Do Marriages Today Practice Unconditional Love And Forgiveness ? Or Are We Just Big Talkers?

This week on several levels I have seemed to run into unreal examples of families and marriages holding it together through very hard times. However at the end of the week it came to me that the fact it got my attention meant that its not so common.When it comes to marriages, the media encourages quick break ups and downplays the institution of marriage itself. When you have been married awhile it is going to happen that one hurts the other or there seems no hope.
The heartbreaks that can sometimes come out of marriage , children and the adjustment to it can be tough. By God’s grace all of my boys and girls are healthy and have no medical issues. However just 2 weeks ago their little 11 year old cousin was crushed in a car accident on his way to school,and he has never regained consciousness and is now fed and treated like a baby, with little hope of any progress. That makes you stop and think.
So when a husband and a wife commit to one another, for better or worse, sickness and health etc…what does that really mean? Easy to say but I doubt many are staying with that.
I have been on the receiving end of this for many years.
Medical issues, and personal issues kept me crawling for life, but whenever I looked to my side, she was there.Its a rare woman these days who stick with you through the hard, long times.
I also have noticed over the last decade or so that everybody has a self help book on marriage. Men are from Mars, women from venus sold enormous amounts.
One thing I have also noticed is that men think completely differently then women. I cant count the number of times I thought out a plan to make my wife feel good, or say something that I thought would be nice – only to be left feeling as if I tore her apart. Men are good at that. We do stupid stuff. Even as much as we love our spouses, we can get tangled up on the wrong side of sin just the same. That’s no excuse to sin, its a reason to beware of it creeping into your life.
Ive met every kind of couple you can imagine in my career. The “Were spending 100k on our wedding” but the marriage lasts 1 year.The ” we don’t need any guidance thank you very much” who then crumbles when kids appear.It doesn’t really matter what couple you are or we are, what matters is how quickly we renig on our promise to stay with them through the hard times.I have always been a judge of the heart. Not outward behavior or appearances but whats the motive?
I can forgive anyone who has a good heart but took some wrong turns.Its the ” conditional couples” that have it worst.If you do this, I will do that. If you dare play golf instead of taking the family to the beach,there will be hell to pay.I judge myself the same way. I have been labeled as things I was not, but my outward behavior convinced people otherwise. Talk to a recovered heroin addict who has been clean for awhile. One of the most torturing things people can do is to assume…
Unless you have walked a mile in their shoes, don’t go there. Most recovered addicts I know spent most of their addiction years praying for healing, while outsiders mock them.
Its similar in marriage. Both hearts have to be good. They may get dirty and nasty sometimes, but the heart doesn’t change. Lets forgive if we say we will. Lets love without expectations back. For those of you who are thinking that I dont know how bad its been, I am not encouraging staying in an abusive relationship. There are counselors that can help work through it though, if you are willing.
The best example I can think of is when this saviour I know was with some other guys who were more then ready to kill someone for their sin. The saviour stepped in, took the man aside and drew something that changed their minds. It doesn’t reveal what he drew, but I am guessing it was the time and date of the same sin they themselves committed.
Right now its food for thought, but I would love feedback!


Kids- Nobody Likes To Admit It- But When It Comes Right Down To It- The Tail Waggeth The Dog.


My second youngest daughter is 8. That age when she starts to be aware of ” stuff” like Iphones, make up and the like. My boys are 21 and 18 and I think things went pretty well with them, discipline wise. They did something wrong, they knew a consequence was coming.
Somehow I seem to have more difficulty issuing consequences to my little princess, or ” poca” as I call her after pocahontas. I am still totally 100% in control, dont get me wrong.
It just seems that she has a certain way of tearing up that makes my heart weak I know she couldnt be doing it on purpose. She must really be taking this hard, poor kid.
The thing is, about 15 years ago I spent 5 years as a live in foster parent for teenage girls, 6 at a time. I do seem to recall it being a common source of manipulation for them to turn on the tears when they didnt like the answer they got…
Surely those girls had deep troubles. My baby girl is as innocent as they come.
Until yesterday, that is. My little princess pushed it over the ” my daddy loves me” line. It was a simple thing really, we were all doing a little cleaning up, and I asked her to bring the dust pan from the room she was in, into the room I was in. First I thought I heard a little complaining, but I assured myself it must be the television. Just then, around the corner she flew, stopping at the door and tossing the dust pan right at my forehead.
Something snapped in me. I am not sure what exactly, but it ended with no television for the night and she was a few years younger it would have been much worse. After a few minutes I began to pace around and question myself. I used to teach on this! I taught teachers on this! Parents too. Now I found myself stuck in an uncomfortable position. Not having to issue a consequences, but having to ask my the question ” Why would my daughter ever feel comfortable throwing anything at anyone”- that was my real issue.

