Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Water. Electricity.

Everyone reading this has fresh water and electricity.  Stop for a second and think about that.  You can shower or drink whenever you want.  You have lights at any hour you want.  Those things should be able to make today a good day.

In undeveloped countries and here in the US millions of hours are spent getting water.  Water that can likely make you sick . .  but it's better than nothing.

When you day is horrendous and you can't think of one good thing . . remember that you were able to brush your teeth this morning; remember you could turn on a light in your kitchen to make your coffee. 

Consider for a moment that the poor in developed countries would be considered rich in under-developed ones.

Monday, August 29, 2011

LOL. Really? Really!

The other day I was in a chat room and someone posted a link to some video.  My two office mates both watched it and typed "lol".  The secret though?  I was four feet away from both and didn't hear a peep.

Me?  I watched the video and typed "lqtm".  "Laughing quietly to myself".

I rarely laugh out loud.  When I do, it's often a short, quiet laugh barely noticed by anyone, even myself.

I realize that when I do, I feel better.

I need to laugh more.  I need to laugh long and hard.  I need to show a physical manifestation of the joy I feel so that I can spread it around.

"A good time to laugh is any time you can."  ~Linda Ellerbee, Journalist, Nick News

"Laughter is an instant vacation."  ~ Milton Berle, Comedian

"With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die."  ~Abraham Lincoln, President and tall guy

Want to have a good day?  Laugh.  Laugh out loud.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Can you be "whelmed"?

A person can be underwhelmed by something . . and overwhelmed by others.  I wonder though, if someone can be in a perfect state of bliss  . . and be "whelmed"?

I don't know anyone that goes through a week without being overwhelmed.  I  know people that cannot go through a day without overwhelmed.  It seems sometimes that our way of life is designed to keep us right on the wrong edge of the overwhelmed line.  Being overwhelmed can make it hard to have a good day.

One way to try to make an overwhelming day better is to break overwhelming things into smaller  . . manageable pieces.

Chocolate also helps.
Going outside helps.
Laughter helps.
Rest helps.

Now . . having done all that you are likely further behind.  Time to catch up.

Make a list of what you can reasonably get done.  Whatever doesn't fit on that list put on another to be done later.  If new tasks arrive put them on one of the two lists.   If it has to go on today's list . . take something off and put it on the other.

If these tasks are given to you by someone else . . tell them what you are doing and why.  Get them to help you prioritize.

If these tasks were assigned to you by you . . give yourself a break.   Your life is pretty short and getting shorter all the time.

Now is a good time to go to your happy place and finally feel "whelmed" . . before you go under.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dirt. Grass. Sky.

If you want to make today a good day you should spend time with dirt, grass, or sky.  Spend time with all three for extra bonus points.

Our lives are so busy these days.  It seems like there is always something dragging us to do some other thing.

Spending time with dirt, grass, or sky requires us to take a minute and slow down.

Start your day walking barefoot somewhere where your feet can feel something soft.  You will be spending most of your day in shoes walking on hard surfaces.  Give your feet a break.  See how high up your body you can feel the grass as you walk.  Try to sink down into the earth as you move.

Take a look at the sky.  Sunrise, sunset.  Clouds.  Color.   Feel the wind and smell the smells.  Listen for trees rustling in the wind.

Good day don't have to me wonderful, magnificent things.  They can be have dirt . . . and grass . . and sky.  Then again, those can be magnificent, wonderful things too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just do it!

Doing things that are hard can make a day a good one.

I remember my first two-wheeler.  It was red with a long, silver banana seat.  It had solid, rubber tires and it felt huge.  I loved that bike and it scared the hell out of me. At some point my father decided that I didn't need training wheels and we spent "quality time" together with him pushing me, and me falling.  Over and over again.  Then . . again.
Much later, something magical happened.  I kept my balance and rode.  I've never stopped riding and loving the feeling of riding.

Twenty years later I taught myself to juggle and ride a unicycle.  I learned the same way; trying over and over.  Telling myself that I can catch one more ball than last time.  Or ride just a bit past where I fell the previous time.

I'm a husband.  I'm a father.

Think of something you wanted to do  . . . but couldn't.  Think of something that was hard . . but worth doing.
Focus for a minute on how you felt when you did that thing.  Hold it in your mind and remember how it felt.
That feeling; those thoughts made that moment part of a good day.

Are you doing anything hard in your life right now?  Is there something you should or could be doing?

Don't rob yourself of the opportunity of making today a good day by not doing anything.

Try to do something hard.
Try again.
Try again.
Try again.

Make today a good day.

Special people make for special days.

I can't imagine not having someone to share my life with.  I can't imagine coming home and being alone.
There was a time when I thought nothing of it.  I had weekends where I wouldn't speak to anyone.  Worse, I remember days when I'd find myself talking to myself and being surprised at the sound of my voice.

I remember a time when I thought I was totally alone; when I questioned whether anyone even existed.

Now I know better.  I know that without someone (or even something) to share the highs and lows of my life with it is meaningless.  And I do not believe that I was put here with no purpose or meaning.

I have a wife.  Spending time with here has been the best choice I have ever made.  Almost every good day that has happened to me since I met her has been related to her.  She is a joy to me.

Do you want to have a good day?  Find someone to share your life with.  Find someone that will share their life with you.  Start small if you have to, maybe a cat or dog.  Perhaps you'd feel more comfortable with a family member and Facebook.

It doesn't matter how you start.  It matter THAT you start.  It matters that you go out and share every day.

Do you want to have a good day?  Open yourself and share who you are.

[Also . . get a wife.  Wives are amazing and I cannot recommend them enough. (mine is taken though . . find your own.)]

Change how you think.

My eleven year old daughter told her eight year-old sister the other day at the grocery store that times were tough.  The youngest wanted some super-sugared tasty treat that cost way too much.  Yes, it made me sad because the budget really didn't allow anything extra.

It's interesting to me though how some people handle that sort of thing.

Some people make do with what they have.  The grit their teeth, tighten their belts, buckle down, and get the job done.  They plod through the difficult times hoping for some thing to get better some day.

And then there are the people that make the best of things.  The ones that look on the bright side.  The ones that make lemonade out of lemons, smoothies out of old bananas, and casserole out of leftovers.

It's amazing how outlook can make a difference.  "Making do" and "making the best of" seem so similar on first glance but are worlds apart when it comes to effect (and affect).

Today is the best day you are going to get today . . make the best of it.  Make it the best day you can.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"I scream, you scream"

Christopher Poost
We all screem for ice cream.

Or maybe for Italian ices, gelatos, sorbets, sherberts, sno-cones, Hawaiian shaved ice, dippin' dots, frozen yogurt, frozen tofu or coconut, or popsicle.  It doesn't matter too much what your favorite style of frozen dessert is, there is likely one that you like.

Frozen desserts can make today a good day.

If possible, find a stand that sells such things.  Sit and watch the world go passed.  See the kids go through napkins and spill scoops and have faces covered in goo.  If there's no stand, a grocery will do.  But buy enough for a few friends and invite them over to share.  Frozen desserts are better with friends.

Here is one of my favorite frozen desserts:

Strawberry Frozen Salad Klinger Classics
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 lg. can pineapple tidbits, drain
10oz pkg. frozen strawberries
1 cup chopped nuts
2 bananas sliced
1 large cool whip
Beat cream cheese and sugar together.  Mix remaining ingredients with cheese mixture.  Spoon into loaf pan and freeze overnight.  Keeps 46 weeks in the freezer.

Have a scoop or two . . and make today a good day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pre-catastrophic priority evaluation

What would happen if you found out you were going to die this year?  What would happen if you found that a loved one was going to die this year?  Few people want to think about it.

Today might be a good day to think about it though; a good day to think about how you spend your day and whether it has value to you.

Imagine all the people you would have to talk to.  Imagine all the things you'd want to do.  Take a moment and think about what you would want to share.

Do you have many friends?  Siblings?  Parents?  Relatives?  Teachers that changed your life?  Do you have children?

Waiting for a catastrophe to do these things (if you even got the chance) is risky.   It's risky to you and to the people you share your life with.

Today is a very good day to look at what you would do if you HAD to do something and start doing it.  Today is a good day to do a pre-catastrophic evaluation of your life and then act on what you come up with.

Oh.  And don't die. Please.  You'd be missed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Being tired can make a person cranky.  It can make it hard for someone to see the good in anything or anyone.  It can make them want to yell at old people and kick puppies.

Sometimes, all that needs to happen to make a day better is to take a break and take a nap.  Find a quiet place and relax.  Ten minutes can make the difference between a career-ending meltdown and  world peace (at least for *your* world).

So, if you are feeling that you are losing control of your good day, go to your room (or your car, or shut the door of your office) and catch some Zzzz. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Go out and see the World

Doing the same thing, the same way every day can be a comfort.  It can also be a monotonous blockage preventing you from having a good day.

We live in amazing times.  Our ability to see places outside our neighborhood have never been so great.  And while the sameness of much of where we live can be overwhelming (or perhaps underwhelming).

Maybe today is a good day to do something different.

Today might be a good day to take a different route home from work.  Today might be a good day to go to a park you've never been to or a restaurant you've seen and wondered about but never gone in.  Today might be the day you finally find peace where you never were looking.

Today might be a good day to plan a trip to a far-away or not-so-far-away place.  Today might be a good day to get into your car and drive on a country road until you got to a small town with a square in the middle of it and a bed & breakfast nearby and spend the night.  Today might be the day you discover the best biscuit and gravy of your life or the person you are going to marry.

There is a world of adventure right outside your door if you will only go looking for it.

Look for it.
Make today a good day . . on the road.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make yourself smile

Here's a trick to make your day better.  Take something pencil-like (a pencil works great) and hold it by the ends with your two hands.  Put it in your mouth like a bridle on a horse.  Go ahead and push it way to the back and up a little . . almost as if you were smiling.

You should feel happier; most people do.  Well . . do you?

What just happened was muscle memory.  Because your muscles are in that position when you smile, and you smile when you are happy, your brain has become "reverse-wired" to act happy when those muscles get "smiley".

Oftentimes, making today a good day is made up of little happinesses.  Let this be one of yours if you need a pick-me-up.

Also, watching your friends and co-workers perform this little experiment can make today better for anyone watching.  Have fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Working for the money?

Life is full of work.  You may be a student going to school, or a parent managing a household, or a you might be a worker in an office or a factory.  Any way you look at it, there you are . . working.

One way to make today a good day it to have a reason for working and to remember that reason as you go through your day. 

Making money is almost never the reason for working.  If you are a student, you might be going to school because you love learning.   If you are a homemaker you might be working to have a place that makes you and your family comfortable.  If you are a worker outside the home, maybe you have that dream vacation on the horizon or the you want to be able to buy that new patio set.

Having a good day isn't always about what you are doing today.  It can be about doing something today for tomorrow.  Spend some time today focused on the *why* you are working . . and make today a good day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Live life to the fullest

Making today a good day isn't about coasting along.  Making a today a good day is about doing things you love.  Making today a good day is about taking chances. Making today a good day is about DOING.
There once was a caterpillar
Who watched butterflies.
He said he didn't want yo fly.
But he lied.

One day he fell asleep.
When he awoke he could fly.
He soared with his wings
All over the garden.

Everyone now loved the butterfly
And he loved himself.

Not many weeks later
He flew higher than ever before
And was eaten by a bird.
Live your life as if you might not be here tomorrow to make that day a good day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What may seem ordinary may not be.

Words are interesting things.  It seems that sometimes a word is used so often that we forget what it means.  Life van be that way too, making it harder to make today a good day.

"Extraordinary" is a good example.  If you break it apart you get "extra ordinary".  It's more than the usual, it's special.  The thing is though, that when you pay attention, what may seem ordinary really isn't.  It's more.  It's extraordinary.

Have you ever grown anything?  One day you have a seed, then you have a sprout, then you have a plant, then you have a fruit; finally you have a snack.  Magic.  Extraordinary.

Or perhaps you've watched a baby grow?  I love watching pregnant women and I love watching newborns.  I find it amazing that at first they can't even hold their heads up by themselves but soon they're crawling around putting everything they can find into their mouths.  Fantastic.  Again, extraordinary.

Your mission (should you accept it) is to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.  To look past what may seem hum-drum and see  the marvelous.  Your goal should be to become enthusiastic (root meaning: having God within)  about something and tell someone about it. 

Go out and make today a good day!

[Speaking of babies . .  is it any wonder that re-creation (making babies) and recreation (playing a game) are very much the same?]

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good deeds are not just for Boy Scouts and Superman

Making today a good day is not just about noticing what makes a good day.  It's also about doing to *make* today a good day.  Doing something for others is a sure way of making today a good day.

Have you ever had a secret admirer? Have you ever had a secret love?  Have you ever participated in a secret Santa exchange?  Have you ever left hints to find a prize?
There is something powerful and joyful and exciting and rewarding in doing something good in secret.  The anticipation of how the recipient will react can be a thrill.  You imagine smiles and laughter or perhaps just surprised satisfaction when the secret is revealed.

Combining the doing of a "good deed" with a secret that can not be known can make a day a good one.

Do something nice for someone today.  Do something big or small.  Do something and never tell a single soul that it was you that did it.

I'll bet your day will be a better one  . . and so will theirs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A list of good things at 9:30 in the morning

  • The sounds of birds
  • Waking up.
  • Having all my hair.
  • Being surrounded by family.
  • Having a sense of sight.
  • Colors.
  • Smells.
  • Pets.
  • Coffee.
  • Clean water.
  • Food.
  • Choices of food.
  • Music.
  • A voice.
  • Cool sheets.
  • A breeze.
  • Computers.
  • Home movies.
  • Cicadas.
  • Roses.
  • Clothing.
  • Asprin.
  • Pencils/paper.
What good things have you had so far today?