stories

These posts include personal stories regarding various aspects of my life.

KNOWING LOVE


This is a picture of my wife at 4 years old.

andrea-at-4

Every time I look at this picture, I smile and think to myself, “I wish I’d known her then. I would’ve been her friend!” Seriously, I would’ve friended her so hard. lol I would’ve rode bikes, made mud pies, endured protracted doll activites, discovered bugs in the yard, and listened to every fantastic tale her young mind could conjure. I would’ve done all of it. Gladly.

I used to lament the fact that I didn’t know her when she was younger. That is, until I understood something very important…

She is still that little girl.

That 4-year-old little girl lives inside of her. And every time she shares with me stories of her childhood, or introduces me to cousins she used to visit in the summer, or I sit and watch while she reminisces over faded, old photos of Canadian farmland, I learn more about her 4-year-old self… and her 13-year-old self… and any other year-old versions of her that I may not have witnessed firsthand. And I fall in love with each and every one of them.

Because they are all still there.

As I picture this beautifully blonde, rambunctiously creative, spirited little girl, I realize that I love and have loved… all of her, throughout time. It is impossible to separate the woman she is, from the girl she was. They are one and the same.

So I no longer wish I’d known her at 4-years-old, because… I do. I know her as a preteen in the school performance at Play Mountain Place. I know her as the high school graduate who set off on her first year at UC Santa Cruz. I know her as the coed who took a summer trip to a lake house with friends. And I know her as the woman who bought her first house in Pasadena. I know… HER.

Instead, I now wish that I will continue to know her until she’s 104-years-old. Because I can’t imagine a more amazing gift than over a century of knowing and loving someone like her.

Happy Valentines Day, my love. ❤

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Blinding Pain


Indulge me for a moment as I reflect on PAIN. The electric word, pain, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time, but… wait, no. Wrong lyrics. It’s more like I have stood here before inside the pouring rain. But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.

(TANGENT: Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is a song for every occasion. And my life is a never-ending jukebox of extended play soundtracks, product jingles and sitcom theme music. But I digress…)

Pain comes in various levels of intensity that I personally believe can be classified by the initial or ongoing reaction of the body. For instance, there is the OUCH variety. As a parent you become intimately acquainted with this type of pain, since it is usually the result of being caught in the crossfire of flying toys, or stepping on a Lego brick for the 2 millionth time. Then you have the NAG variety. This is pain attributed to something like a paper cut, or in my case, the silent and invisible slice of the skin that occurs when you’ve lost your patience while trying to open the 124 jumbo pack of size 4 diapers. After the initial intake of breath from the sudden sharp cut, this pain follows you around for a day or so as it reopens repeatedly because you’ve forgotten about it, and failed to take it easy on the tickle attacks. Of course, there is the THROB level of pain. Most of us are probably familiar with these dull waves of soreness that gather in your arms, feet and legs when you finally sit down after a long day of errands, decorating and playing host to a couple dozen tyrant gradeschoolers for a birthday party.

Why am I saying all of this? Because on Tuesday of this week I was finally at the point of no return with one of the more devastating levels of pain… which is BLINDING. Blinding pain is when the pain is so intensely excruciating that you squeeze your eyes shut uncontrollably. It’s the kind of pain that wakes you up from a dead sleep and laughs at your feeble attempts to ignore it for the sake of rest. It’s the kind of pain where panic sets in because you are quite certain it will never go away and you seriously consider the horrific thought of what it would mean to endure this kind of torture for the rest of your life. Yep. That was me. It was a toothache. And you can chuckle all you want, but when your head feels like someone is shooting bolts of electricity through the roof of your mouth and directly into your brain, no amount of head-holding, temple-massaging, hot packs, or acetaminophen is going to provide you any relief. It was the kind of pain that you can’t run from though you desperately wish it were possible.

(TANGENT: This is second only to MIND-NUMBING pain in which the pain is to the point where the body shuts off all sensory perception and you knock out. This happened when I was 12 and was hit by a car. You can read that story here.)

Fortunately for me, I have a wife that likes having me around and wants to keep me around for a bit longer. So she set up an emergency appointment for me with the dentist that afternoon.

A little background on my relationship with dentists… I’ve developed a bit of apprehension about visiting them. Why? Well, not because I’m the kind of person who’s afraid of going to the dentist’s office. But it’s more about how the dentist treats me. As a kid, if I had a cavity the dentist would say something along the lines of, “If you don’t lay off the sweets, all of your teeth will fall out.” Now I know that this approach works for some people, but for me it just felt eye-roll worthy. As I got older, the dentists I visited seemed to only get worse. Instead of a jovial “Lay off the sweets,” I’d get a more accusatory “You’re too young to have this going on in your mouth!” or something equally degrading. Their comments were the antithesis of encouragement. “Hey Doc, I’m fully aware of the crummy condition of my incisors. That’s why I’m here! Can we skip the personal insults and just cut to the part where you fix my teeth and take away the pain? Thanks.”

