You Can Be The One To Change Everything


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Every day when we wake-up we have a choice, we can look and say “today is going to suck” or we can say “I’m so blessed to have everything I have” and find fulfillment in the life you have.

Last night I went to bed after working late and doing some team building after work at a local pub. Like most late nights I said to myself “oh, tomorrow is going to suck” as I climbed into bed after 2 am.

I got up this morning, very groggy and wanting more sleep (especially hearing the light thunder and rain) but I got up and began to get around. Like every morning I wake up say good morning to my girlfriend and chat while she is on her way to work. As soon as I hang up with her I get on my phone and see what’s going on in the Social media world and I see this image above.

This is a picture that brought back many memories and emotions.

This time in my life was nothing less than an absolute disaster, I know it’s hard to see from this picture; apparently we have the capability of hiding even the most horrific of events.

I was about 6 if I had to guess and living with my grandparents, my father had moved to Florida with my step mother and had begun to start a new life, and my mother was seeking help from a rehab facility, no brothers and sisters at this time in my life after the death of my brother Matthew. You may say “oh, thank God for your grandparents” yes I absolutely thank Him for my Grandmother, she was a beautiful, sweet, kind little Irish woman and I will always have a place for her in the highest part of my heart and miss her like nothing on earth.

My grandfather is a different story, a story that I wouldn’t learn about until many, many years later after my mind was ready to accept the facts of what he was.

Fast forward about 20 years when the first of the dreams began. At first they were disorienting and very confusing, however clear as this blog I write and as real as you and I sitting here. In my mid 20’s he was exposed and registered as a sex offender because of what he had done to someone very close to me. Quickly rumors of many others followed and suddenly the dreams were no longer seen as dreams; but memories my mind was ready to release and accept.

I have forgiven him for the innocence he had taken from me and accepted that I am part of an enormous and saddening statistic.

Source: National Sex Offender https://www.nsopw.gov/en-US/Education/FactsStatistics 

According to the National Sex Offender website:

Child/Teen Victims. In a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26% were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% were younger than 9 years. Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. It is estimated that between 60-85 percent of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68 percent are abused by family members.

I am not ashamed to admit this, talk about it or express my disgust for anyone that has the capability to harm a child or any human being for that matter. There are no excuses, no logical explanation, or possibility for someone to understand the feeling this brings and impact to the soul unless you have experienced it.

I would like to speak to your inner child, to that little boy or girl stuck at that age, stuck in the time that was never intended to take place in our innocent lives. I want you to know that it is okay to love someone and hate what they have done, there is nothing wrong with you, and you are not broken, tainted or dirty.

You are completely normal and if you are not yet healthy, just know that one day you can be if you learn to let go. You are not defined by the statistic we fit into now; you are defined by the stance you take against this statistic and the ones who harm.

One thing you can do if this is happening to you or someone you know is to tell someone, a teacher, a friend, a family member and know that you have done nothing wrong…

Together, we, the 1.8 million lives that have been changed have an opportunity to find our voice and know that there is a bond between us that can never be broken. We can make a difference in the lives of others around us by simply finding the courage to tell your story. I’m not saying to tell the world by writing a blog unless you have the courage to talk about it openly, but that little neighbor boy or girl that is shut down, that friend that you see something lost in their eyes, the family member that feels alone and disconnected.. You can be the one to change everything

Who Am I to You & Who Are You to me


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 “Your life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be opened”. – Wayne Muller

Like it or not we are all connected in some way or another, by someone, something, and somehow. We all will leave others with the feeling of how we made them feel and that will change their path for better or worse. I’m far from perfect, I know that there are many “I’m sorry” that are needed. I made a choice in my early 20’s to live for positivism and walk away from drugs, crime, and fighting. I do not like to push my religion but for me it helped tremendously. I had someone to look up to that has not failed me. We are all human, we will fail one another. So think of it as a mindset change, higher power, faith or a little of all of it, it changed who I was into who I am today.

There is no way to predict how we will exist on earth, sure our choices can guide the pathway of our lives but ultimately we merely exist. Its through our interactions with others that we come alive.

Some have the opportunity to influence large numbers of people; some may live their entire life only affecting their small circle of friends and family. No matter the influence “we believe” we may or may not have in the lives of the people we come in contact with, one thing we do not know is what was moved in their life that changed the course of their life because of us.

Have you ever met someone that for some reason just sticks with you, no matter what direction your life travels you remember how they treated you? That is what matters, how you impact others.

