Tuesday is TOASTMASTERS night….

Here is the very rough version of the speech that I am giving tonight for my 9th speech out of the CC manual…. Enjoy, Comment, Think

I AM A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and it is interesting what I can come up with to speak about in 30 min.

It seems that with all that is going on in the United States as of late that there are many times that we are bordering on the verge of becoming misanthropic.  I think that the hardest pill that we have to swallow is attempting the impossible, being optimistic.  I know, I know, there are those of you in this very room that would contest that you ARE an optimist.    You would be able to stand amidst the sea of millions that would all be… wrong.   I am not talking about just being optimistic about today, your job, your home.  I am talking MUCH bigger.  Your community, our state, our nation.

 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

Our forefathers penned these words in 1787, 225 years ago YESTERDAY. 225 years ago, The United States was a fledgling separatist continent of people that were fed up with the monarchy,  exhausting 25,000 lives, leaving the same number wounded, and changing the lives of the 2 and a half million living there, and all of those that would come, forever.  Makes you kind of rethink what the entire 1% talk SHOULD really be about, right? Did you know that during the revolutionary war 85% of all eligible people had some active part in the war that granted us the opportunity to even have a constitution, for us to be called the United States?  This number towers over the minuscule 12% (at best) today. As a model of cooperative statesmanship our forefathers did their best through debate and discussion to leave behind the structure that remains intact today.  The structure upon which most of what the 313 and a half million living here today still benefit from.  But there seems to be something wrong.  What these people fought for, died for, risked everything for, stood up for and screamed in the face of the monarchy that they were not going to take it anymore; seems to have lost its luster.  These ideals that I hold close and dear to my heart, for some are mere more than a dusty mantel piece shrouded in worry, fear and disgust.

 

With all of the bickering, worry, fear, and hate that seem to be flooding our news I would not blame any of you for feeling down.  But, here is the problem.  As we, as individuals, continually lose sight of some very important things, we become complacent.  It is through this compliancy that we start to care less and less, seeing all the bad as the end of it all.  Feeling that there is little change that can be done to fix anything.  Thinking that with this election that is coming up that there is nothing that can be done, and that your opinion does not make a difference.  Then you start to lose grip on the ideals that this country was founded on.  On the core values that makes us the United States.  Patriotism follows suit and what is left.  Not much.  Then there are people like I, and countless other before me, have risked our lives to provide the blanket of security that you still bitterly sleep under every night.  Being willing and able to become part of the 2.4 million that gave it ALL. 

 

FDR gave a speech in 1941 in which he broke down all of the freedoms that we have into four fundamental freedoms that “Everyone in the world” should enjoy.  Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.  Taking to heart that no other county has a constitution like ours should empower you as an American citizen, should bring pride into your heart.  Regardless of some of the things that seem to be going on, there are a few things that ring true.  We all still have these freedoms, if we want to see change, we can make it happen.  I do not think that the actual word should be can… I think should is much more descriptive.  With so many things falling by the wayside, we should be gravitating towards things that allow us to expressively and justly use our freedoms. 

 

“But I am just one person” you cry out against this.  In part, you are right.  You are an individual. You have your own path that you choose to walk.  Good job.  But we are called the UNITED States for many reasons.  Least of all is that we are a collective, a throng of bodies that move with the ebb and flow OF THE PEOPLE.  We are not subject to the rule and command of one.  Each and every one of us has the ability to let our voices be heard.  If you believe strong enough and deep enough that you would be willing to do what others have done in the past, to be willing to lay down your life to support and defend the constitution of the United States, against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC; that we would bare true faith and allegiance to the same. If this is the case, then you should be willing to speak louder.  Your voice could reach the ears of another, spark something.  Then next thing you know your singular voice has become two.  As this continues to grow, if it is real and good, then before you know it your 2 could become thousands, tens of thousands, who knows.  Then, simply by using your constitutional right to speak freely you could change your community, your state, your nation.  This is democracy, this is where we live. 

 

Are things great and easy right now? NO!!! But think of a couple of things… has anyone ever been promised that every day would be easy? Did a leprechaun climb off his unicorn to whisper in your ear that rainbows would always fill a sky of butterflies and cool breeze?  I know I have never been promised such a thing.  The other thing is to consider that we, even in these times, have certain inalienable rights that are granted to us JUST BECAUSE WE LIVE HERE.  Close your eyes for a moment, just a moment and try to think about what life would be like without the rights that you have today.

