My review of Pat Flynn’s book–

I read Pat Flynn’s new book – “How To Be Better At (Almost) Everything,” because it has Pat Flynn’s name on it. If something comes from Pat Flynn I pay attention. Because I care about you as well, I wanted to give you a quick (maybe) review. 

By way of background, I have known Pat Flynn for several years. He was my coach, when I was training for my first RKC (kettlebell certification). It’s been a minute. I think that was in 2011. I had my HKC and was now moving on to the next level. He made the difference for me. I have kept in touch with Pat since then. I am a member of his inner circle and Strong On and follow him on all social media platforms. 

I’ve never done a book review post before, so I am not sure if there is a proper format or if I get to just say what I want. Is it like grade school, like a book report? You know, where you explain the main characters and the plot and all that jazz. I’m not sure. So, you know, I will just say what I want. 

This book is a refreshing punch in the face. Is that even possible? Yes, I think it is. It will be a wake up call to a lot of people. 

Pat’s subject is generalism. What does that even mean? “Generalism isn’t about learning every skill or technique in the world ‘just because.’ It’s about being better at just the right number of things and then combining those things to form a competitive and creative advantage.” So, figure out what skills you want to learn and then the practices within them.” 

Generalism is being great at many things, but not the best at any one. I compare it to kids “these days.” If you specialize in a sport, say football, say grade school, middle school, high school and college, think of how you are taking it to a point where it can destroy your health. Kids especially should try different sports. I think in the long run this will save their bodies. 

Pat says, “The problem with specializing is that you can actually take fitness to the point where it destroys your health.” It means that you don’t specialize. You don’t become so damn good at one thing that you sacrifice. It is kind of common sense really, and why wouldn’t someone want to be good at several things? I think it’s brilliant.

Pat breaks down the process of generalism and introduces the reader (you) to skill stacking. We have been led to believe, since a young age, that specializing is what we should do. This book puts an end to that, an end to the goal of specializing. Pat breaks down his theory and tells the reader how to become a generalist. He lays out the five key principles and goes through them step-by-step. 

Pat is funny. Like really funny. Like a super dry sense of humor that some people may not get. There are some good one liners in here. 

I have several favorite parts. I’m not sure why these spoke to me and I’m not sure why I picked out these parts. Sometimes you just have to listen and hear. 

The first one: In Pat’s house, in his attic, he keeps a picture of himself, around third grade. Pat was a fat kid. He will tell you so. He was not athletic and hated to exercise. He doesn’t keep the picture to be motivated or to feel bad about himself, rather, he uses the picture to remind himself that he doesn’t want to be JUST successful or JUST good at things. He wants to do what’s important. He wants to do what matters. He wants his life to have meaning. He wants to make a difference. I would say he has made a difference in many, many lives. I think he accomplished that one. 

The second one: This part of the book is probably my favorite. Pat talked about how he was frustrated and annoyed and needed a break. He decided he would go to a local church. The next several pages, along with the spiritual practice plan, are worth the price alone. It’s touching. It’s heart-wrenching, and it means everything! To me, it did anyway. He articulates why there is suffering and wrongdoing and injustice in this world. I loved it. Read the book just for that.

The third one: He talks about his grandfather and it so meaningful. His grandfather aspired to everything because he aspired to love people and to be a man of faith. His grandfather taught him that faith was not just believing but also trying really hard to make good on those beliefs, no matter how many times you fail or don’t live up to your own expectations. 

Ultimately, we want to be happy. 

This book has everything, diet, exercise, religion, meditation with a little bit of sex, drugs, and rock and roll sprinkled in. 

There are so many great one liners. Here are just a few:

“Don’t make things harder without making them relevant.”

“Goddamnit, Judy!”

“If you want to do something, you’re going to find time to do it.” 

“Faith will stop you from taking shortcuts.”

“Training to failure is often training to fail.”

“Get the basics down. Stick to the fundamentals.”

This book is great. I loved it. I think you will too. Pat Flynn is a great teacher. He is authentic and trustworthy. And, he’s really funny! I have so much respect for him. AND, I get to meet him in person in March. I am really looking forward to that. 

