Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tenth Anniversary edition...

No...I haven't been blogging for ten years. Not even close. But today is my tenth anniversary. Ten years ago today, I walked out of Davidson County 4th circuit court, into the bright winter sunlight, and I wasn't married anymore. Ten years. It's taken most of those years just to adjust to the divorce and accept the hurt and disappointment. I long ago stopped missing my ex wife but Dang...I miss being married. I miss the feeling that I really matter to someone. I selfish as this might sound...getting a Christmas present from someone who I am not related to by blood. It's not the present's the thought that goes into it. The idea that somebody was walking around in the mall or wherever and out of their deep, intimate knowledge of me and abiding love, they bought me something I really would enjoy. It's been 12 years since I received a gift like that. I miss mattering to somebody. I miss feeling complete in the way only marriage completes people. I miss dreaming dreams for someone and making plans and then working hard to see them come true. Working harder for their dreams than for my own. I miss my daughter an awful lot. Once a week and every other weekend has marked our relationship for 10 years now.
The future looks brighter, I am happier than I have ever been. But I will never get those ten years back. I wish I could. I will have to settle for using them to help other dad's like me. Have a great day, boys.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Journey of a Dad and a Daughter...

My daughter will be twelve years old in may. It raced by in a little less than a blink.
I am a huge fan of Ed Tandy McGlasson. His ministry to dads is amazing and so absolutely driven by God.
One of the main points to Ed's teaching is his "calling forth" or kids to adulthood. He teaches that part of a dad's job is to guide our kids to that moment when we see adulthood in them and declare them such.
My daughter is heading there...perhaps too soon for my liking but on heading there nonetheless. This past week we began a study series...just her and I...about the things that will become more and more important as she reaches adulthood. Things like character, godliness, integrity, faith, wisdom, purity, and Christlikeness, to name a few. With each week, and with each study, she is walking towards adulthood and learning from her daddy...and God's word...what those words all mean and how important they are in our lives. I am building a foundation with her. A foundation that she will build her life on after she is grown and gone on to become who God has called her to be. before that happens...her daddy is calling her forth to adulthood and teaching her what that means.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back from the Cave!!!

Hi men! I hope you have enjoyed the Caveman series. It was a very challenging series to write.
But it's time to get back to what this blog was set up to do...minister to divorced dads. So we will be getting back to work this week. I am preparing a set of lessons for my daughter and I think I am going to share them here for you guys to use as a resource. I'll explain in my next's good to be back.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Until the conclusion of "The Caveman Chronicles, please click the link to my other blog. I am running The Caveman Chronicles on both sites.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Caveman Chronicles...

I have decided to run this new series on both blogs because I think it will be good for both audiences...
Hey gang... long time no see.
It's been a long summer and not a very good one. In some ways I am glad it's over. Two disappointing summers in a row now and I am only anticipating next summer mildly at the moment. The economy is still awful and I have just plain given up on the mortgage business. The bright spot...and for me it is very bright that making no money last year entitled me to a large grant from the government so I have returned to college. I am once again, a Liberty University student through their online program. Converting my degree to a Bachelors in Religion. I will graduate in October of next year and will stay in the program through May of 2011 and walk with that class with a Masters of Theological Studies. The goal is to latch onto a teaching gig at a local Christian School here or maybe a teaching position at a college in town. My summers would still be free for Morgan and I could pursue writing and at least have a base salary and some benefits. Actually I think I will enjoy teaching quite a bit.
Now...The Caveman Chronicles
This is going to be a long running series of posts. I haven't set a time limit but I can see this going on every day for a month or more. Today I will set the backdrop.
Last week...Wednesday to be exact...I met a guy here in Franklin. He is a guy of about my age and, like me, he isn't from here originally. He was a bit blustery and verbose and deeply thoughtful and I liked him right away. We talked a bit while most everyone else in the room smiled pleasantly and then proceeded to ignore him. He is a very interesting guy and extremely intelligent. What startled me and drew my interest to the point that it made me gasp, is that he told me he lives in a cave.
A real, genuine, hole-in-the-rocks cave. He has been there for about 11 years now. I asked him how many people knew this and he said nobody in this area even knew there was a cave around here...much less a man living in it. He told me were it was and I recognized the area. "You're right", I told him, "I never realized there was a cave there."
We sat down and talk. We talked until the wee hours and much of the next day. We are still talking some now and he is aware that I am writing this series about his life in this cave. I found it fascinating and very thought provoking. The coming posts will hopefully capture you as investigating them captured me.
See you tomorrow

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nothing new

Haven't had much to say of late. Lot's of pressure. Mortgage industry is awful and I am out of it again...this time never to return. I would honestly rather live in my car again than have my heart ripped out by the never ending see saw that this business has become.
But I am ready to start writing here so next week we will resume our regular broadcasts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Friends Farewell

This was a hard week for a friend of mine and because we are friends…a hard week for me as well.
My friend lost her beloved daddy this week after a brief but aggressive bout with an illness. She was heartbroken and stunned. Heartbroken at the loss and stunned at the speed with which this all happened. I was left breathless as I watched how quickly this whole series of events unfolded. I hurt for my friend, who lives in another town about a day’s journey from her family. I felt her pained heartbeats as she worried, paced, prayed, cried, feared the worst and hoped for the best. She barely got the chance to get home and see her dad before he was gone. Throughout the weeks that became this ordeal, she was overflowing with words of love, praise, admiration, and respect for the man her dad is and was. My favorite story was how he would come home from working third shift at the GM plant here in my hometown and stay up until his little girls were off to school just so he could have a few minutes with them before their day began.
That…is a dad.
The past few weeks have been hard to watch from a distance because I knew my friend was hurting and I wanted to offer comfort. It was painful also because I know that I will likely be repeating her situation one day myself. I have essentially accepted the fact that I likely won’t ever get the straight answer on my origins and I will one day get a phone call informing me that my father is gone. I won’t have any wonderful memories as my friend Vicky did, but I will have the same pain. The same hole will open up in my heart, or perhaps in my case it will open further. The hole is already there. I will only have more unanswered questions and more of the unfulfilled longing to know who my dad is and what he is like and hear him tell me he thinks I did okay.
Vicky reminded me, these past few weeks, of how important my job is. How many incredible memories I can make that don’t cost a dime and that have lifelong impact. In this case impact that extends beyond my own child and into the lives of those who will hear the tale second hand one day. Hopefully they will be inspired to be the man I was some day just as I am insured to try to be a little like Vicky’s dad for my little girl. It’s why I won’t quit in the face of seemingly never-ending resistance. It’s why I stay where I am instead of moving to where I wish I was. One day I will leave behind a legacy for my daughter and more than any money or possessions I might give her…I want her to speak of me the way Vicky speaks of her dad. I want the one and only regret to be the shortness of life not the quality of the life I lived in front of her. I want her children to know their granddad loved them and her husband to make a quiet decision to be a daddy like I was. (someday…as of now boys aren’t even on the radar…much to my delight)
I was thinking of another friend of mine in Nashville, who has to fight hell and high water just for a day with his little boy. I hope he gets to read this and I hope it strengthens him to continue on despite the huge emotional toll it takes to have your heart ripped out weekly and to never have the chance to even let a scar grow over the wound. Hang in there my friend. There is eternal value in your persistence. That goes for all you dads. It’s the little things that our children will remember when we are gone. Things like saying “Good Morning baby”, and having breakfast with them and looking at them with love, through weary eyes.
Well done Mr. Murray, while we never met, you reminded me of something important and it came at the exact perfect time. Take your rest good and faithful servant.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Link to Newspaper Article

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Newspaper article about Craig!

Hi folks...
Two weeks ago I sat down with Nancy Mueller of the Tennessean's "Williamson AM" division for a very nice, and very emotional interview about my new book, the collapse of the mortgage industry, being a homeless dad, and living in a Volvo.
Nancy is a gracious and kind lady and it was an emotional interview for her as well as for me. (Thanks again Nancy and Shelly)
For those of you in Williamson County you can find the story on Friday 7/10 in the Tennessean. For those of you outside of Williamson County, and around the world...the story will also run on for about a week or so. If you go to the site just search "Nancy Mueller" on the site search, or click on the "counties" bar of the search menu and scroll over to "Williamson" and you will find it.
If you are a regular reader of this blog or my other blog, please help me spread the word by (1) buying several copies of the paper and sharing the story with friends, especially your pastors or anyone who does homeless ministry. (2) forward the web link to everyone on your address list, again, especially your pastor or minister. This is the best way to spread the news and hopefully garner interest in having me speak to churches or groups. (3) forward the link to your own local paper and ask them to consider running it themselves or better yet, contacting me for an interview of their own.
Also...if you enjoy the article, please drop Nancy an email and thank her as a friend of mine. She took the chance and was the very first media person to interview me and let me tell my story. He email address will appear at the end of the article.
Thanks to all!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

News you can use

Hey guys, thought I'd use this opportunity to bring you up to speed on some of whats happening here.
Despite the fact that I have a new book out, and I've been spending a lot of time with promotions and planning for it, this ministry amongst divorced men continues to grow. God continues to bring men across my path who need a voice for their pain, and a well to drink from in the midst of their journey. I haven't retreated from that aspect of ministry, but my focus has been on the new book because the topic is pretty specific and won't have an enormous shelf life.
I thought I'd take a few moments here to let you regulars in on some of whats happening here. My website has been up and running for some time. The address has changed to which goes hand in hand with the ministry name I selected. I didn't like the sound of "Craig Daliessio Ministries" because it sounds quite Carman, or something. And it doesn't capture vision of what my life and ministry is about. That would be the expression of the Man of No Reputation, as Paul explains him in Philippians 2:5-8, and as I came to know him during four months of homelessness. So if you ever need more info that you find here on this blog, use the website This blog will eventually morphed into a true forum setup on the website. Forums are a lot more interactive, and that is what I am seeking; input from other guys in this position. Talking brings healing. Leaving comments doesn't engender the kind of interaction I am seeking here.
The book will undergo a major revision at some point this year. The content as it is written will mostly be unchanged but there are a few chapters I need to add. Topics I am adding are concerning resuming life after healing has begun, (issues like finally accepting the divorce...and you guys know exactly what I mean when I say that...resuming a social life and otherwise...and a big chapter on the value of forgiveness. God is doing miracles right now in my heart and the heart of my ex wife because of the power of forgiveness. There is a lot to that story that I will share in coming weeks.
So be patient and hang in there men. I am fine tuning this ministry so that we can reach more guys like us. Enjoy your summer and walk in the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stay Put!!

This is a difficult post today. Mostly it's difficult because I can't give any details.
In every divorced dads life, there will come times when the temptation is to just walk away. It's not because we don't love our children, it's because the burdens we bear in silence can sometimes gang up on us and make it seem like just getting away from it would be better than staying. We have all the worries that intact dads do but we also have the added burdens of time restrictions, child support, visitation conflicts, and the bottomless feeling of being a dad but not having your kids with you all the time. Sometimes those things become too much and if that happens frequently enough men can be tempted to quit. Some men do and it does damage that can't be undone.
Today I was reminded of the need for staying put. it has not been an easy path for me these past 9 years. many times I thought how much happier I'd be at home in Philly with my family and friends and familiar surroundings. but today some events happened that made me glad I was here when my daughter needed me. She is okay, but her situation isn't. I am still here to lend stability and comfort and the feeling that her daddy will make it okay. I missed that growing up and I will not let her feel that same fear. I miss it now too. If there was ever a time in the 11 years I have been a dad, that I needed my father's wisdom and advice it is today. Maybe for the first time in my life I am mad at him for not being there today when I need him.
Stay Put men of God...stay put. Set your face like flint, as the bible says, and don't be moved.
Blessing to you all

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Every once in a While

(duplicated from my other's important)

Hey's been a while.
I have been busy building chicken coops, cleaning pools, cutting grass. Pretty much anything to earn a dollar. I went home last week for some meetings and to go to the Italian Festival with my daughter. While we were there...God showed up in a simple yet profound way...let me explain.
Saturday afternoon, Morgan and I went to get dinner for ourselves and have a few minutes together. A week of hanging with her cousins didn't allow for much Daddy time and I was jealous.
We were pulling out of the shopping center...Capriotti's hoagie in hand...and we saw a homeless man holding up a sign and asking for help. You know the drill. Given where I've been, I can't drive past when I have the ability to help, even if it's a dollar and a kind word. The light changed before I could get my wallet out and for a second I thought about blowing it off and heading back to Tom's house. But God wouldn't let me and I instantly found out why. I told Morgan; "I need to go back and help that man" and I asked her if she minded and she said no. I was digging out my wallet and didn't notice her reaching into her pocket. she tapped me on the arm and handed me a small wad of cash. She had gotten $50 for her birthday and she had $42 left and she handed me all of it. I asked her what she was doing and she said she wanted to help the man. She hadn't even counted it...all that occurred to her was to give him everything she had. I was moved to tears right there in front of her. I couldn't even find words at first. I finally told her that I loved the way she was so unselfish about someone elses troubles and how God would bless her for her willingness to give everything she had. I compromised with her and let her add the $2 to the $10 I was going to give him. It was all I could do to speak. We drove back to the shopping center and pulled into the line and I signalled him to come over to our car. I handed him the $12 and told him I'd been where he is and I asked him his name and said it out loud back to him. (read my new book to find out why I did matters) and he smiled and I told him God loves him deeply and this money was form Him, not me. He smiled and thanked us and we drove off.
And i have never been so proud as I was that afternoon. I have always been proud of my daughter but that day...she blew me away with her love and her Christ likeness.
I am a blessed man to be her dad. I'm glad God gave me the strength to hang in there, and not just bail out on her when things were tough. I hope God says the same about my faithfulness. There is no telling what God is going to do to the $40 she still has...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Giving God What We Seek from Him

Hey men…sorry it’s been so long. Lot’s going on right now. I hope all you guys are well and taking great care of your quiver of arrows.
I was sitting in church this past Sunday and thinking about my relationship with God. Having only met my father once, and having no relationship with him whatsoever, my relationship with God suffered mightily. We all tend to project onto God, the images we carry of our fathers. If our dads were approachable and loving, we see God as someone to take our troubles to and a safe haven. If our fathers were difficult and distant, we typically aren’t men of prayer because we never saw a pattern of a father who answers our requests.
This Sunday I was considering that, and considering also, how God has removed that thought pattern from me. It took a lot of time…many years in fact…and it took a lot of breaking. When it all boils down to soup and nuts, the wall started to crumble when I started giving to God, that which I desired to receive from him. I needed His love and blessing. I needed to feel His presence. I needed to hear Him tell me He loves me. I needed to be able to see Him as my Father. So one day I began…haltingly, and very much against my will…to offer those things back to Him. I reasoned it like this; the fastest way for my daughter to hear me tell her I love her is to say it to me. I tell her several times each day, but if she ever needs it “right now” she never has to beg, or plead, or perform. She just walks into the room and says “I love you daddy” and the response will always be “I love you too sweetheart” followed by a hug. It never fails. Hearing her tell me that she loves me sends me a signal that she needs to hear it to, and I reciprocate. She sends me a child sized portion and I return an adult sized.
The same works for our relationship with God. The changes came for me, when I forced my hands up in praise, when I made myself say…through clenched teeth at first… “I love you” and when I began to praise Him. I needed a Father…I prayed to become His child. I realized that I had never once in my life felt like a son. (At least not until I meat Bob and Pop.) So I asked Him to show me how to be His son. I started calling Him “father” and it was foreign at first. But He broke through. He took my stumbling step of faith and blessed it and used the open door to heal my heart. My relationship with Him is a thousand times better. I am blessed.
Men…learn a valuable lesson from your children. When they need your love, they give you theirs. Practice this with your Heavenly Father and watch what happens.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The High Road

I've been learning the valuable lesson of not letting bitterness get a grip on me. I sure could have, because Lord knows my ex certainly put me through the ringer once she met her current husband. All the worst stuff you hear guys going through. Constant battles for more child support, personal attacks, him not being able to handle the fact that his wife was married before and has a child with someone else and that man will always be a small part of her life.
But I took the high road for the most part and lately it's been paying off. I'm glad I never sunk to the depths that they did. I'm glad I didn't say all the terrible things I could have said, and put my daughter in an untenable position.
My ex has needed a friend lately and oddly enough she has turned to me. We aren't going for margaritas and fondue at Applebees, but we are talking freely about Morgan and that is a good start. Morgan needs us to be friends. Guys...take the high road of civility and Christ-likeness. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Morgan...

Today is my daughters 11th birthday.
11 years ago today, at exactly 10PM, I was blessed beyond measure. I was given a gift that night, that I could not possibly comprehend at that moment. I loved her instantly...before she was born even...and that love grows stronger each day. If I have's hers. If she needs it...I will find a way. If She dreams it...I will launch that dream or die trying. That's what dads do. My little arrow is another year closer to flight. I am another year closer to launching her through tears and a mildly broken heart. I am fascinated by her immense intellect and her love for God. She makes me smile from 15 miles away. My life revolves around the next time we'll see each other. She is getting to the point where I have to tell her "I love you", quieter now when I am dropping her off at school. Hugs aren't as freely given in public. But that's the way of things, and I find it amusing.
My daughter is eleven today and I have never been so proud of any accomplishment in my life as I am of the young lady she is becoming. God is faithful to His promises.
Happy Birthday Morgan...
I love you!

(Your friends don't read my it's safe!)


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Constantly checking...

It is 7:50 AM in Nashville. Like most mornings I woke up and my daughter isn't here and I miss her. I miss the feeling that my child is in the house with me...that I will take her to school, or to some fun place we wanted to go. I miss hearing her voice and seeing her smile.
She will be 11 years old next week. It is hard to imagine that 11 years have already come and gone and I am less than 7 years from seeing her go off to college. It all goes by so quickly. I am always reviewing my plans for her. Always running down an internal watch list...constantly checking. Have I been the best man I could be in front of her? Have I told her "I love You" enough times? Have I done my best? Have I prayed hard enough...long enough...fervently enough? Have I lived with integrity? If she marries a man like me someday...will I be okay with that, or will I dread it?
I only get one shot and no crash test dummies or do-overs. I have to do my best to get my arrow ready to fly. Have I made my mark in her life? Or have I left a mark?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


My new book is finished and ready for purchase!
It's called "Nowhere to Lay My Head...the Secret Confessions of a Homeless banker"
It's about the mortgage meltdown, foreclosure, homelessness, and loss. All things I experienced in the last 18 months. It's also about hope deferred and hope restored. About overwhelming failure and sadness...and about the grace that only God can show.
It's a wonderful tory and I hope you'll consider it. You can click the link in my link list or go to

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Accidental Moments...

