Set Them Free.

My first memory of writing is when I was about four or five. My mom would send letters back and forth to my oldest brother, who was in the Army. I decided to sit down and write him a letter.

My little hands discovered pens and paper. I sat down at the table and wrote. When I was finished, I handed the letter to my mom. I saw her look at it, and she put it into an envelope to mail. The only problem with this is that I didn’t know the alphabet, or how to form letters or sentences, so my message was just squiggly lines on the paper. At that moment, I wrote. It wasn’t perfect. Yet I think deep down my brother appreciated getting something from his little brother. Writing isn’t always about content. It is about contribution and sharing with others.

Writing has always been a constant companion.

When I have written, writing had allowed me to have my most significant accomplishments. Yet when I held back my writing, it has led to some of my biggest regrets. Writing is like being a parent. My son recently returned from his first sleep-away camp. Up to the event, I wished I could just keep him home, safe with my wife and me. Yet I knew that he needed the trip and he would do well without us by his side 24/7. It is the same with our words, assertions, and stories. They are safe in our heads, but they won’t flourish there. They need to explore the world and meet new people.

When I write, I see my talents as well as my shadow side. The shadow side must be allowed to express itself, but the shadow side simply wants to bring the writing home. At times the shadow can be a friend, and at others, it is an enemy.

My shadow is tied to competition, I am a competitive person. I want to win. I want to be the best, I want to be praised, and when I don’t get it, I get upset. For example in first grade we had a young authors contest, I wrote a story about a sabertooth tiger befriending a dinosaur, on the day of the awards I expected to win when I didn’t I was pissed. The shadow tells us not to write. Yet write, we must.

In college, it was my writing that got me placed in advanced English. When I burned down my college career, my writing saved me. I sat in the counselor’s office. The counselor told me that the only option I had was to write a letter to the Dean. In that letter I told a story about why my grades were bad, and why I had lost the scholarship that I received when I entered school. It was my letter to the Dean that got me back into school. I still remember the dean asking why was I failing out of school? He said if you wrote this way all the time you wouldn’t be failing out of school.

That statement was a blessing, but it also revealed an obstacle. Writing like this all the time. Developing consistency as a writer is hard. It cost me.

Yet my lack of writing was a contributor to me not finishing two Master Degrees. I wanted to write THE Thing instead of a thing. I researched, and researched composed pages but never turned in a completed thesis. Why? I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to go where no one else had been. I wanted to introduce the world to new exciting ideas and truths that would defy the laws of physics.

In my teens I dreamed of being a screenwriter. For years I never took the leap, when I was married, I finally did. I took a screenwriting class at a local Jr. College and felt success, and wanted to take it to another level.

The next level was an attempt at a fellowship. I entered a competition for a fellowship at USC. I made it into the final round. I remember the excitement of getting the letter and scheduling the interview. I took a half day at work. Looking back on it now, the interview I did was horrible. A week later, I got a rejection letter. I was so discouraged and depressed. I felt as if I shouldn’t write. That I wasn’t allowed to write. I continued to write. I applied and got into another professional screenwriting program, and finished it.

The shadow side began to appear. I wrote to get famous. When I was in a screenwriting program, I would dream of winning academy awards and being filthy rich. I wanted wealth, and I wanted recognition. There is a wrestling match that goes on. I would apply to writing contests and get rejected. I would go to screenwriting panels and listen to writers on TV shows and movies, and I would be bitter, envious, desiring what they had. I live in Los Angeles, so I had access.

When I identified my desires to be famous, and wealthy, I would shame myself, and say that I wasn’t authentic, that I wasn’t allowed to write until I could write from a particular place. So I didn’t write. I would start projects, make plans, and goals, then stop. That was wrong.


The secret to writing is writing, an excuse not to write is still an excuse not to write. I can’t wait until I have a perfect motivation or the right spirit. The only thing false humility does, it stops you from using your gifts and talents. It prevents you from sharing. It stops you from being generous.

