Ornaments…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on December 22, 2012 by rodzink

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milestones…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on December 15, 2012 by rodzink

days…weeks…years… creep past…relentless and lethargic… a golden sun upon a wintry blue    matte.  Subtle repetition and we notice neither inches nor wrinkle until their almost surprising appearance shakes us from slumber.  Baker… takes his first unsupervised Friday evening with friends… Aashir, his first steps.  Belle, broadcasting herself on youtube…..  Enjoying my age….my own growth.. this newfound place and perch… A place of which I’ve sought…thirsty…deprived… the discovering of a wonderful journey…always longing for the next step…the next moment… and all the while, completely and deliriously content with the previous.  Nestled comfortably…. with coffee and twinkling lights…shiny Hindu elephants and lush poinsettia.. Unfiltered laughter of a small child.. a mother’s brilliant beautiful love, outshining that of combined decor, rings music in this house…soft rain in a spring forest.. Pictures and memories adorn our walls and mantle.. cherished yesterdays and hopeful tomorrows.. Then…. my own steps.. I’ve been led..directed..embraced by a loving God… somewhere…out there… and here…. I….. am…. a father… a husband and friend… but a child…He watches… His very walls…scattered pictures and milestones… pictures of my struggles… my triumphs….  my fortunate….very fortunate journey… and He…. smiles…..

I Am

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on August 16, 2012 by rodzink

I wake up early every morning. Typically, I have plenty of time to start my day without rushing through the best part of the day…. BBC updates… coffee… shower….. All are constants… The frustrating..or concerning “constant” is the world news…. the fighting in Syria… the refugees in Congo….the drug wars in South America…. the hate crimes in our own country… An individual needlessly murdering others simply because they are different… another color… ethnicity… religion… or speak another language…. Then, if that’s not enough, we find ourselves divided… or media-driven…. selfishly…ignorantly opinionated…. Headlines like “Army Veteran allegedly shoots Sikhs”… or “Muslim man Detained at Airport.” Why not “Christian man Slays Sihks?” Seems like this would balance the wording…. Or simply “One Human Being Kills Six other Human Beings.” And…it goes on….and on……and on…. and every day, one group i.e. race, religion, nationality, etc. clings to another divisive situation…. and all I can think is how we, individually, hold the solution. It’s not a quick fix…nor does it have immediate results.. In fact, it could take generations…
Personally, I’ve become irreligious….. oh, still a believer… but so far from being able, or willing, to tie myself to a religion where someone has to be wrong….or where the limited few within my organization, have “it” right. After all, who on Earth is to determine right and wrong? What is it that I want to teach my children? Settle in my own heart and mind? What can I claim and still feel as though I am universally right with a Creator? I think He’s given us His thoughts….it’s found throughout books and stories, written by man. Men, I believe, inspired by God…. But, I think we’re all configured with His thumbprint… We are His handi-work… Whether we speak English…. Portuguese…. Arabic… or do not have the ability to speak at all… Whether we have lived our entire days in Indiana….Indonesia… Nepal…Yemen…He favors us…. I’ve often found it almost strange that Christians love to through around catchy words for God… they love to use old Hebrew words… Yahweh… Yeshuah… El Shadai… and so forth…but let someone use an Arabic name for God…. We can overlook the differences between Baptists and Methodists… but….well….try ordering a Mexican meal in English and notice the looks…. a pita wrapped around meat, beans, and sour cream is still a burrito, regardless of how you ask for it.
I believe God introduced himself without title…without allowing us to box Him into a corner… He simply, and, specifically, entitled Himself…”I Am.” He isn’t Jewish… Muslim…. or… and this one is where people will tap the X in the corner of the screen… Christian… I find it odd that all of these mono-theistic beliefs find common ground in original text….practices…. styles of worship….. but as man and empire grew… their tolerances for one another’s beliefs….. thinned… I believe God created a perfect world and it became inhabited with free will.
I believe…. well… I could write for days… I could attempt to articulate my reasoning… my convictions… interpretations of Bible…Quran…Torah.. How Abraham questioned…even challenged God….I can debate the age old argument of whom Abraham took to sacrifice… Isaac…Ishmael… I can decide for myself the cultural decisions Abraham had to make and the blessings bestowed on his “only” and “eldest” son… How Hagar was promised…and given…. the same blessing as Abraham….How, if we can all agree on the origin of these religions, then it must be so that all children of Judaism, Islam and Christianity… pray to…live beneath…and attempt to please the same God. etc…etc….etc… But this is mere opinion.. So…skip…. “I believe.” What about “I Am?”
I Am responsible…. for how I take the convictions within my own soul and play it outwardly. I Am responsible for the things my children see from me… How I treat another human being… I Am a vessel made by the hands of a Creator. I Am able to understand that my beliefs…my faith…my terms with God…are between me…and Him. That I, and my faith, is not superior over that of another. Nor is it inferior. I Am not required to ensure others agree with me… I Am responsible for my actions. I Am responsible for the attitudes instilled into my children concerning tolerance, peace, generosity, understanding, acceptance and love, while at the same time embracing their own convictions. I Am responsible for teaching them that God is bigger, smarter, more capable than any of our illusions, inspirations, plans. I Am responsible for maneuvering a path through an obstacle course of religious values that pull apart…separate…I Am responsible for taking a step to ensure that tomorrow doesn’t bring a mass and ignorant slaying of another human, because of his faith. I Am responsible for tomorrow’s world…Just my small part of it. I Am responsible for showing them that character is what He sees when he looks down upon us….not our color… our geography…the bricks and mortar from where we bow…but our character…our faith…. and the steps we take.
Overall… I Am responsible… I Am accountable….. Our tomorrow needs these things… My children… all three of them… deserve these things…