I heard Dr. Laura yesterday on Focus on the Family and she used this term. I was very moved by it. She spoke of being there for our kids on a consistent, constant basis. Then we are more likely to witness "accidental moments" when they say something, or do something unplanned and priceless. I remembered my first such accidental moment with my daughter. Holly was 7 months pregnant at the time and I was in the habit each night of talking to Morgan via a paper towel tube pressed against Holly's tummy. I would say "Hi's your daddy...I love you and I can't wait to see you..." I did this every night for months. The night in question as we lay there I leaned over and said "Hi's your daddy..." and she kicked. She kicked quite pronounced in fact. Holly and I laughed and cried at the same time. My daughter wasn't even born yet and she recognized my voice and was excited to hear from me.
As a divorced dad it is harder to have those moments because our time is limited. So we have to work harder at developing real intimacy with our kids. We have to know them. We have to know what questions to ask to get a conversation going. Every person, young or old, likes to talk about the things they love and are passionate about. If I know what she loves, I know what to talk about. Then I can know her even more. Then she really feels like she matters to me. You can learn that and do it, or you can see your kids growing up and growing away from you. Someone is going to listen and someone is going to answer those difficult life questions. If it isn't me...then I have no right to complain about the results. I have to work much harder for my accidental moments...but that's part of my job too. Join me dads.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Semper Fidelis...

Everyone recognizes this as the signature phrase of the Marine Corp. Semper Fidelis. It means "Forever Faithful". Faithful to the Corp and it's beliefs and code of conduct. Faithful to other members of the Corp.
It's also a call to action for dads, and today I was reminded in a way I'd rather not be...
I got a frantic phone call at 5:20pm from my ex wife. "Do you have Morgan?" she asked. "No!...I'm not supposed to!" I replied. "Oh my God" was her panicked response. She was missing. Long and short of it...I raced downstairs to my car, went screaming out of the parking lot with tears already beginning to flow. Begging God to protect my daughter and remembering suddenly, all the countless thousands of prayers I have uttered in her behalf. Prayers for protection and prayers applying the blood of Jesus to her. I stand on this verse daily in Morgan's behalf: Rev 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the Word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul even until death. In a minute or two I was suddenly sensing God's presence in that car with me and while I was scared witless, I knew I had prayed and been her defender and warrior. I had the presence of mind to make a quick call to my friend Creig and he was ready to meet me and help. I told him to pray. It was a seemingly endless five minutes later when Holly called me and told me she found her, and it was all a miscommunication. She had planned on going to her friends house after school but Holly had forgotten to give her a note allowing her to ride the bus and the school wouldn't let her. So she had gone next door to the library to and called Holly's husband and was waiting for him to pick him up. (He never told Holly about the call and so that's where the communication breakdown came in) It was a few more minutes until my heart rate slowed to normal. It's the worst feeling in the world...except, I'm sure, that feeling when you get bad news and it's definite. I was thankful that I've been consistent in my prayers for Morgan. There is so very much about this world I can't help or can't see coming. That's where Jesus blood comes in. It's power is limitless and I don't have to see where I need to apply it...I just have to believe in it's power. He does the rest.
Dad's...this is a vicious, sinful, wicked world. Many times the only thing standing between our kids and devastation, is the effective, fervent, consistent prayers of dad's who never stop being faithful to their kids. Men who divorced or not, with their children daily or not...never stop seeking God and never stop claiming the protection of God over their precious little corp. Be forever faithful to your little band of soldiers, guys. You never know when the difference you make on those long nights on your knees, will pay off in a day like I had today.

Monday, March 30, 2009

He Heals The Brokenhearted

PS 147:3 "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their sorrows. "
I was writing on my other blog this morning and I quoted this verse and the application is so fitting for divorced dads. (And moms) The psalmist tells us that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their sorrows. The visual image is applying bandages to wounds. The gem that jumped out at me in reading this today is that nowhere in the verse does God tell us He only heals our broken heart or bind up our wounds if someone else did it to us. Many times, our wounded heart is the result of someone else's actions toward us, and other times it's because of actions we took. Sometimes too, it's a combination of divorce. It's almost never just one person's fault. But God doesn't differentiate between the two. He simply says he heals our broken heart and binds up our wounds. Period. I am learning that most of the time, our sin is punishment enough. The consequences of our actions are more than we can bear most of the time...God doesn't need to add anything to that pain. Occasionally we are stubborn or we blame someone else and don't take responsibility for what we've done and He has to add some punishment to get us to understand. But for the most part, the shame, hurt, pain, wounds, and long term consequences are so heavy that He needs to give us mercies that are new each morning. Probably because we use up our supply every day. (It was figurative when He described His mercy that way...and I do know this)
Yesterday was difficult for me. It always is when I have Morgan for the weekend and she has to go home on Sunday night. The house just screams of emptiness. This is a result of our divorce and the divorce was the result of two people who sinned against each other. But God doesn't hold that against me nor does He measure out His mercies based on what I have done. He only sees my wounded heart and He only has healing in mind. That is a result of His unfailing love. He heals the matter how they got that way.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Special moments...

These are tough times indeed. I see folks losing their jobs and their homes and their livelihoods all around. When you have young children, you want to shield them from this as much as possible. But how? What can we do to resist the downward spiral we see around us and instill faith in our children? There is only one possible answer...the eternal. Last Wednesday evening, we had our monthly prayer service at church. The children's classes also met and taught on prayer and they had small group prayer with the kids. ('s a special place!) My daughter was telling me about her experience after the service. She said she was praying for her dear friend Shirley and that she felt God "take over" her prayer. She said only the first five words or so, came from her mind, the rest were the Holy Spirit praying through her. It was English, it was intelligible, and it was a wonderful experience for my daughter to have. She said she prayed in a way she never had before. It felt very forceful to her and very effective. That is a moment that no economy can steal. That will stay with her and keep her grounded more than anything I can do in my own strength. Forgive me if it sounds haughty...My remaining consistent in her life, and remaining a consistent force for her spiritual growth, created a door of opportunity for an event like this. I didn't do anything except be obedient to God's commands to bring up a child with the knowledge of the right path, and I remained on the job when quitting was an enticing option. God did the miracle.
Hang in there dads. These are tough days but God honors committed dads.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bless Those That Curse you...

Jesus gave us this command:
Mat 5:44 but I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you; and pray for those abusing and persecuting you,
Mat 5:45 so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. Because He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?
Mat 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what exceptional thing do you do? Do not the tax-collectors do so?

It's a hard thing. Especially when there is emotion involved. I have been asked quite often about why my book didn't contain more bitterness and bile towards my ex-wife, the court system, the judge who presided over our hearings, and the inequities of the way the entire thing is set up. Well it's partially because of the verses above and partially because I know myself too well. I tend to brood sometimes. If I let bitterness creep in, it will wreck my day and my week. My ex and her husband have pulled plenty of stunts that have hurt me and wounded my soul. But my daughter is watching. I have to respond in a Christ-like fashion regardless of how I think I want to respond. I can't teach her about the loving grace of Jesus if I spew my venom in retaliation for something that has happened between her mom and I. I have tried to avoid going there as much as possible. I have not been perfect in that pursuit but I have done better than I ever thought I would have. I don't want that bitter root to take hold in my heart. I wrote about that before.
So I have begun to pray earnestly for Holly and her husband. It's difficult to pray for their happiness and really is. But if they are happy, it will create a happy environment for my daughter, and ultimately...that's all I care about.
I've been asked to speak to various dads' support groups from time to time and I've turned down many opportunities. The reason? Because those that I declined were very bitterness based. They were vengeance minded and absorbed with fighting the "system" and dwelling on hatred. I know where that comes from, and their basis is justified. But I know me..if I go there I might end up staying there. I choose forgiveness and graciousness because I have to stay Christ-like in this mess. "Father forgive them...they just don't get it" was Jesus' plea from the cross. I pray the same things sometimes for my ex. I find that spending a few minutes in sincere prayer for them mellows me a bit, too. It's hard to take the high road but I see Jesus walking there so frequently. Join me on the path.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Taking some time off

This weekend was a marathon...seemingly endless proofread and revision for book number two.
"Nowhere To Lay My Head" is done! I will give you details in the future but I've already scored a coup with the Foreward. It will be written by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. Details to follow.
So...I am TIRED of writing and I am taking a break for a few days or maybe a week.
Be back before you know it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Calling for input

Hey's my request for the day. I am trying to put together some revision chapters for the book and I am looking for some input. If you've read the book, or if you've been a regular here at the blogsite, send me an email or comment here with a sentnece or two about a topic you'd like to see me include in the revision.
Here is a list of what will be included in the revision
"Sexual purity after divorce"
"Dealing with anger and avoiding bitterness"
"Dealing with her new husband"
"Admit hurt. Learning how to stop hiding your pain"
"Life goes on...what the future holds"
"Helping other guys"
"When do I start loving again?"

I'm open to suggestion so lets here from you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

SDC announcements

Hey gang...a few updates to share with you all
First...thank you, from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have written or emailed or commented here telling me how the book has helped. I am very excited about how God is using this book to help and heal.
On that note, here are some important upcoming items of interest.
The book is going to undergo a slight revision. There are a few small items I am going to remove and actually quite a bit I am going to add to the content. In my discussions with folks as they've read it and here on the blog, God has shown me a few more areas that could stand to be addressed before I make the move to an ISBN number and worldwide distribution via Borders, Amazon et al. I'm not changing the content or the tone too much, more like just fine tuning it and there were one or two areas that I decided made this sound too much like an autobiography and not enough about an all-inclusive story.
On another very exciting number two is done! At least the first draft. The title is "Nowhere To lay His Head" and I am sending out pdf's for proofreading tomorrow. I expect to have it ready for sale on LULU by next week if all goes well and I can get the cover shoot lined up. I's about my story of homelessness as it relates to the mortgage meltdown...and more importantly what I learned about Jesus' own homelessness. It was life changing just writing it and I hope it will be that to readers as well.
Several men have suggested a daily devotional book for divorced dads or divorced folks in general and I am seriously putting that into planning stage as well as a companion workbook for SDC. Those are likely "next year" projects.
Your prayers are always appreciated as well as your insight and comments here or on my site at
Thanks to everyone!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why I Don't Date...

