Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Play With Your Food

Suprise dinner is a special term in our house. Basically when we don't have an exact dinner plan, I go to work and see what kind of an interesting concocotion I can make. These are just a few of the examples. Usually the kids eat it all up and it's a nice way to get them to eat some stuff they might not always go for.

Faces are the best. In fact, all of these plates are different versions of faces. I guess I need to break of the routine, but I'm not getting any complaints.

Elephant time with yogurt, bananas, pb&j, big raisins (prunes) and colby jack hair.

Pancakes offer up the easiest foundation to dress up. Nutella, whipped cream and M&M's. No kids were complaining about this breakfast.

This was a Laynie special. She loved the pretzel stick cheese bites and the bagel makes great eyes.

So go play with your food - I'm pretty sure your kids will be happy that you did.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What's the point?

Why are you telling me what the speed limit is not? This type of sign and type of message serves no purpose. I don't ever need to know what the speed limit is not - I only ever need to know what it is. Yet, this type of message is so common.

Throughout the 80's and 90's we dined in the "No Fat" world the government espoused. And what happened? We got fatter and fatter because as long as something was fat free, it was assumed to be healthy. With that definition, jelly beans and fat free "snackwells" cookies were considered in the same family as chicken breasts and broccoli - what a load of garbage.

Fast forward to the "Low Carb" years of this last decade. We did the same thing - if it was low in carbs, then it was considered healthy. Now bacon and butter lead the health food parade.

The product of telling people what not to do only leads to failure. We might all borrow a good tidbit from the dog training world, where dogs are shown what to do and then rewarded for doing it. This works quite well with children as well. Don't get me wrong - I think that people need to be told "No" or "Stop" in the moment when they are doing something wrong, but whenever possible, this should be followed with encouragement and in instruction for how to do the right thing. I'm always reminded about this every time I see the End Speed Limit sign and start frantically searching for what the actual speed limit is - well, I know it's not 35 mph (but what is it? - 55 mph, 25 mph....?). Would a sign that told what me what the current speed limit is do so much more good - I sure think so.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting With Words

Today in Clear Creek's Leadership Development Program, we were blessed to have Will Mancini speak to us about Vision vs. Mission. Contrary to what I had understood, Mission is something that doesn't change. It's the overarching goal that you are always trying to acheive. Vision on the other hand, can change and should change in order to keep you focused on the mission. As an exercise for seeing how to cast Vision, we listened to the complete "I have a dream" speech from Martin Luther King Jr. and were asked to write down elements of the speech that were key parts of casting Vision.

Many of us may have heard the portions of the speech, but I'm completely convinced that all of us should listen to the whole thing - all 17 minutes of it. King paints an amazingly vivid picture with his spoken words. His tone and delivery transformed the written word into a speech that brought tears to my eyes and made me want to get up and take action - exactly what casting Vision is all about.

Do yourself a favor and listen to King's speech. You'll be better for it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The most interesting woman in the world

Outside of his limited range in beer choices, the Dos Equis' most interesting man in the world seems to have a skill set that would impress anyone.

Anyone that is, except for the most interesting woman in the world. This woman is 32 years old, but can also be 32 months old at the same time. In fact, she can be any age she wants to be. This woman both builds houses and fits into doll houses. She flies, make pies, scuba dives, rock climbs, brews the world's best tea, slays dragons and uses the drinkinator. What's a drinkinator? I don't know either! Just yesterday, she visited Africa just to pet a hippopotamus. If you can imagine it, she did it yesterday. If you can't imagine it, she also did it yesterday. She is the most interesting woman in the world. She is Laynie's baby.

I love my daughter!

Had to also include a picture of Laynie's baby. Although, by this time, she's already popped off the screen and given you a hug. What else would the most interesting baby...er, woman in the world do to say hi?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stop this train....nope, don't stop this train

"Stop this train
I wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I konw I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train"

I love John Mayer's music. It probably helps that we're the same age and he writes songs about life. The first time I heard this song, I was at a point in life, where I was feeling overwhelmed - I had all this stuff I was supposed to do and I wasn't getting it done. It really felt like I was on a speeding train, going way faster than I could handle and I kept blowing by places where I was supposed to stop. Deadlines approached and I kept not being done. I kept looking back at those places where I was supposed to stop and beat myself up for not being ready and then I'd look ahead to the next stop and would realize that I wouldn't be ready again. You miss enough stops and you start wondering why I got on this train at all? What's the point? I can't keep up. "Stop this train, I wanna get off and go home again. I can't take the speed it's moving in." But, "I know I can't". So I go on and so does Mayer.

"Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
And don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train"

The problem as I see it is that I was letting the past and future dominate my present. I was on a moving train, but I was sitting at the window and watching the scenery go past and pouting that I missed it. All the while, I was missing out on the wonderful stuff that was actually on the train. I was letting the present get away from me and missing out on so much joy that comes from the process of getting from point A to point B. I'm blessed to do the work I do, enjoy working out, grow from reading the Bible, like to see our house become a home and love to see the debt number decrease - there is so much joy and pleasure that can be found in the process, yet so often I let missing the mark in any one of the areas suck the joy out all the others.

Frankly I'm tired of that. I know that focusing only on how I so often miss the mark isn't the right approach. Unfortunately, it's the default setting in my brain, but one I think that can be changed. In "The Body Fat Solution", Tom Venuto's point of view is that "it's all feedback". And that is what I hope to embrace. Rather than missing my goal, I get some feedback that the method I chose didn't acheive that goal. I can't stop the train, nor do I want to - I just want to enjoy the train ride.

Next stop: dining car and then off the the sleeping berths.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Better Story

Life of Pi is one of my favorite books - so much that I even just reread it, which I hardly ever do with books. I tend to be a once and done kinda guy. While I can't say that I agree the theology concepts in the book, I just absolutely love the storytelling. How can you not enjoy the story of a kid surviving on a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger? Anyway, one of the main themes throughout the book is the telling and enjoying of the better story and that is what I hope to create with this blog. Everyone has a story to tell, one that is much more complex and interesting than what you'd see from just outward observation. So for what it's worth, here's a chance to stretch my writing legs beyond the technical world of Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion. Welcome of the Life of J.