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Friday, February 22, 2013

Today's the Day!

I've got to disconnect.

Few habits are as addictive as sitting in front of the tv, viewing mindless mediocre entertainment and eating delicious comfort food. It's been more than a few days and already I'm suffering from indigestion and snug pants.

Why is it so difficult to turn that darn television off and get back to the activities of life? I know I'm not the only one that is challenged with the power switch.

Today is a new day.  I am disconnecting.  Completely. Disconnecting the cable, wrapping it up, and stashing it behind lock and key.  It's the only way.

Won't you join me?  If only for a weekend? We can all afford a little break from the tube.

Choose one thing you could do instead of watching television this weekend --- and then act.

Before you reach for that remote, choose another thing -- and act again.

Continue acting instead of watching others act.

Who knows what will come from living your very own reality show. . .



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Angels practicing.

Oh I'm so grateful for my life!  Few days are as sweet as these at the California Angels' Tempe Diablo Stadium.
     
Players on the field, fans in the stands, and last minute preparations for Opening Day are in full swing.
     
I'm pretty sure that this is part of what heaven is all about -- all of the experience of a front row seat without the noise and flurry of the crowds.
      
Remember my no-fail investment strategy? Well, this is what it's is all about.










 We're just getting started. Opening Day is this Saturday, and there are still tickets available.  Act now.




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Honor Thy President

Did you know that President's Day was originally established to honor George Washington on his birthday, February 22?  

However, in 1971, as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, the holiday date was changed as was its purpose: to honor the service of all presidents, past and present.  

Can you imagine a day at the office for the president? It's hard to do with all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds him. But, in more than a few ways his world parallels our own:  
The president is required to participate in world politics, just like we are required to get along with our neighbors, be they friends or enemies. 
The president must provide for the needs of its citizens, in the same way we must keep our own families fed and housed. 
The president must manage the feuding members of congress, just like we have to manage our workplace relationships.
Now obviously this is a very simplistic view of the president's many roles. Maybe you see it very differently. It makes no matter. What does matter is that today you make a conscious effort to recognize their service to our country, and dare I say . . . even pray for them?

...for there is no authority except that which God has established...  Romans 13:1 













Thursday, February 14, 2013

A No-Fail Investment Strategy

Invitations to stay at friends' homes for extended stays are continually coming my way.  One even prefaced it, "If you want to stay in a real house.....".  How ironic.  She lives in an apartment.

I've heard others speak poorly about people who live in "homes on wheels".  Some do live in motor homes because it is their only option for shelter.  However, for most of us that is not the case.

We choose this living arrangement because of the great opportunities it offers. Traveling the country, meeting people, and other experiences beyond what we can find in our permanent residences are abundant.  In fact, so much so that, within a few years of being on the road, a great majority of us gladly give up our permanent home bases.

Phoenix was my home for over 20 years before I hit the road. Being back here to work the Spring Training Baseball Season has really made me appreciate how much this traveling lifestyle has done for me. I've gained confidence and friends and experiences well beyond what I ever imagined possible.

Of course I'm not saying that I couldn't have all that without living on the road. There are plenty of people that live in beautiful houses and have very rich, fulfilling lives. What I am saying is that it's the experiences that make it so, not the house. Even a house does not become a home until the experiences within its walls make it so.

Outward appearances may make some pity me, question my sanity, or offer jobs and shelter that would increase my bank accounts and provide luxurious living quarters. But, quite honestly, I have never felt more richly blessed than I have in the years I have lived in this, my dream home.

The decisions about where I will live and how I will spend my money are based on the experiences I will gain in the process. Learning a new skill, making new friends, spending cherished precious minutes with family are no-fail investments. It's where I'll put my money every time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Peace

So, did you think about it at all?

You know, intentional ignorance?

Or, did you already forget?

Hey now, stick with me on this one.

Let me help you with it. Turn off the tv. Get off the web. Stop playing computer games. (That last one is for me.)

There is a whole world of experiences out there for us. Try learning a new skill, or practicing an old one. Spend that time with a troubled child, or an aging relative. Go for a walk, or clean up your home. (Again, the last one is for me.)

Don't worry, you'll know the latest news if anything happens that affects you.

As we begin to block out the minutia that consumes our minutes, our world begins to change.

We're not so focused on sports, and sensations, the latest gadgets, owning a better car or bigger house. Our thoughts become our own again. Our decisions become more of our soul's desires and less about keeping up with the Jones's.

