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Memorial Day 2017 – Honor the Fallen

Sorry to rain on your ‘happy Memorial Day’, but Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those who have given their lives in the defense of the USA and our constitution. They stood up and pledged to:

Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; ……..bear true faith and allegiance to the same; ……….take this obligation freely

…  and they paid the ultimate price.

In our family, and I suspect in all Gold Star families, every day is a memorial day.  You cannot pass through our house and not see a picture of Chris – Afghanistan, his wedding, with his sister, with his dog, with Amanda, as an infant. His Navy EOD paddle hangs in my office, with the dates of his birth and death burned into the wood – as it is burned in our lives. It says ‘Custodite et protegite nos’ – Watch over and protect us.

Back to ‘happy’ – Once you have done something to help memorialize the fallen – donated to a cause in their honor, gone to that parade to show that you remember, listened to a speech at a local war memorial, go and have some fun.

I know Chris would want you to honor and remember but also have some fun.  You see, many and, probably most, of these men and women would not want you to mourn and grieve for too long.  They want you to remember them and celebrate the lives they lived.  Chris would be the one inviting people over, the first one at the cookout, the first to raise a glass to toast and remember the fallen, and then the first to recall the best of the happy times with those fallen heroes.  There would be stories, smiles and laughs . . . . . . and tears.

Chris would choose love and joy . . . and a hope in the future.  Happiness is the result of our current environment.  Joy is from deep within.  Joy comes out of love for others combined with the belief that tomorrow will be better.  Chris lived that ethos.

So this weekend, please go out and remember and honor those who have sacrificed.  Look for a way to pay forward their sacrifice.  Something simple – and as you do it, let the recipient know for whom and why you are acting.

Now, that is a true memorial for a fallen warrior.

Five Years On – Remembering and Honoring Chris

As we approach the 5 year anniversary of losing Chris in Afghanistan, I am drawn to words that other people use to describe the members of my family.  ‘How did you do it?’ – which is really a rhetorical question.  Most people really do not want to know the details.  The details are difficult stories and stories of love and friendship.  Yet it is those details that help us survive.

My details are the man of faith and integrity I knew Chris to be.  He was a loving husband and caring friend.  He would want us to care about those around us and help those less fortunate.  The fact that he would not want me to ‘sit on my a$$ forever.’  (Yes – he really did say that to his sister – just in a very loving brotherly way).  Details are his quick smile, his deep friendships, and his love of life. Details are the lost dreams and hopes.

The loss of a child is a unique loss as it is an event that is out of the natural order. One day you are dreaming of what is to come and next day you are wondering how you will survive. We all hope to outlive our children but sometimes the answers we get to our prayers are different from what we wanted.

We survive because resilience is built into our beliefs. Our faith offers us a God who walks before us to clear the path and behind us to watch our backs and beside us to be our friend.  And on those very dark days, He carries us. The days of carrying us are now fewer but they still unexpectedly come up.

What does the future hold?  We just do not know. So we persevere to go forward.   We still have many of our hopes and dreams.  Blessed with the great choices our kids made, we are blessed with family relationships as well as friendships that make our lives far richer than any ‘things’.

Personally, I am continuing to challenge myself with triathlons and finding new and better ways to give back – veteran needs, Gold Star family members like us, student character programs and community outreach. We are blessed with so much in our nation.  My challenge is how can I help just one person today?

This is my next physical challenge in June – th Islandman Tri to support the Travis Manion Foundation – Thank you for your support in advance

Team Travis & Brendan at Islandman Tri in Avalon

To Chris – Custodite et Protegite Nos – Watch Over and Protect Us – I wear it on my shoulder every day.

My hope today is no different than it would have been if you were here.  I hope I make you proud to be my son and my friend.  Love you, Dad

Showing our kids the way to get things done?!?!

Alert – A bit of a political rave.
 
I find NYT’s Kristoff enlightening and oft times on point (remember I lean conservative). However, today, while promoting mockery of Trump, he seemingly does not get the thin line between mocking Trump and having it carry over to bullying the populace who might have voted against HRC and for DT and a major change in DC.
Do we really want people making decisions because they afraid being mocked? I would like to believe all our representatives are full of integrity and are not swayed by outside influence but I see actions that oppose this view(money, unions, PACs, fake news, etc). Wish I felt most of them were more worried about the people of this nation rather than any single special interest that throws money their way.  Would it not be better to help find ways to inform them of the alternatives and have them gain insight into the best decision for our nation?
If this works for DT (which I do not think it will, well just think how we can apply to anyone who does not think like we think and do what we want.  Is that the way we want our democratic republic to work?
 
Oh, it is not the ‘democratic left’ and ‘conservative right’, it is the liberal left. Remember – Bernie is on the left and is not democratic. We can be democratic but not a Democrat.
Sorry but just sad at where we have gotten to in our political discourse and what seems to be acceptable – on both sides of aisle.