Friday, April 29, 2016

Can't Believe You're Mine

Blink my eyes and two years have passed since this.  In the same spirit, for posterity, I'm going to break my Team Tinsley Blog rule and give myself a pass.  Here is the ultra personal letter to Boy #2 for his Confirmation Retreat weekend.

April 19, 2016

Your journey to what will be now, your Confirmation Retreat, started on February 15,2005.  You were just a couple of months past your first birthday, a time I’m pretty certain you do not remember.  I know this because I documented most of the early years of Team Tinsley on our eponymous blog.  There was a TV show called Fear Factor that Ethan and I watched when he was really small.  We used to sit on that big brown recliner than you may remember, that sat near the fireplace, while you toddled around the front room (or were in a baby carrier.)  At any rate I’ve included the Fear Factor story with this letter if youwant to read it for a bit of context.

The reason I tell you that is this.  It was very important to me to expose both you and your brother to a faith base because of my fucked up background with religion (how much you want to  bet your letter is the only one that has an F bomb in it.)  I’ve talked about it a bit in your confirmation class, but let me expand on it so you understand in a deeper sense what I mean.

The brand of Christianity that was shoved down my throat as a kid I’ve since determined was flawed.  We’re talking Will’s God #3 as a sheriff x10 kind of shit.  This coupled with my black and white, borderline OCD personality traits caused me a lot of hurt that I didn’t always express when I was young.  I kept it inside.  But make no mistake I was afraid and often scared of religion.  Hell, I was scared of Will’s sheriff God #3 since that was the God that was sold to me, and his son Jesus wasn’t much better, because if you said fuck, like I did earlier in this letter, according to the people who were teaching me, I would go to hell.  And hell was a very real and scary place to those that were preaching to me.

It took me a very long time to get over this.  Even after I no longer personally believed it.  And make no mistake, I firmly believe this isn’t a good way to live your life regardless of what you ultimately believe.

Remember, this whole process is about you getting a faith foundation that sets you up for your own faith journey that you’ll be on the rest of your life.  That’s the beauty of Confirmation and AUMC.  It’s really is up to you.  I won’t lie.  I do want you to continue on with AUMC as a strong solid faith base, which I think will serve you well.  I think being part of the Youth program, is good.  Going to church and being a part of that community is good.  But at the end of the day all I really care about are a few things. 

I told your brother the same back in 2014.  And I’m going to tell you the same thing now.  What I want for you is this: I want you to be happy.  And. I want you to do as much good as you can do. 

The secret to doing this, which is simple in theory, but often hard to execute is to follow the golden rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It really all boils down to that in my opinion regardless of what you ultimately believe.  If everyone just did that simple thing think about how much better the world would be.

You’re a good kid, Wyatt.  I can’t stress that enough.  I’m often amazed by your actions and how you act in different situations.  You are a very unique young man. 

Your Mom and I didn’t know if we’d ever have Ethan. I think you know those stories (if not, I’d be happy to share them with you although they may be uncomfortable to you at your current age.)  You though were much easier to have.  And quite unexpected.  All of which sort of has been etched on your personality.  Your Mom’s big thing with you was waiting to see you before you were named.  You were nearly Luke.  But when she saw you she knew you were a Wyatt and you’ve truly lived up to that unique name in character since you were a tiny baby. 

As for me --- You were voodoo to me.  You have to remember that I’m an only child of an only child.  I’ve never known what it was to have siblings.  You changed the game for me when you entered the and made me the Dad of boy(s). And I’ve always been so thankful for all you’ve taught and shown me about life.  I truly am a different person because of you directly.  Something you probably didn’t ever really take time to think about or know.

I’ve got off topic…let me get back to my point, which was this:  you are a good person.  And I have faith that you will also do good.

Pay close attention to that statement.  Mainly the ‘do’ part.  I didn’t say ‘be’ good.  Your human.  You will mess up and do things you end up regretting.  Things that your Mom and I may not agree with or like.  Things that upset us.  And that is ok.  It’s part of life and no matter what you do, you can never separate yourself from the love your Mom and I have for you.  Nothing can take that away.  Ever.  We will also be your biggest champions.  There to support you.  No matter how big or far you go.  We are and will also be your Mom and Dad.  I want you to never forget that.  As you become a teenager you’ll want to pull away from that. Which is fine.  All boys do it.  But please never forget that we are there for you and always have your best interest at heart even when you may not think that we do or understand. 

