Saturday, December 20, 2008

My abusive life

Molly at Adventures in Mercy
wrote a really great post about abuse called: Letters to an Abused Soul: When Love is “No”.
I felt kind of inspired by what she wrote here and even though I know many people have dealt with much worse than I have, I have been in abusive relationships almost my entire life.
She talked in her post about how sometimes stopping the destructive behavior can be the most loving thing for all parties involved. She also made great points about how abusive people are not pure evil, how true repentance can make that person safe to be around again and how rarely that happens.
I was the one who turned into an abuser because of my helplessness to fix my situation and in an attempt to change the people in my life.
Abuse didn't work, not for me anyway and it finally led to me almost completely ruining my whole life and losing everyone I cared about.
I did ( after some very extreme consequences and a prison sentence) learn that stopping my abuser from hurting me was the most loving thing for me to do for everyone involved.
I remember when after many visits from my then estranged wife I finally wasn't angry at her for the things she said. I had been praying about it because I had visitation many times while I was in prison and I almost always got very angry with her and she ruined every visit with my kids up until that day. I was just asking for God to help me with my emotions and to help me be strong for my sons. That day I saw her, not as a manipulating emotional abuser; but as a fellow human being with weakness and fears and I actually felt sorry for her. From that day forward the whole dynamic of our relationship changed. There was no healing for the marriage(it was irreparably broken) but for me as a broken twisted child and I think in some sense for her too. After years of giving up my power, I suddenly had control over myself back ( or for the first time) just because I chose not to get angry with her.
I wish I had that chance with my dad.
I don't think I will ever be what some people call normal, but I am better than I was and I hope that my children never have to go through the self inflicted hell that I went through. I actually thought that was normal, it can still be hard to tell when some one is trying to manipulate me, but I do know what it's like to have someone in my life that cares about me and isn't abusive or manipulative.
It's almost like having a new life, one that is a lot more bearable.
Yeah I bought into the prosperity gospel stuff and I was so sure that God would heal my old life.
But you know, maybe my old life was never what God intended. Maybe, fixing my old marriage wasn't God's will. Maybe we all need to let people in these types of situations have just a little more grace and just love them instead of looking at them with advice about waiting for God to change the other person.
One thing I have learned about those kinds of prayers is, God rarely changed the other person because of our prayers; but He does change us if we let Him.
Peace

Crap

Maybe it's just Christmas blues, but I feel like crap.
I am trying not to let it get to me, so far I'm not doing so well.
This is going to be a pretty good Christmas I hope . I have plenty of family to spend it with and I am really happy about that.
But this is probably the all time poorest I have ever been (financially speaking) at Christmas ever.
I know I am missing the point of Christmas, I know. What I mean is, I'm not missing the point as much as it is blurred by my feelings of inadequacy.
I am sure my family will love me even though I can't give them much for Christmas, I also can't really afford to help anyone else out, and that makes me feel bad.
I know this is just a passing phase, I have been here before and I made it out. I'm pretty confident I will make it out again.
No matter how broke I am, at least I am not in prison for Christmas. Not much has been worse than that for me.
Anyway, I hope it is a really great Holiday for all of us and we all feel loved and needed.
Peace

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monkees

Monkees,
We made monkees tonight(well mostly Johanna

& the boys)And they came out pretty good I

think.
Actually they are just cookies, but the kids

wanted to make Christmas cookies for the monks

that I work for and that is how they got the

name Monkees.
(Hey I thought it was pretty cute)

Life is so good here.Not to say that all in

my life is fixed but things are pretty good. I

really love living out here, even though I

don't get enough daylight hours to get a lot

done here right now.
We haven't gone to a church since we moved

though and that bothers me a little, but not

that much. This week I would have gone to our

old church but I had to work because we had an

extra 112 people to feed over the weekend and

I couldn't just let that go on without me

there.
I am exhausted and a little cranky.
I am slightly frustrated with work. It just

seems that I get stressed and everything seems

bad to me. Things aren't as bad as they seem.

I do love working at the abbey and I really

love living here, but I feel like I am being

somewhat taken advantage of.But Things could

be worse, many people have lost jobs and I

quit my last one before this, because I felt

like I was being targeted as the next to be

let go as soon as they found someone to fill

my position.
This job was offered just at the right time

and I was so happy and scared at the same time

to make this change. It has been tough but not

all that bad and we aren't homeless yet :D
We also have this great place and wonderful

kids and too many cats(including one that was

here when we got here) unruly chickens and

even though things are hard at times, this

place and this lifestyle are worth trying to

keep. The kids and Johanna deserve it and we

think we can turn this into a really great

life. I hope so and I hope that every one of

my children (biological and otherwise) will

KNOW that I love them and will remember me

with warm fond thoughts.
I guess I should get some sleep now, Hope

you all have a great night.
Peace

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Update

It’s been a couple of pretty uneventful days (except for a small problem at work that I think is resolved for now) . We are closer to being at home in the farmhouse and we have many plans that will take time to realize, but I can see things slowly coming together.
One thing that has happened is I am having lots of computer problems. I am thankful that my laptop is still working ok (as of today) but my desktop that has most of my stuff on it has fried 2 power supplies and I am hoping that it can be fixed fairly inexpensively. I also had this old beast of a P3 that was running fine before the move but I haven’t been able to get it to boot up tonight & I just gave up on it a few minutes ago. I think I may have messed up the PS on it as well, but I am sure I can scab an old one to work in it pretty easily.
After all, this is one of 2 that I had from like 1999 when I got my first computer.
So I am not as aggravated with this one not working as my newer one that was pretty much the house computer until it died.
I have invested way too much in this machine already but I have a pretty new 320 gig HDD and a 160 gig HDD that have pretty much all of my photos and music on them and it seems that now almost everything is going to SATA instead of IDE and of course my 2 drives are the latter. Frustrating. Combine that with not much money and Christmas is coming WAY TOO SOON! Adds up to I may have an aneurism at any moment. (ok I am kidding about that, I mean I couldn’t really just cause myself one could I?)
Things are good though. We are working out how to handle this move and finances and it seems like we will be able to pull this off.
All in all life is good.
Peace

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks Giving

Our Thanks Giving day was pretty cool.
Johanna made a 22 lb turkey and I think we have almost half of it left.
My family all came out here to the new place ( the farm house) and we rode 4 wheelers and ate and drank coffee and the kids played and fought and in the end it was a great night and day.
I got to spend more daylight hours here than I have in a week and we got to explore a little more. We discovered a fire pit that we plan to utilize tomorrow night and we found that some Bees have taken up residence in the old shack that is down in front of the main house(this is sort of exciting to me since I am very interested in bees in general and I would like to start a couple of hives myself).

I think that in spite of all of the pressure and worry that consumes my thoughts lately, I have many things to be thankful for.
We have this new place and we can have as many animals as we like here, not to mention that everyone has their own bedroom and plenty of space to get away from each other if we need to.
I also am thankful that my second son(the recently troubled one) has a better attitude and seems to be doing better in general.
My oldest son is safe, for now.
All of the other kids are getting over colds, but they all seem to be doing ok including liking the new schools.
My wife is living in the same house as me for the first time in months.
She is also blissfully happy to be living here in the middle of nowhere with all of these cows around us ever day.
I have a pretty good job that doesn't pay enough but it is a job and unlike so many Americans I have not been out of work at all.
My brothers and sister are doing well and their kids all seem to be fine too.
I will not be rich ( at least in the next few years and probably never) But my family has what they need and we love each other.
I am really thankful that my life is what it is right now. I will do my best to enjoy this place and the ones I love.
I will try to remember why it is I work as hard as I do and treasure the people in my life, because that is what I am most thankful for.
As I look around me, I realize that God really does love me, it's so evident because I don't deserve this and yet here I am hopefully realizing a dream and staying here for years to come.
If not I will be ok, but I am very thankful today

