Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Mother Was Special......

As I awoke this morning to celebrate my day of birth, my thoughts went to my loving mother. This was a special day for her too. She always had a way of making a big deal out of her children's birthday and did a little bit extra to let us know that we were special and loved.
One year I somehow got a little anxious to have my birthday and I "pushed " the date up by one week. My mother did not know that I made invitations and hand delivered them to all the neighborhood kids for a birthday party. I came up with the idea that if I invited my friends on short notice, the moms would not have time to buy gifts. Well, you realize that children hate to miss a party, so the mothers would have to send them with money instead. What a plan I had come up with as I went door to door inviting my friends to a birthday party that was to happen at 2:00 that day, and since it was already after 12:00, I was sure I would get money from them!
When I got home and told my mom that my friends were coming over at 2:00 for my birthday party, she said " JOHN, you're birthday isn't until next week!" " What have you done to your poor mother?" My mother had to drop what she was doing and go buy a cake and get ready for my party, which she did without saying anything else. I think she found it so funny that her son would pull something like this that she wanted to see the results for herself! Well, at 2:00 on the nose, I had over 20 kids on my patio having cake and Ice Cream. My plan worked to perfection, as most of my friends gave me money.
That was the first year that my mom had to buy a cake instead of making it herself and she reminded me of that day many times. I have had 40 special days since then, but I will always remember my mom for being willing to help me out of the mess I had created that year.
Nonna was always willing to sacrifice for her children and she made sure we knew that we were loved and cared for. As I look back on my life, I can say that I am very thankful and feel blessed to have had the kind of parents that I had and I know that all people have not been as lucky as I.
If your mother is still with you, give her a big hug today and let her know what she means to you. If she is away from you, call her and tell her that you love her. If your mother is walking with Angels, be at peace knowing that she is smiling down upon you!
Love John

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You Can Hear More Than You Can Ever See.....

As I awoke to a beautiful Spring morning here in Florida, I decided it would be a good day to take my dad, Henry, out for a car ride. When you move to a new area, there is so many places to explore and see for the first time. The best way to learn about new surroundings is to take a ride and with sunny skies and mid 70's, the road was calling me. So I loaded up Henry and the camera and headed down Highway 13 South. Highway 13 runs along the St. John's River and takes you out to the country. Lots of Live Oaks with Spanish Moss mixed in with woods, Palm trees, swamp land, horse farms and farming. With windows down and driving below the speed limit, I was seeing a lot of great picture opportunities. Often passing by, only to make a U-turn and go back, pull off the road and take pictures. Henry has lost most of his eyesight, so I would point out things to him and tell him what everything looked like as we drove. We came to a spot next to the river called Bass Haven, and I pulled over and we sat there for a few minutes, just enjoying the fresh air and sounds. That's when Henry said something that really sank in deep. He said, " Son, did you realize that you can hear a lot more than you can ever see?" I thought, well, he has done it again! Words of wisdom that can be applied much deeper than just sensory abilities. Henry continued, " If you will listen to others the same way you listen to the birds singing, you will become a wise man" " The sounds of nature truly can speak to you, but you don't listen to them completely until you can't see them anymore" " When I hear sounds of water lapping at the shore or the wind blowing in the trees or the chirping of birds, it can take me back to specific moments in my past that seem as fresh as yesterday"

I sat there for a few silent moments, maybe a minute or so, to let what he was saying sink in. Then we headed down the road again in quietness for the next couple of miles. I would stop every few miles and pull over so that Henry would get the most out of our trip.

I believe that life can be a lot like a ride in the country. You can stop along the way and absorb your surroundings or you can speed past everything and miss out on the little things along the way. The birds singing may be your friends and the water lapping lazily may be your hobbies and the breeze in the trees may be you showing that you are considerate of others. I encourage you to slow down and take the ride in the country as you go through your life. You can truly hear a lot more than you can ever see!!

Love John