Friday, December 23, 2011

Counting My Blessings

What a whirlwind of a month for all of us. Not sure where it went, or how it passed us by so quickly, but here we are knocking at the back door of Christmas 2011. But, despite all of the craziness around me, there is one thing I have not lost sight of and that is that I will always count my blessings

Tonight as I take time to write this blog post, we are preparing and packing to head off to Ireland for the Christmas holiday to see Brian.  As I sit here and think about my week,  I choose to focus on the highlights, because the insanity of some of it, or the people that created it, do not deserve any billing here. So, my "bright spot" of the week, was sharing my Christmas wish with everyone in my family, either over the phone, or via e-mail or social media, if I was not able to reach them. It was important to me that each of them knew their importance in my life and that I give thanks to God for all the goodness, life lessons and gifts of their love this year.

I have had a great deal of time to reflect on my life this month, the people in my life and those that affect my life in a wide variety of ways. My family, old and new, have really blessed my life this year. Whether it was them in person, or touching base with their memory. 2011 will undoubtedly be the most memorable and incredible year of my life. What better time of year to be able to reflect on the new and wonderful discovery of my father and my new family this year, as well as the growth and reflection on the past. Probably very important to reflect on the past and let it go now. For it is the present and future and all the good times that await our family that are now my focus for the new year. Nevertheless, I feel blessed that I was given this beautiful gift.

So, please be sure to count your blessings. I know that once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.

As the very famous Playwrite, Charles Dickens, once said, be sure to reflect on your present blessings of which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

A very Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pursuit of Passion

As I am writing this evening, I asked myself, I wonder how many people actually do what they truly love? I would venture to guess that more people do what is convenient for them to do. 

So often times it happens that we find ourselves living our lives in chains and we never even know, or chose to ignore that we have the key to escape.  This is something I have thought about and even struggles a bit over the past few weeks. Regardless, I woke up yesterday, not sure what time, but I will be giving this a great deal more of my attention in the coming year.

From the outside, I believe that most people see our accomplishments and while they may or may not be  proud of what we have accomplished, or even remembered by the time the year comes to an end, they truly believe that we are doing what we should be doing.  But, for some of us, I would venture to say that what they don’t see is just how much you have to give up in order to achieve something.

I've often found myself mesmerized by some of the things the people in my immediate and reachable world are able to accomplish on any given day.  In fact, you can often find me cheering them on and being truly happy for them when they achieve their success. Clearly, in those moments, while not vocalized, I believe that is where the person is meant to be and doing what they are doing.  I know for a fact that many of my family, friends and colleagues feel that same way about the things I accomplish.  In all honesty, it is true that I enjoy what I do and have done in my life, but I am now able to freely admit that I have not been pursuing my passion.

That old saying "you only live once" has been playing in my head over and over again this week and guess what? I know that I am not getting any younger.  We should really pay attention to those four words, because we all know that there are no guarantees from day to day.  And I will be the first to admit that I have far too much experience under my belt to be listening to the ongoing and repetitive negativity and supposed "wisdom" of some of those who 1) do not even know me and 2) have not even walked a day in my shoes.

I am by no means saying that I know it all or that I have "wasted: any part of my life.  I am merely speaking from my experience and I am very proud of all I have been able to do over the past 50+ years.   However, even during those accomplished years, I have also believed that it’s ok to think about what you want to do…until it’s time to start doing what you were meant to do. What better time for a new year and another new beginning.  I know I have not shared that "passion" with you now, but I believe the time will come for me to share that very soon.

So, take a moment and ask yourself when you are outside and look up at the stars, are you able to see beyond them -- realize that there is so much more out there that you may be capable of and should be doing? Or do you look up, see them for their beauty and go back to your life, believing that you are happy in doing what you’re doing?

Life, while it is wonderful, our universe can also have its down sides for us from time to time.  I try to think of them as life being one big risk that we have to allow ourselves to believe in and take a chance, in order to assume that risk.  I know that I feel blessed to have and be able to assume that risk. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Keeping the Spirit of the Season

The holiday season can be a time full of joy, cheer, parties and family gatherings. There is no doubt about it, this is a beautiful time of year.  For the most part I try to make this my focus and reality the best I am able.

However, this time of year can be tough on all of us too.  We are all so much on our plates at work and at home.  I know for me in the world of law firms, this is the "busiest time of year."  We have year-end, reviews, compensation planning, and the list can go on an on.  It has seemed as if finding the time to squeeze in a visit or even a phone call with a friend or family member seems impossible for me these days with all of the demands that we are faced with.  I make the time, but I still feel the squeeze I know that feeling is shared by many of my family, friends and colleagues too. 

Somehow this time of year can bring our the scrooge in people too. My recent blog, I discussed them as "toxic people." They are running rampant in my world these days and I see them all around and hear that they are finding their way into other's lives too.  We have enough on our plates, are feeling the pressure and exhaustion enough.  So, do your best to revolt and ignore them at all cost.

Exhaustion and the "holiday blues" seem to find its way into the season too.  We are all feeling it and the signs are all around. I certainly know that I am feeling exhaustion.  I was at a holiday party in Chicago one night this week (not sure how I found the energy) and I took a look around and I could see the feeling of "exhaustion" on the faces of my friends and colleagues in the room.  I didn't even have to make a comment about and a dear friend I had been catching up with noticed it at the same moment I did..  At that moment, we laughed out loud.  It really helped relieve the stress and we actually felt normal again.  It sure made the rest of the evening a total blast.

Regardless, we all know that there are many factors can cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension.  Try to keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities.

Another idea it to spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends, or contact someone you haven’t heard from in a while.

Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries! Let others share in the responsibility of planning activities and above all don't forget to make time for your friends and family. 
In the big scheme of things, they are what matters and the rest of it is not as important.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Maintaining Inpsiration with Toxic People and Behaviors

Another insane week has come and gone and unfortunately with the hectic week my blog posting has taken the hit.  I appropriately titled my Blog posting today to fit with what seems to be the ongoing theme for the month.  Honestly, inspiration is a powerful thing to possess and I am grateful that I have been able to  maintain it as I keep life real.

The week was all over the map for me regarding emotions, some good and some challenging.  There were moments that being "inspirational" was the last thing on my mind, as I found that I was the one needing inspiration. So, I found myself looking at many resources and other places for my own motivation and inspiration.

It certainly is the time of year when we can find ourselves and our emotions on over drive.  I am no exception to the rule this year. In addition to coping with my emotions, it seems that I have been inundated with coming into direct contact and having to deal with toxic people and/or the toxic behaviors that seem to be directly impacting my life. 

You know the old saying, "When it rains it pours?" Well, that is where I found myself over the past couple of weeks.  While I have been working over time maintaining my inspiration along with the reality of life's real presence.  This real presence included dealing with toxic people and behaviors.  No matter where I turned, I could find them in my path.  Can we say, stop the world and let me off?  I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs, "is everybody crazy?" But, I held back.  In retrospect, holding back was not the best for me, as the toxins only seem to saturate me even more.

I had to dig into my bag of tricks and learned skills from some of my legal training over the years.  I ran across a book from Marsha Peitrie Sue from a few years back, "Dealing with Toxic People." I had to get a quick refresher course to 1) identify my triggers in these situations and 2) maintain a neutral space for myself.  Regardless, through some quick evening speed reading, I was able to get a grip of most of what I was confronted with and it has helped me out tremendously.