Thanks to everyone who wrote me about part one of this little entry. I am glad so many folks used it as a way to help explain to their friends and family how this all feels.
Today I am going to finally get to that aforementioned question..."Why Don't You Date?"
Much of the reason is actually found in the previous entry.
When I met Holly, I was 32. I had never been married and had never even been close to it. I hadn't even dated anyone who I thought I'd ever ask to marry me.
So when love came knocking at my door...I was eager to answer.
Holly was, and is, a very special person. Far from perfect, as time would eventually reveal, but special. And she was beautiful and she took my breath away. I could make this the extended dance remix but in the interest of brevity I'll get to the point. I did it right, courted her and finally asked her to marry me. She said yes, we got married, 7 months later found out we were going to have a baby and moved to Nashville.
We had fights and bad days. We disappointed each other. It ended too soon and ended poorly. But I was in love with my wife, make no mistake. I dreamed dreams of doing heroic, romantic things to surprise her. I hoped to one day go back to her native Utah for a visit and have her friends pull me aside and tell me they were so glad she married me...that I'd been the guy they always thought she deserved. I lived to tuck my daughter in at night. I set goals of buying a home and building a life for them.
Only one person ever inspired me to that sort of endeavor, and so far, nobody else has ever come along who made me feel like breaking out that old suit of armor, bringing the white steed out of the barn and trying to be larger than life again.
I am sardonically cynical now, and maybe I will remain thus, I don't know.
I never stopped believing in marriage and love, and romance, even though my marriage failed and my romance wasn't enough to retain her love.
But I still think that's the way it ought to be and until it is again...what's the point of "dating"?
I am no longer in love with her, but until I meet that one person who will once again inspire me to goofiness in the name of love...I'll stay at home on Friday nights or go see my friend's band.
I'll never marry out of convenience or to merely stave off loneliness. That never ends well.
..."I'll be what I am...solitary man..."
This is the simple and abridged version...but it works for me right now.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saturdays Post

Wow...I have gotten a LOT of email from people I don't even know who read this and are VERY happy I wrote it. So I am leaving it here for one more day and putting it on my other board as well. Feel free to copy it and share it with anyone you think might need it. To all of you who have emailed me with a thanks..thank you.
I'll post the second part later today.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why don't I date?

I get asked this a lot. It's been 9 years since I got divorced...or divorce was thrust upon me, however you choose to view it.
I get two statements thrown my way with some regularity. Well, one now, but I used to hear the other quite a bit. One is the title to this post..."Why don't you date?" Or it's variants..."Are you seeing anyone?" or "Have you dated since?".
The other statement I used to hear a lot was "It's been (fill in the blank, timeline) you need to get over it" That one always hacked me off so I thought I'd address that one first and then maybe address the other one here if there is room or tomorrow if this goes over the TV time limit. (nice old school pro wrestling reference)
Get over what...exactly?
Let's recap, shall we? I only ever loved one woman enough to ask her to marry me. We have a daughter together. I defined myself as a dad and as a husband. Now one is gone and the other is limited. I gave up every dream I had for her. I mean every dream. It was to make her happy that I gave up on the pursuit of pediatrics, and to make her happy that I formulated a "plan B", and to make her happy that I moved from my home to Nashville, (where I will never quite be at home). I chose-for a while-her over my family and friends, because she was at odds with them and I had to try my best to have a happy marriage. Now I just miss them more and still didn't manage to keep a happy wife.
I changed all of my goals and dreamed new dreams and they were all...every last one of them...about how to take care of the two people I loved most in this world. Now one is married to someone new and the other is only with me briefly each week and each alternating weekend.
The very people I lived for are gone or limited in their presence. I have to re-create myself...again. You are right...I should be over that fact why did I ever grieve?
Consider this before you say these words to a divorced friend of yours. This wasn't like breaking up with your girlfriend in high school or getting laid off from your job.
You marry because you love someone. (Most do anyway) And you don't have an off switch for that. I married that specific person because that specific person was who I was searching for my whole life. Have you considered that? I defined myself by marriage and fatherhood...the two things you lose in a divorce. Have you considered that? I am alone at the times when I thought I'd be sharing wonderful memories with that same person. Have you considered that? I had a plan and I had dreams and the two faces I always saw when I dreamed those dreams are not here, or are here occasionally. Have you considered that? Should it really have been so easy to replace all that with a new face? You know where I am going with this. You divorced dads. (and divorced moms as well) are sitting by your computer monitors right now yelling "YEAH! tell 'EM Brother!" I've seen people be more compassionate to a friend who lost a pet!
Consider all of this when you think I should be "Over it".

(NOTE: From time to time I'll write on a topic that needs to be addressed, even if it is no longer a day to day issue with me. Such is the case here. I don't hear this quote much any more. I am over it for the most part, and most of my friends understand by now. But sometimes I feel the need to say things that need to be said for the benefit of others, this is such a case)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Psalm 101:8 Checklist for Dads...cont (Final installment)

Psalm 101:8
Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord.

What was David encouraging us to do? Why every morning?
David was the King of Israel. He had the habit of seeking God early in the morning. This prevents the bad news and sinful influences of the day from intruding into Davids mind and his soul.
He filled his mind with the presence of God first, and then the cacophony of the outside world was silenced. He didn't stop them from speaking; rather, he listened to the voice of God first, before his day began, and let that Voice shout down the noise of the sinful world. Then he could be about the business of running a kingdom. He was able to cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord, because he was ready to spot them. In banks, tellers are trained to look for counterfeits not by handling counterfeits...but by handling the real deal. They know the fakes because they are so used to the real thing. Same with cutting off evil doers. David was not familiar with the tricks of the evil doers because he spent time around them. He was aware of the deeds of the evil because he started his day in the presence of Ultimate Goodness...God. He let God affect the changes he needed for the day and then he was ready to face the imposters.
I am very guilty of this one lately. I intend on spending time each morning with God and I manage to find more excuses than I do create opportunities. We need to fill our tanks before we face the day. If that means getting up earlier or not logging in to my website until I have spent time with be it.
God's order for my household is that I get filled from Him, then my overflow fills my family. Out of the abundance of my heart, I can speak blessings to them...and I can silence the evil in the land.

Psalm 101:7 Checklist for dads...cont...

Psalm 101:7<
"No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence"

This Psalm is simple, yet full of insight. I can't let anyone who practices deceit dwell in my house. Maybe they'll only be a visitor until they show their true character. But once I realize they are practicing deceit, they have to go. This seems simple and obvious. But then I started thinking about it more. It's plain to see that no one would invite a deceitful person into their house to live, but do we invite deceitfulness into our home in a form we don't always recognize? How about the evening news, the radio, music we listen to or books we read or information we gather on the net. I started to realize how I can violate this important teaching of David's without having a flesh and blood person in my home. If I allow a world view that doesn't sync up with mine and more importantly with God's, live in my home, I am letting one who practices deceit dwell in my home. What about "one who speaks falsely" standing in my presence. Same thing...what of all those news shows that so badly skew the news to make one side look bad? What about the lies of the ungodly that I hear on the radio or read in the paper? Even closer to the heart...what about those "preachers" who preach a gospel that is a little less...a little more sprinkled with deceit. Not quite the real gospel. Have they set up a "dwelling" in my home?
I have to watch all four corners and every door. Being a dad and a man is work. I can't sit back and let life happen to me. I have to have my filter in place and make sure I am checking on who wants to move in a live here. Living there is not the same as stopping by for a visit. We can't sequester ourselves from the world. But who is taking up residence in our lives?
Help me be free from deceit and then help me remain free from deceitful people and deceitful influences. Help me be sensitive to my own ability to deceive myself, and sensitive to those things that are deceiving me that I might not realize. Help me be lovingly discerning in all things.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Psalm 101:7 Checklist for successful dads...cont...

Psalm 101:7 "My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; He whose walk is blameless shall minister to me"

Websters on "Minister": To look after the needs of others"

I need to be careful about who my heroes are. Even as an adult man and a dad, there are still people who influence me and who I consider heroic and influential. I need to watch who those people are. I need to filter my view of the actions of others through the absolute truth of the Bible.
A man is known by the company he keeps. Eventually, if you spend enough time with someone, they will rub off on you. When I was in college I had team mates on the hockey team who were Canadians. By the end of the season my Philadelphia accent had morphed into Bob and Doug MacKenzie. I was saying "eh" and "oot". That's a simple example but it shows how enough time in the presence of others can and will change us.
So I need to spend my time with Godly, faithful people. And I need to do it not just as a means of promoting my business interests or gaining favor in certain social circles. What I need to do is find faithful influences regardless of who they are in the worlds eyes.
David says "He whose walk is blameless shall minister to me". David was so wise. He knew that people who go the extra step of ministering to our needs have so much more influence than those who we only know casually. If two people show up at my door for a visit and one brings a covered dish, they have a special place in my heart. If someone wants to "bless me" with a financial or tangible gift...especially in a time of need...they have a place of influence. If only by obligation.
David knew this and he advised the readers to only let "the blameless" minister to him. If someone wanted to do kindnesses to David and his house, they were going to be people of good report an blameless lifestyle, because he knew the intrinsic place of influence these folks would have.
I have to do this in my own life, especially as a dad. Am I standing firm on what I believe? Do I show my daughter an example of being with people of questionable character just to advance my own agenda? Do I let people "bless" me who maybe have their own agenda at heart?
Surround me with men and women who have your mind. Encircle me with men whose walk is blameless and who are faithful. Men who set an example of staying true to You and Your word, even in hard times. Let my daughter see an example of integrity in the people I align myself with.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Psalm 101 Checklist for Dads...cont...

