Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life Lessons: A skater's courage touches all of us

It is unscripted yet it seems like a story made for Hollywood. We all are looking for the next story that touches us all and causes us to see the true meaning of love, devotion, courage and tribute. In the case of the woman's Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette we were all deeply touched and moved by her inner strength, courage, determination, love and tribute to her mother who had unexpectedly passed away within a couple of days before her ice skating performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver. It is remarkable that Joannie could compete after such a tragedy and win a medal. She was so graceful and beautiful when she took the ice and skated her program.

It took her many years to get to this level of competition and she wanted to skate to honor her mother and she had the world looking on and rooting for her. It was a pure joy watching her skate and you could sense her sadness and sorrow and feel nothing but compassion for her. We all know she was hurting and skating with a heavy heart and to see her skate so beautifully and with such love in her heart was truly wonderful and very inspiring. We all saw her skate and realize her dream of skating in the Olympics for herself, her family and her country. She was missing her mother and knew that her mother would want her to skate and do her best.

I was so touched by her performance and when I saw her complete her program and look up in tribute to her loving mother and then start to cry my heart went out to her as did everyone watching and I too could not help but cry. She really is such a sweet young lady and you could see how proud her coach was as she led her to the bench where they would await her score. She was skating for more than a medal and there was not a dry eye in the arena where she skated such a lovely performance. Her scores were very good and that meant her chances of winning a medal were hopeful with that beautiful performance and unexpected tribute to her mom. She certainly won the hearts of all watching the woman's figure skating and she shined.

You could see her dad in the crowd watching his daughter with pride and tears in his eyes and all you could feel for them both was that their healing will come in time and that the strength they show continue as a new chapter in their lives has begun and now they must be there for each other. It is hard to pick up the pieces and find the strength to continue but it is essential that they support each other through this sad and difficult time. Sometimes when you are trying to deal with a tragedy it is important to occupy your time wisely and not dwell on the tragedy. It is human nature to feel a sense of loss and sorrow when losing someone so close. That is why it is important to try to continue your same routines and to also devote time to remember the good times shared with your loved one and to cherish them always.

When Joannie took the ice her second time for the medal you could see she was ready and holding up well. She was certainly admired for all she has shown and what she has recently endured and for her true spirit as a woman's figure skater. As soon as she skated her routine and acknowledged the crowd cheering her she took the bench with her coach by her side and she was pleasantly surprised that she was in the running for third place. Everyone cheered for her and she had now become a hero to all who watched her perform and learned of her story and saw her remarkable performance which became a loving tribute to her mom.

After the last skater performed and did a nice job to bring her from 6th to 4th place it was then realized that Joannie indeed won the bronze medal and the crowds erupted with such joy and happiness and I admit to crying tears of sadness and joy for her. Her story is a poignant one and she has inspired so many with her tremendous talent and her courage and we all were happy for her as she stood on the stage adorned with her bronze medal and we were feeling that her courage displayed is worthy of a gold medal and that we learned a lot from her and are very happy to see her more in the future under better circumstances.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life Lessons: Learning humility

I always knew as a young child that when I grew up I would not be the type of person to brag or revel at someone else's defeat. I was always a compassionate kid as I learned very well from my parents. I believed that competition in sport was important but it was not a driving force in my way of thinking. Sure I enjoyed winning and I knew that it certainly felt better than losing but it wasn't my modus operandi. I felt that I would survive even if I wasn't the absolute best. To be honest who needs all that pressure. I would never inflict that kind of pressure on my son. Sure I want him to always do his best and to take pride in what he does and to show respect to others. That comes without question but I don't want him to feel burdened that he has to win at all costs. To me I believe that if you sincerely have a desire to do well in something you enjoy and you work at it and practice and try your best than the rest will take care of itself.

I have heard stories of kids losing their innocence and their youth because it was drilled into them at a young age that they have to always work hard to be the best and they had to operate under the premise that they will not be happy unless they win. I believe to some degree you should have a desire to win but I do not believe that you should be told that winning is everything and you should never settle for less because that can lead to disappointment and personal struggles. Many kids can not handle that kind of pressure and find themselves seeking escapes to get away from it. When it gets to that point then the joy of the sport and competition is lost and the focus is on something that is just an ideal and then I believe the damage has been done. We don't intend to impose this on our kids but we should be clear on the agenda at hand. Is it what we want or what our child wants. We must think long and hard about that.

I have seen many winning athletes who did learn in their youth that winning indeed was everything and found something very refreshing about them in post interviews. Most of them were very humble in their winning performance and they credited their fellow athletes and they were very complimentary of their coaches, their families, their teammates and their fellow competitors. To me I find that trait a wonderful thing and that really is the measure of a person in my book. I also admire the athlete who comes in last place but keeps on trying and never gives up. To me they are very special too.

As a kid growing up I knew school was very important and I realized that very soon in my life when I saw my mom take a sincere interest in making sure I always completed my assignments and understood how to do them. She reviewed my homework and was always very supportive. My dad was also very supportive in providing me encouragement. I teach this to my son as I learned it and my wife makes sure Matthew completes his assignments and understands them. It is very important to do your best in school and be responsible and independent. These are valuable lessons that we all must learn if we wish to achieve success in our lives. I believe that we need to have a well balanced mix of academics, arts and sports to shape our lives and develop as individuals. I was very responsible with my school work and I always tried my best to be prepared for the academic challenges. I also wanted to participate in sports and when I was on the cross country team racing I took it very seriously. I wasn't a top runner but I still practiced and developed a good regimen and always appeared at coach's workouts. I took my running very seriously and was always trying my best in my races.

I learned very quickly that I wasn't going to win my races but I knew that if I ran within myself and did my best and completed the race regardless of winning then I should be proud. Coach always was encouraging and knew I was a work horse and for that I gained his respect and the respect of my peers. I want to teach this to Matthew but sometimes things like this can only be learned by direct experiences and that is why I think it is important to balance my son's interests with a healthy mix of academics, arts and sports.

I also want to teach my son about being gentle, honest, compassionate and to learn to respect others and to always have humility and to always find things of interest that will spark a desire to perform and achieve. We don't have to win but we should always try to do our best. This is one of life's lessons that we should always hold on to and learn that enjoying something and having fun with it is more important than winning. I tell my son that we all are winners no matter what if at the end of the day we know we tried our best. When you know this then you have learned something pretty important. Having humility and trying your best are the keys and I will always share this with my son.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life Lessons: Let me tell you about my son

Every chance I get to talk of my son I revel in the opportunity because I am so proud of him and I love him so much. I feel we all expect the very best from our children and want them to always try their best and to never give up. It is very easy to get discouraged at times when things don't always go the way we hope. It is then that we need to dig deep from within and shine. I have always been encouraged and given helpful advice through the years from my parents and it has made a world of difference. I convey to my son the importance of trying your best and taking personal pride in what you do. I explain it to him in simple terms and in a way that is geared to his situation. I know that autistic children have challenges and that they are easily distracted and are reactionary to their surroundings. Therefore the best way to talk to an autistic child is on their level. I have learned that a gentle and calm approach always helps and my son is more responsive to soft spoken words. I have learned my lesson that stern and loud spoken words does not help with teaching Matthew right from wrong. He is very sensitive to sound and if he detects a loud voice or stern demands he tends to resist and become defensive and confrontational.

I want my son to feel relaxed and comfortable. I don't want to get him stressed or upset. I have learned that with an autistic child you need to have a lot of patience and at all times be a constant source of encouragement. After all our children need to be nurtured and given the proper guidance and support they need so they can flourish and meet their own personal challenges. I always feel I have become a more caring and understanding person because of my son and his special needs. He has given me insight into a world I would have never known about and I am learning every day and trying to keep up with my wonderful son and his intensity and drive. My son has such a high energy level that it seems he is on overdrive from when he wakes up in the morning for school until he lays down in bed to go to sleep at night. I get tired just watching him.

