Love Letter from the Grave

I won’t be there with you this morning to see the heaviness of your eyes as you smile and hesitantly give me the first morning kiss.  The feel of my fingers brushing through each strand of your soft hair was my heaven.  I am saddened to know that you are releasing tears alone in your quiet safe place.  The place we called our getaway.

I want these words to dry those eyes.

I write this letter to bring happiness to your sadness; direction to your wandering and comfort to your anxiety.  I am here with you.  Close your eyes my love.  Close them real tight.  Can you feel my breath against your skin?  I can see the shivers running down your spine.  That is me.  I won’t speak to you again, but I will protect you.

When the storms come racing in, I will keep you dry.  Dry and safe from the dangers that lie ahead.

I always promised you a lifetime together.  I unfortunately, had to break that promise.  It wasn’t in my control.

Still no regrets.  I lived every day giving all I had for you.  I loved you unconditionally and as many times as I told you, I wish I said it more.

Each day, I wrote a different reason why I loved you.

lost1In the back of the house buried two feet under the oak, I kept that list.  Cherish it and embrace it and if you listen closely you can hear my voice telling you each one of those reasons.

I am thankful that I found you; that you accepted me into your world

Each day was an adventure and a challenge, but it opened my eyes to the wonders of life

You became my compassion, my passion, my heart and my soul

A believer in my dreams and the plane that took me to the clouds

I am forever grateful as I journey to this unknown place for having you until my last breath

I want to write forever so you always have my thoughts

No material value, no mementos needed for us.  We were spirits free and unchained

With the wind at our back and the sun to warm our skin, we saw the world from our perspective.  We saw a world of peace and beauty.

That, my love, is eternal

Eternal as the love we continue to share.

Goodbye for now until you open your eyes in the morning and a bird soar across the sun.

You will know I am with you.

Jessica and Jeremiah 8.29.15 – A Virtual Wedding Album

“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said I need a caretaker, so he created a farmer.” – Paul Harvey

In the small neighboring towns of Senecaville and Lore City, Ohio with a total combined population of no more than 600, two families came together high above the plains on a farm filled with cows, bulls, chickens, turkeys, two dogs, two cats and a silence that could soothe the soul.  On this day, there wasn’t the grooms family, brides family or friends of the family.  On this day, there was one family enjoying a moment of celebration to ring in a lifetime of happiness.

For Jessica and Jeremiah, dedicating their lives to working hard, getting up before the sun and ensuring the land is cared for was an easy decision.  This was a decision made through unconditional love for one another.

We were fortunate to be part of this journey.  From the flat lands of the Lowcountry to the rolling hills of the farms of Ohio, we enjoyed a beautiful and memorable ride.

This is a story about family, heritage and history with the promise of a new generation to carry on in the footsteps of cowboys boots that have but on thousands of miles.

Come along for this virtual journey through the special nuptial weekend of Jessica and Jeremiah:

Just minutes upon arrival after a nine hour drive, we were greeted by two very proud turkeys and chickens on our way up to the rehearsal on top of the property.  The view of the blue skies and bright puffy clouds made for an extraordinary setting.

Our view from the car as we made the last turn to our final destination.

This event was about family.  A union of two; a joining of all.  During the wedding, there were three glass jars of soil.  One large one filled with soil from the farm, one from the home where Jessica was raised and one from the home where Jeremiah was raised.  On the day of the wedding, these three jars became one in a symbolic gesture of eternal union.

Even the bails of hay had a romantic and rustic aura.

Throughout the tent were reminders of the reason we all came out for this wedding.  The smile on Jessica’s face and the sturdy look of Jeremiah, spoke volumes.

Words of love rang throughout the tent in true country style.

Each guest table and the special family tables were ordained with intricate detail.

This is a summer wedding so you need to be prepared with bug wipes.

After a long day of driving, rehearsal and catching up until well past 2 AM, I was greeted on my bed with a small furry sleeping companion.

The big day had arrived and you could not have gotten better weather.  From the hands of the heavens to the farms of Ohio, this was a day destined for perfection.

The hay is bailed but will have to wait another day because today is a day of celebration.

Most will agree that Jessica is Jeremiah’s best friend.  If you spend time with Jeremiah, you may see some competition.  Roxy is truly a companion.  Her loyalty and caring nature was seen throughout the entire day with one of the most precious moments being when she walked around just as the wedding began and then sat patiently just to the right of the bride and groom.  Later in the evening, you could have even enjoyed a sentimental moment when Jeremiah lifted Roxy and danced with her.

No better site than two farmers with a smile.  This was a candid shot of Jeremiah with his best man.

Brian is the proud father in law and father to Jessica.  During the drive from Lore City to Senecaville (10 Minutes), Brian with his beer in hand (he was not driving) gave us the tour of the two towns and all his adventures growing up.

Like a cowboy prom, everyone was ready for the wedding.  Even the future little cowboy and cowgirl.  I dare you find find a more proud group.

The youngest farmer is all ready for the big event to begin.

Almost time to tip our hats to the formal Mr. and Mrs. Miley.

