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He Was A Man

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I have known many great men in my life. I worked with cops that were pure and simple walking examples of what a good man is. There are few men that are on a level that many never reach. I am talking about the kind of man who other men only dream they could be like. My wifes Pap, Jimmie Solomon was one of those men.

When I first met my father in law I was intimidated. He is a big man with a reputation you hear about well before you meet him but when I met him I had future mother in law back up and future wife back up. When I finally met him I quickly learned he was no one to be concerned with as long as you came correct. As long as I take care of his daughter and treat her as he would I had no worries. When I met my wifes Pap it was another story.

When I describe my wifes Pap it is my view of the short 15 years I knew him. If I get any fact incorrect about him they are my error and I apologize in advance for it. When I was first taken to “The Farm” to meet him I was taken back by the very long rocky road that lead to his house sitting up on the side of a hidden mountain. His brother lived just below him. The road seemed like a scary path to a place that city boys like me had no place going to. There was cattle everywhere. He raised cattle for a living and his farm was impressive to someone who had never been on one.  I knew he was a hard man. He was a coal miner also. He had his back broken in the mines. He had the reputation in Morgantown that when he walked across the street it may not be a bad idea to be on the other side of the street. He had a missing finger and it took me a long time to ask him about it. When I met him I received a strong handshake. It was a handshake I could never match. Even in his late 60’s or early 70’s at that time you could tell his presence alone kept you in line. He commanded respect with a handshake and a gentle but firm gaze. He was very welcoming and kind to me on that first visit. I thought I would struggle to converse with him because we had nothing but his grand-daughter and a love for dogs in common. He was very easy to talk to. I listened to him tell me stories about the farm,coal mining, and Morgantown. He told you things you never knew. He did not make me feel dumb. I didn’t get many family stories from him but I learned a good bit.

My wifes Pap would sell his cattle to help fund his granddaughters college. He had my mother in law help neuter cattle. Get your hands dirty kind of stuff. His Farm is huge. To this day I truly do not know how big it is. He would take his ATV all over it and he told me of many times where he had to politely explain to strangers or neighbors the property lines. I am sure that meant a firm “let me explain this to you” conversation. He would run those mountains with his cattle dog. He got hurt once and was a good distance from his home. It was his dog that came and got his wife and brought her to him. He was a John Wayne get stuff done kind of man.

One of the conversations I had with him I will never forget was about my tires. We came to visit and he noticed my tires were balding. He pulled me aside and told me I wasn’t going home until I replaced them. He meant it too. He quietly told me that he would give me the money if I needed it. He told me this away from everyone. I felt like he was giving me an offer if I needed it without embarrassing me. We didn’t need the money but he was willing to take care of us. I fixed those tires the second we left the farm. I was not going to explain how I ignored him and his offer and took his granddaughter on a seven hour trip through the mountains home. He was kind. He didn’t say much but when he did you listened and most of the time you learned something.

My daughter was terrified of him. He played loud and with quick hard movements. He was not rough by any means but to a two or three-year old just learning to walk it was something to get used to. She learned to love his play and after a couple warm up trips she would go after him with great vigor. In his later years he had some trouble moving around but when his great grand daughters were there you never knew it. This hard man would scamper through his house chasing the girls with this huge smile on his face. It was a smile that melted you because it was at those moments that even tough you knew he was a man to be reckoned with and respected he was also a man with a great heart and love for his family. He was the true measure of a man. He was the most a man could be.

A couple years ago time caught up with him. He suffered from Alzheimer’s. I will not offend his life by waxing poetic about a decline with great detail. He does not deserve that. Suffice to say his decline was somewhat textbook for his age and the disease. We visited him in an elderly home in his last years. Even sick and in an advanced age the ladies at the home loved him. They loved him to the point it may have even got him in a little harmless trouble. 80 plus and making the ladies crazy. Like I said he was a mans man. The last trip we made to him was this past December. He loved his dogs and they had long passed and sadly a good part of the mind that made him the great man he was had passed too. We brought our Australian Shepherd to the hospital. His vacant stare gently cracked into a smile upon seeing our Lily Bears. I placed his hand on her head and he rubbed her fur. I saw that familiar smile. The one he had chasing my daughter and her cousin through the house with. No words but that smile was unmistakable. For a moment that dog brought him back. I am so happy that the last time I saw him I saw that smile.

The good Lord was in need of another good man and around 830 PM on 2-18-2015 he brought him home. I bet that there are girl angels up their lining up to get an up close look at the lady-killer. There his brother waits to show him the lay of the land to a farm he may have in Heaven.  His dogs are running by his side and of course across that newly minted angels face is a unforgetable smile.

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Faith in God or Self

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There seems to be reward cards for everything these days. Go to the grocery store and flash a card for better deals. Flash a card at your child’s hairstylist and get a free haircut. Hell these days there are even signs that say “scan your Belly” for better deals. A plastic card proves your loyalty to some. What if we had loyalty cards for other things in life and were rewarded by them in the same way. Maybe we could have spouse reward cards. “Hey babe I took out the trash so can I be rewarded with that kiss now? I have a card”. 

What would a faith reward card look like? Maybe a bible would serve as a rewards card. You read the bible and follow it’s teachings and the reward is endless. I like that concept. I think everyone needs faith in their life. I have been accused of being an atheist because I don’t carry on much about what I believe or have faith in. I am not an atheist but I’m not exactly a Christian either. I believe in God but I rarely speak of it. Faith will get you through. Faith is the belief that things will be okay because forces we do not understand will sometimes help make sure all is good. Having faith is not good enough. I think you have to earn faith reward points by living a good moral life. Good behavior sometimes brings good things. The best part is that the harder you try to live a kind life the easier it is to do so. The kind life is infectious. If only one out of fifty people you treat with kindness turn around and do the same to one another because of the way you treated them then that is reward enough. If you have faith that all will be okay then it is easy to be kind because you know that your actions reward others. 

I have faith in God. I have faith that if I live a good life I will be rewarded down the road. But I don’t try to live a good life for the sake of rewards. Living life for reward cheapens your actions. Live a good life because it is part of the very fiber of your being to help others and raise their spirit. Faith that all will be okay if you are kind will make it easy to forgive when the need arises. When you understand that you can’t change others but you don’t have to let them change you that is powerful. I believe faith gives us power to overcome. Faith will find funny or rainbows in the darkest day. When you love everyone and have blind faith you may face ridicule but that is only because some folks just don’t understand that faith is personal and does not mean the same thing to every person.

Have faith. Have faith in your own way. If it comes from the Bible great. If it come from church great. As long as it enriches your life and gets you through while at the same time helping others from to time to time then it will make your life well worth living.  Life is worth living but life lived to help others, well that’s simply rewarding.

Monster Movies: Six and Sassy

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The Mother of Blessings

Will you have this women to be your wife….

Why hell yes I think I will. When I met my wife I was coming out of an all time low. I am a good man but I had some wear on me from a previous marriage and any woman who took me on would have taken a chance. I was untrusting and not looking for love. I was not in a rush for anything. She asked me out and we dated a long time before I even considered going in for a kiss. I did not want to find out that this perfect woman I was dating was not all I thought she was so a slow path was laid before discovering she was more than I could ever imagine.

….to live together in holy marriage? 

We were married in a West Virginia backyard. We were surrounding by some close friends from several states. I was nervous but I knew I was making the right choice. My wife stands for something. She is pretty and she is smart but there is much more depth to her than that. She cares for people. She cares about strangers and their desires to have families. She see or hears danger and heads towards it instead of away from it.She doesn’t care that she does not have a plan when she heads toward the danger. Someone is in trouble and she wants to help. When a neighbor is in need she does not need in invite to go and offer them some relief from their grief. Being her husband is an honor.

….Will you ,love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health,….

She is unconditional in her love. She will stand for you no matter the cost. There is not a fight she will back down from for you. She will care for you when you do not or cannot care for yourself. In our marriage she has backed downed doctors, fire chiefs, and employers for me even when I wished she would not. She cannot handle the thought of anything harming me in any way. She loves me for me…freaky flaws and all as my daughter would say.

….and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you shall live?….

There could be no other person for me. I have loved many and lost many. Some I lost were my fault and some were not but the thing I learned in those loves is that when someone is willing to give their every everything for your happiness it should not be taken lightly. I will never know a love greater than hers. I will die for her and I will never leave her side. No sickness will slow me down, no challenge life throws at us will make me do anything other than dig in deeper and love her more.

….In the name of God, I take you Shan to be my wife to have and hold from this day forward, for better, for worse….

