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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What is Your Life Verse?

More often than not I believe we react.  React to our daily chores.  Our habits.  Surroundings.  The way we do the things we do.  (apologies to the tempting Temptations)

Some call this life.  Just a natural response to daily activities.  Choices.  Decisions.

Yes, decisions.  Those little things that sometimes we make without even a thought, and yet other times we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders while we are mulling them over and losing sleep looking at the ceiling at night in our bed.

What’s for dinner?  Should I or shouldn’t I?  Can I without being noticed?  The red pill or the green one?  Which tie?  How about these pants? (or do they make my butt look big?)  Walk or drive?  Cash or credit?  Red or white? But what if?

Simple choices, mostly.  Innocuous and often unconsciously made.  But something helped you make them.  Pulled you in the direction of the white not the red.  Of going right instead of left.  Perhaps it was something in your upbringing.  Something in your fiber.  Something you developed along this journey of life.

Your Moral Compass?

Perhaps you have developed a Life Verse along the way and not really realized you were making choices that instinctively follow this verse of yours.

Do you have a Life Verse?  Or maybe verses?  Does it serve as a Moral Compass for you?

These verses are all around us.  With the popularity of social media, quotes are shared every day.  Open a book.  Listen to music.   Read the Bible.  The newspaper even.

Here are a few that I have seen/heard:

 Live to the point of tears

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine

Sink or swim, I’ll dive right in

To thine own self be true

I will find a way or make my own

If you fail in raising your children, nothing else really matters

In the end, we only regret the choices we didn’t make

At the end of the day, you did your best, be done with it and get ready for tomorrow

There are literally hundreds of phrases out there that can resonate with each of us and how we live our lives.  Myself, I could fill pages with verses from Proverbs, Songs or Psalms in the Bible, then fill more with things I have said and heard in my life…

If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.

When you are tired and you think you need a rest, stop and think what your competition is doing.

Consciously or not, some of these have stuck with me.  And if I look at how I live my life, well, it seems like there might be a bit of a reflection in what I have done.  Choices I made.

There is a quote from Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, that has been circulating on Facebook recently.  Paraphrased it is something like, “When you are faced with an opportunity that you don’t know if you can achieve, take the opportunity and figure out how to do it later”.  

I like that.  It is a lot like life itself.  Would any of us, given a choice and all of the hard things we face, not think twice if we were given the choice of coming into this life?  Maybe yes or no?  But we are here so let’s figure it out!

Another recent verse I heard was something along the lines of,Love your parents and treat them with loving care and respect.  For you will only know their value in your life when you see their empty chair”.  Truth.

Gale Sayers, the great Chicago Bears running back had one that I think is beautiful.  His autobiography carried it as the title…

God is first.  My friends (family) are second.   And I am third.

So, think about it.  Your Life Verse.  Moral Compass.

Or not.  You can just take Mark Twain’s advice and…

Sing like no one is listening, Love like you’ve never been hurt, Dance like no one is watching and Live like it is heaven on earth.

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Published in: on September 1, 2014 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Family That Kicks Together, Sticks Together

Every four years in mid June, the world unites.  Well most of the World.   The world unites to enjoy soccer, football for everyone outside of the US, on its biggest stage.  The World Cup.  I have seen qualifying matches in the states with my dad. (1997 USA v El Salvador)  And have seen World Cup matches with my sons in person.  (1994 Qtr Final Brazil v Netherlands)  I can recall the first game I saw live on closed circuit TV in 1970.  (Brasil v Italy finals)  And I recall the first movie I saw of the World Cup.  (England v West Germany 1966)  And they are all great memories.  But only the tip of the iceberg.

The World Cup also takes place during/on Father’s Day, here in the US.  And in my humble opinion, that is very fitting.  At least it is for me.  One who had three sons who have played the game, and with my soccer beginnings and playing career being influenced greatly by my father.  Nothing against the Mothers who have influenced the Beautiful Game, but I am speaking from my experiences here.  Although my Mother was one of the best cheerleaders on the sidelines for her sons and the teams they played on, it is the bind between my father and I that the game of soccer forged to make stronger.  And the same bond exists with my three sons, Blake, Drew and Tyler.