The bridesmaids and groomsmen are escorted out on a tractor and seats of hay.  They all look handsome and beautiful.

The bride is stunning carried hand in hand by her proud father Brian.

In a moment of perfect timing, a plane landed just as Jeremiah was about to say “I Do”.  A little back story.  The pilot was asked to take some aerial shots of the wedding and was invited to have a meal after.  He just didn’t know the timing of the actual wedding so he decided to land on the hill in what appeared to be the groom’s great escape.  A truly classic moment.  The minister, played so well by grandmother and minister Carol, took it in stride and asked Jeremiah the question.

ohio17A union was formed.  Might we see children in the near future?

Love was all around even to the finest of detail.

In the ultimate gift of lasting memory, a bench was built and each guest was asked to sign as a permanent reminder of all that shared in this special day.

Not sure how much longer they can keep these shirts tucked in and being all formal.

The entire day and weekend was truly about family.  They are the foundation of all we stand for.  Faith, family, hope and happiness.

If you are going to leave as a unified team for the rest of your lives, do it in style, on an Oliver.

This was a candid moment that was captured, but I dare you to tell me this doesn’t look like a country album cover.

As the Charleston guests and outsiders, there was never a moment we didn’t feel like family.  Dressed in our best wine colors we felt right at home.  From helping to decorate to breaking down the tables and chairs, we pitched as as any family would.  The trip would not have been complete without the hospitality of Jessica and Jeremiah and Kerry and Brian offering their homes to us.  Also, Carol and Frank spending time with us in their lovely home surrounded by flowers and nature.

Now for a relaxing minute.  And you thought I was kidding about Roxy.

The scenery was as important to the weekend as the wedding itself.  It provided the glory and majesty that made this country so strong and beautiful.  This is the front yard of Kerry and Brian’ home.  Add a cup of coffee and you have perfection.  On the first evening, we slept in the farm house that was built in 1826.  Just 11 years from a bicentennial celebration.

ohio6We cannot do justice to Carol and Frank’s home, but we will try with a few pictures.

One more.

Flowers for all the eye to see.

Spending time with our favorite world travelers made us want to stay longer.  As we drove to say goodbye to Carol and Frank, a song with the lyrics “Wish you could stay a little longer came on”  Later as we entered Virginia, Carolina on My Mind played.  Music played a critical role in this weekend.  Jessica and Jeremiah danced to If Tomorrow Never Comes for their first official married song together.  I Hope you Dance was a warm tribute to the weekend and a long future together for Jessica and Jeremiah.

We could not have been more honored to be a part of this weekend and in a way become part of two very close families.  Thank you.

To Jessica and Jeremiah:

Dance together as if no one is watching

Catch as many sunrises as you can

Remember the importance of family

Fill each day with memories until they overflow

Always remember to believe in faith.  It helped you find each other and it will help solidify your foundation.

corn1

What if – Original Poem

regret1What if we suspended the normal path of life’s train and set it off course?
What if every regret was a sign of a better tomorrow
What if her death taught me to love

In an instant
A crash louder than a sonic boom changed everything
In an unforeseeable act of tragedy, a life is stripped
The living remain; naked
Beating hearts still
Unanswered questions blowing in the wind

What if the story of my life is only a preamble to something much larger than my self; this place; this existence

Hidden behind a secret identify
Up front; masked in insecurity
Secure behind the mask

What if love only exists for the few
The pure

I have sinned
I admit that
I have lived a life of fault
Slightly broken and imperfect

regret2Each day I awake, I promise myself I will break the chain and move forward
Only to repeat once again
Over and over I cry
Wanting more
Yearning for someone to hear these screams

What if they all had a purpose to protect me; to guide to
They walked away, but never disappeared.
Resting comfortably in my mind

What if I follow that light now?

Career Adaptation – Why Change is Necessary

I had an interesting debate last evening on whether graphic novels are considered literature or comic books.  Academia in the United States will have a varied opinion on this question with extreme views leaning heavily on no and yes.  It does pose an interesting line of discussion that goes much deeper than black or white.  The traditionalist view of comic books is that there is an inherent struggle between good and bad; heroes and villains; right and wrong.  That methodology of thinking has changed introducing a deeper shade of gray.  With the upcoming adaptation of the graphic novel into film, we will witness Batman and Superman pinned up against each other.  Both have battled their own inner demons in the past, but they represent the moral good.  Why would they be battling each other?

Graphic novels today are taking us to a new way of thinking and a new way of learning.  A form of storytelling that was once deemed unacceptable in schools is now a part of literary teaching.

Why do graphic novels add a new element to the way students are learning literature:

  • Graphic Novels / Comics are understandable and engaging to today’s youth.
  • They allow us to overcome our own real life fears and struggles by connecting to the heroes and all they had to overcome (alienation, abandonment, death).
  • There is a sense of loyalty to the battle.  Heroes and villains have a history that is uncovered with each issue that deepens the impact of the struggle.
  • Today’s society no longer has clear cut definitions of right and wrong.  We struggle every day with poverty, overpopulation, unemployment, mental illness, social alienation, relationship barriers and more.  Sometimes decisions that may be morally wrong in some eyes have a greater good to another.
  • Graphic novels are not linear.  We must look closely at images, dialogue and story to uncover hidden secrets and truths within the lives of the characters.  There is a true complexity within the stories.
  • So many thrive for a world of escape.  Whether it is better or not is not the critical question.  Why we need this temporary escape is.  If this weren’t true, Marvel films would not be making 1.3 billion dollars with each Avengers release.
  • In the world of academia, we will always need Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  We also need to find a way to relate to a generation wrought with creativity, angst, apathy and doubt.

