Friday, December 12, 2014

Join the Revolution, Start Hugging

We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
—Virginia Satir, family therapist 

  Recently for a JADE meeting I did some research on hugging.  I found some interesting things out that I wanted to share.  They claim that a hug a day keeps the Doctor away.  Amazing,  I always thought it was an apple a day, but in truth both are great.  

     First off I want to say that I think we are in a "Hug Deprived Society".  Meaning I don't think we hug enough.  If we do hug it is a quick 2 second job with a pat on the back.  We need hugs that are really hugs.   Hugs that express how we really feel, not what society feels is appropriate.  

     We are afraid to hug,  afraid to let our real emotions show for fear of what?  I cannot understand.  I have to confess,  I am a hugger.  I love to hug.  There are many reasons, but the number one reason that I hug is that sometimes just a hello is not sufficient.  Sometimes, well, most of the time a greeting needs more then just a hand shake or a smile.  I feel that with a hug we can really express how we feel.   Often times my feelings are so strong for a person I don't want to let go.  I think that our spirits can communicate when we hug.  Unspoken words and feelings are spoken when we hug.  A quick 2 second hug cuts off the message before we have a chance to get it said.  

     I have found that there  are a few reasons why we don't hug and since this is a blog for men, I want to direct my comments to men and the reasons why men don't hug.   Often times it has to do how we were raised.  Some were raised in families where hugs just were not part of the family life.  There is that macho attitude that exists that men just do not hug other men and there is that whole homophobic things going on that if we hug we just might be gay,  so we don't, or if we do it's the 1 to 2 second hug and a slap on the back.   How sad that we have to be afraid to express how we really feel.  

    There is also the physical aspect to hugging that confuses men.  Men respond differently to different things.  Some men are afraid of what their bodies do when they hug, so they just don't do it.  Frankly speaking, some men are aroused when they hug and feel really uncomfortable about it.   To that I say, "so what,  you have a normal mans body that does what a mans body does".  Pretty simple,  we often times cannot control what our bodies do,  but we always have the power to control what we do with it.   Don't let the fear of what your body does or how it reacts to natural affection keep you from hugging and having the experience of close intimate healthy hugging relationships with other men.  

     There is a lot of great research out there on the power of hugging.  Did you know.....

~that the nurturing touch of a hug can build trust and a sense of safety
~that hugging helps with open and honest communication
~that hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness and anger
~that holding a hug for an extended period of time lifts serotonin levels creating happiness
~that hugs actually strengthen the immune system
~that hugs boost self esteem
~that hugs relaxe muscles and tension in the body
~that hugs can balance the nervous system
~that hugs teach us how to give and recieve
~that hugs are like laughter, they help us let go and enjoy the moment
~that the energy exhanged between those hugging is an investment in the relationship
~that 12 hugs a day will help us grow and be a happier and healthier person

     I recommend hug therapy if you are stuggling in getting your minimum daily requirement of hugs.  Hug therapy is simply practicing hugging.  Hug more and longer.   The typical man huge,  2 second hug, pat on the back, is not sufficient for a healthy hug.  Take the time with those around you and enjoy the wonderful gift of hugging.   Try a thirty  second to one minute hug and see if you don't feel the difference.  

     Hugging is, in my opinion, a vital part of life.  It does wonders in so many ways.  Don't be afraid,  enjoy the adventure by joining the revolution.  

Go give someone a hug.  Brad       
Become a member,(on the side panel) and recieve notice when we post a new blog entry. You can also respond, comment or ask for informations about our JADE group by using the link on the top of the side panel.  Thank you. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Men in My Life~Part 3

Spencer Bennion and More

     I am writing about the men in my life that have had the greatest impact on me and about the relationship I shared with each one.  The purpose of these series is to help men everywhere understand the impact we can have on each other as we develop meaningful deep healthy relationships with each other and to help men understand that we never know how our love and actions can change the course of another mans life.  

    Spencer fits the example of that perfectly.  He, at the time we served together had no idea the huge impact he would have on my life and that his friendship, love, tenderness, and kindness would save my life and set me on a much healthier and happier path.  I have asked each person I am writing about permission to share our story.  Spencer, when I asked him, told me he trusted me completely without question.  We have talked a lot about what I am doing and he supports my efforts with all his heart. Often times in life God sends us what we really need and most often it is in the form of another person.  So with that in mind I will try to share on paper the miracle of my relationship with my personal Savior, Spencer Bennion.  

     Kim Webb was so responsible for getting me on my mission and he is a lot of the reason I stayed, but without the love and help of Spencer, I truly would not have succeeded.  He was the answer to many prayers on my behalf.  

     Elder Bennion as I will call him in this blog,  was my forth  companion on my mission.  He came after several very hard months on my mission and after some very hard companionships.  The hard companionships were due to my total lack of self confidence.  Before I tell about Elder Bennion, I feel it important that I share with you the first few months of my mission and the struggles that I had. It will help you understand just how important Elder Bennion's companionship was to me.

     Words cannot express the how terrible I feel for what I put my first companions through.  I want them to know I admire them and pray for their forgiveness.  They were and are still remarkable men.  As Spencer put it, “It was a package deal”.

     My very first companion was Elder Mortenson.   He was my MTC companion.  I will never forget the first day we met.  I was totally shocked when we had companion prayer and he started crying, telling me he loved me.  I disliked him at that very moment.  How could anyone love someone they didn't even know and especially how could he love me.  I didn't believe him.  I was a horrible companion for him.  But he was amazing to me.  He was kind and patient.   He always looked out for me no matter how badly I treated him.  I would get these amazing letters from an unknown person and I could not understand how much they understood me and how they knew exactly what was going on with me.  Later I found out it was his girlfriend.  He would write her and tell her the struggles I was having and the hardships he was having as my companion and she would write these amazing letters.  It never entered my mind he had something to do with it because I resented him and his love for me.  That is how bad I was.  Absolutely no self confidence at all. As we were departing for our mission at the airport I finally met her.  Sometimes we have to grow up before we realize just how important those closest to us are and how often we push away all the good they do.  That is how it was with Elder Mortenson,  it took a long time before I was able to appreciate his kindness and goodness.  He is one of my best friends now and I adore him and love him for his goodness.   I started my mission with him and spent the last week of my mission with him.   I had grown up a lot and cherished that time with him.  It was wonderful as he took care of my heart.  

