About Me

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So Who am I?...I am the husband of one terrific wife and the father of two boys, both of whom have autism. I have been in the Marines for over 15 years and in that time ( and in my own growing up) I have seen, done and experienced a great multitude of things. Which is why I call myself Diverse Dad. My user name is a mix of a Toby Mac song and a reflection on a lot of different life experiences that have helped me grow and help others through similar situations. I can be pretty hyper sometimes and my wife often accuses me of being ADD. Other than that I see myself as a pretty normal dad who is trying to raise children with Godly Christian character in a world that seems to scream otherwise. By blogging I hope to offer words of encouragement to my fellow dads specifically and all people in general. Secondly by going through the pages of others, I hope to gain knowledge and ideas that can help my family and I. So feel free to comment good, bad or otherwise and share your thoughts...God Bless and I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year...Well It's Almost Here

Happy New Year! I know it isn’t quite 2010 yet but with my issues of blogging on a regular schedule, I thought better safe than sorry. So again, Happy New Year! What a year 2009 has been. On a large scale, a new president was ushered in, and not wanting to enter the political debate, let me just say I know God is in control. On a smaller scale but of greater importance (to me at least) is the greater amount of time I was able to spend with my family. Which when you consider that March through November of ’08 I was in Afghanistan I guess that is a no-brainer. Honestly though, I believe I had reconnection issues at first and I didn’t make the best of the time we had together for the next few months. Spin forward one year and I think I am doing much better. For instance, normally when I go on leave (vacation), I normally go stir crazy after the first few days. This year I started my Christmas vacation on the 18th of December and I go back on the 5th of January. Well today is the 30th and I am very content at being at home. Other than a really nasty cold that knocked me down for a week to include Christmas day, I have not had the restlessness issues one iota. It’s not just that though, looking back, I have had some great time with my family; especially this Christmas. And to all my fellow dad’s, isn’t that what it is all about? I think too often we get focused on our world of work and leave the rest behind (the rest being our family). But, why do we work? We work to provide a home and provisions for our families but yet all too often neglect the needs of their hearts. Me personally, I want my children to remember me as the dad that showed them things, hung out with them, answered their questions and in general just show that I love them. Unfortunately, I mess it up all too often myself. Earlier my wife asked me what my New Year’s resolution was going to be. I think after typing this I figured out. I am going to try to be a better husband and a better dad. Because when it all comes down to it, what else is there? So with the help of God, that is my goal. Well good night all and once again Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's That Time of the Year....Christmas

Yes! It is that time of the year again for that wonderful holi-day Christmas. I know I hyphenated holiday, for you see, it really is a Holy day. The day we celebrate the birth of the One who has saved us from being eternally separated from Him. I know commercialism often takes over but we really need to remember the Reason for the Season. I know it is my favorite holiday, not only for the BIG reason but also for the little ones. I am always distracted and off focus during this time of the year and in a bad way. Several years ago I was on Recruiting Duty in Illinois and every December I never was able to enlist anyone into the Marine Corps. I did just fine in January and prior to, I just could do nothing in December. I am still the same today…I mean I am in a great mood and full of energy I just lack focus. Well, let us move on…. This weekend was the grand decorating weekend preparing for the season. I helped my oldest son put up the Christmas tree in his bedroom, put up the village, strung a new set of lights on a bough for my wife and put up the outside decorations, which was a challenge. As you may recall, we moved back in July and all the decorations were set up for the other house. All the boughs and lights were measured out exactly for the roofline of our old house. So that had to be thought out all over again and a lot of deliberating of exactly what I wanted to do (icicle lights or LED lights with boughs and bows, I went with the latter). After they fell off the roof three times, I believe I got a solid solution to ensure they stay in place. I guess I will find out in due time. After that was done I climbed the tree next to the house and strung it with color lights (probably not enough) and put a bough and lights on the bench swing. To wrap everything up, I set up the inflatable snow globe (Charlie Brown and Snoopy with a tree in case you were wondering) and tucked all the cords out of sight. Call me retentive but I hate to see exposed extension cords so I do my best to hide them. Well that is enough for tonight…until next time, may the Lord of Peace be with you and your loved ones. Below are a couple of snap-shots of my wife's creativity. Pretty good isn't she?

A picture of the book case all decorated, those lanterns work for all seasons

A advent calender my wife made for our youngest son...Pretty cool isn't it? No, she didn't make extras.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Words of Wisdom?

