Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
My son wrote this article for a news letter and gave me permission to post it.
I can’t wait for Thursday nights. Like a child on Christmas eve, I’m excited, I’m antsy. All day long I’m watching the clock hands move at a snail’s pace, inching their way ever so slowly towards 7:30 PM.
Finally 7:30 arrives and my home is invaded by warriors. Like a dynamic entry, flashbangs of noise and commotion fill my entire home. No, it’s not my tactical team; warriors of another kind, Another breed. Another tribe has flooded my home.
These warriors are my three sons, my son-in-love, my dad, my dad-in-love and soon- to-be part of this tribe, my seven grandsons. And the occasion? What’s all the excitement about?
Every Thursday we gather around the firepit, light up a cigar, and unfold our thoughts into conversations that drift deep into and out of our souls. Organic conversations free from judgement, condemnation and shame. We laugh, we cry, we share, we confess.
Our conversations are laid upon the anvil of transparency intentionally making ourselves vulnerable to one another. Rather than feeling the hammer of judgement, we feel the power of acceptance, love, and the value of belonging to a tribe of real manly men . . . warriors who grow stronger through the willingness to share sins, flaws, struggles, temptations, weaknesses, victories, and successes. We feel safe amongst our tribe. We belong to a brotherhood of real. authentic, manly men. This is my tribe.
How different would our world be and look like if men were living out of who they were meant to be through Christ, rather than the flesh? I believe as a Christian man it is my role and duty to follow Godly men and to lead other men. How many men long to be free from destructive behaviors but don’t feel they can share their struggles without being condemned? So many men who belong to a church family feel alone. They have some dark things they struggle with, but there’s no safe firepit for them to gather around, pull up a chair and unfold the depths of their souls with other men.
They are tribeless.
Man-Time. That sacred time together has the power to rescue and restore a man. And when men are rescued and restored, women and children will be protected.
Lucas is one of our six great-grandchildren. In spite of his rough start in life and being diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, he is our sunshine on a rainy day. And to prove the doctors wrong concerning his learning disabilities, he can talk, write his name, draw and name shapes, recite the ABC’s, and mesmerize an audience strumming his play guitar and singing “You Are My Sunshine”. He is truly a God-send to our growing family and teaches us to look on the bright side of life.
As some of you know, my husband, Buck and I have been ripping up carpet and laying vinyl plank flooring throughout the house. Thankfully we have a small house but it seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I guess that’s why it’s taking us so long to get finished. Not to mention that we don’t move as fast as we used to. https://sandistatondigitaldesigns.com/2019/05/24/golden-years-where-are-you/
Before we started this mammoth project back in May 2019, I had all my yard work done. No weeds. No honeysuckle chocking the Azaleas. No limbs all over the yard. Even the lawn was mowed.
Then we tore up the house.
Then it got hot. And humid. I don’t like hot and humid and sweat burning my eyes and the sun blistering my crepey skin. So I barely stuck my head out the door.
So while we were busy with the floors, mean, hateful weeds snuck into my flower beds and took over. Now they’re laughing at me and sticking out their tongues.
Then Buck forgot how to operate the lawnmower. And the weedeater.
And the grass began to grow.
Then arguments sprouted. Big fat, ugly arguments with tongues of raging fire and hearts of unbendable steel.
Then I wanted to move to the Netherlands.
Buck said he’d help me pack.
But, here it is, three months later and we’re still living under the same roof with the same number of teeth we started with. Together. With our two loving, nerve-wracking, confused mutts.
Then we began tearing up the house.
Making some headway.
Now the den.
And now this!
I’m not complaining.
Well, maybe a little.
Okay, I’m complaining.
But I’ve learned something about myself during all this mess. Something that many people don’t like and has tried very hard over the years to destroy. Something for which I have felt guilty for possessing because it terrifies people and even myself at times.
And that something is inner strength. That strength that makes me get back up again no matter how many times I fall and feel like staying on the ground drowning in my tears. That strength that lets me know I’m still alive in spite of all the cuts and bruises of life.
Yes, I’ve cried. I’ve screamed. I’ve threatened to burn down the house, but I got over it.
So there you have a panoramic view of my crazy world. If you liked anything at all, please click that little LIKE button and post a comment. And thank you for stopping by. Next time I’ll bake a cake.
My son gave me permission to share this. He is a strong leader in our family and puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He never complains. He never feels sorry for himself. He never quits. But today, he is feeling very discouraged. He has MRSA. Not just one pustular bump, but twelve; the worst case his doctor has ever seen.
So this is what he shared with the family today:
Hey family, hope you all are doing good. Just sharing my heart about not quitting.