When I was between the ages of 11-14 my life was a complete disaster, fighting in school, not caring about my grades, not coming home, moving back and forth between my mother and father’s house in Michigan and Florida, changing schools and trying to meet new friends.

Being a bit of a trouble maker I always gravitated to the questionable kids, let’s be honest it was just more fun to not follow the rules. One of the “friends” I met was the local Police department here in Michigan and sent to Florida to get on the narrow. Well, after I met the local Police Department in Florida I found myself back in Michigan working on some good old Community Service, only this will not be counted as school credits. That is where I met one of the most influential people in my life at that time. I’ll call him Mr. D for his privacy.

Well, Mr. D was an asshole, so I thought.

I had 150 hours of community service to fulfill as part of my sentence and I will never forget day one. Planting Tulips at city hall, picture this; a wheelbarrow full of bulbs and a serving spoon, let the fun begin. Day one went by, day two, and on to counting weeks not days. Followed by picking up magazines, sorting mail, arranging can goods, moving boxes full of paperwork from one side of the room to the other (for no apparent reason) then it happened.

One day he came in and I was ready to hear the crap job I was going to begin for that day. He said to me “what do you like to eat”? That was not a question that I was not ready to answer on the spot. Uhh, pizza and burgers, so while we ate he began to ask about me, and I was shocked.

“Why would you want to know about me”? I asked

he said “well, we have been spending a lot of time together and not even close to half way to 150 hours” thank you for the reminder..

“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.” ~Anne Linden

Over the next few weeks we talked every day while I worked. Even if I was working and he was sitting there watching, his company began to become something I desired, and was completely okay with me no matter what the crap job was. I see now what he was doing; he was planting a seed inside me that would one day grow into the man I am today. Today I love to talk to teens, especially troubled teens. Sometimes all a lost child needs is for someone to help them find their voice and show that someone cares.

Today he lives in Florida (ironic I feel) and still works with teens, I am one of God knows how many teenagers this man has influenced and he was one of many that has changed the course of my life.

That is how life works, I go through life bumping into, brushing against and sometimes crashing into others and they continue on doing the same. How do you respond, react and interact with people you come in contact with?

For me it’s simple, I want as many people in my path to walk away feeling better than they did before our paths crossed. I find my words to be more effective than anything, so I write..

I hope today while you crash into the people around you leave them better than before they had the opportunity to meet you.

The Things That Matter Most are The Things You Cannot See


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Over the last few days I have been trying to update and upload all my personal pictures to Google and have found a box of home movies on 8MM. I was shocked when I plugged in my external hard drive to upload the pictures and back them up in Google, it said “calculating upload” for about 30 min and then the number hit me even harder. Over 57,000 images… Wait, really 57,000 pictures, Mock me if you want however I’m so thankful for every picture and video I have now.

It has been 3 days now and the upload is complete, I now have pictures from 1996 – 2017 safe and backed up to my Google account. I have been looking at year after year that have been forgotten due to, well, life.

I have always loved to capture moments and this is why. Our memories fade, we forget, we lose track and now I have literally thousands of memories and events to restore my memory. I have also found that comes a price, some things should be forgotten, some events do not need to be remembered and relived. This has been somewhat of an emotional week after seeing my daughters as infants, old pets that are no longer with us and some friends that I no longer in my life.

But at the end of the day I have peace in my heart because as “beautiful or ugly” as some of the memories are they have lead me to the road that I am on right now. I do not regret anything, however I have remorse for how some of the events in my life played out.

Today I stand here with a totally different outlook on life than I had 10 years ago. In the past I needed to feel complete, I desired to feel “okay” and I wanted my path to have purpose. Now I know I’m not complete, I understand being “okay” is subjective and the purpose of my life is dependent on the actions I take and not something that can actually be reached.

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.
A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being
that places harmony in one’s life”. – Peace Pilgrim

I am learning to live simple, think less, feel more and finding the wisdom to take the time I desire to keep myself healthy and balanced. Looking at who has come and gone from my life I am beginning to see how much I took personally, when someone left my life I believed that there was something wrong with me or something I have done or not done. I have learned that we are all on our own journey trying to fulfill a purpose. No one owes me anything, I do not owe you anything, we are simply individuals living our own lives and it’s an honor if you choose to be involved in my life.

We do not own anyone, they do not own us and learning that truth is truth regardless of if it hurts or not is the simple basic law of life. Today I feel amazing, I feel as complete as I was intended to feel, I am loved well and and trying to reciprocate genuine love back.

