FOUR HOURS – A Fathers Heartache part 2

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Four hours… that’s it.   One weekday visit of four hours.  The time flies by, so many things race through my tired mind as I pull up to the school to see my children.   My heart is pounding again with the anticipation of their little arms around my neck hugging tightly as we embrace.

I have spent this week in a convention for work in Southern, California.   After a week of meetings I anxiously jumped in the car Wednesday afternoon with the sole purpose of being home on time to see my little ones.  I allowed myself plenty of time to get home and experience any delays.  My life is planned around this four hour window of weekly time, especially during the weeks when I don’t see them on the weekend.  Two traffic jams and 14 hours later I arrived home with little time to sleep.  The adrenaline at the excitement of seeing my children was sufficient to propel me through the shortened workday Thursday.  Anxiously and exhausted I left my office and found myself standing under the familiar tree at the schoolyard where I wait for my children each week.

Off in the schoolyard I see the blonde heads of two children as they weave in and out of the other children as they race to me.  They race into my arms and as we hug, I fight the tears again of gratitude and joy of seeing them.  Our little time is precious.  As my kids have gotten older, the Thursday visits aren’t like they used to be.   The activities that keep my kids grounded with normalcy in their lives often make their way into our short weekly visit.  These make for our time together all the more fleeting, yet deep down inside as I fight the pain of our shortened time together, I realize with great love that I have for them that this is what they need.  The dance, football, basketball and soccer provide my children with the opportunity to live and enjoy life, free from the sorrow that has been brought upon us by another persons choices.

Quickly, we head for home.  The car ride is full of conversation as the kids talk over one another in the excitement to tell me about their week.  I catch up on school and how the assignments are coming.  We talk about the tests they have that week as we make certain they are prepared.   The spelling lists, vocabulary lists, the math, all discussed on our 20 minute drive home.   Their mother prevents us from talking on the phone during the weeks.   Our only conversation occurs during these short visits or on the semi monthly trips I make to eat school lunch with them, just to see them again.

We get home where we can play with the dog and get something to eat.  I sign their homework assignments for the day as we finish them, and then we are off to drop my son at football practice.  Oh how he loves football, he works so hard at it,   It has been good for him.  I remember the first day when he told me he had landed the starting Quarterback position.  How his eyes lit up!!   He was so proud of his accomplishment and I was so proud of the young man and leader he was becoming.  I pray daily for them to continue to press forward with their goals in life, so they can overcome the obstacles we are presented with.

On the way to football they call their mom to let them know that my son stopped at home to get the football gear.  I hear her ask them how their day was.  I find myself fighting down the pain, anger and frustration at the irony of her preventing our phone calls.  How I desire to be given the same.  I replace the hurt as I focus on the deep love for my children, the desire of mine to keep them free from the heartache at my home from this situation.  I focus on my desire to love them and not allow them to be hurt when in my presence and painfully I swallow the bitter pill, consuming it internally so that my children can be free of the poison, if only for a short time while they are with me.

Two of the four hours, my son is at football.   Sometimes we watch his practice, however today was some quality daddy daughter time.   I ask my 8 year old daughter where she would like to go…  She wants to look at Halloween costumes so we spend the next couple hours looking at costumes while we walk hand in hand with her skipping along, she talks incessantly.   We talk more about her cheer classes, we talk about school, her friends.  She asks about her step mom and sisters, who are out of town at a different convention.  She asks me about my trip and how it was.  She squeezes my hand and says I love you dad!  My heart melts, the tears form, as I fight the emotion from overwhelming me.

The two hours with my daughter fly by.. she sings roar and the fox song to me on the way to the football fields.   I smile and sing along with her.  We get my son and head home for him to change, we grab a pizza on the way.  They play with the dog, eat pizza and we laugh about silly things.

It’s again time for them to go home.   I dread this time.  It is always painful for me and wish how it didn’t have to be this way.   The drive to their moms is never long enough.  Never enough time.  We talk.  They inform me that they are moving again, this will be the 10th move in 7 years at their moms.   My heart breaks for them again with the constant change.   I wonder why they can’t stay with me permanently in the home they know and love.  We don’t move.  We stay in one place.  I wonder why her and this husband can’t stay in one place.  I wonder why my kids must suffer for the choices of their mother.  I wonder why the courts believe that the mom is always the best place for the kids.

We arrive..  I keep the tears in check as I tell them how much I love them.  I promise to see them at the football game on Saturday.  We hug,  We Kiss and then it’s another goodbye… they are gone for another 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds until I can talk to them again.  As my dear children walk away, the tears are now flowing freely, my heart is breaking again, my sorrow is full.  On my drive home, I rebuild the walls to keep the emotion at bay as I begin looking forward to the next week.  It will be better, we have the weekend.

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ABORTION – The American Holocaust

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The deliberate murder of innocent children otherwise known as ABORTION is the #1 leading cause of death in America.  There are 2.5 million other deaths per year and 1.21 million murders.  These murders are legal.  They are under the false pretense that it is a woman’s right to choose for her body.  There is no thought given to the child and and they, like in the times of slavery, are not considered human.   This is the AMERICAN HOLOCAUST.  A holocaust is defined as the great destruction or source of destruction of life.  This is what abortion is, the willful destruction of human life.

Science is crystal clear that at the moment of fertilization life begins.  There is an ideological argument that there must be some threshold crossed for life to begin, however the science proves otherwise.  This debate is simply a debate about responsibility.  Some will argue that the woman bears the burden for the pregnancy and therefore should be able to decide.  Where was the responsible decision of abstinence or birth control?   Why did she choose to have unprotected sex.  This is the most selfish self centered argument on the planet.  It is ludicrous to believe that a woman has the right to murder an innocent child, who made no choice, because she and her partner failed to make the correct choice in the beginning.  98% of all abortions are for convenience.   Murder for convenience is what we are allowing under the legal guise abortion.

In the last 9 years there have been approximately 900 deaths due to mass shootings, the nation is outraged and demands changes to prevent this.  The Jewish Holocaust took 6 million Jewish lives, the world went to war to stop it.  The Iraqi war killed approximately 130,000 people, outrage and protests about the war mongers still impact our society.  The Syrian conflict has resulted in approximately 110,000 deaths over the two years, President Obama wants to attack them for the use of chemical weapons that kills 1400 people.   Car accidents in the US lead to 120,000 deaths annually, we pass new laws for drivers requiring mandatory seat belt use.  We will infringe upon the individuals right to choose a seat belt to save their life but give no voice to the unborn child to save theirs.

While the above numbers are astounding, Abortion is the method of 1.21 million legal murders in the United States per year.  Since 1973 there have been an estimated 56 million murders and our leaders approve of this.  If this were any other country in the world that had killed 56 million citizens during this time frame, we would be at war with them to stop the holocaust.    We would charge the leaders with crimes against humanity.  In the United States we praise them for the leadership in allowing a woman to choose.   To choose the legal murder of innocent children who have never been given a voice in this fight.

One in every 3 deaths this year in the United States will be the murder of a child.

ALL THINGS DENOTE THERE IS A GOD

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Last night as I walked along the beach, listening to the sound of the waves as they came ashore my mind wandered to the majestic beauty of this world.   What a marvelous creation we live upon.  The perfect balance that exists in nature is unfathomable.  The harmony between the plants and animals that creates the ability for all life to survive on this earth is impossible to be chance.  The evidence of God’s hand in this world is undeniable.  Science will argue this fact yet they are grasping at straws to prove theories with no evidence to support their stance.  If science were correct, we humans would have the ability to create other worlds,  we do not.  Only God can.

The evidences are far greater that there is a GOD;  The exacting distance for the placement of the sun and moon. The photosynthesis in the plants. The conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen performed by plants. The pollination done by bees that allows plants to grow,  The waves of the ocean.  The gravitational pull on the earth.  The changing seasons.  The different climates.   All these things and so many more all working in perfect harmony together creating a sustainable living planet.

How can anyone believe that this happened by chance, one time, one big uncontrolled bang and magic, it all came together in a perfect balance for life to begin?  Its absurd to think that so many required elements coming together to sustain life just happened.  The human race is incapable of preventing disease, war, abuse, bloodshed, famine, yet we believe that there was no intelligence in the creation of this world.  Absurd!

Each time I reflect upon the beauty and wonder of this world. with each moment I take I am reminded that God is real.  Each time I hold my baby girl in my arms, each hug and kiss from my children I am reminded of God and his love for us.  The miracle of children and families and the natural laws of God that provide for our ability to participate in creation with him as we bring these little ones to this earth to live.  What a remarkable blessing we have been given to know and understand his love through the love we experience with our own children.

