To say that the collective journey we’re experiencing in 2020 has been interesting is an exercise in trying to find the perfect understatement.   Since I’ve had some self isolation time forced on me as a result of recent surgery, I’ve taken advantage of the chance to try to collect my thoughts and make sense of them.  I expect this posting to be just the first installment, if you’ll indulge me.

In the midst of the COVID-19 situation, my journey with Jake (my beloved black Lab) came to an end.  Keeping everything in perspective, I know that the losses suffered by far too many families since the beginning of the year are immeasurable and still too new.  Trust me, I know the feeling.  The loss of any family member, be it human, canine, feline, equine, etc., is something where we each have to find our own way in our journey through grief.  No two people are going to experience grief in the same way.  I won’t presume to think that my own grief experience is the way anyone else should experience grief.  In all honesty, I didn’t make the journey after the first step.  Because of my unique circumstances, I swept my grief aside and took care of other things that were and still are, so very important.  What’s interesting has been how Jake’s passing has forced my attention onto an area of my life that I can no longer keep swept under the rug.  It’s time now to return to where I stopped my grief journey and start moving forward again.  I have a close group of family and friends who will help me complete the journey properly this time.  I know that it’s okay to cry (they’ll have the tissues ready), it’s okay to be angry, and it’s even okay to share a few laughs.

I don’t know when or how the journey will end but it will.  I’m very confident of that.  I don’t want to miss out on a single moment of what’s ahead in my life’s journey.  I’m glad I’ve come to that realization, late though I may be.  What’s important is that we continue to put one foot in front of the other, figuratively link arms with those who are sharing their life journey with us, and keep moving on.

A State of Weird

I don’t think it’s any stretch of the imagination that since March of this year. we’ve been traveling through what can only be described as a State of Weird.  The pandemic caused by the unleashing of the COVID-19 virus has devastated families, communities, houses of worship, businesses, and even our own concept of what it means to look out for one another.  Just when it seemed like we were reaching the end of the tunnel and a new day was dawning, the resurgence of this virus has continued to claim lives while also showcasing the absolute callous disregard that some of our citizens have for others.

I’m not going to argue whether any governmental agency has the right to require us to wear masks in public.  While I have tested negative both for the virus and for any exposure to the virus, I choose to wear a mask in public because my mayor and governor have recommended that I do so.   The wearing of the mask doesn’t diminish who I am, nor does it diminish my civil liberties.  What it does do is showcase my consideration for others.

I am concerned about my family, friends, and neighbors.  I’m going to do my research to make sure that I fully understand what is happening, including an understanding that some of the numbers being reported may be based upon false information.  No testing program is completely infallible and false positives and negatives are going to happen.  We need people in positions of publishing the numbers to be scrupulous in their reporting.   We need a governmental response that focuses almost exclusively upon making available the resources needed by the doctors and nurses on the front lines of treating this pandemic.  We need a responsible media to stop shouting the figurative “fire” in the crowded theater and focus, instead, upon the accurate reporting of how this virus was unleashed upon the world and what are the best practices for eliminating it.  We need the finger pointing to stop, the shouting to stop and we, as a community, need to come together to help those who have lost loved ones; support business owners who are desperately trying to stay open so their employees can get paid;  and, make sure those who can’t fend for themselves know that they have a safe haven and are given the helping hand that they need.

Keeping On

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make its presence known, Statistics aside, we can see a variety of responses by individuals to a defining moment for this generation. Some think that the new, temporary stay at home rules don’t apply to them. Sort of a sad commentary that our canine family members are better at “sit,” and “stay” than some humans.
I think that this younger generation will see this defining moment in a couple of ways. Taking common sense precautions to protect one’s health and, more importantly, the health of family and friends, isn’t giving up any rights or liberties. It’s allowing common sense to prevail.
Second, I think the younger generation was becoming transfixed exclusively on today’s technology and the promise of technologies to come; so much so, that human contact was ignored in favor of text messages, emails, or any other electronic versions of reaching out to others. Now that we can’t shake hands or hug one another for the time being, the importance of that human contact is being reawakened in all of us. We’re remembering the importance of practicing kindness and looking out for each other. That’s not a bad thing, when we think about it. Letting others know how much we value them is important, not only now as we seek out new ways to share that, but also in the months and years that follow.
I’m reminded of a great line spoken by Chief Dan George in the Clint Eastwood movie, “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” when he stated basically how important it was to “endeavor to persevere.” How prophetic those words seem today. We must all work through this current situation with the goal in mind of surviving, praying that our families and friends all survive, and keeping those who have died or lost a loved one in our thoughts and prayers,
We will get through this situation and we will come out of it stronger, and with a renewed faith in the importance of letting our treasured families and friends know how very much we love each and every one of them. Keep on, folks. Stay safe and stay well.

