Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all my friends...

Wishing you joy beyond measure,
Love unconditional,
Blessings beyond your wildest dreams
Comfort beyond comprehension...

I've been taking some time off to enjoy my family, since I have been off work and our boys have been home from school. I will begin blogging more in January...
Wish you all the best...

J/

Friday, December 05, 2008

Can We Span the Great Divide?


So many issues divide....

Lifestyle Prejudices
Religious/Spiritual Views & Beliefs
Political Views & Beliefs
Racial Prejudices (by all races... this is not a single race issue)
Gender Bias
Sexual Orientation
Class/Income Prejudices
Arrogance
Bigotry
Intolerance
Misunderstanding
Judging Others
Superiority
Hate

Our culture has evolved in many ways, making incredible advances in medicine, technology, discovery, and so much more.... but have we paid a price? Can we span the great divide(s) in our nation? I hope so.

I am encouraged in many ways by the outcome of our recent election, and yet, in the shadow of that election, I see deep polarization and division in response to it, as well as in the days that led up to it. On one hand, I saw friends cross their tradition (some religious, some racial, some political)... and in other cases, I observed very blatant and racist responses. I believe that to progress as a nation, we first progress as individuals... replacing ignorance with experience, and replacing prejudices and intolerance with compassion and acceptance.

Your thoughts?

/J

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fall in Tennessee











For Freaky Friday, I thought I'd post some fall pics from Tennessee....

Enjoy!

J/

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back from the Big Apple, and Tired to the Core...




We had a fabulous time with our dear friend Michael... He's not changed a bit - in spite of his worldwide success as a famous tenor (opera). His voice is incredible, and he's still the same amazing person we both remember... yet, even more so...

The trip up was difficult, as K had a seizure on the plane (sometimes happens with recirculated air, the altitude changes, etc.), but once we got there and got her settled in to rest for a bit, and back on oxygen (thanks to a portable concentrator), she felt alot better. We both enjoyed very much catching up with Michael, as it had been almost 20 years since we had seen him last... so much time passes so quickly.

Being back in the city was very refreshing for me. The energy and the flavor of the people are always a wonderful change. We were talking to a server in Pete's Tavern, who nailed it - she said, "People here are kind, but not polite... they are direct, and narcissistic, like 'I got mine, go get yours'... but they are kind". And, I might add, misunderstood by those who aren't used to the directness (thankfully, we are very used to it)... and then on the way back to the apartment on the upper west side, we see a lady with her arms loaded, pushing a baby in a stroller, who, without knowing it, drops a glove on the sidewalk... and before we get to where she is, another lady, a jogger, pauses her jog to pickup the glove, runs back to the lady with the baby, and hands it back to her... "Thanks" she replies... "No problem" says the jogger, and goes back to running...
Efficient and kind... and on about her business... I love this city...

Around the city, people hold doors for us, offer to help... it's refreshing, and very helpful. The doormen at the apartment building see us coming and open the doors, then head to get the ramp, so that we can bridge the two steps up to the elevator landing - all without being asked. Restaurant service is incredible, and attentive to every detail. Owners, chefs, servers and everyone are accomdating and helpful, assisting us with working around getting in and out of the places, dietary concerns, and so much more.

We got to meet friends of friends who are now seeing one of our doctors, as the husband was recently diagnosed with the same condition K has... it was so good to meet them face to face there at the office, after having shared so much via e-mail... precious people. Enjoyed meeting them very much.

So then we fly back to Atlanta on Friday... and I can tell a difference the minute we hit the Atlanta airport... For those of you who have never been there, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is huge, and all hustle and bustle, especially on a Friday afternoon. Our flight had been delayed a total of an hour and a half, so instead of 2:41pm, we arrived at like 4:15pm, and then head to baggage claim. Since we are dealing with a wheelchair, we have to use elevators instead of escalators, so we get to the elevator, and are behind two airport employees, one of whom turns to us, and with a snotty tone, informs us that they "have to take the elevator to the bottom floor, so you (we) have to wait for it to come back up before you (we) can use it"...
so much for service, hunh?

The last time we were there on the last trip, an employee of the airport tied up the family bathroom for 20 minutes, so that she could talk to "Kenisha" on her cell phone and give her the latest lowdown... No joke, I could overhear the whole conversation, so I knocked on the door 2 times in that 20 minutes, calm, yet frustrated, but very patient... family bathrooms are nice when travelling with a spouse in a wheelchair, or with kids...
so, then when she comes out, she gives me all that attitude and more, when she knows she's supposed to be working and not talking on the phone... and no flush and clean water tells me she was just tying up the bathroom, and not utilizing it to it's potential...
so yeah, I can tell a difference... it's like heading south means trading service for self-centered arrogance and attitude when it comes to those in service roles, sometimes... thankfully, though, some people remain kind and considerate... we are blessed wherever we go to be able to cross paths with wonderful people.

Friday night, we got to catch up with two great friends from college, Wade & Linda, and their kids. We had a blast, and really enjoyed seeing them as well. About 45 minutes after we connected with them, K's parents arrived with our boys (they had been staying with them for much of this week - THANKS!), so we had a great reunion and a wonderful time. I am so thankful for my inlaws... they are so wonderful, and I love them very much. We have a great family. K's brother and sister in law wanted the boys to spend the night with them on Saturday night, so we connected and made that happen, and then on Sunday, when we started home, they made it so easy for us, by meeting us near the interstate, so that we could pick them up with no detour at all. Like I said, we have a great family, and they have been so very supportive and kind and giving toward us during the most difficult days yet....
We are very thankful for our friends and family...

Sorry if I am rambling - alot of thoughts in my head, and a long past 2 weeks or so...
Wanted to post while my thoughts were all fresh...
Life has been so busy, I haven't been able to blog much lately, but will be back on track soon...

