Thursday, August 29, 2013

Run your race, and run it well

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2
A month ago I was told my father's sister had pancreatic cancer. She had a stomach ache and a fever that wouldn't go away. The health of this 77-year-old woman failed rapidly. I talked with RLB about how desperately I wanted to see her before she died. It had been two years since I'd enjoyed her company and though we kept in touch with letters, I longed to hug her one last time.

RLB doesn't travel well with his back injury. He can tolerate about six hours of riding in our truck in a day with a few stops. We knew it would be a three day journey back to my father and Auntie's hometown. My son was set to start school in a couple days and would be missing the first full week of school and two weeks of football practice. None of this could matter. This was about a life. A very special woman's life. What could be more important or of a higher priority?

We all worked hard getting our bags packed, dogs and cat boarded, the official leave paperwork for RLB on file with his Unit, mail and newspaper suspended, called the neighbors, school counselor, and coaches, rescheduled appointments, and prepared the house to be vacant for a couple weeks. An hour before we would start driving I got the call from my grieving father. "She's gone."

Our journey had changed from being one about saying goodbye to one about grieving yet celebrating her life.

She ran her race well.

Her bright eyes and loving smile will be forever remembered by those who loved her. There isn't a soul who loved her who didn't also know her love well. She was a giver, an encourager, and overall one of the best people I've known in life.  It broke my heart to see the pain and grief in my uncle's eyes as he said goodbye to his wife of 58 years. Her daughter is a rock who is caring for her father in the same doting way her mother did.

We decided to also turn this trip into a vacation. It's been two years since we've had one. We played tourists in this beautiful city of Duluth, Minnesota. I made sure we stopped in Hinckley to eat at Tobie's where, to my surprise, our Celiac daughter was also able to eat due to their large selection of gluten free foods. While in Duluth, we stayed at a water park hotel on the shore of Lake Superior. I took our children down memory lane as I showed them all of the places I lived and schools I attended the few years I lived in Duluth. We toured Canal Park, went to the shipping museum, the beach, the zoo, and our son made sure he was awake to see a 1000 foot iron ore ship traverse the canal one night.

After my aunt's funeral we traveled to RLB's parents' home to stay a couple days. We had a great time with his family and again played tourist for a day there. The highlight of that stay was what RLB wrote about. I couldn't have asked for a better father-in-law. It is his wisdom we cleave to.

He continues to run his race well.

On our way home we stopped in the small town that will be the town we settle in when RLB is medically discharged/retired from the Army. We looked at available properties and were able to hone in on exactly what we want to purchase. This town is close to a huge lake and many rivers. RLB and I are chomping at the bit to get there and fish to our hearts' content. After looking at properties I asked RLB to guide us to the pretty. I drove as he navigated. Less than ten minutes from where ever we choose to live is this slice of heaven he found that features a public boat landing, sandy beach, and hiking trails:

Now that we're back home and the busyness of this time of our life continues, I have this image to focus on. My days are full of getting my daughters' homeschool curriculum put together, shopping for the "I needed it yesterday" items, yard and housework, preparing our house to sell, planning our move, and continuing on with my fitness goals. It is just like RLB to set upon my heart what awaits as I run with endurance the race that is set before me, in this life and beyond.

I am so unbelievably blessed to be married to a man who is running his race well.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Give me liberty!

Our family watched 42 tonight on the anniversary of MLK Jr's "I have a dream" speech. SD fell asleep. She does that. It is a sign of a lack of stress. I actually take great pride in her lack of stress. A husband that has a stress-free wife is a successful husband.

I wish we had a societal mentality of, "judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin." Unfortunately, people are given the soft bigotry of lower expectations based on skin color. NAMs (non-asian minorities) are granted preferential educational opportunities and job opportunities based on their melanin content. It is truly a travesty. This racist attitude is perpetrated by the same political party that declared, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." They are more commonly known as the Democratic party.

