Thursday, September 30, 2004

My adventure

Tonight I walked down to the beach and looked at the beautiful moon.  Just let myself unwind and be thankful for all my many blessings.  This week has flown by can't believe it's already almost Friday, and I'm happy about that too.  I've been putting a lot of questions out there it seems lately.  Trying to figure out life.  I guess life is not a problem to be solved, it's just an advenure to be lived.  I love my adventure!

Three of Faith

O.k. I've been praying for deliverence from all my problems, most of them self inflicted, and most of them being financial. I wrote about my Sunday school teacher of almost 30 something years ago. After I wrote her name I started thinking about her and her Sunday School classes. The old country church I went to was small, and for my age group there weren't any other kids my age. So I was the only one in Mrs. Martin's class. Mrs Martin was a classy lady with bright red hair like my Nana. She was soft spoken and if you got to loud she would say "you don't run or get loud in God's house". I was crazy about her and looked forward to each one of my classes with her. We started with a prayer, then she would have our lessons, usually she would bring in a pictures from the bible, those old famous paintings, and she would tell me the story. Then I would draw after that, and end with snacktime. One of the pictures I still remember after all these years and thinking about my old Sunday School classes was of three young men standing in fire with angels behind them. The three young men were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, not sure if that's spelled correct. As a child of 5 or 6 this picture scared me but the story I liked, and I'm sure I had plenty of questions for Mrs. Martin after she told it. Anyway this story now reminds me of much that I'm going through. In the lesson if I remember it correctly it was "to love God in spite of our circumstances." Loving God is easy when He grants our requests and provides what we desire. Loving Him in difficult times tests our faith. Those three men made a life and death decision, to worship the golden image, they could live, if they refused, death. These men were full of faith. Is God able to deliver us from all our problems? Yes I think so, Does God always deliver us from our difficulties? No. I guess we may not fully comprehend His purpose in our difficult times, but we must contiue loving HIM. We must trust HIM and hope in HIM in spite of the trials that seem to be overwhelming us at times. I remember when I was a little boy when I said my prayers at night, I would ask for faith. Not sure when I stopped praying that prayer, but I think I need to start again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Back to Narnia

Have you ever re-read a classic book from your childhood? Last night I revisited one of my favorites, one filled with with fantasy, of a family of two brothers and two sisters, just like my family. I think I got more out of it now as an adult than I did a child. C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" is the book I'm talking about. What comes to mind for me after reading this again is the ability to tell between good and evil. We do this by the things we focus our spiritual eyes on. If we set our eyes on money, for example, we may have the good life for a while, but our judgement will become clouded. We'll make choices that defy our own values-choices that may devastate our families and destroy us in the end. What am I saying? I guess don't love money. Back to the book, Edmund's lust for sweets leads him to betray his beloved brother and sisters. Eustace's desire for the dragons gold eventually turns him into a dragon. Greed overcomes Prince Caspian on Deathwater Island as he dreams of the power its magic water bring him.

Food, money, power-whereever we focus our spiritual eyes determines what we desire, and whether our lives are filled with light or filled with darkness. "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light" I remember Mrs. Martin in Sunday School quoting this. I quote everyone in my journal, thought it was time I quote some JESUS!

Friday, September 24, 2004


My mom jokes me about writing a book on our family all the time.  Well one day I just might.  Today is my mom's birthday.  Happy birthday mom.  I read somwhere about an interview with a mother it went something like. "Do you think all children deserve the full, impartial love and attention of a mother?"  "Of course", said the mother.   "Well which of the children do you love the most?" he asked hoping to catch her in a contradiction.  She answered, "The one who is sick until he gets well, and the one who is away until he gets home.".  I thought this was cute.  My mom would always and still does write us little notes and letter, and at the bottom, she would always write,  I love you the best!  It always made us feel special.  It was also kind of fun, especially when we would happen across a letter she had written to my sister,and I would open it up and there at the bottom,  I love you the best.  She loves us all, kind of like God's love for all of us.  "God loves every one of us as if there were but one of us to love." St. Augustine  Mama thanks for all the prayers you've whispered during the worst moments of our lives, and the many hopes for our success in all that we dreamed of.  Thanks for the kind wishes that would make us happy and fullfilled and the gentle words of encouragement that were meant for strenthening us.  Thanks for your acceptance, your ability to understand and your friendship that always gave us security.  Thanks for your wisdom of all the lessons you taught us, and the meaning behind "unconditional love".  Thanks Mama for everything you've done, your the best mom in the world.  I love you the best.  Happy Birthday!



Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Ms. Bette

My friend Ms. Bette came over tonight.  It was so good to see her.  She is such a good woman.  I sure have missed her.  Surprise visits are always the best.  I'm very lucky to have the friends I have in my life.  I sure feel blessed.  Nice having angels in my presence.  She came over when I was writing about my quiet times.  So I finished up after she left.  After she left I've been thinking more.  I read what I wrote and it sounded like I'm trying to make myself more disciplined, but I don't want that to be the point.  Like I said earlier it's the connection.  I can't imagine my life without this source of ecstasy and happiness.  I think I would be in real danger without it.  This journal has become a place I can bare my soul at times.  It has been so good for me.  I've talked about this journey and battle.  Everyone's messages and emails have been so helpful almost like I'm not in this battle alone.  At times I think I was headed for isolation but now I know I'm not. 