Bless you, our friends...

J/

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Letter from a friend and veteran....


With his permission, I am sharing this letter that I received from my friend today, who is a Veteran and a terrific all-around guy... I believe his words are very important for us to hear today...


Dear Friends -
Last night was truly a historic night for America and the world because no matter which side of the isle you stake your claim, WE as Americans elected OUR first African American president. I have been all over the south and stopped at many old cemeteries to see the decaying tombstones of civil war soldiers, Union and Confederate. These boys fought for a cause that few of them could truly understand but fought they did when the call came for them to serve their country. Many would say that some were on the wrong side of the war but we can not argue with service, especially when it extracts the highest cost. In many of those isolated cemeteries you will find tombstones with no name, rank or identification. It is beneath these unidentifiable graves where the greatness of America is best exhibited in the commitment of young men to a cause greater than themselves. The true cost of the Civil War will never be known but historians can document well over 500,000 deaths as a result of combat but the real cost in lives changed forever is closer to 750,000 people. The cost of this one war is greater than the cost of all of our other wars combined. Racial differences have always been a difficult topic for Americans to confront and move beyond.

In many parts of Europe lie the tombstones of young men who paid the supreme cost of freedom and found their final resting place on shores that were not their own. They died fighting for a cause the results of which they would never appreciate. It is on nights like this that I remember my father and all the men and women who served in World War II when the freedom of our nation was really at stake. I still have pictures of my father giving his food rations to French children that his unit had just liberated from the hands of the Germans. WE should all celebrate the victory of OUR country today as WE elected OUR first African American president, but most of all we should all bow our heads in honor of those who have fought and died so that all Americans could have the privilege of casting a vote in a free country.


Last night we witnessed a Tsunami of Americans under the age of 30 casting votes for an African American president. This great tidal surge began with the ultimate sacrifice paid by those young boys over a century ago who died for slaves who received only 3/5th representation in our nation’s past. It was on the backs of these slaves and through their sheer strength that the economy of the south was carried for many years. African Americans suffered greatly during the civil war and it was through the courage of a white President Lincoln that the nation was saved from destruction and he paid the ultimate cost for his courage, but the wave of change continued. It was when Barack Obama was but a six year old boy, that John McCain continued this wave of change by paying a heavy cost for freedom as a POW for a time that bridged the gap from Obama’s childhood to adolescence. John McCain’s sacrifice for freedom was given for all of us including the young man who would one day defeat him in a race for the presidency of the country that McCain had sworn to defend with his very own life.

The election of OUR first African American President is historic for all Americans because it is the culmination of the sacrifices of so many for the benefit of so few who have actually been able to ride the wave of change to the shore. Greatness always requires unrecognized sacrifice. As we all celebrate the power of the American Republic and our democratic process, let us not forget the millions of people of all races who shouldered the unstoppable wave of change we now celebrate. Many of these people never got to see this wave reach the shore and appreciate a dream fulfilled. Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination said “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we as a people, will get to the Promised Land”. Throughout history great movements of God have been borne on the shoulders of millions of unnamed individuals who saw a vision and were willing to put a cause above their own desires, safety and even their own lives. Yes WE as Americans elected OUR first African American President and he arrives on the crest of the wave buoyed by great people both known and unknown throughout our country’s history.


Just remember that the pleasure and pain centers of the brain are very close together so no matter whether you are celebrating or mourning today, just remember we are all closer together than we might realize. The truest American ideals are much bigger than any political party and require a great sacrifice by so many. So enjoy the sweet taste of victory or be consoled in your disappointment but remember that the commitments we hold dear bind us closer than the differences that separate us. I will always treasure friendships and family far more than political affiliation. When I took my oath in the US Army I made a commitment to protect and defend our great country with my very life. I was and still would gladly die for your right and the right of all Americans to cast their vote, even for people and ideas that I do not support (this has nothing to do with Barack Obama's skin tone)! The essence of a great country is when the men and women can disagree and yet serve a cause greater than ourselves.


I am proud to call you a friend and proud to be an American!

Your Friend,
Jeff Lee
US Army Veteran, owner of 3 perfect scores on the Army PT test (thanks Coach Davis ha ha), Son of a World War II Veteran and most importantly, Proud American

J/

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Refreshing


Weary from the long days
The difficult days
Dry in my Spirit
Soul on toward empty

Desert days
Walking sometimes aimlessly
Numb, unaware
Sometimes wanting to die

And then I see
before my eyes
A beautiful sight
just in time

An oasis in my desert
flowing with fresh water
Drenching and refreshing
deep within

Stagnant waters
now moving
Stirring and cleansing
washing away

Restarting the springs
of living waters
A wellspring of life
flowing through me

Newfound peace
Extravagant rest
Finding You
or did You find me?

Filling and fulfilling
Invigorating and thrilling
Bringing near dead
back to fully alive

Strength returning
Clarity and wisdom
Exquisite friendship
Abiding love

J/ (c) 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Love That Remains...



For K...


