Grief, Life, memoir

When You Ask A Man How He Is.

“I’m alright.”

A man says “I’m alright” when asked how he is because nobody cares?

I tend to disagree with the last line in the audio of the video that a man simply responds “I’m alright” because no one f&%king cares. I think others, men and women, do care.

The problem is we don’t always know how to care or show that we care. We don’t know what to do or say, especially men. We get uncomfortable with the feelings and vulnerability that this question invokes. Life is a struggle at times and no one is immune. Why can’t we acknowledge the struggle and the pain that we may be feeling?

Are you uncomfortable sharing your true feelings and if so why?

I think we have been programmed, again especially as men, to ignore our feelings of sadness, pain, regret and grief. And women are programmed to expect men to respond this way. Remember boys, and men, are supposed to be tough and strong. But why do we stereotype a man who is hurting and feeling as not being strong and tough?

What strength does it take to confront our pain and heal from it?

I talk a lot about expectations, real and perceived, that I accepted from society, family, friends when I was grieving. The impacts it has had on me and the struggles in my book – ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™—๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™จ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™š ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ช๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐˜พ๐™ง๐™ฎ.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

When you ask a man how he is and he says “I’m alright.” #CowboysAreNotSupposedtoCry #MentalHealth #Men #Healing #LifeAfter #Trauma #Pain #Loss #Grief

What emotions and feelings are you hiding from others?

Grief, memoir, Stories

Revisiting Chapter 2 – A Far Better Place

Alone into the Alone

A far better placeโ€”the phrase echoes through my mind, and my faith tells me to believe in this. As a Christian don’t the words of our God tell us there is a far better place?


Yet I ask, what does that mean, and how do we know? We don’t know I often want to scream back. Instead, I and nod in a feinted attempt at agreement, holding onto hope, that there is a far better place.

An interesting chapter and maybe the most philosophical of the entire book, as I ask the questions that many have asked before me. The theological questions of life after death, what happens to us, is there a heaven and if so isn’t there a hell? Even atheists and agnostics with no faith in a god or a higher power have asked the question, wondering what is there after we die?

The last paragraph of chapter 1 of my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry speaks of Luka’s belief in a far better place. (You can read my thoughts and revisit of chapter 1 here.)

Luka was the one facing her own mortality, not me. She was the one who must venture alone into the alone, not me. I wonder even now what thoughts ran through her mind that she did not share with me. Or worse still those thoughts she did share and I have long forgotten. Her words tossed aside as if they were of no more importance than a scrap of garbage. What are you supposed to do with that?

Believe… in life after otherwise what’s the point?

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes
Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 1 – Out of the Sun

Please note: This is the beginning of a series of posts where I will work my way through each chapter of my memoir, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry, reflecting on what I wrote and other thoughts now that the book is published.

As I reread chapter 1 of my memoir the first thing that hits me is how naรฏve I was, but I guess we all were at one time or another. My youthfulness shows through my words and actions during that time of my life. The first meeting with Luka and our growing relationship. It took me almost thirty years to realize the doors she opened and lead me through into worlds I had never explored. There were many simple things you don’t realize how much they meant until much, much later.

“We lived in those moments that held special meaning to us but seemed so ordinary in their significance.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 24 – Mark W. Schutter

It’s those moments that seem insignificant that have the propensity to change our lives in hindsight. Those chance encounters with a stranger that lead to a deep and lasting relationship. Some that accompany us throughout the rest of our lives and others only stay for a while. Yet, the memories and the truths of each conversation stay with us and become touchstones that are the bedrock on which we stand.

I recall the music of the time when we first met and the music she introduced me to. Music I had never considered nor paid attention to before. It was a kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions that permeated and became the backdrop of our lives for those few short years. The music was so often prophetic as the lyrics seemed to hint at things to come. Some happy and some sad but either way they were harbingers of what may be.

“There was so much to live for, so much to look forward to, while a haunting voice whispered there will come a time when I will never see her again.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 25 – Mark W. Schutter

There were decisions made that were set on my securing my future as I slowly slipped into adulthood. Yet those decisions of college and pursing a vocational calling pale in comparison to the seemingly random everyday occurrences that I now believe were anything but random. Those moments and incidents that became part of the tapestry when our lives came together in a grand design until the edges began to fray, the material becoming thinner and eventually the fabric was torn in two.

The first glance when our eyes met, casual conversations, dinners under the fading evening light, hawks soaring high overhead, and sharing hopes and dreams of a future. I titled the first chapter of my memoir “Out of the Sun” as an ode to the following lyrics in the Al Stewart song ‘Year of the Cat.’

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations

She came into my life in late summer wearing sun dresses and sandals. And like a watercolor painting opened my eyes to a multitude of hues and colors in life that often dance just outside our vision. Watercolor paint has a special ability to morph from one to another overlapping in soft and hard edges. Then the colors run as the water carries them intermingling with each other until the distinctness is lost. It continues to fade until the image is completely gone. This is an analogy of our lives together, the brilliant distinctiveness, intermingling, and then the fading until she was gone.

There are many more lines from this song that also resonate with me but that is for another post at another time when I may break down the entire song. For now just remember that no matter what you do, time passes, and you have the choice to live forward despite those trials and pains that inflict us all.

“She believed… there was a far better place, a place that existed out past the sun, where it rained colors and memoires never faded, where the last became first and the pain became joy and you traveled via the slipstream, a place where we can let go of the pain, the loss, and the death of this world.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 27 – Mark W. Schutter

So don’t bother asking for explanations cause she just might tell you that she came in the year of the cat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ God bless! This is your ‘life after…’ don’t miss it!

———————————————————————————————-

My memoir is available in print and e-book. Order your copy today, and one or two or threeโ€ฆ as a gift for some else in time for the holidays. PAY IT FORWARD!  

You can also reach out to me here on my website to purchase signed copies.

Grief, Life, memoir, Stories, Writing

Pay it Forward – Will You Purpose to Commit Intentional Acts of Kindness?

Signed copies of my memoir being packaged for delivery!

There is still time to order your own copy and one or two or three… as a gift for some else in time for the holidays. PAY IT FORWARD! ๐Ÿ‘Š Available in print and e-book.

You can also reach out to me here on my website to purchase signed copies. Here’s some comments I have received from readers –

  • Your story touched my heart in more ways than I can even explain. Even though it triggered a lot of sadness and emotions it also gave me hope.
  • Just finished the first chapter of your book and I must tell you how beautiful your words are. You have such an amazing gift. Thank you for sharingโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ
  • I will have to say I have never read a book like yours before. I read a lot! I do want to tell you that this book is absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

There is always hope of ‘life after…” and hope is never a small thing. #CowboysAreNotsupposedtoCry #Memoir #Grief #Healing #Trauma #LifeAfter https://www.amzn.com/1639031022 

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Are You Shopping On – Cyber Monday 2021?

Get a jump on Cyber Monday and here’s an idea, my memoir! >

AmazonBarnes and Noble iTunes

A great little gift for yourself or someone you love. A story of love, loss, and carrying grief midst the expectations of men who are struggling to heal from trauma. A story for men who have suffered pain and the women who love them.

Reviews:

“Like John Maxwell, OG Mandino, Simon Sinek, Brene Brown etc. and your book is absolutely right up there with those authors. The questions, they style, the literary techniques and your heart and soul you poured into it – I truly didn’t want to put it down and looked forward to reading more.” ~Caleb K.

“This will help so many people out there who are struggling with grief and it’s inevitable storm cloud of trauma. This book reveals that some things stay with you forever, eternally scarred, and that’s okay. Sometimes you need to cry, and be able to express the rawness of grief, and that’s okay.” ~Charis S.

“Such a beautiful, inspiring narrative of love, grief, strength and vulnerability . I highly recommend this book. A must read for those who have lost a loved one or who just need to be reminded that there is great love and hope in this world.” ~Nicole M.

“This is a great book for anyone who is experiencing grief. Markโ€™s story is one of love, sadness and pain but also of hope and is inspiring to someone currently experiencing similar pain and stuck in grief of the death of someone we loved so dearly.” ~Kristi W.

“It isn’t a self help book, telling you how to feel, what to think and how to act. It isn’t going to tell you how to fix yourself or how to move on with life.ย This is a beautiful memoir of just that, gut wrenching reality and the beauty behind true grief. Mark shares his story, without hiding the truth, the ugly side of grief.” ~Carri S.

“This book goes where few are willing. The author shares deeply painful and personal experiences and memories. It celebrates the power of unconditional love and brings to light the brutality of death. It is a must read for all who have loved and lost as well as a beautiful reminder that there is always hope.” ~Teresa S.

“This book is so wonderfully written. When you read this book you can almost feel the emotions of the author. I hope anyone who has lost a love one will consider reading this book .” ~Bobbie L.

Order your copy now and one as a gift for someone who is hurting!

Grief, Life, Writing

Pain – It’s Not a Competition

It is not a competition, although some will try to make it into one.

“Yeah, but let me tell you what happened to me…”

We all have stories to tell and they should be told. There is often healing in our sharing and it may give others hope. There is resilience and a vulnerable courage in sharing our pain and also our triumphs.

There can be “life after” if we choose it and others stories may help us get there. But sometimes, preaching to myself here, we need to shut up and just listen. Or sit in silence with someone in their pain.

There is more than enough these days to go around.

(Read Job 2:13)

Life, memoir, Writing

Are you receiving my NEWSLETTER?

I have sent out my most recent newsletter just today and it can be viewed here.

It is a great way to keep up to date and be one of the first to hear about exciting events and happenings. My memoir is now available in both print and e-book formats.

Purchase your copy here:

Amazon > https://www.amzn.com/1639031022

Barnes and Noble > https://www.bn.com/s/9781639031023

I have some exciting changes coming up and new opportunities that I will be sharing. So, let’s start the conversation about

“Life after…”

memoir, Writing

There is and can be ‘life after…”

Print and e-book available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Here is the video trailer >

What do you think of when you hear the word grief?

How would you describe the experience, your experience?

๐—–๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐—”๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—–๐—ฟ๐˜† > Available now on Amazon > https://www.amzn.com/1639031022ย #Grief #Memoir #Healing #Men

Grief, memoir, Stories

Cowboys … Cry?

Vulnerable transparency post!

My just released memoir is titled:

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

So why is that the past few days I have been on the edge of tears?

There is so much going on in my life right now both personally and professionally, more to come on that later.

Not to mention the chaotic and confusing world we find ourselves living in right now. But like the Ringo Kid (John Wayne) said in Stagecoach

“Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from. “

My friends I am not running but I am being wise as every warrior must be if they are to survive and thrive. May God bless you. Stay strong and remember sometimes even the strongest cowboys cry.

The print copy of my book (memoir) is available now on Amazon.
God, Grief, Life, Writing

Do you feel alone? Maybe, you are not as alone as you think.

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. ~Luke 5:15 NASB

Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west. ~Isaiah 43:5 NASB

These things I have spoken to you to that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33 NASB

There are a lot of troubling things going on all over the world right now. Whether you agree or disagree with decisions being made, I think we can all agree that the current state of affairs is troubling. As we watch events unfold we cannot help but think and worry about the impacts on your personal world. Our families and friends, our workplaces and places we visit all are feeling the effects.

I am in the midst of many changes in my personal life and the decisions often seem overwhelming. However, I trust the one who has the answers even when he doesn’t reveal them to me. I talk a lot about this in my memoir ๐‚๐จ๐ฐ๐›๐จ๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐€๐ซ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ญ ๐’๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐‚๐ซ๐ฒ which was just published by Christian Faith Publishing and is available on Amazon.

I have to remind myself that I am not truly alone and there are others struggling with decisions and impacts as well. I think we have a couple of options:

  1. Trust God. This is where our faith determines our outlook and do we believe that God is still in control despite what we see happening all around us.
  2. Reach out in service of others. Those around us who are experiencing similar things, let us help one another grow as individuals and communities.
  3. Shrink back. This should not be an option as this only serves to isolate us more and allows fear, distrust, and distress to grow. (โฌ…PS – this is exactly what the enemy wants us to do.

Now, what will you choose?

Do not rejoiceย over me, enemyย of mine.
Thoughย I fallย I will rise;
Thoughย I liveย in darkness, the LORDย is a lightย for me.
~Micah 7:8