Every Parent Should Experience Moments Like These

Last Sunday seemed to be another ordinary day. It was actually a sunny beautiful day with a cool crisp breeze. It was a day well spent with my little family.

In the morning, we went to Trader Joe's to pick up some food for lunch at the park.  While I was in line to pay, my wife took my two year old son to the kids' whiteboard wall to doodle and draw. When I was done, I went over there to get them and found that our son was clearly upset about something. Based on my wife's little pep talk, I discovered that his world was caving in because he wanted to play with a blue marker and there wasn't one. 

As silly as it was, he was genuinely upset. At that moment I thought to myself, "How lucky is this kid that the worst thing that happened to him today was not having a blue marker to draw with?" Pretty lucky. 

After that, we brought the food to the park to enjoy some sunshine. Right when our toddler saw the playground, he instantly transformed into this ecstatic little bundle of excitement.  He jumped up and down, threw his arms in the air, and screamed with a big sparkling smile on his face.  I couldn't help but smile and laugh.  It was a great moment. Mentally, I asked, "How awesome is this kid's life where a trip to the park is the most awesome thing ever?" I was in awe in how much the little things in life made him happy.

As we were on the bench eating lunch, I reflected on everything that happened that day.  I was having a great time with my family and enjoying the day outside.  I also thought about how lucky my son was. If I could give my son a life where the worst part of his day was not being able to play with a blue marker and going to the park was a highlight of his day, then maybe I'm a good parent after all.


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Words Can't Truly Express How Thankful I Am for the Love of My Life. Here's My Attempt.

To My Sweet Spouse,

Right here and right now, I'd like to express my deep gratitude for everything you've given me. 

Thank you for giving me a happy life. That is the most precious thing that anyone can give anyone. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. I have a feeling that this feeling is going to last a really long time. 

I'm grateful for all the time we spend together and thankful for every time you've sacrificed your time for me. Life is on limited time and I'm humbled that you always choose to spend your free time with me. 

Thank you for believing in me. You're my #1 fan and my main cheering section. On top of that, you're my source of support. You're my rock. 

When you believe in my dreams, it makes me feel spoiled and humbled at the same time. For sticking by me no matter how overwhelming life seems, I want you to know that I believe in you just as much. 

For the life we share, I'm eternally thankful. For the life we've built together, I'm entirely grateful. And for the future we'll build together, I'm utterly hopeful. 

Love,

Your Soul Partner


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This is How People Around the World Say "Thank You!"

Back in college, I had Dr. Renford Reese, an amazing Political Science professor, that founded the Colorful Flags program.  He had an idea that if people of different cultural backgrounds were able to communicate in each other's languages, it would create connections between them.  He believed that language shouldn't be a barrier between human beings. With that idea, he made "flags" which were colorful cards each representing one language from the world with translations of "Hello", "Thank you", and other commonly used phrases.

In the beginning of the quarter, he gave us each one card that we had to learn throughout the quarter on top of our regular school work.  Another student and I got Hindi.  I still remember to this day how to pronounce, "Hi, how are you?" (Namaste. Kya haal hai?)

