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.


"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!

Art, Life

Can you say OCD?

There are times when getting carried away can be a good thing. I am one of those people that is always busy. I like to think of it as being productive but most often it is more of an anxiety sort of thing where I just can’t sit still. Much of what I accomplish may be urgent but rarely important.

And, yet yesterday I was able to sit down at my art table and pour my energies into drawing with new pastels that I received as a gift at Christmas. Time just slipped away…

“Thomas” Pastels drawing, 9×12 inches, Mark Schutter ©2016

Pictured above are 9×12 inch pastel drawings based on the black and white photo in the upper left corner of the picture. These are drawings of “Thomas”, my daughter’s full breed Arabian horse. My creativity has always seemed to come in bursts of frenetic activity. I guess today has been no exception. This makes me happy. Being busy is okay, being productive is better and when that happens abandon yourself to the process and flow. What positive activity do you lose yourself in?

It is not enough to be busy. The question is: What are we busy about? ~Henry David Thoreau
Adventure, Animals, Photograph, Poetry

Love at First Sight


    Love at first sight
    A beacon across the cold night
    Two hearts held tight

     ~Mark Schutter ©2015

If you’ve followed me here on the blog or on any other social media you probably know that my daughter loves horses, as do I. She has been competing for two years riding a horse owned by her trainer, which she kindly gave my daughter half ownership of until she got a horse of her own.

Well, next year she moves up in class and the competition is sure to get tougher. So we started putting out feelers to see what horses might be available, not really expecting much and having plenty of time to look.

We immediately were contacted by three people who had horses for sale that fit what we were looking for. The first two were a no go. My daughter was frustrated and not looking forward to go see and ride the third.

You can guess what happened next. Yep, love at first sight. They seem to be a perfect match and her trainer says this is a horse that has the potential to take her as far as she wants to go. We are currently leasing the horse to see how it goes before we shell out money to buy. My daughter has been riding everyday except one over the past week and is trying to come up with a name.

His registered name is Silver Sight, full blooded Arabian.  Oh my, what are we getting ourselves into? Just helping our little girl chase her dreams, we love our children don’t we? This story is sure to be continued, stay tuned.

Art, God, Life, Poetry

How Do I Make Sense of This?

Colored pencil drawing on white paper by Muppin ©2015, 8x11 1/2 inches
Colored pencil drawing, by Muppin ©2015, 8 x 11.5 inches

How do I make sense of this?
It leaves me breathless.
As I stare into the dark abyss.

I am unsure how I should feel.
A life now transcended.
Could this be another path to heal?

~Mark Schutter ©2015

This past week my 10-year-old daughter drew the above portrait. The woman in the picture is ‘Ruth’ my first wife who died of cancer over 22 years ago. My daughter never has met her or seen a picture of her. She only recently began to deduce, by overhearing comments, that her daddy may have been married once before. When she came out and asked the question last week, her mother and I did not want to lie to her so we told her the truth, minus a lot of details that a 10-year-old does not need to know at this point. We (I) had always planned on telling her someday, just figured it would be on our time-table not hers. Oh, well, some secrets are not meant to be kept hidden.

Well, the next day when I returned home from work my daughter quietly came into our  bedroom and left this on the bed for me to find. Needless to say it rocked my heart. This little girl had more compassion already than I will ever hope to have. Suffice to say, the drawing comes pretty close to capturing the physical look and even more so, the soul of Ruth. My daughter cares deeply and has told her mother she does not want to make me sad, but she also wants to know all about this lady that was part of her daddy’s life before she was ever born.

I have puzzled over this turn of events in my mind all week-long. I wrote another poem that same night and will post it eventually. Yet, I keep coming back to this picture drawn by a 10-year-old girl of a woman she never met who was a huge part of my life when I experienced tremendous joy and ultimately my darkest pain. You can read a little more if you about that on my about page, A Cowboys Heart.

