National Pink Flamingo Day

Of all people, you’d think I’d know it was today. National Pink Flamingo Day! How could I forget!?

Now I know why the flamingos were all looking at me today like I’d forgotten something. They even asked me what we were having special for dinner tonight! Really?? They usually fend for themselves, so why would they ask me such a question?

And then I saw it on Facebook, of all places! National Pink Flamingo Day.

Oh my gosh, did I ever screw up! I should’ve bought several pounds of shrimp, along with several bottles of wine or margarita mix, so they would be able to properly celebrate!

I should’ve had a special flamingo cake made for them, or at least some special flamingo cookies.

Maybe some specialty drinks….or lots of specialty drinks.

And decorations, of course! After all it’s a special day.

But since it’s been raining here all week, it would’ve been a really soggy celebration, and it wouldn’t be near as much fun without being able to go in the pool and swim, enjoy cocktails at the outside bar, and of course steam all the shrimp on the grill so they could have a royal feast!

Yes, I admit I am a bad flamingo keeper. And Ben is a bad Leader of the Flock, because he forgot as well.

So, to make it up to them, I promised that the first sunny and warm weekend we have, we will have a real celebration. With shrimp, and drinks, and decorations, and even some pink flamingo leis for them to wear around their necks!

So now we really need to get ready for this event. Even though we don’t know when it’ll be. With the way the weather’s been going, it’s hard to say. But one thing we’re sure of, it will be an event to remember!

So to our flamingos, and to all the flamingo fans around the world, Happy Pink Flamingo Day!

Any Man Can Be a Father 2023

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.

We’ve all heard this so many times. But did you ever stop to think about it? This was a difficult piece to write but one I feel needs to be written. Because this is happening far too often.

I was blessed with a wonderful dad. I just didn’t have enough time with him to get to know him the way I should have. You see, my father died before I was even nine years old. Yes, he left me, and I struggled for years with those feelings of loss and abandonment.

But my father wouldn’t have left me, if it had been up to him. He wasn’t given a choice. He died from a disease that perhaps today’s technology could have prevented, or at least diagnosed earlier.

Our daughter is also blessed with a husband who is a great daddy to their children. He adores his two girls, and they’re his princesses.

But when his son was born in December, we saw him as an even more devoted dad to his little boy. A little boy born five weeks early, he was our special Christmas gift, and the moment he came into the world, he became an even more devoted dad. He now had three children to love and care for. Along with his two princesses, he now had a young prince to care for as well, a baby that was long awaited, and one that immediately took over the hearts of his sisters as well as mom and dad, and also his grandparents.

Our son in law is a very proud dad who helps our daughter care for their children and is enjoying every moment of being a dad, even when the kids don’t always behave as they should He wouldn’t change his family for anything in this world.

Unfortunately not all of today’s modern fathers are like that. Many fathers decide that they aren’t ready for the 24/7 responsibilities of fatherhood. It’s easier to let the mothers do the parenting. Far too many take off and leave not only their wives but their kids behind, and stay almost totally out of their children’s lives, unless it suits their schedule to actually see them or talk to them.

They ignore child support orders, because after all, why should they give their ex-wife money? Never mind that she needs the money to help support his children. He has new responsibilities now, and those children aren’t a priority any more. Someone else can handle them. Children are a gift from God. How in the world can someone throw them away, ignore them?

There are more of these fathers today than we want to think about. Single moms are raising their children as best they can, with little or no help from the father who helped create them. They have to be both mother AND father to them. And speaking as a child who was raised in that environment, even though my circumstances were far different, I can honestly say it is a far more difficult task than anyone should ever have to do.

And it’s not fair to the children. They are missing out on so much. So are their fathers. But their fathers make that choice; the children don’t.

I’m not speaking about the fathers who are kept from their children by ex-wives and ex-girlfriends because of various reasons that may or may not have any merit; that’s a totally different topic for a different day. I’m referring to the fathers who decide not to be involved in their children’s lives for their own personal, and yes, selfish, reasons. Who have disappointed their children in so many ways, and yes, those children will have to deal with those feelings of abandonment for years, well into adulthood.

Those fathers most likely don’t think about how that little girl dreams of her elusive father coming by to pick her up, take her somewhere; or just sit with her, talk with her, hug her, and show her that, yes, he actually does love her. They don’t think about the times they promise to come get their children, and then forget about them. They don’t think about that little boy sitting by the door patiently waiting for a knock that doesn’t come, who then goes to bed and cries himself to sleep, as his mother tries to make excuses for someone she knows doesn’t deserve him.

Then there are the children who, instead of admitting to themselves that their fathers don’t want, them any more, fantasize that their fathers are somewhere far away, maybe in the CIA as a spy, off fighting bad guys and can’t get back to them. Maybe they’re somewhere seriously wounded, or very ill, or have amnesia and don’t remember anything. Surely they wouldn’t purposely abandon them.

What a sad, sad state of affairs.

And I’m not referring to the fathers who stay in their children’s lives after a divorce or breakup; who maintain a relationship with them, attending school functions, dance recitals, and soccer games. Who call their kids regularly, and take them out for dinner and ice cream. They’re still dads to their kids. They know their children are more important than their own lives, or the fact that he and their mother couldn’t make it together.

Are you seeing the difference here?

