Role Reversal

family-cataract “Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
― John Steinbeck



It is funny that how I started staying home with my kids, was a disagreement my wife and I had about who had it easier.  We both thought we had it harder than the other. Both of us felt the other wasn’t giving enough credit for what we did. So I had reached a point at my job that I quit and we switched roles.  We both saw the other side of the coin.  Though with all its trials, I loved staying home with the kids. So even though it was intended to be a temporary thing, it turned into a permanent thing.

 After our third child, there would be days my wife would come home and all I would do was walk out and get in vehicle and go get a coffee. I wouldn’t be gone long, but just long enough to go to Quiktrip and get a coffee and breathe, then come back to start again. I think that is how my association to coffee and relaxing came about.  That would only happen on the days that the kids really pushed me. It also taught me to pay attention to needing breaks.  Taking a break allows you to function better. That is where I really respect a single parent, because they don’t always have a way to tag out to breathe.

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“It is not easy in this world for one person to understand the next one.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There have been various role reversals over the years of our marriage. We will be celebrating 21 years on June 18th.   There have been reversals of noticing she was feeling left out and making her more a part of the kids life.  She joined the kids in karate class and got to bond with them that way, and we switched the way we did birthdays a little so it was fair to us both.

The most recent role reversal is the experience of me working a lot and her feeling the distance from that.  See I always hate year end because I lose my wife, especially during January because she works, comes home and works again.  Though it is better than years ago without remote access, where she did all that time at her office. So recently with me putting a lot of time in with work, she made the comment last night “So this is what it feels like”.   Like Sunday night while playing games, she wanted to be close to me because she hadn’t really gotten time with me.

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“Walk with me for a while, my friend—you in my shoes, I in yours—and then let us talk.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

Sometimes role reversals, even for a short bit, is a good thing. It allows the other person to walk a little in the other’s shoes. It brings a little more understanding and respect.  We can get into a comfortable spot in our relationships and start just expecting things from our partners. We expect they’ll just take care of things, things will just work out, or they should just understand.  We forget the heart and mind work differently. The head might understand something but the heart may see it differently.  Which is why it is good to have those reminders.

I also found it funny, because instead of me being the one wanting her to take a break or slow down, it was her wanting me to do so. It was her telling me I should do this or that, etc. I’m so thankful for role reversals they teach us lessons we may not learn otherwise, and give us that moment to walk a mile in another’s shoes.  Which in turn teaches us a little more understanding and respect for others.

Today I’m thankful for those lessons that help us understand others better.

Thank you for your time. I hope you have a great day.

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
― Abraham Lincoln

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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Worka…what?

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“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”  ― Alan W. Watts

The other day my daughter said she never realized that I was a workaholic. I got a bit of a smile out of it. She said that she was accustomed to the dad that stayed home and it wasn’t until my job that she saw the workaholic. What she doesn’t realize is that I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic when it is something I care about.

The reason she doesn’t realize this is because when they were younger they were my focus and hence the work I cared about.  All the memories of us going swimming at Carlyle, camping, going on outings to various locations around St. Louis, and other things we did, is because they were my passion and work then. Which is why I felt a little lost when they reached an age where they moved on to other things.

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“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.”
― Victor Hugo

I found myself seeking a new avenue for my life.  I started searching for something else that I could put my talents into. Of course what I didn’t know, was when I took a temporary job at a church, I had actually walked into my next thing to care about.  There is no way I could have known at that time that I would be walking into a new direction for my life.

It is funny how I’ve changed over the past two and a half years.  This includes a caring and love for what I do, especially now. As my position has changed over that two and a half years, I found that the new avenue has some kind of odd pull for me. The first position allowed me to help people, which I loved doing. The new one expands that and also touches a part of my soul in a way that I can’t explain. It is like something that fits me.

The only other time I’ve had that feeling was when I started staying home with my children. It just fit that it was where I was intended to be. This new position feels that way to me.   It feels like where I was intended to be. I find it funny sometimes how when you allow yourself to be patient and open yourself to be guided, where you will be taken. It is an interesting way to live indeed, but I couldn’t think of a better way for me.

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“When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he really PLAYED.”  ― Dr. Seuss

Yeah I guess I’m a workaholic and that can cause stress sometimes when I try to put too much on my plate, but that is where the life lessons have come into play. I know I need nights like tonight where I get past the stressful days and take a night to just relax. I start to either work or do something, then I tell myself the best thing I can do for everyone is to actually breathe and relax.

That is the other thing, the position now would not have fit the younger me for several reasons.  When I look back on my life, I realize that everything has led to this moment and all the lessons I have had were there for a purpose.  I also found myself thinking, where I can take myself now? Don’t get that wrong what I’m thinking about is how the confidence that was restored in me thanks to my co-workers and the job have me looking how I could further help them and God.

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“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” – Siddhartha

Whatever my future holds I’m open to follow it. It just takes realizing which impulse to listen to.  I’m always a bit of a workaholic when it is something I’m compelled and passionate about. I just found it funny that my daughter didn’t realize it, because she missed where my passion was before, and then she also saw the me that dealt with depression, anxiety, and etc.

She should have realized it though, if she thought about how I approach learning and expanding my knowledge. I have the same sort of workaholic attitude when learning something and I keep wanting to expand beyond the base knowledge if it is something I’m interested in.  The same thing happens when I care about something I work at.  Though maybe she’s a little worried because of my focus of late, but it will balance. It always balances, I just have to find my pacing. Which is the perk to me being older, I’m better at doing that now.