You can get the book on Amazon and it’s on sale. https://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Better-Almost-Everything/dp/194688541X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548983943&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+better+at+almost+everything

You can find Pat everywhere on social media. Facebook: chroniclesofstrength/ Instagram: chroniclesofstrength. He can also be found on YouTube: supmuhhumbruh and he has an amazing podcast: The Pat Flynn Show. Check him out. 

Determined. And stubborn.

 

I was about seven or eight years old. It was the Euclid house. When I put my mind to something, I didn’t stop until I accomplished what I set out to do. Like a goal. You know that about me, if you have read my posts. Remember the broken collar bone? Yeah. I was determined. And, I was stubborn. Some might say I am still that way. I think they are pretty good traits to have, to a point. Determined is great, stubborn maybe not as much. I have gotten way better and have learned to control my stubbornness. I’ve grown. When I was a kid though, it helped me become better at things. 

At the back of the Euclid house, outside, there were steps that led to the upstairs apartment. Two women lived there, Myra and Sharon. They were nice and put up with a lot from us. I am sure we were loud and obnoxious. We were always outside so I am guessing they could hear us all the time. The steps were made of wood. I used those steps religiously to up my jump rope game.

I was learning how to do double jumps. These days they are called double unders. I couldn’t do them. I was mad and frustrated and frankly pissed off. Why couldn’t I do them? They seemed easy enough. You jumped and twirled the rope underneath your feet twice. Big deal. Why should that be so hard? Why couldn’t I just do that? I loved jumping rope. I had a jump rope in my hands most of the time when I was a kid. I loved it. It was fun. It was challenging. That’s why I loved it. 

The rope itself was not made of rope. It was made of plastic. That part had to be perfect. Not too thick, not too thin, just right. Like Goldilocks. Red Owl (now Dakotamart) is where I bought my jump ropes. They had the best ones for sure. I bought a lot of them. The worst part about finding a favorite jump rope was when they were used so much, they wore out in the middle and broke in half. The concrete did that to them. Back to square one. Good thing jump ropes were cheap. They came in many different colors and lengths. The best way to measure was to step on the jump rope at the center and to hold the handles to your armpits. That was how to measure for length. If it wasn’t measured correctly, jump roping did not work. At all. It messed up the timing. 

I came up with a plan on how to finally master the double jumps. I thought about it for days. I tested it multiple times. I was sure it would work. How could it not? I was determined. And stubborn, so it had to work. My plan was to start out on the bottom step. I would stand on the step sideways. I would then jump off the step to the side and perform the double jump. I figured I would get higher in the air and then be able to turn the rope faster and therefore be able to get it twirled twice under my feet. A few times I jumped too far to the side and lost my balance. Several times I landed on my knees. But I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I kept trying. Nothing was going to stop me. Timing was everything, when it came to jump rope. If the timing wasn’t there, it just was not going to work.  

I would get off the step and practice other jumps. Criss cross, backwards jumping, backwards criss cross, front criss cross, moving the feet AND the elusive double jump. I still couldn’t get the timing down. Back to the step it would have to be. 

Standing on the step, I got the jump rope behind me and told myself this was it. It was time to get this. Because I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I jumped and twirled the rope at the same time. It felt like slow motion. It felt like this time it was going to happen. I could feel it. The jump rope twirled twice under my feet and I landed on the ground without falling! I was elated. I did it. I did a double jump. I did it! Holy crap, time to try again. I got up on the step again. I repeated everything as before, step by step. I did it again! It worked, again! I was so excited. 

Well, you know what came next, right? Of course I had to try it off the step. I made it a big production, even though I was by myself. I acted like I was on a stage and I had no choice but to do it. I had no choice but to get this jump. I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I got in position. Feet together on the ground, jump rope behind me. Deep breath. 1-2-3. I jumped and twirled. Twice. I got it. Again. It felt good. It felt, almost easy. Had I practiced so much that now every piece was going to fall into place, every dot was going to be connected and all of my hard work was going to pay off? Could it be that easy? Could practicing so much really pay off? Why yes, it can. It really can. That is the only way we are going to get better at something. Sometimes we want it right now. I should say a lot of times we want it right now and we are not willing to work for it. I see it all the time. We need to be patient and we need to work and practice something if we want to get better at it. That should be common sense. 

After I got the one double jump, I started practicing more and more. I started stringing together one after the other, until I could do 25 unbroken double jumps. I then started practicing backwards double jumps until I perfected those as well. I was so happy with my progress. I was determined to reach my goal. And, I was stubborn.

Be determined. And, be stubborn. 

Cash Money

The other night, John and I were watching American Pickers. We rarely watch that show. For some reason there was a marathon of them leading up to the Season Premiere. In this particular episode, Mike and Frank were somewhere in a giant building going through crap looking for treasures. Same as pretty much every single episode. Mike found the most awesome tin sign. It was green and white. It was probably 2×3 feet. It looked to be in great shape. It was an S&H Green Stamps advertising sign. Remember those? Remember green stamps? 

The History: 

copied from the web:

“S&H Green Stamps were the first trading stamps popular across the U.S. and Europe, although the company did have competitors. “S&H” stands for the Sperry & Hutchinson Co, which was founded by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchison in 1896. 

It wasn’t until the 1930s that the company’s reward programs became popular nationwide, and the little green stamps were distributed by various retailers as rewards for shoppers. The stamps could be collected into booklets – the backs had an adhesive like that on postage stamps that had to be wet to adhere – then the booklets were redeemed for “rewards” ordered from S&H catalogs, or picked up at one of several S&H centers across Alabama. The centers, found in Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville and most larger cities, were like department stores, offering everything from linens to china to furniture to sporting equipment.”

S&H green stamps, small for a dime and large for a dollar. Sooper Dooper gave them out when customers spent money on groceries. A lot of them. We had a green stamp machine, kind of like a rotary dial phone. People would get mad if we, as checkers, forgot to give them their green stamps. And, if a person was really lucky the person in front of them, who didn’t collect them, would offer them to the person behind them. Score. They were a premium item. 

Who cares about green stamps, you might be asking? Well, we did. Sherry and I did. They used to have a green stamp store here in town, way down on Pierre Street, next to the funeral home. Anyone could go in there and turn in their stamp books for a discount on all kinds of products. You had to fill them in first. Lick and stick. But, the most important thing, THE MOST important thing was that a person could cash in the books for money. Cash money. And when I say person, I mean me. I also mean Sherry. I am not sure how we found out about this great program. Who knew? Winning! 

Prospect House. Mom kept the green stamps in a drawer. It may have been a basket. The memory is fuzzy. We had a ton of the empty stamp books, so we, as in Sherry and I, would lick and stick and fill up the books. We had to be careful though. We didn’t want it to look like we were taking the stamps and using them for our own purposes. I realize taking is kind of a weak word here. Okay, okay, I was stealing. Again! I think this is the last time though. Seriously. Anyway we had to be strategic. We couldn’t just fill up all the books and then go cash them in. I mean, really, we had to be better thieves than that. 

We would head down to the stamp store. We were there for no other purpose than the cash. Cold hard cash. It was good money too. The store itself always kind of creeped me out. It always seemed dark and it smelled weird. The lady who worked there was meticulous. She had dark puffy hair and glasses and wore a smock. A store smock. She was tall and skinny. I never saw her without lipstick. She always gave us the look when we walked in the door. The look of non-trust. The look of the brats are here again. Like I said, she was meticulous with these books. She made sure every single page was filled and every stamp was in its place, licking her finger and then separating the pages, making sure, page by page. Ken and Egghead from The Cottage must have told her the pop bottle story. The word may have gotten out about our lying and stealing ways. This was a small town after all. She reluctantly handed over the cash, after asking every single time if we were redeeming the stamp books for something such as luggage, or a toaster. Ummm, cash please. 

Cold hard cash. Score. I have no idea why we needed the money. It wasn’t like we were supporting a drug or alcohol habit. It could have been a candy habit though.

Most people saved the stamps and put them in books.

Most people saved the stamps to buy products at a discount.

Most people did the right thing.

Sherry and I weren’t most people. 

 I swear stealing has ceased in my life. I grew out of it. I developed a conscience. 

Because It’s Educational

Her name was Debbie. Debbie Sayler. She was my friend. A good friend. She had brown hair and glasses. She was tall and slender. Skinny. It was the Central House. We lived there briefly before we moved to the Prospect house. It was after the Euclid house. Debbie lived on Capitol. Down towards the west end of town, West Capitol.

We played together a lot. Either at my house or hers. It seemed like the time spent at each house was equal. I always liked going to her house. Her mom was really nice. There was always crafty stuff going on at their house. I wanted to be crafty. I was not. 

We played together and sometimes did school work and other times we played games or just did other things. 

On this day, we were bored. It was warm outside so we went out and sat on the front steps. We sat there and talked about things that were important in our lives at that time.  

 At some point in our young lives we both watched Sesame Street. Sesame Street was a very educational series, with puppets. We learned a lot from Sesame Street, particularly the formation of words. Remember the segment where Maria and one of the puppets would have a lesson in sounding out words or forming the word and then putting it all together? A typical word may have been something like the sw sound and then the ing sound. One person would say the sw sound and the other would say the ing sound. Next they both would say the word together. So it would be sw, ing, then swing. Pretty cool way to sound out words. Pure genius. 

Debbie and I did that too. We were having a lot of fun. We couldn’t stop laughing. We played this game for quite a while. I’m not sure whose idea it was. I will concede we were both at fault. Our words were more creative than Sesame Street’s though. Our words were swear words. Because why wouldn’t they be? It was educational. Sesame Street said so. And, we were learning. We were using the lessons we had learned. 

We thought we the funniest kids ever. Over and over and over again, sh— it —shit. We would look at each other as we sounded out the word and then would burst out laughing. That was our main word. The other was damn. I don’t think we did the f word, but it’s entirely possible. We played and played and laughed and laughed. 

I always had fun playing with Debbie. 

Wedding Vows

It’s our anniversary tomorrow (January 10th). It is 21 years. It feels like two. I feel like we have known each other our whole lives, not just 21 years of our lives. 

The promise:

I Peggie, take thee John, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

I, John, take thee, Peggie, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. 

Love, respect, life, living. Happy, connected, forever, love. True love, soul mate, the one, unconditional love.

Man of my dreams

Life is not guaranteed

Wedded bliss

In sickness and in health

A picture. I was at work today and the picture fell out from some papers I have. It is one of my favorites, if not favorite, picture of John and Tayler. Tayler is about 10 months old in it. John is about 44, a few months shy of 45. John has a giant horseshoe full of staples on his head. Tayler has burned fingers on her hand. It shows the fragility that life is. It shows that nothing is guaranteed, no matter what we may think. It shows.

Life was good. Life was beautiful. Then on June 3, 2000, dad died and life was very, very sad. John got me through it. Every night he held me while I cried the ugly cry. 

A week or so after dad died, John started acting weird. I know, hard to believe right? LOL. We would be sitting there talking and all of a sudden he would just be silent and it was like he was looking right through me. After dad’s funeral, John and I and my sisters and their husbands sat up drinking White Russians, reminiscing and telling dad stories. We knew he was there, because he broke the tree. The tree actually split. No storm, no lightning, just dad. 

John thought maybe he just had a wicked, wicked hangover. He said his head felt like there was an axe in it. This went on for a while and he continued to act weird and to look straight through me. He said he was going to go the chiropractor the next day because he thought maybe his neck was out of place. At the time, I didn’t realize he was having seizures. I actually thought he may be having a stroke when he had a really bad seizure. 

I should have taken him. I don’t know why I didn’t. At that time we lived on the river, right past the Pizza Ranch and down from AmericInn (which was not there then). I watched. I was scared and really, really nervous. I could see his pickup on the bridge. He was going extremely slow. He definitely had a guardian angel that day because he was having a seizure as he was driving over to Pierre to the chiropractor’s office. 

I received a telephone call. John was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. I immediately called his brother, Roy, and he met me at the hospital. We knew nothing at that point. He was being monitored and all kinds of tests were being conducted. 

Ironically, my dad’s physician, Dr. Hoffsten, figured out what was going on. After testing and more testing, it turned out John had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation. They are typically found in the brain and if it ruptures can cause bleeding in the brain, stroke or brain damage. 

We were referred to Rapid City, to a neurosurgeon. We liked him. Seljeskog. Ed. He reminded me of dad. He made us feel comfortable. Next up, brain surgery. June 30, 2000.

John had to have surgery to remove the AVM. It seemed like the surgery took forever. It was a very long day. The AVM was removed and everything was going to be okay. More angels looking over us and God for sure. 

It seems so long ago that this happened. It seems so long ago that Tayler was little. It seems so long ago that our life was completely turned upside down, yet it feels like it was yesterday. The emotions are there, on the surface, just waiting to spring to life. It can’t be helped. I can’t stop them. I see that picture and the lump in my throat is right there. The tears are waiting to fall. 

I don’t take anything for granted. Things can change in a second. You hear that all the time. It really is true. None of us know how much time we have. None of us. 

So with my time, I choose to live life. I choose to live life with my true love.

Man of my dreams

Life is not guaranteed

Wedded bliss

In sickness and in health

…till death do us part

Tops for 2018

I’ve been reflecting a little bit on 2018. Overall, it was not a bad year. I’m grateful. I feel lucky. I love my life. I love what I do. Some people don’t get to say that.

In 2018, I wrote more than I ever have before. I put out a blog post just about every single week of 2018. I may have missed a few, but that’s okay. Nobody is perfect and perfect is nobody.

I went through the stats on my site and picked out the top 5 most read blog posts of 2018. I always like to add one or two that are my favorites as well. Before i get to those though, I wanted to say how happy I am that you come here every week and read these posts. It means the world to me.

In 2019, I hope to continue with the kid blog post memories. I’m going to have to dig in and remember some more. I already have one planned for next week, so at least the memories are still flowing. Anyway, here are the top 5 of 2018, along with the link.

  1. http://peggielarsen.com/2018/04/11/rest-in-peace-mike/ This post is about a pretty much life-long friend. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. His life was cut way too short. I love him and I miss him.
  2. http://peggielarsen.com/2018/05/16/tayler/ Of course, this is about Tayler, the last kid. She is definitely a good one. Bittersweet.
  3.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/06/05/buddy/ The day we lost our Buddy boy. Such a sad day. We gave him a spectacular life.
  4.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/10/24/the-pretty-people/ This is about my husband and Tayler. They are definitely pretty people. My sense of humor definitely shows in this one.
  5.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/03/07/kid-friends-branch-and-peggie/ This is about my friend, Branch. We grew up playing together all the time. He was a great friend. I will never forget how much fun we had.

The next two are a few of my favorites from this past year. The first one is called Butterflies and Freedom. It’s about the carefree life of a kid. The beauty seen in nature. It’s about being a kid and getting to be a kid without a care in the world. The other one is the flip side of that coin. It’s about how fragile life can be. It’s about giving the ultimate sacrifice. It’s about signing that blank check, giving your life for your country. I struggle with this,  a lot. My son is a Marine Vet and I thank God every day that he survived two stints overseas. It could have turned out so differently. But, this sacrifice, this sacrifice of these young men, happened on home soil. This sacrifice is called suicide. It’s a huge problem and it needs to stop.

  1.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/10/17/butterflies-and-freedom/
  2.  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/05/28/rainy-days-and-mondays/

As I was going through the posts on New Year’s Day and trying to pick out my favorites, I came across the one about my Dad. I know I write about him a lot. It just helps. I was sitting at the kitchen counter and heard the familiar tap on the window. Tap, tap, tap. I knew it was the cardinal bringing me the message. Telling me he was here. I got up and went to the window and looked out. I saw the flash of red, flying away.

 

  http://peggielarsen.com/2018/06/02/june-3-2000/

 

I’m ready for 2019. I’m excited to bring you more stories.