For your courage and bravery we honor you – Forever in our hearts

fort3“Courage and sacrifice are attributes that define heroism. To risk a life for a greater unknown is an act of honor and patriotism. Over the last 250 years, brave men and women have put their body, mind and soul at risk to protect our freedom. For this we honor and salute you.”

Thank you to my father and all those that dedicated a moment of their lives to protect us.


“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” – General George S. Patton

“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”- Winston Churchill

“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.”- John F. Kennedy

“One of the best ways to keep peace is to be prepared for war.” – General George Washington


Under a Carolina Sunset – Original Poem

She wore that yellow sundress
Basking in the Carolina sunset
A sky of orange and red streaming to the notes of a Bach

Not a care or a worry
Just her love waiting in the distance with his denim and a glimmer and a place she calls home
No more goodbye in those sparkling eyes

Dreaming of cornfields and lilies, this little girl has become an angel
A beauty for the ages; a porcelain sculpture with no imperfection

With her boots in the air she dances to the rhythm of the country
With the memories of ma and pa playing music on the porch, she smiles

They smile back in a warm embrace; reminding her to always look to the stars and know

The horizon is limitless
A world without boundary; a life without limit; a harmony as strong as her heartbeat

The spirit of America rings strong
Powerful and free

flower2Swept by the wind; tickled by the flower petals brushing against the soft curves of her legs
Hair flowing as swiftly as the doves above

She falls, letting gravity pull her down to a bed of green grass

In a deep sigh she reflects on a life of good intentions

Now she closes her eyes and visualizes a world of hopes and dreams wrapped in ribbons and bows

Hard Rain – Original Poem

Winds from the East; rain up above
The mighty gates of heaven woke up to a thunder roll

A peninsula drowning in tears

It was a moment of faith
Tested far beyond our reach
We braced in the temples and prayed for relief

It was a mighty hard rain falling on our home
Covering our memories
Drowning our hopes

Washing away the lives we had built; homes we had made
Generations watching from rescue boats as they said goodbye

A hard rain fell on a land still filled with scars
The sounds of tragedy still linger behind

In the darkness, we found heroes
Rising from this drenched hell
Helping neighbors
Providing shelter
Opening their doors to strangers

Soon the sun will rise high above the crystal clear blue skies

A smile from the angels
Opening their hearts for the anticipation of  new tomorrow

hard2A light will dry our land; warm our shivering bodies
Once again to be reminded of a special place filled with promise; aligned with strength

It is a place so few will understand
A place where history and the future collide
Where family is a fort never to be broken

A hard rain fell and today we sing and rejoice

The Clown – Original Poem

clown3I have been sleep walking all my life
In a trance; unable to determine day from night
Darkness from light

I can’t get this makeup off
A permanent smile masking a void soul
Darkness in my veins poisoning the light of my heart

A clown in a circus of fools
The laughter only disguises the salty tears of this crying jester

Each night a new crowd; a new town
Families locked hand in hand
Lovers with lips to kiss

A new set of faces eager to hold onto innocence one moment longer
With the final applause, the crowd seizes
Under the moonlight, empty seats stare at me
No friends, no home, no hope

clown2The elephants provide comfort slowly crawling through life behind the wooden wagons
With their drooping eyes, they judge not
Without emotion, without prejudice
It’s not enough

With this big red nose I breathe a little slower
Hoping to freeze time and turn it around to the moment the glass shattered and it all went wrong

Without the cheers, I exist no more
Behind the makeup I remain disguised until I hear the final sound of a child’s laughter

Is it ok to be yourself?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It turns out this little thing we call the internet, which has spawned off many love children, has created a bit of a monster.  I don’t know if any of you noticed.

A few days ago, I was listening to Duran Duran on my Sony Walkman while trying desperately to finish this Rubik’s Cube I have been working on for weeks and this skater came over and said “Dude you are so cool.  I am Instragraming this.  Old School Nerdie Dude.”  I was like, what are you talking about.

Turns out, I am behind on the times.

There is a reasonably important point to my anecdote.

With the onslaught of social media, it seems many of us are trying desperately to create a “Brand” for ourselves.

  • Chief Fun Officer
  • Chief People Officer
  • Communication Maven
  • Digital Prophet
  • Fashion Evangelist
  • Hacker-In-Residence
  • Chief Curator
  • Innovation Sherpa
  • Futurist
  • Chief Happiness Officer

Yes, these are all real and official job titles.

My question is, “When did we stop being ourselves?”

I like coffee, going for long walks, red wine, dining out, traveling, writing, taking a long stretches first thing in the morning, warm showers (not too hot), vegetables, sitting in the rain, dreaming, disc golf, painting, being a total dork.

