December, 2010

Dec 10

Looking Back to Move Forward

Hi, I am glad you visited me on this last blog of 2010.  With just a couple of more blinks of the eye 2011 will be here and 2010 history.

This is always an interesting time of the year for me.  Typically when New Year’s Eve approaches I become somewhat retrospective.  There are milestone points in life that, for me, force my thoughts to bigger, deeper things and the end and start of a year is one of those times.

What happens at this milestone is I reflect on the year coming to an end and then try to rate it in comparison to past years.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do.  I don’t think I am too different than most folks. 

Assessing this year was very easy.  2010 was a very good year.  It will go down as one of the better, more memorable and eventful years of my life. 

Side Note:  Just so you know, 2003 that went down as one of the worst years of my life.  It was an awful year.  I could not wait for it to end… it was a black year.


Sometimes people can’t wait for a year to end and others want it to hang on for a while.  But the reality is… TIME waits for no one.  We are all equal when it comes to time.  We can’t slow it down or speed it up. 

As you, I have experienced good years and bad.  I have come to find out that life is a good teacher… if we are open and willing to learn.

There are some things that I have learned that keeps this patchwork of years and life experiences in perspective.  I am sure you have some wonderful life learnings too but here are some things I think are important.

Learning One:  The most important reality to embrace is that life is not static… it ebbs and flows.  There are good days and bad days, and so on, making weeks, months, years and then seasons of life.

Learning Two:  The second reality that screams loudly is that life is a mix of things within our control and out of our control.  I can’t explain why things happen to certain people.  It just does.  Life happens. 

Beyond anyone’s control, crappy things happen to good people and visa versa.  I believe it is important to reflect on life issues to see what there is to learn but not… NOT to partake in the morbid dance of “what if”.

Learning Three:  This learning is different than the other two.  The first two are just facts that happen with or without our consent or control.

The number three reality is completely within our control.  It is the ability to choose how we respond to realities one and two. 

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

                        – Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


I believe more and more in the core of my being that how we choose to respond (NOT react) to the positives and negatives in life has a direct impact on the fullness and meaningfulness of our life. 

There is a big difference between Respond and React:  To me, Respond is a controlled action to the circumstances or situation at hand.  To React is to act without thought or control. 

My Definition of RESPONSIBILTIY:  The ability to respond… not react.

I have learned that, if things are good I am to embrace and enjoy them, but I do not own them.  I must hold the times that are good LOOSELY.   I cannot force good things forward.  I can do things to increase the odds but there are no magic formulas to guarantee good things.  Good things are gifts to be treasured and appreciated.

I find that the bad years are usually a result of a mix of bad choices within my control and bad circumstances beyond my control.  Once again, how I choose to respond becomes the central point.

The bad circumstances that are not because of poor decisions on my part are pretty easy for me to put in their proper place.  I realize that life ebbs and flows and I must take what comes and make the best of it.


The tough issue for me is when I am faced with those situations I am in because of my poor choices or outright bad decisions.  Like most people if feel I probably deserve the negative fallout and accept my self created punishment.

Yes, there are natural consequences to bad decisions or behavior.  I personally believe these consequences play an important role in our education of life.

            “Experience keeps you from making bad decisions; But most experience comes from making bad decisions.”         - Anonymous


“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.”
- Viktor E. Frankl


But there is a trap.  The trap where our past failures keep us anchored to the negative.  Oswald Chambers says, “Don’t let the past corrupt your future.”

I don’t know what kind of year you have had.  If it was good… enjoy and embrace it.  If it was bad… release it.  Let it go and choose to drop the chains of negative things that weigh you down.

2010 is a treasured year for me.  I don’t know what 2011 will be.  I hope and pray it will be as good as or better than last year.  I will do what I can to carry it forward… but ultimately, I must release it into bigger hands than mine.

This journey of life is a JOY.  Yes it has its very hard times… but I choose JOY.

See you next year… Monday.

Dec 10

A Time to Rest


Well, I made it.  I eventually found the computer nestled down in all the Christmas wrapping, boxes and gifts.  What made this seemingly simple task more difficult is that I am slowly emerging from my sugar stupor.

