Monday, December 18, 2006

Hard Holidays

I know I haven’t written for about two months now and some of you have been asking when I am going to write again. I have wanted to write several times and have had some interesting thoughts but I guess I just had to take a little break. Maybe it just wasn’t time for me to write. Well, I’m back and I will try to write at least a couple of times a month and hopefully more. I can’t promise that I won’t write about dad from time to time but I after this post my desire is to be more upbeat and positive in my writings.

It has been a little over two months since dad went home to be with the Lord. It is so strange, though it has only been two months it seems like he has been gone for an eternity and yet at times I feel like he never left. I really miss him and on more than one occasion I have picked up the phone to call him and ask him a question or just maybe to talk. I wasn’t looking forward to Thanksgiving but I made it through, albeit with only few sad moments, I was dreading it at first but as Thanksgiving Day dawned, I did not fear facing the day without being able to see or talk to my dad. Perhaps it is because we had made our peace with each other long before this episode of illness and we had even confirmed our love for each other just the day before he was placed in ICU. I hear people talk about how hard it is to go through the holidays without their loved ones and I know it is true. But we have to hold on to the memory of what was and not wish for what might have been. Our loved ones have completed their journey on this earth so lets not be sad for them. We should remember the happy times of the past and create happy memories for the future. There will always be an empty spot where our loved ones used to be; there will forever be an empty spot at Christmas breakfast where dad should be but, there will forever be memories of his love for me. Though I will miss dad for the rest of my life I have no regrets about our relationship. Don’t live your life with regret, do what you know is right. Spend time with your family. Make memories that will last a lifetime.

I hope I haven’t rambled too much and I hope you got something out of this message. If you didn’t, I’ll try better next time. After all, I haven’t written in two months, I’m a bit rusty.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Brad Walker

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Another New Day

I wrote about A New Day not too long ago. Today is a another new day for me. I have spent one week without my dad and my heart is broken. I haven"t written in a while so let me try to catch up.

Thursday, October 12, 2006: I visited dad this evening. He was unresponsive to my touch, questions or commands, though when the respiratory therapist came in and moved his oxygen monitor on his finger, he clinched his fist and wouldn't let her put it back on. This was the only sign he was still with us. Usually when he doesn't respond or wake up, I just stay 15-20 minutes and go home. Tonight I felt as though I shouldn't leave so quickly so, I stayed for about an hour or so. As I looked out the window in the dark night, I prayed that God would work out his will in dad's life and to keep him from suffering. When I arrived home, met me at the top of the stairs and asked me what was wrong. I told her nothing but I was a little depressed. I was thinking a lot about the times I had complained to her about having to go and put dad to bed, especially when I had something else planned. My thoughts were of God telling me, "Brad, since you complained so much about taking your dad to bed, you won't have to do that any more."; And then dad ends up in the hospital where others are taking care of him and I'm just in the way. I know that's not the way God works but I guess it is a natural thought during a long illness of a loved one.

Friday, October 13, 2006: I went to work this morning and immediately began the daily fire drill of fixing what was broken. My latest project was on the rocks and sinking fast so I had to get the vendor working on it ASAP. I received a call from the nurses at about 10:30am saying that dad's vital signs didn't look good. So, I drop what I am doing and jump in the truck headed for the hospital. When I got to the room, dad's blood pressure was 95/45 and I remember thinking, "This isn't good." Dad was still unresponsive and his vital signs were very weak. The doctor had stopped by to talk with me and told me things did not look very promising. She also told me that they had noticed blood in dad's urine and began testing for what they already knew; confirmation came back this morning that his kidneys were already shutting down. Jennifer came in and encouraged me to talk to him but I couldn't say much without tearing up because I knew what was to soon come. I told her I wanted to talk to him but I just couldn't get the words out without crying uncontrollably and I didn't want him to know how upset I was. Later that evening we decided to go get a bite to eat. During the meal we discussed whether or not to go back to the hospital and stay with dad. We decided that we should go home and get a good night's sleep because there might be some long days and nights ahead before the inevitable occurred. I found it difficult to go to sleep knowing that the phone might ring any minute with bad news.

Saturday, October 14th, 2006: The phone rings and my biggest fear is now real. The nurse told me that we needed to come right away. We quickly dressed and headed to the hospital. As we got off of the elevator and headed to dad's room, the nurse stepped from behind the desk and with tears in her eyes she shook her head. I asked, "He's gone?" and she nodded her head. I grabbed Jennifer and held her tight as my heart broke. My daddy was gone. I had been expecting this with every phone call for the past eight or ten years. Now it had finally come to pass. My pastor had just arrived and the nurse let us into the room to see dad. Jennifer commented on the peaceful look on dad's face, he seemed to finally be at rest. As she looked out the window she noticed a beautiful sunrise over the hilltops. It seemed so fitting to see such beauty through the window and I could imagine dad had seen that sunrise as he was led by angels to meet the Master in heaven. Brother Jim mentioned how Jesus had risen early in the morning to meet with his Father in Heaven and it seemed that my dad had done just that; he had risen early from his worn out earthly body to meet with Jesus. At 5:37am, dad went home to be with Jesus.

In just a couple of hours it will be a full week since dad left this world. He has begun a new day in Heaven. His days will no longer be filled with gasping for breath or wondering if the next breath will be his last. No more pain or suffering. I am still here and I will make it through this but, my heart is broken. We are never truly prepared to lose a loved one but, I believe God has been preparing me for this for quite some time now. I believe the times of taking dad to bed over the last year or so were provided by God as a way for us to spend time together when my schedule wouldn't allow any other time. Dad and I used to talk on the phone almost every night, even if I was coming over to take him to bed. I believe God used the last thirteen weeks of dad being in the hospital as a way to get me used to not talking to dad every night. I believe God allowed me to go home the night before dad passed away because I don't think I could have handled being in the room when he passed. I also believe God has prompted me, through the encouragement of other people, to start writing these journals to help me express my feelings and to help ease the pain by sharing it with others. There are many other ways that I can see God's providence through this trial and I realize, none of this is about me or dad. It is about God getting the glory for helping us in our time of need. He promised he would never leave us or forsake us and I believe he has been right by my side through all of this. We finished cleaning out dad's house yesterday and I think that was the hardest part so far because now it is real. There is no place to go that was dads; he is really gone.

Every day will be another new day for me for quite some time. I will be missing arguing with my dad over some silly thing or him fussing at me for shaving my head. Though it was inconvenient at times and very difficult to see him struggle to breathe, I will miss going and taking him to bed every night and I will miss the daily phone calls. I will miss being able to ask him advice on things like fishing, cooking, or maybe building a deck or playground for Jordan. I have lost my best friend, my biggest fan, and most of all, My Daddy.Brad Walker

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Essence of Time

A couple of weeks ago, dad was moved to a long term care unit in the hospital where he has been for the last ten weeks. Wow, ten weeks! It is amazing how our brains process time. It seems like only a few days ago dad went into the hospital yet, it also seems like he has been there for years. Where does the time go?

I recall spending my childhood days wishing for summer; school would be over and I could do all the fun things kids do when they aren’t in school. Then, as soon as it came, summer was over and it was time to go back to school again. Then the wish was for Christmas break and so on and so on the cycle continued. I began to think about these things recently when the Crimson Tide of Alabama faced the warthogs…ummmmm…. I mean Razorbacks of Arkansas. I had promised my dad I would spend the afternoon watching the game with him. Having been in SICU, I had not been able to spend more than a few minutes with him in over eight weeks. We enjoyed most of the game together but the nurses came in and gave him his medication just at the start of the fourth quarter causing him to fall asleep almost immediately. Even though he slept, I kept my promise and stayed to watch the remainder of the game, including two overtimes. These few hours will likely remain in my memory as some of the most precious times I have ever spent with my dad. Mike Shula’s boys lost the game but I won some much needed time with my dad.

This is the essence of time; it is not necessarily how you spend the time but simply that you took the time to spend with your loved one or friend. Many times we tend to be too busy to spend time with those we care about. Something always comes up and causes us to put off spending time with those closest to us. I recall a song by Harry Chapin that starts off like this:


A child arrived just the other day

He cam to the world in the usual way

But there were planes to catch and bills to pay

He learned to walk while I was away.

And he learned to talk before I knew and as he grew,

He said “I’m gonna be like you, dad,

You know I’m gonna be like you”


Many of you probably remember the rest of the song. I can look back on my life and say I was much like the boy; I wanted to be like my dad. And as time passed, I can see all the times I had other things to do and did not go see my parents. Dad always tried to spend as much time with me as possible but there were those times when something else took the place of our time together. My dad may not have been the best dad but he was the best one I will ever have. I know I have a few precious days left with my dad (I already miss not talking to him on the phone every evening), so I am making the best of the times I can spend with him. I am also trying to make a conscious effort to spend time with my mom or at least calling her every day or so just to say hi because I know my time is limited with her, also, even though she is quite healthy. I am also trying to make time for other relatives that I just don’t get to see or talk to very often. But most of all I am trying to make sure I spend quality time with my daughter on a regular basis. I want her to know that she is important enough for me to spend time reading, playing dolls or just sitting and watching her movies.

We are only on this earth for a short period of time and we should use that time wisely. Taking time out of our busy schedules to spend with others could very well make all the difference in someone’s life; It says “You are important to me and I care about you”, you never even have to say a word. This is the Essence of Time!

Brad Walker

Monday, September 11, 2006

School Days

From the faded hallways of my mind as I reminisce about my high school days –


As I read and add posts about my upcoming 20 year class reunion on the reunion website, I can’t help but think of another first in my life. My daughter, Jordan, started to K4 last week. I didn’t tell Jennifer or Jordan that I planned to go with them to take her to class on her first day. Boy, were they surprised and happy. I had always planned to do this when the time came, though I didn’t know if I would be sad or if she would scream her head off and not let go of mommy and daddy, I wanted to be there for my baby girl. I am happy to report that her first day was quite uneventful; in fact she went straight to her seat and simply told mommy and daddy bye. I am grateful that she enjoys school very much and she is eager to learn.

I began to recall my own first day of school and how eager I was to learn, too. I thought of all the friends I had made over the years and all of the good times and some of the bad. You know, it is quite funny some of the things you do remember. As I recall my high school days, I remember many things but the memories I treasure most are the friendships. Some have continued and grown and flourished over the years and some were fleeting acquaintances along life’s highway. No matter what the level of relationship was back then, though we may have been best of friends or maybe we just shared a class together, I am thankful for having known each and everyone of my classmates. I hope I can pass on to my children how important it is to have a few solid friendships; those that last through the test of time, girlfriends/boyfriends, being grounded, good times and bad. And to also have relationships with others that may not last but they do create fond memories of our youth.

So, to Paige, Everett, Mike and Tracy; thank you for being there whether I was up or down, happy or sad, serious or clowning around, and for accepting me for who I was. To all the rest of my classmates, thank you for being a part of my life and thank you for sharing your lives with me. Know that I care for each and every one of you and no matter what our level of relationship was or is; you can always count on me.

Brad Walker

Friday, September 08, 2006

Labor Day

I know it has been a while since I have written but there has been much activity in my life and work during the past couple of weeks. Dad is still in SICU and pretty much the same. His vital signs are good but he still thinks he needs the ventilator to breathe. He is breathing on his own, though the ventilator provides some pressure support to help expand his lungs when he inhales. I guess you could say he has gotten lazy by being so dependant on the ventilator.

 

Watching dad and his struggle to be weaned off of the ventilator caused me to ponder the significance of Labor Day, which was Monday.

 

Labor Day has its roots in the labor unions of the 1880’s and is celebrated today as a day of rest for the working man or woman. I believe that is appropriate; I mean even God took a day to rest after creating the universe. But what really disturbs me is the extraordinary number of people today that would rather not work. Or the ones that refuse to do a particular type of work. Or even worse, the high school teens that seek part time work with the expectation of a much greater than minimum wage pay rate. It seems that advent of technology has made us a nation of lazy people. We would rather take 5 minutes to pop a processed sandwich or dinner in the microwave than take an hour to prepare a home cooked meal. Or maybe go through the car wash instead of hand washing our car. Like dad, we want more help breathing in return for less effort. We want to be paid for NOT working or, we want to make more money by doing less work. I believe people in this great country have forgotten how to LABOR. Not very many years ago, entire families would work from daylight until dark to harvest the crops, feed the livestock, milk the cows, maintain the buildings and structures on the property, MAKE their own clothes, cook three meals a day, hunt for and preserve their meat, and a number of other activities. Some days were in excess of 14 hours of work and they still managed to have family time and spend time with their friends, And let’s not forget, they usually didn’t work on Sunday’s. They took God’s lead and spent a day of rest and time with God.

