It Matters

Dear Mom and Dad,

Remember how you wished like nobody’s business that there was even any small indication that your words and efforts were making a difference?  Especially when it seemed as if you had the most thankless (not to mention endless) job on the planet with nothing to quantify it?

Those days when time after time (quite possibly the 3,459,812th time) you packed everybody up, including 2 or 3 friends, for a youth event or special evening? When reality stated that you would rather be home in your own pajamas relaxing and enjoying some much deserved down time?

Let’s talk about costuming and the planning, shopping for, and eventual execution thereof? And I’m not simply referring to the holiday beginning with “H”.  Rather, I’m encompassing every outing, Boy and Girl Scout function, church youth group extravaganza, and whatnot…where they pled for that extra effort so their team could “win?”

Finally, there are the books.  Endless stacks, piles, and myriads of sing-songy, rhyming types that when you are weary, make you long for an adult book group.

And the Where’s Waldo picture books.  If I had life experience for every time I went looking for him…chances are the best of the best detective agencies would clamor for my hire.

Maybe, just maybe, you are beyond most of the above…in the home stretch with only one or two children left under your roof. Your days consist of “checking in” with young adults while still directing older children. And yet at times, you still wonder.

Until you receive a text the likes of this:

“Helping our youth group leaders with a Real-Life Waldo event. So fun!”

Accompanied by this amazing picture:

Where's Waldo Reagan and Tabitha1

And in that moment, once again, you are reminded that example trumps words every time, that what you are saying is molding, shaping and leaving an indelible impression on hearts and minds; serving to shape future values and priorities. And that your influence is stretched beyond yourself, producing residuals beyond anything you could have ever been paid to do in the “here and now.”

What you’re doing today and every day?

It Matters.



You know how you go along in life as the parents/adults?  And often you “think” you know what this kid or that kid would be great at or should possibly do?  And then…then? Well take a look at this! I’m still in shock, and it’s the very best kind! The punk stellar young man on the left, is the son of my friends Cathy and Dave Brown. Chad attended FanFest for Mariners baseball last Saturday, and snagged a spot in the Roots Sports booth.  Holy Cow!  It’s like he’s been a commentator for years!  My older kids were so pumped,while my youngest (rabid Mariners fan) sat with his mouth hanging open. Literally.

Just goes to show you…you simply never know.  Life is full of interesting things.  And chances are, you really haven’t a clue as to the talent, potential and possibilities belonging to those individuals with whom you live.  What a privilege it is to dwell with greatness.  It is an even greater one to watch it unfold!

While it is often said that parenting isn’t for whimps…it is most definitely for the privileged!

GO CHAD! He’s got the “head nod” part down really well, dontcha think?!



This could possibly be the longest, biggest “sports blitz” I have ever been on in my life! Over and out.


And Then There’s This One…

I’m still pondering one of the hottest trends on the web. Wrote about it Tuesday, didn’t excuse poor behavior; and read this yesterday.  A lot of food for thought.

Own your errors, admit it when you’re out of line…but man! This has gotten way out of control!

I hope you’ll read the article and weigh in.

Richard Sherman classless

To Read the Article, Click Here


A Definite Blessing Through Adversity

Bruce Brown1

The greatest adversity in my life thus far has been the circumstances and aftermath of my brother’s death.

Even the greatest of cliches in life resonates truth when the rubber meets the road.  Adversity builds character, and with it, can unwrap gifts that are incredible.

From the time my brother entered junior high, Bruce Brown began to mold and influence his pliable young life.  The results were much of what you grew to love, admire, and cherish about Tim.

I knew Bruce and his wife, Dana, through my brother.  When he passed, they, along with so many others, supported, encouraged, served, and bolstered me.

They continue to.

Bruce’s legacy within athletics is impressive, illustrious, and chock-full of success.  He is a man who weighs that success in consistent, measured contacts with former students, athletes and coaches. Oh, and there are “cheerleader-loving-sisters-of-former-student-brothers-who-turn-out-amazing” types like me in there, too!

