You just don’t appreciate your blessing until it is taken away

faith, hope, injustice, musings

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath,
but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”
Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)

Another day, and it just keeps running through my mind how excited you were  for our older son as he improved so much with football this season.   I hope things are  starting to improve at home. Does he still draw? I hope he will send me some more pics.

Wrestling would be great for him, especially if one of the coaches or some of the same boys were on that team, as well. Consistency seems to help him so much. I cried when I read what you had to say about N. I knew what was in the letter even before reading it about him. I miss them both so much, and I know that’s why they don’t write; it’s too hard to express how much they need me at home.

I’ve never said what the other inmates refer to as “being back in the world”. I always say, “going home.” Your visits help me to hold on to the idea of “home”, and being there again. You ask me to write, but it’s so hard to put into words how I feel when I see you through the glass. My arms yearn to hold you again, to run my fingers through your hair. This is how a man should yearn for his woman. It takes time to develop the type of love we have, but it is worth it in the end.

I remember coming home so many times to you waiting, and wanting me with your eyes. They are so seductive and open me up to your soul. I could always see your truth flowing from within. If the children were up, they would come running, screaming, “Daddy”, with such excitement, and the chicken whisperer would come up and put his head on my belly. But you would always allow them to come to me first, most of the time. I hope other men got this same type of treatment, because it is so good to be appreciated by your family when you come home from a long day at work, and most of my days were very long, 14 +hours a day.

You just don’t appreciate your blessing until it is taken away. Even when you bring the boys to a visit, the youngest comes running to me, as you never stop being daddy, even when they take you away. You still hold that same excitement, but I know you have to hold back, but then I can feel it when you press me so close. I long for your embrace, even when you use to squeeze my ribs out of place; which you did that one time…and you never let me live it down.  I worked like that for three or four days before the chiropractor found it and popped it back in place…

I am haunted though, by not being there enough. I should have been there to help you with all of those kids more. I should have listened to you, and been kinder. I was such a bully, and tormented them the way I had been as a child. I didn’t understand myself enough to be more considerate to them. I had so much healing to do. I am ashamed at myself for my lack of tolerance to all of their special needs. This hurts me deep down in my soul.  I allowed my inner child to dictate in those moments. I have asked forgiveness from God, but I keep picking that burden up. Reading the tibetan book helps me to see how close and precious family should be.

Family should be shown love above everything else in life, nurturing each part. God has shown me how a father should be to his children and wife. You were always so patient with me. I only saw that I needed to support the family with money, and now I see that God is first, then family, then self. So many men need to understand this, as our children pay for our mistakes, and then pass it on to the next generation. Tell the men to remember to support the needs of the children, not to exasperate them…

I don’t know how long I’ll be away…

10/8/13

Dear Shel,

I haven’t been writing much as I’m working to clear my mind from

spirituality, faith, God, hope, solitary

Palden Gyatso was born in a Tibetan village in 1933 and became an ordained Buddhist monk at 18…and spent the next 25 years of his life enduring interrogation and torture simply for the strength of his beliefs.

all of the worry surounding my impending ICON, which is worse than the segregationwhere I am currently. I’ve never had a write up before, so now they want to observe mefor 90 days.There have been many put here lately, given ‘A’ charges, and they don’t even know why they received it. The CO came to tell me that they’ve decided to let Raleigh decide about my ICON time at some point next week. They did this so they would’nt be responsible, and can also add on additional time to my punishment. So, I will go before the Directors’ Board and possibly get a harsher punishment. God is in control, so I do my best not to worry.

I have A’s pictures that he used to draw. I have also held onto the the three letters N wrote while he was in the behavorial ‘prison’. I keep them in my bible now that they are almost falling apart.

I got your book today. I’ve already read two chapters, and have cried three times, and he hasn’t even talked about being in prison yet. His family was so loving and supportive. I find it very interesting.

10-9-13

Your visit was wonderful. You need not to worry so much about me. God is with me. Even though the cuffs hurt, it was worth it to see your pretty face. Your standing up for me helps so much, also. I hope things we were able to talk about will help you through out the next week. Just as yours help me.

