…time

This is the first time I am writing in the Five Minute Friday group. Don’t have a clue what I am doing really, but I’ll figure it out!

It helps having reference points that were left by my father. He describes the Five Minute Friday’s like this and I have to admit, I too already… ummmm fudged “the rules” a little.

…it’s a chance for a group of dedicated writers to get together weekly to write on a one word prompt for five minutes. Nothing fancy. Nothing too deep [unless that’s the direction we writers are convicted to do]. Technically, no edits — including spelling and grammar — although I’m sure we all fudge on that one. I know I do. When I just let my fingers wander, they often can’t keep up with my free range mind and the gibberish on the screen needs deciphering. And we do it all in five minutes! [Well, that’s the goal, although I’ve been known to go a tad beyond at times.]

So, without further ado… my very first Five Minute Friday post – TIME.

Time.

It’s an interesting concept the construct of time.

We enjoy time, lament time, take time, waste time.

We govern our lives by time. Try to do things in time on time, after a time or even just in time. We schedule time. Morning time, night time, work time, play time,

…my favorites are nap time and coffee time.

When we are young we are oblivious to time. As we grow older, we take time for granted, waste time, become pressed for time, and in time wonder where the it has gone.

There are times we look forward to, dread, miss, remember times that brought us joys and sorrows…

…and yet, the mystery of time eludes our understanding.

There is, however, one most glorious time.

An underappreciated time.

A time that stills for a time.

STOP

…when you realize that all the mysteries, wonders, glory, truths and promises believed in from the Creator of time, are about to be revealed to a loved one whose hand you hold, who’s tears you shed

as you feel their heart beat,

…for the last time.

dedicated to the man who means so much to so many. we love you, miss you. we have been so incredibly blessed to have known you.

A donation fund has been set up to help pay for final expenses and can be made by clicking HERE

Posted in Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

It takes a village…

Grief is a funny thing. Not “ha-ha” funny, of course, but funny in the “weird and unpredictable” sense. I remember so vividly the events of mom’s death. It shuts me down every year around the same time. I don’t struggle with her birthday or holidays – I struggle with the month of September. Yep, the entire month. I will need a psychologist to explain the why, but I literally relive every event leading up to her death in the month of September. I remember the coughing, the phone calls and conversations, the trips to be with her, the falls and hospital visits, the scans, the worry, the optimism – everything. Every high and every low. And then the sun rises on September 28th and I suddenly feel freed from the memories that taunt me.

With mom, we all had time – time to wrap our brains around her illness; time to grapple with all the questions; time to lavish her with love. But with dad, we did not have the luxury of time. On Wednesday morning, in our family chat, he said good morning like he always did. No one knew he wasn’t feeling quite right. By the afternoon, he popped into the chat again to tell us he was in the hospital. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m fine.” But something didn’t settle right with us, which led to a series of phone calls and the subsequent turn of events. He wasn’t fine, and to make things worse, he was alone. My heart sinks just typing those words. The guilt is real.

With mom, there was an opportunity for closure. We walked her through her illness for six months and we surrounded her bed and held her hand as she took her last breath. But with dad, everything happened quickly and in the midst of a pandemic, which limited our ability to be by his side. Let me tell you how very difficult it is to say goodbye to your father and watch him die over video chat. Closure escapes us and we are all grieving differently.

We are not able to gather with friends and family to celebrate dad’s life. We have set up a page for you to write your stories and memories of him. We want you to think about sitting at the funeral home with us and telling us the things you remember about our dad – and then just write those things down. We are greatly encouraged and strengthened by hearing how dad impacted the lives of others, so please share in the comments.

Dad did not have a life insurance policy. He lived a simple, “starving artist” kind of life so that he could bring joy to others through his words. Unfortunately for us, this also means we do not have an easy way to pay for his final expenses. We want to do the right thing but the reality for us is that we need help. After much discussion, we have decided to make the ask. There is something icky about asking for such help, and yet we all recognize the need to humble our hearts at this time. We are not begging anyone. Please know we fully trust God to provide for us in this time. He has always provided for our family and we have no reason to think he will stop now. But we did feel led to set up an account specifically to cover dad’s final expenses and if you feel the nudge to give, you have an opportunity to do so by clicking here.  

