Thursday, November 23, 2017

Launch the Journey to the Res

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.”
~ Francis of Assisi ~

Launch the Journey to the Res

Recently, a good friend sent me an email with a link to a group called Simply Smiles. As soon as I opened it I knew it was for me. There are two places that this group spreads hope; one is in Oaxaca, Mexico and the second is in South Dakota at the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation.
I have chosen to go to the CRST Reservation in May for eight days. I will be living and work side by side with the people of the reservation, helping with projects and activities with the children. This is an opportunity that I am very excited about; to be able to be immersed in the Native American culture and to help preserve that culture.

I am still waiting to receive the specifics and more details about what I need to do to make this trip but, I pretty long walk, that’s why I started a GoFundMe page. I sincerely hope that this will not be a onetime trip to the reservation, and someday, I would like to make the trip to Mexico. If you are able to help in any way, I greatly appreciate it. You help send me there and I will work my tail off to help bring hope to the people living there.

Like I said in my opening paragraph, I knew that this was for me as soon as I read about it. We all are in search of our purpose, and this is part of mine. I will keep everyone posted on the progress leading up to the trip, report on events during, and how it affected me. I am looking at this as part of my spiritual awakening.

Thank you for reading! Please share this and the link to the GoFundMe page with anyone you think might help. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Altering the Future with her Grace

 “Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”
~ Helen Keller ~

Altering the Future with her Grace

Last week when I dropped something off, I met Sonia, the woman in her 90’s who runs a tailor shop. That is pretty impressive in itself, and then you talk to her. She tells me that she is a Holocaust survivor and there is a movie that they made about her coming to a local theatre in December. She is very friendly, sweet and pleasant to talk to, not to mention interesting.

This week I went back to pick up my vest and I brought her a couple of candles from work. She was very excited and said that when people do things like that it gives her hope that there are still good people in the world. We talked a little about people, education, greed, her life, and movie. As she leaned on the counter I looked down and saw the number tattooed on her arm. Honestly, you could have knocked me over with a feather. It made everything so real. It is one thing to hear someone tell stories and share things that have happened to them. I have seen pictures of identification numbers on people but I do not believe I have ever seen one in person.

The thing that stuck in my mind on the drive back to work was the fact that after all that this person has been through, she still looks for the good in people. I can only imagine that for every story she shares, there are just as many that she does not talk about. She was a young Polish woman, seeing people dying at the hands of the enemy as well as by their own hands when they could go on no longer. People were torn apart from their families, tortured, starved, beaten and degraded to the point of feeling sub-human.

There are those who wish us to forget about this along with so many other injustices and atrocities. It is critical to our survival as human beings that we do not forget these events, lest we continue to repeat them.  We must love and respect each other and celebrate our differences, whether it is skin color, religion, nationality or whatsoever. Why is this so hard for so many people? Is it simply an excuse to build power and control or can there really be so much hate in people’s hearts?

 If you ever find yourself around 95th and Nall in Overland Park, KS and meet Sonia for yourself. Also, watch for the movie Big Sonia in theatres for special showings. Check out for information. In the meantime, engage strangers in conversation and learn something about them.

Peace out until next time!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pondering the Simple Things That Bring us Joy

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
~ Eleonora Duse ~

Pondering the Simple Things That Bring us Joy

I have been pondering a great deal about this questions lately, and it got me thinking about what we ignore in the daily grind. We rush to God knows where to do God knows what, that in the big picture means very little. We bearly, if at all, acknowledge each other while lost in whatever self-important mission that we are on at the time. Say hello or at least smile and nod at people when you pass by them.

Some of the things that bring me moments of joy are; watching an eagle or hawk fly seemingly effortless, standing still in a dark spot looking at the stars, listening to two owls communicating with each other. You might see a trend here that most of my simple things have to do with nature. I also have a few friends, with whom I know when we are talking, there are no walls up and we can say anything to each other.

One of the things that I have not been able to do for a while is to run on an open stretch of trail through the woods. At times when it feels like everything is just happening naturally with no thinking and my body seems to know what to do. I will find out in February if this feeling will ever happen again. My newest addition to moments of peace and sanity has come with the purchase of my motorcycle. Similar to being out on a trail, getting on a long, somewhat winding road in the country is freeing. I enjoy the people I have met and ridden with but also being alone with no real destination. Just riding.

This morning while walking the dog I heard the owls chatting back and forth. When I got home, Riley was awake so I wrapped her in my sweatshirt and took her out back. She immediately heard them and said “owl”, and we stood there for a few minutes listening. I hope if I teach her nothing else in my time here, that I teach her to enjoy things like that.

