Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

A year with and without

One year ago my best friend and mentor, coach and confidant, leader and educator, pastor and life coach passed away. Also know as Oscar Smith to some, and Papa to many, his absence has been hard to accept at some times. At others,  I feel like his enduring spirit and incredible skill for sharing his love with others was never lost. The knowledge that he isn’t physically here to laugh and cry with is accompanied by a gnawing sorrow, but through the faith that he shared, it is comforting to know that at any time, his spirit is available for a heart to heart.

This past year has been one full of incredible changes for my family.  Papa’s passing was a big change, but it was because of his example that the others were made possible.  On September 6th I joined forces with some of the globe’s finest Brand Builders at Procter & Gamble. Had it not been for the example that Papa had set for me throughout my life, I am sure that I would not be fortunate enough to be doing the things I’m doing.  On December 17th I graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Papa was a vivacious supporter of education, and without his contribution to the clamoring that came from my support corner I doubt I would have ever made the decision to attempt graduate school, let alone actually graduate.

Most importantly to me, and especially in context to the lessons Papa taught, Noelle Christine Knapp, our daughter, was born on December 4th. Papa was an incredible father and grandfather and it was in part because of his example, that I have always wanted to become a father and eventually and grandfather, myself. I have always loved kids and had always dreamt of the moment when I could call one my own. Julianne and I have been enormously blessed with Noelle in that she has an incredible spirit and personality that I know includes the even temperament and spectacular will that Papa would have adored. I am often very saddened by the fact that Noelle never got to personally meet Papa, but she will know Papa. The impact that he has left on those who did get to meet him always seems to bleed into the interactions that those people have with Noelle. The radiant smile that my mom, known to Noelle as Nana, shares when we ask if she wants to hold Noelle is so full of the love that Papa shared so willingly. The goofy faces that my dad, known to Noelle as Papa Knapp, makes to conjure a smile in Noelle is full of the joy that Papa wished for every moment. The laughter and lightheartedness that Daniel, Katie and Abby (Uncle and Aunts to Noelle) bring to every occasion are indicative of the caring that Papa provided to all.

I still vividly recall the first imagined thought of Papa that I had when I heard of his passing. It’s one I often recollect when I sit down to dinner or reach for jacket or sweater:

Papa walks through the pearly gates, which happen to look a lot like the back door of the little home that is now[was until recently] occupied by Daniel, Katie, Abby and friends, wipes off his hands after a hard day’s work, eats a wonderful meal with Nana and all of the friends they’ve shared, reaches into the cookie jar for one of Nana’s chocolate chip cookies (which now taste even better than he remembered), sit’s back in his chair with a toothpick, puts on a flannel shirt and demands that someone turn up the heat because, “It’s freezing in here.”

There have been other times that I’ve had vivid and palpable conversations with Papa. One such occasion was a trip I made to “The Creek” or cabin as many know it. I was left with a free afternoon and not much work needing to be done so I took a quick trip down pulled the canoe onto the creek and paddled for a couple of hours in a warm afternoon sun in early June. It was just the kind of day that we would have spent at the creek as kids.

Before I got into the canoe I walked around the cabin a bit,  picked up some sticks from the yard and asked Papa if he wanted to come for a ride. When I did make it onto the water I carried on as if Papa had actually joined me. We chatted about life, about work (as this was often his favorite subject), and about fatherhood among other things. He didn’t have to physically be in the boat with me to offer his advice.  Anyone who knew Papa well could have a very similar conversation and know exactly what Papa would say when asked any number of questions. We’d also be able to tell you what questions Papa would ask.

“How’re things,” he’d say. “You gettin’ along alright?”

After your response and follow-up question of the same to him he’d almost breathe his answer of  “Oh, I’m fine. Just fine.”

Then he’d ask you how work was, and he’d casually add (at X company, right?) to make sure he was still fully aware of what you were doing. He’d maybe let out a quiet whistle upon hearing a story or give you his always relevant advice that “it’s all about who you know.” He’d also be very likely to tell his infamous story to highlight the importance of treating everyone with respect and keeping your temper to yourself.

Our particular conversation went much like this until we got to “The Ripples.” The ripples (pictured below) was where Papa would always take us to swim after a hard day’s work. It was then that we got to talk about something that we’d not talked much about before: Fatherhood. This conversation was new, less about memory and more about being able to actually listen to Papa. It was such an amazing conversation where he offered incredible advice about the importance of discipline, the need to encourage hard-work and the value of rewards for disciplined hard work. More importantly, however, was the need to show and tell your love through your teaching and through your own disciplined hard work.

stopping at the ripples to skip some rocks during my conversation with Papa.

Papa was and still is a great teacher.

I love you Papa, and I look forward to our next conversation.


Dr. Lieberman talks about feet and running

Dirt Days Trail Series

For those of you who may have an interest in running some great trail races this year, consider the “Dirt Days Trail Series sponsored by Bob Roncker’s Running Spot! You can find out more by clicking through the links below.

2011 Dirt Days Trail Races – Follow links for details of each race

Saturday, March 12, 2011 9:00 am – Run for the Green Trail Run – 3+ mile Trail Run

Kick off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with this unique race. This is the first in the series and features run and walk age group awards and prize money to top three male and females.

Sponsored by Deerfield Township.

$$$ Cash Prizes and Age Group Awards $$$

Sunday, April 17, 2011 9:00 am – Ault Park Switchback 3.3 mile Trail Run

This event is scheduled to be the same as in past years. This course features many twists and turns with a few hills mixed in for good measure.

Sunday, May 15, 2011 9:00 am – Mt. Airy Forest Ridge Run 5.4 and 10.6 mile Trail Runs

Mt. Airy is a perennial favorite. This is the largest park in the city and features extensive trails. Like last year, we will be doing a one loop and a two loop course. Each race will count toward Series points.

Sunday, June 12, 2011 9:00 am – French Park Creek Crossings 3.4 mile Trail Run

Same format as in past years

Sunday, July 17, 2011 9:00 am – East Fork Backpack 5.6 and 10.8 mileTrail Runs

choose from a 5.6 mile handicapped start run or a 10.8 mile mass start run

Sunday, August 21, 2011 9:00 am – Mitchell Woods 11.7 mile or 3-person relay

11.7 mile individual run or three-person relay (3.9 miles each)

Saturday, August 27, 2011 9:00 am – Powder Keg 5K Trail Run
This is a points qualifier for the Dirt Days Trail SeriesSponsored by Deerfield Township – The same people who brought you the Run for the Green.

$$$ Cash Prizes and Age Group Awards $$$

Saturday, September 17, 2011 9:00 pm – Glenwood Gardens 5K Night Run

Unique 5K Night Race

Sunday, October 23, 2011 8:30 am – Mt. Airy Stone Steps 27K

In conjunction with the Stone Steps 50K

Series Rules Your best 5 finishes keeps you in the running for the Dirtiest Dozen Awards (Top 12 Men and Top 12 Women). If you run more than five, we use your three BEST five results.
Awards Separate event awards to top finishers – Actual AND Age-graded. There will also be random drawing awards each race day. Participants completing six or more events will receive a nice premium award. Read more about Age-Graded Results.
Door Prizes There will be random drawing for a free pair of trail shoes after each race. You must be present to win. No duplicates please.
Registration Fee $10 Pre-registration per race with one exception: Mt. Airy 27K is $30 (includes shirt). Also, Run for the Green offers an optional Long-sleeved t-shirt.There is a package deal for 2011: sign up for six races at the same time (six-pack) and you will receive a 20% off coupon for a pair of trail shoes..
Late Registration $15 Late/Race-day Registration. (no race-day registration for East Fork, Mitchell Forest Relay, and Mt. Airy 27K)
Dirt Days T-shirts $10 while available. No pre-sale. They can be purchased at packet pickup or at the race.
How to Register Register by printing an entry form, filling out and mailing before the pre-registration deadline. This is the cheapest way to goRegister with a credit card online. A small service charge will be added to your fee. This is the most convenient way to go.There is no in-store registration for 2011.

Register on Race Day at each venue. It costs more but if you really must wait so see what the weather is going to be like, it may be worth it!

Free onsite therapist Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine will have therapists on site after each of the Dirt Days events to attend to your needs.(We know you all need your head examined, but that is not what they are all about!)
Free Entry Opportunity Purchase a pair of trail shoes at any Bob Roncker’s Running Spot and receive one free entry ($10 Value) to the Running Spot Dirt Days race of your choice. (excludes Run for the Green and Powder Keg races.)
Email Address If you would appreciate race confirmations and emailed results, make sure that we have your email address (make it readable).

My Lenten Promise

While this notification comes a day late, I wanted to ponder the value of Lenten sacrifice as we begin a season of careful consideration of the sacrifices Christ made for us.

The season of Lent is one that is far too often approached out of context. Many folks consider it the time when they’re no longer allowed to indulge in a Cheeseburger on Friday nights, some take the opportunity to renew their new year’s resolutions, and others choose to find ways to torture themselves (no chocolate, soda/coke, alcohol, tv, etc.) with no intention of contemplating the symbolism in their sacrifice.

For me, Lent has always provided a unique time to reflect on the purpose of sacrifice. Instead of giving something up that carries little significance, I’d challenge you to find a new way to thank God for the sacrifices He’s made for us and for the blessing He’s bestowed upon us. Even if only for the Lenten season, find a way to more closely connect with your Creator.

This year, I’ve decided to hearken back to one of my favorite parables, The Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30. My sacrifice will be to fight the temptation to hit my “snooze button” and use the time I had previously spent catching worthless minutes of half sleep to exercise one of my favorite talents: my ability to run. During this time running, I will be mindful of the sacrifice that Christ made for me and the blessings He has so graciously bestowed upon me.

What sacrifice are you making this year?

Are you right-brained, left-brained or both?

Spinning ladyThere is a theory that suggests each person has a natural tendency to use a particular “side” of their brain in doing most things. This theory is one that can quite effectively explain the tendencies some individuals have and can also be a significantly powerful tool to use when assembling teams. Some people are broad thinking visionaries (right-brainers) and some people could care less about the “big picture” and prefer to focus on specifics (left-brainers).

The table below provides a brief example of the tendencies that Left and Right brainers have, respectively, and the image serves as a test! Is the dancer spinning clockwise or counter-clock-wise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning counter-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.


  • uses logic
  • detail oriented
  • facts rule
  • words and language
  • present and past
  • math and science
  • can comprehend
  • knowing
  • acknowledges
  • order/pattern perception
  • knows object name
  • reality based
  • forms strategies
  • practical
  • safe

  • uses feeling
  • “big picture” oriented
  • imagination rules
  • symbols and images
  • present and future
  • philosophy & religion
  • can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
  • believes
  • appreciates
  • spatial perception
  • knows object function
  • fantasy based
  • presents possibilities
  • impetuous
  • risk taking

A Brilliant Philosophy Lesson

The Charles Schulz Philosophy

I want to thank my lovely mother for sending this philosophical piece my way this morning. She told me that the philosophy reminded her of me and I consider that an extraordinary honor.

Please take just a couple of minutes to read the below and ponder what it means to you.

For me it meant planning a few minutes today to send a quick email to those I thought of during the second quiz, to thank them for all of their support throughout my life.


*Scroll through slowly and read carefully to receive and enjoy full effect

The  following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the  creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip.

You don’t have to actually answer the questions below. Just ponder on them. Just read the list straight through, and you’ll get the point.

  1. Name  the five wealthiest people in the  world.
  2. Name  the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  3. Name  the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
  4. Name  ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  5. Name  the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  6. Name  the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies.. Awards tarnish.. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are often buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.



The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials , the most money…or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most

Feel free to pass this on to those people who have either made a difference in your life, or whom you keep close in your heart, like I did. ‘Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia !’

”Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!”

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” — Proverbs 17: 17

Limiting speech is a poor response to tragedy, blame game is a disgrace

In the article above ( I encourage you to read) Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, says he will introduce legislation making it “a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.”

While I wholeheartedly agree that the incident in Arizona was an absolute tragedy, I STRONGLY disagree with the concept of limiting speech. The whole idea that I could be prosecuted in federal court for saying I’d like to see a pretty heavy percentage of Congress to suffer in some way is absurd. Some may say that I’d be stretching it to assume one could be prosecuted for something like this, but I encourage you to find a case where the federal government hasn’t qualified every possible stretch.

Just so I can get it off my chest before this ignorant excuse for legislating is introduced I want to suggest this for Rep. Brady and a number of other federal officials as well…

Also, courtesy of my friend Dave Hatter, I want to offer some examples of federal officials (members of Rep. Brady’s own party) who are certainly guilty of their fair share of vehemently violent speech.

Democratic Congressman on GOP Gov. Rick Scott: ‘They ought to put him against a wall and shoot him.’

Sandra Bernhard issues ‘gang rape’ warning to Sarah Palin

Crosshair maps: 2010 vs. 2004

I’d be happy to keep going on, but you get the point. Politics is inciting. When people disagree about fundamental beliefs they get defensive, and can become offensive. In these instances, understanding what our teachers taught us in primary school re: conflict resolution is important.

Congresswoman Giffords, for whom we are all praying, was right in the e-mail she sent to Fmr. KY Secretary of State and newly named Director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics. “After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I … think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.Read full article here.


Is Being a Tech Nay-Sayer Holding You Back?

Have you jumped on the Social Media Bandwagon yet?

Is Being a Tech Nay-Sayer Holding You Back?: Business Collaboration News

For those of you who have friends, colleagues or even family members who frequently bash the benefits of Social Media, this article may provide some perspective for those of us who evangelically praise the power of Social Media AND those who despise acts of online socializing.

WordPress is Snowing! Let it Snow!

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
J. B. Priestley

As we enter the month of December and the onslaught of the Christmas Season, it is only natural to think about (and if you’re in Cincinnati, appreciate) the first snow of the year. In fact, for as long as I can remember, my favorite secular Christmas song has “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

This morning, the folks at WordPress let me know that I can add a snowy background to my blog throughout the Holidays and I couldn’t think of a better thing to do to show Christmas spirit.

Regardless of where you are this year, “May all your Christmases be white.”

Happy Thanksgiving

As I sit on my couch in the house that Julianne and I bought this year, right before we were married I have a transcendent happiness that fills me. I have been unimaginably blessed in the past year.

Henry David Thoreau wrote that “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake,” and I can honestly say that much of my life has been a living dream. On this Thanksgiving day, I am thankful. Not thankful for things, but for blessings.

How have you been blessed?