Author Archives: Brian Darby

2016 is Challenging

It’s been three months since my mom died, and since my last blog post. I’ve wanted to sit down and write, but I just haven’t been feeling it. Back in the fall I was totally motivated about getting things started and really becoming a writer.

Then January happened, and she was gone.

2016 has been a challenging year. I had flirted with the idea of quitting my day job, I had taken on more trivia shows to host my night job. We have still been climbing out of the self-inflicted financial ruin from 6 years ago.

The 1.5 year old has been extremely difficult. The 5 year old is about to start private school. My mother-in-law has been living with us while she goes through a tough patch. We bought baby goats for our back yard, only to find out our landlord is moving back to the country. We have to sell the goats that my daughters have grown fond of, and move.

I’ve been trying to clean up our credit, disputing the inaccuracies on our report, and pay the people we owe. My day job has tasked me with redesigning their website, and we are getting ready to work six days a week to move into our new headquarters.

We had discussed leaving the kids and going on a weekend trip with some friends, but now that seems impossible. I’m missing a trivia tournament because of life.

I’ve cracked a tooth, and have another that needs a root canal.

My wife got bit by the dog in a bizarre accident.

It’s been a really challenging year.

We all have them of course. And Lord knows that there are people going through tougher times that I am. I mistakenly set my clock for 45 minutes earlier than normal last night. As I got up and left the house, I realized I had an entire hour to myself. I went to the local park and walked around the pathway.

I wish I could tell you that the exercise gave me some sort of euphoria that melted away the stress, the anxiety, the anger, and the sadness that I have been dealing with. But not today.

I have parts of me that want to quit everything.

But I go on.

Because that’s all I can do.

It’s been a really challenging year.

A eulogy for my mom

My mom Sheila, Me, my sister Amy, and my dad Eddie

My mom Sheila, Me, my sister Amy, and my dad Eddie

My mother passed away on January 28. I gave a eulogy at her funeral. I purposely cut it short. What follows is the entire thing.

A lot of people have been asking me, “Is there anything we can do?” and while in the coming weeks and months, I’m sure there will be things that will come up. Right now, I can say there are three things you can do to honor my mom.

Pray for someone. – Anyone. Pray for us. Pray for the lost word. Pray for those that are having job problems, or having trouble starting a family. Pray for someone. Because that’s what she did. I saw it all the time. As a matter of fact, if you are here, and knew her, the chances are highly likely that she prayed for you.

Help someone. – I can’t remember the number of times mom helped someone. She would call to see how people were doing. She’d organize food when someone died. She coached softball. If you’re one of the girls that mom coached, she looked at it as helping you. So help someone.

Make someone laugh – Mom loved to make people laugh. 25 years ago she heard a comedian by the name of James Gregory do a bit about airline pilots showing up drunk. The punch line to the bit was that next time you were on that airline, and they came to take your drink order, just say “I’ll have whatever the pilots are having.”

Last Monday my mom is at a hospital in Jasper. They are determining if they should airlift her to a hospital in Chattanooga. As the medics from the helicopter are checking her, they say they need to consult with the pilot. One of them asked my mom, “Can I get you anything?” According to my dad, she looked at them and said “I’ll have whatever the pilot is having”. And they both laughed.

The Dress

My mom loved making me laugh, and the best way she could make me laugh was by getting one over on me.

When Sarah and I were planning the wedding, Sarah told me that she might not get a completely white dress. She said, she might pick one that was off-white, and wanted to know if I was okay with that. I said, “Sure.” So a few days later, she, my mom, and her mom, all went to pick the dress out.

I came back home, and asked mom, “So how did it go?”

She said, “Well, we got the dress. But it’s not white.”

I said, “Oh, yeah, but it’s like an off-white, right?”

“It’s black!”

I stood there, feeling all the blood rush out of my face and into the pit of my stomach, and then mom busted out laughing. I started laughing too as I realized, that she had pulled one over on me.

The Tongue

A few years ago when mom wasn’t doing very well, Amy called me and told me to come to the house, that mom wasn’t acting right. Later we found out she was just suffering from a small dip in her blood sugar, but at the time, I had no idea what was going on and feared a stroke.

