What’s Next ??!!

This Wednesday is the next milestone I am fortunate enough to experience in this journey we call “life.” I’m turning the clock over to another decade !! Now, I understand that aging isn’t exactly an accomplishment. Time moves forward whether we want it to or not. However, in my family line reaching 60 is an accomplishment !!

My biological father passed away at age 26. His brother passed away in his early 40’s and his other brother made it to his late 60’s. Therefore, I am truly grateful when I get to start yet another year roaming the planet.

What does the next decade hold? I honestly don’t know, and I’m comfortable with things being unknown. I’m relatively healthy and active. Work has never been this exciting, robust, and creative !! My wife and I will celebrate 35 years of marriage in October, and our adults are successful as they learn how to live their lives and careers.

I’ve never been a person who had to have the next steps of life planned out or predetermined. The truth is when things are overly scheduled and structured, I get a bit itchy. I am far more comfortable with spontaneity and going with the flow of whatever presents itself. Ironically, my approach to life makes my wife itchy. That’s one of the many reasons we’ve been successful as a couple. We balance each other in almost every aspect of our lives together.

I do know this. I am going to continue to look forward to what’s next. I do this with anticipation, curiosity, joy, and positivity. I don’t really see another option. I know that I’ll meet new people in the coming years. I know that I’ll get to visit and explore different areas of the world, and I hope to get to meet and connect with more HR peers. I’m sure that I’ll make that transition from work to retirement sooner rather than later. That only means new adventures are just around the corner.

I know these exciting opportunities will present themselves because in looking back over my prior 59 years, I cherish the amazing things that have already happened. I never thought I’d ever be an author growing up, and now I’ve written three books. I could never have imagined speaking in front of any group, and yet I’ve taken the stage to speak to thousands of people. I never anticipated I’d find the love of my life and be blessed with two amazing kids. And yet, we continue to enjoy each other as time marches ahead.

I couldn’t have understood that I was led into the field of Human Resources which has fit me like a glove for my entire career. I’ve been fortunate to connect with peers from every type and size of industry around the globe. Literally !! I’ve had the opportunity to work with and impact thousands of employees for 37+ years. How amazing is that?

Not one of these experiences was part of a wish list or a vision board. (remember those?) I also don’t think that my life is a series of happenstance. I’m a man of faith and I trust that whatever comes throughout my life happened on purpose.

So, what’s next ?? I’m not sure, but I’m geeked to see how it all plays out.

The Sun Still Rises

This Thanksgiving my wife, mother, and I visited my brother Mark in Knoxville, Tennessee. My sister-in-law Kathi’s parents also joined in as well as my three nephews and their families. It was a joy to be able to hang out together for a few days.

My brother and I have always been close. We are both tall, have a boisterous laugh, and we love being together. I cherished it when we lived closer to each other because we would make time to see one another. The moment we embraced this past week, it instantly melted the distance and miles away. It was just a few minutes before we started cracking up with laughter.

My brother has been very successful personally and professionally. I’ve always been proud of all he’s accomplished. As many similarities as we have, there is one difference that stands out. I’ve lived in the same house with my immediate family since 1991. My brother has not. His jobs have taken him all over the Midwest and the South. Most recently, he left the confines of suburbia to move to the country and land on a sprawling 10-acre plot.

It’s a wonderful piece of land that has boundaries of trees around three sides. You can wander for hours and hours in the woods and get lost in your thoughts. He and Kathi were intentional in clearing the land to have an unobstructed view of the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. It’s truly breathtaking. One of the daily highlights of this view is how the sunrise occurs.

I made sure to wake up early every day to go out to the back porch to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, read my Bible, and practice my German. The additional benefit was that I was greeted by the sun rising magnificently over the mountains. The light first started by changing the hue of the sky. Brilliant colors shot across the horizon, and it’s as if a switch was then flipped on as the sun broke over the mountains in the distance.

I took pictures each morning so I could capture what I saw, and refer to them after I left. I wanted the reminder because I think we need to remember the sun still rises every day.