Yes, I am back once again with words of wisdom and good fortune to all…okay…maybe not. It did sound rather profound and enlightening did it not? As mentioned in an earlier post, I would like to take this opportunity to give a brief update of the last couple of months since I was on a period of absence. This is kind of funny, because other than some headaches at work, all I can really remember is some good old fashioned family time. There were two that were really great and both surrounded the notion of obtaining pumpkins from a place called Mike’s Farm. My family and I do not celebrate Halloween, but we do enjoy what has become our annual trip to the farm, get on the hayride and pick out our pumpkins. At any rate, the first outing did not go so well. They had the largest crowd I have ever witnessed and my youngest son does not do crowds. So it was going to be Mom and Tyler to the rescue and get our pumpkins. Unfortunately, there were different lines for the restaurant, the hayride, the gift shop and the ticket sales for the hayride. Even worse the lines had no clear definition and one could easily wind up in the wrong line….which my wife did. She and Tyler waited in line for quite some time before it was noticed. They gave up on the pumpkin idea for the day, so they thought they would give the gift shop a try but that line too was impenetrable. So we opted to look at the different farm animals and call it a day and we would try again another day. My wife having awesome insight, realized Tyler and I have not had some good dad and son time. So the following Saturday I took Tyler to breakfast at I-Hop and following that we headed back to the farm to get our pumpkins…and the mission was a success, not to mention I was able to get some homemade fudge as a bonus. The best part was just being able to have some good one on one time with my son. Which I think is important, family time as a whole is a necessity, but I feel it is equally important to build solid bonds with each member individually. Well that’s a wrap before this goes on for too long. In closing, let me say, if we are spending time and developing our children, who (or what) is. Until next time…..

Today’s Quote: Family happiness is homemade.

The crowd at Mike's Farm the first go-around

Round 2, Can you see the difference?

As you can see, the second trip was a lot less busy. As a matter of fact we were the second family in line for the hay ride. Which is what the next picture is of, the hayride itself, following that is Tyler "driving" a tractor.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Marines!

Greetings! See I told you I would be back soon. Well today is a special day, for it is the 234th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. If any of my readers have the distinction of being a Marine (or a former Marine), to you I wish a Happy Birthday. If any of you know someone who is a Marine or a member of our fellow services, I humbly ask that on this upcoming Veteran’s day, that you please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices great and small that these fellow Americans have made so that our loved ones may enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today. If you do know one, please take a moment to offer an encouraging word. Believe it or not, it is greatly appreciated. I would like to share, that although the military life is a personal choice, it is comforting to be appreciated and to know our sacrifices and those of our families are not in vain. I know firsthand how difficult it is to be away from your loved ones for months on end without the assurance that the day you said good bye was not a forever good bye and it just may have been the last time you see them. Then there is the struggle while we are gone for our loved ones to carry on with life like normal. The hardest part is trying to reintegrate back into their lives. For the last few months of the deployment they have gotten into a good groove and we try to pick up where we left off. Believe me, it makes for a little friction, which no offense to anyone, when you have special needs children, it can be compounded greatly. The worse scenario (and too often true) is to be the family member seeing your loved one’s unit returning but your loved one is not one of them. I am not trying to sound depressing; I was just trying to give insight to what is felt by real live human beings and what our experience is. I have been in the military for 18 years and I assure you, it never gets easier. Now, let us move on….actually I will save the rest for a later post. Until next time….

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Been a While, I Know

Surprise! Yes, I am still alive and kicking. Once again I do not have a really good reason for being away for so long. Work has been pretty hectic but that is really not a good reason. Although as result of the craziness at work, I must admit, my moods have been on a bumpy road. I won’t go into details but let’s just say they are times when I wonder what I was thinking! As I mentioned in an earlier post though, I have no one to blame but myself. I am thinking though it will start improving in the next few weeks as I will have more opportunities to do more actual teaching and less administrative duties. I have always preferred working rather than shuffling papers and going to meetings. I guess I should of remembered that a couple of months ago. Other than that and my foot, my life is pretty blessed. As a matter of fact today it has been one year since I returned from Afghanistan. As for my foot it isn’t that big of deal, it appears I have a pinched nerve in my foot and if the current treatments do not work it will require surgery (that does not really appeal to me). With me being a Marine though it is kind of important (required actually) that I not only be able to walk to do my duties but as you may know Marines like to run too. That is really hard to do with a bum foot. Well this is a short post, I will be back later (not 2 months either) with more updates.

Today’s Quote: When we worry, we believe more in our problems than in God’s promises.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What a Week

This has definitely been a week of ups and downs. Unfortunately, it seemed to have more downs than ups. It started out well…on Monday I reenlisted for 3 more years, which will take me to 21 years of service in the Marines. My wife was presented a Certificate of Appreciation for her unfailing support and understanding during my career. As nice as it was, I still think words can ever justify the great person she is for the sacrifices she (and my children) have made during my career. Other than that it hasn’t been so great. Right now my eldest, who has recently begun his teen years, has been challenging the limits and the patience of his parents. I fully understand this is a normal process and I was probably much worse at his age….I guess I am just being selfish and not wanting to go through the process. I am learning from it though so there is a good side to it. The other ups and downs stem from my work. I have a small instructor staff that works for me and I am ecstatic that professionally we are agreeable on almost all points. From a professional stand point that is great, it makes my job that much easier. From a personal stand point I am struggling…part of my responsibility is to be there as a mentor/advisor with personal issues. Unfortunately I have strong moral opinions contrary to a couple of issues and I am trying desperately to find the right words to say. I don’t want to come across like I am judging them (because I am not) , yet I am compelled to help them, especially when it concerns unborn children and marriage. I do want to end this on a positive note though….so here it goes. If you notice on my blog, there is a new widget on my blog for C28.com. It is a Christian store that sells some pretty cool stuff. I have already gotten a pretty bold T-shirt from them at the tobyMac concert I went to. I also have recently ordered some vinyl stickers for my car. I highly recommend them and if you wish to check them out just click on the widget. So if you are looking for something that’s stylish, makes a bold statement for your faith, from clothes to jewelry, check them out. I believe you will be glad you did. Well that is about it for tonight. Just remember challenges come and challenges go but without challenges we would never grow. Good Night!