Psalm 101:5 "Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure."
This point on the checklist is a tough one because, at least for me, it hits too close to home. The first part of this verse is clearly speaking of gossip. Now forgive my perceived misogyny, but gossip amongst men is a world different from gossip amongst women. Women gossip about personal matters...weight, manners, how much money their husbands spend on them, how good or bad a cook they are etc. Men gossip to get ahead in life. Men gossip only when it will directly benefit them or their pursuits, otherwise we really don't care about anyone else. Two guys criticizing another guy in a bar...because they think he might end up with the prettiest women. Two guys gossiping about a ballplayer...they want him to fail so they can move up on the depth chart. Hear a guy gossiping at the office? He wants the other guys job. Gossip about the preacher...the preacher said something that pricked the attackers conscience. Women will gossip to gossip to draw blood.
I cannot permit this kind of destructive talk in my home. Because it teaches my daughter that I will attack someone personally if they have what I want. It shows my petty jealousy and it shows that I have no respect for other human beings.
If I have an issue with a co worker I need to be a resolver of situations, not a gasoline pour-er. If I disagree with the pastor I need to talk to him and see if I really understood him or was I hearing what I wanted to hear? If I disagree with him...I need to leave, not destroy him and see what happens next. I was witness to this at the last church I belonged to back home. My beloved pastor Paul Walters was attacked in a very non Christlike fashion. People get tired of what they know and have, they shun the familiar every day. Pastor Walters served that body of believers for years and it cost him a lot personally. A split developed over something most splits do...and he resigned. I was already in Nashville when this happened and it broke my heart that I wasn't there to stand in his defense. I have visited that church since, and it has changed for the worse.
People could have prayed, they could have talked in a non aggressive fashion, but instead they decided they knew better than God and they wound up with what they deserved. Half the members left for various churches and the other half stayed and lost something very special indeed.
I cannot let my daughter see that sort of behavior, for a litany of reasons. Mostly because I don't want to set the tone for what she may perceive is my general attitude towards those who don't live up to my standards. (as if they matter) Will she be the next to get a dose of the acid tongue if she let's me down somehow? (In some way that really doesn't matter)
Notice that the verse doesn't say not to have an says not to talk about it in secret. Grounded, constructive criticism is just that...constructive. Whispered attacks are petty and harmful. A man of integrity doesn't skulk around talking badly about others behind their back. He is a lovingly confronting friend who truly wants that person to be their best...and he is willing to find out if his view was correct. Maybe there was something about the story he didn't grasp.
I will not abide arrogant or boastful people in my advisory council. I can't have them influence me because I can easily begin to buy into it and feed my own pride. If I am influenced by humble men, my own ample pride is sequestered and I will begin to walk in humility. The greatest men I've known were confidently humble...a delicate balance indeed, and one our kids could be well served to see.
"Father, set a watch before my lips. Watch over my heart and keep me from gossip and verbal aggression. Watch over my heart and keep me from pride. Like Paul...may my boast only be in you."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Checklist for Dads Psalm 101 cont...

Psalm 101:4(b) "Men of perverse heart shall be far from me. I will have nothing to do with evil"
"Directed away from what is right or good; perverted.
Obstinately persisting in an error or fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn."

Men of perverse heart shall be far from me. I wrote many months ago about the use of the word perverse and especially the prefix "per". It connotes something that is very very much like the thing it imitates but not exactly like it.
Hydrogen Peroxide is almost identical to plain water, but the differences are potentially deadly. It looks and smells like water, it tastes almost the same. It's chemical formula is even deceptively similar. But ingesting it in any notable amount will kill you. The similarities make it dangerous.
It's the same here in Psalm 101. Men of perverse hearts aren't necessarily openly evil. They may "look Christian". They may say the right things, speaking fluent Christianese. They might even have the right bumper stickers on their cars, and hold positions on the church board. But they are not what they appear and they are, because of their outward similarity to true Christianity, even more dangerous.
Maybe they are men who try to act as much like the world as they can, and still maintain the facade of a faith walk. Maybe they bend the rules in business, or dismiss their responsibilities as a dad in order to possess "more". Maybe they talk one way around their Christian friends and another way around their non Christian friends. Maybe they hold to a perverse view of holiness. Those who allow the intended end to jutify the means. Those who cheat in business and tell themselves they will give more money in church. Those who use the Bible as a nice book of quotes and not the beacon of absolute truth that the Bible is. Those who look so much like someone I could emulate and admire, but on further examination they are living a lie and they know it. Nobody is perfect...I am not saying we need to eliminate all but the "perfect" among us. But there is a massive difference between someone who is trying to walk the walk and live the life, and someone who is trying to fool me into thinking they are walking the walk and living the life. The danger is when I let them convince me that I can "get away" with less of a sacrifice than my all.
David instinctively knew he wasn't going to be able to influence them to change. He knew it was far more likely that they would pull him down rather than him pulling them up. That's why he says these people will be "far from me" and he makes the bold statement "I will have nothing to do with evil". He wasn't talking about evil, the action, he was referring to evil intentioned people. David made his vow to keep this sort of influence as far away as possible.
I have to try to do the same. I need to fill my place of council and advice and wisdom with Godly men of integrity and faith. Men who live what they believe and who willingly watch their steps so that their life doesn't betray their faith.
Those men will be close to me.
Father God...Help me to take a stand against the deeds of the faithless. Help me not be a jerk about it, but be a real man of God. I don't want to drive those men away like a pompous jerk, but rather, I want to be so deeply in tune with You and with Your Spirit and Your will, that these men don't feel comfortable around me in their faithlessness. Let me distinguish myself as such a man of faith that their faithlessness leaves a noticeable void and they "want what I've got".
Most of all, help me spend so much time in your presence that I am an authentic, Godly man, and not a perversion of who you say I am.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Psalm 101 checklist for Dads cont...

Psalm 101:3(b)-4
" The deeds of faithless men I hate, they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil."
David's conclusion here is obvious. I cannot tolerate or make excuses for, faithless people. Not in a prudish or mean spirited way, but in my personal interactions that would influence me. I can't hold them in such regard that their deeds or attitudes would cling to me. I don't want Morgan to see an aspect of my life that has faithlessness clinging to it. I don't want her seeing me tolerating someone influencing my life in order to get ahead in the business world, or in social circles or in finances. What would this look like? What areas do I need faithfulness is?
-Finances: Because it honors God and sets a Godly example. This includes tithing without fail, generosity beyond the tithe, and not wasting money.
-What I watch on TV or listen to on radio. I need to be careful. I need to input more programs that build my faith. I need to "watch what I watch". Are they sneaking in little improprieties that I ignore because they are brief? Is there an agenda at work?
- I need to be faithful in integrity. Mark DeMoss was right. You have it or you don't. It's a decision, not a gene. Faithfulness to Jesus will yield integrity
Little things like your phone ringing and your wife asking "are you here?" before answering. Cheating on your taxes (unless appointed to a cabinet position in the Obama presidency) or not telling the cashier they miscalculated your bill and you owe them money. During a time when my ex wife and her husband were being particularly contrary towards me, I was saying bedtime prayers with Morgan and I prayed for them. Morgan stopped right there and said "You are praying for Mommy and Jeff?..They are being so mean to you". I told them that we always pray for people...even those who mistreat us. She was amazed and very impressed with her daddy. One of my major issues is how impatient I am behind the wheel. I detest bad, inattentive drivers. I can easily let it get out of hand. I don't get doesn't descend into road rage...but even what I mutter under my breath needs to be filtered. Is this the example of faith I want Morgan to see? This seems daunting but it's so necessary. I only get one chance to live my faith before her eyes. I only have a few short years to influence her for God and to instill integrity. I only get one chance to be a heroic, faithful, Godly man. Here is a very direct, abrupt, and possibly chilling way to put it, men...The man I am is very likely to be the man my sons will become, and the man my daughters will marry.
When you think about it in those terms it is easy to understand why it matters so much.
I don't know about you...but I have work to do!
Dear Father God...I need to be faithful in all my ways, but I am so unable to do that, when I try in my own strength. I need your help and your filling with your Spirit. Then I can be the man you have asked me...commanded me to be.
Help me yield to you and let your attitudes and integiry fill me. Help me be a man of God and a dad that makes a difference.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Psalm 101...checklist for dads

Psalm 101:3a
"I will set No vile thing before my eyes"

From Websters: "Vile"
Loathsome; disgusting: vile language.
Unpleasant or objectionable: vile weather.
Contemptibly low in worth or account; second-rate.
Of mean or low condition.
Miserably poor and degrading; wretched: a vile existence.
Morally depraved; ignoble or wicked: a vile conspiracy.

I barely need to explain anything here. We could all just read the verse, then the definition, and spend an hour in thought.
This verse goes along with Jesus teaching that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" What is abundant in my heart? Is it Jesus or something else? Righteousness or deceit? Do I set my sights on Unpleasant or objectionable things? Have I set my goals at contemptuously low levels, second rate, of mean or low condition? Have I convinced my children that they will only ever achieve such mean, second rate levels of success? Do I have a vision of my life or of my children's life that is poor and degrading?
Do I let things that are morally depraved, ignoble or wicked enter through my "eye gate"? It isn't easy to steer clear of these things. The intrusions are everywhere. The Internet, TV, radio, print media, music...discussions with friends?
Have those things shaped my walk and my life in front of my kids? Have I been asleep at the gate as things snuck in? Are my expectations for myself so minimal that I excuse questionable behavior? Do I lack the faith to set high, lofty goals for my daughter and do I lack the character to see to it that she gets to those goals regardless the cost?
Have I set a vile thing before my eyes?

