My wife found this and it really got me thinking.  Please read this:

A family is a deeply rooted tree with branches of different strengths, all receiving nourishment from an infinite source. A family is where character is formed, values are learned, ethics are created and
society is preserved. A family is where all members contribute, share, cooperate and work, and accept their responsibilities toward the good of the group. A family is where holidays are celebrated with feasting, birthdays are acknowledged with gifts, and thoughts of days gone by kept alive with fond remembrances. – A family is where each can find solace and comfort in grief, pleasure and laughter in joy, and kindness and encouragement in daily living. A family is a haven of rest, a sanctuary of peace and most of all a harbor of love. (Manny Feldman)

There are so many analogies and truths burried in here, I was amazed.  I think that I will be spending the next week or so, talking about family.  What it is, what it means, etc.  I hope you enjoy what ever I might have to say.  Not sure where this will end up, but here we go.


Benefit for the Tarapchak Family…

Have you heard the phrase, Life gets in the way of life?  Well it has happened to me and I am very late in getting this post up.

About two weeks ago, my sister hosted a benefit for our family.  It was just fantastic!!  It was held in my hometown of Sharon, PA.  It was so great to see so many friends and family.  Some of whom I have not seen in twenty years!!

The weather was not great that day, it rained horribly, but that did not dampen our spirits at all.  The food was great, the location was great, the company was great!!  They had a Chinese auction and auctioned off over 70 prizes.  Just nuts!!

So, to all who came, I thank you.  I thank you for the support that you have given to me and my family.  We were truely blessed that day, in so many ways. 

And to my sister, Jen, a HUGE THANK YOU for all that you have done for us.  Love you, Jen!!

Vacation recap…

Well, the Griswolds, I mean Tarapchaks, are back from vacation!!  Let’s see, what comes to mind.  Ah, yes, National Lampoon’s Vacation Part II.  Yes, it was an eventful vacation.  Let me give you a daily highlight list:

Day 1:  We were not in Florida for two hours and I tangled the rental mini van up with a fire hydrant.  The fire hydrant won by inflicting major damage to the driver’s side door.

Day 2:  If you are ever on Anna Maria Island and are traveling the back roads of said Island looking for a seafood restaurant, remember to obey all posted speed limits.  The police will pull you over and ticket you for speeding.

Day 3:  We were across the street visiting some neighbors, when Carley took a tumble off of something over at the house we were staying at.  In my haste to run over to help her, I ran through some wet grass.  When I hit the driveway, I literally hit the driveway.  My wet shoes slipped on the driveway and I went down faster then the Titanic.  At least my elbow broke my fall.  Not damage done, but a sore elbow for a few days.

Let’s see, the score is Vacation 3, Stef 0…

Day 4:  Finally, a day nothing happened to me.  Unfortunately, Carley was not so lucky today.  She took a tumble off the back of the golf cart and scraped herself up pretty good.

Day 5:  There is a major interchange of I-75 and Route 301 about a mile from where we were staying.  Today, an unfortunate accident occurred.  A tanker truck hauling fuel was run off the I-75 bridge and fell to Route 301 below.  The tanker exploded and caused major damage to the bridge above and the bridge is being shut down for weeks as it is being torn down and rebuilt.  You can read the story here.

Day 6-8:  Uneventful, thank heavens.  The only issues we had were caused by the above accident.  It caused our travel times to triple in getting anywhere.

So, we are back.  In spite of the items above, we did enjoy the beach everyday and some good restaurants.  We had a good time with the kids and, let’s face it, we made some memories for sure!! 

Outta here…

Well, we are vacationing early this year, due to my scheduled surgery in mid June. We usually head off to Myrtle Beach, but we are heading to Florida this year. In preparing for our trip, I thought that I would check online for some travel tips and how to prepare a good travel route. Well, I found a great one, compliments of Clark W. Griswold…

PS- I am taking half the fun out of our trip. We are flying….

I will be “unplugged” for a week. See you on the flip side!!

My Cinderella…

This is my Cinderella…


She is one big reason that I am refusing to lose! I will see her go to prom. I will walk her down the aisle when she gets married. I will dance with MY Cinderella. To understand where I am coming from on this one, I will let Steven Curtis Chapman explain…

Hey Dads…

Are you a good father?

You know you are a good father when:

• When you help your kids with their schoolwork
• When you take an interest in their hobbies
• When you show affection to your wife in front of them
• When you advocate that they speak to you and each other respectfully
• When you just enjoy being with your children
• When your son or daughter comes running to you when they get hurt
• When your calendar is full of things to do with your children
• When you calmly and gently discipline your children without yelling or screaming
• When you tuck your children into bed at night and tell them “I love you”
• When you drive your kids to school in the morning
• When you make Saturday morning breakfast for them

This list is complements of All Pro Dad. It is not exhaustive, but it does get you thinking! Yes, I have some work to do!!

Is today significant???

Warning: Straight talk ahead…

Today is Wednesday, January 23, 2008. So what you say? Today is a significant day for me. Six month ago today, I was officially diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. So, is today really significant? I do not want to celebrate, because then I am celebrating cancer. No way… However, should I celebrate the fact that I have cancer and have been able to be blessed and, hopefully, be a blessing to others that maybe would not have been blessed if I did not have this disease?

Now to the hard stuff. Six months. I have not been brave enough to ask if my prognosis has changed at all due to the very successful surgery that I had. Did I gain more time, or am I six months into my original 24 months that I was told I had left. If I am still on the 24 month timeline, then I have just gone thru 25% of my useful life and I have only 18 months to go. Trust me, I believe that I am going to be here for quite some time, but humanly speaking, do I only have 18 months left. If so, what do I do? Time is moving too fast for me.

I really would like to see the movie “The Bucket List”. Maybe that will motivate me to get some things done that I would like to do. Such as (in no particular order):

1. Go to Greece and visit some of my family that I have never met.

2. Take Sandi to California, rent a convertible and travel up the coast of California and stay at some Bed & Breakfast places along the way.

3. Take the boys to a baseball game at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

4. Take the boys deep sea fishing.

5. Take Sandi and my daughter to Chicago for a weekend and go on a shopping spree.

6. Go big game hunting out west.

7. Buy some wave runners and take the kids out on weekends this summer and have some fun.

These are just a few things, as random as they are. The problem with this list is that we need to watch our funds due to the medical bills. Some of this may get done, but I know some will never get crossed off the list. Am I ok with that, I think so… I guess the most important thing is to just make sure that I spend as much time with my family as possible. That is what really matters to me. Yes, it would be great to do any one of the things on my list, but if I give up these opportunities to spend time with my wife and kids, I am ok with that. I am getting used to making sacrifices, if it means more time with the family and friends.

So, is today significant? Yes, because I am alive today and that is what matters!

I refuse to lose!!!