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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Europe Prevails!

Ryder Cup Win
ESPN Photo
Yep folks, a sports post on a day chalk full of awesome sporting events...NFL Games, The Ryder Cup Golf, Fall Major League Baseball with playoff implications plus the NASCAR Chase is in full swing so all those races really count 

I still find it absolutely incredible that Europe came back and won the Ryder Cup after the lead the United States took into today's singles matches....We only needed 4 wins and a tie out of 12 matches to win and we blew it! Kind of makes me sick to roll over that way almost without passion or a fight. Congrats to the European players and coaches, they were fantastic.

That is all for now. I am really feeling under the weather and the old specter of pneumonia haunts me to this day because the symptoms are so familiar. OK Time For Me To Rest...

Adjusting again!


I don't know why this is but every time in my life, especially recently.....I try to make some changes in my eating habits, exercise and lifestyle to be healthier I end up get sick. It never fails fails.

About 7 weeks ago I started to make some changes and have stuck with it through my son's wedding up until now. I feel good about it and can honestly say I haven' really had too much of a struggle and I feel better which is always great motivation.

But I am convinced now that my body thrives on un-healthy situations...crowded smoke-filled taverns, drug and alcohol abuse, over-eating...jeez whenever I get healthy I'm running a high fever, have bronchial issues, can't breath and a terrible cough.

I think I just got so used to the toxic state of being that was my norm that my body now rebels at healthy situations...ironic, I know!

Anyway...still trying to get used to the Fall change of schedule and going back to church early Sunday mornings which in all honesty was something I really missed. 

So off we go, we shall have more to say later....

Friday, September 28, 2012

Somebody Is Looking Out For Her...


Something just happened over here that makes me think I have do a better job of keeping track of Kim. I think I've mentioned that her new job has  her working 6 -10 hour days: 3p until 1:30am (her regular hours are 4-10 hr days Monday through Thursday but she is working mandatory Friday/Saturdays as well)....she is pretty exhausted most of the time but really likes the job.

Well she didn't have to work OT this weekend so she has been hanging out with me and it has be a nice weekend but a little strange because she is often still so exhausted. For example it's 10 pm and my Mum was getting ready for bed. Kim kept telling her she was leaving to go home and I literally heard her head out the door. I went and got her and asked where going and she said it was already morning and she had to get home to sleep to go to work! She has no clue what day it is.

So yea...she needs the $$ the Over-Time would bring but she needs the R&R even more so somebody UPSTAIRS is looking out for her!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Carrying The FULL Load


Regular readers of this blog will know that I have just recently started re-posting some of the more significant posts from the past. The last day or so saw me re-post two very significant pieces of my personal puzzle and they concerned forgiving the three men who sexually assaulted me as a boy. It was probably one of the most significant acts of my life and because of it I have been able to move on with life and learn how to live again.

So 11 months later how am I faring as far as moving on with my life? Have I been able to continue in that mode of forgiveness?

Well the answer is yes and no. I would be less then honest if I didn't admit that there have been moments when the old anger and hate have slipped back into my life but for the most part it has gone well.

Carrying a full load of HATE and vengeance around had taken it's toll and I still recognize the difference in how I feel day to day. I did not recognize it but I was like a caged animal, obsessed with revenge and escape...but no more.

I think the hardest part of the struggle is that there are people, places, situations, TV shows, magazine articles, etc that touch on this subject and it dredges it all bask up again. The hardest part is that entirely out of the blue this topic can appear and with it come all the ghosts that go along with it for                                                                                                                                                  me and that is something I have to just get used to and I will over time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good Morning...Judgement, Wrath and Retribution! (Re-Post)

This is another re-post from late October of 2011 and the one I mention in the introduction to the previous post.

This is about forgiveness and I warn the reader that it is full of graphic content describing an actual rape...my own as a 12 year old boy. These last two post I consider to be some of the most significant writing I have EVER done...It was LIFE-Saving work.                                                                          





Vengeance...Retribution...Wrath...Judgement...It might sound as if I am pulling words out of an Old Testament Bible Scripture but alas, I am not. Those were and frankly still are relevant words to me in my own life's story when I once again began to think about forgiving the 3 men that assaulted and raped me as a 12 year old boy.

Forgiveness?! Are you out of your mind...there was a time, not long ago when I could visualize putting a bullet in the head of each one of those bastards...and feeling unsatisfied because they wouldn't have suffered enough! How is THAT for Vengeance, Retribution, Wrath and HATE for you? Me...their judge and jury? Damn right...I'd be their executioner....I wanted to make them PAY!

Funny thing is though..over the last 36 years...that unquenchable fire of rage, wrath, vengeance and hate was consuming only one person and doing them great emotional, psychological and yes...spiritual harm...and that person was ME.

A while back I wrote several posts throughout a few week period that dealt with this very subject of forgiveness. And as a result...I got closer and closer to that place in my heart where I might forgive them...I didn't...perhaps I couldn't, I don't know it doesn't much matter now: The bottom line is I did not forgive and as a result, I won't completely heal or even have a chance at healing until I do.

Forgiveness, as I have come to understand, intellectually at least...is for the FORGIVER...and in this particular case that would be ME. Why can't I do this? Why must I hold onto that HATE & ANGER so tightly that even in death, you probably could not pry my cold, dead fingers off of it!? Typically when confronted with a difficult task like this, unpleasant...emotionally hard...something I've needed to do to help my recovery, it has just taken a little time and I have been able to move forward. 

