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Michael Castellano
Professional Writer at Carson and Associates
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The Bond of a Lifetime

I have two daughters, two little girls that mean the world to me. One is 21 and the other is 12.

As I struggle to right some wrongs that I created myself with a little help from the world around me, it occurs to me how much my life would be empty of relevance were it not for the fact that these wonderful little ladies came into my existence. You see, I get it. We were put here to procreate… to procreate and get better every time. I did this, and I did it right… very right.

My little girls are not so little anymore, but… they will always be my little girls. And I will always be Daddy, no matter what, no matter where, no matter how. I love my little girls more than anything in my life, anything.

I remember when I first laid eyes on the completed miracle of human birth that would be my daughters, it completely altered my perspective on life. How could I be so blessed to have not one, but two miracles in one lifetime? Thank you God.

My daughters each have their very own Mother, both Mothers are wonderful little girls in their own right. I can’t emphasize how much I appreciate each woman for their unflagging devotion to their children in the face of my own glitches. I have no words to describe how much I appreciate the two women that I share my little girls with, I can only say thank you God for allowing me the opportunity to share my children with these women of devotion. My daughter’s Mother’s exemplify Motherhood in a way that leaves me in awe of all Mother’s who sacrifice for their children, including my own beloved Mother, whom I lost almost three years ago. Thank you Mom, for always being there.

“Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what girls are made of…” I don’t know who gets credit for writing that, but I couldn’t have said it better. I have always favored women over men as confidantes probably because of my own grasp of personal sensitivity. I instinctively knew in each pregnancy that I would have daughters, I knew that to unleash another version of me as a male on this world would be considered cruel and unusual punishment and therefore would not happen. In all seriousness though, the cosmic plan was always female offspring for me… I knew it, and I was right.

Every concerned parent worries about their children, and in spite of our best intentions, we will inevitably feel we haven’t done enough to insure our heirs life success and happiness. We ache when they ache, and we suffer when they suffer, that’s the deal. If I could absorb any of the negatives that my daughter’s face in their lives on this earth, I gladly would… without reservation, as it should be. It amazes me when I come across an instance of intentional neglect on the part of a parent. I would never be so bold as to intimate any perfection on my part, but in my heart of hearts, I know that I will gladly lay down my life for my children.

I often think of the missed opportunities of moments with my girls, times when I was either too busy locked in the dogma of my life, or glued to an activity of selfishness that pervaded my past existence… only now do I realize how lucky I am that I still have time to enjoy the gift that is my little girls. I am by no means saying that I haven’t enjoyed the benefits of parenthood in the past, but when my own Mother left this world it set in motion a chain of events that would forever alter my destiny and would ultimately give me a refined clarity and insight into the value of my little girls and what they mean to me.

I cherish every moment of life these days. I am fortunate in the fact that I have finally found my true calling and can honestly say I have never experienced the personal happiness and joy in living that I do now. Inner peace and harmony with my surroundings is mine… but I do have to work at it, every minute of every day, and of course it’s not effortless. It’s all about balance.

Thank you to both of my little girls. You are equally of the most significant importance to me, and you two are the brightest lights in a life that took decades of practice to achieve.

Daddy loves you…

It Works For Me…

Some of us need an instruction manual for life…

and I’ll tell you why.

When life doesn’t work there’s a reason. I’m finding out through my own trial and error that we all have different methods for making life work… for each of us, in our own way.

Our goals, though, should be the same. Joy and Happiness.

Some people thrive on chaos, and some on order, order in their lives and order in their homes.

The problem is… these behaviors are based in control… and planning. As the old saying goes…”God laughs when we make plans”

It sounds funny when you think of chaos as planning, I mean… order takes planning, that’s an easy one. But chaos as planned? Yes.

A certain amount of control is most definitely needed, but when you try to control everything in your life you’re fooling yourself… it just doesn’t work . Period.

Life changes every time you blink your eyes. You turn around and the next thing you know you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper… and you just wrote on it. Hmmm…

Must be disappearing ink.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a self-help group for folks who can’t control a certain issue. They all spoke of giving up control to a higher power (that one right there got me… a higher power? Isn’t that God? or maybe it’s Bill, the neighbor down the street) but they consistently spoke of their lives as out of control, of feeling helpless and alone… and one that really stood out for me…


Fear of what?

