Friday, August 31, 2012

update on my Mom's double lung transplant - 7 months later...

January 27, 2012 was just over 7 months ago.

it was a Friday afternoon i won't forget for a long time. i had done a presentation that morning in a graduate class and then skipped out of school early because i was feeling sick.

after i had been home a couple hours i got a phone call from my Mom who had been in Durham for several months waiting on a double lung transplant.

this was the call we had been waiting on for a long time. my Mom called to tell me she had a pair of lungs on the way to Duke Hospital for her!

it was a pretty chill phone call though. we didn't get our hopes up too much. we had already been through this once and it was a "false alarm" because the lungs were no good once they made it to Duke.

but this turned out to be the real thing. my Mom got her new lungs!
after years and years of praying that God would heal my Mom... she just got replacement lungs! crazy. miracle.

but the next days and weeks were scary. we weren't sure if the lungs were going to work or if my Mom was going to make it. those days were the worst. she was in ICU for a really long time.

but then she just kept getting better and better.

and a few weeks ago she got to come home from Durham back to Charlotte!

That is big news and we're so happy to celebrate it. the lungs are working great. she still has more health recovery to go, but she's getting there.

so after a whole year away, she's HOME.

well... sort of home...

she's back in Charlotte, but while she was at Duke for a year, my parents' house flooded. the whole 1st floor got cleared out, but now mold has also been found throughout so my Mom can't move back in until it is all gone.

my Dad has been working like crazy to get all the mold torn out and then to rebuild their home.

thankfully, a great friend of ours lent my parents their RV for a little while. so my Mom would have a place to stay.
& then another great friend has been lending my parents an empty house nearby for them to stay in!

wow. talk about crazy blessings.
now we're just trying to get my parents house ready for my Mom to move back in as fast as possible!

7 months ago these "problems" would have seemed very small. we just wanted my Mom to get a new chance at life. and she has that :)
hopefully her home will be finished soon and be even better than before.

for now, i thought all of you would be happy to know that my Mom is looking good and even playing with her granddaughter Keira! (Who was born just before the lung transplant)

and i literally just talked to my Mom right before i published this! She gave me an update after her latest day of tests and procedures at Duke this past Monday. For the 1st time since the transplant there is NO SIGN OF REJECTION which is GREAT news! hopefully the good reports like that will continue.

*i wanted to say Thank You so much to those of you who have donated, prayed for my Mom, have helped tangibly, or even showed your support via text or Facebook comment. thank you. Thanks to those of you who helped to raise money for her medical expenses and who helped with your time and effort on her home! thank you!

if any of you would like to donate to my Mom's Double Lung Transplant Fund you can click HERE to donate through the National Foundation for Transplants to help with my Mom's ever growing medical expenses. if you would like to donate or help in any way with rebuilding their home please contact me or leave a comment on this post with your info.

it has been a long year. but in the past year my Mom has gained a granddaughter

Thursday, August 30, 2012

surely it's better than nothing?

many times i get caught in a tension.

i have an idea for something good. something to make the world better. something that will add value.

the idea has an "ultimate" or "ideal" goal. that's what i get passionate to create.

but the further i go, the more it looks like that "ideal" may not be possible... at least not any time soon. or it may take a really long time.

so, i get caught in a tension of taking the time to perfect or just launching & going for it although it won't be as great as i want it to be.

i often get paralyzed on the "perfecting" side of the tension, but i REALLY want to shift my life to the other side. just going for it. just putting it out there & maybe perfect it (or make it better) along the way. because then... at least it's "out there."

but then the voices come. the critics. "what are you doing?" "That's not good enough to launch/throw out there/ etc..."
this voice of the critic is so powerful to me because i know they are right. i KNOW that it's not as good as i want it to be. their critique is resonating with my own.

but maybe... maybe instead of letting that critique paralyze me further i should simply ask...

