Adventure, Life, Stories

A Manifesto of Fatherhood – Revisited

Happy Day after Fathers Day to Everyone!

A little different post for Motivation Monday this week. I want to encourage parents, both fathers and mothers. This post is written from my perspective as a father, but it can apply to those moms who are parenting alone and filling both roles.

I hope every father had a great Fathers day. Now that the day set aside to be all about you is over, it’s time to get back to being the father your children need. Your influence and impact will either set them up for success or failure in life. You are their protector, comfort, soft place to land, compass, rock and shelter from the storm.

February 2020

For fathers of daughters, as I am, who you are as a man will influence how they view other men. How you love and treat them, how you love and treat their mother will impact their belief and trust in other men.

Fathers, show your daughters what a real man is, and how a real man treats a lady. #MotivationMonday #FathersDay #EverydayYouAreADad #HappyDayAfterFathersDay

Think of the impact we would have if came alive as fathers. Your children will grow up and affect the lives of countless others and their children will go on and do the same. This ripple effect – this opportunity of compounding influence – has got to overwhelmingly dwarf whatever the majority of us may hope to accomplish at our jobs. Love your kids, men. Teach them to be strong, dedicated, focused, gentle, fierce, loyal.” ​​​​​​​- John Lovell, Warrior Poet Society

Love your kids, men. Teach them to be strong, dedicated, focused, gentle, fierce, loyal.” ​​​​​​​- John Lovell, Warrior Poet Society @johnlovell275

February 2017

The original post below was written back in 2013 when my daughter was 7 1/2 years old. She is now 15 1/2 and the words are as true today as they were then.

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"Father / Daughter Dance - February 2013"
February 2013

Knowing that, God willing, no matter the circumstances, I will always be a daddy to my little girl;

Knowing that, God willing, my daughter will one day be an adult and leave to follow her own path;

  • I will love my daughter for the gift that she is, not what she does
  • I will cherish every moment we spend together
  • I will strive to give her whatever wisdom I might possess
  • I will teach her the value of relationships & honoring promises
  • I will allow my daughter to soar upon her own wings
  • I will let her go to travel the path God has laid before her

“May the Lord give me the wisdom to parent with love, humility and strength, to give my daughter only and always the best that I can offer.”   ~M

Summer 2010

“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.” ~C. Everett Koop

I encourage you to now write your own manifesto!

Life, Stories, Writing

Book(s) Update – ‘The Chronicles of Faith’

Please note this is not the actual cover.

I have completed the ‘shitty’ first drafts and edits of each novel of the series – ‘The Chronicles of Faith.’ Each book was completed in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November where the goal is write 50,000 words. If nothing else NaNoWriMo motivates you to get a story out of your head onto the paper.

I wrote the first book:

  • ‘The Beauty of the Stars’

Back in 2014 and then let it sit. My wife and daughter both persevered through reading the rough, I mean rough, first draft and encouraged me to continue the story. (Truth be told I didn’t let them read it for a couple of years, it just sat collecting dust.)

Thus, in November of 2018 and 2019 I wrote the next two books in the series:

  • ‘The Stars are Falling’ and,
  • ‘The Judgment of the Stars.’

The title of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ came to me for few reasons. One, I love Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Second, I have always loved the idea of writing a series myself. Third, the main character’s name is Faith and she, as well as other characters each go through their own journey of faith.

The Chronicles of Faith – book quotes                                                                         

Beauty is all around and our pain distracts us from seeing the truth. (The Beauty of the Stars – Coming soon Book 1 of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ by Mark Wayne)

Falling is inevitable and only fatal if we choose not to get back up. (The Stars are Falling – Coming soon Book 2 of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ by Mark Wayne)

Judgment finds us all, the only question is when and how. (The Judgment of the Stars -Coming soon Book 3 of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ by Mark Wayne)

A Snapshot Teaser

Faith is a loner and she knows she is different. As an evolving drone technology is unleashed on an unsuspecting populace she longs to find connection. Charles Davidson, head of The Group, is intent on building an empire, letting nothing stand in his way. Faith and Charles are both driven and their fates intertwine in ways neither understands.

Supernatural powers are driving an agenda of epic proportions. Forces of good and evil collide inside the human hearts of two people who seem to have nothing in common. Others join Faith in her quest to kill Davidson, while each is forced to answer the questions of who they are and are they good enough? The destiny of each hinges on the challenging choices that each must make, especially Faith, and the consequences of which affects them all.

Please note this is also not the actual cover.

So What’s Next?

I am leaning towards self-publishing the book series in the near future. If you have any advice or resources for me I would welcome that. Please either leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com

In the meantime I am hard at work writing, actually editing my memoir. The book captures my experience of grief and loss as a young man. The book will be for anyone who has experienced loss and who hasn’t? Grief will touch us all and changes everything.

Stay tuned for future updates on both my novels and my memoir.

Life, Stories, Writing

“She died. She is dead.” Thoughts and coming to terms with the words.

Widowed and/or bereaved? And does it even really matter when the words don’t change the outcome?

Widowed – verb: past participle: widowed

  1. become a widow or widower; lose one’s spouse through death.
    • Widownounwidow; plural noun: widows
      a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.
    1. Widower – nounwidower; plural noun: widowers
      a man who has lost his spouse by death and has not remarried.

Bereaved – verb: past participle: bereaved

  1. be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, especially due to the loved one’s death.

“She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?” ~C.S. Lewis {A Grief Observed}

We use the terms ‘lost’, ‘deprived’ and ‘absence’ when the truth is they died. Their physical mortal body ceased to work and they died. You are widowed until you remarry, then no longer a widow or widower? And are you still bereaved every single moment, day, month, and year after losing a loved one?

The pain and the grief, never goes away even when you commit actions that take you in another direction, such as remarrying. Grief is not something you get over, it is something you carry with you for the rest of your life. It irrevocably changes you, how could it not?

Does the soul live on after death? I believe it does and that’s a topic for another blog post.

“Well, we have nothing if not belief.” ~Reepicheep {The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis}

God, Life, Stories

Belief and Death – are the words so difficult to learn?

“Well, we have nothing if not belief.”

~Reepicheep

“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (CS Lewis)

A Grief Observed, as well as other books and writings, by CS Lewis have comforted, challenged and confirmed many of my own feelings at different times with their stark emotion and startling honesty. Almost thirty-five years and a vast ocean between two continents separated the experiences of Mr. Lewis and my own. We were at very different points on life’s continuum; Mr. Lewis was in his early sixties when his wife, Joy, died and me in my late twenties when my wife died.

However, the experiences of Mr. Lewis I read about are eerily similar to my own experiences. The feelings of pain, sorrow, guilt and eventually a measure of acceptance and healing that followed. Grief is a solitary road we must walk alone, however the words Mr. Lewis shared have always made me feel not quite so alone, especially during my own time of anguish and the dark night of my soul.

My hope is that my words, the things I share and put into the world can do the same for someone else. We are all sojourners here on earth and sorrow at one time or another will wrap its cold arms around us all and hold us close. In those moments, we need grace and mercy, for if my own experience is any indication in those dark times of guilt and pain there often vows and promises made that we are never meant to keep.

Poetry, Stories

Promises to Keep – A Memoir

My 25 word memoir of grief.

As I work on my full length memoir I have read several books, both how-to and memoir’s as research. In the book “Braving the Fire” by Jessica Handler, she mentions the shortest story of grief attributed to Ernest Hemingway, who is said to have written the following six word memoir

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

Six words, that’s t leaves the reader wondering with unanswered questions.  I haven’t gotten mine down to six words yet, but I will keep working on it. 

In the meantime I continue working on the ‘shitty‘ first draft of my full-length memoir. I will be posting excerpts here on the blog soon, watch for more information to come and be sure to subscribe via your email to make sure you don’t miss any updates.

And remember grief is a shared human experience that we all must face. Grief is a natural extension of love and the lie is that we are either destined to live in utter despair forever or we somehow are completely healed. This is nonsense for grief irrevocably changes you, how could it not? You carry the experience with you for the rest of our life. 

