SAME BUT DIFFERENT… IT’S WHAT YOU WANT

In my seminars and talks that I give many people are forever telling me that they wish their partner was easier to get along with. I ask them what the problem is and a good deal attribute their problems with their partner being too different from them. I am going to let you in on a little secret – that is not the problem. If you and your partner were the same your relationship would fail or fall flat in a short amount of time. It would make choosing what movie to see or going out to dinner a lot easier.

I am here to tell you the secret to compelling and passionate relationship is the differences. Yes, it is certainly imperative to have specific things in common for your relationship to succeed. Having the same values is very important. They may be to a greater or lesser degree, but knowing and understanding what your partner values is a very important aspect to a successful relationship. Sharing the same relationship goals and knowing what the future holds is also important. To, of course, a mutual respect for the other individual. The similarities are like a strong foundation. They allow you to build on this relationship. 

Take the relationship I have with my beautiful Margie. People look at us from the outside and think we also get along and share all of the same interests. We have even been tagged in posts with the #relationshipgoals. Humbly, I would say they are right. We do have an amazing relationship and it gets better every day. The reason that is true is not because we get along all of the time or are really alike. Neither of those are true. It is the differences that give our relationship its spice. Just like in food, there are times when we have a little too much spice, or differences, and we end up getting burned. Just like a recipe you refine, we learn from that and move along.

Allow me to share with you some of our differences and how we actually benefit and grow from them. Let us take music for an example. We do like some of the same bands. We discovered our love for the artist Michael Franti together, and have been to see Jackyl a few times. As a general rule, Margie is more pop and r and b, while I am 80’s hard rock and country. On any given day she will be listening to Pink and Chris Brown and I will be listening to Ratt and Chris Janson. How does this benefit us? When we DJ together we are able to help a wide range of people pick songs or put a name to a particular song they are trying to think of. We also can introduce each other to new artists and songs the other may not have heard.

Then there is the speed in which we get ready. I can be ready at the drop of a hat. 30 minutes later Margie is still trying on different hats. This gives me time to do things like enjoy a cup of coffee, look up directions for where we may be going or simply warm up the car. Margie can also be sillier than I am. She feels more comfortable doing goofy things in public than I do. In this difference, she teaches me to be a little more relaxed in public and I keep her from fines and jail time.

shortly after reading

Some differences are what make our relationship as wonderful as it is. We both like to learn but do so in very different ways. I love to read. If Margie reads, she is asleep in half a paragraph. Our solution? At night I read to her as we lay in bed together. Not only does this allow both of us to learn, which makes us happy, it is a wonderfully romantic solution to a challenging problem. She loves shopping and I love walking in nature. How do we solve this? In addition to occasionally joining each other for these trips, we use the time wisely. She spends time with her daughter who also likes to shop, and I walk in nature with my mother. Time apart makes our hearts grow fonder and we both have time with others that we love.

she loves candy and I do not

The problem in relationships is not the differences, but what you do with them. Differences give you contrast and variety. It is that excitement at spark. Differences in what you enjoy intimately can lead to many new and fun discoveries. Differences allow you to show love. If you do your best to enjoy something your partner really loves and you do not, how can they not love and appreciate that? You can use those differences to learn more about you, your partner and the love you share. Next time you are tempted to blame a difference for a problem in your relationship, ask yourself, “How can I use this difference to make my relationship even better?” The answers you discover may very well surprise you.

A VITAL COMMUNITY

Time is one thing that always moves on. In the photo above you see the intersection of the streets of 70th and Greenfield in the city of West Allis taken in the early 1900s. The Bank is still there. It is now BMO Harris, not First National. It also doesn’t look nearly as cool though. The building that says Schurs was for a moment a diner called Skelly’s that served delicious greasy breakfast. I recall walking in there and always smelling eggs and toast. The street lights also look a great deal different.