Now I internalized all of this. I never argued with anyone. This even happened during altmba, I wanted to write the best posts every week, I expected to win one of the awards, when I didn’t I was bitter inside, I spit vitriol and bile internally. I hide this. I don’t talk about it.

Our words belong on paper, on blog posts, on computer screens. Our words and our stories need to be sent into the world.


Don’t keep your ideas in your head! It prevents you from sharing. It stops you from being generous. Our words belong on paper, on blog posts, on computer screens. Our words and our stories need to be sent into the world
If your words stay in your head, then all you are is a thinker. If your words make it from your head to paper, you are a thinker, and you and a writer. You are generous.

There is fear. Do an exercise with yourself and attempt to find the location of your anxiety. Find where it hides out. It doesn’t live in the expected place. I did this with myself and began to work towards the consistency I lacked.

I found a great writing community. It took awhile, and many failed attempts, but the Java community I write in now is perfect for me.

Before Java I wrote with a chip on my shoulder, very defensive inside, and even angry. Since I have joined Java, I write pursuing freedom, writing just to use my gifts, writing to contribute, and be part of a community.

Being in a community and sharing my writing has taken away the desire to compete, the desire to win. “When you know who you are, you don’t need to compete. Bernadette Jiwa said this in her book Story Driven. Being in a community of writers, I look forward to hearing about other’s people’s work, watching them advance. The world has room for all of our stories. My advice to anyone who wants to write is this, sit down with your paper, and your pen, and begin. Then share it. Then do it again, and again, and again.

Here is an exercise to try that I will leave you with. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open a new google doc or word doc. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. Now stare at the empty page. That page is your friend, your companion. That page will be home for your best work. A page is a safe place. It is a five-star resort in the Maldives. Your ideas, stories, journal entries. They will be safe on the blank page. See your words living and thriving on that blank page. Soon people will come to that blank page to visit your words. Your stories. When the timer stops, pick up the pen, or put your hands on the keys. Take a deep breath. Your stories aren’t afraid. They want to be on the page, they want to be free. It will be ok. Now begin to write. Begin to type. Remember the words of Sting – “ If you love somebody set them free.

How are you doing?

“ How was your weekend?” “ How are you doing ?” “ What do you do ?” These are questions that I ask frequently, and they are also questions that people ask of me. I usually answer the questions with one word. My weekend -I say okay, How am I doing? Fine or good is the response. As for what I do. 99.9 percent of the time the answer is centered around my occupation.


Those answers in my mind are like religious doctrine. The inner urge prompts me to respond the same, each time and not stray from the safe path. But why?

I began to reflect. Excellent, Good, or where I work, why do I respond this way to people. Why do people react to me in the same way?


So why not change. I started to answer with more detail. The weekend was beautiful, I went to see a movie with my son, I went to the library. Or I am a bit stressed, my family is leaving on a trip.


Have you ever answered with my weekend was terrible or I am feeling terrible? Have you ever told people who asked what you did, with a non- occupation-related response? Instead of I am in XYZ profession, have you ever said, I read comic books and put the cream and sugar in the coffee cup before I pour the coffee?


I am curious? What are some of the different ways possible to answer those questions, and why do we hold back more specific answers? What answer has the chance to build a connection?


I would enjoy hearing from people who are reading – Do you give one-word answers to common questions, or do you give more specific answers? What are other items that we can ask people to build a connection? To be generous? To show empathy? Let me know in the comments.

Podcasting.

On Saturday, I sat down to record my first podcast of 2019. I have spent the last few months working on my new job, creating content for my blog, and researching and writing episodes for my podcast. Saturday was my day to record and post new content.

I was all set, and my cord to my microphone broke. No need to panic! Amazon to the rescue. For a mere five dollars and 99 cents, a new cable was on the way!

My goal was to have my episode up before my bi-weekly accountability group met. No sweat. No panic. No blood on the floor. It would just have to wait !


