What I’ve Learned

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There were many things that I’ve seen
but none could be more important than
what was in front of me
My DAD worked hard
to provide us with everything,
so I’ve learned to be…
RESPONSIBLE
My MOM tended to
my illnesses and injuries,
so I’ve learned to be…
CARING
My SISTER had a severe handicap
and dealt with ridicule
so I’ve learned to be…
TOLERANT
My WIFE gave hugs with a smile
through all the good and the bad,
so I’ve learned to be…
LOVING
My DAUGHTER was friendly
to everyone she met
so I’ve learned to be…
KIND
My SON sought out things
that were unfamiliar and unknown
so I’ve learned to be…
FEARLESS
My DOGS kept me company
when family was not around
so I’ve learned to be…
LOYAL
My FRIENDS were there
to hear every problem and gripe
so I’ve learned to be…
a good LISTENER
My FAMILY and FRIENDS
have been with me
through every step of my life
so I’ve learned to be…
SUPPORTIVE
These people that I’ve encountered,
made me who I am today
and I’m grateful
for the lessons I’ve learned
through their
unselfish actions.

You’re Grounded! Write Me A Story!

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The other day as I was walking through the local mall, I saw a mother unabashedly scolding her son.  He looked like he was about 9 or 10 years of age and completely embarrassed by the staring eyes of the mall’s patrons.

When the mother’s tirade ended, she forcefully grabbed her son’s arm and stormed away.  This scene was reminiscent of my childhood and all I could think of was what was in store for the boy when he gets home.

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I remembered whenever I did something bad, my parents would give me a good scolding and ground me.  “YOU CAN’T GO OUT AND PLAY AND NO TV FOR A WEEK!” is what my mom usually bellowed.  Back in my time, this was painful; I didn’t have the luxuries that the kids have nowadays.

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Being “grounded” meant just staying in my room doing nothing.  At that time there were no such things as cable TV, cellphones or video games.  All that I could do to pass the time away was listen to AM radio stations (because there weren’t any FM at that time).

Now whenever I did something “REALLY” bad, like playing with matches and burning things, I got a healthy dose of spankings.  My mother would get “the belt” and teach me an unforgettable lesson.

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Please don’t think bad of my mom; she’s the most kindest and caring person in the world.  Some of the terrible things I did as a young boy were REALLY BAD…trust me.  Remember, I grew up in a time when this was perfectly acceptable or “PC.”  Your neighbors and even teachers were allowed to do the same if you got way out of line…boy how times have changed.

As I was growing up, I wondered how I would discipline my children if they ever did something bad.  Well, cut to present day…as a parent of two, I decided to go the unconventional route.

When my children were young and did something bad, I made them write me a story and then read it to me and my wife.

“Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write me a story” is what I would tell them.

“What do you want us to write about?” my children would reply.

My answer, “Anything!  Just write me a story!”

For some unknown reason, this punishment really stressed them out.  Secretly I think that they would have rather been scolded or grounded.

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For the longest time, they would stare at a blank page and wrack their brains to come up with anything.  Their stories were simple at first but in time, they got to be more and more creative.  Their speaking skills improved as well.

Don’t get me wrong, they still got a good scolding if they did something really bad but I felt that I wanted to try and bring out their creativity at an early age.

This punishment benefitted them during their early school years and were recognized by their teachers whenever we had our annual parent-teacher conference.

Now that my kids are teenagers, this punishment is way too easy for them.  I need to come up with a whole new game plan.  Maybe I’ll make them come up with a dance choreography…yeah, I’ll do that!

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A Spark Of Hope

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Ever have one of those days when things just don’t seem to go your way or situations pop up that test your limits?  We’re all faced with that time and time again; believe me, I’ve had my share ten times over and then some.  There are other that have it even worse. 

 What I’m most curious about is how others cope with their personal struggles.  How do they keep positive in light of all the bad things that are happening to them?  What gives them the drive to face their dilemma head on and never give up?

 When problems arise in my life, my “doom and gloom meter” starts to rise and my mind starts to go into overdrive about all the things I could’ve done to avoid this mess.  My outlook starts to look depressingly hopeless and my daily routines are all out of whack.

