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.