However you choose to help, know we appreciate every part – the encouraging words and stories, the financial support, the abundant love, and the deep prayers. It is said that it takes a village to raise children. Apparently, it seems, it also takes a village to help those children say goodbye. Know that you are helping us to grieve in healthy ways by continuing to support us in this space. It is our desire to preserve his words and continue to be his voice in the world. We have some exciting things in store for this little piece of the internet. We have good days and bad days, but we are taking the steps needed to move forward with dad’s vision. So, thank you, village. These next steps are not possible without you.

~ D 😊

Posted in death, grief, Memories, Mom | 2 Comments

Root Beer Floats

My siblings always joke around about my lack of memory. I don’t know why, but I just don’t remember much from my childhood. But one thing I can’t forget is the beloved root beer float!

Dad was the master of making root beer floats. Mom was the best at making orange julius. Movie nights were legit in our home! The key to a good root beer float is to use a tall glass (because more ice cream…) and pour the root beer in slowly so that it gets good and foamy on top. It is kind of fun to see how much root beer you can pour in until the foam overflows too. Every kid does it {and some adults} so have plenty of napkins handy. You’ve been warned.

As you start sipping the root beer, be careful the fizz doesn’t tickle your nose, and be certain to add more as you start eating the ice cream, which will get nice and creamy when mixed with the root beer (Pro tip: Use good ice cream. This is not the time to skimp!). I remember exchanging glances with my brother and giggling as I added more root beer to my glass – until I got caught by mom. She believed in moderation. I took dad’s stance with desserts and gladly owned my tummy aches!

Simple memories are always good and bring a smile to my face – even though they may be few and far between. Trust me when I tell you my siblings do a great job at filling me in on the things I don’t remember. I am just not always sure what they are telling me is true. They are pranksters too – especially the pesky boys.

As we get this week started, we thought it would be fun to remember some of the simple pleasures from days gone by – you know, before spouses, kids, and bills! We have compiled a few of our favorite memories and we will be sharing them on Instagram throughout the week. That’s right – Wisdom 2.5 is now on Insta @Wisdom_2.5!! We are super excited to share some more of our thoughts and lives in the visual world of IG, so be sure to follow. We will be linking our blogs, but also contributing some different content in that space. I have a pet peeve about using the same content on all social media outlets so you can be sure you will see new, fresh content here.  

I know root beer floats are not terribly special, but this simple treat represents many fun memories around our kitchen table. We can’t wait to hear some of your special memories too, so hop on over to IG and let the memories commence!

~ D 😊

Posted in family, food, Memories, stories, words for the week | 1 Comment

Finally Reunited

As you might be aware, on December 14, 2020, Joe went to be with the Lord. So many of you have asked about what happened and how you can help. We certainly appreciate your love through this difficult time!

Joe suffered a stroke on December 9, 2020 and lost his battle a few days later. This was unexpected to all of us. Though dad sure loved his peanut butter, he was generally healthy and none of us anticipated such a tragedy.

All hope is not lost, though. We, Joe’s family, are comforted by your prayers, words of encouragement, and, most of all, the knowledge that he is finally reunited with his wife, our mom, Karen. While we wait to be reunited with them, we will work hard to preserve his legacy and continue what he so diligently began.

You can read the details of his obituary here. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions and the reach our dad had, we have chosen not to do a memorial at this time. Instead, we will be celebrating his life by carrying on his legacy through is blog and books. A memorial fund has also been set up in his name to help us cover final costs.

We hope you will continue to read Wisdom From a Father, which we have aptly nick-named Wisdom 2.5.  Each one of us five kids have learned a great deal growing up under Joe’s tutelage and it is our desire to continue to share, just like he would want us to. You can keep track of us here, of course, but you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. We look forward to connecting with you all.