Today’s Quote: The man who lets his children take second place to his work will live to regret it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family Time is a Good Thing!

As I mentioned in my previous entry, the football season is almost upon us and my family and I have been enjoying the pre-season games. As a matter of fact, my wife and I are currently watching the Charger vs. Seahawk game. Unfortunately, my wife is disgruntled because the Chargers already took Phillip Rivers out. I offered my opinion that all the quarterbacks deserve an opportunity to play. I won’t go into details but her response was very critical of the backup quarterback for the Chargers. We (my family) are primarily Panther fans but I believe my wife secretly appreciates the Chargers more. Don’t tell her I said that. I think more importantly than the football games themselves, is that fact that we took time not only to “recharge out batteries”, but spent time enjoying time together and having sharing opinions and thought on something we enjoy. Actually my youngest son just likes to hang out. As far as physical accomplishments today, my wife was quite industrious today and accomplished quite a bit today…me I just vacuumed a little and gave my son a bath this morning. I am happy for my eldest as he played with some of our new neighbors today. Before we moved there weren’t any kids in his age group and some mocked him for being homeschooled. The kids he played with today actually thought that my son’s homeschooling was cool because he didn’t have to walk to school. You really have to appreciate the honesty of children. I guess the overall essence of this entry is, as I have mentioned before, spending time with your family is critical to a family’s foundation. Unfortunately, time is the one thing we cannot buy more of or get back…I learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago when I was focused on being the best I could at work but not so much at home. I fell victim to the misnomer that a man’s primary mission is to provide for the family. Well, actually that is true but not in the sense that we often think. Our primary provision should be love, compassion, knowledge and our time. Dads, if you are reading this… I offer this advice…I truly believe your kids would rather have you than all the material things. Well, I guess I should wrap this up. Until next time, may the Lord provide the footing for all your steps.

Quote of the Day: “Many fathers are willing to give their children everything except themselves.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Latest Happenings

Last weekend we went to the beach and had an excellent time. Well…right up to the time we left at least…my youngest son didn’t want to leave quite yet, so he got a upset. It’s not like he never gets upset, the problem is the insensitivity of other people who just want to stare and make “dirty” faces at a child who is the size of a young man, but cognitively is an infant… it is just disappointing. On a separate note, this is the first time we went to the ocean all year…the sad thing is we are only about a twenty minute drive away! Oh well, let’s move on, shall we? Other than that I am trying to get up to speed on my responsibilities for my newest job. Essentially, my instructors and I are responsible for teaching hydraulic and airframe systems for the V-22 Osprey. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do much teaching since my other duties will prevent me from taking a full class schedule. As for my family the transition from summer to school is still a work in progress. I am learning not to come home too early for lunch or from the days end. The good news is: The football season is about to start. So if you want some good inside information check out my son's blog. . Unfortunately, like father, like son and his blog has not been updated for a while. He does have some pretty funny observations for all 32 teams. That is about it for tonight’s edition. Until next time…may peace of our Lord be with you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Picking Up from my Last Entry...

Let’s see, where did I leave off? Oh yes, starting a new position in the Marine Corps. Originally after all my Osprey training was complete, I was supposed to return to my previous unit. There was just one little hiccup. One of the Marines who worked for me, got promoted to the same rank as I. I am extremely happy for the man, but on the down side the squadron rates only one person at my rank for our section. So, I had to start looking for a new home (which I have learned it pays to be proactive in that area. That way, if I wind up somewhere that isn’t my cup of tea, I have no one to blame but me). I did some looking and discovered that the position for the Airframes supervisor at the formal training school for the Osprey was going to be available soon, since the current one is getting ready to retire. So after making requests to their people and my people, I was given a reporting date of 3 August. Not so bad because it is on the same base that I am on now. I do however feel very blessed by our Creator. Just a month ago I was pretty sure I was going back to play in the sand (Afghanistan) in less than a year. Then you think of the strain it puts on the family, especially having two children with autism. More so, I believe the strain on my wife. It is hard enough for both of us to keep up the pace around here at times. I could not even fathom doing it alone. She is quite the special woman. I am pretty excited about the new job though. It will be a new experience for me but more importantly, I will finally have some good family time. I should wrap this up, just let me say this. Don’t worry about the mistakes from the past, learn and move on. Do not worry about tomorrow, because no matter how much you plan there is still uncertainty. But, live everyday for what is, a gift, that is why it is called the present. Below are a couple of pictures. One is the grand daddy of aircraft, the Phrog and following that is its replacement, the Osprey. My apologies for the choppiness, I guess I am more tired than I thought. Until next time, may you find peace and comfort.