Remembering I had once saw on television that if you thought someone was having a stroke, ask them to stick their tongue out and if it drooped to the left or right, you could be right.

So I asked her to stick her tongue out for me. What I had failed to realize, is that she knew this too! And she intentionally stuck her tongue out to the side and then started laughing!

I laughed!

The Jeopardy! Story

My parent’s cable television provider gives them the option to watch both the Atlanta broadcast stations, and the Chattanooga broadcast stations. Several years ago, Jeopardy would air at 4:30 in Atlanta, and the same episode would air at 7:30 in Chattanooga.

Now when we watched Jeopardy at our house, we competed. If you yelled out the correct response before anyone else, including the contestants, you earned a point. One particular night, I had come home and mom had Jeopardy on at 7:30 on the Chattanooga station.

The first clue came up about Jimmy Carter. She got it right. Then she got the next one. And the next one. She ran the first category. I was stunned. Then she got the next three right, before I realized she had a note pad and had wrote all the answers down from earlier in the day.

“HEEEEYYYYY” I yelled.

“HEEEEYYYYY” she yelled back.

And we both started laughing. She had got me again.

 

Pray for someone, Help someone, and Make someone one laugh. If we do these as often and consistent as she did, we too will have a life well lived.

If you want to change clothes you’re going to have to get naked.

If you want to change clothes you’re going to have to get naked. We understand that you can’t just constantly change your outfit by putting more clothes on top of the clothes you are already wearing. At some point, you’re going to have to remove the layers that you’ve covered your body with and start again.

Or you could wear the same clothes forever. Look down at the outfit and decide “well, I sort of chose this, so this is what I’m stuck with”.

Could you imagine wearing the same shirt and pants from when you were a child? I hope you didn’t grow. I think it would be mighty uncomfortable to go through life being voluntarily restricted as you grow. I hope those clothes don’t go out of style. It would be bad if you were wearing a polyester leisure suit in 2016.

I hope they don’t fade. I wouldn’t want you to be drowned out by all of the other colors that are fresh, bright, and noticeable.

It’s not always fun to strip down. You’re briefly cold. You may even be uncomfortable with what you see. But, it’s a short term thing. The risk of being temporary vulnerable to achieve more self-satisfaction. It makes complete sense.

Yet, people every day stay in the same relationships, careers, and lifestyles that limit who they can be. They think that because they are in those roles, that they sort of chose, they are stuck there. It takes 1% of your day to change your clothes. If you were to live until 80 years old, 1% of your life is almost 10 months. If you spent 10 months of your life working towards a change, would it be worth it? What would you be able to accomplish in the remainder of your life if you spent 1% of it working towards that change?

If you want to change clothes, you’re going to have to get naked. If you want to change your life, you’re going to have to go for it.

58 Things All Teens Need to Do

So, you’re a teenager! High school, College, and Adulthood, are coming fast. Careers, relationships, maybe even a family of your own is on the way.

I worried about missing out on things when I was a teenager. I did a lot of different stuff. But now, in my thirties, I look back and can provide you with a list of things that you need to make sure you do while you’re young. So let’s get started…

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Be Brave; Pull the Tooth

There is never a perfect time to do a hard thing. And if you are constantly waiting for the perfect time, you will never accomplish your goal. Sometimes we have to make our own opportunities. Failure sucks and it happens often. But you can’t let the fear of failure prevent you from taking a step that you know you need to take.

I remember when I was a kid and would have a loose tooth. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I knew I just needed to grab it and yank it, but I would wait, and wait, and wait, until finally my mom, afraid I would swallow it or suck it down my windpipe, would pull it.

Baby teeth have to be removed before adult teeth can come through. This often applies to other parts of life too. You can’t get a new boyfriend/girlfriend if you’re currently with a loser. It’s harder to buy a house when you haven’t put the one you are living in on the market. Big scary decisions often require bold, brave actions.

It’s good to plan. It’s good to get an idea of what is the best decision. But perpetually planning will only provide you with regret. At some point, you have to be brave and act.