Author Archives: jvessely

Happy Things

Things that make us happy
Things that make us smile
Things both big and small
All things we think worthwhile
-JSV_

It should take you approximately 60 seconds to read the following list of thoughts on specific things that, in most cases, should bring a smile to your face. After reading the list, I encourage you to save the list and use it to periodically take you to a happy place. Focus on one or two items at a time and think about a time, the first time or the last time, or anytime that you experienced the particular item; letting go of a helium-filled balloon, seeing the fruit trees around you all in bloom or experiencing an especially memorable holiday. Use that focused moment of thought to take you to a happy place. Keep the list close for those times when you need to something to make you feel good and smile. Remember, when you think you are being tested to the fullest, God is the person who ultimately made the items on this list possible. He is good!

Finally, if you think of things that are not on the list, email them to me at jvessel@iupui.edu and I will compile a new, larger list.

Your parents Helium-filled balloons A lake swim

Your first kiss The movies Christmas

Bicycle rides Holding hands Licorice

Marshmallows Fruit trees blooming Graduation

The smell of baby powder Mac and cheese Vacations

Peanut butter and jelly Fresh flower smells A warm sun

A field of clover Birds singing A boat ride

Birthdays A new (your first) bike Weddings

Picnics A walk with someone special A baby’s giggle

Thanksgiving dinner Fresh cut grass Amusement parks

Grandma’s pies Electric trains Your best friend

Church on Easter A Christening Road trips

Your first car Ice cream or sherbet push-ups Butterflies

Update – Since I last posted the blog, I have had two chemotherapy infusions, have NOT stayed overnight in the hospital, had appointments with Dr. Akosa, my primary care physician and my annual checkup with Dr. Wolverton, my dermatologist. I had breakfast with my friend Laura Klaum, Development and External Affairs Director IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. We had dinner with our friends, the Slaughters and a visit from my cousin David and his wife Laura (from North Judson). I participated in a conference call to start the process of finding my replacement as Executive Director of Phi Epsilon Kappa and played 18 holes of golf with my friends Frank and Bill. This morning I was at the hospital less than two hours for today’s infusion.

I know this is more than you wanted or needed to know about my last eight days but I wanted to share the fact that I’m not just sitting around.

Stay Strong and Keep on Keepin’ On

Friends

There has probably been as much written about friends and friendship as any other topic. Friendship has never been more evident to me than during this journey. I can’t begin to express thanks for all those cards, phone calls, emails, and texts filled with good thoughts and prayers. At the recent funeral of a beloved priest, the church was bursting at the seams. The number of those paying their respects at the funerals of two well-known, well-liked corporate executives, on the other hand, was quite small. In a recent book, Jim Denison asks the question, “Are You Building a Resume or Writing a Eulogy?” I hope you have given at least equal time to your eulogy.

For more than forty years I have been a member and then the Executive Director of a Physical Education fraternal organization whose motto is, “Friendship Hath Power.” I’d like to borrow from the fraternity’s section on friendship. Friendship is defined by Aristotle as “one mind in two bodies.” Think about your best friend or friends and how much you think alike, respond in similar ways and generally have an almost spiritual trust in one another. Don’t put off that next phone call, email or text to your best friend. If it is been awhile and you’re not sure exactly what you’ll say, take some inspiration from Edgar Guest’s poem written at Christmas time.

A FRIEND’S GREETING

I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me;
I’d like to be the help that you’ve been always glad to be;
I’d like to mean as much to you each minute of the day
As you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way.

I’d like to do the big things and the splendid things for you,
To brush the gray from out your skies and leave them only blue,
I’d like to say the kindly things that I so oft have heard,
And feel that I could rouse your soul the way that mine you’ve stirred.

I’d like to give you back the joy that you have given me,
Yet that were wishing you a need I hope you will never be;
I’d like to make you feel as rich as I, who travel on
Undaunted in the darkest hours with you to lean upon.

I’m wishing at this Christmas time that I could but repay
A portion of the gladness that you’ve strewn along my way;
And could I have one wish this year, this only would it be;
I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.