Getting the local newspaper has helped so much. I get them around 2 pm, so I read

for a little while, then I exercise. I can’t thank you enough.

10/12/13

This is such a great book. I thank God for the blessings I had ignored, thinking we had just a common, boring life. I live as  a king compared to how these people in Tibet were persecuted. It is sad to read how people were tortured and destroyed, when life is so invaluable. I have been complaining about such petty things. The book has also opened my eyes to what is happening in this prison; that, even though it is a miserable and sad fate, it is nothing compared to what is happening in other countries. I do see, however, that our country is heading down the same path. The American way of life is corroding right in front of our eyes. I stayed up until 11:30 the other night, standing in my doorway to catch some of the main room’s light, just so I could keep reading into Chapter 7. Our lights get cut out at 10, but I didn’t want to stop. I am now on Chapter 10, and it flows so well that it is hard to put down.

I’ve never read a book this easily before. I usually bet bored and start nodding off, but not with this book.

It’s funny, because it cost you more to send the book than it did to buy the book, itself.

10-13-13

I finished the book this morning. thanks for such a great book. It was something that I needed so I could understand my suffering better, and to see that it could be worse. If the monks and other innocent people can endure all of that horrible stuff, then my time should be a stroll in the park. I do see how our treatment here involves some of the same tactics, but not quite as extreme.

I signed the form to go to surgery yesterday, so I should go by Wed or before. I don’t know how long I’ll be away, but it shouldn’t be long. I was 28 when I had the first hernia surgery. Damn, that seems so long ago, now doesn’t it? To be honest, I don’t feel that old. Having lost so much fat now, I feel much better than in years past. I actually feel younger than 28 now.

It’s 3 pm now, and they told me not to eat or drink anything after 12 am because of a procedure. So, I’ll get this out today so you will know. Don’t worry, I’ll be just fine. Know that I love you very much. Not sure if they are going to keep me long, maybe a few days? I won’t be able to get up or get my food the first few days. I remember how hard it was before to move and get up. Jesus is by my side now, and I feel protected, and I feel you near me, too!

I love you and the boys very much…

150,000. Children.

It’s good that you cry for us, Margaret. I had to stop crying when I was eight. I’ve forgotten how…Len in Oranges and Sunshine, 2010

10-14/13 11 p.m.                childalone

Dear Chicano,

I need to hear your voice.

Who am I kidding…I need you here, with me, catching tears as  I cry.

Once started, I can’t stop.

I’ve held it in so long, lest I end up deflated, an empty balloon discarded.

I couldn’t write today, or work. There is such a heavy sadness,

I lie in bed and flipped the channels tonight, very rare for me; found a movie that had just started, and couldn’t believe

what unfolded.

A social worker from England, Margaret Humpreys, becomes involved, by chance, with a grown victim from a mind blowing atrocity that was hidden from the world for decades. Almost single-handedly, she begins a quest to help children deported from shelters in England to the horrors of primitive, unbearable cruelty in the wilds of Australia, and other far reaches of the world. Margaret was so touched by the first woman’s story that she flew to Australia with her own money, to begin research that would span over twenty three years, amidst death threats, being separated by her own children researching in Australia, and becoming emotionally weakened by the experiences of the children she researched.

No one was talking about it; the deportation of shelter children away from family, country because it was cheaper to send them away than to give them proper care. The mothers were told that the children had been adopted by loving families;the children were told  their parents were dead, and that they were going to a special place where they would” pick oranges off of the trees for breakfast, ride horses to school, and the sun would shine every day”. Instead, all of their belongings were taken away, and they were forced into slave labor, torture, abuse, and then forced to “pay back” their “debt” for being “taken care of” by Roman Catholic brothers.

Chicano, some of these children were 4 years old!

The unfolding of the stories of these men who were the main focus, some fifty years old at that point, were so touching, and the relationship of friendship and trust that developed between Margaret and the men, as well as the families when reunited, was heart wrenching.