Yes, the World Cup, and the game of Soccer, unites.  The World.  And Families.

A few years ago on Fathers Day, the boys and I went to a field and kicked the ball around.  Small sided games.  “Three-post”.  Fun stuff.  Then we came back home, watched a World Cup game on TV, had a beverage or two, and Diana made us some snacks.  Perfect.  Perfect Father’s Day or any day.

We have played together.  Watched each other.  Cheered and jeered together.  Made lifetime friends and a few others who may hold a grudge for something that happened on the field.  Soccer has allowed us to celebrate wins, try to forget losses, and to this day we can laugh, cry and make fun of one another.

Last summer Drew and I kicked a ball on an amazing field in Brooklyn that jutted out into the harbor, surrounded by water on three sides and a net that was not quite high enough!  Oops!

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Then in the fall Blake, Tyler and I kicked around on a pitch in Oslo, Norway…with Jenn joining in as well.

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Soccer has taken each one of us to places we never dreamed of.  Physically and emotionally…almost spiritually at times.  (and perhaps it took us to the police station…at least a few of us)

And it also is partially responsible for my 37 years of a beautiful marriage to Diana!  We initially met when she drove her brother, Craig, to a soccer camp he was attending and I was a camp instructor.

A few years ago, Tyler gave me a book entitled, “More Than A Game”, by Chuck Korr and Marvin Close.  It is an amazing true story about soccer and apartheid.  And illustrates how the game of soccer can bring people together under horrible conditions.  And change lives.

So imagine what the game can do under more ideal situations.

Bring people together.  Bring families together.  Spread love and joy and happiness.

In his final game,  the legendary player Pelé gave a brief pre-match speech during which he asked the crowd to say the word “love” with him three times.

Makes a lot of sense to me.  Especially since the game can bring a lot of love to those who allow it to do so.

I have.  My family has.  And I am glad we do.

Go USA.  I believe!

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One Day Away

Music is something I love.  Just like Books.  Dogs.  Bourbon.  My Family…in no particular order.

Not sure why, but music often just seems to resonate with me.  Strike a cord.  Leave me thinking or feeling a little different…often better.

One of my favorite types, or genres, is the blues.  I get that from Al, my pops.  He was a “blues man”.   And I suppose I followed in his footsteps.  If I am honest, and I try to be, perhaps I like the blues because my dad did.  I wanted to like the blues…just like him.

But for whatever the reason, I like them too.

Last summer, legendary blues player Buddy Guy release a new CD…I almost said album.   Good stuff.  One of the cuts features one of the “new gun slingers” in the guitar world, Keith Urban…another favorite of mine.  The song they did together, “One Day Away” hit me the first time I heard it.

Every moment has a meaning, and time is a precious thing.
When we wake up in the morning, who knows what it’s gonna bring?

It addresses our mortality…kind of.

Life rearranges, all of our best laid plans.
Better say what’s in your heart, you might not get another chance.

And the mortality of those around us.  Those we love and know.  We share a lot of experiences, joys, life, loves with each other.  But how often do we tell those around us about what it means to us?  What they mean to us?  Answer: Not often enough…perhaps never.

Okay, raise your hand if you have had a friend suddenly die, and you said, wow, I wish I had told them “…….”

Or how about a relative? Someone important in your life?  Someone you loved?

Of all the things we left undone, of the words we’re meant to say.
What if we could all have just one more day?

We take things for granted…I am guilty as charged.  We take each other for granted…again, as much as it hurts, guilty your honor.

So take a step.  A stand today.  Do it differently.

So tell them you love them, and do it today.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wish one day away.

If there is something to say.  Say it.  Don’t wait…don’t procrastinate.  Tomorrow may be too late.  Tomorrow may not come.

I was lucky…kind of.  I had the time to tell my dad things I needed to tell him.  We knew what was ahead and I didn’t like it, but I used it.  Not everyone is that lucky, or blessed in a twisted way.  But we don’t need to wait. We can do it today.