Dear Father,
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your presence. Morgan is watching...the world is watching and needs me to be careful about this topic. Please make my spirit sensitive to what becomes input to my heart. Let the same mind be in me, that was also in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Psalm 101...checklist for great dads

Psalm 101
The Checklist for Being a Great Dad

Two months ago, in our men’s meeting in December, my pastor gave us all a challenge.
He asked us to read through the 63 Psalms of David, one each day.
I have to admit that I didn’t keep up like I wanted to.
I did, however, read Psalm 101, and made it my meditational Psalm for the two weeks it took to work through the Psalm.
Here on my blogs I am going to post each daily meditation I wrote during that time.
I hope it blesses you and challenges all of us, especially you dads.

Psalm 101:1, 2 “I will sing of your love and justice. To you, oh Lord, I will sing praise”
2: “I will be careful to lead a blameless life—when will you come to me?” “I will walk in my house with a blameless heart”

David spoke of singing about God’s love and justice. How many times do I walk around, humming a tune or singing a song under my breath, almost subconsciously? Why? Because it’s in my heart. I’ve listened to it so many times that I have committed it to memory. I think that was David’s point. He had so immersed himself in God’s word that he could make up songs about it. It was buried in his subconscious. That came from tirelessly pursuing God’s presence…as the deer pants for water”
My first job as a dad is to be near God often and for prolonged periods. Jesus cannot influence me if I am a stranger to Him.
David speaks in vs. 2 about being “careful to lead a blameless life”
Did he mean perfect? No. But he meant shooting for perfection, that much is for certain. He said he was going to be “careful” to do this. That meant it was on purpose. He was making a plan to do this. He thought about it, he was conscious of it. Why?
Because of what he says in the second part…”I will walk in my house with a blameless heart”. David knew that the most important people in the world were watching. His God, His children…his family, and then his subjects.
People are watching us men. Little people. There is never a time when Morgan isn’t watching me. Never a time when I can drop my guard and be less than careful to lead a blameless life. Close doesn’t cut it. Mark DeMoss writes in his book, The Little Red Book of Wisdom that you don’t have a lot of have it or you don’t. Period.
We need to be dads who pursue righteousness and godliness at all times in all situations. Men of character and integrity. Men who give it our best and keep giving it our best even when we we all will. Because our children are always watching.
Dear Father,
I need to be like you. I need Your character, Your nature, Your integrity. I need to follow Your example. My daughter is watching. My friends are watching. The world is watching. Please anoint me with the grace and power to be the man you need me to be, and they need me to be. Amen”

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hall Of Fame Dads...finale

Well if I wrote a new entry for every H.O.F. dad I knew I'd be writing for months. So I'm wrapping it up today. I'm going to list some great dads that I know that I would write about if I had time, and then write about one more dad to close this out.
Here is my short list of Hall of Fame dads I know,
Bob DuHadaway, Poppa John Iorizzo, Ken Winward, Art Wilson, Mel Henry, Keith Wilson, Brian, Bobby, and Guy, Jim Wilson, Charlie Jones, Ed McGlasson, Harold Alexander,DAVE (birthday boy) LEWIS, Terry Chapman
The list could go on. What makes a H.O.F. dad? That's another list that could be pretty long, but I'll give you my personal top ten as I observed them at work in the lives of the great dads I've seen.
1: A Great Dad KNOWS HIS KIDS! Really knows them.
2: A Great Dad loves his kids for who and what they are. (see above)
3: A Great Dad reaches into the heart of each of his children and finds that one thing they were put here to become and to do...and then he does his very best to make that thing a reality with them.
4: A Great Dad loves the differences between each of his children instead of playing favorites. This is especially important in large families.
5: A Great Dad is generous with his praise and his praise is sincere. (see #1)
6: A Great Dad is his kids' biggest fan and most ardent supporter. If your dad believes in you...ANYTHING is possible.
7: A Great Dad isn't perfect...and he admits this. Kids really don't want to "hate" their dads for 30 years over some mistake they made when they were kids. They just want Dad to say, "you know...I was wrong. I'm sorry" That's IT! Grudges carry on for 40 years because parents won't admit they screw up too. Kids don't want blood, they want validation.
8: A Great Dad is always there...regardless of your age you never stop needing your dad from time to time. When you are little it's to show you how to ride a bike, throw a curve ball, check under the bed for monsters, or tell you that you are really a princess. When you get older, he is there for you to call when you are thinking about buying your first house, having your first child...or going through a really rough time. When nobody else believes in you anymore, your dad can still convince you that you are still capable of greatness.
9: A Great Dad is a good example. He is virtuous and has integrity, he is the man we all either want to be when we grow up or hope we marry...depending on gender of course. He loves God and we know it, if not because of his words, certainly because of his actions. He loves our mom, he loves our brothers and sisters, he has enough love in him to love one...or maybe more...of our friends who don't have the kind of great dad we do. (Thanks Bob and Pop)He is fair and honorable. He is smart and wise but doesn't flaunt it. He is a hero.
10: A Great Dad is the first earthly example we have of God. It's a fact. What we think of our dads, we think of God. That's why it's so important. That's why we divorced dads have to be extra careful and work at it extra hard. If our dads are distant and cold, we think God is, and so we don't approach Him easily in prayer or worship. If our Dad is self absorbed we think God is not an intimate part of our lives but rather a Chess Player in the sky, amusing Himself with our daily struggles.
If our dad is accessible and open, loving and heroic, warm and inviting, wise and good...we know who and what God truly is.
This turned into more than I thought it would and it's actually been somewhat emotional for me to write. What kind of dad are you, men? Divorced or not...young children or grown adults. How many of these characteristics do we possess? I know I have many to work on here. It's harder when one is divorced because our time is so limited. But it's not impossible. I'd love to hear from you dads who regularly read this blog. What points did I miss? What can we do to become great, Hall Of Fame dads?
I'll get to my final nominee tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

H.O.F. Dads...continued

Hey's been a few days. Busy weekend with Morgan here and the Superbowl and all that. I've not been so inspired anyway so I took a few days off. Nothing is worse than a poor effort. Better to let it rest for a bit.
Today's Hall of Fame Dad is my buddy John Willis.
John pastors a church in New Castle Delaware. That in itself is a difficult task because that region is so heavily Catholic and the Protestant base is usually already embedded in a church. So starting a church in that area is a daunting task. People in the North tend to be more cynical and more self educated than Southerners. That's not a slight to Southerners, but religion is the one area where Protestant Southerners question less because they have been raised in church. It's the same way Catholics in the North don't question Catholic liturgy. It is what it is and you do it because your daddy did it and his daddy before him. But a Protestant in the North was likely a converted Catholic and he probably got that way because he asked questions and read that very nature makes him a well informed skeptic. That makes him a very tough bird to preach to.
John soldiers on, pastoring a church and working a full time job in the home remodelling industry and raising his two wonderful kids. His wife Kathy works as a nurse and spends a lot of her free time (oxymoron?...contradiction of terms?) researching the effects of food allergies on children. Her research has literally saved her kids.
John does his thing in the virtual anonymity of New Castle Delaware. He isn't pastor of a mega church although he has the giftings to do that. He barely takes a paycheck for his endeavors. But he serves because God told him to and he does it without sacrificing his children. If you talk to John, you have to squeeze hard to get him to say much about himself but if you've known him for long, as I have, it can be done. John loves his kids. He makes difficult decisions with them in mind. I have been privy to one or two decisions he made because of the potential effect it would have on his children. He and Kathy have sacrificed much to follow their calling, but their kids were never one of the sacrifices.
It is not easy being a pastor and it is difficult to raise children in that spotlight. To strike the balance between ministry and fatherhood is quite a feat, but John does it because his love for his children abides even in difficult times. Think about the things you do with your kids...things that are fun and enjoyable and nobody cares about them because you aren't in the "limelight" of ministry. Now imagine not being able to do something or go somewhere because of "how it might look" or worse...think of having 100 onlookers telling you how wrong you are in the way you raise your kids. Anyone want to sign up for that?
That sort of sacrifice is what every minister goes through...and it's what makes my friend John Willis a "Hall of Fame" dad.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

H.O.F. dads part 2 took me a while to get back here to this article. I traveled this weekend and didn't get the chance to finish up. So without further ado, here is my next installment of H.O.F. buddy Patrick Berger...
Patrick is probably my closest friend at my church, ( are a close second)
and his daughter Clancy is my daughters best friend. Patrick and his wife Marianne have two children, the aforementioned Clancy and son calvin. Their son Calvin is "all boy" and I always get a kick out of his latest 100% boy escapades. One day he might be shooting a bow and arrow, the next building a tree house with his dad. Last Sunday I stopped over to visit and they were putting the finishing touches on a mini bike that they had built together over the past few years. They share a love for hockey and I've spent a lot of saturday mornings on the ice with the two of them.
Patrick grasps Calvin's boyhood fully and does a wonderful job exploring Calvin's heart. They are always doing things together, but not just Patrick dragging Calvin along to do something only he wants to do. Patrick invests himself in the things that bring happiness to Calvin and Clancy. That is a hall of fame dad. Most guys in their 40's don't really want to build a mini bike or a tree house but the great dads know that their kids want to do that stuff so they throw themselves into it with full force and reckless abandon. Patrick does this regularly. I admire from a distance, the bond he is building on a daily basis with those two wonderful children.
There is an element to their story that I won't share here but it makes the situation more wonderful and the love of Christ more evident. Patrick and his wife are special and their job has required more than the usual amount of research, prayer, self improvement, prayer, patience, prayer...and prayer. I've prayed with Patrick for his kids so I know his heart. He has the love of a real dad. He has challenged me at times in my own fatherhood, without even realizing it. He has the kind of loving determination to overcome the issues that present themselves to his children, that all Hall of Fame dads possess. I'm glad he is my friend and I'm glad he has allowed himself to be the other half of the "Iron sharpens iron" equation in my life on many occassions.
As I thought about this post and the previous one about my friend Chris, I was inspired by the number of additional dads I personally know that I could add here. So I believe I will expand this over the next few days.
For my divorced dad friends...nothing is stopping us from being H.O.F. dads too. Ours is certainly a more difficult task, but for me...if it means I need to get out of bed a little earlier to pray, or pay a little closer attention to how I live my faith in the little things, or just making it a point to be a good steward of those precious moments I get with my daughter, I have the chance to be a great dad. Even a Hall of Fame dad.

