My Life – Above Ground


(Pre)School’s Out!
May 29, 2008, 11:50 pm
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Well, we’ve finally made it past preschool!  Very excited about graduating preschool and having his last day of school today, Luke is ready to move on to bigger and better things.  When asked after school if he was sad that preschool is all over, he replied, “No, I’m very happy it’s summertime!  I’ll miss Miss Chrissa and my friends, but I get to swim and spend everyday with Gatlin (his best friend down the street).” 

While it may appear minor, this is a big milestone for us – officially moving away from ‘toddlerville’ and into having all elementary school-aged young-uns changes our life a bit.  Gone are the days of being able to stay at home with mom all day, not having any homework – ever, and waking up when you want.  Luke’s life will never be the same.  I hope he looks back on his early years with fond memories and gratitude for all of the fun we’ve had… I know that Gina and I will. 

Anyhow, summertime is just around the corner… it’s heating up more and more.  The next few months will be full of swimming, camping, baseball, bowling, movies and loads of other fun.  When it’s all over in late August, Luke will be moving on to a new chapter in his life – a chapter in which I’m certain he’ll find fun, more relationships and learning.

Good luck, Luke… and here’s to having an excellent Summer!

Luke & Cody - Pre-Summer Excitement

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Perspective
May 24, 2008, 8:35 pm
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Webster defines it as ‘the relative importance of facts or matters from any special point of view…’ – to collegiate for me. 

From a mathematic standpoint it’s labeled as ‘a system for projecting the three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional surface…’ to geeky for me.

It’s something that is greatly lacking in our world today, at least the practical application of it – perspective.  I think we all quietly yearn for it though.  Think about it.  Why else do those ‘Time Magazine – Year in Reviews’  sell so many copies?  Why are exchange student programs so popular?  What is one of the primary reasons companies hire outside consultants? 

To gain a different perspective than the one seen in everyday life. 

This past week, I had the privilege of traveling through Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin.  Beautiful country, it is.  Absolutely beautiful.  I got to see different places, experience different accents and dialects and observe unique cultures.   I had an opportunity to see – first hand – a few examples of Amish culture – a culture that I’ve always admired and had tremendous respect for. 

amish carriage

I don’t live much like the Amish; my life is very different than theirs.  Very different.  But the differences are what I respect most.  And learn from – while simulataneously producing high levels of gratitude for what I do have.  Funny how that works, huh? 

And when I think about it, it’s also the reason why I enjoy my work as a consultant so much.  I have an opportunity to be exposed to numerous different types of people, cultures, settings and challenges on a fairly frequent basis.  And therein lies the benefits of continually seeking a different perspective.

Gratitude.  Humility.  Compassion.  Tolerance.  Appreciation.  Learning.  Growth.

How about we do something together:  make it a habit to look at our lives and the things in them from a different perspective.  A different point-of-view.  If married, look at your spouse differently – appreciate the strengths that you pay little attention to.  If you have kids, look at them in a way you never have – appreciating their uniqueness.   Approach your daily tasks from a different angle – whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a corporate executive.  Treat your friends a bit differently than you usually do – doing something that they would not anticipate from you. 

For those who don’t live the same, look the same, act the same, and/or eat the same food as you – look at them through a different lense.  Open your mind and I guarantee that you will benefit from it…

How about this shot for perspective?  Makes you look at things a bit differently, huh? 

perspective 



Foodie
May 19, 2008, 6:23 pm
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Hi, my name is Mike, and I’m a foodie.  I love to prepare and eat good food.  I very much enjoy partaking in various kinds of beverage merriment.  Sad thing is that the majority of our society is in a persistent ‘hurry up and go’ state – not taking the time to relax in preparing a meal, smelling its amora and admiring the final result before wolfing it all down.  

I had a conversation recently about favorite foods and drinks, and realized that I don’t have a favorite food per se.  I can, however, classify some of my favorites into categories of cuisines.  For instance, I love curry and coconut milk – so, I naturally like numerous Thai dishes.  I also like the mixture of vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaves – hence my love for Adobo – the well-known Filipino dish (and my wife makes the best, of course).  Also, balsamic  vinegar & olive oil makes a great glaze for grilled chicken – something that’s on a number of menus at Italian eateries.  

Panang Chicken

  Chicken Adobo

Balsamic Chicken

As far as drinks are concerned, I’m almost exclusively a martini guy.  I enjoy a good, cold beer and nice glass of red wine every once in a while, but I love the mixture of vodka with various other liqueurs.  I’m also kind of a simpleton – I like plan old-fashioned water with my meals, with the occassional iced tea. 

Vodka Martini

How about you?  Please share with me some of your favs…

Cheers…



Some of My Favorite Movies…

I very much enjoyed Good Will Hunting. What I liked most about it was the portayal of raw, real life. While the language is a tad graphic, it’s raw… real emotions are being expressed.  It’s vulnerability at its best.

 

Awakenings hit some sensitive emotional nerves for me.  The compassion and sadness found in this scene surpasses anything that words can express, so I won’t attempt it here.  Teaches a strong, vibrant lesson about empathy. 

 

I liked Dead Poet’s Society because of the theme of Carpe Diem – taking advantage of every breath and making the most of life.  Being passionate about life – making life extraordinary.  Our world is far too guarded and jaded – this scene / movie teaches a great lesson in letting go and expressing the soul.



Seriously, I’m serious now…
May 13, 2008, 2:45 pm
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Ok… So it’s been almost half a year since my last post… oh well…

I’ve been thinking a lot of about the general ebb and flow of life.  I think we all have this innate since that everything is either going well or not so well… with the handful of folks who – to be honest – are apathetic and don’t feel either way. 

I don’t agree with this thought pattern anymore.

I think that we are always experiencing both – we all have good things going on in our lives for which we can be very grateful, and those not so good things that challenge us in different ways.   And when I start letting this train of thought consuming my mind, it makes things understandably balanced.  Makes the challenges more palatable, and the good things even richer. 

From the big picture perspective, I think we’re all very lucky to have had a chance to breath.  Period.  Our world is a kaleidoscope, full of different people, places, cultures and beliefs – consistently keeping us on the edge of our seats just waiting for that next thing to learn and see and touch and feel.  And this is where the line is drawn.  In the proverbial words of my loving wife, “We are all either green and growing, or ripe & rotting.”  On which side of the tree are you?  Green me up, baby!