Through What Lenses?

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Through what lenses?

Doing their own thing on a perfect-weather day three people enjoy the summit on a vigorous Sunday hike. 

What are they doing? Do they know each other? Are they in the same awe as me as I take in the New York vista where the peaceful views meet the New Jersey State Line. 

Who knows? Who really cares? They are doing there own thing. 

Placing my glasses on the rocky mountain ridge, I take a shot of the plastic spectacles as three strangers congregate in the background. 

Laying down on the hard rock my camera focuses  on my eyeglasses and the people in the background minding their own business are an afterthought. 

Looking at the picture on my iPhone, I see what would make a cool album cover.  

Did you think the same when you saw this photograph? Did you see an album cover of an unknown band? Probably not and that is because the picture is viewed through my lens. 

What lens do you view people, places, and things through? What lens are you using to view life through? 

An album cover represents accomplishment for hours of hard work went into recording people’s talent. The album cover pose is the celebration. The record is the finished product of many take 1 and take 2’s and recordings after recordings and the picture sums it all up. 

Lots of hard work and painstaking hours go into getting the perfect sound mixed and produced and the album cover represents the full finished product. 

The people on the mountain are simply resting and taking pictures while enjoying a bite to eat. 

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They earned a well-deserved break for they climbed an ascending rocky trail encompassed with a little mud along the way. 

Yet as simply as they stand there I see an album cover, success, a finished product, a celebration,  a portrait of accomplishment. 

We all have different lenses and views. What do you see? How are you viewing things on your journey through life? Do tell.  

 

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Reframing food as fuel. Weight loss for sure.

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Reframing food as fuel.

There are a group of dieters out they are calling their packaged food-bars “fuel”. These bars are simply food but a dedicated group of loyal people call their food bars fuel. It sounds better than food doesn’t it?

They are absolutely correct in calling food fuel because food/fuel gives the energy our bodies need to not only move but to survive.

What I find interesting about calling it fuel is it changes perspective on what is being eaten.

Food satisfies us. Food can taste good or bad. Food is eaten at social events and food is needed to sustain life.

Call it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a simply a snack. Eating several times a day is not only how our bodies are built but is also part of our culture.

At the end of the day food is fuel.

Eating mindlessly can be a habit and is not thinking of the food as fuel. It is just satisfying perhaps a sugar-craving or fulfilling an emotional need.

Food can also be a treat. After mindfully eating my healthy breakfast of a couple eggs sprinkled with turmeric and served mindfully with uncured preservative-free chicken bacon for fuel, the iron will be pumped in a short twenty minute workout and then I can treat myself to a delicious Italian ice place I found at the Jersey Shore.

I need to call the tasty treat fuel albeit it bad fuel. So if sugar-laden treats are bad fuel, I will be choosing a small brightly colored mango ice today rather than the large for a mere 50 cents more.

I will be aware of my choice for it is planned and not chosen recklessly. A splash of bad fuel in limited quantity shouldn’t do any real damage to my machine. It is still fuel.

The key is to keep the bad fuel to a few ounces to the gallon.

The purpose of this writing today is to point out what reframing can do.

My dieting friends are eating one meal a day and five fuelings. They are paying someone to repackage the name for food. At the end of the day the “fuel” they are eating is still food.

There is great benefit to eating “fuel” as I see my friends shedding unwanted pounds by eating this fuel. They are choosing high-quality 110 octane fuel made of the good stuff and their mindset is aware of what they are eating is not just food, it is energy to their bodies making it fuel.

Call it what it does for you. Food is fuel.

This can be applied to anything in life including relationships. Let’s reframe relationships as to what they do to our being.

Maybe a good relationship should be called joy and you say I am in a “joy” with somebody or if it is a bad relationship you call it what it does for you (like food being called fuel) and say I am in a “torture” with somebody.

It changes things to make good choices when we reframe the things that affect our well-being.

Either way the food (fuel) we choose or the people (joy or torture) we choose to be in our lives is a choice.

Choose wisely. Choose good fuel.

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Erstwhile…?…

Erstwhile.

Erstwhile?? What the heck it that? Is that an SAT word or something?

Erstwhile is the Facebook messenger word of the day. The closest thing I could think of was John Entwhistle the late bass player of The Who.