It's the same group that doesn't understand that the Nazis were a socialist party. Christians don't judge based on skin color. It isn't for a Christian to judge. Choosing association is a Christian issue. It's the whole fruit on a tree thing going on there. Cultural differences do exist. Awareness of the differences is important to understand.

I never had an issue with any NAMs in the military. We all bleed green. The nice thing about the military is that you experience the ugly of mankind with your fellow soldiers. Racist, first worlder whining doesn't cut it in the real world.

Jackie Robinson and MLK Jr are men that could never have existed in a different country. It is the greatness of our country's founding that made these men's lives possible. In other countries, they would have been killed or silenced. More likely is that they never would have developed the mentality they had. Liberty is required to accomplish the things we have done in this country. It isn't an accident. Liberty is the essential ingredient for greatness. That greatness is displayed in in a variety of ways. It could be the Model T, the telephone, the radio, the nuclear reactor, the moon landing, the internet, The Facebook, the secret recipe of KFC, the NFL, the moving pictures...these things are accomplished by a people that have liberty.

Raising a teenage boy.

Being a teenage boy is tough. The hormones are raging and the body is changing. It is a very difficult time for the reflective young man.

I had very little success with girls as a teenage boy. I couldn't understand the results of my behavior being less attractive to girls than the moron alpha behavior's results. This really is the essence of the great lie that society preaches to young men. It comes from school, church, and moms. It is the be-yourself, be-sensitive, be-a-good-listener, respect-women....type of thing.

My son is going through the same thing I did as a young man. Frustration with the fact that women are attracted to the very things you are told not to do. He sees the success of other boys and compares himself to them. It is a frustrating and demeaning mental process in the young man's brain.

The biggest critic of most young men is their own selves. Young men like my son or me, in my younger days, compare our worst characteristics to the best characteristics of others. This devolves into the pity party that occurs in the young man's head. Constant judgement of oneself is a highly detrimental process that creates a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and activity.

The best way to fix this is through a vigilant mental conditioning of confronting each of these pity party episodes with prayer. Specifically, prayer for strength and confidence. This is where the PUAs mentality meets with the strong Christian man's mentality. Not all young men have to learn this. Some are born as the natural alpha type. Not many though. Most are coming home to you and upset or frustrated with life. Tell them the Truth. It helps. It isn't easy to change their thinking, but it is a simple process.

The teenage years might be the most formative for young men. It certainly is extremely important. You can't allow your son to wallow in his own self-condemnation. It is a difficult time due to his manic-depressive type of attitude. Sometimes he will appear so confident you want to kick his ass. For the most part, he is confused. Teaching him the way of prayer will open his greatness.

Christianity by definition is the forgiveness of your sins because of God's mercy. You don't deserve it. Your son doesn't deserve it. He has been thinking and acting on nasty things. He needs the forgiveness that God offers. He can and will become more than a conqueror if you guide him. He needs the guidance.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pee in their corn flakes.

Seventy year old man wisdom coming. I'm not seventy. My dad is. He has had several back and neck surgeries. He has had two barn fires. He has had most of his old-people-family die. He has lived through a variety of financial conditions and governmental interference. He shakes hands with his left hand because his right hand doesn't work anymore. He was the one person I NEEDED to speak with after my challenges after my last deployment.

I visited him last week and he saw my condition and said this, "Do you remember hoeing cabbage rows?" Me, "No, I was three years old." Him, "Oh, yeah. Well anyway, sometimes you get a weedy row. You still need to get to the end of the row. The field needs to be finished."

My father doesn't have the IQ I have. However, he has the wisdom I need. Farmers have a much better picture on life than others. Sowing and reaping means more to them. Accepting life as it comes at you is easier for them. They don't whine about deserving more rain or sunshine. Life is what it is. You deal with it. You might cry sometimes. I've seen my dad cry once, the first barn fire. He might have cried at one of my sisters' weddings. I didn't see it. There are rumors though. He laughed at mine. He was happy...but he laughed. I have valued my father's advice more and more as I get older.

