Archive for April, 2011

Finding Strength in a Moment of Weakness

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty convinced that I’ve always had a knack for saying the right things when people ask for advice. Although I don’t always tell them what they want to hear, I try to be as honest as possible.

Yesterday I was left speechless on a few different occasions. When I can’t find anything to say I know that I’m way out of my comfort zone. I’ve always been fairly good at adapting to a situation and creating a positive atmosphere.

When my mother called me at work yesterday morning I didn’t know what to say. I knew that my nephew’s best friend at college had committed suicide the night before. I had briefly talked with my sister to make sure she didn’t need anything from me at that moment in time. My niece had a lacrosse game scheduled for 11:30, so I planned on leaving work early to go see the game. I knew my mom was reeling. She couldn’t be with my sister because she had to be at her appointment with the brain specialist in Schenectady. I could tell that she thought someone should be with my sister. I quickly packed up my stuff at work and called it a day.

When I saw my sister she started talking and I didn’t know what to say. It made me think of that old Reba McEntire song where she sings about being a parent and not knowing what to say in a moment like that. I was there. I was in that spot.

She sniffled a little bit and said, “What do I say to Marissa? I can’t tell her that it’s ok, because it’s not ok.” Although my head was crammed with thoughts my lips didn’t move. I couldn’t speak. Instead, I sat there and listened because that’s all I felt that I could do. In my head I knew that she didn’t need anything more than that.

I watched the first half of the game before returning to work. I was going to take the rest of the day off, but I knew my sister was going to go home and get some rest. When I got back to work the people who I’m close to offered their support. I’ve come to count on these people during tough times. I don’t have to ask them for anything. They offer their support and don’t expect anything in return. They do what true friends do.  I’m very appreciative of the people I have in my life.

I’m usually fairly active during the evening hours. On that night I didn’t do a thing. I crawled into bed at 7pm and stayed there until around 9:30. I kept my mind active. I was in another world, even if it was only for a few hours. It was almost as if I was in a dream. Every once in a while I touched myself just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. It was an extremely odd feeling that I don’t think very many people are ever able to experience.

When I got out of bed I went for a drive. The cold, damp air felt good as it entered my lungs when I got outside. The light fog and wet pavement added to everything else that I had experienced throughout the day. It was almost a perfect way to end the day. I was home within a half hour.

My thoughts tonight are with my nephew. I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I’ve had a few traumatic things happen to me, but nothing like this. I would like to give him advice, but I have nothing to offer. I sent him a note to tell him how much I care about him and how much I love him. He has my ear anytime that he feels that he needs or wants it.

Time heals all wounds, but some scars run so deep they never go away. This scar will be deep. There’s absolutely no doubt about the magnitude of this event. I hope that Anthony is able to stay focused. His final exams are closing in fast. His mind will be a mess and he must concentrate in order to do well. If anyone is reading this please say a prayer for him. I will pray that he is able to find a peaceful, quiet mind. I will also pray that he will never forget this event and that he will use it to help others.

Sometimes we don’t realize how strong we are until something happens that requires us to use our strength. This is surely one of those things. Although I know that my nephew is strong this will give him a chance to see his own strength. In what he thinks is his weakest point, he will find the strength to deal with the adversity surrounding him and use it to motivate him to make his life better as well as all of those around him.

Once again we have learned that life has no favorites. He’s going to take every one of us at one time or another. Live each day like it’s your last and don’t hold anything back. Everything around you can change in five minutes. Stay close to the ones you love and love the ones you need and want in your lives.

Protected: A Quiet and Relaxing Day

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

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Anticipation & Excitement

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

It was a chilly day today. It kind of signifies my outlook on life right now.  The last week has been filled with unexpected trials and tribulations. I’ve also realized that I can handle life’s tragedies and setbacks. Although I don’t like these things I realize that they play a much more important part in defining my character than the times when I’m filled with abundant happiness and joy do.

When we encounter obstacles in the road we are presented with many different choices. Sometimes we let others make the choice for us. Other times we talk to people in order to help us, although we already know what we’re going to do. Then, in other times we don’t make a choice at all. We continue living day by day pretending that the problems or obstacles that we’ve encountered will disappear on their own. We all know it’s not possible, but inside we hold onto some tiny glimmer of hope that it will happen to us and everything will be ok.

Lately it seems that life has been passing so quickly that I can’t keep track of time. When I look at my watch it’s 5:30 am and it seems like seconds later it’s 11pm.  I wish that I could slow time down, but I can’t. I have to go with the flow and make the most of the limited amount of time that I have on this earth.

During my time here I’ve always told people that I will consider my life a success if (when I’m gone) many people can say that I made a difference in their lives. It might be as simple as a kind word or gesture or even something like helping someone through a rough patch in their life. I don’t try to rescue people and I never will. I had a habit of doing that when I was a little younger. I learned my lesson and decided that I would give help when someone needed it, but I would not try to save them from any predicament they were in. When I did it many years ago it ended horribly for me. A person grew to dislike me and in the end saw me as being critical and demoralizing. It was sad for me to listen to and watch. It made me realize that sometimes we think that we’re helping and we actually make things worse. Now, I try to sit back, offer an opinion if asked and stay far enough way so I don’t make a mess of things. I’ve probably failed a few times, however I know that I’m doing much better than I did all those years ago.

I’ve recently been involved with some instructional training for children and archery. It has been extremely rewarding. There’s nothing better than seeing a child’s face light up when they did something that they didn’t think they could do. In the last few weeks I’ve seen some incredible improvement from all of the kids. All they needed was a little guidance and solid instruction in order to improve. It has been worth every minute of my time to see the smiles on all of their faces. The first week or two were really tough when we were trying to get them to shoot the correct way. A few of the children got frustrated right along with me and my friend Dave.