The prospect of forgiving those 3 guys seems different to me somehow. And I think FAITH or a lack there of has a great deal to do with it. Because...if I forgive them, the vengeful side of me seeks a guarantee that they WILL indeed be punished, that they will suffer like I have suffered. Well...God doesn't work that way, he won't make that promise to me...he owes me nothing. No...Romans 12:17-19 says: 

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do NOT take revenge, my dear friends but leave room for God's Wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay" Says the Lord". 

Well that does seem fairly clear cut, doesn't it? And ultimately the bottom line is this: I know now that forgiveness is for ME, that I am the one who benefits the most for offering it unconditionally. The anger that boils deep inside of me will only destroy me in the end if I don't put it aside and FORGIVE. I do not want to be consumed by my own rage...I know very well how tormented one feels when they HATE all the time.I don't want to go through the rest of my life feeling this tormented. I no longer want to be impaled on the Devil's Horn of HATE...certainly not for all eternity!

That being said...how do I go about forgiving them? I never knew any of them and except for that brief, violent encounter back in 1975...I had never even seen them before. I haven't seen any of the three since though at times in the late 70's I re-visited the scene of the crime several times...

Ultimately in my new faith I turned to the Bible to see what God said about forgiveness...Obviously, HE has a heck of a lot to say about it, as you might imagine and a great deal of it is about forgiving us our sins. But I was struck by a little something different that I saw in
Colossians 3:13...

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you".

Bang, Bang...KABOOM! There it was for all to see and finally I know had no choice but to forgive..."Forgive as the Lord has forgiven YOU (ME)". I no longer could argue anymore, could I? If God can forgive ME, considering ALL the things that I have said and done over nearly 50 years of living hard and exclusively for SELF at everyone else's expense...well then surely I can forgive. 

Granted I am not a rapist but the point was made...GOD gave HIS SON, his perfect SON in sacrifice so that he would DIE in my place for the forgiveness of my sins and yours...They were forgiven, forever...and it would be the height of selfishness and arrogance and stupidity for me to hold on to this flaming ball of hate any longer. So here we go: WARNING: The Following content is violent and GRAPHIC, read on knowing you will be reading about rape.

Hey...I don't know who you are. I never knew your names...I didn't want to and I still don't. The only detail I remember of any of you is an image burned into my memory's EYE                                 of your mocking, name screaming, raging faces of 36 years ago and oh yea...I can still smell your sweat, your after-shave, your fragrance of HATE and violence, I can feel you pulling my hair, trying rip it out of my scalp while one of you is kicking me repeatedly in the face, all the while I'm being raped, my head is continually smashed into a wall by a urinal...that is what I remember, that is my memory of YOU...You could all three be dead already for all I know and I honestly wouldn't care...or you could be living next door. I haven't a clue...and it doesn't mean ANYTHING really.

But I forgive you...each one of you...completely...no strings attached...I forgive you, you and you. I sincerely hope you found or find the LORD and find HIS forgiveness because honestly,that is the ONLY forgiveness that really matters. I can forgive you for what you did to me...but I can't forgive your SIN...only GOD can do that...and he will, if you ask him to. I won't make excuses for what you did...perhaps one of you or all three of you has suffered for what you have done, perhaps I wasn't the only one that night on your rampage of HATE...STILL, that doesn't matter...I forgive you.

It is my sincere hope...and prayer that those men find forgiveness...But I have no way of knowing if they will. But regardless I think that just maybe...I might have found something much more important today: PEACE.

Redemption: My Very Own Half Mile Sewer Pipe of Sh*t (Re-Post)

The following post is one of the most significant I have ever written. Just one post earlier (That re-post will follow this one) I had found it in me to forgive my attackers after 30 odd years of that episode eating me up from the inside out. 

Just a heads up, these next two re-post are graphic, straight forward posts about rape and it's aftermath....please know that before you choose to read on.






It's been half a day or so since I publicly forgave the trio of men that perpetuated a terrible, violent crime against me when I was a kid. They violently attacked and sexually assaulted me, beating me up pretty badly and leaving me literally scarred for life with many hidden wounds and a raging case of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It is only in recent years that I have begun to heal at all from this monstrous crime and it's hideous memories.... 

I was totally prepared to write the usual post about how I don't really feel any different but I'm thankful I went through with it, etc. etc. The only problem with doing that though is I wouldn't be telling you the truth. I really do FEEL different as I sit here this afternoon. My whole world changed this morning and I'll never be the same...

I no longer carry the minute to minute torment of what happened that day around with me like a weighted chain around my neck. Those 3 guys no longer live rent-free in my head, constantly reminding me by their presence there how horrible that whole thing was and that I would never be able to live life without thinking about it constantly...and without thinking, dreaming and feeling things about THEM.

But now...I have been released...it's simple really, I was released from the hell I've carried around with me for 36 years. Granted..it still happened and yes I remember it...all of it. But I no longer entertain those three men daily in the private confines of my inner brain...I have been carrying THEM around with me for years too, in the form of HATE, Anger, Resentment and RAGE. And that combined emotional stress & strain has been eating away at my peace and serenity...and yes my sanity ever since...