Fear of tomorrow? Fear of slipping in their quest to maintain control? There’s that word again, control.

Let’s start with the fear of being alone. We are all born alone, we live on this earth alone, and we die alone. Sounds lonely, doesn’t it? I’m not trying to be funny, I understand and am empathetic for all who suffer, but the fact is… we don’t have to suffer, and… we don’t have to be alone. That’s right, I said it, I own it… we don’t have to be alone, we do have a choice, and it’s God.

I can’t even tell you how many times I thought I had control of the reins in my life only to turn around and see a blank sheet of paper… and I had just written on it!!! What’s up with that?

There comes a time in most everyone’s life when we feel so much despair we think God has abandoned us… these are the times when God actually carries us. I think Mary Stevenson said it best in her short story “Footprints in the Sand”…

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?” The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”

                                                   Mary Stevenson

My point is, you are never alone when you walk with God.

Another person in this meeting spoke of not feeling whole, of an emptiness that couldn’t be filled no matter how much she tried. That’s where God comes in. He fills that hole with love… God’s love.

Ok, so here we have the two basic emotions we experience as human beings, Fear and Love. All the other feelings of emotion we experience are subsets of these. Unfortunately most people experience their lives based in fear.

So what if you could experience your life based in Love? Seriously. You can, and will… if you read the instruction manual… and follow the instructions.

So now you’re like, “what instruction manual?”

well that one is easy…

It’s the Bible.

The Ripple Effect…

Say what you do and do what you say.

Five words, four used twice, and used once.

Ask five different people what the last sentence means and you’ll get five different answers… and not one will match with what I mean, guaranteed.

What’s my point? Perspective.

And confusion.

What happens when you say one thing and do another? You send out mixed signals and you create situations and circumstance that reach farther than you might imagine, ultimately causing discord among those around you to the point that you might find yourself odd man out before you know it. Without any intention of malice in the first place.

I recently had a friendship experience involving this very subject. This event tested the limits of our friendship in a way that the other party can’t even imagine… unless I tell him, which I haven’t… yet.

Balance is key to living a healthy, productive, satisfying life. Achieving this balance takes effort, a huge amount of effort… you have to be willing to put in the work to experience the reward, and every choice you make is important, all choices based on knowledge and wisdom… the key is paying attention to every detail. Not easy, but well worth the rewards.

Now my experience with the friend in question has been overall a positive one, with a few bumps in the road like any normal relationship will involve. He has a good heart and just intentions, but for reasons of dogma, is in the midst of trial and tribulation that complicate his intentions. I do the best I can to be a friend to him based on my ideals of friendship.

I had a situation present itself where ultimately I needed his truck to bring some large items to my home. I recently moved into a new house and these items would greatly benefit goals that I want to accomplish, important to me in ways that might not be easily understood to most. A significant part of these goals would have greatly benefited my friend as well. Maybe I should have explained that better to him.

One of the side benefits to this item transfer would have been access to a small adapter that would allow me to spend a day in the mountains with another friend, enjoying the peace and relaxation that the winter mountain wilderness provides to someone like me. We scheduled a time to accomplish this task, and through circumstance, it didn’t happen.

That’s ok though, I still had another day before the trip to the mountains was to take place. We decided to reschedule and made plans accordingly. As we made these plans we discussed alternate backups in case of circumstance striking again including “what-if” discussions in case my friend was unable to physically assist.

When the time arrived to accomplish said tasks, my friend was in the midst of a bit of turmoil. No problem, plan B was a logical and available choice according to our previous night’s discussion. When I suggested plan B though, all that was said the previous night went out the window and was replaced with some very poor excuses that confused and embarrassed me… that’s ok, I’ll own it.

