3 Things We Can Do to Stay Positive

No one likes a sourpuss. If you do not know what that is, a quick Google search reveals it is a person who is bad-tempered or habitually sullen. For someone like that, it may take some effort to snap out of the blues. It would have been far better not to fall into a mindset of negativity in the first place.

How can we do that? How can we avoid the vortex of a swirling drain when there is just so much more to gain by living a life filled with hope?

1. Keep Moving

As cliché as it sounds, it is hard to hit a moving target. Isaac Newton put it another way, “A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest.”

When we are on the move, we expend energy—energy that we would have otherwise consumed for other things. Sometimes, and this happens more often than we think, those other things are not conducive toward our betterment as human beings.

The solution is to keep moving. Our focus should be on volunteer activities. Community programs are a great way to lift the spirits. The moment we see others suffer is when we become aware of our own blessings.

That is not the end of it, though. The very act of providing for the needs of others changes our attitude and makes us humble. Attitude plays a big part with maintaining a positive outlook. We can own the world, but really, what good would it do if we lose our souls?

2. Enjoy the Music

Music calms the savage beast. Is that not a saying from somewhere?

Have we ever thought how our mood changes when we listen to music? It would be a difficult thing to do to be happy if a sad song is playing in the background of a restaurant. How many times have you heard Mozart’s Requiem while wolfing down a pizza at some bar and grill?

Music plays such a big role when it comes to setting a mood. Music can make us happy. Music can make us sad. That is why it is so important to pay attention to what goes into the ears. All it takes is one song to change our attitude.

Have fun with music. Create mixes that inspire creativity. Listen to music that challenges our very being. If after hearing a song we feel awful, it may be time to forget that song ever existed.

Let us allow music to give life to our bones. The right kind of music will make us grow for the better.

3. Forgive

So much time goes to waste playing the “he said, she said” game. So what if he or she said something bad about us. If we are happy with who we are what difference does it make what others think?

Bringing God into the conversation will help with this point:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mat. 5: 43-48 NIV).

As much as it is opposite to how we, mere humans, think, forgiving an enemy releases us from the perils of hatred. Would it not be more beneficial to live a life without enemies than to spend time thinking about how we can do harm to those who have harmed us?

Even more so, forgiving those who are not worthy is more of a testimony on us. For when we forgive, we release ourselves of negativity from our lives. No longer are we captive to the chains of evil, but we are free to do good works inspired by the gifts of grace.

It may be hard to understand at first, and that is fine, however, the blessings that come with forgiving someone go beyond the forgiver to touch the lives of everyone involved.

With That in Mind

Once these techniques become part of our routine, it will be difficult to fall into a dark or glum state. We will find life more fulfilling, more rewarding and rich in positive experiences. No longer will we have to hide behind a fake smile or a performance laugh. We can be ourselves and live a happy, abundant life bursting with joy.

So keep moving, enjoy the music and let things go. After all, it is far better to be a role model than to become a case study.

How to Overcome Fear

Everyone is afraid of something. You can be afraid of heights (Acrophobia), afraid of open spaces (Agoraphobia), or simply afraid of spiders (Arachnophobia).

In my case, I have always been afraid of public speaking. I recently discovered my fear goes by the name Glossophobia, which is really speech anxiety. I would have thought, though, a fear such as this would have gone by a better name. Something like Heartinmythroatphobia would make more sense. I would even accept KillmenowbeforeIgoonstagephobia.

I have learned, however, that fear avoidance does nothing more than delay the inevitable. Eventually the same challenge will appear and you will have to tackle it one way or another.

Facing My Fears

To overcome my fear of public speaking I do what any normal human being would do. I immerse myself in situations where I cannot avoid public speaking.

I realize it sounds counterintuitive. After all, who does that? Who confronts the very thing that promotes that queasy feeling in the pit of the stomach that renders a person sick as a billy goat?

Well, I do.

Whenever there is an opportunity to make a speech, say a few words on behalf of an event, or have a need to make my opinion known, I am there. I do it because I know that if I choose to stay quiet, I will not grow and be a better individual. I will remain the same.

Sameness makes a person lukewarm.

And a long time ago, I promised myself I would never be lukewarm for something I care about a great deal.

God Fights on My Behalf

The other thing I have yet to mention that gives me the courage to step outside of myself and face my fears is I have God fight my battles for me:

“Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you’” (Isa. 35: 4 NLT).

Imagine your fear being a big bully waiting for you at the end of the street. In the past, you turned the corner and went the other way. But on this occasion, right ahead is God who will ensure your safety. He will fight in your stead. He will vanquish your enemies and turn them into dust.

With a thought like that is it a wonder anyone has any fears at all.

Will Fear Ever Vanish?

Yet, every so often, I still have that queasy feeling whenever all eyes are gazing at me. And I am fine with that because I know as I move forward toward overcoming my insecurity I will be a better version of myself.

In that sense, it is all a matter of facing the challenge head on, and tackling it so that I can control it as opposed to it controlling me.

Add to that God’s help, and I know I have nothing to fear.

7 Keys to Achieve Success

Why do some people succeed with their goals while others fail? Is it because those who succeed have a plan? Or is it that they have the strands of success so ingrained in their DNA that nothing will prevent them from achieving their true potential?

7 Keys to Achieve SuccessI have often wondered this myself. But then again, over the course of three years, I did write a bestselling book trilogy while publishing three articles a week in support of my effort. So, I suppose, I do have some insight in what it takes to be successful.

Below is the template I use whenever I set out to accomplish anything that is beyond what I can accomplish on my own. You can use this template for just about anything. It will encourage you to keep pressing forward, never to surrender.

If one day, because of these seven keys, you become President of the United States, remember me as the guy who put you there. I take cash, bank draft, money order and certified check. However, I think I would be more useful as your Vice President.

1. Create a Mission Statement

Every success story has a beginning, and every beginning sparks from a single thought. You cannot know where you are going if you do not have a destination.

Begin by thinking about what you want to achieve, sit down and write it down. Your goals will not become reality if you do not write them down.

7 Keys to Achieve SuccessWhen you have your goals written down in the form where you can see them, touch them, and read them back to yourself, they become real.

Think of your goals as Mission Statements. Simply writing the words, “Rock Star” on a piece of paper will not make it so. Instead, be specific: “In one year I will lead a rock band, and in five years I will put out my first single.”

The more specific you are with your Mission Statement the more it will become an accomplished goal.

You can do the same thing with life goals: “By this time next year, I will have bought a house, paid my first mortgage installment and looked after my own lawn.”

Seeing your goals detailed on paper will bring your goals to life.

Create your Mission Statement now.

2. Prepare an Action Plan

Writing down your Mission Statement is only the first step to achieve success. You will now need an Action Plan to move you along the journey.

How are you going to get to where you want to go? A good driver will have counted the cost of travel. A good driver will have also planned the route, landmarks to look for and destination. A good driver will know when the journey is complete.

Similarly, if you are thinking about completing your degree in Physics, you will need to create an Action Plan that details the courses you will need, the cost, time and effort you will need to expend to achieve this success.

An Action Plan can be as simple as this:

  • Make $5,000 in tuition working at Mom and Pop’s Grocery for four months
  • Take 2 electives
  • Write my thesis
  • Graduate top of my class within a year of registering

Notice that the Action Plan contains a detailed timeline, cost estimate of the goal and a success benchmark. In this case, the success benchmark is graduating top of the class.

3. Stay Healthy

Once you begin your journey toward success, you will need one vital component to maintain your stamina. That very important component is your health.

Without good health, no matter how strong or positive you think you are, either it will take you longer to achieve success, or you will not achieve it at all.

7 Keys to Achieve SuccessGood health, however, comes with a price tag.

It means sleeping as much as you can so that the body can repair itself. It means eating right—fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and fish. If you can afford organic, buy organic. Organic food contains all the vitamins and minerals intact. A good multi-vitamin supplement will also go a long way toward improving your health.

Get rid of the junk food. Most junk food contains vast amounts of sugar, salt and fat that cause all sorts of ugly things to happen in the body. That goes for processed foods as well. If you grow a third arm, do not say I did not say so.

Most of all, exercise. Keep your blood flowing throughout all parts of your body. The more you exercise, the more you will feel energetic to tackle bigger and better tasks.

4. Schedule Downtime

Every week I take one day to unplug from social media. That is, I take one day to avoid logging into my site, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and all other forms of online activity.

You might think that is crazy. In a sense, it is crazy.

Doing so, though, allows me to take stock of my life without the distraction of pings, whistles, bings, dings and dongs. Rather, I will sit quietly reading and meditating on my achievements from the past week.

Scheduling downtime is an art. I nearly fell off my chair recently when I had read that some European companies offer their employees unlimited vacation time. Can you imagine having two months off from work lying on a beach in Italy eating healthy meals while North Americans slave away late into the evening just to make a buck?

As humans, we need time away in order to recharge and stay sane.

7 Keys to Achieve SuccessTime away or downtime does not mean unproductive time, though.

I get my best ideas when I am waking up or doing absolutely nothing. I cannot say how many times a good idea has raced through my mind while shaving.

Downtime presents you with a great opportunity to look at your Action Plan to ensure you are meeting your milestones based on your Mission Statement.

5. Leave Room for Incidentals

Things happen in life. Sometimes life throws you circumstances that will make it seem as if there is no way you will achieve what you have set out to do.

And that is okay. That is life. You will need to leave room for incidentals.

If you have given yourself a timeline, it may be that you will need to extend the timeline as a means to accommodate surprises.

Again, life events play into this, too. The only thing you can do is ride it out and once it is all over, do your best to get back on track.

In other words, accept it and move on.

6. Never Give Up

If I could stress anything more than anything, it would be for you never to give up.

Always look to the goal. Always keep your Mission Statement at the tip of your tongue. Repeat it several times as a reminder of what you committed to when you wrote it. Review your Action Plan to see where you are. Every time you feel the urge to give up, shake it off. Go for a walk. Go for a run.

7 Keys to Achieve SuccessPush those insecurities from your mind. You have counted the cost. You knew it was not going to be easy. Yet, you went ahead with your Action Plan anyway. You did it because you knew it was what you wanted to do.

Forget about what people may think of you. Let them think what they will. Your job is to continue on that journey to success. Nothing will stop you from that.

Nothing will prevent you from achieving your dreams.

7. Keep God in the Picture

This last point may be different for everyone. For me it means all the difference between success and failure.

God is my center, as I know Jesus is his son. I involve God in everything I do. Whenever I create a Mission Statement and write an Action Plan, God is there with me to put it all together.

God’s words in Jeremiah 29:11 are always on my mind, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV).

7 Keys to Achieve SuccessEveryone needs someone great to believe in. For me it is God.

He has my back.

One More Thing

After achieving success several times with this plan, you will ask yourself this question: What more is there?

The best answer I have is this: Share this knowledge with everyone you know so that others may have the opportunity to make their dreams come true.

Knowledge shared is knowledge earned.

How to Give Without Expecting Anything Back

Firefighters have a tough job. They rush into burning buildings to save us from fires. They work odd hours. Their sleep patterns may be non-existent.

One thing is certain: the amount of time and dedication a firefighter devotes to the job does not compare to the appreciation shown to them in the form of compensation.

We owe them our lives.

Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

How to Give Without Expecting Anything BackThat act of giving is not an easy thing to master. It takes a certain mindset to turn around and say, “Here, this belongs to me, but I want you to have it because it is the right thing to do.”

With firefighters, it is simply a case of walking in another person’s shoes. They have counted the cost and they know that if no one steps in to do anything, nothing will ever get done. They want to make a difference.

Giving of our abundance, whether it is time, money or health, means seeing things from the other person’s perspective. Mental and/or physical health issues may prevent someone from accomplishing anything of value, in which case, others may need to step in to help.

And that is okay. Aiding those less fortunate would lend to a spirit of humility that would inspire others to participate as well.

Giving Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

When was the last time we have heard someone say, “You rub my back, I rub yours,” or, “If you do this for me, I will do that for you,” or how about, “I owe you one.”

Sadly, all of these statements have a condition attached to them.

How to Give Without Expecting Anything BackWhy can we not give without it being a transaction? There is nothing wrong with the word reciprocation, however, when it becomes the sole reason for giving, it is nothing more than politics.

Giving from the heart means just that, giving without expecting anything in return.

Now some may consider this philosophy a zero-sum game, in that someone else’s loss is someone else’s gain—but giving without strings is really a win-win game. In fact, bestowing on others all the joys and privileges we ourselves possess, encourages others to share in those same joys and privileges.

Imagine if everyone did that. There would be no need for the social safety nets our governments have established to help with the poor and the downtrodden.

We would all share in the abundance of the harvest our great lands produce.

Giving to Give

Therefore, let us not think of what we can get for what we can give. Instead, let us provide shelter to those who do not have homes. Let us cook food to those who are hungry. Let us bring clothing to those who cannot afford to buy it themselves.

For with every good deed we do to those who cannot do it for themselves, a greater reward awaits us with the joy we gain from giving.

3 Things We Can Do to Show Others Gratitude

The other day I was thinking how awesome it would be if we showed people more gratitude. I am not talking about the superficial thank-you we dish out as a means to acknowledge participation in a mutual conversation. I am talking about acts of kindness that would replace the quick two words we throw around to get on with our day.

3 Things We Can Do to Show Others GratitudeOf Course, I am not saying we should drop everything so that we can daily show appreciation to the ticket agent on the train or the security guard at the mall, otherwise we would never get anything done. However, there is nothing wrong with going back the next day to give them both a coffee.

Doing something like that will cause them to remember us, and who knows, maybe one day we will become a story to their friends and family.

Without spending any more time on introductions, let us have a look at three things we can do to show others gratitude.

1. Drop a Note

Every so often, Luana will drop me a note to tell me that she loves and appreciates me.

I am not recommending that you should give a stranger a note to tell them you love them. That would be awkward. What you can do, though, is compose a quick handwritten message to let them know how much you value them.

Sincere words have a way of making people feel good about what they are doing, especially if those people are working in jobs where gratitude comes less often than expected.

Even if not a stranger, words of thanks in the form of note will make any friend or family member feel appreciated.

So go out there and drop those notes of kindness. You will never know what effect it will have on others.

2. Give a Gift

No matter how small or how large the sentiment, everyone loves receiving a gift.

A token of appreciation goes a long way. It does not have to be pricey, weighty, or extravagant. As long as the gift comes from the heart, it will be special.

I once gave two bottles of wine—red and white—to a friend of mine to thank him for all the support he had given me throughout one year when things were not going so well with me. It took him aback. Since then, I can always count on him for an open and honest opinion.

Now before going on, I want to make one point clear: Giving a gift is not bribery. It is a heartfelt gesture to express our gratitude for a relationship. There is nothing wrong with giving and not expecting anything in return.

Otherwise, that would be bribery.

Therefore, have fun with this. Give a gift of gratitude that will mean everything to the recipient.

3. Perform a Random Act of Kindness

3 Things We Can Do to Show Others GratitudeSometimes a note or a gift just will not do it. Sometimes the situation calls for something more—something beyond the regular conventions of selflessness.

A random act of kindness dictates that there is no reciprocation involved. The entire act is a one-way street, outflowing and selfless.

The gesture could be as simple as helping our neighbor with the groceries, or giving our time at the local food bank, or even more so, providing financial aid to those in need.

It is up to us what that random act of kindness will be.

We can accomplish incredible things in another person’s life by simply giving without strings attached. Our actions can change someone’s life, especially when we are showing gratitude for the blessings God has given us.

For this reason, let us take this opportunity to show our appreciation to those who make our lives better.

How to Find Gladness in God

I will make this a short post, as I know everyone is busy, and time is limited to a few sound bites and perhaps several interesting quotes to carry us through the day.

Think about this for a minute: The universe is 13.7 billion years old. A light-year is the distance light travels in a single year, which is 6 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers). This translates to a speed of 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) a second. The universe is 93 billion light-years in diameter and always expanding.

We live on Earth, third planet from a star called the Sun, in the Orion Arm, one of the spirals in the Milky Way galaxy. There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy, each of which may have planets of their own.

About 3 trillion galaxies populate the universe.

Each of us is one of 7 billion people who live here on this tiny planet.

How to Find Gladness in GodNow I ask you this: Is it possible we are wrong to think God, the one who created the heavens and the earth, made a mistake when he sent Jesus to die for our sins?

After all, who are we who live on this insignificant planet called Earth, among the 100 billion planets in our galaxy, among the 3 trillion galaxies in the universe, that God should so love us in such a way as to sacrifice his only son so that we could share in the inheritance of all things?

It sounds crazy!

And yet, that is exactly what God has planned for every person who believes Jesus is his son. He wants us to inherit the universe and everything in it, just as it says in Romans 8:32“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (KJV)

So today, as we make our way through the events that shape our lives, let us consider God’s view on this: We may be one of 7 billion who live here, but his plan is to give us all things according to his promises and his love for us.

If that is not something that brings gladness to your heart, then look toward the night sky for your inheritance.

Food Tips

I enjoy food as much as the next guy. In fact, I would venture to say, I eat for the shear pleasure. I never used to be this way. Most of my meals years ago had trouble staying in my mouth more than a few seconds before they hit the bottom of my stomach. I ate fast. I played hard. And lived for no tomorrow. Of course, I don’t do that anymore, and I’m happier and healthier for it.

A full pantry (Photo Credit: theperfectpantry.com)

A full pantry (Photo Credit: theperfectpantry.com)

I thought for Freedom Friday you’d appreciate a few tricks I have up my sleeve whenever I’m in the kitchen cooking a meal. I’ve always wanted to write these tips in a notebook, but how can that happen if I’m either in the kitchen cooking for the family or at my laptop writing other stuff? And don’t worry, although I write about zombies it doesn’t mean I am one. I’ll leave the undead to worry about eating brains.

Let me start by saying every kitchen needs a few basic ingredients. Salt, pepper, and olive oil make it almost into every meal. That’s why our family buys those ingredients in bulk. If you have a cold room or pantry, you can store the basics in there for a long time before you need to stock the shelves again. I suppose you can do the same thing with toilet paper, but I’d recommend not eating toilet paper.

Here’s something I’ve learned when I went on a one-year viewing binge of Food Network Canada. Chances are I picked up a thing or two here and there as I watched, however, one of the coolest tips I got from them has to do with knowing when the oil in the pan is hot enough for frying. All you do is wet your finger with water and allow a drop to fall to the pan. If the water snaps in the pan, then you know it’s perfect for frying.

Which reminds me, if you’re going to try this trick, make sure you stand well back from the pan. You don’t want to make your meal to-go, as in going to the hospital ‘cause your eye was an inch away from the pan.

How to hold a chef's knife (Photo Credit: stellaculinary.com)

How to hold a chef’s knife (Photo Credit: stellaculinary.com)

You’d think holding a knife is easy. Not at Casa Flacco. When I’m cutting vegetables, I grasp the knife by the handle, curling my index finger to the side of the blade while my thumb leans on the other side, half on the blade and half of the handle. Not only is it safe, but you have better control of the cutting. With the other hand, I curl my fingers so as my fingernails fall at a ninety-degree angle on the vegetable. Then, I cut with a rhythm, rocking the knife on its tip as I bring the blade down on the vegetable. I learned this technique from one of these fancy-shmancy chefs in order to prevent a premature amputation of a digit.

The proper cut (Photo Credit: besthomechef.com.au)

The proper cut (Photo Credit: besthomechef.com.au)

Not so much a tip as it is a recommendation, but enjoying your food ranks up there with turning off the stove when you’re done with it. It involves not rushing through your meal so you can spend countless of senseless hours in front of a screen. I’ve done it many times and it doesn’t do justice to the digestive tract. Eating your food at a leisurely pace invokes a relaxed atmosphere conducive to pleasure. The food settles better, too. I know, it’s hard to do in this day and age where we’re rushing everywhere. But it beats ravaging a side of steer and washing it down with a gallon of gin.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you have any food tips you’d like to share? Are you a fast eater?

Our Dates

Once a week my wife and I do something special. Something unique to reflect what we like doing as a couple. It may be going out to eat, watch a movie or just sit outside and talk. Whatever we choose, thank goodness the kids have nothing to do with it. For this edition of Freedom Friday, I’d like to give you a peek at what we enjoy doing on a date.

One of our many walks through our neighborhood

One of our many walks through our neighborhood

My wife and I have been married forever, although it doesn’t seem that way, given I still think it was yesterday. But yeah, we’ve been married for a long, long time. During the course of our life, we’ve done almost everything together. We visited Disney World, Disneyland, the Caribbean, Nova Scotia (oodles of times)—suffice it to say we’ve traveled a fair bit. However, what we enjoy the most are the simple things in life. No matter how busy we get throughout the week, we always try to spend some time away alone. It’s difficult with the kids, but we’ve managed quite fine.

Our big night is movie night. Every weekend, we pick a movie we’d like to watch, get some snacks, plop on the couch into a cuddle, and become entranced by the images on the screen. Sometimes the movie’s great. But sometimes, ugh, it’s awful. This prompts us to heckle the characters, which usually leads me to throw unknown projectiles at the screen. I can’t say how many times I have found popcorn, toys and socks behind the TV. It makes for some interesting conversation the next day, though. That’s what’s important, right?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve taken an opportunity every week or so to ask my wife out at our favorite eatery. Down the street from us, we visit a cozy, little restaurant called Mr. Greek. We call it “our place”. This is where we talk about life in general, in the warm setting of Greek food and music. It also provides some much-needed downtime in the middle of the week between tossing the kids between activities and the regular daily chores. We look forward to these impromptu dates. We really don’t know what our conversation will be like, but we know we’ll have lots to say.

Weekend Getaway to Barrie, Ontario

Weekend Getaway to Barrie, Ontario

Another fun thing we like doing together is to take weekends away from it all. We’re rather blessed because our town is located in and around resort country. A few minutes drive, we’re into beautiful vistas of lakes, streams and forests. One of the most memorable weekends we had without the kids was last spring when we traveled to Barrie, Ontario. We reserved a hotel room for a couple of nights and had fun in the pool, restaurants, walks, talks—it was so great. We had a fabulous time. You know, there’s nothing like being alone together without the cares of the daily grind.

I’m going to let this post fade with our most favorite thing we enjoy doing (besides that). We’re walking enthusiasts. Yep. We love walking around our neighborhood, hand-in-hand, talking, laughing, joking—gosh, I just noticed we seem to talk a lot with each other, huh? In the summer, our usual jaunt begins from our house and covers about two kilometers (a mile). As we take in the aroma of BBQ drifting in the air, we love seeing our neighbors’ kids having fun kicking a soccer ball in their yard.

What are your favorite things to do on a date? Do you have some place special you like to go?

Niagara Falls

Recently, my family and I took a trip to Port Colborne, a small town west of Fort Erie, half-an-hour away from Niagara Falls. Due to the nature of the trip, it was only for a couple of days, we traveled most of the time in and out of the car, and in and out of hotel. When we finally got back home, my mind drifted back into the rhythm of everyday life. I thought, oh how I wanted to write about Niagara. So I did. Here is my Freedom Friday post about past trips to Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Before my wife and I got married, way before our engagement, we’d spent a lot of time in volunteer activities together for our church. Since we acted, sang and played in related theater troupes as well, our schedules were nearly identical. We didn’t have to wait long before we saw each other amid the hustle and bustle. There were always those in-between moments during a rehearsal, a gig or a run-through that we could chat. Of course, when you’re falling in love, every nanosecond of every day together just isn’t enough. One gorgeous May weekend we decided to take a daytrip to Niagara Falls. We played mini golf, watched an IMAX presentation of how The Falls came to be, and took goofy pictures of ourselves at one of those instant photo booths. We still have the pictures. And yes, we did dine, talk, hold hands, and all that other romantic stuff. It became our place where we discovered more existed between us than the performing arts.

View from the Penthouse

View from the Penthouse

Every few years after we got married, we’d return to Niagara Falls. Something good would always come from these trips. One time it was the decision to purchase a house. Another time we’d talked about how many kids we’d like to have. No matter when we took the trip, we’d come back refreshed and filled with hope for a planned future. If you’ve ever seen a couple in the back of a restaurant at The Falls writing on napkins—charts, graphs, timelines—that was us. We were the crazy folk who wanted to ensure our decisions were mutual. If one of us didn’t agree to an idea, we’d scrap it.

The latest trip took place a few autumns ago. With both kids in tow, we stayed in one of those incredible two-floor penthouse suites with a Fallsview and Jacuzzi. We managed to grab a deal on the room because off-season rates rule. Otherwise, no way we could have afforded it. The first thing, we walked to The Falls. Ever hear of that dark and stormy night? Well, we got caught in one of the worst storms to hit the Niagara region coming back. I don’t think we’ve gotten so soaked in all our lives. It was fun, though. When we arrived at the hotel, we changed, dried off and went for a warm meal at the restaurant downstairs. The place took me by surprise. The food was rather good at reasonable prices.

The remainder of our getaway consisted of taking in as many of the hundreds of attractions humanly possible. We enjoyed The Falls from the top of the SkyWheel, read the tombstones at Ripley’s Believe It or Not, played mini putt with aliens at Galaxy Golf, met the Joker and Michael Jackson at Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember but know we had fun doing. My wife and I also made one of our major life decisions during that trip, which proved to be one of the best decisions in our lives.

We’re still reaping the rewards.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? If so, what did you like about it? Did you know it’s the Honeymoon Capital of the World?

  • Enter your email address below to sign up for the Jack Flacco Mailing List.

    Join 8,690 other followers

  • Features

  • Archives

%d bloggers like this: