Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Commandments for Success in 2015

Every year for the past couple years I have taken a look at my suggestions for being successful in the new year, updating them and then re-blogging them.  I hope you like this years updates. 

I remember as a child when we went on some cross country vacations in the car.  We could drive accross the USA to go to one destination or another.  My mother was a music teacher and my sister and I grew up singing.  When we would take those long car rides we would sing the scores of every broadway musical we knew and every other song we could think of. Everything was in 3 part harmony. Mom, my sister and I would sing while dad filled the role of audience (he was one of the only people I have ever met who truly couldn't sing). 

Today, forty years later, I only have vague memories of our destinations. I don't remember much of the details about Disney land or being seasick on the fishing boat in Oregon.   But my memories of singing, laughing, talking and sometimes fighting in the car on those trips are as vivid as if they happened yesterday.  If you have ever heard someone tell you that the journey is more important than the destination, believe them.  I suspect that the milestones in our lives, as important as they may be seem, with time  will fade away but the paths we took to reach those milestones stay with us forever. Enjoy the trip!

1. Decide to be happy! It’s not magic. Deciding to be happy doesn’t automatically make you happy and it can at times involve hard work. But deciding that you want to be happy and deserve to be happy is the first step that will lead you to making the necessary decisions and choosing the actions to move you in the right direction.

2. Be forgiving! Forgive others and possibly hardest of all forgive yourself.

3. Keep learning. Be curious. Ask more questions and really listen to what people say. Talk to strangers. Read more books.

4. Get involved in something outside of work that is voluntary. Your kid’s football team, a charity, a church or a scout troop, whatever it is get involved and invest some time in it
 
5. Exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a fanatic! A little physical activity done regularly can make one hell of a difference in both your physical health andyour mental wellbeing.

6. Don’t work for money. Work for stimulation and satisfaction. The money will follow. 

7. If you find yourself in a bad situation, for example at work or in a relationship, make a plan and take the necessary steps to either improve the situation or to move on to a better one. If you find yourself in a good situation invest more of yourself into it.

8. Spend more time with friends and family. Try hard to really be with them when you are with them. That means turning off whatever problem is mulling around in your head, the TV or your cellphone for just a little while and just be. Don’t avoid people you don’t like. They will help you learn a great deal about yourself.

9. Work hard! Be wary of easy answers and quick fixes. Creating anything worthwhile whether it’s a painting, a career, a relationship or a life is hard work.

10. This moment is the only moment you have and it will never come back, make the most of it! The past is the past and if you are lucky enough to have a future it will be to a large extent the result of how you spent the accumulation of all the moments just like this one.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

There is no shame in thoughts; there is only shame in actions.


This is the time for compassion and understanding.  This is the place for forgiveness and acceptance. The battle between good and evil is not a battle between nations, religious or political factions, races or even between individuals.  It is a struggle within the hearts and minds of each and every one of us.  The battle is fought every single day through our words and deeds.

If ours beliefs lead us to do evil then our beliefs are evil. If our gods cause us to hate others because they are different or believe differently, then our gods are evil.  Our gods can take many shapes. We may worship Jesus, Allah, God, Buddha, money, our nation, our political party or any number of other things.  If that which is holy to us causes us to hate or harm others then we are on the side of evil.  If our beliefs encourage us to dictate who or how others should love, if our beliefs cause us to believe that our path is the only right path and to be judgmental or damning of people who choose other paths then we are the ones who are lost.

If our beliefs cause us to love and forgive then we are on the path of good. If our gods cause us to help those in need and accept those who are different from us then our gods are virtuous.  If that which is holy to us causes us to be humble and accept that what is right for one of us may not be right for all of us then good will triumph.

No good every came from evil acts.  Good comes from good.  In the end what you feel or believe is far less important than what you actually do. There is no shame in thoughts; there is only shame in actions. Do not fear your fears, fear is natural. You may fear those who are different than you or those you don’t understand and still offer them help in their time of need. Triumphing over your fears to do good displays courage, allowing your fears to dictate your behavior displays cowardice.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Kelly's original Oklahoma barbeque sauce

When I first came to Sweden 30 years ago there were many foods that we not available here.  One of them was good barbeque sauce.  So I did my homework and came up with my own recipes for some of the things I missed most.  Today there are many good barbeque sauces on the grocery store shelves here in Sweden but if you want to try something really special you can give this a shot.  This might even be a little treat for my friends back home in the USA.

Ingredients:
1 liter (about 32 oz) Heinz ketchup

1 large onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 package of bacon (about 8 strips). Exchange the bacon fat with a vegetable bouillon cube or 2-3 tablespoons of fond if you don’t want the bacon fat.

