Digital Cowboy

Digital Cowboy
Poker is life. Life is poker.

Archive for the 'Kids' Category

Finding value in a pagan tradition

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I’ve written previously about my general disdain for the hodge-podge of collected pagan traditions that make up what we call “Christmas.” I won’t go into all that again. I will remind you that I still “celebrate” Christmas because it’s important to my family and – as long as the underlying meaning is emphasized, I still find some value in it.

At the same time, I’ve become more and more cynical about the materialistic, secular version of it.

I encourage you to go read Mychal Massie’s latest column at WND. It’s not about my beliefs regarding Christmas. It’s about something equally important: setting high standards for your children and not allowing the world’s version of “Xmas” to corrupt you or your children.

Contemplating Father’s Day

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

My father was the greatest man I’ve ever known. He was stolen from me when I was young. I won’t go into all of that again.

I’ve outlived him by a couple years already and that’s kind of strange in itself – you’re not supposed to be an older man than your father ever was, especially while you still have young children.

Medical science was already better than half way into the process of killing my father by the time I was the age of my oldest daughter now.

Throw into the mix that Mommy’s completely off her hinges lately, despite being here at this time last year to celebrate the day with us as a complete family.

It’s been a weird few weeks for me and I just realized a few minutes ago that it’s also Father’s Day today.

Every day is Father’s Day for me because I fought a war for my children and – among myriad other benefits – I get hugs and kisses from them every night right before bed time.

That’s all this father needs. Because it’s all that matters when you’re more than just a sperm donor.

If you’re a “man” that “can’t” be with your children today because your priorities are different, stop lying about it – especially to yourself. Nobody’s buying it. Your kids definitely aren’t. You’re vile, horrible filth.

If your kids are not grown, on their own AND you’re not hugging them today, don’t even bother to answer the phone when they call today. You don’t deserve it and they don’t mean it. They’re only calling because Mommy made them or they feel guilty for your crimes. By example you taught them how to treat you – dishonestly, superficially and without feeling.

In short, you’re as disposable to them as they were to you. And, no, you can’t fix it or make up for lost time. You failed at the only job you’ve ever had that mattered. There are no do-overs on this one.

If you’re a father and aren’t with your children today in spite of all your efforts to be with them, I truly empathize with you. I’ve been there. Keep fighting, never give up and don’t blame yourself until you quit.

Kid stories

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Yesterday someone I love and respect emailed me to say that she had recently “checked in” on me by coming to my blog.

She told me that she was expecting kid stories and instead “Man, you’ve become political!”

She meant nothing by it but it made me reflect. When I did, I realized that it’s gotten angry around here again.

So here’s a “kid story.”

I bought my daughters a digital camera for Christmas. I remember when I got my first camera… I rode my bike a few miles, door-to-door on a few rural, country blocks selling greeting cards to earn it. And it was cold. Then I got it and realized that it would require my entire allowance to feed it.

As a result, I became quite stingy about taking pictures. Every one had a price tag.

Not so with my kids. Pictures are free and can be snapped whenever the urge hits. Thank God for technological advances! I take joy in the fact that my little girls aren’t limited like I was.

So a couple days ago they said, “Dad, how do we get the pictures off our camera and on our computer?” (I was older than either of them before I had my own computer, too.)

Being a dad, I responded with, “You tell me. Surely it came with a manual and a cable or something. I would imagine that you’ll have to find some way to connect it.”

They figured it out and then promptly walked away from the computer and went outside to play. “Why did you leave your camera here burning batteries and walk off?!?”

“It’s still working. It takes a lot longer with our camera than yours, Dad.”

Their camera is better than mine. I was perplexed. I investigated. It was taking a while, indeed. They had 452 pictures to move. Four hundred and fifty freakin’ two!

That would have cost me around three years of allowance with my camera when I was their age.

A year ago, it would have cost a year of their allowance to store that many pictures on a memory card.

Next time I’ll tell you about their online poker debt. They owe me six dollars, Sharkscope is now even more inaccurate than I previously asserted and they seem to think that they can play for real money on my Full Tilt account without any accountability.

When I tell them they owe me six dollars, they giggle. I’m not letting this go. It’s a matter of principle. Gambling debts must be paid. I learned that from a Greek guy named Danny.

Every promise has a cost and every debt must be paid.

He had a bat. I’ll be kind and patient.

Overrun with women

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

My bathroom reeks of fruitiness. There are multiple fluffy robes hanging on the back of my bathroom door. I have plants hanging – hanging! – on my porch. There’s stuff in my shower that I can’t even identify – and a lot of it. There are curtains now and everything has been rearranged. I don’t know where to find anything anymore and I’ve been informed that I’m supposed to stay out of the kitchen – I don’t belong there.

Also, most of my stuff is crap and needs to be taken to the dumpster (by me, of course) whenever the pile at the back door warrants a trip.

Hannah Montana seems to always be playing somewhere in my house. Not just the show, the music. And not just in the house. It’s on Mommy’s iPod so we can listen to it in the truck, too. Suddenly picking songs on Daddy’s iPod in the truck isn’t great fun, it’s old news. Daddy’s iPod doesn’t have any Hannah Montana or Emily Osment. Mommy’s here with the good stuff.