I see that you survived Christmas also… I’m glad you made it.

I have two exciting things going on today. 

First, this is my one hundredth blog entry this year.  Now this may not seem like a big thing to you but I’m pretty psyched.  Wow, one hundred.

For me that’s a lot of writing.  Just so you know, I realize that all this writing doesn’t necessarily mean I have much to say.  Those of you who are regular readers probably know that by now.

Side Note:  I will poke at the significance of writing at the first anniversary of launching my blog in January. 


The second point of excitement is gearing up for the New Year.  Christmas has faded and the New Year is rumbling toward us. 

I don’t know if this happens to you but something strange occurs to me on December 26th.  It’s as though someone flips a switch in my head and Christmas is over.  All of a sudden the beautiful decorations seem a bit weary, the thousands of twinkly lights feel obtrusive and the Christmas tree looks out of place.

There is no doubt that there are some reading this blog who are super sad to see Christmas go and others are overly ecstatic that it’s over.  For me, I am somewhere in the middle.  Not sad or ecstatic but just ready to move on. 

The week between Christmas and New Year is like an emotional decompression period that prepares us for the new year.

We spend months slowly picking up speed as we move toward the holidays.  It is an interesting progression of a snail’s pace start that builds to a frenzied finish. 

Here’s how I see it unfolding.  Summer is over, school has started, fall is poking its head around the corner and then it begins.  It’s as though Labor Day is like the announcement at a NASCAR race, “Gentlemen… start your engines.” 

The engines are started and things are set in motion.  We slowly begin to rumble along and then Halloween begins to suck us into the turbine engine of the holidays. 

No sooner do the kids come down from the sugar high of their sacks of candy and Thanksgiving starts looming on the horizon.  Whereas Halloween is usually focused on the immediate family, the increased speed now invades to the extended family. 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday.  It is the fueling station before the start of the race.  “Black Friday” has become the “green flag” for frenzy.  The frantic race is underway, and it crescendos at Christmas. 

Side Note:  How’s that for mixing metaphors… I start with a race and end with a musical note.

 Hey, I never said I was a good writer.  But you have to admit it does keep you on your toes.

So the week between Christmas and New Year is the gift of decompression.  This is a time to allow our heads to stop spinning and to get our bearings (nautical metaphor thrown in for good measure).

So I turn my eyes toward New Year’s Eve and Day.  At this point my wife and I have no plans.  We will find something fun to kick-off the year.

But there is one more thing pressing me.  I have one more blog entry this year.  So I am already trying to wrap my mind around what will be a good capstone for the year.

Have a relaxing week as you unwind.  See you Thursday.

Dec 10

Oh My, What a Story!

Hello again.

Just so you know, this blog is not being written from the waiting area of the Cleveland Clinic… all’s good.  (Read the last blog and you will know what I am talking about.)

Now that life stuff is tucked back into the “somewhat normal” category I can focus on the topic at hand, Christmas.

Wow, the day before Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow is a big day.   Lot’s of kids, myself included, are excited about Santa coming.

You can’t beat family, food, presents, and celebration… good stuff.  And to top it off, to those of us who are Christians, is experiencing the joy of the Spiritual significance this time of the year brings.

God Alert: Hello non-Christian friends.  I am going to share a couple of creative things that talk about why this day is particularly special to me… yes you guessed it… Jesus stuff.

Now don’t go grabbing your mouse to click to another screen.  I encourage you to hang out and enjoy the video and story telling.   They are worth the time from just a creative standpoint.

As always I am not asking you to believe as I, nor am I judging.  I just think it is so cool that you are willing to hang out with me even though we believe differently.  It says a lot about you.


As I think about Christmas and what it means to me I am began looking for interesting quirky things to share.  I’m odd in that way… maybe because I tend to be a bit quirky.

Side Note: Quirky is just a nicer and more trendy way of saying eccentric.

I am excited… I found two really cool versions of the Christmas story.  Both are very creative but remarkably different.  One is very contemporary and the other very ancient.

The first approaches the events of Christ’s birth as if it occurred today and Mary and Joseph were using the computer and social media to communicate.  A friend sent me this video.  Enjoy!