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I am really tired

I need this day off. I mean I really need it. People keep telling me that I look tired. I am.
Too bad I have to be in court for my second felonious son. I hope this is going to turn out ok. I hope it will but I doubt it. This is only an arraignment but I am a little worried because I don't know what to do. I just want my kids to all be successful (not in a ,"I'm all rich & stuff" way but in a ,"look I can totally take care of myself in a semi-responsible way" kind of way). I really hope that works out for all of them not just the second one. The thing is I can't see past my own fear right now about any of this. I have an older kid who has managed to completely ruin his young adult life in a few short years and I just keep seeing the same thing happening with the second son and frankly, it scares the crap out of me. Not to mention the issues we have had pretty much since I got custody of these boys.
I made lots of mistakes when the were young. Lots. Heck I was 18. I was also a high school drop out. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew it was important. I mean not important enough to listen to my mother, but really important. Still it is very clear now that I had no idea what I was doing and I am sure that fact weighs heavily on the choices they have made.
But I have been better, I am much better than I was and I know they see that and still they are both angry with me. Angry enough to make really bad decisions while I beg them not to be stupid. It's really frustrating and I feel like I have no control at all.
So bring it. I will face it, again. I will look at my own humanity again and I will see how powerless I am, even before they show me. Again.
I wish I could save him, But I think he has to want to be saved.
I'm pretty sure that's how that works and the only thing that I know of that makes people want to change, is consequences of their actions that no one can save them from. When you experience enough pain you will change, I think. I hope. I hope he has a low tolerance for pain, but I doubt that too.
Peace..


p.s. If you feel like saying a prayer for me/son#2 or the rest of my family, feel free.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Winning Pumpkin



Here it is in all of it's 3 day old glory



So if you are in any way related to me you probably have already heard about our winning pumpkin I thought I would post a picture of it before it goes the way of the compost (or chicken feed).
We were very surprised to win this contest since it was done quickly and we really just had fun.
In fact we had a blast. His face is a little caved in but he is getting a bit soft. there are things carved out all the way around this is just that face that I carved. Johanna carved out most of the rest of it . The evil genius drew a face on the other side and Mom helped him carve it out. Then she took requests for items to put on the rest of the pumpkin, a bat, a spider, the moon a ghost and the word BOO! .
The real winners of this contest did a great job carving out the Headless Horseman, but they left before the judging and could not be located. So a second vote from the crowd made our kids the proud new owners of a Wii ! It was a really great night, even if we hadn't won we had a great time just carving pumpkins and getting hot chocolate spilled all over me. it was a party for sure, and it was to benefit the playground fund where my boys go to school.

Another thing that has been going on is we are probably moving. We found this really great place that is owned by the abbey that I work for. There is enough room there for us to have what ever animals we want and very private. our only close neighbors will be cows. It is so much closer to my job (I could get home in about 5-6 minutes) and it's like a dream come true for us.
This is a picture of the house

We really love this place and it is a great set up for our chickens plus we can add to the menagerie.
I wish I could say I will miss this neighborhood. I will miss some people here and I know we will be coming around here from time to time. We also plan on continuing to go to the same church that we have been near here. But that will mean 1 or 2 22 mile drives a week instead of at least 5. I am kind of stressed out and worried (even though I know that doesn't help) because we will be leaving my 16 year old son here, sort of.
We have had many many issues lately with him and he is in trouble with the law at present. I don't want to get rid of my son, but he has been acting extremely foolishly and we are waiting to see what is going to happen. Some good news we just got is that he is being charged as a juvenile, we were worried that he was going to get charged as an adult because he is 16 and they do it a lot thense days. So at least he won't end up in prison over this, he may end up in a residential program, but there isn't any help in prison. I also have a referral in to a local mental health facility where I hope to get a psych exam for him & possibly medication. This has been in the forefront of my thoughts for weeks now and the main reason I haven't posted anything much in weeks. Because I can't really focus on much and I am exhausted most of the time, feeling like I may just snap from the pressure. I haven't had anything good to say so I have been following Thumper's Mom's advice and saying nothin at all.
I am tired, I am sad that my boy who I love so much seems to be destroying his own life over nothing. I also know that God is good and all of this is somehow going to work for our good but it sure is hard to see sometimes.
I also am sad that when I set it up so the troubled boy can stay with his friend's family he was surprised that I was willing to let him and happy to go live with them. It made me feel not very important to him. But, I really think this could be a good thing for us and him. we shall see how it works out. I am worrying way too much and it's not like me really, but as my wife pointed out, I fear change. I do I admit it, even though I know change is good, I am almost comfortable in a crappy trailer in a crappy neighborhood with a kid on a self-destruct mission.
SO I guess that's it, sorry it takes me so long to post anything but I have a lot going on at the moment.
Peace

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I am not feeling so good right now.
But hey, nothing lasts forever, right?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Soon & Very Soon

It just hit me that I am extremely inappropriate at times.
I live with a bunch of little boys & that in it's self seems to exacerbate the problem.
I am extremely tired as well tonight, but after inappropriate story time with my youngest son and a very inappropriate song sung at the top of my lungs in the shower combined with 2 cups of coffee, I think I could stay up for a little while.
I think that the problem is, I am very much a little kid most of the time(that is, when I'm not a frustrated adult) and I like to have fun; even when it's not appropriate.
SO I came dragging my butt in after like an 11 hour work day and about 1.5 hours in commute and my kids are watching a video that grandma made for them that includes a Canadian remake of a Japanese cartoon, Discovery Jones and a lot of commercials for a 3 cd set of hymns sung by a black choir. This inspired my shower version of "Soon and Very Soon, You're Going to Bite My Butt".
This was followed by coffee and alsmost falling asleep in the chair watching said video. But then, alas "snicker" I realised that my Wife was missing. She was putting the youngest child in bed. I know that at this time of day, her deepest sesire is to KILL THAT BOY, so I jump in his bed to read him one of his altime favorite books ( in the past two weeks) "One Small Poop by the Poop". I think he kind of liked it but it did make me think about what I might be teaching this young mind about the seriousness of bed time.
Anyhow, in the immortal words of Forest Gump,"That's all I have to say about that".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This video changed my life




I came across this a couple of days ago and I really want to share it with the world.
I got it from this guy's Xanga site.. this is their version of the song..
I hope you enjoy I know I did ..

Crappy Parenting

Yes,
I am referring to myself. I haven't been writing at all because when I last wrote something for this blog, I was in really good spirits. I can't say that I am now, although I am not really depressed or anything.
I have been a pretty bad example in the past for my kids and I exposed my older boys to lots of thing they should never have been exposed to. I know the past is gone, but it haunt's me.
My fifteen year old son just went to juvenile detention about 2 weeks ago.
I am reminded of my weakness and mistakes when ever something like this happens.
I am really worried about this kid. I try not to worry about anything. But this one has me worried.
His older brother has many issues including a pretty bad drug problem.I am afraid this kid will give in to the hopeless outlook his brother has and completely ruin his life.
Not to mention the other kids and the effect he will have on them.
So, right now I have 2 sons in jail. Not a shining testimony for how wonderful of a parent I am. I also didn't get a birthday card in the mail fast enough because I haven't mailed one yet and the 15 year old's B day is the 29th. I think I dropped the ball on this one.
I did visit him once and he seems ok. But I'm not and I am afraid this isn't serious enough for him to make an actual change. He sounded good and said he will do better when he gets out, But I am skeptical. I have heard my oldest give me a complete line of crap and do what ever the hell he wanted with no concern for anyone else around him. This is what worries me, that my younger boy will follow in his brother's footsteps.
God Help Me, and them,
Peace

