November 21, 2015: Change of Seasons

A sampling of the Skutt 'blond bombs' of 2015
'Change of seasons' is the phrase that is lingering with me this morning. One would think this is obvious with the recent 'storm watching and waiting'. The Christmas music on the Sirius radio line up and blast of ads for the upcoming Black Friday are constant visual and audio contributors. But it's even more than that for me.

No doubt the weather app was the most accessed iPhone button yesterday. And although Omaha avoided a rush of white powder, my welcome mat last night to Denver was a blanket of winter wonderment.

Bundled up for the Hawkeye Express
My brother, the forever Hawkeye fan, is with his daughter among the masses at Kinnick Stadium. It is cold and full of snow. With the ongoing text updates I am receiving from him, it is apparent that Iowa was well represented in the recent snow fall. Nebraska got a bye.

This change of seasons has also led to practical thoughts. Like moving the guinea pigs from their summer and fall refuge of our garage to the warm house. Lots of holiday to-do's fill up my mind. A new adventure was my hiring the Holiday Light Rescue guy for hanging home Christmas lights (pictures will surely follow) and the old standard of coordinating the kid's holiday schedules.

This annual task comes with new forks in the road as the boys grow up. Their combined lives fill with newnesses of schools and jobs. And then there are the 'repeats' as Boy #3 is now following many of the paths of his older brothers in years past.

With each year, the boys each have new life experiences as they grow in years. And although my aging (near 50, mind you) brings fewer big changes, with most happening as a parent, I am not personally exempt. This year is no exception.

The biggest changes of season relate to life. And more importantly, they relate to how you live your life.
Ben...one of the original blondes
At our house, sometimes seasons change with a change of hair color. For football playoffs, Grant bleached his hair for good luck, tradition, and team comradery. Ben did the same with his team in 2013.

I love watching my boys follow their older sibling's footsteps with pride, waiting in anticipation for their milestones to come. Grant had been waiting in the stands for his day on the Skutt football field. Just like his brothers.

Although Grant's team didn't get the chance for the final title as his Ben's team, we have more seasons to come. And like I asked of his brother with playoffs in the seemingly distant past and Thanksgiving around the corner, the frequent request of recent is "Grant, when can we cut that hair off??"

Yes, this high school football season is now in the books. Many good times, new friends, and memories for all of us. On to Grant securing his first job and driver's license. A reminder that my many seasons of playing parental taxi are coming to a close as well.

Zach, head gunsmith for USA Liberty
November 2015. Zach is now a career man with little time off. Ben is busy enjoying year two as a college student. Grant is loving working his way through high school, following a path well paved by his big brothers. Garrett and Sandy take it one day at a time. Life in Omaha. Life in Denver. And a lot of in between.

Our collective worlds intersect daily with our combined friends and family. We are working our way through the seasons of relationships as well. Some come and go. Others go on forever.

It sure seems like the 'forever relationships' come to the top of the list during these times of thankfulness and family. Memories are strong. Connecting with the ones we love top the our list.

I am forever thankful for the little joys in life, like the daily texts from my Hawkeye brother and the great memories we share growing up as siblings. I see this sibling closeness repeat with my own grown kids. An embraced season of change as a parent.

And our seasons will keep changing. And, no doubt, at record pace. And life will keep changing too. Our jobs and daily routines are just background noise. It's the people and the experiences that matter. How we live our days provides opportunities to open ourselves to other people's lives and new experiences. Too often we get this order of importance mixed up.

In business, my philosophy is that if you take care of the people (customers, patients, employees, partners), the money will follow. Although common sense, many don't buy into this practical approach. In our personal lives, the same approach applies.

Take care of those around you with appreciation, whether gratitude to the grocery checker or a warm hug for the college son home for a surprise visit, and there will be dividends paid back to you. They may hit in different seasons, but they will happen.

A full and happy heart embracing the gifts of the seasons, however small or large, and learning from life's challenges and changes. That's what it's all about.


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