To some marriage is disposable. You take flight at the first sign of trouble. Problems tear you apart. Problems should and doe strengthen true love and love is true as a babies smile. We have overcome family loss, pet loss, work complications, lost babies, infertility, dreams not reached….with the shrug of our shoulders. We have cried and had sleepless nights but when the sun rises we are together and better than ever. I am so deeply in love with my wife that I can’t breath from time to time.

….for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow!!!

Death shall not end this love because our daughter will bear testimony to our love. She will be a beacon of light that her friends, lovers, and children shall find shelter in. She will be, in part, who she is as a result of our love. We will set the example that you give your all and find ways to make things work. Love is not work. marriage is not work. Your heart will guide you if only your eyes are wide open. My eyes are always open. I am a blessed man, a rich man, and all of this because I have the love of my life. Shannon Thornhill you truly are my sunshine, my only sunshine, and you make me happy every night and day.

Are We Almost In Ashville Park?

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In March of 2014 my wife and I went to “check out” a neighborhood. We had talked about moving for several years. We considered going up to her home in West Virginia and even kicked around the idea of Colorado. We started to look around in Virginia Beach and felt that the move was not worth the effort. West Virginia was too expensive and locally the home would be a lateral move because we would get no more house for the money. When we went to “check out” that neighborhood in March I asked my wife where it was and she said Pungo. I had not been to Pungo in years. When I was a police officer I went there a couple of times a year because that was where we had firearms training, driving training, and riot training (yes that was what they called it back then). When we made our way to Ashville Park I was stunned at the development that had grown since my police days but was happy to see that Ashville was as far south as they had developed at this time. This trip made me wonder whatever had happened to the Green Lines in Virginia Beach, but I digress.  As we entered the community I was impressed with the beauty of the landscape and that the homes were not on top of one another. The homes were beautiful. We had a Three Little Bears visit. The first house we liked the upstairs, the second house we liked the downstairs, but the third home was just right and after being in the neighborhood for only an hour we had started the process to buy a home. The home was perfect, there was a park, and the school district was perfect. The school district was what brought us to this area. When we left the model home a bit stunned at our haste decision I drove my wife to Kellam High School. I told her this school was the reason to move. One day our daughter would go to this greatly rated school and we will know that we made the right decision to move. We really thought that was the long and the short of it. We were moving for the better school district but we would find out that the bounty of our fortune was not yet realized to us.

We had visited our new home several times as it was being built. Each time we visited we met someone new. One family really stood out to us. The Tonelson family spoke to us almost every visit and seemed very nice. They told us about the neighborhood and were honest with all they had experienced. They let us in their home only a short time after they moved in and were welcoming in a way that you just do not see anymore. We thought at least we had one nice neighbor. We later would meet Charles and Kathleen. We kept talking about how nice they were and we wish they were not going to be “two blocks away”.  The people we met heightened our excitement about the move. The sale on our old home fell through the day before we were to move into Ashville Park so we were very stressed. On the morning of the second day we were in Ashville Park I got a knock at the door and saw Matt Tonelson standing there with his beautiful little girl asking if Emma could come play to give me a chance to work in the house. I did not see much of Emma for the next couple days. She made friends with three girls that weekend Maddy, KJ, and Sam.  Almost immediately we had three new families as friends from her friends.

The next few days were a blur of work, unpacking, hoping for a sale on the old home, and regular life. The neighborhood had one of their first get togethers since we had moved in and nearly every household showed up. There was food, kids, and many new introductions all the way around. I noticed that all the adults looked after ALL the children. If I child fell down the nearest adult went to their aid. Everyone appeared to have a tribal mentality toward taking care of the children. The neighbors had adopted, whether they realized it or not, a tribal mentality where you just took care of each other. I was so moved because I really think that is lacking in so many places these days. When we look after our neighbors and their children society benefits from it. The couple I mentioned that lived so far away were at the event and at several block get togethers afterwards. The neighborhood is so close that the sarcastically aforementioned two blocks is just as good as next door.

You cannot help but want to be involved in Ashville Park. One of the incredibly selfless neighbors Billy is involved in organizing a charity walk for ALS. When I saw that he was getting an Ashville Team together I quickly donated and was disappointed when I did not believe my family could make the event. The neighbors took Billy’s cause as their own and built a team with dozens of participants and T Shirts for our affectionately named Eight Mile Village. I was able to make the event and it was one of the best times I ever had with my family. Most of the families are very different but make everyone feel welcome. I truly love my neighbors and their families.

