Be a Leader

January 29, 2023

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  The first month of 2023 has flown by at record speed.  I’d much rather be writing about fun lighthearted subjects; like fitness, exercise, running, yummy food or amazing travel.  I need to share these thoughts today.  Writing about politics, or the incompetence in leadership roles today (especially in our government and by some of our representatives) isn’t my favorite topic.  The lack of positive change continues in our nation; including the border crisis, mass shootings and lack of concern by some political groups/individuals is both disheartening and tragic.  It seems we have many more outspoken unqualified elected (or appointed) people in positions of power today than I recall in the past.  Maybe these individuals just garner all the news and media coverage; while the brighter, more intelligent and skilled individuals are being ignored or pushed aside.  Maybe individuals with common sense and kindness just need to shout louder than the fools.  Why do news or social media outlets enjoy stirring up controversy?  What happened to honest reporting; rather than attaching your own personal agenda to stories.  These sources seem to enjoy pushing division within our nation, rather than lifting a finger to unite our country.  Misinformation and divisive behavior continue to manipulate people to believe things that aren’t factual or true.  Social media, and some “one sided” news outlets, help propagate these fabrications.  The sad behavior continues; even from some of our political representatives.  I balk at using the term “leader” for many of these elected miscreants. These people aren’t interested in assisting our nation to heal or grow.  They’re only interested in maintaining power, control and increasing their own wealth.  It really is past time for us (America) to break free from the control of these malicious individuals.  When will the “silent majority” wake up and act?  Our nation is in desperate need of strong skilled leaders who possess competence, honesty and integrity. 

After I graduated from college, I was hired by the US Forest Service, as a firefighter on a Hot Shot crew.  This job experience provided my first real exposure to some great leaders.  These individuals weren’t politicians, corporate executives or CEOs.  They were the front-line supervisors; fire superintendents, engine foremen and crew bosses; who dealt with daily decision making; from forest management to firefighting strategy and safety.  These men emulated what my Dad had taught (and showed me by his example) of what leadership meant.  When I joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1980, I didn’t consider myself to a be “leader.”  As I grew and matured into my career, so did my strength and courage.  I developed and enhanced my own style of command presence.  My primary endeavor was to treat all people with the same respect and fairness that we each deserve.  As a front-line supervisor, my objective was to represent my personnel, shield them from the bureaucracy; while they received the training, skills and tools necessary to be successful in all situations they may encounter.  Leadership is more than merely making decisions and giving orders.  It’s about being knowledgeable, compassionate, open and honest.  Strong leaders have an innate ability to motivate and inspire, while they set the example for all others to follow.  They seek to instill the strong character traits into others; that helped guide them along their own journey.  They visualize and know the greater good; and they work to ensure its development; while empowering others along the way.  Great leaders support, guide, encourage, mentor and assist others to build their own skills, by empowering them to learn and grow as leaders.  This is definitely the time we, and all the world, need strong leadership.  

You don’t need special training to be an outstanding leader.  I’ve been through training courses; West Point Leadership, LAPD Command Training and the FBI National Academy.  I was provided a unique perspective into the leadership phenomena.  My life experience and career with the LAPD increased my ability to recognize weak or incompetent leadership.  You may be aware of some, at all levels of society, business and government.  Incompetence tends to surround itself with like-minded individuals of similar beliefs and motivations.  I’ve encountered the “darker” side of poor leaders.  These people aren’t there to motivate or help others.  Instead, they are driven by ego, selfish, manipulative reasons, or their own desire to control and dominate everything and everyone around them.  These misguided individuals only seek to better themselves, while stepping on others, to achieve their own gains.  Recent incidents, from the past several years and into 2023, only confirm what many of us already know; America is in desperate need of strong leadership.  The FAA incidents, flight debacles during the holidays, increasing crime, southern border issues, drugs, Mexican cartels, social issues, covid lockdowns and the ever-increasing attacks on law enforcement; continue to highlight our need for strong and courageous leaders.  Weak leaders only seek to enhance their own power, ego and wealth; while using manipulative control, micro management and decision making based on what’s in their own best interest.  They talk loudly, make noise and promises, but no positive change ever happens.  We are the ones who suffer.  Don’t be swayed by manipulative political rhetoric meant to create an emotional or racial response.  Our nation is in dire need of unity and positivity.  

What happened to electing the best candidate for the job; an individual with experience, knowledge and integrity.  Instead, we have leaders who place their friends, or supporters, in positions they have no ability to operate.  Rather than learn, so they can excel at the job, they use it to reap all the benefits and rewards they can, using tax payer money.  Individuals who possess outstanding leadership qualities, won’t be the ones shouting, “I’m the best!”  I’ve worked with and witnessed great inspirational leaders.  They’re typically calm, direct and know how to take command.  Outstanding leaders, throughout history, have stepped forward to help achieve goals they believed would benefit all people.  Leadership demands strength, courage and perseverance.  We need leaders with self-confidence, determination, desire, compassion, empathy and willingness to stand up for what’s right and true.  America has qualified, strong, intelligent and positive political representatives.  I hope these caring political leaders take positive action on behalf of the American people.  Our nation is in the midst of a crisis that continues to plague our land and planet.  It’s time to end the disunity among our political parties and reinstate harmony among all Americans.  Its time elected officials serve the greater good of our nation and all Americans.  

It’s time for all people to step up and be leaders.  It doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are or your cultural heritage.  You can set a good example and be the positive change you want to see in the world.  Empower yourself and others with character traits like integrity, loyalty, honesty, dedication and honor.  These are just a few that helped me become the man I am today.  Live in the present and make our world a better place.  Change doesn’t happen without action.  It’s up to us to elect outstanding leaders who can guide our nation into the future.  America, it’s time we demand strong leadership; but first, let’s begin with us.  Be an outstanding leader.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

The Boot

January 22, 2023

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but the first weekend of December, I was in Florida running a trail race.  I got hooked on these Ragnar team relay races after I retired.  I especially enjoy the trail runs.  There’s nothing better than being outside in nature and having fun.  The added bonus of getting exercise, while camping with fabulous friends just enhances the entire experience.  We arrived in the sunshine state a couple days before the race, so we could check out the area and race course.  Alafia River State Park, was the site for the weekend event.  The park is located south east of Tampa.  It appeared to be a beautiful location at first glance.  We drove around the venue, in a grassy meadow, surrounded by trees and jungle like vegetation.   We parked, so we could hike around the trails, which had already been marked for race day.  There were signs posted, advising to not disturb the local turtle population.  They are a protected species.  As we continued along the trail we discovered a huge moss-covered pond.  There was a sign posted warning of possible alligators, so of course we had to take a closer look.   The pond was below us, about ten or fifteen feet, so we felt safe standing near the edge, waiting to see any moment in the murky water.  After waiting a couple of minutes, I saw the surface water break next to a small island.  What I witnessed was even more astonishing, massive turtles.  What were depicted as cute little turtles, in the warning sign, were actually giant creatures.  They looked nearly as frightening as an alligator, which may be difficult to believe.   We didn’t see any of the dinosaur type critters, other than a plentiful number of extra-large turtles.  Life is good when you’re “protected.” 

