Lies, Lies, Lies

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In following politics I have a problem with how people from both sides use the word lie to push their agenda. To me it signals that the American public reacts to liars. We don’t like them. Consequently, we like to dub politicians as liars. The problem I have with this phenomenon is that most of the time when I hear about someone telling a lie it is far from the truth. Because of this I hold the person telling us someone is a liar as the liar.

Politicians make promises to get votes. Some of them are telling outright lies with no intention of keeping those promises after elected. Many others make the promises and set goals to achieve them, but do not succeed. For example, Trump campaigned on the promise that the first thing he would do is to repeal and replace Obama Care. When sworn in, and actually seeing the agenda before him he was most likely overwhelmed. Repealing Obama Care was not the number one thing on his agenda for a couple of reasons. One of them being that he couldn’t do the repeal, it is the job of Congress to repeal laws. That took the promise out of his control. Yet, I have some dingbat liberal friends who call him a liar because he didn’t repeal and replace. It took him a few weeks longer to make it happen, but he is branded forever as a liar because he didn’t deliver exactly as promised.

I can make a list of promises made, and then failed that are fueling the liar myth, but I won’t bore you with it, I think my analogy above makes my point. The problem is that making a big deal about these situations stamps the title of “LIAR” across a person’s forehead, and liar is one trait that liberals love to use as much as the word racist. I had a talk with a forty something young man recently who I know voted for Trump. He was beginning to question Trump’s veracity as leader. I asked him why, and he stated that he was concerned that Trump lies a lot. That is why I have stopped watching network news and cable news. The fair and balanced channel is also guilty of promoting the lie word. The media war against Trump is having an effect on the gullible.

I totally support Trump’s battle against the fake news media. Yes, the news has a First Amendment right to write what it likes, but it puts a huge onus on We the People to separate the truth from the real lies. The moral of this story is don’t believe everything you hear from the media sources, the pundits, or the opposing politicians without first researching the truth.

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“You Own This”

When I began this blog my intended goal was to preach the benefits of human potential, or the power of positive thinking. I still preach allot but not much on positive thinking. In fact, I find myself struggling to stay positive in a transformative government. You see, I don’t want the country transformed. What I see coming is something everyone will hate, even the notorious millennium generation. They are just too young and idyllic to understand now.

I received an e-mail from my young son living in Texas. He isn’t so young anymore, but he is my baby. Mike, it turns out, is a better writer and a better motivator than his dad will ever dream of being.  Mike has three kids, all are gems.(This is where I preach about how great my grand kids are. I do so only because they are). Mike’s three kids are all swimmers. I mean swimmers who get up at 5:00 am to go to the pool to workout before school, and then they go to the pool after school to work out, They spend their weekends at swim meets, they live for swimming, academics, and music. I spoke to Mike last week and he told me that he was taking his daughter Abbey to a swim meet at Texas A&M. His wife Lisa was taking Danny to a swim meet closer to home.

This morning I told myself that I will have to call and get details of how they did. As I sat waiting for Peg’s foot to soak after a surgery I found his e-mail. I read it and tears of joy streamed down my face. Here is Mike’s account of  Abbey’s swim meet at Texas A&M last Saturday.

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1650 meters.  

5413.39 feet.
Just over 1 mile.
For swimmers, the 1650 is the ultimate endurance and conditioning race….66 laps.
 
 
Your grand daughter Abbey competed in her first 1650 meter free style event this weekend at Texas A&M University Champions Swim Meet.  Her coach told her that she would experience several emotions during this race: pain, anguish, quitting, crying, asking “why am I doing this?”  He also told her that she would experience physical signs, burning legs, burning arms, burning lungs, thumbing heart.  He was telling her what she didn’t want to hear, the truth.  I was lucky enough to be on deck timing for this event for Abbey.  I know better than to interrupt per pre-swim ritual and concentration, so I sat there watching her psych herself up for the pain.  Before getting on the block, she looked at me, and I told her: “You own this”.  She proceeded to get on the block, and prepare for the start.
 
The horn sounded, and she was off.  She looked very strong, and very consistent with her breathing.  Every 4 strokes of her arms, I’d see her head turn and come up for air.  Her split times were very consistent, almost to the tenth of a second.  She looked like a finely tuned engine in the water.  After 20 laps, she was still keeping her splits.  Her breathing pattern was not as consistent, sometimes going four strokes, sometimes 2, sometimes 3.  It’s obvious the burn had started.  
 
After 40 laps, her splits were amazingly consistent with the start of the race.  Her breathing was not as in synch, but she looked strong.  After 60 laps, her pace was still on.  By this point, I think I was feeling more emotions than she was.  She had told me she had 2 goals for this race, the first, to finish, the second, to finish in under 20 minutes.  As the last few laps were counted, down, she still maintained her initial pace.  
 
After the 66th lap, she came in strong, touched the wall, and I hit the button on the stop watch.  I looked down to see Abbey needed any help getting out of the pool.  She stayed in the water for a moment, so I gazed down at the stop watch.  She finished the race in 18:53:33!!!  That is an AA time for this event.  My mouth dropped open. I looked up and saw her drying off.  She wanted to see the time, so I showed it to her.  She looked at me and smiled, then went off to get her post-race talk with Coach Trent.  
 
I asked her if she had gone through those waves of emotions like her coach mentioned, and she said “not really”.  Then she told me “it wasn’t that bad”.
 
Here is a picture of the facility at Texas A&M, as well as her “reloading” on a nice big chocolate brownie after lunch.  You can still see how red she is in the picture.  This was at least 30 minutes after the event.  She actually went back into the warm down pool and swam a bit to cool down after the 1650!!
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Working In The Garden

Monet garden in Giverny, Eure, France

Monet garden in Giverny, Eure, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I have used other people’s work on this blog. My time in the garden takes its toll on me and the result is a lack of energy left to write. My Lions Club work suffers also. Here it is the third day of summer, and I am still planting annuals in the 2013 Monet Vision. Hopefully, the plants will have enough daylight to survive and thrive before the first killing frost.

Spring came late for me because I spent most of it in Arizona. When I finally did arrive home, the temperatures in Illinois were much the same as what I had in February. The temperature reached 100 on the day we left. After spending three months in tee shirts and shorts, I suddenly found myself looking for warmth. Another delay occurred because my sister-in-law suffered a stroke shortly after we returned. We spent a good bit of time visiting with her and were at her bedside when she passed. Before I knew it, June had arrived and established itself before I pulled a single weed, bought flowers and even considered getting into the garden.

All of that stuff is over now, and I attack the Monet Vision daily with vigor, which runs out in a few short hours. So when I read a news articles like a Zombie, and it appeals to me, I re-blog or link with a minimum of personal expression. Hopefully, I select topics that appeal to my followers.

Being in the garden gives me time to think and to set goals. My list suddenly becomes almost impossibly long, but I will  take the goals baby step, by baby step and get the important things done. The Monet Vision is at the top of the list, next is blogging, third is work on my novel, and forth is the workshop. Oh, I completely forgot, Peggy fits in there too, and I also have to squeeze in a few moments for physical fitness like walking and bike riding. No, wait, I need to find time to spend with family and friends too. I can’t neglect personal relationships for mundane things like the workshop, blogging, and physical fitness. After all, imbibing Winking Owl with my old fart buddies takes precedence over everything else including Peggy(please don’t rat on me by telling Peggy I said that), and the Monet Vision.

Yesterday, it rained and I watched a Wabbit under the eaves eating bird seed dropped from the feeder. He looked familiar to me, but larger than the last time I saw him. Yes, it is the same Wabbit, it is Aga Bambi, last seen eating Petunias from the 2012 Monet Vision. Not a problem anymore, I’ll call the IRS and ask them to send a FBI drone over to keep the garden under surveillance. If the drones spot any signs of terrorist activity, they can tell me to take positive action.

Accomplishment!

Trees Over PacificSorry for the delay in writing new posts. I have been trying to catch up on my “other” projects. My Lions work has suffered through the pre-election days, and now I must put it in gear to give the Lions their due.

I find it useful at this time of the year to reflect and prepare an accomplishment report of my activities. I just completed one for the Lions Club. I will begin preparation of my personal accomplishment list soon. Why is an accomplishment list useful? When I worked for a living, the list served to remind me of what I had completed for the company. I had fresh recollection to remind my boss at “review” time just what I did for the company.

 Usually, at the end of the year, I beat myself up thinking that I have not accomplished any of my goals. It is natural to remain unsatisfied when the new year stares you in the face, and asks “what’s next?”  Disappointment takes over as the predominant emotion, and a feeling of despair follows. I begin to question why I wasted a year without any hard fast results to show off. That is why I began to list my personal accomplishments. It is encouraging to recall, and see all of the “baby steps” I did take, and all of the projects I did complete.

It is easier than you think to do this. Just sit in front of your computer, and start. I use the word processor, and begin by listing the first thing that comes to mind. Such as “I initiated a BLOG. I BLOGGED 85 times. I set up a new website for my club, etc. The list goes on for a couple of pages until I run out of recollections. I number each item on the list to give me an indication of progress. Usually, I don’t run out of ideas until I reach one hundred and fifty.

 If you chose to start a list of your own, I recommend that you include all the important areas of your life. I recommend using your “High Payoff” activities list for this. When you concentrate on how you spent your time in a specific arena, the recall flows, and your accomplishments build. Of course, if the list in a specific High Payoff activity is short, it points to an area for improvement.

By the time I have finished this excercise, I am energized and ready to begin planning another year of goals.

The Best “You”

Everyday, I try to do “something” that will make me a better version of myself. Sometimes the “something” is questionable, but it is “something.” It’s kind of like the Nike comercial, “Just Do It.”

One of my favorite people is Benajmin Franklin. He was always making lists of something that he could do to improve his life. He kept logs and journals to record his progress. I can’t refute that his life was not productive, it was, he is responsible for some of the world’s greatest inventions, (Daylight savings time, public libraries, etc.) Another guru in the world of Quality Control by the name of Joe Juran coined the phrase, “if you can measure it, you can improve it.” After forty years in product design, I can attest to his credibility with that one. Measurement is one key to making improvements.

In my own life, I keep logs, lists, and diaries of the goals that are important to me. Many of them have titles like “Dates With Peg, Theaters visited,  People to call, and People to Pray For.”   The lists remind me of my goals to improve in various areas of my life. One of my favorite motivational speakers is Matthew Kelly. He introduced me to the phrase, “Make yourself the best version of yourself that you can be.” I love it. The challenge does not imply that you should become the best in the world but rather the best you are able to become. Is that being too easy on yourself?  Certainly, one can always set the bar a silly millimeter higher. Just think, if a person makes himself a little better today than he was yesterday, how much better would he be in 365 days, or in ten years, or in a lifetime? The object is to make the goals and take the steps, baby steps, toward self improvement.

Aw Shits and Atta Boys

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerA friend introduced me to a new term as a joke, but it has become a hard fast rule with me. We go along in life doing good work and maybe we get an “atta boy” from our boss or a co-worker. One day something happens and we have an “aw shit” moment. We screw up. Did you ever notice that it takes only one “aw shit” to negate one hundred “atta boys?” Why is that? Why is it that people tend to remember those “aw shit” moments and forget about all the “atta boys” we’ve accumulated along the way?

I like to believe that I get “aw shits” by trying hard. The more work I do the better the chances are that I will occasionally fail.  The failure does not mean that I am a failure, it only means that I tried something that didn’t work. It is human nature to play up the negative. Why? I haven’t a clue. Maybe one of you can fill me in.

 

Warm and Fuzzy Moments

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerEvery once in awhile a moment occurs that is special. One of my motivational teachers put me onto  keeping a list called “Warm and Fuzzy Moments.”  Moments come along that make us feel good. The moments are special.  Sometimes it is an unexpected card from a friend, or a “thank you” for something you did for someone. By recording the moment one can occasionally review it and feel good all over again. This technique is especially helpful when I am stressed out and not feeling good about myself. I can remember all the times when I received something unexpectedly for a positive action I took unconsciously.

This morning one such moment occurred while I was walking on the path near my house. I was totally zoned saying the rosary and listening to the songs of the birds. I felt a presence near me, but kept walking. Sometimes it is another walker or a runner who silently approaches from the rear. Many times I never hear or see the person until they are next to me. This morning it was a deer. Not a fawn, nor an adult mature deer, but a teenager. It sported the beautiful honey brown color of a springtime deer without the baby spots of a fawn, or the antlers of a buck. He/she stood just above my waist in height.

I was totally surprised and amazed that this beautiful animal should come so close to me and walk along my side for a few steps. She finally picked up the pace and trotted out ahead of me and off into the brush along the side of the trail. The encounter lasted only a few seconds, but it is etched into my mind as a “warm and fuzzy” moment. It is written on my list.

My deceased wife Barbara loved deer. Could this magnificent animal been sent by her to tell me that she is well? Did God chose to let this creature wander into my path to make my day? What ever the reason it happened, a freak of nature, a coincidence, a sign, it made my day.

I recommend to all goal achieving people on this earth to keep a log of their “warm and fuzzy” moments. The moments relived will pick you up, and help you through the times you are low and not feeling good about yourself.

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