Thursday, November 24, 2011

For Today

Today, I leave you with just a thought:

You never know who is having a bad day, who is feeling alone, you never know who can't see their own "Awesome" in the mirror.. So today, lets give those random Hugs.. lets share that extra smile.. Lets spread Joy where we go, because we have no idea what a difference it could make.

Peace Kiddies {{{HUG}}}

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why the heck are you asking Me?

I read something funny on Twitter today, and I stole it.. The tweet went something like “Someone asked me a question about relationships. That’s kind of like asking the Pope to name all the members of Korn”.

It was funny because about 2 hours later I received an e-mail from a buddy of mine that I haven’t seen in a while asking ME relationship advice.. Me, Mr. Divorced, no relationship Dude.. So I threw that line at him and he now thinks I’m way funnier than I am(Yeah Me).

He was wondering if the woman he is seeing is “The” woman…

After cracking the joke, this is what I told him..

Besides all that stuff we hear about having things in common and chemistry(which is certainly good stuff to consider), I think that maybe it comes down to a  few things:

1) Does the person give you something that no one else does or can? Even in a relationship, we meet all sorts of people, and can even be attracted to some of them.. But does your potential significant other give you something unique that only comes from them? The way they laugh, the way they make you feel, the way they know and accept you? Whatever that magic ingredient is that makes them special.. If so Great, if not, maybe you’re not done looking.

2)Do you feel better, more complete even, when you are together.. No, you don’t want to be glued together, but you should always look forward to feeling the way you do when you are .. If you do? Great, if not… well, maybe they are not the one.

3)Can you be with them and still be “You”.. That is just so important.

If you can, how awesome is that.. If not.. well you know.

And Finally..

4)If you look at yourself through their eyes.. Do you see the best of yourself? 

Really I should have just forwarded his question to any number of happy couples that I know... But deep down inside, I'm a hopeless Romantic, and for all I know, the Pope may be a huge Korn fan(You never know :o)

Peace Kiddies

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The day that I chose NOT to be nice

I know that I talk about embracing each moment a lot, even the bad ones... And I really believe that.. Some days it's easier to do than others though. I share this day with you, to show that for all my good intentions. Sometimes I don't follow my own advice.

Today started out horribly. No particular reason, it's just how I woke up. Normally I wake up, pretty happy for a new day. Today was not such a day. I woke up grouchy and lonely and that kind of made me angry. Now normally I would try and count my blessings, be grateful for the amazing life that I actually have. Today I wanted no part of that. All I saw was the negative, I saw myself in the worse possible light.. 
Some people kindly refer to me as a "Nice guy", and that normally is a compliment for which I am grateful.. But today it actually stung in my mind.. I didn't want to be a nice guy.. Nice guys don't drive cool cars, or take vacations in Cuba every winter.. Nice guys don't get the girl...  And in my foul, sour mood.. I was determined that Today.. I would NOT be a "Nice guy"... Not today, I would be anything but that. This is what happened:

Shortly after getting up and making that monumental decision, I heard from my Step Dad, who is about 1000 years old.. He needed help moving something.. Well not being nice and being a total jerk are 2 different things. Of course I helped him out. My Mom called next, I may have been in a foul mood, but she is the only Mom I have.. so we chatted about a couple of things and she went about her day... Ok. Now I could stop being nice. I was about to take a shower for work, when the neighbour knocked on the door and needed a hand moving a washer...We got that moved smoothly between the 2 of us.
Showered and having left for work..I could finally start to leave the niceness behind me. The Universe seemed to be conspiring against me because as I was driving I saw this Elderly woman, she had been pulling one of those two wheel carts that they use to carry her groceries.. and it had somehow fallen over...Perfect opportunity to ignore her.. yeah right. I pulled over and helped her load up and get back on her way.. and as she was about to leave she gave me a big smile and thanked me for being "Such a nice man"...
I arrived at work and the residents in the nursing home have no idea that I am having a bad day.. and they don't need to. So I did my job as I always do. I did care, I sang, I told jokes.. I tried to make their day brighter.

While I was doing that I received some texts from a very cool friend sending me reasons to smile(how cool is that)..

