Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's been bothering me

I posted this just as a rant on Facebook the other night.  It got some great reactions!

For those of you who aren't friends with me, you can click HERE to be taken to the post.  You can comment, like, share, or even disagree.

BUT, Please take a moment to read it.  If you don't want to shoot me a friend request, I understand.  I hope that it just makes you think for a moment and hopefully compells you to think a little differently and maybe be a little bit more open minded.  Thank you for reading :)

And, if you don't want to send me a friend request to read it, you can just read the text below

So, a few things have been jumbling around my head the past few days.

1. I wish the holidays (minus the freezing weather) happened year round. I've given more in the past 2 weeks out of my wallet than I think I did all year long. I emptied my coin jar, coin pouch in my car (probably $45 worth in change alone), donated about 15 lbs of canned goods, and countless bills into the Salvation Army red cans in front of Raleys. Something about the holidays just gets me to really think about the rest of the world.

2. Ashley Nicole Ingram shared these sentiments today: Tim Tebow is RAKED across the coals for sharing his faith on national television. He's a believer in his God. He's passionate about it. He talks the talk and walks the walk. He's a missionary. He goes overseas and helps out those who are less fortunate. When I see all of you Tebow Critics get off FB and off the couch and help like he has, then I'll listen. Until then, please keep your ignorant comments to yourself! (the holiday spirit is upon me, but it won't keep me from culling ignorant and bigoted people from my friends. It's not about numbers, it's about relationships here).

3. Those of you who keep spouting that gay marraige should never be allowed should read this following statement... It's cynical, funny, and true all at the same time... "What is the #1 cause of divorce??? Marraige". How is it that two men or two women who love each other cannot be married yet a man and woman who HATE each other can remain married? Defeats the purpose no? And those who say Marriage is sacred really need to wake up. Let's take the plank out of our own eye for a moment mmk? They aren't trying to hold you down and force you to be gay. They just want to live their own lifestyle. AND I can hear this being said already "I just don't want to hear about it." Well, I don't want to read your drama about baby dady on FB all damn day. I don't want to hear about how stupid your husband is or how stupid your employer is. Isn't that the same thing??? Me thinks so. You force me to listen to your drama ALL.DAY.LONG. It clogs my feed so that's all I see is just negativity. Guess what? That's about to leave my FB. This is what I tell people all day long when they say "Justin, I don't want to read about gay marraige anymore". Then stop reading whatever book or magazine you're reading. Stop watching the TV that talks about it all day long. If you don't want to hear, read, or see it, Close your eyes and ears because obviously your mind is already too narrow to see anything else.

That's it for my rant. Feel free to comment, for everyone DOES have an opinion. Everyone does come from different backgrounds. But, for the LOVE OF GOD if you have an opinion, PLEASE make sure it doesn't come off sounding like a 3 year old monkey with dyslexia and tourettes. Ignorant comments are NOT welcome!

The Nice Guy

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The lesson in death (even though it blows nuts)

Actually, the lesson seriously blows a big ol donkey dick.  There's no other way to put it.

I'd rather still have one of my childhood friends around and NOT learn the lesson than vice versa.

The story:  October 19th, 2011, a very good friend named Jessie passed away.  Leaving a wife and a 1 1/2 year old son behind.  It was an unfortunate and tragic accident that left many of us asking "Why God WHY?!?!"

And over the past three weeks, I've kept asking that question.  I've started to doubt my faith (which has only happened 4 times in my life), I've stopped asking God WHY, and just stopped the conversation.  I didn't want to talk with God OR know the reason why.  I wasn't ready to hear the lesson or even accept it...  Until yesterday after Jessie's memorial.

At the memorial, I ran into many people I haven't spoken to since high school.  10+ years and I thought that leaving all those people behind was a good thing.  Well....  Kinda.  I would say for every 40 people I saw who I wanted to see again, I saw 1 I didn't.  All in all, about 7 people from school who I could care less about and the rest who I was happy to see again.  Even though the circumstance made the meeting bittersweet.

Yesterday, I shed a lot of tears.  I hugged many friends who I hadn't seen in a long time.  I took down countless phone numbers of people who I had lost touch with.  And then....  The stories about Jessie started flowing, the laughter became louder, and the memories came rushing back.

And then My phone vibrated telling me someone had commented on my question:  Struggling a little bit with faith 2 day. why does god grant miracles for some and not for others?  My cousin Heidi responded with this:
Heidi Keen Hazelwood: Favor ain't Fair. Those that are called to be with the Lord are favored. Remember "weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning"(Psalm 30:5) be strong and stay encouraged-all prayers are answered in God's way-not our own. Hugs

Here are some other responses I got yesterday:

even if the lesson is just to hug more often and tell people each day you love them, there is a lesson, I swear.

there's a lesson in everything, even the really, really, really bad :( Some day we can look back and say, I was stronger because of this and my faith grew. Tits up kid, love ya!

We only get to see the present. Fortunately, He knows (and holds) the future. The miracle ur praying for may inhibit His future plans...it sucks but is also just His way of allowing us to NOT carry the burden, but let Him do it!

SO, what did I learn?  What was the lesson?  How does this all make sense?  in school, Jessie was my defender.  He stood up for me, he stood up for the underdogs.  He was willing to put his neck on the line to make sure someone else was safe.  He was also very well known for helping people get to know each other....  some of my dearest friends from high school came about because of Jessie.

In Jessie's last gift to the world, his organs were donated to people who needed them to continue living.  In Jessie's death, many others could live.  In Jessie's death, he was able to give the ultimate gift.  He gave life to at least 7 other people.  In his death, I was able to find friends who I had lost touch with.  I was able to talk to people I never thought I would talk to again.  Even after Jessie had left this world, he was still working his magic.

The pain of losing him still hurts.  The pain of knowing the loved ones he left behind hurts.  But I know he's in a better place.  I know it wasn't our will, but it was God's will (that sentence is still hard to accept, but I do).  He brought us all back together, he helped some of us get rid of the animosity that was once there.  He helped us realize that tomorrow is a new day and we should take advantage to hug, kiss, and love on the people we care about.  No one ever died of giving one extra hug or kiss or "I love you".  

SO, let's make sure we don't waste that opportunity and realize that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Killing of the Bullies

Shit. I've started it. It's been nagging at me for a while. It's been nagging at me for nearly 20 years. The assholes in my life who have bullied me. The ones who no matter how much time goes by, I still can't shake the anger and rage that wells up when I think about it.

I should be asleep in bed with my wife right now. I should be catching some z's because tomorrow is going to be a long day of work. Instead, I've been trying for the past 12 hours to write this post. This is the final version... Let's just say I've worn out Ctrl+A and delete today.

So, here goes. Want to know what goes through the mind of someone that's been bullied? Want to know why I strive every day to be a nice guy and stand up for the underdogs? Here's why:

Have you ever spent the first month of school being so nervous about bullies that you spend the first hour of the morning throwing up because you are so full of fear?

Have you ever felt as if no matter how hard you try to just blend, you still stick out like a sore thumb with a sign saying "Hurt me badly please?!"

Have you ever really had a wedgie so bad that your butt bled? I'm not talking about a little blood... I'm talking about being afraid of going to the ER because you can't get it to stop?

Have you ever been in the high school pool with the bully and pretend you have to shit for an entire hour because you know if you get into the pool, they're going to put you under until you actually think you are going to die?

Have you thought of 3,472,573,927,875 ways of killing your bully because that's far better than thinking about the pain you feel? And once you thought of every possible way of killing them, you then feel such guilt because now your own rage, anger, and violence that you want to direct towards someone is what you've been enduring?

Have you ever felt as if a supervisor purposefully sought you out just to pick on you?

Yep, here goes with my role call of bullies that should have had the shit beaten out of them repeatedly. Following everything they did to make my life hell. The people in high school I left the names out. The worthless supervisors in the Navy... Maybe their employers will find this and question the integrity of their employees....

Junior High School:
J.H. While this grade a Asshole never put his hands on me, him and his cohort P made sure that their words stung more than anything. Penzoil... That was the nickname gifted to me by these two. Why? I had pimples.. LOTS of them. I had oily skin. The joke? Hey JD, if you sold all the oil on your face to Penzoil, you'd be a millionaire! The one time I tried to stand up to P was on the weekend. I had gone to my school to go rollerblading. I just wanted to have some time to skate around on a nice blacktop that was smooth and envision being like the olympic skater Olav Koss. That dream was quickly taken away as P chased me around the blacktop with a belt and kept hitting me until I fell. I tried to defend myself but apparently her BIG brother was playing basketball. I.O. took it upon himself to come over and "defend" little sister. You know the "back breaker drop" that pro wrestlers do? I lost count at around 7 or 8 times being dropped on his knee. I laid there in my own pee and cried until they all left and I could limp home barefoot since they saw fit to take my rollerblades with them. Thankfully no one was home, I could take a shower, throw away the soiled clothes, and lick my wounds in silence. Sadly, most people who are bullied all go home and suffer silently. Trying to hide the shame they feel for not being able to stand up for themselves. We suffer silently asking God WHY? Why can't I fit in? Why do they continue to torture me?

