Blog Post #4, Intersections. November 27, 2015

Have you ever come to those points in your life that I refer to as “intersections”?  I really believe that we all travel many roads in our lifeROAD-SIGNS journeys. Sometimes we’re on the super highways, other times we’re traveling two-lane roads, and sometimes we even find ourselves on small, scary, back alleys. Sometimes we make turns in good directions, and other times we make wrong turns. Sometimes we even hit a dead-end. What matters is that we keep on traveling.

Twenty years ago, in December of 1995, I arrived at a very important intersection. I was given the opportunity to make a choice. I chose to make a turn at this intersection that took me in a very different direction – one that was much better than the direction I had been headed in. Without going in to detail, this was a turn that truly changed my life in unimaginable ways. This change led to things that were to be beyond my wildest dreams.

Ten years later I met someone who quickly became my best friend, my partner, my soul mate – and my wife. It was another intersection in the journey of my life, and another turn in a good direction.

In 2011 I found myself at another intersection. This one was a professional intersection, one required a lot of introspection, exploration, and guidance from trusted advisers. It wouldn’t be an easy decision to make – to decide which way to turn. It would also require faith. I then made what I think of as a hard left turn at this intersection. I went down a path, again, that looked very different from the one I had previously been traveling. Long story short, it was a very good decision to take the turn down this new path, and one that I don’t regret at all. Was it scary? Yes, it really was. But I had good people in my corner, and, as it turns out, all around me. Many people who encouraged me and supported me. I’ve learned that from fear and pain come growth. And I’ve also learned that change doesn’t have to be scary. It’s all part of they journey.  I hope you enjoy your journey and make the most of it. I also hope that our paths cross during our journeys.

Heritage Journey

Blog Post #3, Can Love Triumph over Evil? November 17, 2015

I’ve been thinking for the past few days…what do I blog about following this horrible tragedy in Paris? We all have been subjected to 24/7 news coverage and commentary about the 129 people murdered and the over 350 injured, many of those seriously. During my down time I have found it difficult to think about much else. Solidarity-Paris

In addition to the 129 people killed in Paris, 352 were injured, at least 99 seriously.
– CNN, November 16, 2015                                                                                                           
I don’t want this post to come off like a political statement at all – in fact, I really hope it won’t. Of course I have my political opinions – who doesn’t. But this is more about what I feel in my heart and less about what I think intellectually. Frankly, when I hear the rhetoric from politicians on both sides of the aisle it seems to me that they all have puffed up egos and care more about posturing then working together.

What does bother me most – no, what actually breaks my heart, is the idea that those refugees who are innocent and seek to flee the danger in Syria would be punished because of the actions of these extremist monsters. That is exactly what the terrorists want – to rock our world and cause an over-reaction. They also want to perpetuate what I don’t think we should be doing in the first place – meddling in these hot beds in the middle east. Attack them where they are so that they don’t attack us on our homeland? I just don’t buy it. I imagine that there is a never-ending supply of these radical extremists. There is no “head of the snake” to cut off here. If you believe our military experts, there are splinter cells throughout the middle east recruiting new, young terrorists who have nothing to lose.

Candle-memorial
I don’t have the answers. I only know what I don’t buy. I don’t buy unjustified hate and prejudice. I don’t buy painting all Syrians with a broad brush. I don’t buy “declaring war” against Islamic State. I think the Syrian problem should be a middle east problem where the powers there should step up and do more. Where is Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in all of this? Why does the west have to play the lead role in the region? I like to believe in one world where everyone deserves safety and peace. I realize that it may be impossible to have our cake and eat it too. But I also believe also there is a point at which we just need to take a step back and rethink our entire strategy in the middle east.

Oh, and also, I pray that love will somehow overcome evil and triumph in the end.

Boy-Memorial

Blog Post #2, Kids and Young People, November 10, 2015

This has been an interesting year. We are now “empty-nesters”, yet I’m told that “they come back.” So far, no boomerangs, only periodic visits, which are nice. However, having an empty nest has been an adjustment and take some getting used to. Trust me, I’m not complaining! One thing I miss: knowing where the kids are and what they’re up to. Something I don’t miss: wondering what time they’ll be home!

Selfie at Pitt Homecoming 2015

Selfie at Pitt Homecoming 2015

Another thing I don’t miss: getting harassed incessantly by the kids for my social media posts. As a contrast to that, it was very, very cool recently when one of my boys changed his Facebook profile to a pic of the two of us and he even tagged me. This, to me, indicates that when you do the best you can as a parent, sometimes the results are just, well, like I said, very cool.

One of the reasons I chose the career and field I am in today is my deep passion for helping kids and young people. Every day I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids and families that need (and deserve) a little extra help. Now that my impact in the lives of my own kids as evolved into something different but still important, my job afford me the opportunity to still help kids at a point in their lives where they still have a chance to achieve their full potential. It’s a blessing that I don’t take for granted.

I’ve also been give then opportunity to help many young people, up and coming professionals, through my network. Recently I met with two amazing young women, Nicole and Melinda, that are giving of themselves and their time, while they are full-time university students, helping people in a very low socioeconomic community. In their free time, and they don’t have much of that as physical therapy majors, they serve on a working student board for the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic at Widener University. These amazing young people commit their time to an initiative that is “a student-led clinic that provides [primarily Pro Bono] compassionate physical therapy to the uninsured and under-insured residents of Chester, PA.” This is a nonprofit initiative that allows PT students to give back to the community while gaining valuable, real-world work experience in their professional field. I am amazed by the young people like this when I meet them and am also humbled that they seek my guidance and assistance.

My Three Sons

My Three Sons

So I’ll close with this – in a world that seems to present us with more bad news every day, locally, nationally and internationally, it is the young, up and coming generations that provide me with hope. It inspires and motivates me to do all that I can to help and empower kids and young people to achieve their full potential. And I am just so proud of the 3 boys that we have raised that I am going to shamelessly flaunt them here with one of my favorite, recent pics. Enjoy!

Blog Post #1, November 3, 2015

Fall1Following a hectic few weeks (6 to be exact), I took a “sanity day” today to have some time for myself and to get those pesky things done that I never seem to have time to deal with during the course of a normal week. One of those things was pretty big – seeing my doctor about some physical concerns and other stuff. Then there were some rather mundane things, like a stop at Home Depot to get HVAC filters and a specialty cleaner.

Later on in the afternoon I mowed the lawn and did some yard clean-up, hoping that there won’t be more than one more grass-cutting this season. While mowing the lawn and yard work aren’t my favorite activities, I will say that there is something very satisfying about looking at a fresh cut lawn, virtually free of leaves, and knowing that it looks great as a result of my efforts.

There were a few other activities in my day that were highlights. First, I visited with an old friend who suffers from Parkinson’s and has survived 3 cardiac arrests! He says, “it’s not my time yet, even though they keep trying to come for me.” I also took a nice walk with our dog, Sydney, on an unusually warm – 71 degrees – Fall day just before the sun went down, which, unfortunately, is at about 5 pm now. There is a really amazing feeling on a beautiful Fall day in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

In a few minutes Kim will be home from work, we’ll have dinner and then I’ll head out to meet a friend for coffee and fellowship. Why do I share all of these seemingly mundane things? I guess it’s because these days it’s the simple things that make my life so full and fulfilling. Tomorrow, back to work, for more fulfillment.

Colin1

My old friend, Colin.