Archive for Happiness
Living richly truly is spending time with the ones you love.
An evening walk just as the sun was setting. The Canadian geese performing a low formation fly-over just for the occasion.
(A repost of one of my most viewed posts as I take a brief hiatus)
J.K. Rowling, the author of the best selling Harry Potter series, gave the commencement address at Harvard University in 2008. She spoke about how hitting rock-bottom failure led to her phenomenal success.
She dreamed of writing fantasy when she was young. Yet, her parents felt it was a waste of time. So they prodded her to pursue something more practical. But she secretly continued to write, study literature and dream.
She got married, gave birth to a daughter. Then went through a divorce leaving her out of work and financially destitute.
She said she was, “As poor as you can be in England and not be homeless.” Read More→
The fall had been incredibly busy and exhausting. Jennifer and I are thankfully at a place where we have good income, enough investments and time to enjoy them. Yet, both of us fill up our lives with interesting and important activities because there’s so much more to do. And I don’t do boredom well.
So with the responsibilities of president-elect of my large Rotary club, writing this blog and running my business I felt overwhelmed. Then I fired an inept property manager so we had several rentals needing to be remodeled and re-rented in the worst part of the year.
We both bonked.
The solution? Work harder. Keep my head down. Spend longer hours trying to get it all completed.
The result? Guess. Read More→
These last few months have been financially draining. Because of a bad manager we had to do extensive repairs on some apartments. This came on top of just recovering from 2009 which was challenging in the financial services industry to say the least.
At this time of year we do our year end charitable giving. Like many others we try to give out around ten percent. We feel it’s a way to give back to God for all he’s given to us. And it feels good to share with others who have far less.
But this year it’s a struggle. The outflow has come since August so we’ve no time to make it up. So I’ve been feeling under pressure about how to give our normal level when the cash just isn’t there.
The night of Thanksgiving I was in bed drifting off to sleep. Jennifer was out in the kitchen finishing up some dishes. I had reached my expiration when my brain closes up shop at which point I become less than helpful.
As I drifted off, on this cold fall night, I thought about the warmth and comfort of our snug bed. We had finished eating more than enough and spent the day with family. I was thankful.
Yet, I thought about those who that night were going to bed hungry, afraid and cold sleeping under make-shift shelters. Read More→
We traveled with a friend who has battled her way back from cancer. So the trip was a victory celebration. And celebrate we did! Maybe a little too much?
When we got back though, reality hit as it does each week. I need to write something that will touch and help my readers. I thought what else could I write about Christmas that hasn’t already been written? What can I say that you haven’t already heard?
As much joy as I find in writing it’s a pressure that some days I would rather live without. This was one of those times. Read More→
Driving home after work one evening I was suddenly jarred out of my drifting thoughts by the sound of a bull horn blasting. I was sitting at a stop light at the busiest intersection in Fresno, our “speaker’s corner.”
My 20 minute drive is a nice time to mentally process the day before arriving home to see Jennifer and starting our evening.
I was curious what he was saying so I rolled down my window. But because he was yelling through the bull horn the message was garbled. Then I saw a sign by him that simply said, “Pray Here.”
No one was.
My first thought, “Great just what we need another nut case yelling about Jesus. Interesting that Jesus never yelled about himself.” Read More→
I recently got blindsided with a slug of unexpected urgencies that buried me. Jennifer and I are thankfully at a place in life we can enjoy some of the fruits like less financial stress and more time off.
Yet, I have a low threshold for boredom so I tend to over commit. I accepted the presidency of my Rotary club, which is one of the largest in the world. This blog requires hours each week. This on top of running a business, investing, personal activities, staying up with our children and recent extended family demands. So when we had to empty out several rentals because of bad managers, remodel them and take over the management ourselves it put me over the top.
I crashed. Ended up with an infection and exhausted. Finally, a doctor visit, antibiotics and a lot of sleep.
In the midst I thought, “How did I get myself into this mess? And how can I keep from getting caught up in this cycle again? How can I manage this stress better and yet be productive?”
I realized, not for the first time, I had quit building in down time. I was racing from one responsibility to the next with precious little time to think. And I simply didn’t have any margin for contingencies. So when the wheels came off I went over the cliff. Not exactly the good life. Read More→
Christmas was the big deal in our house. Mom made sure everyone had presents under the tree. Several Christmas dinners with cousins, including gift giving, made it special. Vacation from school and hanging out with my friends added to the fun.
So Thanksgiving was just the warm up act. It felt more like a delay than a holiday. It was the kick-off to the real holiday season. But not the real holiday.
Yet, as I’ve grown older Thanksgiving has become a favorite. Because it’s the kick-off to the shopping season it kind of gets lost. There are no big Thanksgiving sales. No frantic rush of gift buying. No marathon of Thanksgiving parties. No huge expectations met or disappointed. Just a quiet holiday with family and friends.
Our traditions have changed as our kids have become adults. Now they get home on Wednesday evening, hopefully. Thursday Jennifer and Beth are cooking. So Drew and I find things to do outside. Stay out of the cross-fire.
Working in the back garage on the classic cars. Tuning up the skis for the upcoming season. Throwing around the football. Chopping wood.
It always involves lots of coffee and usually a couple of beers. Read More→