I am proud of my podcast. The Steven Thompson Experience is a product that came out of the Altmba that I completed in the summer of 2017. I currently have 81 episodes of the show finished. I want to share with you some the fruit that was borne from my podcast. Hopefully, it can help you get unstuck or keep you moving forward.


My podcast has given me new friends, around the world.- I have been meeting every other Sat at 12pm pst with a group of podcasters, we meet through zoom, and every meeting we hear from a presenter as we discuss our craft.

My podcast gives me a project that I own and call all the shots. At work people give me assignments, I have a boss, I have deadlines, I have time to arrive, a time to leave, and an office to go to. My podcast, I do it my way. I listen to feedback, I make changes, but in the end, what I do comes from me.

My podcast was instrumental in me getting my current job. Currently, I serve as A director of curriculum and instruction at a school for at-risk kids with special needs. I enjoy each day that I work there. After that my fourth interview was with the two other directors who had been working together for over a decade. After they hired me, they told me they listened to my podcast, and that played a crucial role in them learning about me.

My podcast challenged me- In October- I made up a term call podtober, I created and released a podcast every day during October- 31 days. 31 podcasts.

About my podcast- My podcast is created around things I enjoy- Music, History, Theology.

The format is simple- I pick a song by an artist I enjoy, and I build a podcast around it. I don’t interview people. It’s just me talking into a microphone.

I am the producer, the sound engineer, I write all the shows. I run my website, and my social media accounts. I market it . I love it. I have a Blue Yeti microphone that I purchased with the money I won playing fantasy football. I host it on podbean which sends it out to all the popular podcasting formats. I record each show on a ten year old macbook using quick-time. Today I recorded episode 82. I work a full time job, I am a dad, and a husband. I live in Los Angeles. I say this in hopes that you will see what you do as constraints and not obstacles. Your career is you love it or if you hate , doesn’t matter. You have an opportunity to bring your talents, gifts, and full self to everything you do. Every day. Your dreams, and goals you can pursue them if it is for five minutes or five hours a day.

My cord just arrived just in time for me to record and publish my first episode of the year- It is called Freedom based on the song Freedom by Beyonce. Have a listen. Then check out some of the shows from last year. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, tell a friend. Also, do this for me. What are you working on? If you have stopped, just start again. If you are working, share it with a friend. Then go back and continue to work. That is how a community is built, and a community of people using there gifts and talents, not perfectly but consistently can create a positive change in our world.

On Writing

My first memory of writing is when I was about four or five. My mom would send letters back and forth to my oldest brother, who was in the Army. I decided to sit down and write him a letter. My little hands discovered pens and paper. I sat down at the table and wrote. when I was finished I handed the letter to my mom. I saw her look at it, and she put it into an envelope to mail. The only problem with this is that I didn’t know the alphabet, or how to form letters or sentences, so my message was just squiggly lines on the paper. At that moment, I wrote. It wasn’t perfect. Yet I think deep down my brother appreciated getting something from his little brother. Writing isn’t always about content. It is about contribution and sharing with others.


Writing has always been a constant companion.


When I have written, writing had allowed me to have my most significant accomplishments. Yet when I held back my writing, it has led to some of my biggest regrets.

In college, it was my writing that got me placed in advanced English. When I burned down my college career, my writing saved me. It was my letter to the Dean got my back into school. I still remember the dean why was I failing out of school? He said my writing was very good.

Yet my lack of writing was a contributor to me not finishing two Master Degrees. I wanted to write THE Thing instead of a thing. I researched, and researched composed pages but never turned in a completed thesis. Why? I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to go where no one else had been. I wanted to introduce the world to new exciting ideas, and truths that would defy the laws of physics.


There is fear. Do an exercise with yourself and attempt to find the location of your anxiety. Find where it hides out. It doesn’t live in the expected place. I did this with myself and discovered a new site.

