Reset

by Michael Schnabel

For the last year, I have told friends and family that something has to happen for us to come back together as a country. Something big that impacts everyone and forces us to scrutinize everything we are doing, like a tipping point of some kind. My parents said this happened after Pearl Harbor, and we all saw it after 911. A chance to reflect on life, death, and the way we live our lives, an opportunity to reset our direction.

 

I talked to my son yesterday about the Coronavirus. Scott lives in Hawaii and works with autistic children. We discussed how the virus was having an impact on every person, without regard to wealth, religion, race, sex, political beliefs, or where they lived in the world. Scott is a spiritual person and had an interesting way of looking at this crisis. 

Money Management

by Michael Schnabel

Managing money is a critical part of education that is mostly ignored by our schools. Maybe that is one reason around half of the American households have no retirement savings. Zero! So as parents, we must be responsible for teaching our kids a lesson on economic survival. The sooner they learn the basics of earning, spending, and saving, the better off they will be. Be their best advocate by celebrating their accomplishments, helping them overcome challenges, and cheering them on. So what else can you do?

Differing Opinions

by Michael Schnabel

People have strong feelings about their beliefs, and many see issues as right or wrong. It used to be common sense to stay away from emotionally charged subjects. I understood this during the summer of love when I, a sixteen-year-old Lutheran boy with long hair, was dating a fifteen-year-old Catholic girl whose father was a barber. These differences could have been a problem, but instead, they completely took me off her family's radar. They knew the relationship couldn't work and figured their daughter must be going through a rebellious phase.

Role Models

by Michael Schnabel

As I grew up, role models in television and the movies reinforced the right actions and dishonored the bad. Our parents and teachers held us accountable to do the right thing. It seemed everyone understood right from wrong even if we didn't practice it. Yes, we all crossed the line, but hopefully, we learned from our mistakes and improved. Okay, maybe you are the exception and perfect.

 

New Year's Resolution

by Michael Schnabel
Forbes says that fewer than 25% of people are still working at their New Year’s Resolution after 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them. So this time it's going to be different. It's going to be easy. My New Year's Resolution is to be selfish and make myself happy. I came to this conclusion by reflecting on things that put a smile on my face in 2019. Many of the smiles came from simply being kind to others. So as a selfish act, I want to feel happy more often by looking for ways to be kind to others. So maybe not so much selfish, more like a win/win.

Crossroads

by Michael Schnabel

It’s interesting how life works sometimes. Unexpected events or people come together to change the direction of your life. Think back to the crossroads you have encountered, the decisions you made, and how they shaped your life. Let me share a personal example.

 

I needed to find a job to pay for my next semester in college. If I didn't, I would lose my school deferment, get drafted, and sent to Viet Nam. To motivate me, my mother told me she would call the draft board herself if I didn't find a job soon. That got my attention. I skipped my first class the next morning and walked to the business office just as the secretary put up a help wanted notice on the bulletin board. I took it down and had the shipping job at the music store two hours later. I had no idea how much this sequence of events would impact my life.

Outstanding Teachers

by Michael Schnabel
Who are the people that have helped shape your life? Parents, friends, and people of faith have substantial impacts, but what about the others who randomly step into our lives and change our direction? People who believe in us, give us a chance or take the time to share their wisdom. Sometimes their impact stays with us a lifetime.

Patient Responsibilities

by Michael Schnabel

You have a life-threatening disease. The doctors, nurses, and caretakers focus on helping you. They know what they have to do, but as the patient, what are your responsibilities? What can you do to help yourself and them overcome your illness? I want to share what we learned during my daughter's fight with cancer, hoping it may help others.

Forgiveness

by Michael Schnabel
I think of myself as an emotionally balanced person, but occasionally things happen that cause my emotions to overcome logic. It’s a safe bet that this has also happened to you. Someone wronged you. How you react may depend on the person who did it, the extent of the damage, or the frequency it has happened. We might be able to move on and not deal with the person or situation ever again. Short-term memory lets it fade away. Other times it sits and festers with growing anger, pain, and plots to get even with your offender. Our emotions build the issue into something bigger than it is, allowing us to become a victim.  