Posted in death, encouragement, family, grief, Karen | 7 Comments

Eat the Oreos and Lean in…

If you ever had a problem you went to dad with, you know he did not sugarcoat his advice. If he thought you needed to get your crap together, he told you without mincing words. I think that is one thing I appreciated about him. He was a no-nonsense kind of advice giver. I feel like a lot of people just walk on eggshells and tell you what they think you want to hear so you feel better in the moment. Dad cracked those shells like a boss. He was gentle and kind, but also filled with truth and tough love.

I do not take after dad in that regard. In our family, we joke about “dad genes and mom genes.” I got the mom gene here – completely non-confrontational. I would rather encourage you by devouring a bag of Oreos together and wallowing alongside you in your sadness. I really do think it is okay, even healthy, to sit in sadness for a time – the Oreos are just a bonus. We need to feel emotion to understand it. Once we understand the root of why we are sad in the first place, we can process it and heal. We tend to fall prey to the, “wipe your tears and move on” mentality, but sometimes moving on too quickly does more harm than good. Now, don’t get me wrong – dad did not rush things. If he needed to eat some Oreos with you, he sure would. He would just take notice of when the bag was empty.

We are messy people. Fear, doubt, and worry can consume us if we let it. Depression and anxiety have skyrocketed in our society. We have failed to recognize there is purpose in pain. We are prone to wander and yet love quick fixes that bring us home. It is a never-ending cycle.

We love to be brought home with words of affirmation, but that does not fix our problems. You know what it does? It makes us feel good for a moment. It takes our mind off the situation for a moment. It even makes us open our Bible for a moment. But it will not change us for a lifetime. In fact, in the long-term, it will make us shallow and insecure because if we believe we are okay when we are not okay, we will not change a thing to make us truly okay. And soon, old feelings and emotions will resurface, and we will wander once again.

That is not what God intended for us. His desire is not for us to struggle through life, but his desire is also not for us to believe lies – even if they sound good and make us feel better. We all want to be accepted for who we are, but none of us want to accept we have stepped away from whose we are – and sometimes we have taken giant leaps, not of faith – but of fear.

I was supposed to go on vacation a few years ago. I was planning a road trip to Maine with Gavin, with stops in New York and Massachusetts to visit Nicolle and Scott. As it got closer and closer to the trip, I got more and more fearful. What if my car broke down? What if I got lost {that was pretty much a guarantee}? What if Gavin got sick? What if I got into an accident? My anxiety went through the roof and the bad scenarios running through my head got the best of me. I called dad and told him I did not think I could make the trip. He was not mad, but told me I was just like mom with my anxiety. We both laughed because it was true. Before we hung up, he said, in his gentle but firm eggshell cracking way, “You can cancel your trip, but you can’t cancel your life. You need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It really is not that hard.”

While it stung to hear, I knew dad was not wrong. I needed to get a grip quick before I allowed the anxiety to spiral out of control.

I fear the message we hear the world tell us is that we are okay just the way we are – but maybe we aren’t? The truth is, sometimes we simply need to break bad habits and address the things that make us revel in fear, live in anxiety, and self-soothe with addiction. When we ignore the root cause of our pain and cover up the “yuck” with happy thoughts and justified behavior, we simply dig a bigger, deeper hole to eventually have a mental breakdown in. Trust me – I have been there. It is freaking hard to crawl out of, so let me save you some grief with a little advice from my dad.

As hard as it is, it is much better to figure out what the problem is and face it. Change it. Release it. So, go ahead and finish the Oreos, but when the last cookie has been dunked in milk, brush the crumbs off your shirt and lean into Jesus. Listen to what he has to say to you and about you. He might tell you that you are not okay, but it is truth you need to hear. Let it settle deep and transform you from the inside out. Afterall, you cannot cancel your life. Stop wandering, friend, and live.

~ D 🙂

Posted in care, encouragement, family, God, grace, grief, wisdom | Leave a comment

Remember the Important Things

Another year will soon be gone. I’m not really sure where the time goes, but the older I get the faster it disappears. With that being said I am not going to lie – this year has sucked. Covid, working a full-time job remotely while playing teacher, not to mention the normal mom/wife duties….not fun at all! 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, December came in like a wrecking ball. I will spare you all the details, but trust me when I say life hit me in the face like a brick wall. Seriously, it was the whole wall not just one brick. It is a pain I will forever feel.

Now the Eeyore in me doesn’t see anything but the storm clouds. However, the Christopher Robin in me says it could always be worse. Life throws curveballs. Sometimes you swing and connect and other times you strike out. You just have to know which ones to connect with. I happened to strike out more than I connected.

But I won’t hang my head as I walk back to the dugout…

I am leaning into the optimism of Christopher Robin and believing the things I hear him saying.

Leave the past in the past.

Who you were yesterday is not who you are today.

Don’t let your past define you or interfere with your future.

Look towards a bigger, better future.

Enjoy the simple things.

Take time to smell the roses.

Walk don’t run.

Focus on family.

Enjoy the messes your kids make because before you know it they will be grown up.

Take those family trips, make memories because those are the moments your kids will remember for the rest of their lives.

Life gets busy, but don’t let it consume you.

Don’t let money stop you from living but don’t live outside your means.

If there is anything I am taking away from 2020 before I kick it out it is simply this:
You only get one life so ENJOY it. Embrace the suck because it is preparing you for something even though you don’t know what that might be. Family is everything. You and you alone write the pages of your book so, make each chapter better than the last!

With that I have one Last thing to say to 2020 “Bye Felicia!” I hope everyone has a safe, yet fun New Year. Remember the important things and make 2021 a memorable year.

~ Nicolle

Posted in holidays, New Year's Eve | Leave a comment

Home

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been nothing short of awful. The effects of a lock down, quarantine, travel restrictions, constant mask wearing, and more will be felt for months to come, not to mention the mourning of the loss of so many lives. Because of COVID-19, the hospital scene looked a lot different for families wanting to hold the hands of their loved ones.

My brother, Scott, lived the closest to dad. He could get to the hospital the quickest when we found out dad was there. He was also the emergency contact for the hospital, so even though we all wanted to be there, it made the most sense for him to be there. He did a great job keeping us informed and the hospital staff was very accommodating and understanding as he kept us in the loop with video chats. But let me tell you, closure is difficult as you watch someone take their last breath over video chat.

I am comforted by music. I love to feel the lyrics when I am sad {weird, I know}. There is one song that has really been an encouragement to me over the last few weeks – Home, by We Are Messengers. The lead singer is from Ireland and his wife is from Scotland. They are currently living in Tennessee and he wrote the song because he was feeling a little homesick. In his sadness, he discovered there is no need to wander the land; to wonder where his home is. He is a citizen of heaven.

I don’t feel homesick, but I feel sick knowing I can no longer go “home” because both of my parents are gone. The lyrics of this song, which has been on repeat wrapping me in words of comfort, are simple and yet so very complex and strong. Plus, they have an Irish accent, and man am I a sucker for a good accent.

I’d been running, Lord knows how long
And I couldn’t escape all the things that I’d done
You met my troubles with a beautiful love
And you showed me mercy when I deserved none
And you carried me when I couldn’t go on

My dad was really good at bringing me back to reality. When I messed up, he always showed grace. And when I didn’t want to think about facing another day, he was the one who took my hand and walked me through it. What a beautiful picture of love and grace and mercy he showed me this side of heaven.

And living ain’t easy but make no mistake
The sun’s going down
But I’m wide awake
And I’ve got this feeling deep down in my bones
We’ll be together at the end of the road
Yeah we’ll be together at the end of the road

Dad knew life was tough, but he showed us that we are tougher. I am certainly not ready to make my exit from this world, but I am excited to know we will be together again.

I can’t believe you loved me as I was
I was a stranger before there was us
Then you took me in and you tore down my walls
If it wasn’t for you, I’d have nothing at all

I still wonder how my dad loved me after some of the stunts I pulled when I was younger. He was one of the few people brave enough to scale some high walls and show me what was on the other side.

The chorus of this song is very simple:

You are my home, you are my home
When I feel abandoned lost on my own
You are my home

Truth is, I have not been “home” in years. After mom died, going home just wasn’t the same. And because dad was so far away, he tended to do the traveling and came to our homes. Funny how that worked out. But it serves as a reminder that even when we are unsure of where home might be, we can be assured of our future home. When we are discouraged, having trouble getting through the days, we can remember who we belong to. I long for the feeling of “home” but I can rest in the comfort of knowing where “home” truly is.

As we say goodbye to a rotten year, let’s remember all is not lost. This is not our future. This is a temporary space. Step into the year 2021 with excitement. It doesn’t matter what happens over the next 365 days. God is still in control and he has prepared a place for us when it is time to go home.

What songs bring you comfort?

Posted in death, encouragement, family, God, grace, grief, heaven | 3 Comments

Dare to Dream

I do not have a vivid imagination. I think that is part of the reason it has taken me two years to write a novel…and the writing continues! I am just not good at letting my imagination roam. I prefer black and white. The details. The truth. The real deal.

Our granddaughter spent the night with us over the weekend and she has no problem living in the world of make-believe. She wanted to make a stage for her Barbie and as soon as she received my blessing, she quickly set about the task of creating the biggest, most marvelous stage she was allowed.

First, she walked around to find the perfect spot. She settled on the entryway. Then, she needed a box for a stage, but it is Christmastime, so the box needed to be covered with snow {aka: white paper taped all over}. The stage background was boring, so after fumbling through grandma’s pathetic supply of wrapping paper, she settled on the polka dots and coerced me to tape a piece up for her.

It was getting better, but she still had a vision, and the current stage was not satisfactory. We added some Christmas decorations. Santa checking his list was added to the side of the stage. This would be used for a different scene before we cut to Santa in the chimney, which was strategically placed on the ledge. When Santa got to the bottom, he’d find a tree, decorated with ornaments so he knew where to leave the presents. That was a very important detail. A plate of cookies and a glass of milk was also added to the stage because Santa needs his fuel. The cookies were drawn and perfectly cut into circles and the milk was an old votive vase with a piece of white paper dropped into the bottom. We placed chocolate kisses all around the tree as well, for added fun, or reindeer food. I can’t remember…

Addi decided it was also Barbie’s birthday, so we needed to make a birthday banner and a piñata for the birthday celebrations of Barbie and Jesus. But after Barbie’s performance, she needed to go home, which meant yet another scene. We made rooms for her to watch tv in, sleep in, and even an office to practice her lines in.

Being a mom of boys, this world I was stuck in seemed terribly strange. I was intrigued and fascinated, but also dreadfully inept. The number of times Addi said something like, “Not like that, grandma!!” was embarrassing!

As Addi was doing her “performance,” I couldn’t help but smile. She was so darn cute and happy, making up a script as she went along, going from scene to scene, telling us when to record and when to cut. She brought it all together like a boss! And I tell you all of this to inspire you to do the same. My six-year old granddaughter had a vision. She opened her eyes to what was available around her and she made a way to make her vision become a reality. We can do that too.  

We all have a vision of what the stage of our life should look like. We have probably even rehearsed some scenes here and there. Can I encourage you to take some advice from an unsuspecting six-year-old? Dare to dream. Let your vision come to life without fear of failing. Be patient and trust the process. Be bold and confident – and for goodness sake, rock that vision in a super cute outfit. *wink*

What is the vision you need to bring to life?

Posted in children, dreams, encouragement, goals, grandchildren, words for the week | Leave a comment

A Christmas of Hope

I love Christmas! The lights. The decorations. The pretty packages and shiny bows. The homemade ornaments. The cheesy movies. The cookies. Oh, how I love the cookies! It all makes me happy. Well, everything except the cold, snow, and music. Dad loved it all, but I had to draw the line.

Of all the things I love about Christmas, it is gift-giving I love the most. I have always loved giving people things randomly – an unexpected card, a pick-me-up coffee, a bag of candy to get through a rough day. The gift doesn’t have to be extravagant to be special. Jesus taught us that… and my parents reiterated the message. I learned from the best.

Christmas as a kid was never extravagant. There were five of us kids and not a lot of money to buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and toys of the day. We all received the things we wanted most, and we never went to bed disappointed on Christmas night. I remember being excited about books and journals, bikes and games, make-up, clothing, and jewelry – but even above all the goodies we unwrapped as kids, the highlight of Christmas morning was the way dad lavished mom with love. It always involved a story with a misfit elf, a runaway reindeer, a rogue Santa, or the like. The kids enjoyed the stories as much as {maybe more than} mom! As the story unfolded, mom was presented with a few gifts. The gifts usually began with the ones she had hinted she wanted and then progressed to one big surprise which would result in that, “I disapprove, but totally approve” look and a kiss {at which point, the kids walked away}. Sometimes the story led mom on a scavenger hunt through the house to reveal her gifts. Other years she got to sit in her rocker and read while dad handed us gifts to give to her. Sometimes the gifts were wrapped in metallic red paper. Sometimes they were wrapped in an old comic section of the newspaper. Every gift was exciting, chosen with love, and every year was different.  

But that is just the thing…

Every day was different and exciting in the Siccardi home. Christmas morning was something we looked forward to each year, but every single day was Christmas for our dad. If you knew him, you immediately saw that in the way he lived his life. Each day brought with it an opportunity to share a thought. To bring encouragement. To be a blessing. He genuinely looked forward to waking up and putting his feet on the floor, as long as it wasn’t too early. Some days I did not understand how he could be like that – always so cheery and optimistic. But he was, and because I am a realist, there are many days I really need to channel his disposition.

This Christmas will be different for us. A bit sadder than we anticipated and yet strangely filled with intense hope. I sit here and wonder if this is the same hope that was felt all those years ago when a baby was born in a stable. If I learned one thing from dad, it was this:

Joy does not come from circumstance and hope will change your perspective

Long after the presents have been opened and the meals have been served, I pray that you rest in the peace of the story of Jesus. The story of bold love. Israel waited and waited for the Messiah. His arrival as a baby in a manger was not at all what they expected. He was their light in a dark world. A baby brought forth from heaven to bring joy and reconciliation. He was their glimmer of hope, flickering in the candlelight. Let him be yours as well.

On behalf of the Siccardi kids, we wish you all joy, hope, and peace this Christmas and well beyond. Thank you for showing up for our dad. Thank you for showing up for us. Whether life is currently wrapped in shiny paper and topped with the prettiest bow you can imagine, or if it is adorned in an old piece of the Sunday comics, let’s face the new year with much joy and great hope. When we peel off the paper, we will discover the most precious gifts are those chosen with love.

~ D

Posted in holidays, joy, love, spirituality | 5 Comments

…already?

“Don’t forget about the little things in life. They might just be what’s holding you firmly on the ground…”

I often hear this time of year,

“Man, I can’t believe it’s Christmas already!”

and

“Where does the time go?”

Have you ever thought these thoughts?

I have. Mostly because all the things I felt I wanted to accomplish over the year, weren’t fulfilled.

How about you? Is this time of year one of fulfillment or of missed opportunities?

I remember when 2011 had been a year of tremendous challenge, change and transition for me.

I came close to losing everything in a heartbeat- family, job, health. Though my faith wasn’t shaken, I sure did ask a few times, “God, don’t you remember the prayers of my youth? All those dreams and goals you placed on my heart? What is it you want me to do?”

and as softly as a gentle wind blows, I hear…

“How about, Let it go…..”

When you really stop and reflect, although certainly more chaotic and heartbreaking than I can ever remember, not much has changed for 2020. Looking back, it becomes clearer to see that the reality is, every year is really much the same….

Opportunity mixed with Difficulty.

So, no matter what difficulties you may have faced this year, and no matter how dire, hopeless, alone or scary the circumstance may seem…

…don’t sell short your abilities. Look beyond where you are and know there are others, that have not only been where you are, but are also there to help you along the way. Live and express freely you innermost desires and pursue them in a way that serves others. Find the vehicle to take you there and drive it for all its worth.

Most importantly, don’t…give….up!

Because…

you ARE NOT alone.

Merry Christmas! 🙂
~scooter~

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

-Galatians 6:9 NIV

Posted in dreams, encouragement, family, goals, health, things that matter, wisdom | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment