Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was a little different this year, we didn't have Autumn to wake up to Santa, so we slept late.   We all got ready and went over to my brother Lance's, and spent it with mom and Ray.   Anna was there, Lance's girlfriend Amy and her two boys,  Sherry, Autumn, Andy, Dena, Eli and Ethan, and Amanda came over later also.   Mama cooked up some really good turkey and dressing, Lance made some awesome broccoli casserole, Sherry and Dena brought some food too.   We all opened presents, and ate and ate, and ate.   It was lots of fun, and I had much fun with Ethan, he really loved his Uncle Dig-It, and couldn't get enough of him.   We stayed till late, and I finally made it back to Mark and Sherry's and crashed.   Then got up the next morning and made it back home to Jacksonville.   Mike had a bit of a cold when I left so I made some homemade chicken noodle soup, and we opened presents that night.   I got some beautiful shirts and some movies, and I got him a video ipod that he stays on the computer downloading stuff all the time, that's why it's taken me so long to get around to adding all these pictures.   Now we just have the year 2007 right around the corner.   I love my family so much, and am so glad I got to spend a few days with them.   I just wish I could have spent more time with Autumn, I was missing her much of the time.

Christmas Eve

I made it to bed by 2:00 am my first night home, and I slept at least till 9:00 on Christmas eve, I got up early and went to Walmart to get Lasagna fixings, and a few last minute frames and things to wrap. While walking through the store, on the intercom, came a voice saying they were having a two for one special on deerstands. I just knew I must be a REDNECK. I continued laughing throughout the store, listening to people talk. I talked exactly like this once. I remember when I first moved to Jacksonville back in 1991, my real office job, they said try and loose that accent. My reply was “I’m proud of my Georgia heritage”. I really am, but my families southern accent is much stronger than mine now, although mine is still strong huh? While checking out I saw a woman smiling at me, it turned out to be my girlfriend from back in my school days. She looked great. She showed me pictures of her two children, ages 16, and one younger with pride. She looked happy. I gave her a big hug and chatted with her for a while. When we were in school, she used to ride with her older brother to school, he drove a herse that he painted red. Well she fell out of the herse on the way, when he realized she had fell out, he put the car in reverse and ran over her leg. She spent a long time in the hospital after that. For a long time she had a picture of me in a heart frame over her bed. I would visit from time to time, I remember her grandmother saying the reason she was sick in the hospital was because of that picture over her bed, and everyone would laugh.
I finally got home, made the lasagna, even had a few minutes to talk to Tony on Christmas eve and we exchanged some of our stories. I took a quick nap afterwards, got ready, and Autumn and I drove over to my dad’s. Eli and Ethan quickly followed, with Sherry, Mark, Dena, and Andy quickly behind. It was a night of Italian delight, Jane made some wonderful spaghetti, we had two pans of lasagna, a wonderful salad, lots of goodies, I think my favorite was actually the pinto pie, it tastes just like pecan pie, and I would give anyone a $100 if they didn’t agree. We all sat around with my dad and had a really nice time. It didn’t seem stressful at all. He even told us a funny story of when he was a teenager and got arrested that we had never heard. It was quite funny. We left and walked over to Dena and Andy’s. Autumn had to leave early, this was our first Christmas Eve without her with us. We have spent the last five years setting up everything for Santa to come see her. This year she spent with her mom on Christmas eve. I made it home, and Sherry and I stayed up till 1:30 wrapping presents and talking. Now all I have left to tell is about Christmas day and I’ll be all caught up, well almost anyway.

Christmas Eve Eve, babysitting the boys

I'm home from Georgia, got home a little early, Mike has a cold so I made him some homemade chicken noodle soup. He got me some beautiful shirts, I'll be sporting at work, and some cool movies. I just wanted to post some pictures but make it quick so he could do some things with his new video Ipod I got him for Christmas. These are pictures from my first day in Georgia, the red barn is my great grandfather's old barn. My sister and the boy's live out on the farm that I spent every weekend with my grandparents. My dad lives in the house that my grandparents live in. They were napping when I got there, and my sister Dena and her husband went shopping, so I spent my first day with the boys, from 2:30 till midnight. We had a blast though. We went on a long walk, picked up pecans, and peanuts, as you can see Ethan eating a peanut, but nighttime, they were eating popsickles in front of the Christmas tree. I'll be posting more about my weekend later. I need some snuggle time with my man. I missed my teddy bear. Eli told me I could sleep with his, but it just wasn't the same thing.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Remembering Maggie

Maggie has been Sherry's dog for as long as I can remember, for many years. I can hardly remember a visit without Maggie being there, Sherry found Maggie up in the Great Smokey Mountains, it was snowing and she was just beside the highway, She was up there camping, She stopped opened the door, and Maggie has been with her ever since, Sherry checked the campsites close by, but noone had seen her, there were no dogtags. Maggie was and is a beauty. She has the most human eyes hidden behind all the hair. It's not going to be the same at Christmas without her. Sherry would always give her a cute Christmas scarf. This is one of my favorite ones with Sherry and her although there are many. My mom just emailed me that they are putting her to sleep today at 1:00 p.m. Keep my sister in your thoughts, she's had Maggie longer than any boyfriend, or even her husband. I think she's had her for almost 14 years. We will all miss you Maggie, I'm glad I got to spend Thanksgiving that night with you on my lap on the couch.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.Maggie will be there. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent. Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your Maggie, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Monday, November 27, 2006

My niece Autumn and Mike's Mom's Christmas party

John’s Monday Photo shoot over at  

My Monday Photo Shoot: You know what you think is pretty. Show us. It can be a person, a place, or thing, just as long as the primary reaction you (and hopefully others) get from seeing it is, my, that's pretty. It's so simple that your major difficulty, I expect, will be narrowing down the field to one thing.


No this one was easy as could be, Pretty to me is my six year old niece.  She is the perfect little model for me, she’s quite the natural, although we spent much time doing little pranks that Uncle Derek or should I say (Uncle Dig-It) since they are all calling me this now taught her that weren’t so pretty(like platic wrap on the toilet seat and vaseline on the doorknobs).  She’s really the sweetest thing in the world to me.   Once again as I left she made sure she was the last one to say goodbye, as she followed me to my car showing me where she wrote I love you in the dust on the bumper of the car, yes we have lots of dirt roads.  She blew me kisses till I couldn’t see her anymore just like last time.

The other pictures are from Mike's mom's Christmas party I took, we all had such a good time, and Mike came home in such a great mood, he really loves being a part of his nephews life, and he and Tiffany got along good, I even saw the love in his eyes.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

More posted later, just got home, I'm so tired.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Birthday Poem to Lance yesterday was his birthday

Lance and Derek, brothers by blood
Thoughts of yesterday continue to flood
Two children fast at play, I grew older and went away

That was the past, and the memories last
Because in our dreams and in life, time goes so fast
Or can time stand still, where we can look at thoughts of past, present, future at will

Tomorrow will come and we will be still
With unmeasurable amounts of love to be shared
Although we don’t always say it we both know, (that we have no hair) I was trying to rhyme with shared
For now we have our dreams and thoughts, our should and our oughts

Our father and mother, our sisters we love.
I only know of being Uncle, you know Father and Uncle.
But… we are brothers
We are brothers by blood
And my love does flood.

