Thursday, November 19

365 Give or Take…

It’s been a year today. One year since my almost ex-wife took her life. There’s a part of me that is amazed that it’s already been a year. It certainly doesn’t seem like that long.

I’ve taken a look back over this last year, just for myself to see what all has happened. It’s been a rather big year in some ways, not so much in others. Basically, my year has been just like everyone else’s…for the most part. :-)

A very good friend took a moment to remind me exactly where I was a year ago. “Last year at this time, you were worried about the Ex fighting over your son, and getting yourself a good attorney.” And in one heartbreaking moment, all that was turned on its head and gone.

It’s weird to me sometimes. I spent nine years with her and shared so many things. But at the end of the day, I look back at everything that happened and I know that I became someone that I hated. I did things that I will always regret and feel sorrow over. I felt pain that I had never imagined even being possible.

But…I also was blessed to have two amazing boys. I grew to be strong in and over myself. I found confidence and self-worth in my heart and my own eyes. I found my own path of spirituality that works for me. And I met amazing people that have become some of my closest and most dear friends.

This last year has seen so many blessings and trials for us. As I’m certain it has for each of you.

But let’s get to the point today. It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the States. It’s funny to me that we all recognize certain times of the year to do things that we should really be doing each and every day. :-)

Thanksgiving is a time to stuff yourself like a dead turkey and watch all the special football games…right?

Sure…and Easter is because a rabbit poops eggs.

Thanksgiving is the holiday where we are supposed to reflect on the things that we are thankful for in our lives. Like I said…it’s something we SHOULD do each and every day. But if you don’t, at least do it on this one day.

It’s an interesting question really. What are YOU thankful for?

Sure, we’ve all got those stock answers. My family, my friends, job, blah, blah, blah, blah. How boring and rote are we? If you catch yourself using these answers this year, you have my permission to slap yourself.

Really?? That’s all you can come up with to be thankful for? How about we dig a little deeper and make you think some? Hhmm?

Me…I’m thankful for:

• Every trial that I’ve gone through. Each one has provided me with an amazing opportunity to grow. No, I haven’t enjoyed going through a single one, but I’ve found the blessing for each trial I have made it through.

• People that I have lost in my life. Some people have walked away, some I’ve just lost touch with, while another has taken that final step away. However, every one that has walked away has taught me something about relationships. They have taught me something about myself. Ultimately, they have all helped me to appreciate those that are still in my life.

• Being blessed with the ability to laugh and find funny, even in the hardest and darkest of times. I know many people that can’t do this and they languish and wallow in misery. There isn’t a release valve for them. God graced me with that release valve and I can’t imagine living without it.

• Constant background music and occasional theme music in my life. Whether it’s a song on the radio, my best friend playing on the guitar, or simply hearing the wind moving through the trees. The life is SO full of the amazing and miraculous every single day, and yet, very few of us ever take the time to notice it. It’s almost as if we’ve become inundated with everything to the point where our mind filters it all out.

Those are just a few of the not-so-normal things that I’m thankful for each and every day. Sure, my life isn’t exactly what you’d call easy and stress free, but it’s MY life. The only one that I’ve got. And, really, we all only get one choice from two options…you can live and be miserable and die, or you can live and be happy and then die. The beginning and the end are already set for everyone. We only get to choose how we spend the middle part.

Take off your filters and make this Thanksgiving the one that last you the entire year.

And now, from the bottom of my heart. That crusty, flabby, fatty part of the heart I will leave you with this…

Thank you for reading and joining me here. May all your days be blessed with more than you could ever imagine asking for.

Monday, November 16

Something for my sons…

I’m a single Father. I don’t get any breaks. I wade through every day, first at work, then at home with my beautiful 3 year old son. I can honestly say; I’m tired most of the time. Mentally, physically, emotionally tired. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving every minute of it, but it is just me raising this little knight and trying to teach him what it means to be a strong, upstanding young man.

I’ve been asked often about how I’m raising him. I’ve got two other boys and I try to be a good example for them as well. But they don’t live with me, so they don’t get to see it day in and day out. But I found myself thinking about that question.

“How do you raise a child in today’s World?”

I look around at the kids that live in our World and I’m amazed at what I see. Where are the values? The morals? Hell…where are the good old fashioned beatings that kept kids straight when I was young?

Now, please, don’t think that I’m simply going to beat my son straight. :-) Tempting…but no.

He WILL know what consequences are and he will have a firm foundation in the things that I believe in as well. What are those things? I’ve talked about them all here before.

• Honor
• Integrity
• Respect
• Faith
• Honesty

To name off a few.

I listen to kids today, little kids 8 or 10 years old, talking back to their parents. In some cases, cussing them out too. I have never been tempted to smack another person’s child, but I HAVE been tempted to smack the parents. What in the world could they be thinking?!

I will admit; I got into my fair share of trouble as a kid. But I had a healthy respect for my parents. Often, my Mom more than my Dad and I couldn’t even conceive of swearing at them. I think I’d still be picking my teeth up, even now.

What’s worse is that I hear some people and media, deriding them very values that I hold most dear. My core values aren’t espoused anymore. No one wants to teach a child these things. Many would rather leave it to TV and then blame a teacher for a child’s behavior. That offends me. So I do the only thing I really can. I will ensure that MY sons know what I believe and how to be their own knights.

I found this quote today. I think that it pertains here, even though it was made a long time ago to a very different audience. So please, enjoy the words of General Douglas MacArthur regarding a few core values and what they provide.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.
Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.”

General Douglas MacArthur