Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wishing to be a journalist

I wish I was a journalist.  In particular, I wish I was a political journalist, covering today's most important events.  OR, I wish I was a sports journalist, they probably get great tickets to all the biggest events.  OR, even better, I wish I was a Tour de France journalist, this is the event I would most want to cover. 

Unfortunately, I cannot write.  I do not have good grammer and I cannot spell worth a darn (thank you Spell Check), but if you've read this blog this far, you've probably figured this out already.  My problem is this - I have a lot to say.  I have so much to say in fact, that I can't get it out at home.  I decided I should teach a law class as an adjunct instructor so that I had more talk time.  Apparently that wasn't enough, so I found 3 more classes to teach over the course of year.  Now I've got my normal "at home" talk time, as well as 4 college level course I am teaching (if you are interested in registering for any of these courses simple go to . . . who am I kidding, nobody wants that).  I guess I needed more talk time, so I took on several public speaking engagements a year, speaking on topics ranging from school safety to bullying.  To add to my talk time I recently was interviewed on a local talk radio show for a couple of hours.  Again, that wasn't enough, so I sought out our local newspaper (The Cleveland Daily Banner) and started a weekly column (this week is my 164th week - wow, that seems like a lot).  THAT wasn't enough so I started this blog (I started this primarily for my out of town fans, who can't read the Banner and want access to my weekly column - so I post my weekly column on here along with other thoughts).

Now you may have caught the fact that I used the term "fans", which is simply ridiculous and actually makes me laugh out loud (not the "lol" you see the kids texting, but a real belly busting, pee my pants, laugh out loud).  So, before some of my friends call or text making fun of my new found ego growth, I don't believe I have fans, but I do believe what I write, sometimes hits a chord (hear is an example of my spelling problems - "chord" or "cord", spell check doesn't help here!) with some of the people who read this column/blog.  Therefore, I will keep writing, teaching, public speaking, and blogging until you ask me to stop (or at least until MANY of you tell me the stop becuase I have emails begging to stop weekly, I just figure they are in the minority).  However, since writing has become my access point to the largest audience, boy do I wish I was a journalist, if only I didn't have that darn grammer problem.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Perfect Card for the Perfect Mother

Mothers’ Day recently passed and like any good husband I waited till the Saturday before to get her a card (in my defense, I also took her out to dinner, got her breakfast in bed, and made a concerted effort to commit my entire weekend to the family, but I digress). So, I walk into the living room to draft my son into assisting me in selecting a card at our local drug store. He is sitting on the couch with my wife so I of course smoothly slide into speaking into father/son code, "Son, I need some help running errands and moving stuff, wanna help?"

"No thanks daddy."

I obviously have not properly trained him in the father/son code, so I try again. "Seriously, son, I need your help."

"Thank you, but I'll stay here with mommy." Still not getting it.

"Son, I don't want to go alone."

Then comes the response of the day, "You won't be alone daddy, Jesus is with you."

Two things ran through my mind at this point. First, an incredible, overwhelming amount of pride in my son and his understanding of our Lord. My wife and I have worked hard to raise our children in a Christian home and this was one of the first indicators that he is applying these Christian principles to his life. However, after that moment of teary-eyed pride, the second point rushed into my mind, shoving the first point to the side . . . my son didn't want to go with me. Now I could do one of two things in this situation; 1) I can pout and run my errand alone, feeling sorry for myself the entire time; or 2) force him to come with me. I chose option #2.

This is where the adventure began. We arrived at the card aisle only for me to feel mildly overwhelmed with the choices (they have cards for EVERYTHING). However, my son knew what he wanted. He immediately went directly to a card with a bulldog's face with Cheetos in the position of its eyebrows and a mustache (two of his most favorite things, dogs and Cheetos). He said, "This is the one I want to get mommy." I opened the card to find it said, "It's your day, you can be as silly as you want - Happy Birthday!" I insisted we keep looking, giving him several choices of funny and meaningful Mothers' Day cards, but as you have probably already guessed, he insisted on buying the bulldog birthday card, so we bought it.

When we brought the card home, I had the children use their beautiful scribbled handwriting to sign it (which included a total lapse in my brain and resulted in me momentarily misspelling both children’s names . . . seriously) in crayon. When they gave it to my wife, her face lit up and she loved it, it didn’t matter that it was actually a birthday card, it was a card the children had picked out specifically for her. It was the perfect card for the perfect mother.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Using the Bike to Deliver the Message

I read an article in my local paper about a young woman, a professional mountain biker, Grace Ragland, who is using the bike in a similar fashion to our American hero Lance Armstrong.  Now granted, Ragland has not reached the same heights that Tour de France Champion Lance has, but she has fought and been victorious in a similar, life-altering fight.  You see, Ragland was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (commonly known as MS) in 1980, 30 years ago.  At the time she was diagnosed, there were no medications to treat the symptoms of MS.  It wasn't until 1998 that she was able to take medication to alleviate the symptoms. 

Unfortunately, the side affects of the medications made it difficult to live the life she wanted, so she stopped the treatments and ultimately suffered one of the worst relapses in her life.  That is when she tried a new drug called COPAXONE.  COPAXONE made her feel better and she has since won several races, all while battling MS.  Once reading the article about this inspiring story, I felt compelled to contact Ragland and received an immediate response.  In fact, despite this incredible testimony and her professional mountain biking success, she is still humble, responding to my request for contact with a laugh (as if she had no idea why anyone would want to celebrate her accomplishments).  While I have yet to meet Ragland in person, I look forward to the opportunity how she has impressed me as a inspiring figure on the bike.  The quote she uses on her Facebook page, "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do", sums up the depth of her character. 

It seems the bike draws these types of inspirational characters; Greg LeMond (after being shot in the legs, wins the Tour de France), Lance Armstrong (after battling cancer, wins the Tour de France 7 consecutive times), Eldon "aka - The Fat Cyclist" Nelson (famously and couragously blogging about his wife's battle with cancer while preparing and riding the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race), and Ragland.  For every story of blood doping you might hear, there are 10 stories of challenges overcome and barriers knocked down.  I am proud to be a part of the fraternity, this community we call cyclists - the best part is that the membership fee is cheap, just jump on a bike and start peddling.

Keep the rubber side down and keep pushing those peddles!