You asked me why…

My love,

What if while I was with you I could have told you everything? That every single year, all 50 of them, were the most amazing years of my life. That my love for you grew more and more with every warm embrace, every beautiful smile and every sweet kiss. You were and still are the love of my life. From the day we met my life was different and that difference was profound. You allowed me to regain the focus that for years was lost. You allowed me to, well, just be me. In my mind are millions of photographs. Of you. Of me. Of us. Of our children. It is a non-stop slideshow. Oh, the places we have gone. The special moments we have shared.

Now that I am gone I watch you from the other side and I hear you. I wish that I could reach through and fill in the gaps that are missing for you. I wish that nothing would have gone unsaid during the time we had together. But alot was.

So go back with me sweetheart to a few of those moments.

The honeymoon

Hawaii. It was perfect. We knew that we were perfect for each other. Almost as if God had split one soul in two and then reunited them in two separate bodies. That week was when Emma Sophia made her start into this big world. Those walks on the beach and golden sunsets reminded us that there was not any height that could not be reached nor mountain that we could not climb. We talked during those times and we would tell each other that if either of us passed on before the other that we would know exactly how much love there was between us. Remember? I know you do. But you still wonder why. Moments like that are unforgettable and… Oh wait a minute! My love do you remember that ring that you found in the sand? We knew that it was recently lost by someone because it was so shiny and beautiful. We never found out who it belonged to so for years it stayed in my briefcase. Well a few years back I took it out of that old briefcase and put it in the bottom left drawer of your jewelry box. Go. Look. When you do, just sit down and let the moments we shared during that honeymoon come flooding back.

The big move

We climbed the mountains. We were victorious! We knew that if we just let Christ guide us that we could do anything. So we prayed and in His time those prayers were answered. Years ago, 37 if my memory serves me correctly, we made the move that we had spoken of and worked toward for years. To Orlando. You had spent much of your life between Orlando and Puerto Rico. I had never been to either place before you introduced me to your family. Remember how terrified I was that your family would not like me? Even though you told me a million times not to worry. In fact, you told me that about a lot of things but I still did. You were always right though sweetheart. They loved me. They welcomed me. They knew that you had made the right choice when you decided to give your heart to me. The move was rocky at first but in time just like in everything else, we prevailed. You advanced in your field very quickly, a lot quicker than you thought possible. The first business I started failed. But I failed upwards and success soon followed. The move was the best decision that we ever made. We both left friends in Texas and I left all of my family. My Brother and Sister, my Grandfather and my Dad. It was all worth it though. When my Grandfather passed away you answered the question that you ask so much. Why? Do you remember what you told me? I do. You said, “Baby, your Grandfather loved you. He always made it clear that if he were one day not here that he would never want you to wonder. He told you so many times that sometimes there are questions that simply do not have an answer. Especially that ‘Why?’ question.” He was tough. He would say, “Well son, why do you turn the water off when you are done showering?” and I would be like, “Well, obviously it’s because you are done.” I would just roll my eyes and laugh. It may not be the answer you want as to why I am no longer here but think about it. I was not done loving you. In fact, I still do and I am waiting for you. We can pick up right where we left off. What I was done with was my time on earth. My love, I made you a promise that I would love you forever. That promise did not end when my life did. My point is that there is no reason to ask why. There is no answer. You faught the battle with me in the end so you know why I passed. Just know that I love you. That I am still holding your hand. That I am still sleeping beside you every night.

Why did you love me for all of those years? Because we were meant to be. Why did your life continue while mine ended? Because that is how life is meant to be. Why am I certain that you should have no doubts that I truly truly loved you with all of my heart? Because I did. Why am I no longer here with you? Because I went to another place to wait for you. It was the big move… Live your life baby, I’ll be waiting. I love you.

Emma Sophia

She looks just like you. She is beautiful. I fell in love with her not on the day we had her but way back when we had quote unquote movie nights on the couch at your old house, we talked about her way before she arrived. I remember how beautiful she was when I walked her down the aisle. She really turned out to be an amazing woman. You loved my children from my previous marriage as if they were your own. And I loved yours. You even became good friends with my ex-wife. That was a beautiful and defining moment for all of us. I remember it well. It had been 11 years since I had seen my children. When I was taken out of their lives my oldest daughter was 8 and my twins were 6. We had planned it for weeks, to go and visit. You always told me you would be with me when that day came and you were. You were right there beside me. It was tough because that why question came up but we made it through. It took a few years but they came around, they forgave me. Noone could replace them but Emma Sophia gave me a chance from day one to get it right. I love you so much. You gave me so much. You gave me the chance to be the man that deep inside I knew I could be. All I ever wanted was for one person to believe in me and because you did so many others in the end did too.