I just cried off and on during different parts; it was like a part of me rent open, a dam sealed off too long. One man made it clear that he had paid back the ‘home’ for his tools, food and such, he “didn’t owe a thing to anyone”, as the money he earned through slave labor paid  for a swimming pool to be put behind the facility they had been forced to build.  Every one of them put into servitude until their ‘debt’ was paid back to these charities.

It seems to me that it created a large overflow of revenue for the government, as well as the many charities that were involved, CHARITIES, because there was no real care involved, even the children cooked for the other children (maybe worse than prison food, in that case); how they built a gorgeous facility hand by hand, with little food or water; beat with large clubs or tractor belts, chased down on horseback if they tried to escape. And then, the sexual trauma…

150,000. Children. Children, from 1947 to the 70’s, our time, endured these horrors. How did it go on for so long? If it hadn’t been for Margaret’s love and open heart, this probably never would have surfaced.

I think God led me to this place tonight, because I have been praying for relief, asking about purpose; how I, one person, can make a difference in the unjust atrocity that has become our life, the secret life of so many people here in America, and all over the world, this sin of silence.

When we sit close-mouthed in the midst of injustice, we, by default, condone.

Pray that I will find my voice.

I love you…

There’s one Rose left…

There's one Rose left...

…from all the flowers you ever planted in the ground.
This one refuses to die, clinging to particles of dirt
from all the places we travelled together; North Carolina, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, back to the mountains of North Carolina, and now, she sits,
tenacious and gnarled, upright in a little pot mingled with dirt from Virginia.

When you return, I expect you plant, one more time, one rose, in a place we call home.

So you want me to write on relationships? (Men, are you looking for, or wanting, a woman?)

10/7/13

Dear Shel,

I finally got your letters on the fourth. I guess they are holding on to them to aggravate me, as well as to keep our correspondance lagging. This way it can cause frustration, and keep us from being up to date on occurences.

We’ll just plow on as best we can.

When you’re talking about CW(the chicken whisperer) and his ‘girlfriend’, here are some things to consider.

She is young, 12, so stop trying to analyze everthing. She probably looks to you as a role model, so just be that for her.

Talk to my son about getting a bath everyday. At 13, he should know better. She probably doesn’t want to get too close because he isn’t bathing regularly and putting on deoderant. (hey, that could be a good thing!)

Just be welcoming and don’t put pressure on her to act a certain way. Also, don’t put pressure on CW, either, because it will only push him harder to her, and will cause issues with him and you later. It will change next year as he goes on to high school. Tell him to send me any questions and I will be glad to talk to him, I don’t care what it’s about. Tell this to both of the boys, as they are older now, and need to talk about more ‘adult’ stuff. But, you don’t need to get involved and try to read their letters if they send them.

Sometimes they don’t want mamma to know…

So, you want me to start writing about relationships?                 

It is hard to know where to start, as it really depends       sex, men, women, God, relationships

on whether or not the man is “looking for” or just “wants” a woman.

You see, when we met, I was looking for a good woman. Even though I currently had a woman, it wasn’t the type of relationship that I really wanted.

So, first off,  men need to understand what they want.

If they are “wanting”, then they will attract ‘loose’ women, which is what the men most likely are, as well.

Men, you need to consider this in your dating process.

A man should honor himself so that he can value honoring a woman. Men should also step up, and take control of their own emotions, look to God for support through The Word, and form support groups through other like-minded men. For younger men, that would men finding older men in secure, happy relationships.

I don’t care where you find ’em, just find ’em. You might be surprised what you could learn from talking to different men at your jobs.  I can remember that many men where I worked, in construction, had crappy sex lives, and they often blamed the women. How can you blame women when you aren’t willing to step up and take responsibility for  the relationship?

And, I am not talking about using pressure or force on your woman, either! I mean, take responsibility for holding up your part of the deal. You must be confident, knowledgeable, and what you don’t know how to do, admit it, and then find answers.