I was able to identify my triggers that set off my negative reactions with these individuals and the relevant behaviors. Identifying the triggers for me was the easy part.  It ended up being the behavior I felt and would find myself a part of as a result of the toxic person or behavior. I did not like what it did to me. The tough part for me was trying to figure out to release the triggers in a positive and productive manner.  Because of my attachment or frequency of contact with some of these individuals, that was the tough piece of the puzzle for me to complete.  I am still working on it, but so far, so good.

I am able to maintain my neutral space (my safe haven) away from these individuals or behavior triggers.  This space provided me with an avenue to release the triggers and the willingness to trust that I possess the inner strength to isolate the problem. In my neutral space, I have even found a way to work on mirroring a positive reaction to the challenging personality and/or person, so that I can do my best to shut down the negativity that is getting in my way. So, I encourage any of you dealing with similar situations to make sure you have a safe haven.

I know that I am not able to control the toxic behavior or personalities of others, but as you know, the affect that this can have on a human being can be tremendous. Regardless, through this process, I have learned that challenging people can be a gift in disguise, for they have alerted me to areas within myself that need more neutrality. I continue to learn how to deal with and how not to deal with people and behavior who try to invade my peaceful world. 

While still a work in process, I feel myself coming back and I continue to do my best to keep it all in perspective and real too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Better late than never I suppose to share that I made the time to give thanks for all who are part of my life during this Thanksgiving season.  After all, it was the weekend of the year where we can all take the time to reflect on all the things that affect our lives.  This included our friends and family, all of our loved ones and to be sure to let them know and that is exactly what I did.

A little over a week ago, I returned from an amazing return trip to Buffalo, New York. On this trip, I set out to get to know my sister, Kelly and my brothers, Paul and David a bit better.  Of course there was a hope that I would get to have some one on one time with my dad too in order to talk about and let go of the past and embrace the future.  I will let you know that, while the visit shared the gauntlet of emotions; from out of control laughter to necessary healing through tears, that I personally felt that the trip was very successful. So, I want to publicly give thanks to my sister and brothers for making the effort, taking the time and for embracing these unknown moments together with me. I feel a strong connection to each of you now.  I  also believe that together we moved mountains and have found what we need as individuals to move forward and focus on tomorrow and all of the beauty that is in store for us.

Like everyone else, going into the weekend in Buffalo, I too was very nervous about making the trip. I suppose when I try to think of why, it came down to the unknown and the what ifs.  While I was excited to know and learn about them, I found that I was apprehensive about them too.  Yes, it was a walk down memory lane; different for each of us in many ways and on many levels.  The levels for me included not only my time in Buffalo and my new family, but my life at home, at work and just what was important and what was not.  It was very much an eye opener for me on shedding my fears, the things that are unecessary and yes, even people that are toxic in my life too.  Another thing I am very thankful for about this year.

I was finally able to really kick start my writing on a story my mother shared for me many years ago, that I need to be sure is put to paper.  The Strawberry Patch story will undoubtedly be one of healing for more than just me. I give thanks for the removal of this block in my life.

I learned that I have so much in common with my sister that it is hysterically uncanny.  We must have "high-fived" each other so many times because of the realization that we are alike in many ways.  There were many of those moments, but I lost count through the laughter and tears.  I realized that I am not much different than my two brothers, Paul and David. We want and need the same things in life.  We hoped for something different growing up, but we feel blessed for what we have.  Those things we hoped for are all very simple things and I hope what I realized, they did too; and that is that it doesn't matter how old you are, the things that we did not  get, or the paths we took in life, we can still have those things.  If not for ourselves, for our children. 

I believe that the biggest lesson of all for me and for all of us, is that we should be proud of what we do and have done for our lives, for all that we have accomplished in our lives (big or small), whether someone took the time to tell us or not, because we are good people and despite our pasts, we have shared only love and goodness with our spouses and children too.  We should be very proud of our families, no matter what and I can sense that each of you are too. I am especially proud of each of you for this and give thanks that we shared these moments in time together.

I want to be sure to share that I especially give thanks to God for the amazing gift in allowing me to discover  my new family.  I realize that we are still in the process of learning and discovering about each other, but I want them to know that I will move heaven and earth to so as we move forward to tomorrow.

To my sister and brothers. I am very proud of each of you.  Know that every day.  I thank you for embracing this gift that not many people in this world receive in their life time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Birthday Comes with a New Beginning

Another birthday is here.  I find it amazing how fast they come and go these days.  I watch our kids and all of the kids in my family grow up and convince myself that they are getting older and I am really staying the same age.  At least I feel young at heart and I suppose that really is half the battle.

I may be 53 today, but I don't feel a day over 30 most days.  Please note that I did not say nights.  I admit that there are days when I feel even older than I really am, but that comes with the territory of my profession and busy life.  Regardless, I am in very good physical shape; probably the best shape I have been in my entire life.  My first career in the navy is well behind me by almost 17 years now and I am entrenched in my second career running the business of a law firm in Chicago.  It is no wonder I feel older on some days after working with lawyers all day.

As last week ended, I was in the position of having to find a way to get through some rough spots, both personally and professionally.  I knew that I needed to take a different approach to these situations, so I took some time alone (I had a lot of it these past few weeks) and took stock of my year.  I am so glad that I did, as I had a pretty amazing personal year for so many reasons.  Having reminded myself of all the good that is now in front of me, I decided that I would finish the week and be done with it. I knew that I did all I could do in all situations and that it was time to focus on me. The week had some blunders and absurdities that crept in; I chose to forget them as soon as I could.  If you can learn something here, you should do the same in difficult situations, because you can.  I realized that tomorrow is a new day; that I should begin it well and serenely and with not too high a spirit so it could not be encumbered with more potential nonsense.  In other words, I was going to "Make it Count!"

So, what makes this birthday different from all the others for me is that I see this as my miracle birthday. I known for a long time that I was a lucky man to have love, family and friends in my life.  However, last year at this time, I was still in a quandary trying to find out all I could to solve the mystery about my father, whom I thought was no longer with us.  This year, I have not only found my father, but I have discovered new brothers and a sister and the beauty of their families that are all a part of my new beginning, as we all embark upon these new relationships.

Before I left for work this morning I already had five text messages from my "newly discovered" family in Buffalo and North Carolina.  I cannot even begin to express the wonderful feeling that came over me.  It put a smile on my face as big as the state itself.

As I was making my regular daily quote posting on my FB page, I was stunned to be staring at so many words of love and good cheer and wishes for a wonderful birthday from family and friends across the globe.  I was feeling verklempt initially and then, there was that smile again because so many people reached out to me in order to do their part to make this day special. Suddenly, I was astonished that for so many years, I would do all I could do, within my control, to let the day slip  under the radar.  This year, I felt different about it.  Perhaps because I never stopped believing in miracles and my heart and mind were now open to all things new, that I find myself on the receiving end of all things wonderful and it now feels comfortable for me too. 

I have always looked at life in a positive way, no matter what the circumstances and in my own way do my best most days to help others do the same.  This year, it feels different, there is this constant "bright spot" in my world because my life really does have this beautiful new beginning that most, as did I, only dreamed of happening one day.  I see it as this amazing gift that I will treasure and make special and meaningful each and every day.

Today, I am reminded, not only that I am another year older, but about the many gifts in my life and I am certainly focused on all the beauty that there is ahead  of me as I move through the year.  Most of you know that I love to put a quote of the day on my FB page an I even have a page dedicated to quotes here on my Blog.  Today, I am reminded about what I feel is an amazing quote by Michael LeBeuf.  It reminds us that we make up what our world means to us from our own reflection.  It goes like this: "The world is your mirror and your mind is a magnet. What you perceive in this world is largely a reflection of your own attitudes and beliefs. Life will give you what you attract with your thoughts think, act and talk negatively and your world will be negative. Think and act and talk with enthusiasm and you will attract positive results."

So, the message here is clear to me; Believe in the positive.  Make each moment of today yours and be sure to make them count!  And if I were you, I wouldn't blink, cause you'll miss all that is in between.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Honor of Being a Veteran

My 21 years in the Navy iclude some of the proudest and most fulfilling moments in my life.  Not because I was able to see the world, but because I was able to honor and serve this great country.  My experiences were instrumental as I grew up and they made me realize the type of person i would become.  Not to mention that I was able to grow up the right way and it helped shape me into the man I am today.

I met some of the most incredibly loyal and dedicated people over those years.  I have the most amazing loved ones and friends that any person could ever ask for in this lifetime from my experiences.  After all these years, I know that each and everyone of them, still with us today, would be there for me in a moments notice, no matter what. And not a day goes by that I do not remember those that we lost. In fact, every weekend, I make sure that I read the service section of the local paper and memorize the names of those lost.

I have a sense of honor in my life for serving the country that means so much to me. I have immense pride that I was able to do something bigger than myself that the majority of America doesn't think twice about even trying on any given day.

I am overwhelmed with heartfelt thanks to my father, Robert Bauth, for his dedication and service to our country and to all of my brothers, Jim Bob, Paul and Michael for giving something back to this country that was bigger than themselves.

I can guarantee all of you reading this blog today that none of us who served our country did it for the medals that are sometimes bestowed upon us for bravery or otherwise.  It was because of a calling to do something to make a difference that we heard, felt and answered.

You may never know when you are in the presence of a veteran. We do not boast about it, talk about some of our experiences or discuss those close to us who we lost. Yesterday when I was down and out from a bad day, we will leave it there, someone remembered me from four years ago when they heard the story of my naval service.  They came up to me, reached out to shake my hand and then embraced me and thanked me for my service.  I was completely overwhelmed with pride and love for this incredible country.

So while some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye, there are those of us who have no visible signs other than the pride in our hearts. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. 

So, when you are on the street today, or any day for that matter, please treat people kindly and if you hear or know of someone who served this wonderful country of ours, be sure to look them in the eye and thank them.  I guarantee that goes straight to the soul.

It is because of my brothers and sisters in arms that this nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave; and that they are over and over again every day!

God Bless America!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Managing the "B" Word

All of you may not know it, but when we tell our families, friends and even our colleagues and associations at the office that we are "Busy," we allow ourselves to use the word in a negative way as we manage our lives. That is when I started referring to it as the "B" word.

A good friend and colleague of mine reminded me at the beginning of this year that only we can be in charge of how we keep track of the time we spend in the various facets of our lives, the loved ones we share it with or how we manage it during our business lives. That would include what we allow to get in the way to keep us from getting to the important things in our lives that we really want to make sure we spend the quality time.

So, I thought I'd offer that perhaps the "B" Word is not all that bad and that it really does get down to how you manage it, as well as the situations we are involved in. Being busy can mean being occupied with work. There are times in our lives that it is good to be busy and preoccupied with work rather than sitting idle. As we all know, an empty mind can be a devil’s workshop. The more busy you are, the more prolific you can be. Society has shared with us throughout the years that working housewives are the busiest and invariably complain about being busy. They are the ones who have to maintain a work/ life balance and fulfill their job as well as family commitments. Well, I know for myself and with the way lifestyles have changes that being busy as described above it not limited to just the housewives of the world anymore.

I believe and venture to guess for most people that being busy is what all of us prefer rather than being idle. Being busy is akin to being able to keep an open and active mind, while being idle is akin to a closed mind and unhappy soul. One should always stay busy and occupied with something or the other so as to avoid any useless ideas or notions that can from time to time enter our minds and play games with us. I believe that the more busy you are, the better it is and the happier we are.

Life happens all around us when we are busy planning and chalking out new plans and ideas to excel and improve ourselves, to make life better for our families and friends and our work lives manageable. In such a fast progressing world where there exists a rat-race between people to attain higher stature, you have to ensure that you stay busy and keep working with hardcore dedication and sincerity. Thomas A. Edison had remarked, “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

I challenge all of you, as I have challenged myself to manage the "B" word in a positive and dedicated manner and to remember that it doesn't have to be a bad word at all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life is What You Make of It

My favorite sports season; baseball has ended, but a bad pitch every now and then will continue.  We all know that life can throw us some pretty intense curve balls at a moments notice and none of us are the exempt from such a pitch.  It is really all about the swing you make in the moment, or not, that will get you through it.  I say knock it out of the park.

This life is what you make it. Not matter what, you're going to mess up sometimes, it's a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you're going to mess it up. Good friends will always be your friends - they'll act like it anyway. But just remember, some will come and some will go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your true best friends. Don't let go of them. Also remember that your brothers and sisters can make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but that is what we call life and you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soul mate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will?

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, all the while without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. 

So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and  no matter how you look at it there's so much to smile about.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Accepting Change

This past week for some reason I have found myself in the position of embracing and supporting change.  Perhaps that is because it has been on the horizon, happening for several that have been very close to me, those that I lead and I feel that it may be necessary to think about and embrace the power of this change for myself.
When I think about last week, I was involved, lived for and my life revolved around being able to give back to my local community, supporting anything and everything in my community where I found a way to be something greater than myself.  Recently learning for myself that giving back was part of what was necessary to help overshadow by the change that surrounded me now.

Because my life seems to have been all about new beginnings over the past few months and unexpected change for a little over a year now, I found myself not able to really take in the importance of the powerful moment of giving back to my community.  I have also not able to wrap myself completely around the the change that engulfs the present moments in time around me.
I believe part of what has kept me from taking in the moment for myself is that I have been needed to ensure that these moments were successful for others, no matter what the end result might be for me or those around me.  Whether that is because I needed to support these new beginnings or change for those going through them this week, those that would be directly affected by it, to be part of the change necessary, as we became something bigger that ourselves by giving back to our communities, or that I played a necessary role as a leader in providing education and in establishing relationships for my local professional association, the pressure of new change has been all around me.

It became clear to me that sudden change can directly impact future moments in time for others, cause undue stress for those left behind, including intense pressure of how to get through to the next day for ourselves and for those around us.  I have learned over the past two weeks that it is how we accept it, introduce it and embrace it that will make all the difference in the world, allow us to keep pace with our responsibilities, those undone responsibilities left for us to do and to ensure not only for ourselves but for those we lead and the ones left behind that tomorrow will be okay.  I have certainly learned that any change, even change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts
No matter what the change, I will not allow it to get in the way of the goodness that we have done to support our community, what I need to do to support the needs and be a constant for the others in my life (personal or business) and what I may personally need in order to improve upon myself.

I am reminded of a beautiful quote by Reinhold Niebuhr, which says; "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My New Sister...and yes, My New Brothers too.

First, I want to wish our little sister, Kelly a Happy Birthday (on October 25th).

Now, I realize that I have been delinquent with my Blog posts the past nine days, but I have been spending the free time  that I have had getting to know my 'new" brothers and my sister and getting much better at checking in with all of them, including my brother, Jim Bob too.  This has been very important to me lately and I know that it is essential to building on these special relationships.

