USE PEOPLE WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

Let us be clear right from the start, I am not advocating using people in any negative form whatsoever. Quite the opposite. When we are finished with our brief time here together, I think you will have a new appreciation for what ‘using people’ can mean. To illustrate, I would love to share two personal stories of mine with you. The first involves a very early childhood friend. Let us call him Andy because, well, that is what his name was. He was one of my very first good friends. I am thinking somewhere near the age of 3 or 4. I remember he had bright red hair and that we pretty much did everything together. Then, in second grade, he moved away. We never exchanged addresses or phone numbers. To this day, I do not even know what happened to my early childhood friend.

I could blame my lack of thought regarding Andy on the fact that I was only 7 years old. You don’t really think too much about the future when you are that age. That would be fine, except one little problem. Take a look at the picture above. That is a picture of mine and Margie’s friends Curtis and Danie, with their son. They used to run a coffee shop/cafe in town. Both very nice people and I am sure their son will be an outstanding gentleman as he grows up. This wonderful family moved out west to pursue their dreams for their future. Here is the ironic thing. Before they left, Margie and I were saying how much fun it would be to spend some time with them just relaxing and doing fun things. Every time we saw each other, we would say something like, “Yes! Let us set something up!” All of our lives were busy, and sadly, that moment never happened.

Unlike my story with Andy, we at least are able to keep track via social media. In fact, as I wrote this, I messaged Curtis to let him know I was writing something about him. It would seem that I have learned little or nothing in the 40 years since my friend Andy moved away. Before you judge me, ask yourself one question. How many times have you said to yourself, “Man I wish I would have _____ with that person. Now it is too late.” This can hold true of people who moved away or even people who have passed on. We look back and think of how foolish we spent the time that we had with them. That is not to say every second has to be be planned and accounted for. Sometimes, the goal might just to be fully present and focused on enjoying time with someone. Taking time to enjoy their jokes, their voice or the way they look at a certain situation.

I encourage you to think of someone who is important in your life. How can you better use the time with them? Is there a certain activity you wish to do with them? Maybe it is as simple as spending a quiet dinner just slowing down and enjoying each others company? It may seem like work to rearrange a schedule and make things happen. Do you know what is even more work? Living with the weight of regret that you did not make the most of people and moments when you had the chance. I advocate using people. Use them to show love. Use them to show how much you care. Use them to create wonderful memories with. Use them to show your appreciation for the wonderful humans they are. Use people…before it is too late.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT TODAY🌞

How many of these things could you accomplish today? Refuel your soul. How do you do that? It can be as simple as a walk in nature with someone you love. Time with just a good book and a glass of lemonade. Simply avoiding the harsh news and realities of the world for a day.

Be grateful for your blessings. We have covered this one several times in this site. Gratitude has life transformational qualities. There is always something to be grateful for. A few years ago we did a monthly grateful exercise. We are coming up on a new month, so why not get your practice in today?

Take a deep breath and relax. In our go,go,go world, we have lost the ability to have quality relaxation. I’m guilty of this. With 7 jobs i pursue, there is seldom a moment off. This is why learning how to make those moments quality ones is so important. Plus, researching the best way for you to relax can be fun!

Spend time with family, friends and a good cup of coffee. When you do this, keep the conversation positive. Don’t waste time discussing politics and other topics that can create stress. Spend the time encouraging and lifting each other up. Enjoy the smiles and the love.

This Sunday, recreate and recharge yourself. You deserve it!

LEARN FROM MY REFLECTIONS

TODAY MARKS 3 WEEKS SINCE MY CRAZY HEART SURGERY. MY PATIENCE WITH GETTING BACK IS WEARING THIN, BUT NOT MUCH I CAN DO. I USE A LOT OF TIME IN REFLECTION. AS WITH ANY CHALLENGE, I ASK MYSELF “HOW CAN I USE THIS?” THIS INCLUDES THINKING OF THE LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED. I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A FEW WITH YOU.

