Friday, August 17, 2012


When you are young one of the first things you learn is your phone number. Ours was CA3-3795.  I remember getting my first report card in Kindergarten and seeing the check mark in the box next to the item "Knows Phone Number".    What a great achievement that was. I knew my phone number, could tie my shoes by myself and could count to 119. Quite the achievements for a 5 year old.  I am on the fast track of education.

Our phone number never changed. It was always the same. It eventually changed to all digits without the letter prefix, and had an area code change in later years. But it still remained the same.

As I grew up and left my hometown, I always knew where to reach my parents. CA3-3795. That was always a place where you could find someone that loved you and wanted to hear from you. I always knew whose voice would be on the other side of my call. Usually my mom, sometimes my sister when she still lived at home, but on occasion, my dad, until his passing in 1978. Calling mom was always an adventure and a joy. She would share her experiences from the week. Tell me of her travel adventures with her best friend, Marge.  We would swap comments on the "Young and Restless" and always hear about her euchre winnings or losses at the Senior Center. Those calls always brought a smile to my face and would warm my heart like nothing else.

About a month ago, my mother passed away.  As I go through my daily routine, I am reminded about things that I won't be the same, this is one of them. CA3-3795 will go away. My parents had that number for as long as I have been alive. Many fond memories of some the calls made to that number that will be with me for a long time. I will keep that number in my contact list for as long as I am around. It will always be that special group of numbers that reminds me you are loved.  Thanks Mom and Dad and Sis for being on the other end of the line when I called. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Rifleman


As a child one of my favorite shows was "The Rifleman". It is the story of a man and his son who had moved to the plains to start a new life after his wife had passed. Our hero, Lucas McCain has this special rifle that will fire as he cocks it for the next shell. Of course he is a very good shot.

This morning flipping channels AMC is having a "Rifleman" marathon. Nostalgia kicks in and so I watch a couple of episodes. This must have been one of the first few as they are getting a new ranch and house. They travel with their wagon and horses and everything they own to the new homestead. As they prepare to move in the new place, the bad guys show up and tell them that Mr. So and So won't take kindly to Lucas and his son, Mark, moving into this place. So of course they lasso Lucas and drag him around from the back of a horse. After that they take his rifle and burn the house to the ground. The bad guys leave and Lucas decides he must go after them. Well Mark, his son only 10 years, is instructed to go into town and tell the Judge what happened and Dad will be back in a couple days. Well Mark insists to stay at the property and wait. Before Lucas leaves Mark asks the question, why does it have to be difficult. Lucas for about 3 minutes of the show tells Mark the story of Job from the Bible and actually talks about the Lord. And explains how in the face of difficulty Job never lost his faith in the Lord. Even in spite being tempted after he has lost all his family and everything he loved. Lucas tells Mark that even in adversity, they must hold fast to what they believe.

 It was refreshing to hear this on TV. Of course this show is 50 years old and times have changed. Today we get shows that push the boundaries of civility and decency. Everyday we are faced with adversity and challenge that sometimes we feel we cannot go on or care to.

The mother who is wondering where the next meal will be come from.

The family living in a slum in Africa where the running water is the stream of waste water running down the middle of a muddy street.

The dad and his family living out of a car because they have lost their home.

A child wearing the same clothes to school he did yesterday because that is all he has.

There are hundreds of stories and situations that we hear of or see every day that make me grateful for the blessings I have. A wonderful wife, beautiful children, a roof over my head, food on my table, and the grace of Lord taking care of me.

 Thank you Lucas McCain for a Saturday morning reminder that we are blessed far more than we deserve.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Carrot Time

I love the early morning. It is a peaceful time. I have a routine that I follow most everyday. Make Coffee, feed the cats, empty the litter box, take my wife coffee, get the paper, make the bed and feed the bunnies. Notice that coffee comes first.

There have always been bunnies in our yard. From the day we moved in, I was determined to become their friend. So I began to feed them. I buy carrots in bulk and cut up about 2 or 3 a day. I would throw a few out there and watch from a distance as they would come up and feed. They cautiously approached waiting for me to leave before they would feast. Eventually, they would feed as I stood there. Now some mornings they are sitting in the feeding area waiting. I can hear their minds thinking and wondering, "Is that guy with the carrots coming today?".

It has taken quite a while, but it is a joy just to stand there and watch them feed.
This is a simple joy in my life and an opportunity to share. I am sure they won't go hungry, but I have the capacity to give and to share, so it is the right thing to do. Not so different in our daily lives.

We all have capacity to share. We all have gifts or talents whatever they may be. It may be just a smile. It might be just a hug or kind word. It is our capacity to share and ability to do so that we must act upon. You never know what affect your gift of sharing may be. It could be the light in some one's life that they need that day.

"Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others" Brian Tracy

I encourage you to make the effort, take the opportunity to share. Light up some one's life.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


This evening I witnessed something that as my dad would have said, "Frosts my Ass".