High School:
R.P. and J.H., and the countless (worthless) wannabe gang bangers and their piece of shit girlfriends

Yes, these Grade A assholes were the ones who threw apples at me (IN CLASS), shoved me off the bleachers, tried repeatedly to drown me in the pool, gave me wedgies that again left my butt bleeding profusely. The ones that would pick on me in class and the worthless teachers who just shrugged it off. Yes Coach Johnson, I'm looking at you.

The worthless gang bangers who thought wearing red made them suddenly god's gift to the world and also gave them the right to torment every timid white boy who crossed their path. The ones who would throw rocks at me when I wasn't looking. That's why I started wearing baseball hats. They lessened the pain of a golf ball sized rock pelting me in the head.

This whole time of experiencing pain and humiliation grew and grew. Shit, I wish I could say that the bullying stopped at high school.

I joined the Navy. I wanted to serve my country. Too bad the military is full of roided out washed up football players who now have a chip on their shoulder. Or think of the people who were discriminated against in the early 80's and 90's. Three people come to mind who made me hate the Navy and wish they would fall overboard. BM1 Richard Blanding. This guy had to be the piss poorest example of a leader I've seen in the Navy. I guess because he was hazed and picked on by white guys when he first joined, it was his turn to return the favor. Guess who got the shittiest jobs on the ship? Yep, this poor timid white boy. Enter Chief Warrant Officer Ezell. He's the best example of reverse racism I've ever seen. He had his little pride and joy Seaman Hamilton. One day, Hamilton told me to "get the fuck out of my way" and I replied "Fuck off asshole". The next morning at Muster, CWO Ezell called me out in front of the whole department. He suspended my liberty for the entire visit to Bahrain and made me stand double watches each day. And then my final nemesis on the USS Cleveland.... Chief Warrant Officer Eugene Schlotterbeck. This guy was a flat out douche bag. He found every reason to torment me. He called me a fat ass, "Cantgetright", worthless excuse for a sailor. He did the same thing that Blanding did. He made me do the shittiest of jobs, work the longest hours, and endure the verbal onslaught day in and day out.

Those are the people that made my life hell. They are the ones who have shown me that the only way I can be is nice. I never got the chance to get revenge on them. I still want revenge. I've tried to shake the anger and rage that built up from the 6th grade on. It goes away most of the time. But then there are times like today (this post actually started last night), in which I can't shake it. I highly doubt the bullies remember any of these events. But I do. They are all scars on my heart and mind that weigh heavily every time the topic of bullies comes up. The shame I felt after one particularly bad experience with R.P. in which I drove home, grabbed a wooden baseball bat, drove back to school with every intention of finding him and bashing in his knees and ending whatever chances of playing football he had. How shameful I felt as I sat in my car and cried for the duration of 4th period, lunch, 5th period, and 6th period. nearly 4 hours I sat in my car. One minute enraged at the injustice. The next moment cloaked in self loathing that I had nearly stooped to his level. Going back and forth in the worst game of dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I'd ever experienced.

Thankfully, I chose not to assault R.P.

Thankfully, I've learned that the only way to stop someone from being bullied is to stand up and do something. I fact, I now make it a point to stop whatever I'm doing when witnessing bullying in action and do it in a swift and powerful manner. I may get my ass handed to me while doing it. But I know that if someone just once would have stood up for me, I may have found the ability to stand up for myself.

And Thankfully, because of the pain I endured, I will emphasize being a kind, loving, and gentle Man to my son. I will ensure that he knows it is completely unacceptable to bully someone. I will expect him to be a gentleman. He will be Chivalrous, he will be kind, he will be loving, and he will stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. He will befriend those who just need a friend. Simply, He's just another Nice Guy in training.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

American Chopper is a detriment to fatherhood

I've been an avid fan and watcher of American Chopper since its inception over 5 years ago. I was fascinated with the imaginative bikes they created, intrigued by the dynamic of the father son relationship, and overall trainwreck that I saw on a weekly basis.

I started watching the show before I was a dad. And now that my son is almost 3 1/2 years old, I have a newfound appreciation to fatherhood. I've also had A LOT of time to reflect on my childhood and how my father interacted with me.

Last night I watched my final episode of American Chopper. The show now consists of 5% bike building and 95% Sr. and his cronies talking shit about Jr. All I see is Sr bad mouthing his sons on national television. All I see is the people working at OCC badmouthing Jr. and Sr. not only agreeing with those people, but adding onto what they are saying.

I understand father son relationships can be hard. I understand that there will be disagreements. I understand that sometimes a father and son will butt heads. However, the constant trashing of his sons on national television finally drove me over the edge last night. I just couldn't take it anymore.

All during the show I kept thinking to both my childhood and my adult life as a Dad. I thought about my first marraige and how my dad said he wouldn't come to my wedding because my grandma and aunt (his mom and sister) would be there. They had a falling out the previous year and so he refused to come to the wedding. He flat out said "I won't come because your aunt and grandma will be there". I asked "For your one and only son Dad? You won't come to the wedding?". His simple one word answer ended up being the most hurtful response he'd ever give me: "NO". I hung up and didn't talk to him for nearly 6 years.

Well, the first marriage didn't work out. That's fine. It wasn't meant to be.

Then, in 2006 I met the beautiful woman I'm married to now. They say the second shot at something is always better. Well, this second shot is wonderful and I'm loving every second being married to my wife and having three kids. BUT, the second wedding was coming up and I called my dad to invite him. Mind you, the wedding was in March. no hot weather, not hurricane like rains... just great weather. He can't handle the hot weather so I figured it would be no problem for him to come to it. But then again, that's what I get for figuring my dad would actually care.

His excuse this time for not coming? I can't make the drive. my rebuttal: Dad, I'll pay for your plane ticket. it's a 45 minute flight. Nope, no can do was the response. It's been nearly a year since I last talked to my dad and the wedding was 5 1/2 years ago. I tried making the relationship work over the phone and even driving up a couple times and visiting. It just didn't work out. I couldn't give anymore to the one way relationship between my father and I. Him being the parent should give 150% to the father son relationship. but I was always the one putting in the effort and getting nothing back.

SO, Siyonara American Chopper. So long Paul Sr. Because of your douchebag ways and pride, the relationship with your sons will never be a good one. You'll always have to be #1 and make sure you have the last word.

Here's the deal: Dads out there... It's not about being #1 or having the last word. It's not about being right or perfect. It's about being a Dad. It's about caring for your kids and setting aside your pride and petty differences and being there for your kids. Regardless of what their faith, personality, sexual orientation, or interests are. You love your kids, you don't say mean or hurtful things to them or about them. You love them 100%.

My son asked me a few weeks ago for a pink car. I couldn't find one at walmart but I've been looking online for the perfect pink car for him. I love him regardless of wanting a camo humvee or a pink mazda miata. I will love him whether he wants to be in gymnastics or wants to play football. I will love him if he wants to play the Clarinet or dance Ballet. I'll love him until my very last breath on this earth and nothing will ever change that. I'll never say a hurtful word to him and I'll help him as best as I can for him to realize his dreams. Why? Because that's what a real man and a real dad does.

Discovery Channel: Maybe instead of making a show that demonstrates a cruel hurtful relationship, you can find a father and son duo who love each other unconditionally and work together harmoniously. Make a show that doesn't have all the drama but all the love and successes of a father son relationship. When you do that, I'll come back to your channel.

Tell me, what do you wish your mom or dad had done for you that they never did?

The Nice Guy

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where were you? What did you think?

This is another post that will be part Nice Guy part Sailor. I apologize if any foul language offends anyone.

Right now I'm a heinz 51 mix of emotions. Humble one moment, angry the next. Somber now, and ten minutes from now, seeing red and wanting vengeance. Last night motivated, this morning, holding back.

Let me bring you back ten years ago this evening. I was on the USS Cleveland returning from a 6 month deployment to the Persian Gulf. The sun had set, we were 4 days from arriving home to our friends and family, and in an overall very happy mood. The movie Pearl Harbor had just been released and we had the chance to watch it. We called it Movie at Sea. We opened the Hangar Bay on the flight deck, put up a huge white sheet, and watched movies. I sat with my mom and enjoyed the movie. I was appreciative that my mom was able to share being out at sea on a US Naval Warship with her only son. It was a beautiful evening in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

That was 12 hours before our Captain told us about the Attacks. It was the last peaceful/non war time freedom I had.

on the morning of September 11th, 2001, We were set to have an awards ceremony at 0800. Our Captain was always early. He was a great Commanding Officer. He took care of our crew. He wasn't this hoity toity officer who made people wait because he was the boss. He was the kind of officer that made sure his crew was happy. He was the kind who never kept us waiting just because he felt like it.

SO, on that morning, 0800 came and went.... 0830 came and went. Somewhere around 0840, the captain came on the 1MC (Ships loudspeaker). "Cleveland...." This was the first sign of something wrong. Whenever he spoke to the ship, he was always chipper and ALWAYS Said "Good Morning or Good Afternoon or Good evening"... Instead we got "Cleveland.... The awards ceremony will be cancelled this morning. There has been a terrorist attack in New York. I don't have many details right now, but the news is playing on the Mess Decks. Please make your way there. We're most likely going to get the most relevant information there in real time than what I'll get from my chain of command."

My initial reaction? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!?!?.... I walked to the Mess Decks and watched in horror as I saw two planes fly into the Twin Towers. I saw the people jumping to their deaths. I saw friends who had family back in NY go white in the face and try to reach their family. They had no luck since most of the phones were over capacity. I watched them worry themselves grey. They were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and had NO WAY to know if their family was ok.

I watched the mood of the ship go from disbelief, to shock, to horror, to complete anger. As much as we wanted to go home to our families, at that point, there was only one thing that every sailor on that ship wanted.... They wanted the blood of the extremist radical pieces of shit spilled in every country that they belonged to. They wanted to inflict the most cruel, harmful, inhumane damage possible to those who caused this tragedy. I went from being the laid back, nice california guy to someone who couldn't wait to get behind my .50 cal Machine gun and make sure someone was on the receiving end of my fury.

I didn't care if there would be collateral damage. I wanted the whole god damn middle east turned into a glass parking lot. I wanted the radical fucks to be tortured until they shit themselves. I wanted them to endure so much pain that they would denounce their god and burn in hell. I wanted nothing more than to find one of them, throw them in a pig pen and have their bodies defiled by the swine in the pen with them. after that I wanted to find every last one of them, cut their eyelids out, and MAKE them watch naked women walk around. I WANTED them to know that their "Heaven" that they so desperately wanted was now wretched out of their possession. I wanted them to feel an ounce of the pain that over 3000 families felt that day.

Do I still feel that way? YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I DO! But now, I want them to feel the pain that over 10,000 familes feel every day. If you're here after reading my Bio on twitter, Yes, James 3 is my favorite book in the bible. YES, I do believe in forgiveness. But even now ten years later, I cannot forgive those who inflicted so much pain, loss, and fear into our nation. Even with OBL killed, Even with Saddam killed, I don't feel a sense of relief or retribution. I can only hope that their "GOD" is a false god and they do spend eternity in a lake of fire. I hope that their 40 virgins are Madelin Albright, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton. Hell, I hope one of the other virgins is Strom Thurman while we're at it.

Is this post WAY out of the norm on this blog? Yes. Do I apologize for the way I feel? NO.

For the following three years after 9/11, I was in a constant state of alertness. I was in a constant state of not knowing if another attack would happen. I was in a constant state of feeling as if the last time I saw my family would be when I went home on leave. I was in a constant state of anger because our country didn't deserve this. I was in a constant state of sorrow for the familes that lost loved ones. and over the past ten years, I've constantly thought of every family who loses a soldier, sailor, and airman because of the war that was a result of 9/11.

Yesterday morning, one of my friends on FB shared this audio clip. To say that the anger I felt ten years ago welled back up within me would be an understatement. Now All I wish for is that countries that still harbor terrorists would be turned into a big glass parking lot, Donald trump buys it, turns it into a big whorehouse with a moat filled with pigs.

I tried to swallow all these feelings over the past week. But I just can't anymore. I've already heard too many times "Why do we have to care about what happened ten years ago?" I was only in junior high when that happened, I don't care." and the absolute most ignorant statement I've heard this week: "I think that spending a day remembering 9/11 is a waste and an interruption to football". Really???? To those people I say this... The only reason why I don't beat the ever loving dog shit out of you right now is because it's illegal. even then, it's almost worth it.

Lets hope an pray that an event like 9/11 doesn't happen again, and we don't have a memorial for such an atrocious event like this in our future.


The cranky, angry, sailor (but still Nice Guy)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

why 9/11/11 has an ever increasing role in America

This is a warning for those with sensitive ears and eyes. I'm not writing today as the "Nice Guy". I'm writing as the Navy Veteran who served during Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. If you are easily offended.. you might still want to read on. If you are proud to be an American, share this post with everyone you can. I hope this might wake people up just a little bit.

We're still 8 days away from the ten year mark of 9/11/2001. I don't think it should be called an Anniversary per se because ten years ago our nation experienced the most horrendous attacks our nation has ever seen.

As with other national holidays, Memorial Day, Veterans day, and 9/11, people take it more of off from work than realizing those who made the day off possible. I'm the kind of man who isn't ashamed to cry openly when I hear the National Anthem, God Bless the USA, and Taps. Every year for the past 11 years, on those days I weep openly, genuinely, and with a heavy heart. and Sadly every year I end up back at home with my blood boiling.

Why? Because for each person I hear say "God Bless our troops", I hear "WOOHOO Let's go get drunk!". I often hear it from ignorant college students who have no idea what it takes to make these holidays possible. OR, I hear it from adults who should know better but don't know or don't care. When I hear people talk like this or god forbid they choose to protest at a cemetary, all I want to do is walk over to them and punch them in the face.

I want to scream at the top of my lungs right in their face "Men and Women have died for the past 200 years for your right to be fucking stupid and disrespectful. I fought for 4 years for your right to "freedom of speech". I spent holidays away from my family, friends, and loved ones. There are families now who have an empty chair permanently at their table for the rest of their lives. All for your right to party hard or protest against them."

So on 9/11/2011, 11/11/11 (Veterans Day), and Memorial Day, please listen to me when I say this... IF you don't understand WHY we have these holidays, don't appreciate WHY we have these holidays, don't understand WHO gave up their life for these holidays, don't know the families of those who gave everything to have these holidays, or just DON'T care WHY we have these holidays, do me this favor: Pack your shit, pack your family, and get the FUCK out of my country. If you won't stand behind our troops, PLEASE OH PLEASE, Stand in front of them so you take the bullet or IED hit... not them. IF you appreciate the freedom of speech but don't appreciate that freedom, do one of two things; Shut your damn mouth or MOVE to a country other than ours.

Remember, living in this country is a right. Not a privilege. If you live in this great nation, then stand up, take off your hat, cover your heart and say the pledge of Allegiance, sing the national anthem, and be QUIET when you hear Taps. This isn't the United States of America and mexico and canada and europe and asia. When you live here, there is but ONE flag you pledge allegiance to. It's the flag that drapes over every casket of every american who has given their life for this country. If you want to fly a different flag, take it to the country it came from because it doesn't belong here.

Bottom line.... If you get the benefits of living in this great nation, show some damn appreciation for it or get the fuck out of our country.


The Nice Guy/ Navy Veteran 2000-2004

Thursday, September 1, 2011

#peopleofwalmart UGH

Have you ever watched the show "What would you do?" Hosted by John Quinones on ABC?

Today, I found myself in a situation just like one of their scenarios.

I had to run to Walmart to pick up a few items for the house. I should have turned around when I first walked in realizing it was the 1st and it would be PACKED full of people who were cranky and in their pajamas at 2 in the afternoon.

Instead, I trudged on and got 6 of the 7 items I needed. Then I headed towards the health and beauty section to get some shaving cream. That's when the trouble started. from at least 50 ft away, I hear this lady yelling at her child. Saying things that would make a sailor blush. The little girl was maybe 7 or 8 years old.

I slow down and watch and listen. The gist I got was that the little girl needed to go to the bathroom and kept asking her mom to take her there. Apparently, the mom was more interested in finding the right shampoo and conditioner for her hair than listen to her kid complain that she needed to pee. Well, I guess the mom took too long and the little girl wet herself.

This is when the mom had an full on nuclear explosion. She mad her daughter get out of the cart and starting yelling for everyone to hear "Look at this kid... She chose to pee her pants in the middle of the store. I think everyone should come and look and make fun of her. Maybe she won't do it again next time!"

Right at that moment the little girl looked up at me through miles and miles of tears. expecting more and more people to look at her with judgemental eyes and receive more ridicule from the people that were congregating. In that moment, I thought about every single time people made fun of me in school and the kid who was bullied who is now and adult decided to stand up for the underdog.

I walked over to the mom and politely said "Ma'am, can I talk to you for a second?" she responded... well, shouted "WHAT, Do you think I'm a bad mom for doing this?" I replied "Your daughter had been asking you to take her to the bathroom and you chose not to. I have a three year old. when he says he needs to pee, I take him right then and there. You see how much you are hurting your daughter right now? She's balling her eyes out and is probably feeling about the size of an ant. Please, for her sake knock it off, take her to the bathroom to clean up, and apologize"

Apparently, what she heard was "You're a douchebag who doesn't deserve to be a parent"... well... That's what I was THINKING. She started yelling at me, then back at her daughter more about how she was so embarrassed because of her daughter now. How she would be "handled by papa when they got home", and how she was going to go buy her diapers since she wasn't grown up enough to wear underwear anymore.

This is when I had enough. I told the lady I was going to stand between her and her daughter until a manager had come over to talk to the lady and that she needed to not talk to her daughter anymore until either the manager, cops, or CPS showed up. So as I'm waiting for a manager to show up, other ADULTS start coming over to ME and saying "dude, mind your own business" and "This isn't your fight or your child, leave it alone".

I was dumbfounded. How could OTHER adults allow this to happen? Is it easier for them to ignore it and say "Glad it's not me"? Is it easier for them to just blame it on the child and say "Mom must just be stressed and her daughter drove her over the edge?

At this point, I knew it was a battle I was going to lose. Too many jaded adults who sided with Mom and not the child. I was able to back the mom away enough and then turn around and squat down and tell the little girl "I hope you are ok. IF this is the normal way of life at your house, tell a teacher at school. You don't deserve what your mommy is doing. God Loves you, I've never met you before and I care about you. Tell your teachers so they can help you ok?"

God I've never felt so helpless before. What more could I have done? Called CPS myself? Called the cops?

I felt that childs' pain to the core of my soul. I quickly grabbed my cart and checked out all the while choking back years' worth of tears for the pain I felt when I was bullied by classmates. I went to my car and sat there for a while and just cried and prayed for that little girl.

I remembered reading a chapter in the book "Real Dad Rules" by Dan Pearce. It was called "Real Dads speak softly and with kind words". I thought about his post "Congratulations, you just broke your child".

I thought about Dan while all this was happening. I took away from this that not just Real Dads, but REAL PARENTS don't berate their children. Real parents don't make their kids feel insignificant. Real parents LOVE their kids and shower them with kindness and compassion.

I'm still struggling with myself over whether I should have stayed and called the cops or CPS. Should I have stood by that little girls' side and risked her safety to stand up to her mom (and eventually "Papa")? I'll wrestle with this trouble for a while to come. Go hug your kids, Go show them you love them more than anything in the world. Tell them you love them. Kiss them in public (that's a good kind of embarrassment), lif t them up and help them be the best they can be.

I'm off to shower my son with love.

The Nice Guy

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet Hank Yuloff

I don't quite remember HOW I crossed paths with Hank. I can't tell you how many people I've connected with since meeting Hank. BUT, I can tell you that he's one helluva guy, and in terms of "connectors" for people, he's the best I've seen so far.

You see, I'm a salesman. My job is to talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. Of course, I have to listen to clients before I can talk. BUT, as a salesman, I was always taught to always find a way to sell the product I was pitching.

And then enters Hank. And he's blown that whole theory out of the water for me. Every day of Every week on Facebook, he finds someone who needs something from someone else he knows. Sounds kinda vague right? Well, he's done it so regularly that's really the best way to explain it.

While I've never met Hank face to face, I can't wait for the time that we do. He's got a hilarious personality, is always looking for ways to HELP others, and because of this, he's doing very well for himself.

It's called Relational Equity. Hank understands that. When you invest in others, spend time getting to know them, and pay attention to what their needs are... You end up being very successful and having MANY MANY people around you who WANT you around.

Hank's one of those guys.... I always smile when I see him post because I know he'll either be sharing a success story from someone he knows, or helping someone get what they need.

I HIGHLY suggest taking a moment and sending him a friend request on Facebook HERE, then going to one or all of his sites. qrcroi.com which helps people learn about QR Codes. LearnToPark.com which lets people vent and buy large orange post its to put on badly parked cars. My Promotional Product business promotionallyminded.com and my SendOutCards business cardsbyhank.com

Yeah yeah yeah lots of links I know. BUT, Lemme tell ya... Hank is a guy who understands relationships. He understands helping people. Take a minute to get to know him. I promise it will be worth your time!

The Nice Guy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is it Christmas yet?

Have you ever noticed that the "Holiday Spirit" only lasts until a few days after Christmas? Why can't the charitable behaviors that are so prevalent during the holidays continue year round?

I've been asking myself this question for the past few weeks. I drive to the town north of me once or twice a week depending on my needs. in this little 30 mile stretch of Freeway, I see more people being rude than kind.

This past week has reminded me that we take things just a tad too serious, and often forget about the things that matter. The funny part of this whole concept was that 5 years ago, I would have been the jackass cutting every person off trying to get to my destination with no concern about others.

In the past week, I've seen more middle fingers than cars, and more harsh words thrown around than on a Navy ship. I've seen more people cut off going 80 MPH than I can even count. Maybe it's the heat that us Northern Californians experience every summer? Maybe the economy has taken every last ounce of patience we have and thrown it out the window (literally and figuratively).

Maybe our society has become so caught up with "What about me??!!" than "what about my fellow human beings". Maybe we've become so accustomed to having things instantly, we no longer appreciate delayed gratification? Maybe people have forgotten the simple concept of a Random Act of Kindness?

As I set the cruise control to 70 on the freeway each time I trek up north, I see so many tailgating, cutting each other off, flipping each other off, and every other rude action that could be taken while driving, I thank God that I've been fortunate enough to realize that life isn't about the destination. It's about the journey. I shouldn't be focused on the finish line, but the beautiful flowers along the path and the person on that path with me.

As August hits us with full force, I ache for the holidays to get here. I ache for the kindness, charity, open arms, and patience that many people seem to suddenly remember. Maybe I'm naive to think that this "holiday kindness" could last year round. Maybe in a world full of fast paced madness, I'm able to stop and appreciate being stuck behind a semi going 55. Maybe I'm the person who would rather be late than never there. I do know that I don't want to be the dad looking down from above because I was too rushed to get somewhere. I want to get to the party on earth, but not upstairs just yet.

If by chance you are reading this, think about that wreckless driving maneuver you are about to make. Think about the mom and dad with their child in the backseat. Think about how that child would feel if they suddenly didn't have mommy and daddy around for the rest of their lives. Think about that person you see walking down the street who might be homeless. Is it really too much to simply stop somewhere and grab them a meal? Think about how you feel during the holidays, and keep that spirit year round. We are all capable of love greater than we can fathom. Why not share some of it with others that might need it?

Yes, this is August, but for me and my family, we're going to let everyone know we think it's Christmas time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bittersweet Fathers Day

So yesterday was father's day. A day where children are supposed to tell their dad's that they love them, and Fathers are supposed to kick their feet up and enjoy being a Padre. My son told me "happy fathers day daddy" right when I woke up. It's probably one of the best feelings in the world. I however, didn't call my dad and wish him a happy fathers day.

I pondered this all day. It's not like I forgot. I actively chose not to call my dad. even at age 29, the wounds and hurt of childhood still find their way to the surface. the words "I won't come to your soccer games because I don't like soccer" still sting with white hot intensity. The High School graduation that you missed still upsets me to this day. The wedding you missed, the birth of your only grandchild still upsets me. I don't think any amount of time or apologies can ever heal those wounds that I feel.

Last night, my son woke up in the middle of the night with an upset stomach. As I held him and rocked him back to sleep, I wondered if you would have done that with me, or just stayed in bed while my mom got up and took care of things. I wonder if I would have taken priority in your life like I do with my son. I wonder if on Fathers Day, you would have put aside your wants and needs and played with me. That's what I did. While I still had work that needed to be done, I put it on pause to play with my son.

I had a lot of chances yesterday to do things with my son that I don't think you ever did with me. Every time I did something with my son, I cherished every second of it and prayed for God to slow down time so I could enjoy it that much more. I wonder if had you been in that same spot, if you would have prayed for time to hurry up.

I learned many things from my dad. most of which are the ways a Dad shouldn't behave. I learned what abandonment and irresponsibility does to a young child.... especially a son. I learned that there are just some topics that a Father should talk about and teach his son. A son shouldn't have to learn to shave on his own or tie a tie on his own. A son shouldn't have to learn on the fly what Chivalry is. It should be taught from the beginning of his life. Every time his dad has the chance, he should open a door for a lady, pull her chair out for her, walk on the outside of the street to protect his lady. A son should NEVER have to refer to his mom as his "Fadre" (Father&Madre) like I have.

Because my dad wasn't there, I've learned that my only option as a DAD is to ALWAYS be there for my kids.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm a fan of America. #nablopomo

"What makes America unique as a nation?"

