How to Find a Great Boyfriend. Character Word Find.

Here’s a link to a free word find puzzle I created to help me discuss good character traits of possible boyfriends with my pre-teen daughter. Click here for the Finding Character Word Find Puzzle. Good luck parents!

Your Daughter Has Some Big News

The end of a long day of travel and work. I had finally settled into my hotel room and was checking in with my family for my daily update from home, when my wife cheerfully dropped a verbal bombshell.  She said, “Your daughter has some big news!” My daddy senses immediately went on red alert as I braced myself for whatever was to come next.

“She has her first boyfriend,” cooed my bride in the same tone she had made on other childhood milestones such as her first word, step and solo complete potty mission.

She was referring to my pre-teen middle schooler.  My daughter.  Daddy’s little girl!

I was less than enthusiastic to receive the “big news.”

I fussed and fumed on the five hour drive home the next evening about how a perfectly modern and semi-rational Christian dad should approach such a monumental moment in the life of my precious daughter.  I had never met this young man who had an interest in my first-born. My imagination ran a little (OK, a lot) wild with what kind of person this uninvited intruder into my life might be.

As the miles and hours rolled on, I began to calm down and thought about how to create a memorable family moment for daughter and daddy.  I wanted her to know how important the company you keep is in life. I wanted her to know how much I loved her and wanted her to be happy. I daydreamed of a calm and loving  conversation regarding the personal qualities and character traits that in my years of wisdom might be desirable in a boyfriend. Perhaps we would share some hot coco…

Reality set in as I neared home and realized that I was woefully unprepared to have this conversation while road- weary.  Fortunately, I didn’t arrive home until bedtime and with a quick peck on her cheek and a warm hug, we tucked her into bed without my fatherly advice.

Finding a Great Boyfriend

The next day at work, I was still thinking about how to point out the importance of finding a boyfriend with a quality character and I came up with an idea.  I designed a word find puzzle with 22 different characteristics of a great boyfriend.  I would give her the puzzle with a friendly challenge to see how long it would take her to find all the words.  Then we would snuggle up on the couch and talk about the meaning and importance of each characteristic and how she might be able to see them by watching a potential boyfriend’s actions.

Proudly with my puzzle in hand, I approached by daughter with a big smile.  I might be exaggerating a small bit, but I am pretty sure that my neighbors two doors down could actually hear her eyes roll as I proposed my little game and conversation with her.  She reluctantly worked the puzzle and we had our chat.

I’m not sure if I communicated my fatherly advice well or not.  I guess time will tell.

I hope that when my wife of nearly 25 years works this puzzle, as she probably will, that she is able to say that all 22 desirable traits are visible in me, her husband and former boyfriend.

May all of us be judged solely by our character’s contents.

If you want to try my word puzzle, download the file by clicking on this link: Find A Great Boyfriend! It’s not a complete list, but for my daughter’s first boyfriend, I belive it would be a great start.

(P.S. Thanks to my father-in-law Joe for looking past my many flaws and allowing me to marry his beautiful daughter.)

Addicted to Distraction

The cerebellum is largely responsible for coor...

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Can I have your attention? I have lost mine.

Have you noticed that you’re too busy being distracted to focus on anything?         

My family lives in an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) positive home. Distraction is a biological fixture in our lifestyle. Lately, I am beginning to believe that distraction is contagious and that I have come down with a bad case. Worse yet, perhaps my distraction habit has become a distraction addition.  Focusing on one thing now seems boring and un-natural.  I think that being distracted has evolved into my normal state.          

When I focus on how distracted I am, I don’t like it.         

How about you? Can you focus solely on these words long enough to actually think about them in one sitting?         

Surrounded by Distractions

As I sit comfortably semi-reclined in my living room, one of our two basset hounds is snoring loudly. The other hound has a hard to reach itch that requires sporadic scratching which results in dog tag jingling. I have a small envelope icon in the right corner of my screen that indicates that I have unopened mail. My Blackberry is on my coffee table and is blinking its red new message light. I have no less than 20 partly read and very interesting books on my end table next to my chair seeking my undivided attention. Next to the table is my overflowing magazine basket. I’ve not had breakfast yet so my tummy engineers are making their first calls to my brain requesting more food soon. At any moment my bladder will announce on my inner intercom that my two mugs of coffee have been successfully processed and need emptied. I need a shower and shave in a few hours. There are at least four work projects that could use a couple of check marks on my to-do list. The yard needs scooped. At any moment, my daughters will awake and ask, “What are we going to do today?” What was I talking about? Oh, I was writing my blog about being distracted.         

I’ve invested so much time in being distracted that I am too poor to pay attention.         

Sound familiar?         

News flash: The human brain does not have a multitask function.

I hear my father’s patient voice saying, “One thing at a time son.”         

If you are hoping I am going to give you 7 tips to better focus, I’m sorry to disappoint you.         

Distraction Recovery

I recommend several great books by Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert on dealing with distraction and “Fully Present” by Susan L. Smaley and Diana Winston. Do as they say, not as I do at the moment.          

Lately, I’ve cranked up at work to drown out the construction noise from next door. “Brown Noise” is my personal favorite.         

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Hi, my name is Andy, and I’m a distraction addict.         

First step to recovery complete! Man, do I feel better. Oh look, a squirrel!!!! The dogs want to go outside. Here come the kids.         

It didn’t take long to relapse.         

I hope you will join with me and start to recognize and cut distractions. Distractions are conspiring to rob us of our productivity, sanity, energy, creativity, and focus.         

If you’ve made it this far without distraction, there is hope for you yet!         

I think dad is right, “One thing at a time.”         

What distracts you? How is distraction impacting your life? What can you do to reclaim your focus?         

This is National AD/HD Awareness Week. 

Trust me, AD/HD is real!  Learn more at:     

More or Less?

337/365: The Big Money

Image by DavidDMuir via Flickr


Would you be happy if you earned $75,000 per year? Yes you would, according to a recent The Wall Street Journal article which cited a Gallup survey of Americans. You can go search their site for all the details. Be sure to read the readers’ comments section.      

I’ve made a lot less money than that and now thankfully, I earn more. The article made me think for a while about when I was more or less happy… with more or less?      

My short answer is:  having more does not stink. Money does give you options. The more money you have typically, the more options you have available to you. Money can’t buy you friends, character or love.  However, aviation fuel and airplane rentals are frightfully expensive and I am very happy when I am about 4,500 feet above my troubles. Happiness does take more than money. Happiness may also mean having less of some other stuff.      

In the global scope of my life, I am more or less satisfied and happy. I am certainly more blessed than I deserve to be and less grateful than I should be.      

As I try to continue to round off the rough edges of my life, I wondered what do I want more of and what do I want less of?  Here are my lists:      


  1. Good times with my wife and children. Hey, we are making memories here. To be remembered, you’ve got to be in the picture.
  2. Close friends. Can’t have enough of them interesting people. Real people who just hang out with you and laugh, cry, eat your food, fill the right seat of your Cessna, drag you to events you’d rather not attend and split the last glass of wine with you. Sometimes the “twit-face” or is it “Face-twit” types of electronic friends tap my time and relationship energy reservoir and I don’t have much left to call up my flesh and blood friends. Computer friends are OK, but they are nothing like the real, messy, ask you to help move, kind of friends.
  3. More great music. Too much music is mindless, meaningless, background, soundtrack junk. I want to listen to more music that moves my soul. The kind of tunes that make me want to make my wife a mix CD.
  4. Fabulous food. Whoever put the words fast and food together deserves whatever they have coming to them. Food is a most magnificent gift and we should all savor fantastic food as if it were our last meal every time. There are no guarantees that it is not and I have no desire to be buried with a half-digested insta-burger in my belly.
  5. Good things to look forward to. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you are looking forward to it.
  6. Interesting things to do at work. I do get fired me up when I’m given a meaningful and interesting project to do at work. I love to use my strengths!
  7. Satisfaction. I want to be more satisfied with all the blessings and for the ability to share many of them with others.
  8. Quality time with God. I could listen more and talk less, more often.  (I’m really not comfortable having this last on my list of more.)


  1. Selfishness. It’s not all about me.
  2. Frustration. It’s not all about what I want.
  3. Fear. It’s probably not going to be as bad as I think it might be.
  4. Weight. It’s all about moderation.
  5. Wasted time. It’s a one shot deal, this think we call life.
  6. Procrastination. It’s something I’ve been meaning to address.
  7. Hate in the world.  Can’t we all just get along?
  8. Stuff. It’s kind of getting  in the way.

 Those are more or less my lists.      

 What’s on your more or less lists? What would it take for you to make your lists your life?  Do you think you would be more or less happy?      

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