The point of this is to learn from your elders and teach the youth. You don't have to stick your tongue in an electrical socket to know it's a bad idea. Experience is a great teacher, however someone else's experience is better. That's kind of the point of the whole Bible.

As a father, you cannot allow your children to whine about their lot in life. It is absolutely necessary that we confront entitlement mentality head on. The current media, school, and church atmosphere promotes the ideas of entitlement and victim-hood.  The earlier we fix this mentality in our children the better. This mentality is a natural occurring thing. If you don't counter it, they will acquire and hold to it. You need to pee in the corn flakes of this mental meal. The Truth will separate them from it and give them experience of others' wisdom.

Monday, August 26, 2013

How do I know I did the right thing?

We're back. Family emergency for a week. It happens. Very sad. Very sudden. Life lessons all around for us. We will post more in the future about it. We just need time to digest. In the meantime, Res Ispa asked me a question.

Res Ipsa:
I understand. I think my boy is younger than yours. He only sees girls (his mom and sister) as a hindrance to doing fun stuff. I've been teaching him about the importance of doing good because he knows its good.

I'm struggling with teaching where the line between caring and not caring what others think is. I naturally have a high level of "don't care" but I also want to impart empathy as a general principal. When it comes time to teach how it applies to girls, I'm going to lean very hard on the "don't care what they say" side and very low on the empathy. I expect a true gentleman in thought and behavior. I think that can only be done if his standard for himself is internal. It sounds like you've gone through that. How'd it work out?
I have had the benefit of planning on my son being a teenager for a long time. Most parents just let new stages of their children creep up on them. For the last eight years I have been in the Army and dealt with teenagers on a daily basis. It has mostly been an experimental lab for me. When you plan ahead, you achieve foresight.

Vox had a great post about the value of not caring for a single man on AG. Even if the prospective girl is interested and the young man isn't feeling her positive response, he is better off not caring. His indifference only heightens her interest in him. When it comes to educating my son about wife shopping, I want him to have her enamored and unable to explain her obsession. It sets the stage for a successful relationship. Daughters are a whole different conversation.

As for how it has worked out, we don't know yet. My son is very confident. He is accomplishment oriented. He reads what we write and what the manosphere says. He has been applying a variety of principles from those sources. The true measure of my teaching will be how his future unfolds. I don't think I'm completely responsible for his actions, however his attitude towards challenges in life are quite indicative of my teaching. I am in awe of my son's attitude and accomplishments in life today. He thinks and acts on things that I never did at his age.

This is a result of being brutally honest with him. When I blow up at him, I will apologize if I'm wrong (It happens, I'm in pain a lot). Because I have set the father/son relationship up the way I have, he respects my apology as it should be. It is an apology for having a temporary lack of certitude, not a lack of emotional control. If I'm right, I force him to apologize. We deal in black and white. It is a very good relationship. I'm not his friend or buddy. I'm his father and example in the biblical sense.

I hope that answers your question. If not, I can give more specific examples. The truth is that this is a lab for that next stage in life for my children. I desperately want to have rock solid biblical answers for my children as they grow up. It doesn't mean I don't care about the people I talk to on this blog. It just means I care more about my own family. If you don't understand need to read more of what we have posted here. BTW, I don't think not understanding our position applies to you Res Ipsa. Learning about human behavior and applying it to your life is better done by a virtual method than direct. Don't believe me? Do you really need to stick your tongue into an electrical outlet to know it's a bad idea? Was there any reason for the biblical examples of good vs. bad behavior in the Bible?

As I said, daughter discussion is different. When it comes to sons, it is all about having upper hand. Keeping her guessing. All the basics of game. Integrating Christianity with that is the important part. It isn't as hard as you might think. There is a desperation that happens in the PUA world. Eventually, you realize all pussy feels the same. The tingle is the tingle. Sure there are manatees...that's just gross. However, there is a deeper issue that will haunt the hedonist. It is the whole two becoming one thing. Once your child displays long term thinking vs. short term thinking, you have an epiphanal type of moment. It's not important to you what your child screams at you. You KNOW what needs to be done. You command the direction of your family. It is an awesome responsibility and you take it seriously. That is why you pray so much.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Game Was Played On Sunday...

My Brewers have failed me. No, I don't want to talk about PEDs yet. I have thoughts and I'm formulating them. However, I'm a sports enthusiast and the football season is upon us.

My HS football coach used to begin practice independent of the nasty weather with this saying while we were stretching out in the (hot/cold/windy/snowing/miserable) weather, "It's a great day for the race!" Our response was, "What race is that coach?" Him, "The human race!" Then he would recite this poem/song:

Oh the game was played on Sunday
In St. Peter's backyard
Jesus played right halfback
And Moses played right guard.
The Angels on the sideline
Christ! How they did yell
When Jesus scored a touchdown
Against that team from Hell!

Stay with Christ! Stay With Christ!
Jesus on the Five yard-Line
Moses doing Goddern fine!
Stay With Christ
Stay With Christ
Staaaaaaaay with Christ!
I strongly believe our country's schools could use more of this type of leadership. What a great experience in life.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying some football and plotting for the future. Go Packers!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lesser of two evils vs Christianity

This is a topic that comes up frequently during election times. I would rather address it outside of such emotional times. I've done a bit of research on others opinions and found some excellent commentary about it. Christianity and the lesser of two evils. There are a lot of good arguments made for not voting at all.

I find these diatribes to be short sighted. If you are a praying-and-listening-to-God-Christian, you will get the answer over who to vote for. If you are a woman, that answer is to vote with your husband or father. You don't even need to pray about it. It's written right there in the Bible. If you are a man, you should be in the habit of praying about decisions in your life and trusting the Holy Spirit's guidance. If you aren't accustomed to this habit, it is a great time to start.

I voted for Romney but not McCain. Despite his cult worship, I was convinced Romney would drill for oil and help our country reestablish our preeminence throughout the world. Lately, we have been finding out that the US's oil drilling is continuing despite our current leader's desire to stop it and OPEC is scared.

Reading the Bible you understand that God puts in place those that rule our countries. It also applies in democracies. There are plenty of little situations that could happen to upend a campaign that God could make happen but doesn't. It is quite an interesting philosophical dilemma. The question then could be why bother voting or concerning yourself at all. Obviously, a country that has a large amount of voters praying to God for guidance about who to vote for is going to be more successful than one in open defiance to God. The importance of the election season is about whether or not we the people are praying for guidance. I still pray for our leaders despite the fact I haven't voted for the vast majority of them. Paul was struck blind in the midst of rejecting Christ, so there is hope for all.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Affirmations vs. shame

On my previous post Searching for the balance, Athor Pel states:
Women usually need affirmation in order to overcome obstacles.
I am very curious to know if this is true for most women.  Personally, shame works the best for me to overcome obstacles when I perceive the intent is for me to improve. 

Affirmation will make me miss the meat of the matter. If I'm wrong, I need to be told in the most obvious way, "you're wrong." And, it helps to include what the consequences of my wrongness are. I've never been one to change by receiving nudges. Throw me over the cliff or don't bother.

I reflect quite positively on individuals in my life who have been willing to go there with me. It tells me they valued me enough to say the uncomfortable. The flip side is, when I've been receiving affirmations or delicate nudges from someone who wasn't comfortable with "going there," I'll have a diminished respect for them.

I had a Sociology professor my first year of college who made my skin crawl. When he would ask questions, no matter how off our answer was he would cup his bearded chin in his hand, nod, and softly say something to the extent of, "that's a good answer but I'm looking for something a bit different." At seventeen years of age, this behavior of his made me want to hurl. If I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong, you wuss.