The phrase ‘How do I make sense of this?’ has kept going through my mind. Well, God moves in mysterious ways and it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe this is a way He is bringing deeper healing to places in my heart that I still refuse to go. So the short poem above came to me today and I added the text to the photo. I love my girl, and her momma, with all my heart. God has blessed me beyond measure and my gratitude often goes silent and unspoken. May I learn to love deeply and honestly, like my little girl. May we all chose to #JustBelieve that #GraceWins and #HopeLives.

Life, Writing

Just the Right Time -A Tree Story

They buried me deep to prohibit the evil from returning. Long held superstitious beliefs still ruled the minds of many people. The cool damp earth heavily covered every inch of my body. I felt nothing as shovels of dirt hit my face, my eyes open wide and vacantly staring at the sky above. Dust and mud filled every crevasse of my skin. Soon the darkness completely overtook me and there was no more.

The little seed had long lay undisturbed, wedged between two stones deep within the earth. Now as my body melted into an unrecognizable pile of rotting flesh the dust became damp and permeated with the squalid and putrid smell forming a muddy mixture. The oozing moisture from the decaying flesh began to bleed into the surrounding dirt and covered the little seed in life-giving moisture. In that moment, deep in the silence, life began to stir.

Breaking through the shell and hard outer husk a small white tendril began to slowly struggle upward in the dark. Drawn by an instinct that upward was were there was a place that light existed. The small shoot of living mass passed through my stomach which was now an unrecognizable mixture of internal organs, flesh and earth, weaving its way through the bones of my ribs. Its quest for life seemed to direct it away from the poisons secreted by my decaying liver and kidneys. The multitude of enzymes and proteins from my rotting flesh feed the small seed’s every growing need.

Growing stronger and bigger the long white shoot became a missile as it continued upward through the dark soil. Like an albino snake it inched its way towards the surface around obstacles and powering through the damp earth. After many days, that seemed like forever in the dark, a small white shoot broke through the hard crust of the earth. Protruding upward the small spike of a living plant was overcome by the bright light.

The warmth and power of the sun was overwhelming. Immediately a metamorphosis began to occur. The little white sprout began to synthesize and the color of green began to grow into the small wisps of the upstart life. Steadily the years passed; as rains came down saturating the ground followed by sunshine that gave warmth, silently encouraging continued growth. Stronger and stronger it became, resilient to the cold winters, the restless winds and the myriad of enemies that sought its destruction.

Ever up towards the blue of the sky it grew its branches extending as if sniffing the smells carried on the winds. The pine needles rustled in the breeze creating a symphony of sounds no orchestra could match. The trunk became full and strong, the roots burying themselves deep into the soil, past my long forgotten corpse.

The sun circled lazily through the sky day after day and time moved on as it is want to do. One bright late spring day a young girl and her father stopped to rest in the shade cast by the trees long velvet green branches. They had been walking enjoying the warmth of the sun on their skin and now they sat down in the cool shade, as a faint smell of pine scent wafted in the air about them.

“Daddy, how long do you think this tree has been here?” she asked looking up into the enormous canopy over their heads.

Her father paused, looking up also and replied, “Oh honey, I am sure a long, long time. A tree this huge takes a lot of years to grow this big. You know it started from just one small seed, smaller than the end of your little finger and it was in the right spot at just the right time.”The Life of a Tree

The little girl lay back in the shade of the mighty tree smiling and looked up into the tangle of branches of gently swaying pine needles reveling in the quiet. She watched as a small bird seemingly unconcerned hopped from branch to branch. The late afternoon sunlight filtered through the branches as her father felt his heart swell with love for his little girl. They sat together remaining silent in the midst of the circle of life that revolved around them.

~Mark Schutter ©2015

The above writing was began during a free-write session of our workplace writing group with the prompt to write about a tree and use the physical senses throughout. I did not have time to finish during the session but already had the ending in mind so I went back and finished it with some editing.  What do you think?