I take great joy in watching my son do things that he enjoys and it makes me proud to see him put forth such effort and seeing his delight in accomplishing the things he likes to do. Matthew loves to sing and is quite good at it as he knows the songs he likes to sing and he is right on with the beat and rhythm. He does get shy sometimes but when he is in the mood to sing he is amazing. My son is an architect in the making as he loves building sky scrapers from his lego blocks and he loves constructing towers that are as tall as he is. He learned this from his grandfather who would spend hours with him building and playing. We all miss "Pop" and pray for him. Matthew always dedicates his newest building to "Pop" in gratitude. Another activity that provides Matthew with hours of fun is his domino chains. He just loves to arrange his dominoes into lines stretching the length of the living room and when he is ready to set them to fall he loves capturing it on video and downloading it to YouTube. I must admit it is great fun to watch. Matthew is getting better with his patience as on occasion the dominoes have fallen before he had wished. When that happens it is back to the drawing board.

Matthew also loves to write and has his own blog that he maintains and he writes about things in his life and experiences and this provides him an outlet and a way of self expression which is very good for him. He is also very good in expressing himself through written word. He knows how to do spell check and he learns the mistakes of spelling which is always a good thing. He also loves writing in microsoft word and creating spreadsheets in microsoft excel. He has also created power point presentations which I find amazing as I still have not learned powerpoint though he as a preteen has mastered it.

As kids we all tend to like family games and it is important to have at least one night in the week designated for "family fun night" where we give Matthew a choice in what game he likes to play. His favorite board games are Sorry!, Monopoly, Scrabble and Wheel of Fortune. He also loves the software versions of Scrabble and Wheel of Fortune. Another family fun game we started playing together is the Wii entertainment center. Our son's favorite is the bowling and anything that has to do with car racing. Matthew has an impressive car and baseball card collection and when he is interested with playing with them it seems his play area is either a parking lot or traffic jam full of matchbox and hot wheel cars or a floor covering of baseball cards arranged in teams of all the players. It is quite amazing how he has the patience to arrange each player by team.

Our son surely knows how to spend hours at a time playing and keeping busy and can be found on the computer for long periods of time as well. He has had a couple of play dates which we are delighted about because we want Matthew to start developing friendships and sharing his games and interests with other kids. Now that he has the Wii, some nice board games, plenty of match box and hot wheel cars, baseball cards and plenty of dvd movies he can spend hours with his new friends having lots of fun.

We are so happy for our son when he develops friendships and interests and look forward to expanding his circles by exposing him to outdoor activities requiring participation such as youth sports programs such as bowling and swimming. The more outside activities he has outside of school the more exposure he will have to making new friends and learning group participation which is very important.

I as a father also enjoy getting to spend some time with Matthew and do enjoy going bowling with him as well as seeing one of the movies showing at the theatre or going for a bike ride at the park. We also love to go out for ice cream and pizza and always make a point to do so for lunch or dinner when we are out for the day together. These are the precious things in life I will forever cherish as the times I spend with my son make me very happy and proud. Thank you Matthew and Maria for making my life complete. I love you both!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life Lessons: The promise of spring and baseball

I always remember looking forward to the warmer weather and the promise of a new baseball season during the mid winter months. It seems the time between seasons seem to drag in the winter time as we experience the height of winter season but then when you look back on it as pitchers and catchers start reporting for spring training you ask yourself where the winter went. In late February the traditional time major league baseball players flock to Florida and Arizona for preseason training it seems springtime is not that far away. The winter time is a fun time if you like skiing and the snow which I do like. Unfortunately I have not had many opportunities to ski and I do not particularly like the biting cold weather but do admit enjoying time at home during a major snowstorm.

My son is not that fond of the winter because of the cold temperatures and the mess of melting snow. He prefers the spring and summer months because he loves the end of the school year and going to summer day camp. He also loves the water and whenever he goes swimming at the town pool it is hard getting him to come out. He stays in long enough until his lips begin to turn purple and his fingers begin to prune. Kids seem to never get tired of swimming as I also recall as a young kid enjoying times at the Tottenville pool in Staten Island and the IBM pool upstate near my family relatives home in Poughkeepsie, NY.

As an adult in my profession I am very busy during the winter months with the demands of tax season so it is nice to look forward to baseball once again as it is a measurement of another year gone by and the promise of a new baseball season where the team I follow, the NY Mets have the chance to be No. 1 again! It seems like a rite of passage having passion for the game of baseball. I remember as a young boy enjoying having a baseball catch with my dad. These times were special to me because they were not that often and because they were a time for bonding with my dad. I enjoyed those times and always looked up to my dad knowing how hard he worked and how great he was to mom and my 2 sisters and I.

Ever since my son was born I too have a baseball mitt waiting for him so we could also have a baseball catch someday. I am not one to push my son into things and prefer him to choose but I would love to see him develop an interest in the game and to want to play also. He does not show interest in having a catch so I still have the mitt but we will have to wait. I hope as he gets older he will wish to have a catch as I still love to throw the baseball around. I have taken Matthew to baseball games at Shea stadium, Yankee stadium and the ball park where the Long Island Ducks play. I have not yet had the opportunity of taking him to Citifield or the New Yankee stadium but promise to this year. Since Maria is a Yankee fan I will have to try to get tickets for a game at Yankee stadium as well. I have always been a fan of baseball and the Mets are my team of choice as it was my mom's also having been a loyal Brooklyn Dodger fan in her young life growing up in Park Slope.

So as the busy season preparing tax returns begins to wind down I am excited because then I can enjoy the 162 game season of Major league baseball and try to teach my son a little bit about the game as I feel baseball is a wonderful thing to share with your children. We are excited that pitchers and catchers are beginning to report and know that spring and baseball season are not that far away. Lets Go Mets!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Friday, February 19, 2010

Life Lessons: Balancing work and family

We live in a complicated and very technical time in our lives. We are literally surrounded with round the clock means of communication. We are dependent on cell phones, laptop computers, wifi internet access, e-mail, online networking sites, navigation systems, ipods for our music and portable storage devices for all our work related information. Our workplace has changed dramatically with all the technical advancements and ever changing company needs. As responsible employees we are dedicated to our work and we always try our best to please our employer and fellow coworkers utilizing our skills, knowledge and personality. As we grow in our role at work and take on more challenges and responsibilities we need to learn how to prioritize our assignments and meet company demands and follow company policies and procedures.

In meeting our responsibilities at work we also need to make time for our family and make sure we balance our commitments so we don't overlook that. Family time is very important and as our children grow it is very important that we spend time with them because time passes us by so quickly and we will never get that precious time back.
I am fortunate to be working at a company on the cutting edge of technology that is growing and expanding and has a very committed ownership that built the company from the ground up with hard work, dedication, their knowledge & skill set and most of all their entrepreneurial spirit. Ownership expects dedication and commitment from their employees and are very encouraging and supportive in their development.

I have met fellow coworkers travelling here from abroad and they are here for training and establishing new company procedures. I have become friends with some and realize their commitment as most are here for several months separated long distances from their families. I am working with one individual who is very dedicated and hard working and is a very responsible and caring person. He is married with a baby daughter and he showed me his family pictures. He is a real family man and a very committed employee. I am fortunate to get to meet him and his fellow coworkers from abroad. It gives you an interesting perspective when you see their commitment and dedication to their work knowing they are apart from their families.

I am a new hire and I am learning and working on contributing and becoming an integral part of their accounting and financial team. As a growing company needs direction and a firm commitment and dedication from their employees they also rely on a team oriented approach and a constant flow of communication. Making necessary change does not happen over night but it is essential that a clear and uniform approach is taken and an understanding of the ownership's vision is essential in making decisions. We face many challenges in our lives and in our work and in raising our family and it is important that we learn how to address them and meet them face on and with confidence and a well thought out plan.

We all are seeking to do right by others and to show our respect and honor our commitment and dedication to our work, our employer and most of all our families. It is our children that inspire us and give us the incentive and drive to carry on. We live for our children and they give us pure joy and the reason to face another day with happiness and enthusiasm.

I do it all for you Matthew because I love you and your mommy very much!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life Lessons: Finding joy in giving

I have always felt a certain amount of pride and joy in sharing and reaching out to help others as best I can. It is with true humanity I try to be charitable and donate to a good cause whether it is my time or my financial resources. I have to set parameters in how much I can donate and I try my best to be as generous as I can. I believe we all wish to help the needy and less fortunate as compassionate human beings. It is impossible to give to all so we have to selectively choose who to donate to and it is always suggested that we try to donate to organizations we can trust will utilize the resources to aid others like the American Red Cross or to a College of our choice fund to help fund scholarships. Obviously we should try to donate as often as we can within reason.

As the father of a young son with special needs and medical concerns I have learned my priorities in life. Obviously my son's needs come first and learning how to help him overcome his challenges. Since autism and epilepsy are both medically related conditions that require medication and extensive doctor visits I feel it is important to help in addressing these areas and by helping the cause with financial donations to organizations such as the ASA Autism Society of America and the Epilepsy Foundation. These organizations then could use these contributions to help fund study and research to hopefully raise understanding and seek answers and proposed solutions in treatment of both medical conditions.

I am proud to say that I have created a page on the Epilepsy Foundation website to help raise funds to help all affected by epilepsy including our son Matthew. In my heart I wish I could do all I can to help him and others and I feel this is a good starting point. If I can do something worthwhile before I die that can help my son and others who struggle then I will feel I truly helped in some small way. I wish to have my son protected and a fund established for him that will assist him as a young adult. I am very confident Matthew will be able to go on to college so I have to make sure I have a financial plan in place to assist him with his college costs. I will always do my best for him.

There are many successful people who have created foundations to assist families with schooling, medical care, housing and emergency services. It is nice to see that commitment and dedication.

The one person who dedicated her life to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta and gave all she could to helping the missions as a very loving, caring and compassionate human being and for many years was the late Mother Theresa who was a nun as a young girl and found her purpose by helping the needy in her later years. She was a very special woman and she made the poorest people smile because she truly cared and helped each and every day of her life. She was a very special woman and her kindness and saintly work continues through the efforts of the nuns who worked with her who carry on her mission work.

It is very important that we reach out to help others and do whatever we can to make a difference. I know that if we realize the importance of caring and reaching out for a good cause and we have a connection to that cause it makes the effort more purposeful and necessary. My son is autistic and epileptic so for me the way I can help is by expressing my feelings and experiences and finding a cause which will help those affected. It will be my mission because my son means everything to me and if I can help him with his seizures in some way and help him make more social connections despite his autistic ways it will make a world of difference and make me feel hopeful.

The link to our fund raising page is:

Edward D. Iannielli III

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life Lessons: The beauty and reality of sports and competition

As I watch the Olympics and I see the sheer beauty and euphoric elation of victory and the heartbreaking and crushing disappointment of defeat I am caught up in the highs and lows of these athletes who put everything on the line. I am amazed at the stories of these athletes and I explain to my son how hard these athletes work and the many sacrifices they make to get to this level of competition. The concept of victory and defeat in sport is necessary as there will always be a winner and there will always be a loser upon the completion of a sporting competition. This is the duality of sports.

The many hard years of training and sacrifices made by these athletes to have the opportunity to perform on the Olympic stage for all the world to see is very inspirational and requires many years of discipline, dedication, personal sacrifice and a firm commitment requiring many hours, days, weeks, months, years and perhaps decades of consistent hard work. An Olympic athlete's life is centered around their sport and the many competitions to bring them to another level. Not many athletes can achieve this level of competition so for those who do achieve this level it is a dream come true and an honor they accept with pride serving their country in sports competition and they all have a willing commitment to try their best and prepare for the challenge ahead.

When you view a figure skating competition whether it is pairs or the ladies competition it is so beautiful to watch. The women are dressed so pretty and they are so graceful and in the pairs the man and the woman working together in sync is just amazing to watch. At times it is hard to watch knowing how hard these athletes have trained and to have such pressure to perform at their best. It is sad to see particularly in figure skating when the ice skater falls. You want everything to go perfect for them. I admire the skater who falls though and gets back up to continue their program. It takes courage to continue when you know you have fallen. It is heartbreaking but you gain respect for these athletes because you realize how much they sacrificed to get to this stage and how hard they worked along the way.

Of the Olympic competition I would have to say that I am particularly fond of the winter sports and the ice skating, skiing, speed skating and ski jumping are my favorites. I watch the luge competition as well and was heart broken to hear of the passing of an athlete during a training run. The sport of luge is very dangerous and the athletes are experiencing speeds of close to 100 miles an hour on solid ice with their body literally as the vehicle on a small sled like device called a luge. If the athlete loses control at those speeds they surely will crash and in this case with the athlete who died during practice his body was thrown from the luge like a rag doll. The paramedics rushed to try and save him but it was to no avail as he died at the hospital. Here was an athlete who didn't really have a chance to win a medal but he trained hard and wanted to represent his country and try his best in the name of Olympic competition. It is very sad and it shows you the harsh realities of sports and competition. It is not always fun and celebration. There is a lot of heartbreak and tragedy in sports too.

I was caught up in the pairs figure skating and was rooting for the Chinese couple competing for 18 years together in the sport who also fell in love and plan to marry upon completion of the Olympic training and competition. Your heart went out for them and when you saw them try their best even if they made some mistakes in their program you felt very happy for them. There story is so compelling with all the adversity and injuries they faced and to come out of retirement to strive for the goal of an Olympic gold medal in the 4th attempt in Olympic competition is truly inspiring. To see them win gold as they worked so hard to do and see it become a reality was a tremendous moment. Another Chinese couple who did not seem likely to medal were also a delight to watch as they skated to pure perfection and were so beautiful and graceful. I thought it was wonderful to see the 2 Chinese couples both win medals and while watching them I felt sheer joy for them both. To see the smiles and the tears makes you feel the emotion of an athlete and all they go through. We only see their dream but there is so much behind the scenes we will never know. It is nice when you see the stories and come to understand the athlete and their purpose and dedication to their sport and their country.

These are valuable learning lessons I teach my son and I tell him that he can surely learn a lot from these athletes and can also be inspired by them. My son inspires me and I always tell him that in life if you want to achieve something you have to work hard and devote your time and effort. If you try your best then you have done good. These are words of wisdom I have always shared with my son as my parents shared with me.

I dedicate this to the fallen luger who did his country and his family proud and we all are sad to learn of his passing and pray for him and his family to heal.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Life Lessons: Reflections of the love I hold for my wife and son and loves past

Today is Valentines day and it is a day to celebrate my love for my wife and son, my mom and dad who are now together in heaven, my sisters and their families and all who are near and dear to me. I look upon my life and feel happy I have my wife and son to share my life with. We all need each other and we feel comforted and loved and we know we can face each day and realize we are not alone. I am grateful for this each and every day and know that we share our love for eternity. When we took our vows in marriage we promised we would love and honor each other til death do us part. I am very loyal and devoted to both my wife and son and am so proud. I feel like the late great New York Yankee baseball player and hero Lou Gehrig whose life was cut short way to soon tragically when he moved the entire crowd at Yankee Stadium with his famous words "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." I am very lucky and I am grateful every day. Every time I watch The pride of the Yankees with Gary Cooper and Theresa Wright and I see that speech I well up with tears and I get all choked up. That movie is by far my most favorite.

As I started to grow and experience life I started to realize something special about the girls I met. I was a very shy kid but I knew that girls made me feel special and I tried my hardest to open up and talk with them. I have so many funny stories to relate about crushes I had that I did share with my wife and we laughed about those moments. I was an innocent kid and I just felt in awe in the presence of a pretty girl. I noticed whenever I was struck by a girl and her beauty I would go into "try to impress the pretty girl" mode and do all I could to attract her attention. I was just a shy kid with not much self confidence so I really had difficult times keeping my own with them. I remember having many conversations with my mom about girls I liked and asked for her advice on how to relate and win their friendship. It was not that easy for me and I made mistakes along the way but I was very respectful at all times though I didn't seem to talk all that much.

I remember having my first crush on a girl in my kindergarten class and I just thought the world of this girl as she spoke with a British accent and her name rolled off my tongue so many times and I would say her name over and over to my mom. I would say to my mom what a sweet girl Diane Coffee is and I just felt nice when she said hello to me. She was definitely the very first girl I had feelings for even if I didn't quite understand why. I don't ever remember going through the phase of hating girls. I seemed to like the girls from an early age and always thought they were so cute and so much sweeter.

