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Be Done With It!

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calmnewdayFinish each day and be done with it, you have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day and you will begin it serenely and with too high a confidence to be encumbered by your old nonsense!” ~ Emerson

This seems to fit my current days perfectly and helps to provide me with peace of mind of sorts each night…literally. I read this phrase each night before bed (and sometimes throughout the day) and I have been doing so for years.

At some point in time it just became routine that I read these few words and I honestly didn’t think too much about what once meant so much to me but lately I have started to take the time to read, analyze what may have gone wrong throughout the day and realize that the day to come has nothing but opportunities waiting for me.

My life has been very hectic over the past year with the passing of my 15 year-old step son, birth of my new boy, Reid, gaining more custody of my other biological son who is just about 8 and trying to stay in the good but respected graces  of my step-daughter who is reaching that tough “tweenie” age.  Oh, I forget to mention having to move houses due to the memories left in the old house where we lost my step-son and now facing potential surgery on my lower back which I have tried to avoid for well over a year.

With all those things going on I feel as if I have lost sight what is important in this crazy life.  I had been focused on work, managing money (sort of), myself (as in selfishness) and almost totally disregarding what my immediate family (wife and kids) and confidents needed from me. 

I’ve stepped back a little to think about those strong words from R.W. Emerson I read each day and have concluded that yes, something “wrong” or nonsensical happens on a daily basis but it is certainly not the end of the world.  I need to try and leave those hiccups behind me and move forward.  They (whoever “they” is) say that you can’t move forward if you’re always focusing on the past and that’s the truth.

I have a responsibility to forget the absurdities that have taken place each day and be there for my family, friends, and myself…physically and mentally.  I need to nurture relationships (such as with my wife and kids) and take care of my health so I can grow old in a healthy way and be a role model for my young children as I am certainly not the youngest Father of an 8 month old baby!  I don’t need to worry about how many thousands of dollars are in a bank account or mutual fund I haven’t looked at in years, I don’t need to worry about being “popular” among the big-shots of the area.  I need to be popular with my loved ones because at the end of my life they are going to be ones whom I have made a true impact on.

I could go on and on about this topic all day but I realize that I’m getting quickly of track.  The bottom line is that I need to focus on each day and be the best me I can be.  I need to embody and expose the values I hold dear and share them with my loved ones and not get side-tracked with “material” or unimportant things even if I did the day before. 

Each day is fresh and new and I can make it what I want it to be regardless of anything that crept in the day prior.  I vow to begin doing that to the best of my ability.  I know I won’t be perfect and I will have days where I forget this truth but that’s life.  

For now, I’m in a good place and plan on staying there.  If I sway too far off track there’s always the next day to catch the right trail to happiness!

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Time Flies

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timeflies

“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.” – Robert Orben

Yes indeed, time sure does fly by in so many ways!  It’s amazing to watch things change all around us, especially our Kids.  Sometimes we inadvertently miss crucial moments or dismiss the small things which prove just how old our Children are getting or what’s really going on in their lives, or even our own!

One small, but significant example is my little dance diva, Aleah, just got a new pair of girlie “Jordans!” Never in a million years would I have thought she would want anything of the sort or run around afterward saying “ Whaaat? Whaaat?” but it happened just before my eyes.  Now she looks like a cute little hip-hop dancer which she hated less than a year ago!  I’m still baffled as to how this transformation took place or what sparked this transformation but I’m good with it!

Luke now has a new iPod and is getting so technically savvy at the age of six that it’s amazing!  The other day I tried to FaceTime him but was unable to so I called his Mom.  She asked him if he had his wi-fi on apparently he didn’t which was the problem. So, he turned it on and we were able to chat “face-to-face.”  I asked him if he knew what wi-fi was and he explained it to me well and further explained that he turns it off and on depending on where he is and also ensures his Bluetooth is off to “conserve battery life.”  Who would have thought that a six year old guy would have known what he was explaining to me.  Heck, there are adults out there who don’t know some of that lingo.

Zack, the teen, knows a so much about many things, technically and otherwise (though he chooses not to use that knowledge from time to time) and seems to gain more knowledge each day.  He’s also growing like a bean sprout (which I’m hoping will cease soon before he eats us out of house and home ;-)  ) Nevertheless, he’s changing on a daily basis as well in so many different ways.

As my Kids’ grow and change I have to remember to allow them to change accordingly, become themselves, but also to steer then in the right direction.  Not in a militant fashion (unless it’s called for) but rather in a way that lets them know that what they choose to do now and the effort they devote to different things will ultimately help or undermine their future.  It’s up to them to choose what’s really important and what they want to focus on.