Erstwhile in case you haven’t heard it either means in the past or formerly. Once upon a time…

Looking for strategies to forget certain hurt from the past, today I am excited to use my new word erstwhile.

Rather than get sad when a certain song pops up on the radio and reminisce, I will simply change the station and say that is erstwhile.

It may take a while for this new technique to set in but I expect using the word erstwhile to describe a former time will be worthwhile.

If it is in the past, it is erstwhile. Gone, history, good bye, erstwhile.

It is our own baggage if we bring it into today. Let the hurtful things or people be erstwhile.

Go ahead say it. Erstwhile and then smile. Doesn’t it change things a bit? I think it may be a powerful new word for me. I like it, had to share.

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Two Hearts are Better Than One.

Coming home from teaching a real estate class just over 10 years ago I hear the classic keyboard opening of “Werewolves of London” playing over the airwaves. A moment later the singer begins to sing and it is not Warren Zevon’s classic song, it is Kid Rock singing All Summer Long.

When is two better than one? There are many cases that answer that question. When chocolate meats peanut butter and creates the mouth-watering Reese’s peanut butter cup is just one answer.

Sometimes two sets of glasses are better than one when the sun is beating down hotter than a gas barbecue grille converting a circle of beef into a hockey puck.

While walking the dogs this morning I find it nearly impossible to listen to All Summer Long by Kid Rock and stand still. The well known hit song with a moving beat was a number one hit in eight different countries.

Kid Rock married the goofy Warren Zevon song Werewolves of London and the iconic Sweet Home Alabama by the legendary southern-rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

All Summer Long is a happy song. It is the perfect blend of two songs into one. It is a killer combination of a humorous song tied together with a song about home sweet home.

The combination of these two songs creates a joyful and celebratory new one fitting perfectly together.

I attended a wedding last weekend and two hearts became one. Just like Springsteen said, “Two hearts are better than one.”

I started this story simply by wanting to write about how happy two songs combined together becoming one sounds, but as I write it, I can’t help thinking about two people becoming one will be the moral of this story.

In the book of Ecclesiastes it is written “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down one can help the other up but pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together they will keep warm but how can one keep warm alone?”

I can only only conclude what Bruce testified in his song Two Hearts-“Two hearts are better than one and I believe two hearts are better than one.”

I believe it too. “I do.” I do believe two hearts are better than one.

And when I say “I do” I will more than believe it, I will know for sure two hearts are better than one.

Two hearts are better than one. Bring it on.

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A Memorable Quote

“All in a days pay.”

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

“Winning isn’t everything but wanting to win is”

And then of course Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”

Above are just a few quotes about life, work, money and attitude.

We all know the value of good health but what quote or mantra promulgates us towards that end?

The ideology of exercising needs to be more than Charles Atlas saying nobody is kicking sand in my face.

What famous quotes are there about good health? Off hand, I cannot think of any and the sand in face thing doesn’t speak to me. I am not much of a beach person so the chances of me becoming covered in sand and looking and feeling like a sugar cookie is highly limited.

Discussing weight loss with the man in the white lab coat (my doctor) at a routine visit, he said I like the idea of you losing weight. All disclaimers suggest discussing with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Ha, ha how many people actually do that?

The one thing Dr. Capio said that is most memorable to me and will always stick with me is, “The more you do the more you can do.”

Now most of us middle-aged or over the age of 50 cannot do what we were able to do in our teenage years but dammit, I don’t want it to digress and get any worse than it is today so I am committed to doing more.

I want the “can-do.”

I want the can do more! I am greedy for life. I want to be able to do more. Therefore I am sold on, “The more you do” part of his statement. I am now doing more.

With every curl of the iron dumbbell and with every lifting and slow decline of the weights in isometric reverse pressure fashion, in an exasperated breath, I tell myself the more you do, the more you can do.

Nobody likes loss and loss of muscle is a bummer and can be avoided by simply making a decision and doing more.

For people with shaved, chiseled and sculpted bodies drinking raw eggs, you don’t need this message but you are not the majority.

Avoid atrophy. Do more. “The more you do the more you can do.”

As I write this, it makes me think, the more you do TODAY, the more you can do TOMORROW.

Are you with me? Great! Live Dr.Capio’s quote and I will see you on the ball-field or simply flicking a plastic disc through the air at a local picnic.

The more you throw today the more you can throw tomorrow. You can be the active grandparent jumping high for an overthrown frisbee as the kid shouts sorry.

Dr. Capio’s quote is more valuable than the quote “Benjamin Franklin said, although with the results of determined exercise and doing more today, I do believe Mr. Franklin would say, “well done.”

Well done my friends, well done.

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3 Words

“Yeah me too!!!”

Just like Russell Crowe in a Beautiful Mind seeing visions of people and actions that don’t exist, I see a man having a one way conversation limited to only three words.

Screaming at the top of his lungs a local man yells out in a thick Italian accent “Yeah me too!!!” “Yeah me too!!!” “Yeah me too!!!”

Projecting his voice louder than a jackhammer breaking up resistant concrete so it can be heard a few houses away even with the air-conditioning on.

I can say he sounds like a broken record but it is not broken. It is not perpetual and never ending as a broken record implies.

Sounding more like a cassette player set to auto-rewind and playing over and over through shoulder-high speakers is more descriptive. You know the kind, the old wooden ones that would vibrate spilling the cup of coffee that you placed on top of it.

This retired man from the pasta factory yells his 3 words in sets of 4 or 5 at a time.

The good news is he can have a regular conversation as well.

I wonder if I was challenged in the same way as this man what 3 words would I be stuck on.

If I can preprogram my brain for a time down the road where this could happen to me, I want my three words to be “You are beautiful.” Or 4 words, “Yeah you are beautiful.”

You are beautiful! You are beautiful! You are beautiful!

May I ask, what 3 words would you choose if your fate ends up with you screaming daily from a front porch?

Do share. After all, you are beautiful.

You are beautiful.

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The Magic is in the Wings.

Are your kids growing up? Enjoy every minute of it and the magic of them growing never slips away.

A Facebook friend asks on his status how do you keep the magic alive. He is referring to coming home to his houseful of kids including the sibling rivalry, chaos and love all wrapped into one.

My reply is enjoy every minute of it and it never slips away. But my answer defies time, even Steve Miller said Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future.

Back to enjoying every minute of it and the magic last forever. For me that means you will have magic memories of when the kids believed in fairy tales, unicorns, and faraway lands covered in lollipops. The innocence of children is magical.

You just need to be present. Be available. Always be available for your children. Always.

Hopefully they will remember the magical times as well.

The magic grows when you leave a legacy for your kids.

The best gift you can give anybody is wings. Wings built on time, love, and encouragement manufactures wings better than any wings built in a Boeing assembly plant.

Endow the spirit of them having wings and the ability to take off and set flight and get what they need and also what they want in life.

Watching your kids or people grow and take flight is the magic. The beauty is having fun along the way.

Steve Miller goes on to say he wants to fly like an eagle, until he’s free.

Eagles represent freedom . Freedom is magic.

Spend time with your family now, be present and have no regrets and as a parent you can fly freely knowing your kids have the ability to fly and be free with nothing weighing them down.

Leave a legacy of wings for your kids and magic happens on both ends.

From a parent side you know you did everything possible for your children and the magic is seeing them grow up and succeed in life. I can fly freely with the pride of an eagle knowing I was there for my kids and always will be. I can soar high.

From the kid’s side the magic is they have been gifted with wings. They can soar high.

They can rise, they can soar, they can fly like an eagle with the freedom knowing they were and are brought up in love.

And love is magic.

Children are magic.

Legacy is magic.

Wings are magic.

Keep the magic going my friends.

There is no deceitful trick in the magic of family but if there is a magic solution for these young critters, it is a mixture of time and love, seasoned in encouragement and peppered in fun.

Shake the magic potion of time and love together and enjoy every moment, even years later and that is how you keep the magic going.

You can label the potion “Worthwhile Wings” or Wings for short.

Now that is magic.

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The Good The Bad The Good

The good the bad the good.

My title to this story is a cheesy ripoff of the classic Clint Eastwood movie The Good The Bad The Ugly.

Sitting alone on a beach blanket at a local State College waiting for the band to come on, I write these words.

The good:

The good in my title tells of a time in fairytale land where three beautiful children are being raised to be all they can be and where a family goes out on outings together as a whole family.

