Category Archives: my dad

A Small (and Powerful) Gesture

As I am sitting on the plane, I receive the following tweet from one of the best people I know in the world, Mary Jane Burke:

Instant tears.

Although I was unbelievably honoured by her sharing my book with others, there is something else that touched my heart in a tremendously powerful way. If you notice on each book, there is a heart-shaped rock tied to each one. That same heart was similar to the one that Mary Jane placed on a desk as I was talking to my mom in Marin County when my father had passed away suddenly, to try and comfort someone whose world was just destroyed.

A reminder of Dad

MJ knows how much that small gesture meant to me in a time of such unbelievable grief, and I always think how lucky I was to be around someone so caring and relationship focused when the unimaginable happened.

Interestingly enough, I am writing this as I sit in the same airport where I wrote about my dad passing away, and I was trying to get home.  The pain never becomes easier, it just becomes different. That is the only way I know how to explain it.

I just wanted to thank Mary Jane for the constant support she has provided me and the special connection we have had because of what happened and how she has been so supportive. It truly means the world.

If you still don’t think a single tweet can say something meaningful, you might not really be paying attention.

Say Hello To Tony

My friend Tony Sinanis is like a brother to me…I love the guy to pieces and have only met him face to face once.  He has been a good friend for years and I trust him like family. As I was texting him the other day about something we didn’t agree on, I actually said, “Hey! My mom is here and she would love to talk to you and you can drop some Greek on her.” Immediately we FaceTimed and I just handed the phone to my mom, and her and Tony talked like he was one of the kids that I grew up with, not someone I met on Twitter.  I just walked away and did other things while they talked Greek and had no idea what they were saying (obviously both complimenting to no end!).

This isn’t the first time that this has happened with my mom.  My good friend Jimmy Casas, also who I connected with through Twitter, called my mom last year unbeknownst to me, to talk to her and say kind words about me.  She told me and I kept saying, “Who?”  Then I figured it out and was blown away.

Little things like this mean a lot to me and there are people that I have connected with on social media that are not just “friends” to me, but they are family.  Although I am known as a “speaker”, I could go months without talking to people and be fine with it, and we could just pick up one moment and talk like we never skipped a beat.

I know this also means a lot to my mom as well.  The email I received yesterday from my mom (english being her second language) said the following:

Say hello to tony if you Hempen to talk to him same-times. Have a great day.

It was also followed by her signature “emoticon guilt trip” about not calling more:

  Love mom. 😡📞😰😰😰.


There is nothing more I could say after this than how grateful I am for so many amazing people that have come into my life because one day I decided to pay a little more attention to Twitter. I know my mom is pretty happy about it as well and with all that she has been through there is no one I know that deserves to smile more than her.

Appreciating the “Moment” in Different Ways

I have seen this picture recently, but I shared an article this morning titled, “Woman Without Phone Camera Out, Is Now an Internet Sensation“, that featured an image that went viral of one woman in a crowd (seemingly for a movie premiere) without her phone out.  The below tweet received over 12,000 retweets:

Quickly, people started to talk about how she was “living in the moment”, which in some ways means having your phone out, would say the opposite.  Now I am not criticizing the woman for not having her phone out, similarly to how I am not criticizing the people that are trying to get the picture. What I am trying to do is challenge the notion that having your phone out doesn’t necessarily mean you are not “living in the moment.” For example, check out this video of Lebron James taking a selfie with young fans at a pre-season game.

The “moment” was not only being so close to the current best basketball player in the world, but actually getting the image with the phone (Lebron actually invited a young fan to sit on the bench with him as well!).  I know that I have been to games, and taking a picture so up close to someone you are in awe of, is part of the moment for me. To capture my own image because I have the opportunity to be there.

This idea reminded me of the below picture of Malia Obama taking her own picture at President Obama’s initial inauguration.

What I find powerful from this image, is that with such a historic event, and probably some of the best photographers in the world capturing photographs, Malia is creating her own moment by capturing the event from her perspective. Sometimes the creation of the image from your viewpoint is how the “moment” is being created.

Another example I want to share, is a short video that I find so powerful.  Check out the daughter identify her dad who has just shaved through getting up close and smelling him.

Look at the father’s eyes and how they immediately well up. But also listen to the mother cry in the background while she is capturing this incredible moment. Not only are they both totally in the moment, but because of the ease of access to capture this, allows them to relieve this moment over and over again. There is a huge power in this, and I am sure that they will cherish it forever.

Watching this video, reminds me of my dad’s willingness to embrace new technologies and capture moments such as Christmas. ‘ As a child who was probably five or six years old, the only reason I remember this Christmas is because of my dad’s willingness to capture this moment.  The video below may be insignificant to you, but to see myself through my father’s eyes, especially now that he has passed away, has created something that I cherish a great deal.

What we have to realize is that how we live in the “moment” is not something that should be determined by someone else, but it is deeply personal.  How I create memories is unique to me, as it is to each one of those people in the initial people that I have shared.  What do I know is that sometimes being able to relive those moments with something I can view through images or video, is something that I cherish a great deal, and sometimes, more than the original moment, because it brings back things to me that I wouldn’t experience if it wasn’t captured in the first place.

If you think a picture is worth a thousand words, what do you think the video below taken by my dad is worth to me?

Let’s just realize that there are different ways we can appreciate the moment we are living in right now.