LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “family”

The Invisible Visible & the Inside Outside

http://eatbigfish.com/type/article/making-the-invisible-visible

We turn the invisible into the visible when we allow what we hold in, what we believe, what we think, what we have faith in, what we trust in, what we hold sacred and true to take action. We communicate our being by the life we make. Our source is us. The outside is the inside. To see outside we must look inside. Our voice and our vision is not created by our seeing and talking, but by thinking and praying. Depth is infinite, but the outward is from the inward. Looking at the reflection in the mirror is the fuel of our behavior. It is what drives us.

Let us not be measured by our quantity, but by our quality.

Be encouraged!

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I Would Go To The Moon & Back For Her

http://all-ontologies-blazing.blogspot.com/2013/01/top-unknown-fringe-theories-5-who-built.html

A few moments ago I was reading a blog (http://soyouthinkyoucanthink.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-worlds-happiest-facts/)  by a Amba, or as her blog says, “Alias – Laughy McLaugherson, Drama queen, Ortho-addict, Neuro-geek, Blogger, Book<3er, Sous chef.” Honestly I only know what a few of those descriptions actually mean, but on the whole I think she is an incredible woman who creates some very awesome posts.

This particular post I was reading is entitled The World’s Happiest Facts. The name alone caught my eye. I’m always up for a “happy fact.” So I was ready to learn something new and possibly add it to my vast repertoire that I use to dazzle my wife and friends, although for the most part they usually just roll their eyes and say, “OMG, will you please stop it!”

So there I was cruising along and then I read this:

Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, wrote his daughter initials there. They’ll last at least 50,000 years.
You don’t need the moon, you don’t need to write someone’s name. You just need to have a name.

Well maybe it was my latest trip out of the country, or a genetic something gone awry, or maybe I’m simply getting a touch daff in my old age, but there I was with tears rolling down my cheeks as I thought of how much I love and cherish my wife.

I’ll never go to the moon. I’ll never climb Everest. In fact, I get pretty excited whenever I just get out of Indiana, but I’ve got a name. OMG, do I ever have a name.

Susie, I love you.

 

If you got someone special in your life, a significant other, family, parents, children, puppies, kittens, the person you see having a rough day…get up, find the phone, type in their email address, do whatever it takes, then just say three words…”I love you.”

They’ll never forget it…and you’ll never regret it.

Be encouraged!

…and Amba thanks for a truly wonderful post, that obviously touched my heart…you made my evening…much love and many blessings to you.

Later One Night…A Long Time Ago

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/2-shot-in-early-morning-Tukwila-bar-fight-136262138.html

I looked at my watch, it was nearly 2:00 am. The bar would remain open for another hour and a half. The place was packed as was always the case for a Friday night. The bar was located near a large university in a city well known for it’s long association with the country music industry. This created quite a mix of different lifestyles for the patrons, ranging from college co-eds to music legends to the stragglers just prayin’ for a break. The kind of break the scraggly hair, unshaven for about a week, fat man sitting at the end of the bar had experienced. The fat man had written a song three minutes and thirty two seconds long, it had shot to number one, held that position for several weeks, and eventually had a movie produced from it. His financial life was changed forever. That fact alone explained the two big busted, leggy blondes, each wearing a dress that would barely cover a six year old, perched on each side of him. The kind that are attracted to the money, either for as long as it holds out or until new money comes along.

My friend Mikey and I weren’t interested in the rest of bar goers who were packed into the room like sardines, and smelling nearly as bad by this time of night. Our eyes were riveted on the flashing blue and red lights across the street. Mikey’s plan was unfolding perfectly, so far. The way he had it worked out his pager (before cell phones dominated the earth) should go off any moment now. Then he would get up and exit the bar area by the door going into the kitchen. He would step over, around, and in between couples in various stages of sexual acts until he reached the sound proof office of the owner of the bar, where he would be let in by one of the numerous bigger than life, bodyguards who toted large caliber firearms and did an excellent job of keeping the peace when a female co-ed found herself more enamored by the rock n’ roll skinny, lead guitar player in a touring band than the physics major that had brought her to the bar with the idea of having her consume just the right amount of alcohol in hopes of  whisking her back to his dorm room for some personal excitement before she or he passed out.

