Change

It is that time of year. The time I correlate to the fall, even though we have about a month to go. And it is a change that occurs every year, much like the change of the seasons.

And yes change is occurring around us, all the time, everywhere.  At times, it occurs whether we want it to happen or not.  Sometimes we drive change, other times we fight change.  I think we have little pockets of change around us (no pun intended), based on what we have occurring in our lives.  Our work may be stable, yet our lives at home may be crazy. Or our home life may be rock solid, yet complete chaos elsewhere.

I know we are only three quarters of the way through August, and it still seems like summer outside, but the annual change of fall is upon me. Two of my older daughters returned to college two weeks ago.  My other two kiddos will start school this coming week.

I used to look forward to this time of year, the time when summer was ending and my kids were getting ready for school.  Summer was a welcome break for them, especially after a long grueling nine months of school. <insert sarcastic dad tone>, it was always met with much jubilance and adventure  The period of time from the first day of summer vacation all the way to the, tomorrow is the first day of school announcement.  As for me, summer meant leaving for work while my family was still sleeping.  Calling home at my lunch time only to hear they just woke up. Getting home and finding them out and about.  No dinner plans in sight and if we did sit for our family dinner it was later than normal.  Me climbing into bed around midnight and they were still going strong because they didn’t have to be up early.  Add in them leaving me for a few weeks to visit family elsewhere, a luxury I wasn’t able to participate with. On the weekends, I would try to catch up on all their adventures, listen to their stories, and try to understand their inside jokes.

I’m not a sadistic or jealous dad, but I enjoyed when school was back in session.  I did not enjoy listening to my kids complain about the early mornings, the homework, the school projects, the gazillion things that comes with having school age children. But I did enjoy the stability of having a family schedule.  Even if it meant we were busy with a sport, school activity, religious education, or some other event every week night and some Saturday’s.  The key was because everything centered on my family and we did everything together as a family. Once that family schedule was built, I could factor in the chores, errands, and anything else that came along not to impact that “time”.

This balance or center shifted a few years ago, when my oldest daughter went to college.  As subtle as it was, one less person in the car, one less person at the dinner table, one less voice to be heard during conversation, or one less person to laugh during a funny story does make a difference.  I knew this change was coming and I would not be able to stop it.  I continued to work real hard to maintain that balance of our family unit.  This of course was harder when my second daughter left for college the following year.  I don’t think an individual’s involvement to a family is linear, so with that change the impact shifted exponentially, and so did the balance.

These effects of change that started a few years ago will continue, and if I may… snowball through 2019 when my youngest daughter starts college.  Each “end of summer” will contain some significant change.  During this period the scale will no longer be balanced and change will continue to be added to the unbalanced side.  I will not be able to create that stability we once had.  In August of 2019, when my youngest heads off to college, the back to school time will probably have little to no meaning to me.  And when she graduates, it will no longer have any significance. And by then my family balance will mean something completely different.  I guess one could say over the last couple of years, this time of year brought change within the normal change.  

I know as humans we are usually reluctant to change. Add to it that I am a Libra, and I feel my scale of balance is completely out of whack; so I’ve decided I no longer like it this time of year. IT does not mean I will fight it.  I know I will have to work hard to keep balance of what I have and quite frankly not looking forward to it. 

But it is inevitable…. “The only thing constant in life is change”.~ François de la Rochefoucauld 

And That’s A Wrap

As the end of 2013 bears down on all of us, I started thinking about my year in review.

I had different expectations for 2013 because this year seemed to have some numerical significance, or at least in my mind it did.

20 years ago, (October) I left my home state of New York with my wife and all our belongings for a new job.  Stepping out of our comfort zone, we left behind our entire support network of family and friends. It was a new adventure, but at the same time a little scary for both of us.

25 years ago, (June) I joined Winona Lake Engine Co. #2.  I thought being a firefighter was something that was going to be temporary, it has now become something I truly enjoy that I have been doing ever since.

25 years ago (September) I got my first job in the Semiconductor Industry.   Though I have worked for six different companies, I have stayed with the same industry, even with the turbulent times.