Fulfilled….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on July 24, 2012 by rodzink

Many years ago…I knew I wanted children.  The thought of watching them grow…crawl…..laugh….play…. made me smile.  I was not prepared, however, for just how much I would grow to love them.  It’s an overwhelming feeling, really… the sudden realization that your heart is filled with the love for them…. then…. it occurs to you that they have no understanding of how deep that love is.  They have no idea how late we stay up at night… how early we rise… the work… the effort….the sacrifice… but, more importantly, the happiness they bring us….

Baker, Annabelle…. Aashir…. you are so much more than…simply…children…. You are so very loved… Without you, life would be a lesser place…

14….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on July 20, 2012 by rodzink

Dear Son,

I’ve saved every memory…every mental note…every hug…. moment… and tucked them away.  From the time when you needed my hand to hold so you could wobble on toddler’s legs… needed me to push you in the swing… hold up your bike… place your fingers on the stitches of your first football…. steady your own rifle….drive for the first time…. I’ve still got all those moments…and carry them each and every day. 

 

 

I want you to know that no matter your age…. your abilities… your self-awareness…. and independence… you are my little boy.  When you’re bigger than me….taller than me… stronger than me…. I will still carry you in my heart with the strength of a mighty oak.  There is nothing more important to me….

Now, it’s yet another birthday… Enjoy these days…. they pass quickly…quietly…and are irretrievable.  Make each step you take be towards something useful…each word you speak be spoken with care and intent….each embrace you give be given with sincerity… Every night, when you finish your day…be thankful for it…. be proud of it… then tuck it away…. Look on each tomorrow with hope… improve your life…seek out precious moments… carry honor….respect….compassion with you that they may become part of your every step…deed…. along this journey.  Remember… that you carry your family, as we carry you, in all that you do…all that you become….all that you allow to become absorbed into your character….  Sometimes, in life, pride stands in our way of great things….pride has its place…find it early… Often, the impact others benefit from us is more important than our personal gain…. Always use words like “ma’am”, “sir”, “thank you.”  Make it a rule to be the one to open doors whenever there is an opportunity, regardless of the gender, the place, the weather.  Most people never figure this out, but becoming a man is hard work, but seldom the result of being a hard man.  Kindness and gentleness are fundamental building blocks of building character.  Your reputation will carry far if it’s a good one… your character will be the stuff folks talk about well into your adult life… Search…never think you know it all….and always strive to learn….listen…. always hear the opinions of others…  Be aware of the needs of those around you, for one day we are all in need of a friend. 

I’m so very…very proud of you.  I love you with all that I am…with all of my heart.

Happy birthday, son.

Aashir Rais…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on April 22, 2012 by rodzink

 

Words…. would simply be an obstacle here…. I can’t express how much I love this little boy….

 

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Predawn….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on April 16, 2012 by rodzink

It’s early…. and I’ve been up long enough to have difficulty discerning whether it is morning… or still night… But, on occasion, I sit….unable to sleep…unwilling to rise.  Simply caught somewhere in betwixt movement….desire.  Often, I wonder if God simply stirred me… so I would listen…. or, perhaps, seek Him out. 

