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Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing:

The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer (s) and should not taken as official policy of ANY organization with which I am associated. Reading or sharing any post from this site shall be taken as an indication that you have read this disclaimer and understand it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Funerals...

As is often always the case, life presents you the lessons when you need them, not when you want them.  Over the last two weeks, I have attended the funerals for parents of two of my best friends: one at Arlington National Cemetery and the other on Staten Island, NY. 

The Staten Island Funeral marked my first time ever taking communion in a catholic church. It was entirely by accident- I had no idea the priest was actually going to walk over and present the wafer to me, and I didn't want to be rude.  Further, many of you know my fondness for crackers.  So, I relented and played along.  It wasn't until later on I realized that it was likely the final cantankerous act of the woman who's life we were celebrating. A woman who had declared she was ready to go-- and then did just that.  Who in happier times had sent me a bill for the privilege of attending a party at her home, a party where I had brought much of the food.  A woman who I had spent hours talking to, most significantly on a fall afternoon at her kitchen table.  As she related to me a long story of love, frustration, forgiveness, and pain, and I simply listened.  Knowing that there was nothing else for me to do.  That day I was not a consultant, or adviser, or even a friend-- I was a witness.  And that was enough. 

Last week's  funeral was at Arlington National Cemetery was also a first, and a statement to ceremony and honor and beauty that can be a part of a man's passing.  A Vietnam Vet like my father, Mr. Posey was a gregarious man-- much like Terry-- and was often the life of the gathering, at least when I was around him.  Able to charm a room and tell a story or a joke with ease. According to his family, he too had decided it was time to go. And went. I had no long talks with the man, but he reminded me of my own father and so many that I had known of his kind.  Called to serve, injured in battle physically, and in other ways. And never again to heal. 

As I reflect on these two great people I am left to wonder about those things we call scars. Some are seen, some unseen.. But we all carry them.  The ones we can touch are easier, we know where they are-  they hold a story or a memory-- they know their place.  But the other, more insidious scars, hold so much more.  Some people bury them under time or denial or rage-- others try to drown them. But still they  remain.  Often we give an outward show to mask whats felt inside.  Never acknowledging that lasting feeling that hides under the bed, or in the closet, or in the attic- only coming out in those tired sleepless moments.  And so we learn to live a dual life-- one seen by others, one seen from within. 

And too often only merged on that last greatest day. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Some Winter Reading

I have been asked recently by a few friends and co-workers to share the process that has led to some pretty big transformations in my attitude, approach, and mindset over the last year.  As part of that process, the following books have proved invaluable.  They helped in many ways, perhaps they can do the same for you.

1.  Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

2.  Illusions, Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach [Thanks Ron!]

3.  One, Richard Bach

4.  Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, Dr.  Anthony DeMello  [Thanks Sarrah!]

5. Your Sacred Self, Dr. Wayne Dyer [thanks Keith!]

6.  Your Erroneous Zones, Dr Wayne Dyer

7.  Pulling Your Own Strings, Dr. Wayne Dyer

8.  The Velvet Rage, Alan Downs [Thanks Adam!]

9.  Ten Smart Things Gay Men Can do to Improve Their Lives, Dr. Joe Kort

10.  Ten Smart Things Gay Men Can do to Find Real Love, Dr. Joe Kort

11. Reaching Your Potential, Norman Vincent Peale

12. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Dr. John C. Maxwell  [Thanks Doug!]

I would be committing a grave sin If I also did not acknowledge the people in my life that have constantly driven me to be a better person; better leader; better friend and better family member.  I am fortunate to have people like Ron, Sarrah, Mory, Andy; Doug; Jack; Holly; Henry; John; Cory; Dee; Gerry; Jackie and Jackie; Benny; Jimmy; Jimmy; Geno; the entire staff at Cinemad Media; all of brothers and sisters from Truro Township; and countless souls who names I do not recall but who's lessons I do. 

Growth and opportunity come from being willing-- to take the chance to succeed and the chance to fail and to still get up the next day and do it again.  There is a brilliant scene in the film the Shootist, where the character played by John Wayne gives a shooting lesson to the young man played by Ron Howard.  In a not too subtle "passing of the torch" moment- Gillam Rodgers (played by Howard) realizes he's nearly as good a shot as the legendary Shootist, and pats himself on the back for his nearly equal stature.   Only to be corrected by a voice of experience and wisdom.  "Son, there was no one shooting back at you."  The Shootist goes on to say how most men will hesitate, "..blink and eye.. draw a breath"... and that "I wont."

Whether you find the strength in a book, in god, in your past or in future, may we all be the guy that doesn't hesitate.. that just goes and does it. 

A shootin' lesson- Scene from the Shootist (c) 1976