WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM?

These last few days have been filled with sadness as we have been mourning the loss of Margie’s mother Ruthanne. I have always been someone who searches for the light in the darkness. There is no more difficult time to do this than when we lose somebody who means so much. If there is anything my faith has taught me is that there is always something to be grateful for.

Of course we would all very much like to have Ruthanne back to hear her sing one more song, laugh one more time with us or even just to put things in perspective the way only she could do. Thankfully we have lots of videos, pictures and memories where those moments will live on. In addition to the great lessons in life that she has left behind, there is another gift I have discovered in the midst of this somber time.

While making arrangements for the celebration of life planned for Ruthanne, there were generations worth of pictures to sift through. I am a big fan of history to begin with, but being able to see first hand the family history of the woman I love is something truly special. Of course we would love to have Margie’s mom present to go through these photos with us, especially to enlighten us as to who some of the less familiar faces may be. Yet, it is through her passing that the gift of discovery and in some cases revelation of many family facts and stories.

On a more personal note, I could not be more grateful and excited to learn more about where the love of my life came from and the people, places and events that help shape her into the amazing woman she is today. Plus, adorable baby pictures like the one above are hard to pass up. I was honored to get to know her mother and see how Margie learned a lot of the traits that make her the woman I love. I am also humbled to be the man she chose to have by her side as she goes through with what is the most difficult time of her life. It is my sincere hope that the knowledge I am gaining by listening to the stories (and Storys) and looking at the pictures will help provide me with more and better ways to help provide her the love she needs as her heart makes the long journey towards healing.

YOU FORGOT A GIFT!!

Just when you thought you opened All of your holiday gifts, I’m here to inform you that you forgot the best gift of all! The funny thing is that you have had this gift not only the entire holiday season, but your whole life! It is the greatest gift you have ever received, yet most of us have never opened it, or at least opened it all of the way.

What is this amazing gift and why haven’t we opened it? I think most of you realize that the best gifts are those that are not material. Good health is a gift that cannot be overlooked. Sadly this year I have lost too many whose health failed them. Bring physically vibrant allows us to fully enjoy the holidays. Good health isn’t the greatest gift…exactly.

The love of family and friends is one of the most precious gifts. The love I have with my beautiful lady Margie has transformed how I experience the holidays. When I stop and think of how many wonderful people I have shared and am sharing my life with I am overcome with gratitude. The love of family and friends is not the greatest gift…exactly.

Memories and moments of joy are gifts that are hard to top. I mentioned I lost several close people this year. I think of times when my uncle and I would travel to a local car show and spend the afternoon together. Although because of his passing, I’ll never experience that again, being able to share those moments with him was a gift that will keep on giving.

The joyous moments we experience both throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year are gifts that fill our soul. Whether it is a heartfelt moment with the one you love, or even the well-wishes from a stranger. They all bring smiles to our hearts and to our faces. Memories and joyous moments are not the greatest gift…exactly.

What is the greatest gift? Why do I keep saying exactly? I keep saying exactly because all of these things are part of the greatest gift – your life. Without being given the gift of life you could not experience, or help others experience, all of the gifts we mentioned above.

What do I mean about not fully opening our gift of life? Each one of us have been given special skills, or gifts that we bring to the world. Some of us can create a beautiful cake, like my love. Some of us can make people laugh. Some can make people think. Some encourage. Some inspire. Some do a little of several of these. Whatever your gift is, understand the greatest gift you can give to yourself, and more to the point here, the world around you, is to live that gift to its fullest.

Maybe your gift is to make people laugh, but you’re so busy with work and family you don’t often get a chance to do so. Take the time my friend. Start writing a humorous book, maybe start a blog of daily smiles. Whatever you have to do to live your gift. When you do you find a spark has returned to your heart and their is passion in your soul. A person living and loving life in just such a way is the greatest gift we can give to our world.

P.S. – I must give credit to my friend Michael Davis for inspiring this post.