I am going to do my part to ensure they know and understand the “cost-benefit analysis” of what they choose to do and ensure they are doing at least the things they are supposed to do…get decent grades, be respectful, keep their word, etc…but in the long run they are going to who they want to be and do what they want to do…within reason.

My goal is to help guide their way.  The time sure is flying by and before they know it, they’ll be on their own wondering if they’ve made the right choices.  I will ensure they have a kit bag full of all the information and guidance I can possibly give them before that time!

My Son and Step-Kids deserve at least that much from me and I won’t let them down!

I welcome any and all thoughts you have on this subject!

Juggling Life!

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JugglingLife

“Juggling work and parental responsibilities is no easy task, but I’m trying my  best and just like everything else there are good days and there are bad days.” – Ali Landry

There are so many things going on from day to day between family, work, obligations, hobbies, etc…that it’s often hard to manage everything at once.  I always hear that I need to set a list of priorities and work from there but that it difficult in itself.  For example; Quality time with my Kids and family need to be of the highest priority but how can I put that above going to work and fulfilling the needs of my job at the highest level possible.

Sometimes, that’s easy as the Kids are gone and I can focus solely on work (which sometimes requires me to develop presentations, attend functions, etc… on weekends) but that’s okay because the Kids may be gone, my Wife at work and me home alone to focus.  Other times that’s not as easy as I may have focus my efforts on the same types of task while my Kids are home looking for some quality time and attention. 

The bottom line is that it’s doable.  Doable in terms of “do what you can when you can do it!” Maybe I don’t have time to engage in my hobbies one day or week but that’s okay, there will be time at some point.  I had plenty of “free” time this weekend to do just that but I was feeling under the weather with a sore throat and sinus pain (seems to be going around recently…especially in my home!) That’s just life…and I couldn’t foresee that coming but it did and I dealt with it.  So rather than sit and bask in my facial misery, I watched a couple movies with the kids and even went so far as to start watching episodes of “Once Upon a Time” with my wife and Step-Daughter…pretty girly fairy tale series but we all seemed to enjoy it  nevertheless.  This isn’t our normal genre of flicks but we all kinda got into it and really enjoyed both the series on Netflix and the time we were spending together.  Zack was a little too “cool” to watch it with us but that’s understandable as he is 14 years old and a boy so I can’t blame him in the least.

There’s always so much going on in our home on a daily basis, especially during the week between dance classes, football practice and games, work, doctors’ appointments, household chores, etc…that it really is difficult to set a list of priorities.  It really does take some mastery of juggling these things but above all, working as a team with Lisa to make it all happen is essential.

Perhaps setting a list of priorities at the beginning of each day is more beneficial than trying to set an ongoing list that stands firm.  Values are something that don’t have change such as service, ethics, manners, God, love, etc… but maybe setting a daily priority task is better than trying to set a priority task and leaving it alone.  Maybe I can set a list of priorities for a few days or even a week but they might need some tweaking or adjusting as the time goes by…we’ll see because that’s what I am going to try and do! 

I know one “priority” that doesn’t require me juggling, just requires me to ease up a bit (as I know I’ve said before) in my own home is to stop being so “knit-picky”…that’s really not going over so well and I know I should save that sort of stuff for when I really need to “bust it out” otherwise it might not be quite as effective!

Anyway, happy “Mastering” your juggling Step-Dads! Let me know how it all works out for you or if you have any advice for The Step-Dad in training! Hit me at brett@stepdaddiary.com .

 I’ve been doing my best to keep the spam emails and comments down so I moderate them all before they’re posted but rest assured…if something good comes along, I’ll be sure to re-post or share accordingly!

Love, Time, Attention…Give It Freely!

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familyrules

My Step-Kids have the distinct privilege of always hearing me nagging them to clean up their rooms, pick up their trash, do their homework, eat with better manners, and turn down the volume on the television. Lucky them, right?!?!! Well, in a way, yeah…lucky them! They have someone teaching them discipline, rules, respect, and that they can’t always have things their way! But, there is a “however” here…

Yes, the items mentioned above are important to instill in my children (Son, Step-Son, Step-Daughter) but they can’t be the sole focus of interaction I have with them. There needs to be a healthy balance of discipline and just plain old fun bonding time. For example, if I want Zack to open his door for a while and crack the windows to get some fresh air in then I am far more likely to get positive results without attitude if we have recently spent some time throwing the football, going out to grab some food together, or something along those lines. Additionally, that bonding time spent doing the “good” stuff may inspire him to open up about his daily life and tell me what’s really going on with him from day to day. Perhaps there are some things he really wants to talk to me about but is turned off because I may come across as too “bossy” or “militant” at times…I don’t know but it’s worth a shot!