You may not notice it right away, but in the absence of all that noise and information something else seeps into your world -- peace. The Peace that passes all understanding. It may not show up today, but as that noise subsides, you'll notice it. It takes time, and practice. That's what intentional ignorance is all about.

Now, go turn of that tv. Yes, you. Yes, right now.














It's the first step you know.

The first step to what, you ask?

Well, it's the first step to The Peace.

Oh, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Back to the ignorance thing for a minute.

I know, it's not popular or even logical to consider becoming more ignorant.  However, if you are selective about it, you'll find it quite beneficial.

For example, I myself do not need to know the computer game of solitaire any more than I already do.  I can be very impatient about waiting for a slow internet connection to connect. So, my attention naturally is drawn to

Ignorance is for the simple-minded.

Simple-mindedness comes from thinking about less.

So many of us are struggling daily with crumbling marriages, troubled children, joblessness, bill collectors and temptations of addictions that we hardly consider

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Intentional Ignorance

I've been reading all about how to write a compelling blog for the past two days, and my result. . . writer's block.

I keep coming back to intentional ignorance. I love that. Let me show you something. 

Ignorance is defined as:lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular. Without exception each and every one of us is naturally ignorant about something --- well, many things.
That's not good or bad, it just is.

But intentional ignorance.  Well, that's a good thing. 

It means that we are consciously making choices about what we want to know about, and how much we want to know. It's a matter of how we choose to spend our most valuable resource --- our time.

Intentional ignorance is about defining our values. 

Oh I could offer plenty of example of how it shows up in our relationships, and the condition of our bodies, and our value in the workplace.

But, the first step in practicing intentional ignorance is spotting it in your own life.  Go ahead, give it a try.  

Need some inspiration? 


Friday, February 8, 2013

What Does Your Dream Look Like?

                                                                SweetHartz hand-dipped Strawberries -- YUM!
I am amazed by the number of people watching and talking about the Jodi Arias trial. Believe it or not I just learned who she was and what she did last week.

That kind of ignorance is intentional.

For a year I watched my mother die of cancer. I saw her sit on her deck and take in the beauty of her gardens, the sounds of the song birds, and the warmth of the sun on her skin. I could tell by the expression on her face that she was savoring those those trivial, precious, and fleeting pleasures.

We arranged our schedule around her dwindling energy supply, and overwhelmed her with relatives wanting to get one last visit in with her. I listened to the regrets she had in living her life. And, we smiled together as she counted her victories and success.

More than anything that year taught me the value of time. I began making decisions accordingly. For years I had told friends and co-workers that all I wanted to do was live in a RV and travel the country and help people. Some were shocked when I announced that I had purchased the motor coach.  Others, (my sons included) praised me for having the courage to act on my dream.

It's not easy to follow a dream. Stepping out into the unknown is full of moments of, well, downright terror. But dreaming is addictive, and once one dream becomes a way of life, the next one is a little easier to grasp.  Not all of them are big life-changing ones. It's the attitude that counts. I'm continually reviewing my "dream list" and looking for opportunities to fulfill them -- so much so that I don't have time to keep up on the adventures of others, like Jodi Arias.

Are you watching her drama unfold?  Is that how you want to spend your life's precious moments? Maybe part of the fascination with her story is that she had the courage to act. I am not condoning what she did in any way, absolutely not. What I am saying is that maybe, just maybe, you are missing out on something really great in your own life by watching what is happening in hers. I'm urging you to consider finding the courage inside of you to act on your own behalf instead.

My brother has found that courage. He too has grabbed hold of his dream and is living it daily on the shores of Naples, Florida.  It's called SweetHartz Confections. His wife has just taken the plunge too, and just recently left her job at the law firm to live the dream with him.  Are there days of stress and exhaustion involved? You bet! But, those moments when the dream is all that you expected and more can't be beat!

What does your dream look like? What one thing can you do today to begin to live it? Begin...now

Just a reminder, Valentine's Day is a week away. Be sure to treat your special someone to delicious hand-dipped chocolates from SweetHartz, or your favorite local confectioner.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Land of the Free and home of the Brave?

Tempe Diablo Stadium backs up to this mountain, and when the national anthem plays at the beginning of every game, all activity halts, and a moment of silence prevails...but only a moment.

Today as I sit down to write, I am flooded with gratitude that we live in the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

What a cliche, right?  Sometimes it bothers me how little I acknowledge that freedom and how many opportunities I miss to practice bravery. And, honestly, I know I'm not the only slacking American here.