Some people may lament over the passing of time and the changes it creates. Not only is this a fools endeavor, as the only thing constant is change, but it robs us of a chance to focus on some of the positives. Yes, the bank looked far more impressive to me in the picture above than it does now, but it also has a little seating area it didn’t have before. I sure love little places that you can stop and get breakfast and would have loved to go to Skelly’s with Margie. What is there now is a nice place called Urban Joe’s. Not only do they serve wonderful breakfast and great coffee, they do so with a smile.

2 great local businesses

It certainly doesn’t do us harm to fondly remember the businesses of yesteryear, but let us celebrate and support the businesses of today. We may not have a Shur’s or Skelly’s anymore, but we do have plenty of other amazing businesses. We have Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli where you can explore the crazy possibilities of creating things with… you guessed it peanut butter and jelly! Trust me when I tell you that you will be in for some delicious surprises. There are also great gyms like Peak Physique where you can learn everything from kickboxing to yoga and so much more. Ricky, the owner, is passionate and knowledgeable about fitness and would love to help you.

Supporting local businesses is one way to have a vital and healthy community. What I think is even more important and constructive is to get to know and support your neighbors. There are plenty of fun and exciting ways in which to do this. True, we may never go back to the days of leaving our doors unlocked, but we can make our towns a lot friendlier and safer by connecting with those in our community.

Supporting local businesses and getting to know their owners like Mike from Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli and Ricky from Peak Physique is a good start. I suggest adding connecting with other neighbors through groups on social media such as Facebook and Nextdoor. You can also join local community groups. We have several in my city such as East Allis Association and Women’s Club of West Allis. There are countless others that all represent one possible fun way to get to meet and know your neighbors. Taking classes at your local recreation center is another great way to meet those who live near you. Even simply taking a walk through the neighborhood can introduce you to a host of new smiling faces.

Everyone wants a safe, strong and vital community. It is up to us to create it. Support local business, get to know your neighbors and join groups that make a difference. Be a part of the solution and you will feel better about the town you live in.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Most times in our household when the question comes up, “What do you want to do for dinner?” my quick answer is “Pizza!” To me, a bad pizza is still a better dinner than one without a pizza. My first choice, of course, would be to enjoy some of my lovely lady’s culinary creations, but if the question is asked, chances are we are going to go out. In most households, pizza, burgers or something similar is usually a quick answer.

This past Monday evening, after having put a new battery in my car, I was keen to try something different. In most towns there are plenty of wonderful independent restaurants that deserve your patronage. Especially during these tough times with the pandemic, I encourage everyone to support such places as you are able and feel comfortable doing. In our small town of West Allis, Margie and I love to frequent locally owned establishments. We stop for coffee and breakfast at Urban Joe’s Cafe and visit our wonderful friend Curtis. If we feel like a beer we head to Westallion Brewery, where our friend Kim can be found serving some of their wonderfully created in house beers.

This night we wanted to not only support a local business, but try something fun and unique. We decided to visit a local Peruvian restaurant called Chef Paz. We see on social media that the establishment as well as the owner is very involved in the community and we like to see that. When you walk in Chef Paz you will notice the cozy and quaint feel of the place. The decorations are fun and you do not have to wait to be greeted. On this night it happened to be quite cold and the gentleman working even turned on a small heater by our table to make it more comfortable for us. This made us feel valued. There was even a fun little sign on the table letting you know it had been cleaned. We felt it necessary to use it as a photo prop.

As food from the wonderful nation of Peru is not something we normally enjoy, we found the options and flavors wonderful. This isn’t one of my food reviews so I will not get into great detail about the dishes we chose, other than to say they were delicious. What I will tell you is that it was fun to take our taste buds on a little journey. It may be difficult to travel these days, but you can explore some of the culture of different places through their food. Trying new dishes and local places is a great way to add a little variety into your life. Here in West Allis, winter is setting in and it is the perfect time to find and explore new joys with the ones you care about.