25 years ago (October) I met my wife.  It was truly love at first sight for me.  On our first date, I told her I was going to marry her.  After the words came out of my mouth I quickly realized that may not have been such a great message to say on a first date.  We were married three years and seven months later, so apparently I did something right. I loved her more each day and told her each day.

Carrying over from 2012, I wanted to continue my effort to be more positive and distance myself from negativity, as I felt this was definitely a healthier life style.  Staying on the path of health and wellness, I made a conscious effort to eat healthier; more fruits, vegetables, and salads. I started exercising on a regular basis, and read and learned more about nutrition.  Based on the results of my annual physical; and the simple fact I can definitely feel and see a difference, I am pleased with that decision.

As for personal growth, I took five FD training classes that I had on my list.  I also received a Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certification, allowing me to teach certain classes thru my business. I also took the time to read more books than I had in years past.  And thanks to social media, I have been able to keep in contact with family that I haven’t seen in years and reconnect with some friends that I have known since elementary school.  I also spend more time listening and watching, something I used to do.  Not only do I find it helps me be more successful, it enables me to set the pace, of whatever it is I am involved in.

I saw some growth with both America’s Command Training and being an Advocare Independent Distributor. Neither is where I want them to be… yet!

Since my children are a huge part of my life, their success directly correlates to me.  Not only am I proud of each of them, but seeing my children do well, inspires me to want be a better dad.  My oldest daughter, started her second year of college in the honors program.  She was hired as a Residence Assistant and was accepted for a Study Abroad Program for her second semester.  She did well as an RA and is beyond excited for her schooling in London.  She is very smart, strong willed, and overall has good head on her shoulders.   My second daughter graduated from high school in May, starting college in August. She wrapped up her first semester in December.  She is also part of the college cross-country team, though she was out all season for an injury, I expect her to bounce back next season.  She is very involved with student activities and very much showing her independence.  I witnessed such positive growth for her there is no doubt in my mind she was ready to go.  My son, playing for his junior high school, had a great football season.  He continues to maintain excellent grades.  He has set some pretty stout goals for himself, with both college and career.  Not only am I proud that he is thinking ahead, I am excited for him because I believe he will accomplish those goals. My youngest daughter is also doing well in junior high school.  Like her sisters and brother, she also maintains great grades with her academics. Plus she has found her niche in band, as this is her second year.  She is my first and only band kid and she definitely enjoys performing.  I feel in my heart they will all do great things and I cannot wait to see it all happen.

Like everyone else, I did have a few unexpected items crop up during the year.  I have to come to learn, this is life.  I occasionally get frustrated because my company is not growing as fast as I would like, but then remind myself to be patient and not to give up.  The biggest, and by far the hardest issue I’ve had to deal with this year is that my wife filed for divorce in August.  This in itself is its own story, but I will say I am devastated.  My heart is broken beyond any type of repair and because of that I doubt I will have the ability to experience true love again.  After 25 years of being together and 21 years of marriage, she has decided to throw in the towel.  No warning, no counseling, it is still unbeknownst to me as to why other than she is not happy.  I have learned you cannot make anyone love you if they do not want to be loved.  So trying to fight it is futile.  She knows my feelings and that I am willing to work at stay together, but at the same time I cannot stop living.  In this period of time, I have experienced lots of emotional and mental anguish, but I remain focused on taking care of my kiddos, being true to myself, and continue to live my life.  This is definitely not the easier path, but it is the one I have chosen, and is one that will carry over into 2014. I also believe if I had not been eating healthy or exercising, I would not have been able to handle this as well as I have been.

So my 2013 was not what I planned, but really, does life ever go as planned?   I think if it did exactly as planned, things would be boring.

Happy 2014 to all!  May all your wishes and dreams come true in the coming year; and that you can handle life’s little bumps in the road!

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Vow of Marriage

A couple will take an oath and a vow of marriage, creating a bond between a man and woman.  I’m not going to get into a debate of what defines a marriage, but for clarity of this blog, I am talking about matrimony between a man and woman.

Vow (Promise) is to assure somebody that something will certainly happen or be done.

Marriage is a relationship between two people.

