Are You Ready To Soar?

Are you ready for today?

Give me my cup of coffee, a hot shower, a time to give thanks to a loving God I have a new day and a new chance. I am ready. I am so ready for a great day.

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” –  Harry Truman

Are you ready for today?

Give me my cup of coffee, a hot shower, a time to give thanks to a loving God I have a new day and a new chance. I am ready. I am so ready for a great day. I ask myself:

Am I ready to go all in and give it my best every moment?

Am I ready to believe good things will come my way today?

Am I tougher than my challenges?

Am I ready to love everyone who comes my way today?

Am I ready to leave a positive imprint on every place I travel and on everyone I meet?

Am I ready to see, perhaps for the first time, all the blessings that surround me and to give thanks for them?

Am I ready? I am. Are you ready? Together we will leave it all on the table. We will give it our best each moment. We will make today better than yesterday. We will positively touch the lives of all whom we meet today.

Words to think about

  • Optimism
  • Fervour
  • Zeal
  • Passion
  • Vitality
  • Strength
  • Persistence
  • Effort
  • Soar

 

Mother’s Day Is Every Day

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” — Honore’ de Balzac

Two experiences of mother. Life was never so formal for me. It was always mom. Mom, my first teacher. Mom, the woman who taught me to pray. Mom the woman who loved me from the moment of my conception until the day she died. Mom, who prays for me from her heavenly space. Thank you mom – your gift always remembered. Your gift, I am always grateful. Your gift, life itself.

My second experience gives witness to another mom, my wife Babe. Never complaining. Always loving. Holding each daughter as if she were the only one. A gentle love. A gentle toughness. Arms open wide to wherever the girls’ journey took them. I learned kindness, gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness by witnessing this mom in action. Grateful Babe – Always grateful. Your gift, life itself.

Happy Mother’s Day to All Mothers – The Glue That Holds Us Together.

Happy Mother's Day

Trust Your Instincts

“The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you hear what is sounding outside of you.” – Dag Hammarskjold

I never had a real mentor. I had three people who touched me along my journey. I wrote an article for a prestigious journal titled, “Friends Along The Journey.” These three people showed up at the right place, right moment, with the right push in the right direction.

I share a brief story about the first of the three “friends.” J was my supervisor early in my career. I’ve always been a free spirit and did things differently from many others viewed as the “correct” way to do them. Somehow, the style worked for me. I’m not sure I would recommend my free-wheeling ways to others. Colleagues grumbled about me. I wasn’t like them. They complained to J. It wasn’t long before J invited me into his office. I knew I was in trouble, or so I thought.

I walked in with the attitude, “take it like a man.” J was a former football player, large, muscular, an imposing figure by any stretch. He looked up from his work, pointed an index finger the size of nice-size dowel, and said, “Sit.”

“Yes, Mr. J,” I answered.

J pushed his glasses down to the edge of his nose, leaned forward, and said, “Ray, you have good instincts. Trust them. That’s it. You can leave.”

“Thank you. Mr. J.” He brushed me off with the wave of a hand.

How fortunate I was to have an authority figure I trusted to give me permission to trust my instincts. I followed his advice from that moment on and it made all the difference in my life.

Trust your instincts.

Trust your gut.

Trust your heart.

Give it whatever name you want to give it, but trust it. It is your inner guide pointing the way for you.

voice in the heart

Tacos – Vegetarian Style

Ray’s Recipe for Dinner for One

I love tacos! Think about it for a second. No, meditate on it for a moment. When you find your center, there will be a taco waiting for you. Hah, you say. You doubt. You double doubt. I have it on excellent authority from the taco gurus Tony and Tina Martinez, owners of Tony and Tina’s Taco Time Veggie Tacos. Tony and Tiny have been eating tacos since they were a week old. Tony’s abuela (grandmother) claims it ended his cholic. Tony met Tina at a taco food truck. Tony’s working the truck and Tina wanted a vegetarian taco. Tony never heard of a veggie taco, but Tina’s dark eyes, pouty lips, black hair through a steel cable around his heart. He was gone, long gone. He scooped veggies onto a corn tortilla, layered it with guac, added a few jalapenos, asked Tina if she wanted a dab of sour cream. She slowly and seductively shook her head no. Tony asked her to wait a minute, he quit his job, took two veggie tacos and dined with Tina on a nearby park bench. Asked her to marry him. A quick trip to Vegas, Tony and Tina are married. The cause of this romance? Tacos! Veggie tacos.

Let’s get real. We need protein in our veggie taco. Raise your hands vegetarians, “How do vegetarians add protein to their meals.” Not you in the front row. You have enough brownie points. You to the left, put your hand down, you answered the last ten questions. How about you staring out the window, wondering why you’re reading this blog?”

“Who, me?”

“Yes, you.”

“What was the question?”

What did I ever do to deserve this? Is this my penance for sneaking a piece of chicken and telling vegetarians it was quinoa?

Put your hands down, class time is running out. I’ve got to cut to the chase, cross the finish line, meet the WordPress deadline to get this post online before my laptop turns into a pumpkin, apologies to Cinderella fans.

