Really, I am not a Bourbon snob. But…

Okay, I admit.  I like bourbon.  I like good bourbon.  And I actually have some very good bourbon.  But I would not call me a bourbon snob.  I just enjoy good quality.

And the quality and effort goes into how someone does their job also.

To that point, I also enjoy a good Manhattan.  Yes, a “good” Manhattan.  Not something that my son Tyler has labeled “a wedding Manhattan”.  That is a Manhattan you usually get at a wedding, when the person behind the bar just kind of guesses at the ingredients and then adds, ugh the horror of it all, Maraschino cherry juice!

And that brings me to what I wanted to address today.  Your job. My job. Your profession.  My profession.  The mark we leave on others when we are doing something and getting paid to do it.  (I know, right now you are wondering about the tie-in and if I have had too much of the brown Kentucky spirit myself.  No, but it is what got me to thinking about the topic.)

You see, I was out in Las Vegas for a national sales meeting recently.  We stayed at a resort/convention center which I had never been before.  Not on the strip, almost thirty minutes away.  Nice place.  But during the course of the five days I was there, I had an occasion to meet up at the bar with co-workers for an adult beverage, and in my case it was a Manhattan.  Each time I was there, there was a different bartender.  And each time, my Manhattan was made entirely different.  Really?  (Okay, let me hit the “PAUSE” button here for a moment.  For all of you who are not familiar with the cocktail, Manhattan, let me explain something.  There are three ingredients if you do not count the ice or garnish, which may or may not be in the drink itself.  There is Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth and bitters.  Done.  Period.  To make it even simpler to follow and for those playing the home version of the game, the proportions of ingredients represent the area code for Manhattan, NY…2-1-2.  2 ounces Bourbon.  1 ounce Sweet Vermouth. 2 dashes bitters.  Simplicity at it’s finest.)

Getting back to my topic.  The only choices given, or variations when you order a Manhattan at a bar, should be 1.  What kind of bourbon would you like?  2. Straight up or “on the rocks”?   So I have gotten use to watching the bartender make my drink when I am able to do so.  For three of the drinks I ordered, I saw Scotch used, I saw Dry Vermouth used and I noticed the barkeep use an orange colored liquid which was poured out of a plastic bottle which I later was told was “orange zest”.  Orange zest?  And each time I witnessed this, I sounded like a snob because I asked what they were making, because that was not a Manhattan.   And yes, I got some very “stink eyed” looks from each one of the bartenders I asked.  Sorry, but I simply wanted what I ordered.  That isn’t asking for much, is it?  And I wouldn’t think it would qualify me as a “snob”.

Okay, thank you for your patience and indulging me as I shared my sad story of a failed cocktail.  But this caused me to come to WordPress and type.  Here it is:  If you are going to do a job, do the best job you can possibly do.  There, I said it.  I know, I sound like my dad, seriously I do because I remember him saying this to me.  In the example of my failed drinks, the subject of my rant was a bartender.  Know the basics.  I don’t expect you to know every cocktail out there, but this one is very simple and a classic staple.  And if you don’t know how to make it, ask.  Or google it.  But do the best job which you are able to do.  Take pride in it, whether you are behind a bar, an airplane, a broom, sales catalog or an elephant in a parade!

And if you don’t want to do your best, find something else to do for a living.  Take pride in what you do and at the end of the day, stop and look in the mirror.  Not to admire yourself or notice wrinkles, but look in the mirror and ask if you did the best you could have done.  If you did, terrific.  Keep it up and let’s do it again.  If you are not sure, or if you think you could have done better, that is an opportunity.  Apply what you learned and do better tomorrow.

My son Drew shared a quote with me once upon a time.  It is by Ralph Waldo Emerson and has become one of my favorites:  “Finish each day an be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day.  You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

This quote is taped to my desk lamp and reminds me to take what I did today and use it to do even better tomorrow.  The key in this quote, to me, is the phrase, “You have done what you could.”  I ask myself if I have done my best.  Have you done your best?  Did you put your best foot forward?  Did you try to do the best, and somehow an “absurdity” crept in?  What could you have done better?  Are you happy with the work you did today?  Can you look in the mirror and say “I did my best today”?