      My next companion in the mission field was Elder Lake.  I adored him from the first minute I met him.  He was amazing.  Goodness all the way throughout.  Bless his heart,  he had no clue what he was in for.  One time someone asked him what it was like tracking with Elder Petersen,  his comment was this "Picture knocking on doors with Satan standing right next to you".   I was horrible,  Florida was hot, humid, and so hard for me.  From the cockroaches to the humidity I struggled.  And on top of that I had just left the MTC where they taught what kind of person you needed to be to be a good missionary and I felt I was no way near that type of person.  Every quality they said you needed I was certain I did not have.  To make matters worse I was also trying to learn a language,  Spanish and it was hard, no it was impossible.  Many days would find me crying in the middle of the street unable to do another thing.  Elder Lake would put his arm around me and tell me it was enough and maybe it was time for ice-cream.  I think we ate a lot of ice cream.  

    One particular hard day  we headed home early.  I was a mess that day.  Totally saying horrible things to  Elder Lake. Every time I opened my mouth something horrible would come out.  It was a hard day.  Finally in the middle of the day he had had enough and we went home where I continued to say the most horrible things to him.   On the inside I was crying for help but when I opened my mouth to ask for help something rude would come out.  At one point I told him that after he went to sleep that night I was going to smoke the cigarettes I had stolen from the Morales family we were teaching.  I did not steal any from them and I had no intentions of smoking,  I was just saying horrible things.  Finally Elder Lake came into the room and placed his hands on my head and blessed me.  I broke down and cried.  He was so good to me.  I really loved him and think if we had been companions for longer I would have gotten better sooner.  I guess my next 2 companions needed a trail.  Elder Lake was transferred  and I received my next companion.  

      Elder Badal,  I hated him the moment we met.  He was,  so I thought, a proud latin man with an attitude.  Funny how we place our faults on others.  The pattern with me was that I would test my companions to find out if they really loved me or not.  Sounds childish, but I was a total mess.  Immature, childish, and scared.  I sure put Elder Badal to the test.  Some days I would just sit on the bed and not move or even speak to him.  I resented every moment with him.  I would complain to the other missionaries how impossible he was to be with.  In the middle of the road many times I refused to go another inch. Wow, I am so ashamed of how I treated him.  To me he failed the test.  In all fairness to him,  he had no clue what to do. I was a handful to say the least.  He never once lost his temper or got mad at me.  He was kind and forgiving all the time.  He was just plain lost at what to do.  Looking back I cannot imagine how he survived my constant anger at him. Later in my mission as he was going home, we wept.  I grew to understand how much he really did love me, I just could not see it at the time.  He is one of my dearest friends,  no we are brothers.  His son's call me Uncle Brad and I adore him.  

     My next companion was Elder George.  I continued the same pattern with Elder George as with previous companions, that of constant testing.  Elder George in my mind failed also.  During my companionship with him I was called into the mission office to meet with the Mission President.  I was there for hours as he lectured me on Alma Chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon.  At one point he told me that he had given me the sweetest, kindness companion in the mission.  My thought at the time was "President, you don't have to live with the guy".  In my mind he was the problem not me.   Elder George was the sweetest missionary in the mission.   I vividly remember one really hard night.  Elder George just left me on my bike in the middle of the road.  He went home without me.  When I arrived a little later to our apartment,  Elder George was in the middle of the floor on his knees pounding the floor with his fists crying and saying "I can't do this anymore,  I can't take it".  He didn't have to,  his prayers were answered and he was transferred.  Later I found a message he wrote in my scriptures that I treasure,  It said "I love you Elder Petersen".  It was signed by him.   

       At this point in my mission I think everyone was ready to give up on me.  I was a trail to all and it didn't look like it was going to change.  I think I was on my way out because of my constant problems.  Miracles do happen. My next companion was Elder Bennion.  I have to say the very first moment I met him I loved him with all my heart.  He was amazing.  So, I started to test him just like the rest to see if he really did love me.  Before if my companions would get mad or show anger or disappointment at me I would shut down.  In my warped mind they failed the test and no matter how hard they tried I knew they did not love me.  I could not believe that anyone loved me and in my desperate need for love and acceptance I would test those around me.   Elder Bennion got the worst of it.  I was brutal to him.  The thing about Elder Bennion is that he would pass each and every test so they had to get harder and harder.  With each test he passed I had to come up with harder test to confirm in my mind that I was not loved.  My whole world was built on the fact that I was not loved at all, so if it looked like someone loved me my world started to crumble.  

      I remember one night we were out coming home and we came to a railroad track.  I got off my bike and stood in the middle of the track just waiting for the train to come.  I was so stubborn that I was determined not to move.  The train was getting closer and Elder Bennion was begging me to move.  I would not.  Finally Elder Bennion, just before the train hit me, ran unto the track and picked me up and moved me.  I loved him even more,  but I could not let him know it.  So I proceeded to test him even more.  I started running away at night.  I would slam the door behind me,  because I wanted him to know that I was leaving.  He would follow me and beg me to come home.  I loved him even more, but could not let him know it.  

     About this time in our companionship the Mission President instructed Elder Bennion that if I ran away again I would go home. That is how bad it was.  I was in a hard place.  This is why I love Elder Bennion so much,  he was in a hard place also and is what makes him so special is that he took it to the Lord. He prayed and told the Lord that if he had to he would be my companion for the rest of his mission if it meant he could help me out.  Later he explained to me that he thought about it and decided the worst possible thing that could happen to him was to have to be my companion for the rest of him mission.  He could think of nothing worse.  He said it was so draining to have to constantly deal with my problems.  He said when he prayed he receive the distinct impression that this was Elder Petersen’s last chance. He did not know what that meant and did not want to find out.  He was determined to save me.  Can you see why I loved him. 

      My heart was so empty of love.  My heart ached to be loved and accepted.   Elder Bennion knew that and was so kind.  There were many times that he would just hold me in his arms for long periods of time – longer than he was comfortable with, but he did it anyway. To me it seemed like hours.  You cannot imagine how that started to heal my heart and soul.  And still I tested him and tested him.   It all came to a head one night.  I ran away again.  I slammed the door as I left.  I wanted him to know I was leaving.  Remember I loved him with all my heart.  He came running after me yelling at me to stop.  I finally did.  I turned to him and yelled right in his face.  "Leave me alone,  I hate you.”  That wonderful man just looked at me with tears streaming down his face and said, "Elder Petersen,  I don't care what you think about me,  I love you.”  Something inside of me broke and I knew at that moment he loved me.  We stood in the middle of the street hugging and crying.  We walked back to the apartment and finally I poured out my heart and soul to him.  

    My entire problem was that I did not believe anyone loved me.  I could not understand how we sang the song "I am a child of God" all the time when I didn't feel like a child of God.   I didn't believe that God even knew who I was.  How could I be a missionary and teach people that if I didn't even believe it myself.  