So as you stare down Confirmation (you are only a month away) as well as your final days at Heights before you make that big move to Jr. High let me tell you my wish for you. 

I want you to find your own way in this world and to do as much good as you can do, while being happy doing it.  To be the best Wyatt Carter Tinsley you can be. 

In the end I don’t give a shit if you are Methodist, Catholic, Jewish (you’d have to convert,) Baptist or Buddhist!  You should explore what you believe, ask questions, and listen to your heart while thinking things through in your head.  Help others if you can.  All the stuff we’ve talked about in Confirmation.  That’s why it Is so important to me. 

Make no mistake, how you feel about things is going to change as you grow, and experience different things in life.  Your thoughts and attitudes will change, which is ok.  And why it is so important for me that you know I’ll love you no matter what.  It’s an unconditional kind of love.  The same love you’ve been taught in Confirmation and your entire church life at AUMC that God has for you.  And that’s good.  Because in the end, and as cheesy as it may sound, the answer really is LOVE.  And for many people God and Jesus are the embodiment of that love.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Can You Feel It

Once again I'm breaking my own edict, by posting on this here BLOG...for posterity Dear Reader.  Below is an unsolicited email Boy #1's Mother and I received on Friday, October 2, 2015 from one of his teachers.
Happy Friday! I am Ethan’s PreAp science teacher 6th period daily. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you raising such a sweet, mature, and intelligent son. 

Ethan is always on task, participating, and going out of his way to include and be friendly to other students in my class. I have seen this twice in only the last week where Ethan has included a student without many friends into his science lab group. 

Further, I have a student with special needs in my advisory class that tells me how nice Ethan is to her at lunch and lets her sit as his lunch table. 

Ethan’s little acts of kindness go a long way in the lives of other students at West. 

Ethan is such an important part of our West Bronco students and it has been my joy to teach him in science daily.

Tell Ethan to keep up the excellent work! His actions have not gone unnoticed.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Until I BLOG again...Feel it in the air, the wind is taking it everywhere.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Love

I'm doing something I don't often do, breaking my own rule, and posting on the Team Tinsley blog.  I'll give myself a pass though, because I'm doing it for posterity.  For the Buck Rogers future.  And.  Probably most important, this letter closes a loop on this here blog.  

Context.  Boy #1 is entering the final weeks of his Confirmation Class at AUMC.  This past weekend we had a retreat for the class (I'm both a teacher of the class and a parent obviously) and we were asked to write a letter to our children with what we wanted for them.  

Below our my words.  Horrifying to some I'm sure, but 100% true, and from the heart.  


April 25, 2014

Boy, Your journey to what will be now, your Confirmation Retreat, started on February 15, 2005.  You were just a month past your 3rd birthday (as you know I documented much of your early years on the Team Tinsley BLOG which is why I know the date.)  Not sure if you recall your love of Fear Factor at that tender age, but I can remember us watching it side by side in the big leather chair that used to sit next to the fireplace.  Now, we wouldn’t fit in that chair which makes me a little sad for reasons that I’m sure are hard for you to fathom.  I’ve included the Fear Factor story with this letter if you want to read it.

If you do read it you’ll realize that it has been very important to me to expose you to a faith base because of my fucked up background with religion (side note: you want to bet that your letter is the only one with the F word in it? You should do a poll with your brothers and sisters.*)    

My point.  The brand of Christianity that was shoved down my throat in my youth was very flawed in my opinion.  We’re talking Jake’s God 3 x10.**  This coupled with my black and white, borderline OCD personality traits caused me a lot of hurt that I didn’t always express.  I was scared of religion.  Hell, I was scared of God (3) and his son Jesus, because if you said fuck, like I did earlier in this letter, I was going to hell.  And hell was a very real place to those that were preaching to me. 

It took me a long time to get over this, even after I no longer believed it.  I closed my heart to it.  Which isn’t a good way to live you life regardless of what you believe. 

So, what do you believe?  That’s the beauty of Confirmation and AUMC.  It’s really up to you.  I won’t lie.  I do want you to continue on with AUMC as a strong solid faith base, which I think will serve you well.  I think being part of the Youth program, is good.  Going to church and being a part of that community is good.  But at the end of the day all I really care about are a few things. 