Above, one of my squadron's Phrogs in Afghanistan, below the Osprey.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy !!!!

No really, it is the truth! Once our trip for Virginia was over with, we started making preparations for moving. Did I ever mention, how much I love moving? I should almost be a proffesional by now, since I have moved six times in the last 18 years, two of those in the last two years! Actually this one went pretty smoothly compared to the others. I think the best thing my wife and I did this time is we didn't let it control our family's life. Nomally when we move , we go full bore until it is done, which results in missed meals ( or just as bad poor ones), kids routines messed up, and somewhere by all parties involved, a good version of their own breakdown! No, this time we took our time and although it took longer than usual, I think everyone fared much better. I picked up the keys on the 10th of July and two weeks later, we are almost done. All that is left is: the fence, swing set, trampoline, and a few more boxes. Did you notice how I saved all the fun stuff for the end? Well, that is all for tonight, between work, moving and old age (turned 37 yesterday) I am pretty worn out. Next week starts a new job positon for me in the Marine Corps, but that will be another entry. Until next time, may peace be with you and your loved ones. Good Night! I also posted a couple pics of the new house. Now for real this time, Good Night!

Needs a little yard work

Living Room Area, doesn't it look cozy?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I have been slacking, I know :)

Well, I know, I have been slacking! I wish I had a good reason but I really don't so I won't make one up. It has been busy around here but not that busy. Since I haven't posted anything since late May, I will pick up there (or pretty close at least). In June, my in-laws came down for their semi-annual visit and celebrated our son's 13th birthday as well. It wasn't a huge celebration since we were saving the big part for late June to go see Toby Mac and others at Busch Gardens (more on that later). Where was I, oh yes, in-laws visiting. Overall it was a very nice time. My wife took her mother for a ladies day out and enjoyed lunch and had planned on going shopping. I say planned because my wife's car a 2003 Taurus had died on her in the parking lot. I must say they both handled the situation very well. My father-in-law went to pick them up while I watched the kids. Afterwards, he and I went to look at the car. We were able to jump start it and I drove it home. I did a little troubleshooting and all things pointed to a bad alternator. Which is kind of hard to believe, I mean the car is an '03 but it only has 20,000 miles (my wife doesn't drive much). I bought the alternator and after several hours of frustration her car was up and running again. Now back to the birthday part. My wife (the awesome baker/cook that she is) made my son a cake that looked like an Oreo cookie. It was delicious! Overall it was a good birthday for my son and excellent time with family. Shortly afterwards we got notification we would be moving houses due to renovations (military housing on base). With address in hand, my family and I checked out our future new location. The house in itself looked very nice but the location was not so great. Where we live now, it is a quieter area, with a small woods behind, good yard space and distance from neighbors. Allowing for a good play area for my kids and security for my youngest. Unfortunately, our new location had the exact opposite: Very busy (a stone's throw from the Community Center), short drive way (too close to the street), a busy street, and minimal yard. However, we have learned to trust God in all things and figured there was a reason. So we began making plans...then I learned my neighbor and co-worker was assigned a house in what my wife and I deemed as ideal. So after speaking with him, he said he would be willing to, if the assignment office agreed. So I went and spoke with the office, explaining how it would be better security and peace of mind for my youngest son. They agreed to it, so now we have a new location which is almost identical to where we live now. If any of you out there have children with autism, I am sure you can understand how important keeping things the same is. I know in our situation, when we moved here two years ago, it took us about six months for everything to settle down due to the diffrences in house lay-out and area. It wasn't a pretty sight. Well now on to the exciting stuff. As mentioned earlier, I took Tyler to Busch Gardens for a Toby Mac concert. We left on Saturday morning and arrived late afternoon. After getting settled in to the hotel, we went and looked around historic Williamsburg and had dinner. We returned to the hotel with hopes of going into the pool but settled for strolling around the area. The next morning we woke up early and headed back to historic Williamsburg to pick up a souvenir for the wife, who appreciates early American history. I was able to pick up a set of antique candle lanterns(at least replicas of them) for her and a couple of battery powered flickering candles for them. From there we headed over to the hotel to grab supplies for an all day outing and headed for Bush Gardens. We arrived as the park was opening and proceeded inside. The concert (our real reason for being there) wasn't going to start until 4 p.m. So we enjoyed the sights and looked at everything the park has to offer. At about 2:30 we headed over to the concert area and noticed it was getting crowded so we went in. First up was Brandon Heath (who did an excellent job), next was Mandisa (she was excellent as well although my son wasn't pleased with her old school stuff and wanted to hear more of her album music, and then it was tobyMac, who both my son and I enjoy very much. We both were able to get a T-shirt and had an excellent time. Which is really where I want to appeal to Dad's: Dads please listen, it isn't what you do that builds the memory for your child, it is being there that builds the memory. Last night for instance was the 4th of July celebration. Last year I wasn't able to take Tyler since I was in Afghanistan with fire works of my own. Last night though, we hopped in my truck and went to the local fire works. We waited for about an hour for them to begin and in that time we just talked. It wasn't anything fancy but it was important for my son and me as well. As I have mentioned before, if we do not take the time to teach and spend time with our children, someone else will. Well, I should wrap this up. We start moving on the 10th of this month and there is much to do. Yesterday I took down the swing set and the trampoline and that alone was an all day affair...So if I am not back for a few days...it will be alright I am just trying to move. Less than a month after that I start a new job position in the Marine Corps. Sometimes life just seems a little crazy! Until next time may the peace of God be with you and may you follow his calling. Before I go though, another couple of pics from Busch Gardens.