I am always curious as to what simple things make others happy and how often they remember to pay attention to them. I would love to hear your “simple things”.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Carrying the Weight of the World

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
~ Buddha ~

Carrying the Weight of the World

Some days, even when things are things are going okay, you are surrounded by a cloud. You feel empty, darkness and the weight of the world on your shoulders. You are still able to keep up a good front and laugh at things occasionally, but as time goes by your defenses weaken and your inclination to deceive yourself and others diminish. 

As you begin to let some trusted people into your world, you will find many reactions. Some will understand but others will try to find reasons or explanations for your moods. Most others will see you as a grumpy or gloomy person. Some will view you as weak for being depressed and anxious, they could not be further from the truth.

I have described being functionally depressed being similar to a duck on the water. The parts that are visible look calm and peaceful, but under the surface is where all the activity is. Now add to the mix a strong inclination to empathetic sensitivity and now you’ve got something to ‘F’ you up. The next ingredient is dealing with the dreaded human species. Few things are so rewarding and so damning at the same time.

I will let you in on a secret; When asked “what’s wrong?” or “what is bothering you?”, “I don’t know” can be an honest and valid response. Pressing the question past that does not always end well. I am by no means saying to ignore a person who gives you an answer, just bear with them and let them know that you are willing to listen if they want to talk sometime.

If you find yourself struggling to focus or unable to give a shit about things, reach out to someone. Let someone that you trust know so they can help keep you grounded. Stay as focused as possible on what is important to you and as I have heard recently, keep swimming.

If you are lucky enough to have a boss who is a good, understanding person, it might be a good idea to be straight with them, so there are no misunderstandings about your intentions and commitment to them and your job. If you don’t have a boss like that…find one.

As always, I thank you for reading and hanging out with me. Peace to you!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Recollections of an Exhausting September

Recollections of an Exhausting September

"When you're at your absolute, most exhausted... That's when you have to be at the top of your game."
~ Bill Hader ~

It has been a while since I have written anything so I figured I’d take some time to get back in touch. This post may be a little random and rambling, but here we go. This past month has been exhausting and challenging at work. I took a couple of 100 + mile rides on my motorcycle and joined a local H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) chapter. Riley is growing and talking more all the time. I’ve been working hard to be a better person, husband, father and work on my mental health.

Let me start with work; September was a really big shipping month and much like July, it was heavily back-end loaded. This was one of the most frustrating and discouraging months since the chaos of the first six months. We hit our shipping goals, but I was not at all pleased with how we got there. I felt like people slipped into old, sloppy work habits and taught them to new employees. It is definitely a setback in the “culture changes” I was making. This week it is time to regroup and reel everyone back in.

Spending long periods in the “dark place” tends to make a person numb and closed off. I have been trying to not be distant and shut off from people. It also weighs on the positive side of a person making them more cynical. It can be painfully difficult to motivate people when this is happening. I have to be on track to lead people down the right path. So, this part is a combination of being a good leader and also taking care of my own mental health. It is difficult when others count on you to be positive all the time. And now, with all the negative news and stories on TV and social media, it is harder than ever to stay positive.

The past two weekends I have put almost 300 miles on my motorcycle. I have to say that I love the feeling of riding and I enjoy the camaraderie of the other riders and people you meet while riding. It is very similar to the trail running community. It is generally easy to strike up conversations with people and it very seldom matters what anyone does for work. You will sometimes get asked what you do for a living but it is much less frequent than most other situations. If you are a nice person and treat others with respect, that is enough for most people. What a concept, huh. This coming weekend I hope to be putting on a few accessories that I got for the bike. Details and pictures will come later. I am looking forward to a time when I can take off with no real destination planned and just ride for a while.          

Well, I guess that I will say adios for now. Thank you for reading this. I wish you peace in this mixed up world of ours. 
Catch you on the flip side!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Guard Your Soul and at No Time Give Up

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.”
~ George Eliot ~

Guard Your Soul and at No Time Give Up

The other day I had a discussion that reminded me that most people do not understand depression. I got thinking about September being Suicide Prevention Month and I thought that there was no better time to encourage education on depression. For more stories and resources go to Defeat the Stigma at

Many people think you mean that you are sad or have a negative attitude and need to cheer up or think positively. People say things like, “I know how you feel, I was depressed when ____ happened”, “what is bothering you?”, “what is causing this mood?” or “we all have bad things happen and get sad sometimes.”.

I have been much more open about what I have been dealing with the past few years and it is interesting how people react differently. What I want people to know most of all is that, if I share this with you it is because I trust you and I want you to understand, not because I’m looking for attention. I want others to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not a sign of weakness, as a matter of fact, it takes tremendous strength just to move forward every day.

Opening up to someone can be scary and kind of a double-edged sword. Some people's instinct is to feel pity, while others have a perception of a person who says that they are depressed is that they are lazy or taking the easy way out. If you think this is the easy way out, you are sadly mistaken. This is a condition that can sneak up on you and kick your ass. Other times, it just sits there weighing you down and every time you think it is gone, it slaps you in the back of the head. Eventually, you become numb to pretty much everything whether good or bad.

This can lead to a state of Dysthymia and Apathy, which is a protective numbness to emotions and life. For instance, when someone asks you what makes you happy and you do not have an immediate answer for them. When you tell someone that you do not know what makes you happy and you are not even sure what that means anymore, they look at you like you are from Mars.

What can you do to help someone struggling with depression?
  • Simply be there for them and do not be judgmental
  • Do not pretend that you know what they are feeling. If you have never really experienced depression, be honest and listen
  • Do not say things like: "cheer up", "don't be a grouch", "you are so negative", "You need to man up", "Toughen up"
  • Do say things like: "I'm here if you want to hang out", "Are you getting help?", "Call me anytime if you need to talk", "Is there anything you need?"
  • Do not avoid them
  • Educate yourself about depression. Knowledge is power!
  • Know the warning signs of someone who might do harm to themselves
  • Love them because sometimes they do not love themselves
  • Be understanding when they are not up to being sociable
  • What Are Symptoms of Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

 Please seek help if you are feeling any of these things and know that you are not alone. If you or someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Frequenting the Road Less Traveled

"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
~ Jerry Seinfeld ~

Frequenting the Road Less Traveled

Sometimes we spend more time wondering how we got on this road than we do about how we get where we want or need to go. I am most definitely guilty of this, in that, I make decisions and then fester about the outcome. Most times I feel that I am doing the right thing or what is in everyone’s best interest, but I still think I could have done something different. It is worse when it comes to dealing with this myself. It is enormously frustrating to say to myself over and over again that I knew better and did it anyway, that I had a feeling it was not a good idea but, ignored that feeling. Someone once said ‘Someone once asked me,” Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?” I replied, “Why do you assume I see two roads?”

We should not beat ourselves up or let decisions cloud our vision but it is hard. Of course, there are times when you don’t know you missed a turn until you look in your rearview mirror. Just don’t be that person on the highway who once realizing the exit was missed, stops and puts the car in reverse with little or no thought to the consequences, those people are dangerous. Sometimes it does not take drastic over compensation to fix and get back on the right road. Occasionally you will find another route with better scenery anyway, sometimes, you just friggin get lost.

Here is a thought; stop telling everyone exactly what you are planning and if you get diverted, who will know but you? Social media is a tempting format to blueprint every move you make which only magnifies this predicament. Another trip hazard is expectations. We set ourselves up for failure on a daily basis due to unrealistic expectations. Constantly being disappointed when events don’t match the story we have in our head. When it comes down to it, all it is is a story anyway. We must learn to take things as they come and know that the story is not reality.

Will I practice what I preach going forward? I’m not going to tell you that, you should have seen that coming. But stay tuned and I might let you know later. Don’t question every decision you make and for now, keep moving forward and find time to do something for yourself. I know, people in glass houses… I’ll try. 

Thanks for reading this and I hope you have a great week! I will try to gain back some positive ground this week as well. I am supposed to get my bike back in a couple of days so that will help. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Care For The Tired Souls

“Do not be too hard, lest you be broken; do not be too soft, lest you be squeezed”
~ Ali ibn Abi Talib ~

Care For The Tired Souls

It can be challenging to find a sense of balance in life. Hell, it feels almost unmanageable at times. We must remain strong enough to continue forward momentum, while staying aware of the needs of others around us. If we are too protective of ourselves we will shut people out, but if we are not careful, our souls and spirits can become drained.

The more compassionate and caring you are, the more people take advantage of you and you feel more pain. I have yet to figure out how to manage this balancing act. I guess I can best be described as a sponge, absorbing energy from my surroundings. Negative or bad energy is like a punch in the gut to me. I honestly cannot watch or listen to network type news without feeling ill.

People in general can be so exhausting to be around most days. There are a few people that I can spend time with and feel better afterwards and I believe it is because their hearts and souls are untainted. That does not mean that they have not been broken, it simply means that they are genuinely good and real. Sometimes when you connect with one of these people, the conversation or lack of need for conversation is so comforting that you feel better after being around them.