Twenty third of November
Ninteen hundred ninety-one
So many dreams ahead
So naive, in love and young

We exchanged our vows
never to be undone
We committed to each other
and two became one

Honeymoon in Steamboat Springs
A beautiful place
Skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding
Watching your beautiful, smiling face

Enjoying time together
beginning a new life
Joined for a lifetime
as man and wife

Gradual adjustments
learning each other
So thankful we're together
Wonderful partner and mother

We have always shared
everything we have
Including pain and sorrow
tender love and laughter

Through miscarriages and loss
welcome and unwelcome changes
Yet today, closer than ever
My lover and best friend

As I said on that day
For better for worse
In sickness and in health
Til our days come to a close

Faithfully, I hold fast
Committed to you
Three cords bind us together
forever, it's true

I suffer when you suffer
and share in your pain
Your laughter, contagious
I am forever changed

You are the one
who had made my life
It's my pleasure to serve you
my best friend and wife

Seventeen years now together
and we've barely begun
It seems only yesterday
since the births of our sons

And as every year passes
even ones that are rough
I wouldn't trade what we have
Always more than enough

I look forward to days
that are brighter, and yet
The past six years
I will never forget

How our love became purer
and stronger each day
In the hardest of times
we're still able to say

I am glad to be with you
and you here with me
There's no other place
that I'd rather be

Than right here beside you
where I belong
Immersing each other
in a love pure and strong

Forged in the fires
of each challenge we've faced
Etched in our memories
that can never be erased

We now see much clearer
since the clouds rolled away
Words, insufficient,
Impossible to say

Just how deeply I love you
On this you can depend
I will remain here beside you
My very best friend

J/ (c) 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Breakthrough!




Slow down
and take a breath
I know it's hard
but try to rest

The gears all spinning
inside your head
Life hasn't dealt you
what you'd expect

Longing for
a simple touch
Sometimes it feels
like way too much

Responsibility owned
Feeling alone
Soul so heavy
it's too much to carry

Pushing through
the hardest part
Resist the urge
to harden your heart

It will not last forever
though it sometimes feels it could
You are not forgotten
it's all working for your good

Standing there
before a wall
And in your mind
it seems so tall

Too tall to climb
you know it's true
The only way
is to push straight through

So break on through
to the other side
You've come too far
to be denied

Push on through
that paper wall
It a facade
and no wall at all

Looks like a wall
Actually a door
And once you open it
You'll see much more

On the other side
you'll find
Freedom, love
and peace of mind

You're expected
so come on in
I'm waiting here
for you, my friend

J/ (C) 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Transformation



Day breaks
Barely awake
Not enough sleep
Must rise and go

Busy people
Several requests
Many demands
Everyone needs something

Some are different
Coming to give
Rather than to take
Very welcome

Lightening the load
Brightening the outlook
Sharing the burden
Very welcome

Roller coaster ride
Ups go high
Lows go deep
Emotional wreck

Must get back
Peace is calling
Looking for me
Persistently

At days end
All are fed
All is done
Exhaustion realized

Lie down
Asleep instantly
Breathing deeply
Resting

Another day breaks
Challenges come
What would have overtaken
No longer overwhelming

Settled into the quiet place
No struggling
Only resting
Transformation well underway

Having tasted
Peace realized
Beyond comprehension
Nothing else will satisfy

J/ 2008 (C)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Path




Unsure
losing my footing
Gaining speed
toward the unknown future

Yet
somehow
Resting
Peaceful

Some approach
with sympathy
Others
with compassion

Still others
do not see
Perhaps
do not want to see

Could it be
a new symptom?
Invisibility?
Not likely

Have we so conditioned our hearts
to avoid the uncomfortable?
So much so that now
we convince ourselves we do not see?

And yet
in the most unlikely of places
In the busy, rushing city
A stranger approaches

He offers to hold a door
or steady a wheelchair
or assist in any way
that we would welcome

While in other places
more expected places
another unthinkingly - carelessly
drops a door on us

Long after these days
of difficulty are past
may we never forget
how to see, how to love

Compassion
coming from unexpected places
Provision
from friends we have yet to meet

Some sharing bread
others sharing themselves
Their time, treasure
Love immeasurable

Near or far
Reaching out with what each one has
The sum of the whole
so much more than the parts

Brothers, sisters
families filled with compassion
Moved - no compelled - to intervene
on our behalf

Gratitude beyond expression
Appreciation beyond words
Humbling and needy
Laying down pride, to receive

Entering into
a new place of brokenness
Old and new wounds
bound for healing

Thankful for experiences
that we would never wish on another
For this is OUR story
our path, and our life...

(c) J/ 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Your Existence Gives Me Hope


For Kim, Susan, Noel, Jane, and all who are suffering.... and for those who suffer with them...

So many people
hurrying around
seeking something
chasing something

So much busy-ness
so much rushing
passing people by
so unaware

Sometimes running each other over
sometimes just running past
such a fast paced world
so many important things to do

One message
one phone call
one test result, event or realization
and it all comes to a screeching halt

Time stands still
seconds become as hours
Eternity in time
devastating

It all comes into perspective
what is important
what is not
what life is really about

It is really about the people
it's about families
friends and relationships
people we love

My heart sinks
I grieve the loss of peace
which I know you must feel
from knowing

The fear and dread
grasping at your life
The disease and treatment
both ravaging your body

Many offering to help
Sincere and available
Others offering solutions
devoid of truth

Confusion and frustration
Unclear paths
So much noise all around
Stillness nowhere to be found

I fall to my knees
crying out on your behalf
for healing, wisdom, release
peace, grace, mercy, strength

How can it be?
Why has this happened?
Why to such beautiful souls and families?
To those so full of life and love?

So many times I have complained
Often discontented
So overwhelmed by circumstances
Lost in difficulty and self

My understanding incomplete
Injustice clearly seen
Suffering you have not deserved
Pain so very real

And yet, in such circumstances
Your presence of mind is amazing
Your concern for those around you
Surpassing concern for yourself

Your beauty is unsurpassed
Shining rays of hope and love from your eyes
So graceful in your suffering
In the midst of pain and loss

There is a fellowship of suffering
Like being a member of a group you never wanted to join
And yet, have come to know real strength and beauty
as a result of being included

There is a joy and strength and life
There is hope inescapable
There is comfort in knowing you are not alone
solace and momentary release

Whether healing be here or there
it shall surely come to us all
Between now and then
let us cherish each moment we have together

Sharing the joys and pains
as we laugh and cry together
Hearts heavy, yet full of peace
Fully accepting and loving each other

Remembering the best of times
Sharing the stories that make us laugh
Revisiting the inside jokes only we understand
Relishing the treasure inside each others' hearts

For this journey is but a moment in time
and life is but a breath
Let us keep perspective of what matters
and what does not

J/ (C) 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Say what you want, but I am loving Facebook...

