Team D & D Overcoming Cancer Together

Daniel and I had cancer at the same time. We formed Team D & D and adopted as our motto “Overcoming Cancer Together.”  The treatment process was grueling, however as of a few days ago Daniel has been cancer free for one year. In my case, well, I’ve been told that the cancer in me is not curable. With the proper diet and exercise, though, it is manageable. Thus far this has proven true. It has not spread nor have my blood tests shown any signs of increased aggressiveness.

Love This Guy 

I love this guy and we are gona’ keep up the fight and live the lifestyle that keeps us healthy. Below is a photo taken right after Daniel completed his chemo. And beneath the photo is a short video that shares a few of our thoughts. Enjoy!

Oh I have a page on Facebook titled Author and Speaker, here is the link to that page. www.facebook.com/danbrannan2/ We’d sure appreciate it if you would Like the page and Follow us. Love Daniel

 

 

My Extraordinary Journey With Baby

Book Release July 2017

Photo: Lourdes France April 2016

daniel-and-me

 

Although My Extraordinary Journey With Baby A is the story of my journey with our son Daniel, I am going to exclude some of the details that, are related to our journey because, when included, they detract from the intent of the story.

Yes, it is true that during our journey together I faced some personal challenges that made me question my value as a person, as a father, and as a provider but our family pulled together and helped me rise from the depths of a gripping despair and—together—we weathered the storm. Much of that story I wrote about in my first book Unpackin’-The Baggage of Life: Live, Learn, Grow, so I find no reason to rehash those events in this book.

By no means is this a poor boy story.  Instead, it is a beautiful story about how a “special needs” son taught his father many of life’s most valuable lessons; lessons about love, about forgiveness, about finding joy in the simplest things; and lessons about how to handle adversity and illness.

In today’s world, we’re bombarded by angry rhetoric. The news, if one can call it that, does more to create fear and divide us than it does to honestly and accurately inform us.

The ugly, and dismaying, consequence is that friends turn on friends. Disagreement becomes shouting matches. Derogatory terms such as idiot, stupid or some other demeaning terms have replaced civil discussion. Families are divided. Many have chosen to tune out.

Amidst all the anger and hatred Daniel offers a refreshing reminder that life, above all other things, is about love. Love is a gateway to peace and joy and happiness. Love is transformative. Unfortunately, it seems that many have lost their ability to love. Or maybe, it’s that they’ve just forgotten how to love; how good love feels.

Two of Daniel’s favorite sayings are: “Papa Bear I love to laugh,” and, “Papa Bear I love a happy ending.”

Extraordinary Journey With Baby A Coming January 2017

Basketball…More Than a Game

Team2016Alumni

More Than A Game: As many know I played in the MHS Alumni Tourney with a group MHS grads from the classes of 1971-1981…and then there was me…from the class of 1966. I jokingly noted that I was the only one who signed in with his Medicare Card…however the fact is we had the oldest average age team in the tourney. In contrast the oldest group we played graduated in 1997…31 years my junior. Nonetheless our group of oldsters finished second losing in the championship game by 2 points. I had forgotten just how much I loved this game. Continue Reading »

Cancer! Special Needs! Tough Choices!

Love DanielRecent photo

Tough, tough, tough choices! To my knowledge there has been no history of cancer in our family that is up until 2011. First me, then my 21 year old son Daniel who was born with Down Syndrom, and now Mom. From no cancer to now having three generations of cancer all in the same family. Kind of eye opening. Continue Reading »

Evolution of the Pledge of Allegiance

Today's Pledge

              Today’s Pledge

 Pledge as it was originally written in 1892, this version remained until 1922:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Continue Reading »

Vietnam July 4, 1970…Forty-Five Years Later

Bittersweet:

As I settled into a window seat on the TWA DC8 “Freedom Bird” my mind fast forwarded to home. I leaned back and closed my eyes and found myself wondering what life would be like once I got home. Clearly I was a different man from the young teenager who had enlisted in the Army less than three years before. But I wasn’t sure how I had changed. Continue Reading »

Vietnam July 3, 1970…Forty-five Years Later

At this time every year I am overcome by a melancholy. Earlier today I sat looking at tons of old Vietnam photos remembering the friends, young men we were. Actually in many ways we were nothing more than kids living in men’s bodies. The beauty in war, if there can be anything even Continue Reading »

Reconciling Silence and Ethics

Many times in my life I have come face to face with situations that trouble me. For example…what do you do when you know that a fellow employee is being unfairly criticized, especially knowing that that very criticism is being used to justify dismissing them from the company? Do you stand up, speak up, and defend that person knowing that in so doing you risk your own employment?  If you chose to remain silent, reasoning that you have a family that is financially dependent on you…how do you square your silence with your deeper principles?  Although I have ask this question of myself on numerous occasions, there is an associated reality. In today’s world, employees have little protection. Anymore most of us are “at will,” and consequently “at risk” employees” meaning that an employer doesn’t have to provide any reason for dismissing us…they can “just because!”  I’m not asking this question to open a discussion about the state of labor laws or labor unions, I am asking because, in my mind, how we chose to respond says something about us…doesn’t it?