Since it's the season of giving thanks (and gratitude is always in season), here are many ways of saying, "Thank you!" Try one, two, or all sixty nine.
  • Afrikaans: Dankie!
  • Albanian: Falemnderit!
  • Arabicشكرا لك!
  • Armenian: Շնորհակալություն:
  • AzerbaijaniTəşəkkür edirik!
  • BasqueEskerrik asko!
  • Belarusian: Дзякуй!
  • Bengali: আপনাকে ধন্যবাদ!
  • Bosnian: Hvala vam!
  • Bulgarian: Благодарим ви!
  • Catalan: Gràcies!
  • Chinese (traditional): 謝謝你!
  • Croatian: Hvala vam!
  • Czech: Děkuji vám!
  • Danish: Tak!
  • Dutch: Dank je wel!
  • Esperanto: Dankon!
  • Estonian: Täname!
  • Finnish: Kiitos!
  • French: Je vous remercie!
  • Galician: Grazas!
  • Georgian: დიდი მადლობა!
  • German: Danke!
  • Greek: Σας ευχαριστούμε!
  • Gujarati: આપનો આભાર!
  • Haitian Creole: Mèsi!
  • Hebrew: תודה לך!
  • Hindi: धन्यवाद!
  • Hmong: Ua tsaug!
  • Hungarian: Köszönjük!
  • Icelandic: Þakka þér!
  • Indonesian: Terima kasih!
  • Irish: Go raibh maith agat!
  • Italian: Grazie!
  • Japanese: ありがとうございました!
  • Javanese: Matur nuwun!
  • Kannada: ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು!
  • Khmer: សូមអរគុណ!
  • Korean: 감사합니다!
  • Lao: ຂໍຂອບໃຈທ່ານ!
  • Latin: Gratias tibi!
  • Latvian: Paldies!
  • Lithuanian: Ačiū!
  • Macedonian: Ви благодариме!
  • Malay: Terima kasih!
  • Maltese: Grazzi!
  • Marathi: धन्यवाद!
  • Norwegian: Takk!
  • Persian: با تشکر از شما!
  • Polish: Dziękujemy!
  • Portuguese: Obrigado!
  • Romanian: Vă mulțumim!
  • Russian: Спасибо!
  • Serbian: Хвала!
  • Slovak: Ďakujem vám!
  • Slovenian: Hvala za razumevanje!
  • Spanish: ¡Gracias!
  • Swahili: Asante!
  • Swedish: Tack!
  • Tagalog: Salamat!
  • Tamil: நன்றி!
  • Telugu: ధన్యవాదాలు!
  • Thai: ขอบคุณ!
  • Turkish: Teşekkür ederim!
  • Ukrainian: Спасибо!
  • Urdu: آپ کا شکریہ!
  • Vietnamese: Cảm ơn bạn!
  • Welsh: Diolch yn fawr!
  • Yiddish: דאנק איר!
Source: Google Translate


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Got Goals? You'll Need This


What is that "magic" thing that fuels our success? Simply put, it's motivation. But if you really think about it's actually quite complex. 

Motivation is the reason why people get things done; why we achieve goals, big or small. It's sparked by inspiration and executed by determination. Motivation matters. It makes all the difference. 

When we are externally motivated, we like to see physical rewards. Trophies, diplomas, paychecks, and promotions are some examples.

Internal motivation is, in my humble opinion, the most important type of motivation. It's when we willingly choose to achieve a goal because we want to. It's when breaking a personal record is more important than any physical reward.  

Being able to push ourselves to stretch the boundaries of our potential is a crucial life skill for achieving the success we dream of. 


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What Oxygen, Inspiration, (and Soap) Have in Common

Inspiration is like oxygen: it's necessary to have it every day. Without it, we are pretty much lifeless beings without souls. Inspiration is the spark that fuels our motivation and pushes us toward our dreams. It gives us purpose, an answer to the question, "What am I doing this for?"

Sometimes inspiration is the hardest thing to have. I know that I've made mistakes, failed, and really felt it...multiple times. No one is exempt from this; it's an essential part of being alive. 

When I do feel down in the dumpsters, I do allow myself to feel that way. I need to experience my emotions so that I can work through them. It's my way of processing fear, anger, and doubt and finding an empowering way out of it. 

At the most troublesome times, that's when inspiration is the most important thing to have. When you're inspired, hold on to that feeling as much as possible.  Embrace it.  Save it.  Use it to remind yourself of your purpose and goals every day.


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The River Song of Doctor John Smith

Let us go, You and I,
We'll travel in the blue box in the sky. 
We'll play, dance, and swim
intimately into the deepest parts
of each other's soul. 

Everything is where We shall go,
even the place where 
people are discussing Van Gogh. 

Our love is like water;
ever flowing and raging on. 
It has no permanent form,
forever changing. 

Our love is less;
boundless,
timeless,
and endless. 

We're limited on time, 
but there will always will be time
for Us. 
The time I make is the time We share 
which is priceless beyond compare. 

Together you and I,
logical existence We defy...

So do I dare disturb the universe?
...Yes I do!
I dare defy destiny!
I dare defy time!

More of an moment 
I will make infinite.
I do not want to exist
without You in it.