Ouch. I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but think about it. What have you done to exercise your freedom lately? How many true acts of bravery have you participated in this week?

I'm not talking about the freedom to express your sexual preferences in public, or the bravery required to rescue damsels in distress.

What I am talking about is freedom of the mind, and bravery of the heart. The kind that gives us courage to talk to a stranger who is obviously down on their luck. The kind that sees someone stranded on the side of the road with car trouble, and causes us to stop and help them -- even if it requires us to have some hard moments explaining why we are late to our boss because of it.  The kind that helps us hold our tongue when we have something less than kind to say about someone.

Just like this photo, we're consumed with a mountain of other priorities, and the values that we stand for are just a speck of color in our otherwise drab world. Climb that mountain and grab on to something really important today.

Freedom of the mind and bravery of the heart are yours!  Act accordingly.





Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's a Workamper to do?

The excitement is building among staff members as we move closer to Opening Day.  The beer and pepsi trucks delivered products yesterday, the coolers were installed in the concession stands, the lawnmower is in continual motion on the field, and this guy showed up to work on the graphics over the dugout.

In the next few days additional tents will be erected, the peanuts will be delivered, and signage of all sorts will be installed.  It's really fun to see it all come together.  Talk about feeling like you're making progress!

I'm a big believer in living in the moment, and I treasure every day I work here at the stadium. But, within weeks Spring Training Baseball Season 2013 will be history. And my job here will be over.

Workampers like me must always be on the lookout for our next gig. "Here today, gone tomorrow" is a way of life, so securing steady employment can be somewhat of a challenge. The right resources make all the difference. Search the web and you'll find seasonal opportunities on sites like CoolWorks.com, or SeasonalEmployment.com.  Specific for workampers are sites like Workamper.com and HappyVagabonds.com. Successful workampers know the importance of monitoring all of these sites on a regular basis to keep the paychecks coming.

The most interesting source I've found is The Caretaker Gazette. Not specific to workampers, their email alerts offer positions across the world, housing often included. Anything from caring for someone's cats at their flat in England for a couple of weeks to running a ranch in Australia is listed.  Of course there are plenty of US jobs posted, but some of the most interesting positions to me include house-sitting in Spain for the entire winter season, and managing an estate in France -- for which the pay was $100,000 with a disclaimer that stated that you may be required to work a few extra hours when the family was there during the holidays. Wow! Not even full-time residents to service??

I can't believe the amazing variety and excessive number of jobs available around the country and the world. Hard to believe that anyone would want for a job when, with a little bit of effort and ingenuity all these great opportunities can be had. One of the most out-of-the-ordinary posts showed up this week:
CARETAKER(S) NEEDED. Management and maintenance skills required as caretaker(s) oversee the airport and maintain the grounds of the Trona Airport. Applicants must have aircraft and airport knowledge. Must have a high degree of tact, good judgment, and sincerity in dealing professionally with people and have the ability to get along with airport patrons... Applications are available at the Trona Community Senior Center. 
Maintaining an airport .. .  at a Senior Center? I didn't check on all the details, but this ad just goes to show that there are no limits to what employers may be search for. Granted, qualifications may require skills and education beyond our scope, but just the awareness that these types of opportunities exist inspires and encourages me.  I know that there are plenty of adventures ahead. Today Spring Training Baseball in Tempe, Arizona --- tomorrow. . . well, who knows!

*I'll be posting photos of our progress at the stadium on my Facebook page.  Check out my Spring Training Baseball 2013 album to view the pics!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Global Community

One of the very few disadvantages of being a workamper is not being part of a local community.  Since we rarely stay in one place more than a few months at most, there is really not time to solidify relationships the way permanent residents can. And, on the flip side, we're usually not at our legally identified permanent residences enough to practice the fine arts of friendship "at home".

However, we do share our own neighborly bonds. When I pull into a new location and park my rig, immediately I am part of the community where I am parked. We introduce ourselves, uncover some mutual interests, hobbies, or travel adventures, and from then on we are friends.  We eat together, we help each other, and watch out for each other. All differences are put aside and our commonalities become lasting bonds.

I've been processing new hires at Tempe Diablo Stadium for the Spring Training Baseball Season, and amidst all the paperwork and new faces I have the surprising and great joy of bumping into other returning "workampers" --- aka friends. We can't wait to spend time catching up on our adventures of the past year, and add more friends to our future traveling circles.