This question was posed by the Red Bluff Daily News in our town. Here's my answer in 250 words or less.

The fact that we as a nation are in reality a nation of immigrants instantly makes us unique. Every creed, every religion, and every race is represented as America. What started as a group of people looking to get away from religious persecution led to a nation that is now a super power in the world. While in reality, we are a baby nation in comparison to those like Japan, China, England, Spain, Italy, and many others in Europe and Asia.

Many other countries force high school graduates to go into the military. While our country gives the option to go straight to work, college, military, or any other destination an 18 year old desires. While many other countries have one religion, we have them all. While other countries insist on practicing one and only one religion, our 1st Amendment gives the freedom to choose any religion.

Many other countries are known for one kind of dish. Here in the states however, we have deep dish pizza in Chicago, creole in the south, mexican food in the southwest, seafood in the northwest, alligator burgers in Florida, and about a million other choices for food. We don't have a "national dish" we have a heinz 57 mix of national dishes.

But for me, the absolute one thing that differentiates us as Americans, and us as a nation, is our Armed Forces, and those who support them. For without our military, all of the aforementioned qualities that was have wouldn't be possible. We support our troops, we have Memorial Day, we have Veterans Day. I don't know of any other nation that celebrates our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Veterans as much as we do. For that one reason, we are the most unique, and for that, I am PROUD to be a Veteran, and even prouder to call myself an American.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm a fan of #SMmanners (most of the time)

OK, the post is a little misleading. In all honesty, I LOVE #SMmanners totally and completely. However, there comes a time when the rules need to be thrown out. About two years ago, I had such an example of when I put my reputation on the line in support of another human being who was under pressure from another user on twitter.

There was a mom blogger who was also a military spouse. As a parent, our biggest fear has always, and will always be losing one of our children. This mom blogger had been out tweeting during the day with her kids and taking pictures of the forest, ducks, and everything in between. However, there was a silence for a couple hours and then an update that stopped me in my tracks. "Just found 2 yr old in the pool, on our way to ER, please pray". My heart sank for someone I had never met in real life but had interacted with numerous times online.

And so the support for her poured in. God was inundated with prayers from people all around the world. AND THEN, the most horrible and unimaginable thing happened. Someone went on the offensive and said "we need to verify that this isn't a scam. Don't send money until it's verified". This was just the beginning unfortunately. Further tweets and blog posts said "if she hadn't been tweeting, this child would still be alive". Up until that remark, I had kept my mouth shut and minded my manners. This was the straw that broke the camels back.

The business man in me said "keep your mouth shut and mind your own business". The man, father, husband, Navy Vet, and proud American in me shouted "KICK HER ASS SEABASS". Needless to say, the business man was locked in the basement. I started a twitter war of words with this woman. I threw all caution to the wind and did what was right. I stood up for a woman who was grieving, and was now being attacked by the one tooth wonder. (By the way, I'm doing my best to keep this as PG as possible, but even after almost two years, my blood still boils thinking about it)

Yes, I cursed, spoke like a sailor, probably offended a large portion of my following with my language and vulgarity. But the most important thing about the whole situation is I did was was right. I've always loved the saying "What may be popular may not be right, and what may be right may not be popular". In this instance, I've been told I was simply saying what everyone else didn't have the courage to say. Which is fine by me. Hell, I've been known to hop into battles and ruin my own reputation to defend others. Why did my reputation get damaged? EH who knows. Maybe it was my means to an end (read talking and acting like a sailor). Which in northern california is often frowned upon. That's another post.

In the end, I received many thanks from other mom bloggers (while also seeing my follower count dwindle). However, a few lessons were learned during this whole ordeal. I can be a best friend, or a worst enemy. I don't relish battle one bit, but I know it's a reality. It was my reality for 4 years in the Navy from 2000-2004.

Did I break every Social Media Manner in the rule book? I'm pretty sure I did. Did I meet some wonderful people in the process? You bet. Did I lose over half the people that followed me? Yes. Was it worth it? OH YEAH. I asked myself the question before I engaged in twitter war "Is this juice worth the squeeze? Will it damage my online presence in the process? The answer to both questions was Yes. But ultimately, That juice was worth the squeeze.

And lastly, the one thing that has come up in conversation over the past couple months is just how many people saw what I did, and subsequently followed me. Those same people have become friends, allies, business partners, and confidantes. I'm the one willing to take the heat when the situation calls for it. I'm the friend who answers the phone at 3 in the morning to pick you up if you had too much to drink. I'm the one who drops what I'm doing to help out those in need. This in the end, was worth more to most people than what others deemed as having poor social media manners.

Has there ever been a time where you had to throw manners aside to stop a thorn in your side or someone else's? If you saw the battle that happened then, what were your thoughts? Was I right or should I have kept my mouth shut? Looking forward to your responses!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm a fan of Local Celebrities

My definition of a "local Celebrity" is someone who is a rockstar within the community. Fundraising, awareness for causes, advocates, community organizers. These are the people that really make the world go round here in Northern California. Some of the people I'm going to write about have raised over $10,000 in one weekend alone by getting donations of $1, $5, and $10.

They've made a difference to me and the community in which I live. Some have raised money for the poor, others for Veterans, and Women's shelters. These three alone are the most near and dear to my heart. Therefore, These people are not only "Local celebrities" to me, but are local heroes.

First up is Charlee Thompson. She's in the Army, a part of the Honor Guard, a HUGE advocate for veterans, and is an all around really cool woman. Every event I've attended in Shasta County in relation to Veterans has included seeing Charlee involved in some fashion. Her energy is infections, Intelligence in humbling, and has a smile that could disarm even the most angry world leaders. I consider it an honor to have met her and chatted with her on numerous occasions. And in my eyes the coolest thing she does is "Christmas For The Troops". She gets donations from places all over northern california and then sends off care packages to troops all around the world. Now, I don't know if it was the same group, but I received one of these care packages when I was on deployment in 2001. Let me tell you... Getting a package from a complete stranger or group of people who have never met me but support me from half Linkway around the world.. That's incredible. I can't even put into words how much it means when something like that happens.

Next is Tad Shackles. He's a local DJ that does SO MANY great things in the area. Of course, that isn't his real name, but he threatened to start calling me "Nugget" (long story... another blog post) if I used his real name. Anyhoo... Tad had done the local version of "Dancing with the stars" and raised a TON of money. All of this was to benefit the Shasta Womens' Refuge. In an effort to raise as much money as possible, he actually spent almost 3 days on the top of a parking garage to raise money. All in all, he raised almost $13,000 in three days, and I believe around $20,000 in total. He's done countless other things as well. Including raising money for the Redding Soroptimists and he won the Mardi Gras King prize. He also won by raising money, selling tickets, and getting votes. Below are the photos of him on DWTS and as the Mardi Gras King.P.A.T.H - Poor And The Homeless of Tehama County. The amount of work that they have done in our little community to help the less fortunate is truly awe inspiring. They give of their time and energy in so many ways that it always inspires me to find ways to get involved. If you have a few bucks to spare, you can go to their website and donate HERE. Dave and Nancy are heroes to me and to our community!

While I'm at it, there's one other person that I consider to be such an amazing guy. His name is Tommy Corey. He's the creator of The Self Worth Project. He's kind, funny, and has an amazing heart. The images he takes and shares can bring tears to your eyes, make you smile, contemplate your life, think twice about the words you may direct towards another person, and help you realize that YOU are beautiful on the inside and out. He's an inspiration to me, and as of last count, about 9,334 others (fans on his fan page).

These are all people who are not only making a difference locally, but as far as their arms, heart, and love will allow them. They are all amazing people who I think are Heroes in my community.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I'm a Fan of sunshine!

Right now, it's June in Red Bluff.. June the 4th to be exact. Normally, we are experiencing 90 degree weather with beautiful sunshine, kids playing outside, me doing yardwork, BBQ's burning in every back yard, beers being cracked open, and smiles all around.

However, We don't have that. There is no sunshine, it's raining, and I'm experiencing levels of pissed offness that I've never experienced before (thank you Ron White for that line). I normally don't mind being behind the computer all day (working or playing), but this is getting out of hand!

SO, if there is anyone who reads this blog who is a PA, RN, MD, FNP... Can you please prescribe Mother Nature some Abilify, Prozac, Klonopin, Wellbutrin, Lexapro... ANYTHING that will make this lady level out and give me some sunshine? I really don't care about global warming at this point. Melt the icecaps! Fill the oceans! JUST GIVE ME MY DAMN SUNSHINE!

OK, Rant over. If you've never heard of Ron White, here's a clip of this hilarious redneck!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

This time of year is often a somber day for me. It's filled with a plethora of emotions; pride, joy, sorrow, happiness, camaraderie, thankful, grateful. Sadly, it's also one of the days that tends to rub me wrong in some of the worst ways. I am reminded that I spent 4 years of my life away from friends, family, and familiar parts of Northern California in order for others to be blissfully ignorant of how good they really have it.