Oath is a formal or legally binding pledge to do something such as tell the truth in a court of law, made formally and often naming God or a loved one as a witness.

Bond is to link together, or cause people to be linked together, emotionally or psychologically.

When I was raised, I learned there were a few things considered sacred; one that was high on the list was the sanctity of marriage.

Sacredness is the condition of being considered sacred or holy, and therefore entitled to respect and reverence.

None of these are big words, and I think for the most part can be easily explained. But yet at the same time they mean so much and bring with them complications and misunderstanding.

A new special bond is created for each stage of the relationship growth; when the boy and the girl go from single to a couple, from the couple to engaged, and from being engaged to married. Each bond comes with a new group of attributes.

A marriage requires work, understanding, and compromise to make any marriage work.  Yes it will need effort from both parties to make it a successful marriage.  For those of that have never been married, it is not always butterflies in your tummy and kissy-kissy every moment. If you think so then you must also see unicorns.  Those good moments do exist, just not every waking moment like the infatuation stage of first meeting someone, but there is also the constant growth of love and understanding leading to a stronger bond, all built on the foundation of honesty, trust, and faith.  And yes, there will be issues that crop up from time to time, that need to be worked through together.  Sometimes those issues may lead to an argument. Having healthy arguments from time to time is okay and does not mean the marriage has major problems it is all part of the relationship. Just like being a little jealous is okay, not paranoid or controlling. If done correctly along with all the responsibilities of a marriage, there is still plenty of listening, friendship, compassion, unconditional love, laughter, dreams, care, respect, promises, and support of continued growth,

If you do not believe me when I say it is okay to argue, then who here has never had an argument with their mom or dad or best friend?  It is okay, raise your hand.  Oh and if anyone tells you their marriage is perfect then they are lying.

Without getting into a long drawn out list of factors that I think negatively impact and add extra stress to a marriage, I think one of the biggest is the lack of respect. For whatever reason society does not respect the bond of matrimony. When I grew up, if a girl was dating another guy, she was hands off; well at least until the couple broke up.  I am not naïve, but I also thought there was some unwritten rule in society that if a woman was married, she was definitely out of the picture. Call me crazy, but now it seems if someone is interested in someone else, being married is not even a reason. Rather just another challenge.  Advances will be made, and I am well aware it takes two to tango.  If one spouse forgot about their vow of marriage (remember the definitions listed above) or does not want to actually put forth any effort, it is easy for someone from the outside a relationship to help highlight all the bad things or missed opportunities which feeds negative energy into relationship.  Leading to the dreaded D word, divorce.

I’m not against divorce if it is warranted, i.e the two have done everything in their power to make the marriage work and it is just a lost cause.  But if a marriage is going to fall apart it should be up to the two in the relationship, not because of outside influences.  Now, it seems, even if a couple is married, someone can come along and derail a marriage, which can actually lead to infidelity, deceit, lack of respect,, and broken promises.  The person in the marriage may have forgotten or the outsider may not fully understand all the sacrifices, memories or ties that had been made by the marriage, especially if there are children involved.  All of a sudden someone is giving undivided attention, a few laughs, and maybe an ear to listen.  Of course they can, all the “stuff” that comes with a marriage does not exist.  Everything seems easy.  Then a new relationship starts to build.  New promises of never ending hand holding, smiles, love, and happy-ever-after’s. And before you know it, another divorce is listed on the court docket for irreconcilable differences.

With enough discussion, anyone can find bad things in a marriage.  And if given enough time, one of the two may actually start to believe the grass is greener somewhere else; when in fact, it will probably be just be another relationship with its own issues, maybe until someone else comes along.

If you’re married, make sure you remember your vows, communicate often.  Make sure there are plenty of hand-holding, hugs¸ and kisses. Always say your hello’s and goodbye’s. 

NEVER, EVER forget to say I love you.

“Sometimes people make stupid mistakes. When they realize it, it will be too late.”

Random Thought 2013-10-27

I believe when we see, feel, or hear something in our life, we compare that to all other like things.

Until we experience something new, that is our own personal standard.

For twenty-five years, I have never been able to listen to music, without hearing your voice sing a song.