The new employees are mesmerized by our bonds, and as I scan their paperwork I see clues to how they will become part of our circles in the future. Workampers typically find work through common sources and employers, and besides where you are parked, these employment references are another one of our bonding commonalities. These employers are listed frequently in my pile of paperwork --- yippeee! -- that means more friends for all!

When I am at home alone in my coach, I can get really lonely thinking about all my loved ones, how far away they are, and how much I want to hear and see and touch them, and especially how I long for a permanent community.  But when I come face to face with my comrades of the road, I am reminded that even permanent communities have limited time together. I have to make the most of the present moment. Ahh, these bond of the heart are bittersweet, and thankfully, eternal.
 

Monday, February 4, 2013

There's No Place Like Home!

True confessions time:  I'm not an avid sports fan.  I don't know how the teams compare to each other, and I can't list the star players' names and stats. 

I do however, love to watch a great game, regardless of rankings, league, or player status. I love all that goes into the game in addition to the teams and their coaches --- the food, the half-time entertainment, the commercials, and especially unexpected events like a 34-minute electrical delay.  

Of course I'm speaking specifically about this year's Super Bowl, which I completely expected to miss to take advantage of the pool at the Arizona Biltmore Resort this weekend. However, clouds and rain changed my plan. Instead of snoozing on a lounge chair, I opted for an overstuffed chair in my hotel room. Little did I know I was in for a big treat.

Football games are a little too slow moving for me. Plays are timed to fit in commercial breaks, and a one-hour game turns into a 3-hour viewing experience. Movies are also dissected and shown in a similar manner. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that pairing the two gave me the opportunity to watch the Ravens beat the 49ers and Sex and the City 2 at the same time! 

By the end of the game, my masculine and feminine sides were perfectly relaxed and balanced. And I realized that what I expected to get out of my resort experience could have been just as easily attainable in front of the tv screen in my coach.

The Biltmore grounds are beautifully manicured, its architecture the classic Frank Lloyd Wright that I love, but when it came right down to it, no amount of resort pampering could make up for viewing the game without having my favorite snacks at my fingertips and my comfy pillows within reach. Just goes to show, there truly is no place like home. 

Now, that the Super Bowl and my stay at the 5-star resort is over, it's time to get back to Spring Training Baseball. Tune in tomorrow for the latest stadium updates, and soon, the team's arrival! 



Friday, February 1, 2013

Besides baseball. . .

Cactus in Bloom
All of you baseball fans out there are probably well aware of all the Cactus League Spring Training info, but just in case you need more, here's a great link.

I'm betting that maybe a few of you are  looking for more than just a great day of soaking up the sun at the ball park. Well you're in for a treat. Phoenix offers plenty of options.  One is the Phoenix Botanical Gardens just minutes from several of the stadiums. I took my entire family there and they all (male, female, young and old) enjoyed the visit.

Another great thing to do in Phoenix is eat! Yeah, I know, a plump, juicy hot dog and ice cold beer at the ball park does hit the spot, but don't forget about dinner! Chefs and culinary wizards of all nationalities have set up shop throughout the Valley and are ready to fill you bellies with yummy goodness.

For the sophisticated pallet there's Atlas Bistro, one of my personal favorites for unique presentations and flavor combinations. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Los Dos Molinos where spicy mexican food and over the top dive-decor rule. In between these there's a plethora of hot spots where up-and-coming chefs are employing the latest techniques to serve up steaks, sushi, or satay. They are all ready and waiting for you!

And, of course at the end of the day, after the game and dinner there is no shortage of places to lay your head. Phoenix can certainly boast about is it's great selection of fine hotels and resorts. During Spring Training Baseball Season you'll pay top dollar to stay at these luxurious lairs. However, I have had the good fortune to secure three free nights at one of them, the Arizona Biltmore.  Just read this description:
The “Jewel of the Desert.”
A history of living in the moment.
Since 1929, Arizona Biltmore has been a destination of inspiration. 39 acres of gardens, swimming pools and iconic architecture stir a city to life, provide safe haven to celebrities and presidents, and play muse to guests’ whims and wishes throughout this historical luxury resort. Championship golf, a 22,000+ square foot spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants, and a variety of amenities await you. Experience the unrivaled grace of this timeless treasure with a spirited soul.
Hmmm, sounds divine doesn't it? While I am utterly content living in my coach, I don't mind an occasional weekend get-away like this. Have to go pack my bag, I'll let you know more about it from there!