As this world moves away from the God of this world.  As we continue to rebel against Him like the spoiled children we are, we create a distance between God and us.  This distance is our own doing.  This heartache that we bring upon ourselves and this world through disobedience to Him that created us will for some be the end of the journey.  God has given us the freedom and the ability to choose what we will believe and act upon, however with each choice is a consequence, positive or negative.   The world is choosing the negative.

God has given us plenty of examples in this world of his love, power and knowledge.  All things in this world denote that God is real, from the smallest grain of sand to the miracle of childbirth,  Every breeze that blows in the trees is a reminder of our God.

God has given us everything in our lives.  He has provided for each of us.  He has given us the freedom believe or not to believe.  Isn’t it time we give something back to Him?

A Fathers Heartache, When others choices change the life we planned.

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My experiences as a father have been much different than I ever thought that it would be.   I never fully understood the impact of others decisions and how those decisions would directly affect my opportunities with my children, nor how that would dictate the time I could spend being a dad.

As a young man I always knew that my children would be the center point and primary focus of my life.  I have always loved plaiying with kids.  I would look forward to the day when I could coach my kids in sports.  I knew that I would be there every step of their lives.  

When my children were born I would stay up to take care of them.   I would read to them every single night.  I couldn’t wait for morning to come so I could hold them.   Before I would leave for work I would hug them and give them a kiss goodbye.   I couldn’t wait to get home from work, each day upon returning home from work they would race into my arms.  They were young yet they were so fast as they would race into my arms.   Life was good.  I loved being with them and spending time with them.

My wife was blessed to stay home with our kids while I worked.  I wanted my kids to learn respect and love for their mother and would make certain that they saw me helping her with the household chores and taking care of the their needs.  I tried to be a team with her to make our lives good.

Then one day it all changed.  The decisions of my wife would forever alter my dream of being a dad.   Her life was not exciting like it was in the soap operas that she would watch.  The decadent life style she watched on TV everyday soon became what she wanted.  After each of her illicit affairs (5 0f them in all) we would reconcile and attend counseling.  I was determined to keep our family together.  It was heartbreaking, painful and emotionally draining. 

Finally one day I returned home from a 3 day business trip to find our house empty of everything and divorce papers on the counter.  My world was ended.  My children were not home.  I was not able to tuck them into their beds at night, unable to say their prayers with them, unable to hug them and to kiss them.  It seemed the choices that were made by my wife had now hit me square in the face, I was paying for choices that were not my own.  My heart ached for my kids and I missed them terribly.  I didnt care about all the possessions she had taken from our home.  I longed for my children.  Days would drag on without them.

The divorce took only weeks to complete and then she was immediately remarried.  She had taken our children and moved in with a man they didn’t know, and one who wasn’t kind to them. They were torn apart inside.  The family courts in Utah being as extremely dysfunctional as they are granted me the minimum parent time of one 4 hour visit per week and every other weekend.  My life had now been impacted again by another person. 

I found myself alone, lost, sad and frustrated at what had happened.  My children and I did not choose this course for ourselves, yet we were the ones missing out.    My days were spent planning our weekly activity and our weekends our weekends together,  That little amount of time became most valuable and precious.  It was sacred time and I wouldn’t let anything interfere with it.

Now as time has gone by, the wounds are deep and painful. Time doesn’t heal these wounds, it only masks the pain.  The pain and anguish is present daily.  My children became the victims of choices that were not theirs, nor their fathers and yet the relationship they had shared with me was incredibly different and changed. 

Through my ex wifes multiple marriages and relationships my kids have been deeply scarred.  They are afraid to open up and share the pain that they feel.  I try to be there for them to listen, yet as she denies them the ability to call me, or to talk to me during the weeks, our time is limited to resolve all the heartache that they feel.  During our summer breaks we reconnect and rediscover that long lost connection we shared daily of bedtime prayers and stories. We laugh and enjoy the sacred moments of precious little time together,  We live life and enjoy life. The rest of our lives together are spent trying to keep a foundation of love and trust between us through this rollercoaster we call life,  I love my children and pray daily for them to be happy and know how much I love them.  They are still my world.  Every decision I make revolves around their happiness and future to the best of my ability to keep for them.  Every job promotion and transfer that I have turned down, every trip I have refused, every mile I have driven to see them and every school lunch I have eaten with them is worth every precious second I get to spend with them. 

This is not the life I chose for them or for us.   This is the life we have been dealt.  All that I am and all that I do is to show them my unconditional love.  The rest is in our Heavenly Fathers hands to help me where I cannot be.  I deeply pray that my children will always know how much I love them and what they mean to me.

The next time you see a father, alone, waiting for the small window of time he gets to see the children he loves.  Please remember, that it’s not always their choices or their decisions to be placed in that spot.  They do the best they can in spite of the obstacles created oftentimes by others.

Let your voices be heard

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The progressive or liberal movement has become louder over the years reaching this current feverish pitch we are now engulfed in.   As I ponder the reason this fight seems to be prevalent in our society I am struck these observations.

Most conservative individuals that I know choose to remain quiet on the sidelines.  They watch from a distance not wanting to get involved in the current debates that are raging, while on the other hand the progressive movement has been very outspoken in an effort to get their points across to the public.

I look at myself in this issue.  I have had many friends who for the past decade have been very outspoken in their vision of the world, what is wrong with it and where they would like to take it.  I would quietly sit by and listen to their viewpoints in an attempt to allow them the freedom to express their views.  I disagreed with many, not all, of their opinions, however I never debated them.  This was partially due to the fact that anytime that I would ask clarifying questions they would oftentimes contradict one opinion while defending another, ie.. guns kill yet abortion is good.  Logically this makes no sense, if killing is wrong then killing is wrong under any pretense, it cannot be argued for both ways with any credibility let alone logic.

Over the years as I continued to let this go on without argument, I found that the opinions no longer stayed opinions, anyone who disagreed with their opinions were quickly attacked for feeling different.  They would not allow anyone else the ability to say anything without it turning into a personal attack.  Anyone who disagreed with them were belittled, verbally assaulted, degraded, demeaned and harassed.  I found myself reflecting back on the years that I had remained silent while allowing them to voice their opinions without any objection.

This behavior of mine allowed these individuals to feel empowered and with that power they felt it appropriate to then deny the very freedom of expression they had been granted for so many years without obstacle.  It was at this time that the realization of Edmund Burke’s statement he is so famously credited for hit me and the significance of this warning:  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

As the encroachment continued upon my personal beliefs and my freedom of expression, I realized that all these years while disagreeing I had remained silent in this debate.  I had allowed the momentum to build, through my silence, that would in the end create a movement wherein the attacks on our liberties and freedoms would grow.

Ironically, as I began lifting my voice to be heard, those very individuals whom I had listened to for many years as they shared their viewpoint on issues, (some of which I had come to agree with, not many, but some) I was lambasted and ridiculed for speaking out in the very way that they had done.

I believe that the primary reason for the perceived widening of the gap on issues is that more and more of the conservative base is now speaking out.   Their voices are rising up to combat the progressive voices that have been so loud for so long.  Many in the progressive base are feeling this pressure of the conservatives finally standing up, and this is driving the conversation to become more bitter and hostile than ever before.

As these debates continue to rage the side whose voices are the loudest and most outspoken will in the end prove the victor.  The progressive voices have been organized the longest, have the majority of the major media outlets and are winning this battle, the conservative voice is quickly catching up and becoming louder.  The side with the most people sitting quietly by in the sidelines watching will lose.  Will your voice be heard?

The War on Religion

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The deliberate and systematic attack in this country on traditional values and religion are exploding.  We are no longer sliding down this hill, we have jumped off the cliff.  We are in a free fall.  Those in this country who hold dear to them religion and traditional values are being usurped by those who have no moral compass and no belief in God.

The fight is between those who want to keep values in our society, and those who adamantly fight against any moral compass that imposes upon others rights to do as they please.  The irony that I find through this debate, which is in my opinion no longer a debate but a war, is that those who desire no moral compass for this nation and its people do not allow those with religious beliefs and values the freedom and peace to worship as they desire. Those who maintain their religious convictions will typically allow others to be left in peace to follow their own path of choosing.  The freedoms to exercise personal beliefs are granted by those who have something to believe in and those same freedoms are being trampled on by those who have nothing to believe in.

