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"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil


FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Father's Letter

 Reflection: the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected. Reflect: to think, ponder, or meditate: to reflect on one's virtues and faults.



On July 26, 2005 I was sitting in Dallas, Texas at the DFW Airport Marriott for KV Pharmaceutical's a national meeting. It was a very confusing time. Ryan was born 4 and half months previous and Addison was to arrive in November, November 8th to be exact. As I sat there uninterested in the meeting and reflecting about my future I could only think where I was 15 years ago that day. It was my oldest son's birthday that day, and with four boys and one on the way (and not married to any of their mothers), I really questioned if I was making a difference. 

What kind of example was I setting? My conclusion was that I was setting a very poor one.

Below is the letter that I wrote him...during that meeting in July...a meeting that I was supposed to be paying attention and taking notes.



Dear Logan,                            

"15"


"July 26, 1990"

It seems like yesterday that your mom and I were driving down US1 in our blue Toyota Camry in West Palm Beach, Florida. We were driving to St. Mary's Hospital as your mom was starting to have labor pains. Initially we went to Dr. Lopez's office to get advice concerning your mom's condition. They told us that she was fine and that we should consider going to the mall to walk around for awhile to accelerate your arrival.

They were wrong.

                                      "Day 2 and I'm tired already"

If we would have gone to the mall you would've been born in Macy's...the Ralph Lauren/Polo section no doubt.

It was a good time for your mother and me. We were young, and full of promise and hope. We were making good money and we were blessed with a spirit of gratitude. We were grateful for everything God and our parents did for us. 

Our parents gave us everything we needed. They gave us love, support and at times money. They were really good to us.
As I mentioned, your mother and I had it good. It was a great time for us.

In looking back I realize I was gone too much. My love was basketball and I played all the time. I also hung out with my friends all the time leaving your mother by herself too much. 

It was selfish and it was wrong.

That being said, you were born 35 -45 minutes after we got to the hospital. Even in the beginning you gave us very little trouble. Your mom was incredibly strong and poised. I on the other hand was a mess. Every emotion one could feel I felt, with inferiority being the strongest feeling I entertained. 

Can I be a good father? Will I be able to always provide for my family? Will I be enough? To this day I have those same thoughts and feelings.


"Springtime"
 
I also ask myself the question, "is my oldest son enjoying his life?" I hope and pray you are. This is a time that is supposed to be joyful. Your childhood is a time when responsibilities are few and that positive experiences should be many.

1st birthday... July 26, 1991 (Jupiter, Fla)


You are in the "springtime" of your life (newborn - 21 yrs.).  And even though tomorrow is never promised, this season of your life should be full of joy, warmth and comfort. Many times I reflect upon your childhood and wonder if, and worry, that I ruined your childhood with the divorce that I caused.

I hope and pray that I didn't.

Divorce is tough because it separates parents from their children. Nobody fully recovers or feels comfortable with that dynamic. Your mom and I love you dearly... we miss you when you're gone. I miss you when you're gone.

I think about you every day.


"Pride"

Each day often brings thoughts of pride. It was once said by William Shakespeare; "Tis a happy thing to be a father unto many sons." I do have a lot of sons and it is great.

Logan turns 16 (July 26, 2006)

Logan I'm proud of you.

I'm proud of the person you are and I'm proud of the person you are becoming. Robert Frost in his poem "The Road Not Taken" spells out for all to see the importance of being true to yourself and to travel down the path that best suits you, no matter how infrequently your peers travel down this road.

Their path doesn't necessarily have to be your path, and visa-verse.

The road of excess is a dangerous road to explore. Many of your peers will find this out the hard way.

Do what is right, not what is popular. What is popular isn't always right.

Frost wrote that; "I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Travel down the right, not the popular road. Let your actions and behavior display your leadership qualities.

Be a leader, not a follower.


Senior year...2009


I call you "Chief" because Chief Logan was a great Native American leader. I FEEL IT'S YOUR DESTINY TO BE A GREAT LEADER SOMEDAY...I really do. Many of your peers are involved in alcohol, drugs and sex. The joy of sex will come later in your life...please, much later (that was a poor attempt at some fatherly humor).

Anyway, remember that physical intimacy is a gift. That gift also comes with a tremendous responsibility. If you don't believe me just look at my life...enough said.

Drugs...NEVER. Drugs are for losers. This is a non-negotiable truth. Choose drugs, choose to be a loser.

Alcohol will be your choice as you become an adult. Be careful... very careful. Alcohol can and does ruin lives. When you're older the choice will be yours to hang out with friends and have a few beers, but you have to decide now that you're going to be responsible.

NEVER DRIVE WHILE DRINKING and NEVER GET INTO THE CAR OF SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DRINKING....NEVER!