Disease

by Michael Schnabel
An enemy enters your life in the form of illness. It quietly grows until it becomes a threat to your life. How do I get rid of it? What am I going to do? I’m not ready to die. This story plays out every day in the lives of people around us. Then it happens to you and becomes very personal. It’s normal to react with anger and fear, but you need to overcome these emotions and fight for your life. I know, that’s easier said than done. Here are some things we learned in my daughter’s fight that might help you. 

Faith, part 2

by Michael Schnabel

The oncologists told Stephanie that her survival was a miracle. I was amazed at how strong her faith was. She never blamed God or asked why this was happening to her or gave up. She just wondered what she was supposed to learn from this experience. Twice when she was hours from death, she was saved. There was never any doubt in her mind that God was with her. She became our hero and role model. When fear overcame her, she asked God to take over and was rewarded by feelings of peace and serenity. 

Faith, part 1

by Michael Schnabel

Faith has always been an important part of my family’s life. Some use it as encouragement. “You can do it, just have faith, and do your best." Sound familiar? Faith often refers to trust and confidence in someone or something. That something is frequently God. I never knew how strong my family’s faith was until my daughter's illness tested it.  

Caregivers

by Michael Schnabel
When a crisis hits, everyone asks what they can do, right? It takes a unique, loving person to jump in and become a caregiver. It's a demanding job, but it’s also rewarding. When our daughter received her diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, we filled with fear, apprehension, and dread. The crisis touched each of us in a personal way, but it was my daughter whose life was in jeopardy. She needed an infusion of hope, the essential element to never giving up. We formed a team to stand with her and promised to do everything in our power to save her. She would never be alone in this fight, and that made all the difference in the world. She automatically had three caregivers; Her husband, mother, and me, her father. It's natural to stand next to your loved one and help any way you can. Love is the foundation most caregivers build on. Here are some of the things we learned.

Thank You

by Michael Schnabel

There is definite power in the two words Thank You. It's common courtesy to appreciate someone helping you, and yet those words aren't as common as they used to be. Do you notice it too? Opening a door for someone usually gets a smile and thank you in return. Everyone feels good about it. Other times they don't even notice it or just expect you to do it. This really doesn't bother me, but I see it happening more often. A person feels good helping others, and I guess that is enough of a reward.

State Fair

by Michael Schnabel
Do you love to go to State Fairs as I do? Watching people, exploring exhibits, and tasting sugar-coated, deep-fried, and smoked whatever on a stick makes me smile. My wife and I visited the Iowa State Fair last week and had a wonderful time. They had 70 different foods on a stick, and no, I didn't try them all.

Stress, part 2

by Michael Schnabel

Search for the good in things. When you are in crisis, finding good can be very challenging. If you had an 8% chance of living, you probably wouldn't wish you had a newborn child. That's what happened to our daughter, and she chose to look for the silver lining. She quickly realized this newborn was timed to uncover her cancer with a chance of survival remaining. This beautiful child then became her reason to never, ever give up. 

Stress, part 1

by Michael Schnabel

Most of us feel stress from time to time. Fear and too many things to do mixed with emotions can quickly overwhelm the mind. Listening to Bobby McFerrin's song, Don't Worry Be Happy, may not be enough to change things. So what can we do about it? There are a few simple things we learned during Steph's illness that helped us move forward through the fear, stress, and too many things to do. 

Finding Medical Help

by Michael Schnabel
You find yourself in a medical crisis and are scared about the diagnosis. Then it hits you, “How do I find the right medical care to get better?” I would love to tell you I know who you need, but we both know that I don’t. There are too many variables. I can tell you some of the things we learned while trying to deal with these questions for my daughter.

Attitude

by Michael Schnabel

Do you have any sayings or quotes hanging on the wall? I do. Things I have read or heard that I do not want to forget. Some are funny, and others are just true. Here is one by Charles Swindoll about an attitude that hits home for me. "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Looking back on my life that sounds about right. What do you think?
 

Developing a Plan

by Michael Schnabel
What do you do when an obstacle presents itself? Scream or punch the wall or ignore it? I do not remember hitting any walls, but I have done the rest and more. These reactions can add a lot of drama and resentment if you start blaming everything around you, but do they help or provide a solution? You are shaking your head no, so maybe we should look at another approach.