This morning, I had the joyful privilege of co-hosting a Blab chat with my friend, Ruth Curran. Ruth, as I’ve mentioned before, is the author of Being Brain Healthy and is the Capt. Cruncher behind the entertaining and inspiring site, Cranium Crunches.
Blab was entirely new to us, but our subject, creativity, was not. Ruth and I, both traumatic brain injury thrivers, talked about the benefits of exploring and pursuing creative outlets. Creativity turns up the volume in life, flooding our brains with feel-good chemicals. Coloring, painting, and sewing are just a few of the ways I like to turn up the volume in my life. I play and within 15 minutes I’m in the zone or flow, as one participant called it, and before I know it minutes turn into hours and my brain is bathed in happiness. It’s the “brain work” that truly is play!
There is so much more I have to share about creativity and our new Blab series*, and I will, but for today, the 12th day of NaBloPoMo, I want only to plant a seed to prompt your thoughts about the fuel the feeds our creativity– our imagination.
How do you unleash your imagination?
(* Ruth and I will be hosting regular Blab chats on Thursdays starting at 8 AM PST. Please consider joining us to help turn up the volume in your life!)
A couple of years back, I wrote about my father. He was an amazing man who made amazing sacrifices for his family and his country. Each year, on Veteran’s Day, I called him specifically to thank him for his service and the sacrifices he made during WWII. Though he was a humble man and talked little of his service, I wanted him to know his service and sacrifices mattered.
His service did matter. And, though he is gone, his service still matters, as does the service of every man and woman that has answered the call to protect my freedom. I may not agree with every action taken by our military, but I will always stand in support of the men and women that wear a uniform in protection of my rights.
As a practice, I thank every man and woman I see in uniform, regardless of the date, but today, as a nation, we say our public and collective thanks. With our eyes set on the fact that each man and woman in uniform was a boy or a girl once and that each has a family that also makes sacrifices so their son, daughter, husband, father, wife, and/or mother may serve, my family and I once again offer our simple, humble, and deeply heartfelt gratitude for all the veterans that serve and have served.
And, in remembrance of my father, I again share the tribute I wrote in 2013:
A Veteran’s Legacy
He was a boy once, taught to ride ponies by his mama.
He had only one sister, no brothers, and a father who wasn’t present.
He was a boy who couldn’t breathe, lungs constricted by asthma.
He worked odd jobs to help support the family.
He was a boy who played saxophone and clarinet well.
He struggled in classes and was told he wasn’t bright.
He was a boy when he left school, not yet graduated, not yet 18.
He left school on the promise of a high school diploma.
He was too young to sign the papers.
He asked his mother for consent; she conceded, her only son would serve.
He was skinny, runt-like, at only 109 pounds, but they would take him.
He would play in the band and be trained as a medic.
He would serve in the name of his family, his friends, his country.
He served in the Navy, on the USS Yorktown, in the Pacific during WWII.
He played his saxophone and wheezed at night.
He saw action.
He saw death and pain and horror no boy of 16 or 17 should see.
He bonded with his shipmates, and they with him.
He mourned the loss of his best friend.
He swallowed his fear.
He rescued men when the ship was hit.
He was injured.
He earned medals.
He entered as a boy; he left as a man.
He said he simply did what he had to do, that they all did.
He lived in Paris after the war.
He played jazz and conversed with Jean-Paul Sartre.
He returned home to begin anew.
He went back to school on the GI bill.
He became a lawyer.
He met a woman and proposed 6 weeks later.
He married her in less than a year.
He started a family and he returned to school.
He became a psychologist.
He built a marriage, a family, and a private practice.
He became a writer.
He regularly challenged his mind; education mattered to the boy who left high school.
He teased with a dry sense of humor.
He encouraged and guided his children in their education and in life.
He traveled the world and inspired his children to do the same.
He woke with sick children, mourned the loss of a child, and assembled toys late on Christmas Eve.
He openly missed them when the last had left the nest.
He loved his children well.
He was a romantic.
He would buy her violets, the flowers she carried on their wedding day.
He called her “Doll”, and his eyes still sparkled each time he looked at her.
He would ask her, “Did I make you feel loved today?” at the end of the day.
He held her hand when they walked.
He celebrated their love.
He would share almost 50 years with her.
He loved her well.
He rarely spoke of the pain he had seen in the war or in life.
He served his country, his community, and his family.
He left a legacy of discipline, of humility, but most of all, of love.
He was a veteran, and I’m proud to say he was my father.
And, he is missed.
To all the men and women who serve and have served our country, my family and I thank you.