My youngest daughter has informed me that I’m now outnumbered and the girls are in charge. In fact, she says, “Girls go to college to get more knowledge and boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.” (I’ll leave that irony to the reader and address it with her later. For now I just respond with “Boys rule and girls drool.”) I get no love around here anymore. Those cute little ones that used to crawl into my lap a couple times a day for Daddy hugs are now threatening to throw me out if I don’t shape up.

I thought we were getting Mommy back. Now I see that they were planning a coup. I just respond by telling them that if I don’t start getting the normal daily dose of hugs and love from them that I’m accustomed to, I’ll throw their mother out and when Mommy’s living in a box under a bridge it will be all their fault.

For the love of all that’s holy: I just broke the kitchen rule and went to make coffee… My prized Hamilton Beach Brew Station – the best thing I ever bought for my kitchen – smells like… like… Oh, God help me. The coffee maker smells like vanilla. Sure enough, after I got it cleansed and disinfected from all of the “girl” on it, I went to make coffee and there was some foil pouch of “Vanilla Biscotti blend” where my COFFEE is supposed to be! (Fortunately, I found actual coffee right next to it.)

On the flip side, I never cared much for the kitchen anyway. Also, not only have I not been going hungry lately, I’m eating better than I have in years.

I could do a whole separate post on that. That woman ain’t just eye candy in a kitchen. She’s a creative genius there. She concocts things on the fly that I would pay extra for in a restaurant. Most of what I eat these days has no name – “This is delicious, Baby. What is it?” (her laughing) “I dunno. Something I threw together. I just call it ‘My Mexican Chicken Shit.’ You really like it?” (What perplexes me is that she often does it just with stuff I already had here and makes it look easy.)

I have to admit the place looks a whole lot better, too… if you can block out all the yucky GIRL stuff everywhere. I only just now noticed that the coffee maker smells of vanilla because I haven’t made my own coffee in weeks. And I’ve never asked for coffee; it’s just been made by the coffee fairies while I sleep, I guess. It’s just there when I wake up, usually. Sometimes the fresh coffee smell is accompanied by the smell of frying bacon when my eyes open. (Bacon fairies? Who knows? No tellin’ what she had packed in all those boxes when she moved in.)

I complained to my mother about some of this girly infestation recently and she said, “You’re not foolin’ anybody. You LOVE it!”

She’s right. This briar patch is so awful. I demand that for all my sins and in the interest of justice, I be sentenced to remain here forever.

“When they carve my stone
All they need to write on it is
‘Once lived a man
Who got all he ever wanted.’
Tell me something: Who could ask for more
Than to be livin’ in a moment
You would die for?”

Suspiciously quiet

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

I’ve said nothing here recently and probably won’t soon.  There’s too much to say. Respect for the privacy of others prevents me from saying most of what I would like to.

I’ll tell you quickly that the legal conflict is over and I picked up my daughters last Tuesday morning. We’ve been home since Wednesday night. We had a hearing in court last Monday afternoon in Augusta, GA and it went exactly as I had declared in prayer that it would.  No surprises there. (I wanted to make that public because so many have expressed concern and I appreciate that more than you know.)

That’s good news, but it was expected – at least by me.  There’s far, far better news that was surprising to me.  I’ve expected it all along but I wasn’t expecting it now.  I knew that I knew that I knew…  I didn’t know when.  So it was a pleasant surprise Tuesday morning.  It’s also the part I can’t write about here yet.

In January of 2003, an atheist issued a challenge to me: “When [things go the way I predict] and you don’t get what you are praying for will you admit that your God doesn’t exist and prayer is a foolish waste of time?”

I replied, “Certainly.  But only on the condition that when [things go the way I predict], you’ll bow before my God and admit that He answers prayer.”

He accepted.

I’m currently holding my breath while waiting for that admission. Resuscitate me when it comes.

I don’t bring this up to boast about winning a bet.  I point it out to brag on my God.  He answers prayer and He does so every single time.  I had pastors tell me that I was nuts and should give up.  The more time that went by, the less I told “new” people in my life about what I was believing for.  ”It’s been HOW LONG?!?!”  ”Oh, Honey, you need to move on.”

Patience is hard.  It can also be lonely – almost everyone thinks you’re crazy.  I speak from experience.  But don’t you ever let anyone move you off your dream.  If you have a Word from God and even if you’re the only one that believes it, anything is possible. When you serve at the feet of Love.

You’ll never find anyone remembered as great in the Bible that took a poll or allowed themselves to be influenced by popular opinion and general consensus. What you find over and over and over are courageous people that refused to be moved, acted alone in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and we now consider them great because of their faith. (Recommended reading starts in Hebrews 11 and the part about Abraham in Romans 4 is a next step.) Whenever you find yourself in agreement with the majority in any situation, it’s time to re-examine your premises.

“Never” rarely lives up to its hype. It’s not over ’til it’s written in stone. On a grave.

I’m not even completely convinced that it’s always over then.