FollowCraig: “KEYS”

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Now I must say that I have had a really good life so far. I was born in Northern California and raised in Southern, my mother only married twice and I have three brothers along with three sisters from my fathers second marriage. I’ve had more than my share of wives, two wonderful children and now six grandchildren. Yes the life I’ve led has been full, so full of twists and turns, ups and downs and pain and pleasure. I have lost count of all the automobiles I’ve owned and how many jobs I’ve held. During my first and second marriages I moved so many times that a PO Box was my only real stable address and I always had a “KEY” to my mail.

All my adult life it seems I was moving from place to place and from home to home. A few years ago a dear friend said someday Craig you will have a key to your own front door and when you do you will know peace. I really didn’t quite get what he meant as I have always had a key to my front door?

Recently when speaking to my son I told him “Son, it’s so good to finally have a key to my own front door” and like me he really didn’t get it.

Life is so often that way, we don’t always get it.

You see I was so busy living my life, working, playing, drinking, loving, hating, having and trying everything I could think of to make me happy and appear to be on top of the world that I never just stopped. I never just stopped to know what it was like to water a plant and watch it grow, to just get up in the morning and relax before rushing out the door. Never did I think about the little joys in life that make a life so joyful. A few years ago as my life began to cure from the crazy days of drinking and personal self inflicted destruction it slowly began to dawn on me that life was so beautiful. You know those days when we get up and the the weather is not your favorite or when you get to work and the boss or your surroundings just seem to suck? The days when things just seem to not be anything close to the way you had planned? Yes, even those days I would find beauty and peace. After nearly a decade without holding that ice chilled glass of scotch as I did for so many days, weeks and years, my life had changed and one day at a time peace would come. Today I understand what my friend was saying when he told me about having my own “KEY” to my own front door.

It’s that special key, the one that opens your heart to the joy of living, loving, caring, working, praying and experiencing every minute of everyday, everyday of your life with gratitude laced with optimism and joy.

I do have the “KEY” to my front door and will always hold it in my hands and heart always ready to give it away.

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FollowCraig: U+ME+?=1?

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U+Me+?=1? Is this some secret formula, something like H2O? Well kind of! It was sure a secret to me? When I married in the late seventies, I was so happy! My life was going to be just perfect. A wonderful woman, a daughter already in the family, my career was soaring and as they say: “my future was so bright; I had to wear shades”. It’s funny though, when your own life is not built on solid ground, when you don’t know your own standards it’s easy to begin drifting. I sure did, I was living in fear and didn’t even know it. That fear drove me to a very self-centered existence, Craig first, career 2nd, family and wife somewhere in the rear. I did whatever I wanted! When I traveled out-of-town on business, I would visit “Strip Clubs and Bars of every sort” I would be the big shot at every party, pick up bar tabs, wore plenty of gold and very expensive custom hand-made shirts! So very much about Craig! No one would really ever believe I had a wife and little girl at home? This was my behavior before my son came along. After he was born, I got even worse. So it’s known, I love my son with all my heart! It’s just at that time in my life having children and a family interfered with my busy playtime. As for my wife, she went to work, stayed quiet, didn’t speak out about her feelings. She just read paperback love stories all the time. It’s not until now at this time in my life that I get it! In a recent post I am “Housewife”; I am Man! | followcraig., I spoke of the three most important persons in every relationship. Do you know who they are? Some would say it’s both partners plus God or both plus the children. In fact when I married for the last time a little over a year ago, my pastor spoke of this. He said the three people in every relationship are the two plus God. I disagree! The most important persons are; the two plus the relationship itself. That relationship, like children are born of the two. It is so to speak their first child together, it must learn to crawl, walk, be fed, housed and loved. Both partners must pay attention to this gift. We will always have our personal lives, our desires, our own passions and that is what brings us together to create this relationship. It’s up to each partner to covet their relationship, to feed it with love, faith and attention. God is always watching over the relationship and it’s partners. These things I know!