So what prompted me to write today? those same people who are blissfully ignorant of what has been sacrificed for their ability to party hard on Memorial Day. See, I had to run to Walmart earlier today and while I was there, I heard 5 different conversations. All of which included "Man, we are going to be so F*&^ing wasted tomorrow!". All the while PRAYING that I would hear one of them say "Just remember, we get to party because there are men and women who have given their lives for our right to have fun". Alas, I heard no such thing.

I have to be honest, I wanted to go slap the shit out of them and teach them a little bit about respect. They reminded me of the disrespectful punks who keep talking during the National Anthem, or who refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, or who refuse to remove their hat or cover their heart while the Pledge or the National Anthem are being performed.

The other thing that chaps my ass is when I hear about celebrities condemning our troops fighting a war half way around the world. They are a different kind of beast of which have a special place reserved in hell... along with attorneys. But then, there is a glimmer of hope in the video below that helps me realize that there are great musicians who care about our troops and do what they can to support them. Gene Simmons, You sir are awesome! Enjoy the video!

After you watched this, please take one moment to just say a simple prayer or take a moment of silence to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our right to be a free country. God Bless America!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Politics and sports

I posted this remark and question on Facebook today:
from all the updates I've seen today about parents in RB who had kids who got nto the football team. I'm curious how many DIDN'T make the team. last time I heard, there were around 150 kids who didn't make it... Hey Jr. Spartans.... Time for an A&B team set up?

It reminded me of baseball tryouts and how some kids got on teams that were stacked and other teams were a case of the bad news bears... and even how some kids were picked to move up and others weren't. I remember time after time of going to tryouts and doing very well. I had practiced for hours each week during the off season and was determined to be the best player I could be. Oh how naive I was then....

It also reminded me of High School soccer tryouts. kind of similar story... The coach had his favorites... I ran a faster mile and a half, I was quicker at the 40 meter dash, I was able to jump higher, and easily defended more shots on goal. This was my freshman year. I didn't make the team. chalk it up to politics and favoritism and not wanting to be on the rookie. I get it.

Sophomore year, same story. exchange student from Brazil and a new coach and wanted to make it look good having a foreign exchange student. He reminded me of Jorge Campos. Flashy goalie, but not effective at actually keeping the ball from going in the net.

Junior year... same coach, but one of his sons was trying out... who was 6 inches shorter, slower, and just plain sucked. Yeah, you've found one of the Nice Guy's weaknesses. politics in sports. Honestly, the first two years I was able to chew it up and swallow my frustration. It hurt more knowing the team won one game that year. It also made it hurt less as I sat at each game and snickered to myself as they got slaughtered.

Recap: Freshman through junior year, soccer teams were chosen based on politics.

And then my senior year came around... We had a coach that was actually a soccer player, played for Chico State, and knew the game inside and out. Regardless of whether I made the team or not, I knew I had put in outrageous amounts of work into being in the best shape ever. I searched high and low for tips and tricks of how to be a better goalie, and to understand the game. I learned and practiced Plyometrics, I started running long distance, I did weightlifting. When I wasn't in school or attending church, I had a soccer ball with me. Come hell or high water, I was going to make the team my senior year.

Tryouts arrive and sure enough, some of the "chosen ones" made their jokes "Hey, is JD going to set the record for most tryouts and not make the team" kind of crap. At that moment, I knew I was going to show them up. I could have played any position and beat them. both in ball skills and endurance. I worked my ass off and I planned on showing it. And whaddya know? Having an intelligent coach and a year's worth of hard training paid off. I was starting goalie for every game that season. In the toughest loss of the season, I actually set a league record for the most saves in a game... 47. We lost 1-0 to Pleasant Valley. And at the end of the year, I was awarded All League Goalie by the coaches of the league.

So, the question of the hour is this: Should returning players have to tryout? How should perceived favoritism be handled? And most importantly... what should parents tell their kids when they don't make the team?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the Yang #military #loss

This afternoon, after spending time helping with the Special Olympics, I came home and read about a man from a town just north of me named Redding who was serving in the Military overseas in Afghanistan. This is the third soldier in our community who has lost their life.

As a Veteran, American, and Citizen of the USA, my heart cries with sadness to hear about another young life lost to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I read the story about this young man, my heart broke for the mom and wife he left back home. At the same time, my heart swelled with pride as I read that he went back to Afghanistan early to be with his unit. His devotion to this country is unquestionable. The price he paid doesn't have a dollar sign attached to it.

I am attending the funeral Thursday afternoon in support of his family. In fact, as I am writing this, the local news channel just posted this on Facebook: "Want to show your support for Preston Dennis' family? We are handing out American flags for you to wave as Dennis' body is taken from McDonalds Chapel to the Vets Cemetary in Igo on Thursday. Flags are free to the first 400 who come to our station on Auditorium Dr. in Redding, Wednesday from 8-5pm. Hope to see you!"

I will be there to support the family, honor a fallen brother in arms, and show my respect for those who have paid the ultimate price for our nation. This man gave his life for every right we have today as an American. Please take a moment and say a prayer for this fallen soldier and his family.

Take a moment to thank anyone you know who is serving or has served. Take a moment to tell your family you love them. While we still have this privilege, there are those who don't. May this fallen soldier RIP and may God bring peace to their lives and hearts.

the Yin #parenting #joy

This morning I was blessed to have the chance at helping out the local Special Olympics. When I was in Jr. High and High School, I was able to help out Developmentally Disabled kids on a regular basis. I was able to come to their classroom, play games, go for walks, and just spend some quality time with them.

I remember how much it would anger me when other kids would make such horrible remarks towards these kids. I remember how they would mock them with their words and actions. Most importantly, I remember the unconditional love and forgiveness that permeated from their body. No matter how many taunts, jokes, pranks, or mean words were slung at them, they went about their day loving every person that came across their path.

I remember the first time I realized how jealous I was of these kids. I was jealous because they somehow neglected to notice those foul beings who made fun of them. I was jealous that these kids were able to love any and every person with whom they met. I remember wishing that I could have that ability.

Today, I got to spend a couple hours helping put on the hoop shoot and soccer shoot booth for the Elks Lodge. I got to see at least a thousand smiling faces having the times of their lives. I got to celebrate something that I take for granted on a regular basis. I was able to shoot the basketball and kick the soccer ball with all of these kids, high five them every time they shot the ball or kicked it. I found myself on more than a few occasions choking up a little bit because I was reminded that there are people in the world who are pure of heart, who only want to love. I was shown that there is joy in everything in life. I saw a community of people who love each other and only want the best for each other.

I watched this video a couple years ago. I remember crying so hard because I've seen people act the same way as described and I didn't stand up or say anything. I cried because I didn't defend the defenseless. Take 5 minutes and watch this video. I promise it will be worth your while.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bullies and How I made it out alive

With it being 12 years since the tragic events at Columbine, there have been 46 more school shootings world wide. I was the victim of bullies for most of my school years from 6th grade till high school graduation. I felt some extremely low points during that time. I didn't have many high points... but I made it out alive. I wrote this note months ago and shared it on Facebook. I can only hope that any kids out there feeling as if they are being bullied can read this and hopefully find some strength. If any of them ever need an ear to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, or a back to share the burden, I am here. email me at justin.iiams@gmail.com Here's the note:

This topic of bullies has been one of the biggest sorrows and burdens my entire life. This past month has brought all of the memories from my past to the surface and I've had to painfully remember them and use those memories to talk to those around me who are or have been bullied. being called every cruel term about pimples to having a gut. to not wearing the "cool clothes" to smelling like cigarettes because my mom and grandma smoked in the house. to not fitting in and not being accepted for who I was. From the jackass who tormented me every chance he got in high school to the guy who repeatedly tormented me in the pool during PE. The girls who would laugh at me and wouldn't give me the time of day. the ones who looked at me as if I were a Leaper and would give them a disease if they talked to me or had to sit next to me. High school in a nutshell was a nightmare. the football player who was coach johnsons' pride and joy who threw apples and oranges at me, who shoved me into lockers, called me every horrible name he could think of, and made it his life's mission to make me miserable. from pantsing me every chance he got and calling me needle dick whenever there was a group of girls around. He was there to make sure I was the one who was laughed at when there were plenty of people to laugh at me with him.