The answer in case this has happened to you, is not that you are a bad parent, necessarily. The real answer lies within the circle of role models the child is surrounded with. Especially adults, the teachers, parents friends parents etc..You are the first line for your children. The old saying ” the apple doesnt fall from the tree ” is right on. Many hundreds of times I sat in meetings at schools, whether IEP or another type. During these meetings I would hear a parent cussing his teen up and down for acting out. The child realized at a much younger age what is acceptable in his home, by the modeling of his parents.

We could go on about this subject for hours, but for now, let me throw in one other critical topic that will help you understand how and why your child has to have postivie and negative reinforcement. I taught parent training for Orange County Public schools, and several other large parenting groups for years.The one thing that was always the biggest surprise, and the most difficult for for parents to change, was what we call ” ratios”. Ratios happen all day each day to your child. They come from you, teachers, and other adult instructors.

During the trainings, I would ask the class , if they had to guess what the ratios of postive to negative comments or negative to comments would be in their house on the average day. Most smirked because positive comments were not all to when we finished the average for each class was about 15 negatives for every positive comment. Why is this important? Because psychologists have proven over and over that positive reinforcement is the only way to actually change patterns of behavior. Sure, if people are yelling and screaming you might get them to stop for the moment by yelling negative comments at them. but that is just a band aid.

Here is one way to start seeing changes in your childs behavior and it doesnt require doctors or counseling -just parents and their kids. The idea is to reverse the thinking which on the average is about 15:1 and try to eventually reverse it. You may be thinking ” YOU ARE NUTS” but I promise you if you try the ” catch -em being good” method you will not be dissapointed. The trick is to forget about what you dont want to see. Look for the behaviors you do want to see. Take a small behavior issue like a child looking down when you speak to him. When you repeatedly ask him to look you in the eyes you get nothing. Now, lets say a week has passed, and you are talking to him, when all of the sudden he glances your way for a second. This is your chance to start turning the behavior around. You stop everything and praise the boy for making eye contact. After awhile he will look at you just for the praise. You can apply this to any type behavior, school work, whatever it may be. 15:1 positive to negatives. If you are chuckling at this, imagine if your boss started praising you 15 times a day. Wouldnt that make you likely to continue it? Of course.
Well, I have to go and clean my daughters room now. We made a deal if I did that I could watch the sports channel tonite.


Addict Or Mental Health Patient? Lets Quit Playing Games. I Am Going To Keep This Real Like No Other Post, So Beware.


I talk about parents and kids and pedophiles and the like on here. However when I scan through the posts I have done over the years I found it very odd that I avoided the one that has cost me the most in my life. Addiction. I worked with addicts/mental health patients ( depending on where they are treated) for many years. The difference between me and them was that I had a secret. I had grown up an ” addict”. My father laid out a case of PBR when I was 12 and from then on it got worse and worse. I was a full blown ” addict” by 16. I made it through jobs, and even did very well at them. That is called a functional alcoholic. That lasts for awhile until eventually it catches up with your ability to function.

My father , brother are both long term prisoners. My dad will die in there. My other brother shot himself in the head right after graduating UF to be a cop. It took me many people praying and many nights of wanting to die to get to the place where I am today. I have been to 30 day, and 90 day inpatient programs, 2 years of AA type meetings ( they have about a 5% success rate BTW)-
If it was not for the praying people around me and the healing that God did in my body, there is no chance I could be writing this. I am being truthful. One surgeon, after my pancreas exploded, came in my room and told me I would not live any longer due to the damage. That night an old christian friend of the family came in my room by herself, leaned over to my ear, and said ” I have a word for you- YOU SHALL LIVE AND NOT DIE”- Then she left the room. I had not seen her in months.

