Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Friends, you and I will be

I was able to fly out to St. Louis this past weekend with my wife to a friend's wedding. The guy is a Fraternity brother, one that I have maintained contact with over the years. I have worked through fun times, tough times, and given advice to this gentleman. When I was engaged he traveled to my bachelor party, and my wedding, long drives for both, and the wedding was only a week after another brother's wedding. When my buddy asked if we would come out for his I didn't even blink before I said sure.

This is what makes a friend. Someone that doesn't think before the help you, they just do. Good friends do not need to talk all the time, or hang out all the time, but when they are together, it is like no time has passed. I am a lucky man to have a lot of people I call friends. I know there have been times where I probably have been a selfish friend, or even a bad one, but I try hard to improve and earn friendship. I was a lot lazier at being a friend as a younger man, I do not think I understood how rare lifelong friends are. The more I advance in my career, advance in age and get pulled in 100 directions by life and family the more I need friends. Friends are where you can go laugh, have a blast, forget about your struggles and just be yourself. Then you can split, and return refreshed to your normal routine.

Today I will call a friend today, one that I have not heard from in a while. I am not sure who yet, but I am going to reach out and say hi. I have received enough love from friends, and I want to make sure I share the love today, and be a good friend to someone else.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Red Spots

Dub had a chemical reaction to some medicine he was taking, and developed a rash all over his body. When we first saw the red spots, were concerned it was something more contagious, but were relieved it was just a rash. This poor kid has had a much rougher first year and a half than his sister, but he is a tough little boy. A quick medicine change helped, and each day since he has looked a little better. 

Saturday I took him to an outdoor shopping center to walk around, get him some fresh air, and get J a Mother's Day gift. I was taken aback by the looks some folks gave my son, and their actions. First, I get it, you see a red spotted kid, and you think why would you have that sick kid out. But J and I are good parents, we would not take a kid in public that was in any way contagious. But the pointing, whispering, moving away from him, and looks at me like was the devil were bothersome. This is a reflection of where we are as people, assume the worst, cast judgment or assume I am an irresponsible parent. Now I know before I had kids, a screaming child in a public place would drive me crazy, and having kids has tempered my opinions on taking kids out a lot, but the general nastiness was surprising.

I know the day with Dub was a one day event, and hopefully rare, but this brings me to empathize with parents that have a child with a disability or physical uniqueness. The patience these folks must have with the negative public, casting judging eyes on their family, must be highly developed. Two hours of it and I was done, and ready to tell someone off. I respect the families that work through this daily, and pray to have some of their strength. I am sure their journey is not lightly walked, but I will commit to being more sensitive in my judgment of folks. And I will pray our world can have a little more love and understanding. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Draft Night

The NFL draft begins today. For weeks and months, the sports networks have forecast, re-forecast, and revised the re-forecast of what they think each team will do. I will admit I get wrapped up in the talk early on, but tire of the unending discussion quite quickly. Alas, the day is here. Funny how much time and energy is wasted on something the great majority of folks have no influence over whatsoever. I am sure ray Farmer, new GM of the Browns, is a busy man right now, but the fans have no power over this event. I wish my brownies well, but really cannot get worked up or nervous today. Tomorrow I will awake a browns fan either way.

Instead of focusing time and energy of things you cannot control, focus on one thing you can. Treat each day like draft day. Spend some time thinking about the choices you plan on making in your life. Choices at work, at home, in your spiritual life or with your friends are all in play. These are things you can influence, that you can work on. Spend time today thinking what or who your #1 pick will be to tomorrow. Will you commit to spend more time with your kids? How about not snoozing in the morning, or clearing out and responding to all your voice mails and emails. Maybe you will be your own #1 pick, give yourself a break, or pick yourself up and try again. 

No matter what you do, spend your energy on things you can "do." Take action, make a plan, follow the plan. Work toward your sphere of influence, or just identify it. Leave the things you have no control over behind, and step forward. You can still be a Browns fan in the morning.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Turn Back Now

The sign above is a really bold indicator to folks walking past. A true clear indicator you are entering difficult terrain, and should not tread lightly. I will walk past this sign in June, weather permitting, and take on the challenge. More on my hike in the weeks to come, but today I ponder the absence of signs like this in everyday life.

How often do we tread into difficult projects, relationships or situations when a clear sign like this could help make decisions early? Would a sign like this stop you? Maybe progress is never made without walking past a few warning signs. I think preparation is key. Now, I do not think a person can be prepared for every single challenge or obstacle, for some will be truly surprises. But you can be open to change, embrace it when it presents itself. This is not an easy task. Heck even identifying that change is underway can be difficult.

So, how do you identify change? The sign will surely not be there telling you to tun around if unprepared. I think a routine assessment of where you are would help, mentally, physically and spiritually. The routine can be what you define, daily, weekly or otherwise, but take note of where you think you are at within these areas in your life. When you write, meditate or think on your routine, if you feel off in an area, look for your warning sign. Make sure you can identify the challenge, and either take it on, or prepare yourself to be able to tackle the change.

Do not always accept the status quo, do not fear change, prepare yourself to adapt, prepare yourself for tomorrow.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Can You Keep This Warm?

Walking into daycare this morning with my kids, my daughter reached up to grab my hand and said "can you keep this warm Daddy?" This melted my heart. I said sure, and held her hand as I carried baby bro in to school. I did not want to let go. Now I was in a bit of a rush this morning, because I snoozed too much and started my workout late. When C$ asked if I could take her to school, my response was "J do you need me to take them?" As I turned away, I realized how bad that made me feel, and I said I would take the kids.

Had I rushed out this morning I would have missed this moment. What a shame that would have been not to hear "can you keep this warm?" I always want to keep C's little hand warm. I am truly proud to be a father to a daughter, I learn something new everyday about girls hearts and minds.  I know when she's a teen, things will be different, but we have plenty of time to get there. I plan on keeping that hand warm, play outside , put ponytails in her dolls hair, build castles and always listen when she needs me. My hand will always be open.