I believe my fear, is tied to competition, I am a competitive person. I want to win. I want to be the best, I want to be praised, and when I don’t get it, I get upset. For example in first grade we had a young authors contest, I wrote a story about a sabertooth tiger befriending a dinosaur, on the day of the awards I expected to win when I didn’t I was pissed.


Now I internalized all of this. I never argued with anyone. This even happened during altmba, I wanted to write the best posts every week, I expected to win one of the awards, when I didn’t I was bitter inside, I spit vitriol and bile internally. I hide this. I don’t talk about it.


I wrote to get famous. When I was in a screenwriting program, I would dream of winning academy awards and being filthy rich. I wanted wealth, and I wanted recognition. There is a wrestling match that goes on.

When I identified my desires to be famous, and wealthy, I would shame myself, and say that I wasn’t authentic, that I wasn’t allowed to write until I could write from a particular place. So I didn’t write. I would start projects, make plans, and goals, then stop. That was wrong. The secret to writing is writing, an excuse not to write is still an excuse not to write. I can’t wait until I have a perfect motivation or the right spirit. The only thing false humility does, it stops you from using your gifts and talents. It prevents you from sharing. It stops you from being generous. Our words belong on paper, on blog posts, on computer screens. Our words and our stories need to be sent into the world.

If your words stay in your head, then all you are is a thinker. If your words make it from your head to paper, you are a thinker, and you and a writer. You are generous.


Before Java I wrote with a chip on my shoulder, very defensive inside, and even angry. Since I have joined Java, I write pursuing freedom, writing just to use my gifts, writing to contribute and be part of a community.

Sometimes I still want to be famous and wealthy. But I know that fame and wealth that doesn’t make me a writer. It just means that people are paying me for my writing. A writer is a person who writes. That is what I do each week.

Being in a community and sharing my writing has taken away the desire to compete, the desire to win. “When you know who you are, you don’t need to compete.”  Bernadette Jiwa said this in her book Story Driven . Being in a community of writers, I look forward to hearing about other’s people’s work, watching them advance. The world has room for all of our stories. My advice to anyone who wants to write is this, sit down with your paper, and your pen, and begin. Then share it. Then do it again, and again, and again.

Dad

My wife and son are two incredible people. Today they cooked me breakfast, gave me a new Avengers and Star Wars T-shirt, and a coffee mug. After church, they took me out to lunch. The place we ate at had a life-size connect four set. I lost to my son when we played.

I often find myself reflecting on my dad and what he taught me.


One of my earliest memories of my Father involved candy, Pluto Mickey Mouses dog, and a red balloon. We were returning from a trip to the mall, and when I got out of the car, I accidentally let go of my red balloon. I remember my Father chasing it as floated away. As a five-year-old, I was upset that I lost a balloon, today I know it wasn’t about the balloon, but it was my dad caring about how I felt he chased it for me.


I recall when I was in 8th grade, he took me to purchase a new suit for my solo and ensemble performance. He expressed to me the importance of dressing like a professional.


My Father died when I was 17. I was 37 when I became a dad, so for twenty years, Father’s Day to me stirred the emotions of sadness, loss, grief, indifference, and at times, longing.

When I became a Father, the other emotions made room for joy. For the last few years, the pleasure of being a Father has sat next to the grief and sorrow and taught me how to draw positive memories from them. Now I look back and think of my Father, and I miss him dearly. Yet I appreciate and marvel at him and all he accomplished. He fought in World War 2. He grew up in Alabama and experienced a level of racism that is only reserved for history books. He worked for over forty years as a rural mail carrier and modeled a work ethic that he passed down to me. I recall him telling me that it didn’t matter where I worked or what I did, but he said always give you best, give 100 percent.


He would paraphrase this quote- by MLK- “If a man is called to be a street sweeper. He should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all hosts of heaven and earth pause to say; Here lives a great sweeper who did his job well “.