Happy Birthday my brother!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Nana's family reunion and our 90 year church homecoming

This past weekend we had my mom's mother's family reunion, and the next day was the church I grew up in 90th anniversary.   This was some of the pictures I took the last few days.   I had such a nice time.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Artwork of Autumn

I think she looks a lot older than a little 6 year old, but I still like it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom

Mother's Poem~
Today is your birthday,
but I love you every day.
You've been the perfect mother
in each and every way.
You taught me how
to spell and count,
and you dried up all my tears.
kissed away the pain of boo-boos,
and chased away my fears.
You were always there for me
in troubled times and good.
And you are God's example
for perfect Motherhood.


Well her birthday was yesterday.   I didn't get to go home for her birthday like I did for her big surprise birthday last year, but she was in my thoughts all weekend.   Love you mom!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Our Church grillout

We had our church grillout tonight, we had quite a nice turnout!  I was the cameraman so no pictures of me.   It was good seeing little Aaron, they have been on vacation and it's been a while since we've seen him, and we missed Val and Rochelle too.   Lots of good food and fellowship.  Linda played her guitar and sang some.  I think I got some pretty good shots of everyone.  The triplets were there too, they are all getting so big.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A lesson from my Nana

I can’t really ever remember hurting any animal when I was little.   The only bad thing I remember doing was when I was hmm, I don’t even know how old, just that I was young.   I got a earthworm out by Nana’s, took one of her matches that she had to either light her heater, or to light one of her smokes if her lighter wasn’t handy.   I took a match and stuck it in the skin, lit a match and then stuck it on the other match.   Cruel I know, I have no idea why I did something like that, but my Nana caught me and she taught me a lesson that day.   Nana was a earthy person.  She was of nature!   She loved the outdoors.   She had taken me grubbing for worms before when she went fishing.   So I thought she wouldn’t really have a problem with this.   I’m not sure if the lesson was to keep me away from her matches or if she really meant to teach me something.   But what she told me stuck with me, and I don’t ever remember being mean to any of God’s creatures from that day.   She actually brought up the fact how she had took me grubbing for worms.   She asked me did I remember how many worms we found.   I told her yes.   She said well under the ground there are earthworms, just like the ones we got for fishing.   Those kind of worms aren’t for fishing.  Those kinds of worms make things grow, without them, there would be no flowers or grass, or trees.   The only reason they were put here was to be in the earth now why would you want to hurt something like that.   I don’t remember if I cried, but I felt bad.   She didn’t fuss at me, she did ask for her matches back though.

So I think about this lesson she taught me a long time ago.  A lesson we can use not only in nature but also in our lives.  There are always invisible forces at work.  There is the silent and unseen work.   When I say work it could be a prayer someone is praying about you and you don’t even know it.  There is the own work of our own spiritual lives.   Something keeps telling me to be still, go back to meditating like you used too, but I havn’t let myself be still as much as I used too.

I believe in our lives, like Nana’s lesson to a young Derek, as well as in our world, like something small as an earthworm or as large as humankind, there is always so much more than meets the eye.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Questions to mom

I forgot to post my question to my mom from last Friday. Here they are:

Question 1
Are there certain scriptures or other writings that you repeatedely turn to for inspiration or guidance?
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Matthew 7:1

Question 2

Describe an unforgettable experience during your time of living as a single woman in Jacksonville
My most unforgettable experience of living in Jacksonville when I was first arriving in Jacksonville, Florida on the Greyhound bus. I had never been away from home and this was the first time I had ever gone to a big city by myself. Can you imagine how scared I was? I knew that Eunice Lestlie's husband Johnny Horton was to meet me at the bus station but I was scared there waw a mix up. When I got off the bus he was there. I can remember straining to look at the city when we were getting close to it.

My next most unforgettable experience was when I learned how to ride my bicycle in Jacksonville, Florida. I guess that was the most fun thing that I did when I lived in Jacksonville. I was such a dreamer. I used to ride by the river where all the big homes were and dream about meeting my husband. I guess I thought he was going to come out of his house and fall in love with me. I have told you many times about how when Carolyn and I rode our bicycles, I could not turn the curve and I would wind up in some people's shrubbery. Lots of times, he would have his water sprinkler on. Sometimes they were at their door to watch me. I was so young, healthy, and carefree.

Probably the biggest problem I had was getting my laundry to the washateria. I have many happy memories of living in Jacksonville.

The picture of her with the rollers in her hair was her in her bedroom in Jacksonville. I always loved this picture even when I was a little boy it would make me laugh.

Monday, September 11, 2006


For the Falling Man
by Annie Farnsworth

I see you again and again
tumbling out of the sky,
in your slate-grey suit and pressed white shirt.
At first I thought you were debris
from the explosion, maybe gray plaster wall
or fuselage but then I realized
that people were leaping.
I know who you are,
I know there's more to you than just this image
on the news, this ragdoll plummeting—
I know you were someone's lover, husband,
daddy. Last night you read stories
to your children, tucked them in, then curled into sleep
next to your wife. Perhaps there was small
sleepy talk of the future.
Then,before your morning coffee had cooled
you'd come to this; a choice between fire
or falling.
How feeble these words, billowing
in this aftermath, how ineffectual
this utterance of sorrow. We can see plainly
it's hopeless, even as the words trail from our mouths —
but we can't help ourselves—how I wish
we could trade them for something
that could really have caught you.

I figure, today, on the 5th anniversary of 9-11 - my sister sent me this poem. I thought it was quite profound. It saddened me. Then I thought of those that I have lost. Those that I still talk to even though they may not be in my life, some who have not even passed away. So I guess it's good to talk to those, and keep on remembering. I'm not talking about holding seances or anything like that. I'm simply talking about remembering those who have died in a different light. No one ever really dies. Their memories - and our memories of them - live on. Their energy can never be destroyed. It can only pass from one form to another.Although we never want to forget the horrors of what happened on 9-11 - we also do not want to forget the beauty of how those who've gone before us have lived. There's gold in the memories of our dearly departed. Let us never forget them.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Questions to mom and Uncle Andy

1. You told me before who you were named after, but I can’t remember now, was it a friend of Nana’s? was named after Dr. Dismuke's daughter Alicia and Lorie Walter's wife Betty Joyce Tankersley Walters. She used to date my my first cousin who was Aunt Juanita Smith's son.

3. I just started thinking about some of the stories you use to tell us when we were little. Like the time you got caught in the bobwire when you were going swimming, or had been swimming, was there a little dog with you too when that happened? You used to tell us that story a lot but now I can’t remember exactly how it went. 

