You Can Be The Difference

Tired Little Boy

Tired Little Boy

Dear Lincoln,

A couple years ago Conan O’Brien was fired by NBC after 7 months of hosting the Tonight Show. The way they treated him was unfortunate and arguably unfair. Conan, of course, was hurt, devastated, mad, upset, the list can go on.  In an age where Kanye West can cast insults upon insults after being insulted, where Miley Cyrus acts anyway she wants and struts around stating that she could care less what people think, Conan O’Brien modeled remarkable wisdom, if not counter-intuitive integrity.

When it came time to say his farewell, he stepped to the microphone and gave one of the most remarkable speeches in pop-culture history.

Little buddy I want you to watch this video of his speech.  The video uses some typography that came from a project out of Oklahoma State University. Please listen carefully, take notes, and remember that your actions will define how others see you.  Everyday I pray that God will guide you in your thoughts and actions, that He will bring people into your life that will set the example for you to follow so that you will grow into the man I know you will be.  A man of integrity, compassion, love, devotion, faith, a man of action and not a spectator on the sidelines of life.

Many will tell you that one man cannot change the world.  I tell you one man can.  If each one of us wakes every morning and looks into the mirror and tells that person looking back that you can be the difference, that it all starts with you, that you can be the example, that you are the driving force that will make this world a better place.  The world will change, and it starts with you.

“Integrity is not what you do when someone is watching, it’s what you do when no one is watching.  And God is always watching!”

Puppa

I love you little man, to the moon and back, Puppa.

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A Note From Momma on Thanksgiving

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Dear Lincoln,

The following is what your momma posted on Facebook on Thanksgiving.

Today I am thankful for all God has blessed me with. Though, I am saddened by how many are going to miss out on being with their families because Black Friday has taken over Thanksgiving. I’m thankful to instill in my son the importance of presence over presents. Time is fleeting, cherish your loved ones and give thanks for what God has already given. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was a day of doing crafts with your momma, watching the parade on TV, napping, playing and a fantastic dinner prepared by Nana.  You and your momma spent the day just like she said, ” giving thanks for what God has already given.” I love your momma so much, she turned out pretty darn good.  Make sure you take care of her.

I love you little man, Puppa

 

Grandma Boo is with God

Great Grandma Boo

Great Grandma Boo

Dear Lincoln,

I know it has been sometime since I wrote to you on this blog, about 2 months, but believe me I have wrote a lot in my many notebooks, iPhone Apps, iPad, and the many pieces of scrap paper and napkins I grab in a hurry.  It’s just been difficult to sit at the computer and type it out as we have been very busy the last few months.  I have some time today so I thought I would write a few letters to you and this first one is about Great Grandma Boo.

Lincoln & Great Grandma Boo

Lincoln & Great Grandma Boo

You have been a big part of helping Great Grandma Boo in her fight with cancer.  Now you may not believe that but your visits with her brightened her days and brought so much joy to her.  You have shown an uncanny knack of knowing when someone is hurting and you respond with such compassion for someone so young.  You melted her heart each time you would place your tiny little hands on her face and shower her with gently kisses.  Unfortunately Great Grandma Boo passed away on July 31, she is now no longer in pain and is with God and Great Grandpa Buck.

Little man, Boo was Nana’s momma, and my mother in-law.  The dictionary defines the term mother-in-law as – the mother of your spouse – a relative by marriage.  I have never been able to use that term with Boo, she has and always will be my mom.  I could write pages upon pages about Boo.  How she raised 4 girls into incredible women of God, her love for her husband of 58 years, how she turned a wayward boy into a man, how she instilled love, worship, family, integrity….did I mention love?, into every child, grandchild and great grandchild in her family.  I could write about how she cared for the love of her life until last June when he lost his battle with cancer.  How she found out only weeks later that she too had cancer and was told she had 3 months.  I could write about how she fought, prayed, loved, and held tight to her faith that in the end God has a plan.  I could write about the joy, the laughter, the guidance and the love she shared with all that were blessed enough to know her.  I could, I could write and write and write, but I won’t, not now.  Lincoln I want to share with you what your Uncle Jesse wrote and asked me to read at Great Grandma Boo’s funeral.

Keep love in your heart….. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.-Oscar Wilde

Daughter, Sister, Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, Great Grandmother…… This is the natural progression of a Woman. It is an inevitable progression of life. But what do those titles mean? What makes you a Mother or a Grandmother? What defines you after your days have passed? What defines your legacy? Your legacy is no more than a tiny footprint in the fabric of time. Legacy is a term most often associated with men of great achievements; men of war, power, or great intellect. They leave something lasting for the people of the world. But what of the smaller footprints in the sand? Are they less important, less meaningful? What happens when the small foot prints branch off into tiny ones, and then divide again? These are the footprints of every woman that has strode side by side with her husband, best friend and partner. Their lives so intertwined that often the tracks are indistinguishable from one another.

There is a common quote we hear….. “Behind every great man there is a great women”; unfortunately this is terribly inaccurate. As any couple can profess there are many times there is a single set of tracks to follow. Those are the instances that a woman must step forward and carry her partner through a moment of weakness. The only time she may falter or fall behind are deviations she must take in order to look after her own daughters, or grandchildren. She is the mother, she must not let harm befall her flock. She is the torchbearer, a rallying point, a light in the darkness for her offspring. This is no easy task as any matriarch can attest to, all throughout the cycle of life it is the matriarch that is the binding glue that holds the family group together. While the men fight their fights, harvest their crops, and dream of glory the mother is left holding the end of each delicate string, weaving them into a family tapestry.

Mom was the matriarch of her pride, a proud family. Every person sitting here today has been shadowed by her tracks in the sand. She was the driving force behind a much loved patriarch. Often times she was the quiet force without the mane; but when needed a fierce protector of her family or the gentle guiding hand for a daughter or grandchild. We know that there was nothing in her life more important than her pride,….. her family. No one knows a mother’s love like her own offspring, and each one of those cubs have grown and guide a pride of their own. Sometimes the love is shadowed in a harsh hard or a hard lesson. But inside you know that the matriarch is doing her best to guide you to the path in the sand so you may leave your own prints, branching off ever more; but forever alongside your husband, partner and best friend, as she did.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God upon every remembrance of you. ~Philippians 1:2-3 

Lincoln I pray that God blesses you each and every day, I love you little man, Puppa

Love in Action is Service

Stop to Help

Dear Lincoln,

I want to share a story with you that I just read.  I share this with you because as you grow up you will see that more often than not the news likes to report what I call “bad news” not “good news”.  Our society has seems to enjoy reading about everyone’s pain a lot more than someone’s joy.  And there is a lot of joy out there little man and we should rejoice in it when we hear about it.

This story is about a young girl named Maddie and a young boy named Jon. Jon is a junior and he has autism. About a month ago, Maddie, a senior, approached Jon’s father (Jon’s father is a teacher at their school) and asked if Jon’s mom and he would allow her to take him to prom. Maddie had gotten to know Jon through a school club that promotes friendships between special needs kids and regular kids. “He’s a junior,” she explained “so it’s his prom too. I just think he should have the chance to go.” Jon’s father told her that they would be honored to have him go with her.

During the next couple weeks, she asked what his favorite color was (orange) so she could get a dress in that color. She also made reservations for their group (they doubled with another couple)at a restaurant that served his favorite food – chicken fingers and French fries.  They both had a wonderful time.

I share this with you for three reasons:
1. That you should always show support for special kids like Jon
2. That you should show support for groups that promote these friendships
3. To remind us all, in a time when we hear about all the terrible things going on, that there are wonderful kids like Maddie working to make other’s lives better.

Little man you are only 20 months old but have already shown such compassion towards others that are sad or hurting, and towards all animals.  I know that with your momma’s guidance and love you will not lose that like so many do as they grow up.

I tell you from experience that to make a difference in someones life is one of the greatest things one can do.

Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time … We are all God’s children so it is important to share His gifts. Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs … We feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop.“- Mother Teresa

God has a plan for your life little man, and that includes loving and serving others.

I love you  Lincoln, Puppa

The Power Of Words

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Dear Lincoln,

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.

When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was practically deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

The moral of this story: Be careful of what you say.
1. Encouraging words to people who are down can motivate them to achieve their goals.
2. Destructive words to people who are down can have a devastating effect.

Consider this statement as it relates to Words…
“The Snow may look smooth and soft, but the rocks underneath are sharp!”
— Mark Russell

Phrase your words so they inspire and encourage, not hurt or destroy.

I love you little man, Puppa

Uncle Jesse The Sheepdog

Uncle Jesse and Lincoln

Uncle Jesse and Lincoln

Dear Lincoln,

It won’t be long and your Uncle Jesse and Aunt Carlee will be welcoming your little cousin into the world so I thought I would tell you why I call your Uncle Jesse a sheepdog.

On November 24, 1997 William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy said,

“Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures that can only hurt one another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people, not capable of hurting each other except by accident or under extreme provocation. 

They are sheep. 

Then there are the wolves that feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there that will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. 
There is no safety in denial. 

Then there are sheepdogs and I’m a sheepdog.

I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep.
If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive psychopath, a wolf. 

But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the uncharted path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

Lincoln, your Uncle Jesse is a sheepdog in the United States Army.  He has been in the service for 8 years and has done tours of service several times in Iraq and Afghanistan, each time he has been in the center of the action and has put his life in harms way daily while there.  Your Uncle Jesse has received several bronze stars and numerous others commendations for his actions.  All of these medals and awards lay in a drawer, not framed on a wall.  Uncle Jesse doesn’t talk about what he does, nor does he want accolades, he simply says, “I’m just doing my job”.  I hope you understand that not everyone can do the job that your Uncle Jesse has been called to do.  It takes a special person, a sheepdog.

Lincoln, your Uncle Jesse is a Sheepdog and he loves you very much and is going to be an amazing father.  We are all blessed that he is part of our family and I am very proud to call him son.

Until next time little man, I love you, Puppa.

The Pencil Maker

Pencils

Dear Lincoln,

A pencil maker told the pencil 5 important lessons just before putting it in the box:

1.  EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL ALWAYS LEAVE A MARK .

2.  YOU CAN ALWAYS CORRECT THE MISTAKES YOU MAKE.

3.  WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS WHAT IS INSIDE OF YOU.

4.  IN LIFE, YOU WILL UNDERGO PAINFUL SHARPENING, WHICH WILL ONLY MAKE YOU BETTER.

5.  TO BE THE BEST PENCIL, YOU MUST ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HELD AND GUIDED BY THE HAND THAT HOLDS YOU. 

Lincoln, we all need to be constantly sharpened.  This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities.  Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what’s inside of you.

DSC_0912I love you Lincoln, Puppa