It isn’t easy, I know.  But think about it.  How much better this world would be if everyone tried to do this, tried to do their absolute best at their profession, even for just one day?  A week?  A month?

I have a feeling there would be a lot more people smiling and a lot more love spread around.  Not a bad thought, eh?

Okay, now I need a drink…of coffee.  Too early for anything else.  Cheers to us all, and here’s to doing our best to make each other’s lives better and our life more fulfilling.

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WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

Happy. Nope, this isn’t about one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs. (sorry if that is not PC but don’t shoot the messenger) It is about you.

The other day I overheard someone ask,”What makes you happy?” Wow, that will make you think because happiness can be found on many different levels. And yet the question can be a difficult one for some of us to even answer…

Happy. Happiness. How often is it achieved? Do you reach that level?

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, Because I’m happy, Clap along if you know what happiness is to you…

Do you know what happiness is to you? Pharrell Williams is a brilliant songwriter and here is one example of what makes him that. He took this very popular song from a kids movie (Despicable Me 2) and inserted a challenge to all of us. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you…

So, I will go back to the question I overheard…“What makes you happy?”  Yes you.  Forget your work or job. Forget responsibilities. What makes you smile, inside and out? What gives you that feeling that you want “a room without a roof”?

Not easy to answer, is it? Or maybe it is if we do not think about it too hard. K-I-S-S …keep it simple stupid. Perhaps it is a physical activity or sport. Maybe it is continuous learning, or reading a book. I really enjoy cooking and preparing meals for others…but is that “my happy”?  Don’t think so. I enjoyed teaching and coaching, and sometimes that made me happy, but other times I wanted to strangle someone…so I don’t think that quite qualifies. Sitting outside on a peaceful evening with a good cigar and a quality bourbon, yep I guess I am a bourbon snob after all, provides a quality of calm and peace…but not happiness.

I can get excited at a good sporting event, baseball game, hockey, soccer…but excitement and adrenaline should not be mistaken for happiness…at least I don’t think they should.

I have a feeling the reason why this seems difficult to answer, is that it is so personal. Very meaningful to each of us and sometimes we have to look hard to find that.    And as aid, it is very simple.  Right in front of us. Discover it again…for the first time.

Okay so here is my challenge to each of you reading this. Find your happiness. What makes you happy? And once you have answered that question, do whatever it is, every day. Twice or thrice a day if you can. Again and again…be happy.

Don’t you want to be happy? I want to. So I am accepting my own challenge to discover what will make me happy and I will make it a point to do “that thing” each day.

After all, isn’t that something we all want? To be happy? I sure do…

So…

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Published in: on April 7, 2018 at 11:28 am  Comments (1)  
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A Word or Two to My Sons…

A few years ago, I “wrote” a book to give to my sons.  Nothing special, just a “guidebook” covering topics ranging from grooming and sartorial advice to books to read and what success might look like.   Just some things that I had already seen or experienced and I thought it would be fun to share them with the boys.  It may have been more for myself then anything, I cannot even be certain they read it.

This was in 2010, and a few years have passed, and along the way I thought to myself, “I should have added that to the book”.

I had another one of those “A-Ha” moments recently, which reminded me of another word or two to share.

Always go to the funeral

That is it.  Straightforward and simple.  When presented with the unavoidable position of knowing someone who has had a  family member, or knowing someone who has passed away, always go to the funeral.

Not always easy to do.

In the past year or so, I have attended the funeral for three of my friends parents, a relative and buried my mother.  There were also three funerals which I could not attend because I was out of town, and I feel really bad about missing those.  I guess I am at “that age” when this occurrence takes place more frequently…death of friends, friends parents and other loved ones.  Kinda sucks…

Which is why my advice is “Always go to the funeral”.

