The Spirit Never Dies

On August 21, 2020 my father would have turned 75. He passed away in October of last year after a battle with Dementia. It was unexpected and painful but what I've experieced with him since his death is otherwordly. The last few years of my father's life I prepared myself for what was to come with a disease such as dementia. I knew that his memory would eventually fade to dust and I would not be what I once was in his mind. But what about the heart? Does the heart's love fade as the mind's memory? In my experience it does not. In fact in many ways our love grew and we got closer. We speak more now and their is less judgement of one another though I still strive to make him proud.  He first showed himself to me in the form of a Hawk. Since then when l miss him most, a hawk seems to appear. I've always had a love of nature and was told by others that the spirit finds its way to loved ones. This pandemic has been far from easy. With each day that passes my family gains a greater appreciation for the freedoms that we all once had and also for the love that we have for one another. With less distractions I am able to lock in and think before acting, slowing down and as my wife, Candice likes to say, TAKE A BEAT. Dad and I are cut from the same cloth. He was hard to the core and as an Air Force Vet, loved rules and regulations. He was the most honest person I've ever known, if he said he was going to do it then it would be done. Most of all he loved me. I was his only child and though he was not one to give congratulations or kudos to me personally, he would speak of me with great pride to friends and family. I love you dad. I miss your voice man. Thanks for stopping by every now and then for a brief check in with your grandchildren and I. Be well. 

Much Love

08/21/2020

Fatherhood Has Changed Me

2020. I was born in 1979 and looking at this odd date gives me a sense of accomplishment. To have lived so many years that not only did the 19 turn to 20 but now there are two of them. It may not make sense to you but it blows my mind. Maybe it is because of what happened within those 40 years and counting. Oh what fun there's been. Recently I had to restore my soul with love and kindness. I want to make sense of what I'm saying so please be patient. Having children and becoming a parent has been one of my greatest joys, if not the greatest joy of my life, as of yet. Each day I am brought into a life where everything is new. I get to relive past memories as I see myself clear as day in the actions, stares and emotions of my children. What will tomorrow bring? And that is the question that I was holding onto so tightly in hopes to foresee any ills that may come their way. I do not consider myself a helicopter parent and I let the 2 1/2 year old take risk, but it is my duty to protect, inspire and encourage, discipline and also to love to my fullest capacity. I became robotic in this belief and started to put the blinders on, bypassing everything and everyone except for them. Thus, missing out on other opportunities to show love, encourage, and simply be kind to those around me. It was exhausting, frustrating and simply not fun. Once I became aware of this and it took a good year or so to realize my ways, I switched my mindset and took another path in the pursuit of excellence. While I thought I was doing all that needed to be done to be a great parent, I was forgetting how to be a great friend, son, brother and most importantly, a partner. Everyone became the child in my eyes that had to be watched and or corrected. Those close to me tolerated my ways because they know about my medical battle and contributed the stress to that and that alone. My father also passed away last year and that dampened spirits for a bit but with time, reflection, and a great deal of care, patience, love, and most of all, HONESTY from my wife, I was able to see my broken path. The mind is so powerful. I've worked it everyday for the fifteen years or so, pumping positivity and strength in my beliefs, words and actions. Never quit has become my motto and I make it a daily practice. At times it pays to be robotic but we must pay attention to the signs when heading in the wrong direction. In other words, it is okay to pull over and ask for directions every now and then. 

Happy New Year everyone. 

