Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

Christmas is over!   I say that with a sigh of relief, and also with a little sadness.  Time passes by us so quickly.   I spent the last week in Georgia and it really flew.   From my welcome which was one of the best ever.   I walked in the door, and was greeted by Autumn, Eli, and Ethan all rushing me at once, I got down on my knees, and they actually all jumped on me at once, I was on the floor laying there with them all on me.   It kind of felt like a good tackle.   Yes, the back is still fine, and holding up.   As you can probably tell I’ve been reflective since my birthday, so Christmas was no different for me this year.   I’ve thought of my childhood Christmas’s.   Those I shared with those I loved in the past.    And the past three with Mike.   Also my first one without him in it.   I let myself be sad one day for as long as I wanted before I went home.  It still hits me at times, like when my dad asks about him.   Not even knowing Mike and I don’t still live together.   I don’t even have the relationship with my dad that I have been able to share anything with him like that.   Or I have chosen not to share that part of my life with him.    I did get a text from Mike wishing me a Merry Christmas, sending hugs and blessings.   I wish him all those things too, but still continue feeling myself letting go more and more with each day.   I’m glad I have let myself process through this instead of jumping back into another relationship as I may have done in the past, either that or the other extreme and shut myself off from the world as I did years ago, before I met Mike.   I’m happy to say I havn’t done that.   I’ve got a lot to look forward to for this new year.    More on some of those things later.    I feel like this entry was getting a little weepy.   I guess I needed to let the melancholy out.There’s nothing like the eyes of those who unconditionally love you as my family.   I find my heart full and thankful for such wonderful people in my life.    My first night home all three of the kids spent the night.   I read them stories till they fell asleep at midnight.   The next day I spent the day with them playing, and took them to my mom’s, we rode around on the golf cart, and played games.   Told them more stories and just enjoyed them, and seeing the individuals they are growing into.   We had a little fun with some bridges looking for trolls.  Ethan was a little scared, but he had fun.    I came home to a wonderful surprise 40 birthday party my sister Sherry had planned, she went all out.   She had so many wonderful appetizers and food and drink.   We celebrated and had such a wonderful time.  I’m so thankful for my sister.   She has the biggest heart and is the most giving of any individual I know.    She does so much for all of us, and sometimes I don’t think we appreciate her enough for all that she does.   She loves being the entertainer, but I know it is hard for her.  I hope she knows how much I appreciate her.   I enjoyed a beautiful, but cold day with my mother.   We rode out to her mother’s and visited the past.   We picked roses that were in bloom in the middle of the winder, they were red with the tips a blueish purple.   We then rode to my Nana’s grave and put them there.   She doesn’t show it, but I know she misses Nana.   I thought of myself oneday being without my own mother.   Thinking one day I may be putting flowers on her’s.  I feel tears, but I make the thought go away so I don’t cry.    We have the best mother, words sometimes cannot describe her love for us.  She’s always been by our side, giving her support and confidence to give us help.  For as long as I can remember she was the person I looked up to.   Such a strong lady, like most of the women in my life.   So sweet, so senstitive, so pretty.   She still is these things to me today, still full of laughter, still full of tears, but mostly full of love.   Whatever I become I think it is because of her, and I thank her forever for our relationship.  We spent Christmas eve lunch with my dad and Jane and her children.   The food was so good.   We had fun, all the kids played outside, climbing trees, and playing outside.   Daddy looks like he really enjoyed us all being there with him.   It seems rushed to me, I feel a certain amount of relaxation, but it’s time to go before I really feel like I’m connecting with him.   Christmas Eve night we had another wonderful meal at Sherry’s.   Sherry and Lance’s girlfriend Amy cooked so much wonderful food.    I couldn’t seem to quit eating during the holidays, I gained ten pounds at least, maybe more.   Dena gave me this really sweet letter she wrote me on Christmas eve.  It was really beautiful.  I wish I’d given her a journal or something so she could write more, she used to write poetry and things years ago but she says she doesn’t write like she used too.  It was really touching.    We sang Christmas songs the night of my party, her husband Andy played the guitar, the next day we went to their church, they were leading praise and worship, Andy playing and both of them singing.  I love hearing them sing.  My brother Lance is eternally the baby of our family.   He’s quite a man.    But that little kid is still so alive in him.    I watch him with Autumn, and Amy’s two boys.   He’s really good with them, and I can’t wait till he has a son in a few months.   I never feel like I get to talk to him like I want too.   Sometimes it’s hard for us to really connect.   Not sure what it is.   Maybe it’s just a man thing.   But I do see the love in his eyes.   He’s a good dad and such a hard worker.   He was funny Christmas morning, he got Autumn all these video games and of course the Dance Revolution game, or whatever it’s called the one you see people dancing too in the movie theatres, where they are moving their legs in the different dance moves.    He was loving playing it, I kept saying where’s Lance, and I’d go back to Autumn’s room and there he was dancing to it.   He really is a kid at heart.  The children, they really have my heart.  It’s really seeing it through their eyes, and seeing how much they are enjoying it.   Seeing how happy they are!   Each one of them bring so much happiness to me when I’m with them.   It’s always a little adventure, and it does wear me out, I don’t see how my siblings do it all the time.    I’ll write more about the kids in another entry.  This season I find myself very thankful.    I havn’t really written a lot lately, but I am thankful for my church, for their support and love.   They are my second family and I love each one of them so much.   They all supported me when I sang in the Christmas concert for the “First Coast Chorus” and it was so good looking out in the audience to see familiar faces that loved and supported me.    This past week we sang carols over at Berry and Susan’s, while the hayrides with the big horses rode by.   Turk went and got me the most beautiful birthday cake and they all surprised me during the middle of singing Christmas songs by bringing out the cake and singing Happy Birthday and celebrating my 40th.  He and Karl were sneaky getting that one past me.   I’m thankful for everyone that has come in my path.   I’m thankfull for all of my blogger friends.   I didn’t sent out cards this year, hopefully I will next year, thank you guys who I got cards from.   Also a special thank you to Robert at  http://allthingsbutnone.com/journal/  I received the most beautiful cd of music that he made for me.   It was one of my highlights sitting and enjoying it.   Thank you again Robert!   Most of all I’m thankful for Jesus who was born a baby.  I sure would have loved to of seen that special night, and all that love. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, blessing to all and I hope you all have a prosperous New Year.