Ultimately I was unable to make the trip to the mountains which is ok for me, there will be other times… but the problem is, I made a commitment to the friend that I was going with, and because all this happened at the last minute, I was unable to fulfill my commitment. My friend was forced to decide if he wanted to go alone, which he didn’t… so the entire trip was cancelled, and now I have two friends that are confused about our friendship because of poor choices… by all parties involved, myself included.

Everyday we make choices that may seem insignificant at the time, but in reality, these smallest of decisions can become lifechangers and alter the course of our destiny in extremely profound ways. Today is Christmas, and on this day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us not forget the choices he made for us. His choices made our lives possible, and one thing I can tell you is…

Jesus made his choices selflessly.

Friends with Benefits…

Can men and women be friends?

An interesting question indeed.

Men and women are wired differently for sure, I don’t dispute that. But then again, everybody is wired differently, men and men, women and women, wouldn’t you agree?

I recently posed this question to a few different men and women that I know… I was surprised by the answers I heard… most men said no, most women said yes.


Why did the majority of men say no while the majority of women say yes? Good question. I can only speculate based on my experience, but I will tell you this… I used to be in that majority of men that said no. Used to be… not anymore. What changed?

I did, that’s what.  I made a choice.

In the past I only saw woman as objects of physical desire. Unfortunately, like most men, I lusted after the flesh, not taking the time to see a woman as a person, as someone I could talk to and share my time with… without a sexual payoff in the end. Where was my thought process coming from? North or south?

If friendship is based on spending time with another human being and activities shared, of laughter and sadness, good times and bad, intimate conversations of goals and desires, and being there when needed, then how can the answer be no?

How many times have you heard that the best relationships start with friendship? Think about that sentence… to me a relationship is a friendship, is it not? Hmmm…

I have a lot of new friends and I have a few old friends, I am very blessed, but this wasn’t always so… almost three years ago I experienced a significant loss… my Mother passed away. As it should be, my Mother meant the world to me, and as such, I experienced profound grief and extreme sorrow when God decided it was time for Mom to go home. I fell apart and didn’t handle it well. I turned to self-medication and ended up in a very serious situation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. In this experience I found myself and have come out the other side as a new man. My Mother would be proud, in fact, I know she is.

One of the many lessons I learned through all this is who my true friends really are. I can count them on my hands. Most of the so-called friends from my past life weren’t there when I needed them, they had better things to do I guess… ok, that’s their gig, I wish them well.

But a few stuck by me and believed in me. These friends really showed me what value there is in a relationship that isn’t based on whatever tangible benefits one can get from another human being. Just the fact that they pick up the phone when I call is a gift from God, and when I think of what it is I truly have in this gift of friendship, I know to guard it well, which brings me back to my point…


Everyday we make choices… we choose how the world will unfold in front of us by everything we do, starting with the moment we open our eyes upon waking. If you feel life just happens and you are only along for the ride navigating through whatever is thrown your way, well… you are at the mercy of dogma, and that’s no fun.

I met someone recently who was experiencing a situation that concerned them greatly. This person was very upset that a friend was in trouble and it was causing them a significant amount of grief and anguish… I could tell this person cared deeply that a friend was in jeopardy, and needed somewhere to turn. I felt an empathy that can only be described as profound, and I was compelled to be there in this time of need… without any expectation of benefit. I listened to this fellow human being’s story and offered whatever comfort and support that I could. We bonded through mutual communication and found out that we shared many things in common, including a strong faith in God.

In a relatively short amount of time we became confidantes. I can now say I’m certainly glad I made the choice to sit and listen to someone in their time of need, at a moment when some folks might have walked away, avoiding conflict that would complicate their busy lives, their entire existence spent rushing around in an effort to get to some unknown destination that will finally provide the relief they so desperately seek from the dogma that hounds them… yes… in making the right choice not only did I find a valued new friend, I answered the question myself.

Thanks Stacy, I’m glad we’re friends.

If Ever…

If ever a woman touched my heart quite like you

I wouldn’t have known it and it couldn’t be true

For in my mind I’m a prisoner and in my heart I’m a fool

To think that someone so wonderful, so beautiful, so inexplicably divine

Would have but a moment to share or a thought or a care for this heart of mine…

– Written in 1988 by Michael Carson –