H.O.F. Dads

This week there was some talk about the baseball Hall Of Fame announcing several new inductees. Amongst them were Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice.
Being a lifelong Red Sox fan..second only to my beloved fightin Phils...I loved watching Jim Rice at the plate. He was a fearsome hitter who worked the count and hit bombs that made your jaw drop.

The only thing that has to do with today's post is the H.O.F. aspect. I was thinking, today, about two dear friends whom I consider "Hall of Fame" fathers. My friends Patrick Berger and Chris O'Neal.
Today I want to give them a little public lovin' and hit on a few points that make them special men. Today we'll look at Chris..tomorrow it's Pat's turn.
Chris O'Neal is a relatively new friend of mine. His son Declan is one of the hundreds of kids I've had the privilege to coach in hockey over the years. Declan is on my very very short list of my favorite kids I ever coached. I loved every one of them, but a handful were so passionate about the game, so willing to work hard at it, and so eager to be better, that they made it so much more enjoyable for me.
Declan will...unless something derails his passion for the a pro player one day. I don't say that lightly because I have such respect for hockey players. But this kid eats drinks and breathes it. He improves exponentially every week.
I am amazed sometimes at the maturity and hockey smarts he possesses. I take full credit! Not really.
Chris and his wife Amy have two other children besides Declan, (and another waiting for them in Gods care) and they could not be more different from each other. Declan is an introspective, constantly self-assessing perfectionist who tends to remain slightly on the quieter side. His brother Liam is a loudly funny, cantankerous, jokester. If Declan is a Thoroughbred, Liam is a Clydesdale. If Declan is Formula 1, Liam is Nascar...or demolition derby. Liam's sense of humor is pure slapstick. Nobody is more fun to sit in the stands with and watch his older brother play, than Liam...depending of course on what he ate recently. The boys have a little sister, Teah. Teah would best be described as a 25 year old first grader. She has the fashion sense of a model. She is precocious and instantly "the star" in almost any situation.
I had to give you the descriptive because what makes Chris a Hall of Famer to me is his innate ability to be exactly what each of his kids needs. I watch in amazement as Chris relates to Liam in a totally different way than he does Declan or Teah or vice versa. Not in a better way, one to the other, but specific to each child's personality. He knows that Liam is a big lunking goofball. If Liam was a cartoon character, he'd be a bear in a Disney cartoon. Big, happy, smiling and lumbering. Chris' interaction with Liam fits his son perfectly.
His interaction with Declan is totally different. Where Liam shows his affection by hurling himself at you or playing a joke on you, Declan is the one who is analyzing his game before he even gets off the ice. He could talk hockey with you until you cried "Uncle". Chris knows this as well. With Liam he roughhouses, with Declan there is more discussion. With Teah...well little girls have a knack for "owning" their daddies, and Chris is no exception. That Chris has the ability to reach into each of his kids' hearts and see the greatness and pull it out, is a tribute to one thing...he knows his kids. Really knows them. He knows Declan's favorite teams, favorite players, numbers, colors, name it. He knows where Liam is in Karate and what each move means. He knows what he dreams of and wishes for. He showers Teah with affection and the self confidence that little girls need at an early age. If a dad gives that to them early on, they grow into adult women not easily taken advantage of by men of questionable character. (that's a nice way to say they don't take any ones crap)
Chris has invested himself in his kids in order to really, deeply know them. They sense this and it means everything to them.
Dads...these are examples of how to do it right! Really right. How well do you know your kids? Are you applying "Basic Fatherhood 101" to all your children? Or are you investing the time it takes to know each one where they are and being the dad each of them need you to be? Divorce makes it harder but more important than ever. We have gaps in our time together so we need to really know our kids so they never get the feeling we are beginning to forget them.
I don't just want to be a good dad..I want to be a Hall of Fame dad!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love Yourself...and keep your tank full

Just sitting here at the computer. In between watching history being made in Washington, and originating some loans here at my desk, this was a busy day. It's good to be back in the mortgage business. I didn't realize how much I liked it and missed it.
I was, of course, thinking about my daughter. I've been having discussions recently with various guys who've read my book and we will always come back to the effect it has on our kids. I am big on doing my best in front of my daughter. A friend once gave me some sage advice when he said "your daughter is watching you, and watching how you handle this". This is very true, and for years she didn't see much in the way of victory or hope from her daddy. As things have progressed recently, I've become happier and more fulfilled with the shape my life is taking. That fills my tank and gives me something to give back to her. For a lot of years I was sad, sorrowful, and I let her mom do some fairly unkind things to me and I took them in silence for a number of reasons. But those days are over and not a moment too soon.
The bible says "let each of us value others more than ourselves." That presupposes that we should value ourselves! I am learning that if I don't have self respect, and more than that if I don't have respect for my own standing as a child of God, I have little if anything to impart on my daughter. If my love reserves are running low, I have none for her. I have to daily get myself into the position where I am receiving from God and then letting it overflow onto my daughter. That is how a dad blesses his children.
Men, if you've failed...and who hasn''s time to receive the forgiveness God offers, and get yourself back into the place of receiving His love and blessing for you each day. Stay there in that place until you are overflowing and then your children will be blessed by the overflow. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." You can speak blessings or curses...but you can ONLY speak what is abundant in your heart. Forgive yourself for your failures...big and small...and begin to let God fill you with goodness and grace. Then pour that all over your kids.
Have a great day, dads!

Friday, January 16, 2009

"...Because You're my Daddy"

Good morning again my friends. I wanted to write something this morning that maybe will extend a little hope. Yesterday I spoke of finding our hope and then throwing that lifeline to someone else. So today I feel the very strong urge to follow my own advice.
I know for me, probably the biggest fear I had in the years immediately following my divorce in December of 1999, was the fear of how this would effect my relationship with my daughter. Few of you know me so you don't have any reference point or insight into what type of father I am. You'll have to take my word on it when I tell you that my daughter is everything to me. I live my life with two things in mind: Does this please God? and How will this effect my daughter?
Well, my ex wife met the man she is married to now, about 3 years after we divorced.
I will avoid telling stories on anyone and simply say I don't care for this guy and he feels the same way. However, I will run the risk of being a tad unattractive and tell you also that he deserves the opinion I have of him and I do to a far lesser degree, deserve whatever he thinks of me. He is a type A guy, who deep down inside, can't stand the fact that she is his first wife but he is not her first husband. They had a child together and it eats at him that this is his firstborn but not hers. He is threatened by my presence, if not by comparisons, than by simply the fact that he hates being second at anything.
That said let me tell you my story and give a big vitamin dose of hope.
When my ex wife married her husband in May of 2004, the weekend after the wedding my daughter came to my house for her regular visit. At dinner that Friday night I asked her about the wedding, not because I had to know any details, but I wanted her to know that she could talk to me about anything she wanted to even if she thought it was painful for me. She was excited to be in a wedding and I knew that. She also didn't want her mom to marry this guy because, as all children do, she dreamed of us reconciling.
She told me about the wedding and about the trip to Florida etc. Then she told me her mom was "Changing her name to XXXX, but I'm not going to." I asked her what she meant and she said her mom had benevolently told her that if she also wanted to take the new husbands last name she could. (I do not need to add any comment here) I was deeply wounded but I hid it and asked my daughter if she wanted to change her name to her moms new name. She looked at me incredulous and said "No" rather forcefully. I told her it was okay and I'd understand, not wanting to put her in a place where she avoided a decision to spare the feelings of an adult. She said "No Daddy...mommy told me I can call #### anything I want, and if I want to call him "daddy" I can, but I told her no I am not calling him that I will call him by his name ####" I asked her if that would be confusing because she'd be living in two houses with two adult men. (Hoping of course she'd say no, but wanting to spare her the hardship) then she said the most amazing thing. I said to her plainly, "If you want to call him daddy or change your name it's okay" She looked almost hurt. She refused again and when I asked her reason she said "Because you're my daddy, not ####!) The way she said it was like "You should know this!" I had tears in my eyes and many more flowed that night after she went to bed. Because I am the Daddy! I will tell you men that from that very moment, my ex and her husband lost most of the power they'd had over me. Beneath all the acrimony we'd come to develop between us, was the underlying fear that they'd change her love for me and I wouldn't be the Daddy anymore. I was as wrong as a man can be. I had properly invested myself into my child and I had long established that I was the daddy. She didn't want or need a replacement and she wouldn't abide someone trying. She was quite happy with the daddy she had, thank you very much! the dads you dreamed of being before the divorce. In fact be better! Don't let this thing strip you of your fatherhood because the fact is, your child sees you as the daddy. Not some man who married their mom. He might be a great guy. Thank God for that. But he isn't Daddy. I used to worry about the things my ex was saying to my daughter about me. She would ask me sometimes and I would simply respond by saying, "You know you think I could do something like that? She would always answer "No". it's hard not to defend ourselves guys. But believe me when I tell you that you have less to defend against than you think. Be the dad your children need and then trust God to uphold righteousness and integrity. He promises to do that.
YOU are the Daddy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Look for Hope and pass it on...