 I start to do normal things on auto-pilot all the while racking my brain on how to solve my problems or obstacles so that I can get back on track and live normally again. 

 When this happens, I start to get into a funk and feel like “Why does this always happen to me and when will it all end!  Can’t I just get a break?!”  Just when I see there is no solution to my turbulent mess, “a spark of hope” appears out of nowhere.

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 For me, that can come in the form of my dog greeting me at Mach speed with unconditional love and adoration.  A big bear hug from my wife. It can even come from watching my kids simply do their homework or observing family members go about their daily routine.  It’s amazing how something so small and mundane can make a difference.

 Just the mere sight of them snaps me out of my much misaligned chaotic demeanor.  It’s weird but seeing something like that, just soaking in those positive things gives me hope. Remembering all the good times and feeling so blessed to have a family like mine helps a lot; knowing that I overcame previous predicaments helps in the process.  Maybe subconsciously I know that I have their undying love and support in my corner and I know I’m not facing my predicaments alone.  

 Can’t really explain it; I get a renewed sense of energy and endless possibilities about my life explode in my head…AND it’s all good.  It feels as if nothing in the world can stop me from accomplishing anything and everything! 

It’s funny how something so simple can become a beacon of unbridled optimism.  Life doesn’t appear so bleak and I’m enthusiastically anticipating what’s in store for me in an hour, a day, a week or months from now.  I begin to envision a more desirable and successful future for myself which might or might not happen.  Who cares?!

 My “spark of hope” is all that matters in driving my life forward.  As long as I have that grain of reverie then everything is fine.

 I can’t fathom how this process works but I’m just truly grateful that this “spark of hope” can do wonders for me.  I just pray that this sparkle continues to light all of the dark and hard times that I’ll encounter in my life.

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Eyes Wide Open

When something life changing happens in our lives, we no longer see the world as it once was.  We tend to take things a little slower, take deeper breaths, smile more and soak in all the mundane and ordinary stuff that we normally overlooked in our hectic lives. 

 Why does it have to take something so drastic for us to stop and truly appreciate all that we have in life?  We get so caught up in paying our bills, material things that we don’t really need and disregarding the time that could be spent with friends and loved ones.

 Our society has us so desensitized as to what we really should be paying attention to.  That’s just wrong.  Granted there are a lot of terrible things happening in the world today but that shouldn’t stop us from really taking stock in what’s most important in our lives. 

 A good laugh, reminiscing on all the great times we’ve experienced, watching your kids growing up, hugging and kissing your spouse, spending quality time with your parent, give thanks for our parents for raising us, cuddling your pet, getting soaking wet in the rain…just the simple things.

We all need to get out of daily routine once in a while and truly enjoy what we have around us.  If we could just do that every so often, our lives will have much more meaning…much more value. 

 Please don’t let a tragedy occur in order for us to really see all the great things in front of us that we ignored.  Enjoy life because it really is too short.  Do what makes you laugh, smile, sing or dance.  Thank God for the life you’ve had and for what you’ve got.  Help those around you in need of assistance.  Create a bucket list and starting living before life has passed you by. 

 Love Hard, Laugh Hard and Live Hard!  Live for yourself, live for your loved ones…live without fear and unabashed enthusiasm!

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My Wedding Vow…

My life had no meaning

it was desolate and blue,

darkness consumed me

until I met you.

The times spent with you

gave me a feeling so great –

it felt like paradise

had just opened its gate.

Your warmth and your kindness

that you eagerly gave,

my belief in your love –

my life you have saved.

Your faith in me was strong

through the good and the bad,

you gave of your love

made me appreciate what I had.

Your lovely voice,

your warm tender smile

the presence of your beauty

makes love all the worth while.

This feeling for you

is so hard to convey,

to pick one true meaning

would be unjustly to say.

My spirit soars

when your presence is near,

“YOU”…the love of my life

gives me reason to cheer.

To have you as a partner in life

is a great honor for me,

and eternity in heaven

is what our lives will always be.