This week when they all improved their scores from the week before I felt a sense of accomplishment. I recalled all of the hours of practice I used to put in. I was self-taught and spent hours upon hours perfecting my trade. I became very good at what I did. I feel very fortunate to be able to share some of my experience with these children. If they get started on the right foot it will make their experience much more enjoyable.  I hope that one day they’re able to look back on it and take something positive from the few Thursdays that they were able to shoot with me and Dave.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m headed out of town first thing in the morning. I haven’t had a day where I’ve been able to get out of town without anything else on my mind in a while. I’m going to go down to my old stomping grounds near where I went to college to tour the countryside. I expect it to be a great day with a good friend. I’m a little nervous about the weather. It’s supposed to rain like crazy tonight. Hopefully the creeks won’t swell over their banks and the caves won’t be filled with water. I guess I’ll have to wait for tomorrow to see what happens. On the other hand the rain will be good for my trip home. I plan on taking the back way and driving through Thacher Park, south of Albany. If we do get the rain the waterfall there will be absolutely magnificent which would be great to see. Viewing an awesome waterfall at the end of the day before I head home sounds pretty good to me.

I’m excited that spring has arrived. We’ve had a few pleasant days, although the cold temperatures are still hanging around. Most of the snow is finally gone. When it started to go it went quickly.

I’m hoping that my smile tomorrow matches some of the smiles on the children at archery on Thursday night. I’ll be in an area that I spent four of the best years of my life, so I’m sure that it will bring back some great memories. When I lay my head on the pillow tonight I will have some of that anticipation and excitement that kids get on Christmas Eve. It’s great to feel nervous excitement again, even if it’s just for a night. Really, what more could I ask for?

Kids Archery Clinic

Kids Archery Clinic


Monday, April 11th, 2011

It has been a very long winter. All of the snow and cold temperatures have taken a toll on me. Today was refreshing as the thermometer climbed to 80 degrees in my car. Even if it wasn’t 80 I’m sure it was in the 70s.

Fall and Spring are my two favorite times of year. They remind me of each other. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. I can be outside and enjoy myself without freezing to death or overheating.

I’ve been making steady progress on my second book. I hope to have the writing done by early May. It has taken much longer to write than the first book, but I’ve taken my time. I”m not sure which way I like it better. It seemed like the first book was a little easier because I just sat down and plowed through it. Before I knew it, I was completely finished and didn’t feel like I had done a thing. This time it feels like I’ll never get done. It  seems like I’m writing more and more without saying anything. I guess my readers will be the judge of that.

Although I haven’t been overly busy lately it seems like I have been tied up. I can’t find a reason why time is flying by so fast. Usually my mind is preoccupied with a variety of thoughts, but it’s relatively quiet right now. For all of the things going on around me, my mind feels somewhat flat. I know that I should probably put more thought into certain things, but I don’t have the energy to do it. Instead, I’m finally taking some of the advice I give to everyone else. I’m not worrying about the past and I’m not looking into the future. I’m simply living in the present because the present is a gift. I can’t control was has happened or what will happen. I just have to wake up each day and see what happens.

I know that it’s very hard for some people to understand me and what I do. To be honest it’s hard for me to understand as well. If I knew what I was doing life would be easy. The beauty of life is that we learn as we go. We make mistakes, but we still move forward.  If we don’t learn from our mistakes it’s our own fault and we have nobody to blame except ourselves.

I’ve been watching my little dog Theo  struggle lately. Realistically I know that he doesn’t have much time left on this planet.  Sometimes I wish he could talk, so I could tell him how much he has done for me. He has always loved me unconditionally. If I scold him he always comes back. If I spanked him he still got in bed and laid his head next to mine on the pillow. No matter what I did he was always happy and excited to see me. When I had nobody else to talk to, I talked to him because he couldn’t judge me. He looked at me with his little brown eyes and smiled.  Well, the look on his face made it look like he was smiling. I wished that he was well enough to run around in the yard today and enjoy the nice weather. Instead, he barely made it outside and bumped into things along the way. While he’s not suffering, his quality of life isn’t what it once was. If I had a small bit of magic I would do anything I could to help him. Unfortunately we can’t hold back time and we have to accept the things that happen as time moves forward. There are no favorites in this world. Anyone and everyone can be affected by anything. Good and bad people alike are stricken with horrible diseases that they must fight. It’s hard to make sense out of it at times. Why do good people suffer? I don’t have an answer for that, but I can take a guess. My guess is that those people have the ability to remain optimistic no matter what is thrown at them. They find a way to survive and they motivate all the people around them. They give people like me hope. Without hope we aren’t a damn thing in this world.

I find it amazing how almost daily someone comments on my parents. Everyone tells me how lucky I am like I don’t know it. I do know how lucky I am. They have molded me into the person I’ve become. Without them I wouldn’t have the personality or character that I possess. I do wish that I had more of their good qualities because I know that I can’t come close to comparing to either one of them. It’s funny how kids pick athletes as role models. I’ve always chosen my parents from the time I was little until now. They will always be my role models. If I can be half of what they are, I know that I will have lived a successful life.  Both of them have given more of themselves to me than I can ever repay. They’ve always made me a priority and given up so many things that they probably could have done. In some small way I hope they know that I appreciate all of it. There are very few children who have what I have. I’m truly blessed. They celebrated their 46th anniversary a few weeks ago.  Where does time go? It seems like we threw them their 25th anniversary party just a few years ago. What a great time that was.

Well, I’m not sure what the next few months will bring, but I’m sure that I will continue working toward my goal. One day at a time. I breathe  in and I breathe out. I hope I keep experiencing new things and getting new opportunities to better myself in all areas of my life. If I find that along the way I will be very thankful.