The juice of one lemon
250-300 grams (about 1.25 cups) of butter
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
6 dl water (3 cups)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar or dark syrup
1 tablespoon of mustard
1-2 habanera peppers (Use a milder pepper If you don’t like it hot or skip this ingredient completely if you like it very mild)

Directions:
Fry up the package of bacon, remove the bacon and save the grease.
Finely chop the onion, garlic and peppers. I like to use a hand blender or food processer for this to get all the ingredients almost pureed. 
My original recipe used only the fat from the bacon but for an even more robust sauce you can add the bacon into the food processer with the onion and puree it too but this otherwise only use the fat.
Put all the ingredients in a large pot (3 liters or larger) and mix well. Cook the ingredients on medium heat without a lid for 20 minutes then reduce the heat and let simmer for another hour.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Det är resan som är målet


Vi är på en resa tillsammans.
Det kräver hårt arbete och ibland kör vi i diket eller åker vilse, det ingår i resan, men vi kommer också att få uppleva mycket spännande.
Vi får möjlighet att växa som mäniskor, att hjälpa andra och skapa mening i tillvaron.
Vi har en riktning men ingen slutdestination.
Det är resan som är målet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tips for boarding an airlplane (Reflections of a frequent flyer)


1.    Respect the line. If you have a ticket they will let you get on. Don't go to the front of the line and "merge" in front of 150 people who actually are in line. We see you even if you pretend to be invisible.

2.    Have your boarding card, ID, etc. out before you get to the front of the line. If you can't find your boarding card, step to the side and let others go past while you look in your one carry-on, one large handbag, computer bag, odd little extra bag, hanger bag, a paper tube with the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops.
 
3.    When the airline says one carry-on and one small handbag they don't mean one carry-on, one large handbag, computer bag, odd little extra bag, hanger bag, a paper tube with the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops.

4.    If instead of one carry-on and one small handbag you actually bring one carry-on, one big handbag, a computer bag, an odd little extra bag, a hanger bag, a paper tube containing the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops and if you cut into the front of the line to make sure you can get room in the overhead bin for your one carry-on, one big handbag, a computer bag, an odd little extra bag, a hanger bag, a paper tube with the advertising campaign you are going to pitch to your client and the two plastic bags of stuff you bought in the airport shops, don't be surprised and all righteous and indignant  if someone removes one or two of your "carry-on" items and places them in the aisle, especially if you aren't sitting anywhere close to the vicinity of the overhead bins where your plethora of personal belongs are stored. (Breath)

5.    Take off your coat before you actually enter the plane so you don’t have to put all your worldly possessions in the aisle so you can take off your coat while 150 of us behind you wait because you cut in line ahead of us.

6.    If despite everything I have written here you insist on entering the plane with all your junk and pile it all in the aisle while you take off your coat please don’t wear your delicate “in-threat-of-extinction-skin-of-something-you-shot-on-safari-in-Africa” coat that can’t possibly be wadded up and stuffed into whatever crevice there is amongst all your stuff in the overhead bins (like the rest of us cattle do with our outer garments) while 150 of us other passengers are waiting behind you because you cut in front of us in line.  And if you do all of this at least and don’t start a big pontification about bad service and “don’t you know who I am” with the cabin personnel because they don’t have a humidified room to hand your rare dead coat in.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

10 Commandments for success in 2014


Last year I published 10 Commandments for success in 2013.  After a bit more reflection I have updated them and made some additions and substractions.  Hope you get some good out of them and have a great 2014.  For me 2014 will be an exciting time with the publication of my first book that is due out in April or May so keep your eyes open for it! :)

1. Decide to be happy!  It’s not magic.  Deciding to be happy doesn’t automatically make you happy and it can at times involve hard work.  But deciding that you want to be happy and deserve to be happy is the first step that will lead you to making the necessary decisions and choosing the actions to move you in the right direction.

2. Be forgiving!  Forgive others and possibly hardest of all forgive yourself.

3. Keep learning.  Be curious. Ask more questions and really listen to what people say. Talk to strangers. Read more books.

4. Get involved in something outside of work that is voluntary.  Your kid’s football team, a charity, a church or a scout troop, whatever it is get involved and invest some time in it

5. Exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a fanatic! A little physical activity done regularly can make one hell of a difference in both your physical health and your mental wellbeing.

6. Don’t work for money. Work for stimulation and satisfaction. The money will follow. 

7. If you find yourself in a bad situation, for example  at work or in a relationship, make a plan and take the necessary steps to either improve the situation or to move on to a better one.  If you find yourself in a good situation invest more of yourself into it.

8. Spend more time with friends and family. Don’t avoid people you don’t like. They will help you learn a great deal about yourself.

9. Work hard! Be wary of easy answers and quick fixes.  Creating anything worthwhile whether it’s a painting, a career, a relationship or a life is hard work.

10. This moment is the only moment you have and it will never come back, make the most of it! The past is the past and if you are lucky enough to have a future it will be to a large extent the result of how you spent the accumulation of moments just like this one.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rich get rich and poor get poorer and somehow thats good?

Is just me or is the debate around tax cuts for the wealthy and increasing minimum wage getting a little crazy?  Somehow many conservative politicians are trying to convince us that if wealthy people get even wealthier it will be good for the economy. At the same time they are trying to keep minimum wage as low as possible with the argument that if poor people get wealthier it will be bad for the economy.