(Not) another, my kid is great story.

Not another my kid is great storyN(not) another, my kid is great story.

Time flies by so quickly and for a parent before we know it our baby is an adult.   With the permission of my  one and only son, I have the honor of telling two stories of his miraculous life.

I start first with that little doubt that rolls in all parents heads.  It gets set off when those nauseating stories are heard when someone talks or posts pictures about how great their child is.   Some parents today are so full of, or lack thereof, their own dna pride they seem to have to prove it to the world through their children.   But where did it really come from and why do some get that ‘gifted’ child, and some not?  Why is a Lebron James body born in one and a Mr. Bean in another?

Of All the Days! My Coming out of the Closet!

Coming out of the Closet on Good Friday.

Of all the Days!

It is Good Friday.   Today I’m coming out of the closet.

(Please note –  I wrote this 3 years ago exactly on Good Friday 2013, but was in my ‘I’m too fearful to go public with my writing days’.  This is it  in its original form with a few minor changes.  It was written at the time everyone was putting this:red flag

on their Facebook page over their pictures, remember that?)

Separated and panicked in Atlantis, Left Behind

policenassauI couldn’t decide whether I should cry, freak out, remain calm, or just laugh. Not a penny on us to pay for this cab fare, caught in traffic and wondering if my wife and daughter have decided to wait or head to the cruise ship with our passport, boat pass, and everything else. Ahhhhh!

This is part III of this story.  For the full story first Read Lost in Atlantis  and Lost, separated and panicked in Atlantis if you have not done so prior to this.

Lost, separated and panicked in Atlantis

Lost in AtlantisHold onto our stuff so it does not get wet while we take a little ride in the cove has turned into a manic panic situation for my son Zack and I.   We must find my wife and daughter soon or we’ll not only miss the boat, we’ll be stuck on ‘Paradise Island’ with no passport, no I.D., no money, no nothing! Help! (Read Lost in Atlantis Part 1 first to catch up)

So far we have trekked through 9 tunnels and passed by a rapidly becoming irritating number of ‘aquarium’s’ that all are looking exactly the same. Running from end to end has become the mode of movement, the heck with worrying about breaking the flip-flops, sweating like a pig, and worrying about what people are thinking as I am calling out my wife’s’ name in hopes she’ll hear us and respond.   Still no sign of them anywhere.

Lost in Atlantis

Lost in Atlantis‘Don’t worry, you’ll find us, we’ll be in the tunnel with the aquarium just on the other side of where we ate.’ Me, ‘I think it’s a bad idea, but if we do miss each other, hang by the ‘same’ bathroom where we entered onto the Atlantis grounds.’

Those were the last words we exchanged before being separated, lost, and totally panicked in Atlantis as time was inching towards being left behind by the Carnival cruise ship, Fascination.   What were we to do with no I.D., no money, no phone, no passport, and nothing but our swim trunks, t-shirt and these godforsaken flip flops?

Defeating Defeat – Whilst Dealing with Doubt

Dealing with DoubtThe definition of Defeated – de·feat·ed – having been beaten in a battle or other contest. “the defeated army”,   demoralized and overcome by adversity.

The definition of Doubt – to be uncertain in opinion or belief; to be undecided, to be inclined to disbelief, to hesitate.

I started off this week feeling pretty defeated. First my football team lost in the Super Bowl, so that didn’t help. On the job front, my inbox and to-do list was overwhelming every portion of my mind. How can I ever get all of these demands completed? And even if I fulfill all of them, the odds of seeing positive results seem extremely slim. The negative vibes can sure leave one feeling very defeated at times, ever feel that way?

Defeating Defeat – (Final Sales Meeting Post)

josh-normanIt amazes me how critical people, who have not made it anywhere in life, so easily criticize the reactions of how others respond in defeat in a major event.   We all know the results of the Super Bowl now and those who won celebrated to the max and those who tasted defeat had various reactions including one of the Panthers players ‘breakdown’ pictured above. Losing is hard to take, all the more so, when you are so close to being #1. Having a mindset of winning internally, is a worthy battle, but a virtue we all can benefit from, it takes Defeating Defeat.