I know you hate to hear it, but if you would turn to the bible for some of your problems, you would find really good, modern answers on how to live your life! Modern advice on sex, relationships, how to handle confrontations, how to handle money, answers to your health and diet issues, as well as how to treat yourself and others. There is really some valuable stuff in there.

I learned the hard way, but I am, and have been, getting it.

When you are confident, exuding a calm, caring manner, it makes a woman feel safe. She can relax around you when you keep your tone down, move with slow, easy movements, comfort and console here when she is stressed.

We need to be clear about who we are, honest and upfront in our dealings. If she doesn’t like it from the get-go, then she can move along to someone else. You will both be better for it.

Talking together, communication, starts great bonds of trust for the future. You must both be able to trust, so men, be trustworthy from the beginning. When there are problems, talk them out immediately, and, as the bible says, don’t let the sun go down on your anger. You should never go to bed if either of you are angry.

25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath, Ephesians 4:25-26

A woman who is not at peace is like a covered pot left simmering on the stove. She will boil over if not tended to, so don’t lie to her; share your grievance, and give her a chance to share hers. Be honest from the beginning, and she will respect you, and she will feel free to tell her side of things. This will make for a deeper, more commited relationship.

Men, be better listeners. You don’t always have to be busy thinking about how to ‘fix’ things. Women really just want someone to listen to them; they need to unload all of their stress. They are ‘venting’, and it helps them to feel better. This doesn’t mean she thinks you are always the problem, she sees you as her friend, and friends listen to each other. You should value what the woman has to say, and to care for, and have respect for her needs.

1 Peter 3:7  Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing  honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with  you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be  hindered.

So much of this I learned later, and I had a good woman to help lead me, kicking and screaming to the truth.

Listening is a great tool for men to understand how to communicate with women, as well as giving her quality time.

Don’t just come home and plop down on the couch, and then expect sex later that night in the bed.

men, women, relationships, faith

Don’t expect to lie around and get great sex later on…

Never assume that she is “all right”, but work to understand her needs.

This is the key to a fulfilling sexual relationship, as well.

Women need more time to warm up to your needs, as they are busy multi-tasking, and handle stress much differently than we do. Whereas we compartmentalize our issues, tackling one thing at a time, a woman is aware of ten different things at once, and they need help focusing. If you want to get good sex then, you must give it.

I wanted sex every day, several times a day, but I comprimised with my wife, and we always made time for sex about 4-6 times a week. I didn’t understand until later that most men are lucky if they get if 4 or 5 times a month. Understand men, that if you aren’t willing to take control and deal with your needs, as well as discussing hers in an honest and flexible way, it will be very hard to have a pleasing and wonderful sex life that satisfies you both.

Women need and want a lot of hands on loving, to feel cherished, and to hear you say how much you feel for them while you attending to their bodies. Look at the book of Solomon.

God wants us to have sexual intimacy, and we are intended to start with spiritual intimacy, and then we nurture the physical and friend aspects, and the three together create love. We must then begin by nurturing and unconditionally loving ourselves. When we are healthy, our love is healthy, and it is easily recognized by others, and causes your partner much security and joy.

Song of Sol. 2 vs. 3 “I sat down in his shade with great delight,” and then, vs. 4, “…his banner over me was love.”

Rulers had these huge, beautiful, intimidating banners that could be seen far and wide across the plains before and during battle, or when he was on the move. For Solomon’s woman here to sit in the shade of his love is a huge deisre for women. She felt protected, cherished, and on display as his for all the world to see. This is important for women, as well as important that other men see your banner over her, that she is ‘off limits’, and belongs to only you. A man can tell when a woman is pleased by her man, and when she is in love, and will back off.

Is this starting to make sense? I’m really tired now, from thinking on all of that, I wrote about 3 pgs in 45 minutes, so I’m going to take a break and write more on Solomon later, but I will come back to it.Promise.