      I wish I could say it got better that night.  It didn't, but it opened the door to great discussions and now that Elder Bennion knew what the problem was he had direction and now that I knew he loved me unconditionally I trusted him and believed in him.  The tests stopped and I was able to start healing.  We fasted and prayed often.  He still continued to hold me and pour love into my heart.  I soaked it up and gained confidence and hope that I could know for myself that I was of value  to God and others.  

      About three weeks after the last run a way experience Elder Bennion's prayers were answered, as were mine.  I will never forget the night. We had our companion prayers and I had just said my personal prayer.  I laid in bed for a long time pondering about all I had been struggling with.  I realized that I needed to pay the price.  So I got out of bed and knelt in prayer.  I poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, pleading that if I was to be a missionary teaching everyone about a loving Heavenly Father I needed to know that there was a Father in Heaven that loved me and a Savior that cared for me.  At the moment it was as if the heavens opened and Heavenly Father wrapped his arms around me.  I knew without a doubt that he loved me and knew who I was.  I ran to Elder Bennion's bed and woke him up crying and laughing.  He looked at me  and said "It happened didn't it?”   We embraced and hugged each other.   

     Another one of Elder Bennion's prayers were answered,  he was transferred and didn't have to spend the rest of his mission with me.  

     I love Spencer with all my heart.  I am so grateful for his love and friendship.  I am so grateful for his willingness to sacrifice his comfort for me and my wellbeing.   Our friendship has grown in sweetness over the years.  I always look forward to seeing him and especially having him hug me. When he does I feel completely loved.  Nothing is sweeter then the pure love of Christ between two men.   

Thank you Spencer, Robert, Jaun, and Roger,  for your goodness and purity of heart.  I love you.  Brad

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Men in My Life~Part 2

 Kim Webb,  My First Best Friend

  I started the series on the Men in My Life with my father.  There were a few other great men in my younger days, my grandpa was one of those great men.  He died with I was really young,  but he made a great impression on my life.  He was a strong man who had handled many hardships in his life and overcame them to become a talented, hard working, very well respected person.   He could do everything from construction, to writing poetry.  He was a artist and owned cafe's in the 40's.  He could do anything, and anything he did he did well.  He lived a hard life,  but as a Grandpa he was amazing.

    Other men that made in impression in my life while I was growing up was my uncle, his best friend, my 6th grade school teacher, and his best friend.  They were great men who had a positive influence on me and loved me.  

    The sad thing was I didn't really have a friend my age during school.  I had a couple of friends that were fair weather friends.  When there was nothing better to do I was there for them.  It was a hard time.  I longed to have a good friend.  My friends were mostly the waitresses where I worked and they were work friends, meaning that at work they were friends, but outside of work there was no relationship. It was understandable, they were way older then me and had families and lives.  I started working as a busboy at age twelve.  The waitresses and people I worked had a great influence on my life, they taught me how to work and forced me to deal with people.  In that world I was accepted and  did well.  Outside of work it was hard,  I didn't relate with anyone my age and I think that working with all those women in the restaurants I learned to associate with older people.  I was comfortable with them and pretty much was accepted by them.

    So needless to say grade school and high school were dismal, lonely times for me.  I finished high school with not one close friend.  I knew a lot of people in the town where I lived, but none accepted me and thought of me as a friend.

    I still remember the night I met Kim Webb.  It was after high school,  I was at a youth dance in Holbrook, Az.  It was a young adult dance.  This man walks up to me and asked me for a ride home.  After that dance and the ride home, we were inseparable for the next year.  After that night every place I went he went, and every place he went I went.  I don't remember him not being there for the next year.

    Kim Webb was absolutely everything I wanted to be.  Handsome, funny, talented, happy, confident, popular, spiritual, and every other good thing you can think of.  I adored him.  He was a return missionary, and every mother wanted their daughter to marry him and I could not imagine why he wanted to hang out with me.  But he did and I adored him for it.   It was a hero worship from the start.

    The thing about Kim Webb was that I could just be me with him and he never judged me. He liked me for just who I was from the start.  He never made fun of me, never called me a name, never made me feel stupid.   From the first moment we met we were best friends.  From the very first moment we met we knew each other.  There was never a getting to know you phase, we knew each other from the start.  He was amazing.  I was everything he wasn't,  or at least I thought I was.  I had absolutely no self confidence,  I was unhappy,  had no friends, had no clue how to be a friend.  It was a new experience for me.  He loved me completely without question from the start.  With him I knew I was someone special and with him I felt like someone. With him I felt important.

     Kim Webb knew how to be a friend and he taught me how to be a friend.  He was always there for me and I knew as his friend I was important.  I had never felt that way before in my entire life.  From the very first moment we started hanging out, I just knew he loved me and I was important to him.  It was  the most amazing and important thing that could have happened to me at the time of my life and proved to be one of the most important friendships of my life.

    Often times in life we have no clue how our actions will effect those we come in contact with.  I think that about my friendship with Kim Webb.  He had no clue at the time he chose to be my friend that it was the most important event to happen in my life that would change my course forever.  His friendship was the most important event to happen to me up to that point of my life.

   That year I spent with him before I left to serve a mission was by far the best year of my life.  I had a friend, someone who loved me and understood me in every way.  That summer I had just gotten active in the Mormon faith and was preparing to serve a mission.  It was a hard year for me, but a joyful year.   I had a lot to over come before I left on my mission, and I would have never done it with out Kim Webb's love and support.

     It was great experience for me to have a friend like that.  I still think he was paid to be there, but he denies it.  Through his friendship and example I gained the confidence I needed to go on a mission.  We spent so much time together and he taught me by example and deed.   I would go with him to his work and he would come to and helped me at my work.  If I was struggling at work all I had to do was call him and he made it better.  He would talk me through it and I would be okay.    His family accepted me as a son, brother, and friend. I knew when I was there with his family I was loved completely.  Where ever he went I was there tagging along, from family events to single young adult events, I was his constant shadow.  Every thing important that happened to me that year he was there.  We traveled together, when to church together,  worked together, played together, and grew together.

    I fondly remember going to work with him.  He drove a logging truck so we had to get up really early.  It was hard work and I hardly got any sleep because I got of work just a few hours before, but I didn't mind,  I was just glad to spend time with him.  I loved going to work with him.  Sitting in the truck with him as it bumped along on the dirt roads.  It was bouncy and crazy,  but I was with my friend.   I would just sit and stare at him.  I adored him in every way.  One of the things that I loved about him was how happy he always was.  He never got mad or discouraged.  True story,  one day the truck broke down.  He fixed it and just a few hours later the fan went through the radiator.   He just laughed and took it in stride.  I was so amazed.  I would have been furious in every way, but not Kim Webb, he just laughed it off and started over again.  That was how he handled everything,  with a positive outlook on life, no matter the circumstance.

    He would work hard all day and if he knew I was having a hard time, which was most of the time he would show up at my job at 10:00 at night and help me.  I remember one really hard night at work.  I was in tears just crying and crying.  He called me on the phone and talked me out of the mood and a while later he was at my work helping me.  I could count on him.  The fact that I called and cried like a baby never bothered him,  he just took it in stride and never once made me feel stupid.

   Oh how I adored him and loved every moment spent with him.  As I look back, I must have been so needy.  Constantly dealing with my ups and downs.  He always knew how to make me happy.  On a trip to Conference I was having a really hard time, as I often did due to the total lack of self confidence I dealt with.  This particular night I was in a mood and feeling so sorry for myself and Kim Webb just sang to me.  I still remember the song he sung to me.  It was "I feel sad when your sad, I feel glad when your glad,  If you only new what I'm going through,  I just can't smile without you". etc.  I love that song, because it reminds me of a friend that cared for me so much.  That was how it was with him, he always new just what to do to make me smile and happy.

     His friendship was vital to my preparation for a mission.  He told me stories of his mission and taught me how to be a good missionary.  He gave me the confidence that I could do it.  He believed in my when at that time of my life I felt no one else did.  I had many obstacles to over come that year and with each one he was there to assist me.  From getting over bad habits to creating good habits, he was there to teach and instruct, and I never once ever felt judged my him.  He never once condemned me for a problem,  but he did encourage me to be better and had the confidence in me that I could do it.

   As I got closer to leaving for my mission the hardest part for me was I knew I would not see Kim for two years.  I hated leaving him.  To have a best friend like that was so precious to me that I could not stand the thought of losing him.  The night before I left we sat out side the home where I was staying and this is how it went down.

I was crying, no sobbing,
Kim was patiently seated in the drivers seat.
Sob "Will you still be my friend when I get home,"  Sob sob.
"Yes I will still be your friend when you get home"  Kim gently assured me.
Silent for a moment, except for my sobs.
"Are you sure?"  I choked out between more sobs.
"Yes I am sure." Kim promised.
Silent for a longer moment as I considered this between more sobs.  And the more I thought about leaving him the harder I cried.
"WHAT IF YOU GET MARRIED."  I cried out hysterically.
More patience from Kim as he answered with kindness, "Even if I get married we will still be friends."  He promised again.
"Are you sure?" I cried again.
"Yes I am sure"  he gently said again.
Still sobbing I considered this and asked many more questions to make sure that he understood that he had no choice, he was going to be my friend when I got home.  This went on for at least one hour and finally I got control enough after his constant assurances that he would be there for me that I went in the house, still not completely certain that I would be okay.

     My mission was hard.  Many times I wanted to quit and come home.  The one thing that kept me trying was that I knew if I came home early I would disappoint Kim and that, I would not do.  So I would just keep trying because I knew that at least one person in my life knew that I could succeed and believed in me.  I was not worried about disappointing anyone else,  in my eyes they all knew I was a failure, but Kim believed in me.  I wrote him every week with out fail and his letters always came at just the right time when I needed them most,  always full of encouraging words that helped me push to the end.

    And sure enough when I got home from my mission two years later he was my friend, only the friendship was deeper and sweeter  then before.  It has been 37 years since we met and our friendship has grown in sweetness and depth and is a constant blessing to me.  The wonderful thing is the circle has grown to include our families and friends.

    Kim Webb.  I still adore you and when we are together,  I still can't keep my eyes off you.   You are the perfect friend, brother, teacher, and example to me.  Through you I have learned what a friend really is and can be.

Thank you.  Brad

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Men in my Life~Part 1

     Since this is a blog about men,  and developing healthy relationships with men,  I have decided to write about the "Men in my Life".  So for the next several weeks I will be posting about my close personal relationships with men that have impacted my life and blessed me beyond words.  I will share how we met and I will share personal insights to building, developing, and maintaining good healthy friendships that increase in dept and beauty as the years go by.    I believe with all my heart we are meant to have deep personal, intimate, and healthy, relationships with men.  It is part of Gods plan that his sons bond together to offer strength and support for each other to assist in returning back to him.  The journey is hard and a loving Heavenly Father did not intend for us to make it alone and without help.   How sad to go throughout life without taking the time to develop and nurture healthy loving relationships with our brothers.  So I hope you enjoy the message and I hope by my telling you of my close relationships with other men it will bring you greater understanding and inspire you to take the time to let others into your heart.

Dad, the first man in my life.

    I have thought about this a lot and even though my dad was a huge part of my troubled youth, I cannot write about the men in my life without starting with the man that is responsible for me being here and whether we like it or not we are a product of our Fathers.

     Before I go any further,  I need to say that I love my Dad with all my heart and admire the amazing man he is.  Relationships are a process that if we continue working at,  will eventually become what we need and desire.  That is how it has been with my Dad and I.  A process that through time we reached the point where we have come to now,  that is to say, where we understand and appreciate each other for who we are.

     My dad is a cowboy.  Not just a once in a blue moon cowboy,  he is a cowboy to the bone.  Those old fashioned kind that would never are seen without his boots on.  He reminds me of John Wayne in so many ways.   He was raised on a ranch in northern Arizona and he was raised by his grandmother.    Grandma Petersen was an amazing woman in every way.  She loved her grandson with all her heart.  "Buddy" my dad's name given to him by her,  was the joy of her heart.  She taught him all about ranching and cowboying.  He was raised to be a cowboy in every way.  He inherited all of the good cowboy traits, but he also had a few of the not so good ones and he was raised with out a father.  Grandma did a great job, but Dad had no idea how to be a father.  And he had no idea how to deal with a son, especially one like me,  that was not a cowboy.

     Growing up I worshipped the ground he walked on.  I remember in third grade the teachers were so worried about me.  I had a habit of putting my hands in the front of my pants.  Oh, they were so worried.  My mother would come to class to see what the problem was.  It was simple, but I was embarrassed to tell them.  Cowboys, and my dad always walked around with their fingers in the top of their pants.  I wanted to be just like my dad.  I guess I could have relieved a lot of stress if I would have just told them it was what my dad did, but I was to shy to say why and I knew they would laugh at me so I just let them think I had some other problem.

   I loved my dad with all my heart and like any son I needed and wanted and craved for his approval.
As a little boy I felt loved and excepted, but as I got older and my personality started to come out the distance between us started to grow.  I was a very sweet boy who loved girly things, from planting flowers, to playing dolls.  I love to write poems and wear my moms cloths.  As I look back I do not place any blame on my father for how he acted.  He had no clue how to deal with a "sissy" for a son.  It was against everything he new.  Men were men and did man things.  I was more than he could deal with.  In all fairness he did good most of the time, but there were times when it was just to much for him and I could tell by the look on his face, at least as a child, it looked like disappointment to me. My brothers on the other hand were real boys.  They loved sports, horses, tuff stuff and he loved them for it.  He could understand them, were with me, he had no clue.

    I have to admit,  I was a case.  I felt he didn't like me so I would go out of my way to drive him crazy.  In the 70's short shorts were the thing.  Wranglers cut really high.  Platform shoes and silk shirts with designs on them.   I would puff out my hair, put on the shorts, shoes, and shirt and parade out in front of him and his cowboy buddies.  It drove him insane.  Oh,  I would also tie a scarf around my neck.  I know,  it was a mean and cruel thing to do, but I was trying to get his attention.  The things we do to get noticed.

     The older I got the more distance we had between us.  My parents divorced and my mom had a few different husbands that also played havoc on me and my personality.  I think that drove me to want positive affirmations even more from my dad.

     Once I even went out for the football team to get his approval.  I worked really hard to get on the team and I made.  I hated every moment of it and when we went to the games I stayed on the bus.  I don't know what I expected from him, but it seemed to make no difference in how he felt about me, and it added another failure to my long list of them when I quit the team.  To make matters even worse at home, the small town where I was raised was a ruff place to be if you were a sensitive somewhat feminine boy.  Faggot was the common name used in the 70's for boys like me, that were different.

     At my school there were four groups,  the cowboys,  the jocks, the hippies, and the Mormons.  Some belonged to several groups, but if you didn't belong to one of them you were nothing.  I was not a cowboy, and certainly not a jock, the hippies did drugs and other things I would never do and I was not active in the Mormon faith at the time.  I was nothing and each group found a great pleasure in taunting me and teasing me.  From being beat up often, to being spit on frequently, ignored all the time, my self esteem was horrible.  I would go from school where I knew I was hated to a home where I did not feel loved or excepted.  At home I was called a sissy and at school I was called a faggot.  Life was pretty hard.  I grew more and more introverted and as I look back now I can understand why some thought what they did, but at the time it was confusing and hard.

     I remember one time I was playing with my little brother, tickling him and pretending I was Grannie.  We were having a great time.  My dad just went off.  He yelled at me to stop and told me I was a girl in a boys body and one day I would wake up and be a girl.  He informed me that was just what I wanted.  Please understand I don't tell this to belittle my father at all.  I remember at the time my mom had left him and he was not himself.  He was lashing out at me because I was the closet thing to my mother he could find at the time to  vent his hurt.  But at the time it crushed my heart and solidified my low opinion of myself.

     High school is a hard time even at the best of times.  To be raised in a home where I didn't feel loved and on top of that to move each year twice to accommodate my mothers marriages added to the distance between me and my father.  I ached to be loved by him and to cover my hurt I hated him.  That was how I got through it.  If I hated him it was easier to get over the hurt of not being loved by him.  I am sure that even moved him further away and added to his frustration.  During those years I still taunted  him by showing up in the most outrageous cloths I could find.  To his credit he endured them well.

    It is always great to be able and look back and have understanding.  At the time you are living it, understanding is hard to come by.  I lived those years in resentment of not having a father that loved me and accepted me for who I was.  All along he did love me, but did not understand what my needs were and so we both struggled.  I with the need for a father and him with the need to understand his totally foreign son.  It is funny and tragic how our struggles can build up walls around us and keep us away from the very thing we are fighting for.

    At the age of nineteen I was preparing to serve a mission for the LDS church.  I struggled with my feelings of hate for my father.  I talked to my bishop about them and his wise counsel was to not worry about it.  Go serve the Lord he said and it will work out.   So I left with a heart full of anger and resentment for him.

    My bishop was right.  The change started.  The most amazing thing was my dad wrote me every week of my mission.  You have to know him to understand how hard that was for him.  His letters were really short,  sometimes two sentences, but in my heart I knew that if he could do that he must love me and my heart softened.

     My dad had never in my life expressed that he loved my and he had never hugged me.  It was just something he did not do.  He didn't know how.  I am and always have been a hugging person and to me if someone does not hug they must not love you.  I need to hear the words also.  Some can go a life time with out needing hugs or words of love, but I cannot.   Dad just had no clue how to say the words.  I started to realize as my mission went on that he did love me and he was proud of me.  He still did not understand me, but he did love me.

      The most amazing thing happened when I got home off my mission.   My dad was a truck driver at the time so he was not able to come and get me at the airport.  We got home late and he was in bed.  I got up early the next morning to fix him breakfast.  When he got up and came into the kitchen the first thing he did was wrap me in a hug and he told me he loved me.  You cannot imagine how that felt.  To this day it is one of my most precious memories.  The perfect homecoming gift.

    It was a weird adjustment.  All the sudden I had a dad.   It took some time to adjust to that, but over  the years we have developed a wonderful meaningful relationship.  Dad frequently tells me he loves me and always hugs me when he sees me.  He is one of my greatest examples in so many ways.  He has shown me how someone can change and become what we need and I have learned that change is duel.  I had to grow  and learn also.  My dad is my hero.  Strong,  dependable, honest, kind, good, loving, honorable, decent, and his heart is pure.

     Life is a journey,  and if we persist in moving forward and keep trying to improve, it gets better and we learn the lessons we need to and we can come to love and understand those we thought we never would.   My dad is one of the greatest men in my life.  40 years ago I would have never thought that possible, but now I see and understand how important the journey was.  It's the ending that really matters, not the beginning.  And this ending is great, I love my Dad.


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Am I Gay?

     It has been a year since I choose to "Come out of the closet", so to speak, with my Blog and support group called JADE.  It has been a wonderful year and, oh my, how much I have learned.  I have to come to understand myself more and realized some things about myself that I didn't know.  This past year I have developed some amazing friendships that I am certain will last forever.   And, yes, these friendships are with men.  

    One of the interesting side effects of “coming out” and making a stand about the importance of "healthy male relationships", is that many of the first responses my wife and I have received is that I must be gay.  In fact, many have stated that they always new I was gay.  It totally amazes me how quickly we are to judge without knowing the truth.   One of the main reasons I have decided to open up is to fight the judgments many have about male relationships, by telling the truth about them.