A Rite of Spring

Here we are in another March and the annual “lose another hour of sleep” moment. Last Sunday, most of the country did that daylights savings time thing. I never fully understood it when I was younger and now that I live in a place that doesn’t spring ahead or fall back, I confess that I still don’t understand the concept. Exactly how many hours of daylight do we really need? Whatever did our ancestors do without this concept?
I prefer my favorite rite of spring – the start of MLB’s spring training. It started earlier this year and will end in just under two weeks. We’ve had to contend with rain, wind, chilly temps, and a few other odds and ends. But we know that we’re seeing players hone their skills for what they hope will be a successful season.
So why this focus? Because spring is a chance to reset or reboot if things aren’t going as well as we’d like. Every team in baseball right now is going into the season with hopes of a championship. For that one team, the glory will come with the last out of the World Series and they begin that glorious celebration of champions. That success will come from hard work – lots of it – and a dedication to the teamwork needed to get to that point.
And for Jake, it’s a time to spend sleeping on the deck, moving when the sun gets too warm, watching the bunnies run under the deck, and spending some quality time with Mom. For me to have this time with Jake – why, that even beats baseball as the best rite of spring.

Time for a Reboot

Ever have a moment when you think you’ve got such a brilliant idea for a posting but when you sit at the keyboard and monitor, absolutely nothing – not even a glimmer – of that brilliant idea now comes to mind? Even Jake’s no help right now. He’s sound asleep by my feet after spending a few minutes on the sun warmed deck. As far as he’s concerned, life’s good. He’s right. But I think this event is giving me the hint that a reboot is needed.
For the last several weeks I’ve been focused almost exclusively on getting one thing accomplished. But lately, I feel like my brain is fried and it’s been hard to keep the thoughts focused. I think the neurons are letting me know it’s time to take a break. So I will. Leaders do that, you know – listen to the neurons and take occasional breaks. Otherwise, they burn out and lose their effectiveness.
I love major league baseball, especially the spring training. It’s a chance to see baseball like it used to be – affordable for the most part, fan friendly, fun, and a chance to see future stars break into the majors. I also know that as of 28 March 2020, my beloved Orioles will be tied for first place in the AL East. Hope springs eternal that they won’t mathematically eliminate themselves from the playoffs by the end of April….
So now I’m also focusing on MLB’s upcoming spring training season, scheduled to begin 21 February 2020. The Cactus League offers some great games and we’ll have some rather nice weather – we hope. Last year we experienced some cold and snowy days here in the desert southwest but what the heck. February is such a fickle month. But we’ll end the spring training season in late March with delightful sunny days and new memories of times at the stadium. That’s my reboot, folks, and I’m sticking with it. Have a great week!


Some days, I like the word, “transition” better than “change.” For me, it means about the same thing but sounds a whole lot better. Either way, be it a transition or a change, it’s my choice on how I accept it. I can resist and go through the transition kicking and screaming, only to have to endure the consequences that come with my half baked choice. Or I can make sure I’m as informed as I can be about both the transition and the reason for it, and then embrace it so that I’m invested in how well the transition takes place. Both my experience and my optimism let me know that making that choice will help with whatever consequences come along. Why do I say that? Because despite my best efforts to make as informed a decision as I can, sometimes the decision leads to a transition that future circumstances show to be not the best. Of course, I could waste time beating myself up about the head and shoulders for making such a poor decision but I’ll leave that to others who think they know everything. When a transition just doesn’t work out even though I’ve given it my best, I choose to take a step back, reassess the circumstances, and then engage in making the best decision I can, given the new and more detailed information now available to me. As I mentioned previously, life’s too short for drama, complication, and negativity.
As a leader within my organization and community, I choose to model good and ethical decision making skills, personal accountability for when a decision I’ve made doesn’t turn out as I had planned, and keeping my focus on the goal I set out to achieve. It’s my way of keeping it positive and simple for the coming year!

