The Probability of a Miracle

(An open letter to my son)

Kyle,

I thought I would drop you a note and try to say something inspirational that might prove to be life changing words of wisdom…or something like that. Alas, I am only an ordinary dad and I possess little skill in imparting earth-shattering wisdom. But, I will try.

Anyway, it’s been ten years since your first miraculous lifesaving heart procedure. Yes, I used the words “miraculous” and “lifesaving” in the same sentence. I could bore you with probability tree diagrams to attempt to illustrate the astronomical chance that you had for survival. In hindsight, it was indeed a race against a ticking time bomb that we did not know existed until it was about to go off. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, all of the right people with all of the right answers were exactly at the right place… at exactly the right time.

There was, without a doubt, divine work at play. God has plans for your life. It may be big: Like when, without really knowing why he did it, Dr. Nugent spontaneously decided answer the front desk phone (something he said that he never does) not knowing your scared  and worried mom was on the other end of the line. Then again it may be small: Like when your pediatrician’s nurse suddenly thought she should check the blood pressure in your ankle. God’s purpose for us is to connect with those around us…doing good things. And perhaps, changing or saving lives with simplest of deeds.

Now that you’re away at college, I don’t see a whole lot of you anymore.  Over Christmas break it seems like I only saw you for about 42 seconds when you appeared for supper, but it only seems that way. We had a really nice holiday visit. I do miss you being around, but I know you’ve got serious business to take care of.

I am immensely proud of you. I especially like your vision for yourself, the way you can project onto a future version of yourself and what you dream about doing. I also like your independence, and the way you take care of yourself even when it frightens me and your mom just a little bit. You’ve never been much of a whiner and that makes you a superior kid in my book.

I love you son,

Dad

Spring Cleaning Your Tech

Nobody really likes spring cleaning, but it’s a great opportunity to kick off the season and start fresh — whether it’s cleaning out the garage or changing air filters to get rid of winter dust. Digital spring cleaning may not be on the list, yet.

When was the last time you cleaned the unnecessary junk off of your computer? Or backed up important files? Or updated software? Dedicate an afternoon to cleaning up your tech in the midst the other spring chores.
Get started with a few of the following ideas.

  1. Give tech devices a literal spring cleaning. Like everything else, electronics get dirty. But most people aren’t going to take a kitchen sponge to their laptop, for good reason. Instead, use the pre-moistened Windex Electronics Wipes to safely clean electronics, including TVs, laptops, smart phones, tablets, gaming consoles, cameras and keyboards.
  2. Equip your mobile products with antivirus security. The majority of computer owners use some form of antivirus or malware protection, but fewer think about smartphone or tablet security. Software like ESET Internet Security supports PC, Mac and Android devices so users can safely surf, shop and socialize online, no matter what device they’re using.
  3. Time to upgrade? Sometimes cleaning really means replacing. So consider the age of your tech: if the device is more than three years old and you didn’t buy “top of the line” in the first place, you may want to consider a replacement. Tech devices, like computers, are machines. It’s not a matter of if they will break, it’s a matter of when they will break. Also, since technology changes and advances at an astounding pace, replacement can give you not only more speed, it can also get you cool new features and capabilities.

Happy 25th Anniversary

My Dearest Angela,

As I was standing in the greeting card section of the grocery store a couple of days ago, I just couldn’t find a card that could adequately express the love that I feel for you. It needed to be really special in order to honor our 25 year of marriage. So, I decided to write you a letter instead.

I was remembering back when we were still dating and how we would look into each other’s eyes and talk about the future and growing old together. Of course, we had no idea what that meant, but we knew we had our whole lives to figure it out. Now, here we are, (not too old yet!) twenty five years later, still in love, still happy, and still wanting to walk the journey of life together. Do I say it often enough?–I love you! Thank you for loving me back and being my beautiful and wonderful companion for the last twenty five years (thirty if you count dating). That’s 300 months, or 9,125 days, or 219,000 hours, or 13,140,000 minutes–every moment a blessing.

I started trying to list the reasons I love you, but it was becoming overwhelming to consider the multitude (yes, really). Let me just say I love you for your smile, and your generous and giving heart. At the end of a hard day, I have always looked forward to seeing your happy face. Even your eyes seem to smile–those happy creases at the corners. I love you for your love of learning and for instilling into our children an appreciation of good books and a love for reading. I love you for putting our marriage and our family first. It seems that you regard no sacrifice as too much. Thank you for loving me and putting up with me.

The years have made you beautiful. I know that we both have felt a little distressed when we look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “Oh, that’s new.” But to me you will always seem young, vibrant, and desirable as the day I fell in love with you. Twenty five years ago, I had no idea that I would marry a woman that would become more beautiful to me as time passed. And that is the way our love goes: it grows more beautiful with each passing day. We have been through so much together. I know we can weather the years ahead, because we are one and we are united with a bond that can never be broken.

I know that the great poets have struggled to pen words that adequately describe this kind of love. In the end they discover they fall painfully short. And so do I. Please accept this poor attempt as my expression of undying love and devotion. Thank you for being all that you are.