Oh and how can I forget the newest member of the family, little Isabella,(Izzy)  she’s the sweetest little ball of fur, she is a welcome addition to the family.   She’s so sweet, and took a few little naps with her Uncle Derek. Lots more pictures to be added later, I'm just too sleepy to add them at the moment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brent and Dan's Church Thanksgiving Party

Last night was the Thanksgiving dinner at Brent and Dan's.  Turk came by and picked me up and we headed over at 5:00.   I cooked my mom's broccoli casserole, I'll put the receipe in later.   I'll write more later about last night's wonderful festivities.

The last two weeks

I woke up cold this morning, the temperature has dropped .  It’s really quite nice and I love it.  I went to see my friends Mark and Jeff last night.   These two have been together for about 20 years.   Of all my gay friends that I’ve known, they are the only two that have been together the whole time I’ve known them.   I met Mark back when I first moved to Jacksonville, and met Jeff on my birthday later that same year.   They were close friends with my ex David and I.   It was great reconnecting with them.   Mark cooked an awesome meatloaf, coleslaw, mashed potatoes gravy, and cornbread.   My want for country cooking was definitely met.    We sat around and talked about old times and caught up.   Laughed a bunch, which I needed.   I’ve been doing laundry today, got the oil change, and grocery shopped.   We’re having our chuch thanksgiving dinner over at Dan and Brent’s tonight, am looking forward to that.   I’m cooking my mama’s brocolli casserole.  Man I’m going to have to watch what I eat, I’ve been chowing down lately.  It’s quiet and all I can hear is the sound of the wind, hitting the windows.   I remember once I made an entry about a 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 friends and my family, and the UCC church I’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 has actually really been good for me.  Maybe I’m finding something I never realized.  Although I do find myself looking for ways to not be alone, 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 all is quiet.  I had thought once if I was alone there would be nothing to straighten out, but I was wrong. 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.     Also my friend Wylie from college came last week.  We used to sing together in Show Choir, it was wonderful seeing him as well and catching up.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Aaron's second birthday party

I can't believe another year has gone by and Aaron turned two today, the little fellow is growing so much so are the twins, and the triplets too as you can see.   It was a lot of fun.  Aaron gave me a sweet birthday cake kiss when we left.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Turning my Claddagh in the other direction

http://www6.thebravery.com/thebravery/home.php

Music, lately I can’t quit listening to Ocean, by The Bravery, you can hit music and video from the website above and play some of their music, but the last song #12 on the Sun and Moon cd.  It touches my soul, and has most of the day.  So many memories have been flying through my head in the last month.  A lifetime of them.  Some days I feel so connected with things and some days like today, I feel far removed from it all.   Listen to it.  Today was productive, I got up early, I’m keeping Berry and Susans house, cats, and dogs.   Went grocery shopping.  Tried to make it to the gym, but it was closed, I always make it early on Saturdays and never realized it closes at 1 on Saturdays.  Came home cleaned some, ran around some more.   Talked to friends.  I turned my ring around.  Today I woke up loving not only myself but the world.  Or so I said to myself.  The day felt good.  Mike called, this afternoon.  He sounded good.  Sounded happy.  I remember telling him all I want is for us to be happy.   He brought up some of the stuff going on in his life that was troubling him, although I hate someone’s leaving him messages that upset him, I assured him I had no part in it, and I asked him to keep me out of that, and he was very respectful of that.  He also told me about having to go to the hospital for some problems.  Not sure it may be that red tide stuff from the Ocean.  He asked me had I been and I said no.  But I just remember going the other morning for sunrise, but luckily it hasn't affected me any.   Guess its a good thing I havn't gone to lay out any.  I hung up and for the first time I was able to take off my claddagh ring, and change the hearts positioning. With the new positioning comes a new life, one that will empower me to make whatever changes I need to in my life.  I wrote to a friend today of many of these thoughts.  I guess my beliefs.   God’s Love is a given…it’s not something we earn, it’s not something we ever lose..it is something we are born with and it’s always with us.. The rules handed down are rules of relationship.   If we break God’s rules we don’t lose His love, we lose our trust in ourselves and our ability to believe in God.. we also lose our trust in others, we damage or destroy our relationships.   This is something I feel I’ve learned, not soon enough I add.  I’ve hurt people in my lifetime, and I’ve been hurt by people.   If we break the rules of our relationship we lose each others trust.. but one never stops loving the other even if that is briefly turned to anger or hate, it is only the flip side of love and rarely ever last as hate or anger.  What lasts and what is almost impossible to repair is broken trust.   God has loved us from the day we were born.   He does that with every new day He give us to live: every situation he asks us to handle: and does that with every person he brings into our lives.   I’m so thankful for all the people He’s brought into my life.   I truly believe that what we really are searching for in our lives is someone to whom we can say “I love you” and  feel the freedom to express that, and that the person will truly love us back.  Trust is so important.    This is why, once I decide to make a commitment to someone it is total commitment…it is not a guarantee that God will let us be together for life, but it is a guarantee that that as long as God will let us be together I can be trusted to honor our commitments to each other.  That is what I am going to be about that is the promise I made with the claddagh when we gave it to each other three years ago.  I was worried I couldn’t take it off.   But I have realized now I can keep it on, just with the heart turned in the other direction.   It still symbolizes for me what is possible, and that I was able to keep my promise.  It has been a hard day and I just try and remember God loves me, now it’s up to me to find a way to carry out my mission in life within the confines of life.  More on that later.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Life goes fast

