Some people just win the day !

WOW someone totally won today for me !  I cannot even express right now how what happened just brought me the biggest smile !  I may share the story or keep it to myself.  But seriously WOW.  The sheer bravery of people to say hello to a fellow like me who they do not know and then bring me out of my “zone”  Love it !!


Sometimes something happens that absolutely blows your mind and makes your day.  Today December 23 was one of those days.


First is the story then the lesson learned.

Denny’s is my office. It’s where I go to edit photos, read and write. Tonight started like most others until a family walked in.  A young girl who looked no more than 20 years old walked in and smiled at me.  As her family enjoyed their dinner she would turn and smile at me a few times, I returned the smile each time. She had a bright and friendly smile about her.  At one point I was on the phone and when the conversation ended,  this young lady started speaking with me.

She asked me if I was going to be singing on Christmas Eve, to which I said no, I would be spending the evening with my family.  .  At first I was a little confused, then realized I had been singing along with songs on my computer while editing photos ( I do not sing well lol)  She had heard me singing.

I sat and spoke with this young lady for about 10 minutes and with her family.  After a while I went back to doing my editing again and she would continue to smile that bright beautiful smile at me.  The family would turn and smile at me as well.

I think it was great that she was brave enough to engage me in conversation. Her name was Christine.

Christine came back to the table and spoke with me a little again and wished me a Merry Christmas before their dinner was done.  This was a very sweet and cute gesture.

So this is where the story ends right ?  Wrong.  The family, a little later and Christine, gave me a Christmas Card with some very kind words in it.

Here is what the Card said inside.  “ May God continue to bless you and your family as you celebrate the miracle of the birth of our Lord.!” God has blessed you with such gifts of music.  May you continue to bless others and your family with the gifts of his glory.

J  Fred, Sheryl and Christine.


Now, you may be wondering…… why is this story a good one and why did it make your day?

This young lady has Aspergers, a form of Autism, I learned this tonight in discussion with my waitress, who knows the family well as they are regulars on Sundays.

This girl was brave enough to say hello and talk with me.  For that in itself I was blessed.  I could have ignored her, hey, I didn’t know her story  or why she wanted to talk to me.  I was working  (kinda).  Instead I spoke with her and had a great conversation that blessed me more than I think she will know.

I must note here that I had no clue that this young lady had Autism until I was told. Also, she was 28 years old !  I did realize quickly, there was something different about her and it had nothing to do with her “disability”

Her “different”  She was brave, took a chance to talk with someone with no worry about anything negative happening.   I am not shy but how often would I even do that?  How many times would I have seen a cute girl and not said hi ?  Or even a group of people?  She was patient, friendly, unique and had a beautiful smile and shared it with me.

The Blessing.  This truly made my heart warm and flattered me.

The lesson.  Be brave, take a shot.  How many missed opportunities do we have if we remain in our little bubble and are afraid of people’s perception ?  Or afraid of rejection or negativity?  I guarantee I have missed out on many a good conversation because I was afraid to say hello.  I am not just referring to meeting women. I am referring to any one person I could have said hello to and chose not to.  Share your smile, your story, share something.  That girl sharing a little something gave me an experience I am thankful for especially after the year I have had and add to that it’s Christmas and I am usually a stress case at this time of year.

I hope to be as open as Christine in my interactions.

Going into the New Year I encourage you to say hello to that stranger, you do not know what a difference you could make.  You may get rejected from time to time, but those few times that you do get a conversation I am confident will be amazing.



Bullying 23 years later, Grow Up !

Lucky you, you get two posts today !  I had to write about an experience I had tonight that floored me and made me realize some people never grow up.

I was at a coffee shop editing photos when I ran into someone from Elementary/ Jr. High Jr Hgh 2tonight….It’s amazing what some people remember some 23 years since you have seen them last and yet they still sit there and laugh at you thinking it’s ok. Ya I was a geek, a loser back then, but did they seriously have to remind me with laughter how people like them tormented me for being the little guy ? Ya, you put me in lockers, teased me and spoke harsh words… Some people never grow up, glad I did.





I almost feel sorry for this person.  I mean, they are still hanging onto what they did to me and yet seemed to have little remorse as if it was ok to do what they did all those years ago.  To still laugh and tell the friend who was with them these quick stories about me banging on my locker begging someone to let me out.  I kinda wonder what this person’s life is like now ?  Are they still a bully ? Do they not care about how they affect others around them?  Are they leading a full life or a sad and empty existence ?  Do I really care? Not really.  Life is good now and i can confidently walk away knowing that in those situations I am by far the better person still 23 years later.



I have been told in the past that I care too much for people. This person is one of those reasons I care too much.  I don’t like to see people feel things I have and I care enough to help where and when I can.

Makes me thankful I am not bullied in today’s generation and yet feel even more sorry for people who are bullied nowadays and can’t just escape from their tormentors.  I would take the bullying I received back then over anything kids experience now.



What the heck is wrong with people ?

Gift Cards for Christmas…Really ?

OK, so it’s Christmas time and we all have those people who are difficult to buy for right ?  Well I was going to post about my strong dislike for giving and receiving Gift Cards.  My mind was slightly changed yesterday and here is where I think Gift Cards fit in.

