@Matt Brillhart -- I'm just normal guy trying to leave a ripple in this sea of life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember When...

Everyone in USA will be confronted with memories of 11 years ago. "The Day That Changed The World" is a very true statement. I had just moved to Ohio and left my wife in Omaha to finish selling our house as I started a new job--a new life.  It definitely was a life-changing day. It was the "modern-day Pearl Harbor" for Americans. It impacted how I viewed the world and it definitely impacted how we currently live in the world. I was angry, I was scared. 

Each of us have significant memories/moments in our life that makes us go a different direction--whether emotionally, physically, professionally, psychologically, etc. These moments are wake-up calls. Sometimes they are a complete redirection of your life and/or feelings. These moments might be a short conversation or off-the-cuff circumstance--or they could even be a large life impacting/threatening event. Regardless, they impact us.

Unfortunately, we often keep these feelings/thoughts too short-lived. Within a short period of time, we go back to our "old normal". We lose the zeal or passion to keep the change going. Our persistence wanes. I've been working to regain these feelings over the past several months. I made promises to myself that I have not kept. I reach-out to these old feelings/thoughts and realize that they still impact me strongly--I'm just not keeping them at the forefront of my thoughts and actions. 

It's time to refocus on these moments and allow the ripples to continue.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dents Make Impact Too

For some reason, I've been thinking a lot about people who have impacted me, yet I only met them once or only knew them for a brief time. There are also those individuals who have impacted me that I never personally met! It amazes me how certain people come into our lives at certain times for certain reasons.

While in college, I worked in the campus art gallery. I was known as the "gallery boy." I helped in getting art exhibits set-up/torn-down, framing artwork, and mailings. Basically, I sat in a chair in the corner watching over the artwork. Sounds boring, right? Actually, it was one of the more stimulating jobs I've ever had. Well, the people I interacted with were very stimulating. Keep in mind that grunge was coming in vogue. Birks and Doc Martin's were the new footwear. Music was changing too. Nirvana ended the Hair Metal/Heavy Metal era. Alternative music was "THE" new music. Judas Priest was replaced with Pearl Jam.

It was the first neo-hippie era since the 60's. Patchouli reigned over Polo. Still, being "alternative" was very alternative. Rainbow (yes, her real name was Rainbow) was uber-alternative. She somehow got transplanted from the "summer of love" to Emporia, KS. I can't remember if I joked about her being conceived at Woodstock or she truly was conceived at Woodstock. She was an incredible joy to be around. She didn't care what ANYONE thought about her--she truly didn't. She created her own world of happiness and surrounded herself with friends who truly loved her. Her circle was small, but impenetrable. She exposed me to new music, new foods, new interests. Unfortunately, she transferred to KU. To this day I still relive some of our conversations. She continues to teach me to be myself, believe in myself, and love myself.

This past summer, one our friends got married. At the wedding, I sat next to someone I went to college with that I had not seen in many years. We were in different fraternities, but knew each other fairly well from campus and seeing each other at the bars. We chatted family. At the time, I had NO IDEA that one of his sons was fighting for his life. His son, Noah, had a serious heart condition. Noah was three. Through his father's blogs and Facebook updates, Noah became a part of many families including our family. "Noah's Army" grew to a mighty force. Noah was a brave young little man. I never met Noah, but he helped me better appreciate life and my family. He also helped me realize I need to be more brave.

Noah's mom and dad showed so much strength and were/are incredibly brave. They had three other children to care and love. They showed me that love is boundless and so important. Appreciate your time with your kids regardless on the quantity of time. Make the time you have quality! Josh, Noah's dad, ended his blogs about Noah with "Hug 'em tight" and "Squeeze 'em tight!" Very valuable statements, very valuable.

Think back into your life and review those people in your life that stepped in and then quickly stepped out, yet still have an impact on you. Their "hit and run" left a little dent in your life. Their impact is still creating a ripple...

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Wow, nine years ago today I became a father. Where has the time gone? It's truly hard to believe nine years have passed so quickly?!

The other night I found an old file folder on my computer that had pics of Hadley when she was just a baby. The emotions that rushed through me were incredible. Some of the moments I remembered and others I didn't remember so well. Reviewing the pics got me to thinking that I hope she is having a good childhood. I hope I am providing what she needs psychologically and emotionally to grow into a strong, confident young woman. The other day she told me "You're a good Daddy." I asked her why and her responses surprised me somewhat. All of her responses dealt nothing with physical things or objects--they were things I do for her and with her.

I know there is more to the "equation," but I feel that one of the most significant responsibilities you can help develop in your child is a good sense of self-worth. I'm not talking about dreams of grandeur and over-the-top syrupy positive thinking, but a sense of "I'm OK with who I am" type of feelings. It's important to talk positively to your children. Yes, there are times when you need/must be constructive, but you don't need to do it in a mean tone. I'm always dumbfounded when I hear parents calling their children stupid or saying derogatory and insensitive things to them at a store. If they say these things in public, what do they say in private?

Our kids need support and  to know that you believe in them regardless of a specific (or preferred) outcome. Ultimately, I feel how we talk to our children translates into how they talk to themselves. Self-talk is so vital. What we say to ourselves over-and-over burns itself into your brain.

Think about what you say to yourself and to others. They leave a ripple...

(If you have girls, consider Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. It's a powerful book.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Be Aware of Your Ripples, Please

Leave a Ripple! What exactly is that supposed to mean? Simply, leave a mark of some kind in your life. As a small rock can make a ripple when dropped in the water, so can you. We all have numerous opportunities throughout our life to leave a ripple--to impact someone, to do a good deed, to help a friend, to make a child smile, to bring comfort to the ill. Ripples do not have to be large. It's nice to have a few big ripples, but small ripples are great too if you leave one every day.

Why "leave a ripple" vs "make a ripple?" Regardless of if we are aware of it or not, we impact others. Whether we purposefully intend to do something for someone else or inadvertently ignore them, we leave a ripple. Its obvious to be aware of our ripples when we do something with intent, but often we are oblivious to the fact that inaction also creates a ripple. We may not want to "make" a ripple, but we leave one anyway. My hope is that we all do things with intent.

Inaction can create as big of a wave as action. In our society almost advocates inaction. We don't want to get involved. We don't want to offend someone. We don't want to be accused of being nosey or pushy. We don't want to viewed as overly "touchy feelie." We don't want to get out of our comfort zone. It's just easier to be inactive. It's easier to walk by someone and not say "hello." Its easier to not ask someone how they are doing--particularly when you know the person may have a long reply to you that may not provide the standard "Great, thanks." There are numerous reasons why we just sit back and do nothing.

I'm not preaching that you go out every day to make a huge splash. Small ripples every day make a constant wave, and eventually make an impact. One small wave against a shoreline does little, if anything. However, a constant small wave against the shoreline leaves a mark over time. You can tell where the water hit the shoreline over and over.

Leave a Ripple.