Too often, we are consumed with every possible distraction that frames our basic day. We get buried by so many things we forget to look up. We miss the awe of what a sunrise brings. How would your day go if the first thing you did was have your breath taken away? I think it would be drastically better !!

We also have an opportunity to be a sunrise for others. If they missed the light breaking over the horizon, then we could provide that spark that breaks through any darkness or despair threatening to swallow them. We can’t afford to forget the daily sunrise. We just can’t.

This week pause before rushing out the door or heading to your laptop. You have the time. You truly do. Start the day looking up toward the horizon. Take a deep breath and start your day with awe. It’s worth the time to remember the sun still rises.

A Bag of Apples

I’m a greeter. Always have been since I can remember. I grew up in a small town in Ohio where I saw my mom and dad greet every person by name. When I’d go to school or walk uptown, I would greet almost everyone because that’s what you did. If anyone ever drove by, you’d give them a wave whether you knew them or not.

Heading to college, I made sure to dive in to meet my classmates in my dorm and most of my classes if they were willing to let me. When I was a college senior, my friends hated walking to and from class with me because it would take extra time since I’d say “Hi !!” to everyone including their name. Entering the world of work, I tried to incorporate this practice but found that people became more resistant to this. There was this sense that you greeted people IF you had business to do with each other or to be polite. This led to the pit of casually greeting people without really meaning it.

I struggled because I didn’t see the point of the drive-by greeting. It was, and still is, vapid and insincere. I could tell people were thinking of other things that were “far more important” than greeting one another. For a while, I was a bit forlorn of the work and adult world being so comfortable with being impersonal. Only for a while. I decided after about a month in my first job to be intentional about greeting once again and I haven’t stopped since – 37+ years later.

In fact, I doubled down on this habit. I did all I could to meet folks, remember their name, and then make sure to touch base with them every time our paths crossed at work. I wasn’t quite fulfilled so I started volunteering at the Cincinnati Zoo with a group of wonderful humans called the Young Friends of the Zoo. I stepped up to be the chair of the group’s primary fundraiser at my first meeting with one catch. I wanted to give an announcement at each meeting about our efforts and then meet everyone who attended. I met my future wife at this group who, by the way, thought it was annoying that I wanted to meet everyone. She would avoid me on purpose, but I wore her down and I’m grateful I did !!

I took my greeting mission to the HR Roundtable I began facilitating 23 years ago. I would stand outside to greet each person who chose to attend get to know them, and thank them for making the time. This transferred to the HR chapter when I started going there and stepped into leadership. I continue to expand my greeting initiative whenever I go to HR conferences locally, regionally, at State events, and of course at the massive Annual Conference.

I’ve also been greeting at my church over this same time because my bucket is never filled. There’s always a new face to meet. What’s intriguing is to see people’s reactions when they know they’re truly noticed and acknowledged and that someone is geeked to see them. It’s a joy to make a genuine connection. You don’t know how it lands with those I greet, but that doesn’t deter me.

Then, there’s this weekend. There’s a girl at my church who I’ve known since she was very young and now she’s nearing middle school. Her name is Avalee and she is always bashful and shy when she comes to the door. I make sure she especially gets a greeting !! She’s intelligent, a burgeoning swimmer, and has a big heart. She came up to the door and handed me a brown lunch bag that was ornately decorated and bursting at the seams.

“What’s this?” I asked. “We went to an apple orchard yesterday, and I picked these for you,” she replied. I was speechless. I thanked her as she went past me with her ever-present Mom and Grandmother. I was floored by her simple gesture. I was making sure her family was cordially greeted, and she broke through with an unexpected return.

It’s that simple.

We are surrounded by a sea of humanity each and every day. If I had to guess, we either feel people are in the way of the task we have our mind set on or we feel that greeting each other is a polite nuisance. How sad is that?

