EVERY MONTH I CHOOSE TO SPEND MORE ON GROCERIES

Let us talk grocery shopping, shall we? Usually, my grocery shopping will find me in such stores as Meijer or now Aldi as Margie has become a huge fan. I look at the ads or the app to see what is on sale. Often, when I am at the store I compare brands and prices to find the best deals. I imagine that is not that much different than what happens in most households on grocery shopping day.

Then there is once a month that all of that is thrown out the window. Once a month I visit two local stores to do a little grocery shopping. The selection there is smaller and the prices tend to be a little higher. What might cost you one price at the larger chains may cost you a few cents to a dollar more at these locations. In addition, you have less items to select from. You might have 7 flavors and 6 brands of oatmeal at the large stores and only 4 flavors and two brands to choose from here. Both stores do have specials that tend to be very good deals to take advantage of, but as a general shopping experience you would say yourself some change at the larger chains. So why do it? Why would someone who searches out the best deals and coupons willingly shop somewhere with less selection and higher prices? Let us look at each store individually and examine why.

The first is Piggly Wiggly. It is a national chain that has 530 stores in 17 states. This is according to their website. I have not personally visited all of them. The local store here, however, does a good deal to benefit the community. I am not sure as to what extent they do that today, but I recall selling hot dogs there to raise money for the West Allis Charities. Another great thing about this store for me is the memories. Both of my grandparents shopped there. I recall going there as a young child and learning all about the joys of not only shopping but cooking and food in general. There are a few unique products here that you can find nowhere else. They also have a mascot of sorts, Mr. Pig, who always seems to be in a great mood. They also feature fun logo products with his likeness on it. After all, who wouldn’t want to see a smiling pig?

The second store is Rupena’s Fine Foods. Located a mere 10 city blocks from my house. Again, here the prices seem to be a tad higher and due to a small store size and limited shelf space, selection can be small. What makes this store great? Once again, community involvement. Not only do they have a stand at our state fair that serves amazing deep-fried stuffing balls, although sadly I heard that may end, they are often seen throughout the community. Another thing that makes this store stand out is its quality. Their deli and meat department are some of the best in the city. When cooking a meal for the ones you love, quality can mean a lot more than saving a dollar or two. They also have custom seasonings that add a little something special to any dish. My favorite thing about shopping at Rupena’s Fine Foods is the atmosphere. From the second you enter the store you are taken back in time. Back to a day when you knew the neighbors that you met in the grocery store. Back when cashiers not only made eye contact with you, but they engaged in meaningful conversation as well. For most of us these are things of the past but a quick visit to Rupena’s and you will find they are still alive and well.

A thing these two stores have in common other than logos featuring very happy members of the pig family, is they are brick and mortar places that provide good jobs to people in the community. They offer an alternative to the big box grocery stores. They offer a shopping experience where you feel like a valued customer and not just another number in the bottom line. If quality products and community involved businesses are important to you, than you owe it to your city to shop at places like this. You do not have to do so every trip, but at least once a month or so you should. The extra dollars you spend there are not just helping those employees that work there, but helping the community as a whole. Through the events they sponsor, the storefronts they keep filled and the sense of community they provide. Those extra dollars are not just an expense, they are an investment.

THE SECRET TO A GREAT RELATIONSHIP? NEVER LET YOUR PARTNER GO TO THE GROCERY STORE HUNGRY!

