Doctor, My Eyes…

Hey doc, I have had some problems with my eyes lately.  Vision?  No it is still, well the same.  No changes there, I still need my glasses to read the backs of the jerseys for Cardinals and Blues games.  This is a little more complicated…

It seems like they “water” up a little more then they used to.  What?  No, not on a regular basis.  Just at certain times.  Perhaps special times.  And actually I haven’t really seen a pattern.  It can just happen.

No, it doesn’t really effect my sight.  Except that my eyes are “hitting the flood stage”, if that makes sense.

When?  Hmmm.  Not real sure I can say.  Sometimes it is a memory.  Perhaps a simple thought.  Or a kind word.  Occasionally it can be a desire, a remote hope…a dream and a wish.

Family history?  Well, my Mother is a bit complicated.  Yes, still alive, but her mind is not what it used to be.  Memory is failing her…she knows it.  She laughs and sings and God help us, she dances…watch those hips and do not fall!  Never seen these symptoms with her.  Acts tough, but a real softie, like many mothers.

My dad?  Deceased, 2001.  “The big C”.  Marine.  Disciplinarian.  Blue collar.  Union man, electrician.  Thought Patton walked on water along with Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart and Jesus Christ.

Whoa.  Hold on.  I do recall as he got older he had a similar issue with his eyes.  At times they had a tendency to get swelled up and on occasion they would, well you know, they would tear up a bit…but c’mon, not that way.  Really?

So you think, perhaps it is my dad’s fault?  Not my problem?  I mean, well, you know…

I recall the things that seemed to move him were similar to those that are around me when my eyes tend to well up.  A special moment to cherish…a simple card or special word from someone…a unique gift or thought…a special memory that is etched in your being, and probably will never be repeated…yeah, that kind of stuff.

Uh?  No, those were the types of things that made my Dad, the Marine, a little emotional.  Not me.

Really?  They are the same type of things I said were affecting me? Are you sure?  Oh, okay, so what can you do for my eyes, doc?  Nothing?  Not sure what you mean by “it is all me”.  Do you mean it is not my Dad’s fault?  No?  Is there a cure, or some type of medicine?

Hmm.  So you are telling me that this is not a problem?  It is a blessing?  It is a reflection that I have a lot to be thankful for and many in my life who are special?  It means that I am living a life that far too many people never get to experience?  You are saying that I should get on my knees and be thankful for those around me and the love I receive in my life?   I am fortunate.

Doc, thank you for that diagnosis.  I actually feel better and now I see things a bit differently…using much more than just my eyes.  But what is that tune you are humming?  Wait a minute…ELP…Emerson Lake and Palmer?

He went to fight wars
for his country and his king

of his honour and his glory
the people would sing.

Oh
what a lucky man he was

Yes, Doc I am.  Thank you for the reminder.  I needed that.

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Published in: on November 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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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A Song in Your Heart, A Song in Your Life and One in Your Head

A friend of mine from Australia told me he liked Country Western music because it talked about life, about things he could relate to.  And as much as I enjoy CW music, I never thought about it that way.  But ever since then, I find myself saying “wow, Alex Petrou was right.”

Sometimes I even wonder how that musician got into my head…the way that Dierks Bentley did with his song, “I Hold On”.

For those unfamiliar with it, don’t give up on this blog just yet.  Give me a chance to explain…

The song talks/sings about things in your life that are important to you.  Everything from an old box acoustic guitar, to your values.  Holding on…

To the things I believe in
My faith, your love, our freedom
To the things I can count on
To keep me going strong
Yeah, I hold on, I hold on.

Some might be meaningless to other people, like that item you have in your drawer from someone special.  To things that we can all relate to and treasure.  Things which we hold on to.

Like the stripes to the flag,
Like a boy to his dad
I can’t change who I am, right or wrong
So I hold on.

This song was actually playing on my Sonos system yesterday morning when I was updating myself on social media and Facebook.  I ran across a posting from someone I have known a long time, but haven’t seen in years.  It was one of those posts that you read, and think how spot on it is.  Then you either “like it”, “share it” or move on to the next post of someone’s kids pooping in a pool, or another cute dog.

Not this time.  This time I read the post again, and yet again once more.  Each time letting it sink deeper into my being.  My heart.  Here is that post, originally printed by AARP, I believe:

My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way … remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you … my darling daughter.

