Is That It?

 

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Thirty-seven years, fourteen days, and fifteen hours and forty minutes ago, I almost said out loud, “Is that it?” The preacher had just said, “I now pronounce you husband and wife…” All I could think about at that moment was, “That’s all there is?” “We waited this long and spent this much and planned so intricately, and it’s over?”

The only thing over was that part of the ceremony. The work was just beginning. All-be-it, it has been considerable work. Right babe? Right…babe?

I’ve had it happen with holidays, destinations, stuff, and things. All the time spent dreaming and planning; the time of hoping and wishing is over in a moment of acquisition.

Life works that way.

We get that new car, and after a week we see someone has gotten a better car with more options on top of a better base package, for a thousand dollars less than what we paid.

Sound familiar?

Even though these things happen and happen with frequency, I believe that the question is a great question to ask, “Is that it? Is this all that there is?”

Some save the question for mid-life so that they can commiserate over it. Others try to ignore it all together.

Instead of allowing the question to intimidate you, come to the table with your sleeves rolled up and your strategy hat on. Ask the question. The fact that you are here to ask it means the answer is a definite, “No! There is more, way more.” The fact that you still have breath and thought means that a new course could be charted, a new normal can be achieved, a new standard can be realized; It just requires you to ask and answer boldly.

So, thirty-seven years, fourteen days, fifteen hours and twenty minutes ago, I ventured on a life-altering, sometimes terrifying, always challenging, and totally rewarding journey. It only required four words, “I do,” and “I will.”

What will you do?

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Dumped On

There is no other way to say it. “This last week we got dumped on.” The Great Canadian North backed the truck up, filled the telescopic rod with hydraulic fluid and let ‘er’ go. Services stopped, vehicles were stuck, people were sent home, and the dig-out started and lasted all week. We had been prepped the week before with a practice run, but the alert for this last week somehow eluded us.
In my conservative opinion, small ‘c’ not to be confused with our political, which is our second or third favourite past-time, I think we got more snow in this last week than we did all last year. But, I’m no weatherman.
Life as we know it had to stop and alter its course. Some of my ‘usual’ got canceled, and that affected others and delayed their arriving home which rippled all the way down to the babysitter, who may have been cheering for the extra dollars; or, maybe not.
Things changed, babies were conceived, at least that is true from the last dump that happened here several years ago, and life had to reorient if only for a moment.
All that rearrangement, without apology, for gentle white snow that landed with a wallop.
What about you?
Have you ever been dumped on, I mean metaphorically speaking?
Have you ever had to alter, reorient, change, or stop life as it is to redirect?
Probably if you haven’t, you are barely old enough to read. If you have lived life in the real world, the chances are high that the telescopic rod has lifted and thrust its load your way.
So, what do you do when life unloads on you in a moment of time?
The first thing you’ll do is to stop. You’ll probably have to. Once you have picked up your shovel, snowblower, or backhoe, you begin to sort your way through the mess. But, when the mess keeps coming, that is when you will need to try a different tactic.
Take Job, pronounced ‘Jobe,’ for example. Here is a guy who has a book by his name contained within the Bible. He got dumped on. Just when he thought he had more than he could bear, the ‘B’ train unloaded.
Job handled his life and his tragedy with amazing patience and trust. You can catch this fantastic example and the message from this ancient stalwart of a man. Forty-two chapters, which is about thirty-six pages, maybe an hour and a half read, or two coffees will impact your life exponentially. Try and read it in one go; you’ll be glad you did.
Then, you can also catch some of my thoughts on this from Conflict #5 in my online book, Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl. Just follow the links.

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Address the Mess; Emotional Duct Tape #1

Here’s how it plays out. I have watched this happen over and over.

We’ll call them Darrell and Amanda.

Darrell and Amanda opt to use emotional duct tape.

This time the disagreement is over whether or not Amanda should have bought the new upright Grandfather clock for $683.00 regularly priced at $999.00. Previous arguments have been in the $400.00 range.

It starts by Darrell walking in from work and seeing the new purchase in the entryway to the living room.

As it turns out, this purchase was not planned in the family budget nor was it even on their radar as a discussion item.

Amanda swears by the fact that this is something that she always wanted and that this price was the best price ever, probably never to happen again.

And, so the stage is set:

Darrell – What is this?

Amanda – I know isn’t it the best thing ever?

Darrell – It’s a grandfather clock!

Amanda – I know. I’ve wanted one of these all my life.

Darrell – This is the first I’ve heard of this.

Amanda – Darrell, it was the best price ever.

Darrell – How much?

Amanda – I saved over $300.00

Darrell – How much?

Amanda – I can use my reimbursement from my taxes last year toward it.

Darrell – How much?

Amanda – Just over $600.00.

Darrell – You did this without asking?

Amanda – I didn’t think that I had to ask for my own money. You are acting just like your father. So, demanding.

Darrell – You said that we would talk about our purchases beyond $200.00 Obviously I can’t trust your word.

Plenty of emotion, ample innuendos, and the ‘taping’ begins. Amanda wipes a tear from her eye, and Darrell leaves the house without saying a word.

He misses supper that night and gets home late.

Nothing said that night and the next day there is a strange silence in their home. Amanda knows better than to ask what is wrong and Darrell struggles for words.

About the third day, they start to acknowledge each other in the room, and things begin to calm down.

By the fifth day, things are great, and the marriage is incredible until…until the tape let’s go. Emotional Duct tape actually works, for the moment. The problem happens when used as a permanent solution. It then becomes thoroughly inadequate.

Instead of dealing with the issue in their marriage, these two choose to take the ‘easy’ way. They fix it with EDT and have a solution. Temporary at best.

Joseph Series: Mess to Message

In a day of High-Speed Internet, anything short of instant is too long! To think that I used to think my 486 was fast compared to my XT, I just dated myself.

Wouldn’t you just like to wake up to success tomorrow morning? I would. I would love to take the mess of my life, my over-the-top struggle and just watch it vanish in Disney moment. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, that is not how gown-up life works.

It sure did not work that way for Joseph. He had to process his life, as do we; we really don’t advance, indeed grow and change, until we do.

Throughout the narrative, Joseph was referred to several times as successful in all that he did. That wouldn’t have been my version of success, I could easily come up with several other words, but from God’s vantage and perspective he was growing and changing even though, from mine, his life seemed to get worse. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but God isn’t waiting for me to catch up or for my permission to get or give understanding.

We might even concede to handling the ‘Process,’ but make it happen now. Don’t make me wait until growth happens or seasoning takes place.

There is a little-concealed phrase in the great biblical ‘Hall of Faith’ that is easily missed. It says, “…whose weakness was turned to strength;” (Hebrews 11:34, NIV) the quote is an operational key for life. God uses weakness. Did you hear that? I know you read it, but did you hear it? God uses weakness, then, now, in your life and mine. Stop for a moment; read that last sentence out loud so you can hear yourself saying it; grabbing this concept is so crucial for your equilibrium and wellbeing. It means that the mess, the screw-ups don’t’ have to remain that way. It means that just as Joseph came through and out, you can too.

You can experience a transformation from mess to message. You can leverage your past for success in your future, but even better than that, you can leverage your past for someone else’s future.

Just because it isn’t instant doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Your life can be an incredible message.

Stay in the game!

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Learning Life

Recently I went back to College. (When you are fifty-six anything less than five years is recent). My intention was to complete a degree as I only had a diploma for my years spent in college. The idea of going back into a controlled way of learning was, to say the least, a bit intimidating. I engaged, and I did well, but my learning didn’t start or stop there.
Years ago I committed to myself to be a “Learner.” I decided to grow and as much as depended on me to increase my learning. I’ve done it formally with certificates and courses as well as informally with books and online courses. I’ve experimented in business with success and failure and, taught by both. Probably more important than anything formal, I have taught myself how to learn.
One of the best questions I have learned to ask is, “Why?” As I try to figure out the answer, I’ve added to my learning.
So, have you stopped learning with your formal education? Has your quest for understanding ceased? I hope not.
Why don’t you commit today, maybe once again to process and understand this beautiful thing called life?
Why not engage again to be a life long learner?

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!