 

Freedom of Speech, Right to bear arms, protection from quartering of troops, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, due process, rights of the accused, civil trial by jury, prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, protection of rights not enumerated in the constitution, powers of states and people, not to mention the OTHER 13 amendments that have been added since the bill of rights was penned.

 

These rights are not just for our protection, but they give us the methods to be the gentle wind of true change that becomes a hurricane.  So, unfurl your flags that are in your closet, and stand proud my fellow Americans.  Become the change that we keep hearing about and keep America… America. Get out there and do SOMETHING, vote, run for office, get signatures, enlist, be a voice. DO  Something that preserves these rights, the ones that that we ALL take for granted. Preserve them for the future generations of Americans that WILL come.  For if we do not stand up and fight for what we believe in, if we get caught up in all of the “bad news” that is a small blip across the scope of time, then the change that we will get will be EXACTLY what we feel the awesomeness of being an American is worth… nothing.

More family visits!

Today was a busy but good day.  My sister-in-law (bride’s sister) flew in today from Phoenix.  This event, mired with the other events surrounding our cars, allotted me the chance to come home early and take care of work from there.  This way my amazing wife could stay with Zoey, I could take the car that we are borrowing from my mom and pick up my sister-in-law, I could take care of some work in the peace and quiet of home… sounds awesome right.  Well, I arrived home laden with projects to get taken care of, and with the realization that since it was Tuesday, and wanting to stay on track, this means Toastmasters.  I am striving to complete my competent communicator manual sometime soon, so, I added to the mix preparing for a speech.  Good times. 

Much like most of the last month, things never seem to come close to going to plan.  I was not able to get as much work done as I would have liked before leaving to go pick up my sister-in-law.  I was ONLY 10 min late to the airport to pick her up.  Returned home to try to get more done, and prepared for my speech.  I had to put together a slide show, the topic, super easy. I talked about the transition from preparing to be a dad, to becoming a dad.  Made it to Toastmasters a bit late, but it was ok.  Gave my speech, and that went well (I will post some cliff notes this weekend).  Returned home to try to finish work, and realized that I had a TON to do. *sigh*

All-in-all, I really cannot complain too much.  I was able to get a substantial amount of work completed before passing out for an hour before work today (Wednesday).  

Zoey is doing fantastic.  She has an appointment with the optometrist coming up on her ONE MONTH.  Seriously, where has the time gone?  I know that friends, family and readers are asking for more updates on Zoey… and of course more picture.  That is all coming… and soon. 

I AM A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and I have found that when I am stressed out… holding Zoey melts that all away… no matter how tired I am.

14 days…. whhhhaaaattttt?

We got a little bit of a chance to sleep in today… much needed and long overdue.  There was just something more awesome about waking up and seeing the bassinet at the foot of our bed.  I sat there for  a little and just took it in.  Then we got ourselves together… the wife did something that I cannot recall her doing even before she was pregnant… she was ready to go in 10 min… from bed to door…. Now, I must say that my amazing bride is not one to take FOREVER getting ready, it was just awesome and impressive that as a woman who is as pregnant as she is, that she could do that.  Where were we going? To go watch my fellow toastmasters compete in the district competition.  Both of the speakers from our club did an amazing job… so well that they BOTH won.  Yeah, our club rocks!  Then it was off to work for a few hours.  I had to give some recipes to a good friend who had his last day, deliver some gumbo to a dear friend that was not there on Friday, and try to get ahead on my work for next week.  The operative word was try in that statement.  Some of the stuff that I needed, the data that I had to uses… was not populating.  What does that mean… Monday morning is going to suck.  I was able to get some of the stuff changed for the compliance changes for the first (which was the main reason I had to go in).  I would love to take pictures of some of the stuff that I do.. but thanks to HIPPA… probably not the best idea…. I will see what I can come up with.  Now, it is late and tomorrow is going to be full of getting homework done, going over the taxes, cleaning the house, perhaps taking our brilliant border collie for a much needed walk, and Lord knows what else.  Good night tumblrland.  (Oh… and I see that my queue is FINALLY catching up….lol…. perhaps I should do the picture-a-day thing to fill it up again).