Tyler on the slide above and on the rope bridge below

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Ship Never Came In

Well the last time I was here, I was speaking of great plans to see a replica of the Santa Maria and the Pinta. Unfortunately, due to weather, they never arrived so we needed some impromptu planning for Memorial Day. I took my eldest son for a good bike ride to the river front where we walked around and spent some good quality time together. We followed that up by some good old American grilling and going for a nice family stroll together. And thanks to the long weekend I was afforded the opportunity of a short work week. Which led into this weekend which has had it's ups and downs. Yesterday we lost power on our street for about six hours. After a little research and much grumbling on my part, we unfortunately had to discard a large quantity of food. The biggest thorn was I had gone grocery shopping about two hours prior. Combine that with being a warm Carolina day and the majority of the food I purchased had to be tossed. Secondly, I am kicking myself for not getting ice after the three hour mark. Once I cooled down over it I realized it could of been worse and no use crying over spoiled milk. Today was a good day as I spent some great time with the kids today (and the wife too). I cannot stress though how important it is to spend that quality time with the kids though. I am sure we all have busy and hectic lives but if we do not take the time to appreciate those that matter most to us...then why do we do what we do? I mean what is the point of providing material and lacking the personal. I know I may appear to be rambling but if you fall into the category of more work than play please listen. Several years ago, I worked too much on my professional life and not enough in my personal. In the end, I was too busy or too tired to enjoy my family. Which is crazy, the last time I checked my kids didn't ask for me to be their dad. No, God entrusted that to me, and I was screwing it up. There are events in my life I can not control (deployments) but I need to use the time I do have with my family wisely and affectionately. First, I don't want to be seen as the forgotten father but more importantly who is going to demonstrate how a man should conduct himself if I am never present. I do not want my children learning their values from the television or some other influence. Most importantly, what I am saying to God about something he entrusted so dearly to me. Well, I need to get ready for the nightly routine. I quit trying to be such a slacker and be back more often. Until next time, may you invest that quality time with your kids and may you reap greatly on your investment.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Memorial Day Plans

Well tomorrow is Memorial day and my wife planned, what I believe, to be an exciting day. We are going to see/tour floating replicas of the Nina and Pinta, which hopefully will be in our area tomorrow. They were scheduled to be here on Friday but they are very reliant on the weather so they are a little behind schedule. My eldest son was not very excited about going until he discovered we are actually going to go on the ships. Now he is all excited and is even asking to bring his camera. It will be about an hour drive there and wanting to make the most of the day, we will probably get an early start. With that said I will be cutting this entry short. Before I go, I wanted to share one item. Friday afternoon, before out dismissal for the weekend there was a military appreciation day on our base. The neat thing was they had some aviation assets of a bygone era. Specifically the Corsair from WWII days, an H-34 from Viet Nam, a WWII era bomber and some others. They also had some drag racing cars, I believe they were 60's era Nova's/ Chevy II's. The cars were called Fueled by the Fallen and it had the names of everyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice I believe between Iraq and Afghanistan. I will enclose pictures below. If you look at the car and see all those names, please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice not only that they made but their family as well. For not only were they Marines, they were someones son, husband and/or father. Or someones daughter, wife and/or mother. Then please say a short prayer for those who continue to stand in harms way. Believe it or not, your support does mean a lot. I wish you all the best and may you have a very enjoyable Memorial Day!