I’ve learned to take my breathers. When I was younger I would burnout.  Now I recognize the symptoms and step back if I can, and if I can’t then I strategize the point where I can to have an end goal in sight. It is the same thing I do when I hike or bike.  When I start getting tired and wanting to stop, I give myself a goal to reach that I will stop at.  Just ask my kids and wife sometime about our 6 mile hike in the Smoky Mountains.

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“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing.

The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

They’ll gladly tell you how I was about to have a mutiny on my hands. But my end goal was a waterfall, then I could stop. I just don’t think they had the same end goal after a few miles on a strenuous trail.  Maybe that is why some of them didn’t look too happy when I mentioned a trail in the mountains of Colorado. Especially when I started looking at 14ers. I don’t think they believed me when I said I found an easy one.

Though I guess I see her point a little, because even though we are talking about vacation, I’ve put in place ways for me to do some updates to webpage etc, while we are away so I can do a little bit to keep things up to date.  Though nothing lengthy, just something that would take a short bit while they get ready on one of the mornings. I’ll be on vacation yet still making sure certain things are updated. LOL.  Though nothing that will keep me from the Ocean I can guarantee you that. 🙂

Thank you for your time and I hope you have a good day.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

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Make a comeback

When I lost my mother almost a year and a half after my dad passed away, the song I played a lot was “Comeback” by Redlight King. I knew having to take care of everything again would push me to my limits, and especially since this time I wasn’t doing it to help someone, but just because I had to do it. I didn’t realize how right I was about it pushing me.

A few months after my mother passed, I broke. I sat in my doctors office with only one request – give me something. I was barely holding on at that point. I was crying and getting emotional at everything. I had stopped dealing with life for the most part. The only thing that kept me motivated was going to work at the church. It gave me some kind of purpose and the people there were wonderful.

So I sat for the first time in my life admitting defeat against my emotions. I don’t give in easily, but I knew that I couldn’t keep going broken like that. So I was sitting there asking for drugs to help me, something that even in the darkest moments of depression I refused to do, because I knew I was strong enough to get me out and avoid non-existance.

Now after losing both parents, and the task both times falling on me as an only child to close their affairs. I hit a point where I just fell apart unable to function like a normal human on the inside, even though I tried to put on a good face outwardly. Everything fell apart.

I no longer wanted to even mess with paying bills and dealing with anything that created stress. Their deaths caused a ripple effect in my life, and as I collapsed so did other things. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be me again. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t be me again ever. See this wasn’t like my past, where people did things to me and I could reason out things and accept that it wasn’t my fault. This time it was me doing this to myself. It was me that was collapsing on the inside and tearing away every bit of strength I had to fight. The reality that I was strong and could handle anything was shattered by me.

That’s a reality blow I didn’t think I would bounce back from. See unlike depression, which I could reason out of and realize that it could be various things, including that I would later find out my body just doesn’t like serontin the way it should, so I need something to help it. This was wholly different, nothing like what I had dealt with before. I had no clue how I was going to get out of it because well, I had no ability to reason my way out of it. I had become the very thing I hate to be….weak.

I have no problem with other people being weak sometimes and needing help, but I’m not weak. I take a lot of pride in being strong, not just physically but mentally. With what I’ve dealt with in my past, strength was my way out. I was strong like Superman, like the character I looked up to that was moral, kind, defended the weak and was strong. I was no longer strong though. I was someone that needed to be saved and I hated that. I despised that. Which brought on a bought of depression that I was not prepared for.

So I had an anxiety break and then depression came knocking, reinforcing just how weak I was. So I existed for quite awhile putting emphasis on the things I cared about and letting everything else just slip. I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to make a comeback. Even if the song made me feel like I could.

So fast forward to today. I am sitting there trying to deal with the main worship computer, which has decided to be stubborn, when my wife starts texting me about her father having an episode today. He has Alzheimer’s, and today he had an episode which was upsetting to her and her mother. I saw the words in the text stating that he said he didn’t care if he ever talked to her again, and I immediately called her. After some distance I realized something. I had made a comeback.

In hindsight, each trial presented to me was actually building me back. In fact last year when Sandi landed in the hospital needing 2 pints of blood, I handled it. It caused a lot of anxiety on me, but I handled it. When Casandra totaled the car, I handled it. The irony is that my breaking point 2 years ago, was when my other daughter totaled our car on the way to get her license. This week, with the various things early this week and today, I handled them.

Today I realized I had made a comeback, because I realized I didn’t hestitate to immediately call Sandi or to form a plan. Even though I cried a little while talking to her, I remained intent on her. I also then took care of the worship computer so there is something in place for Sunday. And this on a day that I forgot to take the things that help me function better, including that I had forgotten to take my blood pressure meds.

I also have our finances back on track which had slipped. So while each trial handed me after my break seemed like just another thing to crush me, it was actually somehow helping me build back. I would imagine in part because with each trial I pushed to handle it. I made effort to deal with it. After all I am a fighter not a flighter, so my natural instinct is to roll up my sleeves and just push through. Though that is really hard when anxiety and depression has taken your will to do so from you. So it was a nice realization when today I became aware that I had actually made a comeback.