Now, how is this comparable to a adaptation within your career?

Otherwise, there wouldn’t be value in this article.  Change is inevitable.  I have witnessed in my professional career, the birth of the internet, applicant tracking systems, automation, social networking, video interviewing and Infographics.  The entire playing field has changed.

My first internship in recruitment:

  • I recorded our job openings on a cassette tape for candidates to dial in and listen to.
  • All resumes were in a tan metal filing cabinet
  • All applicants had to do a basic math and English test in the lobby
  • We manually called each candidate to reject or extend offers

bat2Big changes.  As professionals we need to embrace change.  I am not telling all of you seasoned professionals you should drop Turner Classic Movies and start an Instagram account.  Nor am I saying learn Ruby on Rails or HTML web development.  I am saying to never lose site of the pure thirst for learning.  Employers offer thousands of internal and external resources to continue to develop your skills.

In fact, I was forced to learn basic HTML web page editing when we did not have a resource and I learned all I needed from YouTube videos.

A few tips:

  • Look at where you are and where you are going.  What is your long term career passion?  Do you have the skills for where you want to be and if not, what is your goal to get there?
  • What is your action plan?  Create a project plan on how you want to achieve your goals.
  • Do not walk in with any personal limitations.  If you feel like you cannot learn a skill, you won’t.  It is that simple.
  • Reward yourself with each milestone.

There you have it.  Never stop expanding your mind.  It is a simple rule for success.  We can thank Superman and Batman for today’s lesson.

A Comforting Thought – Original Poem

drownCan you hear me?
Do you still think fondly of me?

Every night I set time aside for internal mediation surrounding my aura with memories of our time together

A potion to my anxiety
A calmness to a storm brewing deep in the ocean of my mind

I do not know my plan
A manifestation from a deep belief in a faith larger than existence
A warm thought
Scripted by suggestive prophets and edited by jesters in courtyards of solitude

Swimming now
Keeping my head above the water imagining being six feet under feeling the ocean water and my inner body pool become one
Crushing my lungs squeezing my claustrophobia like a squid out to play
Soon a million memories will drown in an instant leaving behind a lifeless corpse

A comforting thought
Piercing this fragile shield of plastic
Are we all plastic?
Coated from emotion
A paradox
Betrayed of emotion; abandoned

drown2A synthesis of sound, now flat lining in one harmonious buzz
A frequency so high, life is unable to hear

A comforting thought
Deaf from the light
Blind from the symphony of love songs

This is what has become
Footsteps washed away
Clean particles of sand fused for all eternity

Shattered in Pieces – Original Poem

Every night as I lay alone, I dream
Dream of a perfect life I am yet to find
A life of fulfillment; a life led with meaning
A purpose buried deep beneath these footsteps that repeat in an infinite circle

Sober with this bottle, I wander without a single movement
Still as a statue
A brain trapped; absorbing all around

In this darkness, I see everything
I feel without touching

See the infinite soul of Galileo
The pen of Dylan documenting the angst of a generation
The confused brilliance of the brain of Brian Wilson
The pain of the migrant workers from the misguided perfection of Steinbeck

I am broken, savoring in the pieces scattered in the wind

Someday the winds of change will take me home to a place I can close my eyes in peace
The voices will silence for just a moment
One brief moment to find my way back to a time of innocence; a time of love

Under the stars, head nestled on a volume of the scriptures
Heaven and hell a two voided bubbles neutralized by the staff of life

What will I be?
Beyond the bang is the answer
Written on a piece paper from the feather of an angel
Hidden away for just the right time

Wishing for You – Original Poem

hands1I wish you could see what you mean to me
Strip the layers of lies; numb the screeching of anger
Stand naked in the spotlight of truth

You say I’m a dreamer, but I only dream of you
In the past, a wanderer, but now I seek shelter in you

Wake up
Wake up
Wake up

Staggering through life bumping into strangers
Once here, now gone

Just pieces scattered on the floor representing an unfinished puzzle of memories

An escapist in a life you cannot leave
Not in seclusion
Not in suicide
Not in denial

To find my way back to you
Over mountains
Across treacherous seas

hands2On this island with thoughts as my companion, I think
Pondering time lost; meditating on a life not yet lived
Balanced in mental and physical symmetry

In the center; the eye of the hurricane, a vision of your face
Calm and surreal

Welcoming with your soft virgin hands

I wish you could see what I see
A world where forgiveness is rewarded
Peace is blessed with bounties
Love is the restoration of hope

Close your eyes and feel the sun release its energy into your soul
You will see