After A Long Hiatus….

6 12 2015

After A Long HiatusI’ve taken quite a long sabbatical from writing regularly on this blog.  One post in the past sixteen months has been it.  I now intend to return to at least semi-regular, if not regular, contributions to this page.

Much has happened in the past year and a half.  Our eldest daughter married a fine man from the Plains.  Both are now happily ensconced in the Deep South, surrounded by salt water and palm trees.  My wife, Kath, and I visited them a month ago.  A great trip.  They are well.

Our youngest daughter, happily married for the past two years, has moved with her husband, another son of the Plains, thousands of miles away to new tasks.  They, too, are surrounded by palm trees and salt water.

Our vacations will be superb!

Here in northern New York, we recently sold our one hundred and one year-old Victorian farm house and have a smaller apartment close to work.  We are content.  Our home of fourteen years served us well but, with our two daughters married, it was more house than we needed.  So we sold to a fine young family with adorable children.

Candidly, sheer busyness accounts for my writing hiatus, a good bit of it anyways.  But more than that, I’ve learned some things over the past year and a half.  My reading has increased in breadth and depth.  I’ve had the good fortune to be mentored skillfully and have been forced to reevaluate many of my cherished prior commitments about life, human accomplishment and foible, God, reality, and lots of other things.

I hope to share the fine authors and thinkers who’ve helped me grow.  They’ve not been easy on me.  And won’t be easy on you either.  But then again, as a mentor recently admonished me, “Do not be seduced by low-hanging fruit.”  What has value must be extricated at cost and time.

Or, as Sara Groves sings on her newest record Floodplain, “Love is a diamond hidden in mountains, covered in danger and dirt.”

Let’s do this.  Thanks for reading!

Image Credit





2014. Here We Come!

31 12 2013

 

4:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

New Year, just south of seven hours from now.

Resolutions being formed.  Regrets (too much bad food and bad blood in 2013) being mulled and, hopefully, forgotten.  Goals being articulated, fleshed out—progress ahead.

“Your time is gonna come” (apologies to Led Zeppelin).  I believe that this is the year for your time to come as well as mine.  I really do.

So……..

  • Smile more, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Laugh.  A lot.  Laugh at yourself.  And have fun doing so.  After all, you’re only human.
  • Choose friends, surroundings and stimuli with care.  This year, jazz and classic rock have saved my neck over and over when the mood swings come and I want to drown in despair, cynicism, and negativity.  Thank you Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin.
  • Read.  Watch.  Take notes.  Do your homework.  As Brian Tracy reminds us, “All skills are learnable” and “To do something you’ve never done before, you must become someone you’ve never been before.  That is exciting and filled with promise.
  • Love your family and friends enough to communicate with them eye-to-eye and voice-to-voice, not simply through Facebook, Twitter, and texts.  The sound of another human being is magical.  No, it’s eternal.
  • Be a thermostat.  Everywhere.  Set the bar high with your example.  Office, factory, stage, classroom, living room.
  • Read anything by Seth Godin.
  • Read anything by Brian Tracy.

Ah.  Night is falling.  Celebrations starting.  Be safe and responsible—get a driver or a cab if you need to.

Happy New Year!

Cheers

Image Credit

 





Seven Decades and Going Strong

17 12 2013

Dad1942.  Our country fully at war in Europe and the Pacific Rim.  A time of apprehension, fear, courage and destiny.

A boy born in the Great Lake State.  He grew up learning the ethic of hard work, doing his share of chores on the family farm.  It has held him in good stead all his life.

As a teenager, he faced devastating loss with the rest of his siblings and yet survived it.

As a young adult, he  made the courageous choice, in the height of the Cold War, to serve in the United States Air Force, first in Turkey and later at headquarters for the Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, just outside Omaha, NE.

He married and adopted a young child–a boy, and went on to add two handsome sons and a beautiful daughter–siblings.  He went on to serve twenty-nine years in the Michigan State Police.

He taught his family the value of hard work.  He was always at work on some project, all the while serving his community and his state during his “day job.”  He still rarely slows down with his projects–carpentry, renovation and additions. Even after retirement eighteen years ago, he has continued his to use his skills in fire and arson investigation privately, providing for his family.

He taught his kids to love one another and get along.  He attended their ball games and school events.

He taught his kids the value of faith, providing for tuition for parochial school–not an inexpensive enterprise by any means.

He taught them to get back on the horse if you’ve fallen off.  That mistakes are not permanent.  Dust yourself off and get back into the fray.

He outworks men half his age.  Two replaced hips later, he still rocks.  He just doesn’t stop.  Serves his wife–our fantastic stepmom Debby–his  family, his Church, his community, this great nation–her values and the things that make her great.

I am that adopted kid.  And this is my dad.  James Edward Fahey.  Today is his birthday.  He continues to encourage and inspire us all.

Happy Birthday Dad.  I love you.  We all do!





Educate Yourself On Money

17 10 2013

Know Your Money

“You must walk to the beat of a different drummer. The same beat that the wealthy hear. If the beat sounds normal, evacuate the dance floor immediately! The goal is to not be normal, because as my radio listeners know, normal is broke.” (Dave Ramsey)

Now, more than ever, you owe it to yourself and those you love to do your financial homework.  There are lots of audio and video resources to help you get a handle on your money.  Among them, Dave Ramsey (quoted above).  Scores of people have liquidated their debt and got on their feet by taking his Financial Peace University class. Many others have been helped by the direct and passionate style of Suze Orman.  Here are some things I am reading and learning:

The current debt-ceiling crisis in Washington D. C. highlights the need to be aware of our money—what we have, what we owe, where to get more, etc.

Do yourself a favor and get yourself an education—if you haven’t already done so—on the way money, debt, deficits, markets, lending, borrowing and the like functions.  In this time, more than ever, ignorance is not bliss—it is dangerous.  Be awake.

Image Credit





Producing or Preparing to Produce?

14 10 2013

Producing or Preparing to ProduceSixteen years ago, I worked as the associate to a man who’d enjoyed a successful career as a real estate broker.  We worked together in another field and I admired his diligence and commitment to excellence.

He told me about a valuable lesson he’d learned in real estate.  He said, “In real estate, every minute you spend doing less important things is time away from your primary location: To be in front of customers.”

He was told that if he did not sell on weekends and work Sundays, he’d never make it in real estate.  He had at that time–and still does, as far as I know–an ironclad commitment to make sure he spent plenty of time with his wife and children.  He told his colleagues, “I won’t work weekends but I will succeed.”

And he did.  One of the primary reasons, he explained, was that he spent very little time in the office, and, thus, put himself in the presence of his clients.  While his fellow realtors spent a lot of time putting together fancy office spaces and such, Gary was selling.  And only Monday through Friday.

In life, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  Gary taught me this.

Here’s a couple of good questions to ask yourself with respect to your work, your skills and talents, your pursuits, and goals: Am I working or making plans to work?  Am I actually producing or just preparing to produce?

I have to confess I’ve dawdled away far too much time making impressive plans to do something valuable and productive, making good use of my skill sets.  I’m trying to prune away the unnecessary time wasters (too much social media, pointless web surfing, etc.) and set about actually doing something that will help others, my own, and myself.

Well…how about you?

Image Credit





Can You SEE Me?

14 09 2013

Can You SEE MeI’m learning that to look into the eyes of another human being is not necessarily the same thing as seeing them.  I think the eyes are the most beautiful feature of any human being.  Because when I look into someone’s eyes, I get a glimpse into their soul.

Sometimes I see hope.

Sometimes I see mischief.

Sometimes I see pain.

Sometimes profound goodness.

Often, I see someone whose soul seems to communicate this question: “Do you see me?”

Over the years I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people.  Perhaps the most complimentary thing I’ve ever heard is when someone remarks thus, “When he is with you, it’s as if you’re the only person on earth.”  Complete focus.  Courtesy.  Eschewing superficiality, manifested in canned replies and hollow laughter.  Undistracted.

Someone has said that one of the most profound expressions of love you can give to another human being is to pay attention to them.

Are you seeing those around you?

Image Credit





Marry Well! (You Won’t Regret It)

10 09 2013

Photo1The title for this post is not original.  It’s from Bill Hybels’ outstanding book Making Life Work.  Were someone to ask of me advice about what it takes to have a happy life, one of the first things I’d tell them is this: Marry well.  You’ve no idea the wonder and joy that follows on such a decision.  Nor the incredible sorrow that follows when you marry poorly.

(Sweetheart, if he’s a bum now, he’ll probably be a bum long after you marry him.  Dude, if she’s a diva now, chances are diva will grow into a monster.  Avoid.  Like the plague.)

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in life.  Most of the unhappiness I’ve ever experienced was a product of my own skill at doing stupid things.  But one thing I did, with God’s help and goodness, was marry well.

When writing about home and marriage years ago, Michael Card penned the memorable line “that half of your heart that somebody else treasures, the one who’s your forever friend.”  The song aptly titled “Home.”

Boy, that sums it up nicely.

When choosing someone to spend your life with, there are few things more comforting than knowing the one who cares about you at your best  and worst.  Who picks you up and puts you back together again when life crushes you.  Who is there in the dark with words of encouragement and sunshine.  And forgiveness.

In today’s sexually-charged culture, it seems that the friendship factor in choosing one’s spouse is given short shrift.  Those who’ve been married for years will tell you that feelings and romance can ebb and flow.  Eros is capricious if nothing else.  But being married to your soul mate, your best friend can carry you through things nothing else can.

Here’s to the one I love and will grow old with.  The one I dream and pal around with.  The one I’d rather be with more than any other person on Earth.

Kath….