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Alright Already

Well here's the deal.
It's been a while since I posted and I am kind of behind (good thing I didn't actually make any sort of commitment about posting to anyone) so I am going to try to post something today, even though I have many other things I should do today.
I have been kicking around several ideas for the past few months, maybe not so much ideas as thought processes. Any way, my thoughts about church and what it means to BE the church and what roll institutions play in said roll. Mostly due to some blogs that I regularly read and a couple of books I have read combined with my own discontent in my current position spiritually (if that makes any sense at all). So a few months ago I start questioning things, things that I believe or have believed. Through this process I have come to some new conclusions about what it means to be the church, but I am still pretty clueless as to how I fit into that and where to start.
This has been an issue of some debate in my house and caused a few misunderstandings.
Especially since my wife is a confirmed Lutheran and feels most comfortable in a liturgical setting and I was brought up as a Southern Baptist where the main focus is getting people saved and Hell-fire and brimstone preaching. We have had a few disagreements on certain issues But mostly I think it's mis-communication.
Which brings me to Sunday, at the as-of-yet-unnamed-consolidation-of-five-Lutheran-churches. This is the building where we were married and we both really love the people there(most of them anyway) and it is where my wife wants to take the kids. So I can accept and embrace that.
I really do and almost always did like it there, we stopped going there over some incidents that involved our kids, no one was injured or anything though.
The point to this is we have gone back for the past 2 weeks and I still have my issues with just being in an institution that is more like an exclusive club than a part of the body of Christ.
There are also now 2 pastors at this new church we heard each one last week and one this week. Oh did I mention that the first is Female? That is a different experience for me, not hearing women preach but having them be a pastor. That is not the reason I am writing this at all, although it does add to my story.
I have had all of these conflicting thoughts about returning to a "church" at all and when my wife asked me if I wanted to go with her and the kids I just said yes because I like to be with them and it is my day off now that God put like the best job ever right in front of me.
So as we were there and we came to the part of the service where there is a sermon (something I have sort of decided is not really necessary for people who are the CHURCH) the male pastor (Jerry something) is talking about living the gospel about being outward focused and about the research he has done on what the Lutheran churches that are surviving are doing.
What he found is that the ones who are able to hold things together are the ones who are the most accepting and outward focused. Those churches that are more concerned with the community around them and the needs of those people than they are about the survival of the "EXCLUSIVE CLUB"(his actual words there).
It was God, once again confirming something that I think and pushing me in that direction. So,
will I become a confirmed Lutheran? I doubt it, but I have been a member of that church since the pastor who married us told me I was. I also think that if this is the way we are going to be led then this may be the place for me to start. For me to find what part I actually play in this ministry. God is showing me that maybe the building isn't a must, but fellowship with believers is. Blog land is great and I can bounce ideas off of others safely here. It's easy here, most of the people I dialog with here I have never met in person. But real relationship is different and that is what God is calling us all to. Not that I am going to stop questioning, I think that is actually an important part of growing in Christ. But I also need to accept some things and with all of it's limitations, the institution is doing more together than I can do on my own and I desperately want to do something more than talk about what we need to do.
Not that I do nothing, but I know God wants more of me, more than I want to give and I believe that this is the place that He wants me to start Living out my faith in new ways. Who knows? Maybe I will have a subversive influence in this group too, you never know. Heck, God can use a donkey, right?
So that's it, God has spoken to me and I am giving in. SO THERE. Peace

Monday, September 01, 2008

Back in church

So,
We just show up this Sunday for a more traditional Lutheran service than I am used to attending. In fact 'm not used to attending much right now, I haven't been going to a church service at all in a few months. It was much of the same old stuff that you would expect.It was kind of nice and comfortable and I think that's ok. I still have issues with some of the institutional trappings such as clergy and laity separation and how for many people, showing up there is their Christian duty (and nothing else is). I am trying to reconcile this stuff in my head and figure out a way that I can have fellowship with other believers outside of an institutional setting. People just tend to get so uncomfortable talking about God outside of "church". For me there needs to be something more than serving in a church. I have no problem doing that (as long as it doesn't take away from my family) but what I really desire is something with more meaning, something real.
I have grown tired over the years of the alter-egos that so many people have on Sunday when they are surrounded by people they perceive to be judging them. Why does it have to always be some sort of show?
One thing I really like about the Lutheran church is the lack of a "show" in services. While I loved the music in the Charismatic church I used to attend, the professionalism in the music combined with what ever else happened in the service (including the teaching/preaching of the pastor) tends to create more of a mask for everyone to put on that has little to do with who they are.
My wife thinks I like to just create an issue with authority. I guess the the truth is, as time goes on it's not that I have a problem with authority, I just don't view some of the people as authority that I used to.
Jesus said that the spirit will teach us all we need to know. He also said that the whole law was summed up in only two commandments. So why do we make it so complicated?
My wife thinks that no questioning is ok, I think questioning is ok. Luther certainly questioned.
Sorry not really sure where I am headed with all of this. I guess I am just sort of processing my thoughts here.
Any way, we went to church, it was kind of cool, and I would like to do something more than that. I guess that's what I am saying..

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back To Reality

Vacation was awesome,
My wife's sisters and mom and all of the guys were awesome too.
I think we all had a great time. I don't think I have ever had such a relaxing time off in my life.
The beach was absolutely beautiful. I got some pretty cool pictures I think.
Now dealing with reality is I really couldn't afford to take the time off so now I must pay. I was even thinking of trying to get a second job somewhere just so I could sort of recover.
times are kind of hard in this town where we live, many people out of work (I'm sure we are not alone in that) and the jobs that are out there are getting harder to get and seems like they are paying less.
I felt kind of guilty when we were away, one for missing work and not earning money when I could have been. I also get this undercurrent of guilt because of the fact that we got to go do this and I could never afford to get such a house as this (even for a week) while there are people in this neighborhood who are really struggling. I mean we are too to a certain degree, I took a pay cut to take my new job, which is really cool and less stress than I have had in a long time. But we still have the same bills, I was getting sort of comfortable ( not that I was financially set or anything, but I had enough to pay for almost everything ) and now I am back to an earlier time, when it was week to week for real.
I really can't complain because almost all of my hardships have to do with my own life choices.
Had I not gone to prison, I would likely still be at the same job and I would still have the house that I lost to foreclosure. Life would probably look quite different than it does now. But the fact is I can't change the past and I need to get the things done that are in front of me.
I will get back on track eventually, it's just going to be hard.
Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing leaving my last job. But when I think back about the tension and stress and just the situation I was in, it was the right thing to do.
I also need to remind myself that God has made a way every time for me that I can't explain or begin to deserve. I'm not sure why He loves me, but it's fairly evident if I look back over the past 20 plus years. I also need to remind myself that, had I not lost everything to do with my old life, I might have never met Johanna and I would not have Calvin or Mike or A.J. and I wouldn't want a life without any of them now.
Things are still pretty rocky with my marriage and statistically, we shouldn't make it. We both tend to fall back into this defensive mode from being hurt so much and we act like nothing matters. But the fact is, neither of us wants a life without the other. Yeah when I am acting stupid at say 6:00 a.m. I'm sure it sucks to even be in the same house as me. But She loves me, I know it, like no other human ever has. Sometimes I get hurt too (although I am sure it is far less frequent) and I start trying to act tough and I want to just give up. But, I can't imagine a life without this family. Even though she says we aren't when she is freaked out about what is happening with kids or finances or both. But we are, we don't make sense and we are not an easy fit. All of us are so different, But there is love here. I hope I never have to live without that again.
Feeling so alone really stinks, even though I know God is with me, I really like it when my family is with me too.
Peace

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vacation

I am on vacation. I really can't afford the time off, but I needed it. This has been the most relaxing couple of days I have had in a long time. We have been here since Saturday night and I can only stay till Thursday night but it is so nice. My wife's family is so nice, all of them. I have these moments where I feel like an intruder but for the most part I feel pretty at ease here with them. We are staying in a beach house that I could never afford right on the beach in Saint Augustine, Florida. I live in Florida, but we don't have beaches like this down South on the West coast. I have taken some pretty cool pictures I will post a couple.
Sea oats in the morning


the morning sun on the beach

the board walk from the house to the beach

It's really pretty quiet and peaceful (except for the occasional screaming child) and I think this has been really wonderful so far. I am so glad I didn't decide to stay home.
Well I need to go rest some more,

Peace

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Sermonetts"

I want to Give a quiet shout to GRACE for the inspiration for this post. It's been a while since I wrote anything and I guess this as good a time as any. She posted about her latest experience in a small unorganized church that she attended Sunday. It was sort of amusing and kind of disturbing at the same time. But, one thought that came to my mind was about how we judge others when we are the outsider looking in.
It really started me thinking/remembering about one similar experience that I had.
As most people who have read my blog at all know, I was in prison for 2 1/2 years. I am not proud of that fact, but it has helped to form who I am. So, it is just a fact. Any way, this experience took place while I was in prison.
I had gone to work release (which was actually at the same camp I was doing time in) and one of the so-called benefits of that status was to attend outside church. Well at first in this program (because it was brand new, and we were dealing with guards on a work camp who now had to run a work release as well) there was no service we could attend. But there was a man sent to find us and to eventually get them to bring us to one church service a week . Some times we got to go on Sunday mornings and sometimes it was a night service during the week. There were even a few times when we were able to do both. But it was a very unusual experience to say the least.
We attended this tiny church that was dubbed a "mission" in a very small country town in North Florida. It was in a store front that was probably a laundry mat in a previous life. It was divided into two main sections with plate glass in the front of both places and no connecting door, you had to go outside to go into the other room. Any way, it was small, there were kids from the surrounding area that the volunteer youth leader and his young wife would drive around and pick up. They would drive around, see kids in the street and ask them if they wanted to go to Sunday School.
The pastor was a short little fella with an unbelievable southern twang accompanied by a full on high nasal tone. The Congregation was a mix of White, Black and Hispanic, mostly poor people from the now almost ghost town where the church and work camp were located.
Now, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, and I had many reasons for not attending church for a long time, once I was of an age where I could refuse to go. I was 16 I think when I told my mother one Sunday morning that I didn't want to go and (much to my surprise) she said,"ok". Before that day it was never an option, and I had not gone at all from the age of 16 to 29. I had spent every Sunday up until that day in a church somewhere and I was tired of doing what was expected of me. It was one of my first attempts at freedom (at least in my eyes).
Any way, I had been attending a Charismatic church before I actually went to prison, and what got me going there was the love that I sensed from God after I was charged, with a very serious crime and thought my life was over. God had showed me that He loved me in a very personal way and spoke directly to my heart and changed me forever when I was sitting in a county jail cell. So as soon as I could, I went to church and I kept going every chance I got, because that is how I understood I was supposed to honor God for his love for me.
I did however still have huge problems with the Southern Baptist denomination. I was very much against going back to a Baptist church.
Well, when you are in work release, you go to what ever church you can, if you want to go to church. So I went to an Independent Baptist Mission in a tiny broken down country town where most of the people you meet are dirt poor or corrections officers. Oh there were cotton and peanut farmers as well, they seemed to do ok for the most part.
It was quite superficial to me the way the order of service went. The pastor gave what some in my past have called a "sermonette" and we sang some old songs, and we usually had some food after the service. It was mostly a really nice gesture by some folks trying to ,"visit the prisoner".
I liked getting out from behind the fence, but I didn't see this as a spiritual feeding ground really, I sometimes had a problem taking it seriously at first.
Until, I think it was the third time I went to this mission and it was the first Sunday morning service we had gone to since I had been able to go. This seemed very much the same old thing with a sermonette and some hymns, along with a really nice group of people trying to do something good for the cause of Christ. Then there it was, the slap in the face. It was time to take up the offering. Now I will remind you that this was a group of people not exactly marked by wealth. There were maybe 15 people including about 6-8 prisoners in every service. They had abundance of pretty much nothing.
When it was time for the offering they didn't pass the plate around, much to my surprise. The pastor asked every one to come and bring their offering to the altar where there was a single offering plate that sat on a small pedestal . One by one, people went up and knelt around that plate and gave up what small offering they had to bring, including the short, ineloquent, full time construction worker/contractor, 60 year old pastor and his wife, holding hands.
I, never felt so convicted in my life about casting judgment on anyone as I did that morning. It changed me. God changed me that moment and opened my eyes to how real those people were. I never saw anything so beautiful in a church service before or since.
I guess I was wrong. I thought they were just going through the motions, I saw this as religion and as just an act that most of them were putting on, I didn't think it had anything to do with God; not really.
Then as I kept going they showed me how, in an unsophisticated way that some might discount as small meaningless gestures, to love people where they are. Sure, they were in an attractional model of church, so was I before and after attending there. But they got to know the kids they picked up off of the street and bought them school clothes and one night I remember every kid there got a new pair of shoes. And they would have celebrations for us prisoners when one of us was leaving or getting out. Even on our birthdays, we were treated like people who mattered to them. We were drug dealers, and thieves and violent criminals and they treated us like men. Not just men, family. We ate home made fried chicken and cakes and every bite tasted like the love of God for us. I never had it so good. I never saw Jesus in another person until my misconceptions were shattered by grace. And, even in the process of showing me how wrong I was about His people, God gently told me over and over that I am His, and He loves me right where I am , right now. I guess I should do the same.....
Thanks Grace, you really got me remembering something very important. The race is not given to the swift or the strong, but to he that endures to the end.
Thank You Jesus.
Peace

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The New Job

So far so good, my new job seems to be working out pretty well. It is extremely odd that the job that God would put before me is in an abbey. But, that's cool I can deal with it.
The hours are really awesome I am home every night with my family (something I haven't done in a while). I am also back to cooking (something I actually love doing) and my stress level has dropped by at least 200%. I was barely sleeping anymore and that was getting really old (not to mention exhausting). I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it or not, but I really hated management. It was actually ok when I worked during the day for a casual dining place where I did all of the opening stuff and placing and receiving all of the orders. I was ok at it too, I think sometimes I am not so good at dealing with employee issues. But, I had to to have a stable paycheck that I could count on. That was pretty much the only reason I went into management. I was never in love with the idea of being on salary. I may try to get salary where I am, I am not completely sure if that would be good or not. I don't want to go back to doing 50+ hours a week, I am really enjoying having a life outside of work. Like today, I was off (2 weeks in a row I got Sunday off woohoo!!!) so I slept late , even though Johanna really wanted to check out this other church, we all over slept. then we did some stuff around the house and later went to the beach. It's a lake near here and so far they have not closed the water this summer, that is really awesome we had a great time just playing around at the playground then in the water.
I have also been able to have dinner every night with my family and that means a lot to me. Yes I took a pay cut. Do I think it was worth it? So far YES!!! I just hope I don't fall behind in my bills, but I think if I am careful we can do this. Besides, how am I supposed to Follow God's plan for my life if I am always working for some corporation to make them the maximum profit. At times it seemed that Sonny's might consume my whole life. I would do things for the business when I was off (which infuriated Johanna by the way) and the days I worked there was no time left in the day for family or anything but work. Even on my days off I would be so spent that I wouldn't be much fun most of the time and I really wasn't doing much work around the house.
Plus there is just the environment of this place that is sort of calming in it's self. I will post a picture or 2 so you can get an idea (not that I can do it justice).
This is the view of Lake Jovita that I see every morning right before I walk into work


and this is looking up at the bell tower just before I walk in the door of the abbey

Finally this is the front of the church that is on the other side of the bell tower picture.
Well I think that is enough for now I hope that this goes well for me because I really like just being at this place. But, I know that even if this goes bad, God will make a way, He always does.
Peace

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Regrets My Version

Jeff posted today about regrets. He really got me thinking and man I have a lot of thoughts racing around right now. I Can't help but think that who I am is the sum of my regrets.
I almost posted/said some things today that I would no doubt regret. I am really glad it didn't go quite like that and I am feeling fairly good about life right now.
What that doesn't mean is that I have no regrets. I have a ton. I have hurt the ones I love numerous times and ruined my own life several times as well. I almost lost my freedom for good a few years back.
Mostly I am not a great big brainy guy who reads tons of books or even has a detailed theology that I follow. I was fairly immersed in the Southern baptist traditions as a child an I have a pretty good grasp on the basics of their theology. But mostly I write from my personal experience. I am probably never going to be the one who can link all of these historical events to what is happening now. I think my attention span is too short for that any way( I am amazed that I can actually finish a book that is more than 100 pages ).
Any way , sort of the point of this is getting lost here. some of my regrets are constant reminders to me, of grace. Grace that was given to me once I understood how undeserving I am.
Before, I was proud. Sometimes I still am even with everything that has happened. But thank God He is patient and kind and loves me any way. I can't really prove it, most people would look at my life and think I am far less than privileged and things aren't really that great. But things could be a lot worse than they are. Yeah I live in a crappy trailer in a crappy neighborhood where there are gang symbols painted on the street. I have had to deal with a lot, but I deserve nothing.
God has given me a chance right now to treasure what is important and to try to take care of the ones I love and not just get by. It is so cool the way God makes himself known to me. Like this job I just got. I wasn't planning on changing jobs
But because of certain events at my job my Supervisor and Store manager were both fired and I was marked to be fired. The only thing that kept me from being fired was the guy who was supposed to still have a job, walked out just minutes before I went in on my day off to confront them about why they were firing me and why the staff knew even though I didn't.
But the crazy thing is, I had a job offer before I even knew that I was supposed to be fired.
And it turns out that starting out , this job is a pay cut, but it's only 40 hours a week and I am home every night and I have tomorrow off. I haven't had Sundays off in some time.
This job also comes with health insurance, that's something I haven't had in a while either.
The strangest thing about this is it is for the Catholic church. I am cooking for monks at an abbey. I think it's really odd that this would be the job offer I get. After all I have just about stopped going to church at all lately and I have no faith any more in institutional churches, so I get a job working for the great grand dad of all of those western denominations. Pretty cool huh?
God is amazing!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Just an update

I don't have anything really important to blog about that I want to make public knowledge (yet). So I figured I would just say that some recent events have been pretty chaotic and nerve rattling.
The situation with my 15 year old gets better then worse( hopefully we will be on an upswing very soon) He is not taking the diversion program very seriously at all right now but I plan to give him a wake up call when we have to report on Tuesday.
That is just about all I have to say about that , except that this really hurts me that after all of this and his seemingly changed attitude, that he would start to take advantage of the situation again just because he feels there won't be any repercussion. I plan on making sure that he takes this seriously, because I really love my son and I really do want him to succeed in this program and have no criminal record at all. But I don't want him to merely get through it, I want him to do the program and become a better person because of it. I know that he has the potential to be a really great man and there is a lot of good in him. He just hides it really well sometimes.