I want you to be happy.  And. I want you to do as much good as you can. 

There’s a really simply way to do this too.  Follow the golden rule.  Regardless of your faith, what you believe, etc.  If everyone just did onto others…   the world would be a far better place.

You’re a good boy, Ethan.  I have faith that you’ll always do good.  And please pay attention to the ‘do’ part of that statement.  I didn’t say be good.  You’re human. You’re going to mess up and do shit you end up regretting.  And that’s ok.  I will always love you.  Be there for you. Support you.  Your Mom and I truly are your biggest fans and want nothing but happiness for you.  My wish for you is that you can find a way in the world to do as much good as you can do, and be happy as you do it.  To be honest (and this could get me fired as a youth counselor and confirmation teacher***) I don’t care if you’re a Buddhist, Methodist, Baptist, Muslim, or go rogue and worship Django the Monkey god**** who died eating a taco (and you decide to wear a taco around your neck like a crucifix.)  You should explore what you believe.  Ask questions.  Listen to your heart.  As you go through life, the way you feel about things will change based on your experiences.  The context of your life.  Your thoughts will change.  And that’s ok.  With Methodism and AUMC as a faith base, you’ll always have that foundation to support you.  It’s your stock answer****** I know.  But the answer really is LOVE.  And for many people Jesus is the embodiment of that love.  

I love you Boy.  And want you to be the best Ethan Gentry Tinsley you can be. 

Glossary of Boy #1 and Dad Inside Jokes and References...

*The Boy's fellow confirmands are often referred to as his brothers and sisters (in Christ, which isn't often said, just 'your brothers and sisters' and it creeps him out, hard.  I'm messing with him is the point, because that's how I roll.

**God 3 is a touchstone from our class. Again, I'm one of the two teachers and was teaching alone that day when we were going over how people believe in God vs. how Methodists tend to believe.  There was a play, and there were three Gods (not in the Trinity sense.)  The three versions were more how people viewed God...example.  God please let me (insert your favorite sporting team) win the big game and I'll do (inset what you'd do.)  One of the three Gods, was Old Testament with a Kung Fu Grip God.  Smite you.  Played by Jake P. in our class, who did such an awesome job I'll never be able to think of a vengeful God without thinking of Jake and God #3 (which is most often the God I heard about growing up in Oklahoma and freaked me out, hard.)

***It's a volunteer position (both are actually.)  You can't really be fired.

****Django the Monkey god is another running joke in the class.  We were talking about what people believe in and how there are God and gods.  I made up Django, because i'm goofy, and the kids loved it (still do actually.)  I also love tacos, which is well known, so tacos often come up as well.

*****The Boy, when prompted to answer a question in class will usually throw out either Jesus and/or Love, or both, which most of the time is the 'right' answer, or at least not wrong.  Another inside joke between the two of us (our inside jokes are legion.)

Monday, January 11, 2010


We interrupt this BLOG entry to apologize to anyone who has stumbled (or returned) upon this BLOG in the hopes that there would be something new to read. This BLOG is officially done. Archived, but no longer serving up fresh content. I created top of the pop type lists for anyone who wants to read (or revisit) posts that I feel are the best of each year this BLOG was open for business. Click hard for: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

If you want to see what I'm up to now visit aboynamedstu.


Sunday. Morning. Came. Down. To. This. The 272nd post on this here BLOG. My last.

Six years have passed since I wrote that first tentative post. I was thirty six at the time. My Lovely Bride thirty three. The Elder Boy nearly two. And The Little Warrior was just two weeks old.

Life was different then. Simpler. Only I didn't realize it. You never do.

When I started this BLOG, it was intended to be a way to keep our growing family, that I had only recently dubbed Team Tinsley, connected with family and friends. A few months in, I had an a-ha moment and realized that what I was writing could serve a greater purpose. It could be saved for posterity. That my goofy ass BLOG could be a chronicle for you Boy(s), who short of some serious therapy, wouldn't be able to remember these stories. Because you were so little. I also knew that your Mom and I would forget some of it too. And like Neil Gaiman said, "You forget the things you were certain you would always remember, especially the tiny things, and all too often they're the things that matter." That quote in many ways beget this BLOG which is simply: my remember when, for then, then being the Buck Rogers future.

