Stepdad's Thoughts

My thought and feelings.

Tae Kwon Do as rehabilitation

I’m not one that likes to see re-posts but I found this very inspiring;

I received an email from ‘Everyday Health’ about how Tae Kwon Do helped to save a young teen. Below is the beginning of the article and the link to the entire story;

Breaking Through: How Tae Kwon Do Saved One Teen’s Brain

It was an otherwise normal day when 13-year-old Kassidy Brewer experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm that nearly killed her. This is the story of how her passion for martial arts — and an unrelenting family support system — brought her back to life.

By Sharon Tanenbaum

Click here for the full story;
Watch the videos associated with the story also. This is a very inspiring young lady.

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just not up to it….

I’ve not posted lately simply because I am not feeling up to putting all my thoughts online. Lately I have had much self doubt… I’m finding it hard to be motivated to really do much. I’ve had to put on a good face for some family functions but truthfully my heart is not in it. I’ve not been to Hapkido or done any type of exercise. Work is getting done simply because I have been dragged into issues.

I sure wish I new what the problem was.

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, General | , , , , | Leave a comment

Last few weeks

The last few weeks have really been messy.

The end of April to the beginning of May I was in Kentucky trying to get a temporary office up and running since the regular office was being flooded by the Ohio River. That managed to put several things on hold or delayed them. I’ve managed to spend more time catching up and fighting fires since then. Spending two full days out of the office at our Co-Location site re-cabling and replacing gear is a nice change but is also very wearing.

On top of all this I have had a VERY short fuse with just about everyone. I am tired of not being listened to both at home and at work. Having to having the same conversation multiple times because the person I am talking with can’t seem to remember shit is driving me nuts. And the lack of my opinion meaning anything at home just pushes me to the end of my rope.

The last couple of nights I’ve started having a drink thinking it might make me less irritable or at least be able to cope a little better. It’s been 50/50 so far.

I’ve not been to Hapkido either which has also been a bother to me. I’ve either been at work, too tired or simply not in the right mindset. And yes this irritates me to. I plan on going tonight. I have my test for Deputy I on June 2, this is the first step in the Black Belt review; the whole process takes about a year. I am going to need to change my ways if I am going to reach Black Belt. I don’t feel I am in good enough physical shape to pass the physical requirements, God help me get my head in the game.

The sad thing is I am just flat tired of feeling unappreciated and disrespected. And I don’t know how to change things.

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s been a while

It’s been a month since I last made an entry. I’ve been busy and partly simply did not feel up to writing, not that I didn’t have thoughts to put down. Between work, spring Break and being sick I simply have been out of it.

Shoot I went back to Hapkido after missing almost all of March. This past tuesday was my first day back. We had a very hard workout and I actually could not complete it. I got so dizzy/winded, etc… that I had to sit out the last 10 minutes. My instructor even called my wife to come get and drive me home, the way I felt I really had no business driving. I attribute the problem to being sick then getting back into a VERY tough workout and ME pushing too hard. Last night’s workout was much better, I didn’t get dizzy and felt refreshed after the workout.

Spring Break – for the first time since we’ve been married we had a FAMILY spring break. We took the kids to visit family on the first Saturday of SB then on Sunday we drove to Arkansas. Unfortunately Monday was raining and felt like crap (sick). It did workout, everyone pretty much just wanted to vege so that is what happened. Tuesday we got moving and drove to the DUDE Ranch we planned to stay at. We did zip-lining, horse back riding, rope work, etc… one morning the owning actually grabbed several of us for a “Top Shot” competition. I won two out of three contests. My stepson really enjoyed the riding, I think he went on four rides and has asked to go there for summer camp. Our dog even made friends with a couple of cows.

That’s a quick update, I will try to put more thoughts down later.

April 1, 2011 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Old feelings

I’m not sure I have done the right thing by being tough on rules with my step-kids. I say that because I really didn’t/don’t get 100% agreement with my wife, their mother. We’ve been married for almost 6 years and we still seem to see things differently. Kids and rules, discipline, chores, etc… are things we did not discuss before getting married, and looking back we really should have. I am hard lined while my wife is more lenient.

I simply expect the rules to be followed, I can see forgetting or simply ignoring sometimes but when it becomes a regular thing I have a real problem. The typical answer in the afternoon, “I was tired” just doesn’t fly with me when their mother has told them to put the dishes up when they get home then do homework… three hours later neither is done. Then there is the pretty regular lying about things, primarily homework or the lack of or it’s all done, really bothers me. It bothers me to the point I don’t want to be there at times. We went through this with my stepdaughter now with my stepson, my step daughter is away at college now.

