Sunday, July 22, 2018

When Insanity Eclipses Sympathy - On the Branson Duck Tragedy

 This weekend was a very difficult one in Branson, Missouri. A horrible tragedy on one of the Ride the Ducks boats. It capsized and 17 people were killed. It was a horrifying event that affected, obviously the victims, but also locals as well as people here in Branson on vacation. The event was reported in print and broadcast all over the news throughout America and several locations abroad.

New York Times Reports Branson Tragedy

Branson, Missouri is widely known as one of the few places where families can come for good entertainment and attractions designed for everyone to enjoy. The Ducks have been one of those attractions for many years.  It's a rough time for everyone involved and it seems to have stunned the community as well. This isn't something that Branson and its community is used to.

With that being said, I was so glad to see all of the people in the community who have stepped in on one occasion or another. I heard a story about employees at the nearby Branson Belle who jumped into the churning waters of Table Rock Lake to try and assist the folks in peril. I am thankful for those donating time and services to help those involved. The candles by the Ride the Ducks organization with all of the people involved in the vigil is truly a sign that there are people who care about people in the World. All of this is amazing to say the least.

I was also quite saddenened and frustrated by the way some news entities decided to take advantage of the situation to  push an agenda and stir up Social Justice Warriors over the incident. Instead of sticking to facts, they took opportunity to blow some facts out of proportion when families and the immediate community were still catching their breath from the horrifying event. There is a difference between bringing forth facts and simply being insesnitive to the people involved by spewing news that really isn't news just to get attention.

I was horrified to see that KY3 News decided to post a video taken from the cell phone of a person eating dinner on the Belle while taking video of the Duck in rough waters. Why would you do that to people that were in a situation suffering? Instead of sending this video to the authorities Jennier Carr decided to give this to the news so that they can broadcast it for the world to see! I also found the same video on Youtube. I don't think there could be anything more insensative than a person who uses something like this for anything other than to help the authorities figure out what occurred. All I can believe is that in some twisted way they thought they were helping the community. I would hate to think that they were just looking for attention. Either way, for KY3 to use it like this or for Ms. Carr to pass it on was insensative and selfish.

 KY3 Speaks of Duck boat accidents as if they were continually neglegent

I heard a radio announcer talking about the tragedy and I appreciated some of the things he had to say. People want to get involved in tragedy in life. Everybody wants to do something. He mentioned that sometimes the best thing we can do is step back and realize there are professionals that are trained to handle the situation. It's true, maybe the best thing we can do until there is a better option for us is... nothing.

Getting on the Internet and placing blame on a company you know nothing about regarding a subject you probably aren't a professional in is counter productive. I am pretty frustrated with Facebook and other Social Media vehicles in the way they make it so easy for toxic people to create drama that doesn't really pertain to them. Do I use the tools? Of course I do. Are there times I wish I didn't say something? Occasionally I have. However, I will also say I don't feel it is my duty to do anything in life but leave it better than when I was brought into it. The knee jerk reaction to so many involved with Social Media is they tend not to think before they speak - or type as the case may be. I just wish more people took the time to ask themselves before they write a post, or article, if they might do more harm than good with their words. Before you call it news perhaps we should ask if it's better for humanity just to leave something alone for awhile. Creating outrage happens too much these days, and it's not prone to spur critical thought. Most often quite the contrary. Maybe doing nothing is best. I know that isn't a very popular thing today; especially considering the first three letters in activist is "ACT"

This is strictly an opinion piece, and your opinion matters as well. Please feel free to leave a comment below because your thoughts may spur something I need to think about as well. Regardless, I wanted to wait a bit and think about what I was going to say before I tried to touch a very sensative subject right now.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Kathy Griffin - What Goes Around...