I was happy to find that my wife (you know, that crazy-beautiful lady that tolerates my imperfections) had let the dentist and office staff know of my previous experiences. Because of this, they were extremely gracious. The dentist who took care of me that day was not only compassionate, but genuinely concerned about my overall comfort level. God bless her. After an initial examination I was told that my wisdom tooth in the upper right was broken and infected. I was given antibiotics, pain medication, and scheduled for an extraction appointment in 3 days. The next few days brought my pain level down from BLINDING to NAGGING with the occasional BLURRY thrown in for good measure. In any case, I made it to today.

My appointment was at 7am, which allowed me to get up this morning a whole half hour later than usual. I pressed through the rain, into the car, down the street, and into the familiar strip mall that contains our dental office, along with a smoke shop, a juice bar, and a much-frequented 99 Cents Only Store. As before, the office staff received me with knowing kindness and before I knew it, I was in and out with a mouth full a gauze and one less wisdom tooth!

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

I’m still taking the antibiotics and the occasional pain pill. But the blinding pain is thankfully in my past.

Categories: health, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Commuter’s Prayer


Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about perseverance…

On my way to the office this morning, I used @waze as usual because it typically helps me plot a better course to my destination. Unfortunately, what Waze couldn’t know was that the road I was traveling on had flooded. It’s not always easy to tell how deep the water is, but as I’d soon find out, it was deep enough.

Deep enough that after quickly driving through it (because speed is always appropriate in the rain), my Cabrio with the little engine that could, simply couldn’t any longer. Waiting in line just shy of the 405N on ramp, the car puttered and summarily shut down. 😨

Mind you, it was pouring rain. I should mention that the car has no heat, so the windows were fogged over and I had soaked shoes after putting out the garbage cans in the rain before leaving my house.

I must admit that the thought of leaving the now familiar discomfort of my car, standing in the middle of the street, attempting to push what has become an oversized paper weight, under pelting rain was… not my idea of a good start to the day.

On top of this, for whatever reason, people think honking at a stalled vehicle is some sort of automotive prayer. So I had a choir of cars encouraging me with their blaring horns of intercession to do something other than sit there and cry. Which is what I probably would’ve done. But I’m not one to concede defeat so easily.

Instead, after a prayer of my own, I attempted to start the car, all the while believing that the engine would turn over and purr like a kitten. It was more like the gurgle of a garbage disposal, but I’d take it!

After a few starts and stops, I was back on the road in L.A. commuter traffic going a swift 15mph! 😃  And even though I arrived at the office 30 minutes later than I’d planned, the positive take-away is that I arrived, without needing a tow, or a push, or another car choir lamenting my obviously deliberate inconsideration.

Categories: humor, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Out of Season


This journey to financial freedom is admittedly a marathon and not a sprint. So in the dry moment, I remind myself of this fact. But then comes those moments when I honestly can’t believe what I’m experiencing. This is one such moment. A moment that emphasizes the importance of being ready. In season, or out of season.

It started out like any other Saturday, except for the fact that in addition to regular BPM that morning, we were also hosting the Church Council meeting at our house, there was Advanced School at 8am (which I didn’t attend because – fatigue). We’d also been invited to a community networking event by a good friend of mine from High School, who was listed as the keynote speaker. But like most days, when it comes to figuring out the logistics of our sometimes chaotic, mostly comically overwhelming schedule – that must always include the whims of 4 little people with very different ideas of what it means to be bored – there was a lot of maneuvering and trying to coordinate with other people to make sure everything was accomplished.

What I’ve found though, is that in nearly every instance of logistical-work-outingness (yes, that’s a word), things just… work out. Profound. I know. I mean, it’s not just the “get by” kind of working out, but things really coming together in ways that we never would have imagined. So here’s the list of what was on our agenda for the day:

  • 8am – Advanced School
  • 9:30am – Church Council meeting
  • 10:00am – BPM at the Torrance Office
  • 11:30am – send Aaron over to his god-brother’s house for a sleepover
  • 12:00pm – attend a community event in Torrance as a vendor to promote our Financial Services business

And this is how, by what seems a miracle, everything worked out (with all its logisticismic beauty).

So my wife was to stay home and participate in the Council meeting (I mean, one of us had to be there since we were hosting it at our house). 😉 I was planning to go to the office for Advanced School at 8am and then BPM at 10am. My wife would finish up with the Council meeting, send Aaron on his merry way, drop the other 3 kids off at my parents’ place, and head over to the community event by noon. I planned to leave BPM a little early (like around 11:30am). This was a perfect plan.

Except it wasn’t. Or rather, it wasn’t destined to be.

Instead, I decided to skip out on Advanced School because like I said – fatigue and body aches that make you feel like you must be dying of some as-yet-undiscovered ailment only associated with people who have your name. Nevertheless, I did leave the house around 9:45am and got there in time for MoZone. Although we’d hoped to drop off the kids at my parents’ house, my mom wasn’t feeling well and no one else at the house was available to watch them. So we talked and decided I should go to the community event by myself. We figured I’d pass out a few flyers and hopefully book a few appointments.