AS I MENTIONED, PATIENCE IS A LESSON I’M LEARNING. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I CAN BE PATIENT WITH, BUT FEELING BETTER ISN’T ONE OF THEM. I USUALLY TRY EVERYTHING TO GET BETTER AND GO WITH WHAT WORKS. THIS CAN INCLUDE SUPPLEMENTS, DIET,EXERCISE AND A MILLION OTHER THINGS. WITH HEART SURGERY, ALL YOU CAN DO IS WAIT. PAINS COME AND GO, YOU CAN’T REALLY DO MUCH WITHOUT RUNNING OUT OF BREATH. THE DOCTORS TELL YOU “THAT IS NORMAL. IT WILL JUST TAKE TIME. ” PATIENCE…A LESSON I’M LEARNING.

ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES. IT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE SOMETHING I WAS REMINDED OF. IN TODAY’S WORLD, A LOT OF US PUT OUR LIVES TO THE SIDE WHEN OUR JOB NEEDS US. YET, WE KNOW FULL WELL OUR JOB WILL REPLACE US IN A HEARTBEAT, BUT OUR LOSS TO OUR TRUE FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL BE FELT FOR A LONG TIME AFTER WE ARE GONE.

SPEAKING OF TRUE FRIENDS AND FAMILY, YOU LEARN THE PEOPLE THE CARE AND WOULD MISS YOU. I DO MY BEST TO ENCOURAGEME AND INSPIRE EVERYONE I COME IN CONTACT WITH. I FIGURE THE WORLD HAS ENOUGH CRITICS, IT COULD USE SOME MORE CHEERLEADERS. WHAT SHOCKED ME WAS WHO BECAME CHEERLEADERS FOR ME. THIS WAS BOTH GOOD AND BAD.

IN MY DAY JOB, I WORK WITH ROUGHLY 50 PEOPLE. I DO MY BEST TO BRING A LITTLE JOY AND LAUGHTER TO AS MANY AS I CAN THROUGHOUT THE DAY. THE NUMBER OF THEM WHO CHECKED ON ME? IT WAS GREATER THAN ZERO… BUT LESS THAN TWO. ONE OUT OF 50. YET, THERE WERE PEOPLE I HAVEN’T SEEN IN PERSON IN SOME TIME WHO FOLLOW MY WEBSITE OR YOUTUBE CHANNEL AND THEY REACHED OUT. FRIENDS I DON’T SPEAK TO REGULARLY, EVEN FRIENDS OF MARGIE’S OFFERED TO HELP OUT. A GREAT REMINDER TO GO WHERE YOU ARE CELEBRATED, NOT TOLERATED.

THERE ARE ALSO THE THINGS THAT FILL MY LIFE WITH JOY THAT HAVE BEEN REMOVED OR LIMITED WITH MY RECOVERY. I LOVE GOING FOR WALKS IN NATURE. I’M GOING TO TRY A SMALL ONE TODAY, BUT NOT BEING ABLE TO KEEP GOING CAN BE FRUSTRATING. I LOVE GOING TO THE GYM. GREAT STRESS RELEASE AND HELPS WITH MY SANITY. CAN’T LIFT MORE THAN 10 POUNDS FOR 3 MONTHS, SO THAT WILL HAVE TO WAIT.

THE END RESULT OF ALL OF THIS IS THAT THE GREATER THE CHALLENGE, THE MORE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED. THERE WERE AND ARE MANY MORE LESSONS THIS HAS TAUGHT ME. THE SECRET HERE IS TO BE ABLE TO SEE THEM AS GIFTS INSTEAD OF OBSTACLES. ANOTHER LESSON THERE…PERCEPTION GOES A LONG WAY TO DETERMINING YOUR REALITY. YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THAT LAST LINE AGAIN. I ENCOURAGE YOU ALL TO FIND THE GIFTS AND LESSONS IN YOUR CHALLENGES.