Hey are we this morning?
Writing specifically to those dads amongst us who have been divorced for a while now and have begun to find some hope in the middle of it. Tuesday night in a series of unlikely turns I can only attribute to God working his will, I found myself in a conversation with a guy who had a friend in dire need of reading my book. The man in question is the ex husband in a very high profile divorce. Very high profile. If I dropped the names you'd know for sure. The guy I was talking to knows the guy very well and they are good friends. He related to me how his friend was so deeply wounded by the vicious attack of his ex wife and her legal posse. To get what they wanted and still try to come out looking like the victim, they left nothing untried.
Under all the anger and bitterness that this guy felt on behalf of his friend there was this nugget of truth. During the conversation he mentioned how deeply wounded the guy is and how much he loved his wife. He misses her still, he will always love her because she is the mother of their children. She was the only woman he'd ever asked to marry and he planned a lifetime of dreams to be shared only with her. Now she is gone, his fatherhood is restricted, and his heart is broken.
The man I was talking to asked me if he could have a copy of my book to give to the guy. I gladly agree and happened to have one with me. I hope this man reads it and finds some measure of healing. I want him to find the hope I found after so many years of pain and terrible wounding. God walked with me every step of the way, even when I didn't think he was there and even...especially...when I tried to run Him off with my angry outbursts and screams of hatred. The hope He granted me was a gift to an unwilling recipient. I need to pass it on.
So do you.
If you know a guy going through a divorce, then you are the one man who knows exactly how he feels. You are the one man who gets it when others only think they do. You are the one man who knows how much he lost and so would never say something as stupid as "get over it". You are the lifeline that God wants to throw him. Look for your hope, and when you've found it...pass it on. Nobody recognizes the cries of that kind of drowning man, like a man rescued from drowning.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Big News

Hey Dads...
I formed a group on Facebook called..."Sometimes Daddies Cry".
I am beginning to really like Facebook! None of the garbage of MySpace and the addition of pictures and notes is so easy. The group is open to anyone. We can swap stories or photos or whatever. It's predominantly a ministry launch site for me, but it serves a multitude of functions. Stop by and see.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I will Gather No More of Your Bitter Fruit

"(Heb 12:15) watching diligently that not any lack from the grace of God, that "no root of bitterness growing up" may crowd "in on you", and through this many be defiled;" LITV
Yesterday I was in an "e-conversation" with some folks and the topic arose about a certain judge here in Nashville who hears all the divorce cases, but who shall remain nameless. She also heard my divorce 9 years ago and all the motions hence. She is retiring after 30 years on the bench. I'm not going to comment on Her Honor except to say she is certainly a polarizing figure and she has certainly left her indelible mark on the lives of thousands of folks through the years. Each one of those people would tell you a very different tale I am sure. Some love her, the truth is most do not. I am neutral, at least right now. I have a life to live and 7 more years under the regulation of that court and I don't need to put myself in danger of tainting future decisions by saying the wrong things.
I was reading some comments online last night at the website of a local "scene" newspaper and the topic was this judge. The bitterness was palpable and the stories were very sad. Lots of people, men and women, who she had ruled against, were venting their frustrations and anger with her perceived wrongs in their respective cases. Someone I was communicating with asked me via e-mail why he was more angry about this stuff than I was and he had never been divorced, nor been in her courtroom. I didn't have an answer for him except that I wanted to be careful what I said in the public domain because Nashville is a small town and you never know who might cut and paste.
But the truth is that, while I have often been bewildered at some of her rulings, and her most recent one all but ruined my life for a while, I am not bitter and I don't hate her. Maybe I should. Lord knows I've gotten the wrong end of a lot of her decisions. but through the 9 years since my divorce, I have had to be careful about crossing the line between wounded and hurting...and bitterness.
Bitterness is that thing that gets inside you and sets up a job trailer as it starts construction on a castle. Bitterness needs to even the score and right every perceived wrong immediately. Bitterness overlooks my faults and failures because I am so angry at yours.
I love the LITV interpretation of that verse above, the image of the root of bitterness growing up, and crowding in on you in the process. If you let it, bitterness will take every square inch of your heart. The end result is those tragic men we see who show up at the home or workplace of their estranged ex wife and kill her, then the kids, then themselves. Is that automatically your lot if you stay bitter? No. Of course not. But I am certain that tragic ending has it's beginning in a bitter root left unpulled. The more likely scenario is we begin to become more outwardly bitter as all the internal room is used up. Our speech, our temperament, our actions, our social skills. They all begin to ooze a palpable bitterness that isolates us further and further from others at a time when others are exactly who we need. If you let this go on and on it becomes ugly to our friends and our kids. Lots of kids don't want any sort of a relationship with one or both of their parents after a while because there is so much visible, tangible bitterness. Dad has become "the grumpy mean old man down the street" and they don't really want to see him anymore. We can end up losing that one precious thing we love above all else...our children.
So what is the secret? I guess I had it and didn't even know it. That sounds pious, so let me explain further. I certainly wrestled with bitterness almost on a daily basis. I still do. The verse, upon closer examination, doesn't say there shouldn't be any bitterness, it warns against letting the root of the bitterness grow unchecked. My ex does things on a weekly basis that throw fertilizer on that root. If not for the first part of that verse I'd be over the edge by now. believe me, I've come close. But read the opening line of that verse.
"watching diligently that not any lack from the grace of God,". It's the Grace of God! God's grace is my only defense against the bitter root that wants to run wild in my heart and choke out the fruit of the Spirit. Left to my own devices, I'd be a nut in a clock tower with an assault rifle. If not literally than at least figuratively. So the answer to my friend, as to why this judge is not in my "cross hairs" of hatred and bitterness is simply that God's grace is sufficient. I don't know how. God knows my temper is incendiary at times. I think part of His grace was letting me see how I need to surrender the hurt to Him and let Him make something beautiful from it. It was a harder choice than it sounds. I didn't like letting go of my anger and bitterness. The high road isn't very satisfying if revenge is your goal.
Listen dads...I know there are a lot of you out there who have been deeply wounded by your ex wife, her boyfriend, the way she tries to turn the kids on you, and especially the inequities of the family court system. "Disenfranchised Father Syndrome" is real and it hurts everyone. But your choice is either deal with the bitter root by applying the grace of a loving God...or give it room to grow and watch everything else eventually die in it's place. God does care! He hurts along with you. All I can tell you is what worked for me...take responsibility for whatever your portion of the marital failure was, don't expect your ex to take responsibility for hers because you don't need that to happen in order to move on (no matter what your heart tells you). Forgive yourself! That's the hard one. I wrestled with that for years. Both parties sinned against each other...unless yours is an extreme circumstance. Then ask God to apply His grace generously. Be honest with Him about your hurts and watch the change begin to take place. Your kids are watching you, Dad. They will deal with future setbacks and disappointments exactly the way you do now. Show them a mature, forgiving, gracious father who overcomes and rises above. Show them Jesus and his Grace.
Have a great day dads!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Great Return on my Investment...

Well with all the news about the economy and the stories within stories out there it had to make it's way here eventually. Bailouts, Bernie Madoff, stimulus packages. It's on everyone's mind. I was thinking about it for the past few days but in a slightly different arena. The investment we make in others...particularly in our kids. How much do we invest and what is the return? Have we run a "Ponzi scheme" where we kept robbing from Peter to pay Paul with our kids. "I'll spend twice as much time with you next weekend son" or "I'll come to twice as many games next season" or "twice as many recitals" "We'll talk as long as you want when I get back in town". Only it never happens like that for lots of people. Divorced dads are especially vulnerable to this trap. We get a limited, prescribed amount of time with our precious children and we can get caught up thinking about what we'd do with a few more minutes in the office. Then we make promises we don't end up keeping. Dads...get back to whats important and STAY THERE! Your kids come first and they must stay first! Period. You can't invest haphazardly in their lives any more than you would your 401K and expect a good return. Be there. Let them know your word is always good. Let them know NOTHING means more than every single second with them. Forsake not one minute for something earthly and temporary. The real return on investment comes when they know you will always pick up that phone, always be there for the violin recital or the baseball game or the banquet. You will always keep your word. It becomes one thing in their already tumultuous lives that they can count on being stable. It's YOU! Invest YOURSELF in your kids. Divorce is no excuse. if you think about it...we all have a set amount of time with our kids...divorced or not. Life moves on at breakneck speed and we need to catch it, grip it by it's throat, wrestle it to the ground and inform it that it will NOT leave our children and us in it's wake. Ultimately we still have a choice about how we spend our lives and what we INVEST in. I am going to pour myself into my daughter and watch the amazing thing that God has inside her just waiting to begin to break the soil and grow. She has the world at her feet and I intend on being the stake that the vine is tied to, giving direction for growth and support as fruit begins to be borne.
How about you?

This is a first...on my other blog, I am going to right a parallel post on the same topic but with a different slant altogether. Check it out.
God bless you men!