So, it seems about a week has passed into this controversy that involves a photo shoot where Kathy Griffin poses with the severed head of what appears to be the likeness of Donald Trump, The photo is everywhere and I won't post it here because I believe amplifying the image yet again is unnecessary. I am not writing this post for that purpose. All in all, I respect art and this just isn't it. There is video that shows the making of this photo shoot and Kathy mentions that she isn't afraid to make waves. Well, mission accomplished it seems. However, now she has decided that the impact it has made has created a backlash that she is uncomfortable with and she feels like she is being singled out and bullied.

Here's the problem with all of this. When a person plans to do something and speaks out about the consequences while they are in the process of creating it, there is obvious intent of malice. So, when the tables are turned on her, in justified fashion, it doesn't become bullying; it becomes consequences for actions you planned to perform. Consequences that can damage or end a career.

When it comes right down to it, I think there are a lot of people these days that do just that in many degrees. We think today that we should be able to do whatever we want without being censored. It is thought that there shouldn't be bad consequences for actions we perform. There are quite a few examples of that in the media today.

Colin Kaepernick made a decision to sit during the National Anthem in front of a public audience and push an agenda that many consider disruptive. Now, he can't find a job in the NFL. This is a direct consequence to a performed action. Personally, I feel like he decided that he found a good time to capitalize on a polarizing issue to gain attention. A quarterback that has proven not to be a winner and needed a last ditch attempt at something more, probably kicked himself in the foot from trying to do something besides what his job was. He knew he couldn't stay current on his talent alone.

If anyone remembers the Michael Sam controversy we see a lot of the same thing. Instead of trying to make a career playing football, he attempted to outreach his ability by trying to make himself a hero to the gay community in the process.

The point I am trying to make is that we are given our shot at life and we are responsible for the choices we make throughout this process.  Real people everyday have to deal with the obstacles they create by choices they make. The way one reacts to those things is the key.

It's not President Trump's fault for reacting and protecting his reputation and the position of the President. His family isn't bullying Kathy because she was just being edgy. It isn't the NFL's fault for choosing not to go with certain players because they didn't have the ability to do their job and created too big of a circus in the process.

Plain and simple, when people make decisions to do something, there are going to be responses to those actions. You don't get to belittle people and then be given a safe space to hide from the fallout. Just like human beings that aren't always in the spotlight, you can lose a job because you step outside the lines of what society deems acceptable. Whether we like it or not - there are consequences.

Life decisions are followed by responses which often affect life's direction. Personally, I don't feel sorry for people who make decisions to intentionally hurt people, and if Kathy Griffin loses her career, she did it to herself. You'll notice the cameraman involved seems to be silent at this point. That is probably a smart choice. Kathy, whether you are sorry now for what you did doesn't magically erase the fact that you, with forethought, did the shoot.

Life happens when we make decisions, and how we live with the effects of those decisions will truly determine your character and integrity as time goes on.

It's our choice to decide how we will impact the part of the world we are in. I just hope that for the sake of the world we start choosing to try and build others up instead of tear them down.

Thanks for listening, and as always I look forward to your feedback.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It's All What You Make of It - Dedicated to My Dad (Giles Randy Myers)

As a person goes through life they are faced with choices of many kinds. As those choices occur there are consequences and opportunities that arise in the process. Sometimes, you don't know if you made the right choice until way down the road. Often times, you may not see the ramifications until you have sped by a split second decision and find yourself alone in the dark with circumstances that don't seem to reveal a way of escape. Then there are times that you really don't know what to do or how what you do will affect you in the long term.

Dad and I (The much earlier years)
I lost my Dad early this week and it has left me thinking about decisions we both have made and, through my introspection, I have come to some thoughts that I hope will make sense at some point. Perhaps it is the rambling of a guy wanting to come to terms with some of this. However, maybe someone will take a gander at this and find a chunk of something they can use in a situation they are dealing with. Either way, feel free to leave feedback on your perspective and perhaps we can all benefit from the process.