Avg Joe Sales Meeting – Opening Recpt

openingArguably one of the best parts of a sales meeting for us veterans is the opening reception.  I sometimes forget how much like a good family reunion it is to re-connect with fellow workers, many of whom I only see once a year.

As I’m getting more sentimental in this midlife the good memories flow. Having been fortunate to be at the same place for many years, unlike many industries where turnover is heavy, my cohorts and I have been together for many years.   Yet it is still overwhelming to arrive at the reception area. This year we have reserved an entire sports bar for ourselves.   It is difficult to not remember the first such gathering where there were less than 100 people total, now I know less than 1/4 of the crowd.

Avg Joe’s Sales meeting 2016 Day 1

tsaprecheckDid you ever wonder what goes through the mind of a salesman throughout a typical long and laborious sales meeting? Maybe you are the spouse, or the curious accountant wondering what goes on at these events that send a person off in the air to a rah rah meeting.

This is year #32 for this Average Joe, 16 of them with the same firm.  Stick with me from ground CLT airport to the Mecca called Huntsville, Alabama, that we admirably call ‘HuntsVegas’,  for Average Joe’s thoughts as I soar through another sales team week. (noting they will have a time delay, no time to do them live, I am at my real Job)

For a guy whose blog theme #1 is ‘Pursuing Peace’ (if this is your first time here, click here for a backgrounder) what better place to start than from my closet packing to go to the airport?

Shattered

shattered coffee cupSmashing to the floor, not once, not twice, but three times on the same day, flew some of our dinner dishes.   How can the sound of a plate crashing onto a ceramic tile be so loud and painful?   More unbelievable is my wife slept right through all three drops. Equally strange were my reactions. The first two times I was perturbed with the mess, but after number three I had one of my Mom’s thoughts run through my head, fantastic, things always come in threes, so all the bad things are over. End of story,   NOT.

My dueling doubt mind was not going to let this ‘happening’ get by so easily.  I always look for the secret message whenever

Fear of flying – My flight with Maurice Clarett, 2003

OSU_Miami Ticket_001Twelve years ago I was so blessed to witness live Ohio State winning the Fiesta Bowl National Championship with my 15-year-old daughter.   I vividly recall screaming at the top of my lungs, throw the flag, throw the flag at the ref who nearly turned the greatest game in college football history Read Here for the Game Recap    into the worst no call in history. I knew it was my voice from 40 yards away that caused him to pull that flag out.   Instead of yet another horrible memory and loss, mine and all other tortured Cleveland and Ohio State fans pain came to an end. What a thrill it was to watch Maurice Clarett, an Ohio kid from Youngstown, scoring the game winning TD and then the D’ stopping Miami in the 2nd Overtime for the Buckeyes victory.

A few days later we were flying from Phoenix and boarded our connecting flight from Cleveland to Columbus.   Erin and I were the first to board the small plane and she walked quickly on to the plane ahead of me when I stopped in my tracks. Sitting in the first seat all

Four Years Ago, Dec 28, Remembering My Mom

005My Mom was a professional worrier, I dedicate this blog site in honor of her and others like her and myself that sometimes let worry get the best of us.  I am now fairly convinced that it is possible for someone to worry oneself to death.  My Dad was hospitalized after having a bad fall breaking his hip (after fighting dementia for 2 years) and it seemed inevitable that his time was near.  During the last months, she went from perfect health to having congestive heart failure and fulfilled her own prophecy, that she would go before he did.  It was almost unbelievable that when I got the phone call from my sister, clearly expecting her to tell me Dad had gone, that instead it was Mom.

In honor of my Mom’s passing four years ago, here is her eulogy that I presented in Columbus, Ohio in 2011 at her beloved church:

Do You Dare?

ConformityImagine a group of eighth graders all ticked off at a teacher and plotting to teach her a lesson.  She’s been mean, rude, yelling at us every minute, and everyone’s had it with this witch in an elective class, choir. Seriously how important is choir? And this is the largest group ever assembled because we were good last year.   Let’s have a mutiny!   We all decide we’re going to drop out of the class and teach her a lesson. All of us!