Why did I choose to write about my sister?  Well, actually I have written various little pieces about my brothers (all of them) and my sister shortly after my first trip to New York and my brother, Jim Bob's wedding in Idaho.  Regardless, before it is all said and done, all of my siblings will get equal blog time, but I chose to write about Kelly because she is my sister, girls come first and I feel as though I have missed so much, including the idea, as well as the possibility of spoiling a little sister.  Now, we have that opportunity and we are willing to get to know each other.  As Kelly and I discussed in our last call, while we can't back the years we have lost, we can make the best of the moments ahead of us.  Needless to say, I have started to make the best of those moments with each of my new brothers and my sister.

From what I have been able to learn over the past several weeks and whether we want to admit it now or not, we really do have a great deal in common.  Since my first visit to New York, I have learned that I share many of the same things with each of my brothers and my sister. From the years we experienced separately, growing up without each other to the present day, we are very similar in so many ways.  Where Kelly is concerned, I have learned that we have some of the same likes and dislikes too. We put our families first, no matter the circumstances or who it may be, we sometimes have trouble saying what is really on our minds and even what is weighing heavy in our hearts.  Don't get me wrong, we end up sharing what is on our mind, whether it be through the support of our mates or if it just takes us to time to process what we are confronted with for a bit.  In my case, I know that can be a very good thing.

What is so amazing about this discovery with my new brothers and sister is that despite our differences, we are all willing to find a way to move forward in learning more about each other.  Because of the way my discovery of my new family started, a relationship with one of my brothers is further along than some of the others. In fact, there are some days, it feels like he has been there with me my entire life.  I am not even going to try to figure that one out.  Nevertheless, with each of my sibling relationships, I am learning about each of them and I believe we are each discovering the next steps with the other.

With my sister, Kelly, I had the most fun and amazing surprise call from her last weekend.  She called me just to talk and to tell me that she wants to know more and explore this new beginning that we have been gifted.  I have to tell you that it really made my day.  No, it made my weekend.  I am very realistic and know that exploring the dynamic of our new relationship, or that of all of my newly discovered siblings, that there will be some give and take and I want them to know that I am ready to give what is necessary to get to the next step.

What is important to say and even let them know is that Jim Bob and I are completely aware that there is already a family dynamic in place.  We do not see ourselves disturbing that dynamic, only adding to it. After having had time on the phone talking with Jim Bob about all of this, we both agree that while our lives have been challenging and sometimes wayward, that we have so much family love and goodness in each of us that we have wanted to share for years and now we have been given that opportunity.  I believe, even with all of her past secrets and lies, that this was a definitely a gift we received from our mom.

So, while there will be more to share very soon about each of my siblings and this new adventure, I am very excited that I have the opportunity to return to New York on November 18th to see my new family.  My hope is to spend a few days with my sister and brothers over "coffee talk" and sharing some of the fun and the nitty-gritty that siblings share about life.

I am grateful for this opportunity and gift and I realize that I am a very lucky man in so many ways, especially for the gift of this new family beginning. 
Now, my next goal is to get to New York together with my brother,Jim Bob to make the family picture complete.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A truly amazing day.  I was able to see two incredible friends of mine from my former California life, and all in the same day.

Each of them, neither knowing the other, are in Chicago this week on business and sent me notes requesting to connect with me.  It was heartwarming to receive their notes after several years had passed.  Yes, we stayed in touch and communicated by email and when I returned to California over the past five years, I would always find a way to them, as with some others, for a 'catch-up' meeting or just to be able to share some special time together.  Today was one of those days and while not expecting it or requiring it, I was genuinely touched that they returned the favor to me.

My friends have added such beauty to my life.  I really could write individual blog posts for each of them, but they would ultimately read the same. They are my chosen family, they have been there for me through the good times, the indifferent times, hearing each other out, sharing life stories, party with and yes, to shake me silly when I need it and I do from time to time. I try to let them know that they mean the world to me and I never forget to share in their special moments. near or far.

It is true that distance can keep you apart from one another, when you'd rather be right there with them, but nevertheless, I know that I can pick the phone up and it would be as if I had never left, or if I move away, that we would all make the time to see each other when we were sharing the same city; much like today with my visits from Monika and Derick. 

So today, I dedicate my Blog post to not only Monika and Derick, but all of my friends, andall of the friends of the world.  Yes, that would include you, my reader and I leave you with my heartfelt thanks and to always remember that - Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Inspire Someone Today

I was recently inspired by a wonderful person whom I barely knew.  This person reached out to me to let me know that, while we did not know each other that my Blog has served as an inspiration and that because of reading it, took stock of their life and realized that they were very proud of the way they lived their  life.  She truly inspired me to keep on blogging.  Honestly, she made my day and that continuing with this Blog even more worth it to me.

We have all looked up to someone in our lives for one reason or the other.  I'd venture to say that part of the reason was that the person had a way of inspiring you to be all you could be. They are able to do that because they possess certain qualities in their character that enable them to inspire others.  Some of these qualities and characteristics don't require a Harvard education, as they could very well be inherent in us.

Inspiring others can be challenging. Whether it is to inspire your employees, a friend or family member in need of being inspired.  It could be someone you meet the same day or, as in my case. even someone that you just met or started to chat with and really don't know much until they reach out and find a way to inspire you.

It seems easy, but I suppose we have to first confirm with ourselves that we we are "worth inspiring," and then we will be able inspire others without even knowing it. As I said, is seems easy, but like any other endeavor or goal, the “how” aspect is not as easy.

Have you ever set the goal to stand as an inspiration to other people? There are diverse motivations why people would like to inspire others. For some, it is about becoming known for their abilities and for others, it may be about setting the example for other people. Even still, some do it for self fulfillment and self actualization. Whatever the reason, it is all about making a difference for yourselves or those who you may inspire.

I believe that people who inspire others are open-minded. They have the ability to listen to various ideas even if they know some of that information already. Remember, no one holds the monopoly of brilliant and or noble ideas.

Being open-minded does not entail considering every idea that is laid on the table. It is about recognizing that other ideas may be good options without wasting too much time dealing with every single idea. Being open-minded should be tempered with the ability to screen out what may and may not work.

I suppose that not everyone is always as 'open-minded,' or sensitive of what is going on around them, to know what needs to be changed and even how to change it. When I thought about being able to inspire others, I knew that in order to do that that I needed to be able to first inspire myself.  In order to do that it was about a few things for me personally.  It was about being inspired myself  and to know how to make a difference in a positive way, to do some great things or perform some little actions that makes a great impact.  These things help me daily to continue to inspire myself and others.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happiness...Search from Within

It has been another very busy weekend and now the work week seems to be 12-hour non-stop days of craziness.  I try to remember that is all about making the time to do the things that matter most...

The weekend was an incredible experience for me.  I am an avid Milwaukee Brewer fan and I love baseball.  Our very own Milwaukee Brewers are in the National League Divisional Series Championship and we have season tickets.  So, I spent the weekend at Miller Park Stadium with Steve cheering on our team to their two victories.  The sheer excitement of being in that stadium with 46,000+ fans yelling at the top of our lungs for our team to achieve victory created and experience of overwhelming joy and happiness for our hometown, team and ourselves.

