Much like your parents attic, treasured memories lay within. So, wipe the dust off my ruminations and remembrances, sit back and enjoy!

I Love Technology

Ok...so there's this on-going network issue at work. For the past two or three weeks, people have been being the good little workers that they are and filling out reports or whatever on their computers when...POOF! The computer either locks up or just re-boots...right in the middle of their work, which of course means that whatever work they HAD been doing is well...um...gone. Yeah...frustrating. It started out just one or two people and by the time I started looking into it...it went away. Then it popped up again...but someone else in a different part of the building. Then it went away for a few days...then it would pop back up again. It went on this way until last Friday when a good portion of the Central Office couldn't log onto the network and it stayed that way...About a week and a half earlier, I had started suspecting one of the pieces of our computer network called a switch, but it was SO random and intermittent, that I couldn't prove it. So, last Friday afternoon, I tested my theory by taking the select group of connections to the switch and moving them to a different switch...it worked! The only issue was that the switch I used as a replacement was too small for everyone to be moved to, so I left half on the old switch and put half on the new smaller switch and then ordered a new switch to be delivered Monday morning.
Monday morning comes...I go into the office early to get things ready for the new switch, which arrives at 9:30...I make all of the cable exchanges, power on the switch...within 15 minutes I get the first call...someone's been kicked off...I get them back on and 30 seconds later, they're kicked off again...AAAHHHHHHH! This issue is REALLY kickin' my behind!
So...tomorrow I'm going in for round three...pray for me as it's starting to get to me...switches and cable wires and network diagrams are starting to visit me in my sleep!

I Love Technology...right...

~ V

Sweet Sixteen!

(designed and made by Vinny)

Today is Trevor's golden birthday...for those of you who may not know what that is, it's when your age matches your birth date...for Trevor that means turning 16 on the sixteenth. Yesterday, Trev and I went to La Crosse where we went shopping and had lunch. Today we continued the festivities as Lisa made him a Twix birthday cake (Chocolate cake with homemade carmel on top, then chocolate frosting and crushed Twix candy bars...yum!). And the kids gave him their gifts! Oh...and we made chicken fettucini (one of his favorites). Honestly...we had one of the nicest dinners we've had in awhile. Everyone went around the table and related one of their favorite memories of Trevor. It was a very close family moment...lots of laughter and smiles...

We love you Trev! 16...wow!

~ V

Cold hands, warm...abduction???

...For the recovery and return of my winter mittens.

A.K.A. (also known as): Shooting gloves, Glittens, The warmest gloves EVER, Freaky weird glove things
Last seen: June 2008, just before moving to Minnesota

Here is a picture of a ‘Person of Interest’ in this crime.

She’s been known to comment on her dislike of the missing gloves and was overheard asking, ‘What would you do if those gloves ever came up missing?’ If you see this person and she’s carrying the gloves in question, DO NOT TAKE PERSONAL ACTION!!! Please call Vince Howard at once!
...ok, seriously now...my gloves ARE missing! (my coat is too for that matter...) I know my attachment to these gloves might seems a little odd, but honestly...they are the warmest gloves I have ever owned! The weather has turned decidedly cold this week and I really could have used them...I don't like my hands getting cold. I was sure that I had packed all of the cold weather stuff together...sigh, oh well, I guess I'll just have to order another pair!!! :)
~ V

Running from the Pursuer (part 2)

‘My child’s feelings are hurt, I tell him he’s special.
My child is injured. I do whatever it takes to make him feel better.
My child is afraid. I won’t go to sleep until he feels secure.
I am not a hero…I’m a parent.
When a child hurts, a parent does what comes naturally. He helps…’ Max Lucado

But what happens when your parenting…your decision is the cause of your child’s hurt…fear?

…After he came upstairs, we told him we needed to talk and asked him to sit down…he said that he’d rather stand. We found out that Trevor was planning on waiting until we fell asleep that night, then he was going to take the car and drive back to Baraboo…We found out that earlier that night, a girl he cared deeply for and one of the main reasons he wanted to move back to Baraboo, had broken up with him. He was visibly upset, emotionally disconnected and very angry at me. We also found out that he planned on going to Baraboo, say good-bye to his friends and then go off somewhere and end it. Lisa asked him how serious he was about that and he said that he was very serious. She told him to get his shoes on, that we were taking him to the hospital…he didn’t argue.

