Thursday, March 31, 2011

Week of Awesome

Let's face it.  Life is funny.  One minute you're flying high like teenagers in love, and the next minute, you're being dumped.
Life will do that to you.  It's gonna be filled with moments that make your heart stop in good and bad ways.  You're gonna get hurt, someone you love is gonna get hurt, and life will deal you with some tough blows.  We can do one of two things:
  1. Fill ourselves up with gloom and mope around the world forever or,
  2. We can dare to be different and look at the world with a new perspective.
I don't think life has dealt me terribly difficult cards, but I have had bouts of depression, been rejected by people I loved, took chances that turned out badly, and have lost loved ones.

But I've been lucky, because I've learned through inspiring authors, friends, coaches, and family members a secret - a way to make my life better - and I hope you know what I'm talking about.

Yes awesome things make my life better, and if you notice them, maybe they'll do the same for you.

Whether its the off the wall comments your three year old son makes, or finally getting the free coffee on your frequent coffee card, these tiny things make a huge difference.

So next week will be my "AWESOME!" week.  Monday thru Friday we are going to do it Neil Pasricha style and blog each day about the awesome things in life.

To get an idea of what I'm gonna do go here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The art of kissing

When you think about it, isn't kissing a weird thing?   Putting your lips onto someone else's is a strange human interaction if you ask me.  But a passionate kiss between two love birds, is pretty awesome.  I highly recommend it, especially for all you married folks out there.  I'll share why I think a passionate kiss a day is good for your marriage later, but first - let me explain why I am a kissing expert.

My senior year of college the campus radio station was hosting a kissing contest during the all campus party.  I just happened to be walking past the radio station where a bunch of my friends yelled out,  "Nate Dog, you gotta be a part of this kissing contest!"  Being the shy reluctant type, I declined.  But after heavy peer pressure and after I saw the girl I would be kissing, I said yes.   What can I say, she was cute, there were only a couple of weeks left until graduation, why not live it up?!  Plus if I won the contest I would get some cash.

There were three other dudes that I was competing against.  They had no chance against me.   One by one the cute blindfolded girl would kiss a guy, and after each kiss she would rate them.  The first guy cheated and used too much tongue, so he only got a 3.  The next two guys tried their best, but only could muster sevens.

Last but not least, was my turn.  Here is how it all went down!  I approached her and put one hand behind her neck, and another on her side.  I kissed her gently and slowly for about five seconds.  After the kiss, she was dazed, awestruck, and at a loss for words.  My score - a perfect ten!  YES!

Just then the radio DJ's made one more call for any last second kissing contestants, as they made the announcement a man who was walking by stopped and said, "Oh, I'm in girlfriend!"

This guy was probably the most flaming gay man on campus.  He walked right up to the girl, dipped her and kissed her Hollywood style - immediately the crowd went crazy with their hootin' and hollerin'.  The cute girl announced, "We have a winner!"

The gay man grabbed his cash and said, "See what your missing out on boys!" 


I was robbed I tell you!

The weird act of kissing, elicits all types of emotions.  The awkward junior high kiss, the first kiss as a married couple, and the first time kissing your newborn baby.  Kissing, is pretty cool.  Which is why I think kissing your loved one should be done frequently.  If you're married, one big fat wet kiss a day is a must!  Hopefully it's with your spouse.

Kissing is one of the most intimate and important acts that loved ones should do.  It rekindles passion, and makes life a lot more fun. 

Don't take my word on it.  I lost a kissing contest to a gay man.  But, hey I'm still married and the sparks still fly with my wife of eight years.  That's worth bragging about. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life's greatest hits

Sunday evening Winona and I went for a walk amongst the historic buildings of Jordan while the snow was falling.  As we held hands, the snow crunched under our feet and the orange glow from the city street lamps had a calming effect on us.  When we came back home, we kicked the snow off our boots, went inside, and started the nightly kid bedtime ritual. 

After sleepy little heads hit the pillow, I walk downstairs, turn on some Miles Davis, and slowly sip a cup of hot tea and watch the snow fall.  Completely.  Relaxed. 

My mind wandered to the past.

I thought about the night I laid back on the hood of my car, looked up to the night sky and saw shooting star after star flashing across the horizon. 

I thought about the evening mom and I walked beneath the northern lights.  We watched the shimmer in the north grow and gradually dance across the entire night sky. 

I thought about the vacation in Glacier National Park with my bride of two months.  We moved our sleeping bags outside, rolled them out under the stars, and with her head on my chest, and my eyes on the constellations, I tried to make time stand still.

Now as I finish my cup of tea, I realize tonight provided me another wonderful memory that I can add to the list when I'm thinking about life's greatest hits. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Search For Purpose

In early December 1987, the Warden family jumped into their grey Dodge Caravan to cut down a Christmas tree.  Mom, Dad, my brothers and I normally picked up our pre-cut pine tree from the local garden center.  This year Dad wanted to cut down our own tree.  So we grabbed our rusty saw and off we went.

A few miles down the road, mom asked if we were buckled in.  I wasn't belted.  I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "I should probably buckle up, but I'd rather not".  I thought about the potential consequences of being in an accident, but decided the chances were slim.  My brothers put on their seat belts, and I stubbornly looked at my seat belt, and did nothing.

We were driving east down county road 8 and stopped at the stop sign before crossing highway 13. My dad looked left, and didn't look long enough right before crossing.  He proceeded to cross highway 13. My brothers and I were fooling around in the back when my mother gasped loudly.  Upon hearing mom I started to look out the window and -- BANG a conversion van traveling north on highway 13 hit the passenger side of our Dodge.  

I blacked out and awakened a few moments later face down on the asphalt.  Shattered glass was all around me.  The van that had struck us, was just a few feet from my head.   Being only 11 years old at the time, I was scared.  But completely unharmed.  Not one scratch, cut, or bruise.  I quickly jumped to my feet and ran back to my family who were still belted in the car. 

The back gate was flung open.  It became obvious this is how I exited the vehicle.  Either the gate opened upon impact, or my less than 100 pound flying body hit the back hatch and forced it ajar.  I entered the car the way I exited and climbed over the back seat to where I was sitting before anyone noticed I was missing.

My youngest brother was crying, my mother tried to calm him, and my father was quiet.  What was going to be a memorable day, became memorable in a much different way than we thought.  

The days following the accident, teachers and family members told me that I must have a good guardian angel.  Who was I to argue with them?  Was I just really lucky, or did I really have a guardian angel?

Many years later I often reflect back to that December day and I can't help but think: I shouldn't have survived.  Why didn't I die?  The more I think about it, the more I believe God protected me.   Why did he protect me?   Am I here in Jordan, Minnesota to fulfill a part of His plan?  Its been over two decades since this has happened, have I done what He wanted me to do?  If not, what is His plan for me?  Is it to build a relationship with someone?  To be there for someone when they need it?  To be a good parent?  To write this blog for you? 

And so I search for purpose.

Maybe instead of searching for my purpose what I should be doing is leading a life of purpose.  The difference is living life deliberately.  If I search for my purpose, I may never find it.  Searching and hoping to find purpose postpones fulfillment for the future and leaves me unfulfilled today.

The emphasis is not finding your singular snowflake purpose, but living deliberately where you start to experience a life of purpose.  It's all about creating experiences built for others now.

When I ask people what their purpose is, the one's that are lost, think about their purpose in the future tense, the ones that are leading a life of purpose think of a recent past event that occurred this morning or yesterday.

That's what I will try to do... live life intentionally, right now.  I assume my life will still have difficulties, and heartaches, but I will be happier today, and not sacrifice happiness today for delayed gratification that may not come.

Tomorrow is not promised.  I'm lucky to have lived after flying out the back of a dodge caravan, now the challenge is to live as if I'm on borrowed time.