When we moved here it was for more space and a better school district but we got so much more. We gained an extension to our family. We are part of something that is bigger than a neighborhood we are community that cares for each other. As the neighborhood grows next spring we will work together to make sure that community grows in the best of ways. As I walk the neighborhood I see men being real dads. I see Brady riding bikes with his child as his wife and baby rest, I see Tony ( a man with a complicated business) rocking his baby tenderly on his patio, Bill making puddles every chance he gets for his son and lovingly calling his daughter pet names, I see Matt ever diligently watching over not only his daughter but the other children on the block, Daniel always attentive with his kids, Scott is always in his yard with his kids, and another father ( I have yet to meet) rocking his baby on his porch in the early morning light. Men owning up to their responsibilities as fathers without ego. I see Shannon G, Lynsey, Melanie, Vinnie, Leanh, my Shan and several other mothers constantly biking and walking with their children and babies. Robin and Melanie are always so kind to always offer a kind word and a hand to my wife. Many times the parents have other families children with them. FAMILY!!!   It doesn’t stop there either when you have people like Millie and Ron keeping an eye out on things with you and ever ready to just talk and create a wonderful break in your day. If their were more communities like ours life would be so much better. We are not better, just closer and maybe in some ways stronger.

When we drive into Ashville Park my daughter always says, “Are We Almost In Ashville Park?” and to that I say thank God yes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

13 Years!!!

13 years ago I did not have a child. My marriage was pretty new and I still remember my wife on the phone telling my in a terrifying pitch that we were being attacked. I can remember listening to the radio in the office of the grocery store I was a manager in and hearing that there were several planes unaccounted for. It seemed every couple of minutes a theory of what was going to happen next materialized out of thin air. Through all this chaos I was stacking soup cans. The concept that the United States could be under attack in 2001 was so alien to us that even as the world watched the towers fall most of us continued to work. Customers would ask me where the canned beans were and then almost dismissively say “what the hell is going on in New York?”.  When I got home I couldn’t get my eyes off the TV. We were watching the world change.

 

On September 12, 2001 a strange thing happened. For a while it seemed that we all remembered we American. We remembered we were all on the same team. Some of our poor racial behavior toward each other faded a little. American flags flew on many more homes than September 10th, 2001. We were friendlier to each other, we talked to more strangers on the street, and we were scared. When a family faces a crisis they often quietly, slowly turn to each other for support and America was reminded it was a family on the horrific day. We acted quickly and went after our enemy. Most everyone was behind our president and his actions. I will never forget the stunned look on his face when his handlers told him, as he sat in a school classroom, what had happened. You don’t have to like George Bush but he did not back down and he stood strong for the country. Mistakes were made but in the heat of that moment I believe only a fool would hold those against him. I cannot imagine with what he was faced with the stress he was under but I digress. My point is we were united. There was little talk of political parties and their differences. There would be plenty of judging and finger-pointing later but the government was pretty united in the weeks after the attack. I could not imagine being a parent on that day.

 

 

 

What would I have said to my daughter? Would I have been able to explain that there are real bad people in the world but they are a minority so try to not be afraid. To be clear when I say minority I mean that their belief of hatred toward us is in a small number of people compared to our worlds population. Would I have been able to hold back my anger at the attackers and if I identified the wrong people as the attackers how would I explain that to her? I want my daughter to understand the moment but not be paralysed by it. My daughter was born seven years after the attack so it may never be real to her. I took her to Ground Zero shortly after she was born but she will never remember it and maybe that is a good thing.

 Time has passed and we have been at war the entire time. We have killed many terrorist leaders and they keep growing back. The pride we had the day after the event has long faded. Like anything else in America the event has passed and we have new things to fight about nationally. We voted in a black president. During Obama’s election and for years into his first term it was a great time to “Blame Bush!” The war, the down turn of the economy, bad military decisions, and Lost being cancelled were all Bush’s fault. The new president tried to start strong. He continued to get some of the biggest terrorists of the day. But eventually it seemed like the war at home was bigger. The economy turned south, OBAMACARE was fighting point,gun control issues, people shot in schools, people shot on military bases, people shot in movie theaters, the man takes too many vacations, and now it’s Obama’s fault. Congress refuses to work together. The parties fight to the point that little gets done. The media is entertainment and they must have a script so the news is reported in either a conservative or liberal way. Rarely is the news reported. We blamed Bush and Obama but the government never seems to blame itself and its inability to be adults, resolve issues, and be leaders. What is a parent to do? How do you teach your child about 911 and how to resolve issues when our leaders can’t agree on biscuits or toast? I will tell you how in my humblest of opinions.

