Be Kind

When I first created my Fletchifesto, my goal was to help people focus on positivity. Hopefully you will notice that everything included in this graphic is meant to encourage you or just focus on the brighter side of things. That was the goal. Infuse positivity into the people I contact.

With this phrase, I decided to be a little more blunt: BE KIND. It's simple. I just want people to learn to be friendly and generous to one another.

In all truthfulness, I stole this from a quote on one of Kendra's t-shirts. It just says: "BE KIND" across the front. It's highly possible that it grabs my attention based solely on the position and location as it is displayed across my wife's chest, but I am motivated by this phrase every time she wears the shirt.

It's simple. It's repeatable. It makes a very good mantra.

By definition, kindness includes aspects of friendliness, generosity and being considerate to other people, which are all great qualities. But, I often find kindness can be difficult to integrate throughout your life. It's hard to be kind to a child throwing a temper tantrum. It's hard to be kind to your spouse when they deeply offend. Driving behind someone slow in traffic or standing behind the person who doesn't understand "10 items or less" will quickly extinguish kindness. Personally, I find the biggest challenge to be kind when others are not acting kind. I don't think that is the point with kindness. 

I realized that I wanted to develop more kindness in my life, so I put myself to a test. For this year's 100 Day challenge, I completed a random act of kindness everyday. Being kind to family and friends is easy, so to stretch myself I tried to focus my efforts on complete strangers and society at large. Here is what I learned: the opportunity to be kind is in abundance. Once I got started, opportunities for kindness were EVERYWHERE. I just need to open my eyes and see the needs around me. It blew me away how many times I was avoiding kindness on my day to day existence on this planet. Also, I was amazed at how this developed a habit of kindness in me. It was almost as if my kindness muscles were out of shape.

How about you? How are you doing with kindness? Do you want to join me?

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

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Andy Fletcher

Andy "Fletch" Fletcher has been married for the past 22 years. He and his wife Kendra are the proud parents of five sons and three daughters, all of whom keep them laughing and on their toes. During the day he can be found fixing people's teeth, but in his spare time you can find Fletch stretching out a pair of flip-flops, creating a new pizza recipe, playing the drums, or rescuing a piece of his tie-dye wardrobe from his wife's donation pile. You can find him online where he writes on his personal blog: theMangoTimes and cohosts with his wife on the HomeschoolingIRL.com podcast.

Live Each Day Like An Adventure

For the past few months, I have been staring at the Fletchifesto that is hanging on my wall. As I read through each of the statements I colorfully designed on that poster, I thought it would be a fun challenge to explain what qualified them for inclusion on my personal manifesto.  If anything it will be a consistent exercise to help me revitalize my love of writing and theMangoTimes.

1. LIVE EACH DAY LIKE AN ADVENTURE.

Here's the deal: Whenever I hear the word adventure I immediately think about my Hollywood hero, Indiana Jones. He is the epitome of living an adventurous life. Indy was a man who knew how to prepare to live each day of his life like an adventure.  He woke up and put on rugged clothing. He carried a gun (and a whip). And, every time Indy climbed on an airplane or an ocean liner or a jeep, he knew a bad ass adventure awaited him around every corner. 

Maybe it's the optimist in me that thinks a slightly overweight balding dentist in the middle of his life can actually live the romantic life of adventure. I acknowledge that I do not travel deep into the jungles or over the deserts of our planet, but I'd like to think that I would.

Maybe it's the fact that during every trip to Disneyland I begin my day in Adventureland. That's hardly heart stopping, but Walt did a great job of creating in me a love for adventure and taming the unknown. I know it is fake and solely based on commercialism, but there is something to be said here. I wasn't drawn to Frontierland, the Bayou, Rivers of America, Mainstreet, Fantasyland or even Tomorrowland. Hell no. I bee-lined to Adventureland. If there were more rides, I'd probably stay there all day.

Or maybe it's the fact that I'm also drawn to the pirate spirit of life upon the sea and the adventure of sailing on the wide open ocean looking for that one particular harbor. Do I sail? No. But again, I'd like to think that I would if I could. I love warm water and the clear blue water of the tropics. I love the idea of pursuing treasure. In the world of pirates, adventure looms everywhere: "Pirates be lurking and waiting to board and dead men tell no tales." 

Alright. That is enough with the Disneyland references. I just love the spirit of adventure. I want my kids to love adventure. I want them to find adventure in the exotic as well as the mundane. I make an adventure out of a trip to the hardware store or a visit to their relatives house or just a drive out of the city to our local rivers and hills.

"Living each day like an adventure" changes your outlook. You enter each day in an anticipatory state of mind. Regardless of what you have planned, the day you are living can now be adventurous.

Too many people go through life bored as hell. They do the same old job and hoofing it through life following the same old routines. That's a real crappy way to live your life. So, join with me. Change your costume. Wake up tomorrow and put on your adventure clothes. Go on a walk in your neighborhood. Explore the common places. Buy a notebook. Pull up your anchors and live the life of a pirate. Live a life of adventure every single day. Then, report back and let me know where your adventures lead you.

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

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Andy Fletcher

Andy "Fletch" Fletcher has been married for the past 22 years. He and his wife Kendra are the proud parents of five sons and three daughters, all of whom keep them laughing and on their toes. During the day he can be found fixing people's teeth, but in his spare time you can find Fletch stretching out a pair of flip-flops, creating a new pizza recipe, playing the drums, or rescuing a piece of his tie-dye wardrobe from his wife's donation pile. You can find him online where he writes on his personal blog: theMangoTimes and cohosts with his wife on the HomeschoolingIRL.com podcast.

Viva El Ocho!

He wasn't supposed to see, or walk, or do a lot of normal things that other kids do, but God doesn't always follow expectations. So, instead of raising a blind and lame child, we have a little boy that runs, swims, and rides bikes just as fast as every other kid. He struggles with reading and behavior and he will most likely need our help for a long time, but that's not bad compared to the prognosis we were given by the neurologist when we left the hospital. (Oh yeah! God is also not done yet with this story).

Mighty Joe turns 8 today!

I'm telling you, this kid has been blessed. Even his birthday is celebrated with Mexican food and parties.Want to celebrate with us? Raise up a margarita, eat some nachos or crank up the mariachi music today and join us in celebrating God's goodness in the life of Mighty Joe! 

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

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Andy Fletcher

Andy "Fletch" Fletcher has been married for the past 22 years. He and his wife Kendra are the proud parents of five sons and three daughters, all of whom keep them laughing and on their toes. During the day he can be found fixing people's teeth, but in his spare time you can find Fletch stretching out a pair of flip-flops, creating a new pizza recipe, playing the drums, or rescuing a piece of his tie-dye wardrobe from his wife's donation pile. You can find him online where he writes on his personal blog: theMangoTimes and cohosts with his wife on the HomeschoolingIRL.com podcast.

Pipe Smoking

My first pipe - savinelli roma

My first pipe - savinelli roma

Back in 1986, I was a freshman at the University of the Pacific and I purchased my first pipe from a great little pipe shop called The Tobacco Leaf in Stockton, CA. The pipe was a Savinelli Roma. At the time, it was I splurged and throughout college I enjoyed smoking a variety of tobaccos through that pipe. I continued to smoke through dental school and really enjoyed the romance of walking down the streets of San Francisco with smoke billowing out from my pipe. I continued throughout the early years of marriage, but once kids showed up I slowed down and found myself smoking less and less.

Why? Like many things in parenting, I don't think I had a great answer for my kids about smoking my pipe.  Truthfully, I was probably concerned with what people would think and rather than explain what I was doing, I just packed up my pipe supplies and decided to ignore my real and imaginary critics.

The current collection

The current collection

While that pipe was packed away and gathering dust in the garage, many tough discussions have surfaced with my kids regarding faith and behavior. As it turns out, my kids could handle many of those discussions. Likewise, I have also been freed from a lot of the religious behavior and bondage I was stuck in. I also really missed the smell and taste of good pipe tobacco.

So, earlier this year, I brought my pipe out of storage and with the help of eBay I began a new collection. The photo on the right shows the current collection of acquired pipes. I consider this post a coming-out of sorts as I let my readers in on the fact that I enjoy smoking good tobacco in a beautiful briar pipe.

I know this might sound inconsistent, but I still really can't stand the smell or appeal of cigarettes and cigar smoking. The smell from both is a bit offensive and I'm well aware of the dangers of chain smoking and the risk of cancer, so I personally don't understand the appeal of either. If you love smoking cigarettes or cigars, feel free to indulge, but forgive me, because I don't find favor in either. 

That being said, there are a few things I've discovered about pipe smoking in my life. First, my smoking has been a little sporadic. Since I don't smoke in the house, I don't smoke regularly. I find myself enjoying a smoke when I walk with kids, the back porch with my dad, or when I can sneak down to the local pipe shop. Because it is sporadic, it is something I look forward to regularly.

The second thing I have discovered is that smoking a pipe is a super relaxing aspect to my day. Slow puffing and multiple re-lights as I enjoy a bowl of tobacco force me to slow down and enjoy the slower pace of life. I find this slower pace often accompanied by good conversation and reflection on the day.

My pop at our Pipe club - e. crosby tobacconist, Modesto CA

My pop at our Pipe club - e. crosby tobacconist, Modesto CA

Third, the slowing down of life to enjoy a bowl of tobacco has led to a general increase in talking to the people around me as I savor the moments. We don't do enough of that anymore. I have found that enjoying a pipe smoke with Kendra or the kids or anyone leads to deeper conversations. I enjoy those conversations and the camaraderie that leads to with other pipe smokers.

Lastly, I have found that many people enjoy the smell of a pipe and it makes me chuckle when other women tell Kendra how lucky she is that I smoke a pipe. Kendra doesn't see the luck. ;) Some folks connect pipe smoke with a memory of a grandfather or a father, but for the vast majority of people who smell pipe smoke, they will comment how much they like it. I like that it brings others as much joy as it brings to me.

So, if you ever want to join me for a nice smoke, just let me know. I'd love to introduce you to my favorite pipes and tobaccos.

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

 

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Andy Fletcher

Andy "Fletch" Fletcher has been married for the past 22 years. He and his wife Kendra are the proud parents of five sons and three daughters, all of whom keep them laughing and on their toes. During the day he can be found fixing people's teeth, but in his spare time you can find Fletch stretching out a pair of flip-flops, creating a new pizza recipe, playing the drums, or rescuing a piece of his tie-dye wardrobe from his wife's donation pile. You can find him online where he writes on his personal blog: theMangoTimes and cohosts with his wife on the HomeschoolingIRL.com podcast.

The Fletchifesto

For the last couple of years, I've noticed some very cool personal and corporate graphic manifestos online. Last summer, I began creating and designing my own manifesto. I wasn't trying to get super serious. I really just wanted to form a collection of quotes and sayings that shaped how I choose to live and make decisions.

I picked them up from popular sayings, music or organizations that I follow. These are simple quotes or sayings that I found myself often repeating. After collecting the quotes, I tried a few different designs and layouts. Then I had them printed out in several different versions/sizes that I pasted on the walls around my office to determine which colors, sizes, and shapes worked best. I landed on the one below, but I realize that manifestos do not necessarily have to be static. This version may be subject to change as newer quotes, sayings or designs rise to a level of importance in my life.

Fletchifesto.jpg

I handed a few out as Christmas cards and a few friends have asked me for copies, so I thought I would post and offer them here on theMangoTimes.  If these quotes inspire you or your New Year, let me know. I have created two different printed sizes available and I'll get them in your hands or on your walls.

Postcard Size - 5x6 2$
Small Poster Size - 12x15 10$

All transactions take place through PayPal. Contact me through the comments for details.

Quietly making noise, 

Fletch

 

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Andy Fletcher

Andy "Fletch" Fletcher has been married for the past 22 years. He and his wife Kendra are the proud parents of five sons and three daughters, all of whom keep them laughing and on their toes. During the day he can be found fixing people's teeth, but in his spare time you can find Fletch stretching out a pair of flip-flops, creating a new pizza recipe, playing the drums, or rescuing a piece of his tie-dye wardrobe from his wife's donation pile. You can find him online where he writes on his personal blog: theMangoTimes and cohosts with his wife on the HomeschoolingIRL.com podcast.