Hilliker Strong!

Today, my oldest accidentally “Facetimed me” and I was so happy to see him.   He’s busy rocking his career and achieving his goals.    My daughter is almost done w/ HS (booyah!) and the lil guy (not so little) is learning so much at school around technology that makes me ecstatic for his journey ahead.

So why call this blog “Hilliker strong?”  Well in the thicket of lifes challenges my oldest said..  “Dad we are Hilliker Strong” and it has stuck with me every day.   Regardless of lifes challenges we move forward, we see the good in all situations and we stay as a positive light.

When my oldest was about 16 he created this sketch.    This is just the start of it..


I took his final picture and created the best INK project ever.   I continue to think about it to this day..   Not backing down from you feelings, letting them flow and staying strong on your principles.   Tonight my dad continued this theme for me.  He said that my grandmother (belle) that I loved every moment I spent with her was so passionate & strong for my uncles & aunt that she would take a bullet for them.  I know this to be true after hearing my uncles stories about their childhood and how Grandma Belle was “Hilliker Strong”.   I believe that this character, this trait, this feeling is part of my DNA.

I know my journey continues to be rocky, but when the road is less traveled it is the higher ground, it is the place less will travel.   I remain confident that my journey is about asking questions, thinking and connecting the dots in everything.

Let’s rock baby!

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If I wrote a book what would I title it?

I have been thinking a lot more about writing a book.  I was thinking of focusing on my journey, my past and my present.  Thinking of tips on how to navigate crazy waters, fun work challenges and lifes normal challenges.   The big question is what would I call it?  would I make it theme based?   I just don’t know..  so until then I will keep writing and see where this path takes me.

Have a great day folks.  Hope you are out there enjoying it..


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Price of happiness

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, therefore this may take a few to read.   I have been busy with work, life & finding my center that it has been a ride.   So where to start…   well, let’s start with Monday this week.   I’m headed to Nut Tree in the morning to finish my last Executive Coaching Session.  Over the last 12 months with my coach I have learned a lot, reflected much, defined my blindspots and worked on this actively to achieve success.   I finally understand the thing that has driven me to so hard for success, but yet in the last 5 years has held me back from pure happiness.   What is it?  well.  that’s a long conversation best had over a craft beer & pub grub.    Do I think I’m on my way to greater success?  yes, I do!   I believe that the future ahead is even brighter than the past.    I honestly feel that I should really write the book that I started 15 years ago and now I have had so many diverse life activities that I should really get back to writing it and make it something that lives on.

How’s the water lately?   Great question.   I went out two weeks back, it was good (Lake Clementine) and the water was not as cold as I expected it to be.   It felt good to get wet.   Now I am setting my sights back on getting into the ocean for some longboard surfing.   I know the shark reports keep climbing, but it’s so low of odds, I think I’d win the lottery first than getting shanked by a shark.

Let’s get in deeper .. shall we?    This last few months has been a beast for me.   Work pressure is up, financial pressure is rearing up, missing my two oldest and interacting with them daily.  I have had many hours of deep thoughts of the past to reconcile my feelings, especially on my prior marriages and why what happened, happened.   I am more centered that I have been in my life and the time alone has brought me much peace along with self realizations to help reconcile the pain, hurt, distrust and emotions.   All of these self realizations help with the constant attacks from the past, feelings from the current and knowing who I am to stand the battle.

Let’s talk about what I am grateful for:

  • My kids, my family, my parents, my friends, my new friends, my co -workers, fellow travelers on this life path I’m on.
  • The water and it’s healing affects on me.  from the ocean, lakes, pool..   just being at one with the water.
  • I’m happy for lifes experiences that have made me stronger, more flexible, and more patient.

I have heard many times the last few years, that It’s crazy the amount of stuff I have gone thru and I’m still positive.  I agree.   It’s been a sh&& show at times, but I am grateful for being raised by awesome parents that have helped me stay to course on being me, being confident in who I am and not letting others kick me down.  I have made some interesting decisions the last couple of years as I navigated these new waters and some of them I’m not proud of myself for, but it was part of the growing, learning & moving forward that I needed to do, which has taken me a long time to come to terms with this very thing..   If you don’t feel pain, then you aren’t growing.  If you don’t stand up for yourself then you get caught in the same path that you have been on before.   Pain = Grow = Moving forward!

So what is the price of happiness?   Being bullish on who you are, what you want and be true to your heart.   Recently I read the book 10% Happier, thank you to KBur for the recommendation.  It was a great audio book and I highly recommend taking the 8+ hours to listen to it.  I have read a # of meditation books and this is in the top of the list as it brings together a lot of the books I have already read and the author does a great job of giving his insight as he went through his journey.  What I learned from this book is what i call back to basics, monitoring your breathing, know that your thoughts will pass quickly, therefore don’t give into thoughts vs. just recognizing that they are happening.   Just because you feel anger, sadness, etc.. it does not mean that is who you are.   I.e. Don’t let your struggle become your identity.     Another realization is that for a bit i was doing just this, everything that I talked about, worked on, etc.. was all about my struggle vs. living.  I am past that period of time now and can see better that it ate me up, it made me a different person, one that I am not happy about.   But I understand that now.   So..  I move forward.  I keep focused on my family, my health, my work and building strong friendships.



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Steak today? – Karma just smacked me like a wet towel

Good morning all.   Let’s start by going back a few years for this story.   One day I went to the cafe in the office and there were these amazing small steak bites they had in the burrito line.  It was my first time eating steak like that (yah.. long story folks on this one..) and it was so delicious.  I remember thinking wow, I’ve been missing out all these years.  Soooo..  from that day forward I ask the cafe guy – “Steak today?” and over the last 2 years it has been kinda of a joke.  I ask, he says no, then i get chicken and move on.   Well, finally they had steak on Tuesday, this week, and of course I said “give me the SUPER burrito full of beans, steak and sauce”.  It was so big that even the aluminum foil wrapper couldn’t cover it all.   I was beyond excited as you can imagine.  I mean who doesn’t want a 1LB burrito of steak.    I sat down in the cafe and enjoyed every minute of that burrito – it was as you can imagine – tasty, filling, impressive..

At this point – you’re probably thinking.. okay.  Karma? Wet towel?  what’s up?

Well, I got home Tuesday after taking my son to Suicide Squad (which was absolutely amazing) and I had major pain in my foot, like HOLY **** pain.  I could barely walk on it and something was not right.  I called the Dr. weds morning, luckily was able to get an apt 30 mins later (very rare). I headed into the dr’s and the dr. said “NO STEAK for YOU!”.   Huh?  I’m sorry one more time…  She asked me..   Have you had red meat/steak in the last few days – more than normal? (duh – of course 1LB of it baby), she then asked.. have you had beans lately (duh – that burrito needed a friend called pinto beans), then she said – have you had more beer than normal – (duh I was camping with growlers all weekend)..  so then she said..   well.  No Steak! light on the beans! and how about stop drinking beer! (this is when I said NFW).  she said okay..  just don’t drink a bunch of growlers okay.. (seriously I didn’t have growlers of beer – just a few glasses of a new IPA from Truckee ).

So…..   Here I am on Meds + Pain meds for this darn foot, slowing me down for a few days and thinking..    This is my karma for asking every single day “Steak today?”.   Now when I get back to work I’m going to tell my cafe friend – I can’t eat steak so now we are back to just chicken………

So.. like a wet towel smack, My rein w/ steak was short lived and yah.    Hold the beans! Hold the steak!


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TIME OUT – no Really – why does time alone help?

Okay.. not time out, but time alone.  Part of peeling the onion on the HOW to live my truth is also accepting the fact when I need time alone to reboot, think, process, unpack my brain. In the past I have felt guilty about this and thought it was not something I needed.  However, I was wrong, time alone is important and as I start to accept this, I start to embrace what I need.

I spent time this evening thinking about this topic as I was unpacking my mind on H20 thru the narrow channel @ Uppers.    Here’s the best post I found on why time alone is important..  Full credit to Psychology today – from 2012 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201201/6-reasons-you-should-spend-more-time-alone .

let me recap the top items.


1. Solitude allows you to reboot yourbrain and unwind. Constantly being “on” doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.

2. Solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivityWhen you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.

3. Solitude gives you an opportunity to discover yourself and find your own voice.When you’re a part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own.

4. Solitude provides time for you to think deeply. Day to day responsibilities and commitments can make your to-do list seem as if it has no end. This constant motion prevents you from engaging in deep thought, which inhibits creativity and lessens productivity.

5. Solitude helps you work through problems more effectively. It’s hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you’re distracted by incoming information, regardless of whether that information is electronic or human.

6. Solitude can enhance the quality of your relationships with others. By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone.

I think Psychology today hit the nail right on the head.   Solitude matters, getting your brain in check matters.   Relationships can have higher quality if you spend time alone.

So.. let’s keep peeling the onion, shall we?   Are you with me?

What other benefits are there of having time alone?


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How do you “live your truth”?


Here are my first starting steps for me:

  • Remove the past mementos and give them away – maybe it will help another w/o the baggage involved
  • Do what you want to do.. for me.. if I want to go SUP – I go SUP, if I want to camp, I go.  If I have parental responsibility then I do what my kids need me to do.. (taxi, etc..)
  • Don’t beat yourself up for past mistakes, burning up relationships, not being compassionate, etc.. Just learn from it..   I had the opportunity this weekend to really dig deep into my brain and heart around the past.   I realized that I was still holding on to much from the past, why things happened the way they did, what could I have done better, and it hit me pretty hard that I need to let that all go.   While I thought I had already done that, it was just surface stuff, however deeper into the brain & heart I see more.  My path has been a bit rocky, meeting new people, having new experiences, some good, some EPIC, some not so good, however through it all, it is about exploring, learning and then becoming a better person.
  • Create your personal growth plan (Personal, Work) – what are your goals? Even if there is a lot of clutter, think 2-3 years out, what is the plan.  For me I have started to rethink my plans, where do I want to be for my kids as they finish out school, where do I want to go after, what are the enabling blocks that I will need to put in place.  For work, it’s a matter of finishing the story on what legacy will I leave in the next 5-15 years at the company.   What legacy can I leave, how will I be remembered.
  • Get healthy – well this is rough one, when you love hops, but I’m trying to balance this out. Do my workouts outside as much as possible in the water and then figure out what I need to augment the time with.
  • EAT – I know this sounds wonky, but figure out my eating plan. (it aligns to get healthy).   What are the foods that my body needs and how often so I can be fueled up for any challenges ahead.
  • Don’t’ react. This personally has been the hardest for me, when hit w/ work stress, relationship stress, financial stress, competing priorities I am now not responding to it for 24 hours.   I’m letting it diffuse and give the time it needs to process, think and respond in the best manner possible.   I used to call this blue screening 6 years back as I could have my whole day blown up based on one call from my X.   I know try my hardest to not respond until after 24 hours (unless there’s a life on the line), otherwise it can wait.   Time & Distance work wonders on everything.

That’s it for today, I’m sure there’s more to come on this topic and more exploring for me to do.

Thank you for listening..


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Live your “truth”

What a great few weeks, felt like I have been on turbo mode, from New Mexico, Houston, Hollywood, Truckee and of course Nor Cal (home base) in between.   What can I say.    It’s been a long & good summer.   My youngest & I finished our summer to do list, I saw my oldest in Houston and then had a few opts to see my daughter throughout which was really cool.

So.. what’s up w/ the blog title josh?  Well…   On one of my trips this last month I was sitting a table of co-workers and this one gal completely out of fun said “live your truth” to me.  It was a joke, because of a fun night before & a great dialogue on the table (for another blog – maybe..).   But it was a joke, but I have spent more time thinking about that very phrase ever since.   Live your truth.  What does that mean?   I think it is completely subjective and means so many different things based on where you are at on your journey.   What does it mean to me?  well..   I think it means be who I am, be open, be direct, love, laugh, cry, try new things to help know what I want in life.    It also means don’t let your struggle be your identity.  I know the past sucks, it hurts and it does crop up once and again to make me say “ugh”.. but it’s just that.. It’s where I have been not where I am going.

So what know?  I’ll continue to live, love, enjoy life to the fullest and be happy.  If I am not I will be direct, remove myself and set a new course.    I think we all are empowered to make this call and be happy.

okay. in other news, I went camping, it was FUN and I think I know now what I need to get to finish out my camping family plan / list.   Thank you ZINWINEDAD for the opportunity to crash on your camp site and enjoy the amazing friends you have.

Cheers..  (NO TURNT AF – just cheers)






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July 10th – A day of exploration

Hello all.  As I went to bed last night I had a song on my mind “Rivers & Roads” and was thinking how to make my Sunday that I would remember for a long time.   With that in mind I loaded up the truck and hit the road @ 7:30AM.  First stop was bullards bar, I did pass collins lake and will definitely stop next time, however for today I was way too focused on my first stop.   I hit the boat launch, however it was near the marina (meaning hard as F to get the car parked, go to the dock, etc..  blah blah blah)..  However as I was on my way down, this random boat owner asked for a ride down to the marina.. I said yes..  why?  He looked like he knew the place.  I was right!.  I asked where to go and he said that Dark Day is a better place for SUP and I took his recommendation. I left there, headed to Dark Day.   I thought I was all Bada&& when I pulled my California State Poppy Pass out to only find out it’s a National park and free to enter. (insert foot in mouth).   So after talking to the park ranger I was off to the launch.  It was exactly as Sara had said..   beautiful, greenish blue and amazing coves.   I brought my snorkling gear, but the water wasn’t that clear, just beautiful in color, especially with polarized lenses on.    Would I recommend this for everybody – YES!  Next time I will pack a lunch, bring my umbrella & chair to enjoy it more than I did.

I took off from Dark Day to head towards Mountain Recreation shop in Grass Valley. My goal was to buy a new fin from them for clementine due to the rocky shallow water.  Well I was out of luck, but always good to check out their new boards from Boga Boards.    After that I was back on the freeway down Highway 49…..    then I had that moment…    what could I do today? what would make me happy?  Well I shot a quick video on it and then decided to follow Courtney’s advise from OOB, hit Sugar Pine..  so I set the GPS and drove away..   I went up to foresthill, then after 9 miles of driving past northbound I came to Sugar Pine.  I went to the first boat launch, not really that good and not as awesome as I thought.  I took a chance and kept driving, I hit the next point (day use) and drove in another 2 miles.  It was amazing.. OMG. It was so good.   I loaded up the board, walked down to the water and hit it.   Close to shore was so clear that when I got to snorkling it was amazing.. I found a few trash items, cool stumps to look at it, but overall was just amazing.   This was another moment that I wished I packed better.

Let’s pause, what should I have packed:

  • Water – MORE
  • Outdoor shower filled up
  • camping SOAP – hit the bathroom – yucky..
  • MY shoulder strap for the SUP
  • Umbrella
  • Hammock w/ straps – there were trees everywhere
  • Speaker – bose travel speaker

Okay.. so back at it..  after a long fun trip back to auburn, hit moonrakers & knee deep – food selections were either not there or just ugh.. so no beer..  headed to OOB and of course doggystyle hot dogs was there (which hit the spot for now).

I have a few videos I shot and I will try to post those soon, however for now.. here’s the trip docket w/ pictures from today..




I will leave you with this for today.. when I was passing a church in Marysville I saw this on their board.   “Don’t let your struggle become your identity”.   Take a moment and really think about that.   My struggle is dealing with all the stressors in life, from the past and present.   I have realized this has started to become my identity.  Well.  I’m changing that starting today. My identity is one of family, love, infectious passion, fun, happy…     I am returning to my core and I will not let my struggles become my identity.

One more final thought.  I heard this song on Pandora this last week and I really like it..  “Woke the F&&& UP”.   it talks about finally waking up and realizing what you need to do to be happy.

Onward to Happiness.


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June – barn burner – what a month

Hey all,

what a month, too many days over 100 and still more to come as we look into July.  June was filled with trips to Vegas, Santa Cruz and of course many days in the office.   Where shall I start?  well the paddle board was damaged in Folsom by the prison a few weeks back so the patch job was critical as we hit Santa Cruz this last weekend.   I used a nice patch kit, however after putting the board in the garage for a few hours it still didn’t cure.   Papadog (My dad) informed me that the patch liquid I used was SUN activated.  We put the board outside and w/n 15 mins it was done, solid job and ready to hit the water.  (thanks dad).   I posted picture on instagram of it prior, during & after.   Overall the board is in great shape.    This last weekend I paddled out at RIO DEL MAR beach in SC, the waves were ok (no real lefts or rights) but at least we got wet and had fun in the wash.   The only thing interesting about the beach day was the hourly chopper flights over head looking for sharks.  (yah sharks).. so when one passed the only thing you didn’t want to see was them stop above you.. because that meant..    (insert jaws music or shallows music).   so.. yah..  that was not fun..

What else?  I got some good b-roll of my son blasting through some wash on his boogie board on the gopro, however beyond that it was just fun to watch him enjoy the water.  I’ll be editing video this weekend to post and hopefully have some fun clips to share out.

Until then.. ENJOY your day, LIVE your dream, and NEVER back down from what you want.


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Hitting 80 in Auburn

Can we just “Pause” this weekend for a moment.  let’s do a quick recap.  Friday – brewery tour, Saturday – built patio furniture & a new BBQ for the hiking partner, Sunday – SUP in Lake clementine from Uppers to Camp Site, then nailed all my weekend commits, Monday – Hiked 5 miles in Auburn.


How long was the hike?  Here are the stats below,take note my hydration level was spot on w/ what was recommended.

IMG_0048 IMG_0046


I know this post is a short one and yes I have a # of items still to discuss, however I’ll wait for that until later tonight or this week.

Get out there folks..  HIKE, paddle board, be active..     Life is short..



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