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Monday, August 16, 2010

Family Tradition

I was asked to write about what family traditions I try to maintain while dealing with a disability. I had to smile and confess the first thought was Friday afternoons in Athens, Georgia at the 5th Quarter, cold beer, peanuts and Hank Williams Jr Family Tradition playing on the jukebox.

As a child my dream occupation was to be a Dad. I had so many plans, ALS and divorce destroyed most of them. Paralysis and losing the ability to speak made connecting with toddlers challenging. Hannah and Hunter were lip readers at a young age, they always understood I love you. Hanging on the scooter and getting dragged on the floor always initiated those wonderful uncontrollable belly laughs. Rides around the block towing a red wagon was an eagerly awaited request for me. After the divorce I wanted Christmases to be special at Dad’s. I began a tradition of putting there gifts in a dozen stacking boxes. At eleven and ten the boxes towered over them. The look on their faces entering the living room made the pain of Christmas Eve alone dissipate. It remains a cherished tradition.

New traditions are on the horizon. While corresponding with an intelligent beautiful compassionate woman regarding her father’s battle with this horrific disease she stole my heart as well as her incredible children. Wonderful things will be taking place, long overdue dreams fulfilled.

What are your traditions? Do you work to sustain them? Never too late to inspire a memory that lasts a lifetime and passes down generations. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Friday, August 13, 2010

Make It Happen

Being totally dependant on others has peaked my appreciation when independent accomplishments occur. Thank goodness for batteries and Velcro. My day begins after six. I cannot wait to get in my wheelchair around nine. It’s my captain’s chair like Kirk’s on the Enterprise. No, I’m not a Trekkie, I just remember as a kid how empowered he was seated in his chair. When buckled in and all the technology booted up I am limited only by my imagination.

Opportunities abound to make things happen. Parents, especially Moms of dependant children put in motion at least a few dozen processes before the coffee pot empties. Most are mundane like instructing to brush teeth or as my sweet aunt would say to my cousin, “John, go worsh your teeth.” Other times when the bus is arriving or already ten minutes late out the door a child reveals a serious problem that has festered all night, we usually resolve it before the tardy bell.

Some individuals become paralyzed to act on anything. When a rookie stock broker I had to dial for dollars building my book. I was peddling insured AAA municipal bonds, very very very conservative, but so many people could not make a decision. Fear of losing hard earned savings was completely understandable, but coming out of the Carter years inflation and taxes was eroding their capital.

Inaction in life generally has the same corrosive effect. My heart aches for those that will not act because of a deteriorated self-esteem from verbal and or physical abuse. Again, I hope the perpetrator’s hell is a deep fryer for their genitals. If you are there please get out and know they are only attempting to drag you down into their cesspool of misery. You deserve better!

Infinite possibilities exist if you decide to seize them. Change a life, change your life. Failure and imperfection is guaranteed, but they make the SWOOSH so much sweeter when you get nothing but net. Be bold, believe in your capabilities and make it happen! Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Caution Ahead

Interstates, highways, byways and streets are cluttered with road signs. Some signs are limiting, others directional and the majority alerting of impending danger. Most of the warnings are overstated for the average driver so we turn a blind eye.


Maneuvering day to day we refuse to acknowledge many things which we know to be real or true. Warnings unheeded. Why is that? What motivates our reluctance to accept truths or see the obvious?

Me? I am a fixer upper. I am certain I can solve or resolve situations. Success is typically given a toast if the predicament does not involve altering human behavior, but I am a slow learner. At times I just don’t want to believe reality. Finally, there are occasions I cannot see the forest for the trees.

Much time, energy and heartache can be avoided when one heeds obvious signs. Generally the cautions oppose our desires and we continue digging deeper. Yielding to the first speed bump instead of waiting for head on collision would have saved me enormous emotional capital.

Perspective is vital, correction, proper perspective. Trust the gut when feeling uncomfortable, take a step back and read the writing on the wall. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here and Now

Over the last week I experienced the gambit of emotional highs and lows. A recurring thought was the importance of here and now.

You are familiar with the tired saying live for today, tomorrow is promised to no one. This was honed to a razor edge during my absence. If problems exist confront and overcome. If reflection of self is a distasteful gaze stop procrastinating and implement the changes within one’s control, shed negative thoughts. If dreams remain in the future seize the opportunity to begin constructing that large kitchen with a fireplace today

Avoidance and I’m going to….. leaves one mired in the past forfeiting the precious chance to live fully.