 

January 8th 2020

A House Becoming A Home

I can not believe it's almost been a year since my last post. A writer once said that my writing will suffer with the birth of a child. Well if you are fully engaged in parenting and still trying to maintain somewhat of a healthy sleeping order then I must conquer. Thus, two months shy of a year's absence I'm back. I just happened to have the morning off and my daughter Layla will be two in July. Once my wife is out of bed then Layla becomes her shadow and I have found this is the time to pay the bills, check emails, read, meditate or FINALLY, write a post. It has been quite the year. A few years ago I became a certified personal trainer and coach. Since then I have added Behavioral Change Specialist to the resume and currently working on my Nutrition Certificate. I have traveled throughout the United States sharing my story with the hope of inspiring others. This past year my Personal Coaching business has flourished. My clients now range from five years old to seventy. My training does not consist of one type of methodology. I coach all sports and form for function movements. My battle with cancer has taught me that functional movements are the most important to focus on with those who are not training to compete at the professional or collegiate levels. We either get older or we pass to the next realm so we must prepare our bodies for the inevitable. What's been surprising and truly satisfying is the mental exercise that takes place during some of the less intensive workouts. During these times clients and I are able to process life's challenges and create a plan of action. We also speak about life goals and how best to go about accomplishing them. All the while, I had a relapse with my cancer but fortunately, being that I am under constant surveillance, we caught it early and the treatment is affective. So with the expansion of my business and a growing family, my wife and I decided to purchase a house. We went into it with the idea that we would be buying a home that needed work if we were going to be able to afford the area. My advice to all those in the home buying process is the same as everyone who's been through it before gave me. When building, or renovating, it's never on time. Plan for at least 3 months of delays and if it is only 3 you win. Still the process has been a life lesson in patience and more and more that seems to be the name of the game. Patience.  We bought it in September and as we head into June we are finally seeing some ending in site. Maybe we move in end of August maybe September. Again Patience is the lesson in life I apparently need to review the most. All in all it's been a beautiful, challenging, growing and inspiring year and I am truly grateful for each moment. 

Much Love and Never Quit

 

 

May 23 2019

In a Blink of an Eye

They all told me it would be this way. The wise ones said, "if you think time flies now just wait until you have children." It's been a few months since my last blog post. In December Layla was just getting her roll on and of course we were proud. In less than two weeks she will be turning one year old and now she is ripping and running. Of course she still needs mommy and daddy's assistance for balance but for the most part she sees it and gets after it. It's been such a wonderful treat to get to experience so many first time things with my daughter. She sees leaves now and says leave, no s yet, when once they were unfamiliar and foreign. My history with cancer always keeps my mortality in mind and that has helped me to embrace each moment I spend with her. I look her in the eyes at times and hope that she is taking all of me as well. Of course I want to protect her from all of the mistakes that I've made in life yet at the same time I want her to learn the lessons from said mistakes. How? Strangers say how beautiful she is but I immediately let them know that she has a great heart. Once they are out of earshot I'll tell her how physical beauty is fleeting but the way you treat others will last a lifetime. Treat people with honesty, kindness and respect and that beauty will radiate from within. I haven't had the extra time that I once had to work on passion projects and my reading has gone down a bit. I guess I have a new passion now. Fatherhood, and it's been my greatest joy as of yet. This parenting thing is definitely a team sport. I could not be the father that I am without the support and love that my wife Candice has dimed me on a regular basis. Holding down a corporate job while mastering breastfeeding, bath time and morning and night storytelling. Single parents deserve major credit and discounts at whole foods. LOL. But seriously, this is the hardest job while being the most rewarding one of all time. 

 

Much love and Never Quit. 

 

 

July 5th 2018

When Two Became Three

They said it would happen. I learned quite abrutely that time was not infinite when I had a life altering event concerning my health take place eight years ago. I was thirty. Thirty years to fully grasp what so many have dictated, wrote about and or currently try to teach mankind today. Time waits on no one. So when the birth of my daughter took place just a day over five months ago, I made a promise to her that I would be congnizant of the time and energy that I put towards her growth each day. The overwhelming guilt at times when I just want to wait one more minute to see if she will just stop crying and go to sleep instead of running to pick her up now coming from being fully aware that if I wait too long she will soon be walking to me with her tears, no longer needing me to carry her or hold her as I do now. This post is a celebration of life because even though I still have waisted minutes of the day, when I'm in the zone, more times than not at this point, I enjoy her daily growth because I see that she will need me throughout life. Layla had her first solid food yesterday and though she can now hold her bottle she is not versed in using her spoon. Insert daddy and mommy. These thoughts and feelings hit me as I thought about my father.