On my way home my Sister, who is also my best friend in the world sent me a text as she'd had a rough day needed to vent. She would cut her arm off for me if she thought I could use it.. I wasn't about to say no. We had a nice chat.
That was pretty much my day... The day that I chose not to be nice.

I don't write this to show what a great guy I am.. That's not the point.

I'm writing this because I am so grateful for my amazing friends who somehow know when I need a smile.. and I am grateful for those opportunities we get each day to be nice to each other.

If I had followed through on my plan this morning, I can only imagine how I would feel about myself tonight.

True, I may never visit Cuba, I may never have a really cool car.. and who knows, I may never get the girl. I dare say though that what I do end up with is much more important than any of that.. I get to like.. No love who I see in the mirror...and that is good enough for me..

Peace Kiddies 

PS.. Next day add... I know perfectly wonderfully nice people have cool cars and take awesome vacations.. I just woke up with the "Grumpies" :o)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lessons I Learned Later in Life

I was thinking recently on how life continually tries to teach us. Sometimes we learn and sometimes the lessons pass us by. It did make me reflect though on lessons that I have learned in the past few years.. Now I am no Yoda, or fount of wisdom. Anything that I say here could easily be tossed in the category of "What the heck does he know?", but it interested me so I thought that I would share it with you.

Lesson 1- Be Happy

Sure it sounds simple, but life is way too short to be wasting it away being miserable. Do whatever it takes. Find your passion, love the one your with.. if you're alone and like it, embrace it. If you have a secret love... LET THEM KNOW. I mean really 80% of the time, they will smile politely and tell you they wish to just be friends(trust me LOL). But at least you'll never wonder, or regret not saying something. I've said it before but embrace each moment(even the yucky ones) because they are a gift. Spend as little time doing crap you don't like and as much time doing the things you love... Go to bed each night with a well earned smile.

Lesson Number 2- Be Nice to Each Other

Kindness is infectious. When we do something nice for someone , they feel Great, and we feel Wonderful. If we all spent our time sharing kindness and joy... What a world we would live in. People can be cruel, even to us.. But we don't have to be. With our partners, our children, our friends.. Even just a kind word can change a whole day. With a stranger, sometimes even more so. I've never gone to bed at night regretting a kindness that I have shown, even to one who may not have seemed like they deserved it.. I have however regretted a missed opportunity. 

Lesson Number 3- Live and Let Live

We are all different... We believe different things, we have different traditions, we have different orientations... We all have our own unique set of gifts that we bring to the world around us... Imagine a world where we all embrace each other for our likes AND differences instead of feeling threatened by theirs and defensive of ours... That is the world that I want to live in...That is the world that I want my children to grow up in.

Lesson Number 4- Be Grateful 

Not enough can be said about gratitude. It's so easy to take everything and everyone for granted. It's the difference though between never having enough and being overwhelmed by the abundance of life. Having constant gratitude in our hearts for what we have and the people around us, and expressing that gratitude makes others feel exactly how they should feel when they are around us, and it helps us to see that the glass is not half full or half empty... But overflowing.

Now I don't mean to be preachy, or even suggest that my truths should be yours, but I am very grateful for my life's lessons, and because of that I share them with you.

Peace Kiddies

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The question that I posed on a warm summers evening as I was waiting for the latest round of insomnia to fade away was this:  I wonder if we ended up with what we valued most, would it change what we valued?

I have my own reasons why that question was on my mind.. and I posed it to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.
A few kind souls called me "Deep", not a word usually used to describe me, but appreciated none the less.. 
The question I received from more than a few people was; "What the heck are you talking about???", and so Dear Readers... Allow me to explain my question.

Most of us, when asked what it is we value, come up with similar answers... We value our families, our spouses/partners.. We value our belief system, our children.
In many cases we pay lip service to the things that we value... and then we go about the business of "Living". 

We Value our families, yet we spend an excessive amount of time at work... We get home, and then require "Me" time...We watch TV, we spend time online, we play our X-Boxes.... can't forget the golf game on Saturday. We will simply fall apart if we don't hit the gym at least 4 times a week. We must watch the Hockey game on the weekend, and Football on Monday. Not to mention the possibility that the world might shatter of we don't vacuum or do the dishes this second.

