A Father to the Fatherless

Father’s Day can be a struggle to so many. While my father is still alive and well, I have him to appreciate and to hold up daily for the blessing he’s brought to my life. Yet, so many have no father. Either through death or by choice, so many father’s are absent and the sadness comes to each of them, the feeling that something is missing…

So, I just wanted to share this blog post, as an opportunity to lift up those who are fatherless and give them hope for the Father each of us has, every day. Look up, my friends.

A Father to the Fatherless.

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Time Away

Escaping for some special reason – usually a break from the job can be a total pleasure… Or a desperate need. How you take it and where you go may mean the difference between how your break makes you feel. I appreciate these thoughts.

Missdbeach's Miscellaneous Matters

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This is the week of Spring Break. Hard to believe that there is only 9 weeks of school left when we return next week. So far this year for me has been full of ups and downs, stress, happy endings, laughter, tears, fear, changes, hatred from a few, but most of all its been a life reflection for me. 

I took a few days to myself this week to clear my head, open my heart, and feed my soul. If I cant go to the beach you will find me in the mountains. Both places bring such beauty, and peace and they are the only places I can totally relax and refuel. Im “lucke” to be married to a man that loves me and supports me in everything I do, including taking a few days off for myself, while he handles the home front.

Everywhere I went the last few days…

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Learn how to take criticism, or be prepared to fail at life

If Matt Walsh is cramping your style, you haven’t got one. That’s the word on the net these days. He wipes up with tell-tale blog posts grabbing the center of attention – like this one.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Business owners: I feel your pain.

How do you do it? How do you deal with it? How do you wade into our societal pool and find employees who aren’t thin skinned, self-entitled narcissists? How do you successfully weed out the plethora of whiners who fall into a billion pieces if mommy doesn’t pat them on the head and call them special every 45 seconds?

How do you manage to filter out guys like my friend, codename “Steve”?

Here’s an email exchange I had with “Steve” this morning. He asked me to look at his blog and offer him some “honest” feedback. Of course, when people ask for “honest” feedback, what they normally mean is, “I’m awesome at everything, therefore any honest person will surely have nothing but approval and praise for my endeavors.”

But I decided to take Steve at his word. I decided to make the dubious assumption that he would…

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I never thought I would…

I remember when I was ‘that mom’ who didn’t think I would… But I did. And now… As Grandma, I do too.

To my darling Cara and Emma

As I walk through life as a full time working twin mom, I find myself going through scenarios that I NEVER thought I would ever experience and saying to myself “Well geeez, I never thought I would be the person that would…”

As these phrases have been growing in my mind (and some are quite funny) I figured I was overdue for a blog entry and might as well share!

I  NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD…

I never thought I would be the person in the grocery store buying FOUR gallons of milk at a time.

I never thought I would be the person that uses my kitchen enough to have to run the dishwasher daily.

I never thought I would have to think so quick to evacuate two babies from the bath tub after a pooping incident.

I never thought I would come home to find four car seats being…

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The Turkey Roaster Story

Everybody has one… A slow cooker or turkey roaster story.

I may never forget listening to my mom and her best friend giggle about the disaster that happened one year at Easter. Mable and Lee had gone to her son’s for Easter weekend and joined in the process of putting the turkey in the oven to roast. As Gail searched the kitchen for her roaster, Mable prepared the turkey with a special rub, careful to get under each wing and into all the nooks and crannies of the thawed bird. After deciding to send her husband after a ‘discardable’ roasting pan to use for the day, she turned the oven to preheat and worked on the rest of the meal. Slowly the kitchen began to fill with a rank and disgusting odor. Since the aroma had the distinctive scent of heated spoiled something-or-other, Gail opened the oven to check.

In the oven was her roaster, complete with the left over remains and various nuances of Thanksgiving dinner’s turkey carcass, the last bird Gail had prepared in her kitchen. As the story goes… Replacing the roaster was cheaper than calling in an exterminator and toxic waste removal crew, so they took the roaster, carcass and contents to the dumpster and proceeded to celebrate Easter.

All while laughing at the demise of the Thanksgiving carcass and roaster, considering the thorough search of the house to eradicate the horrendous smell of dead “something” that arrived during the weeks prior to Christmas. So horrid was the aroma that much of the winter, they’d gone out to eat, because they couldn’t find the stench.

Thus began the discussion of the missing roaster in my kitchen earlier this morning. Of course, I knew it wasn’t in the oven, because my roaster is a counter model, operated with an electric cord. So, we searched the pantry. We searched under the sink. We searched every place that I might normally have put the roaster for most of the next 4 hours.

Then we stopped long enough for lunch and my youngest son came home.

While we were still laughing about the missing roaster, he enters the kitchen with a perplexing frown on his face. And we asked if he knew where the offending roaster might have been placed (since he occasionally cleans up after a big meal… You know, he MIGHT have put it away.

“Oh, it’s on the freezer.”

On the freezer? We quirk simultaneous eyebrows and ask.