The act of forgiving them and in turn letting go of the anger, the rage, resentment, fear...etc. is the real act of healing here. Letting it go is what made the true, tangible difference for me...and frankly, I had no idea how obsessed I was with those people and what happened to me then. 

Holding on to that memory and what they did that day was with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was SICK and that very same memory controlled most everything I thought and felt. I had no conception how sick I really was until today when I shoveled that sh*t out of my life once and for all. Now I'm simply stunned at the possibilities that await me...today, much like Andy Dufresne,the lead character from the movie Shawshank Redemption ,I emerged from my own half mile sewer pipe of emotional and psychological shit: a totally FREE man.

That whole situation had changed in one shining instant of redemption, through forgiveness  and all in one morning's time...and now I have my own memories back, really I have my own life back again. And truly in it's own way, I am starting certain aspects of my life over again. What a wonderful opportunity after so many years of hiding in the darkness of the evil that had been laid on me at such a young age. I still tremble when I think of that innocent boy who left home that day and the fearfully damaged individual that returned in his place...

36 years later that lost little boy finally has found his way home. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm crying as I type, my hands shaking so badly that there is no way I could write this with a pen or pencil. Honestly readers...I never expected this to happen...I never thought I would EVER be free from that torment...even for a few moments.

Not On Top Of My Game...


I am not feeling very together at the moment, much like the disastrous NFL Replacement Refs! Some is emotional, another part physical. I feel unsettled and though that is probably an everyday occurrence it is a crisis of sorts for me.

One of the techniques I have always counted on in recovery when I feel outta whack is physical exercise... particularly walking. It is not having the desired affect this afternoon. I have some Bible reading to do at the church at 6p and needless to say I am not feeling really social at the moment. Oh well...more later.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Coming In FOR The STORM...

 
A crispy critter of an Autumn morning, Coldwater Lake/Iyopawa Island style. It's frosty yet never seems to be as cold as it should be. That's because we are surrounded by the warming effect of the lake water. The entire State of Michigan is like-wise effected by the Great Lakes.

Not really sure how or why I just momentarily turned into a bit of a meteorologist there but hey, I guess these things can happen now with 24 hour Cable Weather...we ALL consider ourselves experts now!

Weather is a strange changer of moods...at least among the people I know. I don't recall personally being affected that much by it but when I was it was more toward the positive side then the negative. Winters here in Michigan really get some people down...oddly they tend to be folks who have lived here all their lives...you'd think they would be used to it by now but NOPE.

Even my very own Kimmy is that way...she lives for the Sun and is revolted by the cold yet she was born and raised in Holland MI and has lived in the State her entire life. Me...I like change, for the most part...not just in my weather preferences but in life. Don't misunderstand...I like consistency too but I've never really been bothered by change. So I love living in a region where we experience all four seasons distinctly as we do in Michigan.

I think it is most definitely my internal weather that affects me more then anything else...whether I am hot or cold, sunny or raining...INSIDE, that is where my main moods develop and blossom. I have used the term "raining on the inside" frequently and there is a good reason for that: It accurately describes a certain way that I often feel...stormy, wet and grey. How does one "come in from the storm"....when the storm ITSELF is already inside? Good question and I have spent my lifetime, trying to figure it out. When I discover the answer, if I ever do rest assured that i'll let you know all about it...right here!

Painting "Rain Storm, Union Square" By: Childe Hasam

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Candidate STEW

CBS NEWS
As I sit here at my desk this evening, I can hear the TV in the living room down hall. It is tuned into 60 MINUTES which is entirely dedicated tonight to interviews with both Presidential Candidates. We still have nearly 6 weeks to go until Election Day and I am really getting tired of hearing about it. I'm full up of it and frankly the more I hear from either one of these guys the less I believe. I am not impressed.
                                   
I have made a point not to drag this blog into the political arena and tackle posts about the Election. I don't belong to a party, I never have belonged to one because I believe parties are for sheep...people who choose to follow the majority (party) blindly and would rather not risk thinking for themselves....I have always voted for who ever I thought was the best candidate...the most qualified in my opinion and the strongest leader.   

Neither fellow really jumps out at me as a true leader...they both come across as willing to say just about anything the people want to hear to get themselves elected and bring or keep their party in power...because it is all about power...not change, not for the people or to better the country but to gain POWER for themselves and their own. That frightens me...they both will willingly flip flop at the drop of a hat depending on who their particular audience is at that moment. That certainly affects the appearance of sincerity. I don't trust them or their party or our system in general anymore.

That is my first MINUTE Interview Reaction....more to come!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's An Adjustment


I am looking forward to today... actually the better part of two days really where Kim has the majority of the weekend off.  It is already nice not to have to rush around on a Saturday to try and get stuff finished....and try to fit stuff in.                                        

With Kim's hours and potential new job (she is on a 90 day probationary period to get hired from the temp service) has really impacted my daily life and that could have been detrimental to my sobriety if I was not careful. She works 4 10 hour days 3p to 1:30a Monday through Thursday but lately they work 6 - 10 hour days (mandatory) 3p to 1:30a. 
I worked off shifts for a long time and esoecially when in Production Management. It can be terribly lonely and isolating so I want to prevent K from feeling that way so I've adjusted my schedule to match hers.

