what are some of the “what if’s” that fuel your fears?

I have run and managed a variety of businesses over my career.  My current role has its moments and yet, its one of the best roles I’ve held.  I suspect it has a lot to do with my experience and knowledge, gained over many years of trying to serve people well.

Fear is real and even though I have years of experience, I can be paralyzed by fear even today, so I am still learning  and evolving and learning from the most remarkable sources… my children…

My oldest daughter is teaching me how to honor your spouse, live with integrity and build relational communication skills.  My youngest daughter is teaching me that I can’t control everything and need to let some things go in favor of building and maintaining relationship with those who mean the most to me.

We had a visit from one our vendors yesterday.  Both of the representatives from this company spoke very highly of the company CEO.  It was genuine and heartfelt. Interestingly enough, I share their appreciation and it is as genuine and heartfelt.

I am so encouraged!  These youngsters are our future.  Yes, I said youngsters.. They are all half my age and are changing our world!  When it comes to fear, I can’t let it stop me or keep me from getting better and moving forward.  I want to encourage them and help them keep moving forward, not be an obstacle to the possibilities the future holds for us all because of them.

Encourage someone today and see what a difference it will make!




“context is so important…”

I went to the 7:00 at the Experience last night.  Corey wasn’t preaching – another Pastor named Greg did.   I hadn’t met Greg yet but he did a great job in the continuation of teaching 1 John.

Greg made a lot of good points about our journey as Christians.  One thing he said resonated on many levels for me.  “context is so important”

He was referring to the portion of scripture in 1 John that tells us not to love the world…

1 John 2:15-17 New International Version (NIV)

On Not Loving the World

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

This can cause conflict because in other places we are told to love the world.  This is where context comes in and Greg’s observation is common in the church.

This part of scripture is tough.  John, similarly to James, the brother of Jesus, is a strong man and speaking what some consider harsh truth.  It is harsh and doesn’t fit our Instagram view of Christian faith where everything is rosy.

I don’t want to hijack the validity of Greg’s message because I agree.  Its not uncommon  for us to take things out of context.  The media does it.  Politicians do it.  I’ve been guilty of it.

My take away is directed to the Christian church at large as they attack and malign and dehumanize those of us who are part of the LGBTQ community.  Y’all know you understand the principle of taking things in context.  Please don’t take scripture out of context to validate your position.   We may never agree on everything and that’s okay, but lets not use hate and disrespect someone because they don’t agree with you.  We are part of one body – the body of Christ and as the church, the bride of Christ, we have a responsibility to love our neighbors.


no secrets

I had the privilege to spend time with my daughter and son in law this past week.  With a five year old and a new born I was impressed at how well they worked together to get it all done.  Granted, they have a non traditional situation but the communication between them is most appealing.  They talk about everything.  They plan well and make adjustments as needed.  I wonder if they shouldn’t be teaching a marriage class somewhere.

I’m sure they have their share of issues and let’s face it, life can get the best of us on any given day.  I see this in other relationships too.  Tessie and Dell, Janice and Mike, Keith and Beth, Deb and Dan, Barbara and Warren, Cindy  and Karla, Marybeth and Malcolm, Terri and Rich – there are elements of these relationships that show genuine love, admiration and appreciation for each other.

Patty and I have been together over 30 years – married for almost 29.  We have our moments but overall, our relationship is pretty solid.  Driving back from Ohio Thursday was a pretty frustrating trip.  The traffic and weather were not cooperating and what should have been a 9 to 10 hour trip took 12.

I’d like to think we don’t have secrets but that’s not real.  There have always thoughts and attitudes and fears we don’t readily share with each other.

I wonder if others face that?

I wonder if there are ways to do it better…




home sweet home

Vacation means different things to different people

This vacation was a combination of connecting with family and friends, meeting my new grandson for the first time, getting away from the hustle and bustle and exploring what the future holds for me personally.

the drive…

It’s painful.  I do not like to drive long distances nearly as much as I did in days gone by, although the trip was good on the way.

Patty and I both were taken in by Sarah McBride’s Audible book

Tomorrow Will Be Different

Sarah’s memoir is pretty incredible and educational on issues related to the LGBTQ struggle for equality.  What made it more endearing was her personal story.  She is an amazing young woman.

Following the battles in the Tennessee legislature during the trip coincided with the battles Sarah waged in Maryland and nationally, although our struggle in Tennessee has more defensive… this time…  Tomorrow Will Be Different

Meeting my new grandson was, without a doubt, the highlight of the trip.  Didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked, schedules and circumstances being what they were, however I am grateful for the time I had with Lincoln, Jess and Marc.