Below is the car I mentioned and below that is a Marine Corsair from WWII

Friday, May 22, 2009

Diverse Entry

I know...strange title, It is because I have not blogged in a while and there are a lot of areas I would like to cover. Then again, it is pretty late, so we will have to wait and see how far I get. To any and all moms who may read my ramblings, it is my sincere hope that you all enjoyed your Mother's Day. Now, Memorial Day is upon us, an I would ask that my readers take the time this weekend to remember those who have fallen in defense of our country and those that defend her today. Especially today with as busy as our military is. I cannot speak for the other services (although I know they are just as committed and busy). For us in the Marines we are pretty busy. To give an idea, I returned from Afghanistan this past November after being there for eight months and I will be returning again in the not too distant future. To all my fellow service members, I pray that your family will be safe in your absence and that you will return to them safely. I thank you for your sacrifices and those of your family...I know it is not easy...but you are never alone. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend. Let's move on... other than that life is been the pretty much the same. I was actually able to help my wife out with homeschooling the other day ( and the last couple of days). I was pretty excited as I do not get to help very often. My oldest son is studying vitamins and minerals and what effect they have on the body. My wife found this neat resource that made it really interesting, it is making the different items into superheros and giving a brief description about their specifics. I was tasked with creating super heroes that match the item. I will try and post a few of my favorites further on. The images may get distorted, mostly the lettering that is black with a green colored glow. I do not remember the resource for the work sheet, but if anyone is interested, just let me know and I will get it. Well that is about it for tonight,and it is getting late. I will continue with part II tomorrow (hopefully). Until then, may the Lord guide you and keep you!

And 1 More.....

I hope you enjoy them... I made more but those are my three favorites.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Is Almost Here!!! (Hint, Hint)

Well, that special day is almost here. That one day a year where children shower their Mom's with praise for the wonderful persons they are. Which we as husbands, I think, take for granted too often. Well I know I do at times....Just a little pondering here but what if we treated our wives like it was Mothers day / Anniversary / Birthday every day? What if we took time out of our day and let the woman in our lives know how much they mean to us? What if we pursued and showed the interest we did when we were dating our wives? I would have to believe that marriages would be stronger, I believe our sons would see how a woman should be treated and do the same when they got married, I believe our daughters would know what to look for in a husband... It's been said a society is no stronger than a single family. So if we strengthen our families we can strengthen our society as well. Not to mention I think our divorce rate would drop significantly. Think about it men.. we have a golden opportunity to straighten out our mixed up and confused world. The Bible tells us that men should be leaders of their household. That does not imply however a dictatorship. What if God treated us like, we at times treat our families. Imagine: God comes home from work and is really frustrated with the world and he takes it out on me. I would think that would be unfair.. yet there are times I come home from work and vent my frustrations on the people who only deserve my love and affection. I am thankful that they do not hold it against me. I am even more thankful that God does not do the same to me. Well give it some thought men, the world would be a much better place if we would do our part. Well, that's about it... but do not forget to show your appreciation for all the wonderful things that your wife not only does for your children but for you as well. Below are some one liners that may help you think or may make you laugh. I hope you enjoy....

- God is the only third party in a marriage that can make it work.

- A happy wife sometimes has the best husband but more often makes the best of the husband she has.

- Some husbands lay down the law and then accept their wife's amendments.

-Courtship is that time during which the female decides whether or not she can do any better.

-Before criticizing your wife's/husband's faults, remember that they may have prevented her/him from getting a better husband/wife.

- Too many marry for better or worse, but not for good.

- Husband to wife: "Stick to your washing, cooking, ironing and scrubbing. No wife of mine is going to work!"

- Many girls marry men just like their fathers; then people wonder why their mothers cry at the wedding.

- A honeymoon is the vacation a man takes before going to work for a new boss.

- The thing that married men will never understand is why all bachelors aren't rich.

Well that is all... until next time, may you love your family as unconditionally as God loves you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wouldn't Change a Thing

I was just thinking (I know I shouldn't), I wouldn't change a thing when it comes to having children with autism. There are so many people out there who want to "cure" their child's autism or not accept it all. Not to offend anyone, but I do not think that is possible. They may cope with their disability better but it will never go away. As for my boys, I do not think I would want to in the first place. God made them who they are for a reason and a purpose, as he made all of us that way. Take my youngest for example. He is non verbal and cognitively very low functioning on the autism spectrum. And people out there see it as he is unable to do anything, what they would deem productive. However I tend to disagree. As I watch him, he enjoys his life very much and it does not take much for him to enjoy himself. How many people do we know that have quite the material stock pile, yet are still unhappy. I won't stop there though...he has also taught me a lot about myself (some of it wasn't pretty) and a lot about patience.He has taught me not to judge others, no matter of the circumstances, too quickly. Or lets take my eldest son, who is high functioning autistic and so intelligent it is just plain scary sometimes. He can literally do math in his head before I can complete it on paper. He also has a very energetic personality and is very compassionate about his convictions and beliefs. He doesn't live in a gray world, it is pretty much black and white. I think about that, isn't that how God sees things. There is no grey with God, it is pretty much black and white with Him too! There is not a sin that is OK as long as it is in a certain context. Unfortunately, even for myself at times, the lines of definition are blurred and it isn't very clear. I like to think of my eldest son as a reality check from God. When I am not patient enough to listen to Him he interjects through my son. Well that is what I think, to summarize everything, I wouldn't change a thing. Well that is enough for now. Next time, lets talk about Mothers day. Below are a couple pictures of the kids. Also one of my Cougar that I talked about in previous entries. Until next time, may you always choose the narrow gate.