It can be astounding when we consider the things that take us away from the things that we "Value the most". The truth is though, even if we can't admit it to that we spend time doing the things that we value. Plain and simple. We also have to live the consequences of those choices.

In many cases, couples don't just grow apart and "fall out of love" automatically, it happens because instead of valuing each other, respecting each others goals and working together... We value other things or other people more, then one day we discover that we don't know this person we live with. Children grow estranged from us... Sometimes that just happens, but sometimes, we simply had more important things to do and then it was to late.

Every day has it's own opportunities , and the choices we make each day accumulate, and in the end... What we are left with is the result of years of all those decisions.

My thought with my question was basically, knowing that, what different choices can I make today that will leave me with the things I truly value tomorrow?

All in all, I didn't mean to be "Deep", it's just where my mind has been taking me. 
May those important to me know how greatly they are valued, by the choices I make today.

Peace Kiddies  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


One of my favourite poems.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, By Dr. Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune his heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Whether it's a friend, a child or a loved one, it's never easy to "open the cage", but a funny thing happens when birds are set free. After soaring high, and dancing with the clouds, Sometimes..... They come home.

Peace Kiddies  

Another Very Cool Poem

It's been a while since I've written anything here.. However even though at present I may lack my own words, I thought that I would share those of someone else. A friend recently shared this poem with me, and in turn, I share it with you....

Wild Geese, By; Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

There is always Hope....

Peace Kiddies  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sometimes, they just don't laugh :-D

In my normal day to day, I try and keep it light hearted. Some people even say that I am funny,and it always makes me smile when they do. I'm not sure how funny I actually am, but I do know this. In an effort to try and keep it light and airy, occasionally I say something, that no matter how hilarious  it may have sounded in my head... Just doesn't get nearly the response I was hoping for. So for today, I thought that I would share my latest 3 joke fails.

The first one, I still think is funny.. In fact it is a variation of a quote that was made by Joan Rivers(She was/is funny right?). It goes like this...When  people are talking about their relationships  you say "Man it's been such a long time, I've forgotten who's supposed to wear the handcuffs"... BooYa. I tried it not once,Not twice but thrice  in different crowds(once on Facebook)... and Nothing, Nada... I'm like "Come on guys, this is my "A" material", but alas.. I guess it's just not that funny... so that one gets retired.

The second one.. also was in my  head very funny. As most know, I work with Seniors... What people may not know is some of those ladies can get pretty flirty.. It's rather cute. So inevitably they will ask me if I'm married, and sometimes my response can be "No, but I'm always on the look out for my next ex-wife" (Funny right?). The last time I said this.. The woman stopped laughing and said very seriously " Oh no my Dear, you are much too young for me, and I am far to complicated a woman for you"... I was SPEECHLESS  (One of the rare times)....Here I was Pwned(gamer talk sorry) by a 94 year old woman... So that one gets retired as well.

Third, and yes, this is best(or worst) for last..... It goes under the category of "Learn From My Fail".
When you are a Male, working with a 98% Female population..... Never, EVER... say when talking about dating: "I'm so out of practice with dating, the last time I was out with a woman, I put the roofie in my own drink"... In your head, it may be funny as heck, and people may just laugh hysterically at your statement...but the REALITY is... that everyone will just stop talking and stare at you... In fact even people that were not in the room, will peek their heads in and stare at you, and you will apologize profusely at your own stupidity... Only to be forgiven because "You're just a man after all, what do you know".

I share these foibles with you because if you can't laugh at yourself, then really what's the point. Also to say thank you to my amazing  Friends, who choose to remain my friends  even when the room goes silent.... You guys are the best, and you make my world brighter every day ..

 Peace Kiddies 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way :-D

Story time tonight Kiddies :-)

