Wednesday, November 30, 2016

He Doesn't Want Me in His Life


It's been almost 2 years since we talked.

Thanksgiving came and went with no phone call or text from my son. He's in his late 20s so I'm finding it hard to continue lying to myself that he is just busy and forgot or doesn't know any better.

The only conclusion I can make is that he doesn't give a flip about a relationship with me. Maybe he never has.

He says he loves me but his actions don't match up. Words are cheap. I don't think he really knows what love is. I'm simultaneously angry and hurt and sad.

If he would just humble himself and contact me, I could show him what true love is. I'd take him in my arms like the father of the prodigal son in the Bible....put a ring on his finger and robe on his back.

I don't care that he's living with his girlfriend or doing drugs. I don't care that he isn't following God. I just want him to be in relationship with me, with his sisters who don't understand why he ignores them. They wonder what they did to make him step out of their lives.

I'm praying God turns his heart toward mine and back toward God. Will you pray with me?
 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Too Busy?


Rushing to and fro, working all day. 

Have a meeting over lunch, so I don't feel guilty about wasting time "just eating."

Talk on the phone while emailing someone else.

Use my hands-free cell phone while rushing home.

Walk the dog and jog at the same time so I can kill two birds with one stone.

Jump in the shower, scarf down some dinner.

Check email and phone messages.

Spend 30 minutes of quality time helping the kids with homework, 

Watch some TV to unwind, and drop into bed at 11PM! 

I feel like I've have accomplished much today. I might feel fulfilled and good about myself for being so efficient.

I wonder when do I get to be in silence and meditate...to hear from God? 

What am I trying to medicate? What am I running from? Being too busy is the enemy of rest. 

Rest restores! Matthew 11:28 reminds us to "Come" to the author of rest. Are you weary in well doing? He will give us rest...but we gotta stop and wait for it. 

God help me meditate, not medicate!

Monday, October 24, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

LOCAL WRITER TEZ BROOKS WINS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD, ANNOUNCED AT
2016 FLORIDA WRITERS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. October 23 2016: Orlando FL. The Florida Writers Association, Inc., (FWA) has announced that Tez Brooks of Orlando, FL won the prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA). Brooks’ winning entry, The Single Dad Detour, won in the Informational/Educational category for Published Non-Fiction.
The award was announced at FWA’s recent four-day annual conference in Altamonte Springs, Florida. This annual competition, which received 479 submissions, was RPLA’s fifteenth.
“This is the most comprehensive and competitive RPLA we’ve ever had,” said Chris Coward, RPLA chairperson. “The RPLA administrative team, judges, and entrants all did an amazing job.”
In all, the competition covered 26 adult genres and 15 Youth genres, with published and unpublished entries considered separately. There were four grand awards, as well.
 “A win at any level can help a writer market their manuscript or published book, and the detailed feedback from the judges is invaluable for all entrants,” Ms. Coward said.
Brooks said, “I’m so humbled to be honored in a secular contest like this when The Single Dad Detour obviously contains a strong Christian worldview. There’s a lot of pressure for parent’s to be perfect. It’s my hope that single fathers everywhere will learn to laugh at themselves, find encouragement to keep going and know they’re not alone in their journey.”
The Florida Writers Association, 1,500 members strong and growing, is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization that supports the state’s established and emerging writers. Membership is open to the public.
The Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is a service of the Florida Writers Association established to recognize excellence in members’ published and unpublished works while providing objective and constructive written assessments for all entrants.
For additional information, visit the FWA website: floridawriters.net, where you’ll also find more about RPLA and the complete list of 2016 winners. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Orlando Book Signings

TEZ WILL BE APPEARING FOR THREE EVENTS:

Orlando Public Library
101 E. Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801
OCTOBER 16 at 2:00-4:00PM


Hilton Orlando
350 Northlake Blvd
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
OCTOBER 22 at 3:30PM
(30 minutes only) 

& 

Hilton Orlando
350 Northlake Blvd
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
OCTOBER 23 at 9:00AM
(30 minutes only) 

TEZ BROOKS WILL BE THERE, ANSWERING QUESTIONS AND SIGNING BOOKS. 

IF YOU ARE IN ORLANDO PLEASE STOP BY.


Monday, August 22, 2016

What's Your Advice for Back to School?

SINGLE DADS....

Every year it seems to cost more and more money to get the kids ready for school. Pencils, notebooks, backpacks, uniforms and more. The list is outrageously long.

If your kids are in Jr High or Middle School you might as well save up for laptops and cell phones too--because the peer pressure is gonna filter back to you eventually. What's a single dad supposed to do? Especially if you're not getting support from your ex-spouse.

Then there's the extreme homework each night and the pressure to get involved in the PTSA, soccer games and more.

Maybe the opposite is true. Perhaps you're relieved to finally get some time to yourself for 6 hours. It's free babysitting really.

I'd like to hear from some of you dads...any advice for fathers on the brink of a melt down? Reply below and share your thoughts with the community.




Sunday, July 17, 2016

Helping Your Kids Get a Grip On Grief (Part 3 of 3)

In this final installment on the topic of divorce grief and your kids, let's look at the third phase, "Acceptance."

When you begin to see the following issues appearing, you can know your child has embraced the divorce as a reality. They have decided to move forward, anticipating their future.

  • Initiating discussions about the loss.
  • Getting more involved in activities again.
  • Caring about others.
  • Less animosity dealing with subjects like visitations, holidays, last minute schedule changes or dating/re-marriage.

You may your child less embarrassed or ashamed of having a broken home. They may still be bothered by the divorce but they're more accepting that things didn't turn out like they wanted.

Finding joy and contentment in extra-curricular activities and hobbies will begin to return. Your child will desire healthy relationships and feel accepted rather than feeling like a misfit.

Your child's pain may be replaced with a sensitivity to other kids who are experiencing a divorce. They might even give you subtle (or not so subtle) clues that they want you to find a woman and re-marry. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel for you and your precious kids. This is not to say your kids wont still fluctuate from time to time. Recovery is long process for everyone. Blaming themselves for the divorce is a common issue with children of divorce. And you will need to initiate a discussion about it from time to time; just to remind them not to adopt that mind-set.

Regardless of the phase your child is currently in (Early Grief, Acute Grief or Acceptance) recovery will come. With love and patience, you can guide your son or daughter through this season of life with God's help. He is after all, in your corner cheering you on.

______________________________________________________________________

Award-winning author Tez Brooks, has been writing for decades, with some of his work appearing in The Upper Room, CBN.com, Clubhouse, Eternity magazine, and Book Fun Magazine. His book, The Single Dad Detour (Kregel, 2015) was semi-finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Awards. 

His most recent screenplay Jangled, won 2016 Best Short Film in Florida at CENFLO.His literary works won awards with Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild, the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference and the Florida Writer’s Assoc. 

Tez is a member of Word Weavers International, American Christian Writers Assoc., and Florida Writers Assoc. He and his wife serve as full-time missionaries with Jesus Film Project where Tez leads a team of journalists. They have four children and now reside in Orlando, following an overseas assignment. 



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Helping Your Kids get a Grip on Grief (part 2 0f 3)

As discussed in my last post, children often need help processing the grief that comes from divorce.

The first stage is early grief. It comes and goes and isn't present every day. It's a time when they need comfort and assurance.

Phase 2 is acute grief, presenting itself in a more constant emotional state. They are no longer in denial. They are very aware of what's happened and are reacting to it. As a parent you may find it in your child as follows:


  • Anger that causes lashing out at people or acting out and misbehaving.
  • Despair/Depression causing uncontrolled weeping, sleeping or disconnecting from people.
  • Yearning/Searching for something good from their past. They talk a lot about memories and long to go back to certain places or times.
  • Overwhelmed by the slightest choices or chores. Easily disoriented. 
Patience is key when they act out or get inappropriately angry. When they are overwhelmed by something, help them break it down into bite-sized chunks they can handle. If possible, take them to the place they long to re-visit or pull out old photos and allow them to process their losses. Don't neglect professional care or counseling if your child seems to be experiencing depression. But do display understanding and affection, reassuring them you are there for them and they are not alone. 

Finally, but not least...pray for and with them. Model dependance on the Lord during this season, offering hope in Christ. 

Next time I'll conclude this series discussing Phase 3: Acceptance. Meanwhile, use the comment box to tell us what you have tried and how it worked.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Helping Your Kids Get a Grip on Grief (Part 1 of 3)

Divorce can be devastating, both to you and your children. Younger kids can’t often express or even know how it’s affecting them. 

Anticipating and understanding the three phases your child might go through helps you navigate your family through this season of life toward recovery. 

First they experience early grief, followed by acute grief and ending with acceptance. We will spend the next three posts exploring these phases. Today, let's talk about Phase 1: Early Grief

Look for these signs of grief early on, soon after they get news of the separation or divorce:

  •       Shock and numbing
  •       Separation anxiety where there was none before
  •       Alarm or feeling suddenly unsafe
  •       Consecutive illnesses back-to-back
  •       Denial or disbelief; refusing to acknowledge or talk about it
  •       Hyperactivity or impulsive behavior due to stress


In a pinch, some simple, temporary fixes can put a Band-Aid on the behavior. But keep in mind, the following are not solutions—deeper conversations and care are still needed.

  •       Don’t be afraid to bring up the obvious and ask them how they are coping with the break up. When parents don’t talk about it, they assume it must be a taboo topic they must deal with alone.

  •       Buy a watch for the child to give them a sense of control and awareness.

  •       Give older kids a house key to create a sense of ownership and place of stability.

  •       Try flannel bed sheets to calm children at bedtime.

  •        If they are in a new house, play soft music while they sleep, which drowns unfamiliar noises.

  •        As best you can, continue to keep normal bedtime routines they are used to, in order to bring even more stability and normalcy.

  •        Pray with the child when you’re tucking them in. Too often we undervalue the vital need for God’s intervention and healing. More than ever, your child needs to see your faith and dependence on God during trials.

Next week we will discuss Phase 2 and what this looks like for many. But for now, share what practical ideas you have used to help ease the transition for your child.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

FREE! For Your Book Club or Small Group

NOW AVAILABLE 

Discussion Topics Guide 

to accompany The Single Dad Detour. 


Contains over 60 discussions prompts
 for yourself or a group.
Just sign up for my newsletter 
to get the guide FREE!


SIGN UP HERE

Monday, June 13, 2016

Four Steps for Responding to Crisis (In Light of the Orlando Shootings)


The two attacks in Orlando this past weekend (both on the night club and on singer Christina Grimmie) left many confused and traumatized. As of today we know more than 50 are dead and another 50 wounded. And the number keeps climbing. What can we do to show the love of God to those hurting? Below are a few suggestions that apply not only to a community crisis like we experienced yesterday, but also to divorce or other events that cause hurting and require caring recovery. Remember these 4 things: 

1. Take care of yourself first. This means listening to your own emotions and dealing with your own level of fear. Pay attention to your own trauma so you can manage any overwhelming emotions. Talk it out or write it down somewhere. Draw pictures if you need to. Anything to help you process.

2. Take care of family and friends second. Stabilize your emotions, and then reach out with compassion to those close to you. They need help too--especially teens and children.

3. Finally, (and only after you have helped yourself and your immediate family and friends) help others. But not just anyone. Seek out those most traumatized by the event. 

4. Pray. Pray for peace and comfort for yourself, your family and for those involved you may never meet in person. Nothing trumps intercession.

The ripple effect of any crisis is far reaching. But these same ripples remind us how to reach out to others. Talk to the people in the impact zone or “ground zero” first, and then you can reach out to people layer by layer. It might be an awful crisis, but together we can get through this.