As we left the park that day, I hit the brakes next to a large eastern diamondback rattlesnake, as it slithered across the road.  It was fat, three feet I length and not fearful; as it continued its journey into the brush.  We looked at each other in amazement, hoping not to see this creature again that weekend.  We returned to the race site on Thursday afternoon, to set up camp with our eight-person team.  The race began Friday morning.  Everything was going as planned and we were having fun.  My second loop (a little over 6 miles), was at night, along a mostly single-track trail through what looked like the jungle.  A little over two miles into my run I can around a bend only to see a man standing on the edge of the trail yelling to go behind him.  In front of him in the low brush, I could hear the rattles of a snake.  I went behind him slowly, glancing to see a large rattle snake coiled in the bushes across from him.  I grabbed my cell and called camp to for assistance, as crowd of runners gathered behind me.  I continued on my way, only to hop over a thin eight-inch coral colored snake crossing the path beneath me.   I was thinking, “Geez, what next!”  That’s when I hit a tree root and rolled my right ankle out to the side.  It happened so quickly I couldn’t stop it before it went a bit too far.  I heard a pop and immediately knew wasn’t good.  I could hear the brush rustling behind me and voices, so I kept moving until I reached a water station to call for aid.  I found out later an alligator had to be cleared from the trial behind me (along with the large diamondback).  Fun times!    

When I returned home, I visited my doctor, to have my ankle evaluated.  An exam and x-ray determined I fractured my fibula, where it connects to my ankle.  It’s known as a “Weber A” fracture.  The doctor advised me it should heal nicely in three months.  The first six weeks would be spent in a hard case walking boot.  This was better than a cast, as I could remove it for showers and sleeping.  The bad part were the six weeks sequestered at home, with limited mobility and not fun.  The first three weeks were hell…lol.  Not literally, but pretty close.  My ankle hurt, I couldn’t do anything, and being alone, locked up inside was making me crazy.  I love being outside, running, being in nature and traveling.  If being in a “boot” wasn’t bad enough, the weather got a bit cold and ugly too.  This just compounded being stuck indoors.  I knew my daughter was coming to visit for Christmas, so that provided a ray of sunshine.  It also tossed a “monkey wrench” into the coming holidays.  It still hurt to walk and get around, so I wasn’t sure how much I could actually to entertain her.  It was great having my daughter home for several days and the cold temperatures kept us in the house anyway.  The Holidays were fun and then she headed home.  Alone with my “boot” sent me back to the “dark” place for another three weeks.  I will admit, I’m probably not the best at sitting still for very long.  When I’m injured or sick, it’s even more difficult allowing myself to recover as needed.  I’d compare it to being like a caged animal, just clawing at the bars trying to break free.  My description may sound a bit extreme, especially after the months long lock down during the covid lunacy of 2020.  Even with many businesses and restaurants close, nature was always “open” and available.  I was outside nearly every day; running, hiking or just walking for better health and exercise.  The beach and mountain trails provided solace and fresh air.  The ability to enjoy the outdoors, not only improved my mental health, but my physical and spiritual health as well. 

My follow-up doctor visit, at the six-week mark, showed healing was occurring nicely.  The doctor told me I could remove the boot, but limited my movements for the next six weeks.  He provided options, so I could return to the gym, for upper body and stationary bike work.  No jumping, running or foolishness is allowed until the bone it completely healed.  Having these extra simple freedoms are a huge improvement to being totally confined to home.  I’m walking with some minor discomfort, so I’m not venturing too far.  I continue to improve each day.  I’m grateful for each new sunrise and all the opportunities the days bring.  I’ve been trying to slow my life and be more mindful.  When God and the universe conspire to give you a sign, don’t wait for them to slap you in the face.  Recognize the signs before they pass you by.  Even though the time was forced on me, and it wasn’t immediately welcomed, I eventually realigned my perspective and changed my attitude.  The time spent comfortably at home, is giving me the opportunity to re-evaluate my life and where I want to take it in the future.  I’m never too old to learn, grow or seek new adventures (and neither are you).  I’ll return to running in March and back to the trail races in a few months.  I’m grateful, happy and always positive each day.  Life is a magical gift, so enjoy every precious moment.  That’s my new mantra, then… Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

There’s No Secret Ingredient

January 15, 2023

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  Monday, January 9th was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.  I hope you took a moment to reflect on what these brave men and women do every day (24/7).  The commitment, service and dedication of officers, across America, to protect and serve are admirable and inspiring qualities.  They place themselves in harm’s way daily, so we can live in safety and freedom.  Without their distinguished efforts, our society and nation would crumble into chaos.  If you didn’t have an opportunity to thank an officer on Monday, I’m sure they will appreciate your thanks and recognition today, or any day of the week.  It’s sad to see the attacks and murder of officers continue without a word of support from elected officials.  Officer Darnell Calhoun, of the Riverside County Sheriff Department, in California, was kill in the line of duty on Friday, January 13, 2023.  Officer Isaiah Cordero, of the same department, was killed on Thursday December 29, 2022.  Both men died at the hands of criminal assailants.  We live in sorrowful times my friends.  It’s time for Americans to wake up and stop this madness before it’s too late.    

We’re already mid-way through the first month of 2023!  Life isn’t going to sit back and wait for you.  Don’t linger in the past or dwell on what the future may (or may not) bring.  Life is best lived now, in the present.  You can achieve anything you desire with some hard work and determination.  The world is yours, if you just believe in your own inner power and strength.  Don’t wait to participate in life my friends; tomorrow is never promised.  We all live in an amazing world as part of Gods plan; but our choices and decisions lead us to the path we select.  Don’t allow the negativity of events or circumstances break you down or lead you astray.  We all struggle with various issues during the course of life.  Each of us possesses the ability to lift ourselves up to positivity and happiness.  Maybe you have to dig deeper than others at times, but never give up.  If you need help, I know it’s out there.  Please, never be fearful or hesitant to ask or seek out assistance.  I’m thankful I reached out, but now know how much better I would have been if I had done it sooner.  I discovered when I change my thoughts, I can change my world. 

People seem to continually search for a “secret ingredient” to life and success.  Maybe individuals believe if they find this elusive component their life will change and their burdens will immediately disappear.  I wish I knew, and could provide, that “secret” source for relief.  I receive questions from time to time, asking me “what’s your secret to…,” achieving this, getting through that or over coming some obstacle.  I have no doubt individuals, throughout time, have been seeking answers to similar questions.  I assume if something magical like that existed, it would make life easier.  My best response is, “There really isn’t any secret.”  I wasn’t taught, nor was I shown, any special ingredient to getting through life.  It’s taken me years to learn and develop my own formula for success and happiness.  We all traverse the difficult times in our own way.  What works for me, may not be the same solution for you (and vice versa).  For me, the key to happiness is mine to control and fulfill.  My morning begins with being grateful for all that I have; being present in life and happy.  I work daily to control my thoughts and maintain a positive attitude.  If something doesn’t work out the way I intended, I don’t consider it a failure.  I’ve learned over the years that negativity just breeds more negative thoughts and actions.  When something doesn’t go as planned, I see it as an opportunity to learn, grow and improve myself.  If that’s the “secret,” I wish I would have learned and understood it many years ago.  I wasted far too much time on ego, perfection and a self-absorbed attitude.  None of these insecurities are good when it comes to achieving success.  I’ve been stubborn in the past, as well, never willing to bend.  This trait had some usefulness during my career, but it doesn’t work well in life or relationships.  Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be fabulous; besides we all know perfection is a myth.  Work hard, be grateful, kind and see the positive in yourself and everyone you contact.  See the good instead of the bad and live a happier life.   

A friend asked me the other day if I believe in God.  I replied, “Yes, I do.”  The next question was, “Why does God allow bad stuff to happen?  Why do good people have to deal with tragedy?”  Similar questions have crossed my mind from time to time.  Why do family, friends, military, police officers, or just good people, have to be taken in such tragic incidents; and usually before their time?  My immediate response to the second question was, “I don’t know.  I wish I knew the answer.”  After thinking about it, I doubt we (humans) can answer that question.  I know God has a plan, but only God knows why.  What I do know is, when I was born, death will be my final outcome.  I don’t have control of when that will occur.  I assume we all want to be here as long as possible; because I know I do.  I want to see my daughter grow older into adulthood.  I want to share lots more adventures and life with family, friends and the people I love.  Humans will always seek answers to questions we can’t answer.  I wish I knew why we don’t have a cure for cancer or why good individuals are taken from this life in tragic circumstances.  It’s easy and safe to place the blame on others.  It relieves us of the burden in not knowing why.  Instead of seeking blame, have the courage to face life and be thankful for our time together on this planet.  I realize sorrow and emotions can sometimes drive our spirit into sadness.  Experiencing open and honest feelings is all part of being human.  Life is truly a gift.  It can change, be altered or taken without our approval at any moment.  Please cherish every moment while you’re here.

If there is a “secret ingredient” to life, it’s being happy with who you are and moving forward with kindness and respect for all (people, creatures and things).  You don’t always need to know where everything in life is going before you get there.  Life is an amazing adventure.  Trust your own intuition and God.  A magical solution isn’t required to get everything we want.  Dedication, perseverance and effort will guide you to your dreams.  Stop worrying about what might go wrong.  Believe in your abilities and all that will go right.  The “secret” to success is believing your own power.  Great things just don’t happen.  Dedication, perseverance, confidence, discipline and hard work is where success is born and achieved.  You are the key to your happiness.  The magic of life and joy in each adventure is created by my happiness.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Participate in Life

January 8, 2023

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  We are already a week into the new year and time keeps ticking away.  Don’t sit back just existing or waiting for something great to happen.  No one is going to force you to jump up, make decisions or take action.  It’s up to you to be an active participant in life.  Seek out new adventures, make changes and create the life that fulfills your purpose on earth.  Nothing will happen until you stand up and do the work.  Change will continue to occur whether you acknowledge it or not.  By sitting on the sidelines or doing nothing, you allow other less capable individuals to make choices and decisions for you.  Please make the New Year as amazing and incredible as you desire.  Let go of your ego; this isn’t about riches or fame.  This is about making your contribution to achieving what’s best for yourself and humanity.  Life is a limited time opportunity.  It can change in a heartbeat.  Embrace and cherish every moment.  It’s never too late to dream new dreams, change your attitude, set new goals or create a happy life.

During the Monday Night football game, this past week, Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills football team, was critical injured during the first quarter.  No one wants this to happen, especially to a young man following his dream to play in the NFL.  The injury suffered by Hamlin is not something we expect to hear about, or view on national television during any game.  No one expects to see a player have CPR administered, to revive him, before being taken away by ambulance in critical condition.  The incident brought immediate reactions of overwhelming grief from teammates, fans and all people who enjoy the game.  Football is considered a violent sport, where injuries are common place and witnessed by many.  It’s difficult to imagine this type of accident ever being anticipated.  Devastating life-threatening incidents typically don’t occur at these type of sporting events.  My prayers go out to Damar, and his family, for a full recovery.  I’m happy to hear his health has improved over the weekend.  We never know where God’s plan will take us.   

This story is sad and tragic, and many people have been moved by it.  There is something that strikes me as even more tragic (and I wish more Americans were half as concerned about).   The continued attacks and murder of law enforcement officers across our nation is horrific.  I am brought to tears whenever I hear of a police officer, or military personnel, who have been injured or killed.  Imagine what emotions fellow officers experience when they witness co-workers (friends), injured or killed.  They, often times, don’t have the luxury to take a knee and hang their head in sorrow or respect.  When you’re under attack, there are no time outs or safe havens.  I know this is true because I’ve been at the scene of many calamities.  These tragedies are a sorrowful reality of our world.  Where’s the out pouring of grief and support, from the people, community or our elected officials?  There are few politicians worthy of being called “leader.”  My thoughts and prayers are always with the men and women protecting our nation from all threats, both foreign and domestic.  We (America) have the ability work together to prevent and stop attacks on Law Enforcement.  The men and women protecting us deserve so much more respect and thanks than they receive.  Their right to live and thrive is the same as this young professional football player fighting for his life.       

The past week proved to be a sleepless challenge.  I found out a young woman, who I knew, passed away from breast cancer this week.  She was a young, vibrant and radiant soul who cared about all beings and creatures.  There are few individuals today, who are truly kind and enlightening.  She is definitely one of a kind.  Her death, the football injury and events of the past year, influenced my mind and ruled thoughts.  I’ve often sat alone, sad and helpless, as I relive tragic events that I’ve experienced.  Living alone has its pluses, minuses and challenges.  I spent nearly 34 years in a career that energetically threw me into every aspect of life and death.  I’ve witnessed the birth of new life; and too often have I witnessed the life of men and women (both young and old) leave this earth in tragic and horrific circumstances.  As a leader, I made decisions that directly impacted the lives of individuals surrounding me; whether they were victims, criminals or the officers I commanded.  There were times I felt alone, but I was always confident in my personnel and decisions.  Work always seemed easier than relationships.  Two marriages, two divorces and a couple failed relationships later, here I am, living single.  It’s definitely not my preference or first choice.  I enjoy and thrive having a partner to traverse the adventure of life.  The History Channel show, “Alone,” is an example of the anxiety created by living solo.  Survivalists, void of human contact, live in the wilderness as long as they possible.  Real skills are required in order to survive.  Lack of food, sickness and injuries cause some tap outs.  Another factor that brings some of these strong willed and skilled survivalists to their knees, is just being alone.  Missing family, loved ones and the opportunity to share life with another individual is an extremely powerful force.  I believe life is meant to be shared with a partner.  Obviously, the correct partner is the key to any great relationship. 

Life is an incredible journey, with much to be grateful for daily.  It can also throw negativity and trauma at us.  How we respond to the difficult times, including trauma, has the ability to create additional harm to us; physically, mentally and spiritually.  Resolving critical issues may not be pleasant, but it’s needs to be done in a positive manner to maintain our good health.  Sharing open communication, emotions and feelings, provides a starting point to empower us to overcome any situation or circumstance.  Don’t suppress your feelings or close off your heart.  Life is better lived, in all aspects, even if it’s painful.  Help is always out there if you need it.  Don’t be fearful to reach out.  When I fall down (and I have), I get back up and keep moving forward.  Professional assistance helped improve the quality of my mental, spiritual and physical life.  I’m living proof that life can be filled with happiness.  I’ve learned so much about myself in the last several years.  I’ve dug deep into my heart and soul.  I’ve done my shadow work, sought counseling and received EMDR therapy.  I learned to open my mind, heart and spirit to others.  I see the positive in all things, including myself.  This doesn’t mean life is perfect.  I deal struggles, but I see them as opportunities to improve myself.  I trust God and the universe.  It’s exciting becoming the person my soul always knew I was.  I remain hopeful and positive for us all.  I’m happy and excited to be active participant in life.  Join me, not only for yourself, but for the greater good of all mankind.  One of the best parts about growing up, is becoming wiser with age.  I learned how to appreciate and love myself and life.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

No More “Resolutions”

January 1, 2023

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  Happy New Year everyone!  Here we are, it’s the first day, and first Sunday, of 2023!  Typically, I begin each year with an inaugural run.  There have only been a few years that I’ve been unable to run on New Year’s morning.  The missed days were primarily due to work schedule or an injury, but I always enjoy kicking off this day with exercise.  This year (today), I’m unable to get out there and run.  I fractured my ankle four weeks ago, so it will be March until I rejoin the running community.  For me, running outside (in nature), has been a fantastic avenue for exercise and stress relief.  Just being outdoors, brings many perks and health benefits; physically, mentally and spiritually.  I’m not a “New Year’s Resolution” kind of person.  I’ve seen too many people say a variety of things about what they’ll do, at beginning of a new year, but rarely follow through.  Maybe these individuals think they need to share something to fit in with their friends or conform to what society expects.  Every January, I see many new faces at the gym, out running, at yoga or attempting something they have no real desire to follow through.  By February the new influx has decreased and by March the “resolution” folks are gone.  I’m a firm believer that change is good.  It’s one of the constants in life.  Change creates opportunities for us to evolve, alter our thoughts, perceptions and lives.  It can bring a fabulous and amazing transformation into your life, but only if you allow it.  If you are instrumental in encouraging this process; by setting goals or making plans for yourself to achieve what you desire, it’s all the better.  Today can mark the beginning of a fantastic new time and adventure for each of us.  The potential for this amazing opportunity is yours to grasp.  One of the best parts about being human, is we can always recreate ourselves.  Any day works, but especially January 1st, is a great occasion to set new objectives, goals or plans for your future.  Just say no to resolutions, then set your plan in motion to make 2023 better, more productive, healthier or happier than previous years.  Involve friends, family or me; to keep you on track.  It’s never too late.

Let’s face it, “Father Time” slows down for no one.  As I get older, time seems to pass by so much quicker.  You may not understand or share this experience now, but just wait, it’s coming.  When I was growing up, my Dad shared his thoughts on how quickly the years passed, especially during the Holidays.  I didn’t really understand what he was telling me at the time.  I was young, and felt I had an entire lifetime ahead of me.  Now that I’m retired and the years pass by faster, I want to slow myself down as much as possible to savor and enjoy every moment of life.  We (humans) are very fortunate for all we have on this planet.  America is a nation of abundance and prosperity.  If you doubt this, I suggest you travel to other nations that are less fortunate than the USA.  I guarantee you won’t have to venture very far.   People, across the globe, exist with far less and are much more grateful and respectful than many individuals I see here at home.  Acquiring more possessions doesn’t create happiness and these objects won’t make the time last any longer.  An old proverb says, “a foolish person dreams of wealth, while a wise person dreams of happiness.”   The gift of life is a precise commodity; not to be wasted on ego or negativity. 

Life is a process and we all struggle from time to time.  I begin each morning with happiness, positivity and gratitude.  There are times that negativity, sad feelings or emotions attempt to creep into my day.  These thoughts try to overwhelm me, but only if I allow it.  Sorrow is an inevitable part of being human.  It’s my responsibility to control my mind and the thoughts that enter it.  Rather than letting these memories engulf my mind, it’s best if I recognize the experience, acknowledge it and deal with it immediately.  I lost my Dad to a form of blood cancer, just before Christmas, nine years ago.  I miss him every day, but there are certain times of the year that magnify these feelings.  The holidays are certainly one of these times.  I’ve often wondered why my Dad asked me so many questions as I grew up from kid to adult.  He always seemed to be checking up on what I was doing, who I was with and where I was going.  I never fully understood why until I became a father.  When I became a Dad, I quickly learned why my own father was so involved and interested in my life.  I know my daughter, especially since she’s an adult, may be wondering the same thing I did with my Dad.  If and when she becomes a parent, I know she’ll fully understand all of my questions and my checking in with her too.  As her father, my concern for her will never diminish or fade.  My love for her is unconditional and eternal.  

We (each of us) are the keepers of our own happiness, joy and love.  If you aren’t creating and maintaining a life filled with happiness, you can’t expect others to do it for you.  We are all human beings.  We each have a unique personality and gift to share.  Don’t ever be fearful to be yourself.  We are on this planet for a limited time.  The clock never stops ticking.  You are never too old and it’s never too late to set new goals, dream new dreams or seek new adventures.  Work hard every day to achieve what you desire.  The answers and solutions to the questions you ask are within each of you. The ability to find those answers is within our own capacity to slow down and allow them to flow from our thoughts. Trust your intuition.  It’s your source of power and strength.  My plan for the new year is to get out in nature every day.  Whether I use the time for a run, walk or just doing yard work; getting my body out in the sun is great for my physical, spiritual and mental health.  I know some individuals will say they don’t have time.  I say it’s easy to make time.  Take a 20-minute break, use part of your lunch break or go for a walk when you get home.  Great health begins with nature, sunshine and the outdoors.  Invest in your health by taking better care of you.  Eat healthier foods.  Rest your body, mind and spirit.  Begin each day with gratitude, happiness and positivity.  Love your life and it will love you back.  Lao Tzu said it best, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while deeply loving someone gives you courage.”  The rest is up to you.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Christmas Day

December 25, 2022

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Today, billions of people around the planet are celebrating Christmas Day.  Millions of faithful are honoring the birth of Jesus Christ; while others give praise in their own faith or culture.  This day is special and significant for many reasons.  The day commemorates the birth of our Savor; but it represents a rebirth and renewal of faith for us all.  It’s a day that brings joy and happiness to people of all ages, races, cultures, genders and nationalities.  The celebration unites our planet in the spirit of peace and giving.  I was raised in an Italian Catholic family.  I have fond memories of the holidays from my youth, both at home and in our parish house of worship.  I am less of a church goer these days, but my belief and trust in God are stronger than ever.  On this blessed and beautiful day, it doesn’t matter if we share the same ideals, beliefs, religious offerings, or believe in God, Santa or Kris Kringle.  This is a spectacular day, when we (and the world) can enjoy the beauty of this magnificent holiday and celebration.  It’s a day filled with joy, hope and wonder.  It creates delight and happiness for us all.  I know there are nations and populations around the globe that are oppressed and controlled.  I hope and pray that these people (and all countries) can one day live with the same freedoms, rights and peace, as we share here at home in America today.  Christmas is a day that all you have to is “believe.”  The universe is filled with magic and wonder; even more so today than ever.  Fill your heart with joy, gratitude and be happy.     

I have an array of fabulous memories of Christmas and the holidays; spent with family, friends and loved ones.  I associate many memorable, sad and tragic days with this time of year too.  My thoughts revolve around significant times, while working as a Los Angeles Police Officer.  My nearly 34-year law enforcement career meant I worked many of the holidays, including the Christmas, New Year’s and all the other Holidays too.  One such memory occurred when I was a sergeant.  I was on loan to Hollenbeck Area, so their personnel could attend a Christmas Holiday Party.  It was nearing the end of my shift late that Saturday night, just days before Christmas.  I responded to a vehicle accident, only a short distance from the police station.  When I arrived, I saw two vehicles had violently collided in the intersection.   The badly damaged cars were at opposite corners, with debris scattered across the streets.  Firefighters were busy extricating a female from one of the mangled cars.  They were working feverishly to save her life.  I looked in the rear of the car and saw an overturned car seat on the floor.  As I illuminated to interior, with my flashlight, I could see a small foot beneath the seat.  I broke out the rear window and climbed into the car.  I lifted the car seat, which had been wedged between the front and rear seats.  This is when my heart sank, as I lifted a little girl from the floor.  She immediately clung tightly to me; wrapping her tiny arms around me.  I lifted her from the car as the paramedics told me the female driver passed away from her injuries.  The small child maintained her grip, softly saying “Mommy.”   It seemed to be an eternity, before a female officer was finally able to pry the child away from me.  I continued with my duties until the scene was clear.  All I could think about on my drive home, later that night, was my own little girl.  Life can change in an instant.  It changed me that night, and on many other occasions as well.  Police, law enforcement, fire, medical, first responders and our military personnel are always on duty 24/7; to ensure our safety and security today (and every day).  The work and dedication these individuals provide is never ending.  This keeps them away from their family and life.  They place themselves in harm’s way, so we can live in peace, freedom and safety.  Please keep all of these brave men and women (first responders and military) in your thoughts and prayers today.  They deserve much more respect, honor and praise than they receive; for they are the true heroes of our nation and the world.  

The Christmas Holiday is a magical time for the majority of the world.  This is a time when we all need to work together to be happier and more grateful for family, friends and life.  We (here in America) are truly blessed with an abundance and prosperity of all things.  We have so much, that often times individuals think they need more.  Stop complaining and start living a life with respect, courtesy, kindness and grace.  Leave your ego and negativity behind.  Don’t worry about the past.  It’s gone and you can’t change it.  Don’t stress over the future or what “might” happen.  Stay here in this moment and enjoy the present.  This is where all the magic of life is occurring; beginning with each breath you take. Each of us is a unique and rare gift, with a special purpose while on this planet.  Don’t waste a second of this precious time.  Work hard every day to achieve what you desire and fulfill your dreams.  Don’t expect others to do the work, while you sit back doing nothing or asking for more.  Earth, and all creatures, are amazing creations.  Let’s get busy and make the world a better place to live.  The New Year is just one week away.  My vow in 2023 (and beyond), is to live a happier, kinder and more compassionate life.  What is your intention for yourself, your family, our nation and the world in the new year?   

I’m happy and grateful to be sharing this Christmas Day with my daughter.  I hope you’re enjoying the day with the special people in your life too.  I’ve often wondered what happened to that little girl, those 26 years ago.  I am forever scared by that event, and many other tragedies that fill with my heart with sorrow.  Many individuals will thrive in happiness today; while others will grapple with the difficulties of life.  We all deal with struggles from time to time; and the holiday season is no different.  I know this for a fact, because I’ve had my share of difficult days; holidays included. Physical, mental and spiritual incidents have blocked my path at times, during the course of my life.    The best any of us can do, is to stay positive, focus on the present and keep moving forward.  Life may not be perfect, but then nothing is.  Healing is possible; because I’m a prime example.  For me, the best part of living is knowing I am in control of my own happiness, attitude and peace.  We each have the power, when we wake up every morning, to be happy or not.   My choice is easy and simple!  I’m grateful, happy and positive to be here breathing; with the opportunity to reach for my dreams and desires.  Life is gift to be cherished!  Don’t waste the opportunity.  Merry Christmas my friends!  Believe in the magic of the Holidays and life.  Open your heart and soul, to allow God and the universe to guide you.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

The Winter Solstice

December 18, 2022

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  Today marks the beginning of Hanukkah.  It’s an eight day Jewish celebration and festival of the lights.  A candle is lit (on the Menorah) each day to commemorate this time of strength and survival.  I’m Catholic, but I want to celebrate my friends, and all people of the Jewish faith, at the beginning of this special holiday.  Mazel tov!  For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice arrives on Wednesday, December 21st.  Besides being the first day of winter, it will also be the shortest day of the year; meaning the fewest hours of sunlight.  This date (and time of year) is considered to be significantly charged with Yin (or feminine) energy.  The new season, on the astrological calendar, represents a cold, dark, passive and moon influenced period.  Typically, in historic times, winter weather meant life (and everything associated with it) slowed down.  In many areas on the planet, where winter weather brings colder temperatures (snow and ice); daily activities and life patterns change considerably.  Animals hibernate, plant life goes dormant and humans adjust their personal routines accordingly.  There are parts of the USA (and other areas across the globe) already experiencing the full force of winter.  Freshly fallen snow can create an incredibly amazing and beautiful landscape.  It provides many individuals the opportunity to enjoy outdoor sports, and other chilly adventures out in nature.  The seasonal activities associated with this time of year are not to be missed.  Extreme winter weather brings a variety of challenges all its own.  Navigating icy roads; for work, school, errands or just travel in general, may all vary from day to day.  Alterations are made to adjust to the weather conditions, just to stay safe and warm.  Wherever you may live, visit or venture during this time of year; be sure to use extra care and caution as you enjoy this special season.  Stay safe so you can cherish each moment of this precise gift of life.  Days with clouds, precipitation or even no sunshine may not be optimum; but I remain grateful each and every day for the opportunity to be alive.  The external circumstances of life are beyond my control, so I stop worrying about them and just enjoy the freedom to breathe.

A couple of years after my daughter graduated from college, she decided to move to New York City.  It had long been her dream, since junior high school, to live and work in “The Big Apple.”  Being a Southern California girl through and through, I asked her how she’d handle the cold snowy winters.  Her response was simple and direct.  She said, “Dad, with the proper clothing I can handle anything.”  She quickly learned, you don’t buy winter apparel in sunny SoCal.  Those specialty items are best purchased in the cold climate place where you live.  I was impressed with her desire, determination and attitude.  I knew she’d be fine after her first winter.  This story reminds me, that like life, if we are outfitted to deal with anything that comes our way, we will be fine.  Humans are pre-wired to handle adversity.  This trait makes it easier to move forward into each new day.  The only difference between individuals who handle crisis situations well and those who do not, is the self-confidence and determination we muster at the right time and place.  The first step is believing in your own ability and strength to get through any event or issue.  There are times that courage is required; defined as “strength in the face of pain or grief,” to get us past the adversity or pain.  The characteristic of bravery provides the grit and ability to accomplish something, even if it frightens you.  We can’t change the weather, nor can we alter many circumstances in life, that are beyond our control.  The better prepared we are; physically, mentally and spiritually; the less challenging adversity will be when it arrives.  Some individuals go through life thinking they have all the answers, but are often ill equipped to traverse the pit falls that litter their path.  Ego and arrogance, can easily block your path to success.  Take the time to better prepare and equip yourself to deal with and resolve critical issues of life when they arise.  I’m not asking you to stop a crime in progress, chase robbers or defend me (or a stranger) from an attack.  I’ve learned when I open my heart and soul to God and the universe it reveals a new world of happiness and joy.  Knowledge, experience, motivation and desire are great building blocks to success.  An openness, and willing effort, to listen and learn from the words and wisdom of others is a blessing.  I have been blessed with several individuals, during my life, that have shown me new or different ways to improve myself.  I am forever grateful and happy I listened; as I am never too old to learn, grow or alter my behavior.  Life isn’t about the speed at which we travel, but it is about the time and care we take while navigating the journey.  Today, I am energized by the strength of Yin energy, that provides spirit to all things.  I know I have the “proper clothing” for the coming season.  I hope you are equally as prepared.

Winter (and especially the Holiday season) is a great time of year for me to reflect on what matters most in my life.  The important pieces of life (for me) are; my daughter, family, loved ones and friends.  These special individuals are the core of my existence.  They bring joy, comfort, support and happiness into my daily life.  Christmas will be here next Sunday. The end of the year is rapidly approaching and following week.  It’s the perfect time to examine and adjust my plans for the future.  I will not allow the dark coldness of winter, and the evil that lurks in society, influence my thoughts or life.  I’ve learned many valuable lessons on this journey.  Don’t let negativity dictate or control you; physically, mentally or spiritually.  Your mind and attitude can steer your life with positive or negative energy.  Learn to push the adverse, gloomy, unfavorable and weak thoughts from your mind every day.  You are in command of your body, mind and spirit.  When I begin each morning with gratitude, positivity and happiness; it sets the tone for my entire day.  Kindness, productivity and goodness follow.  Along my path I’ve learned it’s wonderful to have a plan to follow.  I’m equally ready and willing to change direction or alter my course if needed.  Life isn’t perfect, nor does it follow specific guidelines, rules or paths.  There is much beyond our control.  Events happen when you least expect and life keeps moving forward.  You can change, adapt and keep moving forward with it; or you can be left in the dusty mess.  I’d much rather pick myself up, quickly brush off the dirt and keep pushing up the road.  The journey can be bumpy at times, but when you open your eyes to see the changes coming; life is an incredible adventure.  There may be difficult or sad days, but just remember that life will improve.  Your experiences will help you grow stronger into your future.  Stay positive and happy, because you are in complete control of both.   Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

My World of Dreams

December 11, 2022

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  Here we are, coming into the middle of December and Christmas is only two weeks from today.  It’s the perfect time of year for me to reflect on life; including the past 345 days (of 2022) and the New Year ahead.  I may not have been ready to deal with half the struggles I’ve gone through in life, but I found out I was clearly built to handle all of them.  My life has been good; but definitely not perfect or without difficult times, heartache or trauma along my path.  I’ve been hurt, damaged and broken; physically, mentally and spiritually.  I may not have always seen the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel,” but I have never stopped pushing forward.  I wonder if I wasn’t always looking or didn’t bother to take the time to recognize the positivity of life.  I’m grateful to have opened my eyes and now see the beautiful sunlight ahead.  The pain and adversity I’ve experienced have provided me with valuable lessons to grow, insight to enlighten my spirit and wisdom to change my attitude and thoughts.  I discovered how amazing life, and the world around me can be, when I view my journey with a new outlook and mindset.  When I made the choice to be happy and positive, my life immediately changed for the better.  A life of beauty has been revealed and opened to me in ways I wasn’t aware were possible.  I learned to control my thoughts and mind; eliminating the negative, so I can maintain my focus and effort on all things positive.  Life will never be perfect, but then neither am I or anyone on this planet.  I’m enjoying the present; taking one day at a time.  We are all in this together, so let’s do all we can to make life better.  When I change my thoughts, I can change the world.

What do you consider to be the best part about life?  For me, the best part of life is waking up every morning with gratitude, excitement and passion.  I’m happy and thrilled to be here; to witness a new sunrise and be able to recognize all the opportunities the day will bring.  Each day on this planet provides me with a vision of who I am and what I can do to achieve my dreams.  As I prepare to celebrate the Christmas Holidays, I thank God for the opportunity to live another day.  I strive to be the best possible version of me; while I work to accomplish my desires, visions and share the joy of life.  I know there will be ups and downs along the journey, but I am in control of how I view each moment as it passes.  My outward expression may not always reveal my inward joy and happiness, but I’m working on that too!  My night time dreams are influenced by the world around me.  What I think, hear, see or feel can all impact my nightly world of slumber.  The music I hear, conversations I share (even with myself), TV programs, movies and everything I experience impacts my mind, body and spirit.  All of these sources can determine what I dream about, in a negative or positive way.  Dreams have the ability to influence a large amount of our sleep, especially the peacefulness and quality we should enjoy.  I know this is true, because my dreams impacted my sleep patterns and life for many years.  Severe, violent and horrific nightmares plagued my nights with unrelenting agony.  My life changed after my first EMDR session in 2018.  I haven’t had a single bad dream since!  This one decision, to seek profession assistance, completely changed my life.  Restful sleep, and the proper amount, is an important and integral part of good health.  Dreaming pleasant dreams helps too.  Dreams or visions, of what I experience during sleep or what I want to achieve during my time on this planet, are tangle parts of who I am.  The dreams we have, during sleep, can provide enlightenment and guidance; as long as they don’t inhibit our rest, or cause anxiety or fear.   My dream world is my gateway to the future.

Last weekend’s Florida Trail Ragnar was fun; especially with seven amazing and wonderful friends!  The end result wasn’t the outcome I expected, dreamed or even imagined.  A Weber A fracture to my fibula (at my ankle I rolled outward), midway through the race ended my race.  Here I am again; on the mend, healing and ready to rehab.  I could sit down and cry, get depressed, angry, negative or blame this on a number of things.  That mindset wouldn’t accomplish anything.  It would only create negativity within me.  Obviously, I’m sad and not happy, but I refuse to let this minor bump in my path drag me downward.  Enduring the pain from a physical, mental or spiritual injury is easier for me than the self-imposed suffering and anguish of disappointment in myself.  When my actions or poor choices impact, or negatively affect others, this is where the burden falls on me.  This particular physical injury is only on me.  I have a few more miles in me and I’m not ready to hang up my running shoes just yet.  Rest, recovery and healing have begun. Rehabilitation and training will begin shortly.  I have the Zion Trail Ragnar and Tahoe Trail Ragnar to look forward to in mid 2023.  Positivity is my middle name and I will not be deterred.  I may not be as speedy, as I once was in years past, but my outlook and running evolve as I age and mature.  I’m not one to back away from adversity or a challenge.  I’ll rebuild my body, strength, stamina and learn to run smarter.  Running, exercise and nature have been component parts of my life for the vast majority of my life.  These amazing; free sources of stress release, solace and better health help keep me sane and energized.  I am like the Phoenix, rising from the ashes, into a rebirth of a new and improved me.  

Welcome to my world of dreams.  I’ve discovered that I’m capable of achieving whatever I desire.  I believe in myself, my abilities and my self-confidence continue to grow.  My positive mental outlook helps me soar.  My physical fitness level continues to improve daily.  My spiritual beliefs keep me focused on what the important parts of life are all about.  God and the Universe continue to guide me along my path and show me the way.  Discipline, determination and motivation push me forward.  Living in happiness, gratitude and positivity doesn’t make life perfect; it just makes it so much better.  I’m reaching for my dreams and stars every day.  I hope you are too.  Don’t give up or give in!  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Another Ragnar Memory

December 4, 2022

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  It’s the first Sunday of December.  Christmas and the New Year are merely weeks away!  Life, and making fantastic memories, continues for me.  The Florida Trail Ragnar, at Alafia River State Park (southeast of Tampa), concluded yesterday (Saturday afternoon).  It was a fabulous event for us to close out the 2022 Ragnar season.  Our team is comprised of incredible and amazing individuals.  All but one joined me in Oregon, this past August, for the Mt Bachelor trail race.  Many of these wonderful humans will join me in the new year for more running and camping fun!  I just registered for the Zion trail race and will sign up for the Tahoe run, both in 2023.  I am fortunate and blessed to know and share these running events with the best friends ever.  I am grateful, and thank God daily, for my fitness, ability to run and have fun out in nature.  Maintaining good health (physically, mentally and spiritually) is all part of my plan to stay on this earth as long as possible.  My determination, fortitude and faith fuel my soul.  I’m not perfect; actually, I’m far from it.  I have struggles, injuries and adversity to deal with; like everyone else on this planet.  I’m not immune; positivity and happiness are my daily choice.  I cherish life and every moment spent breathing.  Sharing these amazing experiences with great people is a combination of comradery, exercise, determination, stamina, support and bliss.  Camping and exercise, surrounded by natural beauty and friends, is an empowering experience filled with a vibrant boost of energy.  I’m looking forward to a new year of fun; as long as the Lord and the universe will allow.  God is the source of my strength and power.  Family and friends add an abundance of joy, support and love.  The universe, our world and life are truly incredible and beautiful.

Exercise, running and outdoor fun are great ways for me to work off a few extra pounds; especially after Thanksgiving.  My continued drive and passion; this past weekend, today and into the future; will continue to benefit my health and aid my preparation for the Christmas Holidays ahead.  I know there will be great meals and delicious treats waiting to be enjoyed.  I have always had a difficult time (and less will power), passing up a yummy dessert.  I typically don’t buy treats or sweets.  I’d most likely be eating them all the time if I did.  During the holidays or a special event, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a small slice of heaven.  Like with most things in life, balance is the key.  I do my best not to over indulge, or eat sweet treats regularly.  I’ve been in this body many years, so I’m in tune with how to care for it properly.  Get to know your body, nourish it with healthy goodness and take care of it every day.  Give yourself the gift sunshine, nature, exercise, rest and be sure to fuel your body with nutritious foods.  Don’t stop at just maintaining the physical aspect of your torso.  Essential care of your mental and spiritual health is an absolute must.  The trio act in unison.  They assist us to operate at maximum efficiently, when they are all nourished equally.  A healthy balance is the key ingredient.  Self-care is an integral part of great health.  This is my one shot in this life; and my intention is to make it last as long as possible.  Great health (physically, mentally and spiritually), peace of mind, happiness and longevity go hand in hand.  I’ll be giving myself a little extra self-care in the next week.  I rolled an ankle, during a portion of my run Saturday; so, I’ll rest and rehab it for the coming adventures 

This weekend of camping, running and time with amazing and special people fills my heart with joy.  The entire week was filled with fun adventures and experiences.  The memories created will last a lifetime.  The Holiday Season is typically wonderful and fun filled times with happiness and love; but can include sad memories of the past.  Tomorrow, Monday, December 5th, marks the ninth anniversary of my Dads passing.  I honor him, the past and many incredible memories; from childhood to now.  I’m happy and thankful for the many fabulous thoughts that flow through my mind of him.  I remember the events that occurred nine years ago like they happened yesterday.  It was by far the most difficult and saddest days in my life.  It began with me driving to the San Francisco Bay area before Thanksgiving.  I spent several days celebrating and giving thanks with my parents, my sister, brother in law and their family.  It was a joyous holiday.  I returned to SoCal at the end of the weekend, only to receive a phone call from my sister.  She urged me to return, as our father, who’d been fighting an incurable form of blood cancer, had taken a turn for the worse.  I immediately drove back north.  I was grateful to spend the last days of my Dads life by his side.  I could feel his love and gratitude; that I was with him.  Death is never easy for the living.  It creates lasting memories that can either torment us, or bring us peace.  I’m grateful to have shared so many fabulous years with a man that was my hero, friend, advisor and father.  It brings me peace knowing he is resting with God, while he continues to watch over our family and me too.  

We know our time on this planet is limited; never knowing when the end date will come.  I will never stop trying to do my best.  Giving up or giving in to adversity or evil is not an option.  I keep pushing forward; with positivity, gratitude, happiness and love.  The holidays can conjure memories of the past, and some thoughts may cause pain or discomfort.  I’ve learned to cherish and honor my past; while living in the present.  I can’t alter or change what has happened.  I do have the ability to change myself today; my thoughts, perceptions and attitude.  My choice is to be the best possible me.  I know I’m not perfect, I can’t control life; but I can be a better human daily.  I’m reaching for the stars, setting new goals and dreaming new dreams.  The world is mine.  Always believe in your own power and allow God and the universe to guide you.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

My New Life

November 27, 2022

Good morning my friends.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.  This time of year holds special memories for me.  The beauty of Fall, cooler temperatures and the change of seasons always bring joy and happiness to my soul.  Thanksgiving reminds me to be grateful for so many blessings.  I hope you all enjoyed a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving Day and weekend.  Be sure to carry your gratitude through December and into the New Year.  Today’s the last Sunday of November.  Tomorrow, we begin our trek into the Christmas season.  I’m excited for Christmas to arrive, because it’s one of my most favorite times of year. Before I get there though, I’m heading out for another Ragnar this week.  Seven of my teammates/friends will join me in Florida for a Ragnar Trail race.  I’m liking our team name for this event: “Chasing Gators.”  All but one of the team members that ran the Oregon Trail race will be there.  We have an amazing and wonderful team of talented and fun runners to share this event; with several more to come in the new year.  I am blessed and truly honored to lead these individuals as team captain once again.  I’m grateful (and fortunate), to be a part of this incredible group of men and women that are my friends.  Each person brings special joy to my life.  I’m looking forward to the adventure; while we create new and fabulous experiences and memories together.  It will be an exciting and fun filled weekend.  Tune in next Sunday, December 4th, for my camp, run, repeat, race update. 

My life has been evolving since I retired eight years ago.  It’s been an incredible process, with ups and downs, that started with the beginning of an amazing relationship.  About a year and a half ago, I decided I needed to get away from my life in California.  I wasn’t communicating in my relationship, and I let an amazing love slip away.  I made a semi hasty decision to move, listed my home and it sold immediately.  After several months of searching, I landed in Charleston.  It’s a city rich in history and has a past shrouded with darkness, (as do most places around the globe.)  We all have a past; as well as issues that we aren’t fond of or willing to openly discuss.  I was frustrated and tired of my past creeping into my present, and its ability to negatively influence and derail my love life.  I thought changing states seemed like a good idea at the time.  That decision is still open to debate.  I’m adjusting to my move from California to South Carolina.  It’s not terrible or bad; it’s just different.  I’m meeting nice people and sharing my journey of life.  There are mornings I wake up thinking I’m still in San Clemente, only to realize I’ve already been here for many months.  

My years long journey has provided enlightening insight into my past; where I am in the present and who I want to be in future.  I learned that until I was willing to change, positive growth wasn’t going to happen.  The new me was made possible when I was forced to dig deep into my heart and soul for answers.  I desperately wanted to be able to open myself with passion and emotion; especially to the people I love.  My struggles continued to drag me backward.  The feeling of hurt and failure made me realize I needed help.  Professional counseling and EMDR therapy assisted tremendously; to release trauma and my past.  Gratitude, yoga, mindfulness, meditation and lots of support and love aided my progress.  I changed my perceptions, altered my beliefs and increased my awareness.  I learned to control my thoughts and eliminate the negativity.  My attitude, communication and actions concerning life and love improved in positive ways.  The impact on my outlook, happiness and life have been profound and empowering.  My shadow work continues, as I examine every detail of John.  As the days pass, the clarity of my life I seek become clearer.  I chose the move and the destination; but I know God and the universe guided me to a new evolution.  At this stage of my life; after my law enforcement career and being a Dad, it’s a rewarding feeling knowing I still have the power to offer aid and assistance to others.  I’ve opened my heart and soul to you via my blogs, shared on social media and continue to offer support, insight and conversation to interested listeners.  This is part of my strength and new life.

I thought I knew what Gods plan was for me.  It’s possible it changed or I wasn’t open to listening.  Maybe I didn’t really know or understand which path to take or where I was going.  I know I’ve been moving forward for many years, but often wonder how much was in a positive direction.  Now that my heart and soul have been opened and exposed, I can see my path hasn’t necessarily changed, it’s just been slightly altered.  I’m still the same guy; a little older and wiser, while important changes occurred on the inside (where it matters the most).  My journey from childhood, to education and career have provided me with a multitude of experiences, lessons and skills.  The tools I’ve acquired will enable me to follow through with the reason I was placed on this planet.  My freshly exposed heart and soul have empowered me to move into my new life.  I know my body will achieve what my mind believes.  The new me begins each day with gratitude, happiness and love.

There’s an old adage, “a reason, a season or a lifetime.”  I’m a firm believer that we don’t meet people by accident.  They are meant to cross our path.  I have witnessed this phenomena many occasions, while the universe works its magic.  Some people may say it’s just a coincidence or by chance, but I don’t agree.  There is so much more to life and what the universe has in store for each of us.  As I examine my past I understand why events occurred or individuals came into my life.  God and the universe work in mysterious ways to alter our lives or change our direction.  I have the power to achieve whatever I desire.  It’s never too late to dream new dreams.  Trust in yourself; the process works as long as you believe in your own strength and fortitude.  My healing began when I believed it was possible.  When I cleared the negativity from my mind, opened my heart and soul to the universe; that’s when my new and true journey began.  Nourish your mind and body with healthy goodness every day.  Believe in yourself.  We are all human, and we each possess our own unique and special abilities.  Inhale only positive thoughts with each breath.  Empower yourself to be the best you can be.  Strive to reach your dreams daily.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  This is my new life and the new me; happy, positive, strong and empowered to share my journey.  I am grateful for the opportunity’s life brings.  My dreams will be my wings.  Follow your dreams.  They know the way.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The puzzle of life is always changing.  Change can lead to amazing opportunities.  Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually! 

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

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