    So, the question of the day is "Am I Gay"?   Years ago as a young man, I was confronted head on with that question.   From family that could not understand me, to a small-town attitude about “girly-boys”, it was a constant part of my life.  One word that I hate is “faggot” - the most used nickname for me in the small town where I grew up.  I was told so often that I was a faggot or gay that I sometimes wondered if I was.  I did like so-called girly things.  I played with dolls, liked to dress up, wrote poems, planted flowers, hated sports, and loved cleaning house.  So by all appearances, I was gay.  Can you imagine the personal struggle?  Well, I decided long ago that I was not gay; meaning, I had no desire to have a sexual relationship with another man.   I have never had that desire and still don't.  But, let me clarify something.  I do enjoy a great, emotional, healthy relationship with other men.  

    Yes, I am effeminate.  Yes, I cry at chick-flicks.  Yes, I love to bake, and write, and even dress flamboyant from time to time.  I don’t enjoy sports, hunting, and other manly things.  So, if you look at it like that, I must be gay.  All of you who thought so, congratulations!  You are right.  I am gay.  But, if you look at what the real meaning of “gay” is, I am not gay.  To me, the real definition of a gay man is one who desires a sexual relationship with another man and acts out on that desire.  So, by that definition, so sorry, I am not gay.  

    I do not desire and have never had the desire to have a sexual relationship with another man.  At the same time, I do desire to have deep, meaningful, healthy relationships with many, wonderful men who have the same values I have.  To me, a healthy relationship with another man i has four aspects: spiritual, emotional, social, and physical.  

     A spiritual connection means that we are on the same page.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ and live by His teachings.   He has taught that we can love another man deeply and completely without having a sexual relationship.  In fact, I strongly believe that when we establish relationships on principles of true, Christ-like love, there is eternal increase - meaning that friendship develops and becomes deeper and sweeter as time goes by.

     An emotional connection means that we are able to meet one another’s emotional needs.  A healthy emotional relationship is one that builds and lifts, offers positive support, values who we are, and helps up become the best we can become. Men need the emotional support of other men.  Men are men, and pretty much think alike, and have the need to share this life-experience together.  The right emotional support can lift and help us through this life’s challenges.  

     A social connection means sharing healthy life activities together.  It can be anything from sports to cooking, or just hanging out doing positive things.  We are social people and we crave the social interaction with others.  When we interact socially, we learn and grow and become the men God intended us to become.  Men need strong social relationships with other men.  

     A physical connection means sharing a strong, physical bond.  When I say, “physical connection”, I do not mean sex.  Men, some more than others, need a healthy, physical relationship with other men; from working side-by-side, to pats on the back, and good healthy hugs.  I believe that when we hug, our spirits can communicate, and we can become closer.  In todays world they teach us that physical bonding must include sex.  I totally disagree.  I believe that men need healthy contact with other men.  

     Think what you will, but I strongly believe in healthy male relationships.  I strongly believe that, next to the relationship I have with my wife and family, the most important relationships I can have are the ones I have with other men.  Those close spiritual, emotional, social, and physical relationships that I enjoy have brought me peace and comfort, and have taught me to be more Christ like in my association with others.  

   You may still think I am gay, but truth be told, I am really just a big, tenderhearted man that loves everyone and has no problem  expressing it by word or deed.


Become a member,(on the side panel) and recieve notice when we post a new blog entry. You can also respond, comment or ask for informations about our JADE group by using the link on the top of the side panel.  Thank you. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Guard Your Heart

      I have been thinking a lot lately about friendships and relationships.  I have decided that they can be hard and complicated.  I have started to kind of understand how we limit ourselves and build up walls to protect our hearts.  When I say limit ourselves, I mean that we limit who, when, and how many people we invite into our sacred heart corridors.   We have become overly protective of that sacred realm, which we guard with walls that often times are impossible to penetrate.  
    One of the main reasons we guard our hearts is for fear of being hurt or rejected by those we choose to let in.  So, to avoid any hurt, we just close the door tight and build up walls that even the most gifted wall climber could not scale.
     I have thought often that our society has trained us to not freely give out space in our hearts, and we have been taught not to let our guards down.  Some common mistruths that exist today in our society are as follows.
     We only have limited amount of room in our hearts.
     We cannot love everyone.
     It's not right to love someone that much.
     How can the same gender love that deeply without sex?
     If you have one best friend, you're lucky.
     You will get hurt for sure.
     There are limits on how many or how much you can love.
      Love hurts.     
     The list can go on and on.  You get the point.  We are surround by a society that dictates just how much we can love and how to love.  In our society today, we are a very self-centered people. Our only concern is, "What‘s in it for me?"  If there is a chance that we might get hurt or disappointed, we don't go there.  And, let's face it, love can be hurtful and disappointing.
    So, we "Guard our Hearts" and in the process remove wonderful opportunities to grow and love.  One thing I have found to be true that there are absolutely no limits on how much the human heart can love.  There are no limits on how many people we can love, and no limits on how deeply we can love them.  It's all up to us, and just how freely we want to open the door.
    Oh yes, when we open the door, we open ourselves up for disappointment and hurt.  But, in the process, we can have joy that exceeds our understanding.  The more we open ourselves, the more our ability to understand and love others grows.  Disappointment and hurt only serves to intensify the joy that we can experience when we allow others to come freely in our sacred realms.
     The reason I am writing this Blog is because of a recent experience I had tested me and pushed my heart beyond its normal range.  Without sharing too much detail, I will just say that I opened up my heart so completely, and I felt like the door was slammed so hard on my heart that I thought it would break.  I had to really take a good look at what my motives were and I had to remind myself that love is not always about receiving.  In fact, it is seldom about receiving.   I had to remind myself that it was about what could I do to help another; and I had to remind myself that this friend and I are at different stages and have different expectations, as is the case in most relationships. and expectations are seldom the same in any friendship. 
      I have found that when I meet someone and feel a strong connection, that if I follow through, it always turns out good.  It does not mean the experience is without pain and frustration, but the end result is always great.   When I feel that connection and act upon it, 100% of time it turns outs that a deep friendship evolves.  So often, we go throughout life and ignore those feelings for reasons already stated, and by so doing, miss out on great friendships that bring joy and growth into our lives.
     It really puts us to the test when developing same-gender relationships.  In today's world, we are told that if we have or want a strong connection with someone of the same gender, we must be gay or messed up.  It is not acceptable to openly express feelings of love for other men, and most often, we are told to be satisfied with one good friend.  There again, we are guilty of putting limits on how we love.  
     I strongly believe that if you love someone, tell them.  If you feel a strong connection to someone, tell them.  If you want to be a friend with someone, do it.  Forget the limits and boundaries that the world sets.  The only boundaries that really matter are the ones that God has given us, and those boundaries are designed to keep our relationships healthy. The boundaries that God sets protect us from heartache and hurt.  I am not aware of boundaries that limit how many people we can love or how deeply we can love them.  I know of no boundaries that restrict our friendships to a few, or our love to small amounts.  In fact, the greatest commandment of all was to love one another as we love ourselves.  
     So, for me, I am going to work on having no walls and limits on how or whom I love.  I am grateful for the male relationships I have, especially the ones that are open and loving.  Next to the relationship I have with my wife and family, those bring me great joy.  Life is an amazing journey, and when we take away walls that guard our hearts, it can be more joyful and meaningful. 