If you are one of those people that brighten up someone’s day, thank you!  If not, try to be. 
As always, I thank you for reading this and I wish you PEACE!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How can you miss something so much that you only had for a short time?

“Turn your attention for a while away from the worries and anxieties. Remind yourself of all your many blessings.”

~ Ralph Marston ~

How can you miss something so much that you only had for a short time?

Well, you want it for many years, then when you finally get it or it is within reach, then you screw it up one way or another. I know this sounds particularly cynical but, this pattern has repeated itself over the course of time, even though I try to be realistic and not have a lot of expectations.

I also know that I might be setting this up to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. One thing is for sure, this is one of the few things that I have always been able to count on. I want this trend to end forever and stop haunting me. I am ready to be excited when something good happens and not look over my shoulder for the other shoe to drop.

When I get my bike back I am going to really try to focus on appreciating what I have and not what could happen. I think a big part of it this time is that I have been freaked out about money and the feeling of guilt since I signed papers on it. I need to let that go and enjoy it for what it is; a piece of me that has been missing for years.

I am joining a local H.O.G. chapter and going on rides with them and a friend of mine. I plan to do a lot of riding this Fall and meet new riding friends. For now, I must be patient and wait until they finish with it and I get it back. It is not easy, let me tell you. Really, what choice do I have anyway? If nothing else, at least we are getting a bunch of rain now, hopefully, nature will get it out of its system. I’m looking forward to some beautiful, peaceful weather this Fall. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

What techniques do you use when your inner compass is broken?

“Sleep does not help, if it is your soul that is tired”
~ unknown ~

What techniques do you use when your inner compass is broken?

There are many ways to describe the feeling; drowning, in quick sand, walls are closing in, suffocating or in a dark place. What do you do when these feelings come on? How do you cope when you trouble to focus on normally unassuming tasks, or without enough energy to push through the day. Small talk is virtually impossible, and you don’t really feel like talking to anyone anyway.

Things that were important to you before seem trivial or at least you feel like you can’t afford to share what little energy you have. I don’t think it is that you care less about these things, but it is more of a survival mode we go into.  We do not do the things that normally bring us joy and we distance ourselves from people, neither being a good choice.

I am curious to hear how other’s get through these days. What little tricks you use on yourself until the fog lifts. I know that nothing works the same for everyone but I am still curious as to your techniques, and if they change with the depth of the darkness. Do you have a “go to” tactic if you feel it starting, trying to cut it off at the pass? What do you do when these alternatives are taken away from you, are unavailable, or not good for you?

I would really like to open up this discussion and share thoughts and Ideas. I think it is important for all of us to share what has worked for us in the past. Someone could benefit from hearing your ideas on this subject. It may not stop the feelings but it could give a little peace of mind finding a way to deal with them when they arise. Your comments could also help those who do not really understand what we are feeling or what we are going through.

Please share a comment about your thoughts and ideas on this subject. Thank you. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trust Your Gut - If You Are Not 100%, Do Not Ride! ‘and wear your protective gear’

“Ah, Gravity Thou is a Heartless Bitch”
~ Dr. Sheldon Cooper ~

Trust Your Gut - If You Are Not 100%, Do Not Ride!
‘and wear your protective gear’

Thursday, I went straight to an eye appointment after work while riding the bike. During that appointment, the Doctor asked me about having my eyes dilated. I could not remember when the last time was when I had one. She suggested that I get one while I was there and that I had my sunglasses, it should be alright.

Well, let me tell you that it was not okay or even a slightly good idea. As soon as I pulled away from the office, a voice sounded in my head. It was the instructor, Jim from the MSF class I took, it said, “if you are not 100%, don’t ride”. I thought that maybe I should get a cold drink and wait this out a while…but, it was close to 100 degrees and I was only a couple of miles away from home. My plan was to take a mostly shady, side road home.

That plan quickly fell apart when the light turned green and I went into a left turn on a very busy street to get to the side road. Having my eyes absorbing every shred of light that the day could produce, I could not judge and navigate the turn. My eyes fixated on the approaching curb and grass in front of me, that should be on my right-hand side during this turn. The next thing I know, my left side is slamming on the road with the full weight of the bike (650 lbs) is laying on my lower left leg and I cannot get out from under it.
The road is not always kind
Bent turn signal

Luckily a young man jumped out of his car and took some of the weight off so that I could climb out and lift the bike upright. I took a quick assessment to determine that if the bike started I would ride it home and see what damage I did to myself and it there. I popped the left side of my visor back in because it had come loose on impact with the ground. The young man and a lady who stopped, waited for me to collect myself and used their cars to alert other drivers that they had to go around.
I thanked both of them profusely and cautiously went on my way. I was sweating ridiculously now and my ankle was beginning to burn on the front and inside. I did not want to look at it until I got the bike home. I hobbled in the house and asked Kristen to take my left sock off. Of course, she looked at me funny because this was not a request I made normally. As soon as Riley noticed my pain and discomfort she climbed on my lap and patted my shoulder.

