Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book, Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains.  This is available in print on, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and Hidden Acres Nursery and Cafe Botanica. An e-book edition is available at Amazon.

Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains is your guide to inspiring and guiding young men, most of them fatherless and unloved, into manhood, the adventures of mentoring, and the rewards of helping them find their way in the world. These are heartfelt and inspiring stories of courage and determining, overcoming obstacles, and making a difference. This book will help you change one person's life, and thereby changing the world.


"After years of working in law enforcement, I found that we always end up dealing with the same people over and over. The problem is that we don’t take the time to engage in conversation with that person to find out where the source of the problem really comes from. The book was an eye opener for me and I think that more people in law enforcement should take the time to read it.
I have found that author to be a great person for opening his heart and mind to these young men that see no future for themselves. 
Great job in mentoring and sharing your stories."

--Alex Ramirez, Clark County (Washington) deputy sheriff, Jail Re-entry Program

Wells Kempter
"As a trauma therapist who works with the impact of combat on the lives of servicemen and women, this book provides the road map for approaching and caring for another strata of trauma impacted souls in post-modern America.  Lemery, in what he writes and how he writes it, depicts the antidote for our troubled times; compassion.  If you enjoy studies in love, caring, and
 read these words.  If you desire more compassion in your life, read these words.  Civil servants who judge in the morning and heal in the evening are very rare.  I recommend for those who seek greater health and well-being to listen and implement these lessons from the wise Judge Lemery."     

Wells Kempter, MA, counselor, US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, former Army Ranger;
 Army Ranger

“Connects to the importance of mentoring to its spiritual roots and provides a simple rule, communicate and listen.  Challenges readers to get involved and help others to reach their full potential in their lives and walk away from their lives of self loathing, poverty and cycles of abuse.  

“My personal take is that once I opened this book, I could not stop reading.  I read about personal pain and the simple gesture of kindness can affect change in so many lives.  Believe the act of kindness is a free gesture that can cultivate so many rewards.  I read about how the act of forgiveness of another and oneself  can change a biased attitude.  

“In the "world" of law enforcement, I got caught up in institutional thinking that everyone is the same and can never change. It is a cold and heartless institution in charge of so many lives.  It seemed that indifference was cultivated in this institution.  

“I am, personally, profoundly, forced to take another look at our society and especially myself, after reading this book.  Thank you for sharing.”

——Sandra K. Pattin, Parole Officer 3, Department of Corrections, State of Washongton.  She  specialized in the sex offender unit. She served on the Board of Directors at YWCA for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault team.  She has cumulative 35 years volunteering and advocating for victims, 17 years career in law enforcement.  Education, Masters in Social Work. 

“Neal Lemery’s writing reveals much wisdom.  There is an insight and honesty here that challenges you to consider the deeper meanings and purposes of life.  Do not dare to even begin reading these pages unless you are willing to be inspired and transformed, for these stories are irrefutable witnesses to the power of grace.”

Dr. D. Scott Allen
Pastor, United Methodist Church

Neal Lemery is a mentor of young men in prison, and a retired judge and lawyer. Active in his community, he now is working with fatherless imprisoned young men in shaping their future and giving them confidence and self worth. He is a past president of the Oregon Justices of the Peace Association, Oregon YMCAs, retired youth accountability court judge, and is the current president of the Tillamook Bay Community College Foundation.

Neal is a writer, former school board member, former District Attorney, and lawyer. He has served as a pro tem circuit court judge, and a municipal judge and Justice of the Peace. He has served on numerous local, regional, and statewide (Oregon)committees on juvenile and social justice, substance abuse, and domestic violence. He has been a foster parent, and mentors numerous young men in prison.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Struggling With Forgiveness

“Forgiving people doesn’t mean you necessarily want to meet them for lunch.  It means you try to undo the Velcro hook.  Lewis Smedes said it best: ‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you.’

‘I wish there’d been a shortcut, but the would had to be revealed in order to heal.  Lack of forgiveness seemed like a friend, the engine that drove my life, with a hot little motor that was weirdly invigorating.  It had helped me survive.


“Forgiveness is release from me; somehow, finally. I am returned to my better, dopier self, so much lighter when I don’t have to drag the toxic chatter, wrangle, and pinch around with me anymore. Not that I don’t get it out every so often, for old time’s sake. But the trapped cloud is no longer so dark or dense. It was blown into wisps, of smoke, of snow, of ocean spray.”
—Anne Lamott, Small Victories, p 117-118

“Forgiveness means it is finally unimportant for you to hit back.” pp 141-142

The journey with forgiveness, and all of my anger and rage, and general unsettledness, depression, and “not know what to do about it” feelings, is long and tough.  Answers aren’t easy, and I practice all of my avoidance, not wanting to really deal with it.

But, I must.  I must take it on and get into it.  It is always time to deal with my anger, my resentment, and sort it out.  Now.  

New stuff raises up the old stuff, the stuff long buried, ignored, almost forgotten.  It is still there; all of it.  Until I deal with it and let it go, it will be around, nagging at me, eating away, and keeping me from moving on and letting go.

I am good at mortaring my brick walls and erecting barriers, keeping my monsters hidden in the basement of my life.  But, I am a lousy housekeeper, and now might be a good time for some deep cleaning, and breaking down of the walls I have built over the years.  

Desmond and Mpho Tutu’s book on forgiveness is a rich discussion, inviting me to take all of this on, and really deal with it.  Their 30 day exercises and discussions on the subject via e-mail are excellent, cleaning out my puss filled wounds and giving me permission to heal.
I have all the tools.  I have the time.  I have the motivation.  And, yes, I do this work.  I take it on, and I see the benefits of being truly and fully engaged in the process of forgiveness.  I feel lighter, freer, happier.  I can move on now, on many levels.

Yet, there are some things I haven’t really dug into, to really work on forgiveness, with some people, some experiences.  It is too painful, I say to myself.  Yet, there is something else.  Perhaps I really enjoy the struggle, the tension, yes, even the hurt.  I don’t want to let that go.  If I forgive, truly forgive, then I don’t have that anger inside of me, that energy of hatred and distrust.

It is, perhaps, an addiction, a need I have to feel that way.  Being pissed off at someone or some experience has become a deep part of myself.  If that goes away, if I release that, then what is left?  Will I become a lesser person?  

That releasing is scary to me.  I am not ready, I tell myself.  The real answer, however, is that I am afraid of who I might really be once those toxins are flushed away, and I truly heal inside.  I hold on to the hate and the hurt, just in case I am not strong enough to live a full, whole life without that flame of rage that still has a place next to my heart.  

This is the dilemma I wrestle with, the feelings I must explore, the doubts I must address and really deal with.

Perhaps I need to reframe the question, and look to forgive myself for who I am now, who I have become, and deal with the hurt I have let burn inside of me. Yes, I need to let it go, and be who I really am deep inside.  I might even like him, a lot.

—Neal Lemery, 1/3/2015