Leaning Overcoming Valuing Exceeding

Forty-five days since the beginning of 2020, we’ve arrived. February 14th. The day celebrated by a two-semi circled coming-to-a-point red symbol representing a feeling of eternal bliss. Credit to Pope Gelasius for declaring this day so in the year 496. Every year since, thanks to this fine pointy-headed gentleman, societies have been strapped ,err.. burdened, err… blessed with celebrating a minor holiday relative to dates set aside for giving thanks and starting nations. One-thousand, five-hundred, twenty-four years of knuckle dragging the glass of countless candy counters, eye-scratching over card covers, and sniff-snorkeling the classiest carnations. Yeah, thanks so much to Sir Gelatin, or Gelasuis. Whatever.

I’m not down on this day. Sounds like it, but not. Thinking maybe Pope G. was a bit lonely, though. Maybe if he had some extra minutes (and encouraging friends) to think it through, a few slurp-sips of timely wine ounces headed up into his brain may have been able to change his mind … and, by extension, our forced buying habits on this, the most cherished love day of all. Ah, there it is …. the word: LOVE.

The word “love” produced 18 Trillion results in .54 seconds. That’s trillion with a “T” in Google. Took me more time to say it. Here’s the copy/paste: “About 18,180,000,000 results (0.54 seconds)” … Geesh. Tell me, again, how unimportant you think love is to people? Not that you ever said it, but really? … In 1980, Midnight Star released a song, “Searching for Love” … They ain’t kidding!:

I am searching for love, searching for love, searching for love
I am searching for love, searching for love, searching for loveSometimes in my life, I feel that I may have
Everything I need
But deep down inside of me, my heart ….

Source: Musixmatch. Songwriters: Belinda Bo Watson. Searching for Love lyrics © Sony/atv Songs Llc Dba Epic/solar, Sony/atv Songs Epic/solar Obo Midstar Music

So, now 45 days in, we’re left with a (presumably) dead Pope, candy, cards, flowers, … and love. Carving out the first three, for obvious artificial reasons, I’ll focus on the last – one letter at a time.


LEANING I’m a dog guy. “U” wouldn’t find this surprising seeing as how this is the only letter missing between our Doug & dog identifiers. Cat, Iguana, or pony didn’t seem right when pushing oversized pencils across inappropriately small lined paper, so I knew early on I would grow up to be a dog-man. Elementary school was great for drawing goldfish and stick horses, but there was nothing like a real dog welcoming home a tired pre-teen just off a bouncy, long bus ride from school.

Two legs or four, those first few moments were fresh and new. Suddenly, not so heavily worn were the paws of a friend waiting all day by the bay window, or the small canvas Keds tucked under a one-piece crayon scraped desk. An embrace between great friends. Love found a way through.

Hard times and rough patches are the large pencils in our adult lives. It’s certainly difficult to make things write a lot of the time. The paper is too small – if available at all – and drawing anything that makes sense to anyone else is … well … nearly impossible.

So what we ended up with is a long, bumpy ride on life’s bus to where-ever town … that place looking smokin’ hot in our fantasies until cold-showered by reality. Exiting the bus, we are searching for the one welcome home. The one real lean on me. The one who waits by the door with a hot cup of tea and an embrace saying, “I missed you. Come on in.”


OVERCOMING. Sometime around early spring of 2007, a well respected OB-GYN diagnosed stage 3 cancer in my mom. In my limited understanding at the time, this meant her cancer was a bit more serious than that “little small dot” was expected to be. This disease is sneaky. Mom accepted the news -tragic as it was – with full acceptance and a classic head tilt of resignation.

Those of us not in half snapped hospital gowns, partially torn bandages, and cheap paper thin sheets stood in the hallway half-stunned. We, the supposedly still healthy ones, were challenged more by the news than my mom who, by any reasonable standards, was merrily on her way thinking of someone else’s need by then. That’s how she rolled – or coped. Never quite sure.

Five years of treatments. I’ve told, and written, of her journey before and never tire of the story. Pain, for sure. Surgeries. Relapses. Never too far away from it. Travel. Rashes. Other ailments and problems due to the chemo and drugs. On and on and on ….. Her motto every day? “Today is my new normal!”

She died in March of 2012. I never asked her if that motto was original. I’ve also avoided googling it in fear it wasn’t. For me, it belongs to her. It is what I will always love about her. Overcoming her days of pain with optimism and hope … even when facing the most challenging of little, small dots that grew into monsters she fought so bravely to keep away from those of us she loved.


VALUING We have a True Value hardware store in town. I don’t visit very often for blatantly obvious reasons. One, hammers and I have an unfriendly business relationship. I’ve offered my thumbs as a contract bargaining chip without my prior consent too many times, so I temporarily halted negotiations. Two, if one more box of odd-sized brads, nails, tacks, or small pointy metal spears ends up on a shelf in my basement, my house will become the third magnetic pole. Finally, PVC cement smells so ridiculously sweet, I’m afraid the temptation to buy more under the ruse of building a gargantuan PVC playground would be too great.

This is the true value I place on not going into True Value. Sure, they’re silly words, but I do recognize the importance of not doing things that are not valuable. Ok, grammarians, I get the double negative no-no🤫😉🙄, however, you understand my mind-blowing, humbly proud genius here, right?

We need to love ourselves, and/or others, enough to value our time. If not, why do it? True value. Hold hands if asked, a meaningful hug, small dinner at home with the kids, time alone reading or playing an instrument, anything that helps us complete our picture of “full and valuable me”. Love is valuable. Try to not leave it on the bottom shelf of life where no one will see it.


EXCEEDING. In sales, if you under-promise and then over-deliver on a consistent basis, you’re as good as a ten-legged horse in a potato sack race. Promise $200, give ’em $100 … you’re a fool. Say, “I’ll bring ‘ya $50 by sun–up tomorrow”, and then deliver $100? You’re a hero riding a white stallion with four normal legs… maybe sporting a fancy black saddle with gold sequins emblazoned with a large “A” (for awesome), and …. well you imagine whatever you want from here.

Take this smooth ride into town – thankful it isn’t a long, bouncy trek – with your head touching the bottom of the highest cloud. This horse you ride is trotting you on a path well-deserved.

This attention to a career path has led many to great successes. Some continue to ride their great horses years after understanding the basic UP-OD principle. Translated, they love what they do, and it shows through constantly exceeding expectations of others.

My guess is Pope Gelasius leaned over, quite auspiciously in his wooden, creaky throne, to a random red cloaked Vicar and whispered, “Vicar, my man, we have not a day set aside to honor the greatest emotion among us – that of luuhve!”. He then, in quiet repose, must have retreated deeper into his thoughts. “I do believe, fifteen-hundred years in the future, a man will love dogs just enough to write a blog (note to self: I have no idea what a blog is) .. about what love really is on the very day I hereby decree a holiday”.

“Vicar! …. MORE WINE!!”

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