The Final Stretch

Me (CleanSlate bio)As Nicole’s pregnancy reaches the 30th week, already in the 3rd trimester, we are in the final stretch for baby Finn’s arrival.  It is hard to believe he will be here in less than ten weeks!

Nicole and I are beyond excited!!!  I wanted to provide an update on everything that has happened with us (and Finn) since the “Meet Phoenix” post I wrote earlier this year.


Since my last post (in Mid-March), both Nicole and Phoenix (aka “Finn”) have been doing wonderful.

I guess I should add that I have been doing wonderful too, but why wouldn’t I?

Nicole at Myrtle Beach (April 2017)We were fortunate to take a quick trip to Myrtle Beach in April, which provided some much-needed sunshine and (of course) some photo opportunities.  As a parent, you hope that your children will remember vacations you spend together during their early years.  I am quite certain baby Finn will not remember this trip to Myrtle Beach, though.  But, I will tell him that he had a wonderful time in his womb as we took in the experience along the east coast.

We also spent time preparing the nursery together.  To get things started, we added a coat of fresh paint to replace the not-so-dynamic white color that previously colored the walls.  Then, we slowly started adding all the elements to his room.

Last winter, Nicole found the crib of her dreams and ended up getting an amazing deal on the crib from Buy Buy Baby.  She also found some very cool lettering with the name “Phoenix” and complimented the walls with photos, signs and a collection of stuffed animal heads – which are very cool.  Setting up baby Finn’s nursery has been an awesome experience together.  Below, is a photo of a portion of the nursery:

Phoenix nursery

We have been working out more at the gym now and doing a lot of walking, since Nicole has cut back her hours.  Our time together has truly allowed our relationship to grow stronger than ever before.  She is telling friends that at week 40 she is “going to walk non-stop until she goes into labor with baby Finn.”  You should see her beautiful face when she tells people her plan.  Classic!

Baby Finn Update

Today, we visited Dr. Perry for baby Finn’s 30 week appointment.  While our baby is 30 weeks and 4 days old, he registered as 31 weeks and 1 day.  Based upon the ultrasound, he is estimated at weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces at this point.  Dr. Perry gave both Nicole and our precious angel an excellent report.  We are super excited and baby Finn says “hello” to everyone:


Watching and feeling our baby move has been very exciting.  Weeks ago, the movements were very subtle and required some patience to feel.  Now, the movements are far more frequent and you can even see baby Finn move inside his womb over Nicole’s clothing.  I love talking directly to him as we enjoy his movements.  I just wish he wasn’t so rambunctious at times, since it can be hard on his momma’s body.

Looking Ahead

With less than ten weeks remaining, we have some exciting events on the calendar.

CropBabyShowerInvitationOur very good friends are hosting a combination cookout/baby shower (calling it a “backyard babyQ”) for us, which is going to be a blast.  In fact, Nicole’s sister and family will be joining us for the event – flying to Indiana from Florida … with one nephew flying in from Las Vegas.  We are super excited to have them share in this awesome event!

We also have a scheduled tour of the birthing center at the hospital.  I am very excited to be a part of baby Finn being born, as this will be a first such opportunity for me.

Beyond that, we are looking forward to the appointments with her OB/GYN as the weeks count down through our final stretch for Phoenix’s arrival.  At least one more ultrasound is planned, I wish we could have one every week.

Blessed Beyond Words

Writing is something I truly love to do.  I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to construct creative works as a part of my role as a Sr. Architect at CleanSlate, contribute original articles each month at, and I check-in from time to time on this personal blog.  However, I truly struggle to put into words just how blessed I truly am.

NicoleOnBrickStreetHaving Nicole in my life and the love we share together is simply beyond any words I can compose to truly express my feelings about her.  Sharing our pregnancy has not only allowed our bond to grow closer, but it has formed an amazing love for our son … before he is even born!

There are so many times when I look at Nicole, I find myself truly speechless.

Yes, me.  The person who enjoys communicating through words the most.  

In those moments, I become motionless and mute – with my eyes focused on her as I enjoy the emotions that race through me.  Early in our relationship I would believe she thought I had become “frozen” (like an electronic device).  Now, I know she gets it … so many times smiling back at me, then making one of her many hilarious facial expressions.  She is so amazing!

Just one more example about my soulmate … after a long day, we decided to go out for dinner last night.  Nicole left her phone in the car to charge when we entered the restaurant.  A little while later, I returned to the car to get her phone.  When I walked back into the restaurant, I watched Nicole watch me as I walked across the restaurant all the way to our table.   She did not stop smiling the entire time and we maintained eye contact the entire way.  I cannot tell you how incredible Nicole makes me feel, every single day!  I am so blessed!

I also feel blessed having my son, Eric in my life.  It is hard to believe he will be 18 years old next month and will start his senior year of high school this fall.  Having Eric in my life has been amazing and there is not a single day where I don’t relieve on of the thousands, if not ten thousands, of memories we share together,  He is so wonderful!

I feel truly blessed having Nicole’s daughter, Sydney, in my life too.  I met her for the first time in 2014, she was sitting on her bedroom floor in the townhouse on Oak street with her friend, Cassidy.  As I sat down next to them and talked, I had a really good feeling it was the start of something awesome.  Now, three years later, I realize that was so true – as Syd is another amazing blessing in my life.  She is so awesome!

I believe Nicole and I have truly been blessed by God, with all the wonderful family and friends we have in our lives.  As we navigate through these final weeks of the pregnancy, we are both super excited to know we will be meeting our son, Phoenix Williams (aka “Finn”) at the end of this incredible, blessed journey!

Have a really great day!!!


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Meet Phoenix

Since my last post, there have been quite a few updates with our pregnancy.  As we reach the halfway point, I am very pleased to present photos of Mr. Phoenix (Finn) Williams Vester from the ultrasound on March 7th:


We are beyond excited with the positive report we received regarding Phoenix.  In fact, everyone at Community North Hospital talked about the excellent markers that were captured during the ultrasound, which lasted over 30 minutes as baby Finn continued to race around inside his beautiful momma.

I should probably take a few paragraphs to provide an update on our pregnancy …

January 9th

Just after the new year started, Nicole and I attended a scheduled appointment with Dr. Perry.  During the ultrasound, we received news that one of the two twins had vanished.  This was the first time I had ever heard of a “vanishing twin” and it was heartbreaking to know that one of the two babies weren’t going to make it.

That evening, I truly feel like the level of our relationship grew deeper and stronger.

Arthur Golden once wrote “Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we can see ourselves as we really are.”

As Nicole and I talked and held each other, all the things that did not matter simply drifted away and we found ourselves speaking heart to heart, soul to soul, about what truly matters in life.  The words we spoke that challenging evening paled in comparison to the non-verbal communication we gained – growing closer than we had ever been before.

The Next Several Weeks

With our relationship growing stronger, we could not help but wonder about the health of our baby.  While our doctor indicated that vanishing twins happens more than people realize, it was tough not to imagine all the possibilities that could happen on the path before us.  We continued to reflect on how God has continued to bless our relationship and lives as a way to soothe the uncertainty.

On February 3rd, Dr. Perry recommended that Nicole have blood drawn to have a Panorama test done.  This noninvasive prenatal screening test would not only reveal risk for genetic disorders, but would reveal the sex of our baby as well.  The test results would take 10 of more days to return the results and Nicole had plans to surprise me with the sex of our baby.  We were hopeful to find out the sex of our baby by Valentine’s day.

What no one had really realized, is that the Panorama test isn’t designed to function with multiple birth scenarios.  As a result, the time spent waiting for the results, provided no insight into the sex or health of our baby.  The findings of the test were suggested to be tossed out – since nothing was complete.

Instead, Dr. Perry recommended we have a full ultrasound and consider an Amniocentesis, based upon the results of the ultrasound.  For the full ultrasound, we would visit a different center on the northeast side of Indianapolis – staffed with experts in their field.  That appointment was scheduled for March 7th – two weeks away.  As much as we tried to keep things into perspective, those next fourteen days were difficult to keep our mind’s in check.

Community North Visit

I cannot think of a time where I was more nervous than the morning of March 7th – the day of the full ultrasound.  I continued to focus on the positive side of things and be there for Nicole in every manner possible.  I could not imagine what was going on inside her mind.

As the technician prepared to start the ultrasound, we asked if she would be able to see things about our baby.  She indicated that she could.  We asked if she would be able to tell us what she saw.  She indicated that she really could not, since it was more her job to gather the information for the doctor.  It was the doctor’s job to communicate the results to us.

As soon as she started the ultrasound and I started to see the image of our baby in 3D, I could not help but smile – despite the nervousness that raced through my mind.  Seeing our baby zoom around inside his beautiful mother made me happy beyond words.  While I could easily pick out some of the images on the screen, other times I was clueless as the baby’s body was being analyzed.  At one point, I thought we were looking at the baby’s brain, but the technician posted “kidneys” on the screen.  I wasn’t even close at understanding what was on the screen.

My inability to know what I was looking at, caused me to miss knowing the sex of the baby.  Nicole later confessed that she had noticed, but did not share with me, since she waited for the technician to ask us if we wanted to know.  When she asked if we wanted to know the sex, we enthusiastically responded with a profound “Yes!” and she told us we are having a boy:


With the name already decided, we realized the beautiful baby racing around inside his mother would be known as Phoenix (Finn) Williams Vester.  To make things even funnier, as the technician captured photos of Finn’s hands, he decided to flip us the bird:


Those who know us and our sense of humor certainly are not surprised that little Finn decided to make this motion when the ultrasound focused on his cute little hand.  Life is going to be amazing raising him together!

The technician finished her tasks and printed several images for us.  As she walked towards the door, she told us that our baby boy looked “absolutely perfect!”  Her words caused a tremendous weight to be lifted off our backs.

We quickly sent text messages to our immediate family and even posted on Facebook for everyone else to see that we are having a baby boy!

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 5.04.33 PM

A few minutes later, the doctor arrived and confirmed what the technician told us.  In greater detail, he told us how everything looked normal with baby Finn and that the results of the Panorama should definitely be discarded.  Based upon these results and the risks with the Amniocentesis, we decided against having the Amniocentesis test done.


As Nicole nears the halfway point of the pregnancy, I could not be more excited about the baby we are bringing into the world.  I know that we are going to be amazing parents, giving Finn a loving family – devoted to each other and a relationship with God.  We are truly blessed beyond words.  We have said it so many times, we are truly blessed!

The seventh day of March continues to be an amazing day for Nicole and me.  It was on this day that we pledged our love to each other in front of Elvis (well really Kent Ripley dressed up as Elvis), our family and friends … both in person and over a live stream available for all to see.



What an amazing day.  It was also the day that we truly got to see our son for the very first time.

Truly, this day will always be one of the best days of my life!!!

Have a really great day!!!

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This Christmas …

All I can say is … Wow!!!

When I look back on 2016, I really had no idea everything God had in store for Nicole and me.

Our New Beginning

wp-1482593477830.jpgThings really started coming together in August, where a series of unexpected events unfolded to bring us together into a home that was only placed on the market three days before … exactly in the village where we wanted to live. No doubt, God was involved in making things happen, especially after all the prayers that had been voiced.

From our first date (November 2, 2013), having a baby together was a dream we shared together. So, we started trying to have a baby together right away.  During this time, we were fortunate to attend a special showing of “To Joey, With Love,” which certainly put things into perspective and truly described our love. We both realized just how important this goal was for us.

We didn’t conceive during the months of August, September and October, which started to play with our emotions. Everyone told us it will happen if it is part of God’s plan. We agreed, but that did not make things less emotional for us. After all, we are in our 40’s, not our 20’s. Time wasn’t really on our side.

Honestly, the hardest (mental) part of wanting to get pregnant is the fact that every little sign or symptom Nicole was feeling can be a sign that she is pregnant and that she is NOT pregnant too. October seemed to be filled with those signs and it was really tough when we realized she was not pregnant.

Friends would tell us, “you’ll get pregnant as soon as you stop thinking about it.” Nicole and I really had no idea how to even do that! A baby together is all we talked about, even during our workouts or evening runs through the village.  How do you stop thinking about something that you desire so much?

Then November Arrived

November came and we were certain that we were not going to be pregnant, at least according to the ovulation predictor that told us we missed the “peak” day. We accepted this reality and decided to focus on December.

A couple weeks later, day 27 passed without Nicole starting her new cycle. We justified this by telling ourselves that she started late in the day, so her cycle will begin the next day.
The next day was Saturday and it came and went without her starting her period. This time we justified the delay due to her having a 28-day cycle the month before … which just happened to be the only time in the years we have been together that she wasn’t on a 27-day cycle.

Then, Sunday came and went without starting. At this point, both of us were thinking about Nicole being pregnant, but neither of us were talking about it. She could not be pregnant, right? I mean, this is just day twenty-nine.

So then, Monday came and passed, then Tuesday… again nothing. We talked a little about what was going on, but we were still convinced we were not pregnant.

wp-image-2038588289jpg.jpgWhen Wednesday came and Nicole had not started her period, she could not wait any longer. She went to the pharmacy and picked up a pregnancy test. Then, shortly after 10 am, Nicole called me and when I answered the phone all she said, through a sea of joyful tears was, “John, I’m pregnant!

Hearing her news made me the happiest guy in the world! I drove to her as quickly as I could, with a bouquet of her favorite flowers in hand. The entire way to see her, I could not help but reflect on just how lucky we are and how great our God really is!

While we knew we should wait to tell anyone, especially at our age, that was simply not an option. As soon as possible, we told our children, family, close friends and social media. God had blessed us! We are so grateful for His love and blessings!

The December Miracle

On December 22, just three days before Christmas, we visited Nicole’s OB/GYN. The appointment was originally scheduled months ago, to talk about taking Clomid to increase our chances of getting pregnant. Instead, we used the time to talk to Dr. Perry (who both delivered Nicole’s daughter and is a friend of my mother’s) about the pregnancy.

At this point, Nicole is 6 weeks and 6 days along with the pregnancy. She has been really struggling with nausea and weakness, even though she is the most fit and healthiest person I know. In fact, a lite workout was taking a toll on her recently.

During the appointment, we asked Dr. Perry if we could hear the baby’s heartbeat. He told us it was too soon to listen via a stethoscope, but then told us they could try to do a vaginal ultrasound.

I was thinking he meant in a few weeks, but he told us to sit tight when he left the examination room. Dr. Perry reinforced his statement that there is a good chance we are not going to hear anything, but we were excited for this opportunity.

Nicole was on the table and the ultrasound process started. I was sending text updates to her identical twin (Danyel) in Las Vegas as things happened. She wanted a play-by-play of what was transpiring.

Andrea, the technician performing the ultrasound, announced “there are two sacs.” I saw Nicole smile, but she didn’t react.  She was trying to keep from getting too excited at this point.

I didn’t know what that even meant, since my only son (Eric) was adopted. This was definitely a new experience for me.

I knew it must have been a huge thing, when her twin reacted extremely happily. She even accused me of lying about it.

I could see the two sacs on the screen. One of them definitely had something inside it. Then, I heard …

(baby heartbeat, baby heartbeat, baby heartbeat)

The tears began to flow down my cheek. I looked at Nicole and saw her tears too. God is so good!

I asked Andrea why it looks like the other sac is empty. She calmed my nerves by letting us know that she had not focused on that sac yet.

Andrea had to tell Nicole to be still, because Nicole’s excitement was causing the equipment to move out of position. Then, we heard that same awesome sound from the second sac …

wp-1482593558326.jpg(second baby heartbeat, second baby heartbeat, second baby heartbeat)

God is giving us twins! My wife, an identical twin, is carrying our babies. All of a sudden, everything made sense to us on why she has been so tired and nauseous.

This Christmas

I cannot express the joy I have this Christmas. My relationship with Nicole is stronger than it has ever been, our relationship with Eric and Syd continues to grow stronger, as has the relationships with our family and friends.

There is so much more that we have been blessed with in 2016, but they simply do not compare with the blessings we have received with our family.

We don’t always know what God has in store for us. Sometimes the road we are taken down doesn’t always make sense at first … or it is tough. In the end, as in our case, I could not imagine being any happier with His blessings.

I hope this Christmas is amazing for you as well!

Have a really great day!!!

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Signs …

me30bSigns … mostly unexpected, can range from something that is seen, to hearing a piece of music, breathing in a certain scent, having a random dream, or experiencing a particular emotion. They capture one’s attention – giving the feeling that the occurrence is more than a simple coincidence … maybe even an destined milestone.

I’ve often wondered if such signs really do exist – if they are the work of God … or even the devil.  Along those same lines, I wonder if consequences exist for ignoring such signs when they appear.

I have come to understand that my personality will always maintain attachments to sights, sounds, scents and experiences.  While I don’t believe that is the case for everyone, I know it is part of who I am.  Overall, I feel that such an attribute is a quality that allows someone to make the most of every situation – which makes me feel like this is the part that is a gift from above.

However, the biggest consequence of such a trait is when those signs trigger a memory that is linked to a not-so-great situation.  In this case, you can find yourself reliving that situation over again – which makes me think this may not be a gift from above.  🙂

So … do signs exist?  