For twenty-five years, I have never smiled without you crossing my mind.

For twenty-five years  I have never been able to look at the beauty of a sunrise without seeing you in my mind.

You are my standard in life.

Truth or Consequences

It has been two months since my two older girls embarked onto the next chapter of their lives; starting the year at their respective colleges, I still have a flurry of emotion going through my heart; and lots of thoughts running through my brain.  I watched them grow from babies to children to teenagers, now beautiful young women. I am excited to see them do well at college. I am very happy for both of them, as I am confident they will do well.  My oldest daughter has already demonstrated this in her first year.  I am just not happy they are out of the house, I do understand it is all part of growing up, it does not mean I have to like it.

With all the crazy stuff going on in this world, I cannot help but to worry about them. One story in particular comes to mind from back in August.  I was at the school dropping off my daughter and she had to take care of some student stuff.  So aside from stalking her through the door window, there was nothing for me to do other then to patiently wait.  I was not alone, as there were a couple of more parents around.  So we struck up a conversation. During our talk, one of the moms told me all colleges are party schools and I will just have to deal with the fact that my daughter will be part of it. She emphasized this will include alcohol and drugs.  I was somewhat taken back, as we had just met.  She went on to tell me they allowed her child to do whatever and experiment while still in high school, this way it would all be out her system before college. 

After I gathered my thoughts I told her; first, I don’t believe all schools are like that; second, not that I think my girls are angels, but I doubt that will happen. I have not raised my children under an iron fist, or as a control freak dad.  Nor have I let them run wild and free.  But I think we found a middle ground and in doing so I have been working on something bigger and stronger than that, which was a solid foundation of a relationship.  I have always been honest and truthful with them, and they have a good understanding of actions and associated consequences. And how those consequences could impact the future, for both me and them.  

As an example to how their actions could affect me, I like to use the “I don’t want to have to go back to jail” line when boys would come to pick them up for dates.  Of course this is after I had given the boy the full interview and discussed such serious things as: do not lie to me, do not make me have to come look for you, protect her with your life, and she is more precious to me than anything on earth.  I do not think the boys left the house wondering if I was crazy, but I do think they left wondering just how crazy, which was fine with me.

I went on to explain to the mom, that it is all about the parent/child relationship, which I had been working on with each of my children since the day they were born. I did not decide to wait until they were old enough to understand a relationship, as I have met adults who still don’t understand relationships. I feel my children and I can openly and honestly discuss certain matters, and in doing so it only makes that relationship stronger.  Not all discussion had full agreement from both parties, but it was understood where everyone stood.  When they were younger the response to some of our conversations may have been, “you’re too young to discuss that right now” or “I can explain that when you get a little older”.  Then later if they asked about something, I always felt I needed to have discussion before I blurted out an answer. I’m not really sure if they appreciated that or not, but I know when we were done with the conversation, they clearly understood my answer, no matter if it was the answer they were looking for or not,

Whether or not you want to admit it, unless you live under a rock, everyone has relationships.    Whether it is between you and your spouse, children, a good friend, boss, worker, paper boy, or even the family pet.

Of course honesty is a huge part of any healthy relationship and building the strong foundation. The thing about honesty is that it just doesn’t happen over night. It requires years of effort to build up, from both parties.  You have to be careful because if you are not, it can tear down a lot faster than the time it takes to build it up.  And unfortunately, once that sacred bond of trust has been violated, it tears a little bit away from the relationship. Each additional tear makes it that much harder to build the relationship back up. If this continues, the relationship could come to the point of being nothing more than a pile of rubble and ash. Meaning no amount of time or effort can rebuild that relationship. This not to say a new one cannot be started, but it just won’t be the same.

Sometime’s I will hear people say, yes we were good friends, but something happened and it hasn’t been the same since. My guess is the relationship had changed long before it got to that one point.

Another important piece to a strong relationship is two way communication, with equal effort from both parties.  Of course the type of communication is going to be based on the type of relationship and the age of those people. But along with equal participation, there needs to be a balance on when you are talking and when you are listening.  And when I say listening, I don’t mean hearing, there is a difference.