We used to go swimming in Granpa's pond all the time.  One of my friends rented Grandpa's house from Aunt Pansy after he died.  We walked from her house to the pond and when I went to step over the barb wire fence, the bird dog knocked it out of my hand and it cut my leg.  We walked back to Betty Sue's house and she doctored it with metholate and did it burn.  I think I still have the scar.  We used to go swimming in that pond a lot.  One of Nana's brothers threw me in when I was real small and someone had to jump in to save me.  This pond was used a lot of baptizing.  The folks at Lax from the black and white churches used it for their baptizing.
4. Tell me a special memory about each of your brothers. I'm going to go one at a time from oldest to youngest. Two of my most special memories of Andy is his red hair. Another special memory of him is when he bought me a new blue dress to wear to his graduation. His was solid navy blue with a little lace collar. He spent his money he had made in tobacco to buy it. I was nine years old. I thought it was exta special because it was store bought. Another special memory of him is when he would come home when he was in the Air Force and he would stay at home during the week-end. I would always let him have my room and I would sleep on the couch. He always used some kind of cologne that made my pillow smell so good. Another special memory of him is when he came home from Pueto Rica while he was in the Air Force he gave me a new bulova watch for my graduation gift. That was my nicest gift for graduation. My most special memory of him was his kind heart and his good natured ways. He was always nothing but the best. Another special memory of him was his ability to draw. He sent off for that class on drawing. He really was gifted. I can remember Daddy crying when he would come across something he had drawn. He had drawn on the walls of the old house that my Grandmother Kilgore lived in next to Nana. Yes, he was missed when he left home. Daddy cried a lot about him when he left. I wonder if Andy ever knew that. He used to hitch hike from Hunter Air Force Base when he came home on leave.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pictures from the Weekend

I thought I'd go ahead and download these to my journal from this past weekend.   I've got to find a more organized way of saving my pictures.  

Much needed family time

I was thinking today about how we cannot wait to get out on our own when we are young. It’s just nature taking over…leaving the nest. But I feel the love of family and cannot wait to get back to gather with them. I went home to Georgia this weekend for a much needed family reunion. It was my mom’s family reunion. But in a way it was a good one for all of us as well. Friday I spent time with my sister’s. It felt like old times. I was driving them around town, the old chauffeur. Saturday we spent most of the day over at my brother’s new house, which I just loved. He can do so much with it, and I know he’s going to love it. We were all together again. With a few extra cousins here and there. We had two pans of lasagna, fried mushrooms, and I had a few corona’s. We even had a dance off in the living room-(dance floor). The kids really enjoyed it too. Especially Autumn. She’s so proud of her little Tinkerbell room there. Then we had the big family reunion on Sunday with so much food. After that I went to see the boys and took them swimming at daddy’s. They just loved it. Eli with his remote control boat I got him, and Ethan having fun with me in the pool. He loved jumping in the pool to me and me throwing him in the air in his float. We are always building such great memories. I’m truly blessed. I cherish my family and our relationship. I think it’s memories like these that can get me through the tough times.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Jacob Isaiah

Mike has a new nephew.   Turk, Mike, and I went over to Mike's mom's on Saturday night to see the baby, we took lots of pics.   He's the cutest thing with the prettiest head of black hair.   He slept most of the time.   We celebrated Turk's birthday weekend with chinese.  More the next day.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

V for Vendetta

I watched the dvd "V for Vendetta" the day before yesterday,  I've been wanting to see it since it first hit the movies.  I really loved the movie. It's the perfect story for anyone who believes in fighting for what you believe in. I just wrote about Phantom of the Opera so another movie with a mask was just what I wanted. The main character wears a mask in the whole movie. He is no longer the flesh and bone under his costume (he even says so to Natalie Portman's character, Evey), or whoever he was before the totalitarian/fashist government's experiments messed him up. His whole life, his every being, is entirely focused on the single idea he's fighting for. There is nothing left of V besides his message and knowing anything else about him would have detracted from that. There are moments of something that really touches me when Evey is imprisoned and reads these letters of a once imprisoned woman, that just hit me hard. I'm still trying to sit with it, so I'm not sure I'm explaining it that well.
We are simply left with the knowledge that from that point on, the world as we know it will be completely different and in the hands of the people. We don't know exactly what they'll do with it, but there's a strong feeling of hope. It was really good, so I definitely recommend it.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Wear your armor

I’ve never really mentioned much my love for theatre.  I acted in community theatre since I was about six all the way up till I was around 26.   I loved it.   I grew up in a small rural area of South Georgia.   When I started college my acting coach was one of Meryl Streep’s acting coach’s.   He even had a picture of her in his office when she was really young.   I wouldn’t say I was a great actor.   I was a nervous actor though.   Every night before the curtain’s opened I was a wreck, no matter what I just couldn’t kick the jitters.   But then the curtains would open and I would perform.   I loved it after the curtains opened.   I’m not really sure why I quit something I loved so much.   I quit after I moved here to Jacksonville, Florida.   I have never even checked into any theatre although there are many.   I really have to get back into it.    I guess when I moved here I just didn’t feel I had the time.   I wouldn’t say I’m a wonderful actor, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve even acted.   But it would be interesting to audition.  

The first big production I remember seeing was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera”.   Where a young chorus girl named Christine Daae received voice training from a mysterious musician she calls the “Angel of Music.”  Well I’m sure many of you know the story.  As the plot thickens we all find out the mysterious mentor is really a demented man who wants to carry her away into a bizarre underworld beneath the opera house.   He’s evil masquerading as good.

Writing about this makes me think of our realationship with Christ, and all we face.   I leave in the morning hoping I have enough armor on myself.   I know God made it just for me.  It was made for you too.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Wow it's been a long time since I posted.   Well my back went out on July 1st of this year, and today is my first day back at work since it went out.   I had a miserable 20 days of pain, but am just very thankful to be back at work today.   Still hurting a bit but nothing compared to the pain I was feeling.   I've been going to the chornic pain clinic and I feel like they will be helping me through all the pain.   Mike has been really good through all this.   It's been rough, but all in all I think the hard part of it is over.   I'm really feeling much better.  Well I better get back to work.   Just wanted to say hey and that's I'm o.k.   Hope everyone out there has a great weekend!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reading old jounrals

I've been sitting here tonight going through old journals I've written. I sit here and laugh sometimes, at moments I wonder who this person was? Was this person me? I wrote of beginnings, many beginnings. Of endings, almost as many. Then I read the last page of one of my journals that I ended on June 21st, 1993. Hmm maybe another idea, maybe take quotes from my old journals from years ago, once a month, we'll see. This is what I wrote.

Well, the last page at last. Always my favorite page. I've been thinking of how to end this. My English 101 teacher Dr. Campbell believed the last phrase connects with the entirity of your writing. But this won't mark an end to my writing, I'm sure there will be more to write about in the future, and maybe one day I will be looking back and reading all these pages, and this page. I wonder what my life will bring?

Beginnings and Endings

The beginning can be awkward, interesting, easy, quick plundging us into involvement. Endings are usually wise, very sad, stressful, and functional. The end is always yet to come. But I have today to laugh, cry, shout, love, and be myself so I'm not worrying about an end.