Girls might seem a little tougher for men to relate to at first. Aleah is into dolls and dolls really freak me out for some reason but I’ve noticed she also likes to play iPod games or get on the computer with me. She likes to color, write, and even excel by practicing math problems which I’m all in for! Maybe that’s a bonding opportunity in itself!

The bottom line is that all our Kids, Step-Kids or Biological, are longing for our attention. They just want to know they are loved and we have to make time to ensure they internalize the fact that we do love, care, support, and want the best for them.

I have been great at instilling a “sort” or discipline but I really need to work at the playful bond effort to be more effective in all areas. It’s important to me for my Kids to see and respect me not only as a dictator or rules but also as a comforting, loving, and reliable confidant.

Best of luck to each of you! Step-Daddin’ ain’t easy…but it’s definitely rewarding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Generously Integrated 😉

Share the Knowledge!

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ChallengeAccepted

“Man should not consider his material possession his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need.” – Thomas Aquinas

While this quote focuses on material possessions, I think the same holds true with the “possession of knowledge” or lessons learned.  To that end, through my own trials and tribulations I have found that internal hardships, battles within one’s self, can be devastating.  In my case they have lead me to darker places than I would ever wish on my own enemy.  The great news is that they didn’t last!

Finding solace and peace in a healthy manner brought me from the depths of my own low thoughts and actions.  Sure, it took a while to find exactly what motivated me to rise up and move forward with a positive attitude (or like my 4th Grade teacher always said a “P.M.A.”; Positive Mental Attitude) but when I found what worked for me every aspect of my life changed.  I found running to be a great release of negative thoughts and an awesome energizer all-round, quotations to be inspiring, drawing to be a great hobby I could take anywhere, etc… Finally, I found that finding a way to help others helped me also. 

As a disabled Veteran, finding and ultimately managing a non-profit Veteran organization has been the best reward in my life.  Serving at least one person a day makes waking up and coming to work exciting for me.  Though there are some rough days, and I still have to manage my own private affairs, I know I will be able to sleep soundly and wake up the next morning looking at myself in the mirror without any regrets.

Life has and will always be a challenge.  But that’s just life…if it were too simple everything would eventually get boring.  Each of us has the capability to take on a challenge and complete it successfully, and if the first attempt at conquering an immediate challenge doesn’t work, that’s when we go back and try again using the lessons we learned from the first attempt!

Accept the challenge…and conquer it! And like I always say; “If you can’t go it alone, just ask a true friend for help! They won’t let you down!”

I wish each of you a challenging but rewarding day!

~ Brett

Don’t Go Bankrupt in the Energy Department

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“”The worst bankrupt in the world is the person who has lost his enthusiasm.” – H.W. Arnold

Enthusiasm is the root each of us possesses to obtain or accomplish anything and everything. We’re talking simple tasks from getting out of bed in the morning to running a marathon. Without any level of enthusiasm we will accomplish absolutely nothing.

Sometimes things seem hard and cause us to sit back and say “I just can’t do it right now” or, “I just don’t have any enthusiasm right now but hopefully I’ll spark up later.” It’s times like these when it really takes some fortitude and looking toward what we could only accomplish if we just don’t just succumb to our own lack of motivation.

I have to admit that at times I have been bankrupt in the enthusiasm department and have definitely felt the ramifications of not accomplishing tasks I had initially intended on accomplishing. Problems, tasks, work, and especially promises don’t disappear because I just didn’t feel like doing them at the moment.

Many of us have families, friends, co-workers, etc…who count on us on a daily basis and a lack of enthusiasm or willingness on our part can cause nothing good to be accomplished.

One might argue that you don’t have to be enthusiastic to accomplish what needs to get done but it sure does make things a lot more enjoyable and your enthusiasm can be contagious to other who may be lacking in the same area.

I know it might seem like a sort of random topic but I came across this great quotation when I was seeking some good reads on motivation. I, for one, choose to be “bankrupt” in no area whatsoever and this is one that seems of the utmost importance!

If you found a way to gain or maintain a healthy enthusiastic level to accomplish life’s daily ongoings that’s awesome! Try and find someone who hasn’t seemed to reach your same level of drive and lift them up to your level as well. I think the world will appreciate it!

Take good care and lead yourself to bankruptcy! Keep on Keepin’ on!

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