DO YOU HAVE 6?

Although rather morbid sounding, this statement rings true. Compliments are difficult to both give and receive for many adults. We have 6 people to carry us physically in death, why can’t we have 6 people to carry us emotionally and spiritually in life? Can you imagine what that might be like? 6 people checking in on you, 6 people to encourage you on a daily basis.

Maybe this wouldn’t happen from every person on every day. How different would your life be if one of these 6 people popped in to encourage or check on you? If you have 6 of them, that would be roughly one a day. We will give them Sundays off. How much more valued would you feel? Would you have more confidence and a feeling of support when trying new things? What other benefits could this add?

The million dollar question would then be, “Neil, how do I find these 6 people?” Surely you could go up and ask people, “Hey do you want to call and check on or encourage me once a week?”At the risk of sounding a little desperate, it may also leave you wondering how genuine the compliments and concern may be.

So, if you can’t just ask them, what the heck do you do? I have two solutions. The first should be obvious. As the cliche  goes, if you can’t find a good friend, be one. By picking a few friends and just checking in on them once a week, eventually chances are they will return the favor. Noticing how good it felt to them, they will want to do the same for someone else.

Secondly, you can get a group of trusted friends together and explain this idea to them. If everyone sends an encouraging word, or makes it a point to check in on each other, the whole group will benefit extraordinarily.

To be honest, in this world of a million ways to communicate, I am rather surprised this is not a thing. We can slip an encouraging word in an email. We can check in with someone on Facebook messenger. We can even send an encouraging or silly picture to a friend via text. Gather your posse and make it a point to carry each other through life emotionally and spiritually before we have to carry each other in death physically.

BE PREPARED FOR THE LONG ROAD AHEAD

Here we are. Another Monday, the beginning of another work week. I know that may excite some of you and some of you may be less than enthused. If you are reading this post on the site “Secret2anamazinglife.com” it would be a fair assertion that you are looking to make your life…well…more amazing. The secret to living a more amazing life is having less stress, more joy and working to become the best version of ourselves. This should seem fairly obvious. The real question is how do we do this.

I have dedicated over 20 years to exploring this question. Many of the answers can be found both on this blog as well as in my two books, A Happy Life for Busy People and Living the Dream. One of the greatest areas the influences the amount of both stress and joy in our lives to a great degree is our relationships. This is such an important area that I have dedicated a section to it in both of the afore-mentioned books. “Picking your Posse” as the sections are called, is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Forming your ‘Spirit Tribe’ as the quote above calls it, is something far too many of us do without any or much thought. Instead of making a conscious effort to choose who to have, or in some cases eliminate, from our lives, we let circumstance decide. For an area that has such a great impact, and that we have a good deal of control over, why are we leaving such a good portion of it up for chance? We have to take advantage of our ability to both bring in and let out people in our lives. Here are a few examples of how to do that. If you would like to dive deeper into this subject, please click the link at the end of this post to be taken to my author page and order one or both of my books.

The first step in “picking your posse” is to decide who you would like in it. This could be specific people or even the type of people. If you know the specific people you would like to spend more time with, the answer is pretty straight forward. Call them up, shoot them an email, or better yet go up to them in person and make some plans. Grab some coffee, get dinner, go the the gym or for a walk. Whatever you would desire to do, reach out and make it happen. What if you know the type of people you would like in your life? Think of the qualities of the people you would like in your life. Would you like encouraging people? People who are driven? People who like to work out? People who like to visit art museums? Write that down. If you look at your list and can think of people you know who have those skills, just follow our earlier example and make some plans with them

What if you do not know people with the traits, skills or attitudes that you are desiring to be more a part of your life? In that case, thank the powers that be you live in the time you do. Picking a posse has never been easier. With the internet and social media we can join groups, follow pages and join discussion groups in any area of interest we have. There we will find many people who also share that interest with us. It goes without saying you should always exercise caution and common sense when meeting someone new for the first time. There are also groups who meet regularly at libraries, coffee shops and many other places in town. They are definitely worth exploring.