Thought that was cool that I found this old journal of 1993 tonight. I think I have about 14 old journals now.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Mike

Happy Birthday Mike

I still remember how I felt the first time I saw you. There was something about you that I couldn't forget. Maybe it was your eyes or maybe your smile- or maybe the way you flirted with me, all the things that I have since come to know so well. Whatever it was, I remember that it drew me in and took a hold of me in a way I couldn't ignore. Now when I look at you, I see someone who's become so incredible important in my life. Yet there are still moments when I feel the mystery and charm, the same invisible power pulling me to you just as it did when we first met. The birthday weekend will be officially over in a few hours, thank goodness I think I wore you out and we're about to hit the sack. Here's a few pictures from the weekend. Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 5, 2006

Gay Day Disney

Well we left Friday night after work for our weekend trip to Orlando for the 16th annual Gay Day at Disney. I've been before about 7 years ago. This was Mike's first time. How would I describe it? It was very different for me than years ago. Years ago it meant something different than it did this time. We wore our church shirts that says "God is still speaking" I think we were stopped almost every few seconds asking about our shirts. I got many mixed feelings from it, most being very positive. But some very negative. I being a gay man have felt the aggravation of religion at times and I remember the churches 7 years ago with their signs of hate. But this year I felt something new. Of being a gay man that loves God. I actually had some gay people come up to me thinking I was straight and trying to convert them to being straight. Just because my shirt said "God is still speaking". Before I could tell the person I was gay myself, they just went on and on about I was trying to take their rights away from them. After they ranted for a few minutes. I finally was able to tell them. Hey I'm gay, and it's o.k. They were kind of embarrassed that they just assumed I was straight and trying to convert them because I had the word God on my shirt. I also got much positve feedback from other U.C.C. members around the U.S. and other's that had seen our commercial. I'll have to get all my thoughts about this one together, but I definately feel a entry about it. Other than that, the day was wonderful. Mike and I had a blast with our church family. And seeing the masses of red shirts we saw. Mike even got his Davy Crockett racoon hat. We didn't take lots of pictures. But we got a few. We stayed at the Magic Kingdom from opening till around 7, and went to Downtown Disney for dinner, and a night of dancing at Pleasure Island, Mike and I had our shirts off dances with shirtless men on a revolving dance floor till closing.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Whale

The Whale

If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle,
you would have read about a female humpback whale
who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps
and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused
her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of
line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line
tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the FarraloneIslands (outside the  and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her ... a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.


They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.
Shethen came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed gently around-     she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was
following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love,

be so blessed and fortunate ...
to be surrounded by people
who will help you get untangled
from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my jland friends, in the same spirit.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Beach day on Memorial day weekend.

Yesterday was spent with my sister, her friend Katie, my niece Autumn, and Katie's little boy Drew. Not even a car that conked out on me 3 miles from meeting them could keep me down. Yeah the old faithful Honda pooped on me. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed it's nothing bad. We finally made it to the beach after AAA and the towing got my car into the shop, and we had fun, my sister and Katie got sunburnt, and the kids and me stayed in the water and just had fun, we didn't get burnt at all. It was a perfect day for it, We got back to the local swimming pool late, and I took them swimming, while the mama's got naps. Taught Autumn how to dive in the pool, and swim a little more. We had a wonderful time. Mike and I went to church this morning, and I've been napping ever since we got back. I guess they wore me out.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Babysitting Aaron

Today was a special day because we got to babysit little Aaron for the first time while his mommies went to the movies.   He's so sweet, and we just really enjoy being a part of his life, and him being in ours, we really enjoy being around Valerie and Rochelle too, they are really great women.   We got a little crazy with the camera.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Seems I never write in here anymore.   Last night was the end of an era for me.  The final show of Will and Grace.  I've been watching this show on and off for years.   I mainly like to watch the reruns.   I never followed it religiously like Mike does, plus he owns Season 1 and 2 I think.  It was kind of sad watching the last show, and the preshow was really good.  Those four are wonderful actors.   Well I better get back to work.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day Mom

And a very Happy Mother's Day going out to my wonderful mom!  I love you!  More later, I have to get to bed!  

I did spend a wonderful day with Mike's mom at the beach flying kites, and with our friends Val and Rochelle after church with little Aaron.  It was a full day for sure and I have to get to bed, work comes to early.   Happy mother's to all the mom's out there!  We are who we are because of you!   I know I am what I am because of mine!

Happy Birthday Sherry

It is your birthday
and on this day
I want you to know that
you are a very
special person
who has touched and warmed
many lives
including mine
I also want you to know
how much I appreciate you

Have a very Happy Birthday

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thinking on Thursday morning

Seems lately I'm often wishing I could see what lies around the  corner in life.  Trying to prepare for it, control it, or avoid it.  I know I can't see around the corners in life.  So what am I trying to see?  Well our friends Valerie and Rochelle rent out a lot of different property they own, and they showed us this nice three bedroom apartment, with a sun room, a little breakfast nook area.   It's so much more room than what we have.   So we play the game of trying to figure it out, can we afford it.   Then we weigh things out, and things are always diffrent between two people.   I feel I found more pros that outweigh the cons, and Mike's cons outweigh the pro's.    The main thing is I don't really want to make the move unless we are agreeing that we think this is the best thing for us.  But as I said earlier, we sure can't see around corners.   So I'm putting my trust in God.   I feel a little more reassured this way.   So whichever direction things go I'm o.k.   Every day I am cared for.  I know who holds the future, and I know who holds my hand: with God things don't just happen-  Everything by Him is planned.  So what am I saying, I'm saying I'm not going to worry about tomorrow.  It's in God's hands.  Yesterday I took some pictures of Wendy, it was really hot and humid, but I think they turned out pretty good.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Opening of the beaches

Yesterday was a perfect day for opening of the beach's, It was quite beautiful, and it was our third opening of the beaches together. This was my first one not living at the beach, and I sure enjoyed it but realized how much I miss the beach. I love my life now. I just saw many people I spent hours and days, months and even years of joy with. I realized how I don't spend the time with them that I once did. It was great seeing my cousin Michelle and her girlfriend Jelchen. I saw my old roomie that I lived with for a year and a half and it was really great seeing her, I thought about all I've been through in the last 10 years. Wow! I also saw Linda and Mark, our friend Bernie and Hector. My friend Mary. I also met new people and that is always a pleasure and one of my favorite things, especially when they have as pretty smile and a great personality like Vicki did. Mike was a good sport and kept up pretty good, but finally had enough and decided it was time for us too go, although I did show my butt a little because I didn't want to go it was time, and I crashed when I got home. We also brought our friend Lanny from church with us out there.  It was one of those days I just didn't want to end.

Monday, April 24, 2006

More wedding pictures

I had a few people asking me to post more of my bride pictures from the last wedding, here are a few more.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Another Wedding

Hope everyone had a blessed Easter, mine was good!   Although I've been recovering from a bad back and been sick.  I photographed another wedding, I've been editing pictures.  I'm still so sleepy.  I'm ready for a vacation.  Mike was so fun to watch today at church, he was so good with everyone taking pictures.   I was very proud of the job he did.  I'm really starting to enjoy these weddings and watching others interactions.  The world is a wonderful place!

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Restful Sunday

Well mostly its been a restful day today, we got up early and went to church, Little Aaron and Val sat with us today, I think Mike held him the whole service.  We all went out to lunch afterwards.  I've napped a good portion of the day, Mike and I both have been kind of under the weather, he's got tomorrow off, lucky him. 

