Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gabe Gabs Entry 1

For many years our 8 year old has made me laugh with some of the things that come out of his mouth. If you read my first blog last month, you got a good example. I always vowed to start writing them down because usually I can't recall what he says. Well I am starting a new series of blogs right now entitled "Gabe Gabs".

I find myself using the phrase "this is an A-B conversation so C yourself out of it" more and more with my kids when my wife and I are trying to have a private conversation. I know private conversation for a married couple with kids is nearly an oxymoron, but I digress. :) Well he knows this. At dinner tonight Mandi started telling me something in a whisper in an attempt to keep it on the down low as it was related to something that Gabe was involved with earlier in the day. So Mandi starts telling me this and Gabe says "Mom, what did you say?" We both looked at him with 'that look'. He looked back at us and asked "Oh, is it any of my concern"?? LOL Dude seriously, is it "any of your concern"? You're 8! Too funny.

Friday, January 15, 2010

On This Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929. He had a lot to say during his life – obviously – but one of the most impactful statements to me is:

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. “

Sadly I couldn’t find when or where he said it but wow is it full of truth. As I will be fortunate enough to be home with my family in honor of his birthday this coming Monday, I will reflect on this truth.

I think we all should realize that our words and actions have an impact on others. I think we choose if they will have a negative impact or a positive impact. I don’t think that everything we do or say should be overly examined before we do it or say it so don’t get me wrong there. Because I think in order for us to have a positive impact on others we have to be ‘comfortable in our skin” first and know who we are. But I do believe the premise Dr. King conveyed here in that I can never be everything I should be until my words and actions impact you in a way that builds you up and helps you be everything you can be. I, for one, don’t want to be at my “mountaintop” only to look back and see people I have impacted that are not at theirs. But am I really at my mountaintop anyway, if you are not at yours?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have reconnected with a bunch of classmates over the past few weeks and even saw a picture of myself from my West Point Prep School days. Wow! I think all that has me thinking about the three words we lived by – and hopefully still do today – Duty, Honor, and Country.

Honor = integrity. I’ve learned over the years that although duty and country is key, I would say that integrity is the most important. If you fall short of a duty, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, fix it, and drive on. But integrity is something that once it is spoiled is nearly impossible to recover. We teach our children that above all protect your integrity and be honest in all that you do. We tell them – kind of tongue and cheek – that we will always find out what they do because we have ‘parent power’. :) So they might as well be honest in the first place. But there is a lot of truth in that because I believe the truth will always come out no matter how slick we think we are being. LOL

We also try our best to have them steer clear of the ‘gray areas’ of life. That’s when we tend to get into half-truths or the “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” categories. A half is as bad as a whole and it will hurt. Remember the ‘parent power’ from above.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making Memories

What a wonderful time we had with our son Jared over the holidays. He was home for about 3 weeks after he completed his first semester @ Indiana University. He is studying music performance – clarinet – at their Jacob’s School of Music and had a fantastic first semester. WAY better than my first semester at West Point for sure! :) We were pretty young when Jared was born and we always tease him that he was our guinea pig and the other two have benefited from the mistakes we made with him. LOL But I think he turned out all right so no harm no foul right?

Our family is truly blessed. That’s kind of cliché I know but in our case it is true. First we still can’t believe that we have a child of ours attending college but that’s a story for another day. We made lots of memories; you know the simple but impactful things. Sitting around the table at meals together, the laughter, watching all the kids hang together, eating out together, watching movies together. Our family and movies is probably a topic for about 3 other blogs but I will say now that we enjoy ourselves and do so for many years afterwards with the memories. And somehow – I guess through mere association – I have converted Jared into a true blue Cowboy fan. As we watched them play together – ok it was only 1 quarter as I guess there was a pressing on line gaming session he had to get to, but I’ll take it – it brought back memories of my dad and I watching them play oh so many years ago.

His little brother – and all of his little friends - looks up to him and thinks he is all that and a bag of chips. And although they still argue like cats and dogs, he shares a special connection with his little sister that warms my heart. I know when push comes to shove; she knows that he has her back.