However, when I arrived, I was told that my friend from high school was running late, and possibly not coming at all, because her daughter had collapsed and they rushed her to the ER! Hoping to save the day, the event organizer/host then asked me if I would be willing to step in and be the main guest speaker at the event.

I agreed. I just thought, wow… her’s an unexpected opportunity! Why wouldn’t I jump on it?

Meanwhile, I was also told that this event was kid-friendly. So the host told me to call my wife and have her come with the kids. And so, I did. They arrived just in time for the host to introduce me. I quickly spun through my off-the-cuff speech (that went extremely well, btw!). At the end of it all, we wound up having some great conversations with other attendees, and got four (4) numbers from people wanting to set up follow-up appointments. Considering the fact that there were perhaps just over a dozen people present, I’d say a 33% return is pretty good! 😀

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Social Suffocation


Disc-LAME-er: There will be cliches, self-quoting, photos and a few words strung together to attempt an explanation as to why my last post was in January. But all that is lame. So…  how about we just enjoy moving forward from here? Work for you? Awesome! 😀

Okay, so let me start by saying that life can get the better of us at times. I’m not immune to its affects. It has certainly gotten the better of me. Well, at least it did back in January when I was laid off from my job of 6+ years. Lots of wonderful things have happened and I honestly meant to chronicle it all. But we all know how that turned out. 😛 I just hate the fact that when I finally come up for air, months have passed. 😦 So this is a public apology… especially to certain people who may have felt slighted by the circumstances of my life. I’ve been absent from most social media, with the exception of photos posted to Instagram that are cross-posted to Twitter and Facebook. (So follow me on those sites to stay up-to-date on my crazy, awesome life!) 😉

That being said… here’s what has been going on for the past 8 months.

January – I was laid off from my job. But instead of seeing it as a setback, my wife and I saw it as an opportunity. I’ve since gone back to school, working to obtain my degree in Human Development.JAN 10928856_10152855775201773_479394116374237407_n

February – We’ve been working together to homeschool our four younger children.I’ve always loved to teach, and now I can
play and active role in the overall education of my children! We alternate days of teaching the children and being full-time writers. We get to enjoy our children, as well as the beauty of each day.

FEB 1509885_10152936578756773_2315914500998318247_nThis month we also celebrated Aaron’s 8th birthday!

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March – My oldest son finished his run as the lead in USC’s “Six Degrees of Separation”. He was brilliant in the role and I couldn’t have been more proud.

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April – In April we celebrated, not just one, but two birthdays! A kid turning 2APR 10957005_10153012293131773_7301658854740171243_n

…and another turning 4.APR 11159983_10153060443701773_1136301091559878253_n

This was also the month that my amazing wife ran one of the most intense marathons! It was the SoCal Ragnar Relay Series! It consisted of 12 amazing women who came together to run all day and all through the night from Huntington Beach to San Diego! That’s like 200 miles! I was so proud of her and her team. We actually collaborated on a little video that chronicles the journey. You can view it here: Ragnar Relay – Lola’s Moving Co. Video.

May – This month, one of the highlights was my only daughter and I having another one of our Daddy/Daughter dates. She is just the most warm-hearted person ever, and I am so thankful that she is mine and I am hers. ❤

MAY 11265517_10153107848036773_7496375093841410800_n

June – As I mentioned briefly, we are both pursuing our dreams of becoming published writers! Well, this month we made that dream a reality by publishing my wife’s first (of many to come) book! She started working on it in March, and in about three months time, she finished writing it, and together, we self-published it through Amazon.com. It’s titled, “How To Shop Mostly Organic At The 99¢ Only Store” and it’s fantastic! It gives in-depth pointers on finding Organic, Gluten-Free and Non-GMO foods, so that you can live well and get the most out of your shopping trips to the 99¢ Only Stores. Click on the book to check it out. It’s available as both a hard copy and e-book!

Click here to purchase your own copy!

This was also the month that my second oldest son graduated from High School.

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He is now in his Freshman year at Fresno State University. Wow… time really flies. I can remember when he was 9 like it was yesterday…

Micah 2007-08

July – This month we enjoyed some good ol’ fashioned family time. You know, just being silly…

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…or roughing it in the woods, camping with 20+ family and friends from our church. It’s one of the things we most look forward to during the summer. This was our 5th annual camping trip and each year it only gets better.

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August – This month we sent our second oldest off to college, and finally had an opportunity to get away, just the two of us, for our wedding anniversary. The first time we’ve been able to do so in more then five years! We went to Ojai, CA and stayed at the Capri Hotel. It was a dazzling few days (with intense heat to match) that we both loved. 30 mile bike rides. Midnight pool swimming. Sushi for lunch and frozen yogurt runs in the evening. One of the best times I’ve had in like… forever! lol

AUG 11013263_10153331418541773_9129284330737615673_n

There’s a ton more I could say, but I’m hoping that this will help to spark my writing and get me back to being more consistent with my blog. Thank you for everyone who’s stuck around. I won’t keep you waiting like that ever again. 😉

Categories: family, marriage, personal, photos, relationships, stories, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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