 

There are people in many countries that perform hours and hours of excruciating labor for only pennies per day and they still cannot feed their families or buy clothes. We have become a lazy nation. We don’t want to work more than eight hours, or do menial tasks, or do jobs we dislike, especially if they are only getting paid $5.35 per hour.  We don’t want to exert ourselves. We don’t want to excel at whatever task we have at hand. We choose to be average or less. Because of our choices and because of our laziness, we are being outclassed in many areas by other countries. Because we, as a nation, don’t have the work ethic of our forefathers, we fall behind in education, business ownership, market leadership, and many other areas. It is time we all learned the true meaning of Labor. Labor is a mother caring for her children and family; washing clothes, cooking meals, and cleaning the house just to name a FEW of the jobs a mother performs everyday and these may even include a job outside the home. Labor is a father building homes, programming, keeping the books for a company; whatever the occupation, he works diligently to provide food, shelter and clothing for his family. These men and women work hard to have a good life. They work even harder to maintain a balance between provision and caring with nurturing a good family life. The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10b, “…that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” I believe there are many in this nation today that should be starving.

 

Take pride in your work even if it is cleaning toilets. Do your best at whatever job you perform and do it with enthusiasm. Quality work and attention to detail gets noticed and before long your $5.35 per hour is $25 per hour and even higher. Don’t be afraid to work hard to get what you desire. God will bless your hard work and maybe even ease the burden. Don’t fear LABOR; it is the basic ingredient for living a good and balanced life and it is the legacy of a strong nation.

 

 

Brad Walker

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A New Day

I hate having a summer cold. Colds are bad enough in the winter, but when there is so much to do outdoors in the summer, a cold is sheer misery. But, today is a new day!

Dad is doing very good. The doctor removed the ventilator this morning and so far, he is breathing good. For dad, today is a new day! In fact, for dad, every day is a new day.

I have changed the way I do and think about a lot of things lately. I think this is partly due to dad being in the hospital and partly because I am learning from others that things really aren't as bad as we think. For instance, I have learned from Michael Angelo Caruso that Mondays are not the worst days of the week, but the best. There is no better time to address the issues you face. Mondays are a new day. Don't live in the past, keep looking to the future. Keep looking to every new day. The past will only drag you down and make you miserable like a summer cold. Looking ahead gives you a new perspective, a new view, a new chance to make a difference. Strive to be your best every day, even when yesterday was a failure. For dad, each new day brings new struggles; struggles to breathe, to move, to talk or just to live. But, each new day brings new successes; no laboring to get a breath, no pain, no anxiety about the treatment he is undergoing.

Look to each new day with excitement because each new day is a gift from God to use as we see fit. We can make it miserable or we can make it special. So, which will it be for you today; A day filled with misery and dispair or will this be your NEW DAY to live, to love, to succeed and never give up?

Brad Walker

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Realities of Life

From my humble abode in beautiful Pinson, AL --

I experienced one of the most painful things in my life this past weekend. My dad, who has been in the hospital for just over four weeks now, called me in on Sunday to talk to me. I was very ill with a chest cold of my own so I was reluctant to go. Once I got there he was very agitated. The first thing he said to me was that he was giving up. Wow! What an eye opener. I had never really considered the very real possibility of my dad dying at this point. On most of the visits, when he is awake, he is so alive mentally. He knows everyone and he has even asked about Alabama football. How could he be giving up? Such are the realities of life. We all must face our mortality at some point. Hearing this from my dad with so much life left in him; It shot through my heart like a knife. I talked with him about it and I told him how much I didn't want him to leave just yet but if he was sure he was ready to go, I would try to accept that. I did, however, convince him that the nurse couldn’t do anything without his doctor's orders and that we should talk with the doctor before he made his final decision. I think he liked that idea. Once we had that settled, he relaxed and went to sleep. The thought was running through my head "How can I accept his decision to give up when there is so much life left in him?". My heart was still broken at the thought of losing my dad, though I know, one day God will call him home. The Bible tells us that it is appointed once for man to die. I can deal with that. But the thing that comforts me most when I think of losing my dad is in Ecclesiastes 7:1 which says, "...the day of death is better than the day of one's birth". There is a far better place in store for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. I would encourage each of you reading this to take the time to evaluate your life; If you were to die while reading this message, do you know for sure where you would go? If you have accepted Christ as your Savior you'll be in heaven for all eternity and your death day will be the most beautiful and joyous day you will have experienced. If you don't know the Master as your Savior, I encourage you to seek Him out find a Bible preaching church and go to meet the Master he is waiting for you. If you don't know where to go or how to find Christ, contact me. I will be happy to introduce you to my Jesus so you can make Him your Jesus, too.