I’m thrilled to see how he is maturing and coming into his own. He’s a fine young man and I know he’s going to have a fantastic impact on our world. Can’t wait to make more memories when he comes home for spring break.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Tomorrow, 1/9/10, Mandi and I celebrate 22 years of marriage. We said our “I Dos” in a wonderful ceremony in the Cadet Chapel, West Point NY. So when the clock strikes midnight tonight it will be 22 years that equal: 264 Months or 1144 Weeks or 8030 Days or 192,720 Hours or 11,563,200 Minutes! Now that’s a lot of minutes!! Now we are a pretty darn good team and when I think about all of the decisions we have made together a lot of them – especially the day-to-day stuff - “only take a minute”. Kind gestures, gift ideas, or making plans to spend time together they all really “only take a minute”. She has made every minute count for me and I am looking forward to the next 20,000,000 minutes!

Here is an excerpt from Robin Sharma. This appeared on his blog just last month.

It Only Takes a Minute!

It only takes a minute to tell a loved one you adore them. It only takes a minute to run towards a fear. It only takes a minute to set a big goal. It only takes a minute to drink a glass of water. It only takes a minute to read a great idea (that just might rock your world). It only takes a minute to write the most beautiful thank you note you have ever sent your parents (or a teammate or a customer or a high school teacher who blessed your life). It only takes a minute to smile. It only takes a minute to connect to a friend or a co-worker. It only takes a minute to help a human being in need. It only takes a minute to raise your standards to world- class. It only takes a minute to go the extra mile at work and wow a customer. It only takes a minute to reflect on what you can do today to be better than you were yesterday. It only takes a minute to embrace change. It only takes a minute to make a new choice that will lead to your best life. Make the best of your minutes. Each one of them makes up your life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm a Man of a Certain Age

Men of a Certain Age is a new show on TNT that is entertaining and if I’m being honest, pretty accurate. I’ll let you check it out for yourself and won’t go into all the details of the characters. But watching last night I had to laugh at myself as I could SO relate to all the Rocky references. From the song references, to one of my favorite quotes from Rocky 1, to the one dude raising his arms after a victory over a stubborn government agency. Too funny! The Rocky series of movies are my all time favorites! I love the continual theme of working your butt off to achieve your goals and ‘the journey’ being the most important takeaway, almost making the actual victory anti-climatic. It hasn’t been so bad in recent years but in the past my family had to endure me watching these movies over and over again. I probably have watched the first three @ least 30 times each.

I am a “man of a certain age” and know many of you are too. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to play sports for millions of dollars, hoist a Stanley Cup or the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the air, or do a fist pump after making a birdie putt to win the U.S. Open, but we can be heroes in our own ways. Reading a book with your child and seeing his face light up in amazement because dad knows all the big words. Standing up for your child when they are wronged and letting them know you have their back. Making dad’s special scrambled eggs with cheese on Saturday morning. Praying with your kids at night before they go to sleep. Surprising your wife with something she really likes – just because. Being the loudest and most encouraging parent on the sidelines cheering on your kids as they try their best on the fields of friendly strife. Fixing the leaky faucet, changing that light bulb that only you can reach, or fixing the DVR right before “the most important show” of the year to your kids comes on that you promised you would record for them.

Just getting out there everyday for your family and being the best you, you can be! With all of your warts, faults, and shortcomings but your heart firmly in the right place. So let’s celebrate we “men of a certain age” and raise our hands in the air after each ‘small’ victory. Those bad boys add up and I think are the most important anyway.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Grateful

- For a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father
- For a loving and forgiving wife of 22 years
- For healthy, happy, bright children
- For my health and mental faculties - well mostly :)
- For gainful, engaging, rewarding employment
- For wonderful friends and encouraging family
- For a positive mental attitude in the wake of any adversity
- For enough sense to know “it” isn’t about me, no matter what “it” is
- For hope for the future and wisdom gained from the past