I was at the mall shopping and was really struggling for a couple people.  I tried also to find a little “something extra” to add to other presents.  I must add here, Christmas shopping actually frustrates me, but that’s for another post.

OK, so two people, two very different struggles in gift giving.  First…my mom.  I purchased a couple of presents for her but still wanted something extra .  Last year we bought her an Ipod, so this year in addition I purchased Gifts Cards to the Itunes store so that she can get music, games, videos basically whatever her heart desires while she still gets to enjoy the other gifts that I purchased.

Second….My roommate.  He is kinda one of those people who have everything and loves his technology.  The problem here is I could not think of a single thing to get him…AT ALL !!  This frustrated me but then I got to thinking.  He has an Asus Tablet that runs off the Android system.  He has games he likes and he downloads apps for his daughter.  I thought, geez in this situation a Gift Card for the Google Play Store is super appropriate !  This is something he can use to supplement his technology habit. I think this was a great gift for him.



Now I do not recommend buying gift cards all the time? NO.  They can be a cop out.  Have we forgotten to pay attention to the interests of the people in our lives ?   My issue is that they are so impersonal especially for people we know well such as our family and close friends.  I do occasionally buy them for co workers and giveaways at events I am a part of.  They do fit well in those situations and who doesn’t like a little Timmies or Starbucks in the office ?

Receiving these can sometimes drive me batty.  I always appreciate anything I receive in life, but I would rather a small token from someone who has taken the time to learn what I like rather than a gift card that was bought  “ just because, I had no ideas”.  I love when people have noticed things about me.  A good example in my previous life is that I loved to drink Pepsi and an old friend bought me a six pack of cans as well as little rum to go with it- Loved this gift !  Ultimately it is the thought that counts, I get it, at Christmas we shouldn’t be selfish and accept a gift no matter what it is a sign of love, kindness or respect.

I would trade anything just for time spent with people this Christmas than receiving any present but that’s really my own humble opinion.

As you head into Christmas day, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and many blessing this Holiday season J


Dodgeball- My True Love Story.



7 years ago I entered into a sport, a child’s game really.  Little did I know from the moment I picked up my first Dodgeball that my life would forever become more enriched,  more playful and yes have more bruises, bumps and injuries than ever !  It has all been worth it.  What I also did not realize is how close and important my team mates would become  in my life.

Its started with my first team – Dishin It Out !  which has evolved over time to The Incrediballs, The Dodge Brawlers, Dodge of the Dead, Jolly Dodgers, Jolly Dodgers 2.0, Not you, Fat Jesus and many different team names for tournaments.


Over the years I have tried to become a better player.  I am not the strongest arm on my team by far, nor the best catcher, I am a pretty good dodger I think. Dodgeball does actually take some skill and there are some pretty good athletes playing….umm not me.  I have had the privilege to watch many of my team mates grow and get better over the years.  We have won divisions together, lost together had a lot of fun along the way.

Every week, twice a week and through tournaments I put myself through a little punishment.  I have lost count of the various injuries I have had over the years.  Arguably, if you ask my team I am by far one of the most injury prone and clumsy players out there.  Ask my team mates they will be sure to tell you a “Mini”  Story, there are numerous. !    So why do I keep going back for the punishment

My friends.   Old and new.  Some of who are like an extended family to me.  I love these people and would do pretty much anything for them.  As the years have gone by and I have become more entrenched in the Dodgeball community making countless friends I have become hooked on the social aspect of my sport.  Are there times we get annoyed with each other.  Of course !  We are friends throwing rubber balls at each other, there are bound to be disagreements.  But in the end we still forgive and move on…usually over ice cream or a beer.

It is this community of players who have supported me in two charitable tournaments which would not have been successful without those amazing people helping to raising almost $5000.00 to date for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Next year brings my third annual tournament and I want to make the experience even better to show my appreciation for my Dodgeballin friends.  We are all great at supporting each other in our endeavors.

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Dodgeball has saved my own sanity a few times .  In tough years when my personal life was in shambles the 2 hour a week of game time became my escape.  It was the one place for an hour at a time I could cast my own worries, fears and cares aside and just be free, if even for a brief moment. It was a chance for me to be with people who I care about and hopefully cared about me, having fun.  There were definitely odd moments during these times –( Remember the Percocet incident Brawlers ) but these nights helped me so much to not fall into a hole that could have been tough to come out of.  Over time I got better and the game was no longer an escape but a place I went because I truly loved playing and i loved the people who I played with


So why share all of this?  I LOVE DODGEBALL !!!    I have had to take the most recent season off from playing and I have missed playing immensely.  I have missed seeing my team mates and many others that I use to see on a regular basis.  I have spent time watching my team and photographing them, but it is not the same as being out there on the courts with them.  This season off has truly shown me how important this game is in my life, how important my friends are and how much I love all that Dodgeball encompasses.  Ya it’s just a game, but many of these experiences and people are forever.

To my team mates directly.  Thank you for all these amazing years and experiences.  Thank you for supporting me as your friend in highs and lows.  Thank you for being so much fun, a little crazy and the most amazing people one can surround themselves with.  I love you guys and look forward to my return to playing with you all in 2014.

It’s not just a game, it is has become so much more.



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