I am no longer there with you physically. But I am with you. You can talk to me. I can hear you. I am still part of your amazing story and you are a part of mine. I tell my new friends about you everyday. I still love you just as much as I did the day we met. It was love at first sight.

Tears flood my eyes because I know that as I write this that you will never see it. But if you look within then the words that are penned on this page will be imprinted on your heart. Then you can rest easy and why will not be a question you have to ask.

Signed, your truest love

Original Epistolary Narrative by J. E., circa 2017

Layers

One can definitely go into a deep state of introspection while driving.

Yesterday I logged right at 679 miles on a business trip down I-35 to San Antonio and then on to surprise my sister while she was working at a restaurant in the quiet little town of Roosevelt.  From there I-10 to US377 back home to Fort Worth. 12 hours on the road…

What do these clouds say to you? As I drove toward this magnificent masterpiece in the sky it made me think of all of the different phases [or layers] that we go through in this life. Do the clouds say something different to you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post your thoughts in the comments.

Original Photography by J. E., circa 2017

Stepping forward

Kaizen – Continuous Improvement

Seems to me…

  • Figuratively at least… that it’s easy to step on the very toes that are supposed to move you forward.
  • That working towards better takes a lot of damn work!
  • That sometimes the things that we think we want aren’t actually the things that in the end will really make us happy.

🆙… goes the ✈️

🆙…

🆙…

🆙…


There is no alternative. From take-off until that airplane finds its place to land and even then in landing it has to maintain its momentum. Our lives are actually quite similar to the way an airplane gets up and off the ground and then back down to earth. The engines provide the thrust (our motivations) that move it forward on the runway thus giving the wings the ability to lift (our actions) this monster of a machine into the sky.

Momentum is a powerful force. A Boeing 747’s take-off speed is 180 mph and can safely leave the ground with only 9/10’s of a mile worth of runway. We can’t move that fast in our lives so we slowly build up the momentum necessary to move us forward to where we want to end up. Each step gets us one step closer to ‘that place’. Sometimes we think that we take a step forward then two or even three steps backwards making it more difficult but in my opinion all of these steps (and missteps) are necessary.

Each facit of our lives deserves the same amount of Kaizen.

  • Work: If we could start at the top then we would not have the satisfaction of knowing that we put in the time to actually know our role and where we fit into the organization. We grow within with each step, we give ourselves the ability to learn and in turn we can then teach others therefore empowering them to take those same steps toward better. This is ultimately what builds a stronger you (and me) and company. So keep working to close those big accounts, you’ll be taking yourself to better and when they do close your company will be better off as well. Then tackle the next one. What are your motivations? Think about it… act! The following piece might actually help you build a little momentum so you can step forward in your work life. A Message to Garcia, written by Elbert Hubbard, circa 1899.
  • Relationships: Love is the single most powerful emotion in the universe. With it too, momentum is requisite. Finding yourself in love doesn’t mean that you are equipped to love or to be loved. It takes quite a bit of work to get that balance. Whether it is loving your children (or spouse) through their ignorance or trying to figure out if ‘he’ or ‘she’ is the one you have been seeking your whole life, the challenge of maintaining the moral responsibility that comes with it is very real. So you have a bad day, you wake up and realize that you have spent nearly a lifetime with someone that you can’t remember ever truly loving. Is it a fleeting thought? Does it mean you call it quits? Or is there a way to get back to better? Personally, I was married for 10 years and have now been divorced for almost 7. In a letter from my ex-wife the words, “I don’t know that I truly ever loved you” ring loudly. Makes me think though. Because that’s what I do. Think. I struggled for a good while when I read those words but then I wondered, did I ever truly know this person? I did not. I could not for the life of me remember her favorite color. I do now of course, it is Green. Love relationships are about the only things in our lives that seem to take off like that airplane. Seems so anyways, you get up in the air quickly then it gets real. Slow and steady wins the race says the billionaire. In life. In love. In everything. Do you truly know them? In time I hope that answer is yes. I am certain this applies to any relationship whether personal or professional. Oh yeah, and I am talking to me here… Know thy self.
  • Life: So I walk into Taco Bell. Couple sitting in the corner have a black plastic bag. Who knows what it contains. Doesn’t matter. Might be all they own. They only want a glass of ice so they can go to the bathroom and fill it with sink water. Guy at the counter says, “Sorry Ma’am!” … She sits back down, anxious eyes looking around wondering how many more times she will hear no. This is an example of two lives with zero momentum or to say the least an expectation of relying on others to build that momentum for them. Whatever the case, I want you to know that helping either knowingly or anonymously is a good option here. I called the guy working over to me. I said, “Please get two of those Frito burritoes and two medium sodas for those folks sitting over there asking everyone for something to eat.” He took my card and did as I had asked. Then they left. Too ashamed to ask anyone else. Not knowing that a stranger cared enough to actually notice their need. So I told the worker that they left. He grabbed two cups and ran out behind them and yelled, “Sir!” waving the cups. We can be that thrust that just might propel others forward. It’s their choice to act. A helping hand is sometimes all that is necessary for us to realize that we are valuable and that we matter. Take those two peoples shoes and wear them for just a bit. Be glad they’re not yours but don’t overlook their need. Everybody else does that. Not you.