I am going to be sore for a while but it could have been much worse if I had not been wearing protective gear. I knew that my hand was scraped up a bit but was not until after I had been home for a while that I noticed my left shoulder was bruised and my helmet was pretty scraped up. The gloves, riding jacket and helmet all did their jobs. I was just telling someone how hard it was to put them on when it is this hot, I will never question their significance again.
Those scrapes on the visor and helmet would have been my face hitting the road. 

A friend came by and we looked it over last night but I took it for a ride this morning and something does not feel and sound right. Hopefully, I can get it figured out very soon and get back to riding. I have 520 miles under my belt (and a few feet under the bike) and I am ready for many more upright miles to go. 

Protection is no joke. You think it is cool to live dangerous then you be my guess. I will try not to judge you but I will continue to protect myself as much as possible when I ride. Be safe and Roll on.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Envision if you will; the World Deprived of Hatred

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.”
~ John Lennon ~

Envision if you will; the World Deprived of Hatred

Most of us have had the moments when we say “I have tried but the world is full of screwed-up people” or “I have tried to be positive but they are always negative”? You watch the news and in your heart, you give up on society. You get drug into the world of social media and without realizing it, get beat over the head with a multitude of opinions. They say that opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one but you don’t need to show yours to everyone.  

The first step; stop watching the news and make your own informed decisions. Second; ditch social media, and again make your own informed decisions. Think about social media like the writers of The National Enquirer, writing daily columns on their own lives and using it as a forum to spew their own agenda. Third; stop trying and start surrounding yourself with people who want to be good people and are willing to embrace the concept of others living their lives in peace.  

I had a very nice conversation with a guy last week. He is always very pleasant but in the past, it was always just small talk. I don’t remember how the conversation got started but it came around to people and helping people. He told me about a friend of his who called him needing to borrow a significant amount of money and the fact that he just happened to have it to loan at the time. We talked about raising children who are good people. We both had that in common.

Then he asked me if I believe in God. My defenses came up like they do when anyone broaches the subject of religion. But I realized quickly that he had no judgment or agenda in asking this question, it was merely part of our conversation. His main question was to see if I would be offended if he said God bless you. I told him that whatever my beliefs were or weren’t if he believed and thought enough to bless me with a God that he loved and trusted, that I would take that as a compliment.

We discussed people believing and living whatever their beliefs are without imposing those beliefs on everyone else. Also, about the hypocrisy of most people who consider themselves “religious”. He told me a little about what it is like to be Muslim and we compared different organized religions.
Just before he left he said something that stuck with me.  He said, “When I meet someone, I try to be a good human being first, and if I do that, then I become a Muslim later.” What a concept. Be a good human before anything else.

Go out and be a good human being today!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Some New Skills, Purge Some Habits and Lose my Phone in the Process

“Habit allows us to go from 'before' to 'after,' to make life easier and better. Habit is notorious - and rightly so - for its ability to direct our actions, even against our will; but by mindfully shaping our habits, we can harness the power of mindlessness as a sweeping force for serenity, energy, and growth.”
~ Gretchen Rubin ~

Some New Skills, Purge Some Habits and Lose my Phone in the Process

June 2017 brought a few changes, with July 1st bringing more fine-tuned changes. In June, I learned to ride and purchased my very first motorcycle. And of course, the gradual process of starting small went out the window when I decided that this “someday” had taken many years to get here. With my hand shaking, I signed paperwork for a 2014 Harley Davidson FXDC103 which is a Dyna Custom Superglide. It was much more bike and money than I planned on, but when you consider how long I wanted this, tomorrow is not promised and you only live once, I did it. Yes, you just heard me justify it but to be fair, every reason I did not do it before, were other people’s reasons.

Me and my Superglide
Another area that I began to work on was to reconnect my mind, body, and spirit. I got back in the gym a few days a week, I cut out a lot of crap food, and have not had any alcohol in five days. 
I will continue to work on nutrition habits as well as increasing the intensity and frequency of my workouts in the gym. My plan is to continue to focus and avoid as many toxins for the next few weeks until I relax them for my birthday weekend. By then I will have the proper tools in place to be in much better control of my life.