Getting Drunk is not a mating call, men – single men, take note

10/7/13

Dear Chicano,

I am going to start sending you some random posts to comment on that I find interesting and timely,

men, women, relationships

Men, they REALLY want you to get ‘it’ – intimacy first…

because you have so much wisdom hiding behind those big, brown eyes.

I also want to help keep you sane while being locked away in your little egg,

as I will refer to your seg cell from now on. I think if we refer to these horrors

with a more positive energy, then we can begin to transmute some of the punitive aspects of being wrongly imprisioned, and turn this into a wonderful teaching opportunity.

I feel that we have an obligation to ‘pay it forward’ to humanity, to take this as an opportunity instead of a disaster. So, I look forward to your replies to some of these things, even though I don’t like being vulnerable when you use our relationship as examples, I know that the only way to make a true difference is to be ‘real’.

Too many ‘Christians’ do not understand that when a person comes to you asking for food when they are starving that we need to do that, give them food, feed their souls with kindness and support, instead of giving them cruel words or turning them away with a scorpion, back into the darkness.

So, here is response number 1…

Thoughts from a Chicano man who loves women…

(this is a discussion on drinking in a bar, and then bringing home or going home with a lady…if you were my son…)

******

I would like to say that I appreciate your candor.

It is obvious that you are working towards understanding men/women to be a better man.

That is the first step. As a man in his forties, I would like to give you a key bit of advice, it that’s OK,

as you seem to be asking the universe for direction here…

the incident above where the lady gave you a ‘hand job’ could have been a much better scene had you been more in tune.

This is a key disfunction of most men. There is a complete lack of communication due to a lack of intimacy. Before we jump in the sack with a woman, if you want it to mean something, you have to be in tune to her body.

She asked you to stop, yet you didn’t, which tells me that you use drinking as an excuse to do what you want, or to attempt to do what you want with women. This is why you feel “like a creep” afterwards.

The fact that she allowed you to come home with her suggested that she was interested; however, you did not take the time to tune in to her needs, so she was obviously turned off. She was smart enough to keep herself from a possible rape scenario by ‘performing’ in a way that would keep her ‘safe’, as you were obviously not making her feel that way.

I see this a lot in younger men, and the issue here is ‘wanting’ a woman, not really ‘looking for’ a woman. This causes a great deal of distress for today’s single woman, because men do not ‘see’ the true value of a woman beyond a hook up.

Women are worth so much more,  repeat,

WOMEN ARE WORTH SO MUCH MORE,

and I think, once you begin to understand, if you choose to, your own value, and raise your own self esteem, you will then be able to treat women with dignity, and then have much better sexual experiences all around.

In other words, you are only treating women with the same care you have for yourself.

Something to think about…

My First Instinct was to try and help

10/8/13

Dear Chicano,

It has begun. A new chicken legacy.

Who ever heard of chicks hatching in October?

You know my 85 year old mother…she said to keep the eggs collected and not allow that sad hen

men, women, hope, relationships

First chick, and egg that is struggling to hatch.

to lay this late. I prayed about this ever since ‘Laura’ was found on the eggs three weeks ago.

I had watched this young hen over the  summer when she hatched three chicks, only to lose two while running them around the yard. Your oldest, the chicken whisperer, and myself, would run outside in rainstorms and catch her and the one chick, who would be soaking wet and hiding under a bush, and corner them so we could put them in the shed to dry.

She had tried earlier in the spring to hatch a group of eight, but ended up abandoning the nest for whatever reason, and ran around broody and forlorn until this little group hatched in June. Her one biddie, Peeper, is still very attached to her mother.

Well, I thought about this, and I prayed some more, and I left Laura alone on the nest. I’m no dummy when it comes to chickens, so I knew we could put her up in the garage in a box with a lamp over the winter, and your oldest would tend to them, so I just let her be. I knew, in my heart, that she needed a way to get over the grieving, and that this was really important to her. So, I let her be.

How often in life, do older, or more respected  folk do their best to impart or push their wisdom on others, emasculating young men, or dis-empowering young women who have an inner knowing but continue to be beat down for going against the grain? Unless we have a deep, spiritual well-spring to draw from during the dry times, we can become worn out, dried up like old shoe leather. We find it hard to give back because we are give out. I pray that never happens to me.