This is a story that I heard years ago, by a lovely woman named Kathy Samhuri. I don't normally mention names, but I have to give credit to the source, and I don't think that she would mind. I have to say also that I heard this story once when I was just a young lad of 20 or so... So I may indeed not tell it exactly how it was told, but I believe the spirit of the story is in tact.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a very happy group of people.. These people always smiled. They were always nice to each other, and their favourite thing to do was when ever they would see another, they always gave each other a warm fuzzy. As you can imagine, warm fuzzies  were warm, and happy and wonderful... The only thing better than giving a warm fuzzy was to receive one. That is how they lived for years. Then one day, someone new moved to town. The first person who greeted them handed them a warm fuzzy. The persons reaction was one of amazement. When asked why he had given him the fuzzy, the cheerful citizen proudly exclaimed that they always gave warm fuzzies to whom ever they met. "That's crazy", the stranger said. "If you give away all of your warm fuzzies, you won't have any left for yourself. The very confused town person walked away and told others what he had heard. Before long, no one handed out the fuzzies. They kept them at home, hidden so that no one could take them. They became a very sad people.
One day they had had  enough. They gathered in the town hall for a meeting, where the Mayor proudly exclaimed that he had solved the problem. He handed every person, bucket loads of cold pricklies, and told the towns people that they could start handing those out instead. 
And that is exactly what they did. They loved to give each other stuff, so they were happier than when they had stopped, but they were never truly happy like they were when they gave out warm fuzzies again. 

It's funny how years later, that story is still with me, I actually still remember how I felt when I first heard it.
In todays world, we can hand out our own brand of warm fuzzy, whether it is a warm smile, a kind word, a hug, or a small act of kindness.
It cost us nothing, and we feel amazing for having done it. By making someone elses burden lighter, our own gets lighter in the process, and we never know how far it's influence goes.

For example. the other day I was driving down a busy road, and there was a large snapping turtle in my lane. Cars were going over it and around it. It seemed pretty obvious that it was not going to get through that experience  unscathed. So I pulled over and helped it off the road. It tried to bite my hand, but of course my Ninja like reflexes saved me :-).. Once out of danger I watched it walk through the ditch and into the field towards the pond. I felt really good about myself for having done such a simple act. So good in fact that later when I made it to work, and was walking down the hallway, I remembered him trying to bite me and started chuckling a bit to myself. A co worker asked me what I was so happy about and I told them what happened, which brought a bit of teasing and some laughter from both of us. A couple of minutes later, the conversation was done and I was leaving. They thanked me, they said that they had been having a horrible day, but now they felt better after the laugh. Who knows who they made feel better later on that day.
Kindness has a life of it's own, once unleashed, it just keeps working though the people that have been touched.

So on this day, my gentle readers, lets all heed the very kind Mrs. Samhuri's story, and hand out those warm fuzzies to the people we have contact with...Our children, parents, significant others, and just as importantly, those random people we see who maybe are not expecting it, but may need it most of all.