If you can count to five you can do it.

!. Buy extra firm tofu. That’s right extra firm tofu. Cut it in rectangles, squares, triangles, use your creativity as long as it is in bite size or two bite size pieces.

2. Baste it with EVOO, crushed red pepper, put it in a non-stick, easy to clean skillet that has a layer of EVOO, turn the heat up to mostly high. What does mostly high mean? It’s guy talk – I don’t know.

3. Watch the sizzle, flip occasionally. If anyone is watching, add a little flair so you look like you know what you’re doing. When the tofu is closing in on a nice shade of golden brown, toss in the cut up veggies – oops – I didn’t mention the cut up veggies. How hard is to dice onion, poblano pepper, a red pepper, and a jalapeno? Not very. Okay, it is for the dude playing with his iPhone and doing selfies during class to post on Instagram.

4. Mix it all together. If any of the tofu look well done, pull those babies out. When the deal is done, turn off the burner. Move the skillet to the side, put the mixings into a nice bowl, and bring on the tacos. Five steps, recorded in photos for you. Another meal well done, Ray.

5 steps and you have one healthy, awesome veggie taco dinner that will take you to the sweet spot in your center.

Faith Finds A Way

Lately I’ve been runnin on faith. What else can a poor boy do?
– Jerry Lynn Williams

When everything you’ve learned doesn’t work. When everything you’ve tried ends up failing. When life knocks you flat on your back, you have no choice but to look up when you open your eyes.

Faith is trusting a loving God, no matter the odds, no matter the challenge, you and I will find the strength to rise to one knee, take a deep breath, stand up, and move on.

Faith is facing the challenge head on that knocked us down.

Faith is you and me saying, “I won’t quit. I won’t give in. I won’t give up.”

Faith discovers strength from deep within.

Faith stirs our will to shout, “You Will Get Through.”

Faith is available to all of us. It’s a wonderful, awesome gift.

Maybe I don’t understand faith as well as others. I know I find courage, strength, and confidence when give my YES to fight on, do my best and trust God to do the rest.

In times when life knocks me down, I will give a resounding YES to fight on. I hope you do as well. We can do it.

brilliant light.jpg

Yes, You Can Make It Through!

Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.
– Author Unknown

There are days when I wake up and wonder, ‘How am I going to make it through the day?’ Have you had a similar experience? I think it is a common experience we all share.

Standing and staring, sitting and thinking, or lying and wondering doesn’t help me get through the day. If I do any of those things, my anxiety rises, I go into a funk, it’s not a good place to be.

I don’t want to be in that space. It’s not a healthy place. So, I made a deal with myself (sounds absurd, right?). Here’s the deal, “I’ll get up, get going, and plunge headlong into the day. In return, I expect things to work out. I’ll have the courage and strength to meet any challenge. And, at day’s end, I’ll be able to say “Thank You. It was a great day.”

It works for me.

Get Up – Get Going – Plunge In. You Can Do It.

I encourage comments and questions.

No Mountain Too High

Cheap & Healthy Eats

I’m not cheap. I’m frugal. My dad said frugal was just a different word for being cheap. I tried to reason with him when I was older. He had a canned response, “Cheap, cheap, cheap.” I thought he was trying to imitate a canary. I never dared say that. So, here’s the story. I go to Whole Foods. I’ll get dinner there. It’s Whole Foods. They must cook healthily. At least, that’s what they want everyone to think. It looks healthy. I’ve had some of their food bar products and wraps. I wonder where Zagat rates it.

I drive the five miles to WF (short for Whole Foods not other Internet misspeak). I brimming with confidence. I walk in. I check out the grilled salmon. There must be some mistake. Surely, the piece of salmon I holding in my hand doesn’t cost more than the three frozen pieces I have in the freezer. I check another. Then, another. It’s the former researcher in me, I need enough data points to be certain. What a waste of a valuable twenty seconds I’ll neve have again.

I’m not discouraged. I go to the food bar. I walk around like I’m from the city health department. There is nothing that appeals to me. I should say, nothing that appeals to my wallet. I decide to head home and make a healthy, meal that will cost me one-third the price. I’m being frugal. I hear my dad hollering from heaven, “Cheap, cheap, cheap.”

How hard is it to make a salad? On a scale from one to ten. I give it a 3.5. The point five is cutting and scooping out the avocado. I like big salads. I use ready to eat, triple washed baby spinach and baby kale. I grab a handful and place it in a bowl. I rinse off of some cherry tomatoes and spread them around the salad for the photo. I use my slicer device and make nice even slices of the cucumber. I add almonds (I can count to ten). I place the two halves of the avocado on top of the salad. I pour a bit of Balsamic vinegar and EVOO around. Add and few sprinkles of feta and slip this baby into the fridge until I’m ready to eat.

IMG_6672.jpg

Keep an eye out and I’ll tell how I made my salmon to go with this great salad. Hey, it’s a teaser, just like they do on the six o’clock news.