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Stressed? This May Help (even without a prescription)

In today's fast paced, 24-hour plugged in online, multitasking glorified society, meditation is an important and almost forgotten practice. Studies have shown that meditation makes us happier, less stressed, and even reduce physical chronic pain. 

Sometimes, what I want more than anything is some quiet time to think. The beautiful thing about meditation is that it doesn't require much. For me, just a few minutes here and there are enough. 

Whenever I meditate, it's a process. At first, I think about whatever is currently on my mind. Then I think about how I can resolve it. I mentally plan when I will send those e-mails, make those phone calls, or attack (figuratively) my to-do list. There is peace of mind in knowing that what needs to be taken care of will be taken care of. 

Next I reflect. I think about anything and everything. Is there something I forgot to take care of? Is there someone I've been ignoring that I should talk to? Whatever comes to mind gets worked though (or at least I try as much as possible to) by an internal dialogue with myself. I try to be as honest with myself as possible. Did I really try my best today? Why am I procrastinating? What can I do to make tomorrow better?

Sometimes taking some time for ourselves to mentally calm down during our daily lives is the most important thing to do. 



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The Astonishing Resiliency of the Human Heart


"How many times can the heart break before it finally stops beating?" That question was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine a couple days ago.  I knew it was a rhetorical question, possibly to express herself emotionally, but I felt compelled to respond.

My response was, "Literally, an infinite amount of times.  The heart can take all the pain it needs to go through as long as there is a will to move forward."

When people are hurt emotionally, I know it feels as if their heart hurts physically.  But there are people who have the courage to endure whatever life throws at them because they need to, want to, or both.

It comes from an internal determination to thrive.  When I was heartbroken in the past, I felt like everything was hopeless, but it really wasn't.  I endured.  Life kept going.

Whenever I see people who overcome challenging situations by pure courage, it deeply inspires me.  A person who decides to leave an abusive relationship for her/his own sake.  Parents who willingly work long hours (sometimes at multiple jobs) for the well being of their children.  Teachers who choose to try to change lives in the poorest areas of the world.  Service workers who run toward the danger.  These people have hearts with astounding courage.


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That Wonderful Feeling of Being at Home


It's good to be home. After a five day work week (hour-long commutes and all), it's nice to come home to a place to just be the personal me, not the employee version of me. 

For the weekend, I get a little mental freedom. I don't have to think about checking office emails, making business phone calls, or my piles of paperwork. I just get to think about enjoying my time being at home. 

Home is where I can sit on the couch and watch a show or movie that I choose, even if it's something mentally unstimulating, but comically entertaining. 

This is what I look forward to. Even if I come home to toddler toys all over the floor or the occasional pile of dishes in the sink, it's home. It's where my family and Iive, play, and love. There is absolutely no other place like it.


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Why Handwritten Notes are the Best Notes


When was the last time you wrote a handwritten note?  Nowadays, it's becoming less and less of an occurrence.  With computers, smart phones, and Siri, more people are communicating through e-mails, text messages, and other forms of electronic media.  Sadly, it seems like putting pen to paper is a dwindling art form.

I'm a HUGE fan of hand-written notes.  Whenever I get a greeting card, it's more meaningful to me. It contains a person's actual writing and signature.  It tells me that someone actually cared enough to take the time and effort to hand craft a personalized message to me.

Handwriting memos, letters, and notes gives them a more human touch.  It doesn't look like it's been processed through a machine. By not hiding behind a printer/word processor, this person is being vulnerable by letting you see her/his penmanship.  By using pen and paper, it inherently is personal.  A person's handwriting reveals her/his style and arguably, their personality (see graphology).

I'm still going to use digital communication (especially since it's becoming more and more of a necessary survival tool), but I am going to consciously put a little more effort every day to handwrite notes to show the people in my life that they are cared about.


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HOPE Daringly Defined

Hope is this silly little thing that makes things happen. It is the armor of people in the face of fear. It is the spark that ignites a movement.

Hope decimates the word "impossible." The idea of impossible is a human-made concept that puts limits to our potential. It handicaps our imagination in a dissolving manner. 

Not many people realize the true power of hope. Hope is a beautiful thing that transforms reality through visionary dreams. It keeps us moving forward no matter what. Where there is hope, there is life. 

