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.