When I was in the first grade in Catholic school in Brooklyn, New York where I attended St Theresa of Lisieux "Little Flower" I had been blindsided by a cute German girl by the name Karen Wilhought. She and I sat next to each other and I remember one day in the class I was too shy to raise my hand to go to the bathroom and Karen could tell I was uncomfortable and that I had to go so she encouraged me to tell Sister Mary Rita that I have to use the bathroom. She kept hitting me until I finally raised my hand. If it wasn't for her I would have been very embarrassed. I fell in love with her from that moment on. I had quite a few experiences centering around Karen. Another moment I will never forget back in the first grade was when I was talking with Karen as she sat right next to me. The problem was that I was talking to her during Sister Mary Rita's lesson. As I was talking I heard Sister Mary Rita ask who was talking as she was giving her lesson and she started walking to the chalkboard and took a yard stick and headed in my direction and I remember this as clear as if it happened yesterday. She said to me "Young man, there will be no talking in my classroom when I am giving a lesson!" and she took that yardstick and swung it in my direction and hit me over the head with it. I was quite embarrassed and as a result of that I never talked again in class and I became very shy talking with the girls.

One other moment I remember as if it happened yesterday was when I wrote a little love note to Karen but did not sign it. I left it on her chair and put a dollar in the envelope with the note. I was really in love with Karen in my mind even though I was only 7 years old. I thought she was the cutest girl. One thing I have to say about Karen was that she was very nice to me and I was able to open up to her and talk with her. She certainly made me feel good and I just thought she was so cute. We were friends and we shared classes together for a few years. I never saw or heard from her after moving to Long Island with my family back in 1972. I certainly would love to say hi again to her and tell her these amusing stories and ask her if she knew how much I really liked her.

When we moved to Long Island I had to get used to a new neighborhood and a new school where I was starting the sixth grade. I also had to meet new friends. I was very attentive to my studies and was still very shy. I went to public school and remember the first girl I had a crush on. Her name was Lori Lichtenthal and I thought she was so cute and she dressed so pretty. The funny thing about having a crush on her was that her father was our family dentist. I never really got to talk with Lori so my love for her was really from a distance and without her knowledge. There were other girls I had crushes on in junior high school and high school but nothing that really stands out because I was a shy kid and didn't talk all that much. I made good friends throughout school but they were all guys. It seemed harder to become friends with girls as we got older because the girls to me seemed more intimidating because of their beauty and their maturity. In addition I was quite naive and knew that I felt awkward with establishing relationships even though I wanted to.

My first real date in high school was with Lori Hearn who I liked and felt comfortable with. She and I were only friends but it was nice taking her out places. I remember our first date was at Adventure land in Farmingdale and it was a fun time. I went out with her for about 4 months. It was a good learning experience. Another girl I had a crush on back in high school was Rachel Fishman. She was very cute and I tried to reach out to her from a friend and neighbor, Tracy Kravitz. Tracy was always nice and I remember her and her 2 brothers were our very first friends in the neighborhood as they came to our house to introduce themselves. I remember that too as if it was yesterday. Tracy did try to introduce me to Rachel but I was very shy and never did get to talk with Rachel. Many years later I did get to tell Rachel about my crush and we had a good laugh about it.

Last August was my high school's 30th year reunion and I met girls there that I really didn't talk to during our high school days but felt privileged to finally get to talk with and share a little bit about our lives with that night in August of 2009. The 2 girls that I really enjoyed talking with that night were Janet Rose Shenkel and Beth Karras. They were nice to catch up with and they made me feel special. I was talking with them both on facebook and they both helped me get through a difficult time after losing my dad.

Another girl who I remember fondly was Natalie Schwartz who invited me to her sweet 16 back in high school. She was fun to see again at the reunion. Another girl who I had a crush on and who I thought was a tremendous competitor was Barbara Davis. I was so delighted to see her at the reunion and we also got to talk awhile and it was great to catch up with her as well.

When I was in college at Nassau Community I was very dedicated to my studies as I was studying engineering and I took my first 2 years of calculus and physics. I remember a girl in my calculus class who was very nice to me and we developed a nice friendship. I was telling her about a school I was thinking of attending after Nassau located in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was where my Uncle Tim went for his engineering degree and my mom was so proud of his accomplishment and suggested I go there too. The school was Virginia Tech and the girl in my class, Patty O' Connor had given me the college catalog for the school and I was very grateful. After we graduated Nassau Community College I did stay in touch with Patty for awhile and I enjoyed visiting her on occasion in the summertime where she worked as a lifeguard. We had a nice friendship and we wrote each other during our college days. After graduating college with our Bachelor's degrees we stayed in touch with exchanging Christmas cards for several years. The thing I remember fondly about Patty was the perfume scented letters she sent me when I was away at school at Virginia Tech. Those letters were great and they were always something to look forward to.

After college I started working and didn't really get to date all that much as I was concerned with my job and advancing in my career. I also was still shy and had a difficult time in meeting people. For many years I went on vacations with a college friend I met when I attended Hofstra University. His name is Jeff and we are still the best of friends today. One vacation I went on alone and met many people was a vacation I took to Great Britain with a youth touring group, Contiki Tours. It was a lot of fun and I met so many nice people. I met lots of girls too and I really enjoyed their company. The girls were from all over. Some from Germany, others from Australia and others from Asia. I also met a girl named Julie Schumacher from Buffalo Grove Illinois, just outside of Chicago. She was very nice to me and we wrote letters to each other for several years and also exchanged Christmas cards.

When I was marrying my wife Maria, the light of my life I invited Julie to the wedding and was surprised that she came. She made our day and we were so happy to see her. I met so many nice girls in my life and have become a better person for it. I have managed well despite my shyness and find that the girls are very caring and kind and they make us guys better and more aware of things.

The girl I met that means the most to me obviously is my wife Maria and I was fortunate to meet her as we are happily married and we have a son who is the pride and joy of our lives. So as it is Valentines day I am always reminded how lucky I am to have Maria and Matthew in my life and I am also very lucky to have met so many nice girls in my life that helped me grow, mature and become a better person.

Happy Valentines Day to Maria and Matthew, the two most important people in my life. I also extend my best wishes to all the girls I met through the years.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Life Lessons: It's all about my wife and son

I have come to realize that we spend more time alone then we do with others and sometimes we need our time by ourselves and other times we need to be with others. We have to adjust to the reality that we are for the most part alone and on our own once we leave the nest. Our parents can only do so much and then it is our turn. This is all part of the maturing process and it can be intimidating at times but if we hold on to our faith and we believe in ourselves then all we need is to be disciplined, put forth genuine effort, find joy in living and doing our best and reach out to others and never isolate ourselves. It is inevitable that when we do anything outside of our home we will essentially be on our own and we have to know how to conduct ourselves in those situations and we also need to find comfort with who we are and work to grow and mature and develop into that person we want to be. I always found that I was blessed with a wonderful family but I did feel alone a lot and I believe that is how most of us feel by the very nature of living separate lives.

I believe the only ones who have a true bond and can understand each other are twins who have something that most people don't have and will never experience. I believe it is nice to grow up with siblings but even having brothers and sisters does not prevent us from still feeling alone. I have felt for my son because of his autism and his difficulties with socialization. I wish we were a larger family and Matthew had brothers and sisters but the reality is that I'm not sure if that would help him with his development and improvement. I believe it would be helpful but that is something I will never know because of my wife's fears of having possibly another autistic child. To me it does not matter because I love my son with his autism and that will never change and if we had another child with autism I would love them just the same. I do admit however that raising a child with autism does require all of your time and when your time is divided with all your responsibilities it is hard to always be there for your child and if another child is part of the landscape then it makes your time with your special needs child less because of the demands of raising another child.

I often think of my wife and son when I am away at work and I think of my son and his experiences at school and how his day is going. It seems a bit sad that we don't get to see our children at school and experience how their day is going. I wish I could quietly observe my son on a typical day so I can have peace of mind that he is doing well. I would love to see that he is succeeding with his assignments and that he is interacting well with his teachers and fellow classmates and that he is having fun in his classes and participating and learning. I always felt as a kid that we had to have ways of adapting because we had to get used to doing things alone and away from our family most of the time. It makes it special when we are together as a family and enjoying each other's company. My dad worked very hard and he had very early hours so when he came home he had very little time to spend with us because he had to prepare for the next work day and that meant he was usually in bed by 8:00 pm so he could start his next work day bright and early at 4:00 am. I never saw him in the mornings during the work week.