A “No Resolutions” Zone

It’s that time of year again when tradition has us thinking about resolutions for the New Year. The only problem is that the vast majority of resolutions go by the wayside well before the first month of the year is over. So this year, I’m going to try something new. No resolution, just an adjustment to my life philosophy.
* Leave the negative stuff and people behind. Although it sounds easy enough, this can be very difficult, especially if one of the negative people is a member of the family, a supposedly close friend, or even a colleague or co-worker. Usually people who harbor anger, envy, or dislike for some imaginary reason, none of which we can control, will have their words and deeds be a complete mismatch. In my experience, I got a polite greeting to my face, but behavior that tried to anger or humiliate me. That’s when I remembered that their anger, envy, and hatred are their issues, not mine. Life’s complicated enough. Let’s leave that drama behind.
* Learn something new. This can be as simple as reading a new book, trying a new recipe, learning to play a new song on whatever instrument we play, or taking up a new hobby and becoming decent at it. Today’s technology now makes this relatively easy.
* Keep it simple. Life can get way over the top in complicated, if we let it. I have a finite number of brain neurons left and I’m going to continue to use them wisely. Life’s too short for complicated.
* Love honestly and deeply.
* Laugh with someone, not at them.
* Continue to be kind.

And every once in a while, I’m going to stop what I’m doing, go sit on my deck with Jake, and watch the cloud parade go by. It’s the simple things that help recharge my motivation.

Happy New Year, folks!

Merry Christmas

The Christmas season is now upon us and in keeping with my Anglican traditions, the season will continue through 6 January when tradition has it that the Magi arrived at the stable in Bethlehem to present their gifts to the Christ child. Our thought has focused on the kindness and unconditional love shown by the Magi as they traveled far to reach that stable, with no thought of receiving anything in return for their gifts.  In their hearts, they knew that the babe born in a stable was a special gift and that was enough for them.

What a great lesson from history for us to think about and to model.  I see this modeled every time I see an act of kindness. People are kind because they believe that’s the right thing to do.  Kind acts happen without the expectation of being repaid.  But somehow, that kindness finds its way back to folks, especially when they least expect it.  Our wish would be that the spirit of Christmas follow all of us throughout the coming year and we are moved to practice kindness with even greater frequency.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy Holidays.


10 December 2019

Today was another flight back east and once again,the nonstop flight was pretty much uneventful until I got off the plane and stepped outside into a blast of cold – well below my mandatory requirement of at least 60 degrees. (It’s my dream, I know. But please humor me.) Oh, and the ever present moisture – rain this time, thankfully. I hate that frozen white stuff that falls from the sky. I spent the majority of my life dealing with that stuff so I figure I’ve earned a break from the cold, snow, and ice.
It’s a couple of weeks early but my life is full of blessings. My son, daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter rank first on that list. This Christmas should be joyful because my granddaughter is old enough now to realize that this time of year is very special. Lots of good memories to be had, I think.
My family is a blessing all year round. This year, we supported one sister as she bested cancer so far. Her diagnosis was a wake up call for all of us to keep up with routine exams and tests. The best part is that I realized the importance of letting each of my family members and my friends know how much I love and appreciate them.
The Jake Meister. What more can I say about this extraordinary pup. He’s now retired from therapy work but does occasionally like to go visit some master’s degree students to help them see how a therapy dog can help in a counseling setting. His good days are treasured by me. But I’m also aware of his not so good days which are increasing. I think those days make me appreciate this pup all the more and the wonderful vet who is helping Jake fulfill his life as comfortably as possible.
Why this train of thought? I realized many years ago that focusing on the blessings helps me balance stuff when not so good things happen. Having that balance also helps me maintain a good perspective.
If I were to share any wish as the Christmas holiday approaches, I would wish each and every one of you is blessed with balance in your lives, an appreciation for the wonder and excitement we see in a child’s eyes, and the true blessing of this holiday season.
Merry Christmas.

Not Overthinking

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I find that sometimes I can overthink the meaning of the day, especially trying to make sure I give thanks for all the good things that have happened, as well as giving thanks for overcoming the not so good things that have happened. We’re simplifying things this year. It’s been a roller coaster ride without a doubt. But here’s what Jake and I are thankful for:

Our family. Even though the pack “family” is much smaller, Jake‘s still with us. My family members are doing nicely, all things considered, and they’re as close as the nearest phone.

Our friends: best friends, long time friends, new friends, and all those in-between. Our circle of treasured friends continues to support us and help us create new memories, share laughter, and best of all, they continue to love us.

My son, daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter who deserve a special mention because of the abundance of joy they bring to my life. Despite the geographical distance, we remain close and in constant contact. They fill my heart with love and Jake adores the video calls with them all.

Despite Jake’s health issues, we’re still having more good days than bad ones. Spending quality time with him has been really nice. I know he’s enjoyed it and I don’t mind taking the hour or more that he wants to sleep in my lap on the floor. I get to quiet my mind, gently rub behind his ears, and just be in the moment with a tremendous pup who I still consider to be a true gift from God.

So, to all our readers and new folks who might visit our page, we wish you a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.