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A Family Helps

A Family Helps

In life, most of us will go through some very difficult times, as the world seems to present us with many different challenges to overcome.  We might believe we have no control over them, and they may seem to keep happening and occurring just to us.  In this life, one of the toughest challenges many of us face is the death of a parent or child. 

A death of this type is a very tough event to get through, whether expected or unexpected.  This event happened to me and my family in April of 2017, several weeks before I wrote this article, my father passed away, so I know from experience that it can be very trying emotionally, even for someone that has usually been emotionally strong.  It’s been said that U really never miss something until it is gone, and I believe that is true in the case of people as well.  When someone U love dies slowly over a period of time and U see them gradually change into something that really is almost unrecognizable from who they used to be, it gives U a new appreciation for the person they have been.  When U can see the constant pain they are in daily, the discomfort and the uncertainty in their face about what is happening to them every time U visit or see them, the inevitable end might be viewed as more of a blessing; after all, part of life is death, whether it comes slowly, quickly, expected, or is a surprise.

I come from a family of eight; my parents, one sister, four brothers and myself.  Because my siblings and I were all born within a period of about eight years, we grew up very close and shared almost everything.  By today’s standards, we were not a family of means or even a middle-class family, but our parents were good providers and we always had more than enough.  We understood the value of work, and we were very happy and content with what we had.  We grew up on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota and at one time or another we had almost every animal U might imagine on a Minnesota farm.  We raised almost every type of fruit, vegetable or flower this part of the country allowed us to raise…and we loved it (except for picking cucumbers – seven acres of cucumbers that is).  Most of us kids played sports growing up,  and our parents supported those efforts.  There was a healthy atmosphere of competition among us.  Even though we were allowed to play seasonal sports, that did not excuse us from the many daily chores we all were required to do; animals needed to be fed, gardens needed to be tended and work needed to get done. We always kept pretty busy.   Because of our work and playtime together and as well as our close ages, we grew up as a very close family, and a family can help get U through the tough life events that happen from time-to-time.  When one of us is feeling really down, the others can help out by simply being there to help dispel the negative energy.  I like it when a family can come together, help and supporting each other.  I believe that is the way God intended it to work.  

The relationships among the members of a family are very unique.  Except in the case of adoption, U really cannot pick your family.  When your parents combined their genes to create U (and your siblings if U have any), U had nothing to do with it.  All of your natural siblings come from your bloodline, and from your parents.  That makes your relationship unique right from the start.  Many siblings grow up together, spending a lot of time with one another at an early age; whether they want to or not.  This, again, makes the relationships in a family unique to that family.  Your immediate family may also go through some very specific challenges while U are spending all that time together growing up, which is a very impressionable time for children and young adults.  What happens to a family and how they handle it also creates a specific relationship within the members of the immediate family.  Remember, U did not pick this family, U were born into it and developed from your experiences growing up together.  I believe God wanted U to be there for a reason.  U may never come to fully understand that reason; nonetheless, U are part of the family U were born into.  For all of these reasons, a family relationship is very strong and unique.  It is so unique, in fact, that U might find U can move away for many years, then come back to your family and see your yourself and your parents and siblings falling into the same roles each of U held within the family when U were growing up years ago.  That is a strong relationship. 

There are many other ways that a unique family relationship helps through tough challenges.  In events of crisis or when someone in the family is faced with challenges, the family can be there to support each other.  They share the family history of being together for many years and can almost instantly understand other family members’ reactions or needs to challenges and experiences.  

A family member can help at these times, like no other person can.  Of course others, outside of the immediate family, can also help.  But it remains true that immediate family have a unique understanding of each of the other family members and might better understand how best to help in a specific situation.

Besides the immediate family that U were born into, there are also several other layers making up a strong family.  If your family members are older, U or your siblings might already be married and maybe even have children.  Your spouse, your own children and maybe even their children are also very unique.  U can feel this when U hold your spouse or your child.  Just try holding your first grandchild in your arms and tell me U don’t feel the unique relationship that exists. It’s there, I know.  Every time I hold my nine-month-old granddaughter, just holding her makes many things in life okay.  

If U are lucky enough to still be surrounded by those family members U grew up with after starting a family of your own, U may find that U now belong to two or maybe even more immediate families.  Each of the members of those families knows U in a different way and may be able to help in challenging times differently.  They may not even have to do anything other than just be there.  Try to allow your different families to help U.  It may be good both for U and for them.