Friday, April 7, 2006

Have a great weekend

Mike and I just got back from the beach, a friend of ours cooked us the best dinner tonight.  I really enjoyed doing something a little diffrent than our usual, crash on Fridays.   Both of us are feeling a bit under the weather, but we had a nice night.   I just picked up a roll of film from Autumn's birthday, I just love this black and white of Eli.



Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another nice weekend

I had another nice weekend, this one was long, left town Friday at noon and headed to Georgia.   Mike wasn't able to come with me and I missed him.  I'm home now, took so many pictures just trying to get them all in some place saved, photo bucket or something.  Along with here on Aol.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Great weekend

Well we had a full wonderful weekend.   We went out Friday night with Mike and had fun out at 616, then Saturday we had the Progressive dinner, where we go to one home for appetizers, then another for dinner, then another for desert.   We had such a wonderful time, at least 40 people there.   And our little buddy Aaron was there, he's growing everytime we see him.   Today we had a morning service and then another at 3, where our friend Alvin was ordained.  It was full and I'm finally winding down.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My first slideshow

Just found a new thing called slideshow, not sure if you can use it on an aol journal or not.   Anyhow check out my slideshow on


It's my first one, it's a cool tool, I'm going to really enjoy.


Uncle Derek took Ethan for a slide.   A few minutes later we all went over to the picnic table to eat.   We all were fixing our plates and we saw Ethan had run over to the slide, and was already half way up the slide, by the time we got over there he was sliding down, landing with a little bump on his butt.  He loved it and wanted to go again, and again and again.   I'm guessing he's not going to be scared of much.   I couldn't believe he climbed that high.  Thank goodness he didn't fall.  

Back from Georgia

Well we're back from Georgia.  I took lots of pictures.  The first night Mike and I got there.  Sherry along with about  7 other girls she was working with, all with their daugters were having a party.   The little girls having a princess party, and the big girls, just party.   We got there just in time for all the fun.  So we partied with the girls.   Saturday we got up early and went over to Andy, Dena, and the boys, and we took Autumn and Abby with us.   We all played out by the pond, swung, and I ran around with my camera taking pictures.  We gave Dena the video we made of her growing up and with the boys.   We went back to Sherry's and we all got ready to set up for Dena's party.  I havn't posted any pictures from the party yet.  I may put those over in my Picture of the day journal.   But here's a few from the weekend, except for the first one, which is Dena and me in a bubble bath many years ago.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Heading to Georgia

Well we will hit the road tomorrow after work.  Heading home to Georgia, we're all having my little sister Dena a little birthday party.  It will be great to get home and see everyone, I'm really looking forward to it.  I should come back with lots of pictures as always.




I was tagged twice with these two questions:

In one year, What would you most like to see changed or improved about yourself? 
This is a hard one, let me go to my next tag and come back to this one.
The second question:
If you could change ONE THING about your partner, what would it be?

 I have been thinking on this one.  Especially since I know Mike will be reading this.  I think of how much energy I've spent trying to get what  want from him.   It's really got me thinking- how much of my thinking time is spent on what to say to him to be the way I want him to be?

Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about how to get what we want from our partner - how to get our partner to open up, be more caring, see us, love us, pay attention to us, spend time with us, have sex with us, and so on. We spend at lot of energy trying to get what we want from our partner because we believe that if only we do it right - behave right or say the right thing - we can have control over getting our partner to change. This illusion of having control over getting another to change keeps us stuck in behavior that not only does not work to get us what we want, but drains us of the energy we could be using to learn to take loving care of ourselves.

It has been very hard for me to accept that I can't "get" others to do what I want them to do, even if it would be good for them and for the relationship.  So I'm going to take my eyes off of Mike and focus them on me. "What do I need to do for my own well-being if Mike doesn't change?  Derek is going to try and quit nagging and trying to control.  So in answering the question, I make no changes to him.  Now going back to Woe's question, in answering his, I can change or improve by figuring out ways  I need to be more loving, caring, understanding and attentive to myself  and my own feelings.

True to me, and let him be true to himself.   Will it be easy!  We'll see! Here he is in front of the stargate, he loves this show.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Happy Birthday Dena

Last night we had our service, the weekly service till Easter. We spoke about exile. We all told examples of exile in our lives. Listening to everyone's examples, made me think how everyone's life is hard, and much harder for some than others. Also just because we are Christians doesn't make it any easier. Sometimes I've even felt in exile just by what it means to me being a Christian and what it may mean by others. I know it's definatley not any easier for us because of it. I think of my own weaknessses and wounds, and wonder if they will be healed in my lifetime. I sure hope so. I think about what is in store for me, at times it puts a smile on my face, and at times it puts fear in my heart. Mainly I try to have hope in my life, because I find a inner strength with that. I may have a bad day, but I have learned that one day we may have a completely diffrent day.
I can deal with any hurts from the past because I have hope for the future. The best lies ahead. My way back Wednesday will consist of pictures not to way back, but in the last 30 years. They are of my sister who is 32 today.Happy Birthday Little Sister

Year after year, I search for a way to tell you how I feel about you and everytime I wonder if it hasn't all been said before. But this year is extra special because it contains all the laughter that we all have shared through photos. This is to remind you of how unique our family is and to tell you that you could never, ever be replaced in our life. It is to let you know how much we appreciate you. It's a thank-you for every time you have shared a worry or tear, prayed for us,
every time you have listened and been the only one who understood,
and we left with a smile. It's to tell you that you being my sister is one of the most important in my life and that you are not only my sister, but a sweet and dear friend. We all love you, Dena, and hope your birthday will be the beginningof a year of happiness and joy and faith.

 I think about all the changes in life. Time has a way of changing things. But one constant with my sister Dena is the joy she brings in our lives.

Sunday, March 5, 2006


There are no choices-

they were, they are,

and they always will be.

His Mountains

I sit and look out over it all and
gaze into the distance with thoughts

drifting through my mind.
I dream, I contemplate: and then
amidst my meditations, I focus upon
His mountains.

The wind blowing first violently,
then subsiding to a gentle breeze,
blows the limbs and leaves.
My thoughts cease to ramble as my
attention turns and I consider
His mountains.

How great and strong, how majestic
stand His mountains. How proud they seem
towering over all, closest to God,
trees blowing in the breeze.

The wind, blowing fiercely now, bend
the trees against their will. And, as
they bend, they remind me of an elderly
person stooped by years of age.

A storm has come and the winds beat the trees
on the mountaintop, frenzied movements and I see
a giant dragon in the window of my mind. He stands ready to
devour, all who come within the reach of
his mighty, snappingjaws, coming from the mountain in the storm.

The storm subsides, the wind blows gentle
breaths and His mountain become gentle ballerinas
dancing gracefully to and fro. But no! I look again
and it is a giant nose stretching to the stars.

Finally the wind dies completely and
His mountain stands, green and magnificent.
I see a vivid painting against a cloudy sky.
My thoughts turn inward once again, and I
marvel at the beauty and perfection of His
mountains that stand within a world filled with so much
turmoil and hate.