It means that my sleep is even MORE messed up but it is totally worth it for now anyway.

I need to get out for a walk before it rains so I imagine I may pick this up later.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Teasers-Posers-Fakers


Blogging is something I knew virtually nothing about until I actually started writing my own, this very blog: Shell Shock Serenade. I really hadn't even read many blogs before then and even now I don't read many mainly because very few of them appeal to me.

That is the interesting thing about blogs...they can be about anything. People write them for a multitude of reasons and there are probably just a few genres that appeal to me....Blogs similar to mine: journal/ auto-biographical/self-help...History and Sports and that is about it. There are a couple that just show art and/or photos and I'm enthralled by those as well.

I like blogs that are real and sincere...the more open and honest a person is the better. I like straight forward work and no game playing. Some folks are into that and hey, that's cool...just not cool to me.


Blogs that I have started to find less attractive, sometimes even offensive now are those that promote or sell something and there has been a huge increase in that type of post mainly for commercial reasons...especially when they are misleading.


One form of blog I struggle with a bit is those that tell a story, usually auto-biographical which I typically enjoy because I can relate to them. The problem is they stop mid-way through the story because the author has an article or book coming out so they want to string you along and leave you hanging...so that you will read the rest in the book. To me that is really kind of deceiving and a waste of my time...it really comes across as less then sincere sometimes and is too cute and coy. 


I'd rather read things in real time that are useful now. I feel like I've been "had" every time I read  one of those posts. I guess what bugs me the most is I think it's unnecessary when the work of these individuals is really good...and in these specific cases I'm thinking of they are exceptionally good.

The struggle is there are several of those blogs I read because I really like the authors and frankly, they are on the threshold of going commercial so I understand that they find it necessary to promote their work in this way and really, they do it as well as you can. I just wish they didn't feel compelled to promote themselves in this way but those are just my feelings and I'll support them until the cows come homeaaaarcrr...I am still a fan.


The blogs I usually read and their authors are all top-notch, really the best...I mean they are so talented that relying on marketing techniques to sell a book sometimes detracts from what they are all about and I wish they didn't feel compelled to go there. It trivializes what in other words is an awesome story. It cheapens the whole bit for me anyway, especially when many people are looking to the work for answers.


This is just my opinion and I'm sure many will disagree with it, which is cool by me. That is the beauty of the blog world...it's a Free For All and you can really do what you want to do as long as you are satisfied with the results.


The blogs I found totally useless are those that pretend to be true and are not. They are created wholly to mislead and usually have something to sell. They violate my #1 rule about what blogs I will read...they must be Real and and by that I mean HONEST.
I have just found it frustrating to get into a really interesting post only to discover it's a tease...I don't care for  teasers....posers and fakers, give me real people and real time writing any day.


Anyhow...there is a wealth of good writing out there so the fact is there is always something for everyone...even little 'ole me!


Photo: Kathy Tomson

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Whacked-Out, Bible Reading Out loud Guy!


Typically I have kept the focus of this blog on recovery and healing from sexual assault and what that entails and is like on a daily basis. I have been somewhat reluctant to really share my spiritual beliefs, though they are a critical part of my daily life because I don't want to push anyone away who may be seeking info on recovery and or healing from rape. I like many other addicts and survivors really disliked and mis-trusted Christianity , all religions really so whenever the subject came up...WOOOSH...I was outta-there!

But it is part of my life and I increasingly find the need to share some aspect of that. I personally think a healthy and active spiritual life is critical to recovery and that is regardless of whether you are Native American, Muslim, Jew, Christian or don't believe in anything at all. I just have seen too many people go back out and start drinking and drugging again because they think they can handle this on their own...rarely is the outcome, in my experience....good. More often then not, it's FATAL.

So you will find as I have in the past, an increased amount of posts related to the subject of spirituality...please understand that this is  what works for me. And that is what this blog was created for...to share what MY LIFE is like and what happened to ME. I am not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat...you are free to find your own way...and if that way may be what you are reading from me and you have questions...then please email me at thormoo1016@gmail.com and feel free to ask me anything. Now all that being said....that means I'm going to post about spiritual things this morning and something I found that has helped me along the way.

So.....Sorry folks, the "Whacked-Out, Reading The Bible Out Loud Guy" is actually in charge of posting on the blog this morning...hope that doesn't scare Y'all away!

Actually this post is probably directed more at people that haven't read the bible and would kind of like to try but every time they do they get bogged down in it and never get very far....I'll explain what I mean.

Long before I was a Christian, I wanted to read the Bible...I wanted to see for myself what was in there....I did not trust what other people SAID was in there I wanted to read it for myself. But I' d always start at the very beginning (Genesis 1) and frankly it bored me to death and never really made any sense anyway plus it was long and tedious....so I quit trying to read it after a short period of time. I stayed away from discussing this or anything about Scripture with anyone else because I didn't want to be pressured about joining or believing....my faith was truly personal.

The way that I was able to break through that difficulty was two-fold....I read the gospels first in the New Testament and it was through the lens of the New Testament that I started to understand the Old Testament. Most importantly for me I started to read the Bible out loud for a group of Seniors at an assisted living home. Reading out loud changed everything for me about understanding the Bible...