You may love it, hate it or just ignore it, but I love it...

I moved around ALOT between birth and college, and there are folks from many different times in my life I wanted to get back in touch with. Holy crap! Facebook has been like Classmates on steriods. 223 friends in about 3 - 4 weeks now... from all the way back to elementary school...

School friends, work friends, college friends, now friends, blog friends... dang, y'all... it's been crazy... I have it setup to notify my phone when I get a message or update, which means I can respond by mobile... I'm likin' it... Even had dinner with a couple of old friends that I reconnected with who now live closeby. Dang, y'all... did I say I'm lovin' it?

J/

Monday, October 06, 2008

Free at Last!




Free at last, free at last
Thank God, Almighty
I'm free at last...

I am officially "UNBURIED"...
Breathing again, writing songs again, and living life again...
So, What did I miss?????

J/

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Buried Alive...




Just a Girl asked me today if I am still alive...

Yeah, I am. This week's work, home and life have, however, pretty much buried me...

I will post again soon... I am just dealing with alot at the moment...

Thanks for dropping in, and for all of your encouragement and support...

Blessings & peace to you and yours...

J/

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens

Yes, I will walk through the valley if you want me to

This song has meant much more to me ever since we were able to fully surrender...
Before that, I hated it... Now, I find comfort in it... resting...

If You Want me To

by Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Chorus:
Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

ya oh oh no

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering that Your love put You through
And I walk through the darkness If You want me to

cause When I cross over Jordan, I'm gonna sing, gonna shout
Gonna look into your eyes and see you never let me down
So take me on the pathway that leads me home to you
And I will walk through the valley if you want me to

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'd like to say thanks... and recognize some others....



I received this award on September 11th from
Jen at Unglazed
Jen, Thanks very much...

and I'd like to also give it to some of the bloggers I enjoy the most...
Big Pissy at Southern Circle of Hell
BP, you are soulful and hilarious...
Oh, the Joys! at Oh, the Joys!
Girl, you got a way with words that is incredible... and a wit that just won't stop...
Kel at Cafe Kel
Your transparency and honesty are quite amazing... and your encouragement is a blessing...
and of course the Queen at Queen of the Mayhem
What can I say? You're amazing...

So y'all give em some love.....

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Connected...




I have three really best friends... We are connected. A very strong, unbreakable bond exists, and we did not create it. We accepted and welcomed it...

The first is my wife... she is amazing. Even with all of the pain, disability, suffering and loss she experiences so much of the time - she never ceases to amaze me with her positive outlook, determination and hope. She is my very best and closest friend. She brings out the very best in me, although at times, our circumstances have brought out the very worst. She has offered more love, forgiveness, acceptance, grace and understanding than anyone I know. We share so many inside jokes, movie lines and laughs. She is the very best.

The second is my friend - who I will call William, because it is one of his names, and it says so much - Will I Am... He is closer than a brother to me. When I am with him, I am never self-conscious. I am myself at my truest and best. He is one of the very few most trustworthy, accepting and encouraging people I have ever known. We laugh together, cry together, know each other very well, find ways to make time to get together for any reason or no reason at all, or call or text or whatever... if either of us goes a few days without contacting the other, the other one reaches out. He has taught me patience, understanding, peacefulness, resting, healing from deep wounds... he is like salt and light in my life, and we are completely open with each other.

The third is his wife. She is an amazing, graceful, peaceful, insightful, encouraging, positive, kind, gentle, radical, incredible, sometimes firey and always powerful (spiritually) person. Their love for each other and for us has changed us deeply forever. Being able to observe their marriage has encouraged, even provoked, us to move into the same type of deep, everlasting, accepting relationship.

The best of all is when the four of us are able to all get together and talk. Sometimes it's just a hilarious time - laughter, joy, peace, fun - sometimes off color and "irreverant", if there were such a thing... Other times, we have prayed together, shared visions and dreams, shared problems and burdens, supported and loved each other. What Daddy created in these relationships is unlike anything any of us have ever known. Our commitment and loyalty to each other is a bedrock foundation, in the common rock of our Daddy God. We are in keeping relationships with each other - and we encourage and support each other as we all grow, while still keeping us young and pliable -teachable, as children.

As you read this, I pray that you know or will know relationships like this in your own life. May the Lord bring to you those who He intends be in your life. May all resistance and obstacles be removed, and may you be kept in perfect relationship by the love of our Father, as these relationships are inseparably bound to Him as well, in a many stranded cord, strong and unbreakable, true and authentic, safe and secure - Connected...

J/

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Gift.... and a new song...


There is a gift which I believe can only be given from one man to another. This gift was designed to be passed down from father to son, from one man to one becoming a man. This gift is more valuable and powerful than gold or fame. This gift alone can prepare and enable a young man to be the man he was intended to be.

Somewhere along the way, sometimes the gift is lost, and the transfer does not occur - perhaps because the father does not realize what the gift is, and its importance, or perhaps the father cannot give what he has never received nor possessed. Perhaps tension and distance between the father and son, or absence of the father, have made the giving of the gift impossible.

Yet, sometimes in these circumstances, another man is sent - one who understands and appreciates the gift, and values the young man. He invests his time and energy into making sure the gift is received and is securely held by the young man, for he understands that without the gift, the young man will never be the man he was intended to be, and his destiny will be aborted.