We would frequent The now defunct Fairytale Forest in North Jersey where you are greeted by a giant egg-shaped Humpty Dumpty sitting high on a concrete wall. It is a memory my kids still talk about to this day.

It brings great memories for me, my parents took my brothers and me there when I was a little kid.

Excited to go back as an adult, we would take my oldest boy there in a stroller and then 2 more kids came along so I had to go back there at least three times and that is good. Carrying a baby in a backpack on your back is good.

Family is good. Family is important. Families are a gift from God.

The Bad.

Families breaking up is bad, in fact it downright sucks for everyone involved. Divorce leads to gloom and dark clouds roaming the sky on the sunniest days. Like Springsteen said, “it’s raining but there ain’t a cloud in the sky.”

The good:

Kids grow up and become young adults with their own homes and are only a text message/phone call away.

They are my family and that is good.

The bad: I’m on this beach blanket by myself.

The good: Darkness changes to light if you wait the whole day out.

More good: Being alone, I have plenty of room on my blanket here to stretch out and write this story while beach balls fly over my head.

It is mostly families here. I wonder are people wondering why is that guy by himself.

I conclude, it doesn’t matter if they are or if they are not.

The good is (always seek the good) I am enjoying live music and music moves my soul and it’s a perfect summer night.

I would like to encourage any of my divorced readers or those going through divorce, separation, or breakup, remember when you got married it was good.

There is good, there is bad but then there is good again. I promise.

Your pain and struggle is bad but after the bad comes the good.

There is so much good in this world. There are so many good souls out there. Focus on the good.

The good part of being alone is more time to do things of new interest with an opportunity to grow or to renew old and abandoned hobbies. I am playing chess from this phone with my son and that is good. It’s another fun way of communicating with him and we both sharpen our analytical skills. And that is good.

The bad: He beats me most of the time.

The good: Each time I end up in checkmate I become a better player and that’s good.

The horns are shouting and the band is covering Southside Johnny so it’s time to go but be aware of the GOOD THE BAD THE GOOD.

After the bad comes the good.

The Cars said it best, “Let the good times roll.”

Good things come to those that wait.

Hang in there my friends and be good.

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What is Love?

I am bouncing around like an aerobics instructor at an Elvis Costello concert near Woodstock, the English native is belting out what’s “So funny about peace love and understanding?”

The heart driving beat has the sound of a fast moving train screaming out a clattering rhythm on noisy tracks. Most people look like they are in an exercise class in full motion adjacent to the wide-open Yasgur’s Farm.

The man with thick black glasses is strumming an electric while questioning the concert goers “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

Well…before we discover what’s so funny about it, it must first be defined.

Peace is self-explanatory.

Understanding is self-explanatory.

Love? Not so simple to define.

Sure love can be funny, just observe two sweethearts walking to setup a picnic blanket while a guy carries a Longberger basket stuffed with goodies, that’s kind of funny. It’s even funnier if he is the one that owns it. Oh, the things we do for love.

What is Love and how do we define it? Love is a noun, love is an action making it also a verb.

Pondering what love is I get out my notebook and jot down 25 things what I think love is.

I cheated and used part of the definition from 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 rather than Mr. Webster’s book.

I like to keep my stories short so I will share the 25 things in future writings and I will start with two of the attributes of love today.

1.Love is patient.

2.Love is kind.

Discussing these items with a close friend over a lakeside dinner, he said “Yes Tim, with you people must be patient.”

We both laughed and that is what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding.

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Missing the Target

I am throwing colorful darts in the heat along the banks of the low-flowing Delaware River feeling frustrated as a mechanic dropping a screw in a tight area of the engine compartment.

The light-weight flying bullets are landing nowhere near the bullseye.

Did you ever miss the target? Of course you did. We all do.

Retrieving the hand-thrown pieces of plastic and pulling darts from the board, I am thrilled to know the game is not over.

I get another shot, another chance.

Such is life. We may not hit the target on the first, second, third and even multiple tries.

The key is to take another shot. Keep aiming, keep throwing. Tenacity is key when the target is in sight.

Keep your eyes on the target.

There will be both frustration and fun along the way. The key is to keep on shooting.

If you don’t give up you will eventually hit the bullseye.

The bullseye here is a metaphor for hitting goals.

Find the bullseye, put it in sight. Imagine hitting it and keep on throwing!

Now get ready, aim, fire!

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