"what are YOU doing?"

something needs to be done. someone needs to do something about this & i'm going to try with this. "remind me, what are you doing, again?"

or what am I even doing if i don't do this? isn't this better than the NOTHING we've both been doing about it?


"wouldn't it be better to just do SOMETHING. even if it's not as good as you think you could do it. but you're not actually doing anything. so, surely my something is better than your nothing."

so, the voices we hear are mainly from the critics who are also doing nothing. nothing to solve the problem or create something that's needed.

that's why i was encouraged by this awesome post from Seth Godin below. (you can also read it here.)
[i finally updated my Pulse app on my iPhone and saw that this was a read that MOVED me back in September 2011... almost a year ago... so i saved it to circle back around. i needed this reminder from Seth today as much as 1 year ago!]
[also thankful that Pulse has synced with my Read it Later (now called Pocket) app to form my combined favorite App in the world!!!]

here are Seth's wise (as usual) words...

“What would you have me do instead?”  [seriously, just give a better suggestion. i'm all ears.]

To the critic who decries a project as a worthless folly, something that didn’t work out, something that challenged the status quo and failed, the artist might ask,

“Is it better to do nothing?”

To the critic who hasn’t shipped, who hasn’t created his art, anything less than better-than-what-I -have-now appears to be a waste. To this critic, progress should only occur in leaps, in which a fully functioning, perfected new device/book/project/process/system appears and instantly and perfectly replaces the current model.
We don’t need your sharp wit or enmity, please. Our culture needs your support instead.

Each step by any (and every) one who ships moves us. It might show us what won’t work, it might advance the state of the art or it might merely encourage others to give it a try as well.

To those who feel that they have no choice but to create, thank you.

& might i add... please continue.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

my morning with Shake & Eric

i've had a good morning so far.

i hopped out of bed at 6:07 like usual and went to play soccer with some guys over near Queens University. (not exercising for 2 months REALLY gets you out of shape.)

on the way home i stopped at the gas station by my house to fill up. 2 homeless guys were chillin under the shade tree near my pump and asked if i had any change.

i said "no... (then with a moment of hesitation that seemed like an eternity in my head as i pondered my giant TO-DO list for today and how much behind it would put me if i followed through with what my heart was leading me to do...)

but can i buy you some breakfast?"

"SURE!" they said.

i wanted a shower after soccer + wanted to at least see Crystal and Keira before they took off for the day, so i told them to meet me back at the Hardee's next door in 45 minutes.

we introduced ourselves and i officially met Shake & Eric. i was like "Shake?" and he said, "Yeah, you know, like shake" as he physically started shaking to make sure i got his name.

when i came back they were waiting for me. we hung out and talked at Hardee's for a while.

Shake didn't want any coffee because he had his own drink in a silver container he kept sipping. i couldn't help but think that 9 in the morning had to be too early for that.
Eric looked really really rough. even for a homeless guy. looked like he had a lot of hard life stories behind all the dirt and nappy hair.

Eric looked at me at one point and said "can you do me a favor?"

"these are my only pair of pants and i crapped them yesterday. do you have any shorts or pants i could have?"

this guy had literally crapped his only pair of pants.

i asked them to give me 15 minutes and i would be right back.
i ran home and brought back 2 bags full of clothes. 1 for each of them. thankfully they were both about my size. i made sure to have plenty of pairs of pants for Eric.

when they opened the bags and looked at all the clothes their eyeballs got so big with this look of astonishment. 

then they both teared up and choked up.

they gave me the warmest handshakes + the most heart felt "thank you" maybe ever.

they told me lots of stories as we sat and talked. they told me about the 10 or so homeless guys who all stick together nearby - just off 77.

they also gave me lots of advice as we sat and talked. like don't drink too much because it will mess up my liver.
they were also very keen to give me what they promised was good sex advice. not sure if i'll be trying any of it.

when i took off i had made 2 new friends. i told them maybe we would bump into each other & hang out again some time and they said the same.
i'll have to keep an eye out for Eric and Shake now. should be easy if i recognize any of my former clothes :)

that was my morning & now i'm back to the office. it's hard to know when to interrupt the TO-DO list for something like that.

i haven't accomplished very much this morning, but i think i did the right thing.
i haven't gotten very much done... or did i?

i hope i never get so busy that i feel i have to ignore my heart.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

having a little girl 1st

i thought i wanted a boy.