I'm not suggesting that this will work for everyone but the point is that if it isn't working for you one way, then shift gears and try something different. If you have a significant other...read to each other or perhaps one of you prefers reading to the other...go for it. That is how I came to read the Bible all the way through, now several times over. And there is definitely something dynamic about reading or hearing it read out loud...it comes alive and his intensely three dimensional. You can start to picture it, feel it almost taste it.

Honestly I'm not sure it would have made any difference in changing my spiritual life then, I suspect it wouldn't have but I would have had a better understanding of the TRUE nature of Christianity...and that would have certainly helped me.

The Bible is a profound book no matter who is reading it & why. And I believe today like Christians do that it is the WORD of God. But I think there is benefit in anyone reading it, particularly if you dislike Christians or Christianity. For me...my dislike and mistrust of Christians was NOT based on the Bible but on stereo-types and distortions of the religious side of Christianity. Once I read the Bible...I understood that I was completely wrong about what Following God was all about.

Finding out what God was all about changed my life in a very positive and profound  way...perhaps it may for you too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Physical Graffitti



Jeez I hate talking about how I feel physically here on Shell-Shock. I think it always comes off sounding like I'm whining. But the truth is right now my back, knees, right hip and feet are the worst that I can remember them in well over a decade. I am in incredible pain and discomfort and it is getting discouraging. I don't want to so much as a move at all.

I fall asleep for 30 minutes and it take 2 hours for my joints to loosen back up again and to be able to walk again normally. I hate the idea of using a cane but it beats a walker...or wheel chair.

Funny though, even though I really hurt and don't see much that is optimistic in my future about my back I never think of drinking or using drugs which is basically a miracle if you ask me.

Oh well I'll just keep plugging away....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We Begin Again



Well I am feeling about half brain-dead at the moment but that is what I get, I suppose after a solid 2 hour nap! Needless to say I will take it and just have to shake off the sleep with a hot shower and some coffee. 

We start the Bible Reading/Listening Ministry tonight at my church, which was shut down for the later part of the summer. I am stoked because I love to read aloud and this is just the perfect opportunity to do so. After doing it several times a week for nearly a year, not doing it for 7 weeks really left a void but I think it was good to step back and BREATHE.


It was a strange summer because almost all at once most of the extra-curricular things I was doing were stopped for the season or in a few cases, permanently. I had to shift gears and now I find things beginning to pick up again. I even had a Sunday morning commitment that prevented me from attending church. 


And that could have been a real problem...it could have been easy to just not go anymore but what I discovered was that I need and enjoy that time on Sunday mornings. It was not a hassle or a burden...far from it...it was and always has been a time each week where I kind of re-charged my batteries through fellowship and contact with my spiritual family. Most surprisingly to me...not one person gave me grief for not attending when they understood the circumstances, which happen to be one of the few things so private, I will not discuss them publicly on the blog.

I am a fairly routine based person so once I have established a good, comfortable pattern...I really get used to having things stay a certain way. Rarely does that work for long, though the way life continues to ebb and flow. Now I get to start some things over and I am excited to get to read the bible again tonight. 


So I am going to close and we'll be back perhaps this evening to cover how it all went.... 


Picks by KT                      



Monday, September 17, 2012

Into The Hands Of GOD

Recently I posted about a friend who was in a very serious motorcycle accident in Florida. In that post I mentioned a very special experience that the two of us shared. On May 15, 2011 I wrote a post describing that experience and I asked him is it was OK to put it in the blog. He said Sure. So I am pretty darn sure he won't mind if i post it again as I think and pray for him this time instead of his Mum.

So this Re-Post is for you Denny. I love you Brother and there is a whole mess of folks praying for you too!                                


He was there..right there, standing at the very edge of all eternity. It was time...his time. He had been leaning so far over the chasm that he could almost touch it, taste it, feel it yet something had been holding him back. His own self will perhaps? Doubt, fear of the unknown? Sure, all of us feel that way...I know I did. I stood at the edge for years before I let go...


But whatever it was, this morning was his time. He was ready, so ready in fact that he had prepared for this moment the previous day by selecting the very clothes he was wearing. Not the typical, ragged Harley T-Shirt but a nice, shortsleeve button up job, plaid of course because deep down he knew it was not only his time but his mom's time too...

His Mum had been ill for a decade, Alzheimer's slowly chipping away at her mind and deteriorating her body until today she was but a shell of the Mother he once knew. He knew it was her time to go home, to see her mom and daughter and others that had gone on before...it was time. He knew that soon, very soon that his dear Mother would touch the face of God...

So he went to church, the 8:30a early service which was rare. He'd only slept for a few restless hours in a chair by her bed-side but still, he was at church sitting there. Because It was his time...

And after the service and after praying with others for his mom he looked into the eyes of a friend and said that he was pretty sure that it was time, that right Now, this instant was THE time. He and his buddy met with the pastor and talked about what it meant to live for Jesus..again, it had become so obvious now to all who were present...it was his time.

So there at that very moment, standing high on the precipice that was his OLD Self, his old way of life, he accepted the Lord into his life. He had opened his heart and trusted that this was it, it was time, then he let go of himself, fell face forward out of his old life...right into the hands of GOD...