One day this will all be gone, this life, these things, my pictures will be how someone remembers me. Taking our beliefs out of the topic we get one shot at living life, I am creeping up on half way through the average life expectancy of a male. Although none of my life was a waste, I feel like I needed a wake-up call, I hope my words can be your wake-up call.

Love life, even in the torment of life there is beauty if you look hard enough.

How My Actions Affect My Daughters 


I’m seeing that what I do in my life impacts my daughters tremendously.
All I hear is laughing coming from their room as they play with makeup. Only God knows what they are talking about, but I’m sure it’s something off  wall knowing those two. 

Back to my point, in the beginning stages of my relationship with Jennifer we began to talk about what it would look like for us and our girls. We made a decision that no matter what they come first, and we get what’s left over as far as time. I believe it was a great choice we made as we began our relationship.

I was scared to death to meet her daughters and her to meet mine. I’m fairly certain that they like me, and I know my girls adore her. That was the first step, second was seeing how our girls get along together, all if them.

Well from the second they met they clicked like best friends that haven’t seen one another in years. I can’t imagine how tricky it would have been if anything would have not worked out so effortlessly.

We included our girls is everything and we still do. They come first, and they have since the beginning. I truly think they feel our actions to include their feelings into something so important It makes them feel important and that they matter in our lives.

It means so much to me that we have all adapted so well to each other. Yes there are times that it gets a little intense but it’s a good intensity and they all blend in so well with the family.

Our choice to be open minded and respect our daughters feelings has opened the door for a new level of love together.

I love her girls and she loves mine. My girls talk about her and her girls all the time and love to see them. I am not so sure we would have had the same results if we told them “this is how it’s going to be, deal with it”. Our choices to give our girls power in our relationship has made them feel important in our lives. 

Someone told me recently they never had a choice, their option was never valued as a child. To me that was powerful, it tells me that if I want my daughters to grow up making appropriate decisions I need to value their decision making process now.

No One Ever Told me


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I love being a father however no one ever told me it could hurt so badly. No one ever explained the endless sacrifices and sleepless nights trying to figure out how to handle the countless situations that come with parenting.

Being a new father to me wasn’t hard, it didn’t take a life changing event to adapt to having children; it wasn’t a struggle to wake up in the middle of the night and change their diaper, or to be sleep deprived and to feed them at 3:00 am. It wasn’t as hard as learning how to discipline them according to how they needed to be disciplined.

My oldest daughter could be sent to her room and have everything taken away but her bed and say “is that it” without batting an eye lash. My youngest on the other hand would act like you were killing her to send her to her room. Fast forward 10 years, life sure is different than it was back then and so is the discipline.

Learning to be mother and father 50% of the time has been challenging, and last night was a great example. My youngest and I had a rather large disagreement that led to her being sent to her room while I calmed down and figured out how to handle myself let alone the situation.

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No one told me it would be this tricky. No one told me how hard it is to hold the balance of a girl’s heart in my hands and no one ever told me how I live is how they view the men that will one day be in their lives.

How is it that I can feel like a fish out of water when it comes to the depths of a woman’s heart after being a father of two daughters, having far more sisters than brothers, dating a woman with daughters, surrounded by girls in my family, and being raised by a mostly single mother?

Last night I feel that I failed at keeping my cool, I failed at showing her compassion and love while disciplining her and I feel like a little piece of my heart is broken for the fight we had. Last night I was not a loving father and it took the better part of my night to get it back. I few “I’m sorry“, a long conversation and my apartment began to feel like a home again, and I feel what was said may have hurt her heart.

No one ever told me how hard life could be and how fragile it is at the same time.

He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go into the basement by himself. He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures…but he was never in them”. —Erma Bombeck

I don’t question my capabilities or success of being a father as much as I question my effectiveness of teaching and being a good example of how life comes with struggle. Maybe this is not for me to teach as much as life experiences they need to navigate though.

Life is so full of things that no one talked about, it’s a good thing I like to talk, I have some catching up to do and I want to prepare my girls for this nasty world as much as I can. Looking at how quickly time has gone and realizing that my time with them in my home is coming to an end scares me. my oldest will be 16 this year, my youngest 13 and it went by in the blink of an eye. I am beginning to see more and more as they get older how much I don’t want them to get older.

No one Ever told me that helping them grow would be so hard.

One Little Spark


Sometimes we need a little spark to reignite the fire in our lives. 
For me it helps to every once in a while take a look at the past and really see how far I have truly come. Today I went to church for the first time in a long time and tonight I took a trip back in time looking at my life and the times I have had. Feeling the good, the bad, even the times I didn’t really want to remember, they all have molded me and who I am today.

I guess you know you have healed when you can look at areas in your life and it doesn’t make you cry.

I do have faith, I do pray and I also thank Him for all the blessings in my life, yet I haven’t attended church in a while.

Honestly I feel a little angry for some of the things in my life and how they have turned out. Yes, victim thinking, and I’m blaming God for the path my life has taken, let me finish.

I absolutely love where my life is at the moment, yet the path to get here was well let’s say less than fun at times.

Today I was sitting in church and I was feeling a little agitated during worship. I couldn’t help but think and began to judge myself and other “Christians” in my life. As to say just because someone is a Christian that excuses them from struggles or gives them a free pass to sin.

Worship continued but ended earlier than normal as well as the normal pastor Lee sermon, also changed up by something called Night At The Movies.

Same church yet I just wasn’t feeling it like I had in the past, I was a little closed off.

Then the movie started…

It was a clip beautifully crafted with a message from pastor Lee. The movie was the 2014 movie Unbroken. As they began to describe how no matter what (Louis) endured his spirit was not broken. He was shot down in the war, taken captive after many weeks at sea, beaten, and beaten, starvation and cruel punishments seemed to endure relentlessly. But his spirit remain strong.

I have never felt any of the torturous experiences he lived through yet my walls began to fall. I have felt pain in my life, guilt, regret, failure and I am able to smile and stand tall. I still have my spirit and I have endured many life changes and torturous experiences of my own. I began to feel something rise up inside, a little feeling that I have so much more to offer than what I’m giving.

The struggles in life will always happen, unless you stop living. I have found comfort again and in my comfort as beautiful as it is I can’t just stop and refrain from growing, as easy as it is and how long I have desired to feel the comfort I have now. I just don’t want to get stagnant in life, I don’t want the people that love me question my love for them because “life is comfortable” right now.

I have been alive for 36 years, and I’m trying to grasp what I have a offer at the moment. I have so much to give, maybe not financially, maybe not a beautiful house or a life without stress but I can give the things so many fail to give. I can give honesty, respect and spirit that just doesn’t give up. I try to bring energy and joy to those around me as much as I can.

I felt alive as I walked out of church today, like the little spark inside was beginning to burn bright again.

I’m so thankful for so many people in my life, I need to tell then more how important they are.

In My Emotions Again 


I have a way of talking too much over thinking and overreacting quite often, so I hear. Well maybe their right.

Maybe I need to do more listening and less talking.

 “A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding”. – Marshall McLuhan

How do we understand when we haven’t experienced something?

It would be like someone without children trying to give advice about how to raise children, it just has no power and I struggle to even hear them.

My point of view is at times narrow and subject to what I want to see as opposed to what reality is. I have things in my life that I just don’t want to change and I’m not willing to compromise on. I’m not sure if it’s right or justified but it speaks to my heart so I feel it’s correct for me to believe in how I feel.

When you are used to feeling a certain way, reacting a specific way to someone and handling things in a way that hurts less it can become uncomfortable to re-train what you know and how you react.

I had no intention on writing tonight, it was supposed to be a relaxing night away from everyone, yet I find myself thinking about why I am alone right now. Sitting here in my chair with Pandora in the background, I feel a little freedom and at the same time I sacrificed a night to spend with people I love to be around.

Maybe the “extrovert” I thought I am is not the case. I really desire to be labeled as something.. But why?

I want to fit into a category of some kind and yet I don’t.

I have never agreed with the “manly life”. Sure I’m male, but I don’t like sports, I prefer art, I don’t like hunting, I prefer hugging, I don’t like “manly” things, I prefer long conversations and touch. I just don’t fit the stereotypical “man” and that bothers me. It’s like calling an overweight person fat, or a skinny person too thin.

So my point of view has always been more of a feeling than my opinion and I have often been used by others because of my selflessness.

I’m trying to understand more and be open to the fact that I may be wrong at times, and now I have someone I can trust to provide logical and rational input regarding my life, I need to listen.

I’m learning that my point of view truly doesn’t mean as much as I believe it does and maybe for a change in should listen instead of talk.

So when I hear “less words” I know that means listen and when someone opens up to me I should hear what they say not try to fix anything.

Life is so mysterious and at times hard to understand.

Crash Into Me 


Sometimes while fumbling my way through this thing called life I have little moments that take my breath away. 