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FollowCraig: “My Mom”

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She stood there, so quiet, tears running down her face holding in her anger, hurt and fear. I will never forget that picture in my mind and heart. You see, I was eighteen years old and was at that moment embroiled in a very heated fight with my stepfather. This was a rather horrific way to leave home, screaming, fighting, then climbing out of my bedroom window to escape! My mother was so broken, she really did not know what to do? There was nothing she could do. Her oldest son did not move out like so many to a new and exciting life but rather was running for his life. My mother had four boys, we are all grown today and each of us have our memories of life at home. Our mother is a wonderful and very caring women and I Love her very much. Today as I look back over all these years and reflect on all the times my Mom was so quiet, not really speaking out and seemed to just accept her place in life. Her husband didn’t respect her, her boys depended on her for everything, she worked so hard and still smiled when inside she was just beaten down. It is often said “the acorn does not fall far from the tree” and so that is with me. I’m much like my mother. Perhaps that’s why I understand her so? As you follow my journey and lessons learned, this is one of so many. We only have one mother in our lives, we don’t get a second chance nor can we choose another. They are there for us always, even when it seems they’re not. To the men who read this I say; love and respect your mothers as they suffer through a lot of pain and sacrifice for us. Today as the rerun of that day plays over in my mind, I know it was my mother who made it possible to survive and work past all the trials that were to come in my life. Yes, my mother was really the brave one! For me, everyday is Mother’s Day!

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FollowCraig: Oh! “****” STOP!!!!

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So one day I am driving along in my car, listening to the radio, just happy as a bird! Suddenly some fool in front of me slammed on his brakes. So after some very fast reaction on my part I was able to STOP! Everything in the car went flying and I of course yelled some very colorful metaphor that would surely make my mother curl. This happens to all of us from time to time, then you pick things up, slow down and go on. That’s what happened to my life at about 51 yrs old or so. It sounded so easy, people around me, support groups I was part of told me “Craig” you can change everything, every problem right now. Just STOP! No one told me the junk in my life would just keep flying like it did in that car? However, just as in the car, the junk did stop flying and I picked it up, tossed some bad stuff out and started again a little bit slower. This is how life works. If we really, truly want to change, to have a better life, perhaps follow a dream forgotten; Then we must stop, pick things up, slowdown and move forward! It took me so long to get that. If you have some experiences with this in your life, please share!

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FollowCraig: I am “Housewife”; I am Man!

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I grew up to believe women were to be wives, mothers and housewives. Men were to be the kingpin of the household, the BREADWINNER! The MAN was in charge! So you can only imagine what it was like as I became a husband and father in the late ‘“seventies” My new wife already had a career and a child? She was very capable of taking care of herself and sure didn’t need a MAN to be in charge? Well, perhaps that was not true either, see she was raised that the husband was to be the head of the household as well; and only due to course results in her life, she found herself a divorced mother and having to work and support her little girl. So as it turned out my new wife needed a MAN, a husband! I needed to be a MAN and be that guy! So I took on the role, we worked hard together, raising our family and adding one more (my son) a few years later. Our first years were good, we had children and “I Never Changed Diapers!” You see times were changing, household rules were changing, the definition of family and marriage were changing. Wives worked, mothers felt that the roles, raising children and the chores of home should be shared. Great concept if only I hadn’t been thrown into expectations I was never taught to believe. So I worked and played; she worked and worked at home and raised the kids and took care of me and on and on…So about becoming “I am Housewife; I am Man”? You see relationships are work too. We spend so much time working on our own self-centered interests, all the important things in life often are not attended too. That marriage ended for me after 25 years for just those reasons. Had I paid more attention to being a partner at home, an interactive attentive father, addressed my faith and not been so set on how I believed things should be. Who knows what relationship I would have today with my children and others in my family? Over the last 10 years or so I have learned to be a partner at home, when dinner needs cooking, when trash needs to be taken out, when the house needs cleaning, when the pets need walking or the garden needs attending; I have learned to “Just do It”. The results have been astounding! My life today is peaceful in so many ways, It’s beyond description. In one of my upcoming posts I will talk about the “Three most important persons in every relationship”

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FollowCraig: Sunshine!

No man is rich enough to buy back his past. ~Oscar Wilde

I just love that quote!

Sunshine! As I write this blog; the journey I’ve been on. It occurs to me that a wonderful life was just up the road. That rest stop is TODAY. As you know by now I have been here for 60 years…short for some of you and a long time for others. Today is wonderful, I am married again and for the last time to an incredible person. A women I not only love but respect and cherish so much. Each of my children are doing well, they have children, careers and busy robust lives. My mother is still around; we should all count our blessings to have our parent(s) with us and if not to be able to carry their legacy within us. No longer do I have friends that run when times are rough, but real friends who are always there no matter what! As I sit here looking out over the waters of the Carquinez Strait from my California home, I am in awe! The life I have been given was beyond imagination only a few years ago. My hope and prayers for you and your life’s journey are to be at peace with yourself and your own life of Sunshine!

More to come!… I am still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…