It’s a sad commentary on today’s life to think about how many children there are whose fathers don’t care enough about them to try and stay in their lives. Who refuse to pay child support, or pay it grudgingly and think that’s the only obligation they have. Who show up once in a while and then wonder why their child doesn’t want to have very much to do with them.

Where did the sense of honor, the sense of responsibility, and yes, the sense of loving someone (someone you helped create) more than your very own life disappear to?

As you’re reading this, if you’re in a situation in which you don’t have custody of your children, ask yourself…are you a father or a DAD? There’s a huge difference. And chances are, if you’ve read this to the end, you’re definitely a DAD!

Happy Father’s Day!

Life Is a Puzzle

You can put it together or take it apart many different ways. 

In fact, you never know what pieces are going to fit where. You may try to make them fit in a certain place, but try as you may, they just don’t seem to work.

But the all of a sudden, you find a different piece, one similar to the others, but with just a slight variation. And suddenly it fits perfectly in place.

And then all the other pieces you’ve been struggling to put together seem to just naturally fall into place.

It may not look like what you’d originally intended, but the more you look at it, the better it seems to fit.

That’s how life is. We think we know where all the pieces are going to go but,  somehow they just don’t always seem to fit just right. No matter what we do. No matter where we try to place them.

Until that one day, suddenly it all comes together, and although it doesn’t look like what you’d expected, it’s actually perfect.

And doesn’t that make you feel good?!

I’ll Remember Graduation Day

There’s an old song called “Graduation Day.” It was sung by the Four Freshmen in 1956. The Beach Boys did a cover version of it in 1964.

“There’s a time for joy, a time for tears. A time we’ll treasure through the years. We’ll remember always Graduation Day.”

I remember it well, having grown up in the 60’s era of those really great meaningful songs. I graduated from high school in 1968, and have fond memories of that senior year.

We thought we were all going to make a difference in the world. We were going to really show the world what we could do. We were invincible.

Many of us went on to college. Some to trade schools. Some joined the military. There were weddings and babies. Established couples grew apart and went separate ways. Established friendships faded and were replaced with new people.

That was life. But there was one thing that stayed in our minds and our hearts and that was the feeling of a well knit and established community. Of people who cared about us.

It was a time of peace and happiness, even while the Viet Nam war raged on.

Some of us moved away and some of us stayed near our hometown. But we always had memories of each other, growing up and becoming adults. Those high school memories were and still are precious to us, and we continue to get together for high school reunions which is a great time for us all to catch up and discuss our lives then and now.

But today is sadly different. 

Just last night there was a mass shooting after a high school graduation in Richmond, VA, just a few hours from where we live. Seven people shot and two so far have died. Many others were injured and at least one person is still fighting for their life.

Talk about remembering your graduation day….and not in the way any of the graduates had planned.

For those graduates, there will be no happy memories. Only fear and sadness. Lives just beginning were cut down. And suddenly graduation meant entering a world of hate and violence; where one moment your entire future is ahead of you, and in an instant,  friends you’ve known for years are fighting for their lives. The happy pictures that were being taken of graduates and their families when the shooting began became photos of a scene of horror.

What is happening in our country these days is beyond my comprehension. I do not understand any of this. It is a sickness that has infested far too many events in our lives, to the point that none of us feel totally safe at any event, be it graduation, a birthday party, a wedding, a concert, or a church service. 

And the list continues to grow every day.

What is it going to take to end the gun violence in our country? How many more lives will be lost before we say enough is enough!?

It’s time to take a stand and make our voices louder than the sounds of bullets flying through the air.

Please, for our future generations’ sakes, so they will have a future, let’s do something before it’s too late.

But The Shoe Is My size

So why shouldn’t I wear it? It fits nicely. Perfectly, in fact.

But where has that shoe been? Whose feet has it been on?

Lots of people have your shoe size. And they’ve traveled a lot of places in those shoes. Some places good, some not so good.

And why do you think they traded in those shoes for another pair? Maybe because the longer they wore them, the more those shoes started hurting their feet. Pinching. Blistering their heels. Cramping their toes.

Or maybe they realized those shoes had no style. Wearing them really wasn’t fashionable. They just made them look like everyone else. So why continue on in shoes that hurt their feet when they could try something else that would make them feel better?

I don’t know if it helped or not. I just know those shoes are sitting there, in your size, and waiting for a new home.

How do you think they’ll make you feel wearing them? Like their previous owner did? Happy at first, but then realizing what you went through wearing them wasn’t worth it. You wanted to be like everybody else but then you realized the shoes didn’t make a difference.

It was what was inside you. What you wanted to be. Someone who stands out in the crowd, and isn’t merely a part of it.

And wearing someone else’s shoes who you admired doesn’t make you that person. And would you really want to be them? And lose yourself in the process?

This time pick a new pair of shoes. In your size. Ones that have never been worn. 

And see what adventures you’ll make together!

There’s One Thing You’ll Always Be Perfect At

Being yourself.

Because you’re one of a kind.

No one else is like you. Nor could there ever be another you.

You were especially made to be you. Not a likeness of anyone else. Well, maybe you have some traits from both of your parents, but you’re not exactly like either of them. 

You’re your own person.

Even if you happen to be an identical twin, there are still a few things that make you different from your twin sister or brother.

So why constantly try to model yourself after someone else? Why try to be what or who someone else is, when it’s never going to happen? 

You’ll always be you. That’s who you were created to be. 

You are you. So enjoy it. Be proud of yourself for who you are.

Because there will never be another you.