I know I’m wired this way and I’m not expecting others to mimic my overt sense of wanting to meet every person possible. However, you can slow down and understand that the people around you are there for a reason. Your simple greeting could lead to a loving gesture. It may leave a lasting impression or be one spark of light that is needed to break through just at the right time. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place? I know it would and I hope you give it a try !!

A Blank Page

I remember having a conversation over 15 years ago with a friend who encouraged me to take my HR Net forum which was driven by emails and develop a thing called a “blog.” I researched what he suggested and felt my approach was fine, so I didn’t pursue it. Little did I know that four years later I would have a blog myself that I’ve enjoyed writing for 11+ years now.

My wife and I were driving back today from a gathering with family friends after watching my beloved Cincinnati Bengals open the 2023-24 NFL season poorly. She asked, “Are you going to write something tonight?” I responded, “I’m not sure what to say.” That was the truth. No keen idea came to mind. Work has been full lately with the normal challenges one faces day to day. Nothing seemed to stand out or felt significant. I hadn’t had any “aha” experiences that jostled any creative juices.

I faced a blank page.

When you write on a regular basis, a blank page can be either a friend or an enemy. You want to share something that is inspirational, life-changing, and memorable. However, you see an open white page daring you to type the first word. It can make you freeze, halt, and even become discouraged. It’s more than having writer’s block. It’s as if the page stares back at you mockingly knowing it’s going to win. Keeping you silent will give the page another victory and keep any form, thought, notion, or idea locked away yet again. Life continues its normal set of interactions. Nothing fresh is shared. Ugh.

However, a blank page is also an opportunity to just toss something out to be considered. It may not necessarily be a new idea or something earth-shattering. But, once it’s typed it can be read. Once it’s read, it can cause whoever reads it to take it in, question it, agree with what’s presented, or challenge it. The thoughts are no longer hidden or in the shadows. They’re in the open and invite others in.

If we take a blank page as something to work from and create, then we at least have the chance to alter the norm. We give room for the work we do to be altered, tweaked, improved, or dismantled. Getting ideas out into an open forum calls people to give their attention and peak their interest. Filling a blank page may give people the impetus to no longer be stuck, stagnant, or mired in inertia.

I encourage you to not dread the blank pages you face. Instead, see them as a catalyst to unleash what’s flowing in your mind. Take the countless thoughts that pull you in so many ways and get them down on paper or on a screen. If you choose to share them, great. If you don’t, at least they get out and give you space to let the other gems floating in the background a chance to move up and get your attention.

A blank page is a good thing. You never know what is waiting to come forth. It may change the world !!

Fix You

A situation recently occurred that I can’t shake. I share about my family often, and I’m fortunate to have such an amazing, supportive wife and incredible kids. They are well on their adulting ways which is a new parenting adventure itself. It’s wonderful to take the steps of life together including the highs and lows, the joys and challenges.

Our son lives in the greater San Diego area while my wife and I are in Ohio. Having him thousands of miles away has its downside because it would be great to see him in person more easily and often. However, I’m also geeked he is in a place where he can stretch boundaries and make a life for himself. One thing Josh won’t readily admit is that he and I are more alike than not. He is creative, emotional, passionate, and talkative and struggles when he feels confined by authority (just like the author of this post).

We have an agreement that if he ever feels like he’s going to lose it, I’m his first call before he reacts. Please don’t think he’s ready to pop at any random moment. Sometimes, the emotions just build up and I’d rather be a safe outlet than have that release be detrimental to him or others. I’m proud of him and love him more than I can express. So, if I get a call that doesn’t quite fit my time zone but it fits his, I pick up the phone.

A few weeks ago that happened. He called me as both his Dad and his HR counsel. His work situation isn’t good. He works for a branch of a nationally known bank for a difficult manager. Please understand every time we talk about his work environment, I make sure to talk about what he’s facing AND his part in it. It’s too easy to have him, or someone at work, just complain about their supervisor. Everyone does this to some extent at some time. You need to make sure to see if there is an issue or if it’s a mismatch of styles and approaches.

In his current job, he’s hit both. The branch has the highest turnover of all branches for people in his role. He has stuck with them through all of this and has the most tenure even though it’s only a little over one year. I won’t go into details of why I received his call because he’s going to work through it – as he should personally and professionally.

The part of the conversation that broke me was that he was two words into the call, “Hi Dad . . .” when he burst into tears. The kind of crying where you can’t catch your breath. I felt helpless sitting at my desk knowing I couldn’t get to him and embrace him for comfort.

“You told me to call you. I don’t want to f&*#ing go back to work. I just don’t. I can’t take it anymore,” he was able to get out between the sobs.

“You don’t have to. You can walk out. I don’t know that you should, but you have that ability. Before you do that, tell me what’s going on,” I inquired.

Fifteen minutes later, we landed in a good place and he went back to work. Even though the call was so emotionally charged, I was grateful he reached out to me first. I got another call a few weeks later because of another incident. He shared what happened and we went through more time together calmly so he could continue to move forward. I’m not sure where this will land, but I hope he leaves this situation with a challenging manager to find another opportunity where he can apply himself. I know it’s just around the corner if he takes the first step.

No one wants to see their children struggle. Life is tough. It will have struggles. No one is exempt from this. You wonder if you’re making enough of a difference and an impact to make sure they know they are loved and supported. Not just with words, but with actions and behavior.

I share this story because I know I go to work with a multitude of others who are also working through “life” in various ways. It may involve children, parents, finances, decisions, disappointments, etc. Regardless of what is in front of everyone, they bring what they’re facing to their jobs. They do their best to put those interactions aside to focus on their work. Most of us mask things enough as to not let others in because we don’t want to burden them with our “stuff.” I get that. However, to be flippant, ignorant, or dismissive of what others have going on is unacceptable.

We can’t pretend we’re interested in the well-being or mental health of others if we ignore what people are experiencing. It’s naive and narrow-minded. I’m not going to give you a method, approach, or steps to follow because I don’t have the context and knowledge of the people you’re around. This is only a request for all of us to be more conscientious and aware that the work people do is literally a very, very small portion of their lives. It may be where we interact, but it is strongly influenced and swayed by life’s circumstances.

Just knowing you’re available to genuinely be present for others is enough. It’s a start many long for because too few have that assurance. You need to be that “first call” like I am for Josh for others. It makes a huge difference !!

After the first call, Josh texted my wife and me to thank us for being there for him. He shared a song that he said he plays to remind him of this truth. He said it gets him through because it’s how life has been so far. He knows we are always his “home” even though we’re miles apart. He shared the link in the text and I began to weep. These weren’t tears of sadness. They were tears of love and support.

Be there for others. It’s who we are as humans.

Here’s the song from Coldplay . . .

Unhurried Conversations

This past weekend I traveled up the road for two hours to my hometown. I was there to visit my Mom and help her with some tasks. We’re at the stage of life where I’m now the trustee of all her financial decisions. Quick note – my mom is 84 and is in excellent health !! She is far more active than most people I know.

I know whenever I visit there will be places where I can lend a hand. I love doing it and am grateful to have such a healthy relationship with my mom. I’m fortunate to say I have healthy relationships with my extended family. I tend to see more relatives from my mom’s side, but it’s true with my stepdad’s side of the family too. My relatives from my biological dad’s side of the family are scattered all over the globe. We connect every so often and it’s wonderful as well. I don’t take this for granted. I’m well aware of many people who don’t have healthy or strong relationships with those in their lives. It touches my heart and I wish it wasn’t the case for anyone.

Mom and dad have had some rental homes for decades and she’s trying to get them sold now that my dad passed in 2020. So, after signing papers at the local law firm’s office, meeting the new landlords, and signing papers at the local bank, we squeezed in some other errands and items she wanted to be attended to. The entire time I was with my mom we were talking. We talked about the work at hand, my job, my wife’s job, our kids, and life in general.

There has always been an ease in talking with my mom. This is not only true with me and our family, but with every person she encounters. It’s almost as if you feel compelled to share openly with her. No matter who she’s with, they get her full attention and interest. She never states something and then moves on before a response is given. Time seems to stand still for her when it comes to other people. Even though she has the next “thing” to do, the person engaging in a conversation with her would never know it.

The best time where we chat is over meals. There’s a regular cadence of getting the meal ready, saying a prayer over the food and for things happening in our lives, and then we dig in. She may be one of the best cooks on the planet. I know I’m biased, but her home cooking is always on point. We talk and talk even though we know other tasks need to be addressed later in the day. And, of course, you end with a dessert of some sort because she has the most enormous sweet tooth. Saying “no” isn’t even an option.

After a magnificent dinner of Irish Stew, we cleared the table because my aunts and uncles were coming over for the Friday night tradition of playing dominoes. My aunts and uncles are also in their 80s now. They didn’t know I was visiting and there was true joy, warm embraces, and a gentle kiss when we saw each other. I headed into the dining room to start playing when my mom grabbed my arm and said, “We visit first.” So, everyone went to the living room and an unhurried conversation ensued. It was glorious !!

We covered the obligatory “catch-up” items since we don’t see each other regularly. Then we easily transitioned to talking about what was happening in their lives. I was a keen observer who chimed in every so often but spent more time listening and enjoying hearing them share with each other. There was laughter, friendly poking at each other, and also updates on concerns about the health of family and friends. (Remember, they’re in their 80s.)

After about 45 minutes, my mom said, “Well, Steve was hopeful he’d get to join in our weekly dominoes game.” And, it was on !! How cool is it that I got to play a game with my mom and my aunts and uncles? There are 13 rounds in a full game of Mexican Train and I hadn’t laughed so hard during several ooh’s, aah’s and “Why did you play that there Steven?” The game flew by and we ended with the mandatory dessert and coffee. We had cherry pie for Februcherry (insert groan here) and vanilla ice cream.

The unhurried conversation flowed throughout the hours while we played the game. It was a thread keeping everything knit together. The ribbing of who was in what place was also wonderful. I ended up in 4th place out of the six of us and it didn’t matter at all. Having meaningful time with my family was what mattered.

The time at home was a reminder of the value of slowing down, paying attention, and enjoying each word that is spoken and shared. In our world, we spend far too much time sprinting from task to task like a giant pinball. Nothing, and no one, gets our total focus or time because we tell ourselves if we dare to alter our lightspeed life, then our world will fall into utter chaos.

IT JUST ISN’T TRUE !! (and it never has been)

I don’t know how long or how many times I’ll get to see my mom and aunts and uncles over the coming years in the future. I hope there are many more times versus fewer. We’re not guaranteed a certain amount of time on this planet. I wish we were, but it’s a true unknown.

Since that’s our reality, I’m going to be more conscientious and spend my time like I did this weekend. I’ve learned from my mom. I cherish unhurried conversations and do my best to have them with everyone every time we meet. Nothing is more important to me than giving others my time. Nothing.

This week slow down. You can and you should. There is an unhurried conversation waiting for you to initiate or join in. Life is too short to miss these. Be unhurried.

All We Have Is . . .

This past weekend I was back in my hometown of Ada, Ohio. I know I write about this tiny village often and it may seem that I romanticize it at times. I’m good with that. I’ve had far more amazing experiences there than most other places.

You see, a combination of two events collided all at once. The first was the 109th Farmers & Merchants Picnic, the longest consecutively running festival in Ohio. It brings the entire town together at the only park for a full day of activities ranging from an opening parade to people playing Bingo to a tractor pull. The park teemed with people of all ages visiting with each other and taking in everything they could. The weather was a bit cloudy and cool so more people were drawn out to enjoy the picnic.

The second event was my 40th High School reunion !! 40 years.

