suicidal landscapes59
Creative Commons License photo credit: Julius Von Der Pahlen [Querelle]

“Only a life lived for others is worth living” — Albert Einstein

Today was the end of our children’s soccer season. I coached my younger son’s team. We had a year of ups and downs, but really finished the year on a high note. It was a fun year (we have a season in the fall and spring) and I had a lot of fun coaching. We celebrated the end of the season, not because we won, but because we improved and grew as a team. So, the question is, was coaching this team all worth the time and effort that went into it?

It’s all worth it because at the end of the season I feel like I have helped someone else (the kids on the team), I have developed relationships, and I feel appreciated. Am I always reminded of this? No. And I’m sure you’re not either all the time. Sometimes will be difficult, and some will be easier. Sometimes the difficult times lead to great lessons. In the end, what you put in is what you get out. And, I believe that if you feel work work is appreciated, and you feel you are helping someone else — that is what makes it worth it to you too.

So, think about those times in your life where you have all this in harmony. And be thankful for the moments you have like this that really make it all worth it.

weighty issues
Creative Commons License photo credit: SpacePotato

“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the pain or discomfort felt several hours (24 to 48 typically) after exercising. I’m currently suffering from this.

After a break from resistance training, I got back at it this week. Today I am feeling the effects (DOMS) from the lower body exercises I did on Tuesday night. Some at my house think it’s funny as I struggle to sit down, stand up, or go up and down stairs.

But I’m ok with all of it. I’m ok because I see this as progress. Progress because I’m working to improve my body. It’s adjusting to these changes, and that’s the muscle soreness I’m feeling.

This is not unlike how your head may hurt after absorbing a lot of new information, or heart might be pounding after taking on some challenging project. In all these cases, we are growing. Growing stretches us and challenges us. In the case of my resistance training exercises, I have challenged the muscles in my legs. In so doing this, they have responded by growing, and in the growing process the muscles that were stagnant have been forced to change. In this change, I feel soreness.

As we grow and change in whatever we are doing, this can create new challenges (for me, it was challenges to my muscles). But it is in this growth process that we change who we are. The key, then, would be that we make changes that are for the better.

I challenge you to go out there and grow yourself in some new area of your life. And embrace the changes that this brings, even though it may not be easy along the way. In the end, if you are true to your self and goals you desire, the challenges you face along the way will all be worth it. You’ll come out a changed person, and stronger because of the growth you went through.

It’s all good.

Fat Boy
Creative Commons License photo credit: mandj98

“For the first time ever, overweight people outnumber average people in America. Doesn’t that make overweight the average then? Last month you were fat, now you’re average – hey, let’s get a pizza! — Jay Leno

Have you ever thought about it? How much it costs to be overweight, that is.

According to this article on MSN — the cost is $487 billion. See the article for the specifics on how they came up with this figure.

For here, we’ll just talk about what this means. It means that if you are in good health and not overweight, you benefit from lower gas costs in your car, less material used in your clothes, less visits to the doctor, and increased productivity — to name a few of the benefits. Quantifying some of these can be difficult, but the end point is that we do save money by being healthy.

On a short term outlook, it could be easy to disagree with this. For instance, it’s a lot cheaper to buy a loaf of cheap white bread, some candy, and a jar of Jif peanut butter that it would be to buy quality whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and some fresh broccoli. Or going to McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac and fries is quicker (and sometime cheaper) than preparing a meal at home.

But think about it, over time, these short term choices we make have a large impact on our lives. I went through this a few years ago. I drank regular soda everyday, ate at fast food restaurants regualarly, and didn’t spend the time or money to exercise. Slowly I went from being thin and in reasonably good health, to having very poor health and being borderline obese. Since that low point, I have worked hard to live a healthy lifestyle, including eating right and exercising regularly. Has it been worth it? Absolutely! It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I slip up a bit. But in the long haul, I have decided to make exercise and nutrition important elements of my life.

So, whether your in great shape, or have some work to do — make a plan, set some goals, and then get out there and make it happen! You’ll improve your life, and in the long term view, save yourself some money. But the money savings are really just a side benefit, the real deal is you feeling great about yourself and improving the quality of your life!

Creative Commons License photo credit: starrise

“The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” ~ Frank Hubbard

Today was a great day, thanks in part to our fine government. We received our economic stimulus check from the US Treasury. Thanks to being married and having three kids, our check totaled $2100. What will we use it for? To start with, it will be going into our savings account. We will eventually use this money for a planned family vacation this summer, where we will be visiting the northwest United States, and going on a 4 day whitewater rafting trip, among other things. Was this trip planned because of the government issued stimulus check? No. We had this trip planned since Christmas. This check is just a nice help to assist in paying for the fun week-long trip we’ll have this summer.

I tend to look at “unplanned” money as investment opportunities. Opportunities for me to increase and grow my net wealth. What’s the right strategy for you? I believe you should look for ways to save and increase this as well. Of course, in the case of the economic stimulus check from the government, they want you to spend it, in an effort to boost the economy. Should you?

My take on this is that we shouldn’t spend just because we can. Do you have something you really need? Then consider it, but really give it some thought before you purchase. Ask yourself if this “whatever” is something that will provide some value to you. How many times have we bought something, only to have it sit in the closet, end up on a basement shelf, or just simply get forgotten. Don’t spend just because you can. Spend because you will be getting value.

For me, a family vacation is a great value. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with my family, and spend some quality time together. We’ll be doing things together that many of us have never done. We’ll be creating memories that will last a long time It is worth it! This is something that is very valuable to me. In the end, I won’t have something I can physically hold on to. But greater than that, I’ll have something that our family will cherish for years to come.

So, think about it. The money you earn, the money you make off of existing investments, the money that magically appears in your lap… What’s your money worth to you?

Camping – Fun and Frugal

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: simpologist “Camping: The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” ~ Author Unknown I’ll be camping this weekend with my family. Camping is a great way to get out, experience nature, and really get to spend some time with those […]

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When You Fall Down, Get Back Up

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: Simon Pais-Thomas “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” — Wayne Dyer We all have moments when we fall down (and not just physically). Mentally, we can fall too. Or we might stop doing something that is good for us. Physical exercise is one area that […]

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When Bad = Good (or Great)

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: Meredith_Farmer Sometimes things don’t go as planned, or something simple becomes much more difficult. This happens to everyone. It happened to me this weekend. Let me share with you. I work in the information technology field for a small manufacturing company. This past weekend, we upgraded a key piece of software that is […]

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Sunday Thought for the Day

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: robotography “Everything can be taken from a man but … the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Victor Frankl

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Does Money Buy Happiness?

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: ?? “We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” — Anne Frank Question of the Day: Does Money Buy Happiness? My answer: Money does not buy happiness. Happiness comes from the things that truly bring you joy in your life. Having lots of […]

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Bike to Work Week – Supplies Edition

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: random dude Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. ~ Grant Petersen Yesterday we covered some of the positive affects of biking, concentrating on the economic portion. Today we’ll look at what “stuff” you’ll need to bike to work. The following list are the items I would […]

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