“And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” ― Kiersten White, The Chaos of Stars

Happy Anniversary!

Always and Forever,

Keith

Hearing Aid Technology Leaps Forward

hearing aidsThe hearing aids of today are light years ahead of the hearing aids made just a decade ago. I should know, because I’ve been wearing hearing aids for almost 18 years now. In fact, the changes in size, shape, and technological advances have been nothing short of amazing. For example, new micro-processor technology has allowed hearing aids to be so tiny, they can sit on a fingertip; and at the same time, provide amazingly natural-sounding hearing. So, people who need a little help hearing can get it “invisibly” and comfortably.

A major advancement in the latest hearing aids is the use of wireless technology. Hearing aids are not just jumping on the wireless arena; they’re actually blazing a new trail. As most people know, wireless communication is the technology that lets people connect with the Internet from their computers and tablets, without wires. Wireless headphones let individuals listen to music being streamed from a computer, iPod® or MP3 player, wire-free. Wireless printers let you print from a computer without a physical connection, and wireless car starters can start a car from many feet away, with the touch of a button.

This same wireless technology is used in today’s most advanced hearing aids to give hearing aid wearers many exciting new innovations.

For example, hearing aid wearers now have the freedom to adjust their hearing aids using their iPhone® or Android™ phone as a discreet remote control. Some new capabilities lets an individual use their phone to adjust the hearing aid volume in one or both ears, change listening settings to match their current environment, reduce background noise during a phone conversation, and much more. A person can make these adjustments with the swipe of a finger – with no one the wiser.

There is also wireless technology to give hearing aid users a superb phone call experience on their iPhone® or Android™ device. With this new technology, a hearing aid wearer hears the phone ring in their hearing aids, even if the phone is stowed away in a pocket, purse or briefcase. They simply press a button on a special device worn on a shirt, lapel or inside a shirt pocket, to start the conversation.

Because the sound digitally streams from the phone directly into the hearing aids, it’s exceptionally clear and clean. Also, because sound enters devices that have been carefully programmed for a person’s specific hearing needs, the listening experience is tailored just for them. And, people can listen to the conversation in both ears, instead of just one, if they prefer. Additionally, phone conversations can be hands-free. People with hearing loss can stay legal in places that ban holding a phone while driving. It’s also easier to multi-task during a phone call when both hands are free.

Through the use of wireless technology,hearing-aided people can now enjoy TV, stereo, PCs and other audio sources in a whole new way. When watching TV or listening to music, sound can stream from the source directly into the hearing aids. Volume can be adjusted to a comfortable level for the hearing-aided person, without affecting what others hear. And, because relay neck-loops aren’t needed, the individual can walk around the room and converse with companions – and still clearly hear the audio.

Another innovation made possible by wireless technology is a clever hearing aid accessory that helps users hear very precisely in environments such as lectures, meetings, noisy restaurants, or airports. A small, portable device is worn by someone the hearing-aided person wants to hear. The device picks up the non-hearing-aided person’s voice and streams it into the hearing aid wearer’s instruments, in real time. This device can also be placed in front of a television at a friend’s house, for example. It then streams sound directly into a person’s hearing aids, so they can hear clearly at whatever volume is comfortable for others.

Hearing aids have never been smaller, or better at providing a natural listening experience. And, upgrades in hearing aid technology will continue to evolve, allowing people with hearing loss the flexibility to find a solution that works for their lives, and lets them hear with confidence.

iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

Happy 50th Anniversary Mom & Dad

It is an awesome thing to reminisce about a beautiful love story that began a little over fifty years ago. Many friends and family traveled from all over to make it to their anniversary party to share memories with my Mom and Dad. It was an astounding display of love and affection.

There are some important things I’d like to say. Most importantly, congratulations Mom and Dad. Fifty years of doing anything is a long time, and fifty years of happy married life is really quite remarkable.

There are some who can remember looking back to when Mom and Dad began their relationship. They were fortunate to have had the opportunity to see them as they were in the beginning . . . as they anticipated the days ahead of them, wondering what they would find in each other. This anniversary especially, is the perfect time to slowly leaf through those memories they have made together. They are the moments that brought them to where they are today, still anticipating, still writing the pages that they will remember tomorrow.

There’s an old saying “Tell me whom you love and I will tell you who you are.” Mom, because of your grace, beauty and intelligence it’s not hard to see why Dad fell in love with you.  And Dad there is something captivating about your obvious affection for Mom. Your patience and kindness is something that has kept us all grounded.

Amidst all the complexities of life, love and family, there is an endearing lesson to be learned from the simplicity of your love for each other. The world has changed in so many ways since your wedding and yet, people are still choosing to get married. And I believe one reason is because they have seen people like you two demonstrate how well it can work.

And, it’s no wonder that our family’s love continues to grow. Because of a lifetime of encouragement and support from both of you, I am here today as the man you have helped me become. I am so very proud to be your son. So proud to be a result of your union…a reflection of your love for each other.

 Love that is true never grows old.