Another great thing about giving your business to locally owned establishments is the pride and care they show when dealing with their customers. You could really tell Raul, the gentleman who helped us this evening, was dedicated to that goal. He explained the flavor of lots of the dishes and even made a few recommendations. To him, we were just not another table. To locally owned businesses you are guests and supporters. The service we received at Chef Paz was friendly and welcoming.

We ended our evening enjoying some delicious rice pudding for dessert. There are certainly more dishes we would love to try and will return again another evening. Leaving Chef Paz that evening, we felt good about supporting a wonderful local business. We also felt like, if for just a moment, we escaped the cold confines of West Allis and found ourselves in the city limits of Lima, Peru. I encourage you to explore local shops and restaurants in your community. They will appreciate your business during these trying times, and you will enjoy being treated like a valued customer.

GREAT NEWS! MY CAR BATTERY DIED!

This is not an actual picture of me

With a title like this, you may think I have lost my marbles or that maybe Margie slipped something in my coffee. While those may be true on any given day this is not the case here.

What is actually going on is the payoff of years of practicing the principles we share on here. It allows me to view circumstances with a different perspective than most. The reward for this? A better emotional state during and after what most would perceive as a negative experience.

Yep.. still not me

A quick version of what happened. Margie and I had concluded our DJ work for the evening and I had stopped for gas a few blocks from home. It was a blustery early morning and a few snowflakes were falling. As I stood filling my gas tank the wind gusted and I looked forward to getting back in the warm car and more so the warm bed with my hot lady.

I jump in the car, turn the key and…nothing! A few more tries, same result. Lucky for me I have AAA, roadside assistance. I called and they told me it would be an hour. Not what you want to hear when it is below freezing, but there was hope.

90 minutes later I cake called to see what happened to the hour. It was now 3am and I could not feel my feet. The nice lady explained there were not many people available and the man would be there in a half an hour. 60 minutes later he arrived and I stumbled out of the car unable to feel my legs.

What i thought would happen

“I don’t think it’s the battery.” He grimaced. Probably the starter or alternator. Fearing I would attempt a show of strength similar to the picture above, I asked him to try and jump it anyway. The car roared to life. After trying a few things and looking at some reading on a machine I have never seen before, he assured me it was the battery.

We settled up and I drove home anxiously watching the dim dash lights. After making it home and turning off the car (it did not restart) I wanted to run inside and jump in a warm bed. Being that I could now not feel anything from the waist down it took a bit longer than I thought.

Although how I felt, still not me

Less than 12 hours later I am so grateful for this experience. “Did he just say grateful?” Yes I did. I am sincere about that statement as well. Let me share the reasons why.

This happened at a gas station open 24 hours with hot coffee and a bathroom, which I made use of twice. (Grateful) I had AAA who were able to send someone even at such an early hour. (Grateful) Even though it took the man 2.5 hours, he was pleasant and got me up and running. Even waited for me to call him and let him know I got home ok. (Grateful) This morning my mother took me to get a new battery(Grateful) The folks at Auto Zone by my house were super friendly and even carried everything out to my car(Grateful) Lastly, although I had to be stranded for 2.5 hours, I did so next to the most beautiful woman in the world. Even though she was extremely cold as she always foolishly dresses for form over function (that is me yelling at her for both her mom and mine) she never complained and was actually rather encouraging. (Grateful)

This may all sound like I have a supply of sunshine where it is not supposed to shine, but it is true. I think the evening would have been longer, colder and far more unpleasant had i taken a ‘whoa is me’ attitude. I actually came out of this situation feeling so lucky for all I have instead of unlucky for all of the misfortune that happened.

This is a younger picture of me

To some of you this may seem like I am looking at this situation through rose colored glasses. It is not denying that the situation was less than ideal, but that despite the challenges there was a lot more to be thankful for and I was able to see and feel that. Even better I was able to do in the midst of it occurring. Ask Margie, I am not always able to do this. The more I practice the principles we share here, the better I get at seeing the light in the darkness. Do you know what that leads to my friends? That leads to an amazing life!

