Category Archives: Lessons Learned

questions you should ask …

so here’s the “Ask Your Dad” challenge.

here are some questions to ask dad, or your grandpa.

why? it will be fun.

and enlightening, and…

because someday you will say

I wish I had

– or – 

I’m glad I did. 

which will it be for you?

i want it to be “I’m glad I did.” 

here’s the challenge. ask your father one of these questions.

using Facebook LIVE if ya have the courage.

do ya have the courage?

or ask more than one question.

keep your video under 5 minutes.

now read the questions below.

and go. do it.
ask your dad…
  • dad, what are your favorite memories of grandpa?
  • what was your grade school like?
  • who was your favorite teacher? and what do you remember about them?
  • did you really go to a one-room school house?
  • did you really walk 4 miles to school every day? uphill both ways?
  • who was your best friend in grade school?
  • what was the name of your grade school girlfriend?
  • what did you do in school to get in trouble?
  • growing up what did you wanna be?
  • what is the hardest thing you ever had to do in life?
  • what are your three greatest accomplishments?
  • what are your three greatest regrets?
  • what are three things that you still wanna do?

of course, you can make your own dad questions. 

ask dad a question

but have the courage to do this via Facebook LIVE and share.

remember some day you will say either

I wish I had

– or –

I’m glad I did. 

have some fun. if you thought of some more great questions (i know ya did), please write them in the comments below.


Pinewood Derby – five leSSons learned

five leSSons learned from a pinewOOd derby

five leSSons learned from a pinewOOd derby
5 ounces of fun and fury

(1) – glue is really important.

glue is always important. don’t go to a pinewOOd derby without glue. in fact, don’t leave home without glue. and, if ya live in missouri, take some masking tape, too. just don’t “high-five” your friends with super glue on your hands. don’t ask me how i learned this.

(2) – maybe graphite won’t help you win the race.

having graphite on you wheels sounds really cOOl. but it doesn’t mean you’re gonna win the race. but on second thought. yeah, graphite on your wheels is really important. because it just sounds cOOl. and sounding cOOl can be really important. at the pinewOOd derby. sometimes.

(3) – technology is great. until it isn’t.

technology is not always great. like when the high tech timing machine decides to quit. maybe it’s the software driver or the … ? (and more nerd talk) maybe after two hours of frustrating techno-agony, it’s time to use a pencil and a yellow pad and your eyeballs to time the races. just like your dad used to do.

(4) – weigh matters.

hey, weight does matter. but nothing more than 5 ounces.

and 5 ounces can be powerful. just 5 ounces can win a race. 

(5) – murphy’s law is everywhere 

murphy’s law really is EVERYwhere. murphy’s law does not play favorites. mr. murphy has no mercy. even at a pinewOOd derby.

mr. murphy can invite himself to even the best planned events.

isn’t it is amazing what you can learn at the pinewOOd derby?

five leSSons learned from a pinewOOd derby
having fun at pinewood derby

you can learn a lot at a pinewOOd derby.

(# 6) – a bonus leSSon

you can always have fun with a group of cub scouts.

if ya can’t have fun with cub scouts, then ya need to re-think your life.

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< < end of blogpost > >

real men still pray

did you know that real men still pray? 

Let me tell you a story about real men who pray.

It starts with a noon 12 step meeting. You know – AA, NA, and all of the other Addictions Anonymous.

i went to a 12 step meeting today. and…

the topic in the noon 12 step meeting was …

“How do I stay sane and sober in the middle of a crisis?”

This is a topic for discussion for the whole world today.

I put this topic on the table for discussion.
“How do I remain sober during a crisis ?”
If sobriety is not your personal challenge.
Maybe emotional sanity is your challenge.
Then how about …
“How do I remain SANE during a crisis ?”

Of course, when you put a topic like this on the table for discussion, people are quick to respond…

  • with advice,
  • with their personal “how-to” list.
  • and stories of their many struggles.
People share their current struggles and numerous family crises.
Immediately, you know that you are not alone in this world.
There is some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

you think you are alone.

