family, spiritual

We all need a little Help

We all need a Little Help from time-to-time.

“Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”—John Wooden

A sad truth about our mental health system does not only do people fear it as a stigma; most folks cannot afford it. Insurance pays some but I think we all can agree on coverage in most instances falls way short of what someone needs regarding mental health.

The good news is with the information you can find affordable mental health care even if you don’t have medical insurance. A great many mental health clinics work on a sliding scale, many non-profits and MHMR facilities also provide affordable mental health care.

Mental health, hope, happiness

Many Churches and faith-based organizations offer Pastoral Care. For those that are thinking this is a religiously based session, you’re wrong. Although supported by religious organizations, this is about mental health. You can certainly ask for prayer and other spiritual support, but you don’t have to, to receive services.

Local internet searches in your hometown will also yield you great information and resources local to you.

Check with your county hospital; ordinarily, social workers will have a list of local mental health resources that you can utilize.

Internet searches can give you many articles, videos and like information that you can begin to use to start the process (keep in mind nothing replaces a professional doctor or mental health professional).

Affordable care is out there you just have to search for it a bit.

Second Part of this article is more in line with finding ways to just feel a bit better. For example, meditation, yoga, and exercise.

Meditation has been a great source of comfort and indeed focuses my mind. Doing anywhere that you can find privacy is comfortable. It works best for me with headphones and good meditation music. You can find tons of great information and music on YouTube for free.

Just find a time that you can be uninterrupted and alone. My bedroom laying on my be is where I find the best peace. Focus on your breathing get relaxed and vision in your mind’s eye that which you want. Peace, happiness, and joy! See yourself in the right place. Over time you will learn how to block out the negative energy and find a beautiful place in your mind.

Yoga is a beautiful way to get Intune with your body. Bikram Yoga for me is terrific. The room is hot, and you sweat. The warmth really helps relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. It’s a beautiful release, I always feel better after Yoga.

Breathe, yes it sounds too simple but just breathes. Take a couple of minutes per day to just breathe. Take a few deep cleansing breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Then focus for about a minute to slowly relax and breathe. Focus your attention on your breath.

No matter how bad things are in your life the preceding is easy to do, and it’s two of them are free. Yoga, you may find free Yoga classes at a local community center, many Yoga studios’ offer a free class every now and again.

When you can get outside of yourself for a short time, you will be amazed at how solutions will come to you. When you’re freaking out that all is lost that is the energy you pull in. Stop it by doing these few simple things. They won’t solve your problems, but any step forward is one step closer to happiness.

Hope is out here. No matter how desperate your situation may be, hope is here. Help is not that hard to find sometimes it just takes a bit of searching.

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Business, family

Family, I’m too Busy with Work

It’s your paycheck that pays for the care of your family. If you didn’t work the hours that you do, weekend and so on, life just wouldn’t be possible. You work hard to provide for your family entirely admirable. For years I thought the same thing.

If you’re so busy, you have no time for your family what the hell kind of life is that? It’s not a life because someday when your son or daughter is grown up you will be regretting the time lost. You can cloud this up all you want but the day will come. So let’s figure out how to manage work and life balance.

family, business, work

The first big hurdle to cross is the boss that says “sure you can go watch your kids’ ball game just pack this box with all your shit.” I actually have had several bosses who played that card. This I will admit is a tight position to find yourself in.

An even tougher thought to ponder is to say you do succeed, but you’ve missed every first thing, birthdays, and life events with your children. How do you ever get that back? You don’t! A very perplexing situation to find oneself.

We all want to get ahead in life, we want to give our family more than what we had. The problem is the cost. What are we willing to pay. From experience, I paid a lot. More than I should have because I missed a great many things. My son ounce sent me a picture of a child chasing a Dad, the bottom photo was the Dad chasing the child. Sad!

One damn sure thing you can never do; buy your child’s happiness or love. What you can provide is you! So how to find the balance?

Begin by making sure you make time every day if possible that you leave your phone, emails, and laptops. Allow yourself to be totally present in a moment with your child. Don’t answer the phone and say Daddy or Mommy has to take this. Don’t dismiss your child as you would a co-worker.

Finding balance requires you to be completely present at the moment. You want to sell yourself that a client can’t wait an hour to hear from you (I get time-sensitive jobs, but you need to find a time when the market is closed, see my point). Spending uninterrupted time with your children, time with them while you are on the phone is NO GOOD! Block out time that is the children’s time!

Some will say this is a nieve look at job vs. family. That it’s your job that pays for your families life. If you asked one adult child, who’s parents gave them an incredible home, everything they could ever want. If you asked that child what if anything could you change, all would tell you more time with the parent that was absent. You can’t buy a family or love.

Make real-time for kids to experience what you have to offer. Maybe you can’t be there all the time, but be present in the moment. Don’t miss firsts or birthdays! You can never get them back; I don’t care how many birthday ponies you give. Turn off phones and be with your kids! You won’t regret you did, ever!

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family, spiritual

Five Things to be Grateful For

Many days we all struggle to find things to be grateful for. Learning to become grateful during our worst times will help you find peace. Focus on the positive things in your life, get that vibration out in the universe. Draw in the great kick out the bad!

five things to be grateful for

Here are 5 quick things to be grateful for today:

  1. You woke up; you’re This is a tell-tale sign that God is not through with you yet. Why not get up and go see what God has for your life.
  2. Do you have healthy children, are you healthy, if so consider the flip side of that coin? Many families will leave loved ones behind today in hospitals to never return home. If you have your health, you genuinely have everything!
  3. Do you have a job and transportation to get to your career? Even if it’s a job, you cannot stand, you have a job. Lots of folks would kill for your crappy job. So be grateful you can work and provide for your family.
  4. If you’re reading this from a computer, chances are it’s on a device you can be grateful to have. Plenty of folks out there that cannot understand this only because they have no access. If you have a cell phone, computer, tablet, and Be grateful that you have these items that most likely you take for granted.
  5. Family, do you have anyone in your family that you are genuinely grateful they’re in your life? Hopefully, its most of your family, but if it’s a Mom, Dad, sibling or child. Let that person or persons know how grateful you are to the family. An I love you goes a long way!

No matter how crappy life may be or how joy-filled life may be for you right now. Being grateful is powerful. See the world through grateful eyes, and you will see a world that blossoms for you in ways you never imagined.

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Today I am grateful you read this and pray Joy and Peace into your life! God Bless.

family, spiritual

Faith Triumphs Again

Through fantastic faith, blessing comes. Of late I have been tested in my faith and struggling to let God guide my way. The good news for me is that I recognize what’s going on with me and don’t stress the way historically I have.

Pushing through, however, is tough. The lassitude this brings into my life is stifling. The aberrant lack in my life causes me more stress. Finding my way back to what is healthy for me is a struggle I believe we all suffer with.

Most importantly not losing faith, and hope, but staying in faith even when it seems out of reach. Circumstances overwhelm reason. If I don’t believe in a bad outcome and focus my attention to a happy resolution. This is the end of the field God plays on, and through our faith, his will shines through.

 

prayer, faith, hope, Chocolate Cake
You can eat some not so good stuff if you get this cake at the end. Think about it! 

 

What prompted me to write this article. Last night I was struggling through finances as I am sure you all do from time-to-time. Checking my email, I opened one from my credit card company with a new credit line increase. No, I don’t recommend living off credit cards.

My point to sharing the credit increase is the timing. I had let God know that I know he is working to bring the right jobs, the right new customers and my needs will be met.

Historically, I would be freaking out. Instead, I simply let God know I have faith in him to provide. I do the work every day, stay in faith, diligently do my job, I don’t sit on my duff and do nothing.

The increase came out of the blue; I had not asked nor applied for any assistance. In my heart, I believe God was letting me know he is there. This type of blessing happens a lot when I stay in faith. When I feel even though I can’t see any way out, I let God know that I believe he will pull me through.

God knows my heart; he knows my journey now includes him daily. Many times, my faith is tested where it would be easy to say “this doesn’t work, God does not listen to me.” It’s been my experience that when I do that things do get worse. When I believe all will be okay, then slowly but surely bumps in the road smooth out.

Somedays its big things and somedays you merely need to look for the smallest of miracles in your life. Big or small it’s a step forward. Be grateful at all time that God has taken the time to bless your day.

When you don’t see a way, this is when you have to trust that God is working behind the scenes to help you. Just because you can’t see any movement whatsoever does not mean that change is about to occur in your life. Stay in faith, as they say, this too shall pass!

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History

American Muscle Cars a Brief History

Few things in the history of the automotive industry stand out as a true American icon, American Muscle Cars. No other car is as beloved as the American Muscle Car. With roots dating back to 1949, these cars are known around the world. Not many places on this earth could you mention muscle car and the person you’re speaking to nods their head “oh yeah”…

Who would have thought that during the 60’s & 70’s that names like Barracuda, Chevelle, Camaro, would be as American as apple pie? From the first Rocket 88 engine in the 1940’s to a Hudson Hornet, that dawned the age of NASCAR. Ask anyone if they know the word Hemi or SS unless you have been living at the South Pole all your life chances are you know these names.

So, what is an American Muscle Car? As the name suggests, it’s a car with a lot of engine muscle, horsepower that is! Beefy engines, loud exhausts, fast shifting, tire burning, light your hair on fire muscle. These cars are not for the faint of heart. Guys in the earlier years racing pink slip for pink slip (winner take all, that means your car is lost if you lose), trusting that their engine prowess vs. the other guys was superior that their baby could make a quarter mile in the blink of an eye. Guys wanted as big an engine as they could put in the smallest car of the day. That in its simplest of terms is what Muscle cars were built for, the American hotrod enthusiast.

Ford Mustang, Mustang, Car

Another distinct feature from other fast cars is muscle cars are designed for straight line power. This is not a car you will see on an F1 track.

It’s mind-blowing when you think about how these cars have impacted so many people’s lives. Fathers and sons who spent countless hours under the hood, creating lifelong memories. Conventions that host these dream cars and draw thousands of people over a weekend.

The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is cited by some as the first real muscle car. In 1949 Oldsmobile introduced this car, and the Rocket 88 engine would be the benchmark for V8 engines to follow. This V8 of the day produced 135 hp with a two-barrel carburetor. In the 1950 NASCAR season, this beast was the bee’s knee’s as they would say in the day. Taking the checkered flag 8 out of 10 times that season, the Rocket 88 was hands down blazing a trail for others to follow.

Follow they did, enter the Chrysler 300 with a 300 hp Hemi engine. Touted as America’s most powerful car! She was a beast! Shortly after that Studebaker hits the market with the Golden Hawk, with a 352 CI Packard V8 with 275 hp.engine.

It was the 1960’s where the popularity of the muscle car really found its second wind. All the major Detroit automakers began a river of strong muscle cars. Every young man in America was touting their quarter mile time. Drag racing became as American as baseball.

In 1961 Chevrolet introduced the SS package available on the Impala, for money staggering $53.80 that included a 409 cu in V8 with 425 hp. That power was the dawn of making your brother in the back seat scream like a girl.

As you can see we have only touched the surface of what is now one of the hottest segments of the car industry. When you think of the thousands of muscle car shows from Sonic Drive In’s® to Metro Convention centers it’s staggering the dollars spent on these classic beauties and the shows that showcase them.

Over the course of the 1960’s American bread muscle cars flew off showroom floors. The infamous John DeLorean President of the Pontiac division of GM went against GM policy of limiting smaller vehicles to the 330 car engine, while the Pontiac GTO ran a 389-6.4L V8.

Let’s take a little time to showcase some of the big names in Muscle Car history, like Hurst Performance.

Founded in 1958 Hurst performance is best known for manual transmission shifters both replacement and OEM products. You will see these legendary shifters in such cars like the Pontiac GTO, Boss 429, Dodge Charger and Oldsmobile 442 just to name a few.

George Hurst in 1958 along with inventor Lawrence Greenwald who financially backed the Hurst-Campbell venture and off they went making bumpers for the VW bus. As time went on, they ventured out into piston driven gear shifts, engine mounts, and the ever-iconic Hurst Shift Knob!

GTO, Pontiac

A funny side note to the Hurst story, Lawrence Greenwald is credited for inventing stretch nylon hosiery. How do you get from women’s pantyhose to Hurst performance? Obviously, a pioneering entrepreneur.

Hurst would make its way to the drag strips of America. These legendary shift kits allowed drivers of performance vehicles a stronger shift and control. Factory shifters tended to be flimsy and generic. More than just about anything else, if you had a performance car that did not have a Hurst shifter, well the word pansy does leap to mind.

Gearheads of the day insisted on Hurst shifters. Car manufacturers were not without smarts. Big automakers jumped on the Hurst bandwagon during the 60’s and began installing Hurst shifters into production cars. Just the name Hurst was a huge marketing win. Hurst went on to acquire Schiefer Manufacturing who made clutches, a natural fit for the shifter company. They would continue during the 1960’s to buy businesses that complemented their own. In 1968 Hurst would become a public company.

Something that has drifted into legend, Sunbeam bought Hurst Performance in 1970. The story goes Hurst and Greenwald were promised executive positions that Sunbeam reneged and fired the two men from the company. Both Mr. Hurst and Mr. Greenwald passed away in 1986.

Many products were spawned from muscle car fever. From performance auto parts, lubricants and of course Hurst shifters, an industry within the industry was born.

HEMI prefix for Hemispherical Combustion Chamber.  A domed cylinder head for an internal combustion engine first engineered in 1901 in Belgian and used by such car companies as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Daimler in the early years in Grand Prix cars.

It would again be in the 1960’s era that the name HEMI would become synonymous with American Muscle. Chrysler became identified by trademarking the word HEMI and using it in the ad campaigns.

As a legend, the 426 HEMI was developed by Chrysler for NASCAR in 1964 and ran this engine through the 1970’s. HEMI heads can be found on some of the world’s most legendary performance cars such as Aston Martin, Porsche, Ford Performance, and Lotus. From its muscle car heritage, this hemispherical system would light the fires of many a high-performance engine. HEMI is a staple on the American Muscle Car landscape.

One car that stands out in muscle car legend is the iconic Plymouth Barracuda. Her reign for a decade in the mid 60’s to mid-70’s is a legend. In the early years, the car came in a fastback coupe as a variant of the Plymouth Valiant. Wraparound back glass, some distinct lines and this lasted up until the early 70’s.

In 1970 that is when the Barracuda found a whole new life. New distinctive design and moves out of the economy car segment and into the fire. The sports model “Cuda” with a HEMI under the hood. You could also get some pretty cool colors and decal packages. With colors like Moulin Rouge, Sassy Grass, Vitamin C, Lemon Twist, you must miss the days when cars had really distinct looks.

One of the sad things for the time was an ever-increasing pressure from the government aimed at Detroit to build smaller engines that got better fuel economy. With oil embargos, shortages and world events of the day, this took a toll on the beefy big block engines of the day.

So the Barracuda faded into history in April of 1974.

You can’t write an automotive Muscle Car article and not pay homage to the Pontiac GTO. For this writer, this is the Grand Daddy of American Muscle. When one thinks of American muscle, you need to look no further than the 1969 Pontiac GTO “Judge.”

For those of you that have not been living under a salvage yard for years, will remember the name, John DeLorean. Indeed, any car enthusiast will have heard of his car the DeLorean and the misfortune he suffered while trying to fund his company with a failed Cocaine deal that sent him to prison.

Pontiac Firebird, Firebird

On a much brighter note, however, John DeLorean was arguably one of GM’s most celebrated engineer’s ever. He alongside Russell Gee and Bill Collins came up with one of the coolest cars ever built. They had some significant obstacles to overcome at GM; one GM had pulled all racing sponsorship. So how do you get customers to love a car that is built around racing and performance, you get guys hooked on street performance.

John DeLorean came up with the GTO name which was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari’s successful race car. Grand Turismo Omologato, means Grand Tourer Homologated, certified for racing in the grand tourer class. DeLorean called it the Grand Tempest Option. The GTO option was a distinction for the Pontiac Tempest.

The GTO option cost $295 and included, 389-V8 rated at 325 hp, single Carter four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, chromed valve covers, air cleaner, floor shifted three-speed, with Hurst shifter. You also got a stiffer suspension, wider wheels, front sway bar, hood scoop and of course GTO badging.

If you really wanted to step it up, how about the four-speed manual shift with three two-barrel Rochester 2G Carburetors (6 Pack) limited slip rear differential and power convenience accessories. All together you could expect to pay $4500 at the dealership. Today a mint condition Pontiac GTO will fetch an average of $50K to upwards of $250K depending on situation and model. Where was my crystal ball in 1964?

To add more mystique to the GTO was Ace Wilson’s Royal Pontiac, who offered the Bobcat option, a tune-up performance package for the 389 engines. Kits varied a little by the customer but the modifications included:

  • Spark advance of the distributor.
  • Thinner Copper head gasket.
  • Special intake manifold gaskets to block heat.
  • Larger carburetor jets.

A correctly installed kit could add 30 to 50 more horsepower. You could even get a reaching of the engine “blueprint” to make sure the car met GM factory blueprint specifications.

As we have said many times in this article the Muscle car spawned so many aftermarket products. It could be argued more so than any other time in automotive history.

In 1966 the GTO would finally become not just an option, but it became model 242, the Pontiac GTO. The convertible of the year was one of the coolest cars built. The lines with the top down gave this car a distinct look.

By the late 60’s and early 70’s, the GTO was redesigned with a sleeker body. The automatic transmission option was at this point making its way into car fleets of all kinds.

Mid-year of the 1967 model saw the introduction of the Ram Air induction system. This system would later find its wings with the Pontiac Firebird Ram Air.

We could write a book a thousand pages and still not do justice to the muscle car era. You cannot discuss American Muscle without paying tribute to Carroll Shelby. His designs, engineering prowess, is unequaled.

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