I know that it is meant to be to a daughter, but my mom had sons, until my wife came along and became a “daughter” to her.  It was actually the message above that was key.  Message received and lesson learned.  This could have been written by my mother, or perhaps she could be thinking this all the time.  She is slipping.  Walking slowly.  Memory fading.  Having trouble with her remote control.  Perhaps a stain on her clothes.  She was over last week for dinner, I know my patience was tested simply because of a few of the things mentioned above.

Lesson learned.

Yeah, CW music can remind you of real life.  My life.  I Hold On.  To memories.  Love.  Things.

And mom’s hand.  Heart.  Love.  And Life.  I hold on…and I am blessed to be still holding.

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Published in: on August 17, 2014 at 10:19 am  Comments (1)  
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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)  

Thankful, So Many Ways, So Many Days.

Thanksgiving was last week.  But we should not stop giving Thanks.  Really, is one day enough?

I heard the question once, “what would happen if you woke up one day, and the only things you had, were the things you gave thanks for the previous day?”  Pretty powerful and a little frightening.  Frightening in the sense that we too often take things for granted.  Things and people.

I was going to write a post last week, but I thought it might have more of an effect writing it now.  So, now is a good time to write it and to give Thanks.

So, today, here is what I am thankful for…

  • My family.  I have an amazing family.  They are all so talented.  Loving.  Thoughtful.  I am blessed to say that we are all very similar, yet very different.  While politics and even religion may not be something we agree on, we do share the same values and moral compass.  And we share with each other.
  • Health and Prosperity.  When I wake up, I know it will be a good day.  Because, I woke up! You don’t appreciate either until you don’t have either.
  • The roof over my head, the floor under my feet, and protection from the weather’s elements.
  • Music.  Any kind of music.  Especially the “natural music” of birds chirping, wind blowing through trees and my grand daughter laughing.
  • The meals in front of me.
  • My ability to earn a living, whatever I do and whatever I have done.  I may not have always enjoyed it, but I am thankful.
  • Facebook.  Yep, you read that correctly. Because through FB, I am able to connect and reconnect with people I have known throughout my life.  Friends, class mates, team mates and even relatives have all “come back in my life” through FB.
  • Freedom.  Many people fought to give me this one, and shame on me for not being thankful.  So, I am.  Many of us take this one for granted, when we have the freedom of so many things to be thankful for.
  • Those that fought for the aforementioned freedoms.
  • Books.  Newspapers.  Magazines and my ability to read.  I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading, and writing.  So this must be on my “Thankful” list.
  • My parents.  Because they did an amazing job raising us and providing direction.  The rest was up to us.
  • My God and my faith.  They have both helped me get through rough spots on the road to where I am going.  Without this, there could have been an ugly mutli-car pile up.

And the list goes on…as it should.

While it is nice to set one day aside to “give thanks”, let’s not forget to be thankful the rest of the year.  If you are reading this, then you must have a few things to be thankful for…

Which reminds me of something else I am thank ful for…those who take the time to read my posts.

So give it some thought.  What would you be left with tomorrow if you only had that which you were thankful for today?  

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Published in: on December 7, 2013 at 9:51 am  Comments (2)  
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A Good Man, Isn’t That Hard to Find

A good man recently passed away.  Actually, I am sure there were several who did.  But I know of one.

I went to his wake.  Saw his family and a few friends.  Everyone seemed at peace.  And it made me think.  He was a good man. Really, he was.  This is not a cliche`.  A smile or an acknowledgement.  A word or three, not many.  And a helping hand.  A good man, whom I never heard anyone say a negative thing about.  

It made me think…how fortunate I am.  I have had a good life.  Beautiful, loving family.  Close knit, enjoying times together.  God has been good to me.

And I have been blessed to have been around a lot of good men.  Men who were there for their families.  Setting an example with their words and actions.  Putting meaning into their life and into the lives of those around them.  Men I knew growing up and men I know today.  Some I knew in my youth as coaches, and some from the neighborhood.

Good men.  Men like Dick Greiner, John Cordia, Jim O’Brien, John Walch and Jerry Kluge.

Men like Bob Guelker, Ebbie Dunn and Pat McBride.  Dick Zelle, Dan Fitzgerald and Bob Hess.  Men doing for others…without fanfare…without second thought…quietly, softly, unspoken.

These are good men.  Good men whom have been in my life at some point or another, showing me how to live.  Each contributing their own chapter.  Their own meaning.  Long or short.  Big or small.  Contributions from them all.

And there are others.  Many others.  Too many to mention.  Scott Whetzal.  Steve Hadfield. Joe Scheck.  Francis Flynn.