Emma the events of 911 were horrific. A group of terribly evil people killed many Americans over ideals that we will never fully understand. The people who did this were cowards and did it for reasons that at the end of the day just make no sense.The people that died at 911 were everyday people just going about their lives. Someone from nearly ever ethnicity and both sexes died that day. Many people drove miles to offer help not knowing what they were going to do they were just “compelled by the event”. You love dog sweet heart and even dogs became heroes searching for missing people over tons of rubble. People would work tirelessly pulling people living and dead out from the pile left at Ground Zero. 911 was a moment of clarity for this country and we showed the world that we take care of our own. We showed the world that we will drop everything to help fellow Americans. It does not matter their skin color, sex, faith, or who they love because we are all Americans. There was a war and is a war and war never makes sense but sometimes it is sometimes a needed evil. One of the many problems with war is figuring out when the juice is no longer worth the squeeze. As a result of our war many military people have given their lives. As a result of the recovery efforts at Ground zero many firemen, medical staff, police officer, civilians, and those rescue dogs either died or became very sick from working the site. Why we remember 911 is because we can never forget those that gave all. We can never forget the volunteers that dropped everything to help each other. We can never forget that although the world may seem scary that in the worst of times we pull together. No matter how poorly our government acts toward each other blaming each other for everything we must rise above. Sweetheart you are the future. Your generation is the future. There may still be wars ahead but you can choose to make a difference. Be kind to everyone. Do not judge race. Do not judge faith. Be careful not to pick a side where they tell you what side you are on. Be yourself. You don’t have to agree with everyone and not everyone has to agree with you but find ways to work with those that do not see you eye to eye. You will make mistakes in life but they are merely life lessons. If you can do this you will be honoring those that were lost and hopefully your generation can show my generation how foolhardy we sometimes are. I love you!

The truth is that there is not an easy way to talk to your child about 911 but I do think it is important that we give them a reason to remember the souls touched by 911 and to try and make sure as best you can that it does not happen again and if it does work together not apart. Bless and thank all that died at 911, all that worked the pile, all that fought and fight in the wars and every family member.

This Old Home

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What is a home? Is a home a place to simply watch TV, eat, sleep, wash, and repeat? Does a home have a pulse or life of its own? Before the age of 19 I lived in three different homes. From the age of 19 to 30 I lived in 12 different addresses. I loved having a different apartment every year. Since the age of 31 I have lived in the same house with my wife. I have lived  in our Glenwood home longer than anywhere else in my 45 years on this planet. Our Home is the book where the story of our marriage has been so far written. Our home has been to backdrop of so many events. I have been in the grocery business for 15 years and before that I was a police officer. For the first few years of our marriage I struggled with working retail. I felt I was helping no one and contributing to nothing. I desperately wanted out and in that home I applied, replied, and conversed about many opportunities. I passed up several offers and stormed around that house wanting something more. I would eventually even take a job with the Fire Department but found my way back to the my present line of work. Work would have many ups and downs but in this old home my wife always had my back and was the greatest devils advocate.

The grandest of all wars would be witnessed in this old home. Parenthood was a life time wish of mine and when we decided to try we hit a big cruel infertile wall. I clearly remember spending an entire day and night on my Luv Sac in the living room keeping an eye on my wife after one of our miscarriages. Many tears would be shed privately by me in this old home when my wife was not there. I needed to be strong for her but in a quiet moment this old home knows about my breakdowns. The war would eventually be won and my wife would spend eight months on bed rest in this home. Our child would be born and so many things would chasing but we were always safe in this old home.

I walk in my daughters room. The room barely looks like the one I brought here home too. Its being packed up and the walls my Dad painted for her stand out boldly reminding us its a little Princesses room. The hundreds of diapers I changed in that room, to nights I spent rocking her to sleep, the thousands of stories I have read to her, and the endless number of songs I have sang to her are wove into the walls of this old home. She started walking here, reading here, laughing here, and she has been nursed back to health so many times. The room went from rockers, cribs, and Hello Kitty to a big bed, fish tank, and Monster High.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I have shared so many great ones there with family and friends, Christmas trees and Santa visits, birthday parties, and Easter Egg hunts. This home hosted them all. I have baked in this home with my daughter. Love has been made in this home and grown. Our family became what it is today in these walls. Many pets have been love here and three were lost. One was lost suddenly and by surprise, one while we were out of town, and recently our Big Brown friend moved on. Now this home is silent a shell of itself. The barks are mostly gone, the furniture and belongings slowly packed away. This home will soon belong to another family and I hope they are as lucky as we are. I hope the love we leave behind is karmic and grows for the new family. I hope we still see out neighbors and their love continues to grow.