I know that I am blessed in so many ways, but like everyone, I am human and that means that there are times in our lives, when we need to focus on our happiness and not the other stuff that goes on around us.  I believe we need it to not only experience for ourselves moments like I described above, but to be reminded of the gift that we all have within us to experience happiness on a moments notice. What is amazing about these moments, is that they are so simple and they seem to happen at the exact moment they are needed.  The key for us to remember would be to take in the complete moment and realize that these kinds of moments are with us all the time and not just when we are at a high energy ball game, or limited to the just the exciting moments in our lives. There is really nowhere we have to go and there is nowhere you have to be to find it. Happiness comes from within and looking for it outside ourselves will only lead you in the wrong direction.

Of course it almost seems natural for us as a human being to find ourselves looking outside our own lives for happiness, peace and to help us fulfill our dreams.  Personally, I am very much aware that it took me a lifetime to find my father.  However, what was important for me to realize about my search was my life was incredible already and that I unexpectedly found him when I already discovered my own peace and happiness within and with all things in my life.  I believe the gift and shock of "finding my father," alive came to me when it did was because of this reason.

So, why did I used my Brewer's playoff baseball analogy for finding your happiness from within?  The reason is really very simple.  It was about the power of now; another awesome weekend in my life created a 'now' moment of happiness with Steve and all from my very simple life, and it was one moment, of it seems many moments of happiness for me that I am blessed to be experiencing at this point in my life.  These moments not only make me happy, but I see the joy and happiness on Steve's and on the faces of our respective families because of these moments too.  And really, and as always, the analogy was a description I found easy to use because it  was from my heart and I find true happiness from within when I share with others from my heart.

All I ask everyone to to do is to try to imagine that it is as if ever since happiness heard your name, that it has been running through the streets trying to find you. All you have to do is slow down, look within, as it is your time to find it too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Providing Does Make a Difference

This evening as I sat down to write I found myself in need of some general encouragement, not only for myself, but to make a difference to some readers for my next posting.  Yesterday's blog post about 'making it count' certainly plays a part in what I am conveying in my post today. Because encouraging words can really make a difference and unexpectedly too.

So, I found myself asking why did I need 'encouragement?' Well, it was simple to figure that out.  It had been one of those weeks; correction, it has been one of those last couple of months where I have been the one who needed to be the cheerleader, the provider, the doer, providing guidance and step by step motivational encouragement.  Then during the last couple of weeks, I knew that I was in need of some of that for myself.  I did not need much, just something simple, something to break the routine that has entered my realm of existence.  You see, I was witness all week at what encouragement did for some of my favorite baseball teams who never thought they would get to the post season playoffs and they did.  Why?  Because their coaches and managers encouraged them.  I know that you will agree with me that even those of us in positions of authority at work, or at home for that matter, who are there, and happy, to provide 'encouragement' for others or loved ones, need some of the same thing from time to time.

Don't you remember the good words or good advice that someone once said or gave to you? Don't you remember those people that always have a good word for you, or who are always there when you need help or guidance to work through an issue? I'll bet that you surely remember how good it made you feel or energized you were! If you have such people in your life,that is no doubt a great blessing and you must cherish them! But, I will go one step further, those words provided you with what you needed to get through the moment, to the next step or move on to the next item in your pile of things to do.

Tonight I found myself out of the necessary fuel to get to the next step. I knew the encouragement  was not going to come from anyone at my place of employment at the moment, that was a given for now and it is what it is.  Then of course there is knowing who I am and that I am not the type of person to seek it out and to ask for it, well that was out of the question, or was it?  It was OK, indeed, but would I do it was the question.

Well, before I knew it I was on my way home after a long and grueling day.  Earlier this week, I had reached out to most members of my family to 'encourage' them and to let them know that I loved and missed them.  As I was on my way home, I heard back from most of them and they were doing their part to do the same thing for me. Little did they know how much I needed it at the very moment I heard from them.  It was awesome, it was exactly what I needed to get beyond the day, or even the week for that matter.

There is a normal tendency to stop encouraging if you see that the person you give your good words to does not seem to appreciate and on the contrary you feel they disregard it. Use wisdom of course but remember that you might have not paid attention yourself when someone came to give you a good word, maybe you were simply distracted.

I offer this to all of us as we go on to our weekends and get ready for next week. We can also boost the effect of encouragement. For instance if you compliment someone immediately after their work performance for example, it is a good thing but if let’s say you didn’t have the chance to tell them how well you thought he performed, mentioning and encouraging them a week later will have double effect because it means that it stayed on your mind and even a week later you reminded! The same thing will apply to your kids (no matter how old they are) or your spouse when they do something good. Make sure to take the time to let them know how much you appreciated it and why. If you can't do it then, then call them or send them a note to let them know how they made a difference or how proud you are of them.

Providing praise or encouraging someone is GOD given and very valuable, that’s why when it becomes a way of life it nurtures not only the people it brings a boost to, but also the recipient of this precious gift

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Making Life Count

My salutation for every birthday wish that I send says, "Be sure to make it count."  It usually prompts a great deal of response and some very interesting, yet positive comments from those who receive it. Routinely someone will tell me that they never really thought about "making it count," or "I love it," to "Thanks for the reminder, I will..."

Let's face it, life gets busy for all of us.  The day or week we set out to have and the things we plan to do, fall by the way side to take care of 'busy." I have recently blogged about it, so I will try not to repeat myself.  Regardless, being 'busy' can keep us from savouring, experiencing and most importantly enjoying the moments we share with our loved ones.  It happens daily; we have something important on our mind to do, like 'I am going to call the kids, dad, my brothers, or sister when I get home' and then something or exhaustion get in the way and we find that we did not cease the moment. Despite my efforts to the contrary, it has happened to me again this week.  When did it hit me?  Last night...

My dad called me last night on my cell phone as I walked through the door to check on me, because I have been out of my routine communication.  Like most of you, it was a brutal day and just like the last couple of weeks too.  It has been as if the flood gates have opened and there are not enough hours in the day to do all that I want or need to get done.  So, what do we do?   What I did, we fail to cease the moment...and so it goes.

So, what was important about last night's call?  One, I found myself multi-tasking through the call and talking about how busy I have been.  Funny, but for a moment it was as if I was on the other end of the line listening to myself and thought to myself, this can't sound like I am paying attention to dad.  So, I stepped back, sat down and took time to take in the moment with him.  After all, he made the effort to reach out to me to check in and I needed to be present and hear what he had to say.   I need and wanted to really listen to the message, so that my being 'busy" did not consume the moment or become obvious to my dad. 

To begin with our calls are never long and that is perfectly fine, but he had a reason for calling and his message, while nothing earth shattering, was important to him and he wanted to share it with me.  He aslo wanted to see how my family was doing, specifically Chenin, because her step father is ill and Steve, because his dad has been ill.  So, I made sure I was paying attention, not just because this was my dad,  but becasue the message was about family and I needed to take my own advice and 'make life count' in that moment.  As there would always be another moment in time available to me in order to feed the pets or get that chore done that had been sitting since Sunday. This moment needed to be for me and my dad.

It was a very simple wake up call for me last night, about how busy my life had become recently. that I needed to reach out and connect with all of my family today, and I am almost there.

So, yes, we feel as though we are busy these days, but that's not new to any of us.  What I ask you to do is make the moment count for yourselves, your friends and families. For some of you they are the same people.  We have no guarantees with this precious gift called life, so do your very best today to go out and 'make it count."

Friday, September 23, 2011

For Chenin; Live in the Present my Love...

Chenin lives in Oregon now and loves it.  While I miss her terribly, I am very happy for her and my son-in-law, Sean. 

