Just look up

How many of us have gotten so busy in life that we simply forget to look up and gaze at the stars?

Too often, I think we get too busy. Too busy running our kids from this event to that event. Making this meeting and that one. It doesn’t matter which season, we all seem to be so busy, that we don’t take in the beauty that surrounds us every day.

Other countries do it with a bit more success than we do, I suppose, but even they, I suspect are running too fast.

Take a moment.

Just by yourself.

Go to the park over lunch. Stand outside and look at the stars.

No radio, don’t talk with anyone.

Just take everything in.

Just be.

Just be in the moment of life you are living, for it goes by way to fast.

If all you are doing is running from one meeting to the next. One appointment to the next or one soccer game to the next, are you truly living your life?

I don’t say this to offend, but more as an observation. I have been one of those people who has gotten to wound up in meeting after meeting and appointment after appointment.

I’m not telling you to forget work or your kids’ soccer games. Those are obviously important. What I’m saying is not to forget about you.

Just to take a moment for yourself and jut live in the moment.

When life is through, what are they going to say? “Wow, he made every meeting?” Or would you rather they looked at your life with more depth?

About three years ago, I made a decision that would change the course of my life. I have lost track of that over the last 6 months and I need to get back to that vision.

Life is too damn short to think about anything else.

All I’m saying is take a moment.

Breathe.

Be you.

Be who you always wanted to be.

Don’t wait.

As I sit here by the fire tonight, all I can think about is where I still want to go and what I still want to do. But you know what, I’m going to sit here and take in the stars above for awhile.

I wish you could see this view right now.

Roman

Why I’m participating in the MS150 again this year

IMG_0833When you are removed from something, as people, I think we have become blind to what is going on in the world around us.  We don’t see it if it doesn’t some how directly affect us or someone we know personally.

I’ve watched my sister deal with MS.  It’s not fun to see anyone, let alone your sister go through something like this.

Having multiple sclerosis means you can wake up with blurred vision. Or your memory may fail you for no apparent reason. Or that you may not always be able to walk. The symptoms of MS are different for everyone — the only certainty is that it will affect another person every hour of every day.

Last year was my first year on the ride and it was an amazing experience.

IMG_0837IMG_0838IMG_0844From the start, it was impressive to see the sheer amount of cyclists who participate in this event each year.  I had the great fortune of riding in last year’s event with my sister, my wife and our friend Jan.

The first day is a 75 mile ride from Duluth to Hinkley, MN.  It’s probably one of the most beautiful rides I’ve done on my bike.  It’s mostly all trail rides through the woods.  This year I plan on stopping more along the way to take in the sights and talk with other riders.  Last year I was so focused on getting to Hinkley, I rode faster than I needed to.  It was a gorgeous day for riding and it turned in to a perfect evening at the rest stop.  We listened to the band and had a few beverages.

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Day two started out beautifully.  Perfect sunrise.  It quickly changed to a cool day filled with rain.  Even though we were all cold, we pushed through.  I kept thinking to myself, “if my sister can do this, so can I!”  So we pushed on, at times skipping the rest stop all together, just so we could stay warm.

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When we all crossed the finish line, it was probably one of the most prouder moments I’ve had – even compared to the half-marathons that I’ve ran in.  To bike 150 miles for a good cause, and to do it with my sister, who lives with MS, was a huge accomplishment for the both of us, and something I won’t soon forget.

Why I ride

Once again, I’ve registered for Bike MS: C.H. Robinson Worldwide MS 150 Ride because I want to celebrate hope for the future, and move toward a world free of multiple sclerosis.

I’ll be riding in this year’s event with my sister and our friends and family.

Why you should sponsor me

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society uses money collected from Bike MS to fund cutting-edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education and provide programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.

If you’d like to support me in this year’s ride, follow the link below to donate.

Donate today by clicking here

I appreciate all of your support.

Roman

Moments like these I never want to let go of

When kids are young, as parents we get to do so many cool things with our kids.

All of those firsts like birthdays, walking, talking. You know. The basics.

But the one thing I look forward to – every time – is family movie night.

Over the years, it will change. But this is one scene I can’t get enough of.

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What are some of the things you do with your kids that you simply can’t get enough of?

Roman

Teaching a young kid new tricks

One of the best parts if being a dad is the experiences you get to have with your kids.

There are the bigger experiences like family trips, camping, and family outings.

But the ones I remember most are the daily in and out things that happen for the first time. Like the first tooth that is lost, or shaving for the first time.

Although my boys are too young to truly shave, they see me doing it in the morning and had a curiosity about it. Especially Big Dude.

When we were out at the store the other night, we came across a kids “shaving kit”. Big Dude saw it and asked if he could start shaving too. Now, the kids kit has a plastic surface that looks like a blade, but isn’t.

Tonight while getting ready for bed, Big Dude wanted to give it a try. What ensued made me laugh almost as hard as the time we tied Little Guy’s loose tooth to the door to pull it out (yes, that absolutely happened – and it was glorious!)

We had shaving cream up his nose, all over his face. Let’s just say that it was a learning experience.

The best was the photo below.

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Oh, and if you think I’m kidding about the loose tooth, here’s the before photo.

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And the after photo

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2014 is off to a fun start!

No more new year’s resolutions

I’m not quite sure where to start this post.  I think I’ve rewritten this first paragraph about 10 times so far.  I know where I want to go, but how to get there from here is the great question of the day.

Each year, many of us set out to make a new year’s resolution.  Sometimes we fulfill that goal and sometimes we don’t.  I can speak from experience on both sides of this coin.  In January of 2011, I set out to change my lifestyle to a more healthier me.  That last about a month.  The gym where I was working out wasn’t the greatest and was unfriendly.  I felt defeated and I was barely a month in to the new year.  I didn’t see myself begin to fulfill that goal until May of that year when I started at a new gym and met so many great people.  Their support pushed me through the last two and a half years to where I am today.

When I sat down to decide what this year’s resolution was going to be, I was kind of struggling between a few different things.  A few weeks ago, my friend Marc, who writes for, and is the podcast host of “The Conversation Hub”, began talking about his Three Words for 2014.  I remembered reading about his change to the three words last year, so I went back to read the post again.

After reading the blog post from last year, and talking with some friends around town, a bunch of us have decided to do away with the resolution, and move toward the three words.  Just as Marc stated, I think by selecting three words, it will better help guide me through the year, rather than a one off goal.  It will also really help me focus through 2014.

This afternoon, a group of us from town are getting together to announce our words to each other. This blog post will go up about the same time I’m meeting with my friends to announce our words.

So, let’s not wait any longer.  Let’s get to it.

My first word is Consistency.

“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.” ~ Anthony Robbins

For me, consistency revolves around my fitness goals.  Have I maintained, sure.  This last summer I competed in four 1/2 marathons, countless 5k’s and participate in the MS 150, a 150 mile bike ride from Duluth to the Twin Cities.  That can be consistent, but after my last half marathon in October in Mankato, I decided to take a break for a bit.

The definition of consistency is the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.  After last summer, I was sore all over and thought I needed a rest after a busy summer.  That time off, broke my consistency.  I still taught kettle bell class at AFC and participated in several classes through Get Fit in Hutchinson, but I lacked the consistency I had before.  Now that we’ve had snow and downright bitter cold, my running hasn’t been as frequent.

So between forcing myself out in to the cold to run, and fitness classes, I want to gain my consistency back that I had this summer.

This was the easiest word to do.

Second word is Courage.

Courage to do the big things and courage to follow through on the little things.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou

When you think about it, we are all looking for courage.  Large or small, it takes a moment of courage to step out and do something different.  

Having the courage to step out and do something that you may not be comfortable with can be a real challenge for someone who hasn’t been used to it.

Courage plays such a large role in what we do in life.  To step out of our comfort zones and really step up, can be tough.

This year, courage for me is happening in two ways.

The first is having the courage to try new things.  I’m not that big in to trying new things.  From food to “experiences”, I tend to go with things I already know about.

While this may not seem all that big, but there are a few things I want to get better at, and it will take courage to do it.

The first is already happening with our new senior living communities. While they are set to open in 2014, it took some courage to become part of this group and move it forward.  I am really excited about the possibilities that these new communities hold.  There are other projects to be worked on, and each of those instances will take courage to make the necessary changes.

I want to teach my boys about having courage in the face of adversity.  The courage to stand up for what they believe in, the courage to do what’s right, even if that means it won’t be popular.  While there are great kids out there, I don’t feel as if people stand up for what they believe is right.  When someone gets picked on or bullied in school, who has the courage to stand up to those kids and say it isn’t right?

The second part of courage also comes through in part of my third word, which is Community.

 

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” - Marianne Williamson

I pondered on this for the last couple of weeks.  It wasn’t until recently that it actually came to me, and I’m going to borrow from my friend Marc on this one.

My community involvement over the past year has grown.  I’ve been able to participate in a bunch of awesome projects through the city and through the chamber of commerce.  This year, I want to try and give something back.  In December 2014, a group of photographer friends and I are going to participate in Help-Portrait, right here in our own city.

Help-Portrait is a community of photographers who come together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local community.  In December, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered.  As the website says, it’s about giving photographs, not taking them.

Here’s a quick video to explain more of what I’m talking about.

Every time I see the video, I get more excited to do this project.

After talking with a few of my photography friends who’ve participated in this program, I am really excited about making this a reality here in our own town.

This is going to be a huge project to undertake.  I’m going to need help in pulling it off, but I am determined to make it work.

So there you have it.  My three words for 2014 are: Consistency; Courage, and Community.

With all of that in mind, what are you going to do this year?  A new year’s resolution, or Three Words?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy New Year everyone!

Roman

Sometimes a run is not just a run

One of the things we set out to do when we decided to get healthy, was to be good role models for our kids.

With some luck, they’ve taken an interest in running!

This past year alone, Big Dude has completed four 5k’s!

Last weekend, Little Guy decided it was his turn to run too. So, we all signed up to run as a family at a local 5k color run.

We went in to this knowing that we weren’t going for good times, just more to keep their interest.

See, Big Dude is a lot like Angie. He is in it for the bling. Give those two a medal or a shirt, and they are in. In this case, they got a shirt, and the opportunity to throw color at mom and dad. Figured it would be good.

The boys took off out of the gate in a hurry. Being a color run, we knew the boys would enjoy getting blasted by the colors as they ran by.

At mile 1.5, Little Guy slowed down. At one point, deciding he needed a ride.

I picked him up and kept jogging. Through the race, I probably carried him for a mile of it. Have you tried carrying a kid that distance while running?

At the end, they ran in to our group of friends who waited to cheer them on as they crossed the finish line.

After that, it was an all out color war. Little Guys hands were so blue, he thought he was turning in to a smurf.

We are glad the boys are taking an interest in fitness. They are already signed up for the kids run coming up in October.

Thanks to our friend Karlie for getting this shot of me running with Little Guy.

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It’s already been 20 years – time for the High School memories to flow

senior photo

I have no idea how I would change this photo now. CD’s were the thing 20 years ago.

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been twenty years since I graduated from high school. In a way it still feels like yesterday and in others, it seems like a lifetime ago.

This weekend is my twenty year high school reunion.  TWENTY YEARS!

It will be a fun trip back as many of my friends from high school will be there.  For most people I know, they stay connected to their friends after high school.  For me, I tried to stay connected, but before Facebook, it wasn’t easy.  As I moved around, it became tougher and tougher to stay connected.  It wasn’t until within the last 5 years that many of us were able to connect again.

School is hard, and not for the reasons you may think.

I really wasn’t having fun in school until my senior year.  Maybe it was that way for a lot of us, I don’t know.  I didn’t really feel as though I fit in.   Continue reading