Sunday, June 21, 2009

James Edward Baker, 1936-2006.

For You Dad, With Love...

At 47, some might think it odd that I'd think about my late father as frequently as I do. I wanted to take a moment on this 'Father's Day' to share my thoughts on my Dad and what he meant to me. My Dad, like many from his era, was a fairly quiet man who possessed a great deal of wisdom. Dad was humble, thankful and respectful to our Lord for the blessings in his life. He was a very dedicated family-man, who put my mother, brother and my needs far ahead of his own. Dad was a hard worker, who seldom complained about his lot in life, yet wanted more for my brother and I.

My Dad was absolutely one of the most generous men I have ever met; he literally would give another 'the shirt off his back' if they needed it. My Dad was kind to others (even those who might slight him) and not one to harbor ill-will towards others. In a word, my Dad was noble. In 1999, Dad was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe Alzheimer's. We were told by his doctor that the type he had tended to be very aggressive and that many with it often died within 18-24 months. Dad proved them wrong and stayed with us for another six years. I had the honor of caring for Dad for those years as he slowly slid into darkness, but during that time I learned more about Dad (and about myself as the Lord gave me the strength to care for his needs) then I'd ever known before. Dad, I wish I'd told you "I Love You Dad" more. I wish I could have had more time with you and that your grandsons Kyle, James Russell and Thomas, could have known you as you'd been before your decline, hearing more about your experiences in life, gaining a bit more of the quiet wisdom you possessed and always shared with me from as far back as I can remember. I wish I could play another round of 'catch' with you.

I Miss you Dad,

Love Mark

Friday, June 12, 2009

Two Great Mothers to consider

This week at work, I had the honor of viewing the dedication, love and work-ethic of two great mothers. The first one I had occasion to meet, Robin, became very cross and aggressive with me when she thought I was getting too close to her babies. Robin, actually 'buzzed' me twice, nearly striking my hard-hat as she flew-in close to chase me away from her young, The second mother in question, a 'Chipping Sparrow,' also exhibited vocal displeasure with me when I approached her young.

Far from being offended by either mother's actions towards me, they both earned my admiration! Both of these 'feathered ladies' possessed a level of dedication to and love-for, their young that is all-too-often missing in their human counterparts.

Each and EVERY morning, I would find these mothers sitting in their nests (that they'd built themselves for their new family) warming their young and voicing their displeasure with me whenever I got too close to their nests. Throughout the day, whenever I looked, I'd find the mothers bringing food to their every-hungry nestlings. On Wednesday morning, I cut-up a nice big Night-Crawler I came across. I was certain that the mothers would be thrilled with the gift I'd prepared for them. I was wrong; both mothers ignored my handout (a sign that they both were noble creatures who didn't cotton to any form of welfare or public assistance).

It was refreshing to observe two great, dedicated mothers tend to their young without second thought. Over the course of my observations, neither mother left her duties to 'Find Herself,' or to cavort with any male bird in the area. Their young (kids) came first, PERIOD!

To all the great mothers out there who share these basic 'Motherhood' traits (as my great mother, Judy Ann Baker did), I offer my sincere thanks and admiration. To those many who don't subscribe to their example, I pray for your children and offer that you might pause to learn something valuable from bird-watching.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

His Hand in our lives.

On Monday, General Motors declared bankruptcy, today I learned a good friend is in serious financial distress bordering on disaster. Just two days into the twenty-first week of my forty-seven-something year, I reflected on how tough times are at present; more then I can ever remember in my life.

In preparing to update my blog here, I did a quick review of my previous posts and came to realize that they all seemed to be... Negative in nature (with the exception of my euphoria during MSU's great run back in March, lol).

Less I allow readers who don't know me well to think I'm a 'Negative Ned,' I thought I should reflect on what I truly DWELL ON each and every day of my life and that would be all the things I have been so richly blessed with by God above. For starters, my three sons, Kyle, Russell and Thomas; they have been the most wonderful gift I could have ever received. My late parents, James and Judith Baker; they taught me the importance of love, family, responsibility and patience (with ME! lol) and I have tried to model those virtues for my sons. My extended family (aunts, uncles and cousins) and friends, all of whom have touched my life in positive and wonderful ways.

Yes, I have been hurt by people I loved and trusted, we all experience this at one time or another, but when stacked against the far-larger positive people in our lives, their slights pail and fade away.

Our country and way of life is changing in a manner few of us could have imagined, but at the same time, where it matters, the IMPORTANT THINGS in Life, NOTHING has changed. Family, Love, Friends and every gift He so abundantly blesses us with each and every day we're here are still with us.

Perhaps it's in times such as these, that we can more clearly focus on these most important things He provides by His Hands.