Quiet time

I've been asking myself tonight what brings me back to my heart.  I think we have a two dimensional version of this which we call our "quiet times".  I find it hard at times to find my quiet times.  Sometimes it's about as hard to find my quiet times as it is to floss my teeth.  I need to do that too.  But when I do find my quiet times, I realize the greater picture.  I need my quiet times for survival.    I think at times I give a halfhearted attempt at the spiritual disciplines when the only reason we have is that we "ought to".  But I'm becoming more and more convinced I have to have it.  Time each day with God isn't about academic study or getting through a certain amount of scripture or any of that.  It's more about a connection for me.  Maybe it's His heart I'm trying to get back too.


What brings you back to your heart and the heart of God?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Winds are Strong

The winds are strong.  I just walked down to the beach.  They blew the imposter right away, and left me with  ME!


The wind blows strong at the beach tonight, I'm sitting here a little meloncholy thinking of the weekend.  It was a beautiful weekend.  Mike and Abby spent the weekend here with me at the beach.  I cooked a candlelight dinner, my first candlelight dinner in many years.  It was a wonderful feeling, just being excited about it, and having someone to cook for.  I cooked italian, so by the time he got here I had a little of a wine buzz.  The weekend flew by as all my weekends seem to do now.  I'm back on getting back in shape.  Working out and such.  It's been a while since I hit the gym, but just started back.  Hope to see the results in a few months.  And maybe say goodbye to some unwanted inches in the mid section.  Tonight my mind wanders.  Goes back to a time long ago.  Yes, I have a therapy visit coming up Thursday.  Years ago I created an imposter so to speak.   From the place of our woundednesss we construct a false self.  We may even find a few gifts that work for us and we may try to live off them.  I'm not sure how old I was but I was young, during that time an imposter was born.  The imposter within whispered "Derek, don't ever be your real self anymore because noone will like you as you are."  Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know!"  What was I thinking?  It's not easy growing up and having the feeling I had as a teenager,  I havn't talked much about this subject.  Growing up gay!  I tried to be anything other than who I was.  I was good at it too.  I was the actor in the plays, and pretty darn good at it, all the way through college.   Tonight I'm asking myself how much of that imposter is still alive today.  Not as much as then, but still there.  I'm still very hard on myself, always have been.  Not quite sure why?  What do I think about my plan then now.  I may have had all the greatest of intentions, it shielded me from pain, I thought, secured me a little love and admiration, but the false self is a lie, it's built on pretense.   A trap I walked right into without looking both ways.  I'm glad God has taken me out of that place.  A picture of me flashes,  one of me in a mirror with the mirror shattered.  A shattering of the false self.  Now I think about what hasn't been going well in my life, and how does that threaten me.  My mind is starting to race, maybe I just need to go listen to the wind and take a time out.  I think I'm still letting pieces of that ole imposter go.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

How Art has Influenced My Life

Judi is having a contest that she is sponsering on How Art has influenced my life.  So couldn't resist participating.  I havn't written an essay since college, but here goes.

Check it out here

Art has influenced my life, but life has influenced my art. Art has always told a story to me.  The first artist I remember was my mother, who drew beautiful women all the time.  I loved these drawings she drew for me, and I found myself drawing lovely women myself.  My love for beautiful faces was born. As a young boy I escaped life by drawing, most of the images that I created told a story.  As a young boy I drew pictures of people looking in mirrors.  I wanted to express a concept of what life is like looking into a mirror, which obscures what is really there. It is practically impossible to know someone from a self-portrait, but I've always been fascinated with faces.  Mirrors helped me show something else.   What the faces were really feeling, or maybe what I was really feeling.  Artists seem to be very busy revealing bits of ourselves, from piece to piece that we create. Looking at several of my drawings you'll see not only things and people I love, but also things I find disturbing.

I grew up on a peanut and corn farm in South Georgia, lived almost every waking moment outdoors, playing and working with my family. Plants and animals seemed much more real to me than people.  So nature was my first influence in art, nature gave me my start and my basis from which to grow.  It also grew with my nightmares, I had some terrible nightmares as a child, and with each nightmare came more drawings.
My love of art grew as I grew, I read and studied everything I could but my influence was from nature and trying to capture the beauty of our fellow earthlings.  I think of how very similar to the rest of nature we are.  What purpose could my drawings possibly serve, if not some spiritual service? Art is the illumination of life in collaboration with the creative Spirit. What a blessing it is to experience the Blue Planet, to walk or swim or climb along and see so much life here! I pray that we'll always be able to enjoy these moments of shared existence.