My cousin Mark, one of the biggest FSU fans in the world came down last night for the FSU/Alabama game today.  I was happy to see him, hadn't seen him since Aunt Evelyn's birthday a few months ago.   It was nice having him here, his family has been going through some really hard times.   His sister's husband and a friend were out biking one weekend morning and at 8:00 in the morning a drunk driver hit them both and killed them.   Leaving my cousin and her two children without a father.  This just happend a few weeks.  Mark has been spending every weekend with his sister and niece and nephew.  This weekend he came here, mostly for the game, but also to be here with his cuz.   He reads my blog and knows I've been going through a hard time.  Sometimes things in life seem so unfair.   Life goes fast, and for me its scary to think that it could be taken away from me so quickly.  Death is scary subject, but I'm going to try and address it.   I was speaking to my mom earlier this morning she was talking about she lives past half her life and she wasn't afraid of it.   For me it's not death that's so frightening, it's the dying that scares me.    I shouldn't be so scared, because I know something is better.   But it sure makes me want to live more for the moments, cause when something tragic like this happens without warning, it makes us appreciate more what we have.   I read this somewhere once that, "What the caterpillar thinks is the end of life, the butterfly thinks is just the beginning."   I think it's about how we chose to live our life that is important, so that is my lesson for the day.   I will be glad though when the day comes that all fear will melt away, when I see the LIGHT.    It's beautiful out!  Time to go enjoy it, I think this is the best weather we've had all year.   I love the coolness as it hits my face.   Hope everyone else is enjoying it as well.   This is my cuz at Wimbleton this past year.   He spends 8 weeks each year teaching in London.   What a life, he really loves his job.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Light the Night

 

What can I say other than I was right in the middle of a huge crowd of red, white, and some gold balloons.   Each symbolizing different things.   The white for those that are survivors, red for those that are their in support of someone there or someone they have lost.   And the gold which there weren’t a lot of thank goodness, but of the families that had lost a loved one to leukemia.   There was such a huge turnout.   There were red balloons everywhere, many white ones as well.   It felt awesome to be in the midst of so many survivors, and those battling this disease.   Made my problems seem kind of small.   I think one of the most awesome things about walking and getting sponsers was Anonymous has come.   What do I mean, well many of those that pledged and supported me were anonymous.   I got messages like “I wanted to do something for you.”    How awesome to get the gift from those who just give to give.   It was such an awesome experience.   Here I am though not being anonymous at all, but with thankful heart, I want to thank all anonymous and not, thanks for the support.   Today I feel good, not just because I did the walk last night.  Although I do feel a fight coming for other causes as well that will come.   I just feel good, all through our lives God showers us with His Goodness- gifts of truth, beauty, friendship, love, and laughter, to name but a few-and we behave as if we don’t know the source.   To me God has been my anonomous friend.   Although I know in my heart He doesn’t want to remain that way.  He wants me to know Him better.   So again when I’m thanking my anonomous friend, I’m also thanking God. 

 

http://www.active.com/donate/ltnJackso/2220_deveal

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eye is on the Sparrow

Don’t worry!  It’s something I’ve been told since I was just a little boy.   It’s easy for us to panic when we face serious concerns-seems I’ve been facing them daily.   So I pray, and I get busy, I start doing everything I can think of to move forward in a positive way.   And I worry.   I know it’s a waste of time, yet I find myself in this dilemma- I know I should just trust God, but I wonder just what He’s going to do.   I tell myself I’m giving it to God, but still I wonder, what’s going to happen.   I still find myself trying to control, thinking there is something I could say, or something I could do to make it better.   Something I could do to make it easier, something I could do to ease any pain I or anyone else is feeling.   I know at times I feel I just want a distraction so I don’t have to feel the hurt.   But I know in my heart I just have to feel what I feel and give it to God, feel it.   At times I feel very alone, I mean from the way that I used to feel.   But I also know God is walking with me and inviting me to keep handing it over to Him all my worries and my burdens.   I told my sister Dena how I feel.   She’s much better at quoting the bible than I am.   She’s always read it and studied it much more than I have.   I know many answers lie there, but she said and she was quoting from the bible, Cast all your care upon HIM, for He cares for you, God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, I have no idea what part of the bible she was quoting.  So when my mind turns to anxious thoughts about the future, I guess I just have to remember my heavenly Father knows and will give me what I need.   There’s a song we sang weeks ago at church, something to so with a sparrow, I’ll have to look it up, but it’s really pretty.   Something about not knowing about tomorrow and what it may bring, but the one who feeds the sparrow is the one that stands by me.   There was a lot more to it, I’ll look it up later, but it was really good.  

 

O.k. I just looked up the words, it was from Sister Act part 2 also.

 

Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me

I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
I know He watches
I know He watches me

I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
He watches me
I know
He watches
Me