The other stuff I really want to write about that is in the forefront of my thoughts almost all of the time I don't feel at liberty to post because of the extremely minute chance that the wrong person might read it. I do plan on laying out the whole story sometime in the not so distant future.
In other news, we gave Otis to the county 2 days ago. I felt like crap (still do) and I know that in some way I failed him and that is why this happened. He was such a good dog in so many ways and he absolutely freakin loved me for pretty much no reason at all. I did almost nothing for this dog and Johanna joked about what a huge betrayal it was that he would want to come home and sleep with me most nights. I also loved Otis. I am still trying to process the incident and what I could have done to change the way it happened. But the harsh truth is, He was a huge risk. This was the third bite. This was technically "provoked" because of the food issue. I was a little surprised to hear that when the dog officer came to the house.
But the other bites made no sense what so ever and just the fact that he was nervous and was easily frightened into biting was really risky with a dog that weighed more than 3 of our 4 kids at home.
I am vaguely familiar with the theology that points animals not being eternal (beings that is) but deep down I hope I get to see Otis some day again and am able to apologize and tell him how much I loved him and how much joy he gave me.
I hope he wasn't too afraid when they did what they had to do.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A little hope

Yes, true story. I have just the smallest amount of hope for my relationship with my 15 year old son (and a little for his life not being ruined) .
I found out the other day that in spite of the judge's recommendation they are putting him in a diversion plan anyway. I am so glad because this means that if he can complete it,. he won't have a record at all and what he was arrested for, while illegal was not horrible.
I am so glad they are giving him this chance but he still has a ways to go, we shall see what happens now. The ball truly is in his court now, the results will depend solely upon him .

Also I got to spend a few hours with him yesterday,which is rare these days especially since he has not been coming home in like 2 weeks. He brought his friend with him and they helped us kill and dress16 chickens. They were the last of what my wife calls "the Bubbas" because they are freakishly huge and fast growing. These girls( we ordered all pullets) dressed out to like 6-7 lbs. each. Try finding those in your grocery store. If you do I bet they will be expensive ( since every thing is now).
So it was a great day and night. After we were done killing and cleaning up the mess, I asked them if they would want to go out to dinner with us ( I know neither of us wanted to cook after that) and they accepted . We went to a buffet A pretty good one actually( I have a real aversion to buffets in general) a Chinese place with not a lot of Chinese food. It was ok, and every one ate(very rare indeed).
So, I guess while we aren't out of the woods yet, there is some hope and a little bridge mending going on in my family. I know I should not be saying this stuff really , but I am very hopeful and no matter what, I love my son. I love them all and I want them all to know it. I am still only one man and I can't be everything to everyone or have unlimited time to spend with everyone. But I do with all my heart love all these kids. I hope they can see that and learn that they can depend on me.
My oldest is still waiting to be moved to a drug treatment center, but I am trying to keep up with letter writing. I know how important those are when you are locked up. It's solid evidence that someone does love you and is thinking about you. Phone calls are nice, but letters, you can pull them out and read them again and again.
So if you are reading this please join me in a little thank you prayer, because God gave me these kids and He can take them away. My life is meaningless without them.
Lord, Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you
AMEN

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm not really a very good example right now

I have had approximately 4 beers ( a lot for me ) And I have the slightest buzz but I am going to post this any way.
Please forgive me if you are one of those people who can't drink alcohol.
the last few days have been a little chaotic and I am teetering on a for real depression.
My son 15 ( the idiot) has been home twice as far as I know, I did get to talk to him and touch him last night , but it still doesn't look too good. He is at a friend's house tonight as well. He has barely been home in 2 weeks. I feel powerless in the situation, seems that the state can't make him do any more than I can. so that is one issue.
Then there is Otis. Otis is the dog that my wife and I got on our 1 day honeymoon because we had a whole day and no one to take care of , so we needed a dog.
The day before yesterday, he bit one of the kids. not like a nip on the hand ( the boy is fine) but a for real bite, aggressive conflict over food bite. Like this is serious. If it was someone else's dog, I would just say kill him & be done with it. But this is my dog that loves me like you would not believe. He is one of 2 best dogs in the whole world. I can't stand the thought of putting him to sleep and I am afraid he will be scared and bite a stranger that tries to take him. So here we are. Johanna asked me if I would help pay for it if we found a vet to pull all of his teeth out. I am actually thinking that this is a way I can keep my dog, I know it is a selfish thing and The kid didn't deserve to be bitten. I also wonder about putting Otie through this much pain and what his quality of life will be without teeth. He loves rib bones.
There are other contributing issues to my depressed state,Like my wife living in a different house to get away from the kid who refuses to come home.
Ah yes life is grand at times.
I am still hopeful that things will get better and I am sure they will eventually.
I sure hope so.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Towers

I am now thinking about this and I can't shake it so easily,
I read 2 blog posts that got me thinking and after a really long comment on one I decided that I should just write my own post.
So, here goes.
Jeff was talking about the difference in ascending and seeking. We need to seek God and His kingdom, but not try to ascend to it. Only God can make that connection successfully. He has to initiate it, He has to bring it about. We can build all the towers or temples we want but we
will never get to God on our effort.
My personal journey has been one of my effort giving way to grace , repeatedly over the years. Just when I think I've got it down, the rug gets pulled out from under my feat and my tower comes crashing down.
I see things a lot differently than I did a few years ago.
Some things have not changed: I believe that Jesus is The only son of God and our only hope in this life. I believe that he was crucified, died, buried and rose again on the third day.
I pretty much believe all of the stuff I learned as a small child in a Baptist Sunday school (except for that sinners prayer crap).
Now I do believe that we make a decision for Christ, but I think saying some words has little or nothing to do with it and certainly not just repeating what some public speaker is saying.
I think that good theology is important, but not the key. I think we can be very wrong and still make it to heaven and likewise very right and miss Heaven. I also question what has been ingrained in me about Heaven and wonder if God didn't mean something entirely different than what we reduce it to. Sure pearly gates and streets of gold sound good but that could just be the best description that John could come up with ( since he was just a man like me) .
I think that claiming to have all the answers is a sure sign of how far off the mark we are. At least in my life this has been true.
I have pretty much stopped attending "church" services because it doesn't help me do what is important. Because I feel like those same services ,for me are my golden calf.
I used to attend a large church in the area. I would serve as an usher, stay late, come early Put my kids and wife through hell because it was that important to me.
My efforts, how stupid.
I still ended up divorced, I still went to prison, I still ruined my own life and adversely effected the lives of the people that I said were the most important to me, my kids.
My effort is shit.
God has made all of the real changes that have taken place in me. There are a few like, I grew a heart. Like the way I feel when I see a small child now. Like the way I can't take the news any more. I just can't deal with it. I will never forget the look on my mom's face when she asked me if everything was alright because I was crying watching the news. There is too much weight in this life when it is just what you know about around you. the weight of the world can crush you if you let it. I also see the importance of loving those around me, that I didn't choose. My family my neighbors the people I meet at work or the grocery store. Trying to be Jesus all the time is really hard. It's kind of a relief to know that my efforts are pointless. Takes off a whole lot of pressure.
It also allows me to give someone else the benefit of the doubt. Turns out , their efforts don't matter either.
Peace