It has been said that we make our friends, not by calling them friends, but by being a friend. The greatest loss would not be the breaking of friendship ties, but the failure to make these friendships. Jesus never said a more gracious word to His disciples than, “Ye are my friends.” He bound them to Him and He bound Himself to them in ties of unselfish devotion.

UPDATE – This is a short blog because I was released Wednesday from my third hospital stay in the last four weeks (12 days total). I am on oral antibiotics and will restart the chemotherapy on Wednesday with the hope that we can complete one full cycle of three treatments. I may be my own worst enemy because I fell today at the hospital. I got my feet tangled in the straps of my backpack and bounced off the door frame and slid to the floor. My upper arm took the brunt of the collision and I elbowed myself in the ribs. I did not hit my head. It might have knocked some sense into me. Whoa, way too late for that.

Stay Strong

Remember To Do The Little Things

This past week I interacted with at least 10 nurses, 10 doctors, five food service people and five cleaning people at the hospital. I was reminded how important it was to respect them and to value how each of them contribute to my recovery. I was also reminded how easy showing respect is to do. It’s a smile, a pleasant greeting and a please and a thank you. Also, the same respect for what they do should be shown to clerks, receptionists, waitresses and waiters and the many others we depend on to assist us , often, with things we take for granted.. Think about the time you had something to return that didn’t work. Did you charge up to the service desk with, “This thing is a piece of junk? “ It doesn’t work. I just drove nine miles round trip. I certainly didn’t expect to have to do that. Here, I need a replacement.” Wouldn’t have this exchange started better if you greeted the clerk first? Then, “could you please see if I am able to replace this?” Then, end with a “thank you.”

Say Please – “Grandma, may I please have more cake?” “Of course you may dear.” The question, asked this way, is hard to refuse.

While your prayers do not have to include a please, there is no reason not to include a “please.” I find that I have an opportunity each day to ask for something.

Dear Lord, Please help me trust you and trust in your timing. I tend to get impatient
and I tend to try to take matters in my own hands. I know this is a weakness of mine.
I am so sorry. Holy Spirit, please transform this part of me. Help me to trust in you
Lord and trust that your timing is best – in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Say Thank you – “Grandma, thank you. The cake was delicious.” This response sets the table, so to speak, for the next time there is cake to be had. This is one of the times when it is obvious that a “thank you” is warranted. There are many other opportunities to say thank you, even in the face of some difficult times. This is a prayer I use.

Thank You Lord for the roof over my head and a nice bed to sleep in

There’s food on my table and shoes on my feet. Your loving touch is everywhere.

Forgive me if I forget my great blessings, if I ever start to complain.

Only let me live each day full of praise and thanks immersed in your grace.

The third response in your arsenal should be I’m sorry. “I’m sorry” is needed more than we say it.

I went to see Ricki and the Flash yesterday and one of the songs was Canned Heat’s, Let’s Work Together. It has some great lyrics but I’m especially reminded of:

People, when things go wrong
As they sometimes will
And the road you travel
It stays all uphill
Let’s work together
Make someone smile
Let’s all work together
And make life worthwhile

Update – Well, once again I was the guest of Indiana University Hospital from last Friday until this week Tuesday evening. It was another run-in with bacteria in my blood. The bacteria is gone and infusion is scheduled to restart on Wednesday after a month off.

I want to share this poem that my sister-in-law Dorothy sent me.

Little Things
It’s just the little, homely things,
The unobtrusive, friendly things,
The “won’t-you-let-me-help-you” things,
That make our pathway light.

And it’s just the jolly, joking, things,
The “never-mind-the-trouble” things,
The “laugh-with-me, it’s funny” things
That make the world seem so bright.

For all the countless famous things
The wondrous, record-breaking things,
The “never-can-be-equaled” things
That all the papers cite

Aren’t like the little human things,
The everyday-encountering things.
The ”just because I like you” things
That make us happy quite.

So here’s to all the simple things,
The dear “all-in-a-day’s work” things,
The “smile and face your troubles” things.
Trust God to put them right.

The “done-and-not-forgotten” things
The “can’t-you-see-I-love-you” things,
The hearty “I-am-with-you” things
That make life worth the fight.

