A DECADE…(in minutes)

April 29th, 2008

Biggest day in my life…

Let’s go back in our lives, all of us.  Let’s go back 10 years, and really try to put yourselves in that time frame, and recall all of the events that you went through; family,  friends, thoughts, emotions, job, well being, happiness, cars, religion, etc….In ONE, (very long!!!) sentence, I will try to explain my past decade, and before you read on after that, try to do this for yourself, and see how it relates to you now.  Here’s mine:

 

A brain for fitness, a brain for gratitude, a brain for appreciation.  Humbleness fits into that category; so does spiritual praise.  Each of these arenas, (and many more), have come into my life because of friends, and God.  People say how I’ve been so “lucky”, I say how I’ve been blessed.  Here’s my story, my pitch:

I had a baseball-sized tumor pressing on my brain, (over 8cm, baseball is 7.25!), which I didn’t have any knowledge about at that time, and I was dating a girl who knew something was wrong with me due to my actions faltering, and my speech weakening and since her uncle is a doctor at UCLA, who advises her to bring me in due a seizure that I didn’t know that I had, (but she did), and me not knowing what the hospital plans are for me, (which is how $52,500 fits in), and how TWO of my friends, without me knowing any of the “plan” (with the hospital),  put up that $52,500, and me having the operation to take that tumor out, set up by family and friends, because the brain that I had back then couldn’t process all of this, which led to my rehab to which I had to start practicing my own preaching, since that is MY business, (personal training), which then led me to NOW, present day, talking to neurological trauma patients at UCLA, (based upon a recommendation from my surgeon, Dr. Isaac Yang) to show the patients that I not only had an 8cm tumor taken out of my head, but that tumor decided to come back to my brain, (because it loves me, perhaps?), so for this second surgery, we had to do the same operation to take that tumor out of my head in September of 2010, and to tell them, (the patients), this is what I had to do, but I’m now walking INTO your room, and you, too, can do this if you persevere, have faith, and BELIEVE in yourself to put you back in control of your life! WOW! That’s a mouthful, and that’s only about 10% of the complete story!

 

Long sentence.  So that’s the summary of what happened to me 10 years ago, April 29, 2008.  That one sentence involved every event listed above, (well, except for the cars!).  Most of you know my story, but few know all of the details, and there were many.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.  I enjoyed the friendships that I had; some friendships which were very short from that specific time, but also very essential for my success, even of my life, if you can belief that.  I had family that was completely at my side, even though I actually didn’t know WHAT was going on, to be honest with you.  I had long term relationships at the hospital as support, those who drive a long way to be at my side.  For my emotional impact, and since I couldn’t process in my brain, that the surgery would/could be so debilitating, I thought that being in this hospital,( I mean, come on, UCLA Ronald REGAN HOSPITAL!!!), was actually fun!  Wow.  Probably was the company, my parents, (who were in better shape than I could have imagined), my brother, who made a ton if half-funny skits, with John Williams; Scott and Michael, who kept me in the hospital, to Kandy and her husband who kept me in their home after the surgery for almost 3 months, to so many others who I haven’t mentioned, but certainly know who they are.  It’s amazing, to experience so much in only one episode of your life; but this is the point, we’ve all had something like this, whether it’s physical, (mine), emotional, spiritual; wherever your emotions take you, you just followed, I know I did.

Right after I got home from the hospital, I returned to my religion; if you knew the details of this one event, (probably a GOOD two hour conversation), you wouldn’t think that I succeeded in my recovery because of ME, I guarantee you that, (even though I scheduled all of my rehab!).  I knew that I was accompanied by someone who guided me, gave me paths to take, and the belief that HE was in charge, just trust in HIM.  As I’ve stated before, there was no other option, I will succeed, period.  Everything was an effort, but who hasn’t had to deal with that?  Who hasn’t had to persevere with their efforts to recover from their situation?  Who didn’t have to grind their teeth with frustration, anguish, and so on, in front of them?  When you give your best, and you accomplish everything you can possibly do, and all of that comes from your commitment  to yourself, you have to acknowledge that.  I’m not the same person that I was 10 years ago, but my heart is much stronger, and my soul is full of belief in myself, my family, and God, who was my navigator through the rough waters.  Most important, though, I’m o.k. with all of this.  My little journey that I had planned for my future got detoured, and I’m so grateful for that, because I wouldn’t be on the path that I’m on now, things that I never would have had on my “journey chart”.  What a peace that gives me; it also helps me think up long sentences to tell a story!

I can use this story for fitness, commitment to yourself; I can use this for my/yours family; I can use this for relationships; I can use this for so much happiness; I actually think about some of this story every day of my life since Day 1, the day after the surgery.  I do that, because I went through it, and the strength I received from conquering this quest, and the feeling of accomplishment for the effort, because I had NO OTHER OPTION.  You can too, you can also pull some of the most trying times in your in your mind, and realized what you learned, how much more power you have from the strength you gained by solving, (or, as I say, “conquering” your quest), what you came up against.

 

Do it, reflect on your past decade, see all of the accomplishments, what you came up against, and see the happiness that come from your effort.  Enjoy your life, it comes in minutes……April 29, 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE WORSHIPER…

What a great word, wouldn’t you say?  I looked this word up in the dictionary, and found the definition very inspiring.