It is nice to feel strong again. It is nice to feel confident again, but I didn’t do it on my own. In fact there is so much to say for faith, love, and patience. If it wasn’t for my wife, children, friends, and my work at church (especially the people at my work), I don’t think I would have made it.

So to all of those that helped support me, showed confidence in me, and helped boost me up when I had fallen so far, I just want to say Thank You. You have no idea what it means to me. I can tell you one thing. You can’t move mountains on your own, you need a good support team helping you. Thank God for believers. Also thank God for placing the support there for me, like finding the job at the church just months before my mother would pass.

I had a strange thought that I somehow I needed to break, so I could come back, so I could be prepared for what is to come. Because in some ways I feel stronger than I was before. In other ways a little weaker, but I think the parts that are stronger are the parts I’m going to need.

To Feel

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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” Helen Keller

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the emotions I do and the caring that I do for others. I know people that claim not to care and their actions sometimes does seem to show that they don’t always care what impact they have on others. This has always perplexed me. I always think about my actions in regards to others and the impact it has. A part of me sometimes wishes I could be more the “not give a shit” mentality.

There’s a scene in The Hobbit: Battle for Five Armies, where a character dies and another inquires why the loss hurts so much. The pain of loss of love hurts so much they desire not to have love. That is what caring about others does it means opening yourself up to pain. It means you hurt when they hurt, you feel the pain of loss when they are gone, and a part of you is wrenched away as you watch them disappear.

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Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?” Leo Tolstoy

I worry and hurt for people which seems to be part of my makeup. I want to help lift others up to lend a hand. I want to wave a magic wand and make everything better. I’ve sat with people crying telling me things that I have no words to respond with. I want to say something to make it better but I have nothing. I might say a few words knowing that it didn’t really help but you can’t fix some things.

I can’t fix a disease that steals your identity away from and changes you. I also have no words that can truly help. I can gain all the knowledge I can about it. I can relate the research and knowledge but that doesn’t take away the pain nor does it fix anything. It merely imparts coping skills for a specific situation, but it doesn’t tell you how to heal or how to manage your internal thoughts.

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Don’t allow your mind to tell your heart what to do. The mind gives up easily”
Paulo Coelho

My cousin lost her father and this Easter she made a post about the absent chair that now exists. I could only tell her that the firsts are the hardest and it gets easier with time. Though honestly that is little relief and it depends on the individual. Plus how do I tell her that even with time, there will be moments of hurt that come out of no where. That memories will be ignited by a simple gesture or object. I have my father’s hands and there are moments I do a gesture or a movement and I find myself thinking of him. It will be 4 years this July since I lost him, and yet still I have my moments.

I think the hardest part to feeling and caring is not always being able to help. I read a book about Superman and in it Clark tells how his greatest hurdle was trying to accept that he couldn’t save everyone. He had been given these great powers yet he was unable to save everyone. I think that is the hard part to caring, is that very idea that you hurt with them or for them, yet sometimes you can do nothing but feel pain.

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One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.”
Gustave Flaubert

On a bit of a funny side note. I took a moment to flip over to Facebook while writing this and the first headline in my feed that I read is “ACETAMINOPHEN MAY BLUNT BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EMOTIONS”. I found it a bit ironic given what I am writing about. My first thought was a new marketing campaign by Tylenol saying something like “did you just lose someone close, take tylenol to help ease the pain”.

Though really that is an interesting thing with much of our society. We don’t want to feel pain. While I prefer not to feel pain whether emotional or physical, I accept it most times as a part of being an emotional creature in a physical body. Its an inevitable. Though as I read that I thought of my stay in the hospital where the nurse wrote “refuses to acknowledge pain” on my chart when I guess I gave her too low of a number for her liking on their pain scale.

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One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” Friedrich Nietzsche

This is something else we do. We put standards on pain. We believe people should feel a certain way or act a certain way to a set circumstance. I’ve heard people remark at a funeral that someone must have not loved the person that passed as they haven’t seen them cry. So I must have seemed a bit callus at each of my parents’ wakes and funerals. I had so much to deal with and handle that my breakdowns normally came in silence after everything.

After my mother passed away, which was after my father, I was at their house taking care of things and I just broke. I found myself sitting in a dark house on the couch just crying and completely lost. Pain had caught up to me and for that time period all I could do was feel loss.

We each handle things differently and caring about people comes at a price but its a price well worth having. Yes, it comes with pain but it also comes with joy and beauty. I figure the most devastating moment in my life will be if I ever lose the love of my life. I say if I ever, because well stastically speaking she’ll lose me first. Though it will hurt so much because of all the joy we have had and the love we have experienced, losing something like that hurts.

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Never apologize for showing your feelings. When you do, you are apologizing for the truth.”
José N. Harris

Though to avoid opening yourself up and giving of yourself because of the pain doesn’t make sense to me. I would rather have the pain and be open than to close off and have a different kind of pain. See if you close yourself off, you aren’t really avoiding pain, you are just trading one kind of pain for another.

While I have my moments that I wish I didn’t care, those moments are rare and most times I love my emotions and caring that includes everything that goes along with that. I want all the joy and beauty. I want to share and feel. I want to sit listening to a stranger share their pain and feeling for them. I want to sit out under the stars feeling awe and wondering how many other people out there are experiencing the same thing and wanting the whole world to feel the way I do at that moment. I would rather feel something, than nothing at all.