The next morning the same surgeon comes barging in the door to my room holding up an X-RAY to the light. He said ” I dont understand, what happened? The sickness, it is all gone!” Left that day without anything but another nudge from the Lord that He was not giving up on me. I could tell 15 more events that were nothing short of miracles too. As a matter of fact, here is a quick one. I was driving my convertible mustang down the road and doing maybe 45-50 mph. 3 blocks from my house. I blacked out and headed straight for a very big old tree and hit it head on. I remember waking up with the air bag the color of velvet, my forehead torn open, and then a voice. It was a highway patrol man. He stood back about 6 feet, looked again at the car which was totaled like an accordian, and with a soft voice asked me if I could talk. I kicked the driver door open, it was stuck, and walked right along with him telling him what happened.
This is back in the day when I was one of ” those”. I knew I had to go to the hospital.. and i knew that meant toxicology tests…I was not worried about alcohol. I had graduated to higher class type drugs.
I went to the hospital , got the 45 stitches in my face, the doctor gave the tox report to the highway patrol man and after the report, it said ” medical blackout” cause unknown. It could have read a whole lot different.
My point is, most addicts did’nt ask to be addicts any more then cancer patients ask to become cancer patients. I have been through 15 years of hating my life, and then having others tell me how I am wrecking it, like I don’t know it. Where there are many experts, there are few answers. I will be focusing on the myth of addiction in up and coming blogs. One of the reasons I went into the field of social work was to help these type of people. Little did I know I had a live it awhile before I could be any help.


Parenting Series- Why Isnt My Kid Turning Out Like I Decided He Would?

I have been around for awhile now, been a parent for 20 years or so. I like to think I have tested and tried most of the good parenting techniques. Sometimes I even feel a sense of accomplishment at how I did in some areas. I truly understand why different people use different parenting styles. I didn’t say I always condone the styles, but I think I get why people do what they do. It is actually very similar to the view I have on addiction. I also feel I understand why people use drugs, alcohol to mask pain and for other reasons. I cannot say I think that self medication is the best solution, but I really do get it, when it comes to the why of it all, maybe that’s because I have been there myself.

There is one style of parenting that I will never understand. The parenting style where the dad goes to his son’s football games, scolds his son when he is not perfect, yells at him in front of his friends, and acts like his life depends on whether this pee wee football game is won by his 10 year old son. This dad is clearly insecure, was likely picked on as a kid, and maybe stunk up the football field as a child. He is selfish and considers not the lifelong consequences of his verbal abuse of his own child. He takes no thought at the idea that maybe it is he who is the loser for treating another human being like this. He does not consider the fact that he is using a 10 year old to validate his sorry feelings about being a loser himself as a child. This dad is ruthless.


You will know this dad by his loud and harsh voice tone after each fail his son has. He can easily be spotted by looking for the 10 year old who has a red face, and tears falling down his cheek as he looks embarrassed by his father’s actions. Fearful, the boy continues to listen and nod to agree with his father at any cost just to avoid any more shame. This arrogant and selfish dad gets off by venting his own insecurities on his son, who he knows is too young and vulnerable to fight back. He takes advantage of the fact that his own flesh and blood has failed and capitalizes on his weakness in this time. This dad is all too common today and should never be allowed to parent, or even speak to a child. Finally, if this dad wants to call anyone a loser, and get his jollys by hurting others, perhaps he should start by looking in the mirror where the real loser stands.

Stand up to bullying parents. That’s abuse and unacceptable.



“So we shall le…

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” — Hunter S. Thompson

What an excellent way to frame this life we have to either live or to not live…



How I Got Burned- By A Milkshake..

How I Got Burned- By A Milkshake..

Every once in a while I amaze myself with the awesome things I manage to do. Self inflicted, needless, no purpose type things. Things I rarely brag about, and never blog about, that is until today. Today I made the decision to laugh instead of getting angry. I challenged myself to not be one of those people who let one small incident ruin their whole day. I will not let a dumb microwave, with no common sense make me walk around gritting my teeth all day. Not me, I am making a change in the way I allow little things to impact my day.
I am sure you all have experienced being burned by a milkshake at some time or another, so this is probably more for me than for you. As I wrote about in my last post, blogging is therapy to me, so let me have my session.
You know how when you buy a really good milkshake, at a drive-thru, and then put the part you don’t finish in the freezer, right? Of course you do. Then when you feel like drinking the rest a day later, we all stick that thing in the microwave for 40 seconds, and let it un-freeze…you know what I mean.
The only problem with this is that microwaves are dumb. They do not think like humans do, and they cook things hotter in different places even though its all in one spot in the same oven. You surely understand. I waited patiently watching the seconds tick off the microwave 10, 9, 8, etc.. and then finally it was done. I grabbed the milkshake, much like the man in the photo grabs his drink, and after a quick slurp to make sure all was un-froze, I dumped it faster than a politician at an honesty conference. I mean I was thirsty.

