Thursday, October 27, 2016

Memories: Past, Present, Future

"I've cried and I laughed. Laughing is a helluva lot better." - Glen Campbell

As a lifetime resident of the Chicago area and a Cubs fan these are exciting times. The Chicago Cubs finally making it to the World Series after 71 years is a dream come true. It has also been for me a whirlwind of memories in recent days, memories as a kid growing up and being a Cubs fan. Most of those years were filled with heartache watching them consistently lose or come close only to fall apart in the end, but within those memories there was also joy. Gramps would take me fishing many summer days and then we would sit in the car on a hot afternoon and eat lunch while listening to Cubs games on the radio. And then there were those summer days where as a kid I would caravan with a large church group to Cubs games and sit in the bleachers with my sack lunch and root on the boys in blue. These are the memories I will never forget... or will I?

They say that no one can ever take away your memories but unfortunately there is a disease that can and it's called Alzheimer's. I recently watched the 2014 documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, the story of country/pop singer Glen Campbell and his struggle with Alzheimer's. This well-worth watching film shows Glenn in his first stages of this fatal disease and not able to even remember his children's names, and the courage and strength he carried to go ahead and do a farewell tour not knowing what affect the disease may have on his memory to sing his songs.

 This was a year-long tour and it was amazing to see how quickly Alzheimer's took away some of his memory. Toward the middle of the tour they had to start using a teleprompter to give him the words to the songs he had been singing and performing for over 40 years. But astonishingly he had no trouble playing the guitar and was able to pick up from the lead of his band which included 3 of his children.

Glen's wife was more fearful not of him being able to perform well but what he might do while on stage. The crowds were not only entertained but forgiving as they would sometimes see Glen forgetting what was to happen next during the shows. Glen Campbell was always known as a jokester so even when he messed up on stage while combating this disease he would just laugh it off and the loving crowd laughed with him.

Glen Campbell's farewell tour was not only a sign of courage and strength but brought a wider attention to Alzheimer's.

While Glen Campbell was losing his memory he was also making memories for his family.

His children were able to perform with him on stage, follow him on tour for the first time, sing and play instruments with him in the recording studio for one last album, and watch their daddy show courage amongst one of the most painful diseases, one of losing your memory.

Today Glen Campbell is in the last stages of Alzheimer's and has lost all forms of communication.

One thing Glen Campbell has taught me is the importance of making memories with family and friends, if not for today but for the future.

It's never too late for you to start making memories.

I'm still here, but yet I'm gone
I don't play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you 'till the end.
- Glen Campbell


Thursday, October 20, 2016

He Said What?

"The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty." - Zig Ziglar
In a day and age where arrogance and selfishness has replaced honesty and integrity it was a heart warming moment between a ball player and umpire that has stirred our hearts today. Most baseball players use the tactic of intimidation versus umpires when it comes to balls and strikes. Confused? Let me explain:
When a batter approaches toward first base after a pitch he thinks is ball four but the umpire sees it as a strike, the baseball player is clearly trying to either persuade the umpire to see it their way and call it a ball four and a walk or the hitter is trying to make a fool of the umpire in front of millions of viewers.
In last night's important Game Four of a championship series between the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers, this sequence of events occurred between Cubs captain Anthony Rizzo and umpire Angel Hernandez. The next time Rizzo came to bat and feeling like he was trying to intimidate the umpire even though that wasn't his intention, he apologized to umpire Hernandez. The umpire's reply was simply,
"Your fault for what brother?” Hernandez replied. “Come on, you’re good, bro. You're awesome with us. No, no worries. You’re competing. I understand. Don’t worry. You know what’s best of it? You come back and tell me that. That’s how good of a guy you are.”
Oh.... for these classic moments to remind us that honesty and integrity still exists in America!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lost Art of Time

"Lost time is never found again." - Ben Franklin
Sometimes our peace and happiness depends on how much time we put into it. At a most recent sporting event, a thing called hockey, everyone in the crowd was filled with excitement and anticipation as this was to be the first game of the season. Well...not everyone was excited. The two guys sitting behind us had the nerve to talk business throughout most of the contest and were obviously not there to enjoy the moment. I found this to be extremely annoying!
 One of my biggest pet peeves when attending a sporting event is the people who are either too busy chatting about other things during the game or spending time on their phone while the game is in progress.
So much of our culture today is filled with busyness and distraction. We have lost the art of spending time experiencing all that life has to offer within our surroundings. We've simply forgotten how to enjoy time. Granted some folks wish they had time to do something fun or exciting, but if we get too wrapped up in the busyness of life we will never experience any sense of peace. Our faced-paced life will just run us into the ground and our life expectancy will shorten.
When I go to sporting events I like to go for the entertainment, the relaxation, the enjoyment of those around me, and to forget about my troubles. I am simply a kid in a candy store every time I get the chance to go to a game of any sport.
Someone once said that "The time you enjoy wasting is not really wasted time."
 Yep, if you are spending time with the people you love doing things that you enjoy, than it really isn't wasted time now, is it?
Don't wait. The time will never be just right, for procrastination is the thief of time.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Cart Full of Joy

"Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy
 and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you."
As I pulled into the grocery store parking lot the other day I saw a woman pushing and riding her shopping cart across the lot to her car. An overflowing abundance of joy lit up her face on this beautiful autumn afternoon.
Once I got out of my car I approached her, knowing she was done emptying her groceries into her trunk, and asked if I could save her a trip in returning the cart. Of course she obliged and I commented about watching her joyfully riding her shopping cart across the lot. Her face turned red as she simply replied,
"I just got off work and it's such a beautiful day outside. I cannot resist being happy!"
Happiness and joy are contagious. Your expression of joy is a reflection of who you are. Do what makes you happy. Your happiness can never amount to nothing.
One of the greatest joys for me as I routinely take walks at the zoo is just seeing the smiles on other peoples faces as they oooh and ahhh at the animals. Happiness is a contagious disease we should all long for.
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: it's loveliness increases;
 it will never pass into nothingness." poet John Keats