Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Prayers for My Godmother, Please


Nearly sixty-two years ago the most significant moment of my life happened in a small church in Arizona.  I was Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  My parents closest friends, Tom and Ann Daniel, stood with my parents when I first received the light of Christ and became a member of God's family.  Last night I spoke with the family including my Godfather.  He recounted their lives in Yuma, Arizona where they both taught school.  My Godfather was a member of the first Arizona State wrestling team.  I could hear my Godmother's voice in the background requesting that we open a location in her town.  "That may take an act of God," I responded while she laughed.

Ann is at home now in hospice.  She is surrounded by her loving family and husband of 63 years (next month) as she goes through the final steps of her journey on this planet.  It is a most excellent life she is living all the way to the finish line.  Ann inspired my Godfather to become a teacher.  He would come home exhausted after long days working and see his wife grading papers.  He volunteered to help her and found his passion for inspiring others in the classroom just like his beloved wife.  My Godfather coached wrestling for most of his career, helping 142 of his kids get scholarships for higher education.  My Godmother still mails monthly contributions to her favorite charity, St. Jude.  To say that I scored big when I got the Godparents my parents selected is very much an understatement.  These folks are pillars of their community.

My Godfather told me that it was his wife who helped him get closer to God.  I feel the same way about my wife.  I texted a couple of photos including one of my wife and me standing in front of a cathedral in Duluth, Minnesota where I was on assignment last year.  The youth pastor in that church leads millions around the world in a Bible in a Year podcast that we listen to daily.   

I told my Godfather that there were times in my life when I was away from the church.  That candle they lit for me at my Baptism is still on fire in my heart where Jesus lives.  I may be far away geographically but both of my Godparents are in my heart and I'm praying for them now.  They gave me permission to share this story with my readers because they understand the power of prayer.  Thank you for praying for them, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Maybe you can toss in an extra prayer for my day job boss to expand to Yuma and fulfill my Godmother's final request.  That's an assignment I would love to be a part of should God decide to part the Red Sea and send me to help out the same families that my Godparents served in their brilliant teaching careers.  Tom and Ann, thank you for being my Godparents.  I'm asking every one of my readers to pray for you.  I love you.  Have a great day.  ¡Vaya con Dios!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Life through the Lens of a Five-Year-Old

 I've been wearing a picture of Nile on my name badge at my day job since I met him a couple of weeks ago.  He's the champion tasked with raising awareness about our local children's hospital.  He's not the main reason for today's story.  It's about another five-year-old girl who saw his photo and wanted to know more.  Her mother who was standing behind her closed in to hear Nile's story about coming into this world needing all the help he could get just to survive.  At the end of the story I asked the young girl if she would like to donate a dollar to help Nile's friends at the hospital.  The answer was immediate.  Mom pulled out her debit card and completed the donation on behalf of her daughter.  I put a smiley face on the little girl's receipt and told her what Nile's dad said to me, "Every dollar matters."

Never underestimate how the children see the world.  She is one of a small percentage of people who actually noticed Nile.  She cares.  Perhaps that's what Jesus means when he says we must become like little children.  I'm thankful I got to be a witness to this act of kindness.  The movers and the shakers of our company paid us a visit yesterday.  It was nice to see them.  None of them know they were outranked by a five-year-old who gave one dollar to help someone she didn't even know.  That's the one who moved and shaked my heart this week.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Why the Critic Doesn't Matter

There are two kinds of critics.  The critic who cares about you and wants you to succeed offers feedback to help you improve.  Listen and grow.  Today's story is about the second kind of critic, the one who is envious of your performance.  This critic is about as useful as an air conditioner in Winter.  Tune this critic out.  This critic will only get in the way.  Run away, don't walk.  

I'm really not sure why poor critics tend to hang out together.  It may be related to self esteem.  Maybe they would rather be the biggest fish among minnows than be around those who aren't afraid to take risks.  This is why you need to watch where you spend your time.  If the minnows are gathering at the water cooler, find a new watering hole.  Your peace of mind depends on this.  Find the big fish and swim with them.  Have a great day.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Read This if You're Hurting

We all have regrets.  I'm writing this story today so that I won't carry the regret with me of avoiding writing about it because it's a difficult topic.  If this story reaches you and only you, then I'm beyond thankful to share.  If it's meant for a friend or family member of yours and you feel it may help, please pass it along.  Okay.  I'm taking some deep breaths.  Here goes...

Suicide.  It may be on your mind right now.  You're looking around and you don't see any glimmer of hope.  Your loved one betrayed you.  Your employer dumped you.  Your investments have turned into a pile of rubble.  You feel like life sucks.  Your doctor told you that your days are numbered and the end is near.  Is this you?  Do you feel like you can't go on?  Please don't check out.  I've been there.  I also know the exact source of my dark thoughts and this source is out to destroy you because that is all it knows... darkness.  Please, keep reading.

