Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Six “F”s for a ‘Sort of’ Balanced Life

The other day I was speaking with a coaching partner about how to ‘balance’ our lives. Is that ever an elusive pursuit, but one pursuing nevertheless.  I shared with him the 6 F’s for a balanced life.   Years ago I was introduced to the Six  F’s, a great framework for thinking about various categories in our lives.  And a great way to juggle one’s life.

The Six are in no particular order Faith, Family, Friends, Finance, Fitness and Fun and any other F you want to add.

Faith.

Today it’s popular to talk about ‘spirituality’. That’s great.  My preference is to think about my faith, the part of me called my soul that connects with ultimate reality, and for me that ultimate reality is “God”.  A personal God at that, and a Father, with a mother’s heart. I nurture my faith as a priority because everyday I need to be reminded that my soul matters to Someone, and that I am that Someone’s beloved, cherished child.  So I make time every day in my schedule to nourish my faith.

Family.

This part is all about my marriage and now adult children and grandchildren.  I could say so much about this but suffice it to say that i believe the quality of my life rises and falls on the quality of my family relationships.  So I make sure to invest in my marriage with regular check in’s with my bride of 36 plus years, plus special scheduled weekends away, and annual vacations alone.

With my adult ‘kids’, I make sure to ask them where dad can connect with them and their kids, and how dad can best be part of their lives without imposing my passion for them on them.

Finances.

So much of our lives is consumed with making money.   Over the years my wife and I have worked hard to have margin financially as with other areas of our lives.  We continue to practice the fundamentals of saving as much as we can, giving as much as we can, and spending as little as we can.  We also make sure that we put enough away so that we are not presumptuous about the future, thinking there will be someone out there to take care of us. Good luck with that.

Friends.

As the years go by this is an area I pay close attention to.  Who are my real friends? Who are the people who I can count on and who can count on me?  In a pinch, who would be my ‘go to’ buds? I’m glad my wife and I have a few of these that we know we can depend on, and I trust they know they can count on us too.

Proverbs 18:24 says, Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family.

How true is that piece of ancient scripture!

Fitness

There is so much written on this today, and so many opportunities to get ‘fit’ and stay fit.  I have no trouble working out. This is the easiest for me to schedule although I still find it challenging to do consistently with age. My fitness regime is one of swimming twice a week by doing 60-70 lengths in olympic size pool, plus running/walking twice a week for 50-60 minutes, and two days in the gym on weights and machines.  My wife says I am a ‘bull’.  Not really but I love having this routine and it provides a strong physical foundation for the many life and work related tasks I take on.

Fun.

This one I have to work on. I enjoy reading and watching movies and films, but am ‘light’ on hobbies.  I don’t know if I ever will have a hobby but I continue to include fun in my life because I know I need it.

I have found the following rendition of the Lord’s prayer a wonderful ‘soul’ tonic for days when I am feeling out of balance.  I call this psalm or prayer the psalm for ‘out of balance’ people.

Psalm 23 for Busy People

Toki Miyashina

The Lord is my Pace Setter, I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness,
Which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency,
through calmness of mind; and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity,
by anointing my head with his oils of tranquility,
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,

dwell in His house forever.
.Image

 

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Laughter in the Walls on my 61st Birthday

My day is winding down and I am writing this after having had a day of wonderful blessings from so many family and friends, near and far. Birthdays are sort of great but as one starts to realize you have much less time to live than you have already lived, well, it’s kind of a huge siren call.

Coming home tonight I walked around our home, inside and out, and just listened to the quiet of the side of our house and backyard where so many memories were created with our boys as they were growing—kicking soccer balls, playing football and bocce, and ‘playing war’ around the spacious area around our property.  As one listens to the quiet, one wonders where did all the laughter go.  It’s still there, I think, but in another form, and I need to slow myself down to ‘hear it’ again.

I suppose it’s stored up and hopefully treasured in each heart that once occupied the space of our home.

My bride of almost 38 years and I have both recently celebrated key milestone birthdays. I’m not allowed to mention her number but it’s one less than mine.  These days when we are on our own, our sentences often begin with…”Do you remember when….?” and then we’ll go off on some beautiful memory that created a laugh, a concern, a joy, a cheer, a prayer or two, or just an overall pleasant experience that we carry around with us as a way to nourish our own emotions as life moves so quickly past us.

In reviewing the day an old poem came to mind. They are not my words but the words of the late Bob Benson reflecting on his own memories of days gone by and although the scenario of his life was different than ours, the emotions are the same.

It’s simply called Laughter in the Walls, and every time I read it, a tear comes to my eye. I recall reading it over 30 years ago. Now 30 plus years later and 3 adult sons, two daughters in ‘love’ and 2 grand kids later, the poem still speaks to the deepest  part of my soul.

On this 61st birthday I was reminded to cherish every relationship, every moment of what’s left of my life.  And I don’t want to just reflect on the past laughter but continue to create more laughter in the walls of our home into the future.

Laughter in the Walls by Bob Benson

LAUGHTER IN THE WALLS
by Bob Benson

I pass a lot of houses
on my way home.
Some pretty,
some expensive,
some inviting.

But my heart always skips a beat
when I turn down the road
and see my house
nestled against the hill.

I guess I’m especially proud
of the house
and the way it looks
because I drew the plans myself.
It started out large enough for us–
I even had a study;
two teenage boys
now reside in there.
And it had a guest room;
my girl and nine dolls
are permanent guests.
It had a small room
Peg had hoped
would be her sewing room,
the two boys swinging
on the Dutch door
have claimed this room as their own.
So it really doesn’t look right now
as if I’m much of an architect.
But it will get larger again.

One by one they will go away–
to work, to college,
to service,
to their own houses.
And then there will be room–
a guest room, a study,
and a sewing room–
just for the two of us.

But it won’t be empty.
Every corner, every room,
every nick in the coffee table
will be crowded
with memories.
Memories of picnics,
parties, Christmases,
bedside vigils, summers,
fires, winters, going barefoot,
leaving for vacation, cats,
conversations, black eyes,
graduations, first dates,
ball games, arguments,
washing dishes, bicycles,
dogs, boat rides,
getting home from vacation,
meals, rabbits,
and a thousand other things
that fill the lives
of those who would raise five.

And Peg and I
will sit quietly by the fire
and listen to the
laughter in the walls.