Stepping forward is not optional. Unless you’re sitting still, too many do that. Help me help you isn’t just some cliché, it’s how we all move forward. The things of one’s doing in the past gave you the ability to do today. So step forward my friend. I’m listening too, I promise.

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017

On the other side of ‘it’

The majority of our fears live within and are never realized. Though sometimes we live as if they are our reality. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the other side of any given endeavor before we actually started out?

Not going to happen…

So we find ourselves in the middle of a situation that has presented itself to us. We choose whether or not it is a worthy endeavor even though we can’t see the other side. We simply hope for the best. Favorite quote of mine by the father of John C. Maxwell, “When you made the choice to start, you made the choice to finish. It’s not two choices, it’s one.” … Seems so simple but we often quit when it gets tough or when things do not go our way. If someone else is involved it can lead to hurt and heartbreak.

We should try to take the advice from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and begin with the end in mind. That’s not to say we will see the other side because we will not be able to, though we can work toward the best ending possible. Make sense?

I have been the one to hurt others and I have been hurt myself. Mainly the hurts that I have felt were caused by the pain I caused others and their reactions to that pain. I can honestly say that I don’t feel like anyone has ever intentionally set out to hurt me and I can’t say my intentions were ever to hurt others. We just do that though, we have these moments and what happens in those moments can have a lasting effect.

Years go by and the ones that at one time were closest to you seem lost. You look back and say you could never dream of being where you are now. But you are. You are exactly where your choices have led you. That can be a great place or that can be a bad place or it could be that you were at a bad place and now you are doing everything possible to get things right and end up at that great place that you know you deserve to be at.

The other side of ‘it’ can be a beautiful place. We can’t let our past failures and current fears keep us from venturing out into the unknown.

“There is but one impossibility in my life. That is the possibility that I could not bounce back from any given failure.” – J. E.

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017

Looking up for moments of clarity

Right there in plain sight. 

Thinking that we have things figured out is always the worst possible way to live.  Guilty.  In the above image we see a building and from the looks of it had you never been to Fort Worth Texas you would not realize that it is the tallest building here.  When you are not at the bottom looking up you can tell just how big it is.

As…  

is… 

life… 

There is not a problem with trying to see the top from this perspective but it is necessary to realize that we limit ourselves in doing so.  When we step back and begin to look at this same thing but with all of the other elements we begin to see things much more clearly.  We get a fresh sense of just how small we are and how life will help us figure itself out if only we do not get in its way. 

So I suppose we should ask ourselves [I should ask myself] do we [I] really need to try to look up or would we [I] be doing ourselves [myself] a favor by just looking at what is right in front of us [me] and not taking it for granted because seemingly small things will compound and just like the snowball rolling down the hill those now big things will crush us [me].  So how about just loving those who love us and listening to those willing to listen to us.  Being present in this moment, the one we have right now. 

I ask for patience.  I’m trying to get past all of the things that limit how broad my vision can be.  I don’t want to lose the best things in life because I am getting in my own way.  Please give me that.

Original Article & Photography by J. E., circa 2017

Organized Chaos

Better left a mess!  I’ll tell you why…

Perfectionism insists on perfection.  When there is some element of chaos we always have something to work toward.

What a shame!  We get in our own way and the things that at one time drew us toward each other can be the very things that pull pull pull us apart.  Why?  Because it was a mess, chaos, nothing was perfect and that is why it worked. So we set out to fix what wasn’t broken.  There were things that we thought needed fixing and now that the perfectionist in us has perfected the chaos it is exactly the opposite.

Solution:  Mess it back up, there are certain things that we have no business trying to organize.  Time is the great organizer and it will fix what we have broken if only we get out of the way and let it happen.  Naturally.  Just think of how the chaos got there.  It didn’t just appear, it was a gradual progression.  The shoes weren’t all worn in a day and thrown on the floor all at once.  Nope, it took a week, 2 or 3 to get them like that.  Go ahead organize them and give it another week, 2 or even 3. You will find that before you know it and without you even realizing it the chaos has returned.  Possibly more than before.  But it is okay perfectionist, leave it.  It is possible to live a life full of chaos if we just realize that sometimes organizing it causes way more problems than its worth.

There is a flipside to this…  We insist on our perfectionistic(yep, just made it up) tendencies and then you know what happens?  You get it just the way you think you want it and its not long before you forget about it.  You don’t even visit or look at what was at one time a perfectly chaotic mess.  Now it is just perfect so no attention is required.  Think again!

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017