Control your perspective, control your happiness

I have a summer refuge where I love to spend quiet time. It’s our back patio. My wife & I designed the space to be a place of tranquility.

One of my favorite summer things to do is to have my morning coffee on the patio and to review everything in my life that I am thankful for, and luckily for me, that’s a long list.

This morning was one of those mornings, and even though not everything is as I would hope I still decided that life is good and I savored the moment.

Before heading back into the house to get ready for the day I checked the news which reinforced the view that not everyone thinks life is good at the moment.

For everyone out there that has decided to make political activism their life’s mission, good for you. As I have mentioned in previous posts, following politics is part of my job responsibilities, especially as to how pending legislation affects small business.

With that said, I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re rooting for, and I’ve been on both sides at one time or another in my life, if your happiness is dependent upon a particular political outcome then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Trust me, politics is a blood sport and political decisions go back and forth depending on the wind that day. Now, I wish it wasn’t that way, but that’s the reality of politics, but that’s not my point with this blog.

I learned a while back that your happiness is dependent on you, the choices that you make, and on your perspective of life in general. There are so many outside influences that have an effect on your daily life that you have to be careful and prioritize those things that are most important to you and not let everything else overshadow them. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about fleeting happiness, like when you get a free upsize at the coffee shop, I’m talking about overall happiness, your collective life and being, also known as the Big Picture.

For me its my Faith, wife, home, family and business. And as my wife will tell you, I defend the sanctity of home with a fervent passion. When we invite you into our home it is with love, acceptance and respect. That’s how we live, and I will expect no less from anyone else within the walls of our home. And that’s an important way in which we keep our lives in balance and happy in a world that seems to grow crazier by the day.

Please note that I didn’t say you have to agree with our life philosophies, whether it be religious or political, just respect our view as we will yours. It’s ok to disagree with someone’s view, it’s not ok to attack them for it. Honestly, I prefer to talk with people who have opposing views as it’s a challenge for me and helps me to grow. Unfortunately those days seem to be behind us.

But as usual, I digress. My point is, don’t let other people or events, whether it be politicians, employers/employees, SCOTUS decisions or something as mundane as today’s weather forecast determine if you’re happy. Instead focus on all that you have been blessed with and be thankful for each and every one of them! And if you’re a person of faith and believe in God, then be sure to thank Him, even when you’re having a tough day. Your happiness resides within you, sometimes you just have to reach a little deeper to find it. It’s there, it’s always there, it just gets buried sometimes with all of the other trivial nonsense that is day to day life.

As always, thank you for reading. To quote the lyrics of a Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

In memory of Chloe, our Bernese Mtn. Dog that was a shining example of how to be happy every day!

Embrace the Change

With the change of Administrations in America I thought I would take a lighter view at how I should prepare for such a change –

Trade in my high-powered sports car for a Prius.

Change out some of my red clothes for more blue.

Go from an Android phone to an iPhone.

Install solar panels on my roof & a wind turbine at my business

Convert all of the light bulbs in my house to LED.

Cancel my subscription to Men’s Journal and start reading Rolling Stone.

Stop watching Fox and start watching CNN.

Change from a Windows laptop to an Apple Mac

Listen to less talk radio and more music.

Change my focus at the gym from weight lifting to yoga classes.

Consider a rescue dog instead of a pure-breed, or perhaps even get a cat.

Start eating more organic foods.

Switch from coffee to Chia tea

Buy a water filter instead of bottled water

Reassess my gender status…………..or not.

Stop learning Russian and start learning Chinese.

However, the one thing that isn’t changing is that the U.S. flag is still red, white AND blue!

So, are we there yet?

You know, I’ve tried to keep this blog site about favorite quotes, life experiences and relationships. The last thing we need is another political perspective, but here I am, breaking my own rules for the second time.

During campaigns I watch both political parties to see what they have to offer. The big thing this past campaign season was the promise of unity, particularly coming from now President-elect Biden. Well, here we are, a true moment of crisis, when, even though he’s not President yet, he could step in and act as the adult and stop all of this heated rhetoric coming from Congress, which is only inflaming the situation more. I remember two specific things that he said during the campaign – one, that he would be a unifying President, a President for all of the people, and two, that he was the head of the Democrat party.

So, Mr. President-elect Biden here’s your chance to show who’s in control, to show true leadership. I had hoped that you would do so, and I’m still hoping, but instead you have deferred to Congress while you focus on other matters. Well, in my humble opinion this is kind of important. It’s your first real test of whether you will be a President who at least tries to unite this country, or you’re just another politician that says nice things to get elected, and then once elected acts otherwise. We don’t need another politician at the moment, we need a leader, someone who will act decisively and with compassion. I’m hoping that leader is you.

The country is at a fever pitch, and I have never seen such political hate in my lifetime, along with so much disinformation and lack of contextual meaning. I know it’s a terrible way to have to begin your time in office, but it’s your Gerald Ford moment. I’m sure President Ford wasn’t happy about circumstances surrounding his start in office, but history has judged him kindly for being the President who started the healing process for the nation when he could have just as easily exacerbated it. I know he didn’t make a popular decision, and a very difficult one at the time, but he stepped up to the plate and he did it, and the country was better for it. Obviously this is your call, and either way, you will still be President on January 20th, so congratulations on that.

Here are some of my suggestions for ALL of our politicians involved in this current situation (not that I think any of them will heed my advice) –

Let’s not be selective in our condemnation of violence. I have spent the summer watching our cities being looted, burned, and people being murdered, and hardly a word from many of our politicians. Violence is violence, and it’s just as horrifying for someone who has a loved one slain, or for the small business owner watching their small business & livelihood being destroyed as it is watching the Capitol being attacked. All violence should be condemned, and all perpetrators of such should be charged accordingly.

Let’s not call police racist one day, and then call them heroes when YOU need them. The family of the slain Capitol police officer has asked that his death not be politicized, and I respect them for that. And they certainly have my sympathy and prayers, which I offer to all LEO’s hurt or killed in the line of duty.

I have always used the criteria for judging the political parties, that if it’s ok for one party, then it’s ok for the other. What is fair for one is fair for the other. What I’m seeing in current events is gravely concerning. Censorship has no place in America, and yet it’s happening, and with the blessing of Liberals. I would never advocate for censorship for any U.S. political party or ideology. I think history has shown us that it never ends well for anyone. I would much rather know up front where someone stands, as opposed to having them conniving in the shadows. Censorship belongs to such countries as China or Russia, never to the United States of America. Oh wait, those country’s leaders and political parties have yet to be censored in the U.S.

And to all of my family members who have at times found it necessary to meet my views with vitriol, please try to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and if you think less of me for it, then so be it. I do not base my relationships on some political litmus test. Though I must admit, in the current environment I could easily be convinced to do so, and there is the problem, how easy it is to fall prey for such nonsense. I am however always open to thoughtful, and yes sometimes spirited political conversation, not in the hopes of changing minds, but to increase each other’s awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

So, I ask President-elect Biden, and ALL of our politicians, what does the future hold for the citizens of America? Will we be the United States of America, or will we continue our downward spiral and become the Fractured States of America? I know what our foreign adversaries are hoping for, how about we dash those hopes and start moving forward? We can’t change the past, only learn from it. We have to deal with the present while planning for the future.

Oh, I almost forgot, my title for this article posed as a question, “So, are we there yet?” I’m asking whether we’ve hit rock bottom yet, or do we still have a ways to go? So, America, are we there yet???

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post, and I promise, no more politics here, as I think we all are at the saturation point on this topic. Looking forward to getting back to more thoughtful, if not mundane, topics. Besides, I might be censored before long! Lord have mercy!

Teddy Roosevelt quote

After these past 4 years I thought that this is a fitting quote –

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

– Teddy Roosevelt

This is also especially fitting for any small business owner who goes to work everyday and succeeds in spite of what sometimes seems like insurmountable odds. And if they should fail, then at least they tried and will never have to play the “what if” game. As we have been shown, dare to try great things. In some of your efforts you may have success, while others not so much. But in the end you will be the one to have made a difference, not the critic, and that’s what counts.



I have intentionally stayed away from addressing anything political in my blog if for no other reason than it has become more divisive than usual. But it is just for that reason that I have decided it’s time to say something, even if I receive grief for it. You see, politics is part of my life, part of my job responsibilities, but it is not my whole life. Unfortunately, it has become a religion of sorts for so many people now, a religion that is divisive and mean spirited. And before you blame the other side, trust me, no political party has the corner on being holier-then-thou anymore than another!