Stay Strong and Keep on Keepin’ On

Random Thoughts #1

Update – Well, the roller coaster ride continues but we’re glad to be on the ride considering the alternatives. I spent part of the first three days of the week in the hospital receiving antibiotic IV’s for bacteria in my blood. The word Sepsis was used more than once. It may have been as a result of the previous week’s stent replacement. As a result, a picc line was placed in my right arm so Sue can give me antibiotic IV’s at home three times each day. She started her nursing career on her 75th birthday (7/23). She’s got it down to a science and it takes less than 15 minutes. Consequently, I missed my chemotherapy infusion and may miss one or two more. Also, I got behind on the blog.

This week’s blog contains the first installment of Random Thoughts. I’ve collected a number of items that don’t quite fit a particular theme and plan to insert them from time to time. Contributors include my friend Sonny and our friend Francine. FYI, I didn’t obtain a release from either of them. They’ll find out, just like you did, when they read this.

First Thought
For supplemental calories and protein, I’ve been drinking Dean’s milk’s TruMoo, recommended by my nutrition consultant, Dr. Lisa Farley. In addition to liking her recommendation, I feel like it is the only protein drink where I’m not obligated to buy a package of Depends with it.

Excellence
Excellence can be obtained if:

• You care more than others think is wise

• You risk more than others think is safe

• You dream more than others think is practical

• Expect more than others think is possible
*Anonymous

God Is

• At my lowest, God is my HOPE

• At my darkest; God is my LIGHT

• At my weakest, God is my STRENGTH

• At my saddest, God is my COMFORTER

Prayer
Always pray:
• To have eyes that see the “best” in people

• A heart that forgives the “worst”

• A mind that forgets the “bad”

• And a soul that never loses faith in God

Wisdom – In Proverbs it reads “Acquire wisdom: and with that you acquire understanding.” Also, Knowledge is to know that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is to know not to use tomatoes in a fruit salad.

SOUNDED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME

Things we do for our friends
When I finished my tour in the US Navy, I came to Indianapolis where mom, dad, Colleen, Juleen, and Patrick had moved. It was a three bedroom apartment already bursting at the seams so I moved in with my friend Sonny. He taught part-time at a parochial school while attending law school. One morning, after we had been served some bad ice, he needed me to call the school and tell Sister Mary Margaret that he had the flu.

Let me digress for a moment. During catholic grade school I served mass nearly every day including funerals and weddings on Saturdays. I served hundreds of masses, never once even taking a sip of the sacramental wine. Then for high school I attended St. Lawrence Seminary during which I served more masses. Now, I’m about to lie to a nun.

Well, I called, told her that Sonny had the flu and wouldn’t be able to teach that day. She expressed concern that, since he had taught the day before (with no signs of the flu), he might be out for a few days. I assured her that it was the 24-hour flu. Not only am I his roommate, but I must be a doctor or at least a nurse. Here it is 7:00 in the morning and I’m delivering what I believe to be a completely accurate diagnosis.

Sounded like a good idea at the time.

Wrong Numbers!
The telephone number at the apartment we shared was one digit different than the Department of Parks. Consequently, we received a number of calls meant for the Parks Department. We often talked to the callers as if we “were” the Parks Department. And, often, the same people called back. Two such calls ended unfortunately.

One was a young lady who called in sick (there seems to be a theme here). She apologized for the late call, we assured her that someone would cover for her and left it at that. Well, as fate would have it, she called our number again (wrong number for the Parks Department) to ask why we hadn’t passed along her earlier call at which time she told us she and been suspended for three days. Oops!
The second call came during the worst rain storm of the summer. The caller wanted to know if the softball games were being held as scheduled at Riverside Park. We asked him if he could see how hard it was raining and he said yes. So, we told him the obvious. Yes, the games were being played as scheduled. Well, he too called back, on the wrong number, to tell us that when he got to Riverside Park it was raining as hard as it had been when he left home. The additional downside to his trip was that a tree branch had just fallen on his car. Ooops!

Sounded like a fun ideas at the time.

Stay Strong!

Don’t Take Things Personally

When you read things about a cancer diagnosis, you often read about some self doubt from the writer. I’ve written that an obvious question is, “Why did this happen to me?” The question is an obvious one. The issues that arise are in the responses to the question. What did I do to deserve this? Has God forsaken me? Weren’t my health choices good ones; reasonably healthy food, exercise, no drugs, minimal alcohol? The closing of this one way conversation is, “I must have done something wrong.” None of that applies. Cancer just isn’t fair. One example is that only about 20 percent of smokers get cancer.

I don’t believe that God has done this to me or forsaken me. Just like he didn’t forsake the soldier injured in combat, or the mother who lost a child, or the person who injured themselves falling from a tree. These are things life deals us. God speaks to us just as he did Jeremiah. “I have loved you with everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you will be rebuilt.”

“God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers and never silent to your pain. He sees, He hears and He will deliver.” From the music of Henrietta Konadu (aka Herty Borngreat).

Back to parenting. Actually, parenting or having even temporary responsibility for the care of a young person prepares us for this thought that the things that happen are going to happen in spite of our best interests. Sue and I had the great, God-given, responsibility of trying to hone our parenting skills three times. Sue’s daughters, Leslie and Tracy were nine and ten years old when Sue and I got married. This was the first phase of my development as a parent. When they were 13 and 14, we had the twins, Sara and Tom and the start of phase two. While there were a few challenges (really just a few) with Leslie and Tracy, the real parenting started with Tom and Sara. I only imagine that two “handfuls” were harder than one.

Tom, at age two, trying to convince Sara that sitting in the top drawer of her dresser was safe.

Sara trying to convince Tom that the droppings from the newly acquired sheep (a 4-H project gone badly) were her mom’s coveted baking raisins.

The two of them thinking that eating their desert on the lap of a special dinner guest, who was wearing a new suit or dress, was part of the evening’s entertainment.

Then there was phase three. Sara came home from the hospital with Isaiah and they stayed with us until he was seven. There were plenty of teachable moments with Isaiah. There might have been more instances when he was teaching me than me teaching him. There was one particular time when I received a lesson that has stayed with me since.

It Isn’t About You

Not long before Sara and Isaiah moved into a home of their own, Isaiah went with me to a fundraiser held in a very large tent. While we were there, a pretty good thunderstorm settled over the area. When it finished raining, there were several large pockets of rain in the roof of the tent. Isaiah spotted one near the entrance and I could see he was taken by it. The next thing I knew was that he had a broom handle and looking out over the edge of the tent entrance, he poked the large, rain-filled pocket. I would guess that at least ten gallons of water came cascading down on his head and covered every inch of his body. While this was quite humorous to anyone who didn’t have to dry him off, I was in disbelief.

So, as I was searching for a case of paper towels, I asked him that over-used question, “Why do you do these things to me?” I then covered the back seat of the car with a trash bag, stripped him of everything that was wet (which was everything), wrapped him in paper towels and headed for home. As if my day wasn’t already going as planned, when we arrived home, he jumped out of the car, stark naked, and began to “streak” the neighborhood through every grassy area he could reach. Finally, when he decided to come into the house, I asked him, “Were you trying to embarrass your grandmother and me? If so, you did a great job.” This is when he taught me the lesson.

He said, “Papa, this wasn’t about you. I did what every kid in or around that tent wanted to do. I just got to the broom handle first. And, I wasn’t trying to embarrass you or grandma. Running naked through the neighborhood was just more fun.”

If you have a chance to share some part of this “don’t take things your children do, personally,” you will save them some of the stress brought about by always thinking that children do things to spite us or to punish us. It may just be more fun than the alternative we gave them.

UPDATE – I was not able to have my third infusion in a row on Wednesday. Sister Juleen was disappointed. She took me and was hoping to catch up on her reading. Platelets and white cell count were too low. I’m rescheduled for Monday so I won’t miss a whole week. I did have a second stent put in yesterday and I’m scheduled for an upgrade in late August. We’re going to North Judson tomorrow to visit friends and participate in a memorial service for my friends’ aunt. Going to Cedar Lake later in the day and spend the evening with my sister-in-law Dorothy. As you can see, I’m living the dream.