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

Life, Stories

This Moment

The quiet all around was loud inside my head. I felt a sense of expectancy in the air.
The breeze off the lake contained a chill but was bearable after the heat of the day. The small waves pushed by the breeze lapped against the gravel-laden shoreline. The boardwalk was empty this early evening. The boards running vertically beneath our feet showed the signs of the many footsteps of those who had walked along this path and were well worn.
The diffused evening light cast an ethereal glow settled over the landscape as the sun touched the horizon. The ground to both sides of the wooden boardwalk was stark white bleached white from the powerful desert sun. The winds that blew over that had stripped the earth bare leaving it barren and void of life except for a few sparse trees that struggled for survival in the dry parched dirt.
We walked silently, me with my hands pushed deep into my pockets and her pushing her bike forward hands firmly on the grips and face a mask devoid of emotion. The sleeves of my white shirt rolled up to my elbows and I could feel the flapping of the shirttails in the wind as we walked. Her white summer dress hung loosely on her young body a stark contrast to her brown olive skin. The lack of color in our clothes matched the landscape as if we were a part of it.
Looking inland away from the lake, I could see the far distance parking lot where the last stragglers of the day were returning to their vehicles. Headed where I had no idea, I only knew that they had somewhere to go. The loneliness settled over me like a shroud as my steps faltered and the sun sank its lower half now hidden below the horizon.
Catching my stumble out of the corner of her eye, she knew better than to ask how I was. Instead, she simply stated,
“I am tired.”
“I know sweetie.”
I replied as I quickly regained my balance and told myself she had not seen my misstep, nor knew the reason why. However, deep down I knew that she knew. She always seemed to know. Her understanding empathy, the ability that came so naturally to her and guided her actions was far beyond her young years. As we continued to walk, she said.
“I just want to sleep, all the time.”
“It’s okay. I get it. If that’s what you need then that’s okay.”
The silence then settled around us again as we moved forward. We strode onward as if drawn by some invisible force that neither of us could deny. I knew she was tired and worn out, even without her earlier comment still echoing in my head. My heart ached knowing I was powerless to stop the pain. I still found it hard to admit, even to myself, the conclusion I knew was inevitable and unavoidable.
Life is hard and for her to learn this at such a young age seemed so unfair. My anger over the injustice I perceived burned however; the sadness and longing overshadowed it like the darkness. I looked across the lake at the exact moment the last of the huge golden orb of the sun sank beyond the horizon into the undiscovered. Melodies of grace erupted in my head in songs of redemption and a belief in a light that will one day overcome the darkness. As quickly as the feelings rose, they disappeared as the despair again wrapped its arms around me choking off my breath.
I felt so helpless and alone. My life slipping from my grasp and everything I held dear. We continued to walk in silence, comfortable together in our solitude. Over the past few days, I had watched, as she grew weaker and I hated the fact that my little girl’s strength was quickly fading and I knew the end was near.
The words came from where I do not know and spilled out of my mouth in a cry of anguish.
“I miss her.”
“I do too daddy.”
“God, I miss your momma.”
We stopped walking and the bike lay on its side where she had let if fall. Picking her up I held her close feeling her wet check against mine our tears mingled together as they ran down our faces. Her arms tightly squeezed my neck in defiance of tomorrow and yesterday, for this moment was all we had.

©Mark W. Schutter 2018

Often this moment is all we really have, don’t miss it. ~M

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

This Moment

Poetry, Stories

Capturing Fireflies

image

I captured my memories of you,
and placed them inside a glass jar.
Holding it close and so none could dare escape,
I screwed on the lid twisting it as tightly as I could.
Like the fireflies we had captured when we were young,
each memory flew innocently around inside the jar.
Upon rising the next morn I came to find,
each memory was dead from lack of air.
Nothing was left and utter despair filled my heart.
I resolved that I could and would do better,
so eagerly I set about capturing more.
Into the glass jar I placed each one and again
screwed down the lid, this time tighter than before.
Believing I had learned a hard lesson in life,
I punched holes in the top so air would enter in,
believing the memories would now never die.
I watched them flutter so happily about,
which brought an ever present smile to my face.
Until, eventually I dozed in this contented place.
Waking many hours later in the early evening.
I looked for the memories to remind me of you
but the jar I held was now empty and cold.
Unscrewing the lid I could find nothing there.
I sighed deeply, realizing that the holes must have
been too big, allowing each memory to escape.
I could not ever hold them I thought,
as I sat clasping the jar with clenched fists.
The evening began to fade as the dark curtain
of night began to fall covering the land.
My hands still gripped tightly to the empty jar,
my heart void of anything, feeling nothing.
The darkness smothered the forgotten light of day.
Finally, I dared to move and looking up over my head,
I was astounded by the sight before me.
A million twinkling lights, each a memory of you
shone white hot against the dark canvas of night.
As the memories flooded back in wave after wave, 
I distinctly and clearly remembered this one.
How we ran and laughed capturing fireflies,
without a care in the world; when we were young.

~Mark Schutter ©2015