For the 200th time, Happy Friday morning to you! :)
Side note... Did you know that yesterday was the 21st day of the 21st year, in the 21st Century? Pretty cool!
When you think about your closest relationships with people whom you're not related to, likely your spouse or best friend, can you backtrack from the beginning, milestone by milestone to today?... And with a 20+ year history there's no way you could have seen those milestones leading you to where you are now leaving you in a spot where you can't imagine life without it... cool when shit shakes out that way. :)
Milestone 1 | kid level
I could never talk to girls in person. I was confident, but non confrontational, hate door knocking kinda shit.... so I would hide behind my words and write hella good love letters. I still have a box full of correspondence from the lady's. If it wasn't buried in my closet I'd share a picture! haha
Milestone 2 | 1999 - 2000
I'm a senior in high school and I am at Nicole Richards' house... it must have been like 1130PM and we're in just a solid deep conversation about life and other shit. I was down on myself about something as I was talking about my brothers and their innate talents with things. I wasn't complaining as much as drawing attention to something I was vulnerable with. And I will never forget this, she stopped me mid conversation, looking down at me from the couch, she reaches and touches my face and in a serious tone says "you have an incredible way of talking to people" "that's more of a talent than you give credit to"... something like that...but it was a total kick in the pants. I have never forgotten that moment or how those words touched me.
Milestone 3 | 2003 - 2005
When I started my first design job out of college I took this picture while at a jobsite. It was hella cold, but damn, seeing that sun come up and to haphazardly take this pic... with a "camera" (good one's weren't on phones yet).
Shit it was awesome!... I would have this picture as my desktop for years.
Milestone 4 | 2005 - 2010
Life would carry on and I would get another job where I met a guy who had the most amazing computer backgrounds... by this time work stations had two monitors for designers. He showed me a website called "inter facelift" Which allowed you to download pictures at any resolution for your digital device. It was a place where photographers from all over the world would share their artistic pictures and random people like myself could set them as computer or cell phone backgrounds.
I would start my mornings off every day looking at the latest pics, going down rabbit holes of older pics and save this one, that one, oooo! yes, that one. I did this off and on for years until the site ultimately shut down.. a huge bummer!
Milestone 5 | 2009 - 2013
If you've followed me here long, you'll know that I used to build beautiful water features that I built from my humble garage and I would ship them all over the country.
A link to about 40 videos of cool shit I built:
When I would get done with a project or was doing something hella cool at work, I would write an email to family and select friends titled something like "latest project" or something.... I would go through and include lots of pictures of the build, wins, struggles, shit anything. It was nice to share what was going on..
Wisdom from my GP... damn. Just warms my heart! RIP Good buddy!! :'(
Milestone 6 | 2010-2015
No matter where I was at what job I held, people would see my multiple monitors and watch the backgrounds organically change from picture to picture.. would catch them off guard and they'd talk or ask questions. Before I left my design job for real estate, I would have 3 monitors as a workstation. People would like the pictures so much that I would end up dumping my ass ton of pictures onto a flash drive and then share the full collection with them.
AND! this was before Microsoft or even smart TV's started cycling through pics when left alone. Kinda makes me feel like a badass!
I now can rock 4 monitors if I need to :)
Milestone 7 | 2016
I'm rocking an open house, trying to figure shit out, doing what I think is supposed to happen and in walks John Welsh, a lender guy. He had a commanding voice of wisdom, not of authority, so I listened. He ended up adding me to "his" regular Friday email that he would send regarding the lending market. It was wrought with info but always in his own voice, always positive, always willing to help, patriotic, thoughtful... I came to look forward to it every Friday!
Speaking of! blizam!
Milestone 7 | January 20, 2017 - #001 Post
A different lender friend of mine asked me how he could find more real estate agents like myself. I suggested that he try a weekly blog/email to connect with his people. He wasn't open to the idea and we left it at that..
But... my subconscious wouldn't let it go..
So, on Friday, January 20th, 2017 I took my own advice that Friday morning I emailed my first one "New AZ Real Estate Purchase Contract" .... and included one of my awesome background pictures... lord was I nervous! damn was I!... but I am so thankful I listened to my thoughts....
Milestone 8 | January 22, 2021 - #200 Post
Now for the last four years, I have been publishing a "Weekly Picture" with and for people whom I care about where I share an awesome picture from my collection that's mixed my thoughts, emotions, life pictures, shit, anything really.. These have been deliberate and intentional thoughts documented, likely accumulating near 1000 hours of storytelling and topic planning, picture gathering, over which I have shared continuously for the last 200 Fridays.
Damn.. sorry. When I say it like that, it's really for me. I've not done anything that intentional before, so it's kind of overwhelming and validating to me, for me.
Putting all of my thoughts down, especially in a public platform like this, has unintentionally required that I get to know myself at a very vulnerable and authentic level.. all of which has built a purpose of intentionality that I try to live by where at the end of the day, I like the person I've become; well becoming.. it's a lifetime of effort. :)
There have been times where I have pushed that vulnerable envelope so far that I have unprovokingly received replys or even more concerningly, text messages from others, asking me if I am okay. These weren't from RIP tributes either - just vulnerable thoughts and emotions shared because they were top of mind. When that happens it always catches me off guard... Talk about feeling loved?! wow!
These hours have seaded a deeply rooted relationship with myself in a way I can't really describe. My Grateful Man Blog has turned into a pillar of who I am. It's something that I'm very proud of, for me and I believe it has made me a better person too.
Sadly though, I believe that some people can live to be 100 years old and never truly know who they are... it is through this that I feel and continue to know the person that I am and work hard at trying to become. All of my thoughts have subsequently turned into journaling... and I am a true believer in what that does for a person.
Self discovery is not easy, especially when you wear your heart on your sleeve and also do that publically. Even harder when I try to live by things I talk about which sometimes has bothered other people. - surprisingly. I like to write as if I'm talking right to you, here in person, in my own voice, words that I would use even if you were my inner voice, my Chas, my kids, my best friend, or Gramma... which she gets these emails too. :)
As much as I would like to take credit for making it to #200, it's really not me.. well yes, not until I just broke down the milestones did I come to the realization this shit was in the works... but what keeps me going is the feedback from readers that I find so moving... it's stuff that most don't get to see, or know the significance that this has become to more than just me.
Literally, and I'm not making this shit up!
This just in!!!!!
Interesting & special things that very few know about my blog or because of my blog:
The obvious antagonization about where is the my Friday email [above]
I've connected with grown ass cousins - that I literally have never met - ever.
I've talked about I've never met who've changed my life [RIP Marc Lee]
Some have said reading this is like going to church... it's most always good, but there are times when it's a huge awakening.
A reader once said it's like reading her morning scripture.
This blog reaches approximately 450 - readers
The largest read posts have been family tributes, Mother in Law, at 365 and Father in Law at 275, and the passing of Shawn at 365
Likely my most favorite blog post was when I retired from building water features.
A close second would be my tribute to my mother in law on her final mothers day
The blog has motivated people to do things they never had the courage to do
Start a business, try something new, change a career
I've been asked to help give feedback/lead a mother to be able to connect with an distant son
My parents and most of my family do not get these weekly pictures
Have had someone come over to my home at 11PM to console me after a gut wrenching post
After a good post someone usually asks to be unsubscribed to the weekly picture.. yup!
A reader relays a message to me of what he's garnered from my thoughts
Random "you don't know how much I needed that"
Have had readers check in on me to make sure I wasn't in a dark place
A surprise reader who's been on the drip that has never replied but suddenly does and has read all or most.
Have had a reader twist my writings from my blog, publish their disgruntled opinion of me on Facebook and shame my character of who I am... yup!
Have had people connect with me that I've never met or known and feel like they know me, know me because of this.
My Grampa has not been here to read one of my Grateful Man posts, but my Gramma has always been there :)
Childhood friends and their parents read the blog
Have created distant pen pals
Have had readers call my phone in tears asking if there is something they can do
I've written 9 different tributes to people who are no longer with us
A reader calls my swearing "Brill-oetry", like poetry! haha
I've cried countless times and have brought tears to many
I've apologized to people who I didn't mean to hurt/offend
My kids think they're famous because many people know about them they've never met
The very people who suggested I take my emails and turn them into my GratefulMan.com blog later asked to no longer be a part of them, or part of our lives. [real estate can be shit sometimes].. stings even talking about it
Had a regular reader reach out and at 11:30PM during the week asking if I meant what I said about being there to help if someone needed it. We talked outside for 4 hours as he cried and poured his heart out to me. Sadly months later he succumbed to his inner demons and would take his own life. :( wicked rouch shit.
Four people who used to read my blog regularly have passed away [I still send them these emails]
Have a reader say "delete" after every good one is published
A reader doesn't like that I make them think of their inner voice the way that I do
A reader says this helps her start her weekend
Most of these posts take 3-6 hours to write.. I've been after this one since 530AM
When I'm finished, I usually elevate the desk and proof it standing up, then hit send.
I will then copy everything, republish it into my www.GratefulMan.com site, then share it again on through the social webs. [it is a production of love]
Chas deserves a gold star for putting up with my hella long ass days in the office... on Fridays no less. I heart her guts for the patience!!
I number every single weekly picture, file it under the post number, and date published [I try real hard to not repeat pictures]
I now have 965 pictures in my collection - likely 75 have been sent to me from readers or friends :)
I am sure there is more here that I am forgetting, but that is some of the stuff that goes on in the background. Most of it is good. But it's the harder, sadder things that bring context to some of the struggles I have in keeping this up... feelings of needing to be ok, to be good, and to have the courage to keep going because of the benefit to others - including myself are the real motivation.
I can clearly recall the amount of effort I put into the preparation of #100... but that truly feels like a short bit ago - but it's not. That was Dec 28, 2018... the amount of life that's happened within the last #100 is astonishing to me. Good or bad, I am a much better person for all of it.
I am truly grateful that I have these kinds of stories to share with you.
I am truly grateful that you commit the time to read these thoughts.
Recapping these #200 here was important for me. I would never have guessed where my first post would have taken me personally... In retrospect, I think something like this was going to happen... it's strange how lifes moving current pulls us in directions. I'm just grateful to the universe that I was paying attention.
If there is something about this blog that you enjoy, I would really love that feedback. It's my goal to collect things such as that so I can include them in my Grateful Man book when the blog is printed and bound. :)
Thank you again :)
If there is anything we can do for you, we're always just a call away. :)
Like when I posted #100... .this is the 200th picture of my collection :)