My Triple “L” aka Living Life List

Many people have their so called “Bucket List” of things they want to do before they leave this world or as their list title refers to, “Kick the Bucket”. The common theory is that the idiom refers to hanging, either as a method of execution or suicide. However, its earliest appearance is in the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785), where it is defined as ‘to die’. Now for one, I don’t plan on either getting hanged or hanging myself anytime in the future. Knowing that I will die as some point I feel that if you have a bucket list then once you get to the end of it then what? Do you hop in the car and head on down to Poland-Thompson and get fitted for that casket?

I know that you can always ad to you bucket list, but I prefer to take a more positive approach to it and call mine the “Living Life List” and I have some items on mine such as these,

Visit all 50 states (I’m six short)

Visit the Isle of Arran Scotland home of my ancestors

Make a difference in someone’s life

Visit the south pacific

Sky Dive

Scuba Dive

Watch the sun rise from the top of a mountain (Tried at Philmont but it was over casted)

Fall in love for the last time

(Oh and) Beat Parkinson’s

Now these are just some of the major ones on my list, and here’s the beauty of a Living Life List, it can change each and every day! You can spend the day on the lake with friends in MN and watched the perfect sunset, now this may not have been planned for that day or you may have done it before, yet each time you repeat it will be special on its own. Each day I wake up wondering what Living Life event might happen this day. It may be a planned out big ticket item or it may just be something simple such as beating my bike ride time or making a stranger smile.


There are many things on my list, but I know that for each one I want to do there are 10 more that will just happen at any time and make my day, and hopefully someone else’s day. Whatever you call your list the point is to live your life to the fullest, time speeds up as you get older, when you are 12 summer in 1/12 of your life at my age it’s now 1/53, now I know time is not really spending up but, trust me if you slow down and enjoy life it will last longer.



Celebrating Lives

As I get older I’m starting to realize that it’s more important to celebrate one’s life than it is to mourn ones death. This is a lesson that I learned after the passing of my mom in 2006, it took me a couple of years to stop mourning her death and celebrating her life. It started with the simple things such as the sounds of wind chimes in the evening breeze, the annual planting of the hanging baskets and pots on my deck, you see in times of sorrow or grief all it takes is to remember the things that made someone special to you.

Me and Don in Vegas

Me and Don in Vegas

Lee and Me at Arrowhead for NW vs Pitt

Lee and Me at Arrowhead for NW vs Pitt

A very good example of this is my memories of my best friend Mark’s father Norm who passed in 1996, most of all my memories about Norm involved Mark, but the best one doesn’t. Back in the early 90’s I was working for Mid-America Exotic Auto and we were buying and selling high line and muscle cars. One such car I brought was a 1969 Shelby GT500 convertible from a ford dealership in Chicago that had owned it since new, we gave them $45,000 for it back then (Today it’s a $250,000 car) after completing the purchase of the car the plan was to park the car in Mark’s father garage and make the drive back to KC in the morning. Upon arriving at Norm’s and parking the bright red Shelby in the driveway I was relieved to have it off the streets of Chicago. I am now standing in the driveway while Norm is admiring the Shelby when uncle Bob shows up, now this was not my first stay at the Yager’s and uncle Bob showing up to partake in a few Old Style’s was not unexpected, in fact I’d be surprised if he didn’t. I was already expecting a slight headache on the drive home in the morning. As I recall Norm said something about being low on beer, it was Bob’s statement that sent chills up and down my spine, “Let’s take the Shelby and go get some”. Yes you guessed it, I spent the next couple hours and a better part of a 12 pack of Old Style cruising around Oak Forrest IL with Norm and uncle Bob passing out beers and giving directions. Yes the head was hurting for the drive back to KC.

Is it wrong to have grief, sorrow or mourn after ones passing? Absolute not, in fact you should. But one must remember to celebrate their life and remember all the greatness in their lives and how they had positive effects in yours. As long as you remember them and celebrate them they will never be gone.

I’ll end this by quoting something that Norm would always say upon parting ways and Mark and me use with each other to this day,

Keep the Faith!


How large of Wake do you leave?

As I was boating on Lake Minnewaska this last weekend in MN with friends I was enjoying the clam waters and watching how our boat was reacting to the wakes from other boats and their reactions to ours. This got me thinking that as we go about our lives we each leave our own wakes to interact with others each and every day.


Now wakes are not just caused by how big your boat is but also how fast you’re going and how you have your boat trimmed. Now in life not all large wakes are bad, some may be the amount of how much one cares for you or you for them, in some cases you both may be heading in the same direction and together and as your wakes overlap they make one large one.

How large wakes in life affect you just as in boating will depend on how you approach them, taken at the right angle you will hardly notice them, but if not it can make for some rough water to navigate. People like wakes come and go in your life, some of their wake are so large that you can’t help but notice them, some unfortunate come and go way too soon.

You must also remember that the wakes you make will affect others just as theirs affect you. Sending someone a large wake at the right angle can be a good thing, but done the wrong way it can rock their world and leave the wrong impression. Going too fast and leaving a large wake sometimes is necessary and as long as others around you see your wake coming and can approach it the right way there is nothing wrong with that but, if you are just being reckless nothing good can come from it.

Think about this for a moment, those that have touched your life have left either large or small wakes in your path or alongside you yet you didn’t mind because of how you handled their wake. The same goes for those that have left negative impressions; it’s how you react to these that will determine how your ride feels.

As you navigate the waters in your life it’s important to pay attention to your wake and how it affects others. Remember you are not the only one on this lake of life and your actions can and will affect others.


Happy boating friends



“153 Feet”

“153 Feet”

Just how far is 153 Feet, 51 yards, 46 meters? Well for me it’s the difference in elevation between my house and the Plaza here in KC. Now I know some of you are asking just how does Stew knows that, and some are thinking that Stew has too much time on his hands! This wisdom did not just pop up on the Discovery channel, no it was served up to me in brute real time reality. It was last week as I decided the back up what I’ve been preaching these last three years and get off my butt and “Move” for I’ve been lazy way to long and neglecting my body.

As I took my cross bike down from the rack I had so carefully placed him on around 7 years ago! I kept telling myself no big deal, it’s just like riding a bike; well duh it is just a bike right? After a day trip for my bike to the bike spa for a quick check up and tune it was back to my house for a peaceful ride along the trolley trail down to the edge of the Plaza and back.


Well my friends, the first half was a joy feeling the wind in my face and cruising along with ease. Even as I made the turn around to return to home base I had no idea what I had gotten into this day. In less than 100 yards my legs were on fire and I was down shifting to keep moving and after another couple of blocks I found myself off the bike and doing the walk of shame pushing this high tech machine up this gentle slope towards home, this it turns out was one of three times I had to dismount and stroll along side my bike for a block like I was walking a Great Dane.

Sitting down and feeling defeated and embarrassed by my failure at my personal “Tour De France” I notice that burning feeling in my legs from this failure, this was a feeling that I have not had for way too long. Two days later with a determination not to be defeated by this ego busting route I was back on the bike and armed with a new mapping app and had just watched “Hoosiers” for motivation (No I didn’t) I was on my way!

As I stood on the podium to accept my yellow shirt that evening I was thinking how great of feeling it was to beat this monster of a course and take the long hill back without stopping for a walk of shame. These first two rides have open my eyes to things I take for granted which with Parkinson’s I cannot afford to any more, for most of my friends “Moving Day” is a once a year event for me it a challenge each and every day and I need to keep ahead of it. Yes my new app told me it was just 153 feet and not the French Alps, but even mountains started out as hills, Trust me life will put some mountains in front of you, it’s up to you if you want to climb them or not. As for me I’m looking forward to the climb!


153 feet


Leap of Faith

Have you ever taken a “Leap of Faith”? I for one have taken a few, be it in love, work, or just life in general. Now there are all types of these leaps, be it small or large. Some are no brainers (the ones I’m better at) other’s take up all the courage you have.  

Let’s start with ta few no brainers. First one that comes to mine is attending Northwest Missouri State. Now although I had a couple scholarship offers to play basketball the cost to go to the “ville” was still cheaper and besides NW had the Industrial Arts degree I wanted. The next one was trying out for the basketball team at the encouragement of Mark Yager who I meet playing some pickup games with the team. While at NW I also took another easy leap and join the Sig Ep fraternity, these three leaps allowed me to get to meet my best friend Mark and most of my closest friends I have.

I once took a leap of faith and moved to New Hampshire for a job, although the job didn’t turn out to be the best choice I got to meet more friends like Chris Ringer who is to this day on of my closest friends and the reason I try to get out to NH once a year. My next work leap of faith was even though I had taken the job in Denver to run the Hummer dealership I went on an interview that Jim Wyman had set up for me with Arrow Truck Sales. Jim passed away on one New Year’s Eve at an age way to young and not a week goes by that I don’t thank him for talking me into taking that interview 16 years ago.

I have taken a few leaps when it’s come to love, but the fact that I’m still a bachelor you can probably tell they haven’t work out as I hoped, but I do feel that each one has made me a better person. I used to tell people that wondered way I was still single that it was because of timing, either they were ready for the next step and I wasn’t or they weren’t and I was.  Now I’m thinking that maybe it was me all those times. I do believe that the next leap involving love will be a hard one to take, after all I’m finding out that Parkinson’s is not a trait that women look for in a man.

The leaps I’ve been taking these last few years have involved fund raising efforts, either the NW Alumni Golf Tourney or for Parkinson’s with the Moving Day Walk, then there’s the Young Onset group I’ve been helping  with to help other young people deal with this disease. My faith in these leaps comes from the support I get from my friends and family.

This 4th of July weekend I took another leap at the Lake of the Ozarks, I leaped off a 35 foot cliff into the lake. Now I don’t think that I would have done that if it wasn’t for Parkinson’s, you see having Parkinson’s has made me look at things different and wanting to try new things to feel alive and normal.  

Now there’s no wrong “Leap of Faiths”, some work out and some don’t, but as my best friend Mark’s dad Norm always said “Keep the Faith” and as long as you have that you’ll be fine.




Calling all “Stew’s Crew” members


We are almost to the last week before the walk, actually there’s only 9 days till the event. It’s time for a breakout of our efforts this year.

 To be honest last year was easy, the out pour of support from family, friends, Sig Ep brothers and Northwest Alumni once they found out I had Parkinson’s made it that way. Last year I had 118 individuals donate a total of $11,540.00 to me and 6 team members raise another $2,485.00 for a total of $14,025.00.

This year I set a team goal of $15,000.00 and as of tonight we are at $7,581.00 or 50% to our goal. This is how we got here, there are 17 team members this year and have raised a total of $2,265.00 so far and 92 individuals who have donated a total of $5,316.00 to me. What is great about this is of the 92 people who have donated 72 of them are new this year! Most of this is credited to my great friend Dr. Robert Paul who has hammered the phone and has brought 40 of these new people and a total of $2,120.00 to the team; I cannot begin to thank Robert enough for his help.

It’s time to get on my soap box, of the 118 individuals for last year only 20 of you have repeated in donating. I know that if I can get your help we will easily reach our goal this year.

Remember this event is for the National Parkinson Foundation Heartland Chapter which is the leading community resource for Parkinson’s disease working to improve the quality of life for people affected by Parkinson’s disease through programs, education, advocacy and research. The chapter strives to inform the community through it’s website

On another note I’ve been asked to be interview by 810 sports on Monday for their 810 Cares for KC spot to be aired at 3 that afternoon please listen in if you can.

Remember if you haven’t donated yet, what are you waiting for?

Once again with all my heart thanks, Stew

My Link




Don’t Wait…


A friend of mine, Mark Studebaker put a post on Facebook today and it has been on my mine all afternoon. Mark made a very good observation about life and how quickly it can change. This kept popping up in my thoughts today as I enjoyed the great weather and reading the large amounts of my friends celebrating their children’s Graduations.

Many of these young adults I have known since birth, and although I’ve never have had the joy of fatherhood, I’ve come to look at some of these young adults as if I was a proud uncle (and no not the one in the basement no one mentions) there’s even one that not only graduated from NDSU in nursing but will also get married in a little over a month from now, congrats to you Fallon Meixel I’m very proud of you, your father started off  as a customer 16 years ago and quickly had become one of my best friends, I had enjoyed watching you and your brothers grow into awesome young adults. I consider the Meixels as my extended family in MN.

This is Mark’s quote for today that stands out “I’m going to live life every day like there is no tomorrow and do everything I can today” now Mark had his reason for saying this as does anyone but, what great advise for those young adults starting out in life. My mother always said life was to short and I now know just what she meant; she was trying to tell me never take life for granted it can throw you a curveball at any time or in my case a pitch at the head.

Marks little quote is like a battle cry for me, not only do I want to do all the things in life I’ve wanted to do but with Parkinson’s I realized that sooner is better. It is because of this that I have and will continue to make it my mission to bring attention to this disease in hope of finding a cure so that these young people in our lives will not have to worry about it in their life time.   

There’s no time like today, because tomorrow there may not be time!



I am Parkinson’s

1013950_4911297782729_582543053_nThree words, just three simple words, by themselves we use them every day and they can have a million different meanings, but put them together as one statement and wow! I’ve been thinking a lot about this statement these past few months, even more as I start my fundraising for “Moving Day Kansas City” being held on June 14th at the Liberty Memorial.

For those with Parkinson’s it’s all about moving and how to keep moving. It starts with your mornings, by the time you wake up the meds that you take though out the day have worn off and you start your cycle all over, for me it’s a 30 to 45 minutes for the morning dose to kick in, some days its quicker some longer. Waking up is not easy either Parkinson’s loves to keep me up late and often though out the night. Exercise is very important and I must admit that I have not been the best at keeping up on that end. Part of my lapse in working out is the fear I have of what others at the gym think as I struggle from time to time with simple movements, I know most of this is in my head and most of my movements issues are ones that I notice from how I’ve been use to most my life and are not notice by others. But there are those three words again.

Moving Day raises money for NPF Heartland to funds their wellness and exercise programs and their support groups including their young onset group which I help run. I was asked to speak at the Moving Day kickoff event last week by Jane Ann Gorsky the executive director for NPF Heartland office; she wanted me to speak about my teams effort last year which raised the most money. Jane Ann asked me to share any ideas for new teams. Now those who know me know I’m not shy, but then again I’m not the best at speaking in front of a group. My answer for raising the most was very simple, I have the best support group of anyone, it is easy to raise money when so many care for you. Next I talked about the pressure of backing it up and doing it again, I told them about my plans to get younger people involved and the cookout and wine party I have after the walk. As I drove home from this event there on my mind were those three words again.

As I sit out on my deck Friday night enjoying a cigar and a glass (or four) of wine I thought long and hard about those three words. Then I thought of something I’ve said before, “I have Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s doesn’t have me!” then it I thought of something everyone including myself as said at one point in their life, “There but for the grace of God goes I” then it dawned on me, it is God’s plan that I have Parkinson’s and his will that I use it to raise awareness to help others with this dreadful disease it has become my goal to do anything I can to help. For those three words are me, “I am Parkinson’s”



Strolling with Stew 2014

Moving Day Kansas City 2014
To benefit the National Parkinson Foundation Heartland Chapter and the National Parkinson Foundation

Date: Saturday, June 14, 2014

Time: 8am event opens, 9:30am walk starts

Venue: Liberty Memorial, Kansas City

First off, I’m still in awe of my great friends that in my opinion went above and beyond last year in helping me raise over $14,000 as a team. This year I’ve set the goal at $15,000, I know we can do it!

We are going to have some intra team contest this year. First off join “Stew’s Crew” then as a team member have you friends and co=workers donate in your name, not only can you win prizes from the Parkinson’s Foundation, but the one who raises the most in their name will be my guest along with the person of their choice for dinner and at Louie’s Wine Bar in Waldo.

Not to leave the kids out, for the one (under the age of 16) the raises the most in their name will receive a day pass for them and four of their friends to Schlitterbahn! This is a great way to have fun and also teach them about fund raising for a great cause!

There also will be a cook out and wine party at my house after the walk again this year, and as before any one donating and walking will receive a free “Strolling with Stew” t-shirt.

Here’s the link to my Team page,

Once again I thank you with all my heart for your support



Train Whistles and Song Birds





Some trivia for you, Five major railroads serve Kansas City making it the largest rail hub in the nation in terms of volume. With 90 miles of track in the metro area, all under centralized traffic control, the Kansas City Terminal Railway Co. coordinates the efficient movement and interchange of rail traffic for the more than 300 trains arriving or departing Kansas City each day. What does this mean to you? Maybe nothing, but to me as I enjoy the art of insomnia (another gift from Parkinson) and lay awake at night I’m amazed at the number of train whistles I can hear. The photos below I took in June of 2002 of a Steam Engine rolling past me at a crossing as it rolled across Iowa.

Growing up in Cameron MO my house was not even a block from the train tracks and the local grain elevator, the whistles I now hear at night opens up the flood gate of memories I have from my youth of laying in bed and listening to the trains that came though Cameron at night and dropped off and picked up the grain cars. there was always trains passing though Cameron during the night and you could hear the whistles as the trains approached each crossings. the ones I remember the most are the ones that stopped and switched out grain cars during harvest. I loved the sounds of the cars being unhooked then the sound of the diesels and the humming of the eclectic engines as the engineers arraigned the cars in the order they needed then as the trains left I got to listen to the whistles as they grew weaker and weaker as the train got further away.

Now the problem with staying up late listening to trains is that you still have to be up early to go to work, the plus side is the sounds of song birds chirping away usually just before sunrise. As I awaken to the sounds of the song birds and unfortunately the sounds of traffic too. Now they say that smell and tastes are the strongest triggers of memories but my sense of taste and smell are diminished (another gift from Mr. Parkinson) but I find that the sense of hearing can be just as powerful if you take the time to listen. The birds remind me of the ones I heard on my grandparents farm just outside of Marceline MO during the summers, those who have spent time in the county away from the hustle of the city know what I’m talking about. There’s nothing more peaceful than being in the county side where all you can hear is the wind and the song birds calling out to each other.

Take time today to just listen and be it a song, a voice, a train, or just something that’s just special to you. I’ll bet you to can turn back the pages of your memory to a time that you haven’t thought of for years