Tell someone how much you appreciated their friendship.  Something they did…said.  Let  them know how you enjoyed their friendship.  Their advice.  Their care or just them.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  As the once coach of the Washington Redskins, George Allen, said, “The future is now!!!!!”  So go ahead.

So, while I do not know all of you whom may read this, I want to thank you.  It is humbling to have so many of you take the time to read my ramblings that would not have earned much more than C- from my high school English teacher.

I hope you will excuse me for a minute, I have a few people I need to contact.

I think you may also…

So tell them you love them, and do it today.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t wish one day away.

Published in: on May 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm  Comments (4)  
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Do You Have the Guts?

Every once in a while, you find something that you want to share with everyone.  It might be a thought or idea, a movie, a song, a piece of art, a gift you were given…or a book.

Let’s face it, that is how many best selling books become best sellers.  People share their joy and excitement for the book they read.  Look no further than Oprah and her book club.

In recent times I have been guilty of this.  There are a couple of books that I thought so highly of that I gave them to Diana, Blake, Drew and Tyler… and others.   That says something, when you give a book to those you love.  Not because of any reason, other than you think that much of the book and the person…and they should be together because it will make a difference.  And I believe that it can…if you read the book.

One book in particular is “The Go-Giver”.

I was told about this book about two years ago.  I was struggling with a few things, and trying to find some answers when I wasn’t even sure what the questions were or who was asking them.  A dear friend of mine, Cindy Adams Harrison PhD, told me about this book.  She didn’t really say much about it, other than you need to read it.  It is a “game changer”.  So I filed that bit of advice and kept searching for those answers, with no questions.

For whatever reason, I was in no hurry to read the book.  I looked at the summary on Amazon and put it in my “basket”.  But nothing quite moved me.  Then about last September I decided to get it and read it.  And Cindy was right, it is a game changer if you let it be.

A simple book.  Quick read.  Written in a story like fashion, almost like a parable.  An easy read.  And as I was reading it, I could imagine the characters as people I knew.  Some of them I saw as many people in my life, past and present. Sometimes it was myself.  Sometimes it was Diana, or Blake, Drew or Tyler.  Perhaps it was someone I worked with, managed or reported to.  Aha, there I saw my neighbor, and a team mate from a soccer team.  And on, and on.

Like many similar books, this one has a set of  “laws or traits, principles or habits”.

But unlike others, these are much different.  They force you to look at yourself and what you are doing in a different light.  Wearing a different pair of rose-colored glasses.  That when you take the glasses off, things still look rosey!

The whole story is base on misconceptions in life…that can also be applied in business.  Most of these type of  books look at life from a point of  “Here is what you should focus on if you want to…(Fill in the Blank )…”  However this book,”The Go-Giver”, illuminates the idea of a generous soul…Karma…and how it can change things in your life.  It will take your thoughts on how things should be done, and turn them upside down, in the process changing the way you look at life, business, others and yourself.

Truth is, I am not sure how many people will pick up this book and even dare to read it.  Most people are too negative.  They don’t want to change.  They don’t have the time or the inclination. They don’t have the guts to try something new, they just might like things the way they are.  And as Gomer Pyle would say, “Shame, Shame, Shame”.  

Some will say “it is too soft”.  “Not enough teeth in the idea.”  “I am pragmatic about these things.”  And to those I say, “Okay”.  But, pragmatism is a rather relative term, and perhaps a cop out.  The concepts in this book are certainly full of practical applications as well as theory.

Not sure if everyone I have given this book to has read it.  Or if everyone I have told about the book has bothered to look it up.  I can’t control that part.

But I can control myself and what I do.  Glad I took Cindy’s advice.

I think I waited so long to pick up the book because it was finally the right time.  I needed it and was ready to receive the message.  It was worth it.

I think it will help me to get more out of life.  And if you have enough guts to read it…it could make a difference in your’s also!

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My Father’s Shoes

I like shoes.  Diana sometimes calls me a “Shoe Whore”.  She may be right, but that is also the pot calling the kettle black.  I can even recall liking shoes while I was growing up.  Even though I had just a pair of dress shoes and a pair of tennis shoes…that was all you needed.  And sometimes the “dress shoes” were a pair of Hush Puppy loafers.