Some might say he didn't want to discourage me from answering questions or didn't want me to feel bad about coming up with the wrong answer (really, at this point in life, answering a question wrong was not even on my radar of what could make me feel bad). My perception was that he was untrustworthy.

If affirmations are positive statements/judgments or something declared to be true, how is it possible for someone to need that in order to change things they've been wrong about or to overcome obstacles? And, how does one do that? Is it a matter of sandwiching things? (I've attempted to write out several examples and it's not working.)

I can't seem to wrap my head around it. Are there women who don't feel this as manipulation or dishonesty?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Searching for the balance

I invite you to think through your reaction to the embittered gammas. Unlike the cat ladies to whom you compare them, they never had a choice. They didn’t choose their place in the hierarchy, it was assigned to them. - Vox

I responded with:

I honestly have and will continue to do so. In order to do so, I must remain cognitive about my innate reaction and willfully choose another. This isn't impossible and I suspect there are a few women around these parts who have been able to.

Looks as though I've found one of those women. There is a commenter over at Sunshine Mary's blog, Hannah, who does not have the reaction I've been invited to think through. I've read and reread her comments and believe she is sincere. Her natural reaction to any man remains an enigma to me.

I've read some very angry comments from men on SSM's blog who have 1.) expressed a desire to marry some day 2.) have an understandable frustration for having been raised "Blue Pill" 3.) reject and sneer at attempts from other men to help them become successful in the SMP/MMP.

When I read a comment from a man who expresses the only way he'll  marry is when women change their nature I continue to struggle with my reaction. The nature of women has not changed. Our society has accepted the ugliest of women's nature and called it good and acceptable but their nature, their natural tendencies, that which makes them inherently different than men is the same.

I have read many discussions men have had who are upset about the lies they were told. Lies about being nice guys, that women like nice guys. Lies about what they're doing wrong ("it's not you, it's me"), lies about their potential ("LJBF but stay just the way you are, you'll find a woman who is perfect for you").

So when I come across conversations where men (who seek to marry) are displaying the very things that would prevent them from attracting a woman and then see unavailable women giving them positive affirmations and encouragement to continue, I get very confused. Though this woman might be sincere in her charity and friendliness, how does it help a man in his goal to marry a woman to be affirmed in behavior that in real life repels women?

I know there's a balance in here between my immediate repulsion and contributing to the lie with dishonest approval (it would be dishonest coming from me). I've learned that it is not my place to say anything to the men. I do however want to understand the balance so that I may teach my daughters.

Here are some statements from Hannah that give me pause:
Men being wiser than women and all.
 Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.   

Men deserving respect from all women etc.

I agree women should respect men for the inherent qualities the majority posses that are different than the majority of women: their physical strength, logical nature, honor, empathy, etc.

I remain convinced that the icy unapproachable advice is wrong. Women should treat men with respect and kindness. All men.
This is referencing they way I believe it is advisable for women to approach unfamiliar places alone. I don't believe it is safe to have an open and approachable demeanor when she is alone and potentially vulnerable. I've also found it to be highly effective to not attract men.  As commenter, Deep Strength said: The “bitchy resting face” is funny, but they really don’t understand how unattractive that isor in fact actually don’t care.  I do understand how unattractive it is. That's the point. I teach my daughters discretion on when this is appropriate or not. No, I do not believe that an icy look on my face is the end all to protect me, that's ludicrous. It is an effective first layer of defense.
Men are logical rational creatures who God has put in charge they don’t waste their breath with duplicity.
I'll agree that men are generally more logical and rational than women. I don't find truth in this blanket statement. Duplicity is not exclusive to women. 

So, it makes sense the woman I've found, who does not have a negative reaction at all to an embittered gamma, is the furthest a woman can be on the other side of the horse from feminism. I'm certainly on the same side of the horse as she is, but there appears to be miles between us. I'm contemplating what I can learn from this. And again, still looking for the balance.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Buy pants.

