What He’s Doing Now

Election 2012 has ended and unfortunately “Married Kevin” didn’t get enough (or any) votes to count. Oh well! At least Erik and I came up with this sweet logo!

I turned 35 last month, which meant I was officially eligible to run for President of the United States. I’ve met all three principal qualifications. There was no disputing my birth certificate. I’m a natural-born citizen of the U.S., have been a permanent resident since birth and was now 35-years old.

So I didn’t actually run for POTUS, I do think I would’ve made a better Republican candidate than Mr. Romney. I have my Conservative side but may appeal to those on the other side or in between that saw Romney as just a rich white dude that doesn’t understand where the lowly 47-percent are coming from. You see, I’m just a white dude, struggling (but working) like most of the 47-percent.

Oh wait, did I just mention who I voted for? C’mon! What did you expect? I’m a small business owner, who’s a Christian living in a gun-loving small town with goals of eventually becoming a crusty, white middle-class man! Sorry, there’s no way around that last one. I was destined for white man status the minute my white parents had me.

The Garth Brooks tune “What She’s Doing Now” plays in my mind. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve written in my own blog journal that I feel it’s time for another entry. I’ve started a few in the past couple of months but have never finished. Life’s been crazy busy. Why not entertain myself years later when I wonder, “What was I doing in the fall of 2012?” Thus the “What He’s Doing Now” title. You see, I often use my blog journal as a history book for the Johnson 5. What were we doing (insert month and year)? I know! I’ll look at the archives (located on the right-hand side of this page) and reminisce … or cringe.

Sometimes I sit down and write and I think, “Why do I write? Do I need to share with the five readers that may read this about what I’m thinking in my head?” But then I remember, this isn’t for all of you, though I do love that you may be reading this. It’s a way for me to look back at what I’m doing, what my family is doing and what I was thinking when I was the ripe age of 35.

One thought I had was updating my 99 Things to Do Before I Die. I’m sure you all read them. I posted way back in June 2006. What? You didn’t? I’m not going to wait.

A lot has changed for the Johnson 5 since I posted that back in ’06. First, there is no mention of walking my daughter down the aisle. Why? Because Lis and I hadn’t expected having another kid (or two).

There are also a ton of travel adventures I posted that I now look back at and go, “Where the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is that?”

And then there are things I actually did accomplish like teaching my son how to play catch, owning my own business (thanks Butlers), buying my wife a diamond ring, giving a speech (more times than I can now count) and meeting Boyz II Men.

But alas, I’m not going to update my 99 Things to Do Before I Die. I already listed 10 Vacations I Want to Take, if I were to accomplish all 10 of those I’d be happy. Actually, I think I’m going to blow up the list. Why? Because accomplishing all of those things won’t compare to the things I’m doing in my life right now.

Let me first share the news of a teenage boy I wrote about back in March 2007. Colton Wilson passed away Monday night. If you’ve read my blog for years and years (plus 3 more) you’ll know that Colton’s story was – and still is – my career highlight. Not only did the story end up on the front of the Everett Herald (a Kevin first) but I was also able to share his story of fighting cancer and then using his one Make-A-Wish to give back to his school and community be redoing the baseball field he loved to play on. He battled cancer and he defeated cancer. A couple of months back he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell off his longboard. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. He spent months in and out of surgery and recovery. On Monday Colton passed away. As I posted on my Facebook, “Was sad to hear about the passing of one of the most selfless and humble people that I may ever run across, Colton Wilson (Prayers For Colton). Lis and I were very fortunate to have known him and his mom, and to have played a small part in sharing his inspirational story. He will always have a special place in our hearts, not just for the story I got to tell, but because of the example he set for us and our kids. Thank you.

Selfless, humble and inspirational.

Those are three adjectives I wouldn’t mind someone using to describe me when I’m dead and gone.

It’s those three words that made me think about my 99 Things to Do Before I Die and if I want to be remembered by accomplishing those 99 Things (85 or so of them that don’t really matter in the end) or by doing my best to be humble, selfless and inspirational.

How do I transition from that into what I’m doing now? Do they go hand-in-hand? Maybe not, but I will say that even though my plate of life is overflowing with the items I’m about to talk about, there hasn’t been a time in my life where I’ve been so proud of what I’m doing with it. Is that selfish?

Though I haven’t been writing as much in my blog journal, I have been keeping myself busy by writing.

Lukas’s school sent out a volunteer form asking for help with the newsletter. I thought, “Hey! I love to write and I used to work part-time for a newspaper so …” I’m now the Cougar Tracks Editor. And just to make things more fun I decided to blow up the newsletter and revamp it. I tend to want to do that. Heck, if I’m going to be in charge of something I’d rather make it my own then just ride on the coattails of the people before me. So far the response has been positive, then again, when you’re volunteering your time people probably aren’t going to complain about the work you’re doing. At least not out loud.