It is always the bright spot of my week when we get to talk to one another.  We missed a week because of we were both traveling.  Regardless, we had one of our wonderful catch up calls on Wednesday night this week, while on my drive home.  She continues to amaze and inspire me. 

Chenin and Sean are extraordinarily busy these days with their jobs.  Chenin is really busy in her new role and finding herself traveling a great deal.  She loves it, but I can tell that she is finally understanding what her parents (all of us) have been saying to her all her life about how busy life can become when you 'grow up.'

They seemed to have settled into their new lives in Oregon quite well, but I can tell when my little girl needs me or needs to talk...this was one of those times.  Her and Sean are doing  great, but she is worried about her family far away from her.  Being away from her mother is very hard for her and very new too.  I can tell that it is even more difficult for her now because there are some family struggles, new ones, that her mom, Linda, and step dad, Lorne. are now confronted with and she wants to find a way to be there for them.  I certainly understand her devotion to family and where she gets it, especially where her parents are concerned. 

It was really a challenging conversation, not because I couldn't talk her through her thoughts and what was on her mind, but because I could feel her pain and even though it is very real, I wanted her to focus on life, the present and the things that she could control.  Being there for her mom and step dad when she could be, calling them just to say hello and to tell them that she loves them and visiting them when she gets back in California. I know that was hard for her because she now knows that she cannot control the unknown.  I encouraged Chenin that all she could is be there for them in the ways we talked about above and to do what she is able to do now from afar.  But I reminded her that she was doing the right thing by remaining upbeat and positive.  That she could take that hope in her heart to them to encourage everyone to live in the present and to only worry about making today count.

Today is for Chenin, Linda and Lorne.  I have really spent time reflecting on life as a result of my call with Chenin the other night.  I suppose, for whatever reason, I have been doing that for a while now, but more now for them.  I want them to know that their family in the Midwest are thinking about them, sending our the good energy, positive thoughts and prayers that hope, love, family, laughter and joy will be the only things that embrace their lives now. 

Holding on to the present, enjoying today, loving and embracing family and being sure that we make everything count while we can is really all that matters. 

With love...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stop and Smell the Roses and breathe...

Please make the time to stop and smell the roses.

In the fast pace of life, we oftentimes get caught up racing for the next deadline, the next event, the next meeting, the next promotion, the next million… is it really worth it? Are we taking notice of what is really important?  What is life to you? Are you really living life to its fullest potential and taking time to stop and smell the roses? 

I would be willing to bet that like me and a million others, we barely take time to take in a fresh breath of air, make the time to have small talk at the dinner table with our families and/or friends, take a walk outside and not worry that something isn't getting done, or that your missing out something else. We only have this one amazing life and we have to do all we can to take it all in and not only enjoy the moments, but the people sharing the moments with us. 

While I am not really sure why, I've found myself taking more notice of this over the past several months.  I suppose it is because we are not spring chickens anymore and before I knew it the kids were grown up, either married and moved away from home and unfortunately we do not see them as often as we would like to anymore.  Life continues to happen all around me and there are times I find myself afraid to blink for fear that I will miss the next thing happening around me and my family. That is how quickly life seems to be passing us by. 

The good news is that we try very hard not to let life 'pass us by.' We try to live in the moment, to take in every breath and make sure we take in every experience as much as we possibly can.  This is the very reason, I wanted to make sure that after I found my new family that I took the time necessary to initially get to know them.  Why I took the time that I did not have to attend my brother's wedding.  Not only to meet my father, but to be there for him, as we have been there for each other our entire lives.  That is why I will make the time to be with my partner as much as possible, whether that is to travel with him here and there, or to get to wherever the kids are anytime I can make it happen.  Of course, if they need me, I'm there regardless.  But, what I am talking about is for me and for the goodness of my heart and soul.  It is for my family too, as I want them to know that I will make the time for them no matter what.

I could go on for quite some time, but I believe this message is good as it.  However, I would like to leave you with this thought.  Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Writer's Block...with Motivation

It has been almost two weeks since my last Blog entry.  I have certainly thought about it, wanted to sit down and pen it, but before I knew it the time commitments in my work and volunteer life took over and my motivation for making free time for me to write in my Blog seems to have found its way to the back burner.  Regardless, I spent enough time thinking about the need for making time for me over the past week that I thought I better do what I preach to others and that is if something is important enough to you you will find the simply make the time.

Not sure why my personal motivation has been such a struggle for me over the past couple of weeks, as I have gone great guns at work and for my professional association, but I venture to guess that, as with most of us, it is called time and that it is much easier to get on to doing something when we clearly know the reasons why we want to do it and you can identify the end result when we achieve the goal or task.  Sounds like a complicated process for a few moments of thought, but easy nonetheless.  For me it became crystal clear, I was dealing with writer's block.

I had volumes of positive news to share pre and post my New York and enjoyed being able to let the words and experience flow without any problems.  Then, long hours and days at work ensued, followed by or including the many hours involved with my pending association commitments.  So, despite my need to be watered and water others (you will recall my Blog, 'Watering the Garden...'), I did not get watered and I could not muster up the motivation I needed to take the time to water others outside my work and association life.  Regardless of how busy I found myself, I was clearly dealing with complacency and lethargy.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning, unable to get back to sleep and I knew I had been here before and while I was certain it was not going the be the last time, I knew that all I needed was time devoted to myself, which usually involved a good workout.  I also recalled that in all of my interactions with people during the course of my life that I've never found anyone, regardless of their level of commitment, who doesn't sometimes find themselves simply not wanting to do the things that they need and want to do. It is a part of human nature that there will be times that, in spite of all that we need to do, and even desire to, we will find ourselves not wanting to do anything. And what separates those who will 'get up off their behind' and do what needs to be done from those who will maintain the status-quo, is the ability at those very crucial moments of time when we are making decisions about what we will do, to choose to find the inner motivation that will enable us to conquer our complacency and move on to what needs to or should be done.

So here I am now, realizing that summer is about to come to a close and  that we are staring fall straight in the face.  We sure know what comes next here in the Midwest.  But, regardless of the cold we will experience.  I have enjoyed sharing the amazingly warm journey of the summer of 2011 for my family.  Undoubtedly it will be the most incredible journey that me an my family will take in this lifetime.  And while the year is not over, I know that there will be more incredible stories like this, as well as motivational and inspirational messages coming your way very soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Buffalo; The Bauth - Daly Barbecue - Part III

I've always known that I am blessed.  But recently, I have both realized that God must be watching over my family and I.  This was confirmed by several of my dear friends recently, who have shared with me that they are "living vicariously through me, because they know that God must watching over me..."

Saturday, September 2, 2011, was just as amazing of a family discovery day for me.  I finally met my little brother, Michael and his stunning wife, Jennifer.  Although they just endured hurricane Irene, which hit in North Carolina first, that did not stop them from driving about 11 hours to be part of this amazing reunion. They had a great deal of water in the neighborhood and some minor troubles from the high winds at home, but all in all they fared well and were still able to make the trip.  

Regardless, Mike, Jen and I had been communicating via phone, text, FB, etc., since the initial discovery.  In fact, during their spring trip to Buffalo when they initially discovered that I had found my father and family, Michael sent me a family photo from Chefs.  That is why I wanted to have our initial family dinner with Steve and I at Chefs.  Thanks, Michael for the idea. I know you wanted to be there, but nevertheless you made it.  I just want you to know that we sure missed you.