Have you ever had a moment while you are going though the day after day, bill after bill, work, work, work monotony that life brings when suddenly a calm comes over you and a quiet reminder that everything is ok. Although I believe this its a gift from God, I also believe he places people in our lives as a reminder that we can relate to here on earth.

I don’t want anyone to think that anything in my life is wrong at all, just the day to day can seem to add up and feel much bigger than it should.

While everything seems to be going “according to plan” in my life over time there seems to be a little nagging feeling that something bad will happen.

It’s my issue! It is the one thing that has always been my little thing. It’s my anxiety, my fear and sometimes I allow it to guide my life. I am learning to let that go, and just live, just be.

Some say they do the best thinking on the toilet, well I do my best thinking walking and I have always been a lone walker. Leave me alone, don’t talk to me, don’t even look at me. Lately I find myself enjoying the little moments I get to spend walking with my girlfriend.

Not that I haven’t always enjoyed it, I’m learning that we don’t have to talk, we don’t have to hold hands (hard on a treadmill) just the feeling of her near is more than enough.

This is a new area I’m finding, the feeling of thankfulness just having someone to share my life with, without actully doing anything at all.

This is so foreign to me that I’m struggling to find words to explain it. In the past it was always the actions that made me connect a feeling with. Lately I find fulfillment just knowing she’s my person and I’m hers.

My point to all this isn’t to ramble on about my relationship, it’s to express that sometimes we can find what we desire by not looking for it so hard. Sometimes just letting what is be as it is, not expecting it be something more and letting two lives crash together fall apart and come back together over and over again as two completely independent people that have made a choice to walk together in life.

Today my calm moment came while I was driving to the gym, it only lasted for a few moments but the calm feeling it brought makes me hold this little smile in my heart.

Not Another Wall


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On my expedition into life I have become very good at erecting walls, cutting people out, and even forgetting they exist completely. The downside to that is how to overcome my walls when a loved one comes up against one of them.

I have created them to withstand the strongest forces in life to ensure my hearts protection and I definitely didn’t plan to have doorways or windows to peak in and look around.

“Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations”. – Paramahansa Yogananda

So how do I let someone in to look around when I myself have forgotten what is on the other side of the walls. I do not see myself falling into the same old mistakes in life, or I should say in the new life I have been given. But I do see a pattern of anxiety yet being fully occupied with longing moments. Dreaming to have a lake house, get the new wheels and tires for my car and maybe tint the windows. Yes, that’s it, I’m seeing the gains in the gym as I become in better shape than I have ever been. The changes in my life are a very welcome and exciting at times. I have no lack of ambitious daydreams in my life, what I lack sometimes is reality and honesty to myself of my current situations.

Where am I is a question I often ask myself and fail to wait for the answer before moving on to my next dream.

Sometimes I feel like I have a huge map full of elevation changes, full of life, printed in vivid color and precision however when I try to locate where I am on the map I have no idea, making it completely useless.

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”. – Marcel Proust

I want to learn about who I am, I want to know what it is that motivates me, what is it that feeds my heart and gives me the drive in life that I have. I want to learn how to feed my heart better and I have some pretty strong walls as well; furthermore I have no fear of failure in my life. I have learned that the failures in my life are only as powerful as the desire I have to overcome that failure. If you are willing to try harder than your desire to give up you cannot and will not fail.

The walls I have, the “safety” of my heart and all the lessons I have learned through my struggles would be futile if I didn’t learn from them and try again. I have my girls, I have my family and I have a love in my life that all feeds my heart and everything is going smoothly and beautifully.

  • So why won’t I risk more?
  • What am I holding back from?
  • Am I failing by not trying to grow deeper and reach for new levels in my life?
  • Am I playing it safe, thinking “if I don’t make any moves nothing will change” therefor everything will remain exactly as it is?
  • Do I self-sabotage creating myself to be right? As to say “see, I knew I wasn’t good enough” by failing and being right.

I want more out of life and this year I have been given an opportunity that I may not have been given. My life has been simply falling into place more and more as I listen to my heart, truly listen to it and let it guide me with no fear of the future.

  • How long have I been getting in my own way, and why didn’t I see this year’s ago?

2016 was the beginning of so many beautiful things, that momentum hasn’t stopped, as a matter of fact it has increased and spread into my employment and my relationships. I feel that I’m on the verge of something great and I have no fear of jumping this time. I say bring it and let’s see how this changes everything. Let the destruction of my walls begin, 2017 will be the year my walls fall and I welcome the new changes in my life.