IT IS NOT WHERE YOU COME FROM…

I was talking to my good friend Ricky at Station 6, a quaint cocktail and craft beer establishment in West Allis where I live. I enjoy talking to this friend as he always offers a fresh perspective of life and how to look at it.

As I sipped my Allis old fashioned and he enjoyed his Irish coffee he shared with me some of the daunting things he had faced growing up as a young man. We all have had challenges in our childhood, but his was more than most.

What impresses me about Ricky, is his perseverance. Although many people could have used these as an excuse to give up, and it would be understandable, he has overcome. That is not to say he has not struggled with some demons, in fact he is conquering some as you read this, but he is fighting. It reminded me of the quote from Eric Thomas above It is not where you come from,it’s about heart.

Life can feel like a boxing match sometimes. As the character Rocky reminds us, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit,and keep moving forward…That’s how winning is done.”

Today people determine success by how much one has achieved or obtained. What many of fail to realize is that some of the greatest winners are the ones who have taken the hits and keep moving forward. To me these are the true winners, the true heroes in life.

You may see people who seem the picture of success, but when life punches them in the mouth, they fall like a house of cards. Then again, you may see people who are struggling, or even those who seem like ‘average’ people yet have overcome so much. These are the people who have taken, or in some cases are still taking, the hits from life and keep moving forward.

If this is you, if you have struggled or are continuing to struggle, know that we here at Secret2anamazinglife.com know and salute you as a winner in life. You may not feel like it. You may not have the awards and accolades. In fact, it may feel like you are still fighting. Know this, every day you keep moving forward you are a winner. Keep this in mind when meeting others who are struggling as well. Remind them of it. If you still need a little inspiration, click to watch the short video below.

CLICK HERE FOR A QUICK MOTIVATING VIDEO

WILL YOU ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE?

Today I share with you a video from my YouTube channel. It contains a challenge those of us at secret2anamazinglife.com are undertaking. We invite you to join us and share your experiences as we share ours.

This challenge will last 30 days. It will improve many areas of your life including, but not limited to; fatigue, headaches, stiff joints, insomnia, digestive issues, skin appearance and may even help you drop a few pounds during the holidays!

This challenge, although very helpful, is safe and simple. All you will need is some water and some will power. Click the link below to watch the 2 minute video and find out how you can join the challenge too!😀

CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT THE CHALLENGE IS AND HOW YOU CAN JOIN!!

THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY PURCHASE

Invest in yourself

Whatever you may be shopping for on black Friday, there is one purchase you should be making – investing in yourself.

The majority of people stop learning when they conclude their formal education, whether that be high school, college or a PhD. However, investing in ourselves will give us the greatest dividends.

If we invest in our health it will give us quality years with those we love. If we invest in learning, it will give us increased income and success. Investing in stress reduction will give us an increased peace of mind and better health.

So this black Friday if you are out shopping do not forget to invest in yourself. Next week we will look at specific investments we can make in ourselves.

TRY DOING THIS ONE!

Not a bad plan

Today in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a holiday in honor of everything we are grateful for. It also happens to be my favorite holiday for that reason.

I have an idea of a new tradition we can all start. While it may be difficult to shift our entire attitude to one of gratitude, especially in the course of one day. We can take one simple step.

We can all think of one thing we are truly grateful for. Do this right now. No, really, right now, as you are reading this. Pick one thing in your life that you are truly grateful for. I’ll share mine with you. After having the Corona virus in March, I am honestly just grateful to be alive! With asthma and a heart condition I realize it could have been a lot worse.

Here is where we start a new tradition. Take the one thing you came up with and share it with others. Just let them know what you are grateful for in your life. Through observation I have noticed 75 to 90 percent of what comes out of people’s mouths are either gossip or complaints. It seems to be human nature. Let us throw a statement of gratitude in the mix. It will certainly help us feel better. It will also be refreshing to those who hear it as well. Encourage them to join you on this new tradition!

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.