The problem ( with the stupid microwave) was that it did not consider the fact that I would be feeling ALL of the ice-cream, not just the right top corner or left bottom parts. As it turns out, the microwave actually over cooked the middle, and as I poured it down I spilled some on my shoulder ( you know what I mean) and let out a scream. It was hot. Not ouch that’s warm hot, but OMG what just happened hot. Left a little scar for me to show my children how brave I was.
Listen, if things like this happen to you, you are not alone. They certainly should not define your day, or shape your thoughts. Let it go, I mean we are going to run into stupid microwaves, it just happens.
This moment, not the past moments, is the beginning of the rest of your life!
Thanks for the session. I feel much better. Getting a smart microwave too.


Tragic Accident Does Not Stop Man From Marrying His High School Sweatheart. Wow. Get Your Tissues Ready.

An incredible demonstration of true love and dedication, as high school sweethearts are seemingly divided by a terrible accident leaving the young man in a coma. However she never left his side, and 3 years later he was able to ask her to marry her. This is an incredible short story. Worth a view.


You Are Who You Hang Out With…

You Are Who You Hang Out With...

Once, many years ago I was talking to a man that I considered to be a mentor to me, and many others. He had lived a rough, tough life, he had been busted and disgusted and broke as a joke many a time. Now he was through those storms, and was living a much better life. He had a great family, solid income and he was just good people in general.
We were talking about my life and I began telling the many stories and tragedies that I had so well memorized and embedded in my soul for such a time as this. Shortly into my presentation, he politely interrupted me and asked me two questions;

1- Tell me about the blessings in your life, the good things.

2- Who are your closest friends, people you spend the most time with?

Slightly confused, I asked him what these questions had to do with our conversation. He responded something like this ” It is all I need to know “. So I fumbled and stumbled before finally coming up with something good; ” I got a couple kids “. Then he pushed me for the names of the people I hang out with.

WHOA! Now he was getting a little personal!

After a few minutes sharing who I hung out with and what their lives were like, he made a statement to me that has stuck with me. He said ” I don’t really care about what you tell me, all I need to know is who you consider friends in order to determine who you are ”

He had some nerve. I mean who cares who I hang out with, and how could he determine anything about me from who I hang out with? I felt like saying ” I hang out with NUNNYA”- meaning NUNNYA business! I could not speak to him like that so I obliged and we discussed my posse for awhile.
He shared with me a story from his career in law enforcement, I think FBI or similar. He said whenever he wanted lots of information on someone, he would go meet his group of friends, sometimes never even meeting the person he wanted to know about. He said he was not meeting the friends for them to TELL him how the person was. He got his impressions from the people themselves, and gathered a profile of the person of interest from the type of people he spent time with.
I got his point…about 3 years later. I began to wonder why I was stuck in a rut. I did an inventory of who I spent time with and found out that they were composed of the following;

1- A dream killer
2- A Lazy person
3- A complainer
4- Another complainer
5- A hard worker

Needless to say, I realized I was not going to get anywhere in life by surrounding myself with average people. They were nice people, but average achievers. I needed to put myself around people that I dreamed of being like. People I looked up to. That was what the man was trying to tell me. Since that time I try to position myself around those I desire to be like, and it feels good. Put yourself around those people that will lift you up, not pull you down. You know who they are, and the ball is in your court. To some extent, you determine what you will become by who it is you have in your circle. Something to think about!




This is a picture of Carey Hart, one of the greatest freestyle motocross riders ever. He created a trick called the “heart attack” and has won as many awards as you can in the sport. I wonder if he had any fear the first time he tried the trick? I mean, who gave him permission to exceed all expectations in the Motocross games? That is an interesting question. We will discuss the idea of breaking through barriors today. Stay tuned.