Respect; neither of the kids seem to be able to respect their mother. She tells them to do things and they just do their own thing; I see this as disrespect toward their mother. I don’t have respect from them and I have given up even worrying about ever getting it. I do get very angry at the lack of respect given to their mother and many times have made situations worse.

At 18 and 14 years old I would have thought they might show more regular obedience and respect toward their mother than they do.

Maybe the whole problem is me and this is kids just being kids. I simply don’t know. I know I was not like this toward my parents; I never had kids so I could be so far of base it is unreal. All I know is it all bothers me. I started writing to help me release the pent up feelings but lately I’ve been afraid to write for lack of the words to put down how I feel. I’m still not sure I have put down the right words now; I just felt like putting something down.

I guess I’ll continue playing with our dog and working at learning Hapkido, at least I have an idea of where I stand there.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cowboy Poetry

My wife sent this to me via email:

Jake, the rancher, went one day

To fix a distant fence.

The wind was cold and gusty

And the clouds rolled gray and dense.

As he pounded the last staples in

And gathered tools to go,

The temperature had fallen,

And snow began to blow.

When he finally reached his pickup,

He felt a heavy heart.

From the sound of that ignition

He knew it wouldn’t start.

So Jake did what most of us

Would do if we were there.

He humbly bowed his balding head

And sent aloft a prayer.

As he turned the key the last time,

He softly cursed his luck

They found him three days later,

Frozen stiff in that old truck.

Now Jake had been around in life

And done his share of roaming.

But when he saw Heaven, he was shocked — It looked just like Wyoming !

Of all the saints in Heaven,

His favorite was St. Peter.

So they sat and talked a minute or two,

Or maybe it was three.

Nobody was keeping’ score —

In Heaven, time is free.

‘I’ve always heard,’ Jake said to Pete,

‘that God will answer prayers,

But the one time I asked for help,

Well, he just wasn’t there.’

‘Does God answer prayers of some,

And ignore the prayers of others?

That don’t seem exactly square —

I know all men are brothers.’

‘Or does he randomly reply,

Without good rhyme or reason?

Maybe, it’s the time of day,

The weather or the season.’

‘Now I ain’t trying to act smart,

It’s just the way I feel.

And I was wondering’, could you tell me

What the heck’s the deal?!’

Peter listened very patiently

And when Jake was done,

There were smiles of recognition,

And he said, ‘So, you’re the one!!’

That day your truck, it wouldn’t start,

And you sent your prayer a flying,

You gave us all a real bad time,

With hundreds of us trying.’

‘A thousand angels rushed,

To check the status of your file,

But you know, Jake , we hadn’t heard

From you in quite a while.’

‘And though all prayers are answered,

And God ain’t got no quota,

He didn’t recognize your voice,

And started a truck in Minnesota ‘

January 18, 2011 Posted by | General | , , , , | Leave a comment

This old story out of Texas.

This old story out of Texas. —-

Seems a guy cruises thru a stop sign, or whatever, and gets pulled over by a local policeman.

Guy hands the cop his driver’s license, insurance verification, plus his concealed carry permit.

“Okay, Mr. Smith,” the cop says, “I see your CHL permit.  Are you carrying today?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Well then, better tell me what you got.”

Smith says, “Well, I got a .357 revolver in my inside coat pocket.

There’s a 9mm semi-auto in the glove box.  And, I’ve got a .22 magnum derringer in my right boot.”

“Okay,” the cop says.  “Anything else?”

“Yeah, back in the trunk, there’s an AR15 and a shotgun.  That’s about it.”

“Mr. Smith, are you on your way to or from a gun range…?”

“Nope.”

“Well then, what are you afraid of…?”

“Not a damn thing…”

December 9, 2010 Posted by | General | , | Leave a comment

Hapkido

What is Hapkido?

합 – Hap (Harmony) = Together or the harmony of body and spirit.

기 – Ki (Energy) = Life and body energy.

– Do (Way) = Way of life or way of learning.