Now for some good news about dad. When the doctor talked with him on Monday, she convinced him that he was not ready to give up; dad trusts her very much and values her opinion. She ordered a tracheotomy so it would be more comfortable for him and also so they would not risk damaging his vocal cords. This will also allow them to manage the ventilator treatment. When they are ready to wean him off it is a simple snap and he is off then, if he is not ready another quick snap and he is back on. No more painful tube down his throat, no more discomfort from having that tube in his mouth and he may be able to talk with us a little which will alleviate some of his frustration in trying to communicate with us. I visited him Tuesday night and all of the nurses said he was very much happier without the tube in his mouth. When I went in to see him he was sleeping so peacefully we did not want to wake him. But, when I talked to the nurse about him, I asked her to make sure he knew I had been there. She wouldn’t let me leave until we woke him and he saw me there. He said he was feeling ok but his throat was sore; he was also feeling a little nauseous so the nurse gave him something for it. He seemed oveall in much better spirits and I know he is relieved to have that tube out of his throat. He seemed more ready to fight back now than he did on Sunday. For that I am so happy. I have never known my dad to just give up so I am glad he is willing to get back in the battle and come out of his corner fighting his lung disease until God is ready to take him home.  Make sure you are all ready to face the realities of life. Though your family and friends may be there to help and comfort you, there is only one who can heal the hurts of life. Whether it is the death of a loved one, financial difficulty, your own illness, or maybe a work issue, Jesus will never let you down and he will always give you peace about the issues of life. Turn your life over to him today. He will be your biggest fan, your confidant, your counselor, and best of all, he will be your best friend FOREVER!!

God Bless you all!!!!
John 15:12-13


Brad Walker

Friday, August 18, 2006

Good News

Well, I have some good news. Dad was taken off of the ventilator Thursday. He was doing very well for most of the afternoon. But, while I was visiting at 8pm he was becoming very tired and struggling to breathe since he was doing everything on his own. His oxygen saturation began to drop and the nurses came in and started working on him. They put him on a BiPAP machine, which is similar to the CPAP machine used for sleep apnea patients, but it has different levels of air pressure for inhalation and exhalation. Anyway, they are using this machine to apply assistive air pressure to his lungs when he inhales and exhales with the hope that he will not have to be put back on the ventilator. According to the nurse, they will monitor his blood gases every 30 minutes through the night and hopefully he will be able to tolerate the BiPAP machine long enough to help his lungs strengthen and not depend on any machines, especially the ventilator.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Father's Lessons

I just came home from visiting dad and I can't believe what I am about to tell you.

Dad was sleeping when i visited but I was able to talk to the nurse and get some information. Dad is still on the ventilator but he is now on pressure support alone. In other words, dad is breathing on his own but the ventilator is providing positive pressure to help reduce the workload on his lungs and help strengthen them. The nurse said they would begin reducing the pressure as he could tolerate it and if he tolerates it well, he could possibly come off of the ventilator totally early next week.

Early on, the doctor warned that if placed on a ventilator, dad may not be able to live without it. She also mentioned that he has surprised her with his recoveries in the past so she was not going to put any kind of certainty on her assessment of his current condition. The phrase "God is good" keeps running through my mind.

Sometimes we teach people on purpose. Sometimes we teach people without knowing we are teaching. My dad has taught me many lessons over the years. From fishing and hunting to how to build a playhouse, a swing set or a deck. Some lessons were learned just by observing his actions.