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The new home brings new dreams and new chapters. In this home we will celebrate new memories. We will see a little girl bringing friends through its halls and eventually boyfriends and grandchildren. We will grow older. I will watch from the porch a new neighborhood grow and make new friends. Their will be struggles but our old home has taught us to survive. First we must bring Big Browns ashes to the home and make a home for them by a tree in the huge yard. She will swatch over us. I look forward to the future but I will never ever forget the past.

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Monster Movies: Drops of Heaven

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My Greatest Accomplishment

The title is a bit lofty because I am only a part of what has made my greatest accomplishment so great. My little girl makes me strive to be the best I can be. She reminds me to be kind. She reminds me to forgive and as hard as I struggle with it sometimes she reminds me not to hold grudges. She is a ride that you seem to wait forever to enjoy but once it begins it moves so very fast. My little Monster makes my life brighter than any one man deserves. Another Christmas is coming and will soon be gone. The magic is still clear and new to her. Santa is coming but I am aware it will not be long before she knows the truth about old St Nick. I am drinking in this season and hammering it into my memory banks praying that nothing ever removes them. The magic will never leave the season as long as I keep it alive. Although Santa will one day be a caricature of the holiday our memories, traditions, and photographs will help us to remember why this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I hope one day she will reminisce of our time with her child and maybe extend them on long after I have lived this life. I hope she creates her own traditions and loves this season forever with a childlike heart. I love you little Monster, little Stink. You and your Mommy make life a dream and I hope the dream lives a long, long, long time.

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I Thank You

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I once wrote a blog where I explained that I have had many years with difficult challenges but I never had a bad year. I have an attitude. For those that know me well this will not be a surprise but it is mostly a façade. I gripe, complain, and wish to scream on many days but I fully understand my lot in life. I know that even when I feel slighted by others there is nothing I can do about it and they probably give in no thought. That I want to desperately satisfy those around me is a blessing and curse. I may have rough days but I do not have a rough life.

I do have an attitude but as Sponge Bob Squarepants would say it is an attitude of gratitude. You cannot have everything you want and you certainly cannot make everyone happy. I ask myself what I can live with and what is worth losing sleep over. I rarely sleep but not often because I am up worrying as much as I am somewhat an insomniac. Four hours sleep to me is eight to others. I work in silence, hour upon hour at a desk with minimal contact with others. Musics bounces between my ears as I am alone with my work and thoughts. I have the time to recognize my true wonderful life. I love my life.

I am thankful for so many things. This year has been a tough one on so many fronts work and personal but I am the Grand Pooh-bah of finding silver linings. It is a skill. A skill I am so very thankful for. Life is what you make of it. I see the glass half full at all times. As the holidays roll in I look forward to new beginnings. I look forward to filling up the rest of the glass. There is plenty for me to find thanks in. The fact that the sun rose and gives me the chance to write on my stupid blog is testimony that to not be thankful for what you have is quite honestly; blasphemy. I am thankful for the smallest of things. I am thankful for a camera to save memories. I am thankful for music to take me away. I am thankful for the smiles on my daughters friends faces that I meet every morning. There are so many things to find thanks in if you open your eyes. It is easy to dwell in the dark but is brings joy to your life when you shine a light through the heart of the dark so that it fades away.

My life is a dream. Do I want more from it? Yes I do. Do I shrink away because things do not always shine so bright? No I do not. I love the opportunity to cook for loved ones, to make someone smile, to help others even when they don’t seem to have appreciation for it. Life’s greatest meaning and satisfaction is in the little details. I often sign off on things by saying “I Love You All!”. I mean it when I say it. I think if we spend more time loving each other than everything gets better in the end. So I end this short thankful stump speech by saying I love you all. I hope you get the things you need. I hope to make you smile. I hope you enjoy the little details. You will never have a bad year if you take a microscopic eye to the everyday simplicities in life because in that there is much to be thankful for. I love you all.