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and as things come together… the reality sets in… an is surprisingly weightless on my shoulders.

18 Days – Contest… what contest?

Tuesday is Toastmasters Day for me.  I cannot help it… I just flat out have a great time there.  We had our speech competitions tonight.  Though I did not win, the completion was fun, and the speeches were amazing.  One of my fellow toastmasters and I decided to give opposing viewpoint speeches.  It was interesting and his speech was awesome.  I think it is something that was worth attempting.  Busy day today, so it will be short.  We are counting the days… and I have a feeling that our little one is too.

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD,  I am scared out of my mind and I know that one day I will have to give a toast at my daughter’s wedding… and I am getting ready…now.

25 Days, and counting

Tonight I had Toastmasters.  Though I did not speak it was still a ton of fun.  We are gearing up with our spring speech and table topics contests.  Tonight was the table topics contest and all of the contestants did an awesome job.  I did come to the realization that I WILL NOT be speaking at the next meeting (Speech Contest) as I will be chairing the competition.  This is bittersweet news, but the way that I look at it is this:

The ORIGINAL due date for our little one was March 30th, the current one is set for April 14th (25 days away).  This being stated, the district competition is being held on March 31st.  IN THE EVENT that I were to win or come in second, there is a very good chance that my wife could go into labor at some-point around the contest.  This would result in me bowing out (100% by choice with little regard to the competition) so that I could be there for my wife, and to greet my little one.  This would mean that I would be out of the contest anyway.  Thus, it is better to chair the contest and get the check-mark for the leadership criteria then to speak, taking a chance, and having it result in nothing as my daughter is far more important. 

All in all, an easy decision to make. 

I am now in a rhythm of drawing baths for my very pregnant wife every evening.  This gives her time to relax, her body time to stretch, and seems to be helping her sleep.  We are so very anxious to meet our little one.  My wife recently completed an awesome project involving our daughter name.  It is now handing in our nursery and seems to make it even more real.  I also received news that the bassinet is nearly finished.  There is a chance that my father will be in DC sometime soon, perhaps this calls for a trip up (I miss hanging out with my dad).  We shall see. 

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, but I know well enough that I can forecast events that I will always and forever choose family over myself, or a good time.  After all, family time IS ALWAYS a good time.

Unlocked Doors – part 5 – Conclusion

There is no easy or clear cut way for a boy to decided to be a man. As I walk down the path to fatherhood I am in hopes that I am taking the right steps to become a man. It is through my sacrifice, dedication and honor that the pathway may become more clear, but I accept that it will never be easy.

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and through my willing sacrifice, intense dedication and uplifted honor… I hope the be the man that my boys want to become and the type that my girls, one day, would want to marry.

Unlocked Doors – part 4 – Honor

Honor means to have a high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank. This can be the hardest or easiest part of being a man. Having a deep sense of honor for your family falls hand in hand with your own sacrifice and dedication. The reason that this can be one of the hardest things to have as a man is that it is so terribly implicit with the other two, that if you were to try to focus just on honor, you would be fighting an uphill battle. However, by doing all that you can to be there, to be a good father, to be a good husband is the most predominate way that you can show the elevated level of worth that you have for your family.

Unlocked Doors – part 3 – Dedication

Dedication has many different meanings. There is something to be said about the man that devotes their time and energy into the welfare of their home. In fact, dedication means to devote wholly and earnestly. This means that just making sure that the check is in the mail is NOT enough. Dedication means more than money, or a bit of time. Being a father, a husband, a boyfriend, should consume you. There are already days that I go home, exhausted from the day at the office, feet dragging, shoulders heavy. But the moment that I open the door, I am making dinner for my wife, asking about her day, listening, communicating. I know that in the days to come, that when I come home, tired, stressed and ready to relax, that is when my role of a father will begin. Taking care of our daughter, and God willing one day more children, and giving my wife a chance to take a break, relax, recharge and enjoy being a mother. Looking back, if a man is willing to sacrifice then he is showing dedication. Not just to his spouse, but to his children.