"If you smile at someone, chances are, they may smile back" - Unknown

Peace Kiddies

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To Our Mom, on Mothers Day

The funny thing about Mothers Day, is that it is a rather unfunny day.
Think about it, any other occasion you can pick any number of funny cards from Hallmark to celebrate it in a light hearted fashion. Mothers Day however, you don't see a lot of that. Cards are warm, fuzzy, grateful and meant to honour without poking fun of. While society differs in just about any belief, we all seem to agree that Motherhood is a sacred calling, filled with giving, self sacrifice and love.
So on this Mothers Day, we wish all Mothers a wonderful day full of great memories, but we also specifically wish to honour our own Mother.
In thinking about what I would write to show the person that our Mother is, it occurred to me, that our Mom is defined just as much by what she gave up as what she gave us 3 children.
When my Brother and I were little, my Mom was a smoker.. Not really a shock as in those days everyone smoked. It was trendy, it was considered cool. It was in the days before smoking sections or cigarette bans. I'm not sure if it was my Brother or me that saw the commercial telling us how bad smoking was for us, but one of us did. One day we asked our chain smoking Mom, "Don't you want to see us grow up?" With that one question posed to her by a 5 and a 3 year old, my Mom threw out her smokes and that was it. I'm sure that there were other things but the first thing that I remember her giving up for us was smoking.
My Mom was and is a talented musician, it was a great way to grow up, lots of travelling, new fun people to meet, fine restaurants. Then one day, the call came.. The call that every country singer dreams about. The call to Nashville. Everything was put into place for her to go, including an excellent babysitter/nanny for us kids. Then came the little voice inside her head, the one telling her of all the things that she would miss by being away from home so much. Others have heard that voice and ignored it, you may have some of their Cd's in your collection... But the money, fame and recognition didn't mean as much to our Mom as the chance to see her kids grow up. She hung up her work dresses, put away the wigs, sold some guitars and moved us into a smaller apartment. She gave up the Glamour and did the only other thing she knew how to do, which was sew.... For hours and hours a day, for pennies a garment, so that she could be home with us. I know that financially we were pretty poor back then, but we kids never felt it. It was a thankless move as well, because we were just too young to fully understand... But today I can say that her career is the second thing that I remember her giving up for us. I have to interject  this tale of my domicile mother to tell a story that my Brother reminded me of. I think it's best told in his words:
"She was our champion and defender being a single mom, I remember being at her show and singing along like I always did when I was about 4 years old.  A strange lady rubbed my head and I didn't like it so I brushed her hand away. She didn't like that and slapped me across my face I was in shock then I heard the strangest sound from the stage where I only saw moms guitar laying on the ground, Mom was beating the tar out of that lady mid song."  Mom has been aptly described as a Lioness defending her cubs.. For no small reason.
Now our Mother, had a bit of a temper when we were growing up, we joke about it today... No she never beat the crap out of us or anything, but when she blew.... Everyone ran just the same LOL. Today though, it's just not the case, and hasn't been in many years... Because even though we may not have noticed the day it happened, her temper is the third thing that I remember her giving up for us.
My Mom raised the three of us as a single parent... She was both Mother and Father for as far back as I can remember, and she filled both roles with what seemed to be ease.
Mom instilled a huge sense of family in us that is so deeply ingrained that I try to pass it on to my own children, she would steal a line from that 1970's hit and always tell us "United we stand, divided we fall".
In truth, there hasn't been a time in our lives when we didn't know that we could turn to her for anything. We have had normal issues in my life, we have been angry and haven't spoken sometimes, but even then we always knew that she was there if we needed her.
Today, she still is an amazing Mother but also an incredible GrandMother... and the truest of friends.

Mom, on this Mothers Day, thank you just doesn't seem like enough. Even so, Thank you Mom, for always being there, thank you for putting us first, thank you the choices that you made, that made us a family, and thank you for helping us become the people we are today. We owe so much to you Mom, and we could never adequately express our gratitude.. But know that the good things about the three of us, honours you, because they came from you.

Happy Mothers Day Mom

Love Mike, Kevin, and Kris   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making time for the important things

I was watching an interview recently of a same sex couple that had just been married. They spoke on how great it was that society recognized them as a family. A question came up about things like holding hands in public, and the one woman said that it wasn't something they did. She felt that society had come a long way, but was not ready yet, for things like public displays of affection. I thought it sad that holding hands had to be reserved for watching a movie on ones own couch.

That got me on a people watching mission, I was wondering how couples in general interact in public.. Here is what I saw;

Most couples dropping the other off someplace, basically say a hasty goodbye, then leave.. Pick ups are similar.. Most couples walking do not hold hands.. The exception seems to be people in their 60's and 70's, they seem to be aware of something the rest of us aren't. Even sitting at breakfast at a place like MacDonalds, it's not uncommon to see one reading the paper, and the other a book... In public it seems, that many couples interact like distant strangers.
What does it mean? I don't know, I'm sure that most couples love each other and are among other things are perfectly good friends. I think we just grow complacent with time..I don't know for sure what the solution is, but as odd as this may sound, I think that we could learn something from our pets.

I have a 6 year old Standard Poodle, named Brechin... I know that poodles are supposed to be smart, but mine is just a big ol' silly dog. He is a family pet, but he worships my middle son. When my son is home, he sleeps with him, he plays with him.. he follows him around..but that isn't the part that we can learn from... 
When my son leaves.. Brechin barks and carries on, like he'll never see him again. He walks him to the door, he makes it clear that he will be missed. After he's gone, he just goes back to doing "dog" stuff. When my son comes home, whether it's a few hours, or a few days later.. Brechin FREAKS.. It's like he has just come back from the dead. He's happy, he barks, he jumps on him...It's really quite fun to watch.

Now back to us... What would our good byes look like if it were the last one. What would we say if it were the last time? I imagine that songs could be written based on the good bye kiss alone.
If  they walked in the door after we thought that we would never see them again, I'm sure that we would probably stop channel surfing and greet them, like never before.