I miss my dad. Wish he could’ve been around to see me graduate from college, to have been able to meet my wife Kim and my son Jordan. Many times I sit and wish that I could get his advice or ask questions about a life issue.

One item I would like to pass on.


Learn to receive the love of the people around you while they are around. Pause and fully take in each moment that you have, appreciate the sites, the sounds, the beauty that surrounds you. If someone you love is no longer around find the moments of appreciation and take them in. The lessons my dad tried to teach me when I was in my teens, I wasn’t ready to receive them in my teens. I know understand they were seeds, seeds the continued to grow inside of me. Today I understand and comprehend more and more of what he was trying to do for me.

Relax

How do I relax? I asked myself this question on Saturday morning. The week was busy. Late nights at work with graduation activities. End of the year paperwork. Then getting my son registered for summer camp and all involved in that.

I was tired, but my mind keeps generating ideas and projects to work on. Even on Saturday at 4:30am. Relaxing has to be an intentional act, or it just won’t happen.

In the morning I went to the Cow’s End a coffee shop near the beach in Los Angeles the place is a cash-only business. This is becoming more and rarer these days. I ordered a large vanilla nut with room for cream and headed upstairs. Once seated, I opened my journal and began to write in between sips of coffee.


Journaling is a great way to detox the mind and realign. After completing my coffee, I headed out to the beach. It is nice to walk along the sand and stare into the ocean, watching the surfers. One new habit is listening to the waves. I took some books back to the library and checked out some new ones. As I hear, I just allow my mind to rest. Later that day, my son and I went to see the Secret Life of Pet’s 2. At night I spent time listening to music and coloring.


My wife and I were scheduled to speak in church on Sunday, so we practiced what we were going to share, and then on Sunday, our sharing went great. It is refreshing to be able to share together, and the minister who introduced us, about made me cry as he shared about my wife and I and the friendship that we shared with him and his wife.


A busy weekend is still a relaxing weekend. Even as I prepare for the week ahead of me, I think to myself, I am looking forward to going to work on Monday.


I feel for me, that busy is my default way to move through the world. It is uncomfortable to sit still. I am not upset about it. I enjoy the activity.


I look forward to Saturday, but I don’t dread Monday’s. I have a lot of stress, but the joy of having pressure is all the beautiful outlets available to me to manage it. Each day brings worries about money, bills, parenting, what I hear on the news about the state of the world, and my own health concerns. Yet each day also brings sunrises, cool breezes, audiobooks, music, relationships, and new experiences. I can’t eliminate the outside world. I can work on my own internal temperature. The world isn’t either or. It is both / and.

$$$

50 Million Dollars. That is the amount of money my ex-boss is accused of stealing from the State Of California. While sitting in my office closing out my day, I noticed a text message from an old co-worker. It read- “

Hey, did you hear about Sean? “ Sean was my ex-boss. I hadn’t heard, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t right. I knew what happened, a quick google search turned up the following article- Charter School Steals Millions from California.

WOW. OMG. As I read the article, and we exchanged texts, I just shook my head. This wasn’t a surprise or a shock at all. About six years ago, Sean recruited me away from my school to be his high school principal for a virtual school he was building. At Starbucks, he laid out his vision, and it was inspiring. I was excited about the work I would be doing. It didn’t take long for the shine to wear off.

Sean was as Seth Godin calls it, “ A carnival barker” He could cast a vision, and get people behind it. Yet the glaring holes soon became apparent.

One of the things that upset me the most is that he cut my salary and gave me more responsibilities. I got a promotion and a salary cut at the same time. He told me the grant for my salary expired. This was a lie. I read the budgets, I read the tax filings, I saw people who didn’t nothing making six figures. I stopped speaking to him. I put my head down and served the students.

One night we got an email that said he had been removed as CEO from the company. He went on to start the organization that defrauded the state.

50 million and 283 million dollars in contracts before the indictment.