The added bonus of adding all of these great people to your life is that it will leave you less time to be stuck with people you do not desire. This can be a Godsend for those too polite or even scared to eliminate the negative people from their lives. Think about who you would like in your posse, or spirit tribe today. Reach out, do some research and start spending time with them. The right people can transform our lives for the better and do so in a hurry!

CLICK HERE TO BE DIRECTED TO MY AUTHOR PAGE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MY BOOKS TODAY

WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE

This was one of those things on social media you post and people comment what they love most about you. I did it as a means to discover new and interesting views about how people see me. It was a good exercise for several reasons. What I left with was a profound and grateful feeling in my heart for the kind words that people shared as well as a greater appreciation for the friends that I have in them. It also served as a great indicator as to whether or not I was really fulfilling the vision of the man I strive to be. One thing that made me happy, was judging by the comments I read the answer to that was definitely in the affirmative. New friends, not so new friends and even soul friends let me know that I was indeed living up to my standards for the type of man I wish to be.

I formerly advocated to write your own eulogy as a means of gaining clarity as to the type of person you wish to be thought of at the end of your life as well as how far you have to go to reach that point. I still think that is a very powerful exercise. If you would like more information on doing so, you can watch the video with that title on my YouTube channel, Neil Panosian, or read that section in my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. While that is helpful in discovering who you want to be and how far you have to go, putting something like this on your social media is a good way to get a snapshot of how you are being viewed currently. The answers will hopefully fill you with a sense of joy and a great deal of appreciation for those you share your life with, like it did for me.

My greeting for all of you today

My next thought about this activity was what a great addition to everyone’s day this probably was. How many of us are quick to post a snarky political post or some sarcastic meme? I hear people complain about social media as a negative influence more than anything else at my seminars. This still strikes me as odd because we, for the most part, control who and what we see on our social media pages. This got me thinking about something I teach in my books and when I speak live. The best, and often easiest, way to eliminate negativity from your life is to add positivity. This is easy to see on social media. Are you sick of all the negative political banter? Do not like seeing depressing news? Done with people who bring nothing but drama, yet you are hesitant to delete them because it will just cause…well…drama? Have no fear my friends! The solution is at hand. You add some positive material.

This doesn’t have to even be something in the self-improvement field or subscribing to the Secret2anamazinglife Facebook page, although you could certainly do worse. No, it can be anything that brings you a smile. If you were my lovely Margie it could be the unicorn and puppy cupcake eating page. If you happen to be a future best selling author and speaker, it could be the sipping Jamaican coffee while sitting on a beach in…say…Jamaica page. The formula here is as follows – even if the usual amount of negative nonsense would still be on your page, it would be coupled with unicorns and puppies eating cupcakes, or coffee and beaches, depending on who you are. Eventually, things would begin to shift towards the positive. If you share this formula with all of your friends and family (you can even share it with all of those people who continue with the political posts) and have them start doing it, that will lead to even MORE positive things showing up on your page! This brings us to our final point and challenge….

I would like to invite you to the Secret2anamazinglife positive social media challenge! For the rest of September, post at least one positive thing on social media every day. This can be many things. It could be a romantic and loving post about your significant other (I think you can guess the positive outcome that might have) It can be a picture of a person or animal that makes you smile. It can be an inspiring news story. It can even be a picture of a beautiful beach you would like to visit. One caveat here, it cannot be accompanied by a sarcastic caption or comment. You cannot post a getaway in Fiji and caption it “I would rather be relaxing here than working this stupid postal job” Nothing negative. Either just post the picture or add something like, “I can’t wait to be relaxing here one day” I am going to do this, and I invite all of you to do the same. Feel free to share some of the positive things you will share in the comments below. If we all do this for the rest of the month, we will bring a lot of smiles to those who see our social media, which in tru

WHAT TO SAY TO PEOPLE EVERYDAY

It is Friday! We are heading into the weekend. It is usually reserved for social interactions with those we are truly excited to be around. We are also more likely to attend social functions. As for me, I will be on my last weekend of vacation attending our local State Fair, hopefully running in to old friends and making new ones. It some fashion, I think weekends are about friendships for most of us.

Here is something very important to consider, what impact can you have in passing? We are asked about our ‘elevator speech’ or how we describe what we do in 30 seconds or less. Roughly the same time we ride the elevator with someone. Here is a thought, what is your 30 second impact speech? We greet friends, and to a lesser degree even strangers, several times a day. What impact do we have on them? Negative? Demanding? Positive? Inspiring? Most of the time we do not put much thought into this at all. “I’ll talk to them more next time I see them.” We think. As we grow older, we realize the importance of each moment. The poignant, and kind of scary, fact is that one day what we will say to them will be the last time we ever speak to them. Here is another fact, we never know when that may be. Even if it is a coworker we see every day or a family member we see every holiday.

Life throws so many curve balls at us we never know when the last time we see somebody might be. Sure the odds of it being the last time we see 90 year old uncle Harry may be greater than our 25 year old coworker, but that still doesn’t bring them down to zero. Without getting overly morose, there are several reasons why life can take someone out of our life. We also never know who may be struggling that day. Some people are certainly better at hiding their pain than others. If we talk to and treat everyone as if they were really hurting and it would be the last time we would see them, we will be filled with a lot less regret and worry. What if we do see them again and we have told them we care about and love them? I don’t think any relationship would be hurt by telling someone you truly feel as though they are a gift in your life.

This weekend treat everyone as if they are the most important person on earth. We do this for two very important reasons. First of all, according to that person, they are. Secondly, that is how human beings should treat each other. You do this and I promise you that you will be rewarded with deeper relationships and be content that everyone has walked away feeling better for your company. It will give you an inner sense of peace and make you a lot more friends.

IT’S SUCH A GOOD FEELING

Recently, I held my book release party for my second book, Living the Dream. It was, by all measures a great success. Not only did I get to share my books with many new readers, but many wonderful friends returned to check out my newest literary offering. Having this happen made me realize several things. It also gave me several great feelings. Thus, I stole the title of this blog from a song in the popular Mr. Rogers children’s television show. I would like to share them with you in this blog here today. You will also have a chance to see many pictures of this fun event.

The first feeling was that of excitement. It may have felt like nervous quite a bit, but I was truly excited to bring this latest book to the world. It was 5 years of writing along with an additional 3 years to get it to market. After waiting a total of 8 years to share all you have learned with the world can feel like an explosion when it finally happens! It is my wish to put this book in the hands, and more to the point, in front of the eyes of everyone who could gain something from reading it. I was excited to see what everyone thought of the contents and excited to hear how it helped them. The initial response was that everyone loved the foreword written by my lovely Margie. As I write this blog the next day, I am still filled with anticipation and excitement to hear what everyone thought of the event and more importantly, what everyone thinks of the book!

Great and supportive friends!

Another great feeling I had was that of friendship. Wait, is friendship a feeling? I say it is. Seeing all of these great people I treasure so dearly show up to support me was overwhelming. I wish I had the time to sit down and thank each and every one of them. Later, as things slowed down, I did have the chance to walk around and thank a great deal of people. I was so grateful for all of the new friends, friends I have not seen in a long while, soul friends, coworkers, and my best friend and love of my life. I enjoyed taking pictures with several people and being able to discuss my first book with them, if they had indeed purchased one.

Most powerful feeling of the night? Grateful! There was so much to be grateful for this evening. Watching some people enjoy a beverage and others dive right into the book. The weather called for severe thunderstorms, it didn’t even rain. I was grateful to have a wonderful venue like Westallion Brewery to hold this event. Not only were people able to purchase one of my books, they were able to enjoy a wonderful beer and each other’s company after. An unexpected surprise was the adorable plant in a smiley face mug given to me by my great friend Shannon. I was grateful for the amazing balloon sculpture created by our friend Bella. So thankful that everyone seemed to have a good time and shared that feeling with each other. Margie gave me a lot to be grateful for as well. She made some delicious cupcakes that had smiles on everyone’s face. She helped me set everything up and take everything down. Not to mention she gave me a great big hug when it was all over. To have all of these wonderful people in my life is a gift that could not be bought for all of the money in the world. That, my friends, makes me a very rich man!

Enjoying such a great evening next to the lady I love, surrounded by great friends was truly Living the Dream. I could not have hoped for a better result. It is my sincerest desire that those who have this book will use it to help turn the lives they have into lives they love even more. I know that I am living the dream and I hope you are too!

I AM RICH! EVEN BETTER, SO ARE YOU!

Wealth can be defined many ways. One that I really think matters is relationships. Let us face it, if you have all of the money and possessions in the world but nobody to enjoy them with you are about as broke as they come. I have been wanting to write about my outstanding wealth of great relationships in my life for a while and thought that now would be as good of time as any. I wanted to do so in some sort of orderly fashion. I knew there was no way I would be able to include everyone. If you are not mentioned in today’s post please do not take it as a slight in any way. There are so many great friends I am blessed to have it would take a whole post just listing their names.

First, I wanted to talk about some of the people I have known the longest. These people have been in my life so long it has me wondering if I am that good of a friend or if I just happen to befriend patient and forgiving people. In reflection I would say it is a little bit of both. My friend Matt, or ‘Big Sexy’ as those close to him know him, has been in my life since the age of 7. Matt is not only a fun and entertaining person you would love to have at any party, but one of the most caring and honest people I know. Whenever I am asked to describe him, my answer is always the same. “Matt is one of those people you would give the keys to your house, go on vacation and not worry a second.” My friends Amy and Jon I have known since kindergarten. Both of them have went on to raise amazing families and are a great example of what a parent should be. I am lucky to still have both of them in my life. My friend Jeremy I have known the longest. I believe we met when I was 4. His mom and mine were close friends. Although I don’t have the pleasure of talking to him that much these days, I can admire his passion for his beliefs and for the arts.

The next group of people I have known quite some time as well, but I am only now able to appreciate how wonderful they are. My Friend Kelly and I went to high school together and interacted a little. Later, I discovered her wonderful ability to cut hair and she began to be the one to cut my hair every time I needed a haircut. It was Kelly that I went to when I decided to go from decades of long hair to a mohawk. I can still remember the combination of shock and excitement when I told her that is what I was looking for. My friend Jodi and I also had went to the same high school. We really didn’t talk much then, but reintroduced through a mutual friend Russ (more on him later) we reconnected and she has been so sweet to both myself and my lovely Margie (more on her later as well) My friend Angie has been in my life for a long time as well. We still run into each other at local functions. It has been a true blessing to see what a great mother and example for her children she has become. My friends Jennifer and Scott are both amazing people. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them for years. Scott I have always admired for his integrity. He has always been a man of great character. Jennifer and I started out on the wrong foot to say the least. When we met we were told the other was the cause of a host of different situations that was not true. Fortunately for me, I met Jennifer again through her father Dale, who was one of the nicest men I have ever met. We were able to discuss the misinformation we both received and have become fast friends. I admire the work she does with foster animals. Another great things about Jennifer and Scott is they got married and are raising a wonderful family. Great when 2 wonderful friends come together.