When I watch older couples walking hand in hand, I think that they've learned something valuable about relationships, and that is to cherish every moment.
It's difficult to do sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the rat race.. The important things get swept aside , for the things that seem important at the time.
Something to think about though is when ever a disaster has struck anywhere in the world, I have never once heard of someone trying desperately to get to work, or to play golf, or to watch TV...They reach for the ones they love the most... and I guess the question that I would ask is, Why Wait?

I have this friend, he was married to his beautiful wife for 65 years when she passed. If there is one thing that watching them taught me was that 65 years is simply not long enough to be with the person that you love. It goes by so fast that we can not afford to take one single second for granted. We can't waste a moment in anger, apathy or indifference, because the one thing in life that we are guaranteed of is that one day, one good bye, will be our last.
I'm not trying to cry doom and gloom here, just the opposite. I say that whether it's our spouse, parent, child or anyone that we care about.. that we embrace and celebrate each moment. We hug with abandon, we dance at silly inappropriate times, we sing "You are my sunshine" to them when they're sad. Hold hands as if to say "You couldn't possibly be close enough to me". And kiss like it's the very  last time(well maybe not our parents and kids but you know what I mean :-P ).

I've heard plenty of regrets as i have spoken to people in my life, not one has ever been.. "I showed too much love to the ones that I care about".

Something to think about. 

Peace Kiddies 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tribute to Theo

Note: I wrote this several months ago and had not planned on sharing it. However, it occurs to me that there are many who have family in some form of long term care. I thought that maybe they could use some reassurance that their family members are not just cared for, but also cared about.

Peace Kiddies

I work in a nursing home with Seniors. It's an incredible job. I get to meet amazing people from all over the world. I get to help people when they need it the most, and I learn something every day. There is a downside though.. Due to the nature of where I work, you care about people, and one day, they are gone.
People deal with it in different ways. Some act like nothing has changed(until they get home), some shed a tear, and some utter a silent prayer. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. However, as there are people depending on us for their care, depending on us to remain professional and objective. When we leave the office to start our shift, we leave that behind, to be picked up again later. It's part of the job.
Every once in a while though, you meet someone, who becomes more like family.
Theo was one such lady. She was a kindly woman who had had a very full life(by her own admission). She had been a nurse, a volunteer, a Mother, Grandmother and friend. She had traveled all over the world and would share stories of her journeys. I spent many of my breaks just chatting with her. She would ask about my Mom, my kids... Why a nice guy like me was still single(LOL), and she would tell me stories of her children, grandchildren and travels. She loved her family and spoke of them with pride.
She was truly one of a kind. One day during one of our chats she told me "I don't want you to think that I am suicidal, because I'm not.. But I am ready to go on to the next life", when I asked her why, she responded that everyone needs something to look forward to. While she had had an very full life, she was coming to the end, and there was nothing left to look forward to. It was really, one of the saddest things I'd ever heard anybody say. I didn't know what to tell her. Maybe the indoor bowling activity the next day? Or the concert that we were having on the weekend? Maybe that was something to look forward to? I knew what she meant though, and figured that kind of honesty deserved honesty in return. So I said "You may be right, but when your time comes and you are gone, I will miss you", that got me a very large, smile.

Just over a week ago, my Theo got her wish. I had been off for a couple of days, and a very kind hearted co-worker e-mailed me to let me know, so I wouldn't be surprised when I came in to work.

I never got to say good bye, I never had the chance to say thank you. Now when I go to work, there is another very nice lady in Theos room, but last night, while doing rounds... I opened her door to check on her, and for a brief second, was surprised that she wasn't there. I guess this letter is my way of saying goodbye.

Dear Theo,

I was going to say Rest in Peace, , but no, that is the last thing that I wish for you. You had plenty of time to rest while you were here.
I hope that where ever you are, you are very busy. I hope that there are thousands of things to do and millions of things to look forward to, and I hope that there are wonderful people to share it with.
May the world you live in now have lots of traveling, and exotic foods. May it have loud singing and joyous dancing, and dogs... and Bridge. I hope that there just isn't time to do it all.
However, on those rare occasions where you just need to sit down and take a break. Remember that there are those on this side of the veil, who miss you and are grateful for your friendship.