I went to gather eggs yesterday, and could hear Laura talking to her eggs. It is so amazing to me that people cry for miracles yet turn away from the multitude of gifts that God offers daily, as few are brave enough to open their eyes are receive.

How is it that a simple year old chicken can sit on 14 eggs, and know who is getting ready to hatch, and begin to coax them into the world? She knows if one is too hot or cold, and will turn either them or herself to adjust to their needs.

I was nervous when I saw two eggs sticking out from under her, as she is a banty, and was worried that there were too many eggs for her to cover. But, I also trusted Creator through Nature to take care of it. Perhaps she knew they weren’t healthy, or maybe they were too hot?

Today when I entered, I heard the inquiring ‘peep peep’ that let me know they were beginning to arrive. How exciting! And, her little Peeper was in the nest box with her! I think she decided to be a second incubator, so the chicks and the eggs would be warm, and Laura wouldn’t have to stress to handle the large load by herself. This can also be a dangerous time, as rats will quickly steal away chicks from under the momma hen at night while she is on the ground with the nest.

I was very excited, and just lifted a wing so that a fat little chick rolled out. The proud momma pecked her on the head so she could sit still for me to gently pet and talk to the little one. There were actually three, with another egg trying desperately to  hatch. My first instinct was to help it, but I know, as a farmer, that one has to let the birthing process come in its own way.

I feel that this is where God spoke to me today, as He finds a way to, everyday, if I just listen…

living things must suffer if they are to survive in this world. The ones that struggle from eggs and capsules(like butterflies), are very soft and wet. It is crucial that they continue to draw from the valuable nutrients inside their particular casing. During this time, they stretch, strain and push their various body parts to and fro, strengthening, drying, working their bodies so they will be able to function once out of the shell. I left everyone alone, but came back a few hours later with your chicken whisperer, (CW, for short).

“Oh mom,” he sighs, as if I should know better. “You just need to open this up a little bit here, and loosen the membrane up there…” and he worked while talking, and then stuck the little fella back under the worried Laura. Just a few small cracks near the place where the beak had made its first hole, nothing more.

Tonight, late, around 11:30, I woke up, worried. That little chick could be dying, or dead, all because I didn’t bring it in and help it out, or wet the shell, or, well, I don’t know…something. CW was dead asleep. Forget it. So, I went to the baby boy, who grumbled and whined a little, but got up and grabbed his .22 and the little miner flashlight that sticks on your forehead, and off we went in the dark, cold night.

Maxi snuffled inside the shed, too, getting the chickens a little excited, but they’re used to the corgi sticking his nose around. There was Peeper, next to Laura, a little agitated by the light and such. I couldn’t find the egg at first, then, I saw it, half the shell was gone! It was still wrapped in some membrane, but much progress had been made. The shell was no where to be found. Apparently the siblings and momma had worked to get the chick out by themselves? I had put some scratch in the box so they eat when ready, and not be starving while waiting for everyone to hatch, so it looks like they were definitely trying to help, not eat it!

Wow. I asked the baby brain if he thought it was OK, and he said, (surprise), “Yes, mom, it is fine. Can we go to bed now?” From the mouths of babes….

chickens, spirituality, faith

Egg, with a little help, closer to being born.

Because Jesus taught in parables, I think the Father does, as well. You had to be put into the tiny egg, Chicano, so that you would be so close to God that there was no way to keep escaping in the daily distraction of life, the doing that you and I were so famous for. Even in regular population, you were teaching, working with others, going to choir, whatever, and still didn’t make time to grieve and heal your childhood, as well as the loss of the nucleus of our family. It has been horrible to have the children torn apart, with no way to make amends, to give them all therapy, or for all of us to heal. We both have to grieve in our separate ways, and I have to sit back and allow Divine Intervention to take place, to allow Creator to free you from your egg into new life.

I love you.