This is a great opportunity to show the love and compassion of Christ. Psalm 91 is a perfect reference to stabilize someone during crisis. This is hope, but our only real hope is in Christ Jesus. Model his love when reaching out to the hurting. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Missing My Dad as Father's Day Approaches

FLOYD'S HANDS (written soon after my dad's funeral a few years ago)

Today I touched the cold, hard hands of my dad.
In his light blue casket, he wasn't really there.
That shell, just an empty house—
for a man who loved God until the end.

Those were the hands of a southern farm boy
Who grew up poor, an eighth grade education.
Dad’s hands never learned how to spell correctly.
But they knew how to enlist in the army.
There, his hands learned to clean a gun and clean potatoes.

Those hands worked in a Detroit auto factory
Sealing windshields into place.
The glue, ripping skin from those bare fingers.
Day after day he returned, muscling through the pain,
With those hard-working hands.

His hands folded in prayer one day, making Jesus his Redeemer. 
Before long his hands held those of a Christian woman.
Those grateful hands placed a wedding band on Mabel’s finger.
In time, those hands held four sons—me the youngest.

As a child I remember those hands.
They were younger.
Strong—no age spots, no wrinkles.
Up, way up, they lifted me,
Onto his broad shoulders,
Allowing me to touch the leaves of that old maple in our yard.

Those hands taught me to swim,
Supporting me in the murky waters of Lake Erie.
A hand on my chest, one on my thighs,
Teaching me to kick and stroke. 

On visits to his Tennessee hometown,
I was scared of the dark in that cold, dank house.
Myself in a cot, next to my parents,
His hand would reach down and hold mine.
I fell asleep, feeling that calloused palm. 

Those hands of Dad, catered food, taught Sunday School,
Drove a school bus, swabbed toilets.
They embraced my mother in the kitchen,
As he tenderly kissed her. Making me giggle.

Those hands wrestled with me on the floor,
Lifted me to his lap for cartoons on Saturday,
Drove me to church three times a week,
Scribbled notes in his bible,
And lifted skyward in worship—those hands. 

In my bedroom, his hands held mine,
As I prayed to receive Christ.
I was six.  

Those hands patted my head, spanked my bottom.
Taught me to build campfires,
And plant vegetable gardens.

Those hands repaired cars and built homes.
I watched and learned—sometimes, what not to do.

Those patient hands taught me to drive,
And co-signed my first car.
They buried my mother,
And waved goodbye when I left for college.

He was a strong man,
He had strong hands, but I no longer cared.
I had dreams for my own hands—I didn’t need his.

So on my own, I found love and married.
Dad’s hands touched each of my four kids,
But not nearly enough.
They grew up never really knowing
how lovely those hands could be. 

Eventually, my father’s hands held me again
As I wept on his shoulder, a divorced man.

His hands dialed my number,
Wrote notes of encouragement,
And folded in intercession, for me.
I’d never seen that side of Dad’s hands. 

Those hands got wrinkled.
But they held a microphone at my second wedding,
And they reached out to me with a blessing.

Those hands remained active.
Building church pews in South America,
On his one and only mission trip.

His hands rebuilt his life, when a flood took everything.
His hands cared for his second wife, as she grew weak.
His hands tried to catch himself when he fell,
But failed, until finally…

I held his hands in ICU,
The weak heart, the strokes, the slow fade.
Those strong hands disappeared,
Along with his voice.
Each visit, a possible last.

The years passed and I watched those hands turn pale.
Sometimes the nails were blue.
His hands grabbed a cane, then a walker.
And finally a wheelchair.

Where had those hands gone,
Those hands once so strong?

In time I watched those sweet hands
Lying humbly in his lap.
For it was my hand now,
Wiping his chin, lifting his legs.
Still other’s hands—strangers,
Caring for him.

Finally, Dad’s hands reached up through the clouds
To grasp his Savior’s.
Released from his shriveled shell,
His useless hands, liberated.

I’ll grasp them too, one day,
Those hands of Heavenly Father.
But today I touched the cold, hard hands of my dad.

In his light blue casket, he wasn't really there.