The Haunted Tree House

PFG KidsOne day, many years ago, I told my kids I would build them a tree house. I knew I had construction skills that would allow me to build the best fort in the neighborhood. Of course I was going to do it the following week, but something came up, and right after that, I had a big project at work. I put it off for another month, because my paychecks were a little too tight. I woke up one morning and realized three of my four children were grown and had moved out of my house, and the last one was in high school and the tree house days had vanished. I think they would all agree that this was one of their biggest disappointments from childhood. How could I be so callous? What kind of monster would make a promise to innocent little people and then break it… over and over? Yeah, that would be me.

Out of all the stupid things I have done during my life, this is at the top of my list of regrets. I never thought something so small would kick me in the teeth this hard, but I have been haunted by this procrastinated event for years. My brain has tried hundreds of ways to justify my bad behavior, but my excuses are all lies. I want to make it up to them, but it is too late, the golden window of opportunity has passed me by.PFG Kids 2

Don’t get me wrong; I have some wonderful memories with my kids. When Melanie was little, I used to let her steer the car in the parking lot while standing on my lap and she was so proud of herself. Afterward she would give me the biggest hug and for just a little while, all was right in the universe. I remember playing hide and seek with Reva and miss the sound of his laughter and stomping feet as he would try to run away from me chasing him around the house on my hands and knees. He would usually end up in the arms of his mother as I tickled his fat little legs. And the tea parties with Melissa were epic. She would take care to let each of her dolls take a sip, and then let me take a turn tipping the teacup. Christopher, started smiling when riding on my shoulders, and he has never stopped. He always wanted me to watch to see how fast he could gallop around the yard on his fictitious horse, fighting bad guys. Sadly, all those days are gone and I am faced with the reality of my successes and failures as a father. I can’t go back and change the past, but I can embrace the present.

My role as a father is not over, I still have much to do, but it is different. Now, it’s offering moral support, helping with an English paper, buying some gas, or giving unwanted counsel about life. I can’t imagine my life without my kids, they are so part of me, but they are individuals. I am proud of each of them in a different way. One piece of advice I can offer from my journey is, enjoy the small moments, stop from your busy day and have a conversation with your kids while they still want to talk with you, and most importantly… don’t have a haunted tree house.


LGBTQIA Pt. 2 – Hey Faggot! How Do You Like That?

No Bullies

No Bullies

Thank God we did not take selfies in the early 1980s. Otherwise someone could blackmail me with photos of me wearing pink pants, suspenders, and argyle socks (don’t judge). It is safe to say I was a confused, rebellious, pseudo-Pentecostal, adolescent, who had just discovered Led Zeppelin and marijuana. Although the following could easily be a scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” don’t mistake the chaos in this story for anything other than the disoriented stumbling of a lost 15-year-old, because to this day, I cannot explain what I was thinking.

I had just bought my first bag of Maui Wowi and it was safely tucked away in my pants, where most guys keep their stash. Pink pants and all, I crawled into the backseat of my friend’s 1968 Camaro and the four of us took off to get something to eat. Within a minute of hopping on the Pomona Freeway, we saw blue flashing lights and foolishly decided to wait until the next off-ramp to pullover. We were met by no less than three cop cars on our exit. I was a nervous wreck when they pulled us from the vehicle because of the huge bag of weed in my possession.

You could say the devil made me do it, but as the officer slid his hands up the inside of my leg approaching my crotch looking for contraband, I wiggled my hips and said, “that feels good.” He stopped searching me and grabbed my hair smashing my face on the trunk of the car and yelled, “Hey Faggot! How Do You Like That?” I tried not to smile in victory when he pushed me down on the side of the road to sit by my friends (stash intact).

Aside from the typical teenage slurs like homo, fag, c@ck-sucker and such, I had little exposure to gay bullying, but now reflecting on this incident as an adult, I realize this cop was WAY out of line. Approximately 30% of teen suicides are connected to a sexual identity crisis. It would seem that the church would want to step up and be a beacon of hope to these young people struggling with trying to figure out who they are in life, but unfortunately, many Christians are part of the problem. It is not uncommon to hear jokes from the pulpit ridiculing homosexuality and the LGBTQ community. Don’t be like that cop, and bully someone because he or she is not like you. Do you tolerate the use of derogatory language in your youth group? Do you encourage discrimination in your church? If so, is that the kind of gospel you want to preach?


Ayn Rand Changed My Life

The Writer in Me

The Writer

Everyday I write reviews, copy, or content for others, but when it comes to writing for me, I am lacking. I don’t know if it because I’m lazy, discouraged, or just afraid, but I have not been producing like I should. I love to read prose by skilled writers, and often I stop in the middle of a paragraph and just admire the beautiful stylized text by a talented author, yet I keep waking up and telling myself I am going to do better tomorrow. It rarely happens. Today I saw a documentary on the life of Ayn Rand, and stumbled on a quote from her that shook me to my core. In her early years before she had widespread success she journaled these words to herself:

 “From now on—no thought whatever about yourself, only about your work. You don’t exist! You are only a writing engine! Don’t stop until you really and honestly know that you cannot go on. Stop admiring yourself, you are nothing—yet.”–Ayn Rand

 Not long after this, her big break came. I don’t write on my novel for fame and fortune, although that would be nice. I write because something inside me compels me to tell my story. I want to share it, and at times it consumes me. Just a few weeks ago after my wreck, I had to go through the claustrophobia that is only experienced in an MRI machine. While laying there afraid and in pain I had a complete chapter form in my head, and I was so inspired developing it for just a few moments I forgot about all my troubles. Starting NOW, I don’t exist. I am only a writing engine! And I won’t stop until I really and honestly know that I cannot go on. Even if it is garbage, I am going to produce everyday and eventually it won’t be garbage; it will be my completed story.