Battle of Antietam 150 Years Ago Today




150 years ago today (September 17, 1862) the Battle that became known as the single most Bloody Day in US History was fought along side Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg, Maryland. A total of nearly 23,000 Northern & Southern Soldiers were killed, wounded or captured in a single days fighting. In 1862 such numbers were simply beyond comprehension and the entire Nation was shocked and plunged into universal mourning. 

Technically, the outcome of the battle was probably a stalemate but since Robert E Lee eventually retreated back across the Potomac River, effectively ending his invasion of the North, the Union could and did claim Victory. Enough of a victory for Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves residing in the States that were currently Rebellion against the Union...an historic action and effectively became the Beginning of the  END of Slavery  in our country.


The battle in the rolling countryside of Maryland, was just another example of how outdated military tactics combined with modern weapons including rifled muskets and cannon, combined to create almost unbelievably catastrophic casualties. The country was simply not prepared for these incredible numbers of dead and wounded men.

The Battle was noted for many reasons other then the Emancipation Proclamation...it was Robert E Lees first attempt at taking the War into Northern territory to relieved the battered country side of Norther Virginia where so many Battles had been fought already.


The Battle was also noted because of the work of Clara Barton. Governments did not begin to know know how to care for 23,000 dead and wounded men in such a small, confined area. Clara Barton did pioneering work in organizing nursing and care for the wounded as many people and organizations flocked to the battlefield to try and help. Frankly caring for so many wounded and un-buried men and horses on the field was completely overwhelming the meager resources available in the Union Army who was for a time left in possession of the field before they began to move south to regain contact with Lee's forces in Virginia.                               

I have always been interested in the Civil War and in fact it was that interest that sparked my over-all kpassion for History in general. But as the 150th anniversaries of these Battles continue to happen through 2015, I want to highlight some of the more significant actions...on the DAY that they happened. So today with this post on Antietam begins that series...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Fallen Brother


Life is a strange trip sometimes....

On one hand this weekend was all about my grandchildren for they were planning to visit  with their mum/dad on their way home from a vacation with my son-in-law's family. And the visit was great...those boys means the world to me and it is always nice to see my daughter, Chelsea.

But just as the visit was winding down I got news that a good friend of mine was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Daytona FL where he was working as a truck driver for Easy Riders Entertainment. There are few things that baffle me more then good people who literally survive HELL in their LIVES only to find a new life and then die or get critically hurt in a fluke accident. Life often times seems much less then fair....

Details are a bit sketchy right now, Denny is expected to survive but he is in an induced coma, I presume to keep him calm and relaxed because his brain is swelling from the injury. It is a difficult time for friends because we can' even comfort him, talk to him..help him. 

It is simply a time for God...For he will do HIS work, HIS way and in HIS time. What we CAN do is pray...and Denny my friend, there are lots of your friends praying for you tonight so hang in their my friend!

I personally am very close to Denny because we shared a very powerful spiritual moment together as he accepted the Lord and I was privileged to be there with him when it happened. What a privilege that was....

Needless to say, as experienced as I unfortunately am with the injury, death and dying of close friends from all my past experience...I am really shaken up by this turn of events in D's life. Of course no one EXPECTS this to happen....It just DOES.       

Ultimately...I trust that God has a plan though it may not be what I'd like it to be. But it can be hard not to ask WHY this kind of thing happens after he had come so  far. He has four grown sons who he is very close to and it just seems tragic that this occurs now when his life is full and healthy and so positive.

So tonight I pray for and think about my friend, Denny...I love you BROTHER.

After noon, Late Summer Cool


'Tis Sunday afternoon and with K's work schedule this is really her only weekend so we try to make the best of it. 

I feel a tad melancholy with the grandsons gone but hey that is to be expected. There is quite a bit of activity on the island today with more folks taking out their boats and docks, shutting their summer places down. It is an absolutely gorgeous day for it.

I will post later with more updating but I am still punching from not sleeping...

Seperation Cycle

It was only 6 hours ago that they left but it seems a mini-lifetime already...i hate seperation emotion anyway when you part from someone you care about.
Of course i haven't slept very much and in exhausted state of mind the emotions are intrnsified . I'll get adjusted to it but it does remind me of leaving my kids in the summer time which was really quite difficult and painful.
Ok well I'm outside in the cool night checking out the stars and it I'd going to be a beautiful day!

Bye, Bye


This is going to be really short. My Grandsons are headed back to South Carolina after visiting for a day and a half. I miss them badly already!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Waiting, Wondering and Day-Dreaming


A wet, cold blustery Friday September morning here on Coldwater Lake. It would be easy to get bummed out by such weather but we have had such an amazingly hot and beautiful summer that I'd be really nuts to complain. My grandsons are coming this evening and I am looking forward to seeing them for a day before they head back to South Carolina.

It is one of the few mornings this entire summer that I have not been outside getting some exercise BEFORE dawn. And though that is one of my favorite times of day, just being outside...it is like having the whole world to myself.  But I'll admit this was nice this morning as well. I don't typically take much time in my life to "just be" and I think that is something that I really need to work on. 

When I first found recovery, it was so critical for me to always stay busy, to be occupied mentally and physically because idle time frightened me. I did not trust time sitting around thinking because in those early days it was inevitable that my thoughts would turn to drinking and drugging...hey it was only natural. So I have been following this "staying super busy" routine for well over 6 years and I can now sense that I need to work some peaceful downtime into the scenario.

