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

Closed
Closed?
Closed
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.

Deperately Wanting – Original Poem

With love in her heart and flowers in her hair
Dancing through the sunflower fields exhilarated by the power of the sun
A free spirit gliding with the birds hovering over the clouds with scents of rosemary and basil showered down from the heavens
In an endless spin, the daisies fly off the sundress as it flies above her knees and the daffodils kiss the ankles
A guardian of creation; cherub watering the seeds of life with every twist and spiral

We are all desperately wanting

Hitchhiking through life looking for drivers to connect with until the road ends
A new face, uncharted roads; road blocks and open air
He offers you a drink, a small delight; a hallucinating escape
He sings a lullaby about the road
One about loneliness and the unsettling comfort of a world without boundary; without connection

We are all desperately wanting he says, as I depart at my next stop

A storm is awakened in the west
Dark grey clouds form on the battlefield in the sky
Ready to attack
A victory is near
Casualties will be drenched
Children drowned
A new beginning
Crying is heard as the clouds load their weapons.

All, desperately wanting

Families hold hands as they kneel in prayer
Sunlight pierces through the stain glass images of Jesus holding out his hands of acceptance
A boy peeks through one eye and see fear in the closed eyes of the congregation
They sing praises of uncertainty
Clinging to the hope of an eternal answer

As the man in white between the pillars leads his orchestra with a staff of written scriptures, we are reminded

Desperately wanting

pray

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