Thank you for your time. I hope you have a wonderful day.

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What would happen if you stopped fighting, and gave yourself permission to feel? Not just the good things, but everything?” R.J. Anderson

Watch children to remember how to enjoy the world

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” And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Some of my greatest lessons come from my children. They have taught me to expand and see the world in a whole different way. Okay sometimes in interesting ways because thanks to my teenage son I now sometimes look at places or things and wonder in a zombie apocolypse would that be important or is that a good place to bunker down. I have learned so much in the 20 years of being a father.

I have learned why Jesus said to be like a child to get into Heaven. When my children were little they were innocent and saw the world through those innocent eyes. They didn’t understand hate or violence. They didn’t see color or really even gender all they saw were people that needed love and wanted to be talked to. Seriously my girls would talk to anyone, you know the trait that makes a protective parent that sees all the dangers in the world a little tense.

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Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
― Margaret Mead

While I could give various occasions of how they interacted with the world, the one that comes to mind was a moment we were in best buy and they needed to go potty. I don’t remember their ages but they were old enough in my opinion to go into the women’s restroom on their own, while I look like some pervert standing outside the women’s restroom. That would periodically crack the women’s restroom door when I was sure it was only my girls in there.

Though the women who entered the restroom while I stood waiting quickly understood I wasn’t a pervert. In fact, I would get steady reports on my girls as the women left. “You have really sweet girls” one would say. Eventually the updates came from the women leaving the restroom that my girls were now washing their hands and should be out soon. I’m not sure how much time passed but I’m pretty sure we did a whole rotation around the sun until they emerged. The entire time I could hear them giggling, laughing, talking to the women who entered.

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“The soul is healed by being with children.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I have also watched my kids melt the most rugged of men. Something about children will turn the toughest men into big softies. My children never saw color and I attempted to avoid changing that aspect in them. Even as they grew they kept the idealogy of not seeing sexual orientation or color as a means to judge someone. They had a gay gentlemen in their karate class that they talked regularly with and were friends with. As adults we put labels on people, children don’t.
My children also taught me it was okay to be embarrassed and to just go with the flow. They taught me that being yourself is the greatest thing you can be. I watched as they each became their own individuals and grew their own strengths and passions. They each are unique and beautiful. Children interact with the world in a special way and watching them can remind us of what it is like to be a child.

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“Children see magic because they look for it.”
― Christopher Moore

Children make beautiful, wonderful messes while they laugh, shout, smile, and giggle. I learned sometimes to enjoy myself I have to ignore the rules and just get messy. I have so many memories of the kids growing up, but I was thinking of one that encompasses messy. I let them play in a big water puddle that had formed in our backyard. This quickly turned into a mud puddle. They laughed and giggled the whole time. When they were done they had huge smiles on their faces while being covered head to toe with mud.
I sent my wife the picture of them which she had an interesting reaction. I hosed them down, literally, then I had towels laid out inside the door on the floor etc. Their instructions get the clothes off take a bath. The clothes went right in the washer. You know all that joy was inspiring and the mess? well its long gone but the memory and the joy remain.

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Be as children, remember to laugh, get messy, and enjoy everything with fascination.
Thank you for your time. I hope you have an amazing day.

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“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Excuse any grammar errors. This was posted without first passing it by my wife. 🙂 So some then’s should be than’s and some tenses should be other tenses and so on. 🙂

Subtle, Very Subtle

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

You have different approaches in life for making change, getting a point across, or helping a fellow human. The basic ones are being subtle, straight forward, audacious, and various others. We each employ these different approaches in different measures depending on circumstance, importance of message, and personality. Though by far my favourite is being subtle, especially when it comes to change.

My father-in-law and I had a discussion one time about the fact that my middle child was not all that interested in college. He disagreed with the fact that I was okay with that if that is what she chose to do. I have always made it clear to my kids I believe they need something beyond high school though, that need not be college, just something. He thought I should have a good talking with my daughter and tell her she needed to go to college. Though he has always been one to speak his mind, whether you wanted to hear it or not, at least with me (you know the stealer of his daughter) . So this approach would match his personality.

My approach in these matters is different. I always say that I believe in planting seeds. I have found that planting seeds can be more effective and less evasive than a direct confrontation. Though planting seeds, as any farmer will tell you, is an act of faith. You have faith that seed will grow into something. I also accept that seed may not grow as intended but it may still grow into something uniquely beautiful.

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It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” Robert Louis Stevenson


What I mean by planting seeds is that I like to plant ideas, concepts, and the like. Then I let the individual or group nurture it how they wish. It
s amazing to actually watch. Also I look for no credit in whatever it becomes because once the idea is planted, it is theirs to make their own. Now I might plant a few seeds because I know that no farmer will just plant one seed and expect a bountiful crop, but I do it overtime.

I tell my daughter about a conversation I had with Dan’s brother while helping him move. How he doesn’t consider work truly work because he enjoys it. He does graphic design, which my daughter is very good in the arena of art. I make subtle comments from time to time about various things. I have had direct conversations with her but it is more about what she likes to do in life and various aspects of life.

We all parent differently and my approach is truly to guide, not to dictate. Which means I believe completely in communication. Do I have opinions on my childrens lives most definitely. Do I force those opinions upon them, not normally. I say not normally because certain things must be addressed whether they want to hear it or not. Most times I prefer a good dialogue with my children.