Be Well, and Be Happy.

Your Friend..... Mike

Monday, April 4, 2011

Being Average

I was reading recently something that that was written by someone around my kids age, on how they wanted to focus in on something and become a master of their craft. A noble aspiration, I mean, most of the really cool stuff we have come to us from people who had the need to strive for perfection.
It's something that I have thought about a lot over the course of my life. The thing is, is that I don't really excel at anything. I do however come from a family that does. Both my parents are accomplished musicians, with albums, cd's and awards. My Brother is a great guy, who also happens to be a 5th degree black belt. He teaches the students in his Martial Arts school so much more that just karate, PLUS he has an awesome band, that I'm sure soon will have their own awards on the mantle to show off. My sister is not musical, but she is gifted in working with her hands.. You could sheer a sheep, dump it on her porch and within a few hours she could have a 3 dimensional felt farm for your kids to play with complete with buildings, animals, people and crops.
Then there is me... Not really musical, I can't fix anything.. heck I don't even own tools.. I love to laugh, if I can make you laugh too, I consider my day well spent and some refer to me as a nice guy.

It used to bother me sometimes.. It felt like I was living in everyones shadow.. and then one day I thought of the people in the world that influenced me... Some of the people that made me the person that I am today.. Of course family has had  a strong positive influence, and on another day I will write about that.. But today I'm writing about others, who's kindness has stayed with me through my whole life.

I know that I have mentioned Alex Harding before, but when I was a kid, he and his wife kind of adopted our little family, and Alex would take me to things like father son dinners, talk to me if I seemed troubled... and basically be a good friend. My fondest memory of him was one Christmas, when I was around 11 years old. He took me out to buy a Christmas tree. I had $10.00, which at the time was a good chunk of cash for a tree. I looked for trees and fell in love with this Scotch Pine.. It was stunning with it's long needles. Then I noticed the price... 15 bucks, so downplaying it, I went in search of a tree that I could afford, and found a really nice one. Mr. Harding told me that he liked it, but he thought the other one would look better in my living room. He said that he was pretty sure that I had enough money for it, so we grabbed it and went to the counter. I dropped my 10 down, and he placed a 5 on top of it.. A simple thing and yet here I am years later, tearing up just remembering.

When I was 16, a man named Jerry Buffington taught me to drive his stick shift truck... I promptly drove it over a stump in the field. Jerry never skipped a beat, he never got angry, in fact he told me a funny story about when he learned to drive stick. We spent hours, digging, chopping and chain sawing that stump to get his truck out. His wife was waiting for him at home, but to Jerry it seemed to be exactly how he planned on spending the afternoon.

The truth is, that I could go on, writing pages of amazing  people that influenced me over the course of my life... and without fail, these people were not masters of anything, they weren't great artist, or  scholars.. They were just average Joes, working stiffs, but their choices made my world a better place to be.

I am grateful for those few who excel in the world, who's desire to master their chosen field makes our world what it is today. Truth be told though, when I write in my Gratitude journal, or whisper a thank you prayer... Those aren't the people that I think about, I think about the highschool teacher, who always made me feel like I was smart, or the  nurse in the hospital once who kept coming in on her breaks, because I was afraid to sleep, and my friends and family today who laugh at my jokes, put up with my singing and smile when they see me. They make an average Joe, feel uniquely special, and to them I say, Thank you for your kindness and examples.
You are the ones that I strive to emulate.

Peace Kiddies 

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Valentines Day Kiddies

For some reason, not a lot of people like this particular Holiday. People with significant others see it as a "Hallmark" holiday, and single folks see it as kind of a giant middle finger telling them that they are alone. Me? I'm a single guy, but I LOVE Valentines Day... Ahh.. the romance, the chocolate, the opportunity to be decadently appreciative of the one you love the most.
Perhaps it would help if everyone knew the story behind this most amorous  of all holidays.