We were at dinner at our favorite sports bar watching the games. At the next table a mother sitting on the inside of the booth asked her probably 14 year old son sitting on the outside, "Would you get me some mustard?" and handed him the empty bottle. He looked at her with that teenage inconvenienced look. The boy got up out of his seat and motioned for the mother to get up and get it herself.

Excuse me. Is this really happening? What is wrong with this picture?

The husband sitting on the outside of the opposite side of the booth gets up and yes you guessed it, starts to go retrieve some mustard. I had my wife hand me our mustard and held it our for him. He took it and went back to his seat. Of course no acknowledgement, from the husband or any inhabitants of the aforementioned booth.

There are a number of things wrong with this picture.

1) They boy should have gotten the mustard
2) The husband shouldn't have
3) The boy doesn't understand who is buttering his toast everyday

This was one of those times that you want to put your hand on this boy's shoulder and say "Son, let me explain something to you"

1) She is your mother and will be forever
2) Your mother and I brought you into this world and can take you out.
3) There will be a day when you need her assistance for something far more important than mustard.
4) When that day arises (see #3) she will probably help you out without question.
5) Now go get the mustard

I can say I was not a perfect child, but understood that mom was to be respected, honored and obeyed without question.

I was blessed by two loving and great parents, who left me with many great lessons about life, love and being a good person.

My father left this life way too early at 52 years old. Those we love can be gone in an instant leaving us with regrets for the things we did and did not do while they were around.

I hope this young man realizes who is his champion,who will be the first in line when he needs assistance and finds the respect and love for her very very soon.

Thanks Mom. Thanks Dad

I love you

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Frozen Yogurt

Just a few blocks away from my office is a frozen yogurt store. I have frequented it many times over my almost 7 years at my office. What make it special? Nothing in particular, but what is special is that I can walk there whenever the urge arises. Why? Because I am fortunate to live in the land of the free because of the BRAVE!

I just got back from watching the movie "Acts of Valor". This is the story of our armed forces specifically those that are highly trained to go where the worst of the worst reside and these forces are sent in to clean up the mess. Rangers, Seals, etc. The nice part about this film is that it is real SEALS filling the roles and showing what they really do while we sleep comfortably in our beds.

They leave loved ones and friends, wives and children behind and go where they are called because the bad guys are being bad guys. They go without question because they are called.

They are the reason that I can walk when I want to get some yogurt. I thank God everyday for His Grace and the things he has provided and for these men and the other men and women of our armed service who let me sleep peacefully at night because they do what they do.

My heart goes out to you who serve and my blessings for your safe return and for keeping us secure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Raising the flag

I am doing something that my father did at our house many years ago. I am putting up a flagpole. My dad was always doing little things around our house to make it such a great place to live. I am sorry that I did not pay attention like I should have. Such great lessons of how to do things and more importantly lessons in life.

It feels good to do things like this and improve our surroundings around the house. Tighten the screw over there. A little dab of paint on the cabinet here. A washer in the spigot. Trim the bushes. Just little tasks that take just a few minutes, but ones that leave a lasting improvement on your surroundings.

Not so different about the little things that we can do for others that we see everyday. How many times have we just walked past something we could drop at someones desk on the way there and save them the trip? How many times have we not taken the opportunity to help someone, when we were so focused on our mission? I would imagine that everyday, we see chances to take 5 seconds of our time and help someone out. I think a lot of it is being so caught in what we are doing we do not see the forest for the tree in front of us. Many times we run into the tree.

I am as guilty as next person, but will make the effort. I have been blessed by many people just because they could. Many times much more than I deserve. For that I will be forever grateful. I hope that through grace, my efforts and courtesy I may help someone today and the next day and the day after that.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Don't Stop Believing

Sometimes I think that my own worst enemy can be the man I see in the mirror in the morning. Granted I do have a days growth of beard on my face, which can be very scary in itself. But too many times I sabotage myself with doubt and negative thoughts and getting caught up in trying to do everything just right. Then when the results are not to my liking I get frustrated. Then the cloud of doubt kicks in and well everything seems to fall apart. Then I begin to question myself.

It is like a little pebble gets in my shoe and I let it morph into an amputation. I need to slow down and realize just what is going on. I need to FIDO. Forget It Drive On. We are going to make mistakes and things are going to happen. It is how we react to those bumps in the road of life that determine our character.

This past Friday, a dear friend and I are having lunch. The news is showing the destruction in Alabama from the recent tornadoes. We had been discussing a work issue that seemed pretty important at the time. He looked up and said, "Makes our problems seem pretty insignificant." Oh so true. I get caught up in a minor irritation and let it erupt into a major infection requiring quarantine of everyone in 3 states.

I think I need a new attitude and realization, that I am a good person. I try hard and that I will fall down. But also know that it is not a question of how many times I fall, but how many times I get up that count.

Years ago, I worked with a guy by the name of Brian Dugan. Brian was the warehouse manager of a organization where I did customer service. Brian would always say, "Right or wrong do something." He wanted you to keep busy and keep moving. He realized mistakes are made, but also knew that we could overcome our errors with effort.

So I am going to do a better job and put forth some effort. I am going to talk to the man in the mirror and start believing.