I am confident my children undertand the importance of honesty, communication, and consequences of their actions when it comes to relationships… now if only more adults could understand this.

Doing your best

It has been quite a few months since I last made any blog entry. At the beginning of the hiatus it was because things were just plain and simple, extremely busy in the Colurciello household. Then a few months later it was due to lack of interest because my life was, and still, is being turned upside down.

When the topsy-turvy started I really had no inspiration to write, and if I had the slightest inkling to want to write, at the end of my day, I had no energy to put forth to make it happen. So it was easier to say, I’ll think about it tomorrow, which became the next day, and then the next…. Before I knew it, time slipped by without a single blog being written.

Even though I did not want to write, I still had the energy and gumption to read. I suppose that is because it is easier to read words that someone else puts on paper, than it is to try to take words from my brain and put them into some semblance of a story. Especially when the brain I am referring to is moving at a thousand miles an hour most of the time and when it does slow down, it has a tough time concentrating or completing a full thought.

So what made me decide to write today? Well, there are a couple of things.

For starters, my oldest daughter has her own blog, Gabi’s Stuff. In September she wrote a blog titled The Future of My Blog. In her story, she talks about the importance of writing. She said even if you do not feel like it or you do not think you have anything to write start writing, and from that you will end up with something. I told her that she inspired me to get back to the writing, but I guess I still was not ready.

Next came over the next few weeks from reading a few books. I had previously read The Travelers Gift, How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, and The Butterfly Effect, all from Andy Andrews. So when I saw The Heart Mender, I thought it was a self-help book to help one heal a heart. It turns out that is not what it was about, but it was definitely a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I continued on with The Noticer and the newly released, The Noticer Returns, again written by Andy Andrews. The latter two are on perspective. How people can look at the same thing and see it completely different; how to find perspective; how to be open to others perspective; and so on. Again, two more great books that I would definitely recommend. And hopefully someday I will have an opportunity to meet, or at least hear Mr. Andrews at one of his speaking engagements.

As I was reading his books, I was coming up with story lines to write about. I was actually getting a little more excited. I felt as though I was climbing up the dark non-inspiring side of the mountain. I apparently was not completely there, because at night my mind would draw a blank and so would my sheet of paper.

Then today, when I least expected it, I was pushed up the rest of the mountain, over the apex, finding myself on the sunny inspirational side. Oddly enough we had some horrendous weather here today in central Texas, which makes all this that much more interesting. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a special service to be held today at a local church. The reason for the service and for my attendance was to honor the local firefighters for what we do for the community, (for those that may not know; I am a volunteer firefighter). The sermon message was titled Your Calling, God’s Purposes. Reverend Frye discussed the importance of doing well in life. And I am paraphrasing here, but he said if you want to do something for your faith, for your community, for your job, or for yourself… just do the best you can at whatever it is you do. (Of course as long as what you are doing is not illegal). Whatever it is you are doing, at that moment has purpose; and by doing it well you will reap the benefits and move on to the next thing. As he was talking, I was thinking, yes he is right. As a matter of fact as I was putting this together, I do not recall him mentioning that you have to be happy when you are doing it. Just give it your best at that moment. Which may be an issue all to itself. Now that I think about it, most people are thinking the opposite. I want to do something that makes me happy, then I will enjoy doing it, and from that will do it well. The message this morning, was do it well and you will find your happiness.

The issue I mentioned earlier, the one that has turned my life upside down, is an issue that at this point I have no control over. And yet, I have thought and worried about it nonstop. While my effort and energy is focused on that, I am more than likely not doing what I should be doing. And if I happen to actually being doing those things, I am more than likely not doing them to the best of my ability. I am not happy. Which makes things worse. And, well, you see it becomes a downward spiral.

So no matter what is going on, stay focused on what you should do, what you can do, and just do it to the best of your ability.

A letter to my children

This is a letter I wrote for my children almost three years ago, during a time in my life when things were happening and I was worried that my family was about to fall apart and our lives were going to change in a way I had never expected.

To my Gabriella Amanda (15) , Alexandria Melissa (14), Joe John (10) and Julianna Elena (8) ,

Life is like traveling in a car on a one way road. You don’t design the road, you merely use it to achieve your goals and dreams.