I read the full indictment with all of the charges. In the middle of it, I saw a familiar name. When Sean was tossed out of the school, he founded some of the teachers went to work for him. I was the Elementary School Principal. I spent a year apologizing for all the promises Sean broke to parents, and in the second year after his removal, things began to settle down.

One day our CEO came to me and said that one of the teachers had been working for Sean on the side, which was a violation of our policy, and we had to let him go. When I talked to the teacher, he said that Sean was going to make him a Principal. I told him that if he wanted to be a Principal, I would’ve shown him how. I advised him against the move, and now I read his name in the charges.


These crimes are out in the open. Sean didn’t put on a ski mask and rob people, he didn’t break bad and deal meth. He exploited legal loopholes. People in leadership positions signed off on what he was doing. School accounting and finances are very complicated, it is a maze of regulations.

Sean isn’t the first person I have worked for in my education career who has been indicted on criminal charges. He is the second. About ten years ago, my employers were tried, convicted, and sent to jail for school finance issues.

I will admit. It depressed me a bit, and my inner critic told me that I was a failed educator because I have built the majority of my career working for criminals.

I shook it off. This past week I was able to share about a group of students at their graduation luncheon. I arrived at the school in January and had made it a priority to build relationships with students and create learning experiences for them. I had one tiny habit.

Every day I would stand in the driveway and great every student as they came off the bus. Each day I do that, and I give students a fist bump. By doing that I learned names, built relationships, and was able to share at the luncheon.

Sharing at the luncheon made me feel good again. Deep down I know that prioritizing students is important.

Schools are for children. I know Sean didn’t work directly with kids. When you don’t work directly with kids, all you see are excel spreadsheets and the amount of money the state pays per pupil. If you looked into the eyes of kids and heard their stories, you wouldn’t be trying to cheat the government to pad your pockets.

What a fool believes.

The title of this post comes from a song by the Doobie Brothers. I selected it because I am listening to the song as I type.

I post to this blog every Sunday. During the week, I have five to ten ideas that float around in my head, and one or two make it to paper, then one makes it to the blog. This week I decided I wanted to write some poetry. In addition to writing the poetry, I wanted to challenge myself.

The challenge I came up with was to pick a style of poetry. Pick a poet who wrote in that style, then follow the poet’s structure, but use my own words.

I chose abstract poetry- Here is a definition of abstract poetry– “describe a poem in which the words are selected for their aural quality rather than specifically for their sense or meaning. “

The poet I selected was Edith Sitwell. I chose a section from her 1923 poem Facade. Below is an excerpt from her poem.

The red retriever-haired satyr
Can whine and tease her and flatter,

But Lily O’Grady,
Silly and shady,
In the deep shade is a lazy lady;
Now Pompey’s dead, Homer’s read,
Heliogabalus lost his head,
And shade is on the brightest wing,
And dust forbids the bird to sing.

Next, I broke the poem down by lines and words.

9 lines
Line 1 – 5 words
Line 2- 7 words
Line 3- 3 words
Line 4- 3 words
Line 5- 8 words
Line 6- 5 words.
Line 7- 4 words
Line 8-7 words
Line 9- 7 words.

So I set out to write a nine-line poem with 49 words. Check it out below.

The blue sweater by Heather.

Torn and tattered still held us together.

Yet Johnny Honey.

Stole our money

Him sitting on the roof is not funny.

Now Icarus flew Picasso drew.

Tiberius in statue grew

And flowing tears scald the dark eyes.

And grief joins bitterness steals the prize.

I observed my thinking during this process. I discovered that I was thinking about the word count for each line. By pondering only the word count. I completed the poem. I also found that I don’t have a title for the poem. I am going to leave it untitled. Which also feels better. Leave room for the unknown. Our lives are wide open and incomplete isn’t a bad thing, Incomplete means you have room to fill your space with hope and possibility. So go listen to your favorite music and discover a new poet.

