Monthly Archives: February 2013

18 Years Later: A Good Man Emerges

Time seems to have gone by without a hitch, as there’s no slowing it down. So, over the last decade, I’ve made the best of it. My main focus?

Nicholas Jordan Smith.

Tomorrow we celebrate Nick’s 18th birthday. The 3rd oldest among my 5 children, Nicholas came to live with me when he was 8. At the time, I was residing in Oregon, and it was a long way from where Nick called home. At first, Nick didn’t want to move, as he feared leaving all he knew behind in Orlando, Florida. But I knew best that Nick had to come with me, to make changes that would one day define him as the young man he is today.

Enough about the reasons Nick was dragged out west with his dad. Certainly, we moved around frequently, as I followed the money to survive. At first, I wasn’t too prepared to be a single parent, but I gradually adjusted.  For those of you who believe single mothers don’t have it hard, think again. Most men give it little thought, but I was thrown in to the mix and learned firsthand that parenting as a single unit was a challenge, indeed.

nick 17

Nick, age 3

Although moving around was challenging on Nick, he became an expert at adjusting to our new surroundings. He also saw much of the country, having traveled throughout the western states. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Arizona – Nick has seen more than most 18 year olds. The silver lining was that Nick became very diverse, and adored by all who had the privilege of meeting him.

nick 20

Always fun-hearted

Most folks who know Nick understand his gentle nature. While this may come as a possible embarrassment to Nick for me to say, it holds true that he has a warm heart and a gentle soul. It shines through his smiles and helpful attitude. Filled with charisma, Nick rarely has enemies. I’ve always contended, “If Nick doesn’t like you, then something is very wrong with you.”

nick 6

Never a need to ask him to smile

Nick, as it turned out, is very athletic. I recall the earlier years when he wasn’t really motivated to play sports. But, I pushed him a bit, making him go with me to the ball courts. Constantly encouraging him, he finally developed into a well-rounded ball player. He also grew strong legs, and is always up to a competitive, friendly foot race. Over the years, Nick decided football was his calling. His favorite team is the Florida Gators. His heart still harbored other sports, and excelled in those, as well.

nick 30

Walkin’ the walk

Nick was always very obedient as a child, and even now, complains very little and hears my words of advice. Always the hard worker, he never hesitates to jump in and help. While most kids seemed to be lazy and unhelpful, Nick reveled in how he could help out the next person or with the next project. Besides, his company while he helped got me through it sometimes, always capable of making me laugh and smile.

nick 36

Always a joker!

Yes, Nick makes me laugh. But sometimes, he can get a bit irritating with it. I rarely make him stop though, as it’s my hope that he always possesses that fun characteristic. Keep on laughing, Nick!

nick 4

Making the best of his quirkiness

Nick has a suave side that not many get the opportunity to see. Of course we all know he’s very handsome, but he also has a way with the ladies. I won’t say much more other than he paid attention to dad. I digress.

nick 7

Calm down, ladies!

As we look forward to the future, Nick’s options seem endless. He understands that he’s the pilot of his destination, and he knows opportunity when he sees it. Nick is in control, so the world had better watch out. Some day, you may see him on your television on a Sunday afternoon, or wearing a medal around his neck in Munich.

nick 35

Coming to a city near you!

This is all about Nick, not me. However, I will add that I’m kind of sad, but in a very proud way. I don’t think I quite understand what life would be like without him always near me. The laughter and the silliness will be one day sorely missed.

nick 29

A very proud dad!

March first, nineteen ninety five. I recall the joy Nick gave me on that day, and will continue to do for the rest of my days.

Happy 18th Birthday, Nicholas!

Enjoy the rest of the pictures…

Scottsdale, Arizona

nick 14

  nick 12

nick 5

nick 39

nick 8

nick 18

nick 9

nick 22

nick 24

HPIM0026.JPG

nick 21

nick 3

Jeb Bush: Energy, Immigration and Education Reform Crucial

Saint Leo, Florida – Evening rains didn’t deter a sizable crowd attending the kickoff of the 4th Annual International Business Conference at Saint Leo University on Wednesday. The keynote speaker, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, didn’t miss a beat in describing possible cures to America’s ills. His speech, dubbed Leading in a Climate of Change was well received.

jeb 3

Hundreds looking on during Bush’s keynote address

Bush turned attention to the importance of energy independence, where he emphasized the significance of inexpensive natural gas production and use, among other forms of change.

In bipartisan fashion, Bush also laid out ideas that would enhance the American workforce through comprehensive immigration reform.

“The country needs to control the borders and enforce the rule of law, but also should provide a pathway to legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants already here if they pay a fine, learn English and abide by the law.

To me…and I’m here at this great Catholic institution and this is what my church teaches me… it is completely un-American to require people living in the shadows,” Bush said.

jeb 4

Governor Bush, keynote speaker at the 4th Annual International Business Conference

Education reform was discussed, as the former governor was quick to point out the lack of higher paying jobs and opportunities for graduades. Bush also sees education reform as a means of staying prepared for the other two issues, energy and immigration reform. A stronger, growing economy depends on it, he said.

Many republicans are hopeful Jeb Bush will run for president in 2016. While the former governor didn’t discount as much, he also wouldn’t confirm it, making humor instead of election talk.

 

 

A Family Affair: Mike Russell Memorial Benefit Concert

The place to be on January 26th was the Crystal Bar in Zephyrhills, Florida. There, the bands Teer and Classik Hard Drive took the stage to raise money for a much-needed cause.

Mike Russell, a close friend considered family to the band Teer and many others, was killed in a tragic car crash on November 14th, 2012. Mike left behind a grieving family that friends reached out to assist to take on some of the financial hardship.

Many of us have been there, and understand the struggle.

Classik Hard Drive opened for Teer, who packed the house in a standing-room-only cuisine of rock and signature Teer crowd pleasers. A raffle was organized, and donations poured in to support the cause at hand.

teer 2

Classik Hard Drive

Family and close friends stressed that the event was not a memorial for mourning, but instead a celebration of Mike Russell’s life as he would have wanted it celebrated. Teer band member, Shane French, established a web page for donations from those that could not make it to the memorial concert. The page is still active, and donations can still be given at the site. Click HERE to learn how you can help.

teer 5

Shane French of Teer

According to sources organizing the event, the benefit concert was a huge success. Not only was Mike Russell celebrated that night, concert-goers also enjoyed an entire evening of great music and good company.

Well done.

teer 3

teer 6

teer 7

teer 8

teer 9