Stay Strong

Give It Your Best Effort – No Regrets

When this journey started, my friend Larry and others on similar journeys said there would be peaks and valleys. They encouraged me to stay strong in the face of the ups and downs of the treatments. I can honestly say that there have been far more good days than bad days. Having said that, the day I received the diagnosis was way “down there.” My sister Colleen reminded me of the expression, “God only gives us what we can handle.” With my diagnosis, apparently God thinks I’m a real bad dude.

As I’ve posted the blogs, among the responses I’ve received are questions about what I do to stay positive. In the face of all that’s going on, I keep my faith, have hope and I’ve kept my sense of humor.

To stay positive, I remind myself that in daily interactions, I get back what I give. If you ask how I’m doing and I respond, “Well, not all that great and I can only take one day at a time,” you might just be joining the pity party and that wouldn’t be good. If I respond with, “I’m doing good and every day is a blessing,” you might get a good vibe and give me a jelly donut (future blog) and wouldn’t that be great.

My faith foundation comes from eight years of being influenced by the Sisters of Saint Francis. The fact that my good friend Dale and I successfully completed all eight years consecutively should give anyone hope. Grade school was followed by two years of studying with the Capuchin Fathers and Brothers at St. Lawrence Seminary. I experienced many faith-forming opportunities and grew from each experience.

My sense of humor comes from my mother, who held both indoor and outdoor records for sense of humor. She made more humorous comments while she was in hospice than I could fit into several blogs.

Well, all of this reflection reminds me of my first Edgar Guest poem. It has been the only poem of his that I actually memorized. I like to think of it in terms of, No Regrets! Remember, no regrets.

Myself
Edgar Guest

I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things of done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man that I really am;
I don’t want to dress myself in a sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men’s (and women’s) respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.

I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and know
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

It would be rather self-serving to say that I’ve reached more than a few of these lofty goals. I’ve certainly missed the mark a few times but I’ve had the good fortune to know many of you who have aspired to being this person.

UPDATE – Infusion yesterday was the most efficient to date. I had a big lunch after the infusion and still no negative effects. I went to the Kiwanis meeting this morning and I’m still feeling good. Also, each day since returning from “the trip,” I’ve laughed out loud when remembering something that was said or something that happened. Plan your “siblings trip” soon.

Stay Strong!!!

The Trip Was A Success

Food and lodging $1,000, gasoline $150, extra food and drink $300 (whoa), morale building, priceless. No sales were made. No deals were made. No promotions were handed out but I promise you, the trip was a success by every other measure. In my higher education parlance a form of team building was held.

We all had plenty to say. Then when someone started with, “Remember the time . . . ,” you knew that the remembrance had a 50/50 chance of pointing out something from the past that might be less than flattering. Well, each sibling handled whatever was said in their own particular way. These are my opinions and not necessarily shared by management or the siblings. I think that Jane, the second oldest, is the most serious of the siblings. For one thing, she is a serious person and, at times, she can be a little naïve. But for me, I don’t usually pick on a person who has caught more crappies in one day than I ever have. Colleen, the next oldest, is the toughest. She is a nurturing person with skills. She is a nurse and a self-taught plumber and handyman from the days after our dad died. I’ve rarely seen anyone really get to her. Juleen who is next, has the best sense of humor. She can tell a joke but for sure she gets a joke. That causes her to laugh easily (at Patrick’s stupid/silly jokes) which usually ends with a laugh snort which causes Patrick to tell more jokes. Then there is Patrick, the youngest (17 years between me and him). He’s the most talented; graphic artist, plays guitar, engineer’s mind and entertainer. He also can be annoying, maddening, exasperating (you get it). His humor is usually at the expense of one of us which is usually laughed at by at least one of us (Juleen) which encourages him. But, he’s the baby and we love him.

I think they went a little easy on the oldest, me, because I’m the sick guy. Lest you think that they are close to being anointed, they took their shots. Just not as many. They didn’t fail to mention the various dirty tricks that I tried to play on most, if not all, of sisters’ boyfriends. In the later years, Patrick helped. They owe us big time for that. The three that we didn’t try to chase away, are now our brother-in-laws and they are the best.

The moral of the story is that the time is now. Gather your siblings, parent(s) if you are an only child and one or both of them are still with you or your best friend(s) and start the planning process for a weekend of family/friend renewal. I’m not a travel agent nor do I receive any kick backs, but this is one long weekend that should not be put off. If desperate, you can call me. My bucket list isn’t so long that it can’t include a trip to reminisce about the times we’ve spent together. For that matter, you can bring your family or friend trip to Indianapolis and I can entertain you here.

When we were planning the trip, we heard people say that their group would not be able to make it work logistically. It can be done if you work at it. We also heard people say that their siblings don’t all get along well enough to be together for a long weekend. To that I say, “You need a long weekend to fix that.” If you need advice on either of these, let me know.

Update – Infusion yesterday, Kiwanis today, golf tomorrow, dinner out tomorrow night. I’m trying to “Keep on keeping on.” Ya’ll stay strong with me!

The Storms in Our Lives

We’ve all experienced some major storms in our lives or have been close to someone who has.

Storms such as:

You’ve lost your job, you’ve become estranged from a sibling, your spouse wants to call it quits, you’ve been given a life-changing or life-threatening medical diagnosis, or your son or daughter announces a lifestyle change you can’t come to grips with.

What can help you deal with this is contained in the three virtues. Faith, the belief, confidence, and trust in God. Hope, the optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes. And, love, kindness and compassion that facilitates interpersonal relationships. Of these three, love is central to each of these storms. It is the bond of love that even makes these situations storms in the first place.

During one of these life storms, imagine that you are in a row boat on a lake when the storm comes up. Will you be better off with one oar or both oars in the water? Well, both oars of course. These oars are faith and hope. Facing one of life’s storms with only one oar in the water is a recipe for simply going around in circles. If one oar is Faith but without the expectation for a positive outcome, circles are the best you can hope for. Also, it is the same if you have Hope but without a real trust in God, you’re circling again.

To paraphrase Isaiah; he wrote that God will carry you through every storm and give you the strength to make it. So, I’m asking God, not to make my life easier, but for Him to give me the strength to face my troubles.

We all have our storms so let’s pray together. Dear God, we bring You our burdens. You know our situation and You know we can’t make it without You. Comfort our heart, give us strength and help us carry on.

World’s Greatest Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother . . . . .

When you’re not sure how you are affecting the lives of those you love and who love you, remember this dialog between grandchild and grandparent.

Grandpa: “How do think I am doing as a grandpa? I know haven’t had a chance to take you to a baseball game yet this summer.”

Grandchild: “Well, when I was at your house last weekend, you made me French toast. And, all the while I was there, you laughed at my knock, knock, jokes. And, when we went for a burger, you let me swap onion rings for the French fries. And, you let me sit on your shoulders so I could see over the neighbor’s fence. Most important, remember, I got you that mug that World’s Greatest Grandpa Mug. And you know what Grandpa? Mugs don’t lie!”

Update
The next infusion is being switched from next Monday to next Wednesday (July 1). I’m going with my three sisters (Jane, Colleen and Juleen) and brother (Patrick) to Camp Brosius for a long weekend and to accommodate the trip, the infusion will be two days later than scheduled. So, I won’t write this weekend. I’ll be too busy keeping my sisters from ganging up on Patrick.

I’ve missed some infusions for other medical reasons and I can say that concerns me. But, in keeping with all that I’ve been writing, my faith tells me that no matter what lies ahead of me, God is already there.

Stay strong! Keep on keeping on!

Father’s Day

There comes a time in our lives when we go into reflection mode. If you have been reading about my journey, you know that I’m in that mode. My thought today is to encourage us to become reflective sooner rather than later. For example, today is Father’s Day and since I wasn’t writing yet on Mother’s Day, I hope you didn’t forget reaching out to or thinking about your mother on Mother’s Day.

There is so much to be reflective about. Thinking back on all of the blessings we’ve received; a good stable home environment with loving parents, a supportive spouse who walks our journeys hand-in-hand, and loving children, some who might be in their early forties while others who might be well into their fifties but who still make us proud every day. Then there are the grand and great grandchildren some whose lives have really just begun. We know from the early indications that, they to, will make us proud. Hopefully, you will hear from all your children today; moms and dads alike.

