Andrew

Time for a change…refocus on what is right.

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2017 at 10:53 pm

I have been writing this and one other blog for nearly nine years now and each time I write I focus on my weight loss and how my weight affects my life, my hopes and my dreams.  As I go back and read the posts I have made I am taken by the fact it seems I have ridden a weight loss roller coaster and chronicled this wild ride for all to see in my blogs. To be honest I am have grown tired of writing these types of entries as each one only serves to fuel the defeat and embarrassment I feel deep inside myself for being the size I am and not doing anything about it.  While I continue to be a large man who is in desperate need of weight loss, I now refuse to dwell on it with these posts and now intend to write about people, places and things that bring a smile to my face and hopefully, to the faces of those who read my posts.  I do intend to update my blog about where I stand with my weight but it is time to get back to what makes me happy and has no calories involved in it and that means writing.  It’s time to look for the good, the awesome and the inspirational and shed some light on those who likely would shy away from the spotlight or perhaps not even have a chance to have that light pointed at them.  From here on in, less woe is me and more wow, look at them.  Change your mind change your life!

And since we are on the subject, my wife has a close friend who has battled cancer for a number of years now.  When I say she fought it I mean she fought with the spirit of a warrior while squeezing every drop out of life that she could.  This is a woman who is the mother of five children (I know she would say six if you include her husband but I won’t do Jim like that) and never stopped to take a moment to cry about the predicament that she was in.  Michelle beat breast cancer only to find another form of cancer returned a few years later but never once did she slow down.  Being one of these people who refuses to take no for an answer, Michelle would regularly turn to YouTube in an effort to find out how to frame, build and wire her new craft room and even how to put siding on her own house.  Nobody ever told her no and lived to see Michelle be defeated in her tasks.  In short, she was a person who inspired others just with the smile on her face and the encouragement that came from her lips.  She believed we all had greatness inside and we needed to turn that greatness loose just like she tried to do.

As I write this Michelle is laying in a hospital bed in her living room, waiting for the moment she steps across that great divide and comes into the presence of God. Surrounded by those who love and care for her, Michelle is in a fight that even she cannot win.  In the last two years she has done all she could to hold off the inevitable all the while continuing to be an encouragement to her friends and family with that trademark smile of hers plastered across her face.  Even in her closing days when she was still able to speak she was laughing with and at anyone who had spent time at her side.  The time has now come for Michelle to close her eyes and await God’s call.  I look back at her life and remember how she would always encourage Sharon and myself to lose weight and offer to join us in any activity we chose so that we would not be alone.  Michelle got “it” and knew that left to our own devices we would never take any action and sadly, she was right.

When that inevitable time comes and Michelle leaves this world and moves on to the next, I will forever remember her face and gentle prodding to make a difference in our own lives. Her continued encouragement to build better lives for ourselves will always remain with me and push me to reach those heights that she believed Sharon and I could reach.  And next time I need to re-wire a lamp, I will look it up on YouTube and thank Michelle for the confidence to just make it happen.

 

 

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Only Time Will Tell……………

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2015 at 7:56 pm

If one chooses to listen, time can teach us lessons about life, love and just about anything else if we choose to let it.  Recently I was sitting at Starbucks and eavesdropping on a conversation between two men who appeared to be in the early ’60’s who were discussing life. One man was overweight but was dressed in running shorts and a windbreaker and appeared to have just finished a vigorous walk that left him sweaty and winded.  The other gentleman was well dressed and was at the coffee shop at the friends request to talk if only for a few minutes.  Their conversation bordered on the normal “guy” stuff but it suddenly took a turn for the serious when the sweaty one told his friend matter of factly, “life is too short to worry about stuff I used to worry about”.

When we are younger we are obsessed with getting ahead in life. Raising families, giving our children all they could ever want, buying homes, getting that incredible job and accumulating so much stuff that we have to rent storage lockers for it all.  As time marches on and the kids move out, we finally have time to evaluate who we are and where we are in life and many, like the man I heard today, realize that great car, incredible job and storage locker full of stuff just doesn’t matter any more.  As I continued to listened to the conversation of these men, they talked about their family and how important relationships have become to them.  I heard one of them read a text he sent to his son on what appeared to be a very important day in his child’s life.  The text was a simple one that told his son that he was proud of him and he knew he would succeed in whatever he was doing that day.  With tears in his eyes, the man read the simple reply from his son which said “thanks Dad, you don’t know how much that means to me”. As the conversation continued, my mind wandered to to those simple words I had heard many times before.  Life is too short…….why worry about stuff?