How wonderful! How marvelous! Amazing that
He could speak to me of His greatness and
His love, and in His speaking bring to my heart
a quiet peace through the beauty and magic of
His mountains.


Sitting on the riverbanks looking about,
I see things in a different light.
It is better to wait and discern the truth,
than to jump to conclusions
and forever be a fool.
Let me step back and listen
as the river waters flow
upon emotions of web-like hatred
that entangles the least suspecting of all.
Remaining silent is sometimes the light,
for it is useless to argue and not know the truth.
The truth is sometimes overlooked
when dissension set into warp the mind of a loser.


But it sure is a pain in the neck holding it in.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Slept a lot today

Well we did make it up early to go to church, it was a really nice service.   Afterwards a group of us took our friends Mike and Allan out to lunch for their birthdays at Beach Road Chicken.   Nothing like some Fried Chicken.  I came home and slept most of the day, we were so tired from the Highland games yesterday.   We thought we would rest yesterday evening when we came in, but my cousin called and we ended up meeting them out for some drinks and dancing.  Some friends had come and stayed with them, friends of mine as well.  Mark and Mark.  We had a really nice time, but really paid for it this morning.  And yes that one picture we're doing the YMCA.   They played 80's music a lot, Vicki looked at me and said I think they knew we were coming out.

I started a new face blog a few days ago, not sure how it will turn out but who knows.  I've always loved photographing faces. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


When I was a little boy there was a picture that was hidden away in a drawer in my parent's bedroom. I was known to plunder, I'm not sure how this started, but I think it came from weekend's at my Grandmother's. Alone I had reign of the entire house, no secrets so I thought, anything I found I would come back and ask questions, who's this a picture of, what is this. There were no boxes that weren't gone through, no desks that weren't scurried through. I could just about tell you where anything was. And I'm sure I learned who a lot were. So sometimes when I was alone I searched for treasure. One of the things I found was this small picture of my parents when they were young kissing. Something I don't remember them doing in front of us. Maybe two times I can remember it, but I think we made them kiss even those times. I saved this picture all these years. They have since divorced when I was in college, and both remarried, but I keep this for some reason, maybe just to remind me, remind me that once there was love enough to make us.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My first pictures with the new camera

Well I've definately been using my new camera a lot lately.  With the wedding yesterday and more pictures of little Aaron today, I'm enjoying learning more about it.  Thought I'd post a few.  The first picture I took was of course of Mike.  I can't believe it's only a few more weeks till the Gate River Run.  Hope everyone has a great upcoming week.

Friday, February 17, 2006

My great grandma Annie

My great grandma Annie was born April 18, 1885 on the Washington/Baldwin County line. She was born in her families home, daughter of Erasmus Augustus Ennis and Emma Middleton Haygood. She came from a family of 16 being the second eldest of the family. There was twenty five years from the oldest to the youngest child in the family. She came from a prominent family of the south. The Ennis family going back to the late 1780's also from Baldwin County. Her grandfather was the sheriff of Baldwin County. Growing up in a small town she met my great grandfather and went to school with him throughout her childhood. On Dec 24, 1902, they married in the family home. She married Elton Veal Sr. son of Andrew Jackson Veal and Anna Elizabeth Roberts. She had nine children but lost one to illness as a baby which always caused her great sadness. She named my grandfather Ennis Payne Veal with her namesake, middle name after her sister that she lost around the time of his birth. The loss of her sister also caused her much sadness. She was a good Christian woman who went around in horse and buggy picking up the children in the area on Sunday mornings and taking them to Sunday School where she was the teacher. I remember her better than I remember any of my great grandparents. My early memories were of her big house. Also her german shepherd which was her constant companion and took good care of her, I was scared to death of that dog. We had many wonderful family reunions at her house. They had 18 grandchildren and I was one of 43 great grandchildren so you can just imagine how big those reunions were and how much wonderful food there was. My great grandfather went into a nursing home first, and then years later she went in and they shared a room together. I spent many Sundays as a young boy in the nursing home and visiting all the older people. She had alzheimer's diesease and I remember it's impact on the family. She was 95 when she passed away. I remember her hands and touching them, my great aunt took my hands and put them on hers, she said my mama has beautiful hands hard working hands, loving hands. I will never forget that. I remember her hair like cotton, and her beautiful smile. I remember the room she shared in the nursing home with my great grandfather, I remember her when she didn't know who I was but enjoyed the visits from this little boy who would bring her smiles. She died Oct. 25, 1980.  She brought much love and happiness to her entire family.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Toy

Hope everyone had a great valentines day, mine was good!  We had a good night.  Today I bought myself a little present to me.  A Canon EOS Rebel, Woo Hoo!  So hopefully wonderful new pictures coming up.  I did the Round Robin Challenge today over at  Let the good times roll.  I really have to get some organization going and catch up on everyone's blogs.  I will do it.  I should of made that my new years resolution.  I'm thinking I may have way to many blogs going.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Beautiful Sunday

Today was quite a special day.  The triplets at church were baptised.  It was really cold, but the warmth inside although chilly at first warmed up, especially our hearts.  The kids were so cute.  The boys were a little rowdy, but little Olivia was sweet as always.  All the kids of our church were there today.   It was really special,  I posted some of the pictures over at and  My neck has been bothering me some, but hopefully the chiropractor did the job and I'll be feeling better tomorrow after a good nights sleep.  We've been watching Extreme Makeover tonight, this show always gets me.  Hope everyone has a wonderful upcoming week.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Pain Free

Nice getting to this point finally.  Pain free is an awesome place.  We had an awesome day yesterday.  From our church's 3rd anniversary.  We had 52 in our service which was really nice.  Lots of good fellowship and food afterwards also.  It was a nice celebration.  Saturday was my first day with no pain.  Sure was nice.  We had our own little super bowl party last night.  Mike is from Pittsburg.  So he's a diehard Steelers fan.  It was fun watching him get all excited.   It was an exciting game.   I was so happy to see them win the superbowl again.  I was happy for Coach Cowher and all the Pittsburg Steeler fans and don't you know they were partying in the streets in Pittsburg.  "The Bus stops here", Bettis was awesome, along with Ward and Roethlisberger, I may have spelled that wrong.   It's going to be a good week!  So who was your pick this weekend?