Monday, September 24, 2007

I love you Mom

I wanted to go back and look at old entries I wrote on my mom's birthday, she asked me to write about a happy memory of my childhood for her birthday, so I'm practicing on here what I'll write.  I write about our heavenly father a bunch on here, today on her birthday I will write about my Mother.  She was my connection to life, through her I learned about love, and my heavenly Father, she is the foundation that has steadied me, the comfort I've always carried with me, the warmth I go to again and again.  I love her for always wanting what is best for me, and teaching me that life is still beautiful even when it isn't easy.  She has been a good example for me all these almost 40 years of my life.  She has devoted so much, well all of it to us, her children, mothering us, wisely and unselfishly, and I just want her to know that I love her with all of my heart.   As long as I can remember we used these words I love you a lot.  They were not words she heard from her mother a lot, but she always knew Nana loved her.  But with us it was different, she told us always, every day without fail.  So at a young age I started saying I love you.  When I was a child, I got to say it more often to her, running out the door, catching the bus.... love you Mama, trudging off to bed, love you Mama.  She was the best thing in my little world.  She would tuck me into bed at night and say my prayers, and wish me sweet dreams.  Those are the happiest moments for me, were those moments of love.  I'm a lot older now and not there in Ocilla to say as many "Love yous" as I should, but I'm more aware than ever of her gentle influence over my life.  Now I understand the kind of love that waited for us to come in late at night... the kind of devotion that holds a trembling hand and cools a fevered brow.  The "love you" I offer today understands the sacrafices she made for us.   I didn't always know that, it seems with age, there is always a new appreciation.  I apologize for the times I caused her worry or concern.  Which were many, and I didn't even give it a second thought.  I know that no matter where I am, no matter how grown up I think I am, she'll always be my mama, and I'll always be her child, and every time I think of her, I'm always saying I love you, just like she always said to us and still says to this day.  So mama, I'm not sure this is what you expected.  I could of told stories of the first time I bought you a present at that little place where I went to Kindergarten, and how happy you made me feel when I gave it too you, your smile always made me the happiest of anything I can remember.  So today on your birthday I celebrate you, a woman who I see as independent as Nana was, yet sensitive to the needs of others, who's always been strong of her convictions, and who accepts the things she cannot change, I want to be more like her when it comes to that.  She has always done that with wisdom and grace.   Today I celebrate my mom who's honest and straightforward who's always willing to listen and never pretends to have all the answers.  She's always had a calming influence on me.  I have many friends that say their mom's aggravate them.  Not my mama, she shares kindness with all who meet her.   When comfort is called for that gentle smile comes when it is needed most.   She has a new smile, well she has for the last few years because of braces.   It's a beautiful smile now, but it's always been beautiful to me.  Thank you mama for the gift for caring, thank you for brightening any day by just being you!  Happy Birthday from the one you love best.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Light the Night Walk

I’ve been talking about darkness and light lately, so I thought I’d write today about a cause that is dear to my heart.   I’m doing the Light the Night Walk next week, I’ve only raised $100 so far, my goal is only $300.   I don’t usually put stuff like this on my blog, but it is a part of me so I’ve decided too, I should have done it sooner, but I thought I’d be able to raise it in time.   In darkness I find light once again.   We all know someone with cancer, I’m walking this for those I have lost, and for those I have in my life that are fighting it today.   My first and only still best friend was in 8th grade, David, I’ve written about him a good bit, we’re still best friends to this day.   His girlfriend and later fiancĂ© had leukemia, she fought a strong battle.   She went into remission.  David and her got engaged.   But with a few years it came back, she still fought like a soldier, but the second time Margaret lost the fight.   It amazes me that every 5 minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer, and every 10 minutes someone loses the fight.  My friend and cowork Cyndi also just went through this fight, a long one, but is in remission now and doing wonderful.  She inspired me to do this walk for all.  My dad is going through a type of chemo now, and so is my friend Brett.   No one that reads this has to give, but your support means a lot to me.   You don’t even have to give, but if you’d just put up a link in an entry if you know someone or have lost someone or anything that you could think of to help, or join your local chapter in your city.   I plan on taking lots of pictures of the balloons rising.  My personal webpage is http://www.active.com/donate/ltnJackso/2220_deveal   Thanks for your support in the past, present, and the future.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When darkness falls

When darkness comes I focus on the light.   I feel I’m trying so hard to keep strong and keep a positive outlook on everything.    Sometimes though there are other forces at play, in the darkness.   I’ve probably written about this before, but when I was in the 3rd grade I had this crazy interest in Greek mythology.   It was amazing, and most all of mankind had the pagan idea that the world is under the control of the mighty Zeus, and the warring Gods of Artemis and Apollo.   These stories amazed a young Derek.   Today, after the night I had acknowledge the reality of “forces” over which we have no control.  The example for me, is my inability to prevent hurt.  A force sent to someone they say with care, but only cause confusion and hurt.   My mind goes in so many directions, I watch the news and I see the faces of starving children.   This is one of those forces as well.   I mean there are a million people starving but the fact is there is more than enough food in the world to provide every person in every country food.  There are invisible forces that seem to be beyond our control.   Seems we face things beyond our control at times.   At times when they are just pushed onto me, I hate when someone is hurting, when Mike is hurting, and someone caused that hurt, and I am left helpless.   So in these time I let go of any fear, and place my trust in Jesus.  Please continue keeping us both in your thoughts and prayers  I was emailing a friend about how much I’m enjoying “The 72 Names of God” in his email back to me, he said the trick to it is ot just reading it, but living it.  I’m thinking this would really be wonderful.  The book talks about our purpose in life being to find the Light that was hidden at the moment of Creation.   Funny how I keep coming back to the light!   Turn the light on.  Only if we can find the hiding spot can the purpose be fulfilled.  The hiding spot being our negative traits that’s buried inside.  Guess that’s when life gently knocks us on the head.   I’ve got so many damn bruises on my head from ignoring it.  Not sure what I’m trying to say.  But I sure know I’d like to get rid of all the negative forces that seem to be out there.   It’s been raining so much lately, but a little sunshine came out for a little bit again this morning, and I started singing again, “Let the sunshine In”, been singing that a lot lately