When I was a little kid I have some very fond memories of my Dad. I mentioned on Facebook that one of my first moments that I can recall really being interested in sports was laying on the floor with my Father as he was listening to a Dodger's game. I remember the chance I was given to hear the voice of Vin Scully through the little earpiece that was attached to his transistor radio. I remember being a Dodger's fan for a short part of my young life. That is something I am glad I grew out of - Go Cubs Go! However, I remember this being a very important thing to me. Obviously, at the age of 50, for me to still remember this memory it is cemented as so many other memories have fallen loose.

As time went on, as a kid, I don't have a lot of memories of my Dad as good or bad because he wasn't around a lot. I knew he was a salesman, and I remember enjoying having him around. There were some tense moments when he and my Mom finally separated and later divorced. There weren't many things about divorce as a kid that I really enjoyed. Through that process I would hear things about my Dad and remember being told he wasn't a very good guy. I found myself fighting with the struggle of seeing the hero in my life become human. Some of you may understand the struggle and the decisions you have to make through that process. When people of influence in my life were telling me things that in one way or another may have been meant to form the view I had of my Dad.
Dad and his siblings. (I have come to really like this picture)

One thing I can remember was the fact that we still stayed connected to his family and how much they wanted to be a part of my life. I am still so thankful to all of them to this day. I appreciate all of the benevolence they shared with me and my family. As time passed, I realize this is one of the compelling reason I decided later in life to get to know my Dad when I had the opportunity. The other choice was to let go of the bitterness that I saw and felt occasionally could have become a ruler in my own life. Through the school years I didn't really remember having much contact with my Dad. It was in my college years that I really decided I wanted to take the time to seek out and get to know Dad.

I wasn't all that close to my Brother and Sister at the time. I did my thing and they did theirs. They took their own approaches to how they dealt with Dad and how it affected their life.

Me, My Brother, and Sister back in the day
 I am fortunate that a couple of my friends had felt my desire to get to know him and would come with me to soften the nervousness a bit. Dave, Dale, and I would meet at the complex he lived in and all go shoot pool and sit and talk with him occasionally. I remember feeling through this process that there were aspects of this struggle I didn't enjoy and my Dad was definitely not trying to be a role model. He was open and shared things with me and the guys and we heard stories that also made me realize that my Dad cared about me, and he had compassion for others as well. He wasn't trying to dispel the things that others told me about him - he was just who he was. That's a quality I loved about Randy, and something I kind of like about myself as well. Something about Apples and Trees I guess...

I remember being at a Gala for the Fiesta Bowl and having a free bar at the event, and not knowing what I really wanted to drink. For some reason I chose Scotch... Because Dad did. I can honestly say I didn't develop any kind of taste for that until much later in life.

As I went away to College from Arizona to California we talked occasionally and I remembered just enjoying the connection regardless of what that was. I knew that if my desire at that time was to become a Minister I needed to at least give this thing with my Father a chance and let the forgiveness process work it's course or I wouldn't be able to deal honestly with other people that were dealing with this. This process was very good for me in the long run. I am so thankful for that process.

Years went by and I found that I had to deal with my first divorce. Something I would have to own. I struggled with the fact that I had to go through a really crappy time of this and I just couldn't fathom how I could have taken the paths I did and ended up in the darkness with little way of escape. That part of things was something I never really came to terms with. I also remember that guys of great faith dealing with situations where they made bad decisions and then things working themselves out for the best. I hated it, but in the long run it wouldn't define me or my kids.

Those of you who know me know I don't drive and so getting to kids a couple hours away by car might as well be an eternity sometimes. It was a bigger struggle knowing that my second wife didn't want much to do with my previous kids. I didn't see a lot of them but I cherished the time I did have with them. I know that any time wouldn't be enough in my eyes. I love my boys. Regardless of anything else I have done, and what people may say that isn't something that will change. I had to have faith that in time it was going to work itself out.