Wednesday, February 1, 2006


Pain is a strange thing. It was all consuming for me for the first few days. No peace, just good painpills, lots of sleep and doctors visit. Then came a little depression, because all I could think about was the pain, and spending my vacation in bed. Then somehow I noticed there were breaks in the pain, it wasn't 100% of the day in pain, I had little breaks where it wasn't quite as bad. Only I really couldn't focus on much during that time. Finally the pain broke, or lessened. I'm still not at 100% but I'm getting there day by day. Strange from going to running 8 miles one day and then the next week not even being able to walk a mile without really hurting. That's what I tried to do yesterday. I did find a nice book called "Making All Things New" by Henri J.M. Nouwen which was some good nourishment for my soul. I found my quiet time I had so been searching for, although I had rather been doing a 100 things if I could. I started back on my first day back to work today! I'd like to say it was wonderful being back! In ways it was, everyone really seemed to miss me! Or at least everyone kept telling me that all day. I took today like I've been taking every day. I had a few hours of really bad pain, but somehow managed to get through it. Thank goodness for a long lunch break where I had time to lay on some ice. It was really beautiful today weather wise, I sure miss running. If things go good I may try a slow jog on Friday for a ways, we'll see how it goes, if not I'm not going to worry about it. My day got really good when I made it home to a nice and clean spotless house. Mike is trying to start his own business cleaning houses. So he actually showed me he does know how to clean. I don't think I've ever seen the house look quite so nice. Candles lit and everything. If only my back was a little better I would have jumped him. But he's being quite patient with me and the ole back. He's going to be calling me grandpa soon. I took us out for dinner at Qdoba, a nice little mexican place. Got back home took a relaxing bath, and laid on some ice again. So thought I'd take a few moments and make a entry. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Here's a fun website that you can check and see which celebrity you look most like.  It's kind of fun, and will make you laugh.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Feeling Much Better

Well after another visit to the doctor, and an adjustment, I'm feeling much better.  I'm not exactly 100% but I'm getting close.  Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts, I hope to be back to writing more soon, havn't really had a chance lately, being in so much pain!  More later.  Everyone have a great week!

Friday, January 27, 2006

There once was a crooked man

Oh man these past two days have been rough.  I woke up Tuesday morning and much to my surprise couldn't straighten up.  I was in some kind of pain.  I was lucky enough to have Mike helping me get to the doctor and play nursemaid to me.  I'm not the kind of person that really likes that either.  He kind of had to put his foot down and say ok, I'm here for you this is when your supposed to ask for my help.  I get so stubborn.  But I finally realized I couldn't do it without him.   He's been really good helping me get up and down and to the doctor.  I got the xrays done yesterday.  I'm thinking I must have pulled a muscle or something not sure.    But it's feeling much better than it was.  Not sure if it was all the sneezing and coughing I was doing or what.  But I'm definately the crooked man.  Mike keeps laughing at me but I don't think it's that funny.   But I can see how he thinks it is.  I definately look funny.  Well can't sit here for long without pain, so back to my painpills and bed.    I feel like I'm going to be about better by Sunday.  Where have these four days gone? I am suddenly desparate for time while energy flows out just trying to get up out of the bed. Backpain, not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Well I don't really have an enemy. Little by little I find myself leaning towards sleep like bear that that longs to curl up somewhere and hybernate. I'm definately rested. The pain pills and muslce relaxers could have much to do with that as well. I did walk out earlier and went to the store to get some milk. The light was dazzling, and the cold air felt wonderful. Oh I'm missing my running very bad. I'm just wondering how long I'm going to go without running. I guess I'll start all over again and just try not to overdue it. Mike is out now having a job interview, hope it goes well for him. I wish I could write with a clear mind, but the cobwebs caused by the muscle relaxers and painpills are leaving my mind kind of blurry. Times like this do make me think I'm looking for something, an answer I need, or hoping to hear His voice, and wit me laying on my butt I'm not too busy to listen, so He helps us by letting us lay down for awhile so we can look up! I've been wanting to be still for a while, well here I am now very still, and of course I'm wanting not to be still.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Day off!

Today I had a nice day off!  Woo Hoo!  I was so ready to go somewhere and do something, a trip to the zoo.  I ended up going grocery shopping, cooked Mike and I a healthy lunch.  He was tired after lunch and took a nap, and I went jogging for four miles.  It was just beautiful out.  We watched the golden globes the other night, and was very happy that Brokeback Mountain took so many awards, we were both rooting for Heath Ledger for best actor.  But he didn't get it.  Mike went and got the soundtrack today, and we went to our tree today and took some pictures.  Nice reflective day, it's still early too!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr Day

Yesterday our sermon was "Love one another", the one thing Jesus told the disciples would show the world you are a Christian. I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr did. His goal was justice and equality based on human dignity, not skin color. He led a nonviolent struggle against racial discrimination and issued a plea for the civil rights of African-Americans. I believe to treat people with fairness and love in part of our responsibility. I attest to Dr. King's love for all of mankind regardless to their religion or racial persuasion. He was a great speaker and preacher. I enjoy listening to his sermons and reading some of his letter that he wrote to other pastors while in jail in Alabama.

" Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize; that isn’t important.

Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards; that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr., tried to give his life serving others.

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison.

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to saythat I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say.

If I can help somebody as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody with a word or song, If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, Then my living will not be in vain.

If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, If I can spread the message as the master taught, Then my living will not be in vain.

Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.

~excerpted from a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr., delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on February 4, 1968~

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

I'm  back from finally watching the movie I've been wanting to see for so long.  I wrote about 5 or 6 pargraph's on my feelings after watching it, but tried adding pictures and somehow deleted everything I wrote so I'm aggravated now.  I have been anxiously waiting the screening of "Brokeback Mountain" for some time now.  Mike and I went to the 12:50 viewing of it today with our friend Becky and her mom.  I'm not sure if it sold out, but the movies were definitely full.  So guess I'll keep it short this time.  Or maybe I'll just write more later, because I don't think I can quite capture in words what I wrote earlier and don't really feel like trying.  It was a beautiful movie.  The love story I've been wating for for a long time.  As I sat in the movies holding hands with Mike and not feeling the least bit embarrassed or wondering what anyone might say or feel.  I though maybe this is just the start, and maybe more love stories will be written now.  This movie was sad and I don't want to ruin it by telling anything.  The most beautfiul scene and one that I hold onto was towards the end and Jack is thinking about Ennis leaving, he's thinking when they were young and Ennis was leaving and here he is so many years later and Ennis is still leaving.  But the vision he has in his head of a younger Ennis and the loving way he was with him.  I felt myself  evaluating things in my life compared to Ennis and Jack in the movie and what they went through. On the one hand, their story makes me feel so lucky--it has shown me that things have been so easy for me, and that I should I really appreciate everything I have. On the other hand, it makes me feel like such a coward for not being bolder about living my life more fully, as who I really am. Since it has all been so easy for me, why didn't I do more, try harder, have higher expectations, rise to challenges rather than just settling or making easy choices in my life? Other people have said it, and it's so true--Brokeback has made me realize the trivial things in my life, and has made me want to narrow my life down to what is important and essential.   No more wasting time.  I don't want to come to the realization to late in life.  Another thing in this movie is the name Ennis,  the guy Heath Ledger plays.  That is my middle name, my father's and my grandfather's first name.  How ironic.  I'll probably write on this movie later.  I loved it!  I could write for hours on it right now, but I thought I better give the person in the room with me some attention.