When I was a teenager, one of my teachers noticed my love for art, and took me to the city, Atlanta, Georgia to visit museums, and art galleries.  Places I'd never seen before.  I loved it, and couldn't get enough.  I loved writing also, and something about drawing and capturing images was almost like writing, drawing telling a story without the words, but expressing those images that are mental and spiritual.  I found something that made me diffrent from others.  Symbolism of my own childhood and life are usually in my art.
The practices of artist is informed by the theories on arts that we as artists may have.  We can take our personal theories and apply them to our art.  I was self taught and I don't know if I follow any real genre in art.  We create our own totem so to speak.  Theories are an integral part of an artists decision making or practice, that goes with each and every artwork that an artist produces.



Brother Bear

What a beautiful story of man's bond with nature.  I wasn't expecting this movie to touch me as much as it did, but had to write about it since I loved it so much.  Havn't had a movie grab me like this one in a long time.  I even cried a little bit.  I love cartoons!  There is a lot of symbolism and metophers in this beautiful movie, and the artwork is super.  Every go rent now you hear.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Finding my heart

I am here to tell you that you can get your heart back.  But your going to have to fight for it.  I want all wounds healed and strength restored.  I'm a fighting. Today I've been sitting with my thoughts, ever changing thoughts.  Sometimes thinking of the pain, but then something just saying let go.  Don't hold onto the pain, just let go.  I read Barb's journal yesterday, about seeing what is in front of us and being thankful.  Things may get hard, but seeing what we do have and being happy with that.  I am happy and I have faith things are going to even get better.  It funny how some days I feel so lost in my journey and other's I feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  I've let my past hold me back so much.  Not liking the person I was at one time, blaming things of my dad for not initiating me into life and my journey.   But my heavenly father is taking me on that journey and  providing for me what was missing.  A hope seems to be rising up in me one that wishes I could draw something or paint something to show that feeling like my friend Judith.  I don't want to dismiss this hope I want to do something wondeful with it.  I think I have some pretty good things I can pray for tonight.  I wonder if I have enough quiet times, I surly need my quiet times, in the early morning, or late night to think and pander about life.    I've been whining lately, why me, why can't I get out of this hole I'm in financially.  But maybe there's a lesson, maybe God is trying to teach me something.  God I have faith in you and what your teaching me, I don't love you because I want you to make my life easier.  ( Althought I do have those selfish prayers at time) 

What questions have you been asking?  Question to self, Have I been asking the right questions?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Running from Frances

Last week during Hurricane Frances, Mike and I left the crazy weather of Florida to visit my family in Georgia.  It's been a long time since I've brought someone home that I cared about to meet my family.  First stop was Dena and Andy's to see my nephews, Eli and Ethan.  When we went in we were greeted with hugs,  Eli looking at me and smiling saying hey Derek.  Then over in the corner in his little swing was Ethan just falling to sleep.  He was so beautiful laying there I just stared for a long time, It was a wonderful day being a baby hog.   Mike was really good with the kids too, kind of shocked me, Eli was really crazy about him too. Then we went to Sherry's and Mama came over and we played with Autumn who was in rare form when we got there, very energetic.  Later Dena and Andy and the boys came over and we all had dinner and spent the night together.  Me playing with the kids mostly.  The whole weekend was really nice, especially letting my family get to know Mike, which they all really enjoyed him and seemed very happy that I'm happy.  The weather home was really bad for a couple hours, but we made it back to Jacksonville in one piece.  I had not damage at the beach.  Mike was without electricity until Thursday so he stayed with me until then.  So we've been spending quite a good bit with each other.  It has been wonderful.  We've had a nice weekend.  Watching movies Friday and going out with friends for dinner last night, and just spending a lazy day together today.  All is well!  Hope everyone out there in J-land is happy and well!

Thursday, September 2, 2004

I'm Wild

As everyone may know Cousin Francis is out there swirling and wild.   I live right on the beach.  Not sure where it's going to hit,  I pray it's not here.  There's sure to be flooding so it's probably going to be wild.  If you have any doubts as to whether or not God loves wildness, spend the night in the woods...alone.  Take a walk out in a thunderstorm.  Go for a swim  with a bunch of killer whales.  Go out in a field with some bulls like I did as a child.  Whose idea was this anyway all this wildness?  The great reefs with it's sharks, the wolves in my dreams, the jungles of India with it's tigers, the deserts of the Southwest with all those rattlesnakes-would you describe them as "nice place"?  Most of the earth is not safe; but it's good

After God created all this, He pronounced it good, for heaven's sake.  It's His way of letting us know He rather prefers adventure, danger, risk, the element of surprise.  This whole creation is unapologetically wild.  God loves it that way.  So do I. 

Do you love wildness?  How much of your life are you trying to control these days?

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Big Brother welcomes Ethan with a kiss

I've said before how sweet Eli is, well he was very happy when his little brother came, he even watched the entire event, and wanted to give him a kiss after they had him all cleaned up.  I thought this was a beautiful picture.