The year was 1390, when a young Italian man by the name of Antonio Valentino left Italy for England to enlist with King Edward in what is now known as the 100 years war. He wanted to do something honorable with his life and as his Mother was English, he felt that it was his responsibility to fight for her cause. 
The night before he was to sail from a small village he, by chance, had dinner at a local tavern. There he met the lovely Anne. They spoke as she served him. Before he left he got up the nerve and asked if he could come back and meet her after work. In an uncharacteristic move, Anne agreed. With a smile on his face, Antonio returned as the tavern was closing and the two of them sat at a table and talked all night long. They spoke of their lives and dreams and by morning were hopelessly in love. Antonio left the fair maiden with an oath that he would return and if she would have him, marry her, so that they could live out their dreams together. She smiled and gave him one kiss in response.
And so it was, that Antonio left and was gone for 8 years.. All the while, being true and faithful to his beautiful Anne. There were no letters back then, no communication with home. Only his memories of her face on his heart, and the trace of her kiss on his lips.
Finally he returned to his beloved... Unfortunately the 1300's was the century of the plague and his Anne had been taken 4 years after he had left. Her Mother told Antonio that Anne knew that he would return and left a letter for him. All the letter said in shaky handwriting  was : "My Dearest Antonio, I will love you with all my heart, from where ever my spirit resides".
His heart was beyond broken, he was lost. He spent weeks at her grave, eating nothing, just grieving.
Realizing that this was no way to honor his lost love, but knowing also that no other woman would ever be able to replace her, he went back to Italy and became a priest. He returned a few years later and took over the Parish of that small village. He was no ordinary priest though. In a time where women were almost considered property, he taught that men should revere and cherish their wives. It was then, in that small hamlet that flowers were first given as gifts from husbands to their wives so that they would feel special.
Father Antonio spent much of his free time at Anne's grave, and that is where he died, on Feb.14, at the age of 67. It was said that a single rose grew on that spot, and returned every year.
That is the Holiday that we Honor today, and whether we are with someone or alone, we can sit back, take a deep breath and smile because all of us can celebrate Love..

Is Valentines Day a "HallMark" Holiday? Only if we choose to make it that way.

"I am not a hopeless romantic, I am a hopeful one" (Joan Weilder, Romancing the Stone :-)

Peace Kiddies and Happy Valentines Day    

Monday, January 24, 2011

It all begins with me

I've never really been one to watch the news. I don't read the paper, except occasionally to do a crossword or a Sudoku. It's not that I don't care about what's going on around me, it's just that I haven't really been interested, and truthfully I'm not sure which is the greater sin.

A couple of weeks ago, on a quiet night at work, I sat in the staff lounge on a break and CNN was on. It was getting close to the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, and they were showing a documentary about the orphans 1 year later. I sat glued to the TV, one moment horrified at what i was seeing, the next grateful for people from all over the world that were doing everything that they could to help.

Some kids were orphans, some couldn't find their families... and some, the ones that kept me awake at night, we're given up. Given up by parents who loved them but had no way to feed them. I have tried to imagine what that would be like, but in truth it was just too painful.

What if there was no one turn turn to? What if we couldn't just work, or get help from the government, or  borrow from our parents, our siblings.. family or friends.. Yes, some would steal to feed their children but what if that wasn't even available. We live in one of the richest nations in the world, and this goes on around us while we go on living our lives. 

It's true, that our country does give to other countries that need it. I belong to a church that does the same. Many wonderful caring individuals do what they can, But what about me? What have I done to make a difference? If I was angry at anything, it was that. How have I chosen to share what I have?

There are so many things that we can do individually  to make a huge difference. Most of us at some point get married and have children, what a blessing that is. What if we chose to adopt 1 child to our own families from an impoverished nation?
For those who travel for vacations, what if every couple of years, instead of going to Cuba, we went and worked for 2 weeks doing something good in some country that could use the help. Or if we sat down with our families and decided on a good charity to support?

Many amazing people do these and  more things already... It's me that is late getting on board. So I've spent a few weeks figuring out how I can make a difference. Once I did, something incredible happened. I became part of the solution, and I was able to look myself in the mirror again.

I know that this isn't what I usually write about. I normally like to keep it light and smiley. My daughter asked me tonight why I hadn't written anything new and I told her that it was because this is all I could think about, so she suggested that maybe this is what I should write about, and as always.. she was right. Thank You Sweetie.

I heard someone ask recently why God allows children to go to bed hungry. The answer was as true and profound as I have ever heard. "He doesn't, we do".
I won't any longer....

Peace Kiddies