Now, for my most recent lessons learned. No one knows the time we have on this earth. So, use your time wisely; make sure those you love know you how much you love them. I think the best way to do that is to use some of that time to plan for your last days so you and your loved ones can enjoy the time you have left without worrying about making arrangements for long term care or even funerals.

Brad

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dad Update

Dad seemed much better last night at the 8pm visit. He was alert and knew where he was and who was there. He desperately wanted water but all the nurse could do was wet his mouth. He is still in SICU but the nurse said he has had a very good day. They have started feeding him Ensure (through a tube of course) and he has had a BM which means his intestines are beginning to wake up. I also noticed that his ventilator was set to 4 breaths per minute (down from 8 two days ago). I am very hopeful now that he can overcome this episode in his life and have a little longer to enjoy life.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Just an update

Since I haven't written in a week or so, here is an update.

Dad was taken to the emergency room on July 24th due to problems breathing. His O2 saturation was around 65%, a dangerously low level. The ER doctors determined he was quite anemic and found blod in his stool, so they admitted him. Their thought ws that he may have an ulcer or something of that nature and was bleeding internally, thus explaining the loss of blood. On the 25th an upper GI was performed with negative results. On the 26th, a colonoscopy was performed finding two polyps. One was removed that day but the doctor was afraid to remove the second due to their close proximity to each other and the fact that they may have been the source of the bleeding. On Thursday, the 26th, the second polyp was removed. To this point, dad's O2 sat dropped very low twice. It happened once again around 11pm on the 26th and it was decided to move him to CICU for closer observation and care. Due to the previous procedures he had not been able to eat anything and now that he was able to eat he could not keep anything down, not even water. These symptoms indicated some issues with his stomach or bowels. On Tuesday, August 1st, after 4 days in CICU they were able to perform a cat scan which indicated a possible blockage in the small intestine. The surgeon requested a meeting with me and the family on 8/02 to discuss the procedure and options.

Wednesday, August 2nd, 5:45 am -- the surgeon was hesitant to do the surgery without being absolutely sure there was a blockage and the surgery was absolutely necessary. It was decided that at least part of his intestines were not working properly so several tests were run and it was decided to try to remove some of the gas from dad's stomach and intestines and try to allow his intestines to begin working again. On Thursday, August 3rd, since things had not improved from the previous attempts, it was decidedd that the surgery may well be necessary. Dad was placed on a respirator early because the doctor felt he may stop breathing before they could do anything for his stomach issues. The surgery was performed around 10:30am and they found what is called paralytic ileus. It simply means that his intestines have gone to sleep and are not pushing food, nutrients, etc throught the intestinal tract. The cure for this is normally walking, sitting up and general movement, things dad has been unable to do to any extent for quite some time. There is nothing else they can to except medical support to allow his incision to heal and get his strength back and hopefully his body will start to take over the normal intestinal functions again. Also, an even bigger concern is that he will have a difficult time coming off of the ventilator. At this time there are very few options except to pray and wait to see what God can do.

Brad



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Holy bug zappers, Batman!

Well, my vacation is officially over and on Monday, I found myself back in the real world fixing all the problems that didn't get fixed while I was on vacation. But, I have to tell you about our trip to the Bat Cave at the North Sauta Wildlife Refuge in Scottsboro, AL.


There were so many bats coming from the cave. It was awesome!!!! There is an observation deck there if you don't want to get too close, but, my daughter looked at her mommy and said, "Mommy, I want to go down dere." So... into the mouth of the cave we went and this is the view.


Cave Entrance




Bats emerging from cave



One of the little factoids presented by the volunteer that was there was that these 200,000 plus bats would eat more than a ton of insects on this single night. WOW! I need to move this cave to my back yard!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fishin' is Fun!

From Mountain Lakes Resort on Lake Guntersvile in Guntersville, Alabama -
Well, my vacation officially started today. All was well until the fish made me mad. Yes, fish can make you mad. You see, I'm the kind of person that likes to catch fish, not drown worms. I spent about 3 hours fishing today and the only thing I caught was Millfoil weeds. My 4 year old daughter even caught her first small (note emphasis) bluegill bream. So, yes, I am mad at the fish. On the other hand I guess you could say I have a future as a fishing guide.