 

Hapkido focuses on self-defense from attackers. Considered a “soft” martial art, Hapkido does not focus on simply exerting force against an opponent, resulting on strength and size being most effective in combat. Instead, Hapkido focuses on diverting an attacker’s energy in order to open him up for counter attack and defeat. Placing an emphasis on circular movements, Hapkido practitioners focus on moving close enough to an opponent to execute a joint lock, throw or close-range strike. Techniques in Hapkido focus on pressure points and vulnerable joints, making incapacitating an attacker easy, requiring little strength.

The most difficult part of Hapkido for someone that has been trained in another Martial Art like Tae Kwon Do or Karate is the circular motions. In these arts you are trained to meet an opponent head on while Hap Ki Do teaches to get out of the way and get close. The various techniques used to lock joints are tough to grasp also; once you understand and take in the need to have wider circular movements it will come together. I know from first hand experience on this.

Having been studying Hap Ki Do for just over a year I feel this is something anyone interested in the Martial arts for self defense should consider. It would be great for women since there is limited concern of strength to complete the techniques. One of our Masters is a woman in her early thirties… she is able to manhandle one of our students as if he were a rag doll. He is 6,5″ tall and easily ways 250+. It’s all about the angle as she has told us before. The has been a story told of her controlling a big body builder type; he was told to try to attack her with him not knowing how she would react; as the story goes she had this guy in the ground in no time begging to be let go.

For what it’s worth I highly recommend Hap Ki Do.

December 8, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hapkido – Brown Belt

Friday night I test for my Brown Belt in Hapkido. The current techniques I am working on at High Blue are mostly punching defense with some grabbing releases. I have been trying to explain some of what I am learning to my wife and co-workers and seem to be getting quite a few blank stares. It seems most do not really understand what I am learning or I cannot really explain it to them. I really wish I was able to create the interest in Hapkido I have in others. Just about everything I am learning I am able to see real world practical applications.

My goal other than reaching Black Belt, in about 18 months, is to teach Self Defense techniques to people at work. We focus so much on work safety but seem to stop when it pertains to leaving the office. Parking lots can be real dangerous and I want to try to offer people options in being safe. I don’t have the thought that once you spend 4 hours in a class that you are magically able to defend yourself but I do think it’s a good start. In truth the ability to protect yourself from an attacker requires skills that are second nature requiring NO THOUGHT. I also realize that if you are confronted by someone with a gun that you should give them what they want instead of tempting fate.

If all goes as expected Monday I will begin learning new techniques as a Brown Belt working toward Red Belt.

December 7, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Widow Jensen- A Christmas Story . . .

This was sent to me via email; the author of the story is unknown but I felt it was something that needed saved and shared. This really does sum up what Christmas should be like instead of all the ruckas  we all go through.

A Christmas Story

This is what Christmas is all about…

Better bundle up – the goose bumps will freeze you!!  I think I need to read this every year at Christmas.

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities.  But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.   It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881.  I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.  We did the chores early that night for some reason.  I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible.  I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside.  I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores.  I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.  Soon Pa came back in.  It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then.  Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.  We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.  But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.  Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.  Something was up, but I didn’t know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed.  There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.  Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job.  I could tell.  We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.  Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand.  I reluctantly climbed up beside him.  The cold was already biting at me.  I wasn’t happy.  When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed.

He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said.  “Here, help me.”  The high sideboards!  It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting.

What was he doing?  Finally I said something.  “Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?”  “You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked.  The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road.  Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.  Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”  That was all he said and then he turned and went back into  the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.  We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.  Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon.  He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.  When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked.  Shoes, they’re out of shoes.  Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning.  I got the children a little candy too.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a  little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence.  I tried to think through what Pa was doing.  We didn’t have much by worldly standards.

Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.  We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?  Really,  why was he doing any of this?  Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.

We knocked.  The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”

“Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in.  She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all.  Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour.  I put the meat on the table.  Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.  She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time.  There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last.  I watched her carefully.

She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks.  She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said.  He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile.  Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”  I wasn’t the same person when  I went back out to bring in the wood.  I had a big lump in my throat and as mu ch as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.  In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before, filled my soul.  I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.  I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared.  The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time.  She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you.  The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again.  I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true.  I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth.  I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others.  The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left.  I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get.  Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave.  Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug.  They clung to him and didn’t want us to go.  I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow.  The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals.  We’ll be by to get you about eleven.  It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again.  Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.”  I was the youngest.  My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles.  I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

 

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold.  When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something.  Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square.  Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.  Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again.  I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it.  Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities.  Pa had given me a lot more.  He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night.  Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

 

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment