December 17, 2014

CHEAP WINE

Just because you don't like the wine doesn't mean you can't drink it.

April 5, 2014

AUNT MABEL

I suspect that we all have people in our lives that we wish we could spend more time with - my Aunt Mabel tops that list in my life. This is a woman of great intelligence, honour, compassion, spirituality, patience, humility, integrity, and quiet beauty. Her insight has influenced generations through example and prayer. She has chosen to express her gifts in a life of service to God and humanity by making our world a better place when she entered the convent.
At this time she is facing a health challenge that she meets with the same grace and calm that she has exhibited throughout her long and value driven life. Please take a moment to think about the Aunt Mabel's in your own life, and if you would, the Aunt Mabel in my life, who has spent her life praying for us. It's our turn to pray for her. Let's pray in the same spirit of hope and faith that she has brought to us.
Even though I cannot be with you physically, please know that I am always with you in spirit Aunt Mabel.

November 7, 2013

WINTER OF OUR YEARS

 
A very good "old" friend sent this to me.  I found if very profound.

AND THEN IT IS WINTER

You know. . . time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is... the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise...How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting grey...they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me...but, I see the great change...Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant...but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore... it's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will... I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so...now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!  But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last...this I know, that when it's over on this earth...its over. A new adventure will begin!

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done...things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.

So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life...so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

"Life" is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

LIVE IT WELL!
ENJOY TODAY!
DO SOMETHING FUN!
BE HAPPY !
HAVE A GREAT DAY

Remember "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.


LIVE HAPPY IN 2014!


LASTLY, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:


TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE SO - ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.


~Your kids are becoming you......but your grandchildren are perfect!


~Going out is good.. Coming home is better!


~You forget names.... But it's OK because other people forgot they even knew you!!!


~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything.... especially golf.


~The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore.


~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. It's called "pre-sleep".


~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch..


~You tend to use more 4 letter words ... "what?"..."when?"... ???


~Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it's not safe to wear it anywhere.


~You notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless"?!!!


~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.


~Everybody whispers.


~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet.... 2 of which you will never wear.


~But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!


Stay well, "OLD FRIEND!" Send this on to other "Old Friends!" and let them laugh in AGREEMENT!!!

It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.   

Thanks "old" friend

October 24, 2013

A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT

Storm Thoughts.
The key to growth and success, no matter what the endeavour, is the ability to delve into the challenges and find the lesson or message and employ it to better our lives. Simple, huh?
Most humans try to avoid discomfort, especially the kind that leads to trouble in their relationships, work, health, and general well-being. We seek calm and tranquility and rarely see the value in upheaval, discord, loss, calamity, stress, ill health, lack of money, loss of job, and failed relationships. However, it is in these negative circumstances that the greatest opportunities for growth and success lurk...if only we would stop, look, and listen.
We become so busy trying to win the battle that we lose sight of the big picture and lose the war. Storm Thoughts are the key. They are the hidden meaning in the discord that assaults our lives from time to time. The lessons of life come not from the calm successful times but rather from those trying times that require us to rise above our circumstances and find the brass ring just out of our grasp - if we chose to do so. And, it is always our choice.
We might try to frame the turbulence in our life by embracing it as an opportunity to find the change that leads to success. The key is knowing that the answer is there, covered in fear. My friend, Howard Parsons, constantly reminds us to take a few minutes each day to meditate. What he means by this is that it is important to use the opportunities presented to us to find our path to peace and joy, however, we define these. It is in the chaos of life that shows up as trouble of some sort, that we find the possibilities available for positive change.
Regardless of whether we are striving for a more fulfilling relationship, a work promotion, fiscal success, better health, the next sentence in our book, or a new sale, the path is found during the stormy nights by stopping for a few moments to look for the light. Stormy nights exist in all levels of life not just our personal ones. For instance, we are constantly surrounded by media storms that embrace the chaos of political and financial life on a local, national and worldwide basis. We get caught up in the blame game as politics moves from one disaster to another. Storms are the message bearers if we use them to take time to stop and let go of the pettiness and concentrate on the possibilities. Out of great conflict (personal or otherwise) comes great possibility. Embrace yours.

September 29, 2013

GORDON STRANDLUND 1949 - 2013

My friend Gord Strandlund passed away last Sunday, September 22, 2013. You will remember Gord's name from my book about hiking the West Coast Trail since he was my partner on that life-altering adventure. I had the privilege of offering one of the tributes at his Celebration of Life Service yesterday afternoon.
I've written a few similar blogs before but this one is different. I've been delaying its writing until after yesterday's service and frankly, I don't really know how long it will take to create and then publish. If I offer a speaking or writing piece for public consumption, it is always my hope that you will walk away with something of value - a tip, an idea, perhaps some inspiration or hope. I hope you will indulge my need to talk about a true friend.
Gord grew up in Calgary and had a love of country music, archeology, sports, and the outdoors. He loved to fly fish and play golf. He was one of the original "Young Canadians," from Calgary Stampede grandstand show fame. He was an excellent singer and guitar player who also loved to dance. In many ways he was my polar opposite but in the most important ways - my best friend.
Our wives became friends over 20 years ago and insisted that the "boys" join them for dinner one night.
  • You never know when you are going to meet your next best friend
One thing led to another and Gord and I were soon enjoying the golf course, armchair management of the Calgary Flames, stories about our misspent youth, and love of family. We fell into an easy routine of meeting most afternoons for coffee and soon realized that we shared a tolerance for sales positions, childhood dreams unfulfilled, and a spirituality that was defined better through the natural world than that of conventional religions.
One day the idea of hiking the West Coast Trail was tossed on the coffee shop table and before long we were planning what became a life altering and life affirming experience. An experience that we would continue to share and talk about right up until the 10th anniversary of its completion and the last time I would ever see Gord.
  • Always leave people with a smile on their face and yours
Gord loved his wife, 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren above all else and what better testament is there to a man's life than that? He was one of the few people on this earth that I could share inner feelings with and trust that they would not be held in judgement and that the vulnerability would never be used against me. I did my best to return that favor and uphold his trust.
  • When a person shows you who they really are, believe them
The last few years of Gord's life were consumed by Alzheimer's Disease but through it all he was always a positive force and insisted on doing his best to make a difference to other sufferers by using his story to help raise funds for research. With the leadership of his wife Brenda, they raised over 85,000.00 for Alzheimer's research.
Gord had a complicated relationship with bears. He loved receiving replicas as gifts but always feared meeting one in the wild. He conquered that fear when he had to confront  a big black bear on the last day of hiking the West Coast Trail.
  • We never know when something that we do will inspire someone else
On the day he died, my wife and I visited his wife and when we returned home, I checked my email to find a letter from a recent reader of THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time. This reader specifically mentioned the bear incident and how it inspired her to confront her own fears. Gord made a difference in the lives of his family, friends and complete strangers.
I will miss Gord's infectious smile and constant willingness to help. Most of us have many acquaintances but few true friends. Perhaps that is the way it should be because then we can accept the incredible value of real friendship. Thanks Gord.
Happy trails my friend

September 13, 2013

BIRTHDAYS AND SUCH...

Reaching an exalted age implies wisdom in some cultures. Here's my thought for today:

I'M OLD ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO DREAM

August 29, 2013

WEST COAST TRAIL: 10 YEARS LATER

Hiking the West Coast Trail was a watershed moment in my history and it happened exactly 10 years ago this week. In many ways that seminal week provided the inspiration and catalyst to make many changes in my life - most for the better. As a result, I wrote my first book and more importantly, proved that if we put our mind to it, all of us can accomplish anything. The memories continue to be vivid and I caught myself the other morning, sniffing the early morning August air and being transported back to that incredible week.
That was also the morning that I visited my friend Gord Strandlund. For those of you who have read my book, The West Coast Trail: One Step at a Time, you will remember Gord as my hiking partner, friend and foil on that adventure. Life has been very challenging for him since then as he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. He is now confined to a lock down care facility and he continues to struggle with memories, speech, eating and several other physical ailments. It is a hell of a disease that I am sure many of you have had some experience with - truly devastating.
The frustration and fear exhibited by its victims, including Gord, is so sad to see. Gord and I still share that week in August, 2003 and while he has great difficulty assembling his thoughts into a full statement, we can still share the memories as he smiles and remembers various incidents. Fortunately, I am still able to fill in his thoughts as he spills out a word or phrase to describe one of the wonderful stories that we spent so many years sharing before the disease took full control.
In the end, that is what we are left with isn't it, the memories of success, the conquering of fears, the goals attained, the challenges met, the laughs shared, the tears spilled, the hurts healed and the loads lifted. There were many moments on the West Coast Trail that one or the other of us was not sure we could make it but when we looked up the trail and saw our partner plodding ahead, one foot in front of the other, we gained strength and resilience and kept on going.
I had a very nice text message from Gord's daughter Christy on Tuesday, celebrating the tenth anniversary and her realization that it still remains one of the highlights of her father's life. It is very high on my list of life's highlights too and a big reason for that is the friendship that was cemented with Gord that week.
Hang in there buddy - may all of your trails be happy.