Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I still remember the first time I held each one of you in my arms. I looked at you with amazement and knew that I would do everything in my power to love and protect you, but most importantly to raise you with the understanding of your true potential. It is because I love each of you so much that I want the very best for you. You are and always will be my little girls!

I heard about the recent performances by Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga at the VMA’s. Knowing that MTV targets you as their primary demographic, I decided to watch their performances and get a better understanding of what exactly it is that they are trying to sale. Needless to say, as a father I was completely disgusted and outraged, not only at the performances but at the unbridled willingness of MTV to exploit these women in nothing more than a blatant attempt to sale you this crap. They know that the programs they air are highly provocative and that, at your age, you are highly susceptible to those messages. They also know that they can influence and effect your-self image, and somehow convince you that Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga are somehow role models that you should look up to. Understand that to them you are nothing more than a potential target. They want you to watch their shows. If you’re not, they are going to try to figure out a way to compel you to watch. That’s as far as their interest in you goes.

Make no mistake about it, these women are not role models. In fact they are everything that you should avoid becoming. They do not care about you other than if you choose to follow them on Facebook or Tweeter, and hopefully convince you to buy the garbage that they are peddling. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS! Don’t let some woman that is willing to compromise herself simply for publicity, convince you that looking and acting like trash is the way to gain self-respect and love. It is a long and lonely road for anyone who loses sight of who they are, and who they can be for a fleeting moment of supposed public affection. What they fail to recognize is that they are looked at as nothing more than a circus animal, prancing around and vying for the attention of the people in the audience. Those people only care as long as they are entertained. Once that stops they move on to the next circus act that will hold their attention until they get bored again and have to move on to something new and more outrageous.  These women are not envied, they are objects that will be discarded when something new comes along that is shinier. They have been convinced by the people that make money off of them, and by society in general that they must do this to stay relevant. Relevance never comes through sexual exploitation and grinding on some guy for the whole world to see. Relevance comes through our acts of kindness and service to others, creating meaningful lives and careers that make a positive difference in the world, instilling in your own children values and standards that will help them recognize who they truly are, and living a life dedicated to a higher purpose and power.  

I love you girls with all that I am. I love you enough to tell you, “no”. I love you enough to be involved in your lives and give you guidance and counsel so that you can understand your true value, your truth worth and your true potential. Know that I love you  enough to tell you to, “turn that crap off’, and demand you tell me “where you are going", and"  what time you’ll be home”. I'll continue to demand to know your friends, and ground you when its needed. I do that because I love you and you are and always will be the best part of me.    

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16, 2013


Tiger Woods is a polarizing figure. Because of his horrible life choices people either him love or hate him. There is very little indifference when it comes to public opinion. However, I learned a very valuable lesson about “Being the One” the other day. This isn't something that Tiger Woods did for someone else, but what someone else did for Tiger Woods.

I watched a recent interview with the famed Billy Casper on the Golf Channel. He and Tiger had grown close to one another over the years as they interacted through the PGA. After Tiger’s fall from grace, many people who he considered to be friends turned their backs on him. Some of it was justified due to his wanton recklessness and utterly selfish behavior. He quickly became a pariah in the golfing community. He was publicly scorned and quietly shunned by the sport and the golfing community he had once loved. It was expected, he had brought it on himself.

Billy Casper however, took a different approach. He welcomed Tiger with open arms. He made one golden rule that Tiger must abide by, every time Billy and Tiger saw each other Billy got to hug him. Tiger reluctantly agreed and the first few times the hugs were awkward and uncomfortable. Making it seemingly even more uncomfortable Billy would tell Tiger that he loved him. Billy chose to love Tiger regardless of his poor choices and personal shortcomings. He chose to see Tiger for what he could be and not for what he had chosen to be. Those intimate moments have become a cherished connection between the two. I don’t know how much of a difference it made in Tiger’s life however, Billy Casper made the conscious decision to try and make a difference in the life of someone who needed to feel loved in spite of himself. He chose to love his brother when his brother needed it the most.

Are we any different? Through our life’s journey we will unavoidably offend others and be offended. We will inadvertently step on others toes and likewise have our toes be stepped on. Human nature is such that it is easier to hold a grudge towards someone than it is to forgive those that offend and yet we all need the opportunity for personal redemption.

We live in an increasingly complex world. Turn on the news or read the newspaper and what is highlighted are the stories that emphasis the ugliness of the human experience. Neighbor pitted against neighbor, insatiable greed, countrymen killing one another over religious differences and political corruption.

Conversely, if media outlets chose to focus on the positive and highlighted stories about all of the good that happens would that make a difference in the world we live in today? I argue that it would. I am a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats. So if they’re not going to do it then we have too. We have to be the rising tide. We have to elevate ourselves above the fray. We have to be better than we are. Each one of us has a choice; we can choose to make a difference. We can choose to serve one another. We can choose forgive. We can choose to love. So choose to be the one!

Monday, May 13, 2013



The sun rose slowly through Mesa Arch in Canyon Lands National Park. I’d never been there before but I heard that it was magnificent. The low light reflected off of the canyon walls and turned the mesa a golden hue. I felt alive; I felt a spiritual connection……..one that I experience often when I’m outdoors. I felt that I was on the right path. I do some of my best thinking out wondering around in the vast openness all by myself. It gives me an opportunity to escape from all of the distractions, all of the meaningless noise. It gives me an opportunity to connect with something larger than myself, remembering who I am. Remembering that I have a higher purpose.
On that day I learned something valuable. Still struggling with my personal challenges, I felt calm and at peace. I felt a gentle hand leading the way. The question popped into my head in a light-hearted, slightly sarcastic tone, “Are you stubborn to the point of being stupid?”  Taking in a deep breath of the sweet mountain air in that beautiful place, I was being nudged to be objectively introspective. The answer was resoundingly, yes. I was holding on to the past; How things were, how it was my fault, how I was a failure………BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, the list goes on and on. What I wasn’t doing was making the choice to focus on the future an all of the possibilities it holds. Self-pity does that to a person. It saps the ability to look forward with hope and joy and forces us to wallow in the misery of the moment. Don’t get me wrong; I love to feel bad for myself just as much as the next guy. I play a great victim, but there comes a time when we all have to put our big boy pants on and start living the life we are meant to live. One without regret, one with purpose and joy, filled with the determination to live life to its fullest, cherishing the wonders of life’s beauty and learning valuable lessons from past challenges. It all comes down to choice, as it should. All things are determined by the choices we make. We are awash on the sea of life and our ability to navigate amid life’s numerous complexities is determined by what we choose to do at this very moment and all of the moments that are ahead. I was choosing to hold on to the past so stubbornly that I wasn’t willing to see the path of my potential future. I was stubborn to the point of being stupid.
Life is the culmination of the choices we make. Every choice has a ripple affect; some large and some small but they’re there none the less. One key to a happy, fulfilling life is to let go of what we can’t control and choose to enjoy the ride. Robert Brault said, “The definition of an optimist is someone who isn’t sure whether life is a tragedy or a comedy but is tickled silly just to be in the play.” To go one step further, whether life is a tragedy or a comedy is determined by what we choose it to be. It’s determined by perspective.
Its spring now and life is doing what it was pre-determined to do. The snow has melted and the world is awakening from a long winter’s slumber. Spring flowers are in bloom, birds can be heard whistling their soft melodies and the fields and corrals of farms are filled with newborn calves and colts as they learn to stand on their own. Life for them is as it should be, its simple. Why do the flowers bloom? Because the must. Why do the birds sing? Because they can. However, for many of us, we choose to focus on the bad and not recognize the many wonderful blessings and gifts that we have been given. Why? Because we choose to! Let it go, life is filled with unlimited joy and opportunity we just have to reach out and pluck it……..the tree is in bloom.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Get Busy Living