    Wishing you joy in your journey and relationships with others.  

JADE meets the first Tuesday of each month at 703 E. 1st. Ave. Mesa 
7:00  For more information on JADE you can call 480-231-2424
JADE is a meeting that teaches and instructs men how to develop
healthy positive relationships with other men

Become a member,(on the side panel) and recieve notice when we post a new blog entry. You can also respond, comment or ask for informations about our JADE group by using the link on the top of the side panel.  Thank you. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November JADE Meeting~ Cupcakes and Friendships

   Cupcakes are like a friendships,  they come in a variety of shapes, colors, textures, flavors, and intensities.  Sometimes they look fantastic, but there is no taste, or in a friendship, we just don't click. In this months Jade meeting, on November 4th at 7:00 pm we will be making cupcakes and discussing friendships.  More to the detail, how to take down the walls that keep us from developing those meaningful rich friendships that are packed with flavor and leave us wanting more.  

     So come and join us, you can RSVP by commenting in the comment at the bottom of this blog.  This months meeting will be at 703 E. 1st. Ave.  Mesa Az

I personally like whole grain cupcakes.  It takes away the guilt. 

Dark chocolate with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Can you ever have to many cupcakes.

So pretty.  Its all about how you dress.

Sprinkles add character

The End or maybe the beginning of something wonderful.  

Hope you can make our JADE meeting.  I have found that when we meet I fill a space in my heart that needs to be filled and I always leave feeling better about life and stronger in my convictions of following the Savior.    Brad

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Man's Body

     Life can be ruff and confusing and difficult.  It is even more challenging when we are not given the proper education and direction in life.  I think that one of the biggest challenges we face today is that we are in a world that takes advantage of lack of education.

     As a father I have been guilty of not taking the time to educate my children on certain things.  One of the misconceptions today is that our bodies, or how our bodies react defines our sexuality. As a parent I feel strongly that we need to help our children understand from us just how the body works and not from others.  As a parent we have a better understanding of our children's needs and we have the greater ability to share and teach things to our children.  Things that we might consider sacred and things that others should not teach our children.  Often they, outside sources,  don't have the best interest in mind for our children to teach them certain things.   If we as parents lack in our responsibility to teach our children we should not be surprised with what they come up with.

     Personally I wish my Father would have taught me some basic things that I am certain would have been helpful to me.  And as I have talked to other men I have found that most men have struggled with the same things and have had the same experiences.   Sometimes we think we are the only ones that struggle or have experiences and so we keep them inside and wonder and worry what is wrong.
When in reality we are normal men with body parts that do normal things.

     The male body is programed to react in certain ways,  actually in some pretty strong ways to affection or physical touch.  Studies have shown that any kind of affection from any number of reasons can produce reactions to the male body,  candidly speaking, erections.  The male penis is  and can be a very active part of the body.  Reacting in the most inopportune times, causing embarrassment and shame.  When in reality there is no reason to ashamed.  When we come to understand just how the body works, things that are embarrassing and uncomfortable still are embarrassing and uncomfortable, but we can have an understanding that makes it bearable and understandable..

     The simple truth is that erections can come and go at random times causing us to feel uncomfortable.   Almost every man  I have talked to has expressed the same thing.  Each has told of experiences of having one of those unexpected moments when you least expect it, your penis stands erect and you feel stupid,  wondering if you are normal or not and certainly feeling that everyone will think you are strange.  From sitting in a class room and doing nothing and standing up having to bend over or quickly place your backpack over the tent in front.  Or patting the dog only to realize it has produced an erection.  Have you ever hugged someone,  a completely innocent hug and next thing you know you have an erection.  There are many occasions that are embarrassing when our man bodies produce erections.  I have a friend that says "I cannot control what my body does, but I can control what I do with it".  Is not that perfect.  Our bodies will do weird things, but we have control what we do with it.  It is not a sin or wrong to have an erection, what we do with it is what causes problems.

    What our bodies were designed to do should not cause us embarrassment or shame.  It should not prevent us from having normal healthy relationships with others and it defiantly should not define who we are.  Just because our bodies react does not define us one way or another.  When I hug another man and I get aroused, that does not make me a gay man.  It does tell me that I have an active body that responds to affection.   I think men today are afraid and are often mistaken by assuming certain things because they have a normal body.

    I have talked to men who avoid physical contact with other men and even avoid meaningful relationships because of things that have happened to them while in casual contact with other men. How sad to think we would deprive ourselves of meaningful relationships simply because we have an active penis that responds to kindness or any type of physical contact.  How sad to think we would define who we are simply because our body responds quickly.

    Men, it is normal and common for your penis to react to physical contact, emotional contact, and verbal contact.  There is nothing wrong with you or your body,  there is nothing to feel uncomfortable or ashamed about because you have a healthy body.   Remember you often cannot control what your body does,  but you always can control what you do with it.  If you stay clean and avoid using your body in an inappropriate way,  there is absolutely nothing wrong with erections.

     I have found that when it happens to me,  I just move forward and ignore what my body is doing and enjoy the physical, emotional, and verbal contact without shame or quilt. I am grateful that I have been able to understand and except the fact that I am normal and have nothing to be ashamed of and in the process I have developed meaningful, healthy, relationships with other men that I have found experience the same exact thing.

     Our loving Heavenly Father has given us these amazing bodies to be stewards over and in that he understands completely the challenges we face.  He provides ways for us to move forward and enjoy meaningful deep relationships with other men without having to fall prey to the natural man.