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God is subtle but he is not malicious.”

Albert Einstein

Though I don’t just plant seeds with my children. I plant them throughout my various interactions in the world. Most times in subtle ways. I actually find it interesting to watch what happens to those seeds. Some never grow, while others become something much more beautiful than I ever thought. Though that beauty has everything to do with others and nothing to do with me.

I commonly use subtle or simple statements in moments that someone gets angry. I plant a seed and when they snap at me, which I have had on various occasions, I just let it go. Though it is interesting to see what happens when they calm down and come back to a more rational mindset.

We all employ various techniques. I don’t just use subtle, and some moments do require a bit more of a sledge hammer approach. Though to be honest, most times I look back at the sledgehammer moments and realize I could have handled it differently. I also am not so subtle when I notice things aren’t getting done and there is no direction or too many directions. The approach depends on situation sometimes.

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Let the wise guard their thoughts, which are difficult to perceive, extremely subtle, and wander at will. Thought which is well guarded is the bearer of happiness.”

Siddhartha

Though by far my favorite approach is the seed approach. Introduce an idea and let it grow from there. It also is more fun for me, because I get to watch what happens with it and what it becomes. Also because if it becomes something, then I know that it was something that the other person was at least agreeable with.

If I use a sledgehammer and the other person does it, I never know if they were happy about it, nor do they truly make it their own. There is a certain self-esteem boost in making something your own. Even if the seed was planted by someone else.

Thank you for your time. I hope you have an amazing day.

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Your basic guy is into a straight-ahead, bottom-line kind of thought process that does not work nearly as well with the infinitely subtle complexities of human relationships as it does with calculating how much gravel is needed to cover a given driveway.”

Dave Barry

Weathering the bad times.

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From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.” Tony Hillerman

I was thinking today how the hard times make you appreciate the good times more. I know a bit cliche but what had me pondering that notion was the weather. Last weekend we had 7 inches of snow. In fact the last part of February and the beginning part of March tried to make up for a milder winter here. We have had cold temperatures and snow.

Though this weekend they forecast 50 degrees or higher temperatures. Yesterday was at least 65 degrees. Both days had plenty of sunshine to enjoy. They are also saying the rest of the week will be beautiful. So today I was pondering the concept of how the bad helps accentuate the good times.

Many places I have stopped the workers have commented how they would prefer to be outside. This nicer weather is a beautiful relief to many people’s cabin fever. As spring nears everyone starts looking forward to nicer days. Though another concept that has entered into my thoughts is how everything is based on perspective.

Just like when you go through a hard time in life even a little better good times feels amazing. So goes the weather. 50 degree days in summer would be considered cold. Also I imagine that as the rainy season comes upon us many people will start complaining about the rain and gloomy days even though the temperatures will be nice compared to just last week.

Our perspective makes a difference on how we see things as well does our previous conditions. In the middle of summer with 90 or even 100 degree temperatures, a 65 degree day would be cold. Though after a couple weeks of 30 degrees or less temperatures, 65 degrees feels warm and wonderful.

I have seen plenty of people out and about enjoying today which has maybe made it to 60 degrees. Playgrounds filled with kids, people walking, vehicles with windows down, etc. Amazing to me how it depends on what we compare something with that impacts our perspective.

This is part of the reason I have a philosophy that if I can remember a day worse then today then today is a good day. If I compare any given day with the worst day or days that I have had then it gives me a little brighter perspective on whatever I am handling. Though I am not saying you shouldn’t also remember the better days because they give you hope, but making sure to remember a worse day then the one you are facing can improve things even just a little.

When you are facing a bad day. Try and keep things in perspective. Do a little comparison both good and bad. Remember worse days to help lift you up and better days to keep you moving forward.

thank you for your time and I hope you have a great day.

Given my editor was busy enjoying a book and a bubble bath, there may be more errors then normal. 🙂

I Swear, I Lived.

“And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup. Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain. But until my moment comes I’ll say…I, I did it all” I lived by One Republic

We hear the term “live every day as if it were your last,” but many of us don’t really do that. We procrastinate. We plan for tomorrow and we figure some day we’ll take the time for something. We make excuses and reasons why we don’t or can’t do something. I don’t have time, money, and any other excuse we wish to use to justify why we haven’t done something. Then sometimes we sit in envy of those we see doing something.

I have always lived with a finite timeline in my head. My uncle passed away from liver disease in his 40s, my grandfather was in his 50s when colon cancer took him. Then more recently I lost my father at the age of 67 and my mother at the age of 63. My timeline isn’t the same as someone that has been diagnosed with something, it is more a reality check for me. A reality check of not waiting until I retire to do things. Though this also brings a different perspective and approach to life for me.

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“’Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand. You can’t flip it over and start again. Take every breathe God gives you for what it’s worth” – Don’t Blink by Kenny Chesney


I have a quote that I really love. I have many quotes I enjoy but this one most of the time is the signature at the bottom of my e-mails. It is a quote by Stephen Grellet and he states “I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
That is how I attempt to lead my life to share a smile, to give kindness, and to make others feel like they are seen.

Though I write enough about kindness, this time it’s more about me. It is about making sure I share things with my kids, that I create memories for my wife and kids. I want them to look back at the pictures I have taken and smile or even laugh. I made a video to the song “I lived” by One Republic with various pictures from our vacations and it was beautiful to listen to my wife laugh at some of them. That’s what I want. I want the moments and love to continue after I’m gone.