Our meeting was as I had imagined it would be.  It was casual and relaxed.  It was as if we had known each other for much longer.  We could talk freely, he was open, as was I and we shared together what needed to be shared with each other, including the bond of being family. We have something very important in common.  We both honorably served our country.  Michael was a Marine and I was in the Navy.  I tease him and told him that he was still in the Navy, as he was paid by the Navy Department, but that is because it is a tradition to tease and we can with each other.  I hope Michael knows how proud I am of him for making the same sacrifice to serve our country and that we are able to share that unspoken bond with each other.

His wife Jen is beautiful and you can really tell they are best buds too.  While I don't want to go into it her, she will know why, but she inspires me.  Such a young woman, who has fought a good fight and made it on the winning side.  I am proud of you too, Jen!  I am proud of all my new family members for one reason or the other.  Mostly because of their willingness to take this leap of faith, but certainly for being such amazing people.  I am honored to be related to them.

We spent a couple of hours at dad and 'mom's' house with my other little brother, David,his girlfriend Lorna and David's ADORABLE children, Nicholas and Lydia, my nephew and niece.  I loved that the kids gave me a hug. It really warmed my heart. We were all getting to know each other better, sharing more about each other and sharing photos and memories too.  Finally, we made it out the door to head to our sister and brother-in-law's home in Niagara Falls for the long awaited barbecue.  I would learn later in the day that Bauth departures and goodbyes take an eternity...I like it that way.

Steve and I were in our car and ready to go, intending on driving our rental and following everyone to Kelly's.  The next thing I know here comes Michael running down the street asking us to join him and Jen on the drive to Niagara Falls.  Perfect, for many reasons.  Mainly the opportunity to get to know him as I had David and Paul.  The drive is only about 40 minutes, but all of us shared conversation about life, ourselves, family and anything else we could get in before our arrival.  I really enjoyed the drive with them.

We arrived at Kelly and Rob's home on a very hot New York summer afternoon.  Can we say HUMID?  Wow!  While I had been able to spend time with Kelly and some with Rob Friday evening at Chef's, I wanted to really try to spend as much time as I could while we were there and before we would leave later n the evening. 

I finally met Kelly and Rob's other son, my nephew, Kyle.  I had already met Ryan Friday evening at Chefs. As I mentioned in my early blog before, all of the Bauth and Daly kids are stunning young people in every respect, just like their parents.  I know that they must be very proud of them.  I was able to have some conversation with the boys, but Kyle was expecting his girlfriend to arrive and he just had his wisdom teeth pulled the day before.  He had better things on his mind and agenda and I understood that.   

The afternoon was all about family.  There were backyard games to be played and some got into the swimming pool with Nicholas and Lydia, who spent the day there, to stay cool.  A very smart thing to do on the very hot day.  I did my best to get around to everyone, share photos and catch them up on the 52 years of my life and well as all of theirs.  You can imagine that it was not an easy thing to do.  I called my daughter, Chenin and passed the phone around to everyone who I could, so she could be part of this miracle with us.  It was truly amazing for her and I. My sister, Kelly was very busy being such a wonderful hostess, running from one place to the next.  I see why they call her 'super mom." A couple of times I followed her in and out of the house, just to do my best to communicate with her, look at photos and share life stories.  While the time was short and I intend to make up time missed soon, I loved learning about her, Rob, Dad, Sandy, the boys and sharing with her a great deal.  Thank you, Kelly.  Until the next time then.

Then came dinner.  Kelly made an Italian sausage on the barbecue, salads, baked beans, pie, Italian cookies and many other things.  It was all delicious and if you walked away hungry it was certainly your own fault.  The meal was incredible.  I seat hoped as much as possible to catch up with everyone I could.  Once I finished eating, I spent more time with dad, looking at photos and talking about our lives.  I shared with him how special Friday was for me and how I will never forget the time shared with him.  I hope he knows how amazing and important that was to me.  Thanks, Dad!

As with all good things they have to come to an end or at least a conclusion, as it was by no means an ending.  Somewhere about 10:30 p.m., all of the Bauth's, Daly's, Steve and I had to set sail.  Kelly and Rob were trying to put their home back together, Steve and I would head to Toronto for the last day of our trip, Michael and Jen would head home to North Carolina early the next morning, David and Lorna needed to get the little ones home to bed and dad and 'mom' needed to get some much deserved and needed rest.  It had been a highly emotionally charged weekend for all of us and now it was time to take it all in on our own, as each of us said our very long 'Bauth goodbyes,' I could see the smile, feel the love and I knew that we all enjoyed the miracle that had unfolded before us.

On the drive home with Michael and Jen, we had more good conversation with each other.  We talked about what is next for all of us, how much we enjoyed the time we did have with each other, that our mutual homes are open for visits and closed with loving hugs and farewells once we arrived at dad and 'mom's.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have always had a beautiful family with Steve, all of the kids, Jim Bob and Trina, but it was my first time, in a very long time, if ever, feeling the power in the bond and love of a big family.

So when I look at the photo above of my new family, some of them are missing in the photo, but not in my heart, I would like to share this very simple message for everyone in my family, blood or otherwise;  In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Buffalo; Discovery Day - Part II

First, Happy Birthday to my brother, Jim Bob!  We love you.

Okay, so there will be three parts to my blog about my Buffalo adventure and discovery. 

Discovery Day - My emotions continue to flow even as I prepare this blog entry late on my Wednesday evening.

Mapping out my childhood on Friday afternoon, September 1st with my dad, really deserves it own blog post, as there were so many amazing and long overdue memories and moments shared with my dad and Steve on this date.  While I dreamed it, I never really imagined that I would be able to recreate some of the moments that I had with my father, discovering the reality and logistics of my childhood, but I did.

We met with my father sometime mid-morning on Friday, September 1st.  A great and unexpected moment in the day for me was being able to see my brother, Paul again, who made a special stop on his route in an attempt to run into me.  Truly a special moment.  Thank you Paul.  My dad and I sat on the sofa in his home and he pulled out his notebook that he kept maintained for over 50 years in his attempt to find my brother, Jim Bob and I.  Right there in black and white was all of the evidence of his search.  There were letters, photos he was able to obtain through my mom's brother, Joe.  There were even letters written on my dad's behalf to Montel Williams, in an attempt through close friends of my dad's to find his boys.  My emotions were high and the tears flowed in these moments shared and documents reviewed together.  To say that it was unbelievable does not even begin to cover it. My mother's 'secrets and lies' seemed to sum up the theme much better.  But, I learned in this moment in time that she had her reasons for doing what she did and keeping the truth from my brother and I.  I knew that I needed to let it go as it was in the past and that we needed to focus on the present. Regardless, these were incredible moments in time shared with my father.

Once we got ourselves together, my dad, Steve and I set out to learn what I could about me, the little boy.  We went to where I lived with my father and mother at 192 Blum Street.  I took photos standing there on the corner, all the while standing there is disbelief.  We went to where I was born at Children;s Hospital.  Again, another photo opportunity with my father and I, that I never thought would happen.  I also learned along the way that my mother and father were high school sweethearts and met at South Park High School in Buffalo many, many years ago.  Just not sure why I was never told that, but it is what it is.  Regardless, I had more photos with my dad and I at the high school.