As time passed my second marriage failed as well. We made our mistakes, and the process was even more tumultuous this time. Sixteen years of struggle in many areas came to a head when I got counseling and realized there were a lot of  unhealthy things that I dealt with in life weren't good for my family. As it would turn out the person I am wasn't acceptable to the lady that would become my ex-wife.
Logan, Dylan, Brock, and Chuck

 I know my boys have struggled, and I hate that. Fellas, if you are reading this and if that is the case, please understand that there are two sides to every coin and I hope that you will take the time to see that coin for the beauty both sides holds. If a coin is only viewed for the one side you aren't seeing the true beauty that the Master Artist designed. I do love you and I am so proud of the men you are becoming.

I want to thank my oldest son Logan for his role in helping me try and see my youngest boys. I am so thankful that you got to meet your younger brothers; I am just sorry that took over 10 years to happen. I am also thankful for my amazing girlfriend Kathie! Babe, your heart for my kids and your willingness to stand beside me through this process amazes me everyday. Your heart is bigger than I could ever ask or dream for. Thank you!

As for my Dad. We lost him at age 75. I know he was fighting with the fact that his body and mind were roughed up in life but that struggle is finally over. He was not a perfect man that lived the heroes life in my eyes. However, in his own way he was a big help in my process in life. This is something I cannot have done without him.

I sat with my girlfriend in my favorite pub in Branson and toasted Randy Myers. There was no more appropriate way to do this than to spend the evening telling stories with my girl and sipping a very nice glass of Scotch. I will miss my Dad and remember him fondly.  I am a better man because we struggled and fought for our relationship. It has been worth the ride.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My It Girl

Sometimes folks get lucky and find the person that works for them right out of the gate in life. Then there are others that need to take a more circuitous approach to finding that person that becomes their lifetime partner in crime in my case it has certainly been the latter.

We envy some folks because for them a relationship seems so easy and it isn't something they seem to have to work at. Then again I have always been told that the most worthwhile things are things you need to work for.

I want to talk about the person in my life that I have come to be more inspired by every single day I am with her.I have honestly never met anyone that I have felt has made more of a success of her life. She has held a work position where she has been for quite a long time and is respected by her peers and supervisors alike. She has two boys that are quite successful in their own right that have a great mom to draw an example from. People look up to this woman and enjoy being around her because she is just generally a good person.

We met under some of the most random of circumstances and I am so glad we did. I came out of a relationship that was quite unhealthy and I brought out of that some baggage the American Tourister Gorilla couldn't have broken. However, this lady has a way of opening each of those bags with me and has helped me to sort through the mess of my past without judging me for who I am. In turn, it has really made me realize how incomplete I feel without her. I also know that being with someone like Kat makes me want to be a better person. She has really raised the bar in my life even if she wouldn't admit to the fact that she has.

You see, it takes a very patient person to deal with me, and I feel like God put us together at exactly the right time in life. I am learning more and more what life and love looks like as we do these things together.  After my last marriage failed I pretty much walked away from all things that would be considered organized religion. While I know God exists I realize also that there are some humans that hide behind the shield of faith only to use it to hurl spears of judgement and hate at others. But then God slips Kat into my life and shows me a completely different side of his love while I never stepped foot in a church. She is probably one of the best representations of His love that I have ever felt and it's beautiful. She helps me fight for a relationship with my kids because she knows how important it is to have a good Dad in their lives. She has helped raise two good young men and I am so happy to have her example  around my kids when that opportunity arises.

Kat, I love your heart, and I love the way you are with me. I look forward to seeing how this story develops as time passes .I love you and I am continually inspired. You tell me all the time that you aren't perfect, but you are perfect for me.

"In this world where nothing else is true. Here I am still tangled up in you."  I am really enjoying this entanglement. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We Just Don't Get It....

I enjoy the Series Empire on Fox because I love the story line and the music is amazing.I felt the same way about two other "Guilty Pleasure:" shows I watched (Glee, and Smash) because I have a background in music and these shows are more or less the equivalent of modern day musicals.  

I have a tendency to equate music with important times in my life. As I was listening to this song on the show this afternoon I found that the lyrics were indicative of a misstep in our culture that is becoming much more a stumble than I believe we realize. Please bear with me here, and realize this is my opinion. I am also interested in your feedback as well.

You see, I believe this song is amazing and moving, but it's really a shame that the lyrics contradict the message throughout the piece. Well, perhaps it's not a contradiction as much as it is a manipulation of concepts. This song is obviously a pro-black piece, but I think where they get confused is in their references to God are manipulating His message to fit their agenda. I believe this is one of the things that frustrates me about the media in general is that they are always so apt to do that. You see, a statement about Malcom X rolling over in his grave due to the way the world has become isn't a good comparison to how God would see the same situation. The song implies that every shade is beautifully made but that the black agenda is in some sense more important than anything else.

Before you start calling me a hater please read on and hear my actual point.

The genetic hand we are dealt is part of who we are. In addition, we are also a product of what we learn and internalize. There have been a whole lot of horrible things that have happened in the past but all of that stuff is history until we allow it to become part of our present behavior. There are a lot of kids in this world that start out with the genetic deck, but the propensity toward racial division is something that is taught to them.

I saw this image that I have included here on Facebook and it really took a minute for me to wrap my mind around it. Take a look at the phrase "Pro Black isn't Anti White" and tell me that you don't see the same contradiction that we heard in the lyrics of the song. Understand that pro black isn't pro white either. It isn't pro yellow, or red or plaid for that matter (Come on - how many of us, including myself, isn't racially plaid). We are still transferring to those that come after us the same crap that people had to deal with back in the historic past. Is this really the legacy we want to pass on to our kids?

We have been fed by Government and the media so much propaganda that promotes controversy that we have lost the concept of acceptance. How is it going to be possible to be tolerant if we are teaching the idea that being intolerant is acceptable? I believe it is a strategy of the media and government to create these issues that divide us. In time we are really never going to remember what the concept of working and coexisting together is really like. Why do we have to teach our kids that it is okay to continue hating people because of their skin? I visited a Military cemetery and found myself dealing with the same struggle. Why the hell are there still people that think the divisiveness  that the confederacy stood for was actually okay? Why is this something you need to teach your kids as an acceptable way to behave towards others? Crap, I have a confederate general in my lineage and I get no pride from that at all. Maybe that is why I go out of my way to make sure that kind of behavior isn't something I pass on to my kids.

Taking someone captive and making them a slave isn't okay. Unless someone is willing to step into a position of servitude then they should have the choice not to be involved in such a lifestyle. I would also like to add that teaching a person that they should treat people differently because of the color of their skin is just as bad. Kids and people that haven't been put in those positions shouldn't be subjected to such things. How are we ever going to change this unless we stop worrying about what lives matter and realize that all lives matter. In my mind you are trying to bind a person to a bondage of philosophy and that kind of enslavement isn't alright either.

You have to decide what kind of legacy you want to leave. Do your kids really need to pick up your racial biases? Is that really the part of you that should be associated with your memory when you are thought about? Why not start blazing a new trail - show the world and those around you that you aren't going to buy into the dogma that media and government really want you entrenched in. We can do better - we simply need to BE better. I am really glad I grew up in a neighborhood that was racially seasoned with many nationalities. There is so much good in people of all races. I hope to never forget that. I also want my kids to reflect that respect as well.

Your opinions are important to me. Please feel free to share your thoughts; I welcome them.

I wish you a colorful week. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Is This Really What You Want Your Legacy To Look Like (Is Josh Feuerstein a Social Terrorist?)

The Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado was a tragedy. There are many liberal voices speculating about how a commentary by Josh Feuerstein may have created the whole issue. The word being tossed about so often seems to be Domestic Terrorism.   Looking at the definition of domestic terrorism I'd have to say that in most situations a case can be made for almost any controversial issue to be dragged into the venue of "Domestic Terrorism". During the Furguson riots there were several reporters that probably could have been called vehicles of domestic terrorism. The wording is so vague when it comes to the definition that so many of us could be called into question anytime we make a Facebook post.