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“And I loved deeper, And I spoke sweeter, And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying, And he said someday I hope you get the chance, To live like you were dyin’. “ – Live Like You Were Dying by Tim Mcgraw

I don’t care about the money or any other tangible legacy. I want my legacy to be how I made others feel. I want to leave a positive impression on this world, even if that impression is my beautiful children and the beautiful hearts they carry with them. This is a hard time of year for me. I get down and like last night, I sometimes end up in a hole. I find my way out, and in fact last night it was the thought of something the Pastor said during his sermon. It was a story he told about Einstein, someone that is a bit of an idol of mine. That story made me smile then I looked up other stories about Einstein and I found myself smiling instead of slipping.

We all hear about the dreaded mid-life crisis. I have always found that a bit dramatic to put crisis in there. I’m sure hormones play some part or a longing for something we missed, but I’ve been through several so called crisis in my life. Not necessarily a mid-life crisis but definitely moments that I question my life, that I lacked direction, and that I re-evaluated where I was at the moment. Also what I wanted from life. Even now I evaluate my life and where I would like it to go.

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“It’s my life. It’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just want to live while I’m alive “ – It’s My Life by Bon Jovi

I recently have been wanting something more. I don’t know what but something different. This isn’t me getting bored, no this is more my old fire trying to re-kindle itself. You see at one point I was very passionate about everything. Somewhere along the way that dwindled. I’ve found someplace that I care about and so I find myself wanting more, I just don’t know how or what. Then you have the other side of me that wants to just cash in all my chips, pay everything off, sell the house, and become a bum and travel. Though that one has appeared in me over and over again throughout the years. One day I will, but I keep telling myself just a little longer keep an eye on the end game. That feeling differs from the procrastination. I don’t stop living to reach the final goal but moreover I live now and plan for living more later. We travel, hike, explore, and go on random drives to anywhere.

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“But life’s not the breath you take, the breathing in and out, That gets you through the day, ain’t what it’s all about You just might miss the point trying to win the race Life’s not the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away” The Breath You Take by George Strait

I don’t really live every day as if it were my last, but I do live every day with the idea that if I did pass away, that I had no regrets. I had someone tell me that I obviously haven’t lived if I didn’t have regrets. I’ve lived, I just try and make sure that every action that I do is true to who I am. I am not fake, what you see is what you get. If I can’t help someone, it might weigh on me for a short bit but I find reconciliation in the idea that I can’t always help. There is really only one regret in that I can think of in my life. That my father left this world thinking I didn’t need him, but that’s okay because I at least got to tell him I loved him before he passed. Probably one of the hardest nights of my life was that night.

I can honestly say if something happened to me, that at least I lived. That is something that brought me some peace when my father passed away. He told me after coming back from the Vietnam Wall that if he never did another thing in his life, that he was happy. He had done the last things he really wanted to do. So when he passed, I knew he left having finished things he wanted to finish.

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“There’s a women in the bedroom crying sayin’ I thought we had plans You say honey I’m sorry I’ll make it up When the job slows down and I’m not such a busy man “ – Busy man by Billy Ray Cyrus

I find myself wanting things for others. After losing my father and mother, I really wanted my wife to spend more time with hers. Now with her father, I want her to have as much time as she can with him. I really hope to be able to do a vacation with them this year. They wanted to go to Florida and hoping we can work that out. I think it would be good for everyone. I want good lives for my kids. I worry about my friends. I have been told on a few occasions that I need to think about me. I guess a mentality from the selfie society. I take care of myself as well, but maybe that’s it. I do make sure to take time for me when I need it. When I get overloaded etc. I worry that others don’t find time for themselves. That they find excuses to not have time for themselves.

Too many people always tell me how busy they are, how they don’t have time, etc. It worries me that people don’t find the time to connect with themselves or do things they enjoy. We need that, and I never wanted “if I just had more time” on my tombstone. What I want on my tombstone is “Two nuns walk into a bar, one gets a bloody nose”. Best joke ever. 🙂

Thank you for your time. I hope you have a blessed day. I hope you find time for what is important today and trust me, as the saying goes “the most important things in life aren’t things”.

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance “

I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

Overwhelmed

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“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

I rarely ask God for anything. If I do it is normally for other people. I mostly thank God for all the blessings in my life and for such a beautiful world. Though this past Sunday my wife and I went to church, and during the sermon a quote came by Henri Nouwen that got me thinking about my opinion of myself. I also started thinking how my opinion of myself differs from the opinion of those that know me. I always am looking how I could have done better, how I could have improved, how I will do better next time. There are moments that I think I failed, but others do not see it the same way and even think I did a great job.

This brought a bit of a selfish prayer asking for me to see myself as others do. Though what I really asked God for was strength. I feel myself teetering and it worries me. I notice where things bother me more then they usually do. People get on my nerves more than usual. I got upset at being inconvenienced at not being able to move a room because people were in it. Normally that does not bother me. It’s a slip I don’t like. I have my dark moments and I can be a bit of a jerk sometimes, but this slip is showing more and more.