Finally, we went to here my mother lived at 97 Derstein.  Now, I've heard about this place before from my mother and  believe it or not, I was able to identify the house purely from my memories.  Truly remarkable and probably the moment of the day for me.  Why?  Because it was one of the truths that I knew about and it was then that all of the dots began to connect for me.  I only wish I was able to share these moments together with the brother I grew up with, Jim Bob.  But, I did share parts of each of these moments with him on a phone call during the Labor Day weekend.  He needed to experience these moments too as much as possible.

When the tour down memory lane concluded at 3:00 p.m., honestly, I felt a bit emotionally overwhelmed and I could tell that my dad was experiencing some of the same emotions too.  We decided to take a break in the day before the family pizza dinner evening, which would start at 5:00 p.m..  I know that I needed it to put everything into perspective over an enjoyable walk, cup of coffee and conversation with Steve.  So, we set out to do just that and more. It was all good and mission was accomplished too. 

The pizza dinner evening was great fun.  Steve and  I spent it with Dad, Sandy ('mom'), David and Lorna.  Those who could make it did and it was us who needed to be there too.  We played horseshoes and had the time of our lives.  Seemed that 'mom's' flowerbed took the brunt of some of the target.  She was a very good sport about it.  Once it was too dark to play the game anymore and to get in from the bug bites, we went inside.  There, we talked more, laughed and shared more together until sometime after 10:00 p.m.  Dad ended our evening with a prayer.  It wasn't until later that I realized how important that prayer would be for me.  For me, it represented closure for the long day and the new chapter away from 'secrets and lies.'

So, as I begin a new chapter, or perhaps even a new title for a book, this quote stuck in my head and is a great message for this post for not only myself, but my family, friends and any reader.  “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Dream Come True in Buffalo; Part I - Dinner at Chefs

An amazing Labor Day holiday for sure.
To ensure  I provide the complete and amazing story of this weekend, this blog entry will be in two parts. 

I have been at a loss for words, experiencing writer"s block and still feeling like I am still in a dream sequence.  But here goes...

This may not make any sense at all right now but the last five days both seemed to fly by and yet the flight was in slow motion.

Our arrival at the Buffalo airport came fast, as it was only an hour flight from Chicago to Buffalo.  We were first off the plane and before we knew it, I was standing with my dad and Sandy again and meeting my brother David and his awesome girlfriend, Lorna for the first time.  Soon thereafter we were on our way to breakfast for more discovery and conversation.  We were certainly on our way for what would be a wonderful weekend adventure.

Breakfast with my brother David, Lorna, Dad, Sandy and Steve was amazing.  I felt like we all seemed to hit it off immediately out of the gate.  So, from my perspective the hard part was long behind us.  We enjoyed both small talk and serious talk; it didn't matter, we were all sitting at the same table and talking.  Something I dreamed about and it came true.

After breakfast, Dad and Sandy left to take care of errands and I spent the afternoon with my brother, David and Lorna.  We first went to Starbucks for a caffeine jolt and casual conversation outside.  Then we headed over to their home, visited for a while more and then set out for a nice walk in Delaware Park.  Steve and I took turns chatting with David and Lorna and catching up on the time lost and making the best of our time together. A truly amazing 'walk in the park' experience for me.

Steve and I had a couple of errands to tend to before the family dinner at Chef's.  It was an Italian feast night by choice.  Before I knew it, we were in a private room at Chefs and one by one we were meeting more members of the Bauth and Daly families.  I met my brother Paul, his wife Anya and their sons, Chris and Matt (my nephews) for the first time. Soon thereafter, I met my little sister, Kelly, her husband, Rob Daly and their son, Ryan, again another nephew.  Another surreal moment for me to meet my little sister.  The previous conversations with her leading up to this Buffalo adventure were helpful and I began to connect all of the dots. My life now has new joy, as a result of meeting these amazingly beautiful families; my family.

Dinner with everyone was a ton of fun and full of loud and jubilant laughter.  When you enter into situations like these, I would imagine like me, you wonder if you will connect or have something in common.  Of course this situation is not common by any stretch of the imagination, but because our personalities seemed to click that potential concern for me was immediately diminished and I sensed it was for most or all of them too. 

The unfortunate problem with large dinner gatherings like this and under these circumstances, is that it is hard to get around and spend the quality time with everyone, as I'd hoped to do.  Regardless, I made the best of every moment I had and savoured each conversation shared. Because I was sitting right next to my brother Paul, I was able to talk to him between every bite, while conversation and joy filled the room.  I truly enjoyed this time and my conversation at dinner with my brother, Paul a great deal, especially since because of a previously planned family camping trip, I would not see him for the Saturday evening barbecue at Kelly's.  Regardless, I personally felt that there was another bond between brothers formed.

I was able to include our brother, Jim-Bob into the conversation via cell phone.  I called him and put him on the speaker phone to share the special moment in time with all of us, but especially, I wanted him to share it with me.  He cracked everyone up with his comment, " my little sister, Kelly there?"  Kelly was busy talking and sharing, but she lit up and smiled when she heard that from my phone.  There were many incredible moments with Kelly like that on this evening.  One very special to me was when rob took a photo of us together and another was when she laid her head on my shoulder when I reached out and hugged her.  All very quick and delightful moments.  Some others may not remember, but I will remember each and everyone of them.

While none of us wanted the evening to come to a close, before the night ended I was able to make a bit of a connection with my sister, Kelly.  As small as the initial connection was between us for that moment in time, it was a magical one for me.  She opened up a bit to me about the events leading up to the present time.  She shared with me that she experienced both happiness and some fear too.  I know there are a multitude of questions for her, as there are for me too.  But, there is only so much time in a day to get everything in and all dreams shared.

Part II will come tomorrow, if not, certainly before weeks end.  It will be about the remainder of the Buffalo dream visit and our amazing family barbecue at Kelly and Rob's.

Before I leave my blog for the day, I want to share my message which is about believing in your dreams.  Dreams are important, but they will not come to fruition if you do not take action. Don’t procrastinate. Start living the life you want to live today. There is always a step you can take and there is always something you can do to make them come true.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Next up...Buffalo...

Last weekend was a very busy and productive family weekend in Iowa. Our goal was accomplished.  Quality family time and focus. 

This coming weekend will be no different.  In fact, it will be even more excitement, more family focused and it will undoubtedly provide us with another chapter in the new beginning for the Bauth, Bridgeman and Wingert families.

As I have said, we are very excited and filled with joy and anticipatiion as we head for Buffalo early Thursday morning.  This is certainly one of the biggest milestones I have ever experienced in my life and one we are looking forward to and embark upon with an open mind and heart.  Everyone and everything thing involved leading up to this trip has been filled with love and genuine excitement

As I have blogged over the past several months, these life experiences have been 52 years in the making (the most of  those years all unknown years to me).  Regardless, I cannot change the past or even understand the decisions that were made for me way back then, but I am focused on the future now and I am very excited  to meet all of the members of the Bauth and our extended families. From all of my varied conversations with family over the past few months, all systems are go for this visit and everyone involved is very much looking forward to sharing the experience together as a family and taking it to the next chapter.

My search  for my 'dad,' over the past several years and especially the new experiences with him and my 'new family,' leading up to our visit this weekend, has reminded of the quote from George Moore; "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it." It is right on the mark regarding all of the emotions and other elements that have been experienced and encompassed what 'home' means to me.  They were all a very important part of my search and ultimate discovery.

So, on to the next chapter in this discovery, which is a very inspirational message and story for everyone, all on its own merit. This family discovery reminds me of another quote, where I will leave you today;

"Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter." -- Brad Henry