            Are you happy? Do you feel alive? Are you fulfilled? Do you wake up in the morning looking forward to another day, or do you wish you could just close your eyes and go back to sleep? Is your life filled with hope and wonder or regret and disappointment? If you are not taking responsibility for your own happiness and well being who is? The answer is no one, it’s your responsibility.  
In the movie, Shawshank Redemption, one of the main characters is released from prison after spending 40 years of his life behind bars. Upon his release he realizes that through his life in prison he has become conditioned to have all of his decisions made for him. He’s forgotten how to live. His ability to make decisions for himself were taken away.  
After being paroled, he falls into the dreary routine of going to his job every day as a grocery bagger and then wondering home to sit alone in his little apartment. His life has become his personal prison without walls. Life for him has little meaning or purpose, he’s simply going through the motions. He realizes that he must make a decision, if he chooses to stay everything will remain exactly the same and he will continue to simply exist. If he chooses to leave his future is uncertain. He will have to take responsibility for his life and the unknown that awaits him. However, he also recognizes the potential that awaits him if he so chooses to pursue it. Either way the choice is his and only his to make. He decides the risk is worth the reward; he takes responsibility for his future happiness and makes the bold proclamation “either get busy living or get busy dying.”
Life is like that. I have certainly found myself facing that same predicament as I am sure most of you have. Whatever condition our lives are currently in, whether it’s the life we want or the life we don’t want, it is the life that we have created for ourselves. Yes, there are outside circumstances and conditions that affect everyone one of us, but how we deal with those circumstances and conditions is our sole responsibility. That is the ultimate power, to control one’s self. It is a power that very few people master, but those that do master it live lives of complete abundance. Their happiness is not predicated by what they have or don’t have, how they are treated or not treated, or by the current circumstances or challenges they may be facing. Their happiness is based on their state of mind and their willingness to take full responsibility for their lives and the declaration, through their choices, that they will take positive steps to move forward and face the uncertainty that we all must inevitably face. That is the price of happiness, personal accountability.
It is my unwavering belief that we are so that we might have joy. It is not a guarantee; it is a gift that must be earned. We earn it through the lives that we choose to live each day, the impact we have on the people around us, the love we show our families and the commitment and dedication we attempt to live our lives by in making today better than yesterday.
I believe in the power of the human spirit. It transcends our physical limitations. It is what elevates us to see beyond ourselves and recognize the inalienable power that they have to be the source for goodness and light and intelligence. Choose to be, it’s up to you.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reason for Hope

Reason for Hope

            I had a friend ask me yesterday why I have decided to share the challenges my family and I have faced over the last couple of years through creating this blog.
Without any condemnation or judgment he simply told me that he would be too embarrassed to share his personal failings and struggles with people that may turn around and criticize him for his public admissions. After our conversation, I asked him if it would be okay to use our discussion in the introduction to this post. He kindly obliged and here you go.
I used to be extremely embarrassed about going through bankruptcy and the many hardships we have faced along the way. I have always been self-reliant and proudly self-employed. I considered myself to be someone that people could go to for help rather than someone that needed to be helped, and then everything changed.
Like many of the struggles we face in life, mine has been an eye opening, pride swallowing experience. I can’t necessarily compare my challenges to those that other people face, my only contextualization has come from my own state of mind; where I was compared to where I am now. It’s through that emotional context that I have been able to relate to other people and their challenges.
The reason that I have decided to blog about my experiences is twofold, one it is cathartic for me to do so. There is truly an emotional release that occurs after I write down my experiences. It’s like slowly releasing air out of a tire. The second is by sharing my experiences I have discovered that all people are dealing with some kind of a challenge. I remember driving down the road one day and I saw this family at a stop light, as I watched them I thought, “They really have their act together. They’re not a complete failure like me.” Upon reflection however, I realized that I had become extremely good at hiding my problems. I had put on a happy face and hid behind this mask so that people wouldn’t really know what was going on with me. Maybe this family was good at doing the same. The true problem is that we have been conditioned to hide. We not only hide our challenges, we hide the life lessons we’ve learned through enduring those challenges that we all face in life. I decided I was going to throw it out there; I’m tired of wearing the mask. If describing my challenges and the lessons I’ve learned helps someone else then it’s worth it. If it doesn’t resonate with them in some way they’ll quickly become bored and move onto something else.

It’s my contention, that especially in the challenging times we live today, people need hope. That hope is not going to come through some loud mouthed politician telling us that some proposed new bill is going to make a difference, or watching countless hours of television in a mind numbing attempt to simply be entertained out of our challenges.

The solution although difficult is very simple; take responsibility for own lives and realize that our lives, our very futures, are what we choose to make them. Secondly, serve one another. Hope is fostered when people know that they are cared about by other people.

The world is an incredibly challenging place. The moorings of safety that we all long for have been washed away. That does not mean that hope is lost, it means that we must choose to be hopeful! Tomorrow is new day, no blemishes, no scares; it is what we choose to make of it. We must choose to seize the day; we must choose to seize the moment.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Gloves

The Gloves

            The first time I saw Billy was on a warm spring afternoon in 1980. His grandma pulled up to the baseball field and Billy nervously climbed out of her car and started walking towards the dugout.

His grandma called through the open passenger door window, “I love you and I’ll pick you up in a couple of hours after my hair appointment.”

I was the little league baseball coach and Billy was a last minute add-on. I didn’t know anything about him, but I admit I was agitated that I would have to make some last minute adjustments to accommodate this little boy.

            His hair was a Sunkist blonde and he had a bowl cut that shaped his head like a little helmet. Underneath that helmet of hair, starring out at me were two of the saddest blue eyes I had ever seen. He wore a pair of Tough Skin jeans and an old pair of tennis shoes. All of the other parents had bought their kids practice uniforms and cleats. Little league was serious business. We meant to win.

Over his shoulder he had an old bat. The handle of the bat had been run-through the webbing of two baseball gloves. One was smaller than the other, the size for a small boy, while the other was a little older and more worn, definitely the size for an adult.

            “Get out on the field and warm up.” I said a little too gruffly. I had to force one of the other boys from the team to play catch with Billy and from that moment on I knew he was going to be an outsider.

            He was awkward and slow, I was impatient. If he weren’t sitting on the bench, I would put him out in right field to keep him out of the way. That became our routine for the next three weeks.

            One day he showed up a little late at practice, all of the other kids were already paired up to play catch and warm up. Frankly, I’d been hoping that he wouldn’t come.

            “Alright,” I said, “I’ll play catch with you, but take it easy, I don’t have a glove.”

            He removed the two gloves from his bat and handed me the bigger one. I could smell the saddle soap that had been applied to it and see all of the creases in the leather.

            “It was my dad’s.” He said quietly. “He used to play catch with me everyday after he got home from work before he died.”

            I looked at his little face outlined by his Sunkist colored hair and his piercing blue eyes. I knew that I had failed him. He needed a father figure, instead he got me.

            I slowly took the glove, “I would love to use your dad’s glove if it’s alright with you.” I said.

            He nodded his approval and, for the first time since he started coming to practice, he smiled.

            I held the glove up to my nose and could smell the sweat of warm past summer days mixed with leather. I looked at Billy and understood that this was one of the ways he felt his dad’s presence. I gently put the glove on my hand understanding that Billy was trying to hold onto his dad, he was trying to connect.

We played catch not only that day but everyday after that.

            Today, twenty years later, I went over to Billy’s house just to see how he’s doing. As I pulled into the driveway, Billy’s out on the front lawn playing catch with his son and I immediately smelled the sweat aroma of sweat mixed with warm past summer days and leather.