I also volunteered my mad prep writing skills (HA!) to our local newspaper. They actually pay me per story so I’ve racked up some extra income covering high school football and volleyball. The work is fun, I get to see my name in lights and more importantly I get to beef up the sports coverage in the Valley’s paper.

One of the things I added to my plate that has been the most fun is writing for a blog called PopBlerd! My buddy turned me onto it. I happened to be Fan No. 500. They sent me a couple of CDs. They wrote a post about the 100 Best R&B Song of the 90s. I double heart R&B songs of the 90s so I commented. Mr. Blerd himself asked if I wanted to join in. I couldn’t resist and since then I’ve written an NFL Preview, a story about Manning vs. Brady, shared stories I’ve never shared with anyone about when I was in community college and the music I bought, and one of my favorite pieces I’ve written in a while, how I felt after Lucasfilm was bought by Disney. It’s more music-based, so currently we’re working on the 100 Rap Albums of All-Time and I’m helping with a Janet Jackson Discography. It’s been a blast and I’ve gotten to know (digitally) interesting people from all over the country! Like the rest of the people on there, we’re just people who love to write and this gives us an outlet and a larger audience. If you haven’t already, check out the site here or click on one of my story links (highlighted under the mention of the story).

Meanwhile, I volunteered my services to helping with the publicity of a holiday lighting festival that our town is putting on. Yes, I’m a sucker, but again I’ve gotten to meet new people who are local and I believe that when it’s done we’re going to feel mighty proud of what we’ve done for this community. I look forward to it!

Yes, I’m still doing the Relay for Life. In fact we just had our Summit, a two-day conference where we share ideas, attend classes, eat free food and more importantly meet people from other Relays.  This year Jerry and I met more new friends. We had a great time hanging out and sharing ideas, and there may have been some dancing involved. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year! This will be my ninth year fundraising for the Relay for Life. It’s an awesome event and really the one thing where I feel totally passionate and knowledgeable talking about it. Plus, we’re changing the world! I don’t think I’ll ever “take a break” from it like I threatened a couple of years back. You feel entirely different once you see hundreds of people with the same passion and are working with a Dream Team that again shares your passion and energy! Oh and this year’s theme may be Star Wars related (see below).

Speaking of changing the world, is there anything more gratifying then working with Youth? Not much. Just having a connection or a relationship with kids and knowing you’re making a tiny difference in their life is enough to get me excited. Oh stop! I started leading the Youth Group at our church, like I run the show. It’s fun! We’re breaking into small groups, we’re building relationships, we’re having a good time, we’re growing, we’re sharing the Word, it’s fun! Lis has joined me as well, which is totally awesome. I think that it’s important that the Youth see a husband and wife together, to see our relationship in person. It’s been a blessing and even though it may be a lot of work, it’s a lot of fun. Did I already mention that?

Then there’s my real job. A couple of months back I wondered if I had what it takes to make it. Then I made my premium goal in back-to-back months (and am halfway there this month with three weeks to go) and, “Welcome back Confidence!” I think the work that I’ve put into the community is starting to pay off and it’s making it fun!

Finally, my life at home. I know, you probably look at what I am doing above and think I’m neglecting my family. I may be … but right now I don’t feel like it. Part of it is because I’m lucky enough to work 3 minutes from work. Lukas and I ride our bikes to the office. I’m home for lunch. I’m home by 5:33 for dinner. I’m driving Lukas to school in the morning before I head into the office. Lia can come and hang out at work while Lis runs to the store. The 1 hour, 40 minute commute was so draining, it’s amazing how much commuting drains you and stresses you out. Honestly, for the first time in the 8 years I’ve been a father I can tell myself that I’m a not-so-bad Dad. First time.

And as a husband … I’m still working on it. There were things Lis and I discussed when she was gone that we wanted to work on with each other. For the first 58 days she was back it was great and we did everything we wanted to do (little things like kissing each other before we leave the house and when we get home from work). Then routine breaks in and we skip a day and then a day becomes two and two becomes three and then it’s “Why should I try to kiss her if she’s not trying to kiss me?” crap. I’m sure we’re the only people who deal with that. But it’s all good.

Will I be remembered for being selfless, humble and inspirational? Those are some pretty lofty goals. I’d like to look at the above things and think that when I’m gone I’ll be remembered for helping others and being a decent father and husband. And if I can be labeled as selfless, humble and inspirational, well then I’d be honored to be in the same breath has the teenager I wrote the story about.

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