I Miss Oprah. There…I Said It.

I can remember being a teenager, sitting on the couch after school eating what was probably a half of a bag of Doritos acting like I wasn’t watching Oprah.  I was.  Dad walking in from work and calling her ‘Okra’ which admittedly still makes me chuckle.  Fast forward 20 years (ahem…or so) and I’m sitting next to my wife with some form of made up dessert item (nillas and Nutella) watching Oprah…THAT I TIVOED!!!  Now I, uh we, don’t watch the shows that are about moms with 11 kids and the like, but I love the shows that talk about improving your spirit, your soul, your goodness.  Dr. Oz teaching me about S-shaped poop or watching what Oprah has done to help educate those who most want to learn, rebuild those devastated by misfortune or reward those who have done good while asking for nothing in return; those are the shows I most remember.  The shows that have taught me a simple lesson I can apply.

Could you imagine if we had leaders that ran our country the way Oprah ran her show?  Her life?  The ‘goodness’ factor of the world would increment by multiples.  I think this woman got it right.  She turned from ratings, ad revenue and celebrity to enrichment of the lives of others.  I loved how she ended her show.  I realize many didn’t.  I thought the 60-minute monologue with some of her most poignant lessons that she wants to leave the audience with was right on the mark.

Three things I will take away from Oprah’s last show and hope I can remember to apply regularly without the regular hour-long reminder on our Tivo each day are:

1) Validate those in your lives.  Listen to them.  Interact with them. Do so with intent and without distraction.

2) Be responsible for your energy you create and the impact it brings into other people’s lives.

3) Live and lead your life with your heart – little can go wrong when you do this.  Allow it to help find your calling and make it an excuse to follow that calling.

Oprah’s a smart lady.  She’s also worth more of our time.  I hope she continues to wield the power of her positive influence.

One more thing…I realize I have turned in my ‘man card’ with this post.  Let the public lashing begin…


First Communion and what else? NASCAR!!!

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!  Let’s go Communioning!  Er, racing!  May has been about extremes, and no, not the kind where you float up to heaven at 6pm local time as part of the rapture.  Pardon my digressive tangent, one of Cindy’s friends thought it would be funny to put a bunch of outfits in the road, on park benches and on the sidewalks as if the Rapture may have occurred and watch for reactions.  But I digress.  Extremes…that’s right.  May and extremes.  First there was “ditch” camping at the ASC Greenway in Fort Mill with the Adventure Guides – our last campout of the inaugural season.  Then we celebrated Will’s 1st Communion.  He was a handsome and very proud boy.  He even had a speaking role in the ceremony which he performed flawlessly!  Lots of family down to help celebrate and an outstanding cake from Ella Art to boot!

Then back to something more analogous with camping, NASCAR racing.  It wasn’t 2 minutes after we pulled into the dirt road parking lot across from the track when we saw our first fist fight.  Thankfully they didn’t jump on top of our car as I was thinking they were going to.  I am also thankful that they large degree of litter in the area distracted Will and Stewart enough not to be too disturbed by these shirtless males fighting yards from our car.  The kids loved the race.  I love how game Stewart and Will are for these kinds of events although for very different reasons.  Car wrecks, handheld tracking devices and the sounds get Will excited.  Stewart likes the snacks, counting the steps, asking “why do some guys want to show their bellies so much” and catching and releasing moths.  Classic.

Pictures are below – enjoy!

Click here for a slideshow of the First Communion.

Click here for a slideshow of our time at the NASCAR race.

Click here for all of our pictures a la Flickr.



Hard to believe Easter has come and gone already.  I remember last year’s like it was yesterday.  Easter marked the end of the lenten (sp?) season.  It also marked the end of an action-packed Spring Break for the kids.  Cindy arranged for fun activities each day of their break including trips to the Great Wolf Lodge (think indoor waterpark and hotel) and the Greenway.  Taking a few days off from work to share in some of the Spring Break fever was a few days too few.  We had fun.  The 2nd annual Baxter Helping Hands Hygiene Drive was a huge success.  Taking place during the Easter Festivities it gave folks a chance to donate and/or build a hygiene kit for those in need.  Nearly 400 kits were built and provided to the Fort Mill Care Center!  We are very fortunate to live in a place that cares so much about others.  Cindy and the group do a great job organizing events each year to help our community.  The Fort Mill Care Center is a wonderful charity that does so much good for those needing help getting through a “bad patch” in their lives.

In addition to supporting a great cause, we were witness to Charlie’s first solo egg hunt.  There was no particular rush for him.  He wandered into the 3 and under egg arena (I called this area “anarchy” although “uncontrolled chaos” or “a great place to tell the difference between parents of 1st children vs. those with multiple” would also be great names) and walked deliberately from one egg to another.  Often moving past eggs that didn’t interest him.  After about 10 minutes and not reaching his quota he looked up and said “aw dun.  Twain?  Cor?”.  He cracks me up.

On Easter Sunday we enjoyed a nice Easter breakfast, the all-too-familiar religious holiday shutout at church (think saved seats and standing room only) and then a nice Easter supper at Jenn and Jeff’s in Kernersville.    Mark this Easter as the year Will and Stewart watched their first Star Wars movie.  Officially hooked and loved every minute of both “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back”.  “Return of the Jedi” is up next.

Check out our slideshows below.  Easter first, then some pictures of the Greenway and Great Wolf Lodge Trip, then Stewart’s successful purple belt test.

Click here for the Easter Slideshow.

Click here for pictures of Spring Break.

Click here for a slideshow of Stewart’s Purple Belt Test (Tae Kwon Do).

Click here for all of our pictures a la Flickr.