate Commuting: One Driver At a Time

When it comes to conservation of resources I am the pioneer my house. I am Mr. Eco-Friendly. I am the head-recycler the head hyper-miler, and the head of "Who left the lights on?" "Why is this hot water running?" and so on.

As recently as this past Christmas I was trying to bring the house down to one car household after my son was involved in a car accident that left my vehicle totaled and in pieces. I was mentally drooling over the amount of gas we could save and how much we would reduce pollution. My wife shot this idea down with good reason. We have separate commutes and separate lives during the day. It would've never worked, at least not peacefully. After all, we're not in New York City anymore. So I moved on and instead of replacing my SUV with another SUV I purchased a smaller, sleeker, faster and considerably more fuel-efficient vehicle. Although I am thoroughly satisfied with my new car I often wonder what would be like to carpool as I travel alone back-and-forth to work with the exception of dropping my child off to school. Alternatively, I often look at the empty seats that keep me company on my commutes and think to myself, This is such a waste. It would be so cool if I could be in a one-seat vehicle.

Well the folks at Toyota who are paid to think about these things have come up with an amazingly simple solution to my quandary. Check out the video below

Want to learn more about the Toyota i-Road? Click here.

What your thoughts on cost-efficient and environmentally conscious commuting?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.


Matthew McConaughey: Chasing After Your Future You

If 2013 was the Year of Restoration, 2014 is going to be the Year of Reparation. But I'll only be seeking reparations from myself. I'm seeking to repair all that the younger versions of me have done to create the current life I'm navigating daily. I'm so serious about this that I've got people helping me, everyone from a therapist to accountability partners.

A friend recently shared that he felt he was being punished for all his past mistakes. I heard him out, but I stopped him in his thinking and let him know although he may feel punished he is simply living out the consequences of his past decisions. And now is the time to fix the present to ensure the future.

Matthew McConaughey's 2014 Oscar acceptance speech has been making the rounds on the Internetz with commentary ranging from beautifully transparent to delirious, religion-soaked, self-aggrandizing rambling. Personally, I thought it was a sincere testimony to human frailty, humilty and majesty. That he could call out his thankfulness for the Grace that has been bestowed upon him, be driven to serve his children, then be in inexhaustible pursuit of the unattainable: you best future you (which means you're probably making a lot of other people's lives better along the way), is something to be thoughtfully considered and modeled in a world that, for a long time as of late seems consumed with nothing more than the self. What he could have said or should have said given the occasion is irrelevant. Whatever it was or was not as far as presentation is equally irrelevant. What he did say provided inspiration to the countless numbers of people who needed to hear that, right then and there in that moment.

I count myself as one of those many.

PS - there's nothing wrong with shouting out God, if that's what you believe.

photo credit: GabboT via photopin cc

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Is Marriage Designed To Make You Happy?

Is the institution of marriage designed to make you happy? Interesting question, right? One writer immediately comes to mind as an expert on this subject. If you take a moment to scroll through your mental slideshow, you will see imagery of marriage associated with happiness, no different that Coca-Cola is. Problem is, most married folks would argue down those images of happiness as anything from marketing fluff to fairy tales.

Happy marriages are populated by happy people. Framing it this way indicates that marriage is a construct within which two people operate/conduct their lives. So it is an operating platform rather than an emotion-stabilizer or edifier. In fact, I'll argue further that if you go into a marriage looking for it to make you happy, you will be sorely disappointed.

Tweet: Happy marriages are populated by happy people. A marriage by itself will never make you happy.

But enough about my thoughts on the matter. What do you think? Is marriage designed to make you happy?

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How To Be A Great Dad

You don't have to trick yourself into believing you are super to be a good Dad. You don't even have to strive to be super, or perfect, or make sure all the i"s are dotted and "t"s crossed. All you have to do is love your kids, demonstrate love and kindness to them, teach them right from wrong and be there for them when they need you. Teach them about life before they leave home. Don't think "They'll figure it out," because they won't until they cross paths with persons or experiences outside your home, your guidance, your beliefs which may lead them down a long, rough road. This is an inevitability, not a possibility Give them more than money and provision. Give them Dad.

photo credit: Fabiana Zonca via photopin cc

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Health Matters: Make A Healthy Impact In Your Community And Enter to Win $30,000

My daughter's godmother is an amazing woman. Aside from being a great friend, having a competitive and athletic spirit similar to my own and having one of the most robust laugh's I've ever heard, she's concerned about healthy eating. But her concern doesn't simply stop at herself or her immediate circle of friends. No, disappointed by the lack of healthy food choices at the bodegas in her neighborhood, she joined an organization that equipped her to go to these businesses to promote healthy food options. The last time we talked she had scoured her community, successfully convincing numerous business to stock their shelves with fresh fruits. I'm awed that she looked beyond herself to improve her community. But I know she isn't alone, neither in desire, nor effort.

All across America, caring people are quietly doing amazing things for the health of their communities. To say thank you, Health Mart pharmacists are awarding $50,000 in grants to community health non-profits to recognize them for improving health and well-being in their communities.

Entering is simple. Just tell your story about the good deed(s) you or someone you know has done, and you could win the right to select the non-profit of your choice to receive thousands of dollars to continue critically important work for the health of the community.

Health Mart’s Champions of Care Challenge will shine a bright light on those unsung local heroes whose everyday actions have built healthier families, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities.

  • A $30,000 grant chosen by the grand prize winner
  • A $3,000 grant chosen by the 2nd place winner
  • A $2,000 grant chosen by the 3rd place winner
  • $1,000 grants chosen by each of 15 finalists

Here’s How It Works:

Visit www.healthmartcommunity.com TODAY to nominate someone or yourself for the Champions of Care Challenge from Health Mart!

Beginning March 17th, 2014 Health Mart will open voting at www.healthmartcommunity.com for you and all your friends to vote for your favorite Champions of Care.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with the Niche Parent Network & Conference. All opinions are my own.

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6 Things I Learned When I Left My Phone At Home

Forgive the long delay between posts. I've got issues. For real.

In fact, I've always had issues (newsflash) but lately I've really got my sleeves rolled up and I'm working on them and discovering several more as I toil. So I'm busy, busier than normal, and I don't have much time to write.

It seems like everyday I'm stumbling upon incredible insights from particularly basic experiences.

Yesterday, I left the house without my mobile device. As usual I was hustling my daughter out the door to school to get her there on time. I made this discovery about two blocks from the house when my car wouldn't connect to my phone. Yes, now that I have a new car (I'm not yet ready to tell the story of how my son totaled my beloved truck on Christmas Eve 2013 and thankfully walked away without a scratch), and by new I mean brand new, I've become sucked in to the high in tech package that comes with it (that I negotiated off the price of the vehicle). "Why isn't my podcast coming on?" I asked aloud to myself, I really wanted to pick up where I was last from my previous drive in the car. I instantly panicked, doing a quick pat down of myself while driving. My search didn't produce the blocky bulge I've been accustomed to carting around in my various pockets and I sighed heavily.

"What's wrong, Daddy?" my baby asked.

I thought to myself and answered, "Nothing, baby girl. I'm fine."

I debated for another block or so that 1) I didn't have the time to turn around to get the phone; 2) my first day back to work after a week off from mild snowstorms and a company holiday I didn't want to turn back around after dropping my daughter to school; and 3) I didn't want to go all the way home on my lunch break just so I could have it in case someone called or texted me. I simply didn't want to have to go through the hoop that this particular morning was asking of me. So I simply didn't. Making the pledge that somehow, someway I'd make it through the day without my phone. I prayed that all would be fine with my kids for the day, making it unnecessary for any teacher or administrator to call me about the little one, nor would the big one need me for anything before the evening. When I got to work I emailed my wife to let her know I didn't have my phone and she'd have to email me or actually call me at my work number in my signature of my email if she needed anything.

And I kept it moving. My colleagues at the digital agency where I worked teasingly chastised me heavily for leaving a digital device behind. I shrugged my shoulders. Miraculously, I survived and then some. Here's what I learned: