Friday, November 25, 2016

The Water is Wide

The time to write is once again right. Long story short my creativity burned out around the same time I quit doing art shows. It was at the same time as The Great Recession while I tried churning out crap that people could buy from Pier One Imports or Bed, Bath, and Beyond cheaper than I could make it. Am I bitter about people buying junk verses true art? Maybe. Okay, yes.
Regardless, my writing stopped. I've been singing once again the past few years in a classic rock band but that has not filled a void within me. The mojo is finally returning and the following is just a tiny (okay, really big) part in getting me to write once again. It is a piece partially taken for a secret Facebook group that focuses on kayaking which explains some of the specific references to the sport. I hope that each and every few of you that still read here have a terrific weekend.

How a Kayak Changed my Life
I don't remember the actual year (maybe 2008?) but church member David Freeland turned me on to kayaking. Our families were vacationing at the time on the South Carolina coast when my good friend was suffering from his own family tragedy. The peace Dave had while on the Water in the midst of his own grief was something I coveted. At the time I was told by my wife that there was no way, no how that I would get a kayak. We were just flat broke.
Years have now passed and on Father's Day this year my wife took me to Walmart (yes, I hate it too). My incredible wife bought me my first kayak! it is a 10' Sun Dolphin Aruba which she could only afford via her paycheck that came at the end of that month. This occurred at the end of our vacation on Lake Keowee, South Carolina paid for by a family member.
In recent months I have purchased another kayak wanting others to join me. I have a terrific friend (Tom Taylor) who has been patient with my family's circumstances and who invited me to this forum.
This is my point. I have discovered peace and tranquility on a floating vessel that I have never found on solid land. Foremost I am thankful for friends like David Freeland and Tom Taylor who may I add, have very different political and religious opinions from each other and possibly myself (even though all three of us have southern preachers within our families) yet we remain true friends for life - hopefully an example to others. The water is indeed wide. It accepts all. It bathes all. It can heal all if we let it.
Peace and love to all who are part of this Church.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Life Without Regrets

There really is no such thing.  That point was made so very clear via a farewell to life in a blog post written a few weeks ago by a friend from my past. I had no idea that she was sick even though we shared quite a few friends on Facebook and quite frankly I don't know how I would've responded since we hadn't seen or even heard from one another for close to two decades.  I'd like to think we would've rekindled our friendship...that she would've gained strength and courage knowing Ben's story...that I would've (like so many others) been there for her in the end.

I do know that through her words after death I have learned something new about regrets and failures: they are as much a part of the human experience as success, learning, growing, and most importantly love & forgiveness.  This is an e-mail I sent to several close friends and family today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Ben Video!

I cannot believe our young man is now 15! October was very much a celebration since we were told Ben probably wouldn't make it to age 10 much less his teenage years. Yes, we've had some rough stretches over the past few months with increased seizure activity - more of them, increased duration and strength but he is extremely healthy these days (knocking on wood). I hope you enjoy his smile, his laughter, his curiosity as much as we do!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A New Season

Yes! We are still here! Sorry for waiting roughly three years to update all of you wonderful folks that love and support Ben. Painful situations still surround us yet we somehow keep moving forward by God's grace.Actually I had this really cool and much more interesting post the other day but the computer ate it which means a) computers and technology have a mind of their/its own  or b) I'm getting so much older I don't really know what the hell I'm doing any longer. I choose "a."

Ben is now 14! He is very healthy and thriving like a young teenage boy should. In short he is AMAZING!!! Of course y'all knew this already. As you can see our boy still loves baseball. We took this photo about two hours after his Miracle League game last weekend and now our television is now dominated by Major League Baseball or anything resembling it on ESPN. The ladies of the house are kind and sort of proud of this with the upside being I no longer have to watch "Cake Boss" or "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding."

There is much more to blog about including our daughter being 17 and all (which includes a boyfriend), me getting job(s) that let me contribute to our budget (a little more so than the art shows), our home getting partially renovated by some incredible folks, and of course our most awesome and courageous boy!

It is good to be back and I know Ben is happy to be here as well!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Color Theory

The irony of not updating our blog for going on six weeks is that for the first