Story One:

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Clever and creative huh?

The second video approaches this ancient tale from the most historical form of communication… story telling.  This is a video narrative by one of the best story tellers of the past century, Paul Harvey.  He is now deceased but his stories live on.

Reminder to the younger crowd: Give story telling a chance.  It is not as visually stimulating but I think you will find the creativity of a good story teller more than makes up for any lack of flash and hype.


Story Two:

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What’s interesting to me is that although the applications are very different the ancient message remains clear.  God comes down to us, on our level, how amazing is that?

So in all the wrap, ribbon, food, wine, whines, cries, and laughter… allow the Joy of the reality of God with us engulf you.

See you Monday, if I can dig my way through the trash to find the computer.

Dec 10


Hi there. 

You will never guess where I am writing this blog?  I am sitting in the waiting area at the Cleveland Clinic. 

Now to all my friends and family… don’t worry, nothing life threatening.  My wife is having some tests.  I can get into more detail with loved ones through a different communication vehicle other than the blog.

Anyway, the trip to the Cleveland Clinic came about quite suddenly, last Friday afternoon.  Situations like this scream the reality that “life can change quickly.”  If you have any years on your Life-O-Meter you too have either personally experienced or seen the life of someone close to you change quickly. 

Now the surprise visits by the unknown can either be positive (winning the lottery) or negative (a tragedy).  Unfortunately the negative unknowns seem to bite us in the butt more often than the positives.

Regardless of what we think is going to happen, life has a naughty way of disrupting our tidy plans. 

It is times like this where life conveniently puts us back into our place with the realization that we are not ultimately in control.  At best we can only plan, be diligent in our daily affairs and then hold loosely to the things within our grasp.

That’s the hard part… hold loosely.  There is this control thing that humans seem to struggle with.  It’s as though we think we can take life around the neck and force it to succumb to our whims.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think we should live life to the fullest.  But we have to remember that although life may tolerate our naïve planning, we are not in control. 

I believe each day is a gift for us to cherish and enjoy what is offered even though the circumstances may not be happy.

Joy vs. Happines

This morning in the hotel room while thinking about the blog for today something struck me. 

I was mulling over the difference between joy and happiness.  I reflected on the typical points such as, happiness is base on the condition of circumstances where joy is a condition of the heart.

Two common questions came to mind that took the difference of joy and happiness to a different level.

  • What makes you happy?
  • What brings you joy?

I do not wish to trivialize happiness.  Happiness is not an insignificant thing.  Happiness and joy often comes together complimenting each other.  But if we are not careful we focus on happiness and lose the greater

Joy is a gift to be received regardless of the circumstances you find yourself.  Joy is offered not as shiny things that catch your eye on the platter of life but the form of simple non-descript items that tend to go unnoticed

God Alert:  To my friends who are still trying to figure out what you believe, I am not asking you to believe what I believe.  But I do encourage you to consider this interesting bit of history that focuses on JOY.


It is interesting to me that when the announcement of the birth of Christ the angels did not announce “Happiness to the World.”  It was clear… JOY to the world. 

The circumstances of His birth were not happy.  They were dreadful.  He was not born in a mucked and clean County Fair stable but an active stable where the smell of acrid straw accented the air. 

How could joy be present in such a place?  From our human standpoint there is no joy in such surroundings. 

How can there be joy in the waiting area of one of the world’s most renowned medical facilities?  I look around at people from literally all over the world coming here for a glimmer of hope.   You can see the stress on the faces of those who are ill and the concern of the family members.

This is not a happy place… but I have joy.  That despite the circumstances life has tossed our way this past weekend… I have joy. 

How cool is that?  Hopefully you will be open to receive the joy that’s offered to us all.

See you Thursday.

Dec 10

The Gift Exchange

Yep, me again prattling away about life.

Since its Christmas and we have been talking about gifts I thought I would share a couple of insights about gifts that may cause you to think about them a bit differently.

Now don’t get mad at me, but I have to take the joyous experience of gift giving and break it down making it more impersonal and academic in nature.

Gift giving requires several components before the perfect gift exchange is attained.

