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The Chalk Wall Command Center

This past week my sister came to visit and helped me get some work done on the house. One of the jobs was painting bathrooms and a wall in the kitchen. On a whim, we decided to try chalk board paint on the kitchen wall and I’ll tell you, so far it seems to be a huge hit!

On it we have a weekly calendar for a quick reference regarding events, who the kids will be with and whatever we need reminders about. There’s a daily weather forecast so the kids know how to dress for school which one of the kids is always responsible for. A menu so we know what’s10568905_10152573678487908_3045153205304462917_n available for dinner. There’s also a grocery list where anyone can jot down something we’re in need of. The beauty is, when we head to the grocery store, we simply take a picture of the list and access it on our phone when we get there.

Other sections we’re currently working on include a chores list, a tip of the week, a poetry section, and putting up important themes and words that represent the type of energy we want in the house. As a communication tool I’m looking forward to seeing how we can utilize it to keep up with school work, game schedules, supply lists and whatever else we can think of. It’s like a huge command center for the house that keeps us all on the same page (or wall as is the case here).

Cost? The paint cost all of $20 for the entire wall. Roller and brush was $10. Chalk is $1.25 a box. And the kids think it’s the most amazing thing since sliced bread and have worked as a team to keep it updated and consider new ideas.

I’m currently looking into stencils to increase the over all artistic value of it, but as you can see, with a little planning, it’s really not rocket science and the best thing is, if you don’t like something it’s a breeze to erase and start over.

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Divorce, Uncategorized

 

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For The Love of God – Laugh!

I’m not the first person to tell you this. Nor will I be the last (hopefully).

But laugh.

Laugh like your life depended on it because it does. Search out things that make you laugh. Find people who make you laugh. Look at the absurdity that your life can tend to be sometimes and just2014-06-15 17.53.01 laugh.

Laugh with friends.

Laugh with your kids.

Laugh with your reverend.

Laugh with the mailman.

Laugh by yourself.

Laugh at yourself.

Laugh with the check out clerk at Kroger.

But laugh. And while doing so, do your best to make someone else laugh.

Stress will consume you. Worry will deplete you. Laughter will save you.

 

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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How To Eat An Elephant

I’ve been told the best way to eat an elephant (although I’m not sure I would actually wish to do that) is one bite at a time. How many times have you looked at your day the same way saying to yourself, “Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.”

The mass of tasks that surround us from time to time can appear overwhelming and undoable when you look at it as a whole. If you’re like me, you see twenty things that need to get done and your system initially shuts down out of an inability to comprehend how you’re going to get it all completed. I actually find it odd that the more we have tohow-to-eat_an_elephant1 accomplish, the less inclined we are to attack any of it.

As a video director I work off of the same philosophy when filming. Often we attempt to capture too much with one shot which makes it impossible for the viewer to know what they’re supposed to be focused on. The best thing to do is to choose one subject, focus on it and blur out everything around it so you can keep your attention on just one thing for a while. Then move to a second shot when you’re ready. Eventually you end up with everything you need to put together the perfect story.

Same holds true in life. When you’re attempting to focus on too many things at once, the reality is you focus on none of it. It’s just a mass of information and your system simply can’t register it all at once. And so it shuts down.

So, make a list of things you need to get done. I know, “Really? A List? Who are you, my ex-wife?” But it works. Write down EVERYTHING that needs to happen. Pick a couple of small things, focus on them one at a time and then move on to something else. You may not get to everything in one day, but you’ll start to see things getting done which will motivate you to keep going. Before you know it you’ll look at all of the crossed off items and realize you’re capable of more than you gave yourself credit for.

The payoff, btw, is huge. The accomplishment of each task gives you a sense of moving forward and getting your life under control. Progress of any nature is empowering and it all starts with the first small bite.

 

 

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“This is her father. Who’s this?”

Of course I answer my daughter’s cell phone. Why deprive a young man of that moment we all feared as boys when the girl’s dad answered with “This is her father. Who’s this?”

Getting privacy on the phone when I was a teen was simply not even an option. We had one phone upstairs in the hallway androtary-phone one downstairs in the foyer. That was it. No cordless, no cell, no freedom. And it was a family phone. So when someone called, they knew just about anyone could answer it.

The same was true of the girls I called. RARELY did she answer it. Typically it was a sister or brother who would yell my name out for their entire house to hear. Or even worse. You got the dad. “She’s busy. Who’s this? What do you want?”

This entire concept of kids having privacy at the age of 12 with their cell phone is lunacy if you ask me. The more I think about it and the more I catch my daughter upstairs in her room by herself for hours on her phone, the more I think back and realize this is a simple answer. “Yes, you can have a phone. But it stays downstairs and any of us can answer it for you.” Let their friends know we’re watching and paying attention and still in charge. And above all remind them that they’re part of a family who cares about them and who they hang out with.

 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Divorce, Electronics, Uncategorized

 

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Out Like a Lion

The weather across the US was without question some of the craziest I’ve seen for a March in a long time. Ironically, my life followed suit as this March was an equally blustery and unpredictable month. It wasn’t all bad so to speak, but trying to keep up with it was anything but easy. From a bizarre running injury that is just now
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rectifying itself to the wrapping up of several amazing, yet time consuming projects, my life had its own series of storms passing through. And I’m just now getting to start cleaning up in the aftermath. Being a divorced parent isn’t unlike the weather. Cold fronts move in. High pressure zones take over and directly affect temperature shifts throughout the week. Annual patterns or seasons begin to form. Clouds can move in and stick around for days. And then every once in a while the sun breaks through.

When nasty storms blow in, it’s easy to blame some of it on the divorce. Phrases like, “If I didn’t have to go it alone,” “If I didn’t have to be at three places at the same time,” or “Man if I could just lie down for 30 minutes,” all race through your head. But as I tell the kids over and over again, we all have our crosses to bare. Everyone deals with changes in the weather. We all have storms that come creeping in. Everyone’s circumstances create their own challenges every day. We can blame our hardships on those circumstances or we can accept our lives and make the best of it. We can fight the weather or we can learn when to just close the windows, batten down the hatches and wait until the storm passes through.

Over time you start to learn how to handle it all and you recognize that weather patterns emerge. Storms come and go and 1617519_10152239263967908_2132315710_oeven after the longest stretches of rain, eventually the sun comes up in the morning. It’s funny. I teach the kids to go jump in the puddles when it’s raining out (without lightning of course). So why not teach them to go jump in the puddles created by life’s rain showers? Why teach them to fear storms? Yes, we’re going to have moments when we’re overwhelmed by the damage done. We may emerge from our safe haven with a huge mess to clean up. But we need to be able to understand that as great as it would be to have 75 degrees and sunny every day, even Los Angeles has its share of crappy weather not to mention earthquakes. You simply can’t avoid it. Life is going to throw some crap at you once in a while. Some people thrive on the chaos, others not so much. But the reality is, if you want to find true joy, you have to learn to make the most of it and maybe jump in a puddle once in a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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