Sunday, June 17, 2012

Different Perspective for Father’s Day

On my car ride in to work, I usually switch between a local Christian music station and a national sports talk show. Very random, but I think that sums me up pretty well.

Anyway, Mike and Mike radio host host Mike Golic was being asked about dropping off his youngest daughter to Notre Dame University. She was going there on a swimming scholarship and is joining her two brothers who already attend school there. All of a sudden, Mike and his wife were empty nesters. It made me think about my trip to college and made my cringe.

After checking out several colleges with my dad, I finally decided to 31go to the University of Missouri. I was excited for the chance to “be on my own.” We got there early that Wednesday morning and got my room assignment. We were working out the final details of switching rooms so I could room with a guy I had known for a few years. After that was all settled we brought all my clothes and stuff purchased for college into the room. A lot was going on. What was going on in my mind though was a million miles away of what was going off in my dad’s mind.

Now that I am a father of two, I sense he was thinking of the times I would run to him when I needed help. Maybe he was thinking of me playing baseball or basketball or studying for a test. (Okay, that last one is pushing it, I know.) He was going through emotional hell is what I am now thinking. His first born is heading off to college and is out of the house. Sure, I came back for breaks and random weekends; however, I was not to be there consistently ever again. And my response to all this: Call the pager company to find out why my pager was not working.

I was sitting at my desk doing all this as he was waiting to say goodbye. To my defense, okay I have no defense. I cringe to this day about that moment. Did I ruin it for him? What had he envisioned? I can only imagine his sadness as he left and what he felt.

I do not think my father and I or even my mother have talked about that moment until I am now writing this. I am not sure he even sees it the way I do. It amazes me though how everything changes once you have kids of your own. I see my two year old now and think of how much he has grown. I am scared to see what is going to happen five years from now, but I am in the same sense excited.

I have learned from my father to cherish every single moment. It means the world to me that I see that now. It makes me cringe that I recollect my first major college experience as that.

So dad, from the bottom of my heart I am sorry for that. I Cameron's Birthday 024remember the times we raced in the yard. Or the practices you drove me to time and time again. Or the time you took me to West County Mall to drive on Thanksgiving and Christmas while I may have been under the legal age. Or the time you mourned with me at the loss of a friend. Thank you for all that you have done for me and your experience has prepared me for when my time comes when Cameron goes off to college.

I love you dad.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Last year I wrote some thoughts on Memorial Day and the importance it should serve to all of us. I have two grandfathers that fought for this country in WWII and am always proud to mention when talking about them.

This past October, we took a family trip to Washington, D.C. I had been once before; however, Stephanie and Cameron had never been and it was somewhere Stephanie wanted to go. Since baby number two was going to be coming in a few months and we knew vacations for awhile were going to be focused on kids, this was our chance.DSCN0024

On our way to D.C., we stopped off in Shanksville, PA where the final plane from 9/11 went down. It was amazing to see how in the middle of nowhere it was, but completely worth visiting. Driving through their main street of town, it is decorated in flags and everything patriotic. It was quiet as we walked through the memorial. You cannot go within several hundred yards of where the plane went down; however, you can see it from DSCN0019the memorial and feel grateful for what the passengers stopped that horrible day.

We arrived in our nation’s capital later that day. The very next morning, we decided to go to Arlington National Cemetery as well as the Pentagon. I had not been to the Pentagon area when I visited a few years ago. However, we wanted to go now that they had opened a memorial for 9/11. When we arrived, there were many parking spots due to it being on a Sunday. So we parked and made DSCN0042our way to where we thought was the entrance to the memorial. To say the least, it was not. It was the actual entrance to the Pentagon. We turned around quickly from the armed guard station and saw where we were supposed to go. It was crazy to think we were standing on the ground that the plane had gone into that day. It was a very quiet, simple memorial.

Each of these two memorials had stones at the entrances listing all who died that day on the planes and on the ground from the impacts. It is hard to not get emotional reading these names. DSCN0059

Our last stop on this day was Arlington National Cemetery. We knew it was going to be the last stop as Cameron was nearing naptime and you do some major walking here. We walked throughout the Cemetery seeing the John F. Kennedy gravesite and the eternal flame. We also saw his brother, Robert F. Kennedy’s gravesite. We walked and walked. We went over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We got there just in time to see the Changing of the Guard. Even though I had seen it once, it gets to you every time you see it. Cameron did very well here as I held him while the wife got some pictures and a better DSCN0083view.

We could tell Cameron was getting more and more tired; however, there was a few more things we wanted to see. We started making our way down the hill that led towards Section 60. If you do not know what that is, it is the area where those who have lost their DSCN0095lives in the recent conflicts are buried. This was tough. Stephanie took one picture, the one you see here. It is something that a camera could not capture. These are guys our age and younger who have perished for our freedom. As we walked down, we saw either a parent or a brother sprawled out over a grave sleeping. I cannot imagine the loss of a child or brother and to see his was emotional. Another family was around another grave talking to each other. I hope that through their loss, they understand how grateful people are for their lives.

This trip was full of a lot of sightseeing and a lot of walking. But I remember these things very much because of what they mean to our family. We are grateful for our servicemen and servicewomen who have served and our currently serving. We are trying to pass this on to our sons now. Sure, they are too young to comprehend what is going on. But, when one day they are taking their kids to these places, they can pass this on as well.

Thank you to all who have served and we remember the fallen on this Memorial Day.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Memories of a Friend

I found out this morning of the loss of Alex Moore. Alex is someone I had not talked to in several years. I had run into his mother a few years ago right about the time I was interviewing to come back to St. Louis. I have been thinking about the fun times we all had through high school and into our college years.

We attended the same church and went on many different trips together with our church. There was one trip that we always remind me of the type of person that Alex was.

I had just lost a very close friend of mine. I remember going to church that night in shock and just feeling horrible. We sat around and talked about our friend we had just lost. The funeral was set for later that week in Michigan, where his family lived. Alex knew I wanted to go. He knew my friend who passed but wanted to do more than go to the funeral. He offered to drive me to and from the funeral. He knew I was in no shape to drive to such a traumatic event for a 20 year old to experience. When we got there, he sat with myself and our friends’ family to all hours of the night talking about him. I will still remember us sitting at Steak ‘N Shake talking about him and laughing.

That single event encompasses Alex. He cared for others and wanted to help anyway he could during their time of trouble. He had such an infectious laugh too. He had the laugh that he laughed with his WHOLE body and it made others laugh.

I grieve for Alex’s friends and family today. I know he is upstairs with our Father not walking with Him, but running with Him. Probably challenging him to a run or bike ride. Our prayers are with you Rick, Jo, Erin and Adrienne.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter 2012

So, I was outside today doing yard work. We have actually put a pretty solid effort into the yard this year with Stephanie growing a vegetable garden and I am  getting grass to grow where a tree once stood in the backyard. Doesn’t sound like much but looks different! Ask our neighbors.

I was nearing the end of raking the excess grass up when a song I was listening to on my phone stopped me in my tracks. God has a funny way of doing that, doesn’t He? The song is by the artist Steven Curtis Chapman. I have been a fan of his for quite sometime, even when he was in his mullet phase.

The Chapman’s have three children of their own. They also have adopted three other children from China and made it a passion of theirs to try let others know about the importance of adoption. He has been working in Christian music for over 20 years. He has won Granny awards and many Dove Awards. None of that seemed to matter on a day in May a few years back.

The Chapman’s youngest biological son accidentally ran over their youngest adopted daughter in his car as she ran to greet him as he came home for the day. Steven Curtis Chapman drove her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. They then had to bury their daughter and were grief stricken.

Now, I have never experienced this type of loss in my life. I have no idea what I would do if something like this would ever happen to me. But as I sat there and listened to this song in our backyard nearly breaking down, it made perfect sense to me, especially on this holiest of weekends, Easter. God had to send His one and only Son to die for each and every one of us. He rose three days later and conquered death and sin.

We all go through different trials in our lives and different pains. We go through losses and challenges that make us question or faith and our God. But from listening to Steven Curtis Chapman and this song, it is okay to hurt. But know this: God’s got your back! He will always be there for you. He went through this same unimaginable pain that the Chapman’s went through and He still sits on high watching out for us and comforting us through our own tragedies.

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote this song before the accident and then changed the last verse after the accident. It is very powerful. Please listen and remember all that you see and all that we go through, “It’s all Yours God.”

Technorati Tags: ,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year in Review - 2011

Another year in the books. A lot of things took place this past year. Here is a general list of things that happened throughout the year

January – I had my general manager’s conference in San Francisco and the wife joined me for the first few days. It was our first trip toDSCN0383 San Francisco for each of us. It is quite a town. We did some major walking and sightseeing each day while we were there. We saw Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, rode the Cable Cars and of course, Stephanie had her In-‘N-Out Burger. Not a fan but the wife is and we made it there on our second try. We did find out some unfortunate news while we were there my my great aunt passed away. I was not close to her but had the privilege to introduce her to Cameron a few months after he was born.

