Is Home Truly Where the Heart Is?

​It feels like forever since I’ve blogged and shared what has been on my mind. Life’s struggles force us to hide what we feel and be guarded with what we say. Blogging, although it is so public and out there, is the greatest way to share one’s feelings and decompress. 
Over the last year and a half, I’ve definitely had my fair share of trials and tribulations.  It has strongly affected me that I lost my dad, my hero, and one of my best friends. The plans that we had and the memories that we shared are just so difficult to let go of.
Going through everything and truly thinking out loud I seriously question, where’s home? For as long as I could remember, home was always my hometown of Lansing, Michigan. My city of birth, city where all my siblings were practically born, but also the city where we laid our parents to rest. 
Now I know the home is where the heart is and all that crap, but when you sit down and truly ask yourself; where is home? Is home either of the following:

  • Where you work?
  • Where you live?
  • Where your family resides?
  • Where your parents last visited before they perished?

I guess for me now, I feel homeless in a sense. The city where you once had parents living, is now a city where they’re both simply buried and have nice tombstones to visit and leave gifts and flowers on. Inside that city also lies the childhood home that I could visit when coming back into town, yet it’s no longer home and just a distant memory.
Going back to my original question to myself, what is home? Home is slowly evolving into something so much different than before. As I see it now, home is now any place where I can:

  • Share a laugh
  • It is not a physical location
  • Not a house
  • A state of mind 
  • Being calm and free

In conclusion, home will never be what it was before. I’ve come to accept that and will learn to evolve and accept the good with the bad and be a better person for having done so.

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Changes

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Today marks a change not only for me, but for my entire family.  After several months of dealing with my dad’s death, we were put in a situation to sell our childhood home.  I was never quite sure how I would feel about the house being up for sale, but here we stand with a house full of 26 years of memories on the market.

Looking back at when we first moved into the house 26 years ago, I still laugh at how unique our house was. While most people got the usual two story home or single family home, my dad opted for the only house in town that resembled Pizza Hut.  Along with a strong resemblance to Pizza Hut, our house had a consistent Michigan State green paint coating on the exterior from top to bottom.

Moving into the house, our family had just experienced some massive changes.  My mom had just passed away, my dad remarried, and we went from three kids to five kids (twins).  Our family would eventually grow and double in size by adding three more brothers, and three amazing sisters.

Throughout the years, we had some of the greatest moments of our lives in that house.  We had newlyweds, new drivers, new friends, and grandkids for my parents to spoil.  Along with so many great additions, we also had so many great family gatherings and events.

Unfortunately, we’re in a much different spot today.  From losing my mom before we first moved in, we lost our dad and have now all moved on to new homes, new cities, and new beginnings.  I used to always look back at our childhood home and wonder why my dad never sold it and moved on.  Returning home to bury him in November and clean up the house, I’m glad he never sold it.  While I never appreciated everything that we experienced in the house when we all lived together, going back I can’t help but recount and reminisce about all the memories that we had in the house.  While he wasn’t there to yell at me to clean the garage or take out the garbage, the fact that I could go there and remember the times we shared together was priceless.

In conclusion, our house wasn’t the best, and certainly wasn’t what you’d see on HGTV.  However, our childhood home was special, unique, and everything that we needed to grow up in.  We may have lost our dad and moved on from our childhood house, but I’m glad that we got to share 26 years worth of memories in that home.

The Ranch: Reflection

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I recently took a break from my blog to focus on some events that have truly changed my life forever.  The time away has been a mixed bag of sorts, but has given me the time to truly view things in a different light.  While it most certainly wasn’t planned, it was much needed.

Taking a break from blogging, I came across a great show called The Ranch.  The show focuses on a family that is very much separated, yet still a family.  The family of four consists of a husband and wife who are separated, and their two sons who find themselves back at home again.

The show has some great comedic bashing between each character, but also some great life lessons between the comedy.  Along the way the two sons, Colt and Rooster, learn how to grow into men with the help of their mom and dad.  Through good and bad, they learn a lot about themselves, and their parents as well.

Watching the show, I couldn’t help but reflect on similar experiences that my older brother and I had growing up with our dad.  While we weren’t as old as Colt and Rooster, the simple interactions that they had with their dad reminded me so much of what we experienced with my dad.

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There were a few great takeaways that I had while watching the show:

Take Initiative

My dad, just as Beau in the show, wouldn’t always tell you what to do and how to do it. In most cases, he wanted us to take the initiative. While he was hard on us like Beau, he just wanted us to be go getters and be successful.

Work Hard

One thing that Beau was persistent on was hard work. My dad always believed that hard work would always win out. If ever we gave up or doubted ourselves, he’d push us to work harder and make it across the finish line.

Dad’s Love You

Beau was quick to poke fun at Rooster and Colt, but showed them tough love. Just like Beau, my dad loved us but would rarely open up to us like most modern dad’s. He wouldn’t always tell us how he felt, but he would push us hard and reward us after the fact.

In conclusion, The Ranch definitely hit home for me. I could see so much of my brother and dad in the characters. While my dad is resting in heaven, coming across a great show like this helps me reflect and remember how great he was.

Professionalism

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When you look at celebrities in today’s society,  you tend to embrace them for their style and huge amount of success.  Unless a celebrity has legal issues or goes into rehab, we as a society tend to almost put celebrities on a pedestal.  Celebrities can almost do no wrong, and will typically be seen as handling things in a professional way.

Over the past couple of weeks, Americans have been galvanized in the epic departure of Michael Strahan from Live with Kelly and Michael.  This national phenomenon focuses on something that happens everyday in the lives of working Americans. Everyday in our professional work world, we run across people who will switch jobs and leave for a variety of unexpected reasons. 

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Reflecting on the issue, I have a tough time seeing where Kelly is providing a great example of anyone on a professional level.  While Kelly is being praised for sticking up for herself and demanding respect from her employers, I completely disagree with everything that she’s being praised for.

Demanding a heads up – While having a heads up that things at work will change or your coworker is leaving would be great to know, this almost never happens. Transparency for such actions would be great in a perfect world, but things change all the time in the workplace.
Refusing to show up – Refusing to show up might work in Hollywood, but not in the real world. Sure, we most certainly have the right to be upset about things and not show up to work. However if you do this and proceed to miss work for a week, you’ll likely find yourself jumping on LinkedIn and looking for a new job.
Demanding an apology – At the end of the day, your employer and coworker owe you nothing. Things will change and people will come and go. However, no one person owes you anything. While you may be hurt by company changes and coworker leaving, nobody owes you an apology.

On the flip side of the conversation, Michael Strahan should be praised for his approach. He was a consummate professional throughout the entire saga that has played on with Kelly’s demand for respect on an off air.  Instead of following in Kelly’s route and putting his side of the story out there, Michael took the high road as we all should in the workplace. Michael continued to do things that we all must do when things get tough in the workplace. Although he’s leaving the show, he stayed committed, and put work issues aside.

In conclusion, no matter who we are or what industry we’re in, you’ve got to be a professional in all that you do. Although things might not always go your way, demanding answers and not showing up for work will likely end a whole lot worse in comparison to Kelly’s approach.

Dead or Alive?

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Life is great and offers us many opportunities and plenty of ups and downs. While we live and go through the many struggles and accomplishments in life, the single biggest event that changes our life is death. It’s the one thing that we’re guaranteed out of anything, and one thing we can’t avoid.

In looking at life and death, do we mean more to people if we’re dead versus being alive? Yes, life is great and precious, but there are so many things that we’re not told about while we’re alive. Reflecting on any normal funeral and the recent deaths of some well-known celebrities, we as a society don’t truly appreciate a person or their accomplishments until they’re gone.

Life

While we’re alive, we spend so much time living our lives and dealing with our life struggles. We all genuinely have the greatest intentions, but we get caught up in life. Instead of sharing the things that we can easily be proud of someone for or truly loving them, we hold back and assume that this person will be around forever.

Death

The most unfortunate thing about death is that we hear all the things that we would’ve wanted to hear when we were alive and on the other side, we say all the things that we meant to say when someone was alive. While you’re alive, you’ll rarely hear how big of a heart you had, the amazing things you accomplished and how much people loved you; nor do we take the time to tell someone that they’re great at these things. Death tends to bring out fond memories of a person, but sadly things that were never said when alive.

In conclusion, the only thing guaranteed in life is death. We’ve got to love each other when we’re alive and say what we need to say. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Hokding On

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In this life you go through experiences that will make you, but also experiences that will break you. With the recent passing of my father, I began to remember him and the life that he led. Along with remembering how amazing my dad was, I also begin holding on.

By holding on, you’re trying to hold on to the good times and great memories. When people are alive, you take things for granted and assume that tomorrow is always promised. However when they die, you hold onto things that help you remember them.

Along with the process of holding on, you realize just exactly what your parent or parents were telling you. In my situation, it was my mom first who passed, and lastly my dad. When they’re eventually gone, you realize and truly embrace the goals and expectations that they had for you. They were never put in place to ruin your life, but to enhance your life and help you grow for when you would eventually become a parent.

In closing, nothing in this world is ever promised. While our parents may tell us the things that we don’t want to hear, they’re the things that we need to hear. When your parents are gone, you hold on to what you were taught and reflect on it in times when needed most.