     I wish my father would have taught me this principle.  It would have saved me years of wondering what was wrong with me and I think it would have solved a lot of struggles and personal conflicts I faced as a man who deeply loves other men.   In growing to understand I feel blessed to have many great friendships with many men that are like minded in that they to have struggled and now understand.  Knowledge often times is freedom.

I hope you are taking the time to develop meaningful, healthy, life changing relationships with other men.

 Have a great day.  Brad

Become a member,(on the side panel) and recieve notice when we post a new blog entry. You can also respond, comment or ask for informations about our JADE group by using the link on the top of the side panel.  Thank you. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some Important Things I Wish My Father Had Taught Me

     Life is confusing, to say the least.  In today's crazy world where media and social pressure wants to dictate what we do and how we act it is even more important now then ever before that Dad's are the ones teaching their sons.

     I grew up in a home where my father, who was raised by his grandmother had no clue about what to teach his sons.  A wonderful man, but still clueless to what boys need to hear from fathers.  I had to learn some things the hard way and over the years I as I have talked and communicated with other men I have learned that a lot of men could have used some simple council from their fathers.   So with that in mind I decided to write about the "Some Things"  that we all have wished our fathers would have told us.

      The first one I really wish my father had explained to me is that it is OK to be different, in my case, soft, kind, and tender.  I grew up in a home where sports were the standard and man stuff was the only thing tolerated.  I hated sports.  I loved to write poetry, draw,  play with dolls, cook, dress up, and lip sing to records.   I was not coordinated at all,  I was fat and cried easily.   I wish my father would have told me that it was OK if I didn't like sports.   I would have loved to have been praised for my writing, creativeness, and flare.  My father being who he was didn't understand the difference and in all fairness to him he really didn't know what to do with someone so completely different then him.  He was stumped.   Can you imagine a hard core cowboy, ruff and tuff to the bone man, with a son that was totally opposite in every way.   He only reacted how any normal man would have.  He thought his son was a girl in a boys body.

     Now having said that,  I have no hard feelings for my father.  Was it hard living with him, yes.  Do I love him, yes.  We are very close and he admires me completely for the tender, kind man I am.  He, like  a lot of our fathers did the absolute best he could at the time.

     The hard thing for me was not understanding who I was and why I was different.   Is it OK to be different?  Yes, that is the message we need to teach our children.  If our boys are kind, sensitive, tender, we need to teach them that just like being a good athlete, those are gifts.  Gift from God come in so many different ways and just because we don't understand does not mean the gift is not valid.  As fathers we need to teach our sons that what the world teaches us about sensitive sweet, tender, men is not what the Lord teaches.  He teaches that there are many gifts and we know that as our creator he has created us with a specific purpose, and when we follow him, we will come to understand the value of our unique differences.

    Don't let the standard of the world or the teachings of the media dictate who we are and how we respond to the gifts we have.  I for one believe that being a kind, tender, sensitive man is  an amazing gift and as I have grown older I am grateful that I chose to magnify my gift as I follow the teachings of the Savior.

    So for the number one thing I wish my father would have taught me would have to be that you are a man no matter what gifts you are given.  It's OK to be different.  It's OK to be kind and soft hearted.  Just because you like to play with dolls, dress up, and lip sing, does not mean you are gay.  It just means you are who God created you to be.   I am proud to be who I am.  I am different and often I am  mistaken to be gay, but that's OK,  I understand that God is my creator and I value his gifts and his judgement.   Sometimes the understanding does not come until after the trail.  But as we continue to follow Christ, the understanding will come and we will find great joy in our uniqueness.

   Next Blog will be The Second thing I wish my father would have taught me.  How my man body works.


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Stand up and BE a Man

      I believe in friendships and the power of building healthy ones that bless us forever. Each day as I meet men that struggle with building healthy relationships, I am grateful for the knowledge of what friendships can be. I believe that we can and should encourage and develop healthy relationships with other men.   

      Men need other men. It has been so since man was created and will continue so forever. It is part of the Plan. My message is for men to "Stand up and be the men God intended us to be. Men of character, men that are not afraid to love other men in the healthy, wonderful way God intended". Stand up reach out and open your hearts. 

     Our society today keeps us from developing great relationships.   We live in fear of what others think and because of that fear we deny ourselves and others the opportunity of great relationships.  In today's world they teach us that we cannot have healthy relationships with other men.  We are taught that if we feel strong attractions to other men, we must be Gay.  We have been taught that we cannot have close relationships with other men.  So we keep our distance and avoid relationships that could bless our lives in great ways.  

     I remember my very first best friend.  I have to admit I was 18 years old before I had a best friend.  I lived in an abusive environment and did not have many friends.  In fact during high school it was really hard.  Anyway at the age of 18 I met this man.  I will call him KW.  KW was amazing.  The minute we meet we were friends.  Instantly we were inseparable,  no matter where he went or where I went we were together.  Every spare moment we could find we spent together.  I would get up and work with him at 2 am in the morning and he would come and work with me at 10 pm at night.  I was a permanent fixture at his house.  I adored him.  Could not take my eyes off him.  And the best part is that I knew he loved me.  It was an amazing experience for me to have a best friend.  I am sure it was an experience for him to have such a needy friend.  I could not get enough of him.

     He was so good for me.  He built my self esteem in so many ways.  i remember one night he brought a gift to me at work.  It was a Cross pen set.  I was so happy.  The employees asked why he gave me a gift.  I said "I don't know,  I guess he loves me".   The wrong thing to say.   Instantly they made rude remarks about us being gay.  That was the last thing on my mind.  I just knew he loved me and that was that.   I learned just what society thinks about that type of relationship.  Society makes it hard to have deep meaningful relationships.  

    That friendship started 35 years ago and guess what, KM is still my best friend.  I adore him even more and we have shared many memories over the years and I love his family and he loves mine.  Our friend ship is one that only increases with time.   We can go months without even seeing each other and the very moment we are in the same room it is just like we have never been apart.  One time his wife called after we had spent some time together,  she cried as she explained that when KM and I are in the same room she felt like she could cut the love with a knife.  

     KM and I have never had the desire or feelings of an inappropriate relationship.   Yes we hug and enjoy being close together and I can hardly stand it when he is around , I love him so much.  Our friendship has increased in love and depth over the years.   It will continue to increase for the rest of our lives and I am sure forever.   KM is my personal testimony of the value of good healthy friendships that we can have with other men.   I am so grateful for men like KM that are not afraid to express and act upon normal feeling for other men.   

    Great friendships can be had and enjoyed forever when we set aside our fears and embrace our God given ability to love others.   Men,  stand up and don't be afraid to love another man.  Done in the right way those relationships can and will bless your life forever.  

Have a great day.  Brad

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