Morning thoughts

I woke up cold this morning, the temperature has dropped .  Mike came and got in the bed at 8:00 am, I must have been snoring again.  I'm up and have laundry going, and am looking down at pretty Abby's little black face.  It's quiet and all I can hear is the sound of the wind. I remember once in the past year and a half I made the comment that I had heard from someone That you are born into this world alone, and you die alone.  When this comment was made to me years ago.  I argued it, I tried rationalizing it.  But it does have some validity to me now.   I think the way it hit me at the time, was that the person saying it to me, was wanting to end our relationship, they wanted to be alone.  But now I can look back on it and it can mean other things.  Alone.  That word alone brings many reactions and thoughts.  I think the person talking about this word had truly experienced it in ways that maybe I hadn't.  I was only truly alone for the two and a half years before I met Mike.  But in that time I had something that I'd never really felt before.  I had experienced it.  I wrote from that feeling at the time.  It was me and I was ok with it for the first time.  Does one choose solitude, it must be for a purpose other than just self seeking search for identity.   Going back over my writings during that time, that was what I wrote about mostly.  But I still seem to write a lot about that.   How do you find your identiy?  My answer is through work and through my love for Mike and my family, and the UCC church we've become involved with.  In these things I find myself giving more rather than getting, and for the first time in my life that is actually ok.  O.K. not easy.  It seems to require a lot of discipline and as I've said it's quite challenging, especially if you havn't been the most giving in the past.  Maybe my alone time was actually really good for me.  Maybe I found something I never realized.  Human relations are often painful, sometimes feeling like collisions, but through them we grow.  How do we grow otherwise?  But in my head I still think that the times I get things straightened out are my alone times, like right now when I'm alone and Mike sleeps.  Then a little voice in my head says well there would be nothing to straighten out if you had no relationship and was alone.  "Thank you," I say to the little voice.  See what happens when I'm alone.  Don't call them to come get me in the little white straight jackets please!  My answer for this morning to myself, is to do whatever we feel deeply, life has a way of teaching us.  My whole argument with the comment made to me so long ago now is.  We only have what we are, and only we alone have what we give.  That is we only have what we are.  We give what or all that is in us.  It almost feels like I'm agreeing with that comment more the older I get, just in different ways than I did years ago.  Sometimes I feel so close to answers when I'm alone.  I feel I can share myself better with Mike after these moments.  Now I need to go back and read everything I've written so no one think's I'm completely crazy.   Swiburn's rubbing off on me.  Chris over at is rubbing off on me.  This felt like insane thoughts and insane ramblings.  But not really.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The last time I was home, Autumn was riding with me in the car, and I was smoking a cigarette, which is something I rarely do, seems I only smoke when I'm home, or out in a bar.  Anyway Autumn looked at me, and said your getting that smoke in my hair.  I told her I was sorry, then she said, "you do know that is not good for you?".  I told her, "I know".  I told her I was going to try and quit again at the new year.  She said well it's hard, I'm still trying to stop sucking my thumb.  So I told her 2006 was going to be the year we did it.  She was so cute.  She really was trying and I didn't catch her with that thumb in her mouth but a few times, and that was at bedtime.  So what are your struggles for this New Year, are you breaking a habit or trying to overcome anything.  I've done good, No smokes for 12 days.  That hasn't been hard, mainly because I don't really smoke much anyway.  But hopefully this will be the year I don't smoke at all.  And who knows maybe Autumn won't suck that thumb either.  Struggles definately seem to be a big part of life don't you think? Mike is on the job search again, so keep him in your thoughts that something good comes along.  One where he is happy and content.  Dang I want that job too!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Last night Mike and I were watching a few minutes of Alexander again.  I'm not sure how many times we've seen it.  But he was pointing out the huge library, that lost library.  I started telling him about how centuries ago, that those books at the library of Alexandria caught fire.  Alexandria was the place to do research in the ancient world.  If I remember it back in Julias Caesar time he set fire to his ships in the Alexandrian harbor to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.  The fire spread to the docks and the naval arsenal, destroying 400,000 of the library's precious scrolls.  To ashes those treasures.  Just shows how perishable written materials can me.  I've always loved history, it's one of my favorite things.  Makes me think about how precious our Bible is that it's survived after all those years.  Pretty amazing.  Something to truly be thankful for.  Tonight was good I came home and Mike took the day off and was being especially sweet to me.  It was nice I liked it.  He cooked me a nice Brunch or healthy breakfast for dinner.  This was a really nice day, talked to my mom today, and got a sweet email from my sister.  I'm not sure what got me thinking about this today, but it's been almost 15 years since I came out to my family.  I think I've written about the story once before, I'll try and find it so I can link this entry to it.  But the thing I was thinking about, was at the time I was living in Valdosta in a little 4 room apartment, it was very small but kind of artsy and I loved it.  After my mom saw it, she said, you should put up some pictures of Marilyn Monroe or Lucille Ball, and I asked her why?  She said isn't that what gay people do.  That was one of the funniest things I think I remember her saying about my lifestyle when I first came out.  My mom and family have been really wonderful and accepting.    I was so very lucky! 

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Thoughts this morning

It's exhilaratingly cold for a change, cold and bright.  There have been many moments of pure joy this week.  Maybe it's the exercise, not sure, but I'm going to try to stay on the same road.  This morning when I got up for my run there were squirrels everywhere, guess there doing last minute grocery shopping for nuts.  I looked for birds but only saw a few fly over, so today was pretty sparse for birdwatching.  So I just eased into the music of my ipod and got to business at hand and ran.  Funny how we can find joy out of such small things.  The new toothbrush I bought even brought me joy as I brushed my teeth this morning.  Ok, now I'm getting carried away.  But quite honestly the early morning is the time of purest joy, somehow I've forgotten this.  When I lived at the beach I always went to bed by 9, and was up early to enjoy it.  In the move, I've somehow just lost that feeling of the early mornings, maybe because I never go to bed till 11 or after now, and early mornings I mostly feel groggy.  I hit the sack by 10 last night and was up early.  I did enjoy it, how the sun shines as it rises.  So my day was started with a lift.  The river sounded nice. 

There is still an undertow of depression.  As I know Mike has not been so happy lately, not enjoying his job or hours.  It seems harder for him than it does for me us being apart.  For me it just makes me appreciate him more when we are together.  Now it's time for me to wake him to get ready for church, I hope he's as happy as I am this morning and maybe it will rub off on him.  Bless us a lot today!  And bless anyone out there a lot as well.

Friday, January 6, 2006


Seems many things from my childhood seem to flash before my eyes all the time now.  With the making of the movie Narnia, I can really feel my inner child.  Mike and I went and saw the movie a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it.   Another thing that flashes before me is a picture.  My grandparents had a big wardrobe that I used to climb into all the time and try and be transported to Narnia, or anywhere magical, sometimes I'd imagine I was there when I got out, with the imaginary snow and everything.  Boy did I have a crazy imagination.  But one thing I remembered was on the inside of the wardrobe there was a picture hanging on the inside door.  It was of Jesus knocking on a door.  What a funny place to put a picture, I'm thinking now.  Maybe they hung it in the house at one time, I'm not sure, but they kept it inside the wardrobe when I was growing up.  I even would imagine Him knocking on the wardrobe when I was little and a magical place He would take me when I opened the door.  For some reason that picture has been coming into my mind today.  Not sure if I can capture all I'm feeling, but I will try.  I guess I'm going back and looking at my thoughts as a child, those of a teenager, a young man, and now.  I'll just keep these feeling for me for now, maybe I can articulate on them later.  Guess I felt Him knocking at a young age, and still do ready to fill our lives with HIs love.