Tonight I was able to think about my father. Tonight I did something that I hadn't been able to do in just over five months. Actually, it was something that I didn't want to do. They said that you give all of yourself when you have a child. But tonight I turned off the lights, closed the door, lit a candle, put on some classical music, and sunk into the bath. I focused on my breathing and let thoughts come and go. Just as they all seemed to fade to the backgroud it hit me. I have been so enamored with my daughter that I have not made the time to take a true inventory of how I was feeling in my mind, body and spirit. I needed a sincere check in with my feelings and I had to dig past the bravado in order to truly grasp and feel that my father may not remember who I was and even worse, who he was. Dementia and its been a fast decline. I thought we had more time. I love my daughter for being able to teach me so many things about life at only five months old. They also said something about the circle of life too. I hear them say, we start out as babies and most of us go out like babies. We may just need that little person later in life to help us through an extremely difficult situation. Circle of life. 

Happy Holidays!

 

December 16th

When 2 become 3

Just yesterday my wife and I experienced something for the first time together. A celebration that is generally reserved for the wife alone was shared with me and I shall hold this memory dear to my heart for the rest of time. Our baby shower was filled with so much love and affection for our growing baby girl but Candice and I were also able to bask in the love and light that was generously given throughout. I love the fact that my mother and sister were able to attend along with her cousins, aunts, sister and mother. Some of our mutual friends were in attendance and some were even pregnant as well and that is always special. I grow from moments such as these because they are once in a life time events. I am so grateful to all those who came to shed love and light on our growing family. I am grateful to God and universe for allowing me the time on earth to see this day come to be. I love my life and I love those family and friends that truly care for my family. We wish nothing but the best for all those that continue to make the effort to be better than they were the day before. 

Much love and Never Quit. 

 

June 5th

Expect the Unexpected

With the rising of the sun, I now have thirty eight years in my book of life. Seven plus years ago I was in a hospital bed and my future was not certain. No one’s future is but the reality of it was all too near. My friends and family came together and we decided we could do it. In fact, we believed whole heartedly that we must. We dove in head first and never looked back. I’m so grateful for all of those who fought and believed along with me. As I look back on this past year many milestones have been reached. Candice and I were married on March 26th 2016. I began a new career in teaching and coaching in August 2016 and one of the biggest and greatest of all is that my wife and I were able to pro create and are due July 2017. Mental note to all the young men out there who may be entering the fight, FREEZE YOUR SPERM, because you never know how long the fight will be and what type of treatment you will have to go through. Thank you mum for the heads up seven years prior just after my first diagnosis. Do to the improvements in my health, my personal training business has also started to allow me to mentor and coach young and old on a more one to one level. My experience as a division 1 college athlete and a cancer survivor resonates with almost everyone that I come in contact with in that field. Going through what I have and continue to go through while still living a fulfilled life leads me to let you know that we will all face challenges. So we must make adjustments and move forward. As long as we move forward and work to be a better person than who we were the day before then we are living life to the fullest. That is my goal. One step at a time. So I implore you, do not be afraid to expect the unexpected and dream your most sensational dream because at the end of the day, it’s all about the journey. Make it count. Much love. Never quit.