I would like to think that we all identify as Americans first, but sadly we seem more focused on and aligned with partisan politics. Personally, I pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag, not to a political party. I used to think that the two party system was beneficial for the forging of well thought out discussions and debates, and ultimately better decisions. Sadly, it seems as though it has become an all or nothing conquest, with the ultimate goal of complete and absolute power, while vanquishing the other side. If people would focus less on the (D) or (R) next to a politician’s name and more on the individual candidate I think we would have better quality officials. My real wish is that more of us would register as an (I) Independent voter, which is someone with no political party affiliation (not to be confused with the Independence Party), but NYS laws make that difficult due to the fact that Independent voters are not allowed to vote in the primaries, unlike other States which do allow it. If however, you feel as though a certain political party association is what you want, then in my humble opinion you have a responsibility to not only let the opposing party know where they can improve, but just as important, if not more so, to hold your political party to account for their actions, or lack thereof. I have done this myself on many occasions, and I can honestly say that I was not ostracized for speaking my mind. If your political party cannot stand constructive criticism from within, then perhaps you should look for another party.

I think what saddens me the most is that more times than not people don’t want to hear anything that doesn’t fit with their narrative. And should someone present them with some piece of evidence or a study that should challenge that narrative, then they lash out at that person and then strive to discredit any and all information as well as its author, that doesn’t fit their perception of the situation. Not only does this sadden me, I also fear it is most dangerous for the future of our country. If we are unwilling to look at or consider information, ideas or opinions that are outside of our comfort zone, then how do we truly expect to improve the country’s current situation? Sometimes I will review political comments made online at various news outlets, and I am shocked at how mean and cutthroat people can be. Is this what we want to become as a nation?

I truly try to make an effort to listen to both sides, and I will admit, I’m not always great at it, but at least I make an effort. I have come to the conclusion that people would prefer their news source give them affirmation of their beliefs instead of all the information that will help them to use their own intellect to reach a logical conclusion. To quote Henry David Thoreau –

“Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.”

And guess what, it’s ok to disagree with someone on any given issue. That is why we have the art of compromise.

I have never recommended that someone NOT watch, listen or read a particular news outlet or commentary. If anything, I always recommend that you watch & listen to as many as possible in order to be an informed voter. As I have found out over the years, the devil is always in the details.

Lately it’s seems as though if you’re not disparaging the U.S., its leaders, political body and history then you’re tone deaf, racist, etc. I know that the United States is not perfect, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be. What I do know is that it has provided opportunity for millions of people since its founding, as well as a level of prosperity for its citizens that has more often than not improved with each new generation.

Have there been problems along the way, and past sins that need to be rectified? Absolutely! But here’s the thing, this country continues to do just that, work towards rectifying the sins of the past while also addressing the needs of the future. Now, I’m not saying that it’s happening as fast as anyone would like, but unlike so many other countries, it is happening, and via the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we have the necessary tools to make it happen.

So I guess all I’m saying is let’s stop all of the shouting at and disparaging of one another, and lets start listening to one another. And lets not only listen to those with which we agree, but more importantly, lets talk with and listen to those who may have something else to say, that just might, maybe, possibly enlighten us and make us a better citizen and a more informed voter.

As Jesus said, “the poor will always be with us”. That doesn’t mean that we should accept it or ignore it, but we should continue to strive to eradicate it, or at the very least minimize it to the best of our ability. And this is how I view racism. As much as I would like to see it eradicated, knowing the human condition as it is, that may never happen, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it either. I believe the United States will continue to improve race relations and with God’s guidance make racism the exception and not the rule.


Here’s an illustration of perspective. When you look at the above picture of the U.S. flag what do you see? Do you see a symbol of oppression, a flag falling to the ground as the sun sets on its promise and glory, or…………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

do you see what I see? I see a flag pole that’s pointed left, thus recognizing our liberal values, while the flag itself is flowing right, signifying our conservative values, both perspectives creating a tension that keeps them in balance with one another, all while the sun is signifying the start of a new and promising day.

I pray that all of this turmoil will lead to a new day for our country where we accept and respect one another, and go on to achieve great things for all of our citizens.

So, no matter your political affiliation or views, I wish you all the best that this country has to offer. And as always, thank you for reading.