The greatness of this nation comes from our ability as a people to believe as we choose.  We can choose to worship our God or we can choose to believe that there is no god and everything in between.  This system has been in place now for 237 years and as we have allowed this freedom to take place we have thrived as a nation. 

Now that the war is raging against those who choose to believe in God and in religion.  Those on the other end continue the barrage against anyone who believes.  They picket their meetings and conferences.   They utilize hate speech in the name of free speech to attack and degrade those who believe. They push for laws that limit religious beliefs.  The ability for people to worship God is being threatened daily by policies and laws that label religion as hate speech. 

Those that are fighting against those that Believe are fighting for their rights to believe as they choose while denying those very rights to others to believe in and worship God.  They fail to see that they are allowed to believe or not to believe in what they choose to based upon the very freedoms they are trying to remove.   The cliff that they are taking this nation over in this war against religion will only hurt them in the end as the freedom to worship is attacked and weakened, their own freedoms to believe or not to believe will also be weakened.

A former aquaintance of mine who is very much on the forefront of these attacks on religion recently posted that he does hate religion and those who believe in God and that he has a right to protest that.  His deeply flawed opinion on this weakens all of us including himself.   Destroying these personal rights of anyone to worship or not worship without fear, threats or intimidation will in end be the destruction of this nation.

Entitlements and the Loss of Personal Character

As a child I was raised knowing that the things I wanted in my life were available to me if I worked hard, set and achieved goals, got an education and took opportunities as they came along,  and  above all that I was honest with myself and others.   I was raised in a conservative, traditional family where values, integrity and hard work were taught,  they were the center of our lives.  We only bought what we could afford, and worked for what we needed.   There was a difference in our home between wants and needs, and we always had what we needed, and us boys, there were 6 of us,  would have to work for what we wanted.

Our parents taught us to work and to work hard. We had chores and they weren’t just cleaning up after ourselves.   It was irrigating the garden, weeding, pouring cement, roto-tilling, hanging sheetrock,  and the list goes on…   We learned how to repair things around the house including our cars.   We were taught to do things for ourselves.   We never received a handout and while our friends may have been playing, we worked.  Don’t get me wrong, we had times to play after our chores were done, and we had an amazing childhood.  We would have a list and would be expected to have them done before dad got home from work. There were more chores in the summer and less during school.  We were expected to get our homework done and get good grades.  We weren’t paid for these chores or for our grades, it was expected. We didn’t talk back, and were taught to respect our elders.

Where have we gone from these values and teachings as families? as a community,? as a people?  We now live in a world of entitlements and freebies.  No one wants to work for things yet want everything handed to them immediately, as if they truly deserve them.  We as a people have become so accustomed to being given everything we have without working for it.  We finance things for instant gratification. We don’t know how to save money, we don’t teach work ethics, honesty, integrity to our children.  We are giving our children everything they want and not making them understand the value and character that comes from work. 

Work is not just about earning money, it is about character and discipline and self esteem and self worth.  When we do not work for what we are given we have no self respect.  Our character is lacking and with that our judgement and wisdom decline.  With the decline in our judgement, our morals decay and society fails.  We lose our freedoms as a people and as a nation because we fail to learn and develop our character as children.

Our society has become one where the youth play video games, hang out, talk back, demand the latest gadgets, disrespect their elders and feel they are entitled to everything their parents have worked hard for without even lifting a finger to work for it themselves.  When they make mistakes they blame others, and take no responsibility for their actions.  We continue to support this behavior with a sense of wanting our children to have everything we didn’t have.  We neglect to see that by avoiding the structure and discipline that is required to be successful while they are children we are setting them and this nation up for failure.

This nation was built with a strong worth ethic and a people of deep character.  We are losing those traits,  as is evidenced by the individuals we elect to lead us.  They too feel it necessary to provide a free ride to anyone who wants it and doesn’t need it.  I am all for Charity.  I believe in Charity.  I also believe that self worth and self esteem are developed through hard work and in picking ourselves up when we do fall.  We need to help those around us while at the same time providing a means wherein they can keep their self worth.  Those that earn things in life are far greater prepared for difficult times than those whom everything is given, especially as a child.

Children need love, shelter, food, clothing and parents who teach them to be self sufficient and to work for things in life.  Our nation is in trouble, morals are decaying and we are failing our children and grandchildren.  We need to learn the difference between needs and wants,  and then teach them to our children.