“Yeah, I took it out to the garage to dump the turkey carcass in the trash bag and left the empty roaster on the freezer.”

We (my daughter and I) exchange that look that says, “I don’t want to clean that out.” And the evening goes on…

We found the turkey roaster. Soaked it in a bit of dish washing soap and hot water, came out smelling fresh and sparkling clean. No odor remained when we brought it inside, and no residual residues remained after cleaning it.

It is now wiped, dried and put away on the top shelf of the pantry where it has once again taken it’s non-cooking useful days as a keeper of the pretzels and school snacks, safely out of reach.

Totally happy that no turkey carcass was found meeting the eternal demise of the roaster… Yet once again, a turkey carcass story is in the making.

I wasn’t ready for marriage

The Matt Walsh Blog

I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.

And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

She’d take turns driving my way, burning gas she couldn’t afford to burn and…

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It’s not like you’re a widow…

Those words hit me like a freight train. I’m not his widow.

I’m not allowed to feel that kind of sadness that swallows one whole and depletes one of the ability to exist and perform. But I feel it.

I was standing there, beside him when he took his last breath. His eyes focused, lingered, and closed one last time. I stepped back, because his wife was in the next room. She would want to be close to him. I stepped back out of the way. His heart kept beating, she leaned over and hugged him close. I’d only held his hand.

The kind of love one friend feels for another isn’t always romantic.

He was sitting behind a desk when I walked into the Spring Green office in Denver Tech Center. CMP was a mortgage company that held the loan on my house. He was the broker. There were two men there that day, Bill Clarke and Rob Robinson, and my husband of seven years (yes, I said *two men* and my husband wasn’t one of them, by his own choices). We laughed, worked through the paper work and Rob invited us to join him for lunch at a diner across the drive. We had sourdough, pastrami and mustard pannini and iced tea. I remember the texture of the table.

My husband held my hand, rubbed my shoulder and talked about farming.

Rob, Bill and I joined forces that day and opened a brokerage firm that would ultimately be the basis of our friendship, and my financial salvation when my marriage crashed two years later. My daughter said it best the morning after my husband left, “He’s been walking out for eleven years, he finally took his clothes…”

Those next few years were a struggle. But we survived. We thrived under the watchful eye of my business partners, who reached out to my four children and offered encouragement. Bill and his wife became constant friends, always supporting, encouraging, sharing. Rob became my confidant. He share those moments when the rest of the world was fast asleep. He listened. He laughed. He cried. He reminded me frequently that I gave the best hugs in the whole wide world, and told me every single time I saw him what a gorgeous woman I was.

One night, during the late summer, it was so hot I couldn’t sleep and I went outside with my phone to sit on the deck. Rob called, “I can’t sleep. Are you awake?” We talked for hours. He shared his dreams, I shared mine. We shared our thoughts about the future, about what my kids were doing, how life was treating each of us, and then we shared how we felt about our friendship.

He was my best friend. I loved him as much as I had ever loved, and I trusted him. He gave my children more than any other man had ever given them, including their father… Not things, but support, instruction, love, his blessing. Things that mattered to children. He cared.

As the night cooled, the hours passed and it was near the wee hours of the morning, Rob yawned on the phone and I said, “I should let you get some rest.” He held on a moment longer, whispering sweet words, reminding me how much he loved and cared about me and that he would always be there for me.

Sitting in the middle of the picnic table on my deck, I looked up and watched as a mountain lion strolled down the street, taking each step purposefully without hesitation, I whispered, “There’s a mountain lion walking down the street.” And Rob said, “Jan, you need to get inside.”

I waited and watched. The mountain lion kept walking. He stopped at the corner, looked both ways and then moved toward the west and out of sight.

I stepped off the table and went inside, as I closed the door, I heard the mountain lion scream. The chilling sound of life ending and the realization that the circle continues.

A few weeks later, Rob called to tell me he was getting married to a wonderful woman he had known from church. I’d met her once, when I attended church with him, while visiting my daughter in college. She was extraordinary. A delightful woman who suited him well, who loved him with her whole heart, a woman he loved completely.

Our friendship grew to include her. She brightened his world and inspired him, a benefit to me. I gained so much from her insight and wisdom. I grew to love her as a friend.

Rob never stopped being there for my children. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he shared the news with us, came to visit and see my new grandbabies. He came to visit when my mom had cancer, while I cared for her. He was there for us whenever we needed him, and he called if he needed us. We were there for him too.

As he slipped away from this world, I was there. But I wasn’t his widow.

No, that privilege was saved for the woman he gave his name. I was ‘just a friend’.

That’s what happened.

The day he left this world, as I drove home from his place, I called a girlfriend to share the sadness that threatened to overwhelm my heart. She’s a good friend, and I know she didn’t mean to hurt me. But… her words…

Through my tears, I relayed the message and she said, “Yeah, you’ll miss him. But he was just a friend… It’s not like you’re his widow, or something…”

No. I’m not his widow. That honor is saved for a dear woman I consider my friend.