 

worshipn; reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred  personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

 

I think that we all have something in our lives that we “worship”.  Whether it’s something we believe in, like religion, or a person that we know, or an honor that has bestowed us from some wonderful activity that was so much of a sacrifice of our time, and energy; we all have it, to worship something.  I have a few things that I worship, not just one.  This coming weekend, I will be visiting someone who was always my idol, or in this case, the person that I worshiped throughout my life, my Father.  For those that don’t know, my father passed away April 25, 2017.  His birthday is/was March 8, so I’m going to be with my family to honor, and worship a man who formed my life, and yet, he made me feel like he honored, and worship me.  Now, that is a real barn-burner; I who worshiped him, worshiped me!  I hope to visit the VA cemetery, ( he served in Korea), and have a Courvoisier, (which he loved!), with him, and worship him, and all of the memories that I had with him; to worship those memories.

It’s very easy for me to say that I worshiped my Father, because I did, and I also know that there are others who are not as fortunate as I was; from my childhood, to my adult years, (how about that, me saying “adult years”???).  Obviously, I’m a big believer in a very strong relationship with my parents, which I would love to see more of in this generation.  Society has changed, so has parenting, as I have observed.

As I had mentioned earlier, I have a few things that I have worship, and a few have entered my life recently, and a few from my younger years, that I recently realized that I DID worship!  That would be what I would call a “miracle”, to discover something from long ago, that affected me now, and that I reflect back on some of these events.  I also believe that most of you would have this, something that you worship.  You work hard, your self confidence grows, and you feel better.  What does that mean, though?  Is it reward of a paycheck?  Is it the feeling of accomplishment with the results of your effort in your work, or hobbies, or other interest?  Or maybe, your heart opens up, and you just feel peaceful inside.  That could happen!  Think about it, and it doesn’t happen to be some huge event that has affected you, maybe it’s something very personal, or “sacred”.  You have it, some time you have to put a little thought into point A, which then led to point B, and on to C,D,E…..When you start connecting the dots, and see where they leave you today, that could be the equation.  Each dot that you’re connecting, could be a little dot to worship, because it HAD to be there, to follow up to the next point, (A,B,C…..).  It might sound complicated, but I see it as very simple.  It’s the way things have panned out in your life, and I think we should be thankful.  It’s IS your life, and what could better than that?  My life has been serving others, and I never thought of that until recently.  I’ve had my business, sure, but I never put myself in that position of “helping others”.  Sometimes, you just have to put your thinking cap on, because as I look back, I have helped a persons health, I have also put in their head thoughts of how to help themselves.  I thought that I just did my job, but if me, and ALL of you, look at the big picture, and how you all have affected someone, (or some ones!), that really, is the BIG picture.  My Dad is the big picture, always was, and always will be.  An event in your life, is also the big picture.  How about this; you’ve been talking to someone over the years, and now again, you’ve heard a story that you have heard from him/her in the past, but NOW, it makes sense, YOU JUST GOT THE STORY!  I say that, because that’s what a lot of people say about you, how your interaction with them has benefitted them, to a degree.  It could be small, it doesn’t matter, you affected them!  That is the type of worship that we all have.  Keep it, own it, and relish it, because it’s yours!

I work at UCLA, as a lot of your know, and yesterday, I pass a married couple in the hallway, and they stop me.  Now, I’ll remind you, that I go to around 50 rooms per day, and not just seeing the patients, but also families, friends, and others in their rooms, so I see a lot of faces in one day.  So with the couple that stopped me, I recognized her face, and somewhat recognized her husband, and they were past patients of a couple of years, and they told me of the impact that they had because of our conversation, when the husband was a patient in the hospital.  Now, I couldn’t even start to tell you what that conversation was about, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask them, but it could have been 30 minutes, or 30 seconds.  Didn’t matter, they got affected by our interaction.  That is something I worship, and will always worship.  You have that, too.  Worship is a cool thing, all you have to do is acknowledge what you do, be very appreciative of what you do, and love what you do.  Could be simple…and is.

 

Be THE WORSHIPER……

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MIRACLES DO HAPPEN…

I believe in miracles.  Very simple, I believe in miracles.

 

Miracle:  n.  an extraordinary occurrence that surpasses all known human powers or natural forces and is ascribed to a divine or supernatural cause, especially to God.

 

This definition makes a “miracle” sound so complicated, but it isn’t; think about it, it’s actually very simple.  It’s just something that happened, done.  Let’s break it down.  Take yourself, has anyone else taken on your looks?  I guess we all have a twin out there, so ok, maybe a semi-yes.  How about your voice, the eyes, the soul, the heart; everything that makes us up as a being, this just happens to be YOU!  No matter what else, there is no one else like you.  Even twins can be so, so alike; or they can be so different.  There is REALLY no one else like you.  Since I try to look at the positive side of things, (I really try to avoid the negative effect ), everybody has their own personality, and a person gets to choose whether he/she can appreciate themselves.  It’s being happy with yourself, it’s a smile that can happen whenever, with whatever is happening!  I know, this sounds so simple, but this can be so simple.  I had three brain tumors, two surgeries, two different rounds of radiation, and it totally disrupted my method of living.  So many thoughts were running through my head, back then, about “what I would do” to reshape my life.  It’s very simple, I just went forward.  I had no other option.  So that’s my story, how about yours?

We all know people who have addictions, alcohol, drugs, depressions, etc…. the flip side here, is that we all know people who have recovered, have made a change, became a miracle.  There is no one else out there like you.  There is no one who goes through this life without some sort of an obstacle.  Do we fight through it, or try to work with “it” and go around it.  There is always a solution;  we just have to become a miracle and find our way.  Ok, I as a brain tumor survivor, had to alter my style of living; and as a general statement, that seems like a lot.  It isn’t, it just simply isn’t.  As I look back on how my interest changed, on how my actions changed, on how my beliefs changed; none of this was my first choice for my life, but in retrospect, it was so simple that it just worked out.  Imagine that, “it just worked out”.  What I’m saying here is that my priorities changed, without me putting a lot of effort in it.  What I saw through my eyes changed, that then affected my actions, which then affected my beliefs; in other words, it just changed.  Was that a big change for someone who knew me, to see a change?  Probably not, but for me, I saw a miracle coming down the tracks, and I had the  urge to jump onto that train!  It just happens.  So you see, miracles don’t have to come down with a big bang, they can come at a snails pace, and you notice and accept your changes.  Small or large, miracles do happen.

I bring this up, because in my mind, everybody has a weakness, but everybody also has a strength.  This is, in my mind, an absolute.  Everybody has a strength, so the miracle here, is to find your strength, (which is really right in front of you).  For example, for years I wanted to pursue something that, in my mind now, wasn’t my strength, but I kept pursuing,  Then when this little “brain thing” happened, my miracle came along and said, “All you’ve done for the past 30 some odd years, is help people”, with strength, balance, stability.  How did I not recognize this strength, because it really was “just in front of me”?  That was the miracle, finding my strength; nothing more, nothing less.

So now this is on you.  Please don’t deny your strength, recognize it, and use it.  The reason I find value in your strength, is that you use what you have within you; you’re not having to create something.  Ultimately, you’re working with what you know, so use it, find it and use it.  It’s right in front of you.  I’ll tell you why I think that this is so important; you’re using what has been given to you.  You’re using what is essentially your God given gift to you, your strength.  Use it.  When you use something that’s within you, you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to be creative, or to be “outside your box”, just be you, be confident in yourself, and just be you.  I know I’m pushing some people when I say “be confident in yourself”;  after my first surgery, I certainly didn’t have the confidence in myself like I once had.  I had SO many questions in my head throughout my recovery.  Can I go back to my physical working mode?  Can I work the hours that I used to work?  Will I be able to financially keep my way of living?  Will I frustrate myself on the physical rehab that I’m putting on myself?  These questions can go on, and on, (because they were there!), but what’s the point of rehashing them?  Time went on, I used my strength, (see, I told you that we all have this!). for my rehab, since that’s what I do, and that’s when I started trusting myself again, finding my progression through my strength.  I knew what I had done for others, so why not trust myself to do well for myself?  There was a lot time and effort that I had to do to regain “me”, but that was my strength, trust it, and trust me.  I started that thought process, and let’s just say, I got my groove back.  Use your strength, it’s there.  Once I started feeling like my old self, I actually started feeling very peaceful inside, which then led other changes, (like those listed above), and they “just happened”, because I didn’t care what others may have thought, because I was happy with where I had come from, and that led me to just be me.  As I said, it’s really simple.

So enough of my life, how’s yours?  Dig into yourself, find your strength, use it, and you will find a soothing feeling inside, to let yourself just be you.  Do it. Just be you, this will help you to enjoy each moment, and you’ll find out, that miracles do happen.

 

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HEROES…

HERO: n.   noted for feats of courage and nobility of purpose.

One who is bold, solid, accomplished yet modest.

An inspiration to all.

Does that sound like a hero?  I believe it sums a hero up very well.  I think it sounds so much of a persons heart, and soul, that you want to talk to him/her, constantly!  I experienced an event yesterday, (11/12/17), that gave me chills all day;  so many instances, conversations, with different types of people, people of different backgrounds, and situations in their lives, that on that day, (and beyond), they were nothing but being a HERO!

 

As you all know, I’ve dealt with three brain tumors, all of them being Meningiomas.  I will deal with this the rest of my life, in one way or another; but you want to know how I feel about this?  Who cares!!!  Big deal!!!  It’s a part of MY life, that I’ve adapted to, and then we move on!  Yesterday, I met hundreds of my fraternity brothers and sisters, with all of them adapting the same attitude.  They have since moved on with their lives, as we all did, because there is “NO OTHER OPTION”!  I met these people at the 10th annual “SUPERHEROES OF HOPE”, A 5K/10K race for the brain tumor research.  This event was initiated by an unbelievable women named Lisa Millar, who had a brother named Brad Kaminsky.  Brad passed before he was 30, from a brain tumor called “glioblastoma multiform”.  After Brad’s passing, Lisa started a 501(c) (3) non-profit foundation for Brad, called TBKF.org, (The Brad Kaminsky Foundation .org).  This event raises money (over $600,000 !), for the UCLA NEUOSURGERY research, and also for THE PEDIATRIC CANCER AND BRAIN TUMOR RESEARCH Mattel’s Children hospital at Los Angeles, and CEDARS-SINAI DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSURGERY.  Last year, Lisa added another ship on the sea of love and support, by using the wonderful dancers of “iDANCE4a CURE”, to put an end to childhood cancer, headed by choreographer/director Doriana Sanchez, who has danced/directed/choreographed so many shows in Las Vegas, and has judged so many “So You Think You Can Dance”; let’s put it this way, this event had super heroes within.  Besides myself, Doriana had a brain tumor, Brad, Cristopher, Veronica, people from Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Virginia, really, from all over were dealing with tumors! Joking, talking, grieving, but most of all, love.  Real, heartfelt love, to each other, or to the supporters who ran the race.  We had so many super surgeons from UCLA, including my surgeon from my first surgery, Dr. Marvin Bergsneider,   There was a group of dancers at the event, which was at the Dockweiler State Beach, here in Playa del Rey, California.  WE raised over $82,000!  When I think of UCLA, (and I know that I’m kind of biased here!), these super surgeons from UCLA were running in the race; that’s called hands AND feet working away!  It was really amazing, that some of the people that I’ve talked to at the Ronald Regan Westwood Hospital were there, and we conversed about their surgeries, but yet the happiness that they have now in their lives, amazing.  There were so many sponsors, canopies with waters of different types, food items, and food trucks, and so much more…

So what do you call a Hero, really?  Someone who does something for somebody, or something?  Probably yes to both of these.  Could it be something that is done for somebody without them knowing who did that action?  Yes for that, probably.  I think that there are so many factors that could be added into this word, Hero,  even beyond our beautiful word of inspirational, (ok, maybe two words); love and kindness.  Think about it, kindness becomes part of your personality, you living your belief, and all of that brings a change of heart to someone else who you are talking too, or participating  with on an event, or really anything which adds to another life.  It’s simple really, just be yourself, negate all of that negative talk, and offer help to someone who needs it.

I was asked to come up on stage, as were all of the other people (patients).  I was also asked to say a few words.  Oh, I had it in my mind to have some humor in what I said, but it didn’t come out that way,  It came out at how gracious I was to UCLA, to my Dr. that was there, to the Head of  all Neurosurgery at UCLA, Dr. Liau, all of those genius doctors running for OUR  benefit, and of course theirs, for research.  Besides being honored, it was very humbling.  We all survived brain tumors, some life threatening, some that provided some rehabbing, some where all skills were recovered.  Didn’t matter, to us, they’re all the same; same hospital experience, same beds, same feelings of frustrations, anguish, questions about one’s own future, and then looking for support.  Every one of us had that, at some point.  We all know, pretty much so, how everyone else stood their ground, and then said, “This is me”, no more, no less.  I am this person, and I am proud.

 

I was honored to be asked to get on that stage, give a speech, and be given a plaque, a plaque that said HERO, with my name at the end, Scott Yonkouski.  I don’t know, I kinda like that.  Be kind to others, show some compassion to them, and guess what, you are your own HERO.  You can say that.

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WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW, IS LOVE….

What the world needs now is love, sweet love It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No not just for some but for everyone. Lord, we don’t need another mountain, There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb There are oceans and rivers enough to cross, Enough to last till the end of time. What the world needs now is love, sweet love It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some but for everyone. Lord, we don’t need another meadow There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine Oh listen, lord, if you want to know. What the world needs now is love, sweet love It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some, oh, but just for Every Everyone.

 

Some words don’t need an explanation, but let’s try a few;

LOVE:  v;  affectionate concern for the well-being of others;  /  the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection from them to God.

LOVE-SICK:  adj;  languishing with love

LOVING-KINDNESS:  n;  tender kindness motivated by or expressing affection.

Only a few of the multitude of other meaningful expression of love.  I don’t think that I’m the only person that’s crying for more love in this world right now, in my life right now, in every country across the planet right now.  Love is a feeling that is within everyone.  Love conquers.  Love is superior to all other feelings; it’s pure, original, and true.  I’m a very religious person, but if you’re not, love still conquers.  If you have a dog, (or any pet, really), can you honestly say that you don’t “love them to death”?  Or someone in your life?  Or SOMETHING in your life?  No one has no love; no one.  In my  life, my love leads to my faith; and what is faith?  Something that we can’t see; it’s not invisible, we just can’t see it.  It might be right in front of us, but sometimes our eyes aren’t looking in front of us, and we miss it.  We’re looking everywhere, except right in front of us.  I’ll bet that no one can tell me that this scenario hasn’t happened to them, at some point in their lives.  I’ll even put it out there, that even if religious is not part of your life, you will still have faith, and a belief in something.

 

We had a tragedy in Las Vegas this week, a very terrible tragedy, for a multitude of people.  Those whose life came to an end; those whose bodies were maimed, security from Vegas and areas outside of Vegas, rescuers who were helping the injured, the families of those who found out the news of the event, families who had no connection with their loved one who was at this site, outside the casino where all of the darkness came from.

We can go on and on with this heartless tragedy, but please believe me when I say, faith does view our positive in this tragedy.

How about the wonderful security who came to aid to all in just minutes; the immediate responders who were either there, or who came there in minutes; injured people who helped other injured people; a veteran who “stole” a truck from the parking lot, because it was open and he saw keys on the floor, and he used it to transport over 30 people to the hospital for treatment; my brother wanted to give blood for those in need, and there was a waiting line for two hours; caring people letting those in need to stay IN their houses; food donations from cooks, restaurants, and food companies who are from Vegas, airlines who accommodated changes in travel plans with no charges; our president of OUR country who went to hospitals in Vegas to personally give OUR grievances to those who were injured, and had OUR flags flown at half-mast, which actually is the proper way to show grief at a tragedy, rather than something like kneeling.  This list could also go on and on, but we see that there is something that unites people, in a tragedy.  It’s a good/bad scenery, but I have to look at the good.  For those that don’t know too much about me, I am a survivor of three brain tumors, called Meningiomas.  Am I comparing myself to this event?  That would be the most disrespecting thing I could do, but when I think of what others did for me, all of them are my personal heroes, so that is my positive, in an event that would change my life.

Did we see the love, and unity on 9/11?  To me, that was a tear jerking event, but also a tear jerking response of love, unity and national response to what was, the most devastating event on our country’s soil.  Why does it take such a tragedy like these, to bring so much love and compassion to our souls?  I actually would hope that Washington could show some compassion to this event, rather than politicalize their personal emotions.  People, there is a lot of grieving going on right now, and please know how much a smile can be to someone, or even just a grieving hand on a shoulder can be to someone; and by the way, that “someone” can be anyone, Vegas or not. Smile, love, kind words, or even a warm thought can be so much to someone, and even come back to you; you might be just one person in this world, but you could also be the world to one person.  Remember that.

So please, have a kind heart to people these days, and I beg that those opinions that differ from the positive, just give a second thought to what is being said, cannot be taken back; and how it might be taken by someone in need, (and that doesn’t mean from the tragedy in Vegas).

Be loving, kind, appreciating of others, regardless if your opinions differ, because we all are people; people united with love in our hearts, and souls.

Scott

 

www.everythingisgoingtobealright.com

 

 

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I CAN ONLY IMAGINE…

Imagine v: to form a mental image of something not actually present to the senses.

I would think that each one of us has used this phrase many, many times.  To me, the question is, what does it really mean?  To “form a mental image of something NOT actually present”, what does that mean?  Something is not present, and you’re trying to form an image of something that your brain is trying to create, out of what, memory, your concept of perception, a metaphor for something that you do know???  It’s weird, something is said, and we say, ( or maybe just think), “I can only imagine”.  Imagine what?  Good thoughts, bad thoughts, I don’t really know thoughts?  Do we try to imagine something that would pick up a tragedy event?  I could probably name a few tragedies in my life, let alone in all of the events of our present times; but I’m still a big believer in the fact that even in the event of a tragedy, there is a positive.  Hard to believe from a guy whose had three memingioma tumors, two sets of radiation, seizures, and long term medications; but I do.    A bunch of knuckleheads in Charlottesville try to portray themselves as Nazi’s, (well, actually Nazi ),  maybe because they missed that day in grade school in history class when they spoke of a genocide of murders; or maybe it  could just be their imagination acting up.  I know that I have a couple of holes in my head, but I don’t quite understand “Unite the Right”  Unite what?  The Right what??  If someone could explain this to me, I’m all ears.

 

When the Nazi’s were eliminated after WW2, peace became reality because the thought of all of the hate that Germany represented was gone.  Could that still be in our reality today?  Lots of people will say “no”, but I, still the optimist, has to think “yes”.  Why?  That intense amount of hate produces nothing, absolutely nothing but more hate.  There’s no rational thinking when actions are dictated by emotions, and that’s what hate is all about, emotions.  Sometimes our senses need to be controlled, (I laugh as I say that!), but maybe, just maybe, people can see just how hate brought us to Europe until 1945, and then there was peace.  Think about 9/11, and how much peace came about after the towers came down.  Hate brought love, and caring rebuilt NYC.  A lot of emotions can come out in times like these, but support and caring rebuilds; rebuilds anything, because when minds are able to work together, gratitude prevails.  Hate brings sufferings, we all know that, but history tells us that from all of that hate, comes peace.  So there is a lot to be said about sufferings; “but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us”.  (Romans 5:3-4).  This is my version of Imagination, my “image of something not present”.

 

I think that imagination is good, but we all have to be responsible for what we do for, and to, our imagination. Hate means nothing, hope means everything;  and everybody can hope, that’s an image that can be real, and can be present.  We all have an opinion on Charlottesville, but I ask, let’s rebuild.  Let’s persevere, let’s hope.  If we can put our minds, and thoughts together, we’ll find, hope does not disappointment us.

 

Dare yourself to hope, and then, “I can only imagine”…

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NOTHING GROWS…

Child:  n.  a creation that requires special attention…

So, here is the question: who wrote the book on raising a child, or more specifically, with “special attention”?  I’m sure every parent read one, or… did they just write their own?  Would love to speak to a number of parents who raised their first born.  On Father’s Day, especially now, almost two months after my Father is sittin’ wonderfully on the Rainbow, I have to  ask that.  I had a wonderful man who gave me “special attention”.  In everything, always attentive to me.

 

As a newborn child, we know “nothing”; it has to be learned.  We watch, we mimic, we learn, we shadow, we imitate.  We do everything that our dad’s do.  It’s life, it “grows”, it expands what we know.  All of this from a person that is within our view, one who shows so much love and attention to us; someone who, (if you are a first child in your family) knows little about being the perfect father, but yet, they are.  One who, learned life from HIS father.  I’m a blessed person, because my family, from my parents to all of my aunts, uncles, grandparents, relatives, have been perfect, (in my opinion!).  I also know that that statement is very subjective, but it is all that I know.  I had a very quiet grandfather, and his love showed so much through that.  That was, a lot of the time, my own father.  Sometimes, “silence is golden”.  As we observe from our childhood, we learn a lot from love, and, as I like to call it, love actions.  Helping you climb up a stair, helping you to express yourself, helping you in all you are involved in, helping you in all of your sports, helping you to understand emotions.

 

I remember back in the 1980″s Dad was a fan of Jimmy V;  Jimmy Thomas Valvano- Jimmy V.  Jimmy coached several college basketball teams, but is noted for when he coached North Carolina State.  N.C. State wasn’t in the powerful position, back in those days, but Jimmy changed that.  He won the 1983 national title against a heavily favored Houston Cougars, and after N.C. State pulled out the upset, you could see Jimmy run up and down the court, looking to hug someone, or something!  I remember that game, asking my dad, “Who IS that?”.  He said to just watch him, and you’ll see a lot of spirit come of him.  It’s funny, because Jimmy could definitely talk, ( he was also a basketball commentator), and dad wasn’t, but Jimmy could talk by his actions.  You could see his beliefs after that championship game, looking for, something!  That was something dad was very good at, spirit coming out of nothing, and nothing grows.  Jimmy died young, at 47, from bone cancer, but boy, did he give an emotional speech in 1993,  just months before he passed.  He received the Author Ashe Courage Award, due to what he achieved in a short period of time.  Dad was a All American football, and baseball player; he was drafted by the New York Yankees.  His point was you might fall, but you’ll get back up and keep trying.  As Jimmy V said, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up”.  Dad didn’t originate that, but he believed it, and made me believe.  As I said, sometimes you believe what was NOT said, but the actions convinced you to believe.  What happened to me, with my brain tumors, happened to fall under the saying, ” Don’t give up, don’t ever give up”.  How could I think another way, when my Dad instilled in me, the Jimmy V statement of “don’t give up”, after my surgeries?  I didn’t, I couldn’t.  I learned that from my Dad.  Don’t give up, keep going forward, you’ll get there.  Might not be where you wanted to go, (uhm, that’s God’s plan!), but where you go means progress, and isn’t that what drives us, not giving up?

 

I miss my Dad. I think that anyone who knew him would say the same thing; he was remarkable.  For all of us who knew him, loved him, respected him, learned from him, let’s bow our heads and say to him, “Thanks Dad, (Joe) for how you’ve affected me, how you loved every day, and how you lived every day.”  The most important words in my life, now and forever, were very simple, and said by Jimmy V; and nothing will be more important to me while I’m on this earth.

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, He believed in me”

Jimmy V.

 

I love you, Dad

 

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NEVER TOO YOUNG…

Father Figure: n.  a man who has or seems to have the qualities of an ideal male parent, inspiring in others the feelings, attitudes , and behavior of a child towards its father.

2008This is my father; whatever attitudes, feelings, thoughts, knowledge, wisdom that I have, would be that which my father suggested to me.  In sports, he gave me all that I know, due to his coaching, (aside from being a policeman, and ALWAYS a 2nd job), his “suggestions”, and I understood he might have a few, after being drafted by the New York Yankees as a pitcher, as his dad was, with the St. Louis Cardinals.  In my line of work, the love and support that he gave me, always humbled me, because I thought I “knew it all”, but I remembered where he came from, and how he raised all of us kids, and it made me think that I need to listen to someone who was my idol, my mentor, my dad.  My dad sometimes didn’t speak all the time, but I also found out how silence can be golden.  When I was in the hospital for my first operation in 2008, there was a lot that all of us, (family, friends, etc,,), didn’t know about my condition, and dad just sat by my bed and held my arm; silence is golden.  Once the doctors did know, he didn’t change his attention towards me, he just intensified it.  He was my protector, my strength; He will always be with me, strength and all.

For those that don’t know of my dad’s condition, he was fighting two different cancers, Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s Disease.  This was given to us as a family near the end of 2016.  I started going home to spend time with my family, especially mom and Dad, every 2 weeks, and then when these cancers started getting aggressive, I started going every week, and toward the end of his days here on earth, I would come home for a few days, work for 2-3 days, and go back to Vegas to help wherever I could; to help mom, to help dad’s caregiving, whatever was needed.  One might think that that’s a hard way to spend my time, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Why would I?  He raised me, why can’t I do the same for him, after all he had given me?  He was my Dad.

TuleI would like to explain how he had passed, not for anything more, than to express his will, and fight to the end of his days here.  I was supposed to leave L.A, early Tuesday morning, after being home for 3 days, and I got a call from my brother Monday afternoon; he told me I should leave right now, in an hour, to see dad.  It’s funny, I had cancellations through the day, so I had nothing to reschedule, that was the first time in LONG time for that to happen.  After I had gotten to Vegas, I looked into dad’s liquor cabinet, (I always did that, to see if I might “borrow” a little!), and I saw this bottle of Cognac, (which is what dad always loved), but that bottle was never in that cabinet before, I definitely would have seen it, and by the way, it was a huge bottle, and it was never opened.  My brother had never seen it before.  We poured a snifter, took it into Dad’s room, (he had been bedridden for 2 days, with morphine at that time), put some Cognac on his lips, had a prayer of a Hail Mary, and Our Father, and he passed.  He saw his family, had a drink, a couple of prayers to ease him, and the Lord took him home.   So fitting of Dad, his family was everything to him.  As in Proverb 19:21; “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”.  Dad was content, and he went home.

VeteransHis funeral was his celebration of life.  It was exceptional.  Dad was a vet, he had gone to Korea in 1953.  One of Dad/Mom’s neighbors was also a vet, and when I told him about Dad’s passing the morning after, Bob (neighbor), was also a biker, and also to a group called Patriot Guard Riders.  This was a group of veteran riders, whose motto was: Duty-Honor-Country.  Bob asked if we would like the procession to be escorted by the VA bikers.  What a tribute, both to them, and us.  I lost count, maybe 40-50 riders, guiding the procession to the VA cemetery, cutting off drivers whom, these days, do not have the courtesy to pull over, and let honorability drive on.  Well, let me tell you, these guys were not having any of that!  They would pull in front of a car, slow down, and let the procession smoothly ride on it’s course.  The way that they honored their brother in arms, it was humbling.  They were, Brothers who served.  When we exited the church with the casket, the riders all had flags, and a line up that we had to pass through, what a chill.  When we got to the chapel at the VA cemetery, there was another line up that we, the pallbearers, had to go through for the audience.  There was a live Taps, not audio.  Then we had another line up at his burial site.  Another chilling moment, God had blessed dad that day; he deserved all of that.  We had cousins and friends from Illinois come out for their love, and respect for my dad.  As I said earlier, to my dad, family is, and always was, the most important to him; so to have all of our family to fly out for this, it is fitting for dad.  My brother is in the food business in Vegas, and he knows a LOT of casino chefs, and they put on a party after the burial, and no one wanted to leave.  Started at around 2:30, went until about 11:30, and no one WANTED to leave; pure love in our family.  The celebration was for the honor of Dad, but the unity of our family was beyond words.  I was blessed to be of this family. and I can’t thank my Dad enough for being a brother to his 2 sisters, a husband to my mother, an uncle to all of his nieces and nephews, a grandfather, and a great grandfather.  I have been blessed, Dad, and I will see you soon.  You’re  not over the Rainbow, you’re sitting ON the rainbow!  I love you, and I will miss you, you always were my strength, and will always, still, watch over all of us.

(Oh, by the way, Dad, you were never to young!)

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A MOTHER’S LOVE…

How does a person describe a Mother’s love?

MOTHER:  n.  someone that gives rise to, or exercises protective care over someone else

It should be a very simple answer, and it is; but it can be a very complicated answer, also.  Your mother gave you life; what could be more loving than that?  The reason that a mother gave birth to you, is that she wanted YOU!  A human, God-given life that she gave 9 (ish!) months to develop you, delivered you with a little pain (!), nourished you, fed you, played with you, took you on walks with her, spoke with you, read to you, prayed for you, thanked God for you; this was all in your first months with her, and the rest of your family!  This then lasted through the teenage years, and into the adult years.  This was my mother.  A woman whom I never wanted to leave her arms, when I was a child.  A woman who gave me so much love, that I learned the ability to love like her.  These thoughts bring me so much happiness, from my days as a child, to my present days as her son.  She has given more than I would wish upon her.  She has given me hope, and self-confidence to follow, but still enough pride to lead the pack, as she would say.

Thank you Mom.

I wrote an article in the last blog about the time that I was in the hospital for over a month, after being hit by a car.  I always wondered, to myself, why Mom would show up, and stay all day at the hospital, every day.  One day, as I was at the hospital, I asked her why she did that. I mean, I was only five years old, so I guess I had to ask her.  She looked at me, and her eyes filled with tears, and she simply told me, “I just love you so much”.  At the time, it was just an answer to my question.  As time moved on, that answer showed me the love that she had for me every day; how do you top that?  Mom went to all of my school events, from football, to basketball, to baseball.  When I was 10,and 11, I made the All-Star basketball team in what was called the Biddy Basketball tournament.  They would take me to the All-Star tournament in Indianapolis, and since I lived in Peoria, Illinois, I wondered why would they want to drive the four hours to Indy, since I was sure I could ride with someone else!  My parents told me that they loved me, and wanted to see me play at the tournament.  Sounded good then, but look at the love that they gave me, and the time that they gave me on those trips.  I know that not everyone received what I received, and that’s the love that I know about, the love that has no limits.

I love you, Mom.

You have given me so much, and I want you to know how much I NOW know, about how much you HAVE given me.  I remember when I was in high school, we had a house that fed the neighborhood!  Anyone that was over at dinner time, they had a meal; and if you remember, we were not a cheap meal!  Teenage athletes with huge appetites! (grocery bill=$$$!).  That happened in college, also; roommates that wanted to come to Peoria, they stayed at our house, and Mom would cook up a huge breakfast, and we took off for the day.  We took that as having a great mother, I took it having a mother that cared for me much more than I can explain.  With love, comes respect;  and we, as a family, were taught by our parents to not only have respect, but to show respect.  This came from both sides, Dad and Mom.

Thank you for showing me respect, Mom.

When I was graduating from college, I had the opportunity to come out to California.  Obviously, I took it.  After a 2 month stay, I was offered a job at Hughes Aircraft, but they gave me only one week to fly back home, get whatever I had, (wasn’t much at 21) to pack for the trip back to L.A, with my car and suitcases.  So I get all packed, and it all started to hit me, I’m leaving my family, my friends, Peoria.  I sat there, and my Mom sat there with me, and I said I didn’t know if it was good for me to move out to L.A.  It was Mom who told me to go, experience life, try something new; you could always come back if I wanted.  Obviously, I did go, and it was the right decision, but it was Mom who told me that, with tears in her eyes.

Thank you for your knowledge, and love, Mom.

Time goes on, we grow older, and we reflect on the memories that we had growing up, as a family, and what I felt as a son having so much love from my mother.  I’ll never want to replace any of it Mom, it was more than magical; it was as good as good can get.  I can’t tell you how much I love you, it’s just “Somewhere over the Rainbow”!

I love you Mom.

p.s.; (Maybe I should have waited until Mother’s Day, but I decided, why wait, I want that new experience again!)

Your son, Scott

blog:   www.everythingisgoingtobealright.com

 

 

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FATHER TIME… n. the personification of time as an older man

FATHER: n. a man who gives paternal care to others; PROTECTOR/PROVIDER

“Dad”, “Pop”, “Pa”, “Daddy”, “Poppa”, the list goes on and on, but did we ever put serious thought into what I think is the most important name and function of our Fathers; PROTECTOR and PROVIDER.  Think about that; protector and provider.  To me, that’s the most important item in our childhood, to be a protector of a child, teenager, even adult.  I’m not talking about one’s financial status, either.  That always plays out, but being a physical protector, emotional protector, spiritual protector; that’s my dad.  I can say nothing more, just “I would like to be Him”.  He’s been such an inspiration to me, from my first memory of him, to now.  He is always my mentor, preacher, go-to guy, let’s-talk- baseball kind of guy.  I think probably everyone could add to this list; to me, it’s all-in.

I Love You Dad.

When I was a child, probably under 5 years old, our family went on a vacation up to some lake in Michigan, (it could have been Wisconsin), but there was one thing that sticks in my mind.  My brother and I were in the lake to swim in a designated area, the water maybe up to our knees, and my leg got tangled up in the floating rope, (which wouldn’t let you go out  any further).  For some reason, I couldn’t get my leg out, which made me slip under water, and my head going up and down.  My dad heard my brother yell for him, and the only memory of I have of him in that situation, was to see him come running out, as my head was going up and down under water.  As I look back on it, the water probably wasn’t that deep, my parents would never allow that, but my memory is of him pulling me up, putting me to his chest, and holding me until I stopped crying.  My PROTECTOR.

Thank You Dad.

I remember a situation that I had when I was 5 years old; I remember EVERYTHING that happened, except for one thing, which I’ll mention later.  There was a store one block from where we lived; Jacks Market.  In a smaller town, (almost 55 years ago), sending your kid to the market was very common; our block was full of kids our age; Gene, Sammy, Stan, Charlie, Roger, my brother, the LaHood brothers ,and more, but I can’t remember their names.  The point here, is that we all had run to the store to pick up something, so I had to go up to the store.  As I left the store, there were two cars parked out front of Jacks, which sat on the corner of a side street.  Since the cars were in my line of vision, I guess that I decided to just run out between the cars, without looking, and a car was running up the street, and my face got hooked onto the car door handle, and I was pulled that way for about 20-30 ft, (that’s the part that I don’t remember, the actual impact).  Jack came out from the market and held onto me, as I was bleeding on his butcher apron.  Since my Dad was a policeman, a police car came to the scene before the ambulance did, and I was told that I was losing so much blood, they took me to the hospital in the squad car.  Dad pulled me to his chest to comfort me as I was crying, (and bleeding), and I gave him what I went to the store for, cigarettes.  I handed them to him, and that pack now sits in our Bible.  He was MY PROTECTOR.

Thank You for Holding Me Dad

As we go through life, especially as teenagers, my Dad, (and a lot of Dad’s out there!), pulled me out of a LOT of instances where someone, we could say, might end up behind bars for a weekend; I didn’t have to.  Back in those days, when I was 16, the drinking age in Illinois was lowered down to 18, (for beer and wine only).  my brother gave me his I.D. and draft card.  A group of us were in a bar, and the vice squad came into the bar, (it was known for serving underage drinkers), and took all of us down to jail, and we all had to go to court.  As a kid, it just seemed like another night out, not knowing that the bar would get suspended, (which it did and think of the money it lost), but somehow I got my I.D.’s back.  Can you  imagine that?  My Dad pulled me out of another one.

Thank You for Protecting my Record In My Teenage Years Dad

I cold go on and on, but let’s jump to some of my most important days; when my parents found out that I needed to have an operation to get an 8cm tumor, out of my head, (8cm is over the size of a baseball).  My brother, a true champion for everything that went on in those hospital days, had to tell my parents the situation.  My brother and his wife worked up a plan to tell the folks, so that they wouldn’t know exactly what the severity of the situation was, until they got here in L.A.,  at UCLA.  When my Dad got here, he didn’t say too much, just sat beside my bed, and held onto my arm.  That’s when I knew, speaking isn’t about talking.  We spoke beautifully, it was a magic moment, and I knew, leaning on God, everything is going to be alright,(www.everythingisgoingtobealright.com).  My mom was so bold, more than anything I would ever imagine; two beautiful pods in a wonderful pad.  They both have supported me through everything that I went through.  Support, strong word.  Nothing but support.  In everything that I had been through, my complete life, I have been supported by a timeless father.  A PROTECTOR; MY PROTECTOR.

Now it’s my turn, (with my brother and sister).  My Dad has 2 advanced stages of cancers working on him; Leukemia, and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  It’s interesting about life; we come from the dust, and we go back to the dust, but there’s a lot of life in between.  It’s my turn to support him, my turn to be his PROTECTOR, my turn to PROVIDE him with as much happiness as I can possibly give him.  I want to see him laugh, I want to see him smile, I want him to know that I love him as much as he loved me, or hopefully as much.  I want him to know how much I appreciate all he has done for me, even on those days that I’m not the proudest of.  I want him to know how much I’ve admired him, as my Dad, my coaches with baseball, and basketball, and tutoring me on football.  I want him to know everything that I’ve been thinking about, since we found this out about 6 weeks ago.   A lot of things have happened in the past year or so, so none of this info surprised me; I just need to be there for Him, to lean on me, to smile, and laugh.  To lean on his faith for God’s power and service, and how perfect the world will be for eternity.  I just want him to know that I will see him, always, and he has always been in my soul, and I want to give that to him.

I love You Dad.

You have always meant everything to me, and that,”Pop”, will never disappear!  We’ll have aa couple of PBR’s next week when I come over, and laugh, and laugh, and laugh…

JY 576

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