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad

Happy Father's Day!
I know I let you down sometimes, I know that I would be ashamed to call me son. But, You are always so patient with me and I want to thank you for that.
For always being there in my times of weakness and need. When I am just acting stupid and rebelling against you, your love is still constant.
Many times over you have proven yourself to me, not that you ever owed me an explanation but you are just so understanding of what it's like for me. You know how it is to be where I am.
I could never deserve the love you give me but you love me just the same because I am yours.
Thanks for that, I think you are really cool for that. Some people may look at you and see something different, they say you don't understand or that you are cruel or angry. Obviously they don't know you like I do. Because if you had cause to be angry, you certainly would have it with me. But every time come back having spent everything, dirty and ashamed, you never worry about getting dirty giving me a great big hug. You look past the filthy rags and matted hair, the incredible stink that must be on me that I can no longer smell from wallowing in it, and you see your precious son who you love who you would not let go. Ever.
Yeah,
Thanks for that .
Oh, uhh . I love you too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My day off

Today Is my day off , so I will make this short so then I can go back to spending time with Johanna and the kids.
This morning we got up slow, had some coffee, I helped with watering and feeding of animals and then we watched Bella together.
I thought this was a really well done picture with really incredibly powerful imagery.
In some ways I can relate to the story. We all have broken lives in some sense. Events in my life were similar ( though I think the main character's was worse than my own) but I have done time in prison, wrecked my own life and continue to deal with the consequences of the injury I have caused.
My family has paid as well, my mom, my oldest sons all paid a price for the decisions I have made. The good news? God is bigger than all of that. I can do stuff differently than I used to. I can choose love I can choose grace.
I could use some now and then too, But I think what is most important for me, is the way I freely give what has been given.
A lot of days my life really stinks. But I can still love someone or show them that they have some value.

Monday, June 09, 2008

update

Well,
Just to update the people who have read this blog recently, my son has come back.
I think I will hold off the celebration because we still have some distance to go.
I just hope that he will see that I am for him and not against him.
When you are 15 no one understands you, I remember that. But the main reason no one understands is because we don't make any freakin sense.
I hope this will all turn out ok & I will get my whole family back. I don't count on it, I don't think I could take the let down if I let my self believe that God will repair my family & then it doesn't happen. I already did that once and nearly lost my mind( I did lose my freedom and my right to vote and my right to bare arms{not that I did any way} And that wasn't pretty or fun) I also lost years of my oldest boys lives and I think that had a major part in creating the monsters that rage inside each of my older son's hearts.
Granted, their mother did not help the situation. But I still bare some of that responsibility.
I am tempted ( but I refuse ) to trash their mom right here. She is still actively not helping.
I think God that in the end , we are all accountable for our own actions or lack there of. He will judge each of our hearts( and does I believe) we will all answer for our own lives.
You know it sure would be great though if some bolt of lightning came down hit us all and we just "got it" that instant. If we could all just love each other the way we should.
I guess it's not just the problem with my family, but with the whole world.


oh , oh ..
Check out the hyacinth that is blooming in the little pond that Johanna built.. it's real pretty.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Reality

this is the most real thing I think about right now. My 15 year old has run away. He may just be staying away for a little while, but I haven't seen him in 2 days. I wish he would come home.
I reported him as a run away this morning with the sheriffs department.
Maybe I am completely wrong in the way I am going about this whole thing. But, I honestly don't know what to do about a son who will come in whenever he feels like it and not go to school or just skip a lot of classes.
I wish I could write about some spiritual truth that was revealed to me, but all I have in my head is this. My son who I love , is gone. He is probably ok, but I have no way of knowing.
I hope he is alright and will come home soon. I hope .

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wisdom

Prayer,
that's one thing I am slacking in.
Not that my efforts are what matters. I think I know enough now to say that my efforts are squat. But that doesn't mean I should stop doing everything.
Not that my lack of spiritual discipline is the reason things continue to go pretty bad in my life. Things went bad when I was extremely disciplined. The big difference being I felt the right and almost the need to be morally/ spiritually superior(in my mind) and in turn condescending to people I should have been loving.
Now, especially in my lethargy (spiritually speaking) I feel like have no right to consider myself higher up than anyone. I do in some ways feel enlightened, but only because of the process of humiliating myself over and over again. Every thing I once considered concrete, turns out was shifting sand. But, I'm ok with that now. I can say I don't know and I can try to just love people instead of imparting some profound wisdom to them. Yeah, as if I ever was in a place where I could point to me as an example.
The thing is right now I feel a bit like I'm adrift on an unknown sea. Like I used to have something solid to stand on, but now every thing is kind of changing constantly and swirling around me, I feel a little sea sick I guess. I'm not sure what lurks in the shadows down there, I am intrigued and apprehensive about looking down there. Do I really want to know?
My whole life feels pretty chaotic and it seems like I am working really hard to get nowhere.
I wish I knew what I need to do to come out of this ok. For my kids to be ok. For my marriage to make it and for life to come back to some form of normal that I can count on. Is that a lot to ask? I don't feel like I really want a lot out of life. I want to be loved for who I am, I want to see our kids grow up to be healthy happy men who can adapt and handle life as it comes to them. I want to meet my grandchildren and have time to spend with them. I want to be able to live and enjoy the ones I love right now, not someday far away when I am too old to jump on a trampoline & not go to the hospital. I want to play my guitar loud and sing loud and chase little kids around with a box on my head. I want to live and it seems like life gets in the way a lot.
Maybe I am expecting too much. Maybe my effort is too little. I feel like it will never be ok and things will just continue to go wrong and I will never have peace, because this is what I have earned. A life of chaos and discontent and sad self loathing. Nothing seems to go right, for long.
I suppose that's reason enough to pray.
Oh I did take a couple of cool pictures yesterday, that wasn't so bad...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This really sucks

I'm feeling kind of unsatisfied with my life right now. I know that there are lots of people in the world who have it much worse than me and I tend to not do a lot about my circumstances, but still.
I feel like my relationship with my 15 year old son is broken beyond repair. Probably not , I mean God can fix anything right? But I'm not even sure why it is so broken to begin with. All I want is for us to have a happy family and to live together in peace. But he has seemingly checked out of family life. Maybe that is sort of normal but I hate it. I hate that my son doesn't trust me or want to spend any of his time with me. I have very limited time to spend and he is always gone, even when he is grounded. I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this..

This was the kid who wanted to spend time with me. This was the kid who loved me so much. I don't understand. I understand his brother's rebellion. But not this.
Where did I go wrong? What can I do to fix it? Can it be fixed? Is this how it will be forever?
All I know is, this really sucks..
Night

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh Yeah

I also found this really good beer. Just thought I would mention it. I have never seen it before today, but I am pretty impressed. I think I could really get to like this stuff..
Have a great night.

T'was a long night

Ok so, that said I decided that I have not been writing enough so i am writing this now before I go to sleep. That is pretty much the time that I have most of my computer time. I use one at work sometimes but mostly for like , you know; work related stuff.
Yes ever since the time change, nights have been pretty special.
What I have found is that people's stomachs are not subject to time changes. Because the restaurant I work for closes @ 9:00 on week nights and during the winter business is mostly over after about 7:30 , not so now. We have been getting a nightly rush @ about 8:15 or so, really messing up my routine.
I can look forward to getting out at about 10:00 when the end is nice and slow. but this crap lately has me there later and later.
I suppose I should be happy I have a job, and I am. But man would I love to have a day job, not just a day and night job, but always nights. The thing is, we only have 3 managers and someone has to be there all the time. So, for now that is how it is.
Did I mention that I am very thankful for this job? I am , really. My boss is a good man that is very honest with me I think. Sometimes he seems a bit outdated in his thinking, but he is a good honest , hard working man (much more than I could say for my last boss).

I am also here now to express my concern for my son, again. I am planning on going to court tomorrow to have an ex-parte' put on him. It is pretty much like a Baker act. I am hoping to get him a mental evaluation through this.
I can't explain why he has been acting the way he has for the past few months. But, I am pretty sick of it and I think that loving my son is not letting him do what ever he wants at that moment. I am really frustrated right now with him. He always seems so distant and angry. The fact is I didn't do anything that he should be this angry.
I know life is not a bowl of cherries. But no one's is. I am just hoping that we can get things turned around for him before too long. I would so much rather be extending privileges to him. But I really can't right now. I am really sleepy now I think i need to go.. Good night all.
Peace

Monday, May 12, 2008

What a day

Happy Mother's Day!!!!
I know by the time anyone reads this MD* will be over, but I figured I would get that out of the way at least.
I had a hard day, not that work was that hard , but man was I tired and felt like crap all day.
It was really pretty slow for such a holiday. When I was working for a very well known restaurant chain MD* was the busiest day of the whole year. Apparently not for my current job.
It seemed like an excruciatingly long day and I felt as if I was caught between two dimensions all day to boot!
In layman's terms," it sucked" .
part of it was fatigue because I have barely slept in like two weeks and tomorrow I go to an interview about my 15 year old son with juvenile justice . It's gonna be a party!!! WOO HOOO!!!!!
So iam trying to make myself sleepy ( because of course I am wide awake now) by drinking beer and eating some frozen chimichangas with mole' all over them. They are delicious ( for frozen Mexican food) I just hope this combination works it's magic on me and I sleep soon.
As far as I know the women who I love the most in this whole world are having a fairly favorable opinion of me today ( I sure hope it didn't change) and that was a comfort.
Still is in fact, I do love my mom and my wife so very much. Most of the time they even like each other. I like that too.
God must have smiled on me a little any way.
Good night..

Friday, May 09, 2008

Tagged

OK, Sarah Tagged me for this meme (could some one tell me how to say that?) so here is my response.
It's called " The six word memoir" any way here are the rules:

1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person that tagged you.
4. Tag five more blogs.

Hmm.. Six words. ok here goes..

"Shaun: Trapped within his own mind"

I think I will leave it at that..
I tag:
Tera Rose

WaynO

Kristen

Erika

Johanna

You're it !!!!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

GOATS, GOD & LOVE

This is Cocoa, he is a Nigerian dwarf goat and hopefully will be the father of coming Nigerian dwarf goats. We shall see what happens.
We also just got this other goat, as far as I know she is not named as of yet . I guess we are still working on a name. But, she is beautiful.

I am extremely happy to report that Cocoa has calmed down a lot ever since this baby girl arrived. There are a couple of female goats on the property across from us and I think this scent has partially driven him mad along with the fact that he came from a place where he had other goats to do goat stuff with. Cocoa has been a lonely boy for a couple of months(Oh he has dogs, but I don't think he really likes them much) and then there are a bunch of chickens ( more of an annoyance to him than companionship) .
So this is on our quest to live a slightly greener life by growing some of our own food and such. Hopefully baby girl goat will provide us with precious milk and we may or may not keep more goats. Also something still to be determine.

My wife is off with our neighbor this morning, being Jesus to people in need again.
One thing I love about her, she does this incarnational God thing kind of naturally. She would probably deny it, but to me that is what it is. She is always talking about being spiritually inferior to other people ( or eluding to their low opinions of her) but she just does it. She has her problems, but don't we all? Even those spiritually superior people ( of which I may be included in at times) are guilty of not loving her when they are looking at her as less than them.
Jesus said it so simply , as you have done unto the least of these. I think it's too simple for us sometimes. We are like," that can't be it" but, that's it... Love, That is all..

Sunday, May 04, 2008

exhaustion

This is getting really stupid. I am barely sleeping and man is it catching up with me.
I am going to go try and sleep in a few minutes.
My son is getting more out of control , my marriage is iffy at best right now.
( the good news is my mom likes me this week)
oh yeah , we also got a goat this morning, I am not sure if this will benefit me at all , but what ever. We already had one, but we aren't getting any milk from cocoa ( be cause cocoa is a HE ) so we got a SHE. so I guess wee shall see what will be. SEE?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's late & I'm lonely

Hi,
My name is Shaun.
I'm 39 I have grey & redish brown hair, I am 5'9" tall with a stocky build. I could use to lose a few pounds.
I also ( contrary to popular belief ) am not depressed..
I have my moments, my life is really hard and I tend to just let what ever is on my mind flow right out onto the page. But, I am not suicidal or even thinking about hurting myself or anyone else( except for my 15 year old son who frustrates me pretty much on a daily basis, But I do love him so).

So, if you were worried about me, I apologize, really.

I am not sure my life will ever be easy.I am not sure I would appreciate the good times if there weren't so many bad times.

There are people in my life that think my venting on this blog is a dangerous red flag for what is really going on under the surface. Good news!!! Nothing ( and I mean absolutely nothing) is going on here. Yeah I get sick of dealing with people's crap. Yes I get aggravated and impatient with people. Yes I get my feelings hurt and I am very disappointed.
But I am not without hope.
This should actually be really good news for you ( whom ever you may be) because, if I have hope, How much better off so many people in the world are.. Of course, I know there are so many that are so much worse off than me.
I guess that is one reason I am so hopeful. I believe that God is doing something that I can't fully understand in my life & the lives of many many people around me.
Maybe that is just a part of the mystery.. I think so , what do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm glad God's not mad that I didn't go to church today..

Yeah, uh , I didn't make it to church (again) today...
I did have an ok day, I had to work ( as usual ) but, I didn't have to pick up one tract or defend my belief in Jesus as the Christ.. I did get pretty aggravated at one point and used some unsavory language. Actually , twice ( the second time was when I was alone though ) ..
I did get to see my wife and kids this morning ( all but my 15 year old son who was at his mom's and my 20 year old who is in jail but was just sentenced to 6 months in Cardinal house which is a drug treatment , life skills and psychiatric treatment center in ST PETE. )
But my 15 year old was here when I got home , I was really glad about that.
It was a long day , I am pretty tired. I will have to do it again tomorrow, only it will be worse.
But, that's ok. I'm used to this I guess.. Right now work is easier than home, not that home is all that bad , I'm just never quite sure where I stand and it seems like most of the people I really care about would probably just walk away from me if they didn't depend on me to help meet their needs.
I wonder how I got here? How do I get out of here?
This is not the life I want. But do any of us really get that? I mean does that happen really?
I'm not convinced, they nod & say yes, but I doubt it.
My ex-wife thought she would have the life she wanted ... Sad long story , but not what she wanted..
I don't know personally very many people who are actually happy.. Do these people exist?
I'm not sure..
I'm just glad that God understands and is with me. Because frankly, right now, this sucks and if I didn't believe that God is with me and does love me and has a purpose for my life that I just can't see right now because of all the crap, I would consider just blowing my brains all over this keyboard..

Yeah, I'm glad God's not mad that I didn't go to church today..

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Relationships are really hard
They seem to be especially hard for me. I'm not sure if it is just my unrealistic expectations or if I am just socially challenged. But when I get close to someone(any one) it always seems to get complicated and messy.
I think a lot about what the future of my children is. I also think about my marriage and wonder if it will last even 1 more year. I really can't answer those either , I don't feel like I have a reference point that I can rely on to guide me in any of this chaos.
I have a son I have almost written off. He walked away from me and I let him and now he would like to come back and live with me, but I can't trust him. So, I have almost no contact with him.
I seem to wrestle every day with my gut reactions and preserving my relationships. If I just react the way I feel like reacting, I will have no one .
Sometimes though, it seems like I am losing myself because I stifle my emotions and reactions.
how do I avoid all of the pain I see coming? Can I? I hope so, doesn't really look good right now.

I think about God , I think about Jesus and the way he reacted while he was walking this earth.
Can I do that? Can I keep my passions and tell the truth without demolishing my entire life? I'm not really sure at this point. I often wonder what is most important, I am afraid even at almost 40 I still feel ill-equipped to deal with life at times.
I know I am a survivor, and I will find a way to live. But I also question that and whether that is even right in God's eyes. I really do want to please God and I really do love my family and I wish things didn't always have to be so hard. It seems it's my lot in life for stuff to just be hard and messy and complicated.
Most days I can barely pray lately. I used to pray as a discipline every morning for at least 30 min. followed by devotions and bible study. I don't think all of that is necessary , but I did think I was doing some stuff right then. Of course that could just be my own pride too. I remember just before I stopped doing this morning devotion that I would also look at the clock when I was done praying that morning, kind of like a little pat on my own back .So now I question even the motivation I had for doing it in the first place.
Maybe I was looking for protection or favor or that things would get better( which they did not by the way at least during that time in my life) . I was in a pretty broken place at that time , so maybe it wasn't all bad motives. But I did begin to get a sense of spiritual superiority because I was doing it. The key object in that sentence I think is "I". I was doing it, I felt it I studied it I prayed on it, I I I ....
Still even in my efforts to do for other's benefits It all seems to come back to I .
Maybe I am really that selfish and self- centered .. It could be what keeps ruining my life. Or it could be my big fat mouth?
Who knows?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Work

Tonight was good . Stressful, but good.
Things aren't really any different at home but I am in a good
mood. I am pretty tired but wide awake. Why is it that I can be so tired
and so wound up after working all night? I don't think I'm alone in this.
For now, I will read a few more blogs, check some email and have some
semi-decent beer. Maybe I will be sleepy in a little while . I hope so
I would like to go to church again tomorrow I think. I'm not completely
sure about it but I do like it in this church at least I like some of
the things I have heard there. I wish I could find some more people to
really "Be" the church with , but I have yet to find those types of
relationships ( at least in a group setting ) .
I hope tomorrow will be good in some ways I dread it because
Sunday is usually bad at work. We shall see.
Peace

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holidays



Today was a really incredible day.
I got up & went to church by myself. It wasn't that bad, but I find myself really distracted and distant today in church. I think that's not really normal for me , especially on Easter.
There are many issues in my life at this moment that keep my mind occupied most of the time and I am not really focusing well on anything. But, it is getting better.
I did my best to spend some time with people that I love today. I wish they could love each other. Sometimes it seems like they do, then at others it's like being caught in between warring factions.
My life is pretty chaotic, sort of fitting for Easter I guess. How Chaotic must it have been for the early believers on that day? I am sure they were happy at the prospect of Christ being raised from the dead, but at the same time I bet they were afraid to let their hearts guards down and just believe it .
I am at this place personally where I know that God has spoken something to me about the situation, but I am always looking with my eyes and trusting my feelings . I have been lead down that path before, I find myself fighting it and giving in to it only to realize I am giving in again then trying to stand with more resolve than before.
This is really hard for me and frankly,
it sucks!!
I am realizing more that a "church" may not be the place for my worship. I mean I know that.
My life has to be worship, today only strengthened that need for change in me. I want to do the easy thing, I want to just go to a church and get preached to and get filled , maybe prayed for and go back to my life of ease.
If it were only that easy.
As I drove from the service this morning , I found myself in this dialog with God about what just happened. So what now? I'm not an organizer or a really charismatic leader of men. How and where do I find fellowship with people I can interact with and relate to? It seems very far from here. I am in like church mecca (Central Florida) you can't throw a rock without hitting a church building here. The thing that makes this even more real to me is the fact that I don't see people changing because of all the religion in this town. It seems very much out of context and ineffective to keep doing the same thing. Even personally, where I was once feeling like a church addict and I was getting fresh revelations every week, now it is leaving me kind of flat,kind of empty . Like it is just going through the motions and trying to be correct.
Maybe being right doesn't matter that much , or maybe it only matters when it comes to your heart.
Mine is breaking, but I am hopeful.

I still believe Romans 8:28 is true and in context with all times in history and all places and all circumstances.
This is ALL for my good and for all of us.
Happy easter I hope it was a really wonderful day for you all,
Peace Be With You

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

it is really late

I think I don't sleep enough...
I should work on that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's important? Really.

That's what I am asking myself today.
I did take some time for myself and with my 15 year old today I think it helped me to clear my mind somewhat. I am thinking about this Question," What would Jesus tell me to do right now?"
I really don't know for sure, but I think it has to do with love.
One thing that keeps coming into my mind the last few days is how to love. What do I need to do to love? How is that even possible? It seems really hard to not react with the urge that is inside me. An urge that pushes me toward an agenda of self-preservation. The urge that tells me to defend myself. No one can do that to me , they must not know who I am. I have been to the land of Killas & Gorillas and I lived, thrived even. I can be strong I have had to, don't make me prove it.
My natural reaction. My Flesh?
I think this is NOT what Jesus would do. I could try and justify what I want to do, in the ears of most people that I know pretty much anything I would do would be justified. But then there were people who told me I was justified in the Severe injuries I gave to the man I went to prison over .
That is another reminder as well, of how strong I was, how self sufficient how PROUD.
I am a living testimony of how pride comes before a fall. Check it out it's in proverbs somewhere.

Maybe If I can love , just simply love and not react in some irrational, emotional way I will get my family back. Maybe not.
Maybe My ends aren't the purpose of this at all. Maybe I will lose them all for good .
but , maybe, I might; learn something.
How to love. in the face of adversity, in the middle of my personal crisis I might learn to let that go and actually rely on God.
I mean I doubt I will actually learn ( given my track record) But, it could happen. ....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

there is nothing good to say

Right now , I totally hate my life. I wish it wasn't like this . But, it is.
I know it could be worse, Not having an easy time seeing that right now. I guess today is just one more shining example of how much I miss the mark, my laziness, my inadequacies, my general lack of life skills.
Yeah so I'm not the greatest parent, Who is? Show me some great example of the perfect parent and I'll show you some one who knows how to lie pretty good and has some skeletons in their closet. I feel pretty hurt and pretty mean right now. I guess for me they go hand in hand.
Maybe some sort of defense mechanism?
Yeah , you know I dropped out of high school, did a bunch of drugs, got married to young ,ended up in prison, alienated my kids, family and everyone else that mattered to me. Looks like I have finally screwed things up here until my new wife is pretty sick of me too. Well , I guess that is how my life is going to go.
I really thought that we had something that would endure, we are so strangely suited for each other. But I have one skill and that is messing everything up. So here I go again. The one woman who was Just nuts enough to want to make it with me through this life is tired of my crap too. Can't say as I really blame her.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tagged?

Hmmm.
I'm not completely sure how I feel about this Kristen
tagged me for this meme and I haven't done this before , so I will probably screw it up(disclaimer aside let's begin!!)
=====================================================================

Here are the rules:
(1) Link to the person that tagged you.
(2) Post the rules on your blog.
(3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
(4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
(5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

Seems simple enough Let's PARTY !!! WOO HOO!!!

Ok now for the six Non-Important things about me :

1. I am a high school dropout.
Yes it's true , here I am a real life statistic on my very own blog(isn't technology wonderful?).

2. I love to fish!! Yes I know , you can't believe it, seems surreal . Well ; almost

3. I am married to Kristen's sister !! OOps!! strike that that is IMPORTANT!! I knew I would mess this up. Sheesh.

3 #2. I am in close proximity to people who regularly use the word LOOPTID. Now that is what I call non-important.

4. it's 2:47 a.m. oh hold on that's not about me... ummm ( Quiet buzzing sound accompanied by burning smell) oh oh I know , I am baffled and at the same time infatuated by/with Linux .
I keep trying to break my old 450 mhz computer ( made by a company that no longer exists) by re-partitioning the disc and seeing what version of Linux I can actually run on it. So far Zenwalk is the winner, but I cannot for the life of me get my wireless adapter to work.

5. I love sushi!! I mean love like in a passionate , personal way. It has captivated me since I first tried some about 2 years ago. I know am the proud owner of a rice cooker and there are always at least a few sheets of nori seaweed in my kitchen cupboard. Sushi to me is like eating art. When it is done right , it is just as pleasing to look at as it is to eat it . Yes in my opinion Japanese people are strange( at least the ones I have met ) but I now look at a raw piece of salmon and start to salivate.

6. I play the guitar ... sort of ..
I really like to play worship music ( if & when I can find a song that I can learn in less than an hour) and when I was in prison I used to play during our chapel service sometimes.
I used to try to learn all of this lead crap , complicated riffs that hurt my fingers and my head, but I decided a while ago that it was a lot more fun to just be a hack. So a hack is what I am , but I do enjoy it and I make up songs on-the-fly for little boys with no pants on to run around the house to . Yep this is the life.

ok so now: I am supposed to tag some people not sure who yet but I will try it and see if they like block all future comments from me. I will tag a couple of Opera people
I am tagging 1.Cheryl because I am so jealous of her farm life and 2.Bev because I can I will also tag my new compadre via the internet 3.Wayno
Well that is all that I can come up with for now so I broke the rules a little * .

Hope you all have a great day and are increadibly blessed by my pointless post .
Peace