What might this gift be? The gift is the understanding and confidence to know that he has all that he needs within him to be the man he was created to be - he lacks nothing... you see, it takes a man to know a man... to be able to see within him the man he is to become and to reach in and begin to pull it out, so that the young man can see... and then the blessing of this gift having been given to him, can turn to approach his future, his life, and everything in it, as a man - no longer a boy, now strong and wild at heart, whole and free from wounds and the past, set free to know that he can succeed, that he is accepted and loved by one who welcomes him heartily into the brotherhood of Men... he has been given the gift of manhood - the title of "Man" has been bestowed and imprinted on his life, and he is forever changed.

And he heads bravely, head held high, into his future, giving the gift to those who he encounters along the way who have yet to receive it. Confident in his identity, he invests and risks, extending the strong hand of fellowship and love, to bring yet another young man into the brotherhood. Fathers, let us be such men, giving this gift to our sons. Brothers, let us extend the gift to those who have not yet been so fortunate to receive it by their own father's hand, and let us all remember that there is one great Father, who is father of us all...

The Gift...

Day by day, I watch you

I see the choices that you make
The things you make priority
and the paths you choose to take


I'm affected by your passion

and infected by your joy

You'll never know the impression you made

on me since I was just a boy

You were there at key transitions

And as I grew from boy to man

Someone was watching us
It was all part of His plan


You were there for me, accepting

Seeing the man that I would be
When no one else took the time

You shared your life with me

As we rowed across the water

and we talked for hours on end
You listened and you shared with me
and became my closest friend


As we walked through the forest

each sharing from our heart
Your words brought clarity and healing

to my life, in every part

You were always there for me

in the moments in my youth
When the choices mattered most

when I needed to hear the truth

And you invested deep in me

giving me the gift of time

Even when your life was busy
you would be a part of mine


So I thank you, my friend and father

though I was not born to you
You've impacted me so deeply
through the things you chose to do

I've taken your example

and invested in those I see

I have loved and accepted
In the same way you cared for me

I appreciate it more now

how you prepared me to be a man

And I sense that He is very pleased
It was all part of His plan

So perhaps the gift of manhood

is only passed from man to man

And each of us who receives it
should take the time to understand


That we bear a wonderful burden

to take the gift we have and share
Passing it on to generations
Letting them know how much we care


Giving confidence that they possess

everything that they will need
To be the man they were made to be

to be fully prepared to succeed


As one who was given this gift through you

I want to express my joy
For you showed me how to look and see
the man within this boy

(C) JAD, 2008.

For Ritchie Mullen, with eternal gratitude...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Breaking Through


I wrote this song this morning, reflecting on my process... and the picture I get of it... like a baby bird developing and slowly breaking through the shell out into the world... if he does not go through this process, he will not be strong enough to survive, and will die... I am thankful for my process, because I have been made strong through it...


Breaking Through


Quietly, I hear it
A tapping in my Soul
A longing to break free

and be made whole

Slowly getting louder now
I know it won't be long
Til my spirit breaks free
and I am made strong

In my weakness Your strength is perfect

In my stumbling You are there
In my loneliness, I hear You

and I feel Your loving care

I'm breaking through
to be who You made me to be
All because of You
I'm starting to see

I can see the light
breaking through the dark
Shining deep within

Illuminating every part


Never more alone
only set apart
Given a new mind
to join my new heart


I'm breaking through

to be who You made me to be
All because of You
I'm starting to see

Help me to see
Help me to be
All that I am
All that I am to be


I'm breaking through

Breaking through to see
I'm breaking through
Breaking through to be


I'm breaking through

Breaking through to me -
the real me
The me I was always meant to be


(c) JAD, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Writing again...


The Invasion of Realization

In the stillness of the moment
as I sit here, all alone
When so much that I had hoped for
and dreamed of seems so gone

When each moment seems a lifetime
full of so much grief and pain
and the days all run together
it seems they're all the same

And then I see You there beside me
coming close, to share my pain
Then You flood my heart with hope and joy
as You softly speak my name

I feel Your breath so warm upon me
melting all my fears away
and I find myself without the words
I so much want to say

How can I express
what You've done to me?
Through Your tenderness
I now can see
that You've been here, all the while
loving me, Your broken child
and I know that I can never be the same

(C) 2008, JAD

J/

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You've shared all those other intimate moments...

Before playing the video, you may want to stop the music playlist by hitting pause on the player at the bottom of the page, so that you can hear the audio...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gettin Enuf FIBER? Posted for my friend, Anglophile Football Fanatic...

This one is posted for my friend, Anglophile Football Fanatic... as requested...

Enjoy!

J/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mommie's Little Helper - What Parents Need Whose Kids Haven't Gone Back to School Yet




Posted for my friend Carrie (linked to title)... as well as O, the Joys, Queen of the Mayhem and my other favorite bloggers who occasionally just need a little extra help with the kids...

J/

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Definitely CRACKED, I am...

I think I must be definitely cracked... or getting really close... long days, short nights, not sleeping much, and then they had to go and start school back up, which means I rise at 5:45am... well, let's be honest, "rising" is an overstatement... more like I pour myself over the footboard of the bed and onto the hardwood floor... there isn't any excitement or enthusiasm there... just the kind of "time to make the donuts", got to get going or the truency cops will be knocking down my door...

Well, successful launch on day 1 of school... All downhill from here, I suppose. Kids are riding the bus this year for the first time, which means I don't have to drive 30 mins each way, which is a blessing and a half. They are happy as clams now that the unknown is over with... They are loving it - both of them have several friends on the bus, and they get there nice and early and they have noticed Daddy is stress free when he arrives at the bus stop to pick them up - YAY for us all!!!