Situations like this really make a guy who is a Christ Follower wish they could see the way that their words would be viewed and possible outcomes before they let them out on a YouTube channel.

My opinion on Feuerstein and his comments can be summed up quite briefly. I believe his rhetoric can be classified in the same breath as someone like Al Sharpton; neither of which are really doing anything for the cause of Christianity except to bring perception down on Christians.  Is it social terrorism? By definition perhaps, but did he incite murder? I believe like many others; if your words get into the wrong mind anything can incite a riot or plant a thought in one's head. Unless he pulls the trigger he did no more kill a person than Al Sharpton caused Michael Brown to attack a police officer. I don't feel Planned Parenthood is a good investment of Government funds and I disagree with their stance, but I know I wouldn't go about putting my view out there the way Feuerstein does.

I think the most important question is one we should each ask ourselves when we start to say something. Is that really what I want my legacy to look like? Do the words out of my mouth inspire people or are they intended to incite folks? Why is it so many people are willing to spit on a soldier or burn a flag than try to find a forum to truly make a difference?

Even Gene Simmons called out the media and their duality when it comes to who they are willing to offend. When it comes to Tim Tebow people feel like it's open season because he stands for something important to him. Like Simmons says, if he were Muslim or Jewish it wouldn't be tolerated. The thing that I never hear about Tebow is that he is a promoter of Terrorism. That's because he can get the message out without being crass. I like that in a person and the choice they make when they make a stand.

 I have little need for the tactics of Josh Feuerstein and I feel like his message is detrimental, but he isn't a murderer. I hold him in about the same regard as I would Jessie Jackson, or Al Sharpton. I feel like they take a very low-rent approach to how they approach controversial issues. I choose to try and handle my business a little more professionally. I tend to prefer Tebow's approach to things. However, that's me. If one of my sons were to look up to a public figure I would hope they would choose his persona over the ones of so many out there that breed hate and contempt in their words.

 We have to decide how we will leave our mark in the world . Even if you are a Janitor, Teacher, Pastor, or Server you are going to leave an impression on someone as to how you react to things in life. How is it you want to be viewed?

The choice is yours.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Patience Meets Frustration - Shouldn't Have to be This Way

I've seen it happen. I know it exists. I admire the way some folks can put aside petty differences to allow their kids to be involved with both parents. Kids need this to flourish and grow into healthy and mature adults. Kids stand a much better chance in life when they are involved with both parents after a divorce. Overwhelming amounts of research show how important both parents are to a child's life. With as hard as society can be on a person we need to give kids every chance they can get.

When I went through a divorce the first time I was so concerned with how it would affect my kids. I wanted to be a part of the lives of my children but not being able to drive made that a challenge. I was born with visual issues that challenged me in life enough to keep me from being able to drive. I knew this was going to compound the issue. However, when the divorce occurred I tried to make it the few hours I needed to so I could see my children as often as I could. The help of many friends made that possible. I am very thankful for those people.

Then I met her. We got together very early in a relationship and dragged a lot of baggage from our pasts into it as well. She made promises of how she would make sure I had the opportunity to see my kids and even said to my ex wife at one point, "You should be happy that there is someone in his life that cares about his kids now."

I thought she meant the things she said. I found out differently in time.

Logan and I
Unfortunately with the baggage we dealt with we both fell back into old patterns and made mistakes. We got deeper involved in our relationship and there were things I learned to live with that just continued to take small bites at my conscience as our relationship progressed. Part of that included her deciding at some point early on that she wasn't going to continue to help me pursue a relationship with my kids from my previous relationship. At that time in my life I felt bad enough about myself I felt I deserved to not see them. My youngest son Chuck was a toddler the last time my oldest two kids saw my youngest two kids - almost 11 years ago!

I was walking home from work when I got the text message from my soon to be ex-wife that she had found trucks and moved out. As we went through the separation period I was starting to get reacquainted with my oldest son Logan and the times we spent together were extremely precious. Seeing Logan play basketball in High School and then graduate. Spending time with him and Dylan, his younger brother, made me realize much time had passed. I wasn't going to get the past back but there was hopefully some future to restore relationships. As Logan and I got closer it became obvious that he wanted to get to know his younger brothers and that has become a desire of mine as well.

I was able to see my younger kids throughout the separation process. When she felt they needed a haircut or something she called and brought Brock and Chuck to me for a few hours. I knew what the pattern was here but I just wanted to see my kids. If she wanted something she allowed me to see the kids. None of that was more evident when she called one day shortly after she had moved out and told me she was going to bring the kids by. What I found out that day is that she was going to bring friends she had with trucks and was going to use the kids as an excuse to come clean out the rest of the house. She knew that if the kids were there I wasn't going to put up much of a fight. The approach that all of the pre-divorce videos that we were warned against became a real life scenario. The kids were indeed being used as a riot shield and there wasn't a thing I could, or would, do about it. All I could do was watch her and friends I used to have from a Church we both went to take things as if I had no say in the process at all. It was a frustrating day. I realized at that moment some of our friends would start taking sides without realizing what exactly had happened throughout the process. People just didn't seem to care what had happened in our split; I was simply the person that was in the wrong and my opinion of the process didn't matter.

There were so many things I have found out as the relationship split. Truths that were uncovered that I just didn't realize made me see why things happened the way they did. I have realized that the woman that hasn't allowed me to have time with my kids more than a handful of times since the divorce had a past of embezzlement and dishonesty. So, I suppose it's not a surprise that she would think it's okay to steal time that my kids and I should have together. it's just something else that she feels like it's okay to take. It's not money, but rather an embezzlement of time.  I don't blame God for any of what has occurred; I simply realize that some that say they follow Christ don't see some aspects of their lives as transgression. After all, Christians have started wars over things that God would never see as acceptable. When she left, it seemed a whole Church that I had tithed to for over 2 years never contacted me once to ask if I was alright. I suppose the Church had no real reason to hear both sides of a story. When you are a Mega-Church like James River you can discard a person here and there and not really miss a beat.
Logan, Brock, and Chuck

Good news is my oldest son has had the opportunity to see my youngest two sons shortly after Logan and Brock and I got together for the first time in eleven years.This has been a long time coming and I am so thankful for the opportunity. I was hoping to be able to spend more time with the youngest kids over the summer and hopefully get all four boys together because a friend of mine came to town for a couple months and wanted to help me with transportation. However, it seems my ex wife had other plans. It seems that every time I have tried to contact her she has either ignored texts, emails, and phone calls. Regardless of what the parenting plan states she has decided that what she wants in these situations is more important. She has even used my Son's phone to send a message telling me that they wanted to see me without the friend. However, it turns out that it wasn't my sons message at all- his phone wasn't in his possession at the time it was sent.

Logan, Me, and Brock. First time together in 11 years
I will say I am thankful for my opportunities in life and I am in a place now personally that is head and shoulders better than I have been in so many years. I am not perfect, and I have made mistakes. However, I am a Dad who has never stopped loving his boys and I look forward to every opportunity I have with them. I am hoping for the right legislation to fall into place for a Dad to have a chance to have a relationship with the kids. It seems like Missouri Child Services is much more involved on the money collection end of things than they are in the Father's visitation enforcement. I pray for the right people in my life that may be able to help pave the way for this. I love my boys and I want to know them and be there when I can be. A Father should have access to his kids and kids should have equal access to both parents.

I know this was a bit of a long winded post, but I had a lot to say. I would love feedback as well as your stories. I have seen that I am not alone in this struggle. I have come across many stories in support groups that simply break my heart. I also know that there has been a lot of legislation in places that Fathers have been assisted by. I look forward to the future, and seeing what my boys become. I pray for opportunities to be a part of that whenever possible.

Some of my favorite and most recent pics of Logan, Dylan, Brock, and Chuck