There is someone out there who knows every hair on your head.  If you don't have any hair, this someone knows every thought you have even before you think it.  Maybe that's because this someone inspired me to write this story.  Those dark thoughts come from the pits of Hell.  Yep.  You didn't think them on your own.  The Enemy put them there.  Dark angels interfered with your life.  Don't give them any opportunity for a victory lap.  Someone died on a cross for you so that you can be free.  Death lost.  That's a big one.  Death lost.  Death has no power over any of us.  Hope wins.  God wins.  You can claim victory over any situation you're facing right now.  Turn the light on.  See the hope.  You are a child of God.  Your life matters.  Have an extraordinary day.  Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

My Inspiration at My Day Job

There is much to celebrate today on my ten year anniversary at my day job.  I'm surrounded by talented teammates who really care about the people we serve.  Every day I get the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who inspire me with their stories.  I challenged myself to get up and show up every day no matter what challenges I encountered, like the day I woke up to find my Ford Escape covered in a thick blanket of ice that was practically impenetrable.  I actually called my boss to tell him I was frozen in place and would have to miss work.  That didn't stop me from hacking away at the ice shield until I finally broke through and drove to my day job.  This has been my journey every day for ten years.  I'm celebrating ten years with no call outs.  Why?  Because I believe showing up every day is the least you can do to thank your employer for all the opportunity you are given.

There is one inspiration at my day job that stands out above all the rest and this happened last weekend when I met Nile, a five-year old stick of dynamite who commands an audience like no other.  The moment I met Nile my heart melted.  Nile's dad stood behind him watching our interaction.  He said, "Nile, knuckles."  Niles offered knuckles to greet me.  Then he picked up his sign and posed for a photo before offering me one of his cards with his photo on it.  This kid is powerful. His enthusiasm for life is so encouraging for those who cross paths with him.  Children's hospital was his first home for a long while while his doctors and nurses helped him with numerous challenges and overwhelming odds.  Nile makes me want to do my best to serve others because people like Nile are worth showing up for every day.  The next time I hit an obstacle like the one that nearly kept me away from my day job when Mother Nature dropped her ice bomb on me, I'm going to think of Nile and I'm going to fight like Hell.  Have a great day.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Dear Dad


Dear Dad,

Today is your 20th anniversary since you departed this world.  I'm writing this letter and sharing it on my blog because I believe in my heart if you were still with us, this is what you would want.  I often think about what it's like on the other side of the finish line.  We have a picture of you from St. Alphunsus High School, Langdon, North Dakota, on our refrigerator door.  You and two of your siblings are in your football jerseys.  You are standing in the back row.  At 5'11 and 3/4 inches you are towering over the others.  Your twin, Mike, is squatting directly beneath you in the middle row and your older brother, Tom, is prominently displayed in the front row sporting large biceps developed from years of training.  Your brother, Dickie, isn't in the photo.  He was the first of your nine siblings to gain early entry into Heaven.  That must have been a painful time for you, your siblings, and your parents, to lose a family member early in childhood.  Dickie waited a long time to be reunited with you, John, Mary, Peggy, and Jimmie.  I miss all of you so much.  Give them a hug for me.  Thank them for the lessons they taught me.  Thank your parents too.  What a pair they were.  

Dad, I want to thank you for coming back to us in your final days when traveling was nearly impossible.  I thank the missionaries in Mexico who helped you get home  I want to thank you for giving me five siblings.  I also want to thank you for giving me a most excellent mother.  It hurt me deeply when you two separated.  It hurt went you left the US in search of greener grass to spend your retirement years so far away.  Perhaps that's why it was so joyful upon your return.  Those tears you spilled out of your ice blue eyes when we met at the airport upon your return really choked us up.  The marine in you apologized for being so overcome but that was one of the greatest moments in my life.  You showed us how much you love us even if words were sometimes impossible to say.

Thank you, dad, for sharing your writing gene with me.  I tried to force it out of my life because I thought writing was a complete waste of time.  It wasn't until I wrote my first love letter to my beloved wife that I began to understand your passion for writing.  The novel you wrote is still hidden away.  I never opened it.  Why?  Because it's the last part of you on this world.  I wanted something from you to hang onto.  I don't want your story on earth to end.  It's really silly but it's the truth.

Dad, I just want you to know what a difference you made by your presence in this planet.  I'm happy to report that all three of our children have your gift of writing.  Other relatives have been inspired to write books.  I'm now about a year shy of 5,000 blog stories.  Helen and I have shared more than 5,000 love letters between us.  Your legacy lives.  Your memories live.  Thank you for being my dad.  I will raise a toast to you when we visit Ireland this year.  May your soul rest in peace.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Sharing My Heart Tomorrow

 I'm giving you the opportunity to go out and buy a box of Kleenex for tomorrow's story.  You may need it.  Loyal readers know I rarely share about my family here due to privacy concerns.  With the exception of one beloved aunt and one amazing cousin who have granted me permission to include them in my stories, all others are off the table until they are no longer with us in this world.  Well, tomorrow I'm going to share about someone close to me who crossed the finish line of life.  Come back tomorrow and I'll share more.  Have a great day.