I sat in the basement yesterday, sorting through piles of “stuff” I have accumulated and tried to sort out what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to sell or toss out.  As I sat I realized I really didn’t want to keep any of it because, at my age, what was I really going to do with it anyway. This stuff I was sorting through only had marginal meaning to me and no meaning to any of my family.  Ten years ago I would not have felt this way but today, there is no doubt in my mind that, like the oder man I heard today, life is too short to hold onto stuff that has no meaning.  It is time to clean my life and make a break from much of the garbage that has held me back and make some new experiences.  Time to move that clutter in my life and break from who I am and quit worrying about things that are no longer important.  Let’s face it, at the age of 51 I do not have a lifetime ahead of me and I need to make the best of the time I have left.  I need to do all I can to extend my time by taking care of my body and safeguarding my mind.  Spend time with those who are important to me and stop spending time on things that will not do me any good.  It is time to stop talking and start doing.  Lets see where this new attitude takes me.

A Christmas story that is good all year round!

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2015 at 2:12 am

Recently my wife and I ventured out in the December cold to downtown Chicago so that we could look at the Christmas lights and browse the Christkindle German Market. The night was cold and a damp wind was blowing off the lake but the streets were decorated in their holiday finest and the feeling of Christmas was in the air. We browsed the market and munched on potato pancakes while looking at handmade ornaments and other German Christmas decorations. The market was packed and not easy to navigate as thousands of others obviously came up with the idea of visiting the market, just as we had. After a while, Sharon and I had decided to leave as we had grown cold and the hot chocolate we were drinking no longer held any warming potential. We made our way to the back side of the market as this exit was less crowded and made our way to the main street where we could get to our car and get warm. I had lost track of Sharon and back tracked looking for her as I knew she had no idea how to get around the bustling city. It took just a few steps and I instantly saw her. I stood back so that she would not see me and watched in amazement as she did something I never expected. Sharon was standing next to a bus stop, talking to a homeless man who was sitting Indian style on the street, his head down and a sign asking for money in his hand. Sharon was not only giving this man money but she was actually talking to him. For someone who is was very timid when we first met, I was totally shocked by her actions.

As others passed by and saw right passed this man, he slowly lifted his tired head and looked in amazement as my bride started to talk to him. Sure, people would drop coins in his cup out of a sense of duty or guilt, but surely nobody stopped to take the time to talk to the man as a person. Nobody seemed to care about this homeless man but as I walked up I heard my wife asking this seemingly insignificant man about his age. I gasped as I realized that she was carrying on a conversation with a person that I had previously walked by and paid no attention to. I was just as guilty as my fellow shoppers in the market of ignoring the homeless as I shopped for treasures for those who probably would not appreciate them anyway and honestly did not need them either.

We found this man to be engaging and thankful for some human conversation. We found him to be 50 years old but looked much older. I guess that is what life on the streets will do to you. We talked of insignificant issues and spent a few minutes just treating him as a human. Of course, we dropped some bills in his cup and hoped that he could use the money to buy himself something to eat and not something to ease his pain on this cold December night. We shook hands and we walked away, exchanging God’s blessings and hopes for a Merry Christmas. I walked away with the image of this man burned into my mind.

As the Christmas season progressed I have thought of this man many times. The image of his face with a tired, sad look has haunted me since that night a few weeks ago. The only thing that has caused me to smile is when I look back on this encounter, I see my wife showing incredible compassion towards someone who others saw as a roadblock. She put her fear aside and found a man who needed to know someone cared about him. She found someone who needed a hug along with a few dollars and gave this homeless man one before she left. She helped to wake me up to the reality of life and the need to help those who are less fortunate, even if those who are in need are out of my comfort zone. The woman who I never thought would reach out to a homeless man beyond dropping a few coins in a cup really showed me something that cold December night. She showed me the meaning of compassion in action and how a simple, kind gesture has the potential to make someone’s day. I knew this to be true because as we left, that man who had a sad, tired look on his face now wore a bight smile as we shared a few laughs together. Although he remained homeless, Sharon was able to brighten his day, if only for a few moments and let him know some people really do care.