Sky Afire

Sunrises and Sunsets always force me to stop and take their picture. Glad Doug stopped to capture this one in beautiful Nebraska.

Doug Lafuze Photography

This is from last night’s sunset. It chased me home from work, begging me to stop and take it’s picture, but I was in a hurry so I tried to ignore it. By the time I got to town it was so breath taking I had to stop and get a few pictures. I took this with my Droid Maxx and have not altered it at all!

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Time marches on

Check out this beautiful blog written by my older brother. Proud of him for being able to express these feelings and super proud of my nephews and niece who are amazing human beings.

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If you would have told me five years ago that things would be as they are now, I would have scoffed.  Never would I have imagined the life changes that have occurred in the past two years. Sure, in the scheme of family life, the kids grow older, go to college, move away white time moves us along as they begin to move forward to form their lives and their futures. Some of those life changing events brought me to the darkest period of my life thus far. My kids mean the world to me, and not being around them much due to the inevitable “growing up” has been a tough adjustment for this recently divorced father.

Yesterday I had one of those moments where emotion takes you down fast.  Being the end of the semester, dad duties include picking up no longer needed furniture for the move back home for summer.  The boys and…

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Be your Best Friend: Advice to Myself

Today’s words of wisdom stem from a conversation with a dear friend and co-worker.  She is working hard on trying to improve herself and her situation so she asked me for my honest opinion on something.  She asked, “Will you give me 3 areas in my life you think I could improve on?”

The answers to this came way too easily.  You see, this girl is 10 years younger than me and is also a single mother.  We’ve been there for each other through a lot of stuff over the last couple of years.  She reminds me a lot of myself.  So I realized as I was typing these things, I wasn’t only speaking to her – I was speaking from my own experiences, what other wise people have taught me, and I was speaking to myself on the things I constantly need reminders of.

So today – here are 3 areas in life I think we could all improve on . . .

  1. Love yourself.  I know that we hear this a lot, but many of us have been taught that loving ourselves is selfish.  The issue is, we spend so much time trying to do for others, that we have nothing left to give.  We were given these bodies and these lives to TAKE CARE OF.  We have to meet our own basic needs if we want to reach our full potential and have the capability and energy to love others.

    So . . . GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.  You have overcome so much in your life!  SO MUCH.  Maybe you had a horrible childhood.  Or maybe you survived the severe mental illness of a family member.  Maybe you survived a horrific accident and had to learn to live your life all over again.  Maybe you survived an unhealthy marriage or learned to move on after a betrayal.  Maybe you’re a single parent who struggles to make ends meet.  Everyone has a story and everyone has a struggle, whether they admit it to others or not.  The important thing to remember is – YOU ARE STILL HERE. You haven’t given up yet!

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    SO STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF.  You are making it.  You are making progress.  And your hard work and perseverance WILL PAY OFF in the long run.

  2. Learn how to “teach others how to treat you.”  Meaning, if you continue to allow people to treat you badly, they will continue to do it.  Set clear boundaries on how you are okay with being treated and what you will absolutely not allow.  And then let people know when they are doing a good job or when they are not.  This applies for families, friends, co-workers, and yes, even bosses, managers, superiors, etc.  We all need to be able to set personal boundaries in our lives.

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  3. Pay attention to your body and your emotions.  Notice when you start to feel stressed and prepare for it.  Preparation includes scheduling guilt-free alone time to pray, meditate, sleep – whatever you need to get through it.  (Don’t think you have time to meditate or just spend quiet time alone?  Check out this article on Pattern Interrupts.)

    Start a journal.  Even if it is as simple as writing down what you eat and what your emotions were that day – it is a step to learning more about yourself and what you need to survive.

    Another tip, especially if you’re an emotional eater like I am, always have a favorite healthy snack nearby to devour in times of need.

    The more you learn about yourself – the easier it will be to notice things and make the best choices for YOU.

I also wanted to share one final thing (okay, so actually it’s FOUR) that has been a huge help in my own personal growth.  I’m still working on each of these in my own life – but the second agreement was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.  I dealt with so much fear and shame in my own life, all because of what I was afraid others thought of me.  (And I was probably making wrong ASSUMPTIONS anyway.)

4agreements

Click on the picture to learn more about The Four Agreements book.

So, Congratulations to everyone who is doing their best every day and making steps (no matter how small) to better themselves.  YOU’VE GOT THIS!

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Is There Anybody Listening?

These words
by Chris DeGarmo and Geoff Tate of Queensryche
say it better than I ever could. . . .

You and I
Long to live like wind upon the water
If we close our eyes
We’ll maybe realize
There’s more to life than what we have known

And I can’t believe I’ve spent so long
Living lies I knew were wrong inside
I’ve just begun to see the light

Long ago, there was a dream
Had to make a choice or two
Leaving all I loved behind
For what nobody knew

Stepped out on the stage
A life under lights and judging eyes
Now the applause has died and I can dream again…

Is there anybody listening?
Is there anyone that sees what’s going on?

Read between the lines
Criticize the words they’re selling
Think for yourself and feel the walls
Become sand beneath your feet

Feel the breeze?
Time’s so near
You can almost taste the freedom

There’s a
Warm wind from the south
Hoist the sail
And we’ll be gone
By morning, this will all seem like a dream

And if I don’t return
To sing the song, maybe just as well
I’ve seen the news
And there’s not much I can do… Alone

Is there anybody listening?
Is there anyone who smiles without a mask?

What’s behind the words
Images they know will please us?
I’ll take what’s real
Bring up the lights

Is there anybody listening?
Is there anyone that sees what’s going on?

Read between the lines
Criticize the words they’re selling
Think for yourself and feel the walls
Become sand
Beneath your feet

Do one thing

comfortzone

Any of my followers who might wonder where I have been, I have been busy stepping out of my comfort zone.  I was kind of forced to do it – but am glad that I did.  I am not going to go into detail just yet – but let’s just say that this 40 year old body aches every night, but is getting more activity than it has in a very long time.

I used to be so fearless, and I lost my confidence along the way.  I’m slowly gaining it back and having a blast doing it.  So I thought I would stop in long enough to encourage each of you to step out of your comfort zone and do the thing that scares you.  I think it is worth it.

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Where I want to be

There are many times I wish I could go back in time and smack myself into realizing how much I would someday miss the times I took for granted. The only thing we can do now is make the best of the time we are in now and live life in the best way we can.

Doug's Scribbles and Ramblings

When the heart isn’t happy, it seeks happier times to remember… My heart seeks to be in a hayfield right now. Not just any hayfield though, Dad’s hayfield. The big one behind the house and across the creek. The one you can just barely see through the cottonwoods when you sit on the back deck, I want to be there right now, not here.

I want to be there hitching the 686 to Dad’s old New Holland rake on a bright sunny June morning as the dew burns off the hay waiting to be baled. I want to be there to smell the sweet fragrance of the alfalfa hanging heavy in the air, so heavy you almost don’t smell the exhaust from the idling tractor. I want to be there to smell the way the grease from the rake’s gear box mixes with the smell of the hay and when…

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