But I fondly remember being fascinated by my father’s shoes.  Two pair in particular.  The first pair were a pair of black dress shoes (not Hush Puppies) that had a perpetual shine.  Almost immaculate, except for the sole.  The sole showed a lot of wear.  These shoes were from a men’s store that was here in St Louis, Boyd’s (now long gone).  It was a nice one, perhap a middle class or working class Brooks Brothers type of store.  The brand of the shoes were “Threadneedles” and they were made by International Shoe Company, also in St Louis, also gone.  These shoes seemed to have a steel toe, it was almost like the toe on a military boot.  And the soles were very thick…and I remember my dad’s soles showing a lot of wear.  So much that you could see where a hole had started to wear through and you saw the layers of leather begin to show on the sole.

The other pair of shoes that I was drawn to were a pair of work boots.  Actually dad went though several pair of work boots.  Dad made the transition from a salesman to an electrician.  This helped the sole of the Threadneedles to last a while longer, but he wore the boots hard.  When he would come home from work as an electrician, dad would usually be dirty, wet, sweaty, muddy, frozen or something along those lines.  It seemed like most of his jobs were outside.  So mom had him take the boots off at the front door and leave them on a rug.  I can still see those boots.  I think what fascinated me about these boots/shoes was what they seemed to represent to me.  Covered in dust.  Perhaps they were muddy.  Maybe the leather got nicked and was torn a bit.  Worn laces.  Typically one boot was standing upright while the other was simply limp or on it’s side.  They represented a man and his work.  For his family.

And I guess that is what also drew me to the Threadneedles.  They were dad’s work shoes as a salesman.  Sturdy.  Got a shine.  Dependable.  Tough as steel.  Lot’s of wear and tear left in them.  As different as the two pair were, they were the same.  Belonged to the same man.  Hard work.  Showed a little wear.

As I get wiser (code for older) I understand more.  I understand what it took for my dad and his shoes to do for me and the rest of the family.  The courage.  Strength.  Faith.  Responsibility.  Accountability.  Broad shoulders carrying it all.  Including carrying me when I needed it and carrying himself with Pride.  Not the bad kind.  But a pride in his work, family, life and…his shoes.

I have never tried to fill those shoes.  I can’t.  No one can.  No one can fill another’s shoes.  You just need to do your best.  Find your way.  Have faith and belief.  Be the person you are and not someone else.  Have your own shoes and let them speak for you in a way that stands for something.  Someone.

Be proud.  Stand tall.  Have faith.

They are your shoes.  Make them count.

I suppose dad’s shoes were a reflection of him.  Of his life.  A little polish.  A little scruff.

A lotta life and love.

I hope my shoes are similar…the life and love part anyway.

I thought I would end on a musical note.  One of Leon Russell’s notes.  He has a song, “My Father’s Shoes” which is pretty good and seems kind of appropriate.  Whether it works in the post or not, I will leave it to you to decide. Either way, enjoy the song, the post and your life in your own shoes.

My Father’s Shoes, Leon Russell

What can I say to this child of my own
When he looks up to me for answers?
He’s got trust in his eyes and such innocent ways.
What are the words I can say?

Can I tell him of my life?
And can it be used for his own life’s goal, an example
To follow and finally remember some day?
What are the words I can say?

I could say “I was once wondering just like you,
And I understand the things you’re feeling.”
But gray hair and lines on my face just might say
“The old man is always talking that way.”

And now I think of my daddy, he wore this kind of shoes.
And after all this time, I think I know him.
I’d like to say I love him, but the time has passed away.
What are the words I can say?
What are the words I can say?

 

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Published in: on March 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm  Comments (2)  

What Does It Take…?

Throughout our lives we all have been exposed to expectations.  Qualifications.  Requirements.

Going to school, we know what it takes to get to the next grade, or level.  There may be prerequisite classes that need to be taken.  When we apply for a job, we are presented with similar types of “requirements”.  Experience in Word, Excel, Sales, Management might be a requirement.  Another one could be College degree or 5 years experience in the said field.  And for some other jobs it seems that if you can walk, talk and chew gum…well you are then qualified…not even in that order.

And once you have that job, you usually can figure out what it takes to get to the next level…a promotion.

So, expectations are often set.  Qualifications realized.  It makes it easier to navigate around so you may do your best.

But what about fatherhood?

What does it take to be a Father?

Of course I mean on a much grander scale than simply fathering a child.  That is simply being a sperm donor, and the world has way too many of those already.  What are the requirements of being a father?

I can only look at this having learned from three of the finest men I have known…My dad, Al Schaefering.  Diana’s dad, Adrian Stahl.  And my grandfather, Joe Jurczyk.  These are the examples from which I have learned and witnessed.  Far from perfect, each one flawed as we fathers can be, but each one has shown me, “What it takes to be a Father”.  And I thank them for it.

Responsibility.  Accept it.  You are responsible for providing for your family.  Embrace this and wear it like a proud badge of honor.  It is not like being responsible for a puppy dog.  Be responsible and act responsible.  Impossible to do all of the time, but know it, be aware of it and take on the challenge.  Show how to be responsible.  How to act.  What this truly means

Protection.  You are there to serve and protect in many ways.  24/7.  This is not shift work, but you can not be all places at all times.  You can only be ready when needed and be there as needed.  Do your best.  Plan ahead, be prepared.  Stuff happens, but be there when it does.

Provider.  Provide the best life you are able to provide.  This does not mean the most toys, or the most expensive ones.  Nor does it have anything to do with the materialistic world we live in.  Food on the table.  Shelter.  Medical attention. Love.  Time.  Learning.  Make sure you provide these.  Children look to a father for this.

Teacher.  Coach.  This is not about a classroom.  The world is the classroom.  Nor is this about the athletic field.  It is about showing the way.  The right way.  The wrong way.  A new way.  Take the time to make sure you show what is “the right thing to do”.     Then you too,  must “Do the right thing”.  This is not a “do as I say, not as I do”,  type of situation.  Lead by example.

Faith.  We all need to have faith in our lives.  Some of us know this.  Some are still learning.  Others may take a while.  I have strong faith.  I received this from my “mentors”.  I know not all share the same faith that I have.  But we all need it…need to believe in something.  Someone.  Having God in my life makes a difference for me…and those around me.

Love.  And do not be afraid to show it.  Show it to your children.  Show it to their mother.  Make sure they hear it in your words and your actions.  Do not take this for granted. make sure the message of love is received.  Everyone expresses love differently.  Do not be obtuse about this.  This is not the time to be discreet.  Shout it out to them and to the world.

Patience…Patience…Patience.  Did I say to be patient.  Wait for it…because it will happen, just not always when we want it to happen.  I know first hand that getting frustrated and “blowing up” over something insignificant only leads to regrets.  Love is patient, and we need to be also.

Your Time.  Money can not buy this.  It is difficult to measure.  But impossible to do without.  You must be a giver of your time.  Quality time.  Time to talk, learn about each other.  Time to laugh and tell funny stories or recall those “remember when” moments you have shared.  Time to cry, grieve, reflect on your losses.  Moments to pick each other up off of the ground and tell one another,”it’ll be okay”.  Time you wish would standstill, frozen only in memories, but sometimes that is good enough.

I know that this is not an “all-inclusive” list of What it takes to be a Father.  Not a recipe or a secret list.  It is also not a complete list of what I have learned from the loving men I mentioned above, Al, Adrian and Joe. 

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It is only a few thoughts on this day that is set aside to recognize those Fathers in our lives and in our memories.  I hope a lot of people read this.  And I hope something I have said here resonates with something your Father has been able to do for you.

I hope you think of him.  Often.  If he is still with you, please thank him.  Thank him for me, because he has helped to make this place a better world.

One of may favorite quotes is “If you fail at raising your children, nothing else matters”.

Pay it forward. 

Being a Father is a journey worth sharing and enjoying.