Next are people I have met through my career in writing. It is my passion and meeting these people have certainly impacted my life for the better. My Aussie friend Kaylene and I initially met discussing music we both enjoyed. We became good friends and remain so to this day. We have exchanged gifts with each other and I really look forward to visiting her some day. She is doing an amazing job raising her two boys. Andrada is a friend of mine in Romania. She is also an author and a host of an amazing podcast. She is a great example of how to put all of your skills to use. Aura is my Romanian friend who lives in the United States. She is the publisher of See Beyond magazine. I will be forever grateful to Aura for allowing me the opportunity to share my talents with her audience. Carole is another amazing and driven woman I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Carole is an accomplished journalist and now hosts a show called Positively Milwaukee. The show highlights positive things in our community. She put together an amazing piece on me and my writing. I was so grateful for all of her hard work.

Then there are the people I have met in my bartending/DJ career. My friend Bret is truly one in a million. Confident to be himself, but always caring about others. He has a great talent singing and performing as well as an amazing brother in Bart and sister in Alisa, both who also belong on this list. My friends Kelly and Steve not only look good together but are both amazing people. Steve has offered Margie and I some very helpful advice when it comes to our shows. Kelly is amazing behind the bar as we DJ, and does so much to help so many others. My friend Kelly (blushes) always has a smile for those who need it. She has a caring heart that can be seen in her work with the victims of child abuse and their families. Finally, my friend Travis. I met him when we both were in a club I was working at. Immediately we clicked and discovered my much our values aligned. Working together we not only helped a lot of people, we started a movement.

Even the Post Office, as dark and dreary as it can be, has offered some unique friendships for me. My friends John, Tom and Don all have been great to have in my life. From exploring culinary offerings to pondering the cinema, they have always brought a great deal into my world. My friends Jim and Tony are both great people. Tony and I have discussed music and Jim and I have went on road trips to experience great music. We even appear in a music video together. My friend Laura adds much needed comic relief to a serious atmosphere. Her wit and humor make the day more enjoyable. My friend Chris and I always have a lot to discuss. Whether that be just finding the humor in our work day or discussing some Native topic, it is always a better day when Chris is at work.

Then there are the people I really have close and lengthy conversations with. You have heard me mention my friend Nick before. We meet for coffee, although not nearly enough. We never know what the subject will be, but the conversation is always deep and thought-provoking. My friend Shannon has been in my life for a rather long time. We share many amazing deep conversations. We have many of the same literary tastes, love nature and both have a fondness for sunsets. We actually refer to each other as soul-friends, because ‘friend’ seems like to shallow of a term. My wonderful sister Michelle. Although we found each other late in life, we have made up for lost time. We have shared many great adventures and always have each others back. My ‘brother from another mother’ Russ is one person I really treasure. Friends since I was 13, we have been in bands together, we have been in trouble with the law together. We have seen each other through heartache and loss. We do our best to talk every week. When we do, something great always comes out of it. Although he was smart enough to move away to a warmer climate we still travel to meet each other.

Then there is my mother. She may never forgive me for putting her picture in here, but I couldn’t leave her out. We have developed a tradition of taking walks and exploring nature together. What amazing adventures we have had including getting stuck in the rain several times at my favorite state park. Speaking of which, every year we attend the state fair together. We have so much fun it would be hard to explain. Whether it is a fun dinner out or in, or even a game night, I am always thankful and grateful for times with my mom.

Last and certainly not least, is my best friend, my beautiful lady, my Margie. My great treasure. Together we have faced some of the hardest situations life can throw at a couple. We have overcome or are overcoming all of them with love. She is always there acting silly and making me laugh. She has brought into my life her fun-loving aunt and uncle, her wonderful children and grand children as well as many friends. Through her I have found a whole new way to love foods I didn’t even think I liked, new ways to enjoy the holidays, and ways to relax and be yourself. Most of all, Margie has shown me how to be a better man and a better person. It is because of her love that I am always looking to push myself to improve. She is always making me proud with her artist creations, the way she cares for friends and how much she loves family.

As you can see, when it comes to amazing people my life is truly abundant. I have been blessed greatly and I can imagine you are too. I invite you to share some of the amazing people you are grateful for in the comments below. Remember, if you have someone to share with in your life, you too have an amazing treasure.