I’m the quiet kid in the group that never raises a nerve. This rebellion idea sounds really good. Singing the same line over and over again, that is dumb and irritating.   The next morning I march straight down to the principal’s office and drop the class and take another elective. I’m so excited I have the guts to join in the overthrow and cannot wait to see the look on her face when NO ONE shows up in class. We will teach her a lesson, won’t we.

Does Loyalty Pay? Pt. 1

Loyalty Dog 2

Loyalty programs are one of the benefits for us road warriors that offset being away from home too often. The secret to making the most of them is to pick a single program and stay loyal to one in each sector.

The object of these marketing (that is what they are) programs is to make you a loyal customer – Read here for detailed analytics of what THEY want from you.

Loyalty programs are designed to pay out based on volume.   If you spread out your airline, hotel, rental car, and credit card usage to multiple places it reduces the rewards to nothing.   They pay out what will cost them little such as hotels or airlines that typically are below capacity on weekends giving away what is normally empty space.   If you have accumulated a large number of points, it allows the luxury of fulfilling week long vacations, which are only available with high amounts of points. You can only stick it to the big guy by doing what they really are seeking, your loyalty. Personally, because of my travel schedule, other than food, we have not paid for a vacation in 16 years.

‘We’re all just one decision away from stupid’. Part III of – That moment, when you are thankful for what did not happen.

One of my biggest delays before starting this how to live well blog was being sure I totally had my act together. My biggest fear was knowing that the first group that would read it would be friends, family and  people I work with.   They especially would be the ones who could call me out in a heartbeat.   Fear of judgment from others can be suffocating.

Why Not Me? Part II of – That moment, when you are thankful for what did not happen.

WhyNotMe Our bellies are full and Thanksgiving day is over and we reflect. For some it may have been the best day ever with family and all the things we truly are grateful for.   In our household this year it was one of the better ones but difficult breaking bread with my mother-in-law suffering with stage 4 dementia.  For others it may have been the worst ever.   Seeing all the happy Facebook posts from people can be depressing if your situation is not so hot.   It is so easy to get in the Why Me syndrome and spiral downward with negative.

That moment, when you are thankful for what did not happen.

That Moment When you are thanful

Thanksgiving is here and it’s time to think about all the things we are thankful for.   I am so grateful for my family, friends, good health and a long list of other things.    I am quite blessed and thankful to our God who loves us as a son or daughter caring about our every need.  We usually go around the table every Thanksgiving in our house and have everyone name one thing they are thankful for.   This year I’m going to change the pattern as the story behind this picture I took last week is all about that moment, when you are thankful for what did not happen.

Is religion evil? Avg Joe’s Full Story

cross picIs religion evil?  Avg Joe’s Story

I was recently reading one of those message boards where two people were going at each other about religion in a not so pleasant way. One of them stated   ‘religion is the root of all evil’.   When it comes down to it if you look at how Webster’s Online Dictionary defines religion and the state of some religions that have existed over times past and present, I might actually agree with the statement.

Websters def   “Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”

At one point in my life I really agreed that religion wasn’t necessarily evil, but it sure did have a lot to question. That is until some coincidences turned my world upside down.

If not now, when? If not you, who? But where?

Do somethingIf not now, when? If not you, who?   But where?

The voice of the average Joe is seldom heard these days, let alone daringly as it was portrayed in a historical place called Solomon’s Portico.  (Read my bio to see who, where and what I am talking about)   For a long time this average Joe has stood on the sidelines allowing fear to reign.  Self-doubt, skeptics judging motives, and world beat downs that dueled with my confidence have frozen me in my tracks.   Way too many bites in the back (like my horse in the cover page is doing) have caused scars that have brought on the proverbial Whoahhhh, stay in a safe place.   Can you relate?

The time IS now, for this Average Joe to come out of the closet. No better place and time than here and now where I will write about triumphs, failures and lessons learned, often the hard way, in the pursuit of true peace.