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What I Learned…Recently

Keep learning.  Don’t stop.  Avoid complacency.

So, what have I learned lately? 

Well, one thing is I have learned that you don’t always learn something.  Uh?  What I mean is that sometimes you just get a reminder of something you already knew.  You knew it, or heard it before.  But perhaps something happened or took place that brought that memory to the forefront…and you learned it again…perhaps for the first time.

One of those re-learned things would be “Life is Short”.  Regardless of how old you may live to be, our time on earth, with each other is short.  We only have a limited amount of time to share, to love, to care for one another.  And we must do just that.  Share.  Love.  Care.  It seems that recently there have been a number of people whose life was cut short.  People I know.  Too short.  We never know when God will call us…  when our “number is up”.   So what to do about it?  Enjoy life today.  Plan for tomorrow, of course.  But live today.  Enjoy it and one another…it is a gift.

Something else I learned is that “Wherever you are, there you be”.  Again many of you are asking what the hell does that mean.  The best way I can illustrate it is in a little event that recently took place.  Many of you know that Diana and I have three wonderful sons.  But actually there is another amazing person we call our son.  His name is Leon (and his beautiful wife, Marie is our daughter).  Leon and Marie recently moved to Boston.  And a few weeks back he ran in the Boston Marathon.  (which surprised me because he has such scrawny legs, I am surprised they carried him through…grin)  Like all of us, no one expected the terror that took place that day in Boston.  I am sure Leon would agree.  Knowing him, he ate a proper breakfast, hydrated appropriately, talked about his “game”, and then ran the race that was set out for him…but it wasn’t the finish he had planned on.  Shortly after he finished, he switched from being a participant in the marathon, into the medical professional he was trained to be.  He probably planned on a light lunch with Marie.  Instead he was a “First Responder” assisting those that needed his care and medical expertise.  He was there…and Leon did what God had planned on Leon to do…care for others.  I was so relieved to hear he was safe, and I am sure those he cared for were relieved he was there.   Well done Leon.  I love ya.

And in a related story…I learned how pathetic our news reporting has become.  Oh yeah, you learned it too.  How overused was the term…”This just in”?  Or how about the famous, “We have an exclusive…” And both were stories that you had already heard.   Actually they kind of resembled the type of reporting you see/hear after a bad storm or tornado.  In other words, bad…real bad.  Here is a “this just in” moment…there is seldom any exclusives or anything that can be new in todays world with social media and 35 news agencies reporting the same thing.  Sure, there are many news worthy stories, and there is a need to report the latest updates and findings.  But remember…you and your network are suppose to be professionals.  Act the part.  Instead of watching how Ted Baxter does it…find another inspiration and take the high road and do it diferent than everyone else. 

Just as the race that Leon Scott was prepared to run turned into another form of race, our days can do the same thing.  We can be trained and prepared for one thing, but suddenly we are required to respond to a different situation…whether trained or not. 

This is Life.  Let’s live it and live it well.  Run the race before us and deal with the obstacles that fall from the sky.  Life is short.  But do not report it like CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and HLNews…report it with gusto and a feeling of pride.  Do it your way.  Enjoy it.

Maybe Ted Baxter was right all along…do what works best for you.  And enjoy it!

Timeless Thoughts: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Inspiration can be everywhere.

The other day on the radio, KTRS 550, one of the hosts were talking about things that the current and next generation will miss out on.  We have all seen the email that circulates about how if you were born after 1990, you perhaps do not know what:

…an eight track cassette is…a regular cassette…a mimeograph machine (with the purple ink we all liked to smell)…a photo album…that there used to be an East and a West Germany…and Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray and Adam Sandler used to be on SNL…perhaps you do not know that you had to take camera film to a place to have it “developed” so you could get your pictures–about 3-5 days later…television with only local channels…and little league baseball was played with wooden bats (oh heaven forbid)

Yeah things have, and are changing.  Pretty fast.

I am sure it was not a coincidence that I ran across my Grandmother’s Bible and thought about this.  (I am not saying that the Bible will cease to exist, I pray not, just in this context it may be different.) But I also wonder if families have a “Family Bible” these days.

My grandmother, NaNa, used to place things in her Bible.  Little remembrances.  Cards.  Newspaper articles and clippings.  Funeral notices and ho;y cards.  Things that might seem random at first glance.  This is an act that I believe is a bit of a “lost art”.  Not sure how many continue to do this type of thing.  And the reason I consider it an “art”, is because it can say volumes about the person involved.

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Here is a little example of what I found in her Bible…much is abbreviated because some of the items are lengthy…but you will still get the picture.

  • Copies of birth certificates.  In my grandmother’s case, NaNa, it is interesting because she was born in rural Kentucky.  The birth certificate is marked “delayed” and there are many questions in the family about it…including the accompanied letter on a bank stationary.
  • Random birthday and anniversary cards from my grandfather, PaPa.  Always signed the same way, Love Always, and he did.
  • Funeral holy cards from the funeral home.
  • A handwritten note from someone who states “it has been a long time since we have seen you”…and…”tried to call but no answer”.  Now these would be rectified in today’s world with 1. Skype. 2. Answering machines (if they still are used) and 3. Cell phones. 4. Email.  (Handwritten notes?  Don’t be silly!)
  • An article from 1960 entitled “I’m Fine”.  Among other things, it states, “There is nothing whatever the matter with me. I’m as healthy as can be. I have arthritis in both knees, and when I talk I talk with a wheez. My memory is failing, my head’s in a spin. But I am awfully well for the shape I am in. The moral is, as this tale is told.  We are all growing old. “Tis better to say “I’m fine” with a grin, ‘Cause ’twill merely help the shape we are in”. (In other words, better to be positive than to complain)
  • Another clipping is entitled “Beatitudes For Friends Of The Aged”.  And this can be applied to ALL  AGES. Here is a sample:  “Blessed are they who understand, My faltering step and palsied hand. Blessed are they with a cheery smile, Who stop to chat for a while. Blessed are they who make it known, That I am loved, respected and not alone.  (Hit home to me and I suspect many others, too).  And it continues on…
  • There are engagement notices…these used to be placed free of charge…no longer free.
  • A little card “To Mom”, which is what my grandfather used to call my grandmother…entitled Because I Love You…and it has Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee” poem.
  • A Thank You card from Diana and I for the wedding gift we received.
  • Something that resembles dried flowers in a plastic baggie…these could be from any number of occasions…funerals…weddings…anniversaries.
  • A couple of hand-made book marks from her grandchildren.
  • A small note card that says, “Lord make me an instrument of Your peace”.  Along with a hand written note (NaNa’s writing) stating “Please help me to be like the above.  Thank you.”
  • Birth notices
  • Obituary articles…several.
  • A funeral statement from Stock Mortuary from my great-grandmother’s funeral in 1965.  $1,040.00.
  • A newspaper article about “Forgiveness”.  A sample of the article: Be the first to forgive; Do not wait for others; To forgive is the highest most beautiful form of love; In return you will receive untold peace and happiness.
  • And finally, a hand written note which I think deserves to be shared in its entirety:  1. Be thankful for what you have, Don’t complain because things aren’t better.  They could be worse.  2.  Be helpful, but never intrude on others.  3. Suggest do not boss.  4. Don’t be a critic, but take criticism without resentment.  5. Never say an unkind thing – even if it is true.  Be kind to every one.  6. Have a sense of humor and use it when things go wrong; Laughter helps to take the sting out of irritation.

You can tell a lot about a person by the things they save and think are important.

This is another of those things that I fear may be lost by the current generation.  Oh, sure we have many new ways of saving things to different hard drives and folders.  But what I saw were hand written items.  Very personal and things that seemed to be close to my grandmother.  Will these be saved?  Will they even be hand written?  Will anyone care or notice?  If saved, could you find out which file or hard drive?

Yes, some things are lost in time and yet other things do not change.

The concept of how things are saved may be lost.  They may change…some will say they have evolved, progressed.  That is up for debate and discussion….another time and place.

