Sunday, December 29, 2013


i lost a friend a week and a half ago.  and i'm watching one of my best friends go through the grief of losing someone she loves very much.  his name is chris - i say "is" because whenever someone dies i have a very hard time talking about them in the past tense, especially when i truly can't believe they are gone  - chris...or, peter christopher bohler as he has been mentioned on the news, was serving with the army in afghanistan when his black hawk helicopter crashed.  i met him about a year and a half ago when k and i were out and he was in kc with a group of his army buddies from ft. riley.  chris and k hit it off immediately and he quickly became a bigger part of her life than i know she wanted to admit.  a gentle soul, quiet and unassuming, quick-witted and funny...his deep eyes took everything in and his wide smile made everyone want to be his friend.  always a gentleman, he had the ability to make everyone around him feel at ease.  he went along with our shenanigans and was always willing to do whatever it would take to make k smile.  he loved her and accepted everything about her completely - something many of us never know.

there is an internal reflection that comes when we lose someone.  the fragility of life is suddenly a reality and for many of us, we are faced with the need to look within our own lives searching for anything that makes sense and grasping on to those who make our life worth living.  i am no different.  for the past week and a half since hearing k's voice on the other end of the line, i've spent a lot of time looking at my life and trying to make sense of where i am and what i want from here on out.  we only get so many days and it's up to us to make them count.  i've always said it's important to tell those we care about how we feel about them - never should someone we love question their value in our life - and losing chris makes me believe this even more.  i'm not saying every conversation needs to be one that matters, but i do think it's important to remind the people we share our life with that they matter...that they are worth more to us than anything else...and to not wait until it's too late to tell them.

i am so thankful for chris...for the difference he has made to my dear friend...for loving her the way he did...for showing her that she is worth that...for his friendship and his genuine kindness.  his short life was a gift to many and i feel blessed to have had the privilege of knowing him.  i am angry he is gone...there is much i don't understand.  i keep thinking back to that friday night in early august when we all went out the last time...we knew he was leaving that week and i remember us talking about when he comes home and telling him to be safe...all the while knowing in the back of our minds there was the possibility he wouldn't, yet never in a million years believing it would happen to him.  but it did and now what i keep trying to do is remind k of the blessing she was to him and to take the lesson placed in front of us...don't take one day for granted and if there is someone who makes your life better just by being in it - tell them.

so, my are missed.  your life mattered more than you will ever know.  29 years wasn't enough, but you touched lives and changed hearts in that short amount of time and for that you will always be remembered and loved.  and, to all of you reading my words...many of you i know and some of you i will never meet...please keep k in your prayers, please honor chris by taking the time to tell those you love how important they are to you, and please take a moment to remember the men and women serving for all of us - the sacrifice they are making is much greater than dying for their country.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


i went to bed last night thinking about the past eleven months and how little there is left to 2013.  i thought about how i tend to write a post at the end of each year looking back over the months, the weeks, the days...the memories...remembering with nostalgia the months behind me and looking forward to the clean slate that lies before me with the coming of a new year.  what i realized last night is that i have a few short weeks to make something of 2013...and these thoughts kept running through my mind:  what will you do with the time left?  what will you do to make the most of these next few weeks?  what do you want to remember from 2013?  what do you want to be remembered for this year?

we spend so much time looking back this time of year.  then we spend a few days looking forward to the wide expanse that is the coming year...we make resolutions (well, not me, but many do), we make plans, we discard what we disliked from the past and vow to do better next year, we set goals and get excited for a short time about the future.  but, what if we looked at each day, or even each week, with that same level of excitement and commitment to do better, to give more, to live with every bit of life we have within us?  what would our lives look like if we did that?  what if we didn't wait for the hype of new year's eve to create the life we want?  what if we woke up tomorrow and decided to make even one little change?

then i woke up this morning with all the "giving tuesday" stuff all over the news...a day dedicated to helping organizations like the one i work with...a day designed to give people a little nudge to give something back or to pay it forward - to make a difference in someone else's life.  honestly, i hadn't thought too much about it.  it's all around me.  food drives and donations and asking generous people to give so that others can have even the simplest of needs met.  i see it everyday - some stories are beautiful and others heartbreaking...some remind me of the pure goodness that is often so hard to see and some make me wonder if everything we do matters at all.

but, then i got a phone call...from a stranger, someone i've never met who knows about our program and wanted to give something to help our families.  ten minutes later my door opened and she handed me a check...and i found myself crying in front of a complete stranger.  the amount matters none...but it will make a difference to others and that's what matters.

i am again wondering what the next few weeks of 2013 hold...not 2014, but 2013.  there's still time to make a difference.  time to make a change.  time to live a little.  time to say the words you've been afraid to say.  time to make time for someone.  time to be brave.  time to create memories.  time to love.  it's not about the holidays or the gifts or the food or the parties.  it's so much more than that.  those come and go.  it's what's left when all that's over that matters...the people...the time...the memories - from even the most ordinary days.  a hand held.  a door opened.  a look, a glance, a smile.  live with purpose, live genuinely...give with no expectations - give love, give time, give a hand...i can guarantee that what you will get back will be much more than anything you could give.