Category Archives: CYB

The Ocean

The Ocean

I’ve been in love with the ocean since the first time I ever got underway. Granted, it started out more like a hate relationship, because on that day, the ocean was rough, seas about 10 to 12 feet off the bow, we were headed out of Mayport with our first stop 2 weeks away in Spain. My first time ever on the open ocean for more then a few hours, locked inside a tin can, and that’s when the seasickness started.

It was bad.

Three days worth of bad. I was pretty much useless, couldn’t keep my head up, couldn’t keep food down, and the ship just decided that it was going to make things worse by going straight into those waves. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, no, the Navy does not give you sea-sick day’s while underway, you are still expected to do your job.

But, by day 3, I was able to hold down something, and I started to feel better. (It’s amazing how quickly your body can adapt to a new environmental state).

And that’s when it happened. I went out on deck, felt the breeze and sea mist on my face, heard the rushing of the waves down the side of the ship, and watched the sun set over the horizon, a very landless horizon.

I was hooked. No matter how bad I felt, there was something about standing on deck and just gazing out over that white capped blue expanse that just drew me to a place that I have never been able to find anywhere else.

And the nights.

Oh, the nights were even more spectacular. The darkness just swallowed you up whole, and the stars exploded in the sky like I have never experienced. I would sit out there and just get lost in the moments I had, taking in an experience that I would later take for granted.

This last February, I got a chance to go back out on the ocean, and although this pleasure cruise was different then my Navy experience, the sea had not changed. She was still there, calling out to me, asking me to get lost once again in the sight and sounds of being underway.

And lost is what I got.

 

Even if it was for only 8 days.

Count Your Blessing on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day
Sunday, we have the opportunity to celebrate our mom’s. A day where we get to let them know exactly how special they are to us. A day where we cook them breakfast in bed, buy them flowers, and treat them to lunch. A day where..
Well…
Let’s just be real.
A day they totally deserve.
My mom has been gone for a few years now, and although I don’t get to celebrate it with her, I still take the time to remember and honor her. It is still hard to celebrate that day and not be able to give her a hug, or to sit down to a meal together and talk about whatever.
So, take the time this weekend and honor your mom’s. They are special women, and while I may not be able to express everything as eloquently as some, at least I never made this video.. (although, seriously, I think I would have, cause, you know.. Mr. T.!)
By the way, you are totally welcome for that.
Now go…
Treat your mother right.
Cause Mr. T. said so…

Count Your Blessings, Day 15

Potholes

I am thankful for potholes.

Ok, maybe not something you were thinking you could be thankful for, but let me explain…

(No, no. That will take to long, let me summarize)

One thing in life I can assure you of is this:

You will fail.

And those failures…

Those failures will become potholes in the road you travel called life.

As for me, I have failed countless times. I have attempted many things that I have not accomplished. I have gone in a direction to only find out that it was the wrong direction well into the journey. I have reached the peak of a mountain, only to realize I was on the wrong summit. Worse yet, I let a pothole become a grave, a place where I stayed way too long, and it almost killed me.

And yet, those potholes, although they are a part of me and help define me as I am today, in no way make me or reflect the fact that I am a failure, even though that’s sometimes how I look at myself.

You see, the problem isn’t in the pothole, but what I do with that pothole.

Will I ignore it? Will I wallow in it? Will I try to cover it up so no one knows where I failed?

Or will I learn from them? Will I try again a different way? Will I share it with people so they don’t make the same mistakes?

It’s been a hard lesson to learn, in a way, it is the biggest pothole I have ever had. Learning that, even though my potholes may help define me, they do not make me a failure. Instead, I have learned to make them the markers of where I’ve made mistakes, they have become the milestones of where I learned hard lessons, and they have become the moments I share with others to help them avoid the same problems.

So, today, I am thankful for my failures, my potholes.

Because…

I am who I am today, not in spite of my potholes, but because of them.

And I kind of like me the way I am.

Count Your Blessings, Day 14

Family
Relationships are pretty much at the core of who I am as a person. My ministry to the youth and to others really involves building relationships and adding value to other people through those connections. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that family is pretty important to me.
I have been blessed with a pretty great family. Married in 1990 to the woman that I call my best friend. I have often said that I wouldn’t want anyone else in my foxhole, a reference to both the struggle and war that is life and the reliability and tenacity of my wife.
In 1992, we had a son, and then we were three. Ben, (BJ as he was called til he was about 5) was a spirited kid. He and I have almost always been at odds. His mother says it’s because we are too much alike. I think it’s more the case of a son wanting to spread his wings and a father too proud to admit he doesn’t want to let go too quickly.
In 1994, Taylor became the baby of the family. Admittedly, I have always gotten along with her much easier then with Ben. It’s not because I love her more, (Ben often in the past has claimed that to be the case) it’s just that.. well, with a daughter, a dad get’s to be the hero, the protector, the big bear. I got all that with Taylor, and then some. (I am proud to say, her boyfriend is totally scared of me.. Hoo YAH!)
Family was so important to me, I made career choices to make sure I stayed near my extended family. My side and Heather’s side. I gave up a career in the Navy because I didn’t want to miss out on my kids lives, I wanted to be there for them as they grew up. That was a choice that was more difficult then many will ever know. So, in 1997, I hung up my uniform and came home.
It was just us four for a while, with our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters nearby.
Then, in the course of 12 years, that list started to shorten. First, Heather’s grandmother, then my step-father. My brother, my cousin, my mom, Heather’s mom, Heather’s best friend, Heather’s dad, my uncle (those are just the highlights, I really don’t want to delve to deep into that list, as it tends to engulf me.)
Then in 2013, we got the chance to add someone new to our family. Ben married Krista. It was nice having an addition. It was nice we got a chance to rejoice instead of remorse. It was nice.
So, today, we are at 5. I’m still waiting on number 6. Still looking forward to the day I get to meet my granddaughter (yep, still holding on to that one) or grandson. The day I get to scare to death the young man brave enough to ask me for my daughter’s hand in marriage. (Seriously, that is going to so much fun).
I am looking forward to more family. To more hello’s.
And to spoiling my grandchildren at every opportunity. 
Cause, that’s what you have grandkids for, right?

Count Your Blessings, Day 13

Ultimate Frisbee

I am so thankful for this game. For the last few months, the youth of 4one have been playing it prior to our Sunday afternoon service, and then again after the service is over. So, for something like an hour to an hour and a half, every Sunday, I have been out on the field, chucking that plastic disc, sprinting around to make the plays, and slowly dying as I realize how old I am.

Every Monday, my body reminds me that I am 43. My knees hurt, my shoulder tends to be sore or in pain. (Oddly, not my throwing shoulder, my other one, but that’s an injury story for another time). My feet sometimes hurt too, but that really depends on whether I was wearing my boots or barefoot while playing. (I have started wearing my sneakers, so.. shush.)
It usually takes me about 4 days to recover, so that I am no longer limping at least. So that by Friday I am mostly feeling normal again. Just in enough time to hit the weekend and prep for whatever honeydew I have on my list. So Saturday is filled with this or that, and tends to be my day of rest (without pain).
All in enough time to get ready to do it again on Sunday.
Cause, you know….
It’s Ultimate Frisbee.
And I just gotsta play!