P1210533“In winter this town is freezing. You step out your door in the morning and the whole place looks like one of those nature specials in which a guy brings a camcorder to the North Pole and then the camera cuts out and you hear on the news that he got eaten by a bear”
― Flynn Meaney

I know most of it is due to time of year as well as chemicals in my body due to winter etc. I just don’t like it happening. I start getting annoyed at small things. Things that normally aren’t a big deal. I also get quiet, instead of saying something I normally sulk, but that is because somewhere in my head I know that it is a small thing and the moment will pass. At times I can become snippy and make remarks I regret. Not hateful things, just my attitude and comments don’t reflect the normal me very well. You get more “fine” or “do whatever” from me with an attitude than usual.

Part of me wants someone to care or to notice. Again, not something that is usually in my nature. Life has taught me that self-reliance is key. Not that I don’t need other people, but when you are sitting up at 3am with dark thoughts with no one to talk to, you become reliant on you getting yourself out of it. I was also an only child so self reliance was something very much instilled in me. Though I’m also not talking about wanting pity. Just be nice to sit with a cup of coffee and chat sometimes just because someone cared to take that time.

P1210596“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Currently I’m just being more childish at times. Annoyed at inconveniences, people, and the various things on my plate. I really want to just take a vacation and disappear from everything for a while. I know it’s lovely thought, but reality is a bit different. I get annoyed that people that have known me for a long time don’t understand me better. I get annoyed that I don’t understand me better. Though most of all I’m annoyed that I can’t predict my reactions during this time. Most are internal but then I worry internal may surface as an ill remark.

I am also more prone to see the faults in people than the good as I start sliding. I notice the selfish tendencies of others and the facades some people put on while having other intentions underneath. I don’t like that. I typically see the good in people and normally don’t care what people’s intentions are. If I can help, then I help even if their intention is to get something from me. The only time it wears is if I notice my kindness is being abused. Though then I address it. This is different. This is just me getting slowly angry at the world. I know it will pass. It always does. I just don’t like it.

P1210654“Everybody’s got problems. In fact, we’ve all got 83 problems. Each one of us. 83 problems and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it— but if you do, another one will pop right into it’s place. For example, you’re going to lose your loved ones eventually. And you’re going to die someday. Now there’s a problem, and there’s nothing you or I, or anyone else, can do about it.”  – 83 problems story

I get angry that there always seems to be something else to handle. I remind myself of the story about 83 problems. But yes, right now I have an 84th problem – that I don’t want any problems. In a little while, I’ll be okay again with my 83 problems, but I just want a break. I want sun, warmth, and I want to see life. Winter is so drab and lacking things that help instill me with hope. I was so hoping to skip this slide this year. Maybe I’ll get lucky and this will be the worst of it. Maybe I will finally find a way to turn this around.

So Sunday as I sat there and prayer came up. I asked for help. It is the first time in a very long time that I actually asked for something for me. I had tears in my eyes, and as an overwhelmed child that has no idea what to do, I looked up and asked for help. Not something I’m good at doing. I don’t like asking for help. I especially don’t like asking help from God. Not that I don’t think I deserve it, but because I believe everything comes in its own time and there is a plan, and I trust that it will go as it should. Thus no need to ask, because I already know it will be handled and I just have faith it will happen as it should.

P1210772For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

As I sat there Sunday feeling heavy and smiling at things like Alex getting a smile from people’s reactions to his song or a child I hear or see, I couldn’t shake my own inner turmoil. Just the feeling that I’ve had enough. I have faith and I trust it will all work out, but do I really need to go through this stupid mood set. Do I really need to deal with the bullshit just so I can be me again? Maybe it’s a way of my mind and body releasing things so I can feel normal again. I don’t know. Guess I’ll just fake it till I make it. 🙂

On a kind of ironic note. My wife had tears in her eyes during open prayer. I thought maybe because I was emotional it rolled over. I asked her. She responded she was thanking God that I found someplace that made me happy and that I enjoyed working. Which is very true. The church is the first job I have ever worked that I felt comfortable with and happy with. That it somehow fits me. I really enjoy everyone that works there and the various members I interact with.

P1210843“We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

I just found it funny that I am sitting there asking for help because I am overwhelmed by life and she is thanking him for me finding some place I fit. Which is true, I am very thankful for being led to the church and to the amazing people are there. In fact the things at the church aren’t what really overwhelms me. I like the challenge and helping people. It’s the rest of life at the moment I have an issue with. I guess the church is in a way my solace at the moment.

Think what I really need is a kick in the butt and to get out more with just me and nature without all the people. The last eagle trip had way too many people for my liking.

I wrote this yesterday and was re-reading today. I was thinking that being sick may play a little into the attitude given I woke up this morning not feeling well. My tummy is upset (yes, I said tummy). I have been hot and cold all day. Also headaches and feeling a little off balance. I know feeling bad adds to an attitude or view so it is possible it has played some into this one.

Thanks for your time and I hope you have a great day.

P1210881When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself “All is lost. I have to start all over again.” This is not true. What you have gained you have gained….When you return to the the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen,

Caught at my worst.

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“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that. “ – Ellen Degeneres

They say “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Well the title and the theme of this entry was inspired by the set of sermons last month about being caught at your worst. Today I was thinking about those set of sermons. I sometimes have insomnia. While most times anymore I get a decent sleep because I take something that helps me get to sleep and I give my brain something to focus on as I go to sleep. Those things normally are a movie that I’ve seen enough that even with my eyes closed I can visualize it some.