Mikey would use the office phone to return the call. Probably speaking to someone at  dispatch who would deliver the crushing news that his store had just been robbed of all the gold jewelry. He would then wait about 20 minutes before slipping out the back door to his waiting car. He would then drive around a couple of blocks, checking for anyone tailing him, before pulling up behind the squad car we were now watching. Mikey would then go into the throes of a business owner who could not believe his misfortune. Who could do such a thing? Especially after all his hard work. What kind of people are they? What is this world coming to? If Mikey was anything he was a great actor worthy of a Grammy award and all its accolades.

For a moment the scene faded back and my thoughts went ahead. What kind of life was this? Why aren’t there any old drug dealers? Would the women filling this room with perfume and sexual heat eventually becoming moms driving Toyota mini-vans around, filled with children, from school to soccer practice? Would they tell their husbands about the nights they went slumming with drummer of a punk rock band? Would the boys/men eventually sit on the boards of industry and make decisions about the direction of our economy? Would they be willing to marry women from this room or would they decide on someone who wasn’t so tainted, someone with not so much baggage? What would they tell their children about drugs, indiscriminate sexual coupling, and waking up in the the bushes by the business next door? Who would pull out of this morass and who wouldn’t? Who would die from an overdose, or alcohol poisoning? Who in this room would be forever damaged goods because of a relationship that went dreadfully wrong?

The pager went off…and Mikey went into  Act II of the evening.

More than 30 year later:

I never knew what happened to the woman I was with that night. The truth is, while I can recall the color of her hair and her long legs, I don’t remember anything else. Her name, the shape of her face, the sound of her voice all have been lost to the passage of many years.

Mikey on the other hand is a different story. He continued in the drug trade for several years and was eventually arrested after selling several ounces of cocaine to undercover DEA agents on multiple occasions. He posted bond, was released from jail and hired a defense attorney well versed in the ins and outs of plea bargaining drug charges. However, the mood of the country was beginning to change. The wild and loose era was becoming the straight and conservative era. Citizens were demanding steeper penalties for those who dealt death to their children. Mikey was looking at a couple of decades in a federal penitentiary. One morning he disappeared. They found his car along the interstate with the keys still in it. He has never been seen or heard from since. Seven years later his wife had him legally declared dead and collected one million dollars from his life insurance company. After twenty plus years she has never remarried and continues to live in the same home.

It took several years, but the questions I had that night sitting in the bar watching life pass me by, began to bear fruit. I stumbled from a shower one morning in a hotel room in downtown Columbia, Missouri with an entirely different approach to life. What exactly happened from the time I opened the shower door and stepped in until I sprawled on the bed bawling my eyes out some time later remains a mystery to me. I call it God’s grace.

All I know is those few minutes have altered my life forever.

It is not easy to write about the past. Like all of you, my past contains moments of intense pain. But I don’t write to relive the pain, or the excitement, or the so-called glory. I write to cast a light into the darkness. The light of hope. The light that says anyone can change. No one is beyond hope. It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. I know…I’m living proof.

Be encouraged!

I am more cautious now…

http://people.tribe.net/reiki_jewel/photos/e79831a6-93d0-45b4-ab1b-b916a5522ce7

This post won’t contain any catchy stories (as if any of mine ever are), nor will it be witty, charming, or dramatic  This will be just the plain, ordinary words of someone who has learned a few lessons in life the hard way and feels compelled to share what little wisdom those lessons have generated.

Susie and I have a wonderful old fashion fireplace in the living room. It is surrounded by a couple of comfy chairs and a sofa that has the ability to lull me to sleep every time I curl up on it. So let’s imagine we are sitting there with our warm teas and the dogs and cats are stretched out in front of the fire, so close you can not help but think about the possibility of spontaneous combustion. The lights cast a low warm yellow tinged light that recalls the old style kerosene lanterns with the glass chimneys. From the kitchen you can faintly hear the comforting notes of a Brahms’ lullaby. We are relaxed and the conversation has that low tone which comes late at night when the cares of this world have receded and the walls we cling to so furiously during the daytime are only a distant memory.

Our conversation begins…

There was a time when I threw caution to the wind. Caution, what was that? An antiquarian concept that had long out lived it’s usefulness . Caution, if it still existed at all, was something for the timid, the weak , and the needy. It was for those who knees shook when they looked into fear.

Caution had no place in my world. A world dedicated to my wishes and desires. I could act anyway I wanted. I was above it all. The rules didn’t apply, nor did the laws, or morality, or ethics. Those were silly childish concepts man had conjured up for those who couldn’t handle reality. They were crutches used to support those who couldn’t or wouldn’t stand on their own two feet. I was a self-made man. Without a high school diploma, I had built a business that supplied me with enough income to live, as a popular TV of the era proclaimed, “The lifestyle of the rich and famous.” even if I was having to constantly look over my shoulder for the long arm of the law.

Caution…I spit on the word.

It has been many years since I lived that life or felt that way. I’ve been brought down from my once lofty perch by the realization I was a fool. The reality I once thought others were too weak to handle was no reality at all, but just a world of smoke and mirrors, propped up by lies and deceit. I found that looking into the mirror and being able to look back brought rewards far greater than the riches I once coveted so wholeheartedly.

My world is much different now. I clearly see the errors of my youth. I find strength and contentment in the “little” things of life now. I am happiest when I get to sit by this fire and talk with good friends about what my heart feels.

I live a quiet, simple life now. I try to do good to others. I covet the silence that living in the midst of the woods brings. However, most of all, I enjoy the returned smile of a complete stranger, I cherish the laughter of a child, I am in awe of the grandeur of life, I never tire of hearing my wife profess her love for me, nor do I consider it a burden to return that love, I feel encouraged by the love I receive from you my readers, and I hold precious the time I spend with my Grandsons Matt and Hayden.

I see the wisdom in being more cautious now…and I’m grateful I do. My eyelids are starting to droop a little and I can feel warm sleep starting to creep into the edges of consciousness, but before I leave I want you to know just one thing…I have truly enjoyed sharing this post with you…and the prayer of my heart is that each one of you will find true peace, contentment, and love in your life…I’m going to bed now…and even if I never have the privilege of making your acquaintance in this life…know that I love you just the way you are…good night…please turn the lights out as you go…and be encouraged!

Perspective

http://likeadayoff.blogspot.com/2011/02/fork-in-road.html

In the distant past, Susie and I were having an argument. It was one of those adult relationship type of arguments, where you furiously disagree about something, and it reaches the point where you stop communicating.

We were on our way to see a play. Whatever we were squabbling about, each of us at the moment thought it was dreadfully important because we were in misery. For those of you who live alone in a cave (obviously with an internet connection), this occurs when you thoroughly despise the idea of hearing another utterance from the one you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with.

I had parked the car and we were walking toward the theater. Of course, we did not walk close to one another. In fact, we showed no indication at all we were madly in love with one another and would willingly, without hesitation, lie down on our lives for each other, if it ever came to that. At the time, each of us was completely assured of our own rightness, which in the universal adult relationship code means that we could not touch, nor look at one another as we walked, to do so would have signaled weakness, and that was not going to happen. We pondered how the other could so stupid and still figure out how to combine breathing  and the act of putting one foot in front of the other, at the same time. I’m sure as we made our way in the midst of streaming foot traffic, the air around us chilled a few degrees due to our icy indifference of one another. As couples walked by us, I am certain they secretly thought, “Please God, don’t let our relationship end up like those two.”

We continued to walk along in perfect venomous lockstep, when suddenly Susie stopped. This only focused my anger even more. In a nanosecond I was running through my mind various sarcastic questions I could shoot at her for this unexplainable moronic behavior. As I was lost in this train of thinking, I heard her say, “Look, we are at a fork in the road!” I tore my thoughts away from the flawless verbal comeback I had already decided upon and followed her gaze to this silver-colored fork lying in front of us on the sidewalk. We stood there for a moment like we had suddenly been touched in a game of freeze tag…then we looked at each other and burst into silly giggling, snorting, and overall cackling.  We laughed like two little kids…and then suddenly…everything that had gone on only seconds before was gone.

We collapsed into a full body embrace. In the middle of a busy sidewalk, in downtown Indianapolis, I held the love of my life as tight as I could. We kissed long and hard, grateful for the touch of one another’s lips. We walked the remaining blocks to the show arm in arm, with her head gently resting on my shoulder.