We all have been there. You go the grocery store hungry and end up at the checkout with things in your cart that you are not even sure what they are. You end up at home with items that are neither healthy or in some cases even desirable. You eat these items and create a situation for yourself that is neither healthy or desirable. Conversely, when we go to the grocery store with our stomachs full, after an abundance of food, we are able to make better decisions, healthier decisions. We shop with more restraint, with more intelligence. Acting on these decisions we put ourselves in healthier and more situations. The same holds true in economic terms. When we are in dire need of income we can be inclined to do things we might find questionable. There is a direct link between unemployment, both male and female, and violent crime and domestic violence. When the unemployment rate goes up, there is also a rise in violent crime and domestic violence. When we are in a state of economic abundance we will use our shrewd judgement and not submit ourselves to anything that we find in questionable judgement or does not meet our moral standards. What does all of this have to do with having a great relationship? Plenty. Many people are astounded, some perhaps envious, of mine and Margie’s relationship. Many of you may wonder about fidelity. How do we avoid temptation? Is there even temptation out there. The answer, which is probably the same in your relationship, is both yes and no. As DJs, we can come in contact with, and at some times seem surrounded by, people who have little if any respect for our relationship. Margie’s amazing singing talent, not to mention her stunning physical beauty is certainly available for everyone to see. I would be a fool to think that there are not other men who desire to be in my position. Do I worry? On occasion, but not as much as you might imagine. In my own world I was a bartender for 23 years. I was also a singer in a rock-n-roll band. Currently, I am an author and motivational speaker. That is a world that can be seemingly filled with temptation. Still Margie’s worry is less than one would think.This may sound like statements filled with contradictions. What is our secrets? Why are we not frought with jealousy and worry? If a man who does not respect himself enough to conduct himself properly, does his best to garner Margie’s attention, I know he will need more than charm and looks. Will he do his best to support her and set a great example spiritually? I know he will have to be committed to listening to not only what Margie says, but perhaps more importantly what she does not say, with the desire to be the best man he can be. I know he would need to work tirelessly not only on the relationship, but on himself so that he can bring the best to the relationship. He will need to have over 2 decades of knowledge of, and research into, both personal and relationship development. This is not to mention the seemingly small daily acts to show her how much she is loved and valued. He will also have to understand that those acts are not little at all, but what makes the difference in a relationship. What about me?
Truly when bartending there were women who tried just about anything to not only get a free drink, but often go home with the bartender. I don’t think I need to expound on what happens when you are a singer in a band either. Some of these ladies would be what most would consider fairly to even very attractive. Shouldn’t that drive Margie nuts? I am sure women, just like men in the example above, who are disrespectful to us and to our relationship can be frustrating. What Margie realizes is what is truly important to me. Are you capable of conducting and participating in deep and philosophical conversations? Can you help me grow spiritually? Will you support and encourage me as I do my best to better myself. This would include physically at the gym, economically, and as mentioned early, spiritually. A woman would have to work tirelessly to help me expand my influence and help keep the flames of desire inside me to help others and to make the world a better place burning bright.In simple terms, we never send each other to the grocery store hungry. We do our best to keep our relationship in a state of abundance. When we are full of love, respect, and abundant in love we are not tempted to put things in our ‘cart’ that would be unhealthy. We do not consume those temptations and put ourselves in unhealthy and undesirable situations. When you send your partner out to the grocery store of the world hungry, they will be susceptible to temptation and fill their carts with things that will not be healthy and desirable for that relationship.
Remember to keep your partner’s heart full. Never send them to the grocery store hungry.

FREEDOM TO BE LOCAL

Here is a picture of the local July 4th celebration in West Allis Wisconsin, where I live. I believe the group is called ‘The dancing Grannies’. I think it is awesome that seniors continue to be active and it was even better to hear people applaud and cheer for them as they went by. In this country July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day, or the day in which this country began its self-rule.

Here is me enjoying the parade with my mother and her husband. I had such a good time and do not remember enjoying a parade that much since I was a child. It got me thinking about individual freedoms we either take for granted or choose not to take advantage of. Such as who we share our time with. Ideally, this picture would have included my lovely Margie, not only would that have added to the joy I was feeling, it would have added beauty to the picture as well. Alas, she was not able to join us due to prior obligations. I could have watched the parade by myself, or even with any of the great friends I ran into. I chose to watch it with my mother because lately we have been going for walks in nature and sharing some great conversation and fun times. The freedom of who to spend your time with is a very important one to exercise.

Here are pictures of the food truck and the tasty treats that I enjoyed from it. Do you realize how many more options we have when it comes to what we eat? Only 100 years ago small local grocery stores carried a handful of options. Now, we have stores that have thousands of items to choose from. Some from halfway around the world! We can choose to eat healthy or we can choose to eat…well…pizza. Even when cooking at home recipes and even videos guiding us through how to make exotic dishes are at our fingertips.

These are pictures of the party they held at a local park after the parade. There were things to eat as you saw in the above paragraph, as well as a band, children’s games and beverages. This brought up one of the most important freedoms of all. In a world that has headlines dominated by terrorism, racism, hate and violence, a lot of people are afraid to walk the street. Sadly, that is exactly what those committing violent crimes wish for. It is my belief that one of the best ways to combat a world that seems filled with division is to get out and meet your neighbors. Holiday celebrations are a perfect place to do so. On this day I met great neighbors such as Kristin, the mayor of our fine city, my neighbor Dan and lots of others. Do yourself a favor. As you are enjoying that hamburger, sweet corn or even that frosty beverage, take a second to introduce yourself to neighbors. If you happen to see Margie and me out enjoying the holidays, feel free to introduce yourself to us.

FOR EVERY LEVEL, THERE’S ANOTHER DEVIL

I recall a few years ago having a discussion with my friend Travis. At the time we both wondered why it seemed that people who are trying to good end up with some of the worst things happening to them. It is a question that millions have pondered since the beginning of time. Why do bad things happen to good people? While pondering this I was struck with a line of inspiration, as if I was receiving an answer to that very question. It is that very answer I am excited to bring to all of you. This single answer, which Travis and I discussed at length, has changed my life and helped me survive what has been a very rough year. I hope by hearing the answer I was given, it may do the same for you and the ones you share it with. Here is what came to me after years of asking this question –

The devil doesn’t bother with you unless you are a threat

Now I am not telling you what to believe, mere how the answer was conveyed to me. Feel free to call it negative source energy, the universe whatever allows you to digest the point here. For years I looked around and saw some of the hardest working people I know faced with economic challenges. I have seen some of the most enlightened and compassionate people I know faced with illness, sickness, death of loved ones, job loss and every other imaginable obstacle you can think of. To be honest, it frustrated me. Ok,, it actually did more than that, it pissed me off. How unfair was it that all of these people who were trying to make the world a better place by either helping others, or just being a great person themselves face such tough times? Meanwhile, those who seemed not even to value the life they were given, not to mention others seemed to catch breaks? Reading that you can catch a glimpse as to the spirited conversation my friend and I were having.