Though last night I was stressed, physically hurting, and I forgot to take something to help me sleep. This means I got about 1-2 hours sleep. My mind wouldn’t shut off, and I kept looking up cars to replace the one that was wrecked, plus other various things that were on my mind. This also meant my mind was staying engaged. Even after I idled down, I still laid there through the CGI movie TMNT until the credits. I finally dozed off during Guardians of the Galaxy. Though thanks to my legs hurting, I don’t think I fully fell asleep until sometime later.

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“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” –Stephen Covey

I was awoken by a phone call inquiring about the water under the elevator at church. After talking for a bit, I followed it with “did you want me to come up and help?” I went up and helped get things setup with the water removal. I also delivered the bread my wife made to the employees there. I discussed a new computer with one individual, helped another person hang a door, and so on. This with only a few hours of sleep. I know it had some impact because I couldn’t recall rubber coupling and instead said the rubber thing that connects the PVC and backflow valve. My brain is odd, it can remember back flow valve and PVC, but the coupling is a rubber thing.

I also took my daughter someplace, went by the library, and back to church to check on how the repair went, as well as cleanup any mess. I am now sitting here typing this blog entry. While today was by no means my worst, I definitely was not feeling my best, but my legs at least weren’t hurting today. I have a few thoughts as I went through the day. The first was what an amazing sense of humor God has, because it was my day off, and so the insomnia should not have been an issue. But instead, it became a test of how well I function on little sleep. I find this humorous and thus I translate it into the humor of God.

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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank

The next thoughts that came to mind, was the sermon series that just ended about being caught at your worst. I started to think about all the times I have been caught in much worse situations. A little sleep deprived is nothing compared to some of the things I’ve dealt with in life. I also just kind of go with the flow of whatever happens, trusting that it will work out how it should.

Part of the mentality of not being to bugged by interruptions comes from my parents. I will give an example, we went to go swimming one Friday when we lived in Kentucky. I was with my parents, my friend Ivan, and my parents’ friend. A discussion as we were on our way to Grayson Lake arose about seeing my aunt in St. Louis. What happened next I believe even surpasses my ability to be spontaneous. My father stopped in Grayson called my friend’s mom and asked if he could go with us to St. Louis. She surprisingly said yes. This lead to us driving from Grayson, Ky to St. Louis in only our swimming gear to arrive at my aunt’s house. That is a drive of over 400 miles. We moved away from Kentucky right before I started 8th grade. So this happened sometime before that.

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

― Lao Tzu

Back to being caught at my worst. If I had to think of moments that I consider to be my worst, they would actually be when I failed someone else. It wouldn’t be the moments that I failed. It wouldn’t be a bad hair day. It wouldn’t even be the week after my dad passed and I was going on 3 hours sleep max each day and taking care of my mother, funeral arrangements, getting family in town, and so forth. No, that was just what needed to be done and it got done. Catching me at my worst would be when I get caught up in myself and neglect someone else. When I don’t take time for someone because I’m just to busy. When I feel I hurt someone else because of my actions. Those are my worst.

It would be moments like before my father passed away. I had an argument because he was just trying to be a helpful parent, but I felt he was overstepping some boundaries. We got in an argument and he said “I feel you just don’t need me anymore”. I tried to correct his statement by defining the difference in my need now and what it used to be, but the call ended with us both upset. My mother told me when he got off the phone, he just got up and walked out of the house and went for a drive. A week later he called me and I ignored the call because I was busy and figured he could leave a message.

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“We can never possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time.”

― Carl Sandburg

He left a message asking me to bring some freon over for his truck because the A/C unit wasn’t blowing cold air, and that week it was over a 100 degrees outside. He later called me, which I answered, to ask me to talk to my mother because she wouldn’t listen to him, but she would  listen to me over some kind of fact he was trying to argue. I told him then I’d bring the freon over later.

When my daughter and I arrived with the Freon that night, my father was on the couch when we walked in, and I realized something was wrong. He was having a heart attack and while I did all I could to help I lost him that night. You know what catching me at my worst was…the moment I realized we never resolved the idea he had that I didn’t need him anymore. Though I did get to tell him I love him before he passed away. I just wished I had said I needed him as well.

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“In that moment I understood that the cruelest words in the universe are if only.”

― Lisa See

I can do without a little sleep if it means helping people. I don’t mind a little inconvenience if it means I helped some other soul feel better. I can’t tell you how many times I have been late to someplace because I stopped to help someone. My worst would be when I didn’t take those moments to help others. Those times when I felt something else was more important then helping someone.

Now I can be moody, over confident, and well to be honest I do have my jerk moments. Those as well fall into my worst moments. We are in January now, which is the start of my moody times. I get really moody and depressive during January and February. In fact, when we get close to the end of January, if it follows the usual pattern, I will be fighting to be positive. There are several reasons this happens from body chemicals to nothing really to do. January and February are normally the months you can catch me at my worst.

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“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”

― Lao Tzu

Things like today are just bumps in the road that you deal with and move on. I’ll get sleep here shortly and my brain function tomorrow will be up to its usual ten thousands thoughts flying through it. I won’t feel like I sound less intelligent tomorrow because I will have had sleep. Though today I helped people and got things done. I took time to talk with people and show people I cared about them, even strangers. So this most definitely was not my worst.

When do you feel you are at your worst?

Thank you for your time and I hope you have a great day.

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“ I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

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