February – Found out what a GM in the lovely Midwest has to do during a winter storm. I was camped out for two days at the hotel. The wife was not a huge fan of that part of the gig; however, she still supported and understood why I had to do it. Had my 31st birthday as well.

March – Cameron’s first birthday. We had a crazy first year with him IMG_0799and all that happened with us. It was a fun time for him and he got to dig into his first birthday cake as well. It was quite the entertainment. I know that he had very little clue what was going on. It was pretty cool seeing all the friends and family come over and celebrate. It was fairly emotional for Cameron’s parents with all that had happened. I am grateful for every day I have after our story. I am grateful that I get to watch my son grown up and have the chance to teach him many things my father taught me. Thank you God!

April – July – Family and work consumed me during these months. Between audits, birthdays, and my second father’s day, it seemed like there was hardly any downtime. We did make a trek across the state for two reasons. Stephanie loved a Mexican restaurant in DSCN0788Phoenix and we saw that they had the restaurant in Kansas City. What makes it an even better day trip was because my brother was working out there with his company. So we went and had lunch with him out there and came back to St. Louis. The other major event was… Cameron’s first baseball game! Many thanks to our friend Kristi for the tickets. We had great seats and came soooo close to seeing a perfect game. We had a blast and got to see a Cardinals victory.

August – Well, I am glad that we made that trip to see him. Found out my brother was taking a job down in Florida with his company. I felt the same way that I am sure he felt when I left to move to Phoenix. We all agree that was absolutely the right decision (see wife, child, job, friends, etc.); however, it is still tough. It was a fairly swift and abrupt departure but he made his way down there near the end of August.

September – Fairly uneventful. Brother had just moved and I was preparing for an audit. Oh I guess there was one other thing. Early in the month, the wife came to me asking me to read a certain test. I told her to take another, and another. And then to go purchase the expensive test. Then we had a doctor’s appointment. Okay, time to accept it! Baby number two is on the way. We told our families and as many friends as we could before we did the official announcement: FACEBOOK!

October – We took a much needed vacation driving across our gorgeous country. We went to Washington D.C. for just about a week. We got to stay with a good buddy from college in Columbus, DSCN0020Ohio before we made it to our nation’s capitol. Before we got there, we made a brief detour to where Flight 93 went down on September 11, 2001. It is in the middle of nowhere! It was quite the drive but worth it. It was emotional to be where one of the planes went down on that tragic day. Once we arrived in DC, we went to where the plane went down at the Pentagon, followed by Arlington National Cemetery. Not the most DSCN0080positive day, but a day we will remember from our trip. We saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, JFK’s gravesite and a newer area I had not seen before. Section 60. It is the section where those who have been killed in action from the recent conflicts. I saw a family member crying on the gravesite of a loved one. You see some of the graves and how young those who died were. To see family members coming out after recently losing a loved one from serving our country, quite emotional.

I could go on and on about the trip; however, the next major event was: GAME 7 OF THE 2011 WORLD SERIES. We got tickets way in the bleachers and they were awesome seats. Once again, Kristi DSCN0318came through giving us the opportunity to purchase tickets and thanks to my folks for the early Anniversary present! We enjoyed every minute of it and when it ended, our Cardinals came up on top, many thanks to the local kid David Freese. What a night. Just being there for a game seven is one thing. Seeing your team come out on top, is astonishing. We collected pieces of confetti, fireworks, ticket stubs, etc. I have been to many Cardinal games in my life; this is one of the top three ever!

November – We had to breath a little after a busy October. We got to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents and my brother. It was a great day to give thanks for everything we have been given. The wife made a magnificent dinner for us all. We finished the month by heading down to Phoenix to visit friends. We had not seen these people since we left in July 2009. It was so great to see everyone that we could. We know we missed a few people; however, we are grateful for all of our friends we did get to see. Special thanks to Steve for opening up his home to us and to Rick for allowing us to use his car. Meant so much to us all.

December – We came back from Phoenix early in the month. We then introduced Cameron tree leaves and how much fun they could be. He took to it. He had a blast in the leaves and made both of us laugh for quite sometime. We celebrated Christmas over here with my parents. Another great meal from the wife and had more fun watching Cameron unwrap presents. Holy cow did he have fun! Stephanie’s mom made it in as well and got to watch him go nuts over Christmas presents. Even though her time was short here, it was still good to celebrate the season with her as well.

To sum it up, it was a wild year. Many ups and downs and we trusted God throughout them all. 2012 has a lot in store for us. Happy New year to all!

Technorati Tags: ,,