London Times

And so our time in London is done. In a short few days, we visited the birth place of Elizabeth I (Greenwich) and her death place (Richmond). The palaces are long gone but the cities are amazing. We visited the Richmond Green (including the Ted Lasso pub) and toured Kew Gardens. We experienced various pubs (Stage Door, Queens Head, Princes Head, Coach and Horses). We ate amazing food (Thames Eatery, Brasserie Zedel, Arch Duke, The Ivy, Colbert, and St James Cafe). We ran into friends from home. We walked and walked and walked (averaged about 10 miles per day). We observed a city prepared to celebrate Elizabeth II. It is her platinum jubilee 70 years on the throne.

London remains an amazing vibrant city but it has changed. In the future, I will write more about how London has changed since pandemic and Brexit. For now, we travel outside of London to visit dear friends we have not seen since before the pandemic.

“Happiness is a good flow of life.” – Zeno

Are you asking the right questions

A year ago, I had serious momentum on my new healthy lifestyle.  Nearing my original goal, I decided to improve my health even more and set a new goal. Wrote the goal down and looked at it often. The goal was specific. It was achievable and measurable. It was a great goal. In fact, it was so good that I achieved it.

How wonderful and good that I achieved my goal. Unfortunately, achieving the goal was not enough.  I forgot to appropriately celebrate what I had done. I was not fulfilled and wanted more. This is a mistake that I am correcting every day. Remember to celebrate your successes whether big or small. Losing over 60 pounds in four months AND keeping it off is amazing. 

For the past seven months, I have been trying to set and achieve a new goal. There is room for improvement. Again, I wrote down the goal.  The goal is specific, achievable, and measurable.  Alas, I have not achieved the new goal.

Why have I not achieved the goal?  I have spent the last few weeks pondering that question.  Over the next couple of blog posts, I will take some time to discuss the power of questions and the importance of asking good questions. Good questions result in good answers. Likewise, poor questions result in poor answers.

To achieve your goals, you must be able to answer why. I’ve written about this before. In my day job, students seek guidance about going to law school. I always ask them why. Why do you want to go to law school? Why do you want to be a lawyer? What is your outcome? How will it improve your life? I have my students do this because law school can be frustrating and there are days you may want to give up.  On those days, you must be able to answer why AND your answer must be a good answer.

So why haven’t I achieved the new goals? I’ll tell you more about that in the next blog post.  For now, take some time to consider what changes you want to make in your life and why you want to make the changes.  Is your why strong enough?

Day 30 of Gratitude Challenge

As so today it ends. 30 days of gratitude. So many things to be grateful for in life. Throughout this challenge, I have tried to focus on at least one thing every day to be grateful for. Though there has been some overlap, there have been 30 unique things. Though initially, I struggled with new ideas, the reality is there is much to be grateful about.

For today, I have saved my best for last. The attached picture is of my greatest gratitude. She is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning. She is the last thing I think of before I go to sleep. She is constantly on my mind. She is my most ardent supporter and most vocal critic. She loyal, caring, and compassionate. She has her flaws but they don’t really matter to me.

To be clear, she is the person on the right in this picture. We have been together for over 20 years. Today I am grateful for my best friend and wife.

Today is also “Giving Tuesday” in the United States. This is an opportunity to support charities with gifts. Over the holiday season, I plan to make gifts to several charities and challenge all of you to do the same.

I am giving to Dakotabilities – This is where my brother lives and receives service. My oldest brother also received services here until his passing. It is an excellent organization.

I will give to Lifescape – Lifescape is a similar to Dakotabilities. It provides services to adults and children with disabilities. I have been on the Board of Directors at Lifescape for several years serving the last two years as the chair of the board. Tomorrow, I will chair my final meeting before passing the gavel to someone else.

I will give to The Center for Western Studies – I serve on Board of Trustees for this organization which is focused on “Improving the quality of social and cultural life in the Northern Plains … achieving a better understanding of the region, its heritage and its resources … and stimulating interest in the solution to regional problems through the application of knowledge areas of concern to the Center for Western Studies.”

You may give to any organization you wish but I challenge you to give AND post about it. Not to brag but to encourage others to give. I truly believe that gratitude and giving is contagious.

Day 25 of Gratitude Challenge

Today is Thanksgiving. It is a day where we celebrate the blessings of the last year. I plan to spend the day eating with my family, watching football, and cleaning the house for The Gathering. I’m going to take several moments to be grateful for the gifts of the last year.

Here are a few things I am grateful for, over the last year:

  1. Family
  2. 20 years of marriage
  3. Family
  4. Graduation of youngest son
  5. Visiting oldest son several times
  6. Youngest so goes to college
  7. Improved health
  8. Return to the classroom
  9. Return to the office
  10. 1st shot
  11. 2nd Shot
  12. Booster shot
  13. Ginger – The best mini golden doodle

I am grateful for those who read this blog. What are you grateful for? Today, I challenge you to make a gratitude list and post it.

Day 19 of Gratitude Challenge

It’s been one year since I took the picture. One year of change I never thought would happen. One year of steady improvement.

I began this journey alone and unhappy. I began not knowing where to start. But I made the decision to change. My advice – make the decision about why then work on the how.

Over the last year, I have received so much encouragement and support from family and friends. Thank you it made a difference. I haven’t been perfect but I have improved. And more importantly, I could not have done it without the encouragement. I am grateful for all the kindness.

Today’s challenge is for you to thank a friend and family member. Call, text, email, message, Snap, What’s App or snail mail them. Just thank this person for something they did.

Day 15 of Gratitude Challenge

I’m told that when he was born he was not expected to live more than 10 years. He defied the odds and lived almost 60 years.

14 months ago he contracted Covid and died 11 days later. In the first few months after his death, I vacillated between anger and sadness. Overtime, I made efforts to focus on gratitude. Gratitude for the memories I have. Gratitude for the lessons he taught me. Gratitude for the love he gave. Gratitude for the years he was alive. Gratitude for all he gave to me.

I’m still sad and occasionally angry. But mostly I am grateful to have had a brother like him. Today is his birthday. I’ll celebrate by taking some time to bee grateful for his life.

Today’s challenge requires you to think about somebody who has passed on and do so with gratitude for all the gifts they left for you.

One Year

One year ago today, I received word that my oldest brother Jeff had tested positive for COVID. He would pass away in his sleep 11 days later. This picture is the last one I ever took of him.

The death of my brother is the most painful experience in my life. It took me to a dark place. Today, I am going to celebrate. I am going to celebrate his life and the lessons he taught me. I am going celebrate by focusing on what I have and not what I have lost. I am going to celebrate, in part, by watching my students play football, cheer and march for the first time in nearly two years.

The last year has reinforced that I can’t control much. I can’t control what happened to my brother. I can’t control the virus. I can only control my focus and my response. Today I chose celebration.