Aug 28

Can I Get You Some Coffee?

These last few days I’ve had my face in my phone more than normal.  I’ve been trying to read as much as I can.  Why?  Well, I know that the more I read the easier it will be for me to write.  Why do I need to write? Why can’t I just be a dad, a husband, a coworker, a salesman, a customer, a christian?  I’ve been all of those things for part of the last 49 years.  They are good and important.  But, they are not why I exist.

I exist to serve others.  That’s why I write this blog and that’s why I’m writing a book.

As I was sitting at breakfast this week, the waitress approached my table.  My head was down with my face in my phone again.  I was reading.  She startled me and I think I startled her.  When I looked up, her expression faded and her smile ran away from her face. I could tell that she was surprised to see my look.  I’m not sure what she was thinking, but I don’t think my image matched her preconceived notion.  It happened in an instant and it wasn’t something that could be hid.

It’s times like this that I’m reminded of how others see me.  It reminds me of all that I’ve been through.  It reminds me of all of the people that God has put in my life to help me get to where I am today.  It reminds me that I need to keep doing what I’m doing.  It reminds me that God has given me a chance to do something with this gift that I call a face.

After talking with her and my friend, for a bit, the conversation seemed normal.  The common chit-chat about the weather, the food and then the day’s business.

That was enough to fuel my fire for the work that I love.

I’m putting my head down again, but this time it’s to write so that my words will be read by someone else. There’s a book in my head and in these fingers that is about to come out.  There’s something more to this life that you didn’t get to see in the first 49 years.

…head down…

Aug 21

Our Kid’s Know What It Takes!

Over the past few days Connie and I have been on a college movement crusade.  First, we took our daughter to Bowling Green to begin her first year as a college student.  She’s a bright and beautiful girl who fills her dad with pride.  I still remember the day that we found out about her heart condition.  This condition would cause her to have heart surgery when she was only four months old.

Now, she’s moved in with 5 other freshman girls into the dorms at BGSU and is ready to take on the challenges of a full workload.  All of that with a part-time job working for her Aunt Cathy in the same college.  I can honestly say that I’m proud that she’s a Falcon…even though I’m a Rocket!

Once we had gotten her started to settle in, we returned home.  The next day we left for Chicago to pick up our oldest son Grant from his summer co-op.  He had a successful and rewarding experience at Gary Lee Partners, which is predominantly an Interior Design firm.  Having said that, they do have 2 architects on staff which is the path that Grant is taking.  We learned, in his final review, that the company left the door open for Grant to return someday (who knows if that will happen).  Additionally, they encouraged him to tell his classmates about the company for future co-ops.

The best part of the trip was being alone with only them and their phones. 🙂  We never have a problem with Jess opening up, but it’s always good to talk with her.  Grant continues to become more talkative.  He’s witty and even sarcastic, like Jess.  They’re their own people.  Much like Colin who held the fort down in Hilliard, as he started back to school (as a Junior in high school) with an old car and black-and-blue toe.

There’s such a joy and peace know that they know…what it takes!


Aug 14

Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do

Self limiting beliefs (you know, those things that creep into our “self-conscious” where we sabotage our self image and credibility) are bad enough, but THEN you have other people that add to those doubts.  It goes something like this.  I’ll tell people that I’m writing a book and beginning a speaking career and here are some of the responses that I’ve gotten.

  • Who do you think would buy your book?
  • How many speeches have you given?
  • What makes you think you have anything to say that others haven’t heard before?
  • What gives you the authority or the right to tell others what to do?
  • What type of certification do you need before you can do that?

And, these are comments from my family and friends!  I get it.  They want to make sure that I don’t get hurt and I appreciate that, but this isn’t helpful.  I wish that they would think of a constructive way of protecting me.

Before these questions come out of there mouths, I wish they’d say “that’s awesome” …”can I get a signed copy of your book?”…”you are and will continue to be an inspiration.”

I know this may seem that I’m “oversensitive” and “needy.”  That’s probably true, but don’t put a label on me.  Don’t put a label on anyone.  People grow and change.  Don’t think that because you knew me in high-school that you still know me.  Maybe I’m better, maybe I’m worse but I’m certainly not the same.

So, what can you do?  Listen carefully to the words of others.  Be keen at identifying those that are speaking the words that you want to hear.  If they’re your family, you can’t disassociate yourself from them.  You don’t want to tune them out.  If you can, you want to help them understand your position.

I know, it’s not always that easy.

However, when you do get with people that believe in you…unconditionally…you HAVE to make the most of it.  By that I mean, share your hopes, wants and dreams.  This is where true inspiration comes. Knowing when you have others around you with “like minds” is where the magic happens.  This is where life gets breathed into your dreams.

If you’re wondering how you can find such a place, send me a note.  I’d love to help you.

Aug 07

Push Yourself

What’s it like when you know that you have to get out of bed, but don’t want to?  What’s it like when you want to stay home, but have to go to work?  What’s it like when you’ve given a free pass, but don’t want to take it?  What’s it like when someone has offered you a ride, because they know that you could probably use it?

Those four questions are very different.  The first two require self-motivation.  This is pushing yourself from the outside.  The second two questions require self-acceptance.  This is pushing yourself from the inside.

How do you push yourself from the outside?

My mom and dad lost a son when he was 12 and another when he was 17.  Can you even imagine? Those two events occurred approximately 15 years apart.  When asked how they kept going there was no silver bullet or “Ah ha” moment.  It was very matter-of-fact, which in my family is no surprise.  🙂  They “just kept going.”

Somewhere, there was someone that was counting on them.  Somewhere, there was someone that believed in them.  Just in the other room, there were mouths to feed.  The sun was still coming up tomorrow.  They couldn’t change that, so they embraced that.

How do you push yourself from the inside?

Having the gratitude to accept assistance graciously isn’t always easy.  For example, when a group of people repeatedly offer to “clean your house” this may be because it is “dirty” but you haven’t been able to slow down to notice it.  (No, our house doesn’t need cleaned!)

Accepting a free pass doesn’t mean that you’re accepting a hand-out.  It’s not charity or a welfare check. It’s your way of allowing someone else to “pay it forward.”

Being on the opposite end doesn’t have to be considered negative.