You may look back, but you can never return or make changes to the past. You can only adjust your direction for the future.

When you are young you are a passenger, when you are older you become the driver. You are taught the basics on how to handle the vehicle by your parents and loved ones, with the hopes that you don’t turn onto the wrong road. You may decide where to go and how to get there, or the decision may be shared between two people.

Along the way you will pick up and drop off passengers. There is no set frequency of when those stops occur. Some come quickly, while others are delayed. No matter how many people want to come into your vehicle you will always have room to carry them.

Some passengers may only want a short ride, while others will be there for the long haul. There will be times that no matter how much you want them to stay, they want to leave. No matter how much it hurts you can never lock the doors to keep them in. You just need to know when to pull over and let them out.

You may want speed up to get through tough times, or slow down during the better times, or even park for a little while to enjoy the good times. Unfortunately the vehicle of life never stops, and it will continue to move with or without you.

During the travels, you will occasionally find detours, always come across road construction, more than likely be surprised by a pothole or two, and on occasion get lost. There is no road map or guidance system, but knowing the basics, and using experience and faith will help navigate through life.

I was taught the basics by my parents and my family, but shared, learned, and experienced a lot about life with your mom. During the last 22 years of my travels I knew in my heart I was definitely on the right road and enjoyed the passengers that have come and gone with my vehicle. Even with the occasional difficulty or obstacle it was always worth the effort. Unfortunately for me I never expected the road to end.

I am now parked on the side of the road, in what looks to be a dark nasty storm ahead. I will find a path to follow, as bumpy as it may be, to get back to the road with the green fields and sunny blue skies.

I have asked God to light the way for all of my passengers.

Just remember, that no matter what, you will ALWAYS have a seat with me to travel through life. When the time comes that you are ready to get your own vehicle of life, I will never be too far away. And if asked I will gladly take the wheel to guide you through the tough times.

I love you guys with all my heart,

Dad

During that time I dug in deep to ride out the pending storm, because I knew in my heart and soul it was a fight worth fighting. I experienced the feeling of a broken heart, as well as what it can do a person.

We rode it out together and stayed together as a family. The love between my wife and I, me and my children, and between my children has continued to grow and be stronger.

During that time, I lost some friends, and made some new ones. I also learned a few things about myself, and came out of it with a different perspective on life.

I know all things can’t and always be perfect, so I don’t get upset when they don’t go my way.

I take the time to appreciate the little things more.

I make an effort to laugh every day, not get upset at every bump in the road.

I like to listen more and speak out less, yet when I do speak, make it purposeful.

I only use the word love when it is appropriate and from where it should come, through my heart.

But most importantly I realized I am still learning. No one person knows everything about life, and what may be good for one, is not necessarily what works for another.

Keeping an open mind, staying positive, minding your own business, and doing something you enjoy are definitely items that can help one be more successful in life.

I hope everyone is in the vehicle of the life they want to be in.

Friendship

Friendship is a relationship between two or more people who hold mutual affection for each other

What is friendship? Who are your friends? What makes a person a friend?

I know, you’re thinking a friend will come bail me out, a true friend will be sitting next me in jail. But jokes aside…

If you were able to ask a person to list their friends as they progressed through life, they would probably have different answers depending on that specific time. Starting from when a person is young and then moving through their life, the responses may include: all the kids from the entire elementary school, well at least the kids they know the names of; the people they hang around with at high school; the fraternity brothers or sorority sisters; the group of people from work; a group of people from a club or hobby; a husband or wife; a sister, brother, a lifelong friend.

With all the social network outlets like Facebook, Twitter, etc. it seems the true difference between an acquaintance and a friend has been lost.

I believe acquaintances play an important role in our lives and are a vital piece to networking, but not to be confused with a real friend. There are a lot of different types of friendships. I think as we get older each of us realizes those differences, and recognizes who is an acquaintance, a friend, and a true friend.

Also years ago, due to work environments opposite-sex friendships were not common. But I think in today’s work force, depending on what occupation you are in, it is more common. Unfortunately this type of friendship may cause undo strain at work or to a marriage depending on what activities are done to socialize. The old rumor mill may come into play and cause pressure at work, especially if you are both married. You may feel guilty and not even have done anything wrong. For those of us that are married, a entirely different set of circumstances may be created. Depends on if you became friends before or after you were married or your relationship with your spouse.

It is not a problem for me to catch a movie and dinner with a male friend, but would probably be a hard sell with a female friend, and vice versa. But a movie and dinner, with our respective spouses would probably be okay. Aside from the fact, if I have free time in our busy lives, I would rather spend time with my wife, no offense to my friends.

Along with having common likes, similar interest, and just in general a good person, in my mind a true friend is someone who,

  • accepts you for who you are, and doesn’t try to change you;
  • is there to listen to you on whatever the story;
  • you can openly share your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgement;
  • you can confide in, without fear of later consequences;
  • would support or help you in your time of need, while not expecting anything in return. Not just big, once in a while, but the little everyday things too;
  • will inspire you to do better in whatever it is you like to do, even if they are not part of it;
  • you can laugh with, not only about a joke or funny story, but at yourself;
  • helps you be the best, by letting you just be yourself;
  • mutually agrees with the items mentioned above. If not, then it is a one-sided friendship and that is an entirely different story.

At the beginning stages of a friendship, only a few of those items may apply which was the basis for the friendship. As time passes you may find most or all of them are a fit, or not.

I am grateful and thank God for the friends I have.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ~ Anais Nin

This’ll Be My Year

It is the first week in and I am excited for this year…2013!  I’m setting my expectations crazy high!

I know it’s a rocky time with everything going on in the world.  But you know what?  Dec 21, 2012 came and went and look we are still here.  Not that I had any doubt. We continue to move forward and succeed after each crisis.  Whether it is a global or personal issue.  Why is that?  Probably because people choose to not let it stand in their way of hopes and dreams, whatever it may be.

I am confident this will be my year.  I’m not going to be selfish and I don’t want keep it all to myself.  That’s no fun.  I want to share it and I want it to be everyone’s year; my family, my friends, my guardian angel, those I don’t know, and even those that don’t like me.

We need to make it a movement and knock all the negativity squarely on its backside.  Today we are the most advanced society this world has ever seen, until tomorrow.  Yet sometimes I look around and think we’re going backwards. If you choose to stay with the negative don’t be surprised that you may be alone.

The thing is for you to succeed, you will have to want it, no one is going to hand it to you.  Get up. Get out. Do something to make it yours.   Whatever it will take to be your year, I say go do it.

I know I have set my bar high, but I am confident that this year will be a good year.

I plan on working hard to get my business, America’s Command Training to the next level of where I want it to be.   I don’t want or need to be famous, I just want to be able to make difference, while proudly representing the fire service. Check it out, like it on Facebook, or follow my Americas Command Training blogs.  I plan on posting articles that will be beneficial for everyone.

I want to continue to help my local fire department grow and stay healthy enough to respond when my neighbors call for help.

I want to see my children continue to grow and flourish.  I want the love between my wife and I to continue to grow.  I want to enjoy life each and everyday, not plan to enjoy it on a special occasion or later in life.  One never knows, you may not make it until then.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not pipe dreaming to think that life will always be great.  My life is not always positive and yes I have crappy times, but I try to make the best of it, even when I’m knocked down.  There needs to be both positive and negative for proper balance.  It’s no different from me believing in both God and Satan.  I just don’t spend any time praising the devil or thanking him for his unwelcoming activities.  Instead I focus on the good and often thank God for what I have.   Besides how would we keep our life skills honed if we were never challenged?

I do not plan on dwelling on the past, because that is history and it cannot be changed.  I will however use my past for learning from my mistakes (which there have been plenty) or to reminisce about the good times.

I hope this’ll be my year!

This’ll be my year (Train)~

And all I know
Is everybody comes and goes
Everybody sings and cries,
Makes the grade and takes the prize
 In somethin’, nothin’, I don’t care,
Because I always know that you’ll be here With me

Wishing All A Successful 2013

I’ve heard lots of different quotes about living today as though it was your last day.  It is a nice thought, but it could be dangerous.  You may find yourself doing something today that you regret tomorrow, like spending more money that you have or telling off your boss or something of the sort.