I have been gradually increasing my range of skills and experience on the bike as well. Yesterday, I went on the highway for the first time; I rode to where I work because I plan on riding it to work this week. I received one more expensive lesson, that I can’t forget my uninsured phone in my side pants pocket while riding on the highway. So, yes I got to cut my ride short and buy a brand new phone that now has insurance. It was not a complete waste of time though since the Verizon store did not open until 11:00, I went to the gym which is on the way.

 The other thing I have been avoiding is Facebook. It is a shame in some ways because it is the main link to keeping in contact with some people. The downside of the Facebook faithful is that it can be a watered down cesspool of ego, negativity and trash talk. Unfortunately, if you share something on social media, it does not have to be accurate or even true as long as enough people read it. If you are famous or infamous, the news media will report on what crap you put out on a daily basis. If you disagree with a person’s viewpoint, you don’t have to prove yours, you only need to waste energy discrediting theirs. Enough of that for now.

If you know me personally and we have not talked in a while, let’s remedy that. If you are reading this for the first time (follow it if you like it) or if you are a long time reader, please drop me a comment and say hello and where you are from. It always gets me curious when I see that people from all over the world have read my blog at least once. Thank you for being part of whatever this is and feel free to help share this since I am not going to be on FB for a bit. 

Until next time,
Peace out


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Being a Father can be a Double-Edged Sword

Being a Father can be a Double-Edged Sword

There are many struggles and difficulties of being a Mother, everyone can agree. Most have to work while raising their children, many have to wear many hats and have multiple responsibilities, and they walk a fine line between nurturing and firm to teach right from wrong. I take nothing away from the job of being a mother and I know it is crazy hard. But…bear with me.

Let’s take a moment to look at the easy job of being a Father. I do not for a second mean taking part in creating a child, I am talking about those of us who put our heart and soul into caring for our families. Those of us who would give our last breath protecting our children feel every ounce of pain they feel and ponder every possible situation they might encounter. By the way, we are working parents too, and in most cases, do not get time off work to be with the baby.

If there have been problems with past pregnancies and she finally carries a baby to term; you endure nine months that feel like the equivalent of walking along a cliff. There is nothing you can do to protect them because there is nothing physical to protect them from. You just hope and worry about everything.  

Then, when you have daughters, the boys start to come around. Trust me, you have to walk a fine line when this begins to happen. If you are too protective, you will lose the relationship you have built with her, if you are too trusting, some dirt bag will make you want to use your Samurai swords. You want your girls to be strong and independent, but it hard once they are.

Then comes the day that you have to share them with someone else. Even if this is the right person and someone they love, you still worry about them. Keep your mouth shut though unless there is a real reason for something to be said. You will never win that battle.   

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. And Moms, you are pretty awesome too!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Get Your Motor Runnin', Head Out on the Highway

"It's never too late in life to have a genuine adventure."
~ Robert Kurson ~

Get your motor runnin' Head on down the highway

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to ride a motorcycle. My mother was against it to the point that it did not happen when I was younger, and then, life happened. 

This weekend I took a course by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. It started Friday night with a class from 6 pm to 10 pm, after getting up at 3:30 am. Both Saturday and Sunday morning we meet at 6:45 am at the rider course, and then back to the classroom after lunch. I would be using a black Honda Nighthawk for the duration of my training, which I had no idea if I would make it to the final evaluation portion on Sunday.

At first, I was overthinking everything (imagine that) and struggling a bit. As soon as I began to relax, it was coming much smoother and I finished Saturday feeling pretty confident. Sunday, however, was a different story. They started us out on a very complicated set of maneuvers, one after the other. We all struggled. Evidently, this was their intention, to bring us back to earth and build on what we learned yesterday. I began to settle in a bit, until, I saw the clipboard come out. My test anxiety came on full speed and I commenced to making mistakes and getting frustrated.

During our last break on the range, the Rider Coach said that we would start the evaluations after the break. I asked him if he took test anxiety into consideration, and he said that it would be fine, and nothing that we had not already done. He was going to put us in a specific order and we needed to stay in that order for the entire evaluation process. Three guesses who he called first…Holy shit! I might as well go home now. I joked that my last name starts with a W and I have always had to go last, but I was not really joking. I felt completely screwed.

As it turns out, he was doing part of the evaluation when he was carrying the clipboard but we still had some maneuvers left to do. I tensed up during one if the slow moving tight U-turns and put my foot down and entirely tensed up. Now there was only one thing left to do; it was to get going, shift to 2nd, and make a tight turn, get up to speed in the straightaway, then slow to make a last tight turn and stop between the cones. I nailed the last part but, I was not sure if I passed or not. The Rider Coach leaned in and explained the scoring system to me. He said “Congratulations, you passed” and told me to wait in the staging area for everyone else to go.

What an incredible weight was lifted off of me at that moment. I was not really worried about the written portion at this point; I had proven to myself that I could handle a motorcycle after all the doubt and reasons that people had planted in my head over the years. When the coach came back in to talk to us, I said (laughing) “so when someone comes to you and tells you they have test anxiety, your response is to have them go first?” He told me that it was coincidental and he made up the list last night.

We went to lunch and then headed to the classroom for the final part and written test. I got 100% and I am now able to check something off of my “always wanted to do” list. I can legally and safely practice riding a motorcycle.

This was so important to me that I missed my granddaughters third birthday party to do it, for that, I am sorry sweetheart. I will make it up to her, but I really had to do this for me. I know it is selfish but, I have done so few things in my life just because I wanted to do them. At this point, I need to “roll on” the throttle. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Yours Truly, Revealed Through Stories; Hoping to Prompt Discovery in Others

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery." 
~ Samuel Smiles ~

Yours Truly, Revealed Through Stories; Hoping to Prompt Discovery in Others

I made a choice a few years ago to share chunks of my life and views for whoever was interested. Since the first blog post, I have shared much more than I thought that I would.  I made a decision somewhere along the way that I was going to honestly put myself out there and hope that someone could relate and not feel alone. We all have had things happen to us and no one that I know of is shielded from tragedy and heartache.

Some would say, why be so honest? After all, I could write stories and say that they are about the characters and not anyone in particular, but it is hard to be passionate if I am not being genuine. So, there you have it; my life story on a serving platter to be digested in whatever means people select. Luckily for me, people have been kind and no one has tried to use it against me, at least that I know of.

So, that brings us to today; I met with my surgeon for my four-month (after 2nd surgery) appointment. He said that everything looks great and he is pleased with the progress of healing. I asked him about a few things and then he said that he wanted me to come back in February, and if things were still going well he could clear me for some running then. He said, “if you still want to do it that is”, to which I replied that I wanted to do it now! We agreed that it is best to wait though.
Driving from the doctor’s office back to work, my brain was racing and I saw a sign for World Gym from the highway. I finally have a target date and something to shoot for. I have eight months to get my shit together, back in shape, back to running weight, and back to me. It is time to come up with a plan.

On the way home from work, I stopped at World Gym to get some price information and look around. I’ve been there before when it was Gold’s but that was a while ago. After talking to the young man that was showing me around, I got my price list and was going to think about it overnight, then he made one more offer. I decided to bite the bullet and take the leap with a two-year membership.

Now to put the rest of the plan in place and rebuild. After all, this is construction season, right? This is going to be a long road but I know the way. That is equally an advantage and a disadvantage, but at least the road is in sight now. Starting with weights and cardio and leading to a trail run in February, if all goes well.

 Thanks for hanging with me this evening!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

You May Not Know it but, One Night You Saved My Life

"Anytime you try to be a loving person, you're doing your part to save the world."
~ Marianne Williamson ~

You May Not Know it but, One Night You Saved My Life

I was living alone and sitting in my apartment looking out the window at the city below. People’s work day was ending and the city’s nightlife was coming to life. I was only an observer to that life. After a dinner of frozen pizza, two shots of Wild Turkey and two beers, while dessert started with beer #3. The city was lit up, but my soul was very dark. I was sinking deep into a very dark and lonely time in my life. I tried calling a couple of people and everyone was busy because they had a life.

I did some writing which helped divert my thoughts most of the time, but not tonight. As the night went on and the Friday night activity picked up outside my window, my slide continued. My mind went over the events of the last few years; it had been an emotional roller coaster. Major life changes included becoming single and not seeing my girls often, living alone for the first time in my life, leaving a long-time job to chase a dream, getting in and out of a relationship, and back to living alone, realizing that my dream was just that and would be nothing more.

Was I not meant to be happy and destined to be alone? Was I wasting my time trying to make a life for myself that might not be meant to be? Why was I expending so much energy for little to no return? After all, how long would it take anyone to even know that I was gone? The nocturnal gloom was dragging on incessantly with nothing encouraging on the horizon, and here I sit. Watching the world go by, watching people living their lives and questioning where mine was going or if it was going anywhere. Was it time to abandon trying? Did I actually even care to continue trying? None of the queries were helping my disposition in the least. That did not stop me from festering in my own quicksand though. 

It was late and I was nearing the edge when my phone began to play Sweet Home Alabama. I know two things from that night; wallowing in self-pity sucks and one very short phone call can be a lifeline. My friend, you may not remember the brief conversation that night and you may not know it, but one night you saved my life. You were heading home and saw my missed call from earlier in the evening and you called me asking if I was okay. I do not remember everything from that conversation; I do know that because of you taking a few minutes to call and make sure I was okay, that gave me the strength to try again tomorrow. At the end of our brief conversation, I joked by thanking you for talking me down from the ledge. It was a figurative ledge but that night it was more real than you know.

Thank you, my friend, for taking the time that night. 

Never underestimate the value of a few minutes of your time. You may change someone’s life without even knowing it. Never underestimate your value or your reason for being here. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Disproportionate Inequality and Oblivious Inequity

“Whether you're gay or straight, with a physical disability, your skin's a different color, it's absurd in this age to not be aware and be concerned of the inequity in rights.”
~ Carson Kressley ~

The Disproportionate Inequality and Oblivious Inequity
(Say that three times fast!)

I must first state that although inequity and inequality sicken me, I do not have a lot of personal experience being on the receiving end. Yes, I am guilty of being a straight, white, middle-class male, but please do not hold that against me. My soul and spirit are a compassionate human, and I believe that we are all interconnected and must support one another. You cannot possibly walk up to a person you know nothing about and make a judgment. You cannot see their story or know what they have been through. In some cases, their story or their feelings are none of your damn business.

 There are countless people that suffer from inequity and unfairness in general, for a myriad of reasons. How can anyone think it is fair for laws being interpreted one way in a specific area and different in another? Laws that are enforced or interpreted differently due to the color of a person’s skin, or their economic level, can never be justified. People go many years of their lives without feeling safe or comfortable expressing their love for another because they are of the same gender. 
People struggle because they do not identify with the gender that they were born into. Hell, I think if most of us were honest we would say that we don’t really feel like we fit in anywhere.

Housing projects have led to concentrated poverty and severe racial segregation. Many believe that “the American Dream” is possible for everyone that could not be farther from the truth. In what fairy tale rational is this feasible with people living in public housing earning an average yearly income of around $14,000, is beyond comprehension? An estimated 68% of people in earn between $5,000 and $10,000 a year which puts them in the extreme poverty category. 

Why is it that it is easier for many to hate someone than it is to get to know something about them? We fear that which we do not understand, so take time and get to know people. Go out this weekend and strike up a conversation with a stranger. Revel in the difference and the similarities, while you learn something about each other.

Treat each other with peace and compassion, remember that no one is more or less significant than you.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Are the Grains of Sand in Your Shoe?

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe."
~ Robert W. Service ~

What Are the Grains of Sand in Your Shoe?

Think of a time that you were walking along and you noticed a pebble or some sand in your shoe. Did you stop and dump it out, or continue walking and allowing it to bother you? Most times I think we shake or tap our shoe and move it and keep walking. Only to have it move back and continue to bother you.

If we keep going long enough and it is only mildly irritating, we can go pretty far while tolerating the pain. Why do we all do this? It is similar to the story of boiling a frog. If you drop a frog in boiling water he will immediately jump out to get away from the pain; if you put him in room temperature water and heat it slowly, he will cook. The pain is not strong and unbearable, it is gradual and he tolerates it. Does this mean he is strong? No, it means that he is cooked.

We continue allowing something to slowly eat at us, aka the grains of sand in our shoe; and slowly, we are cooked like the frog. It would be much easier to take the shoe off and dump it out, but it is easier to gradually go on in pain. What are your grains of sand? How long have they been in your shoe? Take the shoe off, shake it out and walk comfortably.

We owe it to ourselves to take that shoe off, shake it out and walk comfortably. It is not easy and the sand will come back from time to time, but we must get it out and, this part is important, leave it there. If we do not leave it, we did not solve anything. We do not have time to keep sand in our shoes because we do not know how long we are here for. Festering about something is a waste of the time that we have.

It is our responsibility to support each other and help to clean out our grains of sand. With the sand gone, you can focus on what you want and where you want to go. Be in control of your destiny and never give up on yourself or each other. How many times should your child try to walk before it is okay to let them quit? Would you tell them “You have been trying and it is not working, you just need to give up”? Hell no, you would never say that, we say “take my hand and walk with me”.  

So I say to you; shake the sand out, take my hand and walk with me!  Thank you for reading this.