Today will be a bit of a waiting game as it always is when you are waiting for long awaited company to arrive. But I have some sleep to catch up on....I didn't sleep a wink last night so that issue still remains alive and kickin'.

Anyway I hope to have some grand-kid related posts this weekend for you and until then...happy Friday!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If Not Love...What Is It, Then?!


Love. The word love is a commonly used word, it describes probably one of the most desired or sought after "States of Being" know to human kind. People certainly doing crazy stuff in the name of love...they even murder for it. It is THAT significant.

My intention tonight is not to do a post about what love is or isn't or how or what it means. No....I just now started to wonder if I have ever truly "been in" love before. One of my blogging buds wrote a beautiful post the other day about her new love. It is intense and beautifully written and frankly I believe every word of it. I think she really feels the way she describes....

But after reading the post I got to thinking (yes, yes..I know how freaking dangerous THINKING is for me) that I don't recall EVER feeling anything remotely close to what she is describing here which is obviously LOVE and the act of two people falling madly, magically in love with each other.

I have had a number of significant relationships throughout my life (other then Kim and my 2 marriages) and as I think about all of them only my second marriage and the relationship I have now stand out as special and stand the test of time. And yet as I just mentioned...I felt no magical melting of my heart or sparks showering down from the Heavens. I felt great, special and all warm inside but it wasn't "life altering" as far as the feeling...in reality they both were and are life altering but I never felt that when those loves were NEW.

Some of this could be unrealistic expectations on my part compared to the expectations of others. I do consider myself an emotional person and one who has never had any trouble expressing his feelings so I don't think I have any emotional block that would prevent me from feeling that intense so who knows what the deal is?!

Now I know I'm being a bit sarcastic, caustic, cynical and cranky here about this subject but seriously there was NOTHING that intense in my experience. Perhaps the blogger is exaggerating...I absolutely don't believe that is the case...I have heard others describe there experiences in a similar way. 

Maybe I have just never actually been in love before...maybe it wasn't real after all. I don't know I just got to thinking (see...thinking is ALWAYS trouble for me!) and this is where I ended up. If it isn't LOVE then it is the next best thing I suppose....PAIN.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We Are At War Folks... Better Start Acting Like IT!




I will warn the reader right now...the topic of this post is WAR and the pictures are GRIM and disturbing as is WAR. 

I don't see how this administration doesn't get the fact that we are at WAR. They pretend knocking off bin Laden somehow validates them and their behavior yet they look at that action like it was a video game they played and won wiith their buddies. They immediately told the world about it putting SEALS and countless other operatives fighting Al Qaeda in grave danger as well as limiting the Intel we took from bin Laden's compound.They are still bragging it up and putting countless US Special Forces Soldiers in danger as they do it. 

This is NO game Mr President, literally the survival of civilization as we know it.could rest of the outcome of this war. Is Sharia Law what we really want to see imposed on our people? This is a War to the death....they will never surrender as they (the Radical Muslim Leaders) have an endless supply of woman and children "belivers" who will obey unconditionally and blow themselves up in the place of their cowardly leaders. It is a fact that Osama bib Laden had a fully loaded AK47 and ammo plus other firearms WITHIN reach and made no move to fight for himself or two of his wives in the room with him. He died a coward that he was...there was no one left to take the bullets for him...

Now our Embassy in Cairo, Egypt is attacked and we start to officially APOLOGIZE for offending Muslim sensibilities? They essentially attacked US Soil (all Embassies are considered US territory) tore down the American flag and replaced it with one similar to the flag of Al Qaeda and our original official response is to APOLOGIZE? HUH..Apologize?!!!!





I believe that misguided reaction lead directly to the DEATH today of Christopher Stevens (whose body is paraded around by his attackers, above and in better times below) our Ambassador to Libya. They tested our reaction yesterday and acted today...because they saw that our Government is WEAK and our President is the appeasing re-incarnation of Neville Chamberlain

What a dangerous path to take Mr President...more Americans, more people in general will DIE as a result of apologetic appeasement policies such as yours just like they did as a result of British Prime Minister Chamberlain's Policies in the 1930's...history MORE then validates that for us: For starters...Ask the GHOSTS of 6 Million JEWS....some are pictured below. Not to mention countless millions of soldiers on both sides who died in that War...



Stop talking about the War on Terror being OVER...it will NEVER be over folks as long as radical Muslims HATE NON-Muslims...there is too much hatred in this world and if you are not Muslim, well you are the ENEMY plain and simple....and they want ALL Non-Muslims, Infidels DEAD.

That is not prejudice on my part...listen to them yourself...it is their own goal and desire to Kill Infidels...it is demanded of them by their beliefs and they have killed countless numbers of people and will continue to do so until they themselves are DEAD. It is WAR...not JUST a War on Terror...NO, this is a WAR for SURVIVAL of civilization as we know it!

This is a dangerous world we live in...it will not change just because we "start being Nice"...that is INSANE to even contemplate but I swear some people literally believe that if we are nice to the Taliban or Al Qaeda, they will reciprocate and change their hateful killing and violent ways which is preposterous. Every time our Country appeases, let's their guard down or makes themselves vulnerable....Muslim Extremists KILL US. Wake up folks. 