Side Note: What may help is for you to think about a gift you received that meant a lot to you.  Compare your experience to the components below to see if I am tracking with your experience.

Component One: The Giver

This sounds pretty simplistic but there always needs to be a giver.  But the ideal exchange demands more than just a person willing to part with something.  The X factor to the perfect gift is motivation… the why.

Let’s be real, many gifts are given out of obligation (I have to do it) or manipulation (If I do it there is something to gain).  I am sure most of us have been given something and wondered about the motive.

I am not trying to get all mushy here but the reality is the ideal gift comes from the heart not just the head.  There is a message that conveys worth or value.  There is no ulterior motive other than pleasing the person for whom the gift was for.

The giver must give with no ulterior motive or strings attached and then… release… let go.

Component Two: The Gift

This is the item of exchange.  Frankly, there are all kinds of gifts.  Usually we think in terms of a wrapped package that is grasped.  But there are gifts that are tangible in nature and some intangible.

My parents did not have much but they gave us kids’ some pretty cool gifts.  The tangible gifts were great but I remember very few.  The real gifts (in hindsight) were intangible in nature.  Even though we didn’t have much we knew we were loved… the beautiful gift of being loved.  This may sound weird but I can say now that being disciplined was a gift.

Component Three: The Cost

Every meaningful gift has a cost.  Now before you start arguing, think about it.  Cost is not just financial… that is just the money exchanged.

The cost may be something much more precious than just money.  The price of something may be in the form of sacrifice, time, effort, thoughtfulness, etc.

If you reflect I am sure you will agree that some of the most precious gifts you receive had very little to do with the money something cost.

Component Four: The Receiver

This is a biggie.  No gift exchange is complete until one receives.

This may sound like I am splitting verbal hairs but there is a difference between accepting a gift and receiving a gift.

Accepting a gift is the physical reception of the gift (or in the case of something intangible, an acknowledgement).  But receiving is on a much deeper level.  It involves the fullest appreciation of the gift and understanding of the value.

Now I am not trying to overly complicate this gift giving thing.  When a person buys you a gift for Christmas you will accept it physically and you will show your reception of it by expressing you appreciation and gratitude.  This is fairly straightforward.

But I am taking the time to differentiate accepting and receiving of those gifts that may have a greater emotional meaning to the giver.

Allow me to share an example.  My grandparents (my mother’s side) were amazing people.  They didn’t have much to give.  I remember as they were getting late in their years my grandfather pulled me aside and gave me a few mementoes of he and my grandmother.

There was a scarf he gave my grandmother when they were dating, he gave me his company pin marking years of service and other personal odd and ends.  They were worthless on one level and priceless on another.

I was honored.  He knew I would do more than accept them.  I appreciated the items… I receive them.  I in other words, I took the items with the same heart they were given.

You see, the way you receive the gift is in essence a gift in return.

There is no question there will be many gifts exchanged this Christmas that will be very transactional in nature.  This is normal.  But the most blessed gifts that are given and received on a heart level.

See you Monday

Dec 10

The Perfect Gift

Ho Ho Ho!

Wow.  I can’t believe Christmas is almost here.  It’s coming at us as fast as a herd of seniors at a “early bird” buffet.

When I was young it seemed like an eternity for Christmas to roll around.  Now it feels like I just get the decorations and lights put away and its time to pull them back out again.  Time has an interesting way of messing with our heads.

So with the whirling time warp and all the activities, I have the all important question, how is your Christmas shopping going?

Now I know that there are a number of you who have completed your shopping and you are in the envied position of just flowing with and enjoying the holidays.  But there are others, like myself, who have a ways to go.

Side Note: Having a ways to go is a bit of an understatement.  I haven’t even started.

Now generally it doesn’t bother me to wait to the last minute because when all is said and done I get my wife really nice gifts.   But what makes it a bit different this year is that I have my wife read my blogs before I post them and now she’ll know that I haven’t started yet.

Oh well, such are the hidden perils of blog writing.

With a little over a week before Christmas, this is where the serious shopping takes place.  If you have shopping habits such as me, you will bite the bullet and take off a couple of afternoons, run the gauntlet of traffic and shoppers and return home with the spoils of the hunt.

Even though my shopping tends to be last minute I actually put some thought into the gifts I give my wife.  The timing of the purchase isn’t as important a factor as is the thought and consideration of what she would like or need.

Now if I am shopping for someone other than my wife I don’t tend to put as much thought into the gift selection.  Ok, time for true confession.  In fact I have been known to … regift.  Yep, you read correctly… regift.

Now before you get all judgmental on me, be honest, have you ever regifted?  Regifting has become quite popular.  I found out some very interesting things about regifting.


There is actually a National Regifting Day.  It always falls on the Thursday a week before Christmas.  This year it is December 16th.

Also there is a regift web site for people to learn about regifting and share their regift stories… seriously… I’m not making this up.  The web site is

There was actually a regift survey conducted in 2007.  Here are some interesting facts.

Who Receives Regifts

  • About 4 in 10 regifters (41%) named coworkers as the recipients of their regifts
  • Family members and friends were also named by 41%
  • Teachers – 18%
  • Significant other – 12%

Regifting is becoming more accepted

  • More than half (60%) of Americans think regifting is becoming more accepted.
  • One in four (25%) people think regifting is becoming more acceptable because it is a way to save money on holiday expenses.
  • Another 14% believe that regifting is more acceptable because it is a method of recycling.

Most regift recipients are not offended

  • More than 4 in 10 (42%) regift recipients said that they don’t really care that they were given a regift.
  • Another 18% of regift recipients said they felt happy or amused to receive a regift.
  • Less than 10% of regift recipients said they felt cheated or angry to receive a regift.

Now if I regift I make sure it’s not used… that’s a bit tacky don’t you think?  Also I try and make sure I don’t give the gift back to the person or their immediate family member.

So, happy hunting on your shopping escapades and remember, if you regift don’t be offended if you get regifted.

See you Thursday.

Dec 10

I Hate Christmas – Again

As you know, in my last blog entry I entered the dark side of Christmas.  What started out as just a fun twist on this wonderful holiday took me into a black hole of hate. 

My wife said it was a downer blog entry… hopefully I didn’t bum you out too much also.  I don’t mean to be the bearer of negative reality, but when I get slapped in the face by something I tend to take notice. 

I mentioned that all the videos I watched and blogs I read about hating Christmas tended to revolve around three distinct themes.  These were the primary ingredients for what I called the cauldron of toxic brew created by those that hate Christmas.

Each theme has two distinct characteristics.  First, they each possess a kernel of truth which lends a level of credibility to the argument. 

Side Note:  Truth has amazing power.  Because of it’s potency it is regularly used to season a lie making it easy for consumption for the lazy or gullible. 


Secondly, each of the ingredients are clearly defined, thus allowing them to independently stand alone as a sole rationale for hating Christmas.

Although they stand alone, each video or blog I read blended two or more of the ingredients.  The three ingredients seemed to naturally mesh and compliment each other increasing the vigorous flow of hate.

Side Note:  HATE.  That’s a strong word.  Some people say that Hate is the opposite of Love.  I don’t think I agree. 

Love is a word with much passion, emotion and investment.  Interestingly, hate possesses the same characteristics.  To me the opposite of Love is apathy.  Apathy means that there is so little care for something that it is not worth any investment of time, energy or emotion. 


“Emotions are the footprints of values.”

 - Kerry Patterson


OK, back to the three ingredients of hating Christmas.


Ingredient # 1:  Political

Personally, I found these people very fascinating.  They seemed to be the brighter bulbs in the package.   Their rationale for hating Christmas was built on logic and a political framework that (in my humble opinion) is fundamentally flawed.

Here are a few phrases that seemed to capture the essence of their mindset.

  • “Brainwashed by the Christmas industrial complex”
  • “Corrupt Federal Government”
  • “Lying Capitalists”

One person even hailed the insights of the almighty Karl Marx, “Holidays are the opiate of the masses.”

You know, there is some truth to what they are saying.  I agree, the holidays are far too commercial.  But talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water… give me a break. 

Frankly, those that lay the ills of our world on the evil US Government or the filthy corporate types that exploit the masses is wearing thin (but I digress).