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

God glasses

I wear glasses, well I should wear my glasses.   I’m really blind as a bat in one eye.    I remember as a kid being the tallest in the class they always sat me in the back of the class.   The teacher would write the lessons on the blackboard and I couldn’t read it.   I remember telling my parents but for some reason no one really listened or maybe money was scarce and we just couldn’t afford it.   I would actually have a friend Kimberly who would let me copy the questions or the math problems down from her paper.  In the meanwhile I saw things from a distance in a skewed and distorted way.   I did finally get smart and started sitting in front seats as I got older, although everyone always complained they couldn’t see the board because of Derek’s big tator head.   I think I’ve told the tater head stories before.   I started wearing glasses my first year in college.   Bought them on my own.   The doctor couldn’t believe I had gone as long as I had without glasses.    I remember that first day wearing my glasses.   I could see the leaves in trees.   There was so much that I was missing.   It amazes me that still to this day somedays I leave my glasses at home.    Sometimes I think I’m more used to not seeing than I am seeing.   But most of the time when I remember I’m like I can’t believe what I’m missing.   Ok now I’m going to do my Forest Gump, Life is like a box of chocalates, since I’ve been thinking so much.   “Life is like wearing or not wearing my glasses.”   It creates within us a conflict between what we experience and what we believe.   Not wearing them gives us a badly distorted perspective on life and all that is around us.   We need our glasses so we can see clearly again.   Sometimes I feel like I don’t have my God glasses on either.   What are God glasses?   They are really just the same thing.   It’s just seeing God clearly, it can help us see life’s experiences more clearly.

So today I turn my eyes to God, I seem to dothat more in times of pain and struggle.   I seem to find more comfort and hope in my daily life through those glasses more than anything.   I can see a little clearer.   Focusing puts everything in perspective.   I forgot my glasses today, but I am wearing my God glasses.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Looking for Rainbows

Many changes in our lives represent loss to me today, whether as the small cherished memory of a pleasantry or as large as living your daily routine’s completely different than the way I used to.   In every loss we long for a touch of healing and hope.   When I went to church this past Sunday almost fearing it, feeling like a failure.  I ended up left with the message why we all have value.   I have not really a lot to boast about, but I still feel very loved by God.   In the midst of my sorrow, there is also a celebration, that I still have little pieces of light in each day.   Through many little mercies that come in my day, a sweet text message from a friend about God letting  the Sun break through the clouds, it’s been raining a lot yesterday, and was quite gloomy as I was yesterday.   I know there will be new ones each morning and day to get me through it.   I am faithful of that.   When our hearts hurt because of loss, I know where I can find hope.  That never changes.   I’m thankful for inspiration, and for friends.     When the sunshine of God’s love meets the showers of our sorrow, the rainbow of promise will appear.   I saw one the other day when I was shopping at Publix, and Mike mentioned one that he saw that was really beautiful when I saw him on Sunday.   So I guess we’re both finding them.  I’m looking for rainbows, maybe I should ride over by 5 points in Riverside, I usually see a lot of those on the back of folks cars

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Photo shoot with the triplets and Allison

I had the best time taking pictures of the triplets and their big sister Allison, such sweet kids.  Jeri and Jen have done a great job with them.   Makes me wan children

Monday, August 13, 2007

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Darlene

Photo shoot I did of Darlene this weekend.  More beautiful women to come

Friday, August 3, 2007

Mom

Sherry said she looks like a gospel singer in this picture.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Asher's 4th birthday party

Mike's nephew Asher turned 4 this weekend, we had fun, but it did rain and they closed down the park, but we still had fun.    It stopped raining and we rode go carts, and played games in the arcade. 

Monday, June 25, 2007

Brandi

Thought I'd highlight my cousin and her photography website over at http://www.freewebs.com/brandihickey/ Check it out. She's very talented. I guess Nana gave us some of her artistic talents. Nana could draw, paint, sew, do ceramics, just about anything. I can see a little of my Nana when I look at this picture I took of Brandi, something about her eyes.
 
 

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lunch at St. John's Seafood

I met them for lunch today, we all had seafood, greasy fried seafood, it sure was good, then they got back on the road and back to Georgia as I headed back to work.   I'm a bit congested, got some kind of cold or cough or something, I was supposed to help babysit the twins tonight, but I just can't, don't want to get them sick.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mama, Sherry, Dena, and Mark came to see us tonight

Mom, Sherry, Dena, and Mark came to see us tonight, I cooked and had appetizers, we had fun acting silly, and taking pictures, yes that's chocalate all over Mike's teeth in that one picture, silly guy.   I better get to bed, can't sleep tonight.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Autumn

Thought I'd add a few more pictures of that little ray of sunshine, my niece!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sherry, Mark, and Autumn

I may have mentioned as well that I got a little surprise on Mike’s birthday weekend as well.   My sister and husband came down which I knew they were coming, but they brought my niece Autumn down as well.   They got a queen size blow up mattress and stayed with Uncle Derek and Mike.   Autumn had us in cracking up on Sunday night, I see know she has my brother’s sense of humor and the ability to make you just laugh out loud.   It was so good seeing them.   I really love my family and was glad they were here as well.  We kept Autumn most of this morning, we started watching Nanny McPhee, I’d never seen it, didn’t finish it  because I had to head to the doctor for my second procedure.  She even went with me to the doctor, poor thing was sleeping in a chair when I got out.   I took her to the park for a while after that.   Then they left my mid afternoon.   Mikes mom came over yesterday too, and took us out for sushi since yesterday was actually Mike’s birthday.    Everyone left and we enjoyed each other’s company very much, it was like being on a date with a new man, he finally talked me into shaving my beard and stache, because in the three years we’ve been together I never have.   I’m not crazy about it on me, but he loved it, guess he felt like he was on a date with a new man too.   It was kind of worth it, we had fun!   But I’m letting it grow back.  It is offically no longer Mike’s birthday weekend, although he did take off work today for one more day to enjoy.  I’ll post more pictures later of  him with his family on his birthday, (cute ones with he and his nephews with chocalate cake all over them), and some from the party Saturday.  Well time to get ready for work.   Wish me luck.   Everyone have a great week.

Mike's birthday

Well we celebrated Saturday night, we went to dinner with 20 of our friends, the first picture is the first picture I took of him before he got tore up.   The second one was what he surprised me with when I came home today, more on that later.   Anyway we all had a wonderful time with our friends for dinner, and then out later to the bar.   As the night progressed we noticed these three hot men over to the side.   I knew we’d never seen them around but was just having fun, then my friend Jason came over and asked did we happen to speak German, because those three guys were German, so I told Mike and he was just happy enough to go over and introduce his birthday self to them.   Anyway we had fun.   The next day I went to church and we went to his sister’s house, we picked up Turk, and ate fish tacos, mojo pork, shirp kabobs, corn on the cobb, and potatos, man was it good.   Then my sister called after a few hours and told us, she and Mark, her hubby were in Jacksonville.   They came by and she surprised me with Autumn being with her.   So we left for a few hours and went and got her a boogie board so she could play in the ocean, then went and went to the Jazz festival at the beach.   After that back to Mike’s sister’s, and we left, my sister, Mark, and Autumn came back home with us, and we ordered pizza and watched Shrek.   We made it too bed by midnight.   Two days later.   Mike was still hung over.   I took Autumn with me the doctor’s for my procedure, when we came back, Mike had shaved his head, I like it but have to get used to it.     My family left, and we went to eat sushi with Mike’s mom.   When we got back, Mike got me to shave my beard, and stache, he’s never seen me without facial hair and wanted that for his birthday, although I can’t stand the way I look, it’s made him hornier than a little devil.  I look so different that he thinks he’s cheating with some other man.   Happy Birthday Mr.   I hope you all the happiness of all your dreams.   That you’ll  sense the gratitude that’s in my heart because your in my life.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pictures with Aaron, Ryan, and Catlyn at the Park

Here's some pictures from the park with the kids.   I only got to hold Caitlyn while I was sitting.   The kids are so cute.

Monday, May 21, 2007

More pictures from Mother's Day Weekend

Autumn, Eli, and Ethan

Thought I'd put some pictures of how big the kids are getting.  I went to see them last weekend, unfortunately my back went out once again, so I'm on the mend, at least I got to spend some time with them, but now I'm missing my vacation that was supposed to start today with them this week at Myrtle Beach, S.C. and in Indiana with Mike and his nephews and Turk.   Keep me in your prayers, I had a MRI done today, hoping I won't have to have surgury.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

First Job for D & M Photography

Well we started D & M Photography this weekend, well we started it before, but this was our first shoot together.   It went really smooth.   I was quite nervous right before they got there.    But as soon as they showed up we just went with it.   I thought we got some beautiful shots, this is only a few of them, we took like 500 shots.

Friday, March 23, 2007

More thoughts on Peace

Thinking of peace I realize this word is so much bigger than I ever imagined.   Christmas comes to mind, how we love to hear the angelic message of peace on earth good will towards men.   To bad it’s only Christmas that we seem to want to hear this message and not every day.   Then take the first few letters of Christmas, Christ, only the Prince of Peace can bring lasting peace.  I went to bed Wednesday night after hearing Jerry’s message of peace, peaceful.   Last night it wasn’t as easy, because I made the mistake of turning on the news instead, and listening to the tragedies of the globe, both near and far away.   So I find myself going to bed, with heart full, and praying for peace once again.

Maybe it’s not possible to have Peace on Earth, but peace is possible.   Peace with God, yes sometimes I’m not obedient, I wasn’t when I was little, and sometimes I’m not being big, we sin, we are human, but through my faith in His son, I’m forgiven.  I pray for forgiveness almost as much as I pray for peace.  There are so many types of peace as I wrote earlier, there’s emotional peace as we cast our cares on HIM, there is also the possibility of interpersonal peace.   Which is us loving our neighbor’s living peaceable with all.   I think this is a reality, and I think it is possible, I have faith that it is.

Then we can think of global peace, I think that will only come, when Jesus returns.

By our prayers and by our example, that is my prayer for peace, my prayer for all of us that we can fulfill that verse in the bible Luke 2:14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.    Also my favorite line in the animated version of “The Little Drummer Boy” which is probably my first memory of the mention of peace.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Peace Bubble

We just got back from the peace bubble at our church, you can check it out at www.peacebubble.org   Jerry Leggett imagines a world of peace.  He's touring the country in his little bubble, he has a beautiful voice, and a beautiful message.   His question is do you believe in peace?   Then picture it what does it look like to you.  I believe it's what I look for daily, if we can find it in ourselves then we have accomplished something.   With faith I believe it can be obtained for myself through God.   I picture it with compassion     The thought of  the Good Samaritan comes to mind.  If we could be full of compassion, just like that Samaritan that made is way down the road to Jericho and encountered a wounded Jew lying alongside the road.  Others had hurried by, too busy with their own affairs to be interrupted.   But the Samaritan, who was hated by the Jews and would be expected to pass by, “had compassion.”   He bandaged his wounds,… set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. I think of my own life, how things come into my life in strange ways, often in the often in the form of an iterruption.   Just when we think of our duties for the day and are done and we are headed home for a quiet evening, someone shows up on your doorsteps asking for your time, or on the street when you are getting gas, and someone asks for your help or money.  How often we turn, even when we see someone coming.  If we could not look at these moments as intrusions of interruptions.  Instead think of the oppurtunities sent our ways to show HIS love and serve those in need, wheter it be to listen, to show love, to help someone on their journey.   We need to live for that moment.

Sometimes interruptions are actually sent our way, if we could just not turn from them.  We may get something much more special out of life that you never expected like PEACE.

This next little piece is from his website, I really like it.

WHAT IF?

What if we all paused for a moment of peace at noontime?

What if we all listened more carefully to the world around us?

What if this moment for peace inspired acts of peace and compassion?

What if the world we all dream of IS possible?
 
Is peace possible to you?  Can you imagine it?
 

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Blessed Sunday

I picked my family up today, and they all went ot church with me along with Lisa, who is part of the family now too, she's one of Sherry's best friends.  It was so wonderful having my family be a part of my church family for the first time.   I almost got teary eyed.   My family really enjoyed the sermon and meeting everyone, all with open arms, just like our church is, It's awesome.   My sister when she was hugging our pastor, I heard her say to her, ya'll have something special here.   We really do!  It was nice to feel that.  Then we all went out and had a big picnic in the park, Rochelle and Val brought the twins, and Aaron, Cathy and Laurie came, and Turk, Mike, and I.   It really meant a lot to me everyone being there.   They really enjoyed our church family.   I'm sort of without words, hard to talk about all it meant for me.   I'm missing them now that they are on their way home.   Here's some pictures from today.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My family came for the Gate River Run

Today was the Gate River Run 2007.  9.3 miles.  My family, mom, sister, brother, niece, and my sister's friend Lisa came down.   My brother and I ran it together.  Boy am I sore.   Here's a few pictures from the weekend.  The morning yesterday started off with my jittery nerves.   I got up at 6:00 went by the hotel, picked up my brother, and we took off walking a little over a mile to the starting line.  It was overwhelming 15000 runner with as many spectators as runner, I had to hit the porto potty, from nerves, but the line was 400 people long so I never made it, well actually I did in the bushes right in front of the Jaguars stadium while about 20 people walked by, and I thought I was pee shy.   We ran got in line, got a 10 minute stretch in, and the gun went off.   Right as we passed the starting line, a woman hits my ipod on my arm and it’s on the ground, my stupid ass turns around and leans down to pick it up, and my brother is screaming, your going to be trampled, as my ipod hops from foot to foot, somehow by the mercy of God, it bounced up in my hands, I turned around and my brother is laughing his ass off at me.   I wasn’t even thinking, I really could have been trampled it was crazy.   So we start on our run, ipod is back on arm.   We talk and laugh, and he makes it the first mile, keeping right up with me, I’m going pretty slow.  Right after 1 miles we see my mom, and sister right as we are about to jog onto the Main Street Bridge, the big blue one.  My sister has problems with the camera so about 1000 people pass us in the meantime cause I want at least one shot of me running.   I finally have to go over to her and show her how to turn on the camera.  But the picture still turns out fuzzy, anyway we keep going, and I notice my brother’s shorts are about to fall off and he’s showing crack, and I notice a photographer, and I tell him to get in front and get our picture taken, I think about pulling his shorts down but decide not to embarrass him to death.  We go on, and I tell him I was thinking about pulling them down, and he laughs, about 2 mile marker my bladder hits again, I have to pee in a construction site, and Lance says he’s heading back that 2 is all he can do all red faced, so I tell him I love him and run on.  But he actually has a change of heart and tells himself he can do it.   And takes off running again, little to my knowledge.  I thought he had headed back.   The run continues for me, I get angry at a few mile markers because they had run out of water already, and I really need my water.   Luckily the next mile has it.   I enjoy the scenic side of San Marco and the river, and all the rows of Doctor’s houses on the river.   I enjoy the little ladies sitting in their front yards rooting us on.   I start getting that adrenaline flowing at different times.   When I see a familiar face in the crowd, or some stranger puts their hand out for me to clap.   I get in the zone.   By mile 6, I’m burning up, but luckily my friend Drew and Tom live at mile 6 and they were outside rooting me on, and taking pictures, then I get hit by a waterhose that cools me down, and feels so good.   Miles 7 and 8 just seem to flow by.  Mile 8 is the uphill of the Hart Bridge, I know if I can go over it I will make it, at the top of the bridge I notice someone laying on the side passed out, with blood and 5 medics working on them, then a firetruck and ambulance is on the way.   Wow, I turn to get a view of the city from atop the bridge, I know I’m going to make it, in my head chanting, thank you God, thank you Jesus.   I pick up my pace, really kicking it my last mile, thinking mama, and Sherry, and Lance, and Autumn are at the finish line.   I’m passing everyone.   Then I go through the finish line, and as I pass, I slow, then I walk to the side, and that’s when it got ugly, I hurled.   I really pushed it that last mile.   I was drinking these energy gel’s the whole way and that was all I had on my stomach so it wasn’t too bad.   But my family wasn’t at the finish line.   Lance actually ran the entire race, finishing a few minutes after me.   It was so funny!  I was excited for him, because it really is an accomplishment.   More on the day later, got to go pick them up for church.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Beck family reunion

Mike's Uncle Gord and Aunt Elaine came to town last weekend.  Mike's mom made a wonderful dinner for all.   Mikes cousin Gord Jr and his wife Kristen and their boy Little Gord and girl Shelby, and Kristen's mom.   Along with Mike's sister Tiffany and her husband, and Mike's nephews Asher and Jacob.   Turk and Me were there as well, and we all had fun, and got very full bellies.  I always enjoy watching how other's interact with each other.   I'm sure Mike wishes he saw them more.   They were all so nice and warm and everyone enjoyed the children, I think they are what make it so wonderful for the grownups.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Aaron and the twins

With cool temperatures in the 50s, I simply had to get outside for a run. It’s cold but beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky. Of course, I had to take care of my man first, get him to bed.   Give him his Vitamin C, and echinasia, then made homemade chicken salad, and homemade Sante Fe Chipotle Soup for Val, Rochelle, Aaron, and the twins will be having their milk so didn’t have to worry about them.  That took a few hours–Completion time: 11:00 a.m.  I really had to hurry to get out to the river before they started the bombing, yep they are bombing one of the bridges today.   I hurried out to park at the Garden Club, which was closed for the holiday weekend.  Then I went my usual route, tackling 6 miles today.   I was excited to be outside again comfortably in shorts, but big sweatshirt.  I was also excited to take my music on its run. All in all, things went well. I kept a slow and steady pace, trying not to overdo it and keep with the strategy of building my legs up again so I don’t blowout the Gate. At one point, I went onto upward bridge, which took me up an incline above the St. John’s River. I missed my six mile marker. When I realized it, I quickly understood I was adding a mile to my run. I stopped after seven miles, I could have kept going and felt great. Then I walked briskly back to my car, with a total of two miles walking (some from the warm-up). My battery went dead so I didn’t get to time myself.   I really didn’t care or worry about time today.   Now I’m back home, fed Mike some soup and made him a sandwich.   I’m doubling up on the vitamin C, and Echinasia myself.  I may add a picture later, Mike is ready to get on the computer, and I’m probably going to run to the girls house to give them some of my homecooked food.When I got home, I stretched while watching the t.v. while Mike passed gas on the couch.

My project for tonight and tomorrow is to put together some playlists for the iPod to time perfectly with my runs as I progress from shorter to longer outings. I’ll let you all know what I come up with.  This picture was taken of me right after I finished the Gate River Run 2005.

Running
Wind in my face
Life in my living
Feeling soul flowing
through my difference
Inside the essence divine
Turning, do you see it? I do.
It is there and it waits for me.
I embrace it with both of my arms
I choke it with that which it is
It struggles to be freeze
Give me the chance and
I will show it to you
Blowing away brisk
Evaporate, bye
Look at it as
it leaves.
gone

I did go see the girls, Aaron, and the twins today after the big run.  Walking in, Valerie had little Ryan, giving him his bottle, he was so little and so precious.  I got some good pictures of him, then Rochelle’s sister brought out Caitlyn, and she was the first one I got to hold, I got to feed her a bottle, and burp her, she was so tiny and reminded me so much of my little niece when she was born, so tiny and fragile.  I held her for a long time, babies really are such miracles.  Nothing but peace and love.   I feel so close to God when I’m around them.   I didn’t get to hold Ryan yet, he hasn’t been gaining weight like his little sister and was still a bit jaundiced.   But soon I’m sure.   Aaron loved the chicken salad I made, hope they enjoyed the spicy Sante Fe Chicken and Beef Soup I made.  I took lots more pictures.   I just couldn’t get enough of them.   Aaron was funny after a while, he was trying to get in all the pictures, he was like hey you used to only take pictures of me, well he can’t talk, but it was like what he was thinking.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another one of the twins and Cathy's Valentine's Pary

Two little angels sleeping!  We had such a wonderful time with them.  Cathy and Laurie had everything decorated so beautiful for valentine's day.  We had such a wonderful time, it was a Valentine’s Day party for 8 couples, Susan, Linda, Brent and Dan from church were there also.  We had so much fun, played games, we putted in the hallways, played blackjack, basketball, and darts in the gameroom, and there were some awesome prizes, we won a bottle of Dom, yes Dom!  I really enjoyed Cathy's friends as well.  The dinner was delicious, steak, shrimp, salad, potatoes, and lots of munchies and martini’s throughout the night.   It was so pretty out by where they live, Mike and I stopped and had a little photo shoot of each other at sunset which we both enjoyed as well.  Cathy is one of the sweetest women, Mike and I just love her.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Twins are here

The twins were born today, little Ryan Christopher came first, and then Caitlyn Renee, they are so beautiful, I had to leave the hospital and go to the eye doctor, and get my eyes examined for new glasses.   Here I am with my dilated eyes,still on a baby buzz from earlier.   I got there just at the right time, I got to ride up the elevator with them.   Here's a few pictures.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thinking back on a memory of my Prom

When I was a senior in high school, the big prom finally came, I was very excited about it. But this entry is not about the prom, it’s of a memory on that day. I was all dressed up, white tux, and she was decked out with the beautiful dress. My little brother whom I guess was probably about 5 or 6 thought I was getting married, because they were taking pictures of us outside as he watched. So after he asked we just went with it and told him yes we were going to get married, his next question was can I have your room. I laughed and said sure. Well when I got home from prom, my mom surprised me saying I thought you went to get married? Lance moved into your bedroom so you don’t have a room anymore. Lance, never really having his own room, went from baby bed, to sleeping sometimes with Sherry and Dena, sometimes with me, to sleeping in a little twin bed they put in the dining room. I think he was a little upset when he found out I really didn’t get married, because I think he really wanted that room. Actually poor guy didn’t get his own room I guess to some time later. Dena got my room when she was in the 8th grade, when I went to college. I guess when Sherry went to college, he got his own room. It makes me think of my favorite comic strip when I was little, “Peanuts”, when Lucy had just broken the news to Linus that children cannot live at home forever, they grow up and move away. Then she said that when he left she would get his room. But Linus quickly reminded her that at some time she too would have to leave home. When this hit home with Lucy, she was shocked, but she quickly came up with a solution. She turned the TV up loud, crawled into her beanbag chair with a bowl of icecream, and refused to think about it.
Oh how Lucy I am, I love to avoid unpleasant circumstances. But it’s not as easy as Lucy thinks. Life’s realities cannot be avoided. We may try to run and hide, but struggles and trials have a way of dogging our footsteps and eventually catching up with us. I guess Linus was always my favorite "Peanuts" character though.
Instead we should face up to our problems. Sometimes it may be frightening, but we just have to trust God.
I read from Psalms this past week at church, I was the litergist on Sunday, I love Psalms, I think it’s always been one of my favorite books of the bible.

Psalms 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in YOU.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Beautiful Sunday

Today has been perfect, I got my quiet early this morning in my meditation, Linda's sermon touched me on many levels.   Our friend Kathy is back from vacation.   Mike's presentation that he edited with the pictures I've been taking over the last year of everyone in the church went very well, he did such a nice job of arranging all the pictures, and he took the Church photo again of everyone in our church.   It was very touching, everytime he see's that picture of Mrs. Grace he gets tears in his eyes.   I think we all had a few tears in our eyes.  We love our church family.  We got to spend some of the day with Rochelle and Valerie and little Aaron too, he just keeps on getting bigger, not much longer till the twins come.