Memories before 12/08/2003
I was born on August, 9th 1975. I clearly remember a very fun park located next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken that my father managed. I would have a great time playing at that park when my dad had to take me to work with him. Fort Collins is beautiful at all times, and that park gave me memories of Colorado that I will never forget.
My dad was an industrious sort and it spilled over into our home-life. Among the many memories I have of him is of trout fishing, and sandboxes with tree forts. No, we weren’t fishing for trout in a sandbox from a fort. But he did make me a fort with a sandbox underneath and taught me to fish for trout. It was great!
While my dad was working in the business world and teaching me to fish, my mom was saving lives as a nurse. She very much believed that God rewards those who obey and show kindness. She taught those values to me as a child and made it easy to follow her examples of kindness.
My dad was always doing his best to look after my mother and me and his next rung on the career ladder took us to Cheyenne where my mother decided that I would be better off going to private school through the Seventh Day Adventists rather than public school. I stayed with that school program through our next move to Salina where I was educated by a very understanding teacher in a very small school.
Another Life Challenge -- the fifth move in my first eleven years.
My dad took on another career ladder rung and took up with another corporate entity. This involved us moving to Pierre, South Dakota. We rented a modest home which I recall was blue and which I understood at the time was a rental. There was no garage, but there was a basement, apparently rented out to some other people. It would be safe to say that I was tired of changing homes and schools and decided to convince my folks to let me attend public school as I believed that I would have a much better opportunity for the challenging education I needed.
I learned a lot about the world from seventh to eighth grade in junior high school in Pierre. After the eighth grade I took on a new life challenge at the Dakota Adventist Academy up about twenty miles north of Bismarck. It was a co-ed school which I ultimately decided was not for me. I felt I was being dominated by sanctimonious attitudes and actually the sudden presence of teenage hormones in such close proximity to the girls' dormitory made me think that heading back to public school would be best.
So I went back to Pierre to good old T.F. Riggs High for my last three years of high-school. While I enjoyed my primary focuses of Biology and Chemistry, I found that I also had a knack for computers as well as for singing. In fact, I was given the opportunity, as a tenor in Mr. Hanson’s choir, to travel with the Sound of America Tour in 1993. I was so excited that I held fundraisers and did odd-jobs to raise the $3,500 to go on the exhilarating tour of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other countries. Those concerts were the highlight of that summer between my junior and senior year! I was sixteen years old at the time and can still remember the thrill of being a part of beautiful music in a beautiful continent.
More memories prior to 2003
So on with the count-down.
In 1994 I moved to an apartment in East Grand Forks, Minnesota right before I was a freshman at the University of North Dakota. It was during this time that I met My Former-Wife, who was a wildlife Biology major. We had similar interests and enjoyed our classes together. Later she would become my wife in a civil service in Grafton. My Uncle Ed and new Aunt Di swept up to the thirteenth largest town in North Dakota to witness the nuptials in June of 1997.
It can be said that having a mother who is a nurse made an impression upon me not only as a child but also as a husband and father-to-be.
Yes, indeed. We were delighted to find out that the first of our little angels was going to arrive in the spring of 1998. Compromises were made as to the monitoring of our little one and he arrived with the assistance of a very kind midwife and other medical assistance. We finally settled on a name after talking about football players, family names, etc. For the purposes of this Message I am not going to tell you his name, because I love him and don’t want you looking him up asking for autographs and stuff.
We went on to add three more beautiful children to our family All four of our gems are truly gifts from God, and I am proud of each one of them.
Obviously, the mother of my children and I have had some very rough times and I have really had to believe that God is in my corner no matter what. The book of Jobe (which oddly enough does not have a final "e") tells a story of a man who was tested numerous times, yet continued to have his faith in the Lord. I perhaps am a modern age Jobe as I find ways to be thankful for many things that some would overlook.
God did put me on this earth as a witness and messenger and I will continue to implore my readers to help me spread my message and turn victims into survivors.
More on my Life Challenges
It is very confusing when you awaken from a coma. Thoughts and dreams collide with reality in a powerful manner, leaving a person not certain which one is accurate. For instance, when I was coming back to consciousness, I was informed of the severity of my injuries. I was certain in my mind at that time that my injuries stemmed from an accident involving saving my wife from falling boulders. My memory was that we were on a lovely romantic walk along a mountain trail when an avalanche suddenly presented itself in our path. I had a crystal clear vision of myself pulling My Former-Wife to safety in a mountain crevice and things going black except for the murmur of her talking into a cell phone telling someone I was still unconscious, yet had a prayer-book in my good hand. Obviously, it was not an avalanche that caused my injuries and my coma. I do think that my waking thoughts were an indication of my love for my family and the Lord.
I still hold resentment for my previous soul-mate and ex-wife as she continues to garnish a large sum of money from me on a monthly basis. It provides her the ability to take care of my four children and herself without a job of her own. I often reflect upon her deceit and greed with great contempt and pray that she repents as I learn to forgive. Sometimes, I think I should forgive myself for believing in a relationship and the permanency of love that marriage promises. I fell for the woman and the promise -- hook, line and sinker, as they say. I fell for her just as I had fallen for the benefits of a car with a 5-star crash rating leading to a 5-star crash; both resulting in life changing challenges. I again thank the Lord for giving me my life so that I may be able to see my children grow up and continue my legacy. My children are quizzical as I was when I was their age. They will ask about where the money comes from to afford their very comfortable life with their mother. I will simply hope that their mom is honest without hurting me further with deceit.
Moving forward is a difficult thing for me, as it is for many of us. I began by working with doctors to rehabilitate me and help me learn to walk again. It is amazing how much we take simple things for granted and don’t realize the gift until it is taken away.
Stop reading this if you don’t want to heal.
I know that is hard to do, but do it anyway. Even if you don’t believe in God the same way as I believe, or how your parents believe, you can still be thankful for the Being that created you and an environment in which you may grow.
Be grateful for your family. Even if you have one of those days when they are driving you up a tree...be grateful they exist. You don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
Be grateful for the tree that people drive you up. Seriously. Trees are created by the same Entity that created you. Plus, you can climb them. In other words, appreciate all of our planet and its design. Even if you don’t understand it.
Think and Do
I started writing this Message because I was thinking. But I wasn’t writing it down and my experiences were made to be gifts. We are all teachers. Having the lessons and keeping them to yourself is selfish. Share them with others so that they also can appreciate the power of the Creator.
Just as you are a teacher, realize that others are also messengers. God speaks through all of us in many ways. Listening does not necessarily mean action. Because someone tells you something is true does not make it so. This applies to relationships, major purchases, and many other life-challenge situations. As mentioned in the previous lesson, thinking is key. Write things out on paper if you have a big decision to make. Draw a line down the center of the paper and put the pros on the left side and the cons on the right side.
Pray with Gratitude
All of the aforementioned topics are part of praying. And I don’t mean “Dear God, please bring me a skateboard”. God is good with us asking for stuff, but He’s better at guiding us in the direction of getting it ourselves. Be thankful with what you have at that moment and the lessons you have learned through adversity. Teach what you can to others and trust in Him to figure out stuff that you don’t understand. Pray with gratitude. Ask for forgiveness and guidance.
Wait, we’re not done, friend.
Have a sense of humor about yourself. Take a minute to look at the comics in the paper before looking at the front page drudgery. Make up silly songs in the shower. Put smiley faces on sticky-notes to yourself. Make a silly face in the mirror when you are getting ready in the morning. Call a friend and talk about a mischievous incident in the past that made you laugh hard--even if you got in trouble. Just laugh. It’s another gift from God.
I know you’re probably sorry that this Message is over, but it’s an opportunity for you to be grateful you learned so much in one sitting I am grateful!
Furthermore, while I am understandably holding a grudge against the manufacturer of the RIO I bought based on the safety rating, this Message is in no way telling folks not to buy that car. I simply want people to know what happened to me and to not always trust ratings systems when buying automobiles. At the same time, I am understandably unhappy with the circumstances surrounding my divorce. The lesson I hope to convey to you regarding that is to be cautious regarding love, listen, pray, and move on if necessary.
Peace and Love,