Does that mean I have to change my title to “Chief Dork in charge of drinking wine and coffee and taking long showers while dreaming of travel and disc golf”

No.  No it doesn’t.  What we seem to have lost sight in is that we are who we are.  We aren’t required to document it and flaunt it.  Just because the medium is there.  What is more fascinating, is that we will spend more time creating an image for ourselves than we do being productive in life.

Let me know when we have the titles:

  • Chief Facebook Addict
  • Instragram Snob
  • Chief Twit
  • Head of Candy Crush Edibles
  • Head of Wasting My Life on Words with Friends

Focus your attention on being the best “YOU” possible.  Take your energies and harness them to your work, life family.  As our lives are getting easier with technology, our laziness is hitting all time highs.  Stop pretending to be something.  We are inherently simple people with simple dreams and simple lives.  Some achieve extraordinary.

Look closely at the extraordinary people throughout history.  They are just normal people doing memorable things.

Was Einstein “Crazy Hair Guy”

Was Steve Jobs “Crazy Idea Guy”

Was Edison “Works to Hard Guy”

They were just Einstein, Jobs and Edison, innovation legends.

No flashy titles or brands.  Just contributing greatness.  Think about it.

Heaven is Closed – Original Poem

I knocked on the door
What seemed like an eternity, was only the beginning of one

I don’t know if they can hear
There is no sound

Without time I cannot comprehend
The space without walls has no beginning or end

I knock once again
A sign appears like a mystical illusion on the door
Written in Latin; cryptic and primitive

All my senses aware now; I translate

What can that mean?  Heaven is closed

I ponder for a moment a future that has no timeline
Am I here or there?  Can I leave this place or am I nowhere?

I sigh
One of the long deep sighs where one exhales carbon dioxide and inhales the pain of a thousand years of suffering

Yet no pain as my organs have been left behind
No skin to pierce
No body to hold

The soul is a funny thing
No touch, no reflection, no emotion
It’s a silly thought with no laughter

Heaven is closed
I am left to wonder
Is it full; have to many sinned or is it not real

Faith has a weird way of adding a twist at the strangest times

Heaven is closed.
Is it temporary?
I’ll wait without even knowing it

A Lifetime of Happiness: Communication, Love and Family – The Glue and the Fuel

Is it possible to spend forty-three years of your life, fifty weeks a year, 86,000 total hours, 8600 plus hours commuting, 1375 hours in travel in a place and be satisfied?  More importantly, can you leave behind a legacy that makes yourself and your family proud of the career you have made?

That was a mouthful to swallow.  Let me take a step back.  How many remember exactly what they did at work yesterday?

Sometimes that is even a hard question.

We work our little butts off making crafts and climbing robes in elementary school and junior high.  Then we fight for a reputation in high school and then start right over again redefining ourselves in college.  If we are lucky, we get to stay a little longer in graduate studies.  Then the big decisions happen.  What do I do next?

What do you like, you ask yourself?

  • Sleeping in
  • Drinking, partying and dancing
  • Hanging with the friends
  • Ultimate frisbee
  • Afternoon naps
  • Road Trips
  • Playstation

Not the most transferable skill sets.  We obviously have a dilemma.  How do we translate current state to future state and still find the same level of happiness we had for the first twenty-two years for the next forty-three?

happy2If there was a simple answer, we wouldn’t have all these blogs and articles on career planning and career management and happiness in the workplace, blah, blah, blah.

Throughout history, we have seen very content and satisfied employees that have had roles ranging from extremely complex to overly simple.  From Thomas Edison to Fred Flintstone, Einstein to Homer Simpson, one constant is true, finding value in your work and balancing it with the true elements of happiness:  Love and family.

Maybe we found our variable.  Love and family.  So, we have two wandering puzzle pieces:  Crazy fun you and responsible consistent you.  Both are running for the hills in opposite directions.  What if….What if, there was a magnetic glue that could push the two together and then hold it tight.  Love and family.

I believe we have solved the greatest mystery of life.

Let’s take five minutes to do a little assignment.

Take these three categories and list five things you love about them and five things you do not love

  • Social / Play Life
  • Work Life
  • Family

Next, find the common elements in all three.

Put those common elements on a piece of paper or index cards with the title “Things that make me happy in my social, work and family life.  What are yours?”

Now mail these cards to five of your closest friends and family members.  No texting, no emailing, no cloud sharing.  Mail!!!!!  Stamps and all.

Add a post it asking them to find five things that make them happy at work, life and family and then share it with five people.

Besides the fact that this is a great way to communicate and a unique and fun exercise, it will open some eyes.

One of the areas so many of us fail at in life is communication.  We hold back and bottle up our feelings in fear of confrontation, loss or disapproval.  This is a passive method of letting others know, there is happiness in all we do and sometimes we need to look to others to harness this.

This is an exercise that can be done at work in a team building session as well.  Don’t rule that out.

Love and family may be the glue, but communication is the fuel that will lead down the road of a lifetime of happiness.

Don’t forget that.