I have been so blessed these last few days. You would not believe the outpouring of support and incredible help I have been the recipient of this past week! I don't feel worthy, but I am thankful for everyone's help. It has been exciting, and eye opening. I woke up on Monday with barely a dollar in my pocket. I did not know how I was going to pay the bills, get my daughter a birthday present, or make sure the girls have presents to open on Christmas. I was quite literally "Broke in Marshall County." So I got down on my knees and prayed that the Good Lord would send me a few angels, expedited delivery requested. Boy, did he ever! He sent angels to me for inspiration and financial assistance. Unable to appropriately express my thanks to these people and God himself in person, I have tried to find the words here.
First, I want to thank God. Without him, none of this would be possible. Without him, I would be nothing. I have always felt that God intended me for big things. Not that I am special, anyone has the potential for great things. It is all in how you seize the opportunity. God did not make you for nothing, we all have our own purpose in His Grand Design. For a long time in my life, I thought I knew what God's plan for me is at various times. I have since realized I know nothing of the sort. I started out in high school wanting to be the first man on Mars. I guess the Good Lord decided he needed me more on Earth. Rather than asking Him for his help in my ambitions, I now ask Him to use me for good. "Lord pick me up like a hammer or use me like glue, whatever is needed at the time." I will try my best!
Next, I want to thank my angels in south Alabama who relieved me of a burden which had my stomach tied up in knots for a few weeks now. We came into contact through Facebook and when they heard of my plight, they immediately offered to help. One of them is a graduate from THE University and made a few calls to their friends who are likewise Bama alumni. When they heard a "Bama Dad was in trouble and needed their help" they too came to my rescue. Because of their generosity, I received a money order FedEx'd overnight. With this gift, we were able to make sure the girls have a good Christmas. Praise GOD! What a blessing! I couldn't sleep at night worrying about it. In an instant, my prayers were answered and the load I am bearing lightened quite a bit. Parents will understand how I feel. There is no way to express the gratitute in my heart.
My friend has been in a custody battle that has not been fought fair to say the least. She had her kids taken from her pursuant to an illegal emergency motion that a corrupt judge approved over a month ago. When she filed her own emergency (well, her attorney filed it) motions to have her side heard and so that she could see her children, the judge refused to consider them. He stated he would not consider any other motions until sometime in January. This Mom was being prevented by this judge from spending Christmas with her children! She is not a bad mom, not a criminal, or negligent. There is good reason to believe it is all politically motivated. Done to punish her for her involvement in the political process, and support of the judge's political opponents.
She came across my federal civil rights lawsuit, so she contacted me and told me her story. I was shocked, but not surprised. It is amazing how much power a judge wield's over our lives. They are able to completely destroy someone or their family, basically at their own whim. There are no cameras in court rooms, in family court often no court reporter, no transcripts. You can request them, but a lot of folks don't know it. They probably assume like I did that one of the ladies sitting around the judge is the court reporter. Not true. She said my stand against the tyranny and oppression of the Alabama family law system inspired her to take her own stand. She took a public stand against the judge and called him out for what he was actually doing. Within hours, the judge recused himself from the case, citing the recent publicity of the matter. The new judge immediately considered the emergency motions the previous judge had refused to take up. This brave mother got to see her children today. Praise GOD!
She still has a long road ahead of her, we all do, but she scored a major victory for her kids. A small battle won, but we are sentenced to fight in the war zone that is the Alabama family courts until our children aren't children anymore. The time we lost with our children is just gone. We can't get it back. Our adversary fights us to the end, in the name of our children, but with intentions of filling their own bottomless pockets. It is disturbing, scary, and just plain morally wrong. It makes us angry, then they (some legislators) criticize us because we are pushy or not as nice as we could be.
The anger is natural. We are tired of hurting yes, but we are more so exhausted with our children hurting while so many stand by and allow it to happen. Understand that the anger is only instinct. We are their parents. We are suppose to be able to protect our children, but the State has stripped from us our ability to defend our children. We just have to hang a smile on our face, choke back the tears, and tell our kids we love them and everything will be ok. I told Representative Daniel Boman -D (HD 16) this a few nights and assured him, "Sir I have made that very same promise to my children a hundred times and I guarantee you one thing. I intend to keep it."
To understand our anger, I asked him, "Try an experiment for me. This Spring, when the flowers are in full bloom and the beautiful birds of song are in the trees, find a nest with baby birds in it and start poking around it. Don't actually hurt the birds of course, but poke around the nest a little bit and see what happens. Just a tip if you decide to test my hypothesis....wear a helmet and some thick clothes."
I can't flog my representatives' heads though, when they fail to act on parents rights legislation or pass bad legislation that further hurts Alabama's children. When special interests buy their vote (quite literally) against us parents. So we have to use words. Sometimes those words are angry. I guarantee you that when a mama bear mauls you for getting to close to her cubs, she ain't happy. That mama bear thought you meant harm to her babies, and parents get angry when someone harms our little ones. I am thankful that God has helped me channel my anger into constructive efforts. Anger can destroy a person, but it can also change the history of the world.
I am thankful for the new wise friends I have made, who's counsel I greatly value. They are not afraid to tell me what they really think and that is important. They are not worried about my feelings, they want to win, and so do I. We are going to be a force to be reckoned with, I feel great things happening. That's not surprising though, I am a big ideas kind of guy. You know how some folks "can't see the forest for the trees?" Sometime I can't see the TREES for the FOREST. My friends help me remember that you got to plant the seeds before you will ever have a forest so without the individual trees, there is no forest. And there is no reason telling everyone to come see your forest when you have barely planted the seeds in the ground. With a little care and effort though, it may be the grandest forest of them all (my optimism showing through again).
I am thankful for my family. They stepped in and helped with bills. My girlfriends works hard everyday taking care of things so I can focus on studying the law and connecting with people. I would be lost without her. My children are such an inspiration. When I look into their eyes I get the strength and motivation to push forwards despite the odds and circumstances. I am their Daddy and it is my job to protect them. They need me and they are worth it. Remember that Mr. Legislators. My kids are just as good as yours and deserve just as much to have Daddy tuck them in at night at least half the time. See you in Montgomery this session, I will be there to remind you of this.
My many thanks go to YOU. Y'all read my posts, offer words of encouragement, share them on your facebooks pages which drives even more traffic. I could not have gotten the message out like I have without you. Please continue sharing my posts on facebook and twitter. Everytime you share someone new reads it. Even if you reshare an old post, you are helping to recruit new people to our cause. Many of you have contacted me with stories of your own and you have no idea how much of an inspiration you are to me. I am grateful for your support and proud to be standing next to you in battle. We must stand together and get busy pushing for parents rights. Thank you for calling your legislators, now call them again!
I have heard it out of legislators mouths that they rarely hear from folks that are FOR this or that particular bill, they mainly hear from those who are AGAINST something. Your voice is more powerful than you know. We have to strike now, early, and often. We are still searching for a sponsor for the Alabama Children's Family Act which is such a huge step in the right direction, READ IT HERE. I would be more than happy to answer or find the answer to any question you might have regarding the bill. E-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We have to act now while the legislators are preparing for the new session and then follow up with them throughout the session until we get this legislation passed. CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS!!! Find their contact information HERE.
It has been a good week, and I am very thankful to God and all of you. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you get to spend it with your family, but if you are one of those who cannot see their kids this Christmas because of the State's actions, just hold on. We're coming! Contact me and help us get over our shared mountains. This affects us all regardless of marital status. We need everyone to take positive action to support us. That is the only way the Legislature will ever listen.