It’s a Boy! My son, my writing, and the future.

I must say, it’s been a really busy summer. So busy, in fact, that I haven’t posted on the blog in a really long time. I’m sorry for that. The good news is, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been productive!

Productive might even be the wrong word. I think it should be something more epic than silly little ‘productive’. Let’s go with, prolific! Not just because I’ve been writing my little fool hands off, but also because my wife and I welcomed our new little man into the household.

Yup, that’s him in the picture above. No, not the one with the glasses. The other one.

He was born on August 31st and it’s been a great couple of weeks. His name is Hank. I know, it’s an awesome name and he’s bound to either be an actor or a lumberjack. Either way is cool.

Besides raising a baby human, which is plenty in and of itself, I’ve been busy writing new stuff. I published the first novel I ever wrote, “The Battered Edge”.

I wasn’t originally going to publish it, but I couldn’t help it. It was asking me to do so. So I did.

I also published a short story called “The Preacher”. It’s about 3k words and I think it’s something you all would enjoy. It’s now available on Amazon.

“The Preacher” is a story about finding salvation and trying to understand what it means, or even more basic, how to see the signs. There’s a roadmap of your life, it will take you the entirety of your days to figure out how to read it, and even more focus and determination to follow it.

You’ll notice the site looks a bit different. I’m shifting gears once again and I hope you like what you see. I’ve trimmed the fat and gotten down to the real core of what I think my purpose is. Hang tight.

 

“What would you do?” Something I’m thinking

Man, it’s been a really busy month. I honestly don’t remember hardly anything specific about July. It feels like I was standing on the side of a private pond watching fireworks go off just last night.

It’s Friday evening and there may not be many people reading this, but hopefully you’ll find it on Saturday morning. Anyway, it’s Friday night and I’m sitting at home after a long week at work, maybe 75 hours worth, and I’m sitting in front of the TV after dominating a BBQ chicken pizza. As I look through the channels my wife and I stumble on the TV show SHARK TANK. I love that show.

But after SHARK TANK went off, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? came on. I’m not sure if you’ve ever watched this show, but it’s interesting. It’s one of those hidden camera shows where they stage situations that create uncomfortable settings in a public place. There’s a group of actors creating a situation and the point of the show is to see how “normal” people react to these uncomfortable situations.

On tonight’s episode the setting created was as such: Two gay men are talking at a table with a proposed surrogate mother. They are discussing how the adoption will go down and the “mother” of the child is a young woman who seems to be in her late teens or early twenties.

As the three of them are having their conversation about the future of this child a woman (also an actor) sitting at a table by herself decides to walk over to the conversation and express her opinion about how two men raising a child is blatantly wrong.

The intent of the show is to determine how people (who don’t know these people are actors) will react to the woman telling the gay couple they are unfit to be parents and it’s in the best interest of the child for the expectant mother to not let them adopt the child.

There are a couple of things I need to make clear before I move on.

1. I’m not a person who believes that same-sex relationships are acceptable. I’m a man married to a woman, and I personally believe that same-sex relationships are wrong.

2. Just because I believe this to be true, doesn’t not mean that I believe it’s MY place to judge anyone on how they believe.

The purpose of this article is not to discuss my religious beliefs on same-sex relationships. You know my personal stance as expressed above. It is, however, the intention of this article to discuss the following topic:who’s place is it to judge those who chose to participate in something you don’t believe?

In tonight’s episode of the show, the highlight was watching several groups of people express how rude the woman who berated the gay couple for wanting to adopt a child was. In the situation, several people watched as the woman walked over to tell the gay couple and the expectant mother how wrong it was for them to consider adopting a child into a same-sex household. And the majority of people who watched the woman berate them said something encouraging to the couple. They said things like, “I think you guys would make great parents” or “I can’t believe someone would say those things to you, it’s not her place.”

Here’s the thing—I agree with all of those people who interjected.

I don’t believe that people should be work-a-holics. Neglecting their family in effort to climb any professional ladder. But I also don’t feel it’s my place to go around and police those people up who work 100 hours per week and hire nanny’s to raise their children. And though I believe it’s wrong for people to engage in same-sex relationships, I’m not the judge.

If you’re a religious person, as am I, then you should understand that you are not the judge either. Everyone has an opinion. And we, as a nation, feel as if we are entitled to voice said opinion. Maybe under the “Free Speech” right outlined in the Bill of Rights, we do. But that does not make it the right thing to do in all situations.

I’ve got news for you, whether you like it or not, the world is changing. It has changed.

I’m a military man, and the military has led the way in making same-sex relationships on the same playing field as heterosexual relationships, and if my boss (the President of the United States) has allowed the military to recognize same-sex relationships, guess what? I, by law, have to recognize them as well.

Maybe I have rambled, maybe I have created a convoluted opinion. So let me clear it up.

If you desire to be a good person. A person of character. Then the fundamental principal within being a person of character is being respectful to others, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or any other aspect of a person’s life.

If you’re a religious person, then you know that YOU are not the judge of others. You don’t have to agree with what they do, but it’s also not your place to judge their actions. In order to help someone based on what you see as being criteria for needing to help requires an established relationship.

I’m of the opinion that if you don’t have an established relationship with someone, and your opinion is different than their’s, you will get nowhere if you try and impose your opinion on them. So in effect, you’re not helping, you’re hurting. And if you’re ultimate goal is to help, then you’re going about it the wrong way.

Love people and they will love you back. Then you can begin discussing your personal opinion. But prior to gaining their trust and establishing a meaningful relationship, you’ll get nowhere. All you’re going to do is increase the divide between groups of people who could be working together instead of against.

You don’t have to agree with everything a person does to love them. I’m guilty of judging as much as the next person, which is why I wrote this article. That episode spoke to me. It’s not my place to impose a lifestyle on someone who doesn’t ask my opinion. If they want my opinion, they can read it here.

 

What We Can Learn From “Inside Out” About Emotion

You are your emotions.

They determine how you interact with everything around you. How you process stimuli from smells, sounds, sights, physical touch, and taste.

Every thought you have is driven by some emotion which is rooted in some memory hidden within the synapses of the brain.

Every fiber of your consciousness is emotion.

Hmmm…okay. Enough of the philosophical stuff.

When I walked into Pixar’s Inside Out last night I expected to see a clever, phenomenally animated, and comical movie. All of which were manifested into reality. What I didn’t expect was to spend 90 minutes contemplating why I felt the way I did.

There are few movies I’ve been to in the last few years where I really didn’t want to get up and take a bathroom break for fear of missing something personally groundbreaking, Inside Out was one of them.

I’ll do my best to not spoil anything in the movie, but even if I somehow screw that up and do post a spoiler, you should still go see it. There’s a lot to be learned.

The personification of emotions is something I’d never really thought about, but it makes perfect sense when displayed in Pixar’s amazing flick. Riley (the main character—sort of) is piloted by Joy, the emotion joy. What we learn over the course of the movie is that while Joy is trying to save Riley from the depressive state is that we have to understand and be willing to let the other emotions take the control panel from time to time.

This realization really hit home for me. Over the last 18 months, I’ve worked relentlessly to avoid feeling sad or angry or fearful of my situation and what the outcome may be. I’ve written and run, played golf and drove, sat quietly and screamed. All of these things have pushed me along the path to healing, but at the end of the day I have little control over the process of my emotions. I can ask one to show it’s face for a short while, and it may do so, but it will be shortlived. Because emotions are responses to every aspect of your environment from our inner self.

The primary lesson we can learn from Inside Out is simple: let your self feel whatever emotion seems to fit the situation. Don’t suppress emotion, embrace it. Because emotions are you. You are your emotions. Shutting one out is like shutting out a part of you, and not being your whole self will only take you in circles.

732 Days of Pure Love

Some days you wonder why you’re here. Why you’re suffering through the terrible things this world can deliver. Why there is such pain in a world where there doesn’t have to be. Some days you wonder why it’s worth it, to keep pushing, to keep searching for something higher.

Some days you wonder if it’s worth it, to keep pushing, to keep searching for something higher.

Then I think of you, I think of your smile, of your giggle, of your touch. And I know it is. I know that even though it was so short lived, that I’d live my life ten times through fire and hurricanes if I knew I could see you smile one more time.

Yesterday you turned two, and yet you never learned to walk. I watched as your balloons floated away, with a note attached in tow. One from me, one from Mommy, one from Corbin, and our new dog too. 732 days ago you breathed your first breath

732 days ago you breathed your first breath, and it seems like it’s been so long. Two years goes by slow when my heart aches each day for you.

I know I can’t change the things that happened, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting too. I want to rip space and time and start the clock over again. I want to lift the sand from the hourglass and never watch it fall.

Your brother is coming soon, we’ll call him Hank. He will miss you too because we’ll talk about you all the time. You would have loved him, and you’d have shown him the ropes. He’ll know your name, and he’ll share your middle name, just like me.

It’s hard each day to think about what life might be like if you were still here. We’d still be in Louisiana, you’d be a bayou girl. Things have changed a lot in the past year, but one thing that hasn’t changed, I miss you so much it ties my stomach in knots, and that will never change.

Happy Birthday, Layla, we love you to pieces.

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My new book, Run Away: Essays From A Year Of Grievingis available in most bookstores now.

Oh how the time ticks by

As I logged on to the website today I didn’t realize it had been almost a month since I posted an article. I’m was immediately disappointed in myself. I felt like I’d been letting you down.

It seems like the days go by really slow but the weeks go by really fast. It’s an odd sense of time I’m experiencing these days. I’m often exhausted and constantly crave sleep, but yet I don’t always feels as if I’m getting anything done.

I’d venture to say I’m not alone.

I’d venture to say you felt like that at least one day this week.

The problem is there’s no hard and fast solution for fixing this problem.

You find yourself sitting in your office watching the second hand use a walker to get around the clock, but then you get to Friday afternoon and stare at the stack of papers on your desk. Those papers that were supposed to be taken care of two days ago.

It’s a never ending cycle.

But you can change that feeling. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can change your response to them.

Bruce Van Horn talks about the following equation:

E+R=O

If we break this down for those not quite so math-minded (like me!) it comes out to this:

Event + Response = Outcome

I can’t lay claim to this, it’s something I learned from Bruce, and I think there is a lot of truth to this.

You will not always be able to control the events in your life, but you can always control your response. And that’s how you control the outcome.

You make the choice of how you’ll respond to that person gossiping in your office. You make the choice of how you respond to someone rear-ending your new car, or you rear-ending the Corvette in front you.

You make the choice of how you respond to someone rear-ending your new car, or you rear-ending the Corvette in front you.

You determine how you’re going to respond to the extra 10 pounds you put on during the winter.

You determine how you manage your time as the second-hand ticks around the clock.

Nobody can control your response but you.

The time will go by at the same rate as it always does, it’s up to you to decide how you spend it. Because that second that just passed, you won’t ever get it back.

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