I graduated as a member of the Class of 1982 from Ada High School. I have fond feelings and memories of my classmates and my time in high school. There were 73 people in my class. I know this is considered small by many, but it was the perfect size for me. It was the kind of school where you could participate in as much as you chose. I was in everything. I mean it. Everything. Clubs, sports, choir, and all things academic. I thought that was normal because many of my classmates did the same things.

Now, when it comes to reunions, many thoughts pass through your head. You wonder who’s going to come. You wonder what people will look like, where they live, what they do, and how they’re doing. I mean it’s been four decades since we graduated !! I know that I’ve had a ton of “life” that has occurred and I’m sure my friends had as well.

I have gone to a few of the 5-year gatherings after graduation, but not all of them. I felt pulled this time to be there . . . and I’m so glad I did.

We met at the house of one of our classmates. She had hosted before and it was just the perfect place because it gave us the chance to be relaxed and informal which fits our class to a tee. We even had a potluck dinner which is a staple of most small towns. Again, an inviting way to reconnect and catch up.

What was even better was that 40 years laid the path for genuine, incredible joy and affection when we saw each other. As each classmate made their way to the patio in the backyard you saw smiles that stretched across each face followed by a long, warm embrace. That was before one word or story was shared. We were just glad to see each other once again.

What we had come to realize is that we all had one thing in common . . . time.

Time is the only connecting fabric of every human life. It can be our friend and our enemy. It can be something we’re blessed with, or it can be cut short. Time, and only time, is our common bond as people.

The question you have to ask is – What do you do with the amount of time you get to experience during your lifetime?

I think my classmates have come to terms with this and it only took 40 years !! We didn’t spend time being comparative. We didn’t spend time judging whether or not someone was “successful.” Instead, we savored every moment we had and listened to all that had happened to each of us since the last time we were together. People shared joys, challenges, and rich anecdotes. Each of us talked about the addition and loss of family members over the years. We also took time to see if we could recall and locate those that weren’t able to come to the reunion. We did this because we missed them and hoped they had been able to join in.

The majority of our time together was filled with laughter. That was perfect because no matter what we had gone through since 1982, joy was where we landed. We committed to staying in touch with each other, and I’m hopeful we do until we meet for our 50th reunion in 10 years.

We all have the opportunity to be mindful of the time we’re given. I hope you have decades and decades of time to share with others. That would be a blessing. But, don’t take it for granted. Don’t wait 40 years to realize that every moment you have can be cherished.

Remember . . . all we have is . . . time.

What’s Stopping You ??

This rainy Sunday gave me some time to jump into another writing exercise. I’ve decided to write another book which would make three for me. I’m anxious and eager at the same time. I don’t take anything for granted in starting this. It’s both exhilarating and daunting because I’m sure I’ll hit some patches where it will get slow and challenging to push through.

Writing a book was not in my line of sight in the past. I was encouraged by several people to give it a shot after doing public speaking at conferences for years. It sounded like an insurmountable challenge and I ignored the suggestions from others. On top of that, internal voices of doubt also kept me from moving forward. I came up with countless excuses of why and how I couldn’t write an entire book.

Finally, one day I took my laptop down to my favorite lunch haunt and told myself that if I could type one chapter of new material, I could write a book. I started typing. The words began to flow from the ideas I had, and then at the end of lunch, I had a chapter. I was geeked to have taken the step to break through my doubts, insecurity, and uncertainty.

Do you have something that’s been nagging for you to accomplish or attempt? I’m sure there is. It doesn’t have to be a book. It could be something monumental or something simple. There’s no set list of what you can do in your life personally or professionally. Too often, however, the same doubt that held me back is the same for others. It takes an intentional effort to break through this wall which will appear to be impossible to do.

The truth is it takes more energy to be inactive than it does to be active.

We believe just the opposite. We convince ourselves that the energy, knowledge, talent, etc. to take the first step is too much. So, we sit and start to have feelings of regret which only piles on our ability to move. Soon we’re stagnant and unsure we can ever reach those accomplishments which had filled our hearts and imagination. As time continues to naturally flow by, we are less and less likely to attempt anything.

Let me encourage you to turn that around !! You see, the only certainty in life is time. We hope we will have decades and decades to live a full life, and I hope that is the case. However, there is no guarantee. Thinking we have endless time ahead of us is a positive way to approach life, but it also gives us a reason to procrastinate. Please note that I live in the hope I have many years ahead of me. There’s nothing at this time to show me that isn’t true.

I just don’t want to live hoping the accomplishments that could be ahead of me will fall into place by themselves. I will never have “enough” time or a big amount of time with nothing pulling at me for my attention. It just isn’t how we experience daily living.

This week pause for just a bit. Reflect and write down those things you would like to accomplish. The list you feel you’ve been unable to get to. If you want to change jobs, what steps do you need to take to make that happen? If you want to make more of an impact in what you do in your current role, who do you need to collaborate with for it to become a reality? If you want to travel to a location you’ve always wanted to see, what budget can you put aside in order to save and reach that destination? If you had people encourage you to write a book . . .

I think you get what I mean. It’s time to quit living in quicksand. It’s time to see what’s stopping you and then see how you can take that first, difficult step. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you do !!

Being a Dad

Father’s Day is a wonderful time filled with a mix of emotions. It’s a day to be thankful and fondly recall my two dads. My biological father, John, passed away when I was four years old. I don’t have a ton of memories of him, but my extended family has told me we have the same walk, same loud laugh, and the same dose of extroversion. My dad never met a stranger. He would make quick friendships at every turn. It served him well as a Seargent who served in Vietnam because he was always focused on his men instead of himself.

My mom remarried when I was 13 years old to my second dad, Don. It wasn’t easy for him to jump into a family with two teenage boys. However, he made it work. He was a glorious example of work ethic, serving others and the community you lived in. He was always the wittiest person in the room, and he taught me countless lessons on how to be a consistent husband and father. He passed away at the end of 2020 and I miss him daily.

My “kids” are now adults. They are out on their own and I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are finding their way in life, their careers, and their relationships. We are having real conversations about every topic possible and I love seeing them continue to grow and develop. There have even been a few times where they’ve asked my advice !! I nearly fainted the first time it happened and cherished it at the same time. Making the transition where we are now has been the best stage of fatherhood yet.

I know I have been fortunate with my two dads. Trust me. We have had our ups and downs and disagreements. I’ve had the same with my kids. But that’s honestly just life. Life happens and I wouldn’t change a moment. My two dads were with me through all the facets of my life and I plan to be there for my kids for as long as I’m on this planet.

I’m not sure what the future will hold for me, my wife, or my kids. I hope that one day they have fond memories of their dad and share the experiences they had with me over the years.

For everyone who is a fellow dad – Happy Father’s Day !!

It’s quite an adventure. An adventure worth taking.

A Christmas Wish . . .

As we are in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I wanted to capture my thoughts in a poem. Wishing you, your families and your friends only the best !! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a blessed holiday season to one and all.

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A Christmas Wish

Another year’s about to pass

          A trip around the sun

We always quip time flies so fast

          We’re always on the run

What have we learned this time around

          Through all the highs and lows

We keep yearning for some certainty

          Amidst the ebbs and flows

We’ve all felt joy and also loss

          We’ve seen things displaced

We wonder what emotions

          Are masked upon our face

There’s been so much exhaustion

          We all seek some release

We want to see each other

          We seek much needed peace

The world still has its problems

          Some folks don’t get along

I wish we’d come together

          For then we would be strong

My wish for you this season

          Is not that hard to do

Reach out to one another

          Connect, lift up, break through

Encourage folks each day

          Be a light that shatters dark

Let people know they matter

          Your impact leaves a mark

Avoid the trap of anger

          When conflict comes, show grace

Embrace that we are different

          And watch discord erase

Another trip’s about to start

          Another year begun

Let’s make this next year special

          And value everyone !!