With my son I try to make sure I am there for him as often as possible. I do also have late nights but when I am home with him I make sure we are taking advantage of our time together. My son's needs are specific and also sometimes a bit mysterious. I know that he is his own person and he has his own views and feelings and I very much respect that. I also know that he needs encouragement and some motivation to help him in expanding his circles and being involved more. It takes a firm commitment and I am starting to realize that more and more as he gets older. My ambition is to perform well in my job and also to be there for my wife and son who are the focal point of my life.

My life is more meaningful and I am the happiest I ever been knowing I have a wife and son to come home to. They are what keep me going and my love for them both is eternal and everlasting. To have a family and to know they are there helps make my times alone more bearable. It is extra special when we have times together and plan things as a family. I am so very proud of my wife and son and it is my hope that we will share many happy times together and share in Matthew's joys and successes and help him through his difficult times. We love our son and feel he can do anything because he is so very special. Autistic children touch your heart and Matthew has certainly done that with us and all he comes into contact with. He is truly special and he is part of me and I am so blessed for having such a wonderful wife and son who give me strength and purpose in my own life.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Life Lessons: Listening closely to the words in song and feeling inspired

I have always enjoyed the lure of music and listening to a song and feeling at peace deriving pleasure from listening and relating to the message. I have always admired the music artist and have found myself seeking songs that have strong meanings and a nice sound. The music I listen to gives me a release from the daily routine and it makes me feel good. There is something very powerful to music when you can find a song you love so much that you can listen to it over and over again and never tire of it. I have been comforted during the years by listening to a portable cd player at night by my bedside. If I had my music to listen to at night it would make me feel more at peace and help me sleep better. I remember I would always have anxiety the night before a big race or major exam during my high school days as a cross country runner and student. The only way I could help myself take the edge off was to play a music cd that would allow me not to worry and to drift off to sleep as the songs played on shuffle through out the night. I listened to all types of music and my favorite artists I'd like to listen to at night were Elvis Presley, Don McClean, The Beatles, The Bangles, Abba, Badfinger, The Beach boys, The Cars, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Shania Twain, REM, Meatloaf, The Association, John Denver, Lonestar, Journey, Boston, Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Harry Chapin, Amy Grant, James, Matthew Sweet, Fleetwood Mac, The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Green Day, Peter Paul & Mary, The Seekers and so many others.

I have cried tears listening to some songs because of the emotional effect it has on me. One such song is by Lonestar titled, "I'm already There" which has such a powerful message that I can certainly relate to it when I was away from home on a work assignment. I always felt happy when I spoke to my wife and son on the phone when I was travelling as it eased the loneliness I felt and the yearning to be home with family. The song is very touching because it is written from the point of view of the husband and father talking to his wife and son and telling them not to worry and that he is with them even when he is away and he comforts them with such a beautiful message. Lonestar really said it so beautifully in lyrics and song which I admire and enjoy listening to.

Another song I enjoy listening to and find is very inspiring is by Lee Greenwood titled "God Bless the USA". I listened to this song many times in the wake of the September 11th tragedy and it too has made me cry and also feel proud. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our service men serving our country and putting their lives in danger to protect our freedoms and I pray for their safety.

As a young kid growing up I had many fond memories of music artists like Elvis Presley, The Mamas and the Papas, The Doors, Three Dog Night, Andrew Gold, John Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary and Pat Benatar. They influenced me and their music was so enjoyable to listen to. I remember when I first heard Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie by Don McClean I was blown away by the sheer beauty and powerful message. This song was one I could listen to over and over again and if I heard it on my car radio I would crank it up. It was one of the longest songs I ever heard. I know the song was written in tribute to the musicians we lost in a plane crash who were all so talented and their lives cut down in their youth. They were Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper and it was a very sad and tragic loss of such wonderfully talented musicians.

A song I related to as a young boy was Andrew Gold's Lonely boy which I loved to listen to and thought was such a great song. Another song that left an impression on me was the song by the Hollies titled "He ain't heavy, he's my brother. I can relate times in my life to songs I remember. It is amazing how much we are influenced by music and I think music is the window to your soul and when you find something that you relate to and touches you It becomes part of you. I loved listening to John Denver as a young kid and one of my favorite songs was Take Me Home Country Roads which I would listen to quite regularly. I found comfort in music and it helped me with my isolation and shyness. With music I could instantly be in a peaceful place listening to artists I've grown to admire and listen to and I would have a nice feeling of peace and happiness that allows us to come out of our shell and express ourselves a little easier.

In raising an autistic son I have grown to realize the importance of music and how it helps my son and I both together. It is a special thing to see an autistic child who is not much for speaking all of a sudden become animated and happy when they sing a song they like. I have seen my son blossom with singing with my wife's and my encouragement and it truly brings a smile to the both of us because our son is breaking barriers and displaying a wonderful talent and it fills our hearts with joy and our minds with hope.

I am deeply affected by autism and I created a page on facebook called Autism Insight where all my blog writings and videos that I have searched for on youtube that I feel can explain what autism is and provide hope are posted. Since I am very committed to the cause and I love music I have searched for songs that explain Autism and I was deeply moved and touched by a wonderful song written and performed by Jayne Nelsen, who is a wonderful person and has the voice of an angel and 2 beautiful girls. The song which has inspired me and touched me is titled "On that day" and I have listened to it and watched the video many times and it gives me hope and strength and a feeling of peace. Her music is beautiful and so very heartfelt and I can relate to it and am very fortunate I have come upon it. I always enjoy learning of new artists and listening to their music. She is on my list of favorite musicians and I am looking forward to purchasing her cd so I can listen to this wonderful song over and over as it inspires me and makes me stronger.

Thank you Jayne for your music, your message and your friendship.

Thank you Matthew and Maria for making my life so happy and for teaching me so much.

With heartfelt love,

Edward D. Iannielli III

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life Lessons: Growing up, conquering our fears and letting go

We live our lives to follow our internal beliefs and values which are learned and shaped over many years and we are influenced mostly by our parents, our upbringing, our education and our experiences. Life for most of us is an ever changing ride full of many happy and some sad experiences along the way with the occasional detours in the road that take us in different directions. I have operated under the premise in all aspects of my life of being respectful of others and trying my best. I have learned to establish relationships over time and to appreciate and enjoy the opportunities I have been given. I truly feel blessed for having wonderful parents who have provided me with a wonderful life. Despite the struggles we were always provided for and we were encouraged to grow, develop and learn and to never lose sight of who we were as we grew and matured into our teenage years and into our young adulthood. As the years went by and we realized we needed to take more responsibility in out lives there were times of adjustment and some doubt. I truly believe we all have to face our fears and our doubts because everyone has to deal with these internal struggles.

I believe that growing up and approaching our teenage years is a confusing time for most of us and we are learning so much about how we should conduct ourselves, be responsible and also confront the internal changes we all encounter. In these years we realize also that we have needs that are starting to evolve as we mature and develop. We start to notice the opposite sex and we start to take an interest in how we appear and how we seem in the presence of others. These are things we can not always learn from a text book. Sometimes we just have to learn by taking chances. It is not always easy but life demands that we learn from taking chances and the experiences we encounter as a result of all we do. We need to find our own opportunities and learn to open up and explore and reach out to others. We will not learn if we don't expand and challenge ourselves. No one said that life would be easy. We realize this as we start school. As we grow and learn we are always evolving and gaining insight into life and who we are. We start to learn what we like and what we need to improve upon. We start to develop interests and talents.

It is also important to reach out to our parents in our early teenage and early adulthood years and maybe a close friend or an adult we can trust. Sometimes I look back on these years and wonder how I got through them and realize how important it is to successfully communicate life experiences to my son when he starts to experience changes and starts to ask these same questions that I had asked or tried to deal with in my own ways. It is our responsibility to always provide our very best in raising our children and guiding them along the way and teaching them as we have learned through our own experiences. We have to explain to our children that life is what we make of it and we have choices and it is very important to know that we are responsible for our lives when we become adults and our choices are very important and sometimes we have to learn from our experiences. We know that we also need to have a support system and we should never feel alone. I want my son to know that he can always turn to me or Maria for anything and we will always try our best to provide him with answers, support or guidance in his life.

Our very first major accomplishment in life considered a milestone and cause for celebration is when we graduate from high school. It is this time in our lives when we embark on our early adulthood and now have to take responsibility for our actions more than ever before. It is a very crucial time in our life because it is then that we have to decide on what we will do next. Most of us decide upon continuing our education and consider college. Others decide they are not quite ready for college so they either consider a trade school or enlist in the military. The remainder try their best to go out into the job market and take on work responsibility which is limited for high school graduates. The main concern today in sending our children to college are the financial burdens. I was very lucky that my parents helped me tremendously in acquiring a valuable college education. My responsibility to my son is the same and we have established a college fund for him. We have to be realistic in how much we can provide for him and I will see that we meet the challenges of providing him with a quality education like my parents did for me. I will always encourage my son with my wife's support and will do all I can to encourage him and support him. Our lives are primarily focused upon his life and his ability to one day be able to take on his own challenges and live a life full of opportunity and promise.

I know when I graduated from college it was a major accomplishment for me and I was so proud but I would not have been able to do it if it wasn't for the hard work and continued support from my parents both financially and through their encouragement. I wanted in my heart to do them proud because they helped me so much. I also know as I went into the working world it was a time for me to learn and grow professionally and experience life. My parents still provided me a home while I worked on establishing myself. I sensed they were realizing that eventually I would have to go on my own and they would be very proud and a part of them would struggle with letting go. I know that when my son starts to mature and develop and grow into early adulthood and make choices we will always be there because I learned how supportive my parents were for me.

As a parent who one day will face the fact that our children will grow up also has to learn eventually to let go and I think this is one of the hardest things to face for a parent and though it is a wonderful thing to see our children grow and become responsible it is also a sign of reaching another stage in life and sometimes it comes upon us all so quickly and we have to adjust just like anything else in life.

So as I think of things I will need to talk to my son about I will be very proactive and will allow him his space and let him first approach me or Maria. I feel it is best that he speak his mind freely and when he is ready to do so rather than being forced. I know in my heart I will always be there for him and my desire is to see him succeed and find true happiness and companionship. I want the very best for my son and I will do my part and Maria and I will always provide for Matthew and give him all our love, support and guidance because Matthew is our shining beacon and gives our lives such joy and happiness.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life Lessons: Anticipating snow

I remember as a kid the excitement I felt when anticipating a major snow storm. It seems no matter how many years have passed the moment I hear the words "a major snow storm is on its way!" I am instantly that little kid again eagerly awaiting the snow. I would always listen to the reports of the weather and I would love looking out the door watching the snow fall. As the snow accumulates and falls at a rapid clip I just love the feeling of being warm and cozy inside our house with my family as it continues to fall. I always welcomed a day off from school during a snow storm and would enjoy going outside and helping with the shoveling and having playtime in the snow. To me snow is an instant connection to my childhood and it seems I am fascinated by the beauty and calmness of a heavy snow storm. I love when the winds blow the snow as it falls and all you see is a heavy blowing snow all around you as the depth of the snow continues to grow.

I remember some real heavy snow storms during the years and each one was unique. The one snow storm that sticks out most in my mind was the one that hit in 1978 in February when we were living in Bellmore, New York and I was in high school. It was 2 storms that hit back to back. The first was a heavy snow storm with heavy blowing winds constituting a blizzard with an accumulation of approximately 2 feet of snow. Then on the heels of that storm was an ice storm that seemed to crystallize everything making the combination of snow and ice look like a winter wonderland. I remember we lost power due to downed power lines for several days and missed an entire week of school.

Another snowstorm that I remember vividly was one that hit in 1996 on January 7th on a Sunday which was my sister's birthday and the snow fell from the early afternoon through the late afternoon on Monday. I remember having 2 days off from work and walking with a friend in the middle of Merrick Road through 26 - 28 inches of snow with not a car in sight. It was a very surreal experience. These snow storms have created many exciting memories and each time I hear of one on its way it seems to trigger these memories of past snow storms. I always enjoyed sleigh riding and skiing and whenever I get a snow day I would find my way to the local park at Newbridge where I would sleigh ride down the hill near the baseball fields.

Now that I am a father I love to take advantage of a snow day with my son. I usually have Maria prepare him for outside by dressing him in layers so he is protected from the winds and the cold snow. We love sleigh riding and would drive to Newbridge to sleigh ride on the hill where just about every school kid is playing. Matthew loves sliding down the hill and I feel like a kid myself sliding down the hill after my son. I've always welcomed a snow storm and feel that having changes in seasons is fun for that very reason of anticipating the snows. If I were in Florida in the winter I'm sure I would enjoy going to the beach with my family but I know I would certainly miss the snow.

Another pleasant memory I have of winter and snow is my mother's lovely voice calling my sisters and I inside to have a grilled cheese sandwich and a nice cup of hot chocolate, one of my favorites. These memories are priceless to me and sometimes I shed a tear knowing these times are long gone now and the calls of my beautiful mother are now only distant memories.

This is why I need to spend the time with my wife and son on snow days so we create our own beautiful memories and so our son will have wonderful memories to share with his family some day. As I prepare for yet another snow storm I will make sure we have our fun in the snow and I will capture it on video and on my digital camera which makes the memories extra special. "A major snow storm is on its way!" I can't wait! My son already knows he has a snow day and I will keep my fingers crossed that I will have one too!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life Lessons: Starting over, new job, new people

We all have to experience a new day on the job in our life maybe a dozen or more times and no matter how long we have been working we still have those butter flies and are filled with nervous anticipation. As we grow and mature and become more professional we should be able to ease in and get adjusted to the new situation sooner and start to learn our responsibilities and role and move forward. With each new job we take we are always striving for challenges and to perform at our absolute best. Work is a necessity because it is our means for progressing in our career and matching our talents and abilities to an employer's needs and a means for making a living so we can provide for our family.

I am very eager to perform and do all that is expected of me and I always approach the work day with the same enthusiasm and commitment as I have since I started in the work force. There are those moments of awkwardness when you first start a new job but once you learn the job and what is expected then it is a matter of time in settling in and learning and progressing. It is very important to communicate effectively and at all times when it is necessary. You should never spin your wheels and never be afraid to ask questions. You just need to absorb things as quickly as you can so you don't ask the same questions.

I find that when I learn a new position or role in a new organization and take on responsibility I feel a sense of belonging and that is what I wish for. I wish to maintain professionalism, respect, a serious approach to my position, a dedicated work ethic and a personable way in dealing with co-worker's, management, the employer and clients. I am very appreciative of the opportunity given me and all the efforts of others in helping me to obtain this new position.

I have learned in life that we should always be optimistic and to always work with a dedication and firm commitment. I have been here for a week and have already found the people here to be wonderful and very kind. I can also see that the owners run their business with pride and respect and with a team approach. I also see that they encourage their employees to be dedicated through their hard work and also encourage a camaraderie among each other by planning outings together. I find this to be a great idea and I look forward to participating in these social functions because it makes a difference and encourages us to enjoy working with one another and also to enjoy social opportunities such as tennis, picnics, bowling or movies.

I look upon my life after college and all the opportunities I have enjoyed through the years and I find this is an opportunity I welcome and am very happy because it is in an environment that is engineering related and the position requires a considerable amount of planning and organization in the financial side. I will be working with accountants and engineers and am at home since my education was in both mechanical engineering and accounting and my favorite subjects in school were calculus, physics, intermediate accounting and cost accounting.

I look forward to a long term opportunity and will put forth my best effort and work with all parties in working towards management and ownership's goals. These are important things we learn in life that I will sit down with my son to talk about some day. He is young now but one day he will take on a job and I need to guide him and help him and try my best to provide insight to him so he will know what the working world is like.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Life Lessons: Taking pleasure in the simple things

Sometimes I just get so preoccupied with all the commitments I have and I try to fulfill all my obligations and all the promises I made. I am a man of my word and I will always strive to do my best and live a life of devotion, dedication and purpose. I know we all are seeking approval and a firm belief in ourselves and we are striving to please and satisfy others whether they are our employer, our clients, our family, our parents, our teacher's or our friends.

In life if we think about what our purpose is and what is important to us we realize that our children should always come first because we are responsible for their lives and want to provide them with our love, support and devotion. In our working lives we don't often get to see our children and for working mother's who have no choice but to get back to work this can be very frustrating. We all should delight in our children and especially young mother's who are raising young babies. I truly believe a young mother who has to work as soon as she can after giving birth loses out on so much. I believe what makes us human and compassionate are our children. I know when I had a week off when Maria and I had our precious baby Matthew I was so enjoying the moments spending time with them both. When I held my son early in the day rather than contending with the rush hour commute I just felt so happy. I wished I could spend more time with him but realized I just had this short window of opportunity so I made sure I made the most of it and I certainly did.