Still further removed, but still members of a family, may be your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  In my case, between my mom and dad and their siblings, we had 13 aunts and uncles which multiplied into many many cousins who also had many children and our overall family became very large.  If U have a similarly large family, U naturally cannot see all of them as often as U may like, so the relationship again is unique.  U are brought together because of family births and bloodline and are somewhat pushed into developing a relationship that turns into family friendships.  This type of family relationship, when all its members are brought together can be very supportive and fun.  As in the case I just recently experienced with my father’s passing, a large family can really help.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the type of family I have discussed in this article.  If that is U, then maybe U were meant to be the start of a new family?  Remember, Adam started out as one, God added Eve to his life and then they were two.  Give that some serious thought.

As a Christian, I also believe that God plays the bigger part in how we might deal with things like this.  Our faith in Him and His Son Jesus Christ, along with the Holy Spirit, makes us members of another family, one that makes our overall family very strong, especially when we all share that faith.  When your earthly family combines with your Heavenly family, U will be able to get through anything that the world has to throw at U. 

A family helps a lot.  Make sure to allow them to help U and make sure U help others in your family.  As they say, giving feels better than receiving, and I believe this works in families too.

I wrote this brief article to help me better understand the relationships I had with my family and to help with my own grief with the death of my dad.    Family is important to me and it should be to U as well.  U only have one, and it’s usually much larger than U think.  May God bless yours!

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU, Inc.

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Strive for Excellence

 Strive for Excellence

What does it mean to be a man in today’s world?  What do you think a woman thinks a man should be?  If you are a man, what plan do you have for your life?  Does it include your family?  Are you looking for your perfect mate?  Do you have a plan to make your life better?  Are you striving for excellence?

Dr. Wayne Dyer writes that to attract the relationship you want you need to be that yourself. If what you are looking for in a relationship with another person is an exquisite sense of love, be that yourself.  He goes on to say that”You do not attract into your life what you want.  You attract what you are.” So what type of man are you exactly?  What are you attracting?  Is this what you want or need?

 

Some women say they need

I myself have been on several dating sites off and on over the past several years after my divorce looking for that special someone and I have read many profiles (to many) of what a woman really is looking for from a man.  I have to tell you, some of these are spot on and need to be brought to men’s attention.

Here are what some women say they need:

  • I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life.
  • I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation & mental stimulation. I don’t need a simple-minded man.
  • I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don’t need to be unequally yoked…believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster.
  • I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don’t need a financial burden.
  • I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded.
  • I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships.  Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man.
  • I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God.
  • I need someone whom I can respect.  In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn’t taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive…he just has to be worthy.

 

Are You Striving for Excellence

I think this is a fantastic list for men to be striving for and discussing it with a woman they want a relationship with — many things have changed in the woman/man relationship over the years.  God created man / woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden to work together.  As time went on I think many of them stopped working together and woman got placed in the home and men out of the home.  In the not too distant past, the world wars helped to bring women back out of the home, but now most men and woman do not understand how to work together…the rules seem to be different and most do not understand how to respect the other much less plan for growth of them both, together.  That is a big problem I fear.  But one that can easily be overcome, if we as men, as leaders, as examples to others, take control of our own life; which means being responsible for those in our family and create a plan of always striving for excellence; then we can show the women in our lives that plan and work together with them and have the lives we both want.

As the list above shows you, many women want a man who shows he is a man by working at becoming a better man, does the difficult things, has strong convictions, morals and values, has integrity and treats her with respect.  Many women want you, the man, to show her you have a plan for excellence, a plan for your future and that you are working on it and showing progress.  If you are such a man or striving to be such a man you more than likely are on the right path to attract the woman of your dreams into your life, if she is not there already.  You will earn or have earned her respect and probably her love.  If you continue to further develop and work that plan throughout your life, you will most likely will keep her love or make it stronger.

If you are not doing many of the things listed above, why not?  What makes you think you should be made responsible for another person’s life if yours is a mess?  Why should a woman make herself submissive to you, when she and probably others, see the way you truly are. 

If you roll out of bed each morning, at 7:30AM and I mean roll because you are so out of shape, you certainly are not striving for excellence.  If you think your female mate is supposed to keep herself in tiptop shape for you, why are you not doing the same for her?  Remember, your body is a temple for God (1st Corinthians 3:16) and it’s your responsibility to keep that temple in good shape, for Him, for her and for yourself.

If you spend 2-4 hours or more watching TV shows or sports each day, you are not improving your mind in a way that will help you and your family prepare for a changing world, and it’s up to you to make sure your family is prepared.  You are the leader of your family, man up. 

If you have not owned up to your debt or taken responsibility working out a plan to repay it, again, you are not striving for excellence.  You may have to figure out how to create more revenue streams for yourself by adding a second job or by developing a business that provides more income to pay off the debts, but this is your responsibility, own it.  Yes, it may take some time, but share your plan with your mate and assure her you have a plan, and then work the plan.  Not having adequate income to repay your debt is just not an acceptable answer, it’s an excuse.  Don’t go there, figure it out, it’s what a man does. 

If you and your family are not going to church or your wife or partner is going by herself, you are abdicating your spiritual leadership role of a man and may be losing the respect of this woman.   Do you make sure to pray at meals giving thanks for the food on your table or pray with her together at night thanking the Lord for your blessings while praying for others in need?  This is what a Christian man does for and with his family.  He leads.  He strives for excellence in everything he does.

 

Take a Break, But No Pity Party

Am I perfect, absolutely not; have I ever been dealt what I thought was a raw deal and felt a little to sorry for myself, unfortunately at times, yes.  However I am a person who believes in striving for excellence and am on the path to being the best I can be in each area of my life, and this is a terrific feeling.  Creating a plan to strive for excellence in everything you do and then doing it, is what gives you self respect and makes you a better man while growing you to your new potential.  It’s your responsibility to do this, it’s what many women want you to do and it is the right thing to do.  Try it; I’m sure you will agree.

Everyone does get a break from time-to-time or may need a “pass” on something they did or something that happened to them; we all can understand that.  But don’t let it eat you up and certainly don’t expect a “pity party” to be held in honor of you going through something.  Be a man, man up and take control of things; you will keep yourself respect and feel better.  You will show others you are striving for excellence and a man of your word.  You will show the woman you love that you are worthy of her love, she will admire you more, look up to you with respect and things will be much better for it. 

Striving for excellence in all things is the manly thing to do.  Take responsibility for yourself, be worthy to others, create your plan to strive for excellence and then get it done!

 

If you would like to discuss creating a plan to strive for excellence in your life, please feel free to contact me at Coach@LifeLongU.com

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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Online Dating Experience

Online Dating Experience

If you have not yet been blessed with a significant other, are not in a relationship or have not found the one person you believe the Lord has created just for you, you may have had some experience with the online dating scene, or may be thinking of trying it.  It is surreal to say the least!

When you first think of it, you feel very hopeful, after all, there are thousands of men and women online at any given time of the day.  Your hopefulness might fade some when you start answering the specific questions that are required.  Trying to say the right thing in the right way, not too little, not too much; then figuring out which pictures to upload which show the “REAL” you.  When you finally complete your profile, you are left with an accomplished feeling of “ok, I am out there”.  Now what does the opposite sex think of me?  Of course, there is really no way for them to get the “REAL” you from the couple of pictures and paragraphs of text you just put out there, but you do have hope that a connection will happen.  After all, what is your alternative? 

Now that you are out there and more time passes, several things can and will happen.  You will begin to have the opposite sex view your profile.  They will either move along or contact you by sending you a smile or email of some sort.  They may even favorite you in some way.  Now it’s up to you to view their profile and reply back or move along yourself.  A word of caution at this stage of communication; if you are looking for a serious relationship and not just a pen pal, make sure to meet soon before you exchange too much information online, it’s easy to get stuck in email loops back and forth with several individuals and never actually meet to make sure you even want to build a relationship with whom you have been sharing personal information with.

But what happens after a while and no one actually sends you a smile or contacts you or maybe those that do contact you, you really are not attracted to or you feel would not be a match.  Let’s face it; the online dating is a place for each of us single individuals to find someone that we feel we may possibly want to spend the rest of our life with.  We have voluntarily thrown ourselves into a very large pool of other single individuals looking for the same thing (mostly).  Be careful not to disclose too much too soon; there are all types of unscrupulous predators online these days and you must be smart about whom you share information with.  Don’t obsess about another’s pictures or if they fit perfectly at all with what you think you want in a match.  You haven’t even met them yet, and most likely you are forming many incorrect assumptions about who they are by what is in their profile. 

At some point you will start to go searching for that special someone on your own.  Building your search criteria is sort of like going into a grocery store with a shopping list.  When shopping for groceries, you visit many areas within the store, health food, liquids, paper products, frozen goods, meat section, vegetables, sweets, junk food, dairy products, fruits and canned goods.  Within each of these are so many different types and brands, which do you really want?  How can you decide?  Which go together?  Which will you like?  Which will make you sick?

Similarly like going to the grocery store you need to develop a shopping list of what you are looking for before you search: hair & eye color, body type, frequency of exercise, religion, activities they like or do, any children, drinking, smoking, income level, job, lifestyle, ethnicity, common interests or marital status just to name a few.  After you have selected your goods and created your list of what you want in the online store, you perform your search. 

From these results you need to select those you feel attracted to either by the pictures or text they have shown you.  Maybe it’s real; maybe it’s accurate, maybe not?  There can be all kinds of “spoiled” goods in this store.  But there are also a lot of the very good products mixed in.  You simply do not know how good your selections might be until you decide to interact with them.  You can do this one at a time or do a shotgun approach by responding too many potentials and wait to see what happens.  But no matter what, it takes some time to feel comfortable enough to decide to meet.   

This kind of activity can go on and on and is how you get to the meeting stage.  When you finally get here you get to see, touch, poke and observe your selection in person, and they you.  Did you make a good selection?  Did they?  Remember, they are observing what they selected too!  The dating process and information gathering stages are ongoing from this point.  How long does it take for one person to get to know another?  We all have histories that need to be shared, both good and bad.  We all have future dreams and goals that need to be discussed.  Some may not align with your choice of partner.  But at what stages do you share that information?  Only each of us can determine that.  What feels right to you?  What are you prepared to hear from your chosen one about their past history or future goals?  Will that change how you feel about your chosen partner?  At some point, if you want the relationship to move to marriage, you “must” commit and get behind that commitment.  You each need to feel and know that each of you has the others backs and that no matter what happens, they will be there for you.  You together are now one.  This is a true loving partnership, one that can withstand all things.

As time moves along and you build a solid relationship and both decide you are committed and want it to go somewhere, at this point, you should have discussed the parts of your past that may affect your future together and plan how things will work moving forward.  You should have some deeper level discussions around how you will move forward as a couple and finally as husband and wife.  Being one person in the past and now becoming two can take some adjusting.  Those discussions should include how your relationship will work between you and with your individual friends and family moving forward; your separate and joint spirituality; your individual and joint finances and retirement plans; how you enjoy your leisure time by yourself and together; your career desires; and your giving to others.  Not discussing any of these topics at some level of detail may lead to some large problems between you and your partner later on which could be avoided.

My own experiences with online dating and building intimate relationships have been mixed.  I was married for over 22 years, went through the divorce process and have been dating on and off over the last five years.  I have met several terrific women on several of the online dating sites.  One led all the way up to looking at rings…but then disintegrated to nothing because of not fully discussing how our pasts might affect our futures and how committed we both really were to live our future life together.  Combining two singular lives into one after 5 to 10 years of being by yourself can be difficult and should not be rushed.  Take the necessary time to get to really know each other, ask the hard questions, have the difficult discussions and then give it your all.  I do believe we receive from a relationship what we put into it.  Don’t quit if you run into a challenge or two, if you have something good.  No relationship is easy, at times, they will require more work; and all relationships have challenges.

Experience is a great teacher, make sure you learn from it, think on it, but don’t let it rule your future.  Your past does not dictate your future, so don’t let it.

The views above are only my views which have been drawn from my own experiences.

Good luck finding your special someone!

 

Gary J. Kiecker

LifelongU.com

 

 

12 Attributes of a Good Friend

12 Attributes of a Good Friend

 

Just how many contacts do you have in your LinkedIn account?  How many friends on your FaceBook page?  How many followers on your Twitter account?  How many people are in your Google+ circles?  Are they all your friends?  Is what a friend has become or is this simply a competition to build a high number of connections, followers and friends started by each of these respective companies, to build their businesses?  I believe we may be degrading our personal friendships by spending so much time with friend quantity, rather than quality.

Has the meaning of the word friend taken on new meaning?

Dictionary.com defines Friend as “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard”, at least that is its first definition.  It also has, “a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter”, “a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile”, “A member of the same nation, party, etc”, “a person associated with another as a contact on a social-networking website”.  Accurate definitions, but which is your definition?  

If everyone you come into contact with in person or digitally is now a friend, what do you call those friend relationships really close to you?  Maybe they are still simply referred to as “a good friend” or “one of my best friends”?  After all, the Bible tells us to love they neighbor (that does not mean only the people living next to you), so we can probably say that everyone we come into contact with is our neighbor, our friend, or at least could/should be, at some level.  Any of which, at some time in the future, could become a good or best friend.

How much time do you spend working your friendships?  Why not spend time developing a relationship with a few quality friends rather than a high quantity of connections?  You only have so much time each day.  A while back, I wrote a blog on leisure time (http://lifelongu.com/2014/09/work-time-leisure-toil/) and how you choose to spend it.  If you use some of your discretionary leisure (free) time daily with a few friends, you more than likely will only have a few very close friends, because of a lack of time and that is ok.

