Ups and Downs

September 28th, 2009

Hi Again. I was hoping this next post would be announcing our being recognized as the winner of the CTK Foundation’s Heart and Soul Grant, but alas it looks like our submission didn’t make it to the winner’s circle. I’m still very glad I spent the time putting the song together and we will continue to see if we can get someone to work with us on a song someday.

There’s lot’s of good news to share though. Memories for Surviving Kids has partnered with Westwood High School’s Dance Performance Team call Warrior Pride, and the kind people at the Lakeline Mall in Cedar Park and we will be doing a Holiday Gift Wrap fundraiser in the days preceeding the winter holiday. It will be both an opportunity for us to raise funds and get some great exposure.

The gift wrap fundraiser was masterminded around the same time as another grand fundraiser scheme I came up with. I have approached our local AAA baseball park, our city’s mayor, and our city school district with the grand idea of gathering the community for a Homerun Derby in the spring. I’m looking forward to gathering more momentum for this idea this week because Wednesday I’ve been invited to meet with the Mayor. We have a great community here in Round Rock Texas, but I think we need more opportunities to get together in a grand way. I look forward to posting more good news about the Homerun Derby fundraiser.

My Song

August 22nd, 2009

Hi Again, The challenge a few weeks back to write a poem to win some support for the charity really got me thinking. I wrote the maximum eight lines for them in hopes it would both tell something about our mission as well as impress the onlookers enough so that The Los Lonely Boys will help co-write a song to really get our word out. I tend to fantasize about the big prize and I spent several idle moments daydreaming about what that would be like. I started to create some poems that I thought could be the song, and I realized I wasn’t really getting very deep with my thoughts. I spent more time putting this one together. The song is called The Smell of Streets in Spring, and let me tell you why. When my mom had developed cancer, my five siblings and I went to live with my Aunt and Uncle and their family in Tonawanda, NY. They lived on a fairly busy street, but there was an empty lot next to their home, and I would go out there alone and punt the football. I’d walk, get it, turn around and punt it again. I think I did this for hours. My mom died in April during which time there is a very distinct smell to the streets in the north when the frost and the oils from the road start to resurface. That smell is a distinct reminder of some pretty rough days of feeling empty, and it really does still make me cry to this day. So here’s my song…

When I was ten I kicked the football high,
While the trucks of Tonawanda all drove by.
There were people all surrounding me,
But the ball was all that I could see.
The smell of streets in spring still makes me cry.

When I was forty my best friend Michael died.
Another casket with children by it’s side.
I wondered if they’d have a scent,
Reminding how those next days were spent.
The smell of streets in spring still makes me cry.

When I was forty five I thought I’d try,
To help kids like me and Michael’s clarify,
Who those parents were that left so fast,
From the folks that knew about their past,
So listen up, and give this plan a try.

Write letters for the kids that cry,
Don’t let your memories pass them by,
Their curiosity is often shy.
Write stories about the time you spent,
The what you loved, the where you went.
They’ll be reasons to smile and look up high.

A man that knew my mom gave it a try.
Five pages of his memories had arrived.
I’m forty nine and I’m full grown,
But the boy with the ball was no longer alone.
Suddenly, it felt good when I cried.

Write letters for the kids that cry,
Don’t let your memories pass them by,
Their curiosity is often shy.
Write stories about the time you spent,
The what you loved, the where you went.
They’ll be reasons to smile and look up high.

So anyway, there it is. My guess is Los Lonely Boys could make it even better. Regardless, wouldn’t it be great if it did become a song someday.

A Different Grief

August 11th, 2009

Last Thursday I learned that my newest grand nephew, three month old Caleb, had died in his crib from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Our family is struggling to help my nephew and his wife deal with a grief that is coupled with guilt. Please keep my grand nephew and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

The Summer is Flying

July 18th, 2009

Hi Everybody. My family and I returned from our vacation in Vermont, and we’re not sure which is worse – The non-stop rain and coolness of the Northeast, or the non-stop heat and dryness of Central Texas. It would be nice to find some weather in the middle .. : )

Last week as I was reading the paper I learned about a poem contest called the Heart and Soul Grant, organized by the CTK Foundation. There’s $10,000, and a song to be written and sung by Los Lonely Boys if your organization’s poem wins. Another hobby of mine happens to be poetry as you might have noticed from a couple of blog inputs ago. Well I put together what I hope is an impressive entry. Winning the prize of that kind of exposure would undoubtedly result in hundreds , maybe thousands of letters to surviving kids.

Keep your fingers crossed!

An Overdue Update

June 17th, 2009

Well where do I begin. Since my last blog post in March, I have found new volunteer help, we have had another successful fundraiser, and Google has awarded us a Google Grant that gets us much needed exposure on their search engine result pages. We have had more surviving kid survey responses, and distributed a large number of our brochures. We’re building momentum, and it’s exciting to see the MFSK train moving a bit faster. Please hop on board! Help us get some letters to surviving kids, and help us get the word out on our mission. Passengers on this train end up feeling really good!

My Mother’s Always With Me

March 9th, 2009

My Mother’s Always With Me

My mother’s always with me,
Even though I’m forty-nine,
She reminds me of my manners,
And warns I’m having too much wine.
She follows me with great intent,
To see I do her bidding.
A following I don’t resent,
For whom would I be kidding.
She taught me well, and I can tell,
We both shall meet in Heaven,
There I will follow her because,
She’s been there since I was eleven.

Reaching Out to Our VFW

February 3rd, 2009

Late last week I started contacting different levels of the Veterans of Foriegn Wars organization (VFW). I believe their mission to honor the dead by helping the living aligns well with the MFSK mission. I spoke with someone at the national organization and they were very helpful in instructing me how to proceed to investigate how we can help each other. I’m certainly interested in helping the children of our deceased soldiers get some letters. I’ll keep you all posted on developments with the VFW organization.

The Seven Levels of Intimacy

January 23rd, 2009

Greetings. I’ve been reading “The Seven Levels of Intimacy” by Matthew Kelly. It’s an inspiring read that talks about being the best verson of yourself and helping others to be the best versions of themselves. I think you have to picture the best version of yourself as someone with the courage to write letters for surviving children. So get started if you haven’t yet!

When I Was A Teen

January 20th, 2009

This morning I spent some time with my daughter on a quest to sign her up for an unusual course offering at her school. The details were sketchy, but she was hopeful we could make the deal and she would finally be attending a class with her best friend this year. Things didn’t go as hoped and we actually both showed anxiety as we left. Later I began to reflect about when I was a teen. Where was my anxiety? I don’t recall very much anxiety in my world after my parents died. Not outward anxiety anyway. I had apparently became disinterested in the help of others so why appear anxious. Hopefully as a result of this reflection I realize more often that my daughter’s anxiety is an opportunity for me to guide her. For me to be a parent with calming words or even inaction.

Camp Warm Heart In Michigan

January 14th, 2009

Camp Warm Heart located in the Gladwin Area od mid-Michigan is having a weekend winter camp for grieving children on the weekend of February 6th – 8th.