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True Beauty

In the end, life is as simple and beautiful as banana pudding, egg salad sandwiches, and a dusty ol’ Navy duffel bag. My 95-year-old father-in-law passed away more than a year ago. He lived in Charlevoix, Michigan a beautiful little tourist city in northern Michigan. Last week, I helped clean out his house. A flood of memories was almost enough to fill the nearly empty rooms. There were so many laughs here. So much joy. I heard the little voices of the grand kids banging pots and pans at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I flashed back to family dinners, playing cards, and impromptu dance parties as music and laughter echoed through the house. It’s an odd feeling going through …

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I’m Not Who I Was

Youth is wasted on the young. ~ George Bernard Shaw I kept a journal in the eighties. Wait, let me rephrase that, I kept a journal for a few months in the eighties. I still have it. The other night I took it down from the top shelf in my closet, dusted it off and opened it to page one. My first thought is…fascinating. We’ll get back to that. My birthday is tomorrow. I didn’t think I would enjoy getting older; I do. Life has been a wonderful teacher and in recent years, I have become a more attentive student. I’ll gladly take the grey whiskers and wrinkles – sorry, “laugh lines,” along with the gained wisdom and discernment. A …

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You Are Enough

The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves ~ Richard Bach I was once asked to deliver a man’s eulogy. I had never done that before and it terrified me. I saw myself in a dark suit, with all eyes on me, and I got nothing. What do I say? Should I be funny? What if I screw up and say something stupid?  So, before I wrote a single word, I asked Donald Miller, an author and CEO of StoryBrand for advice. He thought for a moment, and then he said something I won’t forget. “Remember that funerals are for the living,” he began. “I think what people want to hear more than anything is that they were enough.” …

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Time Remains Undefeated

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. ~ Dr. Seuss Yesterday, my wife and I gave something precious to the United States Navy: our daughter.  The goodbye was swift.  The driver of her airport transfer van held the door open and our family surrounded Emily in the parking lot. I know my daughter. I could tell she was determined to hold it together. She wanted to make a clean getaway. If she could have, she would have blown a few kisses, dove into the van, and yelled to the driver, “Go! Go! Go!” Instead, she gave quick, individual hugs to her grandpa, her grandma, her mom, her aunt, her sister, and me. There was very little eye contact. …

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We’re Meaner

I guess I messed up on the road the other day. I didn’t turn on red right away, and the driver behind me took exception. She laid on her horn. About a half-mile later, she pulled up along side me and gestured to me to put my window down. I did. “Why didn’t you turn back there?!” she demanded. “Learn how to drive!” she screamed. This lady was livid. She wagged her finger at me, her voice, shaking as she spoke. The rest of my morning commute, I saw her face in my head and I wondered why that five-second delay in her morning so enraged her. I realize this encounter was minor compared to the profanity-laced road rage that …