The Land of Never Say Never

It can be quite funny when you find out you are wrong.
All these years and the whole time I thought I was a good citizen of The Land Of I Am In Control.

And it’s not like I shouldn’t have known. The evidence to the contrary was there for me to see.

But apparently I am not so smart.
Not this guy.
No Sir and No Ma’am.

As it turns out, I was a temporary resident-alien in The Land of Never Say Never.

After the life changing events that happened to my family on October 10, 2011, I was in shambles—emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. It didn’t happen all at once. Instead, it involved a long progression on a steeply graded slope. Hitting bottom was painfully harsh.

Looking back, God helped me make some fantastic choices—and blessed me in amazing ways. I could have never had the foresight needed to see me where I am now.

But on the other hand, I also stubbornly got in His way and made some boneheaded decisions in the process.

Some of those decisions were astronomically dumb. Truthfully, there were many days where I didn’t give God much to work with.

However, with my feet planted firmly in the dirt of Never Say Never, I forged ahead anyway. I didn’t get very far, mind you, but I tried. I tried to be in control. I tried to be the master of my own destiny. I tried to force life to fit my terms, my conditions. I tried so very hard.

And, much to my chagrin, it turns out my entire existence has been lived in the Land of God’s Got This!

We used to sing He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.
And He does.

Maybe we should dust that one off and sing it some more.

Like mine, your life may look nothing like you planned. Circumstances and situations may be disheartening. Difficulties may come and go. Pain may be an ever-present distraction.

But God?
He’s got this!

In that respect, I so love Joshua’s words to Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land…

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

God’s Got This!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

Scalped

Move over, Alexander.
In fact, you need to move way down to the other end of the bench.
In the next state.
There is no room for you here.
All this space is mine.
Yesterday I claimed it for a very long time.

I wasn’t trying to rhyme, but I am good.
Really good.
And yet, I digress.

You do know Alexander, don’t you? I bet you have worn his name a time or two. Or maybe three or four.

Somedays, I think I own the title, rights, and everything else pertaining to Alexander.

Dear old Alexander…

He is actually a fictional character created by Judith Viorst in her amazing little book entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This story is from a child’s perspective which is kind of on the mark since he is a child. If you haven’t read this book, you are missing a treat

Yesterday, I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
It has extended itself in one particular way into this day.

When I was young, I loved reading Westerns. I liked the Westerns where the good guys were fighting off the bad guys–including the additional storyline of a band of blood thirsty Apache Indians. Yes, I was a Louis L’Amour fan.

Today, I am officially afraid of being scalped.
Again.
Seriously.

Scalped.
And by scalped, I do not mean a bad haircut.

Scalped.

Yesterday morning started out ok. I was able to register Casey for a fall soccer league. In fact, the best and brightest part of the day was seeing his face light up with unabashed joy over a new pair of soccer cleats, shinguards, and a ball. We start practice tonight.

At any rate, after the online registration and and getting Casey on the bus, I began looking for my soccer coaching stash from years gone by. At one time or another, I coached all the other boys in soccer.

My search took me to the dreaded basement. The basement. The basement where Cole’s treasures are stored. And against my better judgment I opened those footlockers… and the tears began. They turned into a screaming match with God, only He didn’t scream back. My heart hurt most of the day. Everything was colored by pain. Even though my life is so much better than it could be… Even though my life is amazingly full and happy… The thought of all the ensuing years to come before I see my son again is daunting to say the least.

For the rest of the day I tried to function and live in the moment. I guess for the most part I did.
But it felt an awful lot like I was under water.
Slow.
Sluggish.
And hard to breath.

Thus went the day.
By evening, my equilibrium was better.
My outlook on life was much improved.
And Alexander? I was just about ready to cede back to him complete ownership of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
At least up until the moment I got scalped.

Did I say scalped?
Why yes, yes I did.

Scalped.
Not by a tomahawk.
But scalped nonetheless.

I was going up the spiral staircase to tuck Casey in for the night when I had the bright idea of tossing some clothes from the stairs to a basket below. In a moment completely bereft of any common sense, I leaned over the stair case to do so… and right into the spinning blades of a ceiling fan spinning on the highest speed.

Scalped!

Did you know head wounds bleed profusely?
Did you know gashes in the skull are painful?
Kids, don’t try this from home, take it from me instead.

Yes, a bad day got worse.
And quickly.

My head hurt then and it still hurts now.
But that pain will pass.
That wound will heal.
And I will eventually forget about how stupid I feel.
But my heart?
That pain will not completely go away until it is my turn to step across the great divide.

Until that day comes…
Blessings to you and yours,

Les Ferguson, Jr.

A Little Blog Competition

Not competition with other bloggers, but a readers competition!

I know this is not the promised blog mentioned on Facebook.

Patience, grasshopper.

It’s coming–hopefully by 7:00PM Tuesday. That’s my self-imposed deadline.
Lots of stuff going on this week. This afternoon I am trying to sell a little real estate–sitting here in an open house wishing somebody would show up–and writing while I am waiting. At least there is air conditioning and a bag of contraband potato chips to munch on. Maybe Becki won’t read that part…
Back to school night is Monday night for two high schoolers–and a court of honor for our Jr. High guy in Boy Scouts. Don’t ask how we are going to be in multiple places at once. It’s a secret only known by us super, high achiever parents… LOL!
Wednesday night I am speaking at the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, LA. I am looking forward to seeing some old and new friends and maybe meeting a famous TV character or two.
We shall see.
In the meantime, I am working on my hope-to-be published book (it’s gonna knock your socks off, guaranteed–how’s that for confidence?) as well as a short ebook (or two) that will be offered here on this blog.
I have been brain storming with my buddy and blog platform provider, Brad Palmore, about some ways to use my writing other than a book to generate some income and security as well as advertise speaking opportunities.
However, let me be clear. I am a true believer! I believe God is shaping, molding, and transforming me for a ministry that is needed–you readers are my earliest and best forms of support in that regard. Your encouragement is so greatly valued and appreciated!!
So here I am. Thankful for you. For reading, for commenting, for sharing, for subscribing, for liking! You guys (and gals) are the best.
Let’s have a little fun. Below you will find some old song titles from popular radio in days gone by. One of them is the title of the next blog post. The first person who responds either here in the comments or on my Facebook page or DWTBA Facebook page with the correct song title (and artist) along with the closest possible reason for my using it gets a prize.
A Starbucks Gift Card…
starbuck
We will leave the competition open until midnight, Monday.
Here are your choices:
I’m Bringing Sexy Back
 
That’s the way, un huh, un huh, I like it
 
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
 
Don’t Stop Believin’
I am having fun with this–I hope you will too!
Blessings to you and yours!
Les Ferguson
PDFLogo copy

Damned If I Don’t!

I chose to live.

There was a brief moment or two when it seemed it would be so much easier, so less painful to let it all end.

I cannot begin to describe the agony. Anything I say just won’t do it justice.

It hurt worse than anything I can ever imagine. Day after day, once the kids were in school and I was safely alone, I would scream and call down curses from the sky.

And God help me, I would wear myself out crying and scrubbing blood spatter stains off the trim work and walls. I don’t understand it, but no matter how hard I cleaned, it seemed to come back the next day in new places.

And then there was the anger. Early on it was a living breathing vivid thing. It was ever present and constantly smoldering.

I was angry at Paul Buckman. I was angry at his lowlife family and friends or whoever it was that had protected him or refused to acknowledge his perversions. I hated them and wished for all of their deaths.

I was angry at the criminal justice system and the judge who let him out of jail.

Just an hour before Karen and Cole were so brutally murdered, I called the investigators to get his license number because he had followed them the night before–and was denied. I was angry at them as well.

But most of all, I was angry for failing to see the threat he was–I was angry for not seeking vengeance myself for what he had done to Cole.

So add up all the anger and pain. Factor in the expectations of those who still do not understand why I had to walk away from a house, town, job, and church home. Multiply that by all the job and insurance related fear and confusion. Add in another dose of what-do-I-do-now and how-do-I-support-my-family…

What amazes me are the people who continue to second guess how I responded–and judge me still. (Walk 15 minutes in my shoes and I bet your thinking changes–but hey, I wouldn’t wish this on you for any reason…)

But into this incredible cauldron mix of conflicting and seething emotions walked an angel.

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I have called her Becki Beth since she was 14. She was the best friend of my sister, Julie.

Way back when, we dated for three or four years. At some point in time, as the old Journey song goes, we entered separate ways and spent almost three decades worlds apart.

IMG_0036 IMG_0093

We had no contact in all those intervening years.

Yet, here she was. Not to do anything but be a friend, to be supportive, to listen.

Thankfully, she didn’t come alone–hope and laughter came with her. And grief. To this day, when I cry, she cries with me.

To those who cannot fathom my new life, I know it seems crazy. But over an admittedly short period of time, the sun began to shine anew. The stars learned how to twinkle again.

And love blossomed once more.

I know some expectations were shattered. I was supposed to be the grieving widower much longer than I was.

Yeah. Damned if you do; Damned if you don’t.

Regardless of how others think or feel, I chose to live.

Thank you, Becki, for walking this road with me. For loving my children, for loving me with such a fierce passion and protection. I love you. (And yes, on our wedding day, I know you wore that $99 promise ring I bought back in 1984… if you wear it again, please quit handing people a magnifying glass to see the diamond in it… LOL! JK!)

In the meantime, if you still don’t understand or if you just want to disapprove, all you really need to know is this: I choose to live.

What would you have done?

us

Les, Jr.

If Laughter Is The Best Medicine, Please, Please Laugh With Me

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15 NIV)

Can you laugh? Even if the subject matter isn’t really what would you expect?

I have been laughing this morning till tears ran down my face.

It’s really not all that funny. But then again, under the circumstances, it is absolutely worth laughing over. Depending on the reactions I get, I might cry later, but for now I am laughing.

So let me hook you in by telling you upfront, neither myself nor my wife, individually or collectively, own or have ever owned a male/ female adult entertainment website or any other kind of establishment of that variety. There are no Magic Mikes under my roof with the exception of Casey who thinks nothing of dancing half naked up the stairs after his bath. He is seven. And skinny. And can sometimes get away with it.

I, on the other hand, am almost 51 and on a diet. No dancing here. I cannot afford to break a hip. And while I am extremely good looking (ok, this is not where you laugh), Elvis I am not!

So here we are. This is not the post I had already half written for the day. It’s not where I intended to go, but sometimes life hands you little gems you just have to grab.

I have embarked on three new adventures. I am married again and we are building a great life together. Becki is wonderful. And wonderfully supportive. That is adventure number one and deserves to be at the top of the list.

Adventure number two involves you. I have always dreamed of writing. The response thus far has been amazing, encouraging, and life affirming. I know some of what I write is raw, painful, and difficult. Kind of like life can be. But writing helps me and apparently, it helps some if you. So this adventure is a journey I am taking with a whole bunch of old and new family and friends. I am hopeful that it leads to a ministry of writing and speaking–including a book. So forgive the advertisement, but the more family and friends we add to this eclectic group of questioners and stronger faith seekers, the better.

And adventure number three is a lot of hard work, new things to learn, scary moments, and learning how to live off of a sometimes non-existent commission. But, the reality is I am doing as good as anybody could expect this new to a real estate business environment. And by the way, I work with Coldwell Banker All Stars.

Here is where it gets funny. On the right side of my blog, there is a place where we list our business endeavors. My Facebook real estate page is listed there. Also listed is Becki’s interior design and home staging business called Sugar Shack Interiors. She is working hard on getting her real estate license and together we will call ourselves The Home Team @Coldwell Banker All Stars. Unfortunately, I got a message from a friend this morning worried about what people were seeing when they clicked through to Sugar Shack Interiors. 

I had made a huge mistake and linked my wife’s business to a so-called adult entertainment site.

We laughed. I fixed it. And here we are.

I have been through a hell like most people in America could never really imagine. We have come and continue to come out on the other side, limping, damaged, but mostly whole and intact. Self promotion or not, mine is a story worth telling, worth hearing. This is a story you can learn from–without some of the personal pain, I hope. But if pain and suffering is in your life, my story is still a story of hope–you too, can came out on the other side. We may be battered and bruised. We may may still bleed from time to time. And God? It might be a wrestling match that never ends this side of eternity. But I have faith (tomorrow I may be in a different place) that God is satisfied with our wrestling. Life is worth living. And when you find laughter, laugh! Laugh out loud! Enjoy the moment– treasure it and hold onto it for the days when laughing is harder.

And in case you missed it, neither Becki or I having anything to do with the adult entertainment industry…

You might as well laugh with me!