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As I go through life I encounter many folks who think they understand and know how I feel. They think they know what I have gone through and can understand every facet, every thought, every action or every emotion that I have. You think you know me!

Yes, we may share similar episodes in our live

s but similar does not mean that you have worn my boots and have gone through the good times or the times of turmoil that I have gone through. We may have “Similar” parts of our lives that we can share, but the way we react and deal with them is different. The way you deal with things is not the way I deal with those same things. 
You think you know me!

You don’t know my feelings. You don’t know my pain. You can’t comprehend how I deal with the demons of past misfortunes and actions. You cannot comprehend the fact that I battle with the demons of my past as I simultaneously battle with the demons of the present in order to prevent them from destroying me. You don’t understand the way I feel nor do you know what thoughts I have racing through my mind as I try and keep the last threads that hold my inner being and the family that I love together from unraveling.  
You think you know me!

You may think that I don’t like taking on the responsibility of several things in life, but what you don’t see is that I have and work with so many responsibilities on a daily basis that I have trouble prioritizing my responsibilities. That same issue is fueled by the fear of failing in one or all things asked of me. I have failed many times in life and I have done the best I can to rebound from those failures. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to all of you and sit through your endless suggestions on how you would have done things different or what you would do now. You are not me! I don’t need to mentally relive my failures in order to make my life better. You think you know me!

I don’t travel through life without emotions. I just prefer not to show those emotions. I remain silent in my solitude many times because not many people can just listen without criticizing my thoughts or emotions. You encourage me to say what is on my mind and then chastise me for what I say because it may not be what you want to hear. You think you know me!

You continue to comment how I have it made in life. My life is so great and I have the “Cat by the ass.” What you don’t see is that I still live from paycheck to paycheck, struggling to provide for my family and financially keep our existence afloat in a world full of economic failure and broken promises. You fail to see or learn of the many sacrifices that I have made, or my family has made in order for me to serve you and this country so that you would not have to put your own life on hold or on the line. I’ve earned my checks and I’ve earned my existence. You think you know me!

I am not suicidal!  I deal with the everlasting emotions of how I have caused so much pain for the ones that I love and have wondered if they would have been better off with someone else as their Son, Father, or Husband. You think you know me!

I have a true passion for what it is that I have done! I didn’t devote my self to the selfless service that I gave in order to seek the recognition or fame. I have always welcomed the sincere thank you or appreciation from people who appreciate the time, devotion and sacrifice I have put into making this country great. If you are not sincere about it, don’t shake my hand or say anything.  Just pass me by and leave me alone. I'm not one to use as a “good deed for the day” mark that you can feel good about yourself because you told a Soldier Thank-you. I can see the sincerity in your eyes as you shake my hand. If it isn’t there, you will get a cold shake as I look into your eyes and restrain myself from expressing my emotions or punching you in the throat.

Oh Poop....

So I went to lunch today with an old friend. I let him pick the place much because I haven't seen him in quite a while and he picked Freebirds World Burrito. Needless to say it was a nice visit but I'm paying for it now. That is all.

God's Zip-Ties

Well, here I am again with another night of intense insomnia.  I have laid in the bed for approximately five and a half hours, and it has become apparent, that the blessed event known as sleep will not be visiting me tonight.  The thoughts that cross my mind on nights like these can be wonderful and disturbing. 

On the wonderful side, all I have to do is roll to my right.  There she is, my beautiful wife Erica.  I thank God everyday for bringing her to me, and for the joy she has brought to my life.  Tonight, after I fixed dinner, several times I watched her as she was grading papers, and thought about how blessed I am.  Even when we disagree I have discovered that it is impossible for me to stay angry with her for any extended period of time.   I have never felt like I belonged with someone like I do with her, she is my best friend, and love of my life.

On the disturbing side, I get up and read the news.  The thought of where our world / nation is headed scares the crap out of me.  Erica and I would love to bring a child into our lives, but what future will that child have to face?  I have had these same thoughts in the past, before Joe and Lyndee were born.  I have to say they have turned out pretty great.  That being said though they are truly just starting their adult lives, and both have a long road ahead of them.  I honestly do not believe it will get that bad in my lifetime, but the thought of what my kids will face is disturbing.  Every now and then, I wonder how my Great Grandfather Papa May felt as he watched us growing up in a world that was so very different from the world he grew up in.  I can not even imagine being able to tell a story about the very first time I saw a ‘Horseless Carriage’, but then again I can tell a story about the first time I saw a Space Shuttle launch.

We now live in a world that in my opinion is diseased by people being ‘politically correct’.  Why is it that we are so afraid to speak the truth?  Why are we so afraid that we might offend someone?  Why must we tell lies in order to keep up certain appearances?  Well here is my truth.  I do NOT want my children to grow up thinking they have to lie in order to accomplish their goals.  I want them to be honest and always speak for their beliefs.  Lord, please give them the strength to stand up against the masses. 

Sometimes, I see the lives of my family as a huge tangle of wires leading in every direction, and I wonder how can I possibly keep up with all of the different paths.  Then I remember:  Ephesians 4:3 - Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  All of a sudden the tangle of wires becomes an organized flow bound by zip-ties directing them in the right direction.  I know God has a path for my kids, and I have faith that he will zip-tie them in the right direction.

I guess if it ever gets too bad we can all yell ‘circle the wagons’ and move out to Mom and Dad’s place.   We could even hunt and grow our own food.

I am sure Thomas would love that. 

Just Yesterday

Wasn't it just yesterday that she was born?  Wasn't it just yesterday that she refused to crawl on her knees?  Wasn't it just yesterday that she took those wobbly first steps?  Wasn't it just yesterday that I was driving her to daycare.  I was just yesterday that she and I spent the whole day hitting baseballs off the T for T-Ball practice.  I'm sure it was just yesterday that she told me she wants to be in band next year when she starts Jr High.  It had to be just yesterday that I held her while she cried because I was headed off to Iraq.   I know it was just yesterday that she told me about this boy she wants to go out with.

Maybe it was just yesterday that this picture was taken.  I was so proud of her.  Wasn't it just yesterday that I watch the freshman class march on the football field.  It had to be just yesterday that she told me she wants a driver's license.  I know it was just yesterday that she drove her car to come visit me and Erica.

No, it really was just yesterday that I helped my little girl unpack her stuff and move into this building.  She's not far away but at the same time it feels like she's a million miles away.  I was the big strong daddy and helped carry her mircowave up the four flights of stairs, and smiled and told her how great her room looks.  Then as I was about to leave the small voice of my baby girl asks "Daddy are you leaving me now?".  I said yes that I needed to go home and she needed to get out and meet new friends.  She then asked if I knew how to find her car, and I showed her where to go.

Now, as I sit here with tears running down my cheeks, I know this must have all been a dream. 

Because, I am sure it was just yesterday she was born.

Where We Are Going or Where We Have Been

I took this photo of my Grandfather during a birthday celebration for my father and my niece.  It struck me as I snapped the shot, that it was a picture of reflection; it was as if you could see his thoughts as he gazed across the yard watching his son and his great granddaughter.

Since that day, I have found myself drawn back to this picture several times.  I have stared at it and pondered, where do I go from here?  To figure that out, I started looking back and found, I have lived a full life at forty years of age.  My children are preparing for college, quickly becoming adults.  I have been to war (not something I would recommend).  I have worked in so many different fields it is hard to comprehend.  I have owned a staggering number of vehicles (34 to be exact).  I now even (finally) own a Harley Davidson.  I have been married, and divorced, and married again.  I have lived on both sides of the nation, traveled around the world, and settled right back where I started.  I have watched my little brother and sister grow into wonderful parents.  I have been blessed to have the wisdom from all of my grandparents for the last 40 years.  I have seen and done things that most people I know cannot even imagine, or only dream about.

So, where do I go from here? 

After much speculation, the only answer I have come up with is this, only God knows for sure.  So, my prayer is that He will continue to lead me down the right path, and I thank Him for everything he has given me so far. 

But most of all, I pray that one day my Grandson will catch me taking a moment of reflection.

Really? It is still February right?

So, I just walked out to the backyard with the intent of filling a few holes and patching up a couple of fence issues (The wife is hot on bringing the puppies home) and what the hell is this?  Flowers?  Really?  Last time I checked it is still February right?  So, now I am faced with mowing the yard, filling holes, and restoring a dead computer today.  You know what.....screw it.  Gonna kick off the shoes, go sit in the lawn chair, wiggle my toes in the flowers, drink a cold beer, and enjoy this beautiful day.  Everything else can wait another day.

Finally Home

So after a couple of months of limited internet and living out of bags, and boxes, we are finally in our new home.  This has been a huge downsizing for us, as we have been forced to give away a plethora of home furnishings and other items that just will not fit in the new house.  We still have not hung any pictures, (note the picture above) nor have we emptied the multitude of boxes in the garage.  However, the decision was made long before this started that the "move in" process would be slow.  This gives us a lot of time to decide where to put things and what to get rid of.

We had a wonderful Christmas with our families and an awesome new year's eve.  Since moving back to the BCS area I have already been reminded of some of the great friendships that we have here and have sorely missed over the last two and a half years.  The nicest thing for me so far is that we are much closer to the kids and should be able to see them more frequently than in the past.  They will been spending this weekend with us, and we are both looking forward to having them.  Lyndee, has been accepted to TAMU and has asked to live us, if she decides to attend there.  This is a mixed decision for me.  I would love to have her here and spend time with my beautiful daughter that I haven't seen much of the past few years.  However, I can not help but think about how much she would be missing out on by not living in the dorms.  I have decided to show her all the options, and then let her make her own decision on the matter.

In closing, I just wanted to say to my brother ... you are a girl, and we can step outside anytime you feel froggy.  You would have to read his blog to understand "Trapped in the City Life".  I would also like to thank God for my wonderful wife who has worked tirelessly on this move and been totally supportive during this trying time.  Also, for being a GREAT doctor for me while I have been suffering with this ongoing toothache.  I Love You Sweetheart.

To copy my sister .... Lesson learned - Moving is stressful just buy the damn house already.