That last post resonated with so many of you!  I smiled at all of the commentary I received in e-mails, comments, and face-to-face.

Bruce is gracious to me and reads the blog.  His wisdom is so faithful to encourage, connect, and uplift others.

It is my privilege to share his words with you here.  Good things do come from adversity, and many of them are true blessings in disguise.

He’s one of them.


“Well said! Listen for truth, separate out the mean spirited or garbage and flush it – keep your focus on the people (like me) where you are making a difference.

WIN – What’s Important Now – move forward and don’t let anyone impact the positive energy.

Secure people solve problems, insecure people create problems when they don’t even exist.

You’re the best!”

I happen to think that he is. Those are some insights to file away; and they are guaranteed to bless during and through adversity!



Linden tree

You know how you attend any number of large gatherings, and someone invariably takes to the podium, announcing that they have a few housekeeping items?

What in the holy heck DOES that really mean?  You’re generally in a hotel, surrounded by people being paid to accommodate you, and this is the best we can do for this title?

Well, today, is just a quick rant on my part, 14 days into this new year.

I went from a happy-but-significant post about my brother , commitment, friendship and the power of traditions, to the following statement on a photo:

“There comes a point when you have to realize that you’ll never be good enough for some people. The question is, is that their problem or yours?”

A bit of a wind suck/energy drain, is it not?  And yet, if you will allow me, I think it needs to be addressed just a bit further.

In recent days, I have had a rather daunting series of negative, critical, and unsolicited input regarding any number of topics; but inclusive of: my personal intents and actions,(albeit misinterpreted) business decisions, children and their choices, several of my personal choices…you get the idea.  And have I mentioned this is only a partial list?

As I see it…

Decisions, priorities, choices and convictions should reflect the unique, significant and beautiful diversity of your own life and calling.  It is honestly baffling to me how many opinions, influences from peers, and societal expectations, influence often significant choices and personal actions.  If we “go against” any of those expectations by honoring conviction that is personal…and lo and behold it works out…then we are simply “lucky”, or better yet…actually admired for not listening in the first place!

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe that criticism can be and often is, a wonderful tool that is there to mold, shape and influence. It can be a catalyst for an idea, which possibly gives birth to a concept; ultimately even bringing about change.  I’m talking abut criticism that is there for the purpose of building up rather than the kind that was wielded with destruction as the intent of choice.  They are very different beasts indeed.

Charting the course of one’s life in order to have the end result be a reward of significance and making a difference is serious business.  And it involves evaluation, engaging and encouragement on many levels.

Perhaps if everyone spent as much time analyzing PERSONAL intent, work ethic, commitment, and conviction…the need to “keep house” contingent on the approval of others, could give way to greatness occurring on a regular basis that emphasized an extroverted focus rather than an introverted neurosis.

You have but one life. Live it, love it, and lead in such a way, that your own house is in order.

Oh, and know this: great leadership doesn’t sacrifice conviction and excellence for popularity; whether or not people of significance are doing it.

If you aren’t being criticized by someone, chances are…you aren’t risking enough.

And someone needed to hear this today.  Possibly me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some further personal housekeeping to do!


Irreplaceable Gifts

I was lying on the bed several different evenings over the span of the holidays with Son #5, recapping gifts that have been both given and received. It’s amazing the impact that a few wrapped items regardless of size or value, can bring to an individual.

But what about those gifts, often taken for granted, that are priceless, never have duplicates, and require consistent investment both on the part of the giver as well as receiver?

Yes, I’m talking about legacy and friendship.

I’ve written here before about my friend Cathy’s love for football. But the love for football has deep roots and connections to a lot of life that has been lived over the years, memories that have been made, jokes that are consistently referenced, and finally…regret-free living.  That’s one of life’s best gifts ever, is it not?

You’ve seen this picture several times before.

Kaba Award 3

It represents the last Jamboree in June of 2011 my brother coached.

Kaba Award 31

What hasn’t been highlighted, is the fact that this particular event was an hour away from Newport, and an equal distance from Cathy’s home.

Working full time, having a schedule that reflected that, and a son still in high school; it was a stretch to request that she attend.  Tim asked her to be there.

And she almost said no. But have I mentioned how much she loves football?

As you well know by now, I’m there for two things: the cheerleaders and half-time show.

Tim rode the bus, and my mom and I, who were visiting Seattle at the time, road with Cathy.

Cath and Ter at Newport Jamboree1

She watched each play fervently, texting my brother on the field regularly with her commentary.  ( THAT was appreciated…NOT!)

Afterward, Tim rode with us and we stopped for dinner at his favorite place: Red Robin.

They talked players and plays, plans for the season, and ins and outs of football that I shall never get no matter how many years pass by.

It was late when we were finished.  We said our goodbyes, hugged one another…and that was it for Cath and Tim.


For in September, Tim was gone.

Over the Christmas holidays, Cathy and her kids visited Southern California.  Born and raised here, she returns often, and we have been Disneyland buddies and “family” for over 20 years. Despite the fact that her husband, Dave couldn’t make it at the last minute, she forged ahead, making the drive alone.

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip01

But really, there is so much more to it.

Here we are this last trip.

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip1

I had received a text that we were going to have “Ugly Sweater Day.”

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip09

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip10

Something we pulled off rather well, if I do say so myself.

Park goers had some serious commentary about our group.

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip03

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip04

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip05

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip07

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip08

Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip06

Our group that had individuals in it, who had driven an hour or more to be a part of said day’s festivities.

At a season of the year when time itself becomes a gift and commitments encroach upon structured schedules in every way; priorities must be chosen.

For most of our now very mature adult lives, we have been investing in traditions.


Ugly Sweater Disneyland trip02

(Notice the WET in this shot?)

Those traditions have given way to legacy. A legacy of traditions and events that have woven deep and lasting relationships: relationships that can only become this rich and meaningful with time.

While we were discussing the football Jamboree, Cath said to me ( for about the 100th time), “You have no idea how grateful I am that I overlooked convenience and decided to go.  Because of one decision, I have no regrets.”

Life is rarely convenient, and relationships are forged through adversity; regardless of how big or small.

I’m so grateful that amongst our friends and family we can offer and build into our children true gifts:

Gifts of lifelong relationship coupled with no regrets.

Irreplaceable indeed.

Here’s to many more in 2014.

Just a Friendly Reminder…

Salvation Army Kettle3

Just a friendly reminder during this Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

a season of good will and cheer.

If you are looking for venues to give charitably…

The Salvation Army kettles are a wonderful option.

This past weekend, as we pulled up in front of our local Trader Joes…

Salvation Army Kettle1

there were our friends the Whites and the Blodgetts!

They were cheerfully singing while ringing the bell!

The kids were adorable in the child-sized aprons…

and my friend Genevieve…

Salvation Army Kettle2

was a two-fisted ringer!

A couple of facts for your learning pleasure:

The Salvation Army does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or religion…

and one hundred percent of everything you give to the red kettle stays in the local community…

where it is received to address needs there.

Easy-peasy!  And definitely a way to help “Do the Most Good!”

World Changers

I remember approaching Dr. Oliver DeMille at a function in which we were seated in a classroom where beautiful portraits hung on the walls.  They were made in a fashion to look like oil paintings, and I had been studying them for quite some time while the lecture was going on. (Busted.) Individuals I recollect were Abigail Adams, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa and Benito Juarez. There were others, who sadly, escape me in this moment.

I had been pondering the lives of these people, who weren’t without mistakes; some of which produced consequences that were less than desirable, or even admirable.