I know, I know.  When you attend the funeral, it is more for those still with us on earth, as opposed to the departed.  And that is my point.  Having recently been through this, I can tell you how much it meant to see people at my mom’s visitation.  People I didn’t expect…People I hoped would be there…And most of the people there had never met my mom…they were friends who were there for me or my brothers.  And to be honest, sometimes it really moved me.  Memories tried to race down my cheeks more than once when I saw the people who were there for her/me.

And speaking of memories, seeing some people there, and talking about the shenanigans our parents had, well, it was a lot of fun!  Laughter at a funeral is good…it feels good.   It actually feels right.  Brings about smiles amidst an otherwise somber time in our lives.  Which is why my advice is to … “Always go to the funeral”

One evening a few weeks after we laid mom to rest, I had the night to myself because Diana was teaching. So I grabbed the visitation register and cards from mom’s funeral, a couple of cigars, a glass and a bottle of Blood Oath Pact #3 Bourbon and headed out on the porch.  There I wrote a few “Thank you’s,” while looking back at the visitation and the people who were there…for me.  People I hadn’t seen in years.  People I never would have expected, and people whom I will be forever grateful.  When your entire street of neighbors shows up…and none ever met my mom…WOW!

Not sure if it was the memories, the bourbon or the cigar smoke, but my eyes once again began to fill up with smiles and laughter and love.

So with all of that said, there will be times when you simply are not able to “be there” for someone during this difficult time.  That happens.  Happened to me and I wish it hadn’t, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

And sometimes it can.  So when it can, and you go, remember…it will make a difference for the person you are going to see.  They may not let on, or ever tell you.  But if there is blood running through their veins, it will make a difference.

And isn’t that what we all desire?  To make a difference?  So, always go…

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Why are you waiting? Time isn’t.

Tempus fugit.  The inevitable passing of time.

Time flies.

And we are all so busy in our own world these days.  We get caught up in so much to do and get done.  24 hour news and sports.  Social media.  Keeping up with the Kardashians.  Just keeping up, period.  It is amazing we are able to keep up and keep our sanity at the same time.

Time moves forward. And we need to stop every once in a while and appreciate the moment, and those we are sharing the moment with. And tell them.  And smile. And laugh.

A few months ago, my wife Diana was inducted into the St Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame.  Quite an honor.  And for days after the induction, she was riding a beautiful “high”.  She said that people kept telling her how much of a difference she made in their lives, on so many levels, for so many reasons.  People she knew, and barely knew, sent her emails, texts, phone calls and told her in person that what she did, helped them or their child/children.  She said it was the type of thing you normally do not get to hear because these things were usually said after someone had passed away, and they never got to hear the words.

Time goes by.

Diana is right.  Why do we wait?  Are we that busy checking Instagram ?  Is it that important that we just “Checked In” at the grocery store, but we haven’t “checked in” with those who mean something to us?

Time stands still for no one. 

Time certainly does not stand still, and wait for anyone.  I recently experienced that myself with the passing of my mother.  I knew it was coming.  I was as prepared as I suppose I could have been.  But Diana’s words were never more meaningful.  Mom had been at an independent living facility for more than 5 years.  Life of the party…and every happy hour…daily at 4:00.  Perfect place for mom.  Cleaned her apartment.  3 meals a day (and happy hour).  Did her laundry.  Fall festivals.  Holiday parties.  Spring fling.  And lunch excursions on Thursday.  But for the final 8 months of her life, she was in a skilled nursing facility.  Mom just couldn’t take care of herself anymore.

When mom left us to be with my dad after 16 years, there was an outpouring of love, kind words and actions from so many people.  People whom I hadn’t seen in years came to the visitation.  Friends.  Family.  Parishioners.  Even people whom had never met mom.  And the cards, prayers and thoughtfulness is extending for weeks as I continue to hear from people expressing their condolences.  It makes me sad and grateful at the same time.  I understand that many people who share their feelings often do it for the family, and it is appreciated.  But it is a shame that mom didn’t get to hear many of the kind and gracious words which I read and heard from so many wonderful people…some even relatives.

Tempus fugit. When you are having fun.

So don’t wait.  Today is a good day to tell someone how much they mean to you.  Thank them for the simple things they do.  Smile.  Hold the door.  Make them dinner.  Buy a flower.  Write a note…seriously, a handwritten note.

The moments we have to share our feelings with others are fleeting.  And few.  Taken up by a tweet from the “flavor of the month celebrity”.  Who is more important?  What is more important?  Who loves ya baby?

You know the answer.  Tell them.  Show them.  Stop and smell a few roses with them…or plant some.

You will be glad you did.  You can thank me later.

 

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Published in: on October 8, 2017 at 9:28 am  Comments (2)  
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I’ve Seen that Job and I don’t want it!

I might be paraphrasing a tad, and please excuse the Bill Cosby reference, but in one of his stand up routines, he spoke about the job of being a Mother.  And he nailed it!  (Ouch, need to be careful when making Cosby references)  Most of us men have seen what it takes to be a Mother, and I venture to say very few of us want that job…or could even attempt to do it as well.

If most dads had this job as a Mother, here is what might happen:

  • Fewer diapers would get changed when needed.  “Hmm, no, I don’t smell anything funny, must be the dog”.
  • Which may lead to more little kids running around naked.
  • When the baby would puke, even a little, so would we.  Consequently, we would practically live in sweat suits, the old cotton ones, with the drawstrings.  They are easy to wipe off and throw in the washer.  And speaking of…
  • The wash would pile up…laundry needing to be done…dishes needing to be cleaned so bad we are now using paper plates…and we all could use a bath
  • There would be fewer scrapes and cuts “healed” with love and a kiss.  Dads can usually “rub some dirt on it” and share wisdom like, “walk it off”.
  • School lunches?  Ooops, forgot again.
  • Bus stop?  Damn, late again.  I have to pick you up AND drop you off?!?!
  • What do you mean?  I think 4 years old is old enough to mow the lawn.
  • Most, if not all runny noses would go unnoticed and wiped clean with a shirt sleeve, or worse…leaving the poor child’s face looking like a day old glazed doughnut.
  • Toys would seldom get picked up and put away, unless the kids did it. Why pick them up, they will get them out again anyway, it is a waste of time and energy.
  • Meals?  Cooking?  Uh?  Grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Mac n Cheese…out of a box.  Cereal, is good for any meal.  Pizza, again good for any meal.
  • And changing the sheets on the bed?  Have they changed color yet?

Okay, you get the picture.  And while I might be exaggerating a little bit, but not by much, it is a frightening proposal…being a Mother.   It is also a tough job, and I didn’t even cover the whole childbirth thing.  Yep no way I want this job.  I have seen it…and I have seen it performed by the best…and because of that…I don’t want it.

I have been blessed to have been surrounded by some of the best Mothers which God has placed on this little green rock we call Earth.  One of the newest to “the task” is our “daughter (in-law)”.  She has proven to all how the joy and love of a child, and becoming a Mother, can affect your daily life.  And love.  My Mother, and her Mother, and her Mother’s Mother.  (Did I ever mention my great grandmother was so poor as a single parent, that she put her three children in an Orphanage and then got a job there cleaning, so they would be taken care of and she could see them?)  But my exposure to great Mothers continues with Diana’s Mother and Grandmother.  All of these women had a few things in common…their family meant everything to them…and that helped vault them into their successful task completion of Motherhood.  Tough job description and all.

I have seen a lot of strong women successfully tackle the job of Motherhood.  But none quite as successfully have accomplished the “mission of love” as Diana, my wife.  I won’t go into all of the reasons why, there are many.  But if you know her, you get an idea of why I say this.  And if you don’t know her…your loss.  Motherhood.  One of many jobs and titles she has held and kept her head about her.  Kept her head held high.

To all of the Mothers reading this.  Great job.  You should be proud.

For all of us Dads…we need to “up” our game!

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Last Time for Everything

003 (4)While I am not particularily talented, there are times I wish I was.  And it is usually when I write these posts.  I enjoy writing.  Putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper can provide a wonderful outlet, while feeling protected that there is a chance no one will ever read it.  And if it sucks…well, then I really don’t know and am not vulnerable to critics.

I admire authors.  I also admire songwriters.  Especially songwriters, as they are able to be concise enough to tell a story within a timeframe of 3-4 minutes usually.  And if not a story, they are really good at getting a point across and giving you something to think about.

Case in point is Brad paisley’s song on his recent “album” (yep, I still use that term).  The song is Last Time for Everything.  Paisley co-wrote the song with Smith Ahnquist, Brent Anderson, Chris DuBois.  Now I am not sure who contributed what or how much.  But I am glad they all collaborated.  Not that it is a good song, but it is a song that makes you think and makes you feel good.

“Using a fake ID at a college bar
Getting caught with a girl in the backseat of a car
Running out on the field for the senior game”

The song talks about all of the things that happen in life, that are the “last”.  Wearing a tux in a high school gym…Giving her your class ring…Going fishing with grandpa and playing catch with your dad…Wearing acid washed jeans (not that I ever did).

And it brings back a lot of memories.

And it makes me think about the “Lasts” which we don’t know are the lasts…yet.  Maybe things we take for granted.  Everyday occurrences.  Not that they are not appreciated, but you simply have no idea that it will be…the last.

I have had them.  And have recently had them…and know there will be more.  Just not sure when, what or where.

So be kind.  To everyone.  Tell them you love them and how much they mean to you.  Show affection and give time and attention.  love all of God’s creatures and even those you are not sure of…

Because it might be the last time.IMG_3232-1

Published in: on May 3, 2017 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Story. Humble and Kind.

If you have read my last few blog posts, you will know that I have an inspiration for writing about the theme…”What is my story”.  And you may have seen, there is no single answer about what makes me…me.

Quite often “my story” is formed by past experiences, my upbringing, life’s lessons and those around me.  And more often than not, I find myself listening to a song and thinking…hey that could be for me!   Being raised in an environment where there was always three things present…love, discipline and music…it is no wonder I find inspiration in music.  And in this case it is Country music by Tim McGraw.

Humble and Kind.

I remember being told one time,”you are never as good as you think you are and never as bad as you think you are.”  It stays with me, just like this song.

“Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be a waste of time
Always stay humble and kind”

And I have found out in life, this is not always easy, to be Humble and Kind.  Sometimes you do not want to be humble.  You want to be “Loud and Proud”.  Make a little noise about yourself and what you have done. But that noise doesn’t last.  A humbled presence will last.  And sometimes I do not want to be kind.  Simply put, I want to be that A**H*** who does what many others are thinking.  But again, that is fleeting and does no good for anyone.  Besides, that isn’t me.  Not my story.

“Hold the door say please say thank you”

Did I mention love and discipline were always present in our house while I was growing up?  The lyrics above from the song was part of our daily lesson in life.

“When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind”

We all work hard.  We accomplish things.  Get things done. Sometimes things that no one thought we could accomplish.  The impossible?  Maybe.  When this happens we feel proud.  We feel good about ourselves.  It is a great feeling.  But it is also key to keep that feeling “in check”.  Enjoy that feeling of pride.  But don’t become too swollen with it…that will simply burst and get messy.

“Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind”

There are many things in life which I find challenging.  To “Always stay humble and kind” is one of them.  But if you stop and analyze why you should stay this way, and I find myself doing this often, you will see that it is usually much better for everyone in the end…to stay Humble and Kind.

As an example, let’s take a look at some of these lyrics.

“Visit grandpa every chance that you can, It won’t be a waste of time.”   I used to make it a point to visit my grandparents on a regular basis.  I am glad I did.  It was like a classroom outside of school.  Not only did I learn things, although I may not have known it at the time, but I just really enjoyed it.  Seriously.  I wish I could listen to my Papa once more as the den filled up with pipe smoke, and Nana would poke her head around the corner asking if I wanted a “dollar sandwich”.

“Hold the door say please say thank you”.  Simple respect and common decency.  A few things that are lacking in our society right now.  Sad state, but I am glad I do these things.  You would be surprised how many times you get a smile in return.  A smile is golden.  🙂

“When the work you put in is realized.  Let yourself feel the pride.”  Hard work feels good.  As do accomplishments.  Go ahead with your proud self, feel good.  But as my father once told me,“If you are really that good, you do not need to tell anyone.  They will figure it out for themselves.”

“Don’t expect a free ride from no one. Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why.  Bitterness keeps you from flying.”  No such thing as a free ride or free lunch…there will always be a debt owed, a piper to pay.  When you hold a grudge in, it is like a poison that eats away at you, little by little.  It is a bitterness that keeps you from doing what you do and from being “Humble and Kind”.  Keeps you from succeeding in enjoying your life.

Humble and Kind.  It isn’t easy being this way or doing the things I spoke about.  And I am not saying that I am always successful in doing these things.  But I try.

As I said, it ain’t easy…but things that make us rich never are easy.

Anyway, here is another piece of my story.

Have you figured out your story?  You will.  I am still working on mine…

 

 

 

Published in: on April 30, 2016 at 11:39 am  Comments (2)  
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What is Your Story, Pt. 2

So the last time we “met”, I talked about a concept of asking yourself “What is my story?”.    What are things that make you, you?  A guiding thought or emotion that steers you in the direction to become the person you are.

Well, I have thought about it, and I am not sure where to begin…!  I am not sure I can address just one piece of my story.  But I will start with one and then another, and another, and again…and again.

So at least part of my story has to do with “Emotions” or “Feelings”.  You see, I hold these close to me. Not that I do not share them, because all too often I cannot help but share them.  I just mean that my feelings and emotions are important to me.  Many times throughout my life, I have actually been told that I can be too emotional.  Or that I take things “too personal”.  No argument.  I can read something that was written to me, or something about my family and my eyes begin to well up.  An old picture can take me to a time when I was naive and through my years and lessons learned, the picture can fill my heart with a swell of feelings which are difficult to describe.  Hell, I can even watch a damn Budweiser commercial with dogs and Clydesdales and find myself feeling verklempt.  That is just meshungenah!

But, what can I say?  That’s me.  It is a part of what makes me who I am.  It is also what directs me in the direction I need to be in, most of the time.

I say most of the time because sometimes it can get in the way.  Knowing this is helpful.  Especially if I want to correct the course of that ship.  Realizing the feelings that are about to hit you like a tidal wave, and knock you off of your feet, allows you to brace yourself a bit, pause and redirect.

However, that usually only happens when they can be crippling or destructive to myself.

Other times these feelings help me.  Give me inspiration.  And often serve as a coastline, helping me navigate in shallow waters to take me where I belong.

I like to think they have given me direction in being the son I need to be.  Especially right now with my mother’s health in a territory we haven’t visited before.  My feelings move me to be there and do something…or do nothing.  Just be there.  They focus on memories I have of growing up.  And she was there for me…so it is my turn.  And I embrace those feelings and emotions.  Consciously or unconsciously.  It is me.

As I embrace the feelings that help me to be a better person…Father…Husband..Friend…

…It moves me to action.  To tears.  Feelings.  Of joy, happiness and times past.  Memories.  Voices and images from the past. That help me act on the present and the future.

My feelings and emotions.

It is my story.  At least a part of it…(to be continued)

Published in: on March 19, 2016 at 11:30 am  Comments (2)  
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What’s My Story?

I work for a very good company.  I have worked for a few in my time, and I rank this one right up towards the top.  One of the reasons is the leadership.  I am quite impressed with what I have seen in the short time I have been with them.  At the beginning of the year, senior leaders were given the task to identify “Their Story”.  What makes them, well “them”.  What sets them aside from others.  And I have heard at least four members of the leadership team tell their story.

So, it got me thinking…a lot…about “What is my story?”  What makes me special or sets me apart.  Makes me tick…who I am…why I do what I do…

At first it was a little uncomfortable.  For a number of reasons, actually.  One is that I usually do not think of myself in that way.  I really don’t look at myself at being anything special, or different. I am just me.  And then the “A-Ha” moment came and I realized that was it…just me.  Next a wave of  thoughts seemed to come over me…an avalanche of adjectives came tumbling in my direction…some rather fitting, and others simply humorous. So setting aside those witty thoughts of mine with a chuckle, I decided to reflect on the initial query to myself and look for “My Story”.

Taking a cue from the task of the leadership team from the company whose employ I am in, this year I am going to share “My Story” in this blog.  It will address different traits or quirks that when put together, in various renditions, will begin to have the earmarks of something or someone that should look like moi.  

I am looking forward to this exercise of taking inventory…of/about myself.  My notebook is already starting to fill itself up with ideas and emotions about my make up and character.

But I will save those for my next accounting on this site.

Meantime, this may give you something to muse.  How about you?  Do you have a story?  Of course you do…go ahead.  Give it some thought.  It will probably bring a smile to your face while a liquid memory or two may find it’s way down your cheek from your eye.

It happens…

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Published in: on February 27, 2016 at 10:51 am  Comments (2)  

Roots and Wings…the Hard Way

Welcome back.  Actually, I am talking to myself since I have been away for such a long time.  It isn’t that I didn’t miss y’all.  It is just that I have had a fairly busy time the past several months.  Things have slowed down a bit, actually a bit more than I wanted them to, but that is okay also.

One of the things I did a while back was compile some thoughts and musings of my own, mixed in with some friends of mine, and put together a book.  The topic?  A very simple and straightforward one…”What is your secret to raising children?”  Simple?  Straightforward?  Yeah, right. However, the end result was a good one, at least I thought it was.  A recent release by CW Music singer Miranda Lambert reminded me of the book.  The name of the song is “Roots and Wings”.

I raise my glass
On a Saturday night
I thank the Lord above
On my Sunday drive
For Daddy’s hands
And Mama’s dreams
He gave me roots
She gave me wings

In the book I compiled, this was a common theme.  Roots and Wings.  As parents, we want to help prepare our children for their future.  We want to help them be ready for the things they may not see coming…the surprises…perhaps the things that caught us off-guard ourselves.  As with a house, I know this is an age old analogy, you need the roots or the foundation in order to grow and be strong and secure.  So it the book there was writings about God and faith, about knowing right from wrong and doing what is right.  About Love.  What is love, how to love and feeling loved.  These are all roots that we want to instill in our children, and I am sure our parents instilled in most of us.  Some of these roots came easier, more natural than others.  Maybe a few roots were even a bit painful because a “lesson” was being taught.  But in the end…

He said run on love
And run on life
And plant some seeds
Until you’re tired
Don’t take anything at all for granted

And there were a lot of thoughts in the book about developing our children into a beautiful unique individuals.  Allowing them to have a “voice” in family decisions.  Letting them to be heard when they have something important on their mind.  Acknowledging their opinions and showing them how important their opinions are to us.  It is okay to be different, think different and ask the different questions.  And the most difficult…at least for me it has been…encouraging them to follow their dream…give them Wings.

Difficult, you might say?  Why?  Well in my case it is only because of the consequences.  The consequences that we may be separated for extended periods of time.  That things might be different than I had imagined.  Perhaps “my” plan for them isn’t quite what they had in mind.  Or maybe it is just watching them grow and become adults.  Responsible adults and parents of whom I can be proud.  Each one of my sons has had this chance to “use their wings”.  And they have taken it and flown to great heights.  Heights that I never even attempted.  And I am proud of that.

So, they say that “life imitates art”.  And music is perhaps my favorite art form.  (See where I am headed with this?)

Roots and Wings.  It almost sounds like an oxymoron.  Jumbo shrimp.  Military intelligence.  Stay grounded, but fly high.

Good song.  Even better advice for parents.  New parents and us veterans who have seen a battle or two.  (cue the music…)

She said raise your hands
And raise your babies
Be yourself
And never change it
Be everything you ever wanna be

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Published in: on June 7, 2015 at 9:42 am  Comments (4)  
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