Signing Off For Short Sabbatical

Difficult to put something down, or to step away, from an experience that has been so fulfilling, so meaningful.  I ran this idea past an older mentor couple of weeks ago, that I was thinking of discontinuing my blogging.  He looked at me like I was crazy, and then asked “So, let met get this straight: you enjoy blogging, and it means a lot to you … and you are thinking about quitting?  ‘Doesn’t make sense.”

My hope: a short sabbatical.  There is too much happening in my life, including the health needs of one of my kiddos.  I’ve been struggling / suffering, for a number of years, with my own secondary PTSD and transitional stress from several betrayals in business.  To use the words of another from many years ago, “Stop the world … I want to get off.”

I will  not shut down my blog, mainly for my own benefit.  This has meant so much to me, and I don’t want to lose it.  I will be, periodically reading the blogs of others, although I will have to shrink-down my “following list”.  I will read my EMAIL, and check in to see if there are any replies to my blog posts.  Bottom line: I am so thankful (beyond words) for all of you who have encouraged me with your empowering words.  My hope is that each of you will be blessed, immensely.

 

Goodbye, for now.

T

 

 

William Smith O’Brien in Ardagh, Co Limerick

Hey, Folks: I try to bring a post in, from time to time, about a good man who I would consider to be a “Wilder Man”. This is a great story about a courageous Irish sojourner. I hope you enjoy. The pictures are pretty incredible. Peace, T

A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

smithobThe anniversary of the birth of William Smith O’Brien, Young Irelander, is an appropriate time to record his strong association with the area in which I live in County Limerick, Ireland.

William O’Brien was born on 17 October 18o3, second son to Sir Edward O’Brien, Baron Inchiquin of Dromoland Castle, Member of Parliament for Ennis, County Clare and Charlotte Smith, daughter of  the wealthy William Smith, an attorney,of Newcastle West, County Limerick. The O’Briens had accumulated large debts and the marriage to a wealthy Smith was a fortuitous one. Cahermoyle House, in Ardagh, Co Limerick was a property acquired by William Smith. William O’Brien (as he then was) inherited Cahermoyle House and lands of about 5,000 acres from his grandfather William Smith, and in honour of his grandfather, he adopted his name and from now on became known as William Smith O’Brien.

William Smith O’Brien followed in his father’s footsteps…

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Forgiveness: It is NOT “Cut-&-Dry”

In the thick of a writing session, working on a dialog, I took (what I thought was) a wrong direction … For me, this is part of the writing life.  Sometimes its decent; sometimes its crap.

Two guys have a fairly well-established friendship of six to seven years.  Time rolls on, and they stay in touch: coffee; breakfast; good phone chats.  This (fictional) exchange is about the uncomfortable process of forgiveness that I am trying to work through.

“So, how are you doing with that co-worker situation?”
 
“Yeah, I forgave the guy.”
 
“Okay.”
 
“Yeah, that’s old  stuff. (pause)  Are you picking up on something?  What you are thinking?”
 
“I was just thinking that you can do forgiveness one day, and your guard is still up.  Forgiveness might not be a one-time thing.  You may have to keep going.  If someone gives you “the cold steel blade in your back”, you can forgive: over and over and over and over.  Does that mean that you forget that this is an unsafe person?  If he hurt you once, he can hurt you again.”
 
“I know I have forgiven the guy, but I cannot shake the idea that he could betray me again.  That is part of his wiring.  So, yeah,  I’ve got my guard up.  Do you think that is wrong?”
 
“No.  You keep your guard up, and forgive the guy.   Forgiveness is not ‘cut-&-dry; it’s not simple.  I’m walking with you on this one because of my own pain.  Here is a question for both of us: ‘How do I  find freedom and some peace of mind knowing that I’ve been hurt, treated wrong; and at the same time, stay out of bondage to unforgiveness and bitterness?’     
 

Good Words From Another Blogger: Women Who Let Men Be Men

The following are excerpts from an excellent post written by Sierra Lassilahttp://sierralassila.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/being-a-woman-who-lets-a-man-be-a-man.  I originally found this post “re-blogged” on “Disciple’s Perspective”.  Here are some of Sierra’s words.

Has our inability as women to walk in femininity resulted in the quenching of men’s ability to walk in masculinity? … Here’s what I am trying to get at. Ladies, how often do we complain that our men aren’t stepping up?

  • He’s not pursuing me.
  • I wish he would be a spiritual leader.
  • I’m sick of asking him to do things all the time.
  • Why can’t men step up and be men?
  • Whatever happened to chivalry?

I’m guilty … of condemning men for their lack of stepping up, for remaining passive instead of walking in the fullness of their masculinity. I was frustrated and began losing hope that such a man even existed.

So, yes, there is a “natural tendency” due to the fall for men to be passive and for women to be controlling. But that’s not how it was originally intended! I guess the questions bids, then, how do we, as children under the new covenant of Christ, overcome? More specifically, how do we as women encourage and exhort our brothers, fathers, and lovers to walk in the fullness of their masculinity?

There is more to Sierra Lassila’s post; and I hope you will check it out at  http://sierralassila.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/being-a-woman-who-lets-a-man-be-a-man/

Women have sustained abuse and exploitation for centuries.   Women “do” controlling because of men who have backed them into that corner of control: a means of survival; a means of coping.  However, I believe that I missed Sierra’s point.  I think Sierra Lassila was referring to the struggles that women have with men: their expectations; their desire to be pursued; a woman’s need to build up the man, as opposed to being critical of him.  These are just my thoughts.  Again her post is worth checking out.

