WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM?

These last few days have been filled with sadness as we have been mourning the loss of Margie’s mother Ruthanne. I have always been someone who searches for the light in the darkness. There is no more difficult time to do this than when we lose somebody who means so much. If there is anything my faith has taught me is that there is always something to be grateful for.

Of course we would all very much like to have Ruthanne back to hear her sing one more song, laugh one more time with us or even just to put things in perspective the way only she could do. Thankfully we have lots of videos, pictures and memories where those moments will live on. In addition to the great lessons in life that she has left behind, there is another gift I have discovered in the midst of this somber time.

While making arrangements for the celebration of life planned for Ruthanne, there were generations worth of pictures to sift through. I am a big fan of history to begin with, but being able to see first hand the family history of the woman I love is something truly special. Of course we would love to have Margie’s mom present to go through these photos with us, especially to enlighten us as to who some of the less familiar faces may be. Yet, it is through her passing that the gift of discovery and in some cases revelation of many family facts and stories.

On a more personal note, I could not be more grateful and excited to learn more about where the love of my life came from and the people, places and events that help shape her into the amazing woman she is today. Plus, adorable baby pictures like the one above are hard to pass up. I was honored to get to know her mother and see how Margie learned a lot of the traits that make her the woman I love. I am also humbled to be the man she chose to have by her side as she goes through with what is the most difficult time of her life. It is my sincere hope that the knowledge I am gaining by listening to the stories (and Storys) and looking at the pictures will help provide me with more and better ways to help provide her the love she needs as her heart makes the long journey towards healing.

pick your posse

Your selection of friends be they supportive or weighing. Smart, funny, depressing, spiritual, or just plain insane. Choose wisely as this will go a great way in defining your life experience

As I mentioned on Monday, this weekend was my high school reunion.  It was a rare chance to be in a large group of people having conversations that you may not have planned on. On a daily basis we are generally surrounded by a select few people. The key word here is ‘select’. Who does the selecting? That is the key point here. I found myself a few times in conversations that were rather uninspiring to say the least. I had not really noticed how much my circle have friends has changed, or to be more correct evolved as my pursuit of a more successful and rewarding life has. If your goal is to lose weight, you would not make it a habit to hang around people who have issues of over-eating. Consequently, if your goal is to live a life with more optimism, more direction, and more determination, you should make a point to befriend and spend time with people who if not have those very qualities, but at the very least will hold you accountable. So take a good look at your current circle of friends, is there someone who is always a ‘Negative Nancy’? Someone who always says “woe is me”. Limit your exposure to people who limit themselves, because inevitably they will end up limiting you. Now I can hear you saying “I would love to Neil, but they are my friends!” I can respond to that by offering you two very important pieces of information. First, if you do not value your own well-being over that of someone else’s hurt feelings you are not going to continue to evolve in life. Now, you don’t have to be mean, ditch your friends all together. In fact, I always recommend trying to get them involved. There are people I have the pleasure of speaking with on almost a daily basis and I have enlisted their help in accomplishing my goals. All you have to do is make yourself accountable. I have said to a friend of mine, “Kim, every time we chat, ask me how the book is coming or ask me how the writing went” Not only does it hold you accountable, but your friends play a key part in your success, which fosters a feeling of gratitude within you for the friendship. Thus, the friendship becomes stronger. Now, back to our negative nancy example. If you say, “Sandra, I am trying to build a more optimistic outlook, so if you hear me sounding negative can you give me a reminder?” that may work in one of two ways. One, your friend may develop a more optimistic outlook themselves by assisting you. If so, great. They may also go with the Debbie downer aspect and say things like “OK, but it won’t work” In this case you don’t have to comment on their negative attitude or even try to fix it. Just run like hell! maybe not literally, but let this be a red flag. Now if you are still concerned with limiting or even eliminating negative people from your life, you can start by adding positive people. Think of the area of your life you wish to work on. Weight loss? Find a friend who is a healthy eater, sticks to their workout routine, or even just has a very encouraging attitude. Finances? Find a friend who is good with their own. Start spending more time around them. With adding more positive influences, the negative ones with naturally fall away. So, take a look at your current circle of friends. are there some you could benefit by spending more time with? Some you could do with spending less time with? Then make up your mind and begin to pick your own posse!