Yes, you think you are alone.
But. You’re not.
Here’s the bottom line answer to your crisis.
Here’s the bottom line response to your cry for help.

yes real men still pray
yes. real men still pray.

at the meeting…

the overwhelming response was…

The overwhelming response from almost EVERYone was: prayer !!!
That’s right.
  • In a room full of different ages.
  • And many different cultures and languages.
  • In a room full of people – many who would never recommend a church.
  • But they did agree on one thing.
  • They agreed on one common solution to a crisis in their lives.
The overwhelming response was: prayer. 

my sad reality

My sad and shocking realization was … (Arrgh !)
It was…
It was that I need a crisis. To see something so simple. 
That I need to go to a 12 step meeting to refresh the connection with my God (or higher power – you pick the term that works for you).
That I need a crisis to bring me back to prayer.

my first choice, not my last resort

Some day – when I am more mature and grow wiser – maybe I will use prayer as my FIRST CHOICE .

without ceasing. never stop. yes.

Pray. Without ceasing.
And then follow your prayer with SANE actions.
  • Sometimes the best action is no action.
  • Just patience. Listen.
  • Patiently waiting for an answer. (I don’t do this very well.)
  • Create some “God Space” – (some quiet space for God to work)
  • Pray and wait patiently.
  • And spend less less time groveling and self-loathing.
  • Spend less time in meaningless activity that makes you feel good.
  • Click this link for some sanity using prayer. – Philippians 4: 6 – 9
  • At the bottom, ya gotta read these verses in Hawai’i Pidgin. It’s refreshing.

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here’s a sample of Hawai’i Pidgin
  • no worry bout notting.
  • god gonna make you hearts rest.
  • god gonna take care yoa hearts and yoa heads.
  • stay tight wit his Spesho Guy Jesus Christ. – philippians

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instead of worry, pray.

  • And don’t forget the actions.
  • Do the next right thing.
  • One foot in front of the other.
  • One step at a time.
  • One day at a time.
  • One right action at a time.

always 5 bars strong

Prayer is always 5 bars strong
prayer is always 5 bars strong

prayer. it’s free.

Always available.
Online 24/7…
  • No down time for maintenance and technical updates.
  • The wi-fi connection is always strong.
  • Always 5 bars strong.
  • Not a weak one bar signal.
  • No annoying disconnects.

get the unlimited data plan.

You don’t need to wait while your prayer app
  • downloads
  • updates and
  • installs.
  • And you don’t use any data from your mobile plan.
  • No annoying 2 year contracts.
  • Renew your prayer contract EVERY day. Your choice.
  • Get the FREE unlimited data plan.
  • Always 5 bars strong. Guaranteed. 

prayer. it’s free and easy.

That’s probably why I don’t use it often enough.
I want complicated and expensive. My way.
Why not try a simpler way?

yes. real men still pray.

in 12 step meetings.

and outside of 12 step meetings.


yes real men still pray

Real men still pray. 

How bout you?

Hawai‘i Pidgin version of Philippians 4:6 – 9
  • no worry bout notting.
  • god gonna make you hearts rest.
  • god gonna take care yoa hearts and yoa heads.
  • stay tight wit his Spesho Guy Jesus Christ.

Fo Da Philippi Peopo 4:6-9

Eh, no worry bout notting! Mo betta, everyting dat happen, pray bout um, an aks God fo do wateva you guys like him fo do. An same time, no foget tell him, “Mahalo plenny!”

Den, God goin make you guys hearts rest inside. Dat goin be mo betta den anybody can figga. God goin take care yoa hearts an yoa heads, cuz you guys stay tight wit his Spesho Guy Jesus Christ.

So den, tink bout all dese kine stuffs —

  • wateva stay true,
  • wateva get respeck,
  • wateva stay right,
  • wateva no stay pilau,
  • whoeva you get aloha fo,
  • wateva you talk good bout,
  • wateva da bestes kine,
  • weneva peopo can say, “Dass good!”

— tink everytime bout all dat kine stuff.

Everyting you guys wen learn from me, everyting I wen give you guys, everyting you wen see an hear wen I was wit you guys — go do um! Den, da God dat can make you guys hearts rest inside, he goin stay wit you guys.

<< end of blogpost >>

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Someday you will say…

Someday you will say…

I wish I had.

– or –

I’m glad I did.

Which one do you want it to be?

You get to choose.

You get to choose to…

…spend time with the ones you love. Or not.

friday worked late 404x404

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I need to share these thoughts with you, because…

…my father died this year. And my former wife, Joyce, died this year.

This is a new experience for me. Losing people so close to me.

And, maybe, this will help you.

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When this happens…

…you start thinking differently.

At least, I’m thinking differently.

About dad and Joyce.

About why we are on this earth.

And about how I want to be remembered.

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time with the ones who matter ver 2.0
one of dad’s favorite things

My father lived…

…a long and full life. Dad was a rock. And a leader. A leader by example and leading from the front. And an example of Christian living. With meaningful values.

Your son needs to see you lead - by example - from the front.

And, after a short illness at age 90, on his final night dad defiantly sat in his favorite recliner. He argued with the hospice staff about the hospice bed. Dad made it clear that he was not willing to use the oxygen nor the medications. Nor the hospice bed.

Dad even yelled at my sister-in-law, Cynthia. He has NEVER done that. Ever.

And dad died that night. Sitting in his recliner after he refused to get into the hospice bed, refused to use the oxygen tank and refused his medication.

Vicki Alvin Weiss Danica Spence ver 2.0
Victoria Ruth and Alvin Eddinger Weiss

I joked with my mother the next morning that dad had a scheduled “tee time” in heaven at 7:00 that morning with his favorite foursome, and he didn’t want to be late for that important 7:00 a.m. reservation.

This is probably pretty close to the truth. Dad didn’t want to keep his golf buddies waiting. And he was in charge. Not the hospice staff.

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Joyce’s situation was… 

…quite different.

Joyce’s situation was quite different. Unlike dad, Joyce died much too young. Joyce died too young after years of struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease.

With four children and six grandchildren, Joyce is missing all of the joys of being a grandparent.

Joyce should be enjoying this special time in life. 

Joyce is missed…

…and is missing the fun in that messy kitchen where she created such joy and laughter. Some call grandparenting the “sweet spot” of life. Sadly, Joyce has missed this joyous time in life. Through no fault of her own.

Have a meSSy Christmas. Just say NO to Pinterest-Perfect.
Joyce’s kitchen l00ked like this – except with more children in it

Joyce’s kitchen was always messy. And lots of fun. 

And that’s a good thing.

Joyce always let me know, “Life’s too short to have a clean kitchen.”

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Joyce is missed by…

Drew | Lucas | Tristan | Daniel | Vivaka | Ely
Drew | Lucas | Tristan | Daniel | Vivaka | Ely

…her children and grandchildren. Sisters and mother and cousins. And nieces and nephews. Missed by her husband, Earl. And a host of many friends. She was a high energy person who always brought a flurry of activity and joy to her surroundings.

Designing and creating crafts, baking cookies, delivering balloons, working in her garden, creating Ginger Bread houses, saying just the right things to encourage people, and hugging everything that could be hugged.

Joyce Elaine ver 2.0
Joyce and Lilly

Our backyard was always “the place to be” for the neighborhood children. Hot chocolate and brownies during the winter. And cold drinks, popsicles, and cookies during the summer. And some kind of water activity.

Whenever I came home, Joyce had at least 8 to 10 children in the yard or in the house. This was just normal for her.

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grandparents model loving behavior
I’m sure glad I did – how do you want to be remembered?

Friends and family have talked a lot about dad and Joyce since their passing.

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As we review their lives…

I am consumed with…

…these two penetrating thoughts.

I wish I had.

– and –

I’m glad I did.

– and – a third question.

How do I want to be remembered?

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These are difficult thoughts to consider. But, once you do, you…

You realize that you want to be able to say, “I’m glad I did” more often than “I wish I had.”

The good news is…

During the times when I’m struggling with those “I wish I had” moments, I discover ways to create some more “I’m glad I did” moments.

How do you want to be remembered?

blooper moment 296 x 200
our crazy moments matter – they create memories

When I reflect on how my father and Joyce have impacted my life and the lives of many others, I recall all the good times and some of the challenging times.

And the memories of the triumphs and struggles that we shared.

At the end of this reflection, I turn to thoughts about…

How do I want to be remembered?

What memories am I creating today?

Am I creating “I’m glad I did” moments?

Or creating one of those “I wish I had” moments?

By focusing on the wrong priorities. Like too much time at the office.

Or being too focused on a neat kitchen.

Or by responding to the urgent (work) but not really important (family).

Or by not doing something.

Or by not saying something that needs to be said.

Someone once told me, “It’s the things that go unsaid that destroy relationships.” Creating some more of those “I wish I had” moments.

I’ve had too many “I wish I had” moments of “unsaid things” with both my father and Joyce. I wish I could change them all to “I’m glad I did” moments.

fun things to do with your kids
I’m really glad we did

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Legacy of Memories

We create our legacy everyday.

fun things for kids to do
dad and Joyce left a legacy of wonderful people

When we are creating our legacy, we can only leave a legacy of memories. That’s all. Not money. Not creating statues of financial monuments.

When people speak of dad and Joyce, they all talk about special moments and memories.

What memories are you creating? Today?

Both my dad and Joyce have left quite a legacy of memories.

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Dad and Joyce have both created…

…timeless legacies that remain and grow daily.

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They remind me of a quote…

Only one life to live and love.

‘Twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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chocolate bowl baby 400 x 300
“Life’s too short to have a clean kitchen” – Joyce

Their legacies are living and breathing through their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Every time I see and hear my children, I see their mother – right down to the messy kitchens and fun events and family traditions. And our annual Ginger Bread House event at church.

I am grateful. For all of the memories.

And even some of the messes.

I still have some “I wish I had” thoughts about dad and Joyce. And you may have some, too.

Even though, “I wish I had.”

I am grateful for every “I’m glad I did” moment we shared.

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join us

don’t miss any KooL stuFF. EVER.

you will be glad you did

Have a meSSy Christmas. Just say NO to Pinterest-Perfect.

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3 Things Your Son Needs from his Father

3 Things Your Son Needs from his Father

…and if he doesn’t get them from you ?

…he WILL get them somewhere else.

  • from his friends.
  • or from his electronic media.
  • from YouTube, internet, movies.
  • or from reality shows. That’s scary.

Your son needs these things from his father

Your son needs these 3 things from his father.

Here they are — 3 things your son …

… needs from his father.

  1. Your son nEEds to sEE you lead.
  2. Your son nEEds to sEE how you fail.
  3. Your son nEEds to sEE you love his mother.

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(1) – Your son needs to see you lead.

Your son needs to see you lead - by example - from the front.
Your son needs to SEE YOU LEAD – by example – from the front.

Real leaders are servants. Servants lead by serving others.

Hey, you might act like the boss at work. And you might not.

But you still need to be the leader of your family. And your son needs to see REAL leadership in your home.

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If he doesn’t learn from you, he will learn leadership somewhere else from somebody else.

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Not Taught but Caught

Leadership is NOT TAUGHT from the couch or by just long, boring talks.

Leadership is CAUGHT by example.

When your son sees leadership by serving, by example, by leading from the front; he will be better equipped to to understand leadership.

Dad, your son will become a better leader of his peers instead of being easliy manipulated by crowd mentality.

And your son will be a more effective follower when needed.

Real leaders know how to follow when necessary.

As he matures, your son will become a better leader at school, at church, at work and in his community. That is, if …

… if his father teaches leadership by example.

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don’t EVER miss any cool stuff again

yikes 150 x 150

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(2) – Your son needs to see you fail

…and how you fail, not just how you succeed.

Things your son needs - Your son needs to see you fail and how you recover from failure.
Your son needs to SEE YOU FAIL and how you RECOVER from failure.

EVERYBODY has practiced their “end zone victory dance.” Even if only in their minds.  But NOT EVERYBODY knows how to process a “failure.”

That is, process a failure as a learning event.

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Overcoming Failure

Your son needs to practice how to overcome failure. Life will hand your son many more failures than successes.

If you are a professional baseball player and your batting average is 300, our world considers you successful and pays you well. This means you have only succeeded 3 times out of 10 “at bats.”

And you have failed 7 times out of 10.

Life hands us many more failures than successes.

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Your son needs to learn how to process – and succeed – from his failures.

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Learn from Failures

Teach your son how to learn from his failures. By your example.

Your son needs to learn from you about failure. How to recover. How to re-evaluate and try again. Try again. But differently.

He needs to learn how to “re-frame his failures as learning experiences.” By seeing you learn from a perceived failure.

By your example, your son will learn how to make mistakes. He will learn, “It is OK to make mistakes.

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the son who is NOT afraid

Your son needs to learn from his father how…

  • to take on challenges that are beyond his skill set.
  • to stretch himself without the fear of failure.
  • to try new things for the sake of trying new things – without having an invisible score card that will record every attempt as a failed attempt.
Things your son needs - A son WHO IS NOT AFRAID of new challenges will become a MAN who is NOT AFRAID of new challenges.
“The son WHO IS NOT AFRAID of new challenges will become the MAN who is NOT AFRAID of new challenges.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa

A son who is NOT AFRAID of new challenges will become a man who is NOT AFRAID of new challenges. And will learn how to learn from his own mistakes. Not every event in life has a “pass-fail” metric attached to it.

“A SON who is NOT AFRAID of new challenges will become a MAN who is NOT AFRAID of new challenges.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa

Some things in life are worth trying just for the fun of trying.

Without the fear of “failing.”

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(3) – Your son needs to SEE you love his mother.

This is critical. Your son may have no other examples of real love in his life.

Your son needs to see you love his mother.

This will teach him how to treat all the women in his life. 

Things your son needs - Your son needs to see you love his mother
Your son needs to see you love his mother. This will teach him how to treat all the women in his life. 

Your son needs to SEE LOVE in action. 

Love in action EVERY day.

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I mean like love like 1 Corinthians 13  even if you don’t believe in the Bible. It is still the best definition (bar none) of love I have EVER heard.

  • Love is patient.
  • Love is kind.
  • Love does not envy.
  • Love does not boast.
  • Love is not proud.
  • Love is not easily angered.
  • Love keeps no record of wrongs.
  • Love always protects,
  • always trusts,
  • always hopes, and
  • always perseveres.  (NIV – New International Version)

“And real love doesn’t sit on the couch watching ESPN while his mom prepares supper.”– (Grandpa’s Version)

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join now

so you don’t EVER miss any KooL stuFF

Have a meSSy Christmas. Just say NO to Pinterest-Perfect.

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Leadership in ALL Areas

Your son needs to SEE this kinda love from his father. 

The man who really loves your son’s mother wears an apron in the kitchen and washes dishes after supper WITH his children.

Loving your son’s mother means taking a leadership role in all areas of the home.

Remember, leaders lead from the front and by example. Not from the couch.

Your son needs to see this kinda REAL love from his father. 

What your son sees in you is teaching him how to treat all the women that he will meet in his life.

“Every moment his father has with his mother is a teaching moment for your son.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa

While you are loving your son’s mother, he is learning how to treat his future wife. And is establishing a foundation for all future love relationships –  children, siblings, grandparents.

By your example, your son is learning how to have healthy relationships with co-workers and employees.

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Things your son needs - Your son needs to see his father lead, fail, and love his mother.

These are the 3 things your son nEEds

… from his father. He NEEDS to see …

(1) – needs to SEE you LEAD,

(2) – needs to SEE how you FAIL, and 

(3) – needs to SEE you to LOVE his mother.

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You get to choose.

It’s your move, dad !!!

Will your son get what he needs from you ?

Or from his friends and all of his electronic media – internet, YouTube, videos and movies ? And those unreal reality shows.

You get to choose.

It’s your move, dad !!!

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moms and dads

last chance to connect 

fun things to do for kids this summer

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