Connection

I am part of humanity. My experience is that we humans are a social race. A social race in need of connection.

I find that I am happier and content when I connect with others. It seems to me that those I come in contact with also enjoy connection.

So instead of division why don’t I focus more on connection? Methinks me might need to extend a bit more energy reaching out to others rather than turning inward.

Today I contemplate focusing on reaching out. Today I contemplate looking for similarities.

Today I share with you in order that I might connect with you, someone whom I may not know well but might connect with as humanity.

Watch it. Watch it until the end.

These are just a few of our favorite things…

Soft oversized 100% cotton shirts

Puppy kisses

Textures in the landscape

Old houses

Rolling meadows full of bright green grasses

Humming birds

Plane rides

Roses

Art

Eccentic people who aren’t afraid to express their originality

Cuddling

Family

Hirsute gentlemen

Hardwood floors

The color Red

A soft breeze

Train horns

Open minds

Friends

Laughter

Make believe

Freshly baked cake

Baseball

Forests

Butter

A child’s smile

The stars, moon & sun

Peace

Being of service to others

Some of you know I’m sober. Some may have picked up I follow a twelve step program. Others reading this may not have a clue about these personal detail but guess what, now you do.

The final step, the twelfth step, is about carrying the message and helping others who want or desire help. It’s about helping each other. It’s about helping the group. It’s about improving just the little part of the world that surrounds oneself. It’s simply being of service.

Earlier today while driving to the grocery I was contemplating what difference can I make? What difference in the vast world? How could I change the world? How can I, big bearded little me, make any difference?

Start. Start right here. Start with what I have. Start where I am. Do one thing that makes this little area right around me better. Clean the trash or of a shopping cart left out in the parking lot and bring it in to use. Then return that shopping cart clean and ready for use in the proper spot. Smile and share humor with the clerk adding “Thank You, I hope you have a great day” when walking away. Be courteous when driving home. Let someone ahead of me in traffic. Put my neighbors trash cans away  for them after I park my car before carrying my groceries in from the alley. Leave each place I encounter just a little better than I found it by doing just one simple gesture.

Little things have ripple effects. I feel good when I do good. Others feel good when I share good. Good interactions lead to more. More leads to even more.

Turns out being of service is simply doing little things that improve small situations. This little service returns big results. When each of us do simple little things to make each immediate area around us better than we found it, imagine. Imagine the possibilities.

Go ahead. It has to start somewhere. 😉👍😃

 

21 Things

I find that practicing gratitude is often the easiest way to a positive outlook. Being grateful for the things I have in my life can keep me in an upbeat mood and can change my mood from bad to good should I find myself lost in a dark alley. Gratitude can shift me out of darkness and/or keep me in the light. I must remember to practice it daily.

I find gratitude in the blessings in my everyday life. I can also be grateful for simply the things I enjoy whether they are mine or just around me in my world. Two bloggers I enjoy, Mark & Anne Marie, both recently posted a list of 21 things they like. What better way to stay positive or shift oneself toward a great outlook and a wonderful day?

Here goes …Fearsome’s 21 things we like (in no certain order):

1. Our home

2. San Diego

3. Coffee

4. Dogs

5. The Better Half

6. Chicken Parmesan

7. Real Estate

8. Blogging

9. Mornings

10. Rain

11. Magic

12. Baseball

13. Beards

14. Good sheets

15. Art

16. Travel

17. The Beach

18. Breezes

19. Spinach smoothies

20. Work

21. Shopping

Damn, I have to stop here? To keep from boring you I will, however I will add to the list on my own. That was easy and I feel great. May you have a great day too!

It’s a Beautiful Morning!

I awoke before sunrise this morning as my little dog Patsy jumped right in the middle of me to give me a morning kiss right in my very own bed. Damn it’s good to be home.

Beautiful is a state of mind. I believe it’s a state of mind each and every one of us can put ourselves in at any time we choose. I find all I need to do is appreciate the simple things that enrich my life at that very moment and everything begins to shift toward a better, beautiful and fulfilling state of being.

May your day be beautiful!

Tipping point

I crossed a big line today. I’ve tipped the point.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my moving from the east to the west coast. It was the anniversary of equality. I had lived for exactly the amount of time on the west coast as I had on the east coast the day I left. I have lived with The Better Half for each and every day on this here west coast.