“Dr. DeMille, I’m wondering how one reconciles looking to some of these individuals, when perhaps character and integrity were comprised at pivotal times within the course of their lives. Clearly I ask based on my own values and core, but still; I ask.”

He smiled and clarified something that I have not forgotten.

“Within the context of Leadership Education, the idea isn’t to always find world leaders and icons from history with which our own values and core principles align. Rather, it is to look to the attributes, qualities, characteristics and methodologies that they employed that brought about a ground swell that changed the world. There is, and always will be great opportunity for personal growth and epiphany when studying through that lens.  Especially when we begin to see patterns that emerge that are similar in nature.”

Freedom lies within the facts that I don’t have to agree with everything you have done, represent, or value, in order to learn from your life and be profoundly challenged and changed.

This man deserves to be honored for remaining steadfast to tenets in which he believed. When faced with adversity, he chose to become self-educated. And without a doubt, he changed the world.

I, for one, am grateful that he lived, and for the inspiration through his example I have been able to glean; because my life has been present on this planet alongside his.


  Nelson Mandela quote1


Three Additional Gifts

I was overwhelmed at the kindnesses expressed by many of you regarding the previous post “True Gifts.” Some commented here, others e-mailed, while still others sent texts.

Yesterday, an incredible man was laid to rest. And in keeping with both legacy and the season, he gave me three additional gifts in the form of poignant reminders.

It is my privilege to share them with you now.

1. Service to God and country affords freedom: both personal and collective.

Dale Young Graveside1

Dale Young Graveside22

I wept profusely at the privilege of witnessing military honors.  I never tire of them. Sacrificing for freedom ushers in abundance of spirit.  Abundance of spirit gives birth to possibility.  And possibility is endless where freedom exists.  Honoring God is the bonus that guarantees a kind of success that can’t be defined.  Dale risked all, and therefore gained all; both by the world’s standards as well as Heaven’s.

2. Family Is a Grounding Source In All We Do.

Dale Young Graveside2

Dale Young Graveside3

What you are seeing present here, are Dale’s immediate family members plus a few employees and friends. Very few. It is mostly just family.

The community service will be after the first of the new year.

Pretty magnificent site, is it not?

Despite differences, disagreements and viewpoints that often may not align completely; at the end of the day, family matters. It grounds, supports, defines and refines us. All of us. While for many people, the basic family unit may not be pleasant, what we ultimately choose to do with those circumstances will make or break our lives.

What you choose to leave speaks very clearly to what you valued, invested in, and prioritized. Today I saw the fruit of that priority and it was a beautiful thing.

3. Never lose sight of where you came from and who you are.

Dale Young Graveside25

The simple, unadorned beauty of Dale’s casket was thought provoking.  Afterward, it was shared in conversation with a family member, that he personally dictated exactly how it was to be.

Community icon, extremely successful, capable and self-sufficient; Dale didn’t let it go to his head. Rather, he viewed his resources and positions as tools within a framework that allowed him to bless as well as influence others for good. Quietly. Faithfully. Without a lot of hoopla, fanfare or glory seeking. He was an individual that never lost sight of who he was or where he came from.  A rather novel perspective in today’s Western Worldview, is it not?

Those are my three things.  They were generous reminders, indeed.

I guess there were really four.

Never underestimate the power of association and friendship.  It will make or break you; for influence is everything.

Dale Young Graveside26

Merry Christmas to me.


True Gifts

The shallow nature of Black Friday events complete with trampling, assaults, and arrests were front and center by Saturday of this past weekend. High drama and spin are the only things appearing to be worthy of attention by the media. And yet, with the holiday season officially under way, there can be gifts offered to us that may prove to be the very best that are given.  Timeless, character-building, and ultimately treasured; they will call to us year after year; for the lessons they offer, are of the kind that will continue to keep on giving.