Ingredient # 2:  Personal

To me, these people were sad.  My heart hurt for them.  They are like a wounded animal that lashes out whenever anyone draws near.  Christmas becomes the perfect catalyst for their spews of hate because the Spirit it represents seems to cruelly mock the void within.

The sad reality is that people are treated with unconscionable brutality.  God only knows the details of their pain.   My prayer is that they will tire of the incessant rampage and stop long enough for light to pierce the dark pain.   


Ingredient # 3:  Religious

Of course, what else would you expect?  There were a lot of so called atheists out there bemoaning the notion of a religious holiday.  All the Christmas hoopla we partake in that makes us look like fools. 

The irritant is that they feel the need to set straight those of us who have succumbed to the ruse that there is a God.  Now to be fair, many who believe in God feel the need to set the atheists straight.  But that is understandable because those who don’t believe in God have more to lose if they are wrong.

There are those in cyber space that believe in God but this whole Jesus thing is really out of hand.  Christianity is too dominant, taking over the holiday season and shoving the other religious holidays to the side.


So the big question is, what do I do with all this information?  I looked at it, I considered the relevant points and then made my decision.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS.  I love what it is all about and the joy it brings to the masses.  No, it is not perfect because people are not perfect. 

So I sit next to our Christmas tree and enjoy the season.

So Merry Christmas to the Christians, Happy Hanukah to my Jewish friends and Happy whatever holiday to the Muslins.  (I wonder if Buddhist or Hindus have a holiday?)

Frankly I don’t know what to say to atheists… happy holey day… get it… holey (hole, nothing there)… uh… never mind.

See you Monday.

Dec 10

Bah Humbug

I started writing this blog as a little tongue-in-cheek ramble about people not liking Christmas.  I thought it might be a fun twist because I know that not everyone is as ga ga over Christmas as most of us.

“There are some people who want to throw their arms round you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas.”
-Robert Lynd


Also the thought of adding a little spice to this typically syrupy sweet sentimental holiday was too much of a temptation for me to pass up.

So I did what every normal American does when looking for information… I Googled, “Why I hate Christmas.” It was a gold mine of Bah Humbug.  There were over 75,000,000 sites about hating Christmas.

The first few pages were what I expected.  Most were playful satire on the distasteful aspects of Christmas such as the over commercialization of the holiday or the frenzied schedule just to name two.

I first ran across a cute Oscar the Grouch video from the Muppet Show – perfect.

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Then a video from the UK caught my eye.  It is a simple clever video of a girl’s cynical view of Christmas.  It’s worth the three minute interruption.

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Since these were funny and cute I thought I would dig a little deeper in my research about people not liking Christmas, oh my, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  WOW!  My head is still spinning.

Let’s just say as a starting point, there are people out there that HATE        (I mean really HATE) Christmas.

Downer Alert: I need to give you a heads up that the remainder of the blog is kind of a downer.  My wife read the blog and was somewhat bummed out.

Hang in there.  Hopefully we will redeem this when all is said and done.


First let me say that some of the people I ran across were absolutely fascinating.  They were very interesting people, albeit a bit twisted in their logic.  Then there were others who are sad hurting souls whose emotional injuries were obviously brutal.  Finally you have the group who are consumed by raw anger who use Christmas as a convenient target to spew their venom on all those people that seem a bit too joyful

It’s beginning to look a lot like Hell…uh, I mean Christmas. Every year around this time, I spiral into a bottomless pit of anger and depression.

- First sentence of a blog

In my non-scientific research of two hours I watched the videos and looked at the blogs of those who vomited their hate.  I also read the comments of their few but vocal supporters.  As I journeyed through this chorus of anger there were two mental pictures that came to mind.

The first image of the so called supporters is that of a rabid crowd standing on the street cheering the person on the ledge on to their own destruction.  They are the blood thirsty cowards who anonymously keep their distance as others do their dirty work.

The second image is that of all three groups (video people, bloggers and supporters).  I see them as a coven of witches huddled over a bubbling cauldron of poison.  They each throw a variety of ingredients into the brew as they in unison recite their incantations validating their beliefs.

As I reflected on all that I saw and read I discovered the three primary ingredients of their toxic brew.  The ingredients stands alone each possessing a kernel of truth.  But they also blend nicely with each other making it easier to legitimize the deceit.

I do not have the time or energy to go into detail today.  This will be my task for Thursday’s blog.

Let me assure you, as I did for my wife, I  am not going to camp out on these negative realities.

See you then.

Dec 10

The Gift

Hi, good to see you again.

Yep, the Christmas season is in full swing with all the lights flashing, music blaring, traffic frenzied, and bells ringing.  For me it’s fun… except the traffic… uugh!

I mentioned in the last blog entry that I had a Christmas gift idea for the man in your life.  Before I divulge this top secret idea I need to ask you a question that lays the ground work for my gift suggestion.

How is your attitude toward Christmas now compared to when you were a child?

Take a minute to think about it.  The answer to this question is important.

I, for example, still have very similar feelings about Christmas as I did when younger.  Yes, the grown up version has a greater sense of responsibility and the time between each Christmas seems a lot shorter, but I still get excited.

It takes work to keep your childlike attitude and not to let yourself be molded into thinking like an adult during this time of the year.

Let’s face it, this time of the year can be very pressure packed and demanding.  What I mean is, it is very easy to let things get to you such as the constant hustle and bustle, the clutter around the house during the decoration phase, or the basic realities of juggling finances and time.

This is all the adult stuff of Christmas.  But having to do adult stuff doesn’t demand that you jettison your childlike spirit.

There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

- Erma Bombeck

Now that I have laid some groundwork it is time to share the gift idea for the man in your life.

Side Note: What I am about to share may sound sexist.  My gift idea may work for girls but there are a couple of reasons I preface this for men.

First, I’m a guy and I can’t think like a girl.  Sorry, but my mind can’t make that leap.  I’m afraid that if I even attempted such a feat my brain would get caught in a parallel universe like some weird Sci Fi movie.

Secondly, every time I have shared this idea it seems to resonate much more with men than with women.

The Gift Idea

Give the man in your life… a toy.  Yes, a toy.  I am very serious.  Let me explain.

A few years ago my brother called me after Christmas and told me that one of the gifts his wife got him for Christmas was a BB gun.  He was telling me how much fun he was having shooting cans and such and he stated that everyone should get a toy for Christmas.

I did probably what you’re doing now and just blew off the statement with amusement and casual disregard.  But then something stuck me on a deeper level.

Thankfully I have learned to pay attention when I am stilled like this.  I do not wish to be melodramatic but there are wonderful insights and joys to be embraced if you are willing to listen.   All through this year in my blog entries I talk about being attuned to hear the voice.

Important Note: No I am not talking about the voices in your head that the right medication cures.  I am talking about the voice of the heart that touches you if you are open.

My blog entry called The Voice Again which I posted on March 9 will give you a pretty good sense of what I am talking about.

If you are interested in reading it all you need to do is look on the left side of the page and you will see the blog archives entitled Previous Meanderings.  Click on March and scroll down to the 9th.

Back to my “ah ha” moment.  What struck me was something I had not thought of in years.  And each time I mention this, every one of the people remember.  The person may not remember the date or year but they remember the moment.

Do you remember the Christmas you didn’t get a toy?

Do you remember the feeling?  For most people, and for me, in retrospect it was like something was lost or over… childhood I guess.

When I thought of this question the toy comment from my brother made sense.  Getting a toy isn’t because you are childish but it keeps you childlike.  And we must never loose our childlike nature.  We lose that, the luster of life is lost.

The Toy

If you decide to give a toy, it must be a TOY.  We are NOT talking about a man toy such as an iPod, GPS thingy, or some electronic game or gadget.  I am talking about at TOY… something you play with.

For me I like stuff like Stomp Rockets or one of those inexpensive remote helicopters you fly in the house.

Follow your intuition as you go down the toy aisle because when you see it you’ll know.  For your guy it might be a model (not the female type – that’s a man toy).  I mean a car or plane model.

Give it a try.  It is well worth the risk to get a chance to see the innocent little boy come out.

See you Monday.