Trevor spent the night at the hospital, in their psychiatric ward, but the next day they would need to transfer him to a facility that was suitable for adolescents and teens. He made no fuss about going…I think he actually enjoyed his ‘vacation’ from school…from us…and thought (as did I) that it wouldn’t be any different at the Rochester facility than it was here. But it wasn’t anything the same…right away they separated Trevor from us. As we met with the intake social worker, the nurse was filling Trevor in on the rules, taking his shoes, belt and everything that was in his pockets. By the time we were done with the social worker and went to see him, it was obvious Trevor didn’t like being here. He didn’t want to stay, but we held firm and told him that we needed to see this through. When it became obvious that we weren’t going to take him home, he shut down and when asked if he wanted us to leave…he simply said ‘Yup…’ and so we did…Trevor would need to be there for a mandatory 72 hours, but that didn’t include weekends…it was Friday and that meant unless we demanded it, he would be there until Wednesday…yeah, he wasn’t happy at all! No T.V., no going into other patient rooms and except for ‘group therapy’ time, they quickly broke up private conversations between patients. This place was supposed to help Trevor…encourage him to share things that he wouldn’t or couldn’t share with us…instead, it was making him frustrated and actually more upset. By Monday he was better…more resolved that this was how it was going to be than happy…but better. Lisa and I were not however…in the three days that he had been there so far, it was evident that he had received no personal therapy and the actual psychologist couldn’t tell us their plan of action for Trevor…we didn’t tell Trevor this, but we decided right then that we were going to take Trevor home with us the following day. Tuesday morning, Trevor was in pretty good spirits. One of the things that needed to happen before he left was the three of us had to have a ‘family meeting’ with the social worker where Trevor and us would share some items that we would like to see changed and then work together to seek a compromise. The social worker did tell us that he informed Trevor the previous day that him moving out before he was 18 and graduated from high school was not an option that would be up for compromise. Surprisingly there were only two things on Trevor’s list…1) School…he wanted to be homeschooled  2) He didn’t want to go to church anymore. Concerning school…honestly, if he has no desire to do the homework he is assigned in school now, what would be the motivation for him to do it with an on-line school? Also, I strongly believe that wouldn’t be healthy for him as he would just be that much more isolated. We pointed out that he’s only been in school for three months. The social worker then asked Trevor what he could do to try and make school at the highschool work? He told Trevor that he didn’t buy that he couldn’t make friends because he saw Trevor befriend all the other teens there in the program (Trevor smiled at that!). Trevor said that he liked sports and that he planned on going out for baseball in the spring. Number 2 was more difficult…I didn’t want to compromise…’As for me and MY house, we will serve the Lord…’ Exactly how does a parent knowingly compromise his child’s spiritual wellbeing? But ultimately in the end…I can’t decide for Trevor. I can force him to attend, but I can’t force him to believe. And if I force him…bitterness and hardness will take root. But even so…I KNOW the Bible says that we, as parents, will be held accountable for the way we bring our children up. So, it was with heavy heart that we reached a compromise…we wouldn’t force him to attend church, but he would attend youth group each week.

And so, we’re home…I do not feel that Trevor would have actually taken his own life, but he did feel trapped, frustrated and angry. He is seeing a therapist (a good Christian woman) and he knows that he needs to deal with some anger issues as well as the death of his mother. I know he’s blaming me for everything that’s gone wrong in his life. After all, I moved him from his friends…the only people he feels were there for him after his mother died. And so the tsunami of emotions pummels me as waves of guilt and condemnation drive me to my knees. Every good and nurturing parent wants their children to be happy and successful…I felt I had failed Trevor and have spent many days in thought, discussion with Lisa and prayer over this and eventually came to the conclusion that I know it was the right decision…He needed to leave Baraboo…needed to be removed from the influence of his friends. These friends who were there for him…who eagerly accepted him, but who also introduced him to ways of replacing or avoiding the reality of his grief. At the age of 15, Trevor had started walking a path not only in the wilderness and full of hazards, but one that was treacherous…perilous even…and without the One who could and so wanted to guide him. So, I knew moving him from Baraboo was absolutely the right thing to do…even so, helplessly watching your child slip into emotional despair is not an easy thing to do…But I’m thankful for the Father who wants to hold him until he feels better, help him until he can live with the hurt and who won’t go to sleep when he’s afraid of waking up and seeing nothing but darkness…if only he’d stop running from the Pursuer and realize that God doesn’t just want to catch him, but wants to carry him through these difficult struggles. To show him that he isn’t alone and never has to be. To comfort him, heal him and show him that it’s going to be ok…

‘It will be at those times that I will be glad I have a guide…a guide who knows the path well and His step sure.’

~ V

Running from the Pursuer (part 1)

At the top of this BLOG under the title, I wrote a short description of what my BLOG is all about. Part of that description reads ‘…and knowing that at times the path will become less clear. More wilderness than trail, hazards and distractions will spring up and will attempt to lead me from the path...’ A week ago this past Thursday evening decidedly started us down a path less clear and definitely full of hazards. A good share of you already know a lot about this, but please read on…

‘Dad, we need to talk…’ I had just gotten home from work and I really just wanted to change my clothes and unwind a bit, but I said, ‘I know…let me change first.’ Earlier in the day Trevor had emailed me to ask me to think about letting him move back to Baraboo. I immediately thought, ‘He’s GOT to be out of his mind! He’s 15!’ I emailed him back, telling him that I wasn’t going to discuss this via email and that we’d talk when I got home. I had already updated Lisa about what was going on, so, I changed my clothes, told Lisa I was going into the ‘lion’s den’ and headed downstairs. Trevor wanted me to allow him to move back to Baraboo and He explained to me that he had already made arrangements to move in with a friend of a friend who was 21. I listened to him, thinking to myself that he’d made all of these arrangements and plans without even once consulting me. Not surprising really, I guess, if you knew deep down that your parent would say no. I told him no, that I couldn’t nor would I allow that to happen.

What ensued was a discussion where he tried everything he could to convince me to honor his request. Through anger, harsh words, tears, pleading and guilt, Trevor used everything he could to try to persuade me that he should be allowed to do what he wanted with his life…at 15 years of age. I must admit, there were times throughout our debate where my emotions swung from my heart going out to him, to just simply wanting to tell him, ‘No and that’s that!’ I feel that I was patient and stayed with the logical approach; that he’s 15…that he’s my responsibility, that he’s my son and there would be no way I could just abandon him and that it’s not even legal for him to be on his own. He countered by saying that he didn’t want to be my responsibility, nor my son and that I basically abandoned his emotions when I moved him from his friends. Round and round it went for two hours with me not budging and Trevor not letting it drop. Sigh…I knew this was NOT going to end well. I finally told him that the conversation wasn’t going anywhere as neither of us were going to concede and that I was going to go eat some supper. He said, ‘I can’t believe you’re just going to walk away’ and then hit the wall with his fist as hard as he could, putting a small crack in the wall (we didn’t find this out until later). A couple of hours later, Trevor came up, rummaged through the kitchen and all but stomped back downstairs. Noticeably he had a bandage on his hand (from hitting the wall) and Lisa seeing it, asked me about it. I told her it’s probably from him hitting the wall earlier. She didn’t know that he had hit the wall and after checking it out and seeing that he’d actually put a crack/dent in the wall behind the bar downstairs, she gathered the computer keyboard and mouse. Then went to Trevor’s room and asked for the phone. He asked why and Lisa said you punched a hole in the wall and you are grounded from the computer and all phone privileges…he told her no. Again, she told him to give it to her…he told her, ‘I don’t think I will.’ That’s when Lisa called to me; so I went down and demanded the phone. At first he told me no, but finally did say that he didn’t have it, that it was out on the bar. I went and retrieved the phone, but as I headed back up the stairway, Trevor’s door opened, he threw something out against the opposite wall and then slammed his door. I went back down to see what it was…it was Lisa’s car keys. I showed them to Lisa and she said, ‘We need to talk to him, find out what’s going on…was he planning on stealing the car?’ So, I went downstairs and told Trevor we needed to see him upstairs now…(to be continued)