Peace,

T

Thankfulness: Its Not Just My Imagination

“Pretender”: that is one way I can get by.  In my years of walking, sitting, listening, growing, with recovering drug addicts I have heard many mantras: “Fake it ’till you make it.”  What is this, a paradox?  “Fake it”?  What about authenticity?  There it is, a glimpse of the entanglement of identifying what is what, and what is a mirage.  With the “Fake it ’till you make it”, I finally got it.  It makes sense.

As men, we all have an extraordinary ability to out-think ourselves.  

  • Claiming to be realists, oblivious of our pessimism;
  • Critical of one’s pessimism, unaware of their realism;
  • Claiming to be optimists, blind to our naiveté;
  • Critical of one’s naiveté, missing their optimism.

Thus, my bind with pretending: to be thankful, when I do not feel it.  I recognized, at some point, my thankfulness; regardless of what I felt.  Stepping back to sort out the semantics, I have come to choose thankfulness, even by faith, over fickleness of feelings.  Feelings remind me of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, at times.  Thankfulness is one of the greatest forces we can keep close throughout our journey:

  • Thankfulness operates as potential opposite of anxiety;
  • Thankfulness  is “pro-relationship”;
  • Thankfulness triggers a “strengths self-inventory”, which gives us an “awareness of empowerment”;
  • Thankfulness exudes “other-centeredness”, versus “self-centeredness”.

thanks noteSo, men, be courageous and step into thankfulness: for your wife / your girlfriend; your children; to fight the depression and other battles.  Thankfulness is an action for me; it doesn’t always come easy.  Here are some things I am thankful for:

  • My God;
  • My wife;
  • My children;
  • That I finally started blogging (why did I wait so long?);
  • Other bloggers – – – their posts, their words of wisdom and encouragement;
  • My dogs.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Peace, T

A Man Laments; Then He Hopes

Several . . .  

https://i2.wp.com/userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/252/49135.jpgwinters ago,
standing on my merciless,
hellishly steep,
snowed-in driveway,
I screamed a yawp of rage and defiance:  

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS ! !

 (Picture of John Belushi)

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/252/49135.jpg

It’s a 90-foot driveway, dangerous,  slippery, curving.  Once or twice a year I get fed up with my driveway, and release my wrath; and ideally, no one hears.  My Southern father could not have taught me about moving snow and immovable ice in the winter.  1985 was the year of my exodus, west, to Denver from the South.   Other issues have emerged over the years:  inadequate knowledge / skills stirred up discouragement and self-contempt:

  • “I am a lousy father”;
  • “I stink at projects”;
  • “I am a lousy provider”;
  • “Relationships: HA!”

I blamed my dad, at times, for not teaching me some of the things that I needed to know, in the adult world.  Some guys have a legitimate beef when it comes to their dad’s negligenceBut, I never had a legitimate beef about blaming my dad; and I never will.  My dad is the greatest man I have ever known.  The anger that echoes around the mountain from my nemesis of a driveway is more at myself than anyone else.  As a man, it was / is my responsibility to learn what I needed to learn; and to do what I need to do.  Wow: accepting responsibility.  Sometimes it’s ugly.  And hope is what comes to me, when I accept responsibility.

Those guys who don’t lament? ‘Never miss a beat?  Textbook fathers?  Swashbuckling husbands?  Driving BMW’s / Jaguars (etc.)?  Taking their families on exotic vacations?  Living in huge homes?  Wow.  Good for them. “Keep on, guys!”

Meanwhile there are some of us that fight off those DMPs.  (Dark Message Phantoms):

  1. “I am not good enough.”
  2. “I don’t have what it takes.”
  3. “If anyone knew I was a poser, they would not like me.”

The lies hit hard.  There is a profound choice men make: a) buy  the lies?; or b) …

refuse the lies, fight the lies, and grab truth as if your life depends on it.

When a man’s path takes him through a desert, there is something good just up ahead.  But a man still has to make a choice of either believing that he doesn’t have what it takes; or just stop / lay down / die; or press on because there really, really … is something good up ahead.   

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”  May seem a bit glib, or just a cliche.  Churchill’s advice is crucial: for our character; for our survival-thrival; for us to be the men we are called to be.    Churchill’s words address our temptation to quit or check-out for a while.  “Checking out” may yield a dangerous assumption, that we will come back later to get back in the game, which may not happen.
I, for one, believe in redemptive sorrow.  I believe in the importance of grieving well.  As one writer expressed, a writer I appreciate for his experience, “Rarely do I do pity parties. Rather, I simply accept who I am with all of my limitations and in all of my potential and successes.”  (Eric Tonningsen)  So, choose well; grieve well; fight hard for what you need to fight for.  And by all means, hope.

Top Ten Tips For Parents

Men, and women: if you parent now, or will be at some point, I really think this is a great post. The pictures here add a very profound touch. Enjoy,

mother of nine9

mary_cassatt_xx_mother_and_daughter_looking_at_the_baby_19051My Philosophy : Advice from a relatively sane, joyful mother of nine children.

1.Focus on the joy of parenting, not on the activities you are giving up to raise a family.

2.Treat little children like people, albeit little people, with respect for their feelings, likes, dislikes and personalities.Listen to your children, even as babies. Read their expressions and body language. In fact become a baby whisper by learning from your baby because they are not idiots, cute dolls or appendages of you but brilliant, although as yet nonverbal individuals.

3. Accidents and mishaps are simply part of every day life when you live with kids, so plan on all your plans falling apart.

4. Praise works; berating usually backfires. Give good behavior lots of attention and simply ignore most ‘bad behavior’.

417729_441536755926348_1558005526_n5. No need to run around like crazy people, putting our children in every single program. Free time, even boring down time allows…

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