Back to the subject - I am definitely cracked.. but it's ok... some of my old friends (HS, College, etc) on the link above (title)... lovin' facebook... connected with a BUNCH of friends from way back...

J/

Thursday, August 07, 2008

On a more serious note... Tyler Waldorf


I am seriously loving some new songs by Tyler Waldorf. Some of his songs, "Sinkin Slowly" & "Angels in Words" (my personal favorite) have been featured lately on Army Wives. They are incredibly soulful and well written...

The thing that sucks is - Can't get them in CD or iTunes or MP3 format at the moment... so I sent him a note, telling him how much I appreciate his work, and would love to know where to buy some of his songs...
here was the response...

Tyler Waldorf sent you a message:
-----------------
Subject: RE: Your music
I'm re-recording a few songs then an ep and that will be for sale.

Thanks for the kind words.

-Ty...
----------------


Dude responded in like 8 hours... I was seriously impressed... and I am really looking forward to being able to buy his songs...
Click on the title above to hear a few of his songs... (may want to pause my player below first, to avoid overlap)...

J/

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No Place Like Home...


Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home... Well, we are back home now. 10 days, 3 cities, 2 airplanes, 1 cancellation, 1 delay, 1 car, a dozen taxi's, a few deli's, a steak, mussels, dim sum, one hotel, and the sights and sounds... Always good to see the view from the end of the street again, and enjoy sleeping in my own bed again. Thanks, again, to all of you who thought about us and prayed for us as we drove, flew, got tested, saw doctors, etc. The outcome was good, the travel was tolerable and we are now back for a while.
The only wrinkle in the whole thing was that Delta cancelled our flight back, booked us onto another flight 4 hours later, then delayed that flight for an hour and a half... so... long story short, we got back into the south at midnight, rather than our planned 7pm arrival time. At least they bumped us up to first class for the trouble. Wish I could have used the formula above and clicked our heels together and been transported instantly to home... now that would be awesome.
All in all, a great trip, and good news from our doctors. Modifying the protocol a bit, and hoping for some great results...
I must say, to be fair to my friends in the NorthEast.... people in NYC are definitely more helpful and thoughtful to those in wheelchairs than the folks we run into elsewhere (mainly, the South)... I mean, constantly, someone was there to open and hold doors, offer to help, assist with holding the wheelchair as we transferred K into and out of it... and it wasn't just this trip - it has been this way EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Thanks so much to all of those who helped us in so many ways, and especially for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, for helping us through a difficult time, by blessing us in a very special way. We are truly blessed and loved and provided for - we can clearly see how all is working together for our good.
J/

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back in the Big Apple.....




Well, we are back in NYC again for another round of doctor visits and tests. The energy here is amazing, and really uplifting to us both. Tests are now behind us (today), and two office visits are set for tomorrow, so we are hoping for some promising news and for the doctors to have some wisdom in the treatment protocols.


On a lighter note, I am loving eating at the Chinese restaurant here across the street, as well as the Deli and some other favorite haunts here. The Times Square area is my favorite area to stay and to walk around...


Tomorrow after the appointment, we will pickup some takeout from Rosie O'Grady's (another favorite), and then pack up to leave for LaGuardia on Wednesday morning...


If you are a praying person, we would appreciate your prayers - for wisdom for our doctors, healing for K, safe travel home, continued provision and blessings for all who have helped us in so very many ways...


J/

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Need I say more??? But seriously...

Seriously, being able to love the people in our lives - all of them, and all of the time - is an amazing and uncommon thing. I'd love to say I always do, but there's already enough BS in the world... so I will say I try to... and the result is that I often succeed, but sometimes not so much... Thoughts of judgement and harsh responses when my goals are blocked, or when I am tired, irritable or just being plain petty... sometimes, they come out and dance around my brain and out of my mouth before I can obliterate them. Sometimes, loving someone also means loving them enough to gently speak truth in love. Sometimes, loving them is refusing to enable them in destructive behaviors...

I think the older I get, the more compassionate and easy going I become. After years of impatience, frustration and venting, hurting others with careless words as a young man, something has died... and I am glad... funeral is over on that raging, silly person... so now, it's more working on the internal part - the one nobody much sees but me... and a very few who are really close to me. Working out those little nagging thoughts and attitudes that are not loving... so that I can truly pour myself out, selflessly, for those I love, and to let them know that nothing is more important to me than they are...

and that - would be complete success...
at least, as I define it...

J/

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is "W" is for "wind"?








Download video

- You can Download in MP4 or FLV format

Red Wines Make Meat Healthier? No kidding?



And all this time, I just thought they tasted good together...
(Click title to see the article)...
Gotta run... my Merlot and Filet Mignon are calling out to me, begging me to be healthier...

=)
J/

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Waiting for My Real Life to Begin... and Resting...




Waiting for My Real Life to Begin, by Colin Hay

Any minute now my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll stand on the bow
And feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down, down, down on me

And you said,"Be still, my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
"Don't you understand?
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path
And up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my own footsteps once again

And you say,"Just be here now
Forget about the past
Your mask is wearing thin
"Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine
There's sure to be that call
It's gonna happen soon, soon, oh so very soon
It's just that times are lean

And you say,"Be still, my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
"Don't you understand?
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Hey heyeyeyeyey
Hey yeeeeeee
Hey heyeyeyeyey
Eeh eeh eeh eeh eh x5

On a clear day
I can see, see for a long way
On a clear day
I can see, see a very long way
In many ways, this song has expressed my heart through the difficult times over the past few years. A very dear friend also shared a prayer with me tonight that has expressed where I WANT to be, and sometimes where I am...

The Welcome Prayer, by Father Thomas Keating:

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment
because I know it is for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings,
emotions, persons,
situations and conclusions.
I let go of my desire for security.

I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God
and to the healing action and grace within.

AMEN

My desire is to live in the perfect balance of hope and peace - the hope of the plans and paths Daddy has for us, tempered by the peace of finding contentment in accepting and coming to terms with the circumstances and situations of the current moments... to live within each moment. When we are trapped in the yesterdays (of regret) or the tomorrows (of deferred hope or of worry and dread), we are paralyzed and miss the NOW. It is only in the peace of the current moment where we can actually live, love and move.

Please share insights and reflections from your own heart, if you are so moved.... I believe each of us may benefit from each others' experiences and hearts...

J/

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Man, What a Good Lookin' Baby...

See!!! I was a good lookin' baby... not sure what happened along the way... but hey, at least I had a run there... King of the playpen... I was digging through the old albums and ran across it, so I thought I'd share...

J/

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It ain't what you don't know....


“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” Mark Twain

Words to live by. Ain't it the truth? We often thinks we knows so much, and soon find out what we know is just - well - WRONG.

The longer I live, the more I realize just how much I don't know. In the last 10 years, so many of the things I was so sure of have changed. I am still sure of a few things:

- Daddy God loves me, and even better - He LIKES me...
- I am defined by who He says I am, not by roles I fulfill...
- Relationship is better than being RIGHT, or following RULES...
- People are more important than THINGS...

Other than that, pretty much everything else is up for grabs...

=) J/

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lactose Intolerance, Anyone? Dairy-rrhea for Dummies who don't exercise self-control...

Well, perhaps the picture says it all.... at least that's the way I feel anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours after a healthy dose of DAIRY... resulting in several hours or even a few fun-filled days to follow enhanced by projectile DAIRY-rrhea...

Forget nuclear weapons - just figure out a way to deliver this tormenting affliction to terrorists across the globe! Sure to stop 'em cold!

Ok, so like I never drink milk outright (moo cow milk, goat milk, etc.)... know better than that, so now it's Vanilla Rice Drink (don't even think about calling that milk) or Chocolate Soy Milk (really - I mean, are there teets on soybeans that allow for "milking"? I studied Biology, and don't recall soybeans being MAMMALS). Even stopped nibbling the smallest bits of all cheeses, and shop regularly on the "non-cheese cheese" aisle, where there are untold delicacies of cheese-like substances made from soybeans, rice, almonds, and "vegetable protein" (whatever that is - maybe like the veggie equivalent of "mystery meat" we used to get in the high-school lunchroom??). And to top it all off, these non-milk milks and non-cheese cheeses cost about 3x what their mammalian counterparts do... you can't keep a straight face and tell me that rice or soybeans cost more to produce than moo cow freaking milk. I mean, you don't have to feed the soybeans, give them shots, milk them or shovel up their... well, I digress...

I stumbled on a "new" trigger this week - MILK chocolate... Who would have guessed it was real milk??? Duh! Well, let me tell you - truth in advertising, because my "you ate milk"-O-Meter registered a 7.9... and ALL IS NOT WELL...

And the Lacto-Free stuff don't work for me... Guess maybe it's more of an allergy to the cow's mammory juice... so if I want calcium, now I have to look for it where it don't belong... like in my orange juice... who thought that up? But, I have to maintain my strong bones and teeth - hard to do without those, so off I go to buy my naturally non-natural array of non-dairy dairy items and juice with added calcium (which, by the way, a beloved relative used to refer to as "cal-suh-mum" to "keep your bones suple" (pronounced "sue'-puhl", in the most wonderful southern south-carolinian drawl)). We miss ya, Ruby... anyway... back to my tyraid...

Not only is this non-dairy, non-lactose spread/slice/hunk/block of stuff expensive, it's also only to be found in the veggie aisle, or sometimes only in specialty stores altogether. Plus, I wonder if this might be affecting my ability to focus, be decisive and to remember things... but I am not really sure. What was I talking about?

Oh, well... nuf said...

Dairy Free in Tennessee

J/

Monday, June 30, 2008

Which Superhero are You?

Your results:
You are Superman

























Superman
85%
Green Lantern
80%
The Flash
75%
Spider-Man
70%
Supergirl
70%
Iron Man
65%
Wonder Woman
60%
Catwoman
60%
Robin
55%
Batman
45%
Hulk
45%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...



Whew! Glad to know why I have some interesting abilities, and now I know to avoid Kryptonite....

So - What superhero are you most like?

J/

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Take A Good Look....


Seems like it's really hard to get an ACCURATE view of ourselves... Some tend to see ourselves unrealistically by viewing ourselves as a great singer, dancer (ok, you don't think so? hey, have you seen the intro shows for American Idol???? So You Think You Can Dance??? Need I say more?????)...
And others see ourselves unrealistically in a negative way (no? ok, then why are plastic surgeons, diet and exercise companies, shows like "How to Look Good Naked" and so forth doing so very well???)..
Honestly, I don't think one way is better or worse than the other.... maybe both do damage - either to ourselves or to those around us by leading us to disappointment, disilluionment or destructive behavior. As painful as it may be, maybe it is important for all of us to take a step back from time to time and really attempt to view ourselves as objectively as possible.
From time to time, I ask myself questions like:
What kind of person am I?
What kind of friend am I?
Am I the kind of person I would want to be around?
Am I trustworthy and loyal?
Am I genuine and authentic? or do I role play to what is expected of me? or even put up a rejection front?
What lies might I be believing about myself? about others? about life?
Am I peaceful? deep within?
What are the things that I place the most value on?
Where do I spend/invest my time, energy & resources?
Who are my closest friends? Why are we friends?
Can I accept and love anyone, regardless of their demographics, background, lifestyle and decisions, beliefs?
Do I feel a need to compare myself to others? as better? as worse?
Do I have an accurate body image?
Do I accept myself completely - body, soul, spirit, emotions, mind?
Am I aware of those around me? of my purpose(s) in this life?
Have I been able to find my bliss?
Am I balanced? Dogmatic/legalistic? Judgemental? Harsh? Loving? Compassionate?
What are my worries? fears? and how am I responding to them?
What am I like when nobody else is around?
How do I feel when I am alone and quiet?
Just as the image of the cat above is distorted by the software that created it, often our self-images, body images and self-awareness are distorted by our programming and thinking...
affecting the energy eminating from us. I have to stop and reset from time to time - really evaluating where I am and what I am operating from - to be able to move back into seeing who I really am, as my Daddy sees me - as He made me to be....
J/

Howz Yer Thinkin?






Read this question, come up with an answer and then scroll down to the bottom for the result. This is not a trick question. It is as it reads.

A woman, while at the funeral for her own mother, met this guy whom she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing! She fell in love with him right there, but never asked for his number and could not find him later. A few days later she killed her sister.

Question: What is her motive in killing her sister? (Give this some thought before you answer).

SCROLL DOWN.





































































































Answer: She was hoping that the guy would appear at the funeral again. If you answered this correctly, you think like a psychopath.

This was a test by a famous American Psychologist used to test if one has the same mentality as a killer. Many arrested serial killers took part in the test and answered the question correctly.

If you didn't answer the question correctly good for you. If you got the answer correct, please let me know so I can take you off of my email list unless that will tick you off, then I'll just be extra nice to you from now on.
Heh!

J/

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Reflections for Today




Hope, Exhaustion, Peace, Reality


Just a glimmer of hope
The slightest improvement
What we used to think was a hard day
We now know to be a good day

So much we did not know
So much we still do not
Sometimes so difficult to understand
Five years now

So much time and effort
So much money spent
Sometimes seeming that the treatment
Is worse than the disease

How much can one withstand?
How long can this go on?
Longer than you would think
Longer than you would believe

When the days grow long (but never long enough)
And the bones are sore
From being awake so long
Not enough time for sleep

Well beyond the end of myself
So beyond what I thought could be
Feeling so alone and yet
Knowing I never am, nor can I be

Adversity seems to bring out
The very best and very worst
The rawest, truest self within
Testing hope and faith and trust

Nights are often hardest
Most exhausted, most empty
Finally finished for the day at 2am
Collapsing into my pillow

6am comes too early (has it only been a few minutes?)
Alarm screaming and demanding
Waking dead, and yet alive
New hope in the midst of challenge

Stumbling in the dark
Cold water in my face, dark circles under my eyes
Slowly coming into consciousness
So much to do, so few hours today

Wake the boys - Don't go back to sleep
Keep them moving
Breakfast, brush hair and teeth
Pack lunch and out the door

Another successful launch
Time to crash, close my eyes
For just a few precious moments of sleep
So elusive, but must catch them when I can

The demands of the day will soon be upon me again
Everyone needing, wanting
Right now! Urgent! Must be done!
So many so unaware...

In the midst of all the busy-ness
Finding the quiet place
Of unsurpassed peace
Where You are...

Suddenly easy
Efforless
Resting
Perfect

(C) 2008, Goteeman

Monday, March 03, 2008

Doing It Anyway....

With all that is going on in our lives right now, totally relating to this song - and doing it anyway...
To hear it - Click on the title (Do It Anyway) or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FdB5Adws78

Enjoy!

J/



Anyway
Artist(Band):Martina McBride



You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray
It doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yea- I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy
It's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
In a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray
It doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yea - I do it anyway

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yea, sing it anyway
Yeah, yeah!

I sing
I dream
I love anyway

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

R U Anal Retentive?







breaking from the serious for a moment.....



quiz - are you anal-retentive? and if so, how much?


Helps me know how to better respond to you! HA!


and just sose you know, here were my results:













You Are Not Anal Retentive


You're definitely not uptight... in fact, with you anything goes.So what if you're a bit of a slob or if your hygiene isn't perfect?You're not stressing out about it - that's for sure.The only thing you're "anal" about is anal retentive people. You can't stand them!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Real or Plastic? Love or Judge?

I've been thinking about this alot lately....

Why are so many of us seemingly so consumed with what others think or expect of us? or worse yet, what we think they expect of us? I mean from Washington to the West Coast, it seems like image is the focus... the desire to be accepted and approved... We bust on politicians for swinging like a barn door in a windstorm, and yet, when it comes down to it, most of us cave to the pressures of expectations, either perceived or real...

So, Real or Plastic? I think that's the real choice... to be real or to be image... Real means risking rejection for who we really are... but plastic means something much worse, I think - it means rejecting ourselves...

On a similar line of thinking, what about how we relate to others? Sure, we're harder on ourselves than anyone else... but still, do we accept and love? or do we judge? Judging isn't just rejecting... we can judge someone good, as well, but it's still judgement. And on top of that, it's like most people want others to judge them - good, that is... Everything from acting out to see if rejection will be returned, to "do these pants make me look fat?"....

What a freedom to be able to simply love - to love ourselves and to love others - without the need to correct, label, reject or judge... just complete acceptance. I am so thankful to those who have loved me that way, and have forever impacted my life and my thinking. Without which I am not sure I would have ever believed it possible. Some can fake it for a few days or a few years, even... but these folks have consistenly demonstrated it for more than 10 years... You know who you are - thanks for showing me a better way, and for encouraging me to be who I am made to be...

Blessings and much love -
J/