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But the message, hopefully, will be saved and never change.  This is the message I found in NaNa’s Bible:

  • Love Always
  • We miss you
  • Forgive
  • There is a beginning and an end
  • Don’t complain
  • Be positive
  • I’m fine
  • Thank you
  • Aging is not easy
  • Patience is good
  • Help, don’t criticize
  • Laugh

 

Nana Papa

I know you can’t tell right now, but I am smiling, with a little tear in the corner of my eye.  Because, while my grandmother may have had faults, the above really describes her well.  And it is a timeless lesson for us all.

Those who wrote the Bible did a pretty remarkable job.  It truly is an amazing book that is filled with many incredible lessons and ways to live your life.

And my grandmother added to that.  In a rather remarkable way.

I hope I can too…in the meantime, let us all enjoy life!

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Published in: on March 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm  Comments (5)  
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With Love and Life, From Oslo, Norway, To You

Oslo, Norway.

To most it probably seems very distant, in dreams, fantasies and in reality.  I would venture many would be challenged to point it out on the map.  And some of you might even wonder what language they speak…if they drive around in cars or sleighs…and live in a castle on a snow capped mountain…

Yes, to most of “us”, it is a rather exotic place.  One that Diana and I visited last May, and will be visiting many more times to be sure.

Our “daughter” is from there…Blake’s wife, Yvonne…and for now they live there.   I could fill page upon page of ramblings about our two week journey to Norway last May.  It was more than we ever imagined it would be.  Many surprises, often at every turn.

One of the surprises that I encountered was the affect that a sculpture park had on me.  Even though I admired the Louvre, and have some cherished art pieces, most of which are from the able hands of Blake, Drew and Tyler, I was caught off guard at this “art”.

Gustav Vigeland.  Vigeland Sculpture Park.  Oslo, Norway.  Google it.

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Without getting into too many details, this sculpture park is in a public area on 80 acres with over 214 sculptures and 758 figures.  And it simply took my breath away.  Left me slack jawed.  Knocked me to my knees.

Gustav Vigeland designed the entire park with a theme in mind…although not a theme park like most of us know.  This park, with all of it’s sculptures and figures embodies the theme of  the relationship between man and woman, adult and child, life’s evolving stages.  It embodies our struggles…the relationships we encounter…drama throughout our life…the laws of nature with men and women…old and wise and sometimes weak with the young and virile and sometimes foolish.

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And this just scratches the surface of the feelings which I had rushing through my being.  The importance of family…of learning…growing and sharing.  A zest for living and for supporting each  other as we address life’s burdens…while we enjoy the fertility of our life…the cycle of life as we have experienced it, will experience it and are experiencing it now.

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Now, I am not saying that everyone sees the park the way I did.  It is full of art.  And we each interpret art in our own way…often drawing from our personal feelings and relationships.  And that is why it affected me the way that it did.

I saw a sculpture of a man and a woman…and felt the meaning of love.

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A sculpture of a man lifting up a younger man reminded me of my own struggles and those who helped me…and of the times when I would try to help others.

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It reminded me of the comfort we need to give one another…the support.

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Life’s emotions rang true in my head…

Joys.  Tragedies.  Love.  Dance.  Legacies.  Being.

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My father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, wife, sons, daughter and all of you in my life…were all represented.  I saw your faces too!

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All of the sculptures in the park are without clothes…Vigeland did this in order to make his work Timeless…and I think it worked amazingly beautiful.  Just like our life.

The message I received while enjoying this park with Diana, Yvonne and Blake was that there is a beginning and an end to our lives.  But we continue on through others.  It displays the cycle of our lives and our experiences with each other.  Reminds us of our virility and fragility and the importance of each and how they come into our lives.

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In my humble opinion, one must view this magnificent park as a struggle and a celebration of all phases of our lives.  Good, Bad and Ugly.

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While I am writing this, music is playing in the background.  “Someone to Watch Over Me”  just finished and I am now listening to Chris Botti and “What A Wonderful World”.

And it is.  Thank you for being in mine.

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“Once bitten by the snake of love, there is no cure…”

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