Although this is one example there are countless others. And make no mistake about it…I have been guilty of silence even when my heart told me that my silence was doing a disservice to me. In some way I always felt diminished…less of a man, less of person when I allowed another human being to be unfairly and unjustly criticized. Indeed I can never recall a time when I didn’t feel a sense of guilt and shame.

Martin Luther King had it right…”In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

 

Where Ideas Blossom

I am repeatedly reminded (when I can set aside my ego) that I am never too old to learn; never too old to gain in wisdom, never too old too adapt, never too old to change. Over the years I have frequently found myself at odds with those who see the world from a different perspective than do I.

This is never more pronounced than when discussions revolve around politics. Over time I have learned that too often politics leads to polarization, which leads to a herd mentality. People of like minds tend to collect into groups of like minds, which leads to group think, where there is little opposition. This in turn leads to a zealous belief that they have it right, that anyone who stands in opposition is evil or crazy or stupid…or who is just flat out wrong! I admit that when I see far right conservative views, especially when they are promoted in demeaning ways, that I pretty much take the polar opposite view…they are misguided, insensitive, stupid, ignorant…wrong!  But then I see some equally demeaning liberal view, which actually forces me to realize that these “in your face” dueling platforms serve no one well.

Throughout history the evidence is overwhelming.  People band together to protect themselves. The problem is that rather than make any attempt to understand others of different beliefs or mindsets, generally they seek to destroy one another. This polarized entrenchment has, in all cases, led to war, to genocide, to living lives in turmoil and anger and fear. What we don’t understand we fear, what we fear we try to destroy. Destruction does not always mean we literally destroy or kill, destruction can be in the form of friendships and relationships, it manifests in politics and religion in families in societies in nations. Destruction can occur from within.

In recent years I have become more self-aware. I have also recognized that many of the people I actually like don’t necessarily share my views. This has actually been troubling for me. At one time I would judge them through the lens of my experience and based upon what I believed to be true. I judged them based upon my view of the universe which also meant that I judged them from my political and even my religious and spiritual perspectives. Once I realized, and accepted, that we really need ying and yang, we need opposing views, we need checks and balances if we are to bring out the best in each of us and if we are to create an enduring ever improving nation and world.

Needing each other does not mean always agreeing with each other, however it does mean that we need to keep from isolating ourselves, we need to stay in the game, put ourselves in positions to hear that which we do not want to hear. Retreating into like-minded groups where all we hear is the stuff and the beliefs that make us ever surer that we, and we alone, have it right, weakens us.

Ironically, and although my increasing awareness of this has been a process…it has actually been driven home when I volunteered to chair our class reunion, which drives home another point: lessons are often learned at unusual times, in surprising places, and from unexpected sources. Although I know that I will struggle to accept opposing views, I also know that I must make every effort to not just hear them, but more importantly to understand why someone feels as they do. But I now know that just because another person believes as they do, we can still be friends…and it just might be within that friendship that a better idea blossoms.

 

Hometown Battlefield

Recently I heard a song sung by J.P. Cormier called Hometown Battlefield.   As a veteran of two tours in Vietnam, awarded the Purple Heart, and as a cancer survivor, cancer that was caused by my exposure to Agent Orange…J.P’s song caused me to revisit a question that I have asked myself pretty much every day since I left Nam. What I have discovered is that vets are largely forgotten, not so much by the population but more so by their governments. Those who suffer from PTSD live with a special kind of hell, and anyone who has not seen it or felt it, fails to grasp a very fundamental understanding: it is real, it can be completely and totally debilitating…and it is not a choice, nor is it a curse from God. Anyone who makes light of it…should have to live (or not) with it. God plays no role in causing PTSD, humanity creates the fertile ground (war) that exposes men and women to horrendous levels of stress and unforgettable horrific traumas. We are not programmed for war, nor the horrors of war. Whether one suffers from PTSD or not, does not mean that those who do not  have forgotten…we have not! Continue Reading »