Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kyle and the Bullies

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.

As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are going to really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great! He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. Thanks,' he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began: 'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends..... I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story. I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of how we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.
He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.

Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse our Higher Power puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for our Creator in others!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Loving is Letting Go

Note: In a departure from sharing chapters from my manuscript, here are real life stories that you may find interesting. Hope you enjoy.

May I maintain a sane and reasonable way of thinking so I can handle relationships and life's challenges with love and understanding.
May I respect those that I love enough to let them make their own mistakes and take responsibility for them.
May I learn to let go > just one day at a time.

There's a lot of things in our lives that we don't like and have a hard time accepting. Many of our parents went through hard times and tried to shield us from difficulty and struggles. Before I get too the crux of my message, the paragraph below just states many of us go through life feeling inadequate - and the more materialistic place you're from, the more inadequate you feel. Like I grew up in LA and have lived in MN for almost 15 years. The value systems of both geographies are so vastly different. LA is flaunt it and MN is hide it. So in my case, coming from LA, as much as I accomplished it was never enough. In MN I've learned a lot about acceptance and gratitude. There's always someone with more and for sure others with less. When things were really tough back in 1995, my first AA sponsor stopped me when I was whining and gave me an assignment: find something to be grateful for and write it down. I became grateful for clean air, green grass, listening too the birds sing, the awe of nature - a mother and father goose with their gosslings. Stuff like that.

Advertisers tell us to our teeth should be pearly white, we should all drive sexy cars and have a full head of hair and be beautiful. People with money are equated as powerful so the message we get is we're not okay the way we are. Too many of us spend our time wasting away at work while trying to "make it" and feeling inadequate.

Recently my wife kicked one of my kids out of the house. She'd given him (3) chances and after blowing it for the third time, she threw him and the girlfriend out. Then she told me to sign the car we'd bought him over to him to avoid our being liable for one of his "mistakes." Although I heard and went along with what she said, it was painful - just for me. Because as dysfunctional as the relationship had been, I was mourning the loss of my son living in our home when he got kicked out.

Here's a good example of my dysfunction: I'm accustomed to lousy relationships, my threshold for enduring pain is high, and even though my son has issues, I felt a big loss having him go. The first few days the pain was intense. But after awhile, the pain subsided. Guess what happened?

Girlfriend got a job and so did my son. They were able to find an apartment and are now trying to make it on their own. Now I'm feeling proud of both of them. Annie made the right decision.
Her Al-anon program is working for her.