Had a great time with Heather’s kids at the hotel pool although I was nervous about the noise.  Kids will be kids.  I’m sure some of the guests were glad to see it end…  Me, not so much…

Its interesting how different my children are.  Personalities, parenting style, just about every thing about them and their partners is polar opposite, save one, they are the loves of my life.

Meeting Dr. Cecile Ferrando at Cleveland Clinic, to discuss surgical options was time well spent.  Patty liked her, which is very good. One thing Dr. Ferrando, did that really impressed me, was her recognition of the excitement this time brings for me and yet for Patty, the struggle it represents.  Patty appreciated it too.  I could tell.

The first time I ever had surgery it was at the Cleveland Clinic. I recalled for Dr. Ferrando, how impressed I was with Dr. Wright, because he took the time to talk with me and walk me through the options I had and what would happen.  I was perfectly at ease with his recommendation and the consequent surgery was a success.  I felt even more at ease with Dr. Ferrando.

Dr. Ferrando also said she would be fine doing both surgeries at the same time as she is not the one that does breast augmentation. Another plastic surgeon does that but she said they could schedule surgeries together.  Will have to make another trip to Cleveland for that consult but as Dr. Ferrando said,  there is no rush and she isn’t going anywhere.

I’m already beginning to formulate what the week of October 7th or November 4th might look like. 6 to 8 weeks of recovery, my anniversary and the holidays are factors to consider.

We talked about the particulars, aftercare, follow up and the like.  Having friends and family close by makes it easier.

We also talked, in addition to surgical goals, relationship goals.  We didn’t get into a lot of detail but the fact the questions were raised impressed me even more.  What will our relationship look like going forward?  What are our individual and relationship expectations?  As much as tunnel vision and self interest might keep me from dwelling on this question, it is imperative to offer more than cursory consideration.

How to begin that dialogue…

now the real work begins…



Lord, remember me…

It’s been a weekend…  Thursday I drove to Indianapolis to meet with a Gender Affirmation surgeon named Dr. Sidhbh Gallagher.  She’s originally from Ireland but has made here home in Indy, focusing her practice on the trans community.  What a delight!  She was thoughtful and smart, warm and honest and level set my expectations for what might lie ahead.

I could easily see myself having surgery her.

Although we only spent a short time together (about 45 minutes), we were mainly focused on the business of the surgery, insurance benefits and the like; there were no surprises.  A few days in the hospital, a few days close by in case of complications and then 6 to 8 weeks of recovery.  My original expectation was that more could be accomplished in one trip but I have a much better grasp of what is reasonable now.

Surgical schedules will play a big part in all of this but we won’t know anything for at least a month.  Dr. Gallagher can only admit 3 patients a month to the hospital there so she needs to be sure, once scheduled, the surgery will happen. The business of surgery is a factor.  That tells me she is doing about 36 surgeries a year.  Some do many more so I’m comfortable with the extra attention.  It means I wouldn’t be another number on an assembly line like some have a reputation for.

After my time with Dr. Gallagher I had lunch with the folks from Lessonly.   Lessonly is a learning management system provider, based in Indy, we recently signed a contract with.  They have an amazing, caring and fun crew that is more a partner than a vendor. While there I got see Max – the founder and CEO and he gave me an autographed copy of his book “Do Better Work”.  I told Max, via tweet yesterday, that he and his people have been incredibly supportive of me personally and and I so appreciate them!

All in all it was a good trip but as usual, its great to be home.

No matter where I go I meet wonderful people.  I am so blessed.  In spite of challenges and struggles I have a very good life with loving and caring people all around me.  In a world filled with vitriol and hate, love wins every time.  I may not see the future as clearly as I would like but its okay because I know whose I am.  Today, Easter, is a celebration of that hope and promise for the future.

To all my friends and family – I love you deeply and thank you for pouring into my life… for accepting me in the good times and bad and for loving me, not for who I am, but in spite of it.

Be blessed,


Saturday morning conversation…

down another 2 lbs from yesterday! This makes me very happy.  I like to see the progress I am making. The effort is worth it when I can see progress.

“You make progress when you don’t immediately see the results of the effort you know.. that’s the stuff faith is made of.  Just sayin'”

“You’re right of course Lord, its just easier when the progress is evident to me.”

“Just because you don’t see progress in other areas of your life doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Remember when you worked at Red Lobster and they assigned that new district manager to your area?  The one you didn’t like?”

“Yes, I felt like I couldn’t do anything right where that guy was concerned.  I remember being reassigned to Roger’s store on the east side.  Roger was a great GM and did a fabulous job.  That guy came in one day when we had a store room torn apart cleaning and reorganizing it.  He gave us all a hard time about the disorganization even though he knew the purpose. He even called me out personally at the next manager’s meeting in front of the group “Houske, it seems messes follow you where ever you go.”  That was fun.”

“You do remember.  Progress was being made on many levels in your life back then. You and Patty got back together, her Dad was about to have a stroke and when he did you moved so you could care for him. ”

“It was a hard time Lord.  I remember.”

“Life wasn’t perfect but you did what was needed.  You were faithful to Patty, her step dad, her brother, your own children… It was because you had learned how to maneuver difficult times and you didn’t complain.  You didn’t blame Me.  You just did what was needed at the time.”

“I don’t think about that much these days.”

“Remembering the struggles isn’t a bad thing.  I walked with you through it all.  I didn’t leave you and more importantly you didn’t give up.  Life wasn’t perfect but it led you to Sandusky where you spent the next 20 years.”

“You know that’s the longest I ever stayed in one place…”

“I know.  I also know you poured into Patty and for many years her dad.  You were there when her brother died, and when your Mom and Dad moved to Ohio to be closer to you and the grand kids.  You were there to pour into your own children even though you and Melonie weren’t together and what amazing women they are today. You were there to pour into your nephew when he needed stability and love and without question you were there. You were there for your mom when your dad died.  That’s when I brought Bill and Christine into your lives.  There were many more people who were touched by who you are and who you are in Me.”

“But Lord, I’ve made so many mistakes along the way…”

“You did, and I’ve forgiven you for all of them… When are you going to forgive yourself?”

“I don’t know Lord.  I don’t know why I dwell on those things.  Maybe because there have been so many… You never left me though and for that I am grateful – When I fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked the car so soon after my sister’s untimely death.. You were there.

You were there when, after Patty and I had broken up before we were married, I snorted so much cocaine I thought my heart was gong to explode in my chest.. You were there.

You were there when I waked away from my new job in Sandusky when they wanted to move again after only 6 months, not wanting to move Patty and her Dad for a third time in 2 years.  You provided my next job, and the one after that..and the one after that…  All those years in Sandusky were a blur because there was always so much happening, one thing after another.  You were there when we found found mom dead on the floor of her apartment, in a pool of her own blood.  That was really hard.  I didn’t necessarily see You moving and yet here I am today.  I have a great job, a beautiful home, a wife who has stuck with me for nearly 30 years and amazing kids and grand kids and some really good friends.”

“And they will continue to stay by your side.”

“I can only hope.”

“So back to the original question.  When are you going to forgive yourself?  Those days are gone.  You can’t change what happened back then. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. All you have is today.  And its not a consolation prize – Its a gift!  You get to live today!  You get to continue to grow and develop into the woman I want you to be.  The person I intend you to be.”

“How?  How do I do that? How do I let that stuff go?  The older I get the more difficult it feels.”

“Do you trust me?

“I want to Lord!  I really want to! –

There’s so much I don’t understand
So much I can’t explain.”

“Do you trust me?
Why do need to understand what you cannot see?
What happened to Israel when they left Egypt and didn’t trust me? ”

“They wandered for 40 years in the desert.”

“Haven’t you been wandering long enough?
Isn’t it time to let go?”

“I don’t even know what I’m hanging to so tightly. The pain? The security in believing my mistakes make me who I am – my identity?”

“I think you know.  You are still believing the lies.
The adversary can’t hold on to you because you belong to Me!  He will continue to lie to you, continue to try to trick you, but the battle is already won and he loses!  He knows that.  And in his desperation he wants to destroy as many as he can.  He’s not getting you!  I love you and I’m protecting you like I have throughout your life.  I have touched many people’s lives through you and will touch many more in the days and years to come. ”

“I want to believe that Jesus!  I want to believe that…You know I’ve not been much of a planner yet I struggle to have a life in order.  Things feel disrupted right now and yet through that we are spending more time together.”

“Exactly!  Again, your agenda is disrupted and because we are spending more time together you are growing into the person I want you to be.  I’m here.  I’ve always been here.  Through it all, the good, the bad – every moment of every day. – I am here because I am. ”

“Jesus, there have been times when I felt like I am leaning into You with my head on your bosom… this is one of them… Your arms are around me in one of the most intimate embraces imaginable.
I don’t ever want to leave…”

“You don’t have to.”

“I love you Lord.”

“I know – I love you too”