To my side… this beautiful soul sleeps soundly….  her life… her decisions… goodness… kindness….faith…. whatever lives within…and without…. I’ve yet to discover… Yet, it beckons my lifelong journey to continue… deeper… searching….meaning… purpose…..

My three little ones…. perhaps…. perhaps….they’ll find… they’ll be seekers… wanderers in this barren land….Abrahamic… and somewhere… they’ll unearth treasures…. truth….

 

Nursery Rhymes….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on April 1, 2012 by rodzink

Many, many days have passed… since I’ve heard a nursery rhyme… cute little songs… stories…. of beautiful days… stories of fun…happiness…. of childrens’ laughter… And then, suddenly, my home is filled with these stories again… I’ve realized, however, that my home has always been filled with them… I look at my older kids…my teenager… my little girl… and am reminded that they are “still” my babies…. they always will be.  I still visit them at bed-time, simply to hug them at the day’s end… tell them each that I love them…. that I think of them all day.

Now, we’ve all been blessed with yet another reason to rejoice… our little Aashir Rais… the cries for attention… the smiles he gives us each… the little hands grabbing at everything…. I love watching Baker and Belle simply love him… always eager to hold him… carry him… play with him…

And then…most importantly… there’s Faranah…. I could have never dreamed up… my own story… the place I’ve found myself… where we’ve all landed, like Jack tumbling down the hill… I think Jill shoved him… just so  she could prove she was the only one there…nearby…with extended hand….I, too, have tumbled and landed where I was always meant to be.  The smiles on these little faces confirms it for me…

We are in capable hands….the hands…and hearts…. of each other… No matter how far down  the steep hill… we’ll not land in a strange place….

Silence….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 31, 2012 by rodzink

The days have come….nights have passed… I’ve watched a relentless sun rise and fall… chasing an elusive and tireless moon… And I fight to ensure that my days are different… meaningful…. purposeful…. and much more than a tiresome…. senseless… survival of itself…

..and here am I, oh God…. where you’ve planted my feet… within a whisper of the voice that I’ve always known… an understanding of which I’ve waited…

….finding  that my life’s purpose is not mine…not to serve myself… discovering my heart is within another heart…. and satisfied that my place is lowly…I want nothing… as I have….everything….

Silently… celebrating today…. for all I have…. for where I am…. for the day… for the night…. for the chasing of the sun….and the  fading of the moon…. for tomorrow..

HBL…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 26, 2012 by rodzink

It’s so amazing how busy… how packed.. the days have become… a new little life in our home… brings so very much…

 

Aashir is growing…smiling…laughing….crying….playing… Sometimes, just watching him light up when someone walks into the room…or when he hears his Mommy’s voice… makes me want to sit back and look at him…. and realize he’s the beginning of a new volume…filled with surprises of him becoming his own…  I can’t wait to see his personality develop…hear his voice when he begins to talk…. watch his technique as he launches into a toddler tantrum…. see what his favorite Disney show will be…..

…..but then…. there’s  his Mommy…  simply being his Mommy…. watching all those instincts kick in…. realizing the complete devotion she has for him… knowing that she would sacrifice all for this little boy…. 

 

I find myself watching the clock all day… as busy as I am…. for as much as we all have on our plates….  I begin missing them all….the very second… I close the door behind… the instant I drive away from the school… and my goal for the day…. after the work…the meetings….the running errands…. is no more than to get back home… near them….

I can ask for nothing…for I have been given everything….

Thanksgiving ’11…

Posted in Where Angels Perch on December 4, 2011 by rodzink

…..backspace…backspace….backspace……. I had written this wordy depiction of folks on an open sea… leaving the known…. setting out for a rumored horizon…blah…blah…..But it simply felt strange…. It’s Thanksgiving…. a Thanksgiving celebration like I’ve never had…. so it warrants direct honesty….

Baker…I’m so glad you’re my son… We have our moments and I know you feel like I am hard on you (you have no idea what that means, really)…but I know what awaits you out there as you become a man… It’s a beautiful world… brimming with goodness…reward…happiness… But wrong steps on a treacherous path can set your days in a spiraling mess…  Make good choices not just for the day..the afternoon..but for lifelong well-being… Be kind…hug alot… when you make mistakes…simply shake your head and admit them… give forgiveness before it’s asked for…. Be still once in a while… and simply listen….Listen to your friends…your parents.. your grandparents…the news…. Listen for that voice in your heart…. It’s God…. listen. 

I have spent 13 years…. watching you….being proud of you… everso thankful for you… I’ll spend the rest of my days doing the same… You know I’d do anything for you…. You make me laugh.. you’ve kept me young and busy… Because of you, I still get to play football, baseball, climb, shoot rifles, air soft, wrestle… I’m grateful…so happy… You’re a wonderful young man and my buddy…my companion…sidekick…. I see beautiful things in you… your warmth….the way you do little things with you brother… You’re a teenager and I know those days of you not wanting me to be around all the time are coming…. but I’m always going to be here… that dad that sticks to you like a shadow when you want me…. I’m the dad on the porch watching for you at the bend in the road… I’m that dad full of great memories and pride as I think of you….

Belle…Thank you… thank you for making my days brighter… You have brought things to me that I’ve never expected… emotions that I didn’t have.  Often, you make me sit back and simply listen to you… you’re beautiful…smart….wise well beyond our days.  You’ve been my other “little boy” and tough as a nail…until I look at those blue eyes… then, I’m reminded of that soft little girl…regardless of the Carhartts….boots… You’re 11, but I can already see the young lady you’re becoming… thoughtful…caring…huge-hearted… Since you were a toddler, you’ve had me wrapped around your finger….  I would move mountains to get to you… I need you….just like you need me…  I’m proud you’re my daughter… my little girl… I’m thankful for your heart… your continuous laughter… your funky personality… I’m so thankful that you’re mine… The many, many tomorrows are coming…. life is full of twists and turns… you have many people around you…that love you dearly… remember that God made you… You’re special…perfect….

Aashir Rais…. The moment  you’re mommy told me we were going to have you, I loved you… You already know this, but her heart is like no place I’ve ever been…and you’re from that very heart….  Only recently, you’ve started developing your own personality… big smiles…. soft coos…loud screams… You have no idea what your very presence means to me… You’re my life… you’re my reminder of good things…. and that God always has his hand on us…as we stumble… as we fall….as we try to get up…. and we’re reminded in all our strength… and determination… that we are no more than God’s will… I know that you’ve always been… have been waiting… You’re a gift I didn’t expect… a blessing far greater than I had known to ask… a gentle nudge… a infant reminder of who I really am…what’s really important….

Faranah….  You were so unexpected… I remember looking at you that night at dinner (Mercantina)…. and I knew… I simply knew…. So, it’s sort of a Thanksgiving story for me…. a different voyage…and you wouldn’t be here..but oceans apart… In my mind, it speaks volumes… I know where I’m supposed to be…. there is no other place I could have been… this happiness is overwhelming…. the “knowing” is solid…your heart is sacred…. I’m so glad we met…again….  I’m so grateful that your heart…your embrace…your love…. is big enough to wrap around this family…. I’m on new ground….stepping off a water-logged and rotten ship…onto a promised land… I love our every day… I impatiently rush home….to be with you… every day.  I’ve come to anticipate the surprise of each day with you… that big, beautiful heart… the love of this family… I have found my place….somehow…. I’ve been directed home…

Faranah.... Aashir Rais....

Belle....basking in the Thanksgiving sun....

Eleven Octobers…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , on November 6, 2011 by rodzink

7 weeks…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on October 25, 2011 by rodzink

7 weeks have come… but they aren’t gone… Who could have ever dreamed of such a beautiful thing…

Aashir, you’re already 7 weeks old… I’m so looking forward to you sleeping through the night…. playing soccer… backpacking…. my sweet little boy….

4 am……

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on October 18, 2011 by rodzink

Aashir Rais… It’s still sort of…surreal…  I can’t believe he’s here…  Holding him is like realizing the precious value of each second…. the tough seconds… the amazing…. the moments when we realize the “yesterday” were but avenues to today…

….and I suddenly cannot imagine a day without him…

Autumn…

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on September 14, 2011 by rodzink

I can almost hear the crunching of drying leaves as they fall… the sweet smell of sassafras… hickory… The yellow jackets, swarming their shallow nests in preparation… green and bitter persimmons budding… A retreating sunset… and an encroaching Orion… I can close my eyes and feel the warmth of a small fire and childrens’ laughter…. huddled together…surrounded by darkness and the whisper of wind… But today, I’ve simply found myself with sleeping child… and sweet dreams…But this day is coming…soon….
Baker…. Belle…. Aashir….. I can’t wait…