I have not chosen to speak on this Election or post stuff about it because I typically avoid politics in my blog...it really isn't my thing to rattle on about politics though I have very strong opinions on certain issues. I am an independent and tend to keep my choices to myself. I truly think both candidates are liars and basically tell us what we want to hear so we basically have to pick the lesser of two EVILS in this election as we've had to do now going back to 1992.  

But there are several Democrats I have that are FaceBook Friends that repeatedly are calling people stupid who would vote for a Republican on my FaceBook. Well I say your stupid if you support APPEASEMENT Of Terrorists HATERS hiding behind their RELIGION as well as their woman and children. Who would put a suicide VEST on a CHILD and detonated it? Answer: Al Qaeda and the Taliban BOTH HAVE.

I just don't understand how seemingly intelligent people (One is a retired Law Professor from Indiana University) don't comprehend that this WAR. WE must stop the appeasement and respond appropriately right now. It is the only answer and language the people who want us DEAD will understand.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It MUST CHANGE....OR ELSE!


There are moments in my life where I can feel it slip away from me....desire, sense of purpose...then the laughter leaves me at these moments and only the hollows remain...blind from staring far too long into the SUN. And I don't care and basically can't really feel anything anyhow. I am not sure why I go through these sudden changes...I embrace the nothingness that remains and it sustains me.

I simply do not like to live this life at times, it is nothing but a burden on my soul....I just really feel that way and it is what it is. Please dear reader, do not misunderstand me...this is NOT a death wish or some suicidal notion or wish list...NO, I just don't care for the idea of existing just to exist and there are times...far to frequently for my liking where I feel I am doing JUST THAT, existing, that is all. 

It must change...OR ELSE 

This anger outlet called Shell Shock Serenade exists for a reason and that reason simply is to keep this guy from emotionally exploding or Imploding all over the freaking place and to keep the "new me" intact.
Communicating to others is critical...it helps me to communicate to self, to know what is going on with me so there are no NASTY surprises, I can step out of myself and see where I am and where I am headed.

Make sense to you my friend? No....well that's OK....as long as it works for me we'll all be good.

Never Forget


Never forget....that is a common response when people here in the States recall the attacks on 9/11. It always comes back as some version of "We Shall Never Forget" and frankly it almost sounds cliche. But this time....it isn't a cliche and it never will be.

At the age of 50 years, I obviously was not around when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into the greatest War (and Catastrophe) known to mankind. But I often wondered what a history altering event like that really felt like to live through....now I believe I know.

Living in Holland, Michigan at the time, put our house right on one of the busiest flight patterns in the U.S....between Chicago's O'Hare Airport and ALL point east. It was very common, normal really to have aircraft, often dozens at a time high above us at any time day or night. I vividly remember my X-Wife and I standing outside that night in stunning silence, right before President Bush poke to the Country and looking up to see a completely EMPTY sky. It was surreal....

I was in production management with responsibility for the 3rd shift team and went into work at the main Herman Miller, Inc. Factory in Zeeland MI, just as President Bush was speaking and it was eerie because nobody was around, they were all hovered over their radios at their workstations listening to the President. I could hear the Echo from a dozen boom boxes throughout the deserted looking factory. It was like the voice of history was speaking. I imagined listening to Franklin Roosevelt's Fireside War-Time Chats or Churchill's speeches during the Second World War.

I didn't need my knowledge of history to realize that this was a huge and historic day...we were attacked by an outside power on the shores of the Continental U.S. for the first time really since the British did it in the War Of 1812.

The memory of watching those images, as they were happening in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and telling my wife on the phone that the World Trade Center had been hit are seered into my memory FOREVER...whether I like it or not.


Ironically I just watched a You Tube video on the killing of Osama bin Laden and I have included it above. It is the interview done with the Navy Seal who wrote the book on the mission and his first hand account is RIVETING.

So today...we certainly NEVER FORGET what happened 11 years ago. I think and pray for those people every single day...God Bless 'Em!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Adjustment Continues,,,


I do find that when I travel or change my daily routine much that I am much less adaptable to the change then I used to be. Travel used to be a regular part of my life but I rarely go away for more then say a day or two in Holland.

I have slept the last couple of hours this evening and am ready to sleep a bit more so I think think instead of trying to force myself to stay awake I am going to let sleep overcome me...until later then.

Into The Swing...BALANCE


My challenge today is simple...try and get back into something at least closely resembling my daily routine...I can already tell it isn't gonna happen. But hey...let's roll with it right?

This summer I have had some commitments on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning that had really interfered with my volunteering at the nursing home and the bible reading ministry that we started about  a year and a half ago. I am really looking forward to getting back into the swing  again.

Interestingly...I never thought I'd ever catch myself saying this but I was also unable to attend church services on Sunday...something that quite frankly I missed terribly. Kim's ridiculous work schedule has now started to impact her ability to do some of these things but we will have to work through them. So I'll be doing a great deal of the reading ministry solo this year...that's cool I do the reading anyway it is just nice to have the company.

The reason I have gotten into this subject today is because I have noticed that with the summer routine changes I've mentioned above it has thrown the natural flow and balance of my life a bit out of whack. Service to others (really that is what all of this is about anyway...) is a vital part of my life in recovery...therefore vital to my life in general and my very existence really depends on maintaining this balance.