Gratitude or pride?

At fifty-one years old, I own three businesses, have written three books, played in an award-winning country band, and am blessed with having more “enough-ness” than any man could ask for. Rewind fifteen short years ago, and I was down and out. “Scarce-ness” was the watchword of the year. My wife asked me once, “Don’t you feel proud of all you’ve accomplished, considering where you were back then?” I didn’t really know how I felt until she asked me. But I do now. I can honestly say that I don’t feel as much pride in those accomplishments as I do gratitude. Why? Well it’s certainly not because I’m some morally superior, worldly-wise specimen of humility. It’s just that I’ve been lucky enough to see the truth: That people much smarter, capable and skilled than I have ended up far worse. There is undoubtedly a connection between where one ends up in life and one’s skill, education, and perseverance. But I know that just as often the difference comes down to one or two little choices we make; a little bit of “being in the right place at the right time,” or what appears to be divine intervention that spells the difference between fame and obscurity, skid row and middle class—even life or death.

So in my less enlightened moments, I might engage in a bit of “back patting,” being only human after all. “Look at me! Look at how far I’ve come!” But on most days, at any given moment, you’re likely to find me thinking how grateful I am, how I couldn’t have asked for more and that I certainly have more than I deserve, if there’s really any such thing as “deserving.” Gratitude is pretty cool. It beats pride any old day. In fact, pride is number one on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins! Here is how one website defines it:

Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.

If that doesn’t say it all…

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

Choosing the path with heart: Being ourselves

Many of us fantasize about what we’d do if we could go back to an earlier age, but retain our current memories and knowledge. I think I’d work on some skills, habits, and character traits (after buying a certain list of stocks of course.) One character trait that I really wish I had now is the ability to be myself completely. To be and act 100% from my core personality without worrying about what people think. The term “being yourself” has always sounded a little “fishy” to me; a bit gray and undefined, but I still find myself wishing I could be more of that “kid” that didn’t fit in when he was a youngster. Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

Lack and Limitation: Our Drug of Choice?

As seekers, we often use the tools of exposing commonalities–common denominators or underlying similaritie–as a means of uncovering the “truth” about “things.” What do A, B and C have in common? What always happens after X,Y, or Z happen? What does this tell us? Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

‘Honey Do’ list for a man for his marriage

If you’re anything like me, you stop and wonder every so often what your “job” is as a husband and how you’re measuring up at that job. Can I do more? Am I doing too much? Am I becoming too domesticated?? Do I still wear the pants in the family or am I whipped beyond recognition? (Hint: If you think “wearing the pants” is sexist, you’re probably whipped beyond recognition). Being married to a woman is tricky. Just when you think everything’s running on all cylinders, she seems unhappy about something. And being men, we tend to think it’s something we did–or didn’t–do, and need to fix. Again, if you’re “anything like me”, the ONLY way you know the answer to the question “how is my marriage doing?” is by asking your wife! So what follows is a sort of “checklist” of things to do in your marriage or long term relationship so that you know whether you’re doing your job or not. Let’s get started… Continue reading

Posted in Family & Relationships | Leave a comment

Some things a man needs to do before he gets married

Before any man gets hitched, ties the knot and settles down, there are a few things and man should be, do or have before he does so. These “pre requisites”, in various forms, can be found throughout the earliest societies on earth. Continue reading

Posted in Family & Relationships | Leave a comment

Are you a feminized man?

What is feminized behavior in a man? It’s often misunderstood to mean “feminine” behavior but there’s a distinct difference. My personal definition of feminized behavior is any “thought, word or action implemented by a man in a style usually displayed by a woman”. Continue reading

Posted in Family & Relationships | Leave a comment

Law of Attraction F.A.Q.

I had some questions a few months back about the law of attraction and just how it “all worked” – here’s some of that conversation below: Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

A man’s REAL value to other men.

What purpose do you serve in other men’s lives?

Friendship? Competition? Watch each other’s back? Continue reading

Posted in Family & Relationships | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah,

I decided this year to write about something that has always struck me as beautifully perplexing.
That is, how so many elements of Christmas stay the same year after year. We’re flooded with new styles, new leaders, newer and more terrifying problems to worry about. But I’ve noticed a resistance to change when it comes to Christmas. Oh there’s changes, but they’re slow and reluctant. For example, there’s only a handful of Christmas songs and movies that come to mind: It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street, and for the little ones there’s Rudolph, Frosty, and a few others, (although National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is our family’s personal favorite!) How many new Christmas songs have you heard the last few years? Very few that aren’t remakes of the classics like White Christmas, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, etc. It’s as if we’ve found something perfect, some divine time & place…and are trying to preserve it.

Maybe it’s got something to do with our desire to be or stay young & carefree. What is it about growing up that mercilessly mutes the energy of youth? We just have more important things to do than play games or jump for joy. As I’m writing this, a certain song comes to mind, and although it’s not a Christmas song, it singlehandedly illustrates my point. It’s called “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. Here’s a piece:

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
(And may you stay…forever young)

And there it is … “May you always know the truth, and see the light surrounding you.” Those are some heavy, haunting, beautiful words. I think of how seldom I see the light surrounding me, at least the way I imagine God does. I’m not sure I could even bear it if I did.

So maybe our efforts to keep things the same is our way of trying to connect with God, by soaking up a little youth and innocence. The worries: having enough money, keeping up with the Joneses, making judgments about people and worrying about their judgments of us. These accumulations take up a lot of psychic & emotional weight. Wouldn’t it be a great big relief to let it all go and turn toward the simpler joys…like the sounds and smells of cinnamon and summer, sunshine and lake water lapping the shore…making snowballs, the taste of chocolate and seeing aunts and uncles and the sound of unwrapping and excitement and laughing and crying. Feeling like life lasts centuries instead of decades.

Well I think that’s enough for now. Thank you all for being in our lives, whether you’re a client, a service provider or friend, thank you. Deb, Elissa and I hope your greatest times are still out ahead of you. We hope you catch a glimpse of that truth, and see that light surrounding you (if you can bear it), and of course we hope that you stay…forever young. Merry Christmas and God Keep and Bless you every day.

The LaVoie Family: Ken, Deb and Elissa Rose
And LaVoie’s Landscape ~ Central Maine Web ~ Southern Angel Properties

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are you ready to die

I never really thought much about death…mow own mortality, until my Dad died a few years back.  I’m one those lucky saps who reached middle age without really losing anyone super-close.  My grandmother died a few years before, and she was one of my top 5 favorite people of all time, but it was also sort of expected. Sad but not shocking. 

My Dad died at 59 years old. I received a call from the Cambodian Embassy at 11 PM, awakened from a deep sleep to hear that he’d died earlier that day.  Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

Let me live a little longer

This post marks a change in the way I plan to write. In the past I’ve focused on “facts” and “content” but there was something that bothered me about these writings. They seemed a bit phony and empty. Some are well written, sure, but there’s something missing. I figured it out finally after writing my last Christmas letter to my clients. My wife always reads these letters and gives me a “pass” if they make her cry, or at least give her a few goosebumps. Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

Survival Directive

So individuals, organizations, professions, even ideologies such as religions will take on what appears and functions as a “survival directive.” It will do what it needs to do to survive, similar to the traits of a single biological organism. Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

Using Death as an advisor

As spoken to a little boy who was having a hard time with the idea of death.

So I draw a circle here on this paper and this represents everything known to you; your world. You might think that we all live in the same world but we don’t, really. We just agree on enough “facts” to give us the illusion that we do. Continue reading

Posted in Wise | Leave a comment

Hold Daddy’s Hand: A Father’s collection of life lessons for his daughter.

Hold Daddy’s Hand
A Father’s collection of life lessons for his daughter.

Welcome: I have written a book. I’m proud of it usually. Sometimes I think it needs alot more work, but all in all…I think I did well. Here’s a synopsis that I’ve edited for this website for you. Continue reading

Posted in Family & Relationships | Leave a comment

Children are … people?

I’ve decided to conduct an experiment. It’s one I’ve really already started, just not consciously. It’s outrageous, outlandish, and might just make me the laughingstock of the PTA and readers of “parenting” magazines worldwide. It’s an experiment called “acting as if my child is just a smaller, less life-experienced adult”. Continue reading

Posted in Family & Relationships | Leave a comment