Capture occurrences to brighten someone’s day. I recently witnessed an individual possessing enormous personal burdens and with nothing to gain made a grocery cashier and two bag boys smile ear to ear. This likely was a temporary interruption of the monotony, but may have been the prescription needed. It is unfathomable what people have and have not encountered during their journey, a simple gesture or kind word can change a life possibly save one.

Do not allow here and now to morph into regret. Extraordinary changes are a decision away. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Discovering Your Destiny

Do you know your purpose for this visit? Individuals that possess exceptional talents never need to ponder such a question. The only extraordinary talent I possessed was having fun. I was pretty good with a fly rod, but never met a professional fly fisherman.

I feel this is an important question to ask and critical to develop an answer. Knowing your purpose sure makes difficult days endurable. The last 22 years I have been on a futile quest for an answer. I do not mind saying my travels to hell and back no longer require MapQuest. I desire to watch my children become adults and attempt to be a positive influence, but divorce and too many reasons has made that tremendously difficult. I have questioned during pity pauses why so much hurt and loss?

Today my destiny was discovered. It is heartbreaking and beautiful. The purpose of my journey became crystal clear. My life void of these experiences would make me incapable of comprehending the gravity of situations at hand and to come also how to compassionately navigate forward. I have been perfectly groomed for the days ahead.

Yes, a big tease. I will share as things fall into place. I will have guests in my home for the next seven days. They need my complete attention. I will return Wednesday morning. I hope you will come back. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Great Day

Have you ever paused and said, what a great day? We have all cursed days. I remember the first time it dawned on me I was having an exceptional day, it was on High Falls Lake. I was twelve aboard Halfpint, the first fishing boat I bought, a Sears Gamefisher. It cost $225, that was quite a few neighborhood lawns cut at three bucks a yard. After reeling in a small bass that had engulfed a crappie minnow I turned to my Dad and said “This is the best day of my life!”

Great days as I aged continued to be associated with the achievement of goals. After a sleepless night and my head pounding in the hot humid late May morning sun, graduating from Georgia was still a great day. Stepping out of J3 Piper Cub in the wilderness of Alaska was a great day. My first big month as a rookie stock broker was a great day.

The ALS diagnosis birthed a wonderful change in perspective. Initially I was very depressed thinking that the setting of big goals was no longer possible, but in time realized how much life elapsed unappreciated always hell bent shooting beyond the stars.

Don’t think for a minute I have quit super sizing my dreams, just fully appreciating the smell of the flowers along the way. Sorry about the brevity. Still weak from a bout of food poisoning, but woke up hungry this morning and knew it would be an excellent day! Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj

Monday, August 2, 2010

Objects Are Closer Than They Appear

The wheelchair lift on my new van is narrow requiring precise positioning to load. I recently added a small rearview mirror to the chair that assists with backing onto the lift platform. The mirror is convexed. Along with the diminutive size the lift appears feet away then suddenly a collision.

A facsimile of problems I have failed to address in a timely manner. It’s impressive how the subconscious masquerades reality aiding our apprehension to face issues until they blow up in our face. Avoidance only creates mental stress and typically multiplies the severity of a dreaded outcome.

Confronting dilemmas as they arise eliminates damaging mental/physical stress, often reduces destruction, many times the conclusion is far better than what the imagination has manufactured and most important unlocks the shackles holding one from moving forward and living fully.

Forest Park Senior High was a large school consisting of four long corridors that housed tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades. Winter quarter my sophomore year I spent a sleepless night wondering what time my execution would occur, because earlier in the day a rumor reached its destination. Brock Stanton, an upper classman was going to kill me. Brock’s parents must have known he would grow into his name. When you imagine a person named Brock Stanton your mind doesn’t picture a pocket protector using dork does it? Yes, Brock was the typical handsome musclebound jock with a beautiful girlfriend. That beautiful girlfriend just happened to work after school with my Mom She would come up to me in the halls and talk. That exponentially inflated the self-esteem of a lowly tenth grader still learning the ropes, but the consequence was Mr. Stanton thought I was trying to make time with his girl. Two eleventh grade buddies took me to school the day of my termination. During the ride my buddies lamented they would hate to be me. Should have taken the bus. With my stomach in knots before lunch I decide to get this over with and find Brock in the cafeteria. There was an empty seat across from Mr. Olympia. Taking out a highly leveraged loan from the bank of courage I walked down the isle certain to soon meet my maker. Reaching the vacant chair I slammed the tray on the table sending delectable school cuisine flying and yelled LET’S GO BROCK! Maybe the element of surprise working in my favor, but the only result of the encounter was we became friends. Sadly we lost Brock last year.

Summon the courage to face problems, likely it will not be painless, but afford yourself the opportunity to live unshackled. Thanks so much for reading. Have a great day! dj