Let us get back to the answer to this question. Think of politics. The parties usually argue and put down only those they feel stand a chance at costing them the election. Sports teams put the most effort into developing a plan to beat the teams that will prevent them from winning a championship. The same is true when you are trying to make the world a better, more positive and rewarding place, whether that is by directly helping others, or leading by working to be a positive example yourself. Let us think of what the world would be like if we had more kind, compassionate and enlightened leaders in the world. There are certain people who would not be very happy with that.

Sometimes it has to do with profit, sometimes it has to do with jealousy. When people succeed in anything be it financial or even inner peace and joy, it shines a light on the fact others have not succeeded in that same field. Instead of asking or working to find a solution as to how they did it and use their success for inspiration, a lot of people find it easier to tear them down as it somehow helps them feel better about their own position. Sound a bit harsh? Check out the tabloids in the grocery store. Do they ever tell you the story about the soon to be world-famous author who went out and partied and ended up wearing his girlfriends glittery top? No, his life may be no better, or even worse than yours. Achieve any kind of success and people start looking for you to fail.

This is why, when you meet a positive person understand they may have had to overcome some of the greatest struggles you have ever heard of. It is easy to be cynical or negative. It takes no courage, no persistence, no faith. Remember the title of this post, for every level, there is another devil As we make our way through life working to grow and better ourselves we will be faced with an ever increasingly difficult ‘devil’. It is there to test our resolve, to help us grow our resolve. It would be easy to just throw in the towel and resort to being negative. That is the easy way out, and that is what some are just waiting for you to do. The more you wish to do, the more you are going to have to face. It may seem like a sign to give up, but it is actually a sign that you are getting ever closer to your goal. DO NOT GIVE UP

1 GREAT REMINDER

Every now and again life provides a great reminder of what’s important. While sitting outside waiting to pick up someone I got such a reminder. There was a man pushing a shopping cart up a steep hill. In my state I was thinking “This poor man has to push a cart full of groceries up a hill instead of driving them where he has to go.” The weather was nice and he had a lady following him, I am assuming they shopped together.

I started to wonder, did neither of them drive? Maybe their care was in worse shape then mine? Maybe there was a legal situation that prevented him from driving? I wondered how he would make it if the weather wasn’t so pleasant out. Would he have to skip his shopping? Being an empath, I started really feeling bad for this man. Putting myself in his shoes. Although my car is on it’s way out, it still gets me from point A to Point B.

What happened next was like a wake-up call from the universe. This man I was feeling so bad for did something I never would have expected. He pushed his shopping cart ahead of him did a 360 degree turn and kept pushing it up the hill. In other words, having to push his groceries home he was having as much fun as he could. Life is about enjoying the process. Here I am the man who really believes whenever you set a goal you should ask yourself, “How can I have fun along the way?” This man who was doing what he had to for whatever reason, was finding a way to have fun with it. Therefore, as I continue my quest for a new car, I shall endeavor to have fun while looking and not get so frustrated.

Whatever you are doing, ask yourself, “How can I have fun during this journey?” We would all benefit from that

REVEALING RICHES…

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own”

-Benjamin Disraeli

 

This is another thing that I often do that not only helps put me in a positive frame of mine, but it rather quite fun as well.  In addition to those two wonderful attributes, there are two other amazing things that happen when you start doing this.  First, you brighten someone’s day by telling them what you find to be amazing about them.  Second, by forming the habit of telling people what beauty you see inside them you also form the habit of looking for the best in everyone you meet.  Often it is said that I “say nice things about everybody” and that to some extent is true.  You see when I am in someone’s company, be it meeting an old friend for coffee or a customer at the bar or post office, I am immediately drawn to that which I like about them.  Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of flattery.  To me false praise is more insulting than saying nothing at all.  Genuine compliments on a particular trait you find beautiful be it physical, personality or something entirely different not only brings a smile to the persons face but creates a bond between people that may otherwise never be realized.  Just think of how nice it feels when people point out the best of your traits and you will know how loved and valuable you will make others feel when you do the same.  So try it today. Try it on the barista who looks overwhelmed at the coffee shop in the morning, or cashier at the grocery store.  Maybe a spouse or good friend as we often assume these people know what high regard we hold them in, and noticing what makes them special will only serve to deepen your friendship. No matter who, try it today and bring joy to both of your worlds.