Archive for January, 2012


Monday Motivation: Who’s got it better than us? Noooobody!

The San Francisco 49ers had a great year. No, they’re not playing in the Super Bowl next weekend, but a lot of the players took part in the Pro Bowl yesterday in Hawaii. The Niners have been my favorite team since I was a kid. They’ve won 5 Super Bowl trophies in the past, but hadn’t had a winning record since 2002, until this year. That’s 8 seasons of sub-.500 football. This team, who was just 6-10 last year, went 13-3 this season, and earned a first round bye in the playoffs. Primarily, the team consisted of the same players as last year, except for a few well placed additions in the defensive secondary. So, what was the difference. Attitude. Namely, the attitude of the new head coach.

Jim Harbaugh is a former NFL quarterback and came to the 49ers after a successful run at Stanford University. When Harbaugh came on board, he brought with him years of both playing  and coaching experience. But the thing that payed off most for the team actually came from his dad. An attitude of gratitude, thankfulness, and focusing on what you’ve got, as opposed to what you don’t have.

If you followed the 49ers at all this year, you have probably seen some of the players wear these shirts. If you can’t read the shirt, the message is simple. The front asks the question: “Who’s got it better than us?” The back answers that question, “NOBODY!” This motivational Q & A served as the 49ers team chant before and after practices and games.

As I was researching where this came from, I found that it actually came from Jim Harbaugh’s dad, Jack. Here’s the story from an SFGate blog post:

“We were talking on the phone the other day and he said, ‘You know, it’s amazing. I can recall (saying) that in Crestline back in the early 1950s.’ We lived in the same neighborhood and we had a group of about 10 or 15 guys that would wake up every morning in the summer when the sun came up and go out and play. And at lunch time you’d run over to someone’s house and a mom would make you some peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and then it was back on the playground. Then it was dinner time. And after dinner time, back out and you’d play a little kick-the-can because you couldn’t see the ball any more, but you’d put the can under a street light and could play until 8:30, 9 0’clock in the summer time. Mike says, ‘You know what? I can recall that. We’d be walking out to play. Or we’d be going home at night and we’d look at each other say, ‘Who’s got it better than us? Noooo-body.’ And that was a great life.”

Jack Harbaugh later passed the appreciate-what-you-have motto on to his children, who didn’t grow up with many material possessions.”

The motto is all about focusing on what you have, not on what you don’t have.

It’s about focusing on what could be, not on what isn’t.

It’s about being so content with what you’ve got, that you feel sorry for the rest of the world.

It’s pride and belief in yourself and those around you.

Oprah Winfrey has been quoted as saying, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” While I don’t agree with everything that she says, I do agree with her on this point.

As you start out your week, in work and in personal life, make it a point to focus on the things that you do have. Count your blessings.

Finally, here’s Coach Harbaugh in action after an early season comeback win against the Philadelphia Eagles. You’ll see the team answer the question at the end of the clip.

Enjoy your Monday!


First Science Fair a SUCCESS!

I promised photos of today’s science fair experience on Facebook and Twitter, so here you go! I’ll admit, I did not anticipate the rush of parental pride and slight nervous rush I got from watching Grant today. It was either that or all of the chocolate from binge day. 🙂 I’m not sure.

If you want to see how we got to this point, click here.

Our young scientist with his display.

Covering his hypothesis with the judges.

'I held the box out like this, and dropped it from my bedroom window!"

Answering questions from the judges.

The judges huddle and make their marks!

Papaw stopped by to see the young scientist!

That's one happy camper! Final result-2nd place!

This will be hanging in his room soon without a doubt.


An Egg-cellent experiment

Ok. So I need to brag on my son for just a few minutes. Later this morning, he will be participating in his first ever science fair! He is so excited and nervous–all at the same time!

The opportunity came to us in an email from a group that my wife is a part of. There are different age groups and levels. Grant will be in the “Early Explorers” group, so we shouldn’t have any monumental volcanic eruptions in this group, or any kids covering quantum physics. (Whew!)

We decided to give our son this experience for a few reasons:

1. He loves science.

2. It gives him an opportunity to talk to other (safe) adults besides his parents and friends’ parents.

3. Develop his presentation skills. Face it–life is just a series of presentations. Think about it. It’s true.

4. A confidence booster for him!

5. Time with Daddy ( and Reagan)

Unsuspecting eggs!

The final project that we decided on was testing if eggs could survive a fall from a second story window, wrapped in a box with different kinds of packing materials. I’ll say, throwing eggs out of your window on to the cold, wet cement below is a great way to spend a Friday afternoon. All, of course, done in the name of serious scientific exploration!


To ensure that each of our outcomes were valid (and in the name of all things fair in having a sibling), we tested each packing material twice. Grant would drop the first egg, and his younger sister, Reagan would drop the second egg. Please note: Reagan PASSED UP an opportunity to play the Disney Princess Wii game by herself to participate in this fun! She loves her brother, plus who wouldn’t want to throw eggs out the window? I mean, c’mon, you’d do it if you had the chance. Don’t lie!

The first packing material to take the test: bubble wrap. Special thanks to Mama and Papa for having some on hand. Why, I don’t know, but they did. Two eggs down. Two eggs completely whole! No cracks, no breaks!

The second material: packing paper. Please note: this packing paper is the SAME packing paper that Scentsy uses to ship my wife’s Scentsy orders in. They use it LIBERALLY in their packaging. It protects hand crafted, ceramic warmers. Good news is that it also protects unsuspecting little eggs! No breaks or cracks.

Moving along-next up paper towels. Bounty Basic to be exact! No cracks or breaks, either.

I must admit, by this point, I was kind of hoping for a something. A break. A crack. Something. I mean we’re throwing these things out of a second story window on to our driveway!

Is this the look of fun?

We ended the test by trying packing peanuts (special thanks for the hookup from our friend, Laurie) and plastic shopping bags. Guess what-nothing. No cracks or broken eggs.

So, our final experiment was to throw the eggs out the window, in the box, with no packing materials. That cracking sound you’ll here in the box is the sweet sounds of success!

SPLAT! Success!

Grant worked on the display board for his project tonight after dinner. We also ran through his presentation 5 times (at his request) with my wife, daughter, and me playing the judges.

This is a proud daddy moment for me. I was able to give him a quick pep talk in preparation for tomorrow’s event and I got to tell him about some of my experiences speaking to people throughout my life. It was a bonding experience for us.

Good luck to you today, Grant! Your dad is super proud of you! Love ya, buddy!

Bombs away!!!


A Day at the Eye Doctor

I had to visit the eye doctor today for my annual check up. I’m happy to report that all is well with my eyes and nothing changed in my prescription.

Every time I go to get my eyes checked, I always think of this bit from Brian Regan on taking the eye exam. The optometrist always wonders why I’m chuckling. Here’s why:


An Experiment in the Kitchen

Today I was home alone so I had sometime to work in the kitchen. I’ve found that I enjoy cooking and baking more than I had realized and has proven to be an outlet for me, as of late. I’ve also found that my family enjoys me cooking and baking as an outlet, as well. No surprises there!

So, while the family was away, I was able to do my thing in the kitchen. The result: First, was a corn cake to go with our chili for dinner. Corn cake is simply a corn muffin mix combined with a yellow cake mix. Not bad eating, but definitely NOT on my diet. 🙂 The rest of the family enjoyed the corn cake, as I enjoyed the chili from the crockpot.

The corn cake was not the experiment. I found a recipe for brownies that I wanted to try. As I posted pictures of the brownies on Facebook, Twitter and Path, I was reminded that it was not my binge day and wouldn’t be for another 5 days. Thanks for the reminder. I’m glad my friends are looking out for my health and keeping me on track. 🙂

The brownies actually have a different base to them. Any guesses? Well, if you followed along on Facebook, you’ll know that these brownies had black beans in them. Yep, black beans were the base for these brownies. The ingredients are below:

1 can of black beans

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 T of peanut butter

Stevia for sweetening

Assembly: The assembly is quite simple.

1. Wash the black beans well.

2. Combine all the ingredients into a blender or food processor until ingredients are smooth

3. Pour mixture into 8×8 brownie pan

4. Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins.

5. Cut and enjoy

The Finished Product:

Here’s the finished product. What do you think?

I’ll say up front that Little Debbie or Hostess has nothing to worry about. This is merely a healthier alternative to their products. Does it taste like either? No. The brownies have their own taste and you’ll have to try them. Our kids came home and immedately ate 2 each. Yeah, for fiber for the kids. 🙂

Would you be willing to try these brownies? Have you made them before? Did your recipe differ from the one I used?


What do you look for in a leader? Providing Hope

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”
Martin Luther

The final characteristic that followers look for in a leader is their ability to provide hope. Followers also mentioned similar characteristics, such as direction, faith and guidance. For many people, if they have hope, they have enough to carry on and see a mission through to completion.

The delicate balance in leadership comes with followers looking to leaders for hope for the future, but also looking for them to provide stability in the moment. Leadership is truly an art.

In searching for something to add to this post, I was reminded of the message of hope found in “The Shawshank Redemption“. You can watch the video below to see how Tim Robbins’ character provides hope for a fellow inmate. Morgan Freeman’s character goes from hopeless to hopeful.

Have you worked with a leader who was able to provide hope to you? As a leader, have you been able to provide hope to those that work for you? Please share your stories below.


Dad Moment: Kids vs. Food

Upon finishing their breakfast this morning, both of our kids brought me their dishes completely empty! They were both smiling and exclaiming, “Kid wins! Kid wins!”

Obviously, there was a Man vs. Food type challenge going on at our breakfast table that I was unaware of. Both kids polished off the Super Daddy Challenge (nicknamed after the fact) of 2 dippy eggs, 2 pieces of toast, and a glass of orange juice!

I’m not all about our kids pigging out, but at least they finished off a healthy breakfast. Watch the show and try this trick if you’re kids don’t want to eat their meal. It just might work.

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