Yeah, hard working, hard loving, caring men.  Good men.  I count my blessings to have been around them.  Learning and living.  Not everyone can say this.  Many people might go a lifetime without being around one good man.  Without an example to learn and live by.  Showing the way.  The way to God.  To life.  To love.  And the way to treat others with respect.  Not saintly or perfect, but a man.  A good man.

Not me.  I have had this kind of man in my life.  In addition to those I mentioned, and some I forget to mention.  I was raised by a good man. Al Schaefering.  A very good man.  And as an added bonus, I married the daughter of a very good man.  Adrian Stahl.  Both similar, but different.  As Yogi Berra, the famed baseball philospher and catcher once said, “Their differences are similar”.  They did for others.  Loved deeply.  Worked hard and enjoyed life and those around them.  

Yep.  I have been blessed many ways and this is one of them.  So have many others.  Many of us are surrounded by good men.  We just need to open our eyes and our hearts to see them. 

So when you do open yourself to seeing these good men in your life, tell them.  Tell them they are a good man.  You appreciate that. You are thankful for what they have shown you and done for you.  They have made a difference in your life.

Tell them today, or soon.  Because one day you may forget.  Or they won’t be there for you to tell.   And it is important for them to know they have made a difference.

It is important for them to know they are a good man.

 

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Published in: on November 17, 2013 at 11:58 am  Comments (6)  

Life is What Happens…

Hello, it’s me.  I took a little self-inflicted sabbatical from Word Press.  It wasn’t thought out or planned.  Just happened.

Like John Lennon’s lyrics to the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” which I referenced in the title above,

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

This is one of my favorite songs.  Amazing and emotional, for me.  Probably because I can relate to it as a father.  It doesn’t matter that I have three sons (boys still), if you have a daughter, you can still relate to it.  Which brings me to my other reason I have been absent from these pages.

I/We have a grand daughter!  Yes, Blake and Yvonne had a beautiful baby girl on August 2.  Lumen.  A very fitting name for this first grand child since she can bring light and joy into our world with a simple smile and glisten in her eye.  Even through the magic of Skype and Face time.  For those uninformed, Blake and Yvonne, and now Lumen, live in Norway.  So Diana and I do not get to experience the full “grand parent treatment” that we would like.  So, we make the best of it with the technology today and hope we see one another as much as possible.

Back to the song by John Lennon…

The lyrics talk about having a child, being patient, protective, teaching and experiencing life.  It also talks about growing up and coming of age.

I guess these are reasons I get excited about being a grandfather…or as it is in Norway, Far Far (Father’s father).  I will have new experiences, as will Diana, Blake and Yvonne.  Because these are experiences you can only understand if you are a parent and have gone through this.  I realize that most individuals will say,”I know what you mean”, even if they are not parents or just recently became one.  BUT YOU DON’T.  YOU CAN NOT understand.  It is not possible until you go through it.  It is like saying I understand what the color blue looks like without ever seeing it.  Or what an apple pie tastes and smells like without tasting or smelling one.  So just let it happen.  And the experience will come over you.  You will be washed in the joys of parent hood…and it’s many challenges and life experiences.

Blake and Yvonne will be amazing parents.  I have already seen it.  In their eyes.  Their touch.  Their hearts.  Smiles and frustrations…when they are helpless and can not do anything.  Their lives are changing, and I/we will feel the effects.

We will all feel life as never before.  We will all experience things again…again for the first time.

Amazing.  Beautiful.  Love.

And as life changes, and as you experience life through the life of a child, you suddenly understand.  You realize things.  The light bulb is il-Lumen-ated. You hear the words of someone else.  Someone who has been there before.  A veteran at this stuff.  Be it as a parent or a grandparent.

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I say this because I still see the faces and hear the voices and words of my parents and Diana’s parents.  And I often think, “perhaps I should have…Or wow, they knew what they were talking about…And, hmm, that makes sense”.  And they did not have Google, YouTube or the internet!!  Impressive indeed.

So, yep, life changes and we do too.  You realize why things were/are important.  Undertsand actions and feelings with a different perspective.  And know the importance of holding on as long as you can…to that little hand…that smile…the heart and the life…

…the life that changed you.  That forms us into what we are.  What we have become.

John Lennon was right.  “life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”.  It goes by fast.  So hold on tight and enjoy it, Blake and Yvonne.

And the rest of you.  Parents or not.  Enjoy life and the life of those who have made you.  Helped to form you as the person you have become.

Here’s to our lives…let’s enjoy it.  Cheers!  Skol!

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