First, there is no failure in being tired, exhausted, having difficulty accomplishing a task, event, or mission and feeling like giving up or quitting. Failure is simply quitting when you know you can do and endure more, but you trade short-term relief for long-term regret. Quitting is the acceptable norm for our modern, mentally weak, soft, and sensitive culture–Christians included.
I’ve trained for nearly an entire year for the GORUCK Selection. https://www.goruck.com › I have pushed my body and mind into very dark places filled with short-term pain in hopes to develop a greater threshold for the pain and suffering ahead–not just for GORUCK, but for life.
Honestly, there have been two occasions I have felt like quitting and not attempting Selection due to all my travels and the recent infection with MRSA. I can quit and my family will think no less of me. My culture would say, “It’s okay, you had good intentions, there’s always another time.” I can quit–my body is constantly sore, at times I can barely walk, I don’t always feel like doing a 3-4 hour routine. Sore. Tired. Beat down. Mentally fatigued.
So why do the event to begin with? Why put myself through that much pain? Simple: I said I was going to do it no matter what when I registered for the event one year ago. No matter what happens. No matter what obstacles surface. No matter how plausible it may be to quit.
What’s at stake if I quit now? My word, my character, my integrity, and my own personal self-respect. For me, if I quit, what example do I set for my family and others who believe in me? Finishing Selection is not the ultimate goal for me. Victory is overcoming every obstacle and opportunity to quit before the event even begins.
When confronted with the temptation to quit ask yourself “what’s at stake if I quit?” Failure is simply quitting in the face of difficulties when you can do and endure more than you think. We don’t need courage when things are easy . . . we need courage when things seem impossible!!
Family, be strong! Be brave! Be bold! YOU can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you! Be courageous! Fear not! Don’t quit–Finish the goal, the task, the dream, the event, whatever it is–Don’t give up, give in, give out, or quit!! What is at stake if you quit? The better question is, “What potential impact does my not quitting have on me, my family, others, and the Kingdom of God? Regret or glory–the choice is yours. And for me? I’d rather die than to quit!
Parenting is a full-time job of love and patience, teaching and learning, guiding and directing. A full-time job of trial and errors, pacing the floor . . . and letting go.
From the time a mother holds her infant in her arms and holds it to her breast, the natural process of letting go begins to unfold.
At first, we don’t see it. We’re way too busy changing diapers, filling bottles, and trying to catch a few hours sleep. The mere thought of him starting first grade is a trillion miles down the road.
Suddenly, it happens. You’re not the love of his life anymore. He’s dating. He gets married. He has kids. His kids have kids. They all have lives of their own to live and enjoy and to follow the star of freedom and independence. No one has the right to interfere with that.
Unfortunately, my mother didn’t get that. To her, letting go was like cutting off her arms. I guess through her abusive childhood and failed marriages she had lost so much already that she felt she couldn’t survive losing her kids too.
So she clung to me like clinging to the edge of a cliff.
I could write a book about the emotional damage she caused, the conflicting battles and severed relationship we had and the effect it still has on me. Maybe one day my life will be what it is was meant to be, but it may never happen on this side of heaven.
That’s why I’ve worked so hard through my fears and insecurities to set my son free. Why my heart gave him permission to spread his wings and become the strong and independent man he is today. He will not be controlled, and I will never impose my will on him; to manipulate and toy with his tender emotions. To me, that is the most deadly form of child abuse. It’s emotional rape and almost impossible to recover from. I love him way too much to slaughter his spirit.
Through a river of blood, sweat, and tears of letting go, I am reaping a bountiful harvest of joy and happiness through my son, his kids, and his grandkids. And when he takes me out, which isn’t very often due to his busy and exhausting schedule, he treats me like a queen. He warms my heart and makes every moment we spend together priceless treasures that no one can take away.
For me and my twisted emotions, letting go is not easy. But I’d rather die than sacrifice my son’s emotional well-being for my own selfish desires; to try to put him in a tiny box with no room to grow. His wings are way too big and strong for that.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update concerning our home improvement (demolition). The truth is, we had to take a break from it.
We began taking up the carpet on Monday, May 27, 2019. And it’s been quite an undertaking for two oldies who have never done this before.
To top it all off, two days into our demolition, we had a car accident. A woman ran the red light and hit us on the driver’s side. No one was hurt, thankfully. However, It was the week of Labor Day, so it was difficult getting her insurance to follow through, leaving us without a rental for five days. At least we had the truck, or so we thought. But, it wouldn’t start.
Six weeks, and two car rentals later(the first one broke down on us and our car is still in the shop) this is the progress we’ve made:
My writing has been on hold since hubby and I decided to wreck our house. Literally. Yep! Every square inch of it. We’re ripping up our old, nasty carpet and putting down new, vinyl plank flooring.