Son #3 is the fortunate and grateful recipient this season. Hero Hubby “volunteered” him for a job that served to bless and honor an elderly gentleman in need. Initially, said son was not the least bit amused. Those of you who have graciously read for any period of time, realize that the #3 position in our family birth order comes equipped with heavy doses of humor. And ADHD. And a childhood filled with antics resulting in adventures, as well as an overwhelming amount of misunderstanding on the part of onlookers.

These so-called maladies have also historically come with ticks, knee-jerk responses, and every cliche’ ever heard.  While the frustration exhibited by others isn’t entirely unfounded, what many have missed in the final years of maturing to young adulthood, have been the patience, compassion and rather biting insights that being labeled and misunderstood have forged within this child holding fast to position #3.

May I also add, that the sensitivity of kids who operate within the sphere of the ADD/ADHD world is quite often missed altogether by those seeking for the fast train out of their circle of influence! I know that on days that wear thin; seeming to appear as if absolutely no progress with the gift of a child such as this will ever be made, I too have been guilty.

And yet, the examples they set, and the occasions they often rise to, teach, encourage and minister to all those fortunate enough to witness them.

Their honesty can also be most convicting and refreshing.


Enter Dale.


And Harriet…


who together, upon settling in this valley, forged out staggeringly successful businesses laden with generosity and a profound sense of loyalty to community and others.  They are well-known for the practices surrounding those businesses that represent success, as well as the family they raised during 65 years of commitment to a marriage and loyal companionship.

“Um, Mom?” (Yes, it is one of those, “Can you see I’m laying here IN the bed, ATTEMPTING sleep?” moments.) “Can you talk?’

“I think I’m actually scared to take this job. I mean, I’m going to get close to him, and then he’s going to die.”

I couldn’t deny the candor or the fear with which he spoke.  After all, it has sort of been the theme of my own life for the past two years, in which he has also been both an observer as well as a key player.

Me: ” I understand.”  Because I really do. And yet, there were so many opportunities presenting themselves, that I could see based on living more of life than he.

I launched into a discussion of Dale and Harriet’s legacy, some of the amazing things that they have accomplished while forging a living and making a life.

It is a generation aware of sacrifice both personally and as a nation; a generation committed to keeping their word and living out conviction of purpose.

So off he went, Son #3, to assist Dale and oversee his needs when obligation and commitment kept family from doing so themselves 24/7.

In spite of limitation brought about through circumstance, a friendship was quickly formed, involving raw vulnerability, cooperation, and a lot of give and take.

On the days that he worked, #3 would come home with stories of looping vintage westerns and discussions forged through patience needed, while halted speech delivered the desired communication. Son #3 reciprocated with passionate commitment and loyalty that rose to each and every occasion presenting itself.

He observed the undying love between two ailing individuals, who regardless of daunting challenge, were nevertheless there for one another.

Harriet and Dale hand holding1

He infused their lives with his own brand of humor, and neither of them cared about the often existing shock factor. Rather, they responded with short, succinct answers that were equally as funny!

And most importantly, he learned to conquer fears and formerly daunting, nearly-impossible tasks.

He was gifted ability emotionally, while gifting the same in physical form.

The day after Thanksgiving, Dale passed.

Son #3 wept.  I must think hard to remember other times, it is so very rare.

“It’s harder than I thought.”

Me: “Was it worth it?”  There is a long pause.

“Yes. And I can’t wait to see him again when we can continue our friendship, and he is completely well. It will be so awesome.”

 True Gifts.  Often, they come in many forms, through interesting circumstances, while leaving us extremely rich; yet possessing nothing tangible.

Son #3 has received many from a man who, by all appearances and circumstances seemingly had none left.

And he isn’t content to stop.  This past Saturday I received a text: “I’m at the beauty parlor with Grandma. (Harriet) “I don’t feel uncomfortable now being around people I can’t understand. It’s all good.” While this was in the context of Spanish flying, as dryers blasted, it is a deep insight from one generation into another as well.

A truer gift would be hard to find.

Let the season of gift giving begin!


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