march 14th

A Nation Divided

It has been just over four months since my last post but my perspective makes it feel like years have past. I just finished the book, 'Happiness', written by a Buddhist monk. The focus, of course, was on happiness but what stood out to me was how minimizing my wants and desires of the things that I may not have increases my love and happiness from the things that are presently in my life. To me, perspective is everything. For instance. To a man who walks or rides his bike to work because he can not afford a car is then given one. The car is ten years old and has over one hundred thousand miles on it but it functions well and is all paid off. To the person who is walking or riding his bike this car has a much greater value then to the man or woman who will only drive cars that are less than three years old. They are both cars used for the same primary reasons yet perspective brings different value to each person. I have been meditating now for just over 150 days straight. I am still in my battle with cancer but my work on staying present changes the meaning and feeling of time. By trying to wring out the very most of each second of life I find joy in almost everything that I do. I do my best to make every minute count. I say yes to opportunities that prediagnosis I would of never given a second thought to and because of this I have met new and incredible people which have enhanced my experiences. Time is constant. The only thing in this world that never changes and never stops is time. No amount of money or power will ever change this fact but what we can change is the value that we place on what we have. Vacations, work, friends and family all have a value. We need money to survive but do you commute over two hours a day? Could less salary lead to more happiness and quality time with family if the job is closer to home? Do you place more value on money or time spent with family? What if you get into a car accident on the way to or from work? I leave you with this thought. In a quiet moment in your day think of the things that you have done and that you are going to do and ask yourself how much value they have in your life. On a scale of one to ten to start and anything below a five try to eliminate. I have been practicing this for over five years now and again my disease was a major influence in my change and I can honestly say I am happy. I find value in all that I have and tend to donate or give away all things that I do not. I love my friends and many members of my family and I am grateful for the material items that I have and use. I still have a long way to go in my quest to achieve nirvana but it's the journey and not the destination. 

Much Love and Never Quit.

 

2/21/17

What We Value

Some thoughts linger and others pass like clouds. But underneath it all is a blue sky. No human has ever made it out alive and we all start out in the same form. Yet somewhere in between the lines get crossed. One believes the goal is to outlive the next. The other believes he who has the most toys wins. But that's not my game. When I think of life I see nature, trees, the ocean and a light breeze. This lets me know that I'm alive. Breaking my survival down to the bare minimum and not thriving to collect things but instead, memories. For when the lights go out and the material items are rendered useless, the only thing that will matter, will be our memories and those whom we made memories with. 

Much Love

 

10/09/16

First comes Love then Comes Marriage.......

As I sit here just over two months as a married man, I have to take some time and think about what has happened over the last 37 years of my life. I know many of you can relate back to the time as a teenager when 37 seemed like an eternity away. So hitting this monumental milestone of marriage has me asking the questions how did I get here. We can not just skip through life. Turning 13 was amazing because now we are certified teenager and "grown". At 18 we are leaving highschool and can vote. "Extra grown" and now away from home we start to get a slight sense of independence and control over our lives. At 22 we graduate and get smacked up by the "real world". Bills, parking tickets, bossy bosses, relationships that can actually lead to the creation of your family. The consequences of our actions multiple exponentially and finally it hits us that life is real, the clock never stops ticking and our parents knew much more than we thought because as they said, "nothing is new under the sun". Now I find myself talking to my nieces and nephews, non blood relatives included, and telling them that they don't know a damn thing because they haven't seen as much life as I've seen. I laugh to myself afterwards thinking how I'm becoming my mother and father and have no conrtrol of it. Life, if you stay present, will teach you one way or another. Luckily I was able to learn that having a best friend and partner who has your best interest in mind at all times is the best way to live out your days. I feel as though a good 80 to 85 healthy years on earth is an amazing feat. I am so grateful for things that I have experienced in just under forty years I can only imagine what I could do with another 50. Staying focused on today, I stand before you as a man who has joined eternally with the love of his life and it was all of my life experiences and her life experiences that brought us together. I learned from the mistakes that I made in the past making them lessons rather than mistakes. I think that you would appreciate the life that you've been given by taking some personal inventory. Think of all the great moments and special times spent with family and friends or even alone. Quality time alone is often my remedy to an over active mind. Thank you to all those that have been a part of my life up until this day. In some way, whether large or small, you have been on my journey and I have been on yours. We get one shot at this thing called life, as far as I know, and I will embrace all of it. I wish the same for you.

Much love and enjoy your Memorial Day Holiday.

 

 

5/30/16

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