To have “good friends” or “best friends”, you both need to spend time on your friendship together…and there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in the week.  Choose your time and the time spent with others wisely and then put in time towards building that friendship.

If you find a person and your friendship shows many of the following 12 attributes, you may have found yourself a very good friend, make sure you hold up your end of the friendship and be a “good friend”, maybe even a “best friend”:

  1. A person you feel some attachment or closeness to;
  2. A person you can trust and openly talk with;
  3. Someone who gives you good advice and tells you the honest truth from their perspective;
  4. They stick up for you when you’re not around;
  5. You mutually enjoy spending time together as companions;
  6. You  can usually count on them to help if you need it;
  7. Communication between you is frequent and comes in multiple forms (visits, phone calls, emails, texts and even letters);
  8. If you don’t communicate for some time, you can pick right up where you left off;
  9. Is someone that forgives you for doing dumb things, over & over again;
  10. They pick you up when you are down;
  11. They like you for who you truly are and know who you really are;
  12. Your relationship with them is very rare compared to your other acquaintances;

If you are very lucky, you may have found all these in one very special someone to you and you can spend most of your time with that person, and they may be all the friends you need.

What does “friend” mean to you?

Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU™

 

Where is Your Relationship At?

A Relationship Made in Heaven…

 

Where is your relationship at? Has it been blessed by “Heaven” or seemingly cursed by the “other” place? Life on earth can be difficult alone; being able share it with her/him can make some things better, but may also add more challenges.  Make sure you are ready to commit to solving those challenges together.

What do you do to make the most of the relationship you have with your special someone?  Do you do anything to make it better?  Is there enough communication with her/him?  Do you listen to your partner when they are communicating to you?  Do you like to keep things spontaneous? Do you show appreciation and respect for each other?  What attracted you to her/him in the first place?  Have you discussed each other’s needs?  Are your partner’s beliefs and values close to the same as your own?  Is there laughter or tension in your relationship?  How do you find a special someone in the first place?  Do you know what you really want from a relationship, wife or husband?  Do you know what you really need to give, in a relationship, or are you all about receiving?  What makes you happy; does your partner know this?

All good questions, I’m sure you would agree…so how did you answer those questions?

For me, I was married for over 20 years and thought I knew what a good relationship was.  I was a good hard working family man and thought I was even a better husband.  When it ended, I really asked myself, what did I do wrong?  What could I have done better?  I did assume part of the responsibility for it ending and in truth, did want to understand how to make it better, next time.

I do believe in marriage.  In two people becoming one person, sharing everything and having each other’s backs through thick and thin.  A relationship with another that works harmoniously together enjoying each other fully and is filled with love, honor and respect.  I see now what could have been done differently; what changes could have been made; and the importance of selecting the right partner in the first place.

How do you pick your relationship partner?

First, you have to meet the individual in person (not via text or email) …then physical attraction comes or mental attraction, maybe both; do you feel some chemistry or energy between you both?  Does your partner feel it?  Now, what?  You have the passion and heat that comes with a new beginning, the unknown, the unexplored and the many possibilities.  But that really is not a relationship yet, at least it does not have the ingredients for a long lasting relationship at this point.  You need to go deeper; more layers of the onion need to be peeled.  You need to explore each other’s belief and value system through many hours of communication; you need to discover each other’s character; do they say one thing and do something different.  You need to explore their future plans, what do they want their life to be in say 10, 20 or 40 years?  It all sounds fun doesn’t it? It can be, and it’s up to both of you to make it fun.  That is part of building a long lasting relationship.  You need to enter into each other’s lives; visit the family and get to know each other’s circle of influence.  If one of you does not like this, that is a sign…read it as such and know, that maybe, this relationship was not meant to be; end it and move along.  The only thing worse than settling for ½ a cup of loving relationship is entering into a long-term relationship when you already know you won’t be totally happy.

The Lord blesses relationships that follow his word.  That does not mean they are not challenged.  If you have chosen wisely in your relationship partner, chances are good, that you will move through your challenges and grow closer together.  A woman and a man each play different roles in a relationship blessed by Heaven.  They play different roles because each was created different and has different ingredients needed for a blessed long lasting relationship to succeed and be enjoyed by both.  All these ingredients are necessary.  If you want to taste something exceptional, something made in Heaven, add “all” your ingredients into your relationship and make sure your partner does as well.  Work together and make something special for both of you to enjoy.

I have tasted of this myself.  My “Special” someone and I have only known each other a short amount of time (as far as time goes), but feel we have known each other for many years.  We both have thrown in all our ingredients and are making something that I never would have thought possible.  I wish the same for each of you!  May God bless your relationship!

 

Gary J Kiecker

www.LifeLongU.com