Piece of cake!
Well, for the pros who know what they’re doing with tons of experience and manpower to get the job done in just a few short days. Not so for two old timers with no experience no manpower and hardly a clue of what we’re doing or when we will ever get finished.
It was hardly our plan to wrestle this grizzly bear ourselves. But, due to people’s busy schedules and since we already had the planks piled in the den, we decided to give it our best shot. After all, we watched every how-to video for days. Even watched one showing a mom and her two small boys installing their floor.
We were pumped! We were empowered. We were ready to conquer the world!
We began on Monday, May 27, 2019. We’re not done. Not even close. But we’re not giving up in spite of the car wreck, the water damage, the many repairs, frustration, anger, and tears. We will see this through to the bloody end!
Nope! I haven’t been writing. Haven’t been walking. Haven’t been sipping champagne and loving the golden years. To be honest, the golden years is a highly over-rated, over-used, big fat lie!
Take a giant step into my world and you’ll see what I mean . . .
Hubby and I decided to take up our nasty, thirty-something carpet and install vinyl plank flooring. Just the two of us. Throughout the entire house. Piece of cake!
But first, we had to move furniture . . .
Then take up the carpet and the padding and staples and nails and carpet strips. Those carpet strips were almost as stubborn as me.
Then we saw the horror Bella and Pepper caused. I still get angry thinking about it. Owning pets is not the easiest job in the world. Along with their cuteness comes a truckload of bad-mannered behavior and destruction. Rascal never behaved like these two wannabe queens of the house!
Thankfully, Kilz came to the rescue. Of course, it didn’t jump out of the can and spread itself all over the floor. And hubby got exhausted watching me do it. Poor baby. I think he needs a nap.
We’re on day five. Am I frustrated? Have I cried a river of tears? Am I ready to leave the country? Oh, yeah! But, wait! There’s more . . .
Two days into this Mt. Everest project, hubby had an oncology appointment at the VA. Things are looking good. So far, he is still cancer-free for the second time around.
But . . .
On the way to picking up hubby’s uncle and aunt for a day of fun, a woman ran the red light and plowed into us. No one was hurt, thankfully. The surveillance video and police report were on our side confirming that she ran the light in spite of what she told her insurance agent. Seeing is believing, except for those wearing blindfolds of denial.
So. How did you enjoy your little visit to my world? Would you like to come back and help us install the rest of the flooring?
They dig holes in the yard, chew my pillows, pencils and pens and everything in between. They pee and poop on the floor. Run around the house like a couple of chimpanzees, and now this! A whole loaf of bread gone!
Just like that!
I’m going to the dog pound, lock myself in a cage, and pray some nice family will come along and adopt me!
We never owned two dogs at one time before. We never owned females before, either.
Bella, our greyhound mix was finally potty trained after six months. We’ve had Pepper, our dachshund lab mix for nearly two years and she still squats whenever and wherever she pleases. Our carpet is a roadmap of pee stains throughout the entire house.
Pepper’s a little scavenger, too, jumping on the kitchen counters and dining room table looking for something to get into. I think Bella puts her up to it, though.
One day, Pepper dragged a jalapeno pepper under the dining room table. Needless to say, it was still intact.
Just yesterday, she snatched a slice of bread off the counter. Luckily there was one slice left to complete my grilled cheese sandwich.
Some days I want to ship the pair of them to another planet, but my nagging conscience won’t let me . . . Who would take care of them? Who would play with them? Who would whisper silly stuff in their floppy ears? Who would tuck them in every night and tell them a bedtime story? Who would love them? Feed them? Rush them to the doctor when they get sick?
Besides, I’d be jealous that someone else was getting all their slobbery kisses.
Sitting in my rocking chair in my tiny apartment, my sweet baby boy on my lap, I said to myself: well, girl, you’re on your own. You can’t depend on anyone but yourself to raise this little one. He’s your responsibility, his life is completely in your hands.
At the ripe old age of nineteen, I got married. A year later I had a baby. A whole fourteen months later, I became a single mom. Even if I’d had a crystal ball revealing the abusive marriage and interfering mother-in-law that practiced witchcraft and was as evil as the devil himself, I would have done it anyway. For God, in His infinite wisdom, took the mess I made and turned it into a wonderful blessing, although it would take many years, heartaches and tears before I saw it.
I was living on my own, in and out of the hospital, working laborious, dead-end jobs and being so broke I couldn’t afford an ice cream comb. Then there was the cooking and cleaning and washing dirty diapers on the scrubboard and draping them across the radiators to dry. And if that weren’t enough to grind Superman to a pulp, Robbie was like raising six kids instead of one. Every night he cried; no he screamed himself to sleep. And from the crack of dawn until bedtime, he was wide-open-non-stop. By the time he was a year old, no crib or playpen could contain him. Like a little Houdini, he always found a way out.