I like to have a beer from time to time, but in no way does alcohol rule my life. Moderation, moderation, moderation... everything in moderation. Just be careful with drinking. When, and if, that day comes (if you don't drink that's not a bad thing...that is a great thing) just be careful. Respect the power of alcohol and it's extremely negative consequences. It can ruin your life. (As I was rewriting this in 2010, five years later, I would advise you not to drink and to stay out of bars. Both will limit and weaken your witness and testimony as a Christian)

High School graduation party (2009)


"Thank you"

Thank you... thanks for being such a wonderful son and a great student. I love who you are. You are a good person. Continue to spend your time being positive with people... not negative. It is too easy to give yourself over to having a critical and complaining spirit. Choose to see the good in everyone and in every situation.

Attitude truly determines outcome.

Your attitude has been really good most of the time. Your goal should be to have a great attitude all the time, but I can assure you that will be one of the toughest things to accomplish in your life. Always remember, you can only control your attitude, not others. Romans 12:18 states; "Do your part to live at peace with everyone, as much as possible."

It's your choice.

People are going to hurt, disappoint and discourage you...GET OVER IT.

Some people are not going to like you...GET OVER THAT TOO.

So far as it concerns you... be at peace with everyone.

I would also like to thank you so much for loving and treating Bryce and Ryan so well. I would also like to ask you to do the same with Austin, Mary and Tate. It's vitally important to me and your mother that you treat all your brothers and sisters well. Thanks also for treating my parents (your grandparents) and my sister (your aunt) with the respect and with the honor they deserve.

They have earned it and truly deserve it. They are good people and are your biggest fans. Don't ever forget that.

I'm also thankful, very thankful, that you are a good student and a leader within your school. Your choice to be successful in school is obvious to everyone. Don't ever lose your motivation to do well in school.

Knowledge is power. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. 

Reading will aid you in becoming more intelligent, and writing will help you convey your thoughts and knowledge in a convincing manner.

Logan turns 20! (July 26, 2010)


"Socrates"

Socrates once said; "that life without self examination is a life worth not living." Praying to God and reading the bible daily will help you with your self examination... it's important to be introspective (look the word up if you don't know what it means). Enjoy your birthday today... you deserve it, but take stock of where you are in the early stages of your life, and more importantly, where you want to be later in life. 

I hope your birthday was a great one and always remember that I love you...I really do love you. 

I will always love you. 

Happy birthday!

Love, 
Dad


sbb  27.7.2010  (You've Got A Friend . James Taylor) . 1598




Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Man's Anger...

Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.


It has been said that "anger is one letter short of danger" and we have all seen what it looks like when someone has given themselves over to anger. It's ugly and at times it can be outright dangerous. And though many people feel justified in their anger, there seldom is a good reason to be angry.

Proverbs 29:11 states; "A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds back." Though I agree with the verse, I think we can all agree that it is easier said than done. 

As I started thinking about anger today, and specifically about a man's anger, I jotted down a few thoughts on the subject, and what causes it to manifest in a man's life:


Challenging our Manhood 
 

Men often, and incorrectly, view themselves positively or negatively based on what they do for a living. Careers and jobs are important to us because we often build our power, prestige and position through them. Men undoubtedly are at their best when they are engaged in serious work, the downfall occurs when we derive our identity and self-worth from this work. When someone ridicules, belittles or dismisses what we do for a living, we start to feel threatened...we start to feel weak.

When this happens the true feelings we experience is anxiety, which we often display in the form of anger. When you get down to it, we are often more hurt than we are mad.

Any time a man is challenged in the areas of employment, family and his abilities to protect and provide for them he will often become defensive. What we hear is that we "can't get it done" and we "can't take care" of you and our loved ones. And the reason we become defensive is that our job, family and our ability to care for them is who we are.


Questioning our Value
 

Many times men see their value through the eyes of their spouses or mates. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is not so good. Most of the time, if were honest, the review and assessment we receive from our spouse is pretty close to being dead on. However, women still have a responsibility in how they handle the shortcomings that their husband presents. There are times when women can be overly critical of their spouse and the results can be devastating. Proverbs 21:9 states "It is to better live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home." Proverbs 21:19 says, "It is better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife."

The worst thing a man can experience is for his wife to constantly criticize and devalue him as a husband, father and provider. It's equally important that we as men do our best to eliminate that from taking place to begin with. If you want to be treated like a man, then act like a man; do what is right. 

In the end, we don't need that many people to value us, but silently we desire our employer, children and most importantly our spouse to see value is us as men. We must earn it, but we must see it in your eyes, and hear it in your voices, because in the areas of being a spouse, parent and earner are not only who we are, it is also what we do.