I watched the movie New Year’s Eve last night.  During the movie a toast was made by a character Sam Ahern played by Josh Duhamel.  In his speech he said, “What would you do today if you knew you would not fail? Now go out and do it!”

I like this quote.  That is really what it should be. There are lots of measures to ones success.  One in particular is how you provide for your family.   This can be done by working for a company or working for yourself. Either way is fine, but those that I know that have their own business seem to be a lot happier, another measure of success.

I always wanted to start a business, but I would tell myself it was never the right time or something came up or blah blah.  In late 2011 I attended a conference, which had nothing to do with my business.  It was just a day long motivational seminar, listening speakers.  I wanted to go because there were two individuals I really wanted to see in person, Rudy Giuliani and Bill Cosby.  The ticket cost me $10 and included lunch. I figured, I can’t go wrong with that, even if nothing else came out of the day.  One of the first speakers to take the stage stated every one of us has an idea on how to become successful, yet 96% of us won’t act on the idea because we don’t want to fail.  Not that failure is the definite outcome, but we would have to step out of our comfort zone, which puts us at risk of failing.  We end up talking ourselves out of it before we even get the ball rolling because of all the what-ifs.  Of the 4% who are willing to step out of their comfort zone, they become the ones successful in whatever venture they are attempting.  Maybe not the first attempt, but they are willing to stay with it. If the first time didn’t work, they adjusted, and made another attempt. This was all I had to hear to push me over the edge to get the ball rolling.  Within two weeks I put all my thoughts into actions, make a couple of phone calls, and sent out my first bid.  Which I was later awarded.    The business, America’s Command Training, is doing well and I have hopes of continued growth this year.   (As a side note, I started to blog for ACT and realized I wanted to have a personal blog so I started this one. In 2013 I will alternate between the two blogs.)

There are a few things I’ve learned in the past year that they may be beneficial to share, especially with the new year kicking off.

If you have a business idea, don’t talk yourself out of it.  Instead of looking at all the things that could get in your way focus on all the positives that can come from your idea.  If you need help, ask for it from people who are supportive, not destructive or full of criticism. Have the faith that what you are doing is the right thing to do.  If you aren’t passionate about your own business, do you really think you are going to sell it to gain customers.

Once you get past the obstacles, plan on putting in the effort.  Don’t expect to have everything handed to you.  Starting out on the ground floor and putting in the hard work will more than likely be required.  If you want something and is something you truly want, the effort won’t seem like hard work but rather the benefit. If at first what you envisioned isn’t the path the business is taking, that is okay.  Don’t allow that to slow you down, go with it and see where it leads, it may be an opportunity that you didn’t even realize.

Be patient and don’t get discouraged with the first hiccup.  Today’s children are being raised in the instant gratification era.  They see that if we want it now, we get it now.  If one store doesn’t have something, we go to the next store, even if it is a little more expensive or miles out of our way.  If the stores are closed, we order the item on-line, and pay extra for next day delivery.  We no longer want to wait for anything, we are impatient.  If you don’t believe me, think how many times you’ve found yourself standing next to the microwave oven wishing it would hurry up.

Measure your success appropriately.  Start out with the mentality of working towards being a thousand-aire, not necessarily a millionaire.  If you spent $250 to get your business going and you made $251, then you should be proud because you are on the path to success.  Don’t consider it a failure if you aren’t an overnight success.

Start out with as low overhead as possible, especially if it is a home business.  At the beginning, keep expenditures to a minimum, you can always invest more as the business grows.  A domain name and web page hosting can be secured inexpensively.  The same company will usually give software to help build your web page.  Business cards are another item that can be purchased inexpensively.  Media tools like blogging, Facebook, and twitter are free.  Getting a federal ID number through the IRS is free.  There may be a nominal fee if you are required to file with the Secretary of State.  There is a ton of free information available on the internet on starting business.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and successful 2013. If you have a dream, think about what would you do today if you knew you would not fail? Now go out and do it!

Good Luck and Happy New Year!

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