Well, on this Father’s Day some are fortunate to still have their fathers with them while others still have the fondest memories of their fathers. If you can, reach out to your father today and tell him how much he means to you. If your father is not with you, share a story about him with someone who may not have known him. Edgar Guest’s poem, Only A Dad, can easily be about our dad, all of our dads.

Only A Dad

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife.
Bearing the whips and scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich or proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad but the best of men.

Just like our fathers here on earth, our Father in heaven can be counted on when most needed.

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,
For God can be trusted to keep his promise.” – Hebrews, 10:23 –

I can remember the many times when my dad made me feel safe. You see, I didn’t then and still do not “do dark.” Nighttime noises are usually followed by, “Sue, did you hear that? Should ‘we’ check it out?”

“I prayed to the Lord and he answered me freeing me from all my fears.”

“I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me.”

“He set me free from all of my fears.” – Psalm 34:4, 6 –

Update

Busy weekend: had dinner Friday with daughter Sara and friends of ours and visited friends who are moving back to Chicago. Then, later today, dinner and quality time with our Indianapolis family members and thinking about how I miss the Pittsburgh (and San Francisco) families. Infusion tomorrow.

Stay Strong!

Say What You Mean, Do What You Say

A number of years ago I brought a colleague, Will Keim, to campus for leadership development work with students as well as faculty and staff who worked closely with those student leaders. Will had served as a campus minister in Corvallis, Oregon (Oregon State University) and had witnessed numerous occasions when a student or group of students responded to a situation in a less than appropriate manner. He is the first person I heard use the expression, “Say what you mean, do what you say.”

I think that many occasions could be summarized as, “they should have known better.” Well, they did know better but, unfortunately, when the situation presented itself, they went off script. Their initial reply had all the ingredients to suggest a successful outcome but, between the verbal reply and the physical delivery, something went dreadfully wrong.

For example, when you ask college students if they understand the consequences of drinking and driving or the consequences of binge drinking, the vast majority will clearly respond that they do. Then, some of those same students will be in attendance at a friend’s funeral who they allowed to drive after drinking.

I use this general example to point out the fact that we need to remember that there is a consequence for all we say or do. Dr. Keim writes in “The Education of Character” that you make choices daily in each situation you encounter and every choice is important. He writes, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” As you journey through life and you have time to reflect, you prefer ‘no regrets.’

He also writes that in life “there can be great pain and sadness. We all know some form of pain but we also know the Spirit. We cannot only survive the pain but we can use it to grow.”

Our friend Francine sent me this. “Whatever we’re going through, the Holy Spirit fills us. We have to have hope and keep our heads up. We are not powerless. God is working through us and in us.”

My close to home Say what you mean, do what you say involves our twins, Tom and Sara. In Junior High School they had afternoon newspaper routes. They had an agreement with their customers to have the newspaper delivered each afternoon by 5:00. Without fail, Sara completed her route by 5:00 even if she had to run and deliver the last few papers to beat the 5:00 deadline. Sometimes she actually sprinted.

Tom had a different issue. He tried out for Junior High basketball and made the team which meant the 5:00 deadline was impossible as practice lasted until 5:00. So, he sent a notice to each of his customers informing them of the change and for them to call him if there was a problem.

On the last night of basketball, he delivered a second notice saying that normal schedule would return the following Monday. Well, on Monday he returned home at 5:10 with a gash above his eye that would take six stitches to repair. When I asked him what happened, he said he had 10 papers and 10 minutes before the 5:00 deadline when he wrecked his bike and hit his head. He said he went into the clubhouse at the complex, looked into the mirror and realizing he wasn’t going to bleed to death, finished the route with a minute to spare. I then took him for the stitches.

I had just been shown an example of “Say what you mean, do what you say,” by two 13-year olds.

Update
I just spent the last three days going between Methodist and IU Hospitals with some bacteria in my blood. I had a fever of 103 on Sunday, went to the Emergency Room at Methodist, they sent me home, and brought me back on Monday morning, I stayed overnight on at IU on Monday. I was there to receive continuous antibiotic IV’s. Needless to say, I missed this Monday’s infusion. They sent me home Tuesday afternoon with oral antibiotics and I should return to my chemo schedule next Monday.

Stay Strong! Keep on keeping on.
Jeff