From the beginning I knew this BLOG would have an end date. That there would come a time when I'd stop because I didn't want to
embarrass you
in such a public forum. And probably more importantly, I don't want my stories to overwrite your memories. Memory is a funny thing. What you remember. What you forget.

Still, ending is hard, because I feel like there's so much more I want or need to say. Which is goofy. If I haven't said it by now, I probably never will. And the reality of it is that ending this BLOG is tangible proof that you both are growing up faster than I care to admit.

Blink your eyes Dear Reader.

It's 2004 and I'm sitting in front of the computer writing that first tentative post. Blink them again and I'm sitting in front of the computer, with tears in said eyes, writing this final post.

It happened so fast.

So here you have it. Sunday morning coming down to 272 entries that comprise this BLOG which is a living memoir — my attempt to document little snapshots of our lives from 2004 until 2010. It's an account of our journey, my thoughts, my lessons learned, my uncertainties. Even so, know that My Lovely Bride, your Mom, played an equal part in it all. Your Mom is the glue Boy(s). Never forget that. It's important.

The only thing to add beyond that is this.

I love you Ethan.
I love you Wyatt.
I love you Carter.

And that's it.

Pure and simple just for you.

Team Tinsley Retrospective Slide Show Action for those feeling wistful. All photos used are from 2004 until the present.

Monday, December 28, 2009

King For A Day

Finally, the final recapitulation ---- 2009 style. Click hard for the recaps of these years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

This whole omphaloskepsis exercise has been interesting. The early years were relatively easy to recap. I think because more time has passed, which lends itself to more perspective. Then we have 2009, which was hard to recap, mainly because I'm still too close to most of what I wrote, which is a bit sad, because I think in many ways, 2009 is the strongest year on this here BLOG. Cumulative. I found a rhythm. A sense of style. Which I like. Which is ironic considering I'm about to shut it all down. Actually. I'm going to continue to BLOG once I finish here. But it won't be the family friendly Team Tinsley kind of a blog (which is somewhat frightening considering how un-family friendly this here BLOG can be at times, with my bad language, and dark subject matter.) But that comes later. For now, we got one final recap to recap.


Let There Be Love
January 07, 2009
You never really get over the death of a loved one, best I can tell. It's always there. That wound. Or sense of what you lost and all the things you wish you would have said, or done. The platitude that it gets easier with the passage of time, is true, but the thing they fail to tell you is that you'll trade the acute pain for a dull ache that you'll often feel at the big moments of life. And for me, often the smallest ones.

I wonder what's gonna happen to you
January 15, 2009
This is a companion piece to Let There Be Love in a lot of ways. The flip side. Where I out myself about being creeped out by the thought of a departed loved one watching over me from beyond.

I was made for lovin' you
February 27, 2009
This is one for the Team Tinsley record book. The first documented case of my bad sense of humor biting me in the ass at the hands of The Little Warrior. Truly classic.

The ruins to the right of me
March 17, 2009
A powerfully honest POST. So honest in fact, that I sort of cringe when I re-read it. There is also some serious subtext going on, since it was here that I made the decision I was going to pull the plug on this here BLOG soon.

Stand Up Comedy
April 08, 2009
Another entry that I heart, hard. It is even funnier to me now, considering My Lovely Bride and the Boy(s) have been awol from church for most of the year. Perhaps this is when it all began.

Horseshoes and Handgrenades
May 27, 2009
Sweet Mother of all that is good. A crazy ass wheels off post that involves Me, The Elder Boy, two seed ticks, and a pocket knife in a campground shitter in Oklahoma. Another classic.

Mirror in the Bathroom
June 20, 2009
Another post where I out myself re: my fathering skills and how I innocently messed the Boy(s) up (one of them shit in the hallway they were so afraid to go into the bathroom!) by telling them how Bloody Mary worked.

Yakety Yak
August 13, 2009
Funny post about cleaning out the Elder Boy's room. Does a good job of capturing (for posterity) our personalities and household dynamics circa 2009.

August 27, 2009
The best example ever, of how bad I suck in real time. Some heavy shit in this post as I realize some startling truths. One, from September 12, 2009 is a half ass epilogue to 42.

The Emperor's New Clothes
September 02, 2009
A funny yet simple, day in the life kind of entry that chronicles Wy's curious tendencies in regard to clothing, and his hate for hard pants (a.k.a jeans.)

Until I BLOG again...So listen...