To this day, neither one of us remember what we were arguing about.

Take a moment and think about your angers, your worries, the elements of life that drive you to fear and/or frustration. We all have them. They are quite real. They cause us pain and stress. They rob us of the life we want. Many times they literally steal away years from us. They imprison us and hold us captive, just as real as any hand cuffs or leg shackles.

I don’t know why a simple fork in the middle of the sidewalk, in a busy city, would work such a miracle. Nor do I have the exact wisdom or knowledge to step you free of everything that holds you captive. But I did learn something that early evening so many years ago…whatever it was I was worried about then…and everything I’ve been worried about since…needs to be put in perspective.

Be encouraged!

Reaching Out For Love

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistine_Chapel_ceiling

In my home I have started a ritual. Susie has other words for it, but I’ve settled on ritual. It is rather an odd ritual, but before I give you the exact details I want to introduce you to the other participant.

The other partaker of this habitual sacrament is the newest member of the Gang of 5. The Gang of 5 is the nomenclature Susie and I have begun to use to identify our two dogs and three cats, all of whom are rescues. I think of them as our own personal crime fighting super heroes and Susie considers them to be five little, four-legged members of our family. We both totally love on them.

The most recent fellow is Andy. His entrance into our lives began when he was abandoned at a golf course, where I was to give a talk. He appeared early in the day and immediately identified me as a soft hearted sucker with the means to extract him from his current homeless, hungry situation and usher him into a warm home with plenty to eat. He said he was only seven weeks old and had no idea what events had transpired to leave him in such a strange place with uncaring people. A quick inspection around the grounds turned up no siblings or parents, so he came home with me.

My wife, Susie instantly prepared food, water, and a litter box apart from the others so he could make the transition from wandering around a golf course to being a member of the Gang as seamless as possible. Once he was fed, watered and nature had taken its course he began to explore every square inch of his new abode. He was also anxious to make the acquaintance of his new siblings, so anxious that to them he seemed a little forward. Since his only exposure to others was his birthed brothers and sisters he straightway approached the Gang by hopping on them, gnawing their ears, batting at their tales, jumping on their backs, and lunging at them with teeth bared. This type of activity, without the usual warm-up period of sniffing, staring, and lots more sniffing, did not quickly establish bonds of love. Slowly he learned to turn down his enthusiasm (at least a little) and they learned not to be so put off by his willingness to shower them with his type of affection. Hence his nickname, But I Meant It Nicely.

Now back to the ritual.

I awaken usually around 4:30 in the morning and head to the bathroom for my morning constitutional. I will spare you the exact intimate details of what this consists of, but suffice it so say I feel greatly relieved upon finishing. But this has become a sign to Andy that for at least few moments I am anchored in one spot, with time on my hands, and nothing better to do than pet him furiously. He loves this. His little purring mechanism increases by several decibels.

So each morning begins with my alarm making this horrendous loud obnoxious noise, which completely convinces me that it is far better to rise and face the day than have to endure that sound for another go round. Then I grope my way into the bathroom, thankful for the nightlights Susie installed several years ago, and ahem…make myself comfortable. I then hear the pitter-patter of not so tiny feet bounding up the stairs, running down the hall, scratching for traction as he rounds the corner before flying into the bathroom and coming to a skidding stop at my feet. With my first touch he erupts into ecstatic purring so loud that the first few times I heard Susie mumble, “Uh…what’s that…uh…noise?”

The other day I mentioned to Susie how neat I thought it was that every morning, no matter what; as soon as Andy hears my feet hit the tile floor of the bathroom he comes charging through the house like a runaway freight train, careening into the bathroom for morning snuggles with Dad. She smiled and said, “Isn’t that how we all feel about love? Once we discover it, won’t we run to its source as fast as we can every time?”

With a smile I reached out and hugged her before replying, “Yes, Honey it is.”

Be encouraged!

Introducing the Gang of 5:

  • Jake the Wonder Dog – A Jack Russell who looks like a gym rat steroid freak. Seriously, he has muscles everywhere and they ripple as he moves. He was abandoned by a family who got him when he was eight weeks old and the next day decided they weren’t “dog people.” So he came home to us, but he is 100% Mommy’s dog, they are completely inseparable. He refers to me as “what’s his name.”
  • Callie the Sleek Dog – A 13 year old Huskie who came to us tipping the scales at close to 200 pounds. Through diet and exercise she is now down to a svelte 125 and lookin’ good. She has been through several homes, but she is beginning to move very slowly and emits small groans as she gets up. We make her as comfortable as possible. Our home will be her last.
  • OC the World’s Smallest Cat – She is an all-black, incredibly tiny cat whom we discovered one morning under our front porch in the middle of winter. At seven weeks old she was cold, hungry, and scared of the world. She is now a little ball of love muffin.
  • Zip (aka Snowball) the Catch Me If You Can Cat – She was abandoned in our daughter’s suburb, and knowing of our great love for furry little creatures, she immediately brought her to our home. She sprints throughout the house and for a brief instant we considered calling her Flash. As I type this she is laying, curled up, on top of my feet.

Susie and I love on them exactly as we would any member of our family. We talk to them, hug them, love on them, pet them, and shower them with all kinds of affection. They do the same in return. It works well for all of us.

Counting and Then Some

http://www.justaguything.com/5-things-that-actually-used-to-be-legal

In response to yesterday’s post  Counting, Diane at http://ranthegauntlet.wordpress.com/ wrote me a short comment expressing how much she enjoyed the content. Although her response was only two sentences long, it hit me like a well swung sledge-hammer right between the eyes…or more accurately straight to my heart. Her second sentence contained this thought…

 I want to be one who takes off the cuffs.

I haven’t though of much else throughout today. What a wonderful sentiment. Doesn’t that sum up what we want to do in life? Doesn’t it accurately portray the type of person we are striving to be?

Yes I want to be the person who takes off the cuffs, the shackles, the things that bind, the things that keep us from being free. I want to be the type of person who helps others unleash their full potential, find themselves, be free, live gloriously, set their hearts aflame, live in Truth, be peaceful, live in harmony, be fruitful, be excited, live long, flow with compassion, race with the wind, breathe slowly and deeply, touch the outer limits, live within, know yourself. taste life. fall in love…do you get the idea yet?

Isn’t that the type of person we all want to be?

So I’ve got this idea…and please keep the eye rolling to a minimum if at all possible…but I got this idea…what if sometime tomorrow…everyone who reads this post…does one compassionate act…it doesn’t have to be huge (unless you want it to be)…smile and wave at a child or an oldster, the person waiting in line with you, riding the bus with you, sitting in the car next to you at a red light…listen an extra minute when someone bitches about work…call your parents and say, “Hey nothing special, I just called to say I love you.”…call your kids and say the same thing. I really don’t care what it is, just do something nice, listen, speak softly and warmly, smile, encourage, inspire, let dead dogs lie.

Tomorrow take off somebody’s cuffs.

WARNING~WARNING~WARNING

Here is what we will be tempted to do…nothing. We will read this and think how wonderful it is and how we should do that…then the crap that fills our lives will rise up and tomorrow we’ll be busy…and other stuff will fill our mind and time…and we will do nothing.

Please don’t let that happen…we all know there are aching hurting people out there…it’s not lack of knowledge that keeps us from changing the world…it is willpower.

So tomorrow do it. 

Be encouraged!

This post is dedicated to Diane for her wonderful words which sent my mind whirling…thanks Diane…you will never know how deeply that short sentence has affected me. I will carry the sentiment the rest of my life.

This post is also dedicated to Lisa at http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com/. She not only has been a source of remarkable strength, intelligence, and…she will probably snort her coffee through her nose on this next one…wisdom, but she is also filled with grace and compassion which flows like cool mountain air over pine boughs…it is always there and it makes you feel better. Thanks Lisa.

Counting

http://www.colourbox.com/image/two-ripe-red-apples-and-half-of-apple-image-3946870

My wife, Susie has a saying that I have always found interesting. I’m not exactly sure when she started using it, but I have liked it since the first time I heard it. This is it:

You can count the seeds in an apple, but can’t count the apples in a seed.

I’ve been thinking about this little quote since the first time I heard it and it reminds me of a story.

Most of you who read this blog are aware I have background that includes many unfavorable exposures to the law and those who are charged with enforcing it. It wasn’t that I thought police were pigs, as was the common verbiage back in my hippie days. I was simply breaking the law and I wasn’t interested in getting caught. This put the police and I on different sides of the same issue. Throughout the years I got to know a few of them, like the rest of society, some where honorable and had a good grasp of how to handle the bad guys, while others had no scruples and would have felt right at home in any German WWII concentration camp.  Not all of those who wear the blue are upright, moral, and fair, nor are they all uncaring, racist, and bigoted.

I have been arrested several times in various states, usually on outstanding warrants of one type or another. Those warrants, for the most part, originated in Illinois, so I tried to spend as little time there as possible. It had gotten to the point where local police knew me by first, middle and last name, the types of cars I drove, and the way I walked, so I tried to find other states to call home. When I was arrested in these other states they would run a criminal check on me and discover I was wanted, then offer me spartan accommodations in the nearest county jail, notify my home state that they were hosting me, and arrange for a  state police officer of Illinois to retrieve me. Since there is no posting bail while awaiting extradition, I would have a few days to cool my jets while waiting for a free ride back home.

I’m not sure how this happened but several times I was transported by the same officer. He was nearing retirement age and had been on the force over thirty years and was one of the good cops. The first time he picked me up we had a 3 hour ride back to the county where my warrant had been issued which gave us some time to talk. He spoke about his wife and kids and I described my life of drinking, drugging, and chasing woman without mentioning any names or particulars.

The next time he showed up to provide a ride I was surprised to see him, of course he knew who he was picking up, so all he did upon seeing me was smile, say how nice it was to see me again, and ask I turn around so the handcuffs and leg shackles could be put on.  We fell into talking much like we had the first time as he caught me up on what his two sons and daughter were doing and I updated him on the latest bars and women I had found. But this time the ride back was different.

As we neared the outer edge of the city where he had picked me up, he drove the cruiser to the side of the road. He got out walked to my side, opened the door, and asked me to step out and turn around. Without saying another word he removed the cuffs and shackles and told me to get back in. He returned to the driver’s seat and we proceeded on.

Now this was HUGE. Cops don’t do this. First of all, if anything goes wrong, say like I try to escape, it means at the very least he will face an inner-jurisdiction reprimand, suspension of a couple of weeks without pay, and it will go into his permanent record, at the worst, it means his thirty plus years on the force goes up in smoke, and maybe his retirement as well.

As he edged the patrol car back onto the highway he resumed his conversation as if nothing had happened. A few hours later he said he was going to need some gas and pulled into a station with a McDonald’s attached. He asked, Hey I bet your kind of tired of jail food, what would you like to eat?” I replied something about having some money in the manila envelope he was caring along with my watch and identification, but he just smiled and said, “Naw, I got this one.”

As we neared the county were I would be quickly bonding out, he again pulled to the side of the road, came to my side, opened the door, and said, “Sorry to have to do this to you, but they would skin me alive if I walked you in there without these.” Then he reattached the cuffs and the shackles, but before he eased me back into the car he asked, “Those aren’t too tight are they?”

The third and last time he retrieved me from an unpleasant living situation, he again stopped and removed my restraints, and as before, we stopped for gas and something to eat, but this time I asked if I could go use the restroom. He looked me in the eyes for a moment then said, “Sure, I’ll meet you back at the car.”

Why I am telling you this story?

Because these events happened over thirty years ago and that man was one of the finest human beings I ever met. He trusted some one who was not worthy of any trust. He believed in some one who was not worthy of any belief. But most of all he gave me hope in my self.

You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.

When you plant a seed you have no idea what will happen. How it will grow. What will be the effects. None of this is predictable.

There was nothing in me that inspired trust. I was wild. All I talked about was a life of debauchery. I wore it like a shield of honor.

But when I changed my life, the talks I had with that police officer rang in my head with a clarity that was undiminished by the years.

I write these words while sitting in my office with tears streaming down my face. I remember his face, the tone of his voice, the firm way he moved, his poise and pride. After thirty plus years his words still resonate. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He treated me with a dignity and respect I didn’t deserve…yet he did it.

Truth is we don’t know what good (apples) will come out of our actions (seeds). What smiles, kind words, and a helping hand will do. So when you look around your life at those who might seem a little less deserving than others…remember you just can’t tell…none of us can.

Be encouraged!

Sort of Like Responsibility…Part III

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wife-Bumper-Sticker-Decal/dp/B001P1PCWY

Most of you who read this blog know that I am deeply in love with my wife, Susie, and she was/is a major contributor to all that is good in my life. Her love, patience, sweetness, and guidance has been the one constant over the eighteen plus years we have been married. While not every moment of those years has been perfect, the sole reason for them not being was/is me.

During the days of my youth and far too long into what I was calling adulthood, I was always drawn to the darker side of life. If there was so scum to rub in, I was there. Nearly everyone who knew me figured I would end up in prison for life or dead. It just seemed like the way I was headed. She literally saved my life.

Susie is a woman of phenomenal intellect, yet able to talk to any one regardless of their age or station in life. I’ve seen her totally enthralled in conversations with:

  • A five year old short-stop on our Grandson’s Little League team.
  • The Metropolitan Bishop of North America and Australia for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
  • The mail lady.
  • A homeless man on the streets of Monterey, California.
  • The lead singer of a death-metal band from Norway.
  • A lady in the nursing home who just wanted her to keep on singing.

She has the type of personality that is rarely flustered or confused and is never mean. Her basic being is happy, compassionate, and above all loving. Even back in the day, my friends would say, “Dude you better quit screwing (okay, actually they used another descriptive word for sexual coupling, but you get the idea) around and marry this one…especially before she realizes what a waste you are.”

She is also, a raging incredible cook, who can make a tasty meal out of nearly nothing. During our early leaner years, I would often look around the kitchen cabinets, pantry, refrigerator, under the bed, and in the glove box and find absolutely nothing…and I mean nothing…no crackers, no bags of chips with only those crunched up little tiny pieces stuck in the bottom corners that nobody ever throws away, no crusty peanut butter jar with the lid stuck tight, nothing, nada, not anything…the great food void.  She would come home and I would ask what we were going to have for dinner, her reply was always the same…”Oh, I don’t know, let me look and see what I can find.” Thirty minutes later she would yell for me to wash up, dinner was served, and it would be this fabulous collection great tasting food, to this day I have no idea how she did it.

During the eleven months and three days it took me to run across the United States, Susie took care of everything. She made contact with our host homes, lined up speaking engagements, coordinated meetings, kept the mileage and rotated each pair of running shoes, doctored my left foot, did the laundry, had the oil changed in our support vehicle, got me breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus multiple snacks each day, dealt with police officers, wrote our newsletter for family, friends, and supporters, gave me a massage at the end of every day, kept track of the total miles I ran, and did all of this without ever once breaking stride. She smiled, giggled and was supportive of my every whim, which I am ashamed to say were numerous.

Susie is the rock that holds her three sisters and their families together. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all celebrated at our home, with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day all being rotated. The general family consensus seems to be that everyone simply enjoys hanging out at the home Susie created. Family and friends often remark about how peaceful it is…and it is… because of her presence.

She possesses an incredible singing voice which she has used with our local Philharmonic Orchestra for the past seven years. She also plays banjo, guitar, piano, and I long ago gave up trying to get her out of any music store under an hour, because she has to “try” every instrument in the place. She reads and writes music, like the rest of glance through the USA Today…in other words, with ease. She can identify any song ever recorded dating back to the late 40’s.

She writes poetry and music, pursues photography with a passion, paints (oils and acrylics), writes computer code, runs, cycles, swims, is accomplished in all types of crafts, and lately believes she wants to try her hand at composing a rap song about our new start-up company. I have come home from my travels to find her:

  • Installing a new floor in our laundry room (a complete new floor, she had stripped it down to the stringers, or whatever those boards are called that the first layer of plywood gets nailed to).
  • Hanging new doors in our bedroom, guest bedroom, and one of the bathrooms.
  • Teaching our, then three year old, Grandson how to make guacamole.
  • Putting up new insulation in our book barn (large barn w/climate control that holds 70,000 volumes of books).
  • Creating a new garden.
  • Using a leaf blower to usher a 4 1/2 foot long black snake off the back porch.
  • Changing the oil on all our vehicles.
  • Splitting and stacking wood.
  • Bathing our 165 lbs. Husky.
  • Rearranging all the furniture in our living room (actually she has rearranged all the furniture in every room of our home several times).
  • And last, but certainly not least, I have come home to find a note on the dining room table (where we leave all our correspondence  for one other) that read, “Out for a 10 mile run…your dinner is in the frig…glad you’re home…I missed you…I love you…S.”

I married up.

I married WAY up.

Every good thought you have ever had, as a result of reading this blog, is directly related to her presence in my life.

This post is dedicated to her…thank you Honey…you are my everything. Amen.

Be encouraged!

All the Same

While you, dear reader, may not be able to tell, I usually spend considerable time thinking, researching, and sharing my ideas with Susie, before I sit down to write. I’ve found, for the most part, this keeps me from running off on some half-wit tangent. Susie says this also makes it easier for her to converse with her friends, because she doesn’t have to spend hours defending my posts.

I think she means it as a compliment.

This post is somewhat different, because while I have given it a lot of thought, I haven’t done much research and I’ve kept my comments to Susie to a minimum. So I hope this post doesn’t cause much distress the next time her friends and her get together. This one comes more from the gut.

Let me start with a story.

Several years ago I was asked by a friend’s wife if I would be interested in mentoring at risk and behaviorally challenged children in the public school system. Although they were wanting to reach children of all ages, I would be working specifically with elementary students. After she answered several questions for me I thought the idea had merit and agreed to become a mentor to twins of a single mother. The twins had a slew of issues and while I am no trained child psychologist my biggest contribution would be as an in-room monitor who would work with each of them to keep them focused during the school day.

I enjoyed the work and kept meticulous notes as to what worked and what didn’t during various situations. I shared these notes with others who were involved in the program. The program became a company and the company started to grow. New mentors where hired. Programming directors, financial analysts, therapists, and others were added to the payroll. Strict rules were put into place. The roll with what is happening and go with the flow was eliminated. Structure and order became the only way. Owners and management began to dream about earning substantial money. They began to curry political and corporate favor. The ideas others and I had become part of a program that was touted as having an incredible success rate. Metrics were put in place. We were all coached on how to write our reports so Medicare would pay. Students graduated from the program reportedly cured of their issues.

Except there was only one problem.

The kids weren’t healed. They were better. They were making progress. They could function for longer periods of time without having a physical outburst, but they were a long way from being what anyone would call healed. It wasn’t that they were bad kids. Or even that they were mentally deficient. They simply had been born into horrible situations. Their only guidance in life had been through the TV they were set in front of from birth, because the changing patterns on the screen kept them from crying or they imitated what they saw when they left the living room for the streets. They yelled, screamed, cussed, and fought just like they saw the gangs do, except they were in the third grade.

But it didn’t matter. In order to keep the money flowing in they were diagnosed with a DSM Code by a staff child psychologist, then pronounced healed when they got near the end of time that federal funding would pay for their care.  One size fit all, except we weren’t talking about clothing, we were talking about children with feelings, emotions, and in need of real, true, honest love.

I bent and broke all the rules. I went home with the kids I worked with and talked to their parents, when I could find them, and whoever else I could find when the parents weren’t anywhere around. I prayed with my kids. I took them places like museums, libraries, art galleries, backstage at theaters, and anywhere else I could think of, to expose them to a bigger world. I paid for everything out of my own pocket.

Then I got caught. I was warned. I didn’t change I kept on doing everything. I got caught again. I was told to change. I said no. They said my services were no longer warranted. They sent two large men to escort me out of the school. They told the principal I was under investigation for wrong doing.

When we find something that works, people want to turn it into a program. They want to monetize it. They want to streamline it. They want one size to fit all. They want to make it all the same.

Well I don’t want to. My experiences with the children is only one example. In my life, and in yours, there are hundreds of examples. This is one of the reasons why I love the blog world. Each blog is different. The content is our own. We aren’t constrained in what we say and how we say it. I’m not given to using lots of provocative or foul language, but I’ll always defend your right to, even if I am hoping you won’t.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, it isn’t well researched, nor have the words been carefully chosen, they just rolled out of my heart, and hopefully into yours.

Be encouraged!

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