I believe the answer varies from one individual to the next.  If your personality is similar to mine and you tend to tie sights, sounds, scents and experiences to life events – then the answer is probably yes.  If the answer is not yes, you probably stopped reading this article a few minutes ago.  🙂 

For those who maintain this personality trait, I encourage you to realize that this is a gift which offers you the ability to experience life at a slightly elevated level.  In the spirit of living life to the fullest, I trust you will not deny yourself this opportunity.

So what do you do when these very signs trigger a not-so-great emotion?  I recommend keeping the following items in mind:

  • Accept the fact that the not-so-great emotions exist – life always has challenges.
  • Seek the lesson or the good from those moments – which may take time to recognize.
  • Understand those situations will play a key role in a future segment of your life.

Like any struggle, we often cannot wrap our mind around the greatness that can be found after we navigate through the darkness.  However, once the burden is lifted and the darkness is gone, it is easy to reflect back and comprehend things which we thought we would never understand.  When this happens, those signs which used to trigger not-so-great emotions morph into signs that are part of a bigger destiny.

What consequences exist for ignoring such signs?

Ignoring signs when they appear before you is similar to trying to run away from your struggles.  (That, in itself, is probably the topic for another post.)  The key is to realize you are robbing yourself from an amazing attribute of your personality.  Instead, take time to accept, seek and understand the meaning behind the signs (as noted above).

As we close out 2014, I wanted to thank you for reading my posts.  It means so much to me, as writing is certainly a passion I maintain.  My goal is that my thoughts can help you in one way or another.

I hope that the year 2014 was everything you wanted it to be and I wish you only the best for 2015 – that your dreams become realities.

Have a really great day!!!

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Unconditional Love …

me28bToday’s topic has been on my mind for quite some time now and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what I want to say about unconditional love.

When I think about unconditional love, two easy examples come to mind.  The first, is the love that most parents exhibit towards their child – sacrificing anything for them, without hesitation.  The second, is God’s love towards us – which is described in the Bible as agape love and referenced throughout the New Testament.

My focus, however, is the challenge of showing unconditional love when it is anything but easy.  Perhaps a decision was made by someone you care about deeply which unexpectedly rocked the foundation of the relationship, or you find yourself drifting apart from a loved one.  There are several situations that come to mind, but they all lead us down this difficult path.

So what do you do when you love someone to the moon and back and their actions or decisions place such a huge challenge on your heart?

  • Do you stop caring for them?  (the whole “dead to me” idea)
  • Do you stop praying for them?  (the “no longer worth your time” concept)
  • Do you just move on?  (the “good luck with your life” thought)

If we follow God’s will and direction, the answer to all of these questions is the same. No.

  • While we may not agree with the decision or action that was taken, we shouldn’t abandon them – because it could be part of a larger destiny where they will need your love even more.
  • We should continue to pray for them, considering the fact that the content of your prayers may need to be adjusted.
  • Abandoning them isn’t the answer either – especially when there could be additional circumstances that you were not fully aware of when their decision was made.

I’ve found that when I have unconditional love for someone, that admiration never seems to fade or go away … but actually increases with time.  When faced with this type of challenge, instead of trying to “manage” it (like some type of illness), I try my best to embrace the situation and be as positive as possible … never giving up – similar to the agape love that God maintains for each of us.

Certainly, taking my approach doesn’t come without sadness or struggles, but I know in my heart that this is the best approach … at least to me.

Have a really great day!!!

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Looking Beyond The Waves …

me24bRecently, I found myself sitting idle in traffic on the drive to work. Glancing briefly into the windows of the vehicles surrounding me, I noticed variations in activities taking place while the commute had paused.  I saw the animated facial and body expressions from cell phone conversations underway, bobbing heads and mouthed words (hopefully in sync with a music source), some using the unexpected downtime to catch up using their mobile device … and then I noticed those who appeared to be in some form of deep thought.

I realized that I could relate to each of these observations at some point in my life.  The one that truly caught my attention were those submersed in deep thoughts as they sat alone in their vehicles.  I wondered the source of each thought underway.  Were they trying to work through a complex situation, focused around prayer/meditation, or facing some form of pain/struggle?  While the true source wasn’t for me to know, observing these fellow travelers did make me recognize the collection of stories that surround us on a daily basis … most of the time without us ever realizing it.

The solitude of a long drive can be an ideal conduit to face challenges racing inside our mind.  However, if not handled properly, these challenges are more likely to increase rather than subside.  The key is to face the source of each struggle and deal with it head on.  Because, nothing we avoid emotionally ever goes away … no matter how long we try to wait it out.

I recently heard the phrase avoidance creates the pain of absence.  This falls right into line with dealing with our challenges at the source.  So, if you find yourself struggling to complete a task – perhaps due to past memories that trigger some linked emotion – the key is to face that situation head on.  Because, the more times you complete that task, the easier it will be … and eventually any associated triggers will drift away.  Conversely, avoiding the trigger doesn’t resolve the situation – it only creates the pain of absence.

As a part of my walk in life, I have been focusing on keeping my eyes above the waves.  At the same time, I am looking beyond the waves to see what God has in store for me.  This approach requires being able to recognize any emotional triggers and deal with them at the source.  I realize this isn’t full-proof or flaw-free and I expect there will be days when I find myself being knocked down when an unexpected storm arrives. However, after the storm passes, we should always …

  • realize we have fallen and get back up
  • regain our focus to look beyond the waves
  • remember to keep our emphasis on what matters to God

Years ago, I had the pleasure to write a song called “Safe In His Arms” with a good friend of mine – which continues to be a favorite.  The chorus of the song relates to what I have been talking about:

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
There’s a calm at the end of every storm
There is no better feeling, feeling now I know
Because I’m safe
Safe in His Arms

I decided to use the “waves” metaphor because of the similarity to how our emotions can span from high and low – often transforming from one state to the other very quickly and often without warning.  With this in mind, I think it is important to appreciate the waves – floating with them (as if we were on an inner tube) and trying not to fight the direction the waves take us.  Always remembering that God has his plan for us and he is using those very waves to guide us toward His intended destination.

Have a really great day!!!

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Letting Freedom Ring…

me22bMartin Luther King Jr. Day will always hold a special place in my heart, as I have some amazing memories associated with that very day.  Additionally, I have always been a fan of Dr. King and his contributions to our society.  So, it only seems fitting that I publish this month’s article on MLK Jr. Day.

I recently took some time to re-read the transcript of Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech.  I am amazed at the power this speech still holds with me – over 50 years after it was originally delivered.  If you haven’t read the text in a while, I certainly recommend spending a few minutes to review Dr. King’s words.  Regardless of your point of view, background or situation, there are three key items I feel we can take away from the “I have a dream” speech:

#1 – Appreciate & Take Advantage Of Our Freedoms

Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech makes references to the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the United States Constitution.  One thing rings true at the core of all of these references … freedom.  Countless individuals have spared their lives protecting this concept of freedom for our nation.  Honestly, it is probably the single most valuable attribute of the United States of America.  Let Freedom Ring!

With this in mind, I stress that we always appreciate our freedom and take full advantage of the freedom that has been given to us and preserved over the years.  Find ways that you can use your freedom to make this world a better place.

The adoption of my son is a direct benefit of the efforts made by Dr. King.  I cannot imagine going through the process in a world stuck in 1963 ideals.  So, I truly appreciate everything that Martin Luther King Jr. did to improve our society in such a way that I can experience the amazing emotions of being a father to my son.

#2 – Equality for All

Dr. King’s main focus in his speech was to resolve the issue that no person should “be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”  That everyone deserves an equal opportunity – building upon the freedom by which our country is based.

This is probably the easiest item to apply in our daily lives.  If we simply treat others in the way we wish to be treated, we will naturally be more apt to provide a stance of equality and avoid introducing any unnecessary judgement.

In my lifetime, I have been blessed with the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of individuals – both in my career as an Information Technology professional and in my personal life.  Truly, I believe this has been a blessing – with the results of such interactions far exceeding the otherwise-limited accomplishments.

#3 – Dream like Dr. King

The world of 1963 was a far different world than 2014.  Dr. King had a dream that his children and their children would not have to experience the same world of 1963.  So, he wrote a speech – speaking directly from his heart – on how he hoped things would change.  While his dream and views ultimately led to his death, his contributions and sacrifice did play a huge role in the improvements that have been made in today’s world.

I believe we should all have dreams and strive like crazy to reach them.  If you are not happy in your current situation, figure out what really makes you happy and take that leap of faith to get there.  Sure, it will be scary and certainly there are unknowns, but no dream or goal comes without some form of risk.  However, when that dream is reached, the feeling of accomplishment and success is second to none.

Thus, on the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I challenge you with the following:

  • remember to appreciate the freedom that has been given to us
  • always treat others with respect
  • search deep inside your heart and soul in order to find your dream
  • figure out how you can make a difference – with yourself and those important to you – to ultimately make the world a better place

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day, everyone!  Let Freedom Ring!

Have a really great day!!!

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