Sometime around December of last year, SD started chastising me for being unkempt. She would tell me that I need to shave or shower more often. When I started to do that, she still complained. It became apparent to me that she didn't like me wearing sweatpants.

I was wearing sweatpants because they are comfortable. I have back and GI issues that make constriction around the abdomen painful. During the summer, I wear basketball shorts. They are also very comfortable for such conditions. There were no complaints during short wearing season. My youngest daughter recently pointed this out to SD. She asked why SD didn't complain about me wearing shorts all the time. SD didn't really have a rational answer to justify that over the sweatpants controversy of our last winter. I still shave my beard and head on the same schedule I did during the winter. I still shower and use deodorant/cologne as often as I did in winter. The difference is what I wear on my bottom half.

Over time I have discussed this issue with SD and realized she has an irrational connection between sweatpants and decay/dying. Her mother was in sweatpants constantly during the final months of her life.  It is not worth trying to change this mental image in a wife's head over buying pants.

My GI issues cause my abdomen to bloat after eating. Thus, my old pants caused pain because they weren't bought with this issue in mind. The same issue applied dealing with my lower back issue. I also hate shopping, so buying new pants was low on my priority list. Big mistake. None of my personal issues constituted a hill to die on for a husband.

I know this issue isn't unique to me. There are a plethora of these issues. Long hair, short hair, beards, nose hair, ear hair, toilet seat, wife beater shirt, open mouth chewing, dog kissing, ... the list goes on. Idiosyncrasies/pet peeves are far and wide. The point is that these issues aren't irreconcilable differences. It may take time to dissolve these deep seated emotional connections. Why would you want to even address such issues? Because sometimes...I like to wear my Packers sweatpants on Sunday. But, just buy the pants that fit.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Teenage daughters - Little wonders

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

Teenage daughters have such an amazing ability to make their parents a sappy mess.

They remind me which songs we MUST OWN! So I have them make a list and then have a download night. This song, "Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas was on this last list. My goodness, if this doesn't get the warm fuzzies going, I don't know what will. Just thought I'd share it with you. I know it's an older song, we were out of the country when it became popular. It's always encouraging to me to know these are the songs they enjoy.

Now, it's interesting another song that was on the list. It's better to not know the lyrics of it. It is one of my son's football team's warm up songs:

Come to find out my daughter listens to it before her swim events. Yep, teenage daughters have an amazing ability to make their parents a sappy mess.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Money and time.

What do you value? The answer is where you spend your money and time. Be honest about how much you spend on the things in your life. How much do you spend on your car vs.your children's education? How much do you spend on your clothes vs. your gym membership? These are easy questions and easy solutions. Many people fail these simple ones. Don't feel bad if you are one of them. Fix it.

How much time do you spend with your wife vs. your kids? Family vs. work? Wherever you spend more time or money, you value that more than the things you spend less time and money on. It's not hard to understand. It's hard to accept. We all need to make a certain amount of money to provide for our family. The issue is how much money is required to accomplish our goals. More importantly, what are our goals? Why do these goals matter? We are constantly barraged by the consumer mentality so that we become the willing participants in the very system we despise.

It has been very insightful for me to realize that I have options leaving the military. I could move to a big city and buy a nice/large house that I have to work a job for 40-60 hours a week to afford. I could move to a small town and have the same house with more land without working that job. The difference is status. If you are buying crap to impress people you don't care about, you have a status issue.

I have had a very interesting life in making money. I have had a business partner steal a quarter million dollars from me and decided to not sue him. However, I have had an incredible run of financial success since then. God is cool that way. I've lived with and seen how rich people live. I've lived in squalor as well. We had cockroaches all over our newborn son's walls and been horrified. The advantage of having lived such a varied life is that you find out what really matters. The truth is that you can tell what people value based on what they spend their money and time on. Simple, not easy.