Hope isn't a physical thing, but it can be given. It can be shared. It can be held onto. 

Hope is necessary. It's needed more now than ever. It's always needed in the present since it's almost useless to hope for the past. Hope applied now transforms the future. 

Hope is what makes this world wonderful. It allows us to see what is possible. It shows us the inherent good in everything. 

My hope for this world is that there will be more hope in more hearts today than there was yesterday. 


A Tribute to Silence


Silence is a special kind of peacefulness. It's physical, mental, and personal peace.

It exhibits calmness (not calamity). It's a golden treasure that allows the mind to sparkle. Silence helps rejuvenate the brain. During silence I get to work out my thoughts and let lingering conundrums work themselves away.  This is when I get to slowly melt my stress away.

Silence is soothing; it lets me relax. It's much needed when my life seems overwhelming with a non-stop schedule and an overflowing to-do list. Silence makes me feel like for a moment, this fast paced ever changing world pauses just for me.

It also lets me observe my surroundings.  By standing still, I get an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the environment around me.

Being silent allows me to reflect. It let's me examine my day, my life so far, and myself. How did I spend my time today? Who do I need to talk to? What can I do to make tomorrow brighter?

Maybe most of all, silence lets me appreciate what my life currently is. Everything in my life is a result of my previous thoughts and actions. Nothing is a coincidence. My life is a beautiful mix of delights, downfalls, and daydreams. Silence reminds me of all this. 

When To Give & Not To Give

give Smiles,
give Laughter,
and give Cheer,

give Attention,
give Time,
give Friendship,
give Love,
even give Money,
and especially give Your Best;

but don't give up on your dreams! 

give a little
then give a little more,
or if you choose to,
give a whole lot
(and maybe a whole lot more);

but never give in to defeat, doubt, or despair! 


Dare to Dream (boldly, wildly, & proudly)

dream.

Dream
dReam
drEam
dreAm
dreaM

DREAM BIG!

Dream now,
right here,
right where you're standing.

This is the best time to dream,
to scream goals and let go of inhibitions.
Here is the best place to dream,
where your heart is 
      is where your dreams lie.

Dream boldly:
DREAM AT ALL COST;
(your livelihood may depend upon it).

Dream WILDLY:
may your dreams
      sprout like leaves
      spread like sunlight AND
      be as magnificent as mountains.

Without dreams,
this world would be a void...
there would be just gaps...

.
.
.

without dreams
what would the difference be
      between a human being and
      a programmed machine?

5 Reminders to Help You Get Through the Day

Sometimes we just need a little note to help us remember to keep a positive attitude, take care of ourselves holistically, and push our potential to the maximum.  Enjoy!









Why This World is Good and Beautiful

I live in this big beautiful world filled with wonders and enchantments. There is much mystery, which adds to it's awe. As much sorrow as I see, there is much more good.

Where there are thorns, there are roses. Where there are shadows, there is sunlight. What some may see as dirt, others see soil where life may grow. 

The world is how we see it. Our reality is based on our perception and attitude. Choose to see beauty and the world will be beautiful. 

In all my life, I've believed, discovered, and proven that people are inherently good. In fact, everything about this world is too. 

Why Free Time isn't Free

Time is ridiculously precious, especially free time. Free time isn't always necessarily free; many people make it. They work to organize their day and tasks in order to reserve time for what is really important. 

It could be time for a nice walk in the daytime sun, a nap, an extra conversation with a a friend, or lending an ear to someone who needs you to listen. What matters to us is worthy enough to make time for it. 

Back in college I had a friend who I only hung out with twice. When we first met at a mutual friend's party, we got along really well. Unfortunately, we didn't really hang out much because he was always "busy." He said we'd hang out when he was less busy. Being the youth I was, I accepted it and waited. At that point, I learned a very valuable life lesson. 

People are always going to be busy. We will always have school, work, appointments, etc to suck up our free time. If he really wanted to hang out with me, he would've made it a priority and made time for me. That is why time management is an important skill that we all need to have. 

Free time is made by planning, prioritizing, and hard work.  Having the ability to make time for what really is important in our lives is a crucial life skill for us to lead nourished lives.