Life is Easier When We Do It Together

dadI thought about Billy Ray Russell today. My dad LOVED watching people succeed.  He would smile and light up as he talked about someone getting a promotion, closing a big deal, or getting a great job. Think about that for a moment, I was raised in a home where my father didn’t resent or feel threatened by other’s success, but instead he celebrated it!

I want to encourage parents (including me) to follow my father’s lead. It is so easy for us to “talk smack” about others. And what message does that send to our children? I believe it makes us look petty, somewhat narcissistic, and very insecure. After all, the root cause of “talking smack” is insecurity and an absurd level of competition. Yes, a competitive spirit can be very beneficial in life, but when it makes us appear resentful and angry…it’s gone too far.

If you struggle with jealousy and resentment then I’m guessing when you see other’s success it turns you inward. You quickly begin to focus on what you perceive to be your failures, and thus you feel sad and angry. At that point it can be in our nature to project that anger onto others. After all, it’s easier to blame others than to accept responsibility for not being where we’d like to be in life.

I believe that my father realized something very important about life. It is easier when we do it together. He knew that none of us would get where we wanted to be without helping and caring for one another. I find the phrase “A self made man” absurd! As my dad would often say, “We all need a little help from time to time.”

You are a wonderful and magnificent creation, and you were not designed to compare yourself to others. The world needs you to be you! You are the only you we have and we need you! Sure, competition can make life more interesting, but make no mistake about it…we were created to love and support one another, because life is much easier when we do it together.

 

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How Memories Help Us Heal: RIP Andy Henson

andy
Andrew “Doc” Henson

The first line of today’s blog was going to start with, “I lost a good friend this week”, but I then realized that isn’t true.  We never totally lose those we love.  I hadn’t spoken to Andy for years, because we both did what adult friends seem to do…we kept putting off calls and visits.  Then the phone call comes reminding us that we procrastinated for far too long, and a rush of emotions and feelings begin.  For a brief moment I did feel guilt, but it quickly gave way to regret.  I regret not taking the time to have just one more conversation, and a couple of cheap beers while laughing.  You rarely spent five-minutes with Andy without laughing.  

Andy was extremely intelligent, and I know this because I actually gave him an IQ test.  After a “few” Strohs he asked, “Russell you give IQ tests at your office don’t you?”  Before long we were taking a 20 minute drive to my psychology practice.  Despite his mildly altered state of mind he scored within the superior range of intelligence!  I shouldn’t have been surprised considering his father is a doctor, his oldest brother was a doctor, and his second brother is a doctor!  However, Andy always said that his mother was smarter than all of them! I asked him why he never became a doctor and his answer was simply, “I hate the sight of blood.”  

Another odd indicator for Andy’s high level of intelligence was the bathroom in his apartment.  The first time I walked in I was not only shocked by the fact it hadn’t likely been cleaned for 10 years, but there were at least 4 encyclopedias on the floor!  Most college guys go to the bathroom while reading Sports Illustrated, but Andy would read through encyclopedias.  And If anyone questioned the amount of knowledge in that large head of his all they needed to do was sit and watch Jeopardy with him!  Is it any wonder he cringed as he stood and watched me burn some of my text books the day I graduated from college?  He stood there shaking his head, and at one point reached into the flame to save a book he said he wanted to read.   

One of my most vivid memories comes from my first marriage.  On the…the wedding day and a minute before we walked up the long steps to trot down the isle…Andy pulled me aside to ask me one last question.  Well actually it was more of a statement when he said, “Russell, if you don’t want to do this I will take you anywhere you want to go.  We’ll just get in my car and take off!”    

The wonderful memories like those I just mentioned play-out with HD quality in my mind, which helps replace the regrets and tears.  Make note that Andy would despise my sentence structure, and the fact I’m talking openly about shedding tears.  Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts about one of my favorite people.  My heart and thoughts go out to the those of you who were lifelong friends of Andy, and to his family who have endured too much grief over the last few years.  I pasted Andy’s obituary for you to read below. It’s well written with humor, which Andy the English major would have loved.  Remember, we never fully lose those we love when we have memories of them that make us smile.  

 

Obituary:

ANDREW SAMUEL HENSON. Andrew “Andy” Henson, 45, died on Monday, March 3 at his home in Hurricane. A lifelong resident of Hurricane, he was preceded in death by his brother Dr. Scott Henson, maternal grandparents Clyde and Midge Westfall and paternal grandparents Clifford and Harriet Henson.  He is survived by his parents, Dr. Sam Henson and Joan Westfall Henson of Hurricane, & brother Dr. Doug Henson…and many other friends and family were listed.    

Also left to miss him as well is his mixed breed mutt, “Mac,'” passed on to him by his late brother, Scott, and who, by Andy’s admission, pees too much. Growing up in Hurricane, Andy was a better than fair athlete being a starter for the Hurricane High School basketball team and an all-state golfer. He was a low single digit handicapper during his mid and late teen years at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, noted for routine 300 plus yard drives. He received his B.A. degree from Marshall University in 1991 and became a top administrative assistant to state treasurers Larry Bailey and later John Perdue. He worked there alongside his good friend, cousin and golfing croney, Sam Cole, the assistant treasurer under Mr. Bailey.

Andy’s health took a sudden bad turn in 2002 when he developed dilated Cardiomyopathy, a very serious heart problem, ultimately requiring a heart transplant in 2003 at Cleveland Clinic. This forced his retirement from the political arena. Even though he could no longer play he continued to follow golf via the PGA tournaments. Always rooting for the underdogs, he particularly enjoyed seeing Tiger, on those rare occasions, take double bogies or plop one in the water or among the trees.

Visitation for family and friends will be on Friday, March 7 from 6-9 p.m, at the Allen Funeral Home in Hurricane. The Allens, long time family friends are assisting. The Henson family wishes to thank the local rescue squad and Putnam EMT’s for their efforts. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to West Virginia Health Right in Charleston or to your favorite charity. On the off-chance that there is an organization around whose aim is to help left-handed golfers with outlandishly high handicaps, please remember them in Andy’s name.

Why I Love The Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan (notice it doesn’t say diet)! #weightloss

untitledI want you to say hello to a weight loss plan that I believe is the answer to many of your struggles with weight loss (I’m not getting paid for this).  As you can see it is called, “The Dr. Oz Weight Loss Plan” and not a diet.  Why?  Well I shouldn’t speak for the good doctor, but I believe it is because this plan is made up of foods that you and I should be eating daily.  Now, if you don’t need to lose weight then you would need to add a few healthy items, or just eat more of what is on the plan.  I guess this is where I should state the obvious…I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV.  You shouldn’t take my word for how you should diet or exercise, and consult your doctor.  I am however a guy who has had to watch his weight his entire life, and I can truly tell you what has and has not worked for me.

Let me say this, every diet will help you lose weight if you follow it.  I have lost weight on Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watcher, The Three Day Diet, and the list goes on.  And because I run I am usually able to keep the weight off until I get lazy.  However, if you are no longer a young kid or adult you have to start being very careful when dieting.  Those starvation diets of your youth may cause serious damage now that you are older…but sexier.  And as we all know the starvation diets help you lose weight, but 15 minutes after your first margarita or HoHo you are fatter than you were to start with!

I love Dr. Oz’s plan because it teaches us how to eat healthy.  It takes us back to the Garden of Eden where we first ran naked and free, and picked fruits and veggies.  Unfortunately, according to the story of Genesis, the chick ate the wrong piece of fruit, and now you and I are having to talk about disease and dieting!  Why would anyone believe a talking snake anyway?  I digress!  I also love this plan because in two weeks BOTH my wife and I lost over 10 pounds.  Yes ladies, if you stick to it & you will lose weight almost as fast as the testosterone men that surround you.  The reason I believe that is important is because many of you reading this may need to lose several pounds (according to your doctor), if you jump on the scales the first week and see 1 pound…you are going to go on a beer or Bon Bon bender in 30 seconds.  If you see that you have lost 10 to 15 pounds in two weeks then you will be motivated.  Did I mention I’m not a doctor, but I do own a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope?

Well you have heard enough from me…go check it out for yourself by clicking The Oz Diet.  And remember, you should consult your doctor before starting any new weight lost plan, new exercise program, or sexual position.  I just threw that last one in for those of you with a bad back!  Please hit share below to share this with your Twitter and/or Facebook friends, and I would love for you to subscribe to The Next Half!

Who Loves Ya?

Tony Russell

The Definition of #Success: A lesson my father taught me in the ICU without even saying a word.

While I sat by my father’s bedside in the ICU I learned what it means to be successful, and to have lived a life of meaning.  And he didn’t even say a word!