As of today I have now lived away from my hometown longer than I lived there. Thus I have also lived with The Better Half longer than any common thread of any possible past current earthly existence.

I love you Better Half. Thank you for caring enough to show me the way to my real home.

“Worry has no real power” ….John Chester

I grew up with worry. I had a mother who worried, a grandmother who worried, a dad who worried, aunts and uncles who worried. It was a culture. A culture of worry born out of the depression era of the 1930s & 40s followed by the Cold War.

Does worry accomplish anything at all? Yes. Worry wastes time. Worry causes stress. Worry interferes with relationships. Worry manifests illusions. Worry breeds distrust. Worry interferes with contentment, peace, happiness and serenity. Worry is born out of fear. Cultivating worry cultivates fear.

Can we learn to let go? Can we relieve ourselves of worry?

I believe we can.

For me I must realize that I am “part of” not the “master of”. I only contribute, I am not the all powerful. Life was here before me and will be after me. In letting go I gain the power of freedom. By focusing on what I can change, not what I can’t, I can actually make a difference.

Fearsome Bakes

It’s my nephew’s 29th birthday. He lives here in sunny San Diego California near his uncle. The rest of our family lives back east spread here and there along the coastal states but mostly right in the center of it all. A place I call Virginia.

Needless to say his mother is back there so the maternal side of Fearsome popped out when I asked him yesterday which of his mother’s home made cakes he would like us to bake for him to celebrate. Her Coca Cola cake was his answer.

So today I set aside a few hours of kitchen time. Quality time with the dogs, fresh pressed coffee, a Rich Roll pod cast and my circa 1946 Gaffers & Sattler range.

I set out to make two cakes, one for Josh and one for my Sunday morning meeting. Josh gets the first one as I didn’t quite get the icing as good on that one. The meeting gets the other because they think I’m a pro. The both will taste the same but the second one is prettier.

I’m so vain. I bet I think this post is about me.

Coca Cola Cake:

  • 1- box Devils food cake mix without pudding
  • 1- 3.9 oz box instant chocolate pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 & 1/4 cups Coca Cola

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs & melted butter in large mixing bowl and beat on low speed just until blended then set aside. In medium sauce pan bring the 1 & 1/4 cups of Coca Cola to a boil. With mixer on medium speed slowly pour hot Coca Cola into cake batter (careful as it will splash) and mix for 2-3 minutes. Pour batter into greased and floured (Baker’s Joy spray is much easier) 13×9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick just comes out clean (usually right after sides of cake have pulled away from sides of pan). Cool in pan for 10 minutes then flip onto cookie or serving sheet. Note you pour icing over warm cake.

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup Coca Cola
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1- 16 ounce box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Combine the butter, Coca Cola & Cocoa in a large saucepan cooking over medium heat just until butter is completely melted, do not boil. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth then pour over warm cake starting from center so it spreads itself evenly and outwardly to fall over edges of cake. Then sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Let cool completely before serving.

Coca Cola Cake

Coca Cola Cake

I feel a song comin’ on

Raybeard planted a seed in my head with his last comment. A seed of a tune that I love. A tune that inspires the simplicity of an unencumbered life. Joy comes from life itself not the material possessions that often distract us.

There’s this original that is magnificent. It’s simple, raw good talent. His timing is perfection.

Then there is this version from one of my favorite films. This too is perfection in a different way. It’s still simple but twisted and tweaked by a different artist perspective.

Today as I go to my very first post-op physical therapy appointment and then into a Dr. appointment for the work up on the other shoulder, yes it’s a problem too, I will keep this mantra in my head:

Life is the journey. Joy is in the journey. The material is just icing on the cake. I will enjoy the journey and savor it. I won’t let the little bumps on the road spoil it but let them spice it up.

Patsy’s turn

Today is Patsy’s day to have a birthday!

Our undocumented immigrant. We couldn't love her more.

Our undocumented immigrant. We couldn’t love her more.

More of her story is HERE.

We had a celebration for her last evening and by bedtime she was content and happy.

Warm and content.

Warm and content.

We find that our dogs have much to teach us about the true happiness of contentment, peace, companionship and unconditional love.

We love you Patsy and wish you a very happy 7th birthday!

A day at the beach

Life, living it gets busy. I like busy. I believe a full dance card is a dersirable dance card. If it’s not full, I say get out there and fill it up.

I had a private comment from a dear friend and reader of Fearsome Beard that they thought maybe I had lost interest in this here blog thingy since I’ve had some breaks in written posts. I must have had a look in my eye because very quickly he said “or maybe you have just been busy?”

I had to laugh and then reassured him busy was the answer. I actually appreciate his enlightenment for it makes me pause and assess.

Being contemplative I thought about it and I definately haven’t lost any interest, in fact I am loving this here blog thingy more and more as time passes. I do have gaps in the written prose, but that’s ok. Life is busy. I have distractions. Sometimes I have something to say and haven’t the time to stop and say it. Other times I have the time to stop, yet nothing to say. The best part of the blog is that when the stars align, I actually do stop and write. I contemplate, laugh, cry, think, read, express, research, communicate, grow, interact, share and learn.

Some days I get busy. Some days I just go to the beach.

Fearsome on Haulover Beach, yes the people behind me are nude but hey so am I.

Fearsome on the Beach

Personal treasure

Dad died last September. Each trip back to my childhood home since then has involved helping mom purge the house of unneeded things. Dad collected stuff, lots of stuff. Not like the hoarding one might see on reality television, but stuff. He had an affection for cars (both real and model), tools, audio equipment, photos, books and many various items deemed “collectible”. When alive he had a personal attachment to most of it. These were his treasures.

So here I am, purging. It’s an odd job. Taking things that my father had an affection for and disposing of these items without any attachment of my own. Looking at each item deciding if it’s going in the trash, to another family member, into the upcoming massive yard sale and/or eventually charity if it remains.

What’s odd is knowing these things meant something to him. He enjoyed them. They gave him esteem and security. He had stories to share about them. They had purpose and they gave him purpose.

Through this process I must honor these things for they meant something to someone I loved …. who loved me.

I honor them by setting them free. I set them off on a journey to find their way back into the hands of others to which meaning and value will be realized. For sitting here in a dark closet no longer touched or seen by their lost owner is doing them no good nor is it helping those who will enjoy them in their future. That is whether their future is being displayed proudly on a shelf by another collector, playing in the dirt of a field with a young child, being restored into the classic cars they really are by a young car enthusiast, playing the music of a budding audiophile or even finding their way into a recycling plant making raw materials for new life as something new and different.

With each item I will send a blessing. A blessing that may each hand it touches after leaving mine be blessed. Blessed with happiness, peace, love, joy, health and prosperity.

Dad would have wished the same to all of those many hands out there who don’t yet know the items nor the blessings are coming their way.

Godspeed.

Rich F*cker

image

Inspired by another blogger, today I contemplate being rich.

First, I am rich in the common way. Money. I’m blessed. I’m not over the top billionaire rich. I’m …wealthy upper middle class comfortable have all I need live in a fantastic neighborhood …rich. No, the car nor the house pictured are mine. I drive a nice 2013 plug in hybrid Ford Fusion Energi with all the bells and whistles. It costs enough for a car. I see no need to spend any more money than that. I expect it to last 7+ish years before my wallet opens (interpreted: my wants outweigh my needs) again for a replacement. The house is a nice size and middle of the road for the nice neighborhood it sits in. It’s nothing fancy, but very nice all the same. We have investments, investment properties, savings accounts, retirement accounts, a trust and we travel often. Life is good.

Does all this monetary wealth bring happiness?

Answer: No.

I’m not going to lie, monetary wealth helps happiness and helps security. It’s freaking great. However monetary wealth is not what makes for a happy life, or a rich life.

I wasn’t born with no silver spoon in my mouth. I’ve spent my days living paycheck to paycheck. I’ve experienced asking the grocery clerk to take items off my bill because I didn’t have the dollars in my wallet. I’ve had huge amounts of credit card debt that I could not afford to pay. I’ve worked a full time job plus two part time jobs just to pay the electric bill & house payment.

I had some of the most wonderful times in my life without a dollar to my name, at least not one that was mine. I think it’s important for me to look back and know it wasn’t the money that made me happy. What made me happy was my focus. My focus was on what I did have. I had friends, family, love, laughter, joy, pets, work, good health, abilities, activities, opportunity, vision, hope and curiosity. If I look at my values today every single item I list resonates.

What actually brings me happiness? Joy? What actually makes my life wealthy and rich?

Answer: Values, values that resonate with my soul. Values that fulfill me, enrich and enlighten me.

How do I realize those values? Acknowledge and feel gratitude for each and every one of them.

Through gratitude for all these blessings, my cup runneth over. My life is full. I am rich. I’m one rich fucker with a beard. Blessed with a Fearsome Beard!

 

Mindset

Tax time.

Saturday the better half and I spent a romantic Valentine eve with our accountant. Before and after my Florida trip I spent countless hours organizing receipts and tallying up numbers. The better half spent many more hours than I sorting, figuring and solving problems. I thank him for his hard work. Balancing accounts is not my forte, especially multiple ones.

It is truly amazing to calculate it all up and see how much came in and how much went out. Dizzying would make a good adjective here. We are blessed. We are also blessed with quite the sizable tax bill. Once again we are blessed.

It is all mindset. Abundance is a mindset.

We could choose to focus on how much went out or what we could have done with the amount paid in taxes. We could choose to try to squeeze even more write offs and find one more penny to avoid paying. We could be angry that the government was taking what we had earned, what was ours. Choosing any of this is choosing to focus on what we don’t have. It’s a scarcity mentality.

One gets what one chooses to focus on.

Instead we choose to focus on abundance. We focus on what we do have. We celebrate goals achieved and celebrate the steps we took toward goals we are still working toward. We set new goals. We are grateful that we pay taxes. Paying taxes means we made money. We feel gratitude for the money we have to pay the taxes and bless the money that leaves our hands that it may bless all that it touches.

We have a beautiful home. We have nice cars, furniture, vacations, clothes, retirement accounts and investments. We have good health and we have each other. We have a wonderful life and a big part of that life is the society around us. That society exists because of our taxes. It exists because of the taxes you paid as well.

We choose gratitude and abundance. We feel contentment, happiness, peace and security.

It’s a mindset.

a·bun·dance (ə-bŭn′dəns)
n.
1.
a. A great or plentiful amount: an abundance of rain.
b. The condition of being in rich supply: bananas growing in abundance.
2.
a. Degree of plentifulness: “Species of low abundance are ignored in the calculation of predominance” (William M. Lewis).
b. Chemistry The amount of an isotope of an element that exists in nature, usually expressed as a percentage of the total amount of all isotopes of the element.
3. Affluence; prosperity: living in abundance.

Reflections

Ft Lauderdale Beach February 8, 2016

Ft Lauderdale Beach February 8, 2016

Yesterday was a magnificent day for a walk on the beach. Cool breeze and warm sun. I took advantage of the opportunity to reflect.

I have so much to be grateful for.

So much.

I can never leave

My high school years and rural mountainous upbringing in the late 1970s means that a big part of my life soundtrack was The Eagles. I enjoyed them as they played on car radios and at parties I attended. I wasn’t a huge fan in that I couldn’t even name one of the members by name. In fact I didn’t know they were still alive, until one passed away a couple days ago.

This is not a memorial. This is an acknowledgement.

I write this post simply because I wish to honor the part of my life soundtrack that included The Eagles at this appropriate moment. I never truthfully understood the lyrics of Hotel California until I moved here. My interpretation morphed into the realization that they sing not of a woman or seductress in the human form. The seductress is the life that is the life as a Californian. A life that I came to know 25 years ago. A life that I was meant to live, enjoy, experience and express. After coming here I will never be able to go back to the place, nor am I the same person, I was before.

When I moved here 25 years ago, I came home without even realizing it. I was born a Californian in the wrong location. While The Eagles had many popular tunes, this one always intrigued me. I came to appreciate it fully once I finally drove the dark desert highway that led me to where I live today.

In 1994 The Eagles took what was a signature song of theirs to a new level. A higher level of beauty. I heard this version the first time sitting in a dark bar in the middle of the day with my best friend Clayton. We were in one of the most beautiful and pristine places in the world located just 24 miles off the coast of Newport Beach. We were on Catalina Island and had stopped into The Marlin Club for an afternoon cocktail. Clayton played it on the old jukebox. It was at that moment I realized that I could never leave.

 

 

Right here, right now

image

Being content with the present is often a challenge. We are bombarded with advertising that plays to our ego telling us that we are not enough. Is what I have right now not enough?

Actually it is enough. I am doing quite well. If you are reading this, I bet you are doing quite well yourself.

Today I choose to contemplate the contentment of right here, right now.