But, (there is always a but), you can learn alot from fishing, like patience. Patience is important when you are fishing because the fish don't always realize that you are trying to catch them. Maybe one day I will develop a gadget to let the fish know I am trying to catch them so they will look for my bait and I won't have to look for them. Learning patience when you are fishing can help you throughout your life when dealing with different trying situations.

You can learn humility. When you humble yourself and sacrifice your fishing time to help those around you, it gives you a good feeling. Like baiting hooks for your wife, daughter and visually-impaired brother-in-law. Or removing the fish they just caught with the hook you just baited!! GRRRR!!! I'm quite sure there is a lesson on envy here but since that isn't a positive lesson we will move on. You see, you develop humility by helping those that need your help. What a boost to your self-esteem. People need you to help them so sacrifice a little and be patient and help a friend discover that fishin' is fun!

You can also learn pride. I'm not talking about the pride that can puff you up and make you think you are better than others. I'm talking about the pride you feel when your 4 year old daughter catches her first fish. That ranks right up there with graduation and weddings. (The phrase "You might be a redneck if..." suddenly comes to mind). There is nothing like seeing the surprise on your child's face as they reel in their first fish, then the fear as the fish come near them, then the joy they express about their accomplishment.

I also learned that fish must be smarter than me. I mean there are alot of little fishys swimming around down there that the bigger fishy's could eat. Who am I to think that they would prefer my whimpy worm to a nice juicy shad? Someone defined fishing for me today: Fishing is a jerk on the end of a pole waiting for a jerk on the other end. (Those that didn't quite get that have probably never been fishing.) Kind of puts it in perspective doesn't it?

Today I learned that if fishing were easy they would call it catching. Maybe one day my daughter will learn patience through fishing. One day she will learn the humility and pride with her own family and children. And I hope she she learns that nothing in life is easy but you can succeed and have fun if you try. But most of all I hope she learned that Fishin' Is Fun!!! And I hope she had as much fun fishing as her daddy did watching her.

Brad

Friday, July 14, 2006

Free Lunch!

I was speaking with a colleague this week about our corporate initiatives for technology. He began to tell me about his company looking to replace all of their networking and phone equipment with less reliable and less reputable equipment…all for a few thousand dollars a year savings/rebates. I even viewed the presentation that was provided to my friend for review. I was not impressed; it brought to mind visions of Multi-Level Marketing. As I pondered my response to my friends concerns over this initiative, I began to think about free things.

Free things are usually good. Like when someone else pays for lunch (ok, so sometimes lunch is free); Or when you win the IPOD door prize; or the local radio contest. But sometimes we get lost in the concept of reducing costs. We can cut corners so much that yes, we've reduced our expenditures on critical corporate communications services and hardware by 89%, but we had to spend 300% to fix the problems we were experiencing. You see the free car you just won is good… untill you discomver you have to pay to have an engine and a transmission installed before you can drive it. The bottom line is this; less expensive and quality are mutually exclusive 99.999% of the time. Lunch really isn't free... someone has to pay for it. So, why not get the sirloin instead of the chopped steak. It may cost a little more but the added expense is insignificant when when you look at the quality of the item you just purchased. In a nutshell, don’t fret over money. There's plenty for everybody (just ask the banks). Step back and view the big picture. Whether it is technology or dinner, I'm confident in your ability to discern the value of a product and make the right decisions without regret. I hope I don't sound like I'm rambling but here's the best part………………..

Go give somebody a free lunch today!!!!!! You will be repaid many times over what that one meal is worth.

So who's buying me lunch today?

Brad

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A New Chapter

Well, I'm officially a blogger now. I have been hearing about this phenomenon for some time and now I'm a part of it. I really don't know who will even read my posts but I'm sure someone will find them and read them. For those that do, perhaps some will find some insight into life or maybe just a little humor. Maybe someone will pay me to write things for them. Or even better maybe someone will pay me not to write... Hmmmm.......that would be a most interesting concept.

Perhaps one day my daughter (with siblings to follow, God willing) will even read this to see what was going on inside this crazy old man's head as she grew up. At any rate, I hope these words can help someone at some point in time.

Well, I just had to get my first blog in so happy reading and pay attention, you never know what nuggets may come out of my Brain Housing Group.

Semper Fi,
Brad