These are the simple pleasures in our lives that mean so much and I believe add years to our lives because they are so joyous and we become human again. In the working world it seems we have to keep our guard up and we become distant and cold. It may not be intentional but we lose that quality of sensitivity that only children can bring out in us.

I have thought about my son on many late nights in the office when I was working hard and felt guilty that I was not home spending time with him. I know how important it is to develop a relationship with our children and let them know that we are always here for them. I sometimes would get emotional about it and start to spend more time with him on my days off. I would know how important that time is with him and I would always love doing things with him and take such joy in the moment and would feel very happy knowing my son enjoyed our times out.

We will never be perfect no matter how hard we try but that is not what I am seeking. I know I am seeking more quality time with my son and giving him the time and attention he needs so he can start making progress. I know how important it is for all of us to help Matthew in his communication skills so he can talk with us or his cousins and friends and feel comfortable and loved. My time with Matthew is precious and I need to start finding ways to spend as much quality time with him as I can.

I took great joy in bowling with my son earlier today with my mother-in-law since Maria was working. We had a very enjoyable time together. I always am delighted when I have this time with my son and this is what I realize is so very important for both Matthew and myself. I was so proud of him and his improvement he made and am glad he enjoys it so much. The simplicity of bowling and the incredible joy that results because of the bonds forged for father and son is truly what makes life so worthwhile. It's not always about the active lives we live and the late nights we work to meet deadlines. It's the precious time we have with our children that makes our lives fulfilling. These are life's simple pleasures that truly make us realize what is most important.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Life Lessons: Facing the difficult realities of the times we live in

I have always placed an important emphasis on my work and have been committed to doing my best and maintaining a proper balance between my work responsibilities and my family responsibilities. Given the nature of the times we live in today we are always concerned for our financial responsibilities and I most certainly feel the pressures of meeting the demands of our mortgage and monthly costs. I am so frustrated when I hear the church officials ask us to give as often as we can and to be as generous as we can and to live debt free. I believe it is impossible to live debt free unless you are independently wealthy and for most of us that is not the case. If I did not incur debt I would never realize the dream of home ownership. I truly wish I could help the less fortunate and be as generous as I can but I have to keep my own finances in order so I can provide for my family and meet my monthly payments before I can be more generous.

The times we live in are very stressful and it seems we always have to push ourselves even when we are feeling sick and it seems we have no time to enjoy our lives anymore as we are so caught up in the pressures and demands of living with need for the basic necessities of modern day life. It seems we all need a house to live in which is a major undertaking and we need a car for both husband and wife. We also have to save for our children's' health and educational costs.

I realize as I get older the job market will not be as friendly and the opportunities will not be as plentiful and that is where we will have to rely on our survival skills and have to believe in our system. I will need to work the rest of my life and feel retirement will not be an option unless opportunities become less plentiful for professionals in their 50's and 60's. It seems to me we are forced into situations where we will have to rely strictly on ourselves and develop skills that will enable us to find self employment opportunities. When you are in your senior years that seems very difficult and very intimidating.

I know that my dad had longed for retirement when he was approaching his early 50's and felt happy about the prospect of retiring with his wife by his side. Unfortunately for my dad that was not to be as we lost our mom way to soon. This was very sad and I realized the pain, loneliness and isolation my dad felt when he no longer could work anymore because of his physical pain he endured from working as an ironworker for almost 40 years. Despite the pain and injuries he suffered and the tragedies he witnessed he truly had an amazing career as a Local 361 union ironworker.

When he did retire it was quite an adjustment for him. He worked hard his entire life and needed to have this time and he was fortunate to have a good pension and social security. He just had to occupy himself as he would become bored on occasion. He was fortunate that he had lots of grandchildren that were a big part of his life and kept him busy for so many years.

It seems that we try to do our very best in life and we are very responsible and for most of us we work very hard and with a high level of professionalism but it seems no matter how hard we work we still have to deal with the difficult times we are presently living in. The cruel reality for most of us who have saved throughout our working years is that our life's savings we accumulated through funding our pension has lost between 40-60 % of its value since 2001. I am so discouraged by these times and sometimes I wonder why so many people have to suffer and lose so much. To me it just seems so sad and that we have officials running this country that have no clue what we as people of this country are experiencing.

I hope that we can look forward to better times ahead and that all the suffering can be eased and all who can work and wish to work can get back to what they are meant to do and that is to work so they can provide for their families. We as a country have to be strong and we as people have to band together and seek to be strong and work hard to get back on track. We have to earn the respect we once had and we need to let Washington know that things have to change!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life Lessons: Perseverance and staying the course

If I could teach a class with young aspiring students and I had to plan an introduction I would definitely put a lot of thought into it and I would relate my personal experiences. I feel we all have something to share with each other and we have a commitment to be responsible and to learn an effective way of communicating our knowledge, experiences and insight to help shape young minds. I feel teachers don't always get the respect and credit they deserve. I was fortunate to learn at an early age the importance of following direction, showing respect and staying attentive in the classroom. I was also very responsible with my homework assignments as I had a good support system with my Mom and my teachers. I learned a lot about life from my Mom and Dad and I was very impressionable and always knew that I had to take responsibility at a young age since I started my schooling.

The first thing I would discuss with young students is the importance of learning to like yourself. We all have to feel self acceptance and learn to appreciate who we are and feel comfortable with ourselves. The next thing I would teach young students is that they should always keep an open mind to learning and enjoy all facets of learning and they should always have a desire to explore and expand their minds and develop their talents and always learn to persevere. The key in life is to have self confidence and a desire to do your best. You don't have to be a genius to succeed and accomplish your goals and dreams. You just have to have a desire, a plan and a firm commitment and sense of never giving up.

I have discussed these ideals with my son and I try to make it an easy and manageable approach as my son has a limited span of attention and his mind processes things so fast. He is very aware of what I say and he realizes the importance of being responsible and following the teacher's instruction. I have a lot of patience with Matthew and try to put myself in his situation so I can try to understand what he must be experiencing. I am very easy going and want him to know that I am there for him and wish to help him every step of the way.

In my own life I have learned from experience that we all have to try our best at all times and to never give up. I remember when I was a mechanical engineering student in college how I at times felt overwhelmed with the course load and I remember trying to strive for my best at all times. I was fortunate that I had a desire to learn calculus and physics and that I found those subjects very stimulating and challenging and I was proud when I solved the problems. I was intrigued by applying formulas to mathematical and scientific situations. I also had the desire because my dad was an ironworker and worked on bridges and buildings and he had a talent for building Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis air plane from cardboard, toothpicks and shoe boxes. He also built a tower crane and the steel frame of a building under construction and John F. Kennedy's PT 109 boat from the same materials and they all looked like they came from a model kit. He had an amazing talent and I was always so impressed as a young kid with his many projects. I also developed an interest in business and taxation and accounting and continued my schooling by pursuing an accounting degree. I was a very studious and committed student and I always strived to do my best.

I also learned to develop perseverance as a cross country runner in high school where I would run up to 75 - 80 miles a week for training. I remember enjoying those days and learning from our coach discipline and mental toughness. We had some exhausting training sessions and it helped build confidence and character. I remember my parents were proud when I completed races and placing well in the pack and they were extremely proud when I graduated from college.

Life is about learning and experiences and we all learn everyday and we must always stay focused and remain confident each and every day because we will always encounter new situations and be called upon to use our knowledge and skills and we will always be tested and our firm commitment to facing the challenges and proposing solutions is what makes us needed as professionals. We must always remember to persevere and to approach our assignments with purpose, dedication and confidence. My dad always did his best and he and mom both instilled this in me and I will instill this in my son.

I will always remember my parent's insight and the precious words of wisdom my parents shared with me.

"Bloom where you are planted." was something my dad always shared with me.

My mom always sat with me and helped me learn my mathematics problems and she would always say to "Never be afraid and always stay the course."

I have lived with these quotes all my life and they bring me back to happier times.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Friday, February 5, 2010

Life Lessons: Touched by others in our life

One of the most important things I have learned in life is our ability to touch another person by our words, our writings or for just being who we are. I have also learned that we should be grateful and appreciative of the actions of another person when they reach out to us in a special way. I have been very fortunate in my life to have a loving wife and a wonderful son and a very memorable and happy childhood with loving parents and 2 wonderful sisters. I feel I am very lucky and I always like to speak from my heart and relate stories that affect me and provide me the opportunity of sharing with others in a distant way and express myself in a safe way and speak how I feel. I have had many positive and happy experiences in my life along with some sad and painful experiences. One specific experience I wrote about in my blog was a day that started out as any other day for my parents when I was a baby as portrayed in the book "The Bridge" written by the famous author Gay Talese. The story I referred to in my writing was contained in a chapter of Talese's book titled "Death on the bridge". In the chapter Talese centers around 2 men. Their names are Edward D. Iannielli Jr, my father and Gerard McKee, a fellow ironworker. In the story he writes about both men and what their early experiences were like and how they became ironworkers.

On that fateful day my dad was briefly talking with Gerard before they went about their business on the bridge and as soon as they started their work day within minutes my dad heard Gerard's cries for help. As he turned in his direction he reached out and was doing all he could to grab a hold of Gerard but he had weight working against him as Gerard was a taller man and my dad had a damaged hand. My dad pleaded for God's help as he felt his grip of Gerard slipping and it was in that instant he could not hold on any longer and felt Gerard slip through his hands and watched him fall to the water below. He had no chance and if it wasn't for the quick actions of Lloyd LeClaire, a native American Indian who jumped on top of my dad and held him tight to the catwalk he would have went over as well. Lloyd was a hero and he saved my dad's life.

When I read about this in the book and spoke to my dad about it I always asked him about Lloyd LeClaire and if he kept in touch. I always felt deeply touched by his actions and wanted to shake his hand, hug him and tell him how thankful we were for his heroism in saving my dad's life. When I spoke about Lloyd I wanted to express my appreciation and felt this was my way of thanking him.

I always feel that we need to express things in our life and it helps us and makes us stronger. I felt the need to write about this sad day and felt for the McKee family and was very thankful to the LeClaire family. What I did not expect from writing about this was a wonderful series of writings from Lloyd's grandson who reached out to me about the story. I expressed to him when I wrote back how truly appreciative we were for having our dad for as long as we did and that was because of Lloyd LeClaire's quick actions that sad and tragic day. We were blessed and my dad had an angel looking over him and protecting him.

It is with heartfelt gratitude that I dedicate this story to the memories of all three men:

Gerard McKee
Edward D. Iannielli Jr and
Lloyd LeClaire

That was a day that changed the lives of all three men forever.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life Lessons: Adapting to change

I have learned throughout life that we are always moving forward and changes are inevitable as we experience living, aging and maturing. We sometimes experience change in our personal life. We also experience change in our professional and working life. As part of evolving and maturing we will have to adapt to the many changes in our life and always maintain a healthy sense about it. Sometimes change may be hard to initially adjust to because it takes some getting used to and if change involves learning new things or getting used to a new set of procedures and meeting new people it is certainly understandable. Sometimes I feel it is hard to really get attached to people and situations because of the possibility of change. Sometimes you have to almost distance yourself from your feelings and always maintain the same level of professionalism and almost remain aloof to some degree. It is most important that you keep in mind that making changes are vital to growing and learning and we all should welcome change and always stay open minded about it.

Our son has made strides in his new school setting and he has adjusted well to his new teachers, new classmates and new school. It was a bit difficult for him initially because he missed his old school and his teacher and his former classmates. It is very common that autistic children tend to resist change and it takes some getting used to for them. They have a level of comfort with consistency so if change evolves they tend to react in ways that may not seem the norm. Our son now loves his new school and enjoys having several teachers and changes in classes. He is growing and maturing and we are very happy that he is making progress and that he is able to focus on his homework and act very mature and with respect. It is a relief for Maria and I knowing that our son is able to cope. This is what we want for our son which is that he develops confidence and that he is happy.

I have always tried my best to be polite, professional, agreeable, respectful and always maintain a nice way in conducting myself with others. I always try my best to treat everyone with the same level of respect and feel it is important to establish relationships built upon honesty, integrity and mutual respect. I also feel we have to always try to go that extra step and always work to the best of our ability and that we should always have hope and never get discouraged. It seems life is to short to let our fears and anxieties get the best of us. We need to be strong and have faith and believe in ourselves that we are worthwhile and do deserve opportunity. When we are given opportunity we should make the most of it and always be appreciative of the chance. We may make mistakes along the way but it is important that we learn from them and that we look at the bigger picture. We are all meant to work to make a living so we can provide for our families and we are also meant to provide to our employer the level of respect and dedication we learn as a professional and always put forth our best efforts. We are trained so we can take on responsibility and make choices and act prudently. Life is a series of challenges and we need to always face them and do our very best in taking them on and striving for success and pleasing others. We are dependent on others and they are dependent on us so we need to always keep this in mind.

The harder changes we will have to face are life event changes like experiencing the death of a loved one. These unfortunately are very painful changes and sometimes they come with no warning. We always have to be prepared but will always have our share of difficulties and emotional hurts. It is always important that we try to be honest with ourselves and try as best we can to get through that difficult time. It may take some time but we have to do our best to cope and get back to a normal routine. Life is too short to lose sight of this. The sooner we get back to a normal routine the better off we will be in the long run. It is understandable that we will always feel the loss and the pain. We do however have to be strong in our mindset and welcome getting back to a new normal routine. This does take time and we can not assume that we all will get over the loss at the same length of time. For some it may take awhile. We just have to remember that we will always have the pleasant memories and should always hold on to those special memories.

In talking to my son about loss and coping it is my belief that he has to understand that we will all one day die and for this very reason we should live everyday of our life to the fullest because there is no guarantee of another day. We plan to be here for another day but we just don't know. In talking to him about change I tell him that we all have changes in our life and changes are necessary because that is how we learn. He seems to understand this and is getting used to the idea though he still likes things to be the same as every autistic child wishes for.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Monday, February 1, 2010

Life Lessons: Looking at the bright side

The one major thing we try to teach our children in life is that they should always try to look at the bright side and never get discouraged or give up. It is essential that we maintain a healthy and positive outlook no matter the circumstances or burdens we face in life. We all wish to achieve great things and make a difference though the reality is we will usually get caught up in the day to day routines of life. This is the norm for most of us raising families. We all need to sometimes take a step back from our busy lives and try to experience life in a more simplistic way even if it is for a brief moment. We also need to free ourselves from our fears and worries so we can have more fulfilling lives and from there try to adapt a more spiritual and healthy view of life, family, work and responsibility. We are responsible for how we live our lives and although we make our choices we are also affected by factors beyond our control and we must learn to grow and get through the tough times we all encounter at some point in our lives.

I have learned in my own experiences that we are all very similar in ways and very different in ways also. The way we live life is based on so many factors and how we view things in our lives is based on our life experiences and the relationships we develop. As we grow it is essential that we maintain the youthful innocence that we were blessed with as young children. I see my son and his innocence and the precious way he relates to us and his peers and I am so delighted to see that child like quality that he should hold onto throughout his life. If we all stayed true to our inner child I believe the world we live in would be a better place. That is one very important view of mine and I believe that if we could try to reduce stress in our lives we could start to have more joy in our lives because we would not live in constant fear as that just makes life seem so much more difficult and takes years away from us.

If we could find ways to spend more time with our family and be very supportive and encourage our children we would feel so much better about our role as responsible parents. We as adults need to balance our lives and always stay committed to our work responsibilities and our family responsibilities. We learn that we can not get time back when it has passed us by and before we know it our children will be deciding on colleges so I know how important it is to spend more time with my son and teach him about life and to never be afraid. My parents helped to make the world right for me and I also need to help make the world right for my son. I need to make sure I can sit with my son on a weeknight and help him with his math assignment. That is very important as well as completing my work requirements. I take all things in my life very seriously and know in my heart that I am always trying my best and trying always to be respectful of others and to always do right by others. This is what I wish to teach my son so he too can live a life of promise and to always look on the bright side as that is what helps us in living and making choices.

In life we realize that we can not always experience happiness but if we can hold on to our memories and our relationships and we stay true to ourselves, our family, our work and our friends we will find a way to look at the brighter side and smile for that is what we all wish for for us and especially for our children.

Edward D. Iannielli III