When he was four, I’d take him to a little country house made into a church that he thought was his playground. No door was safe. Like a monkey, he’d hang on to the doorknobs and swing back and forth, or do a jig in the middle of the floor while I was playing the piano knowing I couldn’t get up and bust his butt. Other times he’d be outside throwing rocks and hitting older kids in the head, or kicking people in the shins with his pointy-toed cowboy boots or catching rainwater in his hat and pouring it over his head till he looked like a drowned rat. At another church we attended for a brief time, the preacher actually laid hands on his bouncing head praying a demon out of him.
One day, Robbie and I and another couple were going to meet with some friends and follow them to the church we were visiting that evening. I pulled into the couple’s driveway and as I was getting out of the car to see if they were ready, I told Robbie to stay there that I’d be right back. He pitched such a conniption fit I wanted to put him in a straight jacket. Like a wild bronco, he kicked and screamed and rolled all over the couple in the back seat. I turned around to smack his butt but got him in the nose instead. Blood gushed like a fountain all over his face his white shirt and bow tie and jacket and pants . . . everywhere. It was beginning to look like a crime scene. I ran to the couple’s house to get a washcloth when here he comes barging through the door, blood pouring from his nose crying and screaming, “Look what my mommy did! Look what my mommy did!”
But in spite of his devilish capers, he was kind and compassionate. At the age of five, Robbie had to have a tonsilectomy requiring blood work the day before surgery. He was so brave as the nurse stuck the needle in his arm; didn’t even whimper. But across the room sat a thirteen-year-old crying; scared to death of needles. Suddenly, like a little soldier, Robbie slid out of his chair, marched over to her and gently patting her on the shoulder he said, “Don’t cry, little girl. It don’t hurt.”
Those were the moments that erased all the tears and frustration of being a single mom. The moments where nothing else mattered but this little, rambunctious human being God entrusted me to raise. I didn’t know the plans He had for his life, I just knew I was going to continue raising him the best I knew how in spite of the many roadblocks ahead.
Yet, I was lonely and too young to spend the rest of my life being single. But I was also afraid to try again. I just didn’t believe anyone out there would even want to take on a ready-made family and love my son as his own.
But there was one man left at least, and God sent him to us. Robbie was five when we got married and a few years later, my husband adopted him.
It wasn’t a fairytale beginning; we all had a lot to learn. There were times when I thought I made the biggest mistake marrying again. There was no doubt Robbie needed a firm hand, but my heart wasn’t ready for it and neither was Robbie’s tender butt. I admit I was like a barracuda when it came to Robbie’s tears. So we argued a lot during the first two years of marriage before I finally laid down my sword, but it was never out of sight.
There’s always been something special about my son; his love and compassion for people; especially hurting people. And after getting through his rambunctious years alive he never gave us a moment’s trouble. When he began driving, we never walked the floors wringing our hands wondering where he was or if he’d come home drunk or high on drugs or if he’d come home at all. Whatever I asked him to do he did it without a fuss except when I made a mess in the yard trimming bushes and cutting tree limbs. But he cleaned it up for me in spite of wanting to trade me in for a much nicer mom.
Today, Robbie is fifty-one with four kids, five grandkids, and one on the way. He works out every day, runs several times a week and travels every two months to Cambodia where he teaches self-defence and law enforcement and physically rescues children from sex traffickers. He speaks at High Schools, making students aware of sex traffickers and how they cunningly lure girls and boys into their web of lies and deceit. He is a loving, caring man, faithful and committed in everything he does. He never complains, not because he doesn’t have a reason to, he just doesn’t waste his time and energy.
So all you moms out there on the brink of a nervous breakdown, don’t give up! You may not see it now or even ten years from now, but God has a plan for your children’s lives. And He has a plan for your life as well, to be the best mom you know how to be, praying for wisdom and guidance throughout every single day. It’s tougher now more than ever before raising children and keeping them focused and headed in the right direction. but with God’s help, you can do it. Keep loving your kids, praising your kids, getting involved in their interests and helping them make the right choices. And when they become young adults, let them go, trust them to make the right choices you taught them and just be there when they need you.
And grandparents and great-grandparents out there, we should help, not interfere with our young moms and their children. We have wisdom and knowledge that only come from a lifetime of experience. A lifetime of knowing what works and what doesn’t and can even see the humour in some of the things kids do. I sit back and laugh at things my great-grandkids do that were about as funny as tripping over a log when Robbie did them.
If there is nothing else we can carry out in life, we can be the best parents, grandparents and great-grandparents we can be. With God’s help, all things are possible!
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
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