 
When our Behavior is Criticized 


It's pretty simple. We're human and we're men. We're going to screw up...often. It's inevitable.

All one has to do is go to a NFL football game on any given Sunday ANY WHERE IN THE COUNTRY and watch how poor some men can behave. It's embarrassing. We, me included, are the last ones to grow up and the last ones to realize we need to grow up. Most of the time we act like boys - but want to be treated like men.

That's a problem. Just ask any women.

However, there are times that men can be simply criticized for things they enjoy doing. I do believe that with every hobby comes a responsibility. If you are blessed to have a family one must take stock of their time away from your family and how your decisions affect the finances. I can't play 36 holes of golf every Saturday and Sunday, and drop $500 in the pro shop with each outing. That ain't goin' to fly. I also need to play 18 holes and not "19 holes" if you know what I mean. Many marriages have been ruined by what happens after the golf is completed, not while it was going on.

The thing to remember is that man's behavior's is idiosyncratic and personal to him. At some point we all make internal agreements with ourselves stating what we like to do. It can be anything from motorcycle riding to reading, golf to gardening. Whatever it is, we as men like to do what we do and at the end of the day, it holds tremendous value to us...and it's often difficult for us to listen to how wrong we are for doing it.

Dr. Phil says that everything we do as human beings are done because there is a perceived or real benefit...there is a payoff. That payoff can be physical, emotional, financial or mental. Whatever the activity, the reason we do it is because it is what we value.

So there it is; when our identity, value and behavior are challenged we then become challenged in our ability to control our emotions. But if we as men are honest, most of the time our anger finds its genesis in our immaturity, and our inability to recognize that at the heart of the matter is our insecurity, ego and our desire to control every situation we find ourselves in. 


Anger is about FEAR and CONTROL.

When someone says something false (or true), nasty or unkind about us we are often mad not about what was said but about our inability to keep the other party from saying it. Our lack of control and our deeper fear that there might be truth to what was said has a bigger affect on us emotionally and mentally more than we give it credit for.

Displaying our anger during these times is often an insufficient attempt to sooth our ego, insecurities and our pride. Two things that cause the most stress for a man is his family and finances (his job/career is intimately tied to his finances), and in those times when they are threatened or challenged they will cause us to experience anger - but many times our anger has nothing to do with them.

The offense is usually embarrassingly minor and our reaction is even more embarrassingly major. And we call women "Drama Queens"?

Proverbs 14:29, 15:1, 15:8, and Proverbs 29:22 all speak to the dangers of anger, but it is Proverbs19:11 that really brings it home to me..."People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs."  My point is not to encourage others to eliminate anger from their lives; it's actually quite the opposite. Ephesians 4:26 states; "And don't sin by letting your anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down on your anger." We will become angry, but as we relinquish our need to control every situation and the words of others, when we reduce or eliminate our ego and identify our areas of insecurity we are more able to live peacefully with others, and at the same time we lessen our potential to become so easily offended. 

In another words, you can't look past another person's wrongs until you make peace with your own wrongs. I don't know if that is grammatically correct, but I hope you understand what I'm saying.

Finally, we as human beings all have access to three basic emotions; they are love, fear and anger. 

Love draws us intimately close to another.

Fear prepares us to take "flight" from the perceived threat.

Anger moves us toward another with marked intensity.

Anger is a separating emotion. Anger separates us from our family, friends and ultimately God. 

Unfortunately, it took me most of my adult life to realize these revelations and to realize that my life could be exponentially better if only I would take a deeper look at myself and look less intently at others.

I have realized that my purpose is to glorify Him in all that I do and by doing so I would become a better husband, father and friend.

When I put who I am and what I do in His hands I instantly become of more value to all those around me, and to those who depend upon me.  

Psalms 91:1 states; "Those who live in the in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." 

Living in His shelter has freed me from fear, insecurity, ego and pride, and ultimately anger. When you find rest and peace it's hard to be angry. You find that nothing is really that important.

Except Him..and your family of course.


sbb  21.7.10  (Because of Who You Are . Martha Munizzi) .  1562




Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Child's Anger...

Provoke: to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex.



"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread."
~Mother Teresa


As parents there is no bigger responsibility than raising our children, and with that being said, we soon realize that the depth of our relationship with our child will determine the depth of influence we have over our child. The relationship, and it's depth, is about time; quality time, and time can disappear if we don't respect it and use it wisely. Our children are entrusted to our care for such a short time, and though the "diaper stage" seems to go on forever, and the teenage years try our patience's, we as parents, have been wonderfully (and perfectly) blessed to have them in our lives. In the words of Jerry McGuire; "they complete us".

Well, he actually said; "you complete me", but you know what I mean.


With this wonderful gift comes a huge responsibility. The responsibility is so grand that, as everyone reading this knows, I will not even attempt to tackle such an exhaustive list. Plus, with the amount of failure that I have entertained in this area I'm better served being brief. 

As I said the list is long in the responsibility area when it comes to our children. Singer and song writer Sting's words come to mind often when contemplating my duty when he pointed out the difference between a weapon and a child; stating that "a permit is needed for a gun, but not for this responsibility".

It should be the other way around.

One of the biggest areas that we as parents have a profound effect upon our children is in the area of their emotional well being. We can't always make our children happy, but we can be the cause of much consternation in their life if we're not careful. Ephesians 4:6 states; "And now you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with discipline and instruction approved by the Lord."

I believe there are times that our children are going to be mad or upset with us when we have to tell them no in order to protect them, or when we have to discipline them for poor behavior. Proverbs 29: 15 says; "To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child."  Proverbs 29:17 states; "Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind."  I believe both of those verses, and I also believe it's important that we realize that their "happiness and peace of mind" is just as important as ours. 

Each one of us as parents have the ability, and are very capable if we're not careful, to crush our child's spirit and produce resentment within them by treating them unfairly. 

Discipline is different than punishment. One protects the child, the other promotes our anger. One will "ultimately" make the child feel better, the other makes us, the parent, feel better for the moment. 

Discipline is about the child; punishment is about the parent.

Below is a list I wrote in my journal, dated June 30, 2000, that I believe are ways we can provoke our child's anger. 

Please, allow me to share.



10 Ways to Provoke Your Child's Anger:

  1. Over Protection...too much of anything is not a good thing. Don't hover.
  2. Favoritism...kids can tell which child is the "apple of your eye". The irony is that this unfair and poor behavior produces resentment in the others towards the "one" that you so desperately want to love and protect. Love them all...they deserve it. Read the story about Joseph in the Old Testament.
  3. Unrealistic Expectations...short of being criminal or immoral; dishonest or cruel, the only expectation we should have for them is to fulfill their destiny in being all that they can truly be. It's their life...not ours.
  4. Over Indulgence...if you give them everything now this will become the standard in their future. Is that really fair to their future spouse (or spouses). We aren't supposed to get everything we want for a reason...we can't handle. One doesn't have to look any further than young superstar actors, musicians and athletes.
  5. Discouragement...we will discourage our children every time if we lack understanding concerning their situation...try to see things from their point of view. You don't have to agree with them, but you will build their trust and gain their respect if you honestly try to identify with where they are coming from. Also, discouragement is produced when there is too much or not enough discipline...think about it. Always ask yourself...is this discipline or punishment?
  6. Failing to sacrifice for them... Webster defines sacrifice as "the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim." I really can't add anything to that...either you are or you're not...only you know. There were times that my needs were more important than my children's needs. I ask you...who was the child then?
  7. Not letting them fail...Look for progression, not perfection. Besides we weren't created or made equipped to protect them from failure. Remember, some failures are a good thing.
  8. Neglect....physically, spiritually, financially, mentally, emotionally and relationally. All of these areas are important. Also,  a lack of "consistent" discipline is neglect.
  9. Abusive words...if you abuse your children verbally either grow up or give them to someone else because you are not doing them any good.
  10. Physical Abuse...I can't even utter the words on how I feel about this topic.
All our children really want to do is love us and for us to love them.


At the end of the day, we all have a role to play. Children are commanded to obey their parents, and we as parents, are admonished to protect our "heavenly gifts" every day.

Every single day.

As I was watching the British Open early this morning the commentator Paul Azinger commented about the advice he once received from his late mentor that has since passed. The advice that was passed onto him was this; "the best dreams are experienced with our eyes wide open." These times are supposed to be the best times in our children's lives. This is not a dress rehearsal...they only get one childhood and they are watching us with "eyes wide open" everyday. They are depending upon us to do right by them and trusting us to do the right thing. Let's do our best to help produce a childhood that is reminiscent of a wonderful dream, not create a nightmare.

Let's not disappoint them.

Remember, it is important to bloom where you are planted and our children are planted squarely in our garden...let's make sure our garden turns out beautiful for everyone to see and enjoy.

 
Perfection

...go find your kids right now and look them in straight in the eye and tell them that you love them. If they are no longer living at home with you call them and tell them that you love them...go ahead and do it...do it now.

You and child will both be happy you did.



sbb  18.7.10   
1220  
God Bless The Child  .  Lou Rawls






Saturday, July 17, 2010

Amazingly Talented...

Talent: a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for singing.



Click on the Sam Tsui's "The Covers" album art and sit back and watch. His voice is amazing, the vocal arrangement is unbelievable and his talent is special. I'm speechless. Enjoy...