S of C

Right now, I am waiting for my doctor to enter the room. I am thinking to myself, and asking this question “Why is the song My name is Prince running through my head”? I am typing these words on a google doc using my phone. I seem to marvel that I can type a document using only my thumbs.

I have no idea what I am writing about. In addition, really no assertion this week. My blood pressure was a bit high. I have been taking my medicine. So why is it a bit high? Could it be nerves or maybe some liquid? The first question I will ask my doctor when he came in and inquired about it is dos caffeine spike your blood pressure.

I have an hour commute through LA traffic to get to my doctor’s office, and I needed a venti drip from Starbucks to help get me through it. That and the James Comey book on Leadership. So coffee and Hilary’s email server got me through the trip and also calmed my nerves.

I forgot my physical, that was scheduled this past week, but that pesky bells palsy seems to have returned along with an aching pain in my left arm that bugs the tar out of me.


I decided that My name is Prince needed to go, so now I have Rebel Yell by Billy Idol going in my mind. This was by choice, considering all that I read about being able to select and choose what goes through our minds. Better to write and think about Billy Idol than to create catastrophic ideas about my condition. I really want to lay back on the exam table but won’t do it, I also am out of ideas for some sort of twist to bring everything together.

Part of me can hear people saying this article is unreadable and doesn’t have a point, but do we always need to have a point? Can’t I just live in the I don’t know? Yup there it is. I don’t know. I don’t have an assertion or three points or advice to give. Just my phone, google docs, free WiFi, and Billy Idol was running through my head. Guess Rebel Yell is appropriate for an article without a point or assertion. Good news is that the Bells hasn’t returned. The bad news is that my doctor thinks that I may have a pinched nerve. Now I am off to radiology to get some x-rays.

MOM

Dorothy Hatchett was born in Henderson Kentucky in 1929. She was the sixth of eight children. She married Tommie Lucas Thompson when she was 21 years old. They married on her parent’s farm in September. Tommie and Dorothy moved to the suburbs of Chicago to start a family together.

Dorothy had four boys during her lifetime. The fourth was born twenty years after her first born. Her first born passed away from a heart condition when he was two.

I was the fourth boy born to Dorothy. She was my mom. Today on Mother’s Day what I have left of my mom is memories. She passed away twelve years ago.

I believe that my mothers’ experiences on Mother’s Day were ones of joy and of grief. My mom never talked about my brother and her feelings surrounding his loss. Yet I have to know that the first Mothers Day after his death had to be painful. I also know that before he was born my mom had several miscarriages.

On Mother’s Day, it is essential to remember that there are people who experience pain on this day, sorrow for what they lost and sadness for what they long for.

My mom loved me unconditionally. I have great memories, my mom. I recall her picking me up after school when I had band or baseball practice. I always found her in the crowd at my many concerts, and her hugging me on my wedding day.

I also know that I frustrated her. When I got off the bus from my 8th grade Washington Trip, she came up to me to give me a hug. I had been gone for a week. I told her not to hug me because I didn’t want my friends to think I was soft.

That hurt her feelings. Today I know what it is like to send your child out into the world. I cringe now when I think of that moment. If I could have a redo, I would take it and would’ve hugged her when I got off the bus.

I still remember composing her eulogy on a plane flying home to Chicago from Los Angeles. I recall discussing the unconditional love she had for me. No matter how many times I messed up, she still loved me. It didn’t matter what I achieved or didn’t accomplish, I was her baby boy.

I am now married and have a son. Each year I make a point to teach him to honor his mother on this day. The reason is that my wife is my wife, but to him, she is his mom. This morning I had him make my wife breakfast. He made coffee, eggs, and sausages.


We gave her gifts and took her to lunch after church. My wife was happy today.


I am glad that on this day that I can experience all of my emotions in there various forms, and I am thankful for the opportunity to teach my son, and celebrate my wife, and all the other moms in my community.


Mother’s Day is a day of joy for some and grief for others. Neither is better than the other. In life, we learn to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.