Yeah, i hated high school. I hated the teachers that didn't listen, I hated the students that laughed at me, i hated those who took it upon themselves to make sure I was as unhappy as possible. What goes through the mind of a kid who is bullied? first, sadness. second, hatred. third, self doubt. fourth, more hatred. fifth, depressing/anxiety/rage. see the pattern? with each and every time that someone is bullied, their rage grows. What happens if that rage doesn't have an outlet? mayhem. That kid who was bullied incessantly finally cannot take it anymore and does one of two things. They take their life, or the life of another. How do I know? I fantasized about the revenge I wanted. it consumed me. All I could think about was the vengeance that I would have one day. The day that I wasn't paying attention and I was hit with an apple in the head from across the classroom and the teacher did NOTHING. What did I have planned at that point? I packed my backpack, I went to my car, I went home, grabbed a baseball bat, and started driving back to school. I was going to make sure that the pain I felt both physically and mentally would be transferred back to this guy. I got back to school and sat in my car for what felt like hours. I cried. I cried hard. Who had I become? This person with so much rage I wanted to cause physical harm to another person? It scared the hell out of me. long story short, I chose NOT to take out my rage on him. Call it a miracle of God, call it a turning point, call it whatever you want. I somehow became the exception. I chose not to hurt another human being.

So, How did I make it out alive? 8 people come to mind apart from my family. Eddie Henderson, Heidi Henderson, Jennifer Morris, Jesse Morris, Daryl Jones, Jenny Jones, Jim Monck, and Sharon Monck, and Bev Kelley. These were all people that were either a pastor, youth pastor, or leader and role model to me. These were people that accepted me completely. pimples, gut, and awkwardness, and everything else. They made me feel as if I belonged. I gradually BELIEVED that I belonged. Eddie, Jesse, and Daryl kept me on the straight and narrow and the wonderful women were the shoulder I needed to share my burdens with. I can confidently say that without them, I don't know if I would be here today.

Thank you Eddie, Heidi, Jennider, Jesse, Daryl, Jenny, Bev, Jim, and Sharon for being there for me when I needed it. You have truly been a godsend to me in my life.

I learned one very important lesson in all of this: It will get better. maybe not today, or tomorrow, but it will get better. I promise.

The Nice Guy

P.S. do you have a story similar to this? Were you the bully and changed your ways? Share in the comments section and let the world know that Bullies will not be tolerated anymore!

Monday, April 11, 2011

GOD I hate bullies! #parenting

Today I was minding my own business on my way to the post office to get the mail. I'm on the phone and I see a few cars in front of me slow down then keep going. to my right, I see a big boy... probably around 6'0 230 lbs wailing on the other kid who was MAYBE 5'4" and 120 lbs dripping wet. I roll the window down and tell them to knock it off. No stopping. I put the car in park, get out, and then pull the big boy off the little one. He was smart enough not to throw a punch but he was certainly considering it. I tell the kid being beat up to get on out of there and I would handle "Tubs" (as I affectionately called him after he got lippy).

SO, little kid starts walking off and then Tub's friends start mouthing off "Hey, why the fuck do you care?!?!" Let's see.... I was that kid less than 15 years ago. The memories are still VERY clear to me. The memories of being bullied. the memories of having the ever loving dog shit beat out of me are still VERY vivid to me. While your buddy was beating the hell out of him (the little guy) you were watching and laughing. then your mouthy little girlfriend yelled "You're dead you little shit"... now, I see that as a valid threat So I got on the phone and called the police. The two little punks got in their beat up little rice burner car (but not before I got their license plate.. it's 5NKJ761 in case anyone wants to find out who owns it so I can call their parents btw).

While I was waiting for the police to show up, Tubs and his merry band of hoodrats kept slinging insults and threats at me. Unfortunately, they were all under age or I might be writing this blog from jail... that's another story.

SO, I think the day is over, broke up a fight, and did a good deed. hopefully the smaller boy won't have to deal with those bullies again. BUT WAIT, I WAS WRONG!!!!!

So Hoodrat 1 and Hoodrat 2 drive past me, and then proceed to follow me. for 30 minutes.... I called the police again and their response? "well sir, you can come to the police dept if you think they will follow you". Right, and Osama Bin Laden is gunna roll up to the white house and say "Hey Pres Obama, lets partay!". Sure.

So, I decide to slow down and let them drive up next to me. I say "Hello ladies, tell me, are either of you over the age of 18? because if you are, we'll park now and I'll teach you what it means to trifle with someone. Hell, I'll even let the two of you fight. so long as I get to record it and post it on youtube after I've filed my report with the police department for harrasment and threats. Because i'm feeling generous, I will let you know this one thing: I am a Navy Veteran, I was bullied a lot in school, I have no patience or tolerance for bullies, and I will teach you both a lesson on picking on someone. just because there are two of you doesn't mean I won't beat the shit out of you. You will either learn today or another day that picking on someone doesn't do the world any good. now scamper along, go play xbox and talk shit to someone for fragging them in a make believe world where you think you are superior."

They promptly drove off after peeling out their tires while screaming expletives.

SO, here's what I learned today.....

Bullies need to have their asses handed to them for them to eventually realize the harm they are doing. case in point here:

As an adult, whether you have the time or not, whether you are late to work, or have the entire day to yourself... If you see someone being picked on or beaten up or being bullied... stop the damn car and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! By driving past events like these, you are passively condoning violence and bullies. Stand up for the little guy. I hear so many people talk about how they hate bullies, but they never do anything about it. Was there a chance Tubs and his 4 friends could have ganged up on me? Certainly! Would the kid who was being bullied gotten away? Yep. I am strong enough to take an ass whipping. But how about all those kids who have committed suicide because they weren't strong enough? If they would have seen just one person stand up for them, maybe they would see that they do have someone on their side.

thirdly, the police department is slooooooooooowwwwwww. I was no more than 4 blocks away from the RBPD when this happened. 15 minutes passed before a cop showed up. To say I was fairly disappointed in their *ahem* "timeliness" would be an understatement. and obviously, they have more important things to do... as to what, i'm not sure.

Fourth... a friend of mine said that a 1V1 fight is fair... sure, in MMA fights, Boxing, and other blood sports. Both people step into the ring knowing full well they are going to bash each others' brains in. but in this instance??? a kid twice the size of another? I can only guess by the few seconds of a fight that neither had formal training in fighting. so the argument that it was "fair" is invalid. There was nothing fair about this fight. it was a big boy picking on a little boy. that's not fair in my book.

and Lastly, I vow to ALWAYS stop when I see someone being picked on. Whether the bully is half my size or twice my size. If I get my ass beat in the process of defending someone who can't defend themselves... Those are bumps and bruises I'm willing to take on.

In this day & age, Bullies shouldn't be able to get away with things like this. The police department needs to round the kid up, and take them to Juvie. The schools need to stomp this incessant amount of bullying before it's too late for another child. If you ever pass by an event like the one today, you are just as guilty as the bully in my eyes.

Here's the the underdog! Here's to Rudy! Here's to all people who stand up against bullies and stand up to protect those who can't defend themselves.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Causes I support

I just don't know how to say it any other way. I'm working to become a well off guy with a great family. Along the way, I find myself giving whatever money I can to help organizations out. There are a few groups that hold a special place in my heart. They all belong to Homeless shelters for men, women, and children, Veterans, Organizations that help kids with terminal illness, and organizations that fight cancer and Breast Cancer especially.

on a side note.. I've been attending a Mastermind Group for the past month. I'm nearly done with my vision board. on there I wrote the following idea: 100K/50K. This year, I want to earn 100K. I also want to find a way to donate half of that to these organizations. I just added one mid way through this post that was 50%. I am hoping that I can get people to donate $25k to these organizations while I am donating my 50K. ok, back to the post.

SO, there I am driving down the road and I realize that one of my life's passions is to volunteer and help raise money for those in need. I've worked with the Mentally ill in Shasta County and when the non profit I worked for shut down, I've never felt so helpless in my life. I had to tll 17 people that I needed to help them find a new home. I hear most of them are doing well. That makes me happy. But there are still transitional housing programs that are certainly struggling. Many city and county governments cut funding for these programs first. Sad to say, but that's how it goes. SO, There is an organization here in Red Bluff called P.A.T.H. (Poor and The Homeless). Here is their website: www.redbluffpath.org. You can also click this link to donate: https://www.justgive.org/basket?acton=donate&ein=68-0465095

Next is The Alyssa Araiza Wings of Angels Organization. Such a great organization! If you go to their website, please have tissues handy. You'll need them. I had to change my shirt since I didn't have a hanky nearby.

Next is the Make a Wish Foundation. Really, I can't say enough about how much this organization rocks. I've been listening to their radiothon all day today. Listening to the stories of kids and their wishes. I pretty much gave up calling on potential customers because every time I got in the car, I found myself pulled over crying listening to the great stories told by parents siblings, and the kids who had wishes come true. If you have a spare ten dollars, please donate to them. I know how tore up I get when my son has an ear infection! I can't even being to try to imagine how these kids, parents, and siblings feel. All I know is I heard happy story after happy story today. I am heading over tomorrow to hand one of the radio DJ's a $50 bill to help out. Here's the link to donate: https://simplecheckout.authorize.net/payment/CatalogPayment.aspx

And lastly, my good buddy Pedro Perez and his wife Christy have two kids with Mitochondria. I will be honest, I can hardly understand what the hell this disease is. I do know this: Mitochondrial diseases can affect any organ in the body and at any age. I also know how many times Pedro and his wife have been in the ER trying to find out what is happening to their lovely kids. By the way, their kids are absolutely adorable. His son Ethan has the awesomest laugh that I've ever heard. It would be a sad day if that Laugh didn't permeate into the world anymore. SO, Now that you've donated to Make a Wish, PATH, and Wings of Angels, take your credit card one more time and click HERE.

If you only spent one dollar at each place. That's one coffee. Can you go without Starbucks or Dutch Bros or Java Detour for one morning? Can you skip McDonald's to help out? I am skipping fast food and coffee and sodas. That money alone should help me donate around $100 a month to all of these groups. So please, from me, my friends, those I've never met before, and millions who you or I will never meet face to face, I urge you to help out. Thank you.

The Nice Guy

Thursday, February 24, 2011

being a REAL parent

First let me admit something... I watch entirely too much television. I need to attend a 12 step program or something. I don't always watch crap. last night I watched The Biggest Loser. I am often moved to tears while watching this show. I mean cmon it's meant to be inspirational.

Last night was a whole different ball game. I saw three parents choose to gain weight in order to keep their kids safe from elimination. I saw a son tell his dad "If I can ever be half the man you are, I am a success". I saw a father and mother fall on the sword to make sure their kids stayed at the ranch and further improve their health.

The job of a parent is to do whatever it takes (legally, morally, and ethically that is) to make sure their kids have a better life than we had. That means skipping the newest technology gizmo in order to pay for books or clothes or anything else that could better your child's life.

I was blessed to have a mom that did this exact thing for me growing up. She gave up things in order for me to have the necessities of life. and plenty of "extras" such as sporting equipment that was not cheap by any means. I am truly angered when I see a parent complaining about not being able to pay for a cap & gown for graduation, but they are able to go to the casino and gamble a couple hundred dollars away. Or smoke a pack a day and not think twice while their child is wearing clothes from last school year. I have been trying to quit chewing tobacco for a LONG time. UGH it's hard. The bottom line tho... IF I had to make a choice between sending my kids on a school trip/function/graduation trip and buying a can of chew? I would give it up in a heart beat!

Sadly, my dad didn't understand sacrifice for me. He was happy with his life and was OK with me visiting during the summer and showing up around my birthday and Christmas. that was about it. so Guys.... Here's my plea to you. If you have a child, for Gods sake! Quit being so damn selfish and get your kids what they need! Remember that YOU chose to bring a life into this planet. Remember that THEY come first in everything that you do.

OK, Off my soap box now. To the parents who understand selflessness, sacrifice, giving your kids better things than you had, teaching them value in what they have, My hat's off to you!

Tell me what you think. Should more parents take a lesson from The Biggest Loser?

Monday, February 21, 2011

What really pissed me off?

I found this email that I had printed out when I was in the Navy. I read it last weekend and then shared it as a note on Facebook. Then today, I found an article about a wounded soldier who was heckled at Columbia University while giving a speech in support of the ROTC. You can read the story HERE. I tell ya what, by the end of the story, I found my knuckles were white and my blood was boiling. OF COURSE the ritsy titsy rich parents don't want their kids to go to war or learn what it means to serve our country. OF COURSE they are against the war. OF COURSE they would say the military preys on low income families. What really pisses me off? The amount of federal funding that goes to Columbia. I don't know how much, but I am more than certain that they get money from the government. so these pansy ass students who are against the war want to rally and say things like "1 in 3 females in the military are sexually assaulted" But they failed to mention how many females are sexually assaulted on a college campus. hypocrisy much?!?!

Anyways, off my soap box. Here's the note I posted on Facebook. Tell me what you think about all of this.

"It could have been any night of the week, as I sat in one of those loud and casuel steak houses that are cropping up all over the country. You kjnow the type- a bucket of peanuts on the table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky collee kids racing around with longneck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd oer the rim of my glass. I let my gaze linger on a few of the tables next to me, where several uniformed military members were enjoying their meals. Smiling sadly, I glanced across my booth tothe empty seat where my husband usually sat. Had it only been a few weeks since we had sat at this very table talking about his upcoming deployment to the middle east? He made me promise to come back to this restaurant once a month, sit in our booth, and treat myself to a nice dinner. He told me that he would treasure the thought of me there eating a steak and thinking about him until he came home. I fingered the little flag pin I wear on my jacket and wondered where at that moment he was. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were any of my letters getting to him? As I pondered all of these things, shrill feminine voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking invading Iraq. Didn't he learn anything from his father's mistakes? He is an idiot anyway. I can't believe he is even in office. You know he stole the election"

I cut into my steak and tried not to listen as they began an endless tirade of running fown our president. I thought about the last night I was with my husband as he prepared to deploy. He has just returned from getting his smallpox and Anthrax shots and the image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gave me chills.

once again, their voiced invaded my thoughts.

"Its all about oil you know. Our military will go in and rape and pillage and steal all the oil they can int he name of freedom. I wonder how many innocent lives our soldiers will take without a thought? It is just pure greed"

My chest tightened and I stared at my wedding ring. I could picture how handsome my husband was in his mess dress the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing at that moment. He probably had on his desert uniform. Affectionately dubbed coffee stains, over the top of which he wore a heavy bulletproof vest.

"We should just leave Iraw alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapeons... I think it is all a ploy to increase the president's popularity and pad the budget of our military at the expense of social security and education. We are just asking for another 9/11 and I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it"

Teir words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women who leave theirhomes and family to ensure our freedom? I glimpsed at the tables around me an saw the faces of some of those courageous men. Looking sad as they listened to the ladies talk.

"Well, I for one, think it is a travesty to invade Iraw and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby killers we call a Military."

Professional baby killers?!?! As I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is and wondered how long it would be before he was able tosee his children again, indignation rose up within me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a boldness I ha never known. Tonight, one voice would cry our on behalf of themilitary. One shy woman would stand and let her pride in our troops be known. I made my way to their table, placing my palms flat on it and lowered myself to be eye level with them. Smiling I said "I couldn't help overhearing your your conversation. I am sitting over here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. Do you know why I am alone? Because my husband, whom I love dearly, is halfway across the world defending your right to say rotten things about him. You have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. But what you say in my hearing is and I will not sit by and listen to you run down my country, my president, my husband, and all these other fine men and women in here who put their lives on the line to give you the freedom tocomplain. Freedom is expensive ladies. Don't let your words and actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder than I meant to be, because about that time the manager came over and asked if everything was all right. "yes, thank you" I replied and then turned back to the ladies. "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

To my surprise, as I sat down to finish my steak, a round of applause broke out in the restaurant. Not long after the ladies picked up their check and scurried away, the manager brought me a huge helping of apple cobbler and ice cream. Compliments of the table to my left. He told me that the ladies had tried to pay for my dinner but someone had already beaten them to it. When I asked who, he said the couple had already left, but that the man had mentioned he was a WWII Vet and wanted to take care of the wife of one of our boys.

I turned to thank the soldiers for the cobbler, but they wouldn't hear a word of it retorting "Thank you, you said what we wanted to, but weren't allowed"

As I drove home that night, for the first time in a while, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of all the patrons who had stopped by my table to tell me they too were proud of my husband and that he would be in their prayers. I knew their flags would fliy a little higher the next day. Perhaps they would look for tangible ways to show their pride in our country and our troops. And maybe, just MAYBE, the two ladies sitting at that table next to me would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom this great country offers and what it costs to maintain. As for me, I had learned that one voice can make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand across the street with a sign of my own. a sign that says "THANK YOU!!"

Note from me:

I also fought for every persons right for freedom of speech, the right to have an opinion, the right to live in this country without fear of religious persecution. whenever the weather is decent in Red Bluff (meaning around 70 degrees with no wind or rain or blistering heat) a group of protsters gather on main street to protest the war and protest the military. I like to call them fair weather protesters. If it REALLY mattered to them, they would be out there all day every day of every week of every month of every year. Rain, sleet, snow, sunshine, or 115 degree weather. But they aren't. Actions speak louder than words. If you care about something, SHOUT it from the the mountaintops. If you were able to read this note, thank a teacher. If you were able to read it in english, thank a veteran or service member.

If you found this note offensive, I honestly can't say I am sorry. If it did offend you, you have the right to not read it, you have the right to unfriend me, you have the right to call me whatever name you please. I won't be offended. After all, I fought for that right too.

To sum it all up, I think a sticker on a car I saw words it best. If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please, FEEL FREE to stand in front of them.