My youngest checking out his brothers keyboard(he loves music)

My eldest being happy

And finally a picture of the car.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Brief Message

Well, it has been a while since I have updated so I thought I would take a couple of minutes and give a brief update. The weather here has been positively beautiful this week. The only draw back has been is the havoc it has been playing with my allergies. It is like a bad love/hate relationship. I love this time of year because the temperatures are right at what my wife calls my comfort zone, and I really enjoy being outside. I hate the after affects though. Well other than that though life is going well. I continue to make progress on learning the different systems of the Osprey and I am also getting to spend good time with the family. I especially enjoy our evening walks. Our family dog gets a little hyper on them though. It seems when she spots a squirrel, she feels the need to try everything to greet the furry creature. The only problem is, that she takes my eldest son places he does not really want to go and a couple of times he has gotten scraped up in the process. Now my son blames the squirrels for it. He is quite the loyal friend to his dog. Let's see...what else... I had the windshield on my Cougar replaced on Thursday. The day I bought it, I was driving it home and a semi had cut me off. In the process he hurled a stone at my windshield leaving an impact the same shape of the stone. I didn't worry about it until it started spreading. During that process, the technician installing had pulled off the plastic panels below the windshield. Underneath the panels is a good sized, rectangular area. And in that area, was a little green frog about 2 inches long. I have yet to figure out how he got in there in the first place. On Thursday I picked up our chest freezer from Sears. It was much needed since our house supplied refrigerator's freezer is super small. So small in fact, it seemed like every time you opened it, something was trying to jump out at you. Yesterday was the good family day. I was able to bounce on the trampoline with my wife and youngest son, went for our walk and basically just hung out. I must admit it was pretty nice. Today I watched part of the NFL draft, played Madden with my eldest son, and grilled our dinner. I also actually helped this time with our weekly menu plan and I do believe I picked out some very delicious recipes. My wife started it a while back and I like it a lot for several reasons: It gives you a wide variety of meals, it let's you and your better half decide on something that you both enjoy, it takes away that, "What do you want to eat tonight?", decision(Which my response of whatever gets annoying) and it cuts down on the extra buying at the grocery store because you know what you are going to have when. Well it is way past my bed time (being the old man that I am) so I am going to close this out. Until next time, may the Lord keep you and bless you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Weekend Passes

Greetings everyone! Well another weekend has come to an end and an enjoyable one it was. I was able to get off work a little early on Friday and I changed the front brakes on my Cougar. It was a little challenging (especially with no repair manual) but it worked out all right. I was also able to clean up the vehicles this weekend and spend some great time with the family. My F-150 was really in need of a cleaning since it has only been cleaned once before since i got back from Afghanistan in November. I debate many a times if I should sell my truck or not. I do not drive it very often but it has been a faithful vehicle since I bought it in 99. It was my primary vehicle for the longest time, I think right up until 2006. That is when my wife, after numerous problems with her Mystique, had gotten her Taurus. I do not know if it was coincedental or not, once i inherited her car it ceased to have problems. She insists that the car only liked me! After I got back from Afghanistan, we decided to donate the Mystique and i replaced it with the Cougar. The truck though, as my wife like to say, is like part of the family. It has always been very reliable and although it has a couple of glitches, it has been good to our family. I will try to put a picture of it further on.

This morning my eldest son and our dog were playing on the trampoline and it was quite amusing. The dog has been so good for him, it is almost hard to believe. This afternoon we went to K-Mart to pick up a couple of things for the old homeschool and some other things as well. Well I suppose I should wrap this up since it is time for bed time stories with the kids and the rest of our nightly routine. Until next time, may the Lord bless you and protect you and stay on the chosen path.

This is my truck redTyler and Lucy playing is below

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter Everyone

Happy Easter Everyone! Well I hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend. As for myself, I believe I did. I got off work pretty early on Friday (remember the good old days when nothing was open on Good Friday?). My wife and I watched the movie, "The Gospel of John" and I personally reflected on the greatness of our savior, Jesus. The rest of the day was spent together as a family. As for Easter, I do not know about the rest of you dads, but I enjoy the tradition of hiding the Easter basket for my son. I have been doing it for years. I write out clues that lead to the next clue that eventually leads to his basket. The only stipulation is, the clues have to rhyme (which can be challenging at times). My youngest son, who is low functioning, does not necessarily understand the concept, however it is still important for him to have a basket and I thoroughly believe he enjoys it. As for today, my wife and I took the kids to our homeschool group meeting, which was at Miracle Meadows ( a therapeutic horse riding place). My eldest son was nervous at first but warmed up rather well to the animals. Could not convince nor would he even entertain the thought of riding one. The youngest did really well considering the amount of people that were there. About a month after I got home from Afghanistan my youngest got bit by a spider and ever since then has taken a long time to come around to the idea of going anywhere without becoming very upset. But today he did wonderful and I am so very proud of him. Actually, my eldest did very well to (different context but equally as challenging) and I am very proud of him as well. After we left there, we came home and i took care of some work while my son ate lunch. Then I ordered SkyAngel TV and I am very optimistic about it all. I highly recommend for everyone to give it a glance. It is 100 percent family programing at a reasonable (cheaper than cable) price and it runs of your internet. No need to worry about waiting for the cable guy to show up, more importantly, no need to worry about some whacked out or questionable moral content programming or commercials. I let you know later what I think of it. I have to wait for the box to arrive via UPS. My son is excited though because now he will be able to watch the Dove Awards. After the Sky Angel process, I played my eldest son in a game of Madden08 and he whooped me a good one. As a matter of fact we didn't even play the 4th quarter because: a) his dinner was done and b) I couldn't of caught up if I wanted to. That basically sums up my weekend. I pray that you all had a great Easter, were able to spend time as a family and reflect on the greatest gift anyone has ever known, Jesus. Well until next time, may your life be blessed and may the Son light your paths.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What a Weekend

Greetings and salutations! Well another weekend has past and tomorrow begins another week of work. Actually, for myself I am actually in training to become a MV-22 Osprey Mechanic. For the last 15 years or so, I worked on what is affectionately known as the Phrog, otherwise known as a CH-46E (I will try to put pictures of both). Well after 40+ years of service the Phrog is being phased out and the Osprey is alive and kicking. The Osprey is a "pretty smart" aircraft with some amazing capabilities but I just have grown really fond of the Phrog. There I go rambling again.... Now back to the weekend. I had taken my laptop in to get fixed at Staples on Friday because it was having some serious issues ever since I returned from Afghanistan (November). I picked it up yesterday and it works like a champ. I highly recommend Staples to anyone having computer glitches as I think they are very reasonable, efficient and polite. As for today, I woke up not feeling very well and it all went down hill from there. I feel slightly better and I am praying I feel better before work tomorrow. One thing that doesn't help is that it is allergy season and my eldest son and I suffer terribly. I want to say the best part of the weekend was our family walk on Saturday evening. My eldest walks our dog, Lucy, while I push our youngest son in his stroller (special needs stroller) while I talk with the wife. It is relaxing and everyone enjoys the fresh air. There is something about going for a walk that just seems to release all the hectic and craziness from your life for at least a few minutes. The best part of today was that my wife (whom is probably the best baker in the world) baked some delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She asked me if I was feeling well enough to try one. Let's be honest, I know few men who turn down any kind of baked goodie! Well I tried three, probably was not the smartest thing but they were so yummy! That is enough for now, until next time, I wish everyone out there I wish you a blessed week and may all your steps be guided on the narrow path.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Greetings to All

My user name is a mix of a Toby Mac song and a reflection on a lot of different life experiences that have helped me grow and help others through similar situations. I can be pretty hyper sometimes and my wife often accuses me of being ADD. Other than that I see myself as a pretty normal dad who is trying to raise children with Godly Christian character in a world that seems to scream otherwise. Being in the military makes it a little more challenging as it demands as much as of time (probably more) as my family deserves. So that fine balancing act does get a little crazy! With that brief introduction, let's move on to the real reason we are all here! The Kids! I have two boys (both of whom are autistic) and both are wonderful. The strange thing is they have probably already taught me more than I could have ever hoped to instruct them. They have taught me so much about patience, forgiveness and unconditional love it is almost unfathomable. It is amazing what God will use to shape us as He desires. My wife actually does the homeschooling work while I get the easy way out and get to go to work! My oldest son is high fuctioning and my youngest is low functioning autistic. The eldest is quite the intelligent person although he does struggle with social skills and some other things. The youngest one is more challenging to teach as he is non verbal and needs to take things really steady and consistent. I am thankful I have a wife with the patience of Job, because I do not think I could ever do it as well as she does and with as much patience. I do not help very much as far as hands on, but I do believe in fully supporting the curriculm needs. I hear of many stories of dads who try to spend bare minimum on curriculm needs. If this applies to my reader please reconsider. You only have one opportunity to teach and instruct your child. There are tons of money saving solutions without having to buy all the high dollar items. I have also learned that if we spend quality (not so much quantity, but the time we give is from our heart), our children will easily surrender their material needs for that quality time. Well I have rambled enough. Maybe I really am ADD! I just wanted to give a brief introduction. I think it is important for dads to really be there for their children(or somebody else will) and we need to support our wives who do the real heavy lifting around the household. And after a hard day at work it can be difficult to come home and listen to the excitement of the kids and simultaneously the concerns of our wives. I think this is an excellent venue for us to encourage one another that have walked the same trail and understand the obstacles along the way.