Christmas 2010

To close up the day I thought I’d write a few random impressions of our day. First, it was inspiring watching all 3 kids get bikes this year. I had a year when I got a Diamondback bike and my brother and I rode those things for years as if they were our cars. Watching my smallest kid, Julianna, ride her princess bike was so rewarding as a parent. It is her first mobile contraption. Second, Our new cat Tiana (named after the Princess in the Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog”) is really beyond cute however this cuteness has caused my daughters to fight to hold the cat incessantly. I have never seen the little one take such ownership of anything. It is one of those situations where I as a parent am a bit clueless on what to do. Last, my wife is the best cook I think I have ever known. Her Mexican tamales today were the Baileys. Now we head over to my parents’ house to make more memories. I am already thinking of a New Year’s resolution: To be less commercial and more genuine. I hope I can stick to that one! More on what I mean later. So I hope all your Christmases went stellarly. Next stop: 2011.

Choosing Boundaries, Changing Backgrounds

I can tell you the coming year will be one in which I focus more on giving to people who receive me.

I’ve set up my CSS stylesheet to change backgrounds readily. That means when I get tired of the way my blog looks, I don’t have to completely adapt to a new set of templates known as a “theme.” I drew a parallel to this tonight in my head as I was doing dishes. I thought about the friend psychology of my life and how people exist in a sort of “background” if you will. I seem to be neglecting great people in favor of people who are negative and don’t share my dreams and vision. In fact, they tear me down. I am the type that tries to please everyone, especially certain people who probably would be happy if I failed at everything I try in life. I’ve chosen to pander to these no more. Like Morissey said in the 80’s:

In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don’t care if I live or die?

Good question. My blog is cool now because I have about 10 backgrounds I have sized and uploaded and they are always ready to go 24/7. What a powerful metaphor that my life background can change anytime I choose. I can spend time with people who take from who I am and the dream that lives or I can try to please those who will never be pleased. They hang on me like an ugly background I don’t take the time to change.

I’m a big fan of the words of Jesus. He says throughout the Bible that we should serve others before ourselves and thereby put God first. I want to be much more of a giver. I can tell you the coming year will be one in which I focus more on giving to people who receive me.

When it comes to having to choose and sometimes change people backgrounds, we’re all in the same boat. It’s the human condition. Nobody gets out of these choices alive and the results can make a huge difference in this temporal life.

The Type of Blogger to Be

I’ve been writing in speculation on blogging for almost 4 years now. I have pondered what blogging is and what it is not. More than that, I have passed judgment through words on what respectable bloggers are and what they are not. In the process, I think I have been a little of all the things I’ve despised. There is an upside of all this however, I have let the meaningless stuff fall away and have focused on what matters. Because I have done this, I feel qualified to describe the kind of blogger to be.

Let me start by saying what kind one should not be. An automated blogger is to be despised. This is pretty self-explanatory but basically it means the coward blogger who has nothing to say nor inspiration to spread. These blogs are all over the place and some people even make some money at them. Unfortunately for them though, people catch on fast and expert seo with good keywords tend to burn out when blogging is automatic. Another type one should not be is the emotional gusher. Need I explain the lack of appeal these hold?

There are other types to avoid but I leave it for you to think about. The type of blogger I have become and strive to remain is one who writes from an area of specialty or expertise and works blogging into her/his routine of life. This causes less headaches and produces a blog that is much more interesting. If you can monetize this type of blog you are set because it is integrated into what you do, automatically.


Going to the park with my kids is a little like Disneyland only you aren’t quite as exhausted when you get home. The playground is the ride and kids explore it freely. My daughters are still reticent about the big slide but they end up going down it after much forethought and consideration.

My 12 year old tags along to ride his Ripstik, play a little basketball and to do some relaxing under the trees. In between taking the girls to the jungle gym and pushing them on the swing, we all take some time laying under the trees. My youngest, Julianna, is in her element at the park. She loves the picnic style lunch we usually have. And it’s so fun to watch her enjoying herself as she runs around.

And then there is my “love-hate” relationship with the ice cream truck. I used to never have cash to buy the girls something but their pouty faces got the better of me and now I try to always leave the house with a couple bucks. When Bella, my oldest girl at 5, sees that ice cream truck, it’s a foregone conclusion that we are heading over to pick something wonderful and cold out to buy and eat. All three of my kids have such playful spirits and I am grateful for that. I know I’ll always treasure these family memories at the park.

Summer Update – “Let it Flow”

Three more days of work lay ahead of me on this Monday night. The boss I have now is very organized which is a plus. He’s made the check-out process pretty much stress free. I will miss this year’s students, I taught over 100 kids math this year and their only 4th grade math teacher. They were challenging. The teachers they had in previous years all had struggles with them as well, so I know it’s not just me. Okay, I’ll say it … I am ready to try a new group! I wish them well and some I connected with more than others.

Thursday is my last day of work for the year. I will enjoy almost 2 months off work. Folks, I need it. I’ve been running on low batteries for a while.

We kick it off by using our Disneyland passes on Friday. I’m also committed to my 5 song musical project I am calling “A Supermarket in California.” I think I have a foot in the door to play the Grind sometime over the Summer as well. I’ll post a date when I know.

I look forward to getting back in touch with some of you and meeting new friends. Don’t be a stranger. I’m looking forward to the best year of teaching ever in 2010-2011 and the time off is part of that! My mantra for this Summer is: “Let it Flow.”

Finding Meaning for Your Life

I remember back in my early 20’s I took a psychology test to see what jobs were best suited for me. As it turned out the test indicated I was the type that needed to find “deeper purpose and meaning” in my work than the average person. The Meyers Briggs indicator said I was an INFP and that these made up only a small percentage of the population. These types needed jobs that seemed to serve a higher societal good and had a sense of morality to them. The jobs they listed as suggestions were: priest, teacher, artist, musician, writer … and a few others like those. I guess I thought those jobs would bring meaning to my life so I nearly pursued them all.

When the dust settled, I ended up a teacher and it fits me. I remember being so inspired by a teacher in a movie long ago: A River Runs Through it. In it, a young mans decides the same thing for his career. Sometimes the meaning we seek finds us unexpectedly. But how do we find meaning in our lives? Humans have the uncanny ability to make order from chaos. Sometimes when our lives are nearly falling apart, we do something to save them and it all comes together with meaning. In these moments it can almost be like you meant to go there all along. The reality is though, there is no perfect plan. There is no automatic college degree or “comfortable” perfect marriage, to give two stereotypes. One must sweat it out sometimes and do the work to have the result.

Now back to finding meaning for your life: sometimes finding the meaning from the chaos is the work that a human must do. What are you doing now? Can you see how the failures and successes up to this point contributed to get you there? One of the reasons I love and appreciate people so much is because they are able to assemble the puzzle of their lives. It’s like what someone told me once regarding marriag, though it applies to any dream or vision: “If you work at it and hope for it, it doesn’t matter how long you waited once you find the right one.” Your dream or vision is like that. Keep moving forward and remember one day it will all have meaning, even if you don’t see it now.