FOR EVERY LEVEL, THERE’S ANOTHER DEVIL

I recall a few years ago having a discussion with my friend Travis. At the time we both wondered why it seemed that people who are trying to good end up with some of the worst things happening to them. It is a question that millions have pondered since the beginning of time. Why do bad things happen to good people? While pondering this I was struck with a line of inspiration, as if I was receiving an answer to that very question. It is that very answer I am excited to bring to all of you. This single answer, which Travis and I discussed at length, has changed my life and helped me survive what has been a very rough year. I hope by hearing the answer I was given, it may do the same for you and the ones you share it with. Here is what came to me after years of asking this question –

The devil doesn’t bother with you unless you are a threat

Now I am not telling you what to believe, mere how the answer was conveyed to me. Feel free to call it negative source energy, the universe whatever allows you to digest the point here. For years I looked around and saw some of the hardest working people I know faced with economic challenges. I have seen some of the most enlightened and compassionate people I know faced with illness, sickness, death of loved ones, job loss and every other imaginable obstacle you can think of. To be honest, it frustrated me. Ok,, it actually did more than that, it pissed me off. How unfair was it that all of these people who were trying to make the world a better place by either helping others, or just being a great person themselves face such tough times? Meanwhile, those who seemed not even to value the life they were given, not to mention others seemed to catch breaks? Reading that you can catch a glimpse as to the spirited conversation my friend and I were having.

Let us get back to the answer to this question. Think of politics. The parties usually argue and put down only those they feel stand a chance at costing them the election. Sports teams put the most effort into developing a plan to beat the teams that will prevent them from winning a championship. The same is true when you are trying to make the world a better, more positive and rewarding place, whether that is by directly helping others, or leading by working to be a positive example yourself. Let us think of what the world would be like if we had more kind, compassionate and enlightened leaders in the world. There are certain people who would not be very happy with that.

Sometimes it has to do with profit, sometimes it has to do with jealousy. When people succeed in anything be it financial or even inner peace and joy, it shines a light on the fact others have not succeeded in that same field. Instead of asking or working to find a solution as to how they did it and use their success for inspiration, a lot of people find it easier to tear them down as it somehow helps them feel better about their own position. Sound a bit harsh? Check out the tabloids in the grocery store. Do they ever tell you the story about the soon to be world-famous author who went out and partied and ended up wearing his girlfriends glittery top? No, his life may be no better, or even worse than yours. Achieve any kind of success and people start looking for you to fail.

This is why, when you meet a positive person understand they may have had to overcome some of the greatest struggles you have ever heard of. It is easy to be cynical or negative. It takes no courage, no persistence, no faith. Remember the title of this post, for every level, there is another devil As we make our way through life working to grow and better ourselves we will be faced with an ever increasingly difficult ‘devil’. It is there to test our resolve, to help us grow our resolve. It would be easy to just throw in the towel and resort to being negative. That is the easy way out, and that is what some are just waiting for you to do. The more you wish to do, the more you are going to have to face. It may seem like a sign to give up, but it is actually a sign that you are getting ever closer to your goal. DO NOT GIVE UP

BECOME IMMORTAL

Our time here is finite, our influence does not have to be – Neil Panosian

Ah to be immortal. To live on forever. This has been the goal of countless civilizations. Some individuals claim to have conquered this feat, such as Count Saint Germaine. Science has pushed us ever closer to unlocking the keys to extending life longer than we dare dream. Theologians of every belief speak of the souls eternal wanderings.

You do not have to be a famous alchemist to conjure up a spell to preserve youth. Nor do you have to rely on some miracle of modern science or medicine to unlock the secrets of the human genome. You do not need to have faith or belief in eternal life to become immortal.

Immortality can be accomplished in one word – legacy. What will you leave behind. One of the great truths in life that many never realize is this – what you get in life dies with you, but what you give will live on long after you are gone.

My grandfather was an amazing man. He taught and inspired many great ideas in me. Some were passing comments that only now am I appreciating the full value of. He continues to teach me years after his physical passing.

I’m sure all of us have someone like that in our lives. They have left us with lessons that keep them alive in our lives and hearts.

I also recall some of the great givers in history. Andrew Carnegie, who gave us the modern library system allowing even the poorest to educate themselves and bring to light their own gifts.

The poet Rumi, whose words bring both contemplation and inspiration. His words can be found daily on the internet even though he has been dead for hundreds of years, his words live on today.

Mother Teresa whose acts of selfless kindness have not only touched the lives of all those she helped, but who have inspired and gave hope to those in need. She also set a great example of what compassion in the modern world can do.