Crystal and i both did.

we wanted a boy 1st & then a girl. no doubt about it. no questions asked.

i can't understand what i was thinking? this is the only way to roll. i can't imagine not having Keira 1st. she's the most amazing 1st child ever.

we're loving every second of this vaca with her & just today Crystal and i were talking about how we didn't even know what we were thinking wanting a boy 1st. girls are the best :)
(still want a boy 1 day though, of course.)

i seriously cannot even count how many of my close friends also had a girl 1st around the same time as we had Keira.
SO... when i read this, i figured i would post it here. good advice for me and all my new dad friends who had little girls 1st.

(from Carlos Whittaker's blog... i only left out #3 to make it shorter...)
"I know lots of guy friends want that little boy first and may be a little let down when they don’t see that little pecker on the ultrasound image.
I just want to say, all will not only be fine, but you will soon be over your “I wanna play catch in the front yard” phase because…
Girls can actually throw and catch a ball as well…
Go figure.

1. The Diaper Changing Phase.
Using the 3 finger and wipe tactic, you can literally clean the nastiest poop in one swoop.
No lifting poop ridden appendages. No fear that a little pecker will spray urine in your mouth.
Just 3 cracks and 3 fingers and one wipe.

2. The Princess Phase.
This will come on as quickly as it will leave.
There is nothing quite like having tea with a princess with your best British accent and knowing that she quite literally thinks you are the King of the castle.
And the look that lands on her face when she meets Cinderella for the first time at Disneyland is a look you wont soon forget.
That is unless Cinderella just got back from a smoke break and she looks at you and says…”Daddy. Why does Cinderella smell like Grandma?”

4. The Mommy Doesn’t Do It Like That Phase.
Although this may seem like a phase you will want to skip, trust me it isn’t.
Once one of your daughters decides that she wants to be exactly like her mother you are in luck.
At this point you can devote some of the brain power you had to parenting back to sports radio or something better.
The reason is because they will know everything you don’t.
Like where the vanilla extract is.
Where mom keeps the ziplock bags.
How many vegtables and fruits must accompany the pizza slice you give them when mommy is out at her Book Club (Wine Night).
They will let you know what time to pick up the kid at preschool.
They will own you.
And although this phase comes with it’s negatives like self doubt and proof of your spouses DNA being stronger than yours…
The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

5. The How Do I Raise A Girl? Phase
This phase never leaves.
But it also places you on your A game.
One bad move and she could end up working at The Cheetah instead of a better animal like Buffalos Wild Wings or DogHouse Grill.
We are dudes. We have penises and are self centered and play Xbox in our 30′s.
We know exactly what kind of man we want our daughters to end up with.
So if you are smart, you will quickly become that man.
And when you are not that man, let your little girl know so that they know we are human and are trying.
Tell them that they are beautiful on a daily basis.
Tell them in different ways not just with your words.
Paint them a picture.
Write them a love letter.
And never stop holding them.
Even when they get boobs and stuff.

They will always see themselves as your little girls and you will always be the King of the Castle.
Even when that 15 year old guy is staring at their 14 year old body.
There will always be room for you as long as you keep the pursuit of their heart above the pursuit of your heart.

So guys.
Don’t fret at the thought of panties and pretty.
They wrestle just as hard as the boys do.
And their kick to the face as you are suplexing them on the bed hurts just as good.

And the main reason why is… boys are just easier and we are already lazy enough.
It’s better that way.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

blogging break - am i back?

i've been on a blogging break lately. AND IT'S KILLING ME!

i'm dying to write again.

it's just been one of those seasons where i simply haven't had time to write.

so, i've known i was on a blogging break. i just haven't had time to tell you all.

i still have TONS to write about & i love writing. i just haven't been able to.

now i'm on a glorious vacation. doing absolutely nothing but REST on a beautiful island with my beautiful family.

writing/blogging is a hobby. something i love to do for fun. so i have a feeling after a few days of resting on the beach i may be itching to write so bad that i pump out a ton of blogs these next 2 weeks.

that's "the dream", right? to have a house on the beach you go away to so you can write all your books while overlooking the ocean. :)

we'll see.
but if i don't feel like writing i won't. if i do feel like writing, i will.
simple as that. it's my theology of sabbath & vacation.

after not writing significantly for 2 months... i have a feeling i won't be able to hold it inside. hopefully some good stuff coming back to renown soon.

for now, i'ma see if i can't read all of the NT in this new translation called The Voice.

Monday, August 6, 2012

3 kinds of influence

yesterday i was thinking driving in the car. (about the only chance i ever have to think anymore.)

i was thinking about leadership and influence. more specifically i was thinking about WHY people get stuff done/do stuff for other people. like at a job... WHY does an employee do something for their boss. OR even another peer leader within the organization.

or really why does anyone do anything for anyone else.


we influence other peeps to do stuff for us.

but there seems to be to be 3 different kinds of influence. (i bet there are more than 3. this is just as far as my thought got as long as my drive was to the next place.)

influence #1 - FEAR. fear of something negative happening if you don't do whatever the boss or whoever wants you to do. Fear that you will lose your job if you don't do it. or fear that the other person will be mad. fear that if you don't do what they want you to do then they will nag you to death until you do it. fear that if you don't do what they need/want then they can make life miserable for you.

yeah, i guess this is a kind of influence right? you do something for someone because you are worried about the outcome if you don't.

influence #2 - LIKE. i do stuff for people because i just straight up like them. i believe in them or what they're doing or i'm just bought in to who they are. could still be a boss or peer or just someone you know. if you like them they have won influence with you. so when they ask you to do something you do it because you like who they are. they have won you over so you are in.

influence #3 - NONE. it feels like a lot of leaders get stuck here. they want #2 but they don't quite make it. they reject #1 because they feel like those peeps are jerks and they want #2 but they get lost and flounder somewhere in the middle.
these are the leaders and bosses who try to be nice, so they don't influence peeps to do stuff just out of fear... but they don't quite win anyone over either.
no one fears them and everyone likes them well enough... just OK. but not enough to bend over backwards for them and do what they ask.

#1 influencers get people to do stuff because they wear people down or scare them into doing it.
#2 influencers get people to do stuff because people love them.

but the #3 people... don't really get anyone to ever do anything for them. these kind of leaders can't get anything done in the organization. it almost seems like they would be better off to go ahead and be jerks and lead with fear than to flounder in the middle.

of course nobody wants to stay around those people for very long.

obviously #2 is where it's at. win people over to who you are. be someone they can believe in. be someone they want to "do stuff for".

seems like that's the only real kind of influence.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

happy anniversary (7 years)

happy anniversary to the most amazing woman.

the last 7 years have been the greatest years of my life.

you are the only woman who could ever be captivating enough to slow me down long enough so that i could fall in love.

& i should be mad at you.
i should be mad that you cause me to daydream about you all the time so that i can't focus.
i should be mad that i just sit around and think about how perfect you are and how absolutely beautiful you are.
i should be mad at you that you still cause me to get that feeling inside that kind of incapacitates you from normal brain function.

but i'm not mad.

i'm too busy being in love with you.

happy anniversary, Babygirl.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

it shouldn't be this way either

a few days ago i wrote a post called "it shouldn't be this way." you can read it HERE.
then i came across this graph that i think goes along with that post.

this is part of the problem. it shouldn't be this way.