If you wish to be immortal, begin to ask yourself today, what is my legacy? Am I focusing more on what I am getting, or more on what I will leave behind? If you wish to be immortal, write a book, compose a beautiful piece of music. Inspire others with your gifts of kindness, love and laughter.

Most importantly, remember what we get dies with us, but what we give lives in forever. Think of someone you know that will be, or is, immortal. Feel free to mention them in the comments below.

DEATH MAKES YOU YOUNG

 

 

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This title may have you scratching your head and wondering if I have returned to drinking large amounts of rum. I can certainly understand if you were thinking both, but the reality is far more inspiring.

How can death make you younger? Truly, that sounds close to insanity. This touching and inspiring story is not mine, but was emotionally relayed to me by a gentleman at a show that my lovely lady and I were DJing this past Sunday. This man came in with a group of people and signed up to sing a song. Fairly straight forward at this point. In this group there was a gentleman who was a little older than the average person that comes to our shows. When he stepped up to the microphone he seemed to just exude not just happiness, but a true passion for simply being there. No matter what seemed to be going on around him, the smile never left his face.

A while later the younger gentleman came up to sign him up to sing again and what he told us was such an inspiring tale I implored him to let me share it with all of you. He was kind enough to agree, so for that I am grateful. The older man was his father. He had been in the hospital fighting some serious issues. A formerly healthy man had found himself down to 150 pounds and fighting for his life. In two separate instances, his wife, the young man’s mother, was asked if she wanted to ‘pull the plug’ and end his misery. She replied defiantly, explaining her husband was a fighter and she was sure he was not giving up so neither was she. The doctors were not as hopeful as she was and tried to ease her into accepting the inevitable. She knew the man she loved better than them and was having none of it. Sure enough with the love of his wife and son, as well as others this gentleman continued to fight and pulled through.

This truly was a great story, but what does it have to do with growing younger? Recall the way I described how the gentleman had approached singing that night. He never lost his smile and seemed to just radiate passion for simply being alive. After hearing his story it is easy to understand why that might be. As beautiful as his state of being was, it had an even greater aspect, it was contagious! As his son told his story, tears filled his eyes. “Look at him.” he said as he pointed to his father. “He is just so happy to be alive.” You could tell his son treasured each day with his father as what it was, a gift that almost taken away by illness.

It was not just this man and his son that was affected by his ordeal. Him and his wife were like teenage lovers. The whole evening they looked at each other with love in their eyes and joy in their hearts. You could tell this woman who made the ever so difficult choice of not pulling the plug when her husband was suffering so greatly, was truly living the dream. She now had more time with the man she loved and almost lost. I do not know what their relationship was prior to this, but I imagine like many others it might have fallen victim to the law of familiarity. There is a lot of love, but even subconsciously, we begin to take the person and even the love a little for granted. We assume they will be there tomorrow and the next week and next year. It seems only an experience such as the one this couple went through can move us out of this rut.

The takeaway today is this – let us not wait for a tragedy, or near tragedy of our own to begin to fall in love with our life and those inside of it. Hopefully, this story will do for you what it did for me, that is realize how quickly something, and someone can leave us. This year I have lost 3 people very close to me. One was in his 80’s, one was only in her 40’s and one was in between. As truly heartbreaking as these loses were, the end result was the same; I had the great urge to run home and wrap my arms around my lovely Margie and remind her how beautiful and loved she is. It inspired me to laugh more, to love deeper and to not take anything or anyone for granted.

It is often through our greatest loss, that our appreciation for what remains can be rekindled. Life has a way of blinding us to the beauty that surrounds us everyday. You could certainly think of those who have already crossed over and what we wish we could have shared with them, but let us not forget all those who are still in our lives and mean so much to us. Take a few moments and ponder how much your life would be turned upside down if you lost that job you always tread going to. Look into the eyes of those you love and ask yourself what if you lost them today? What would you most regret not telling them. Most importantly, tell them now. Realize it is never too early to let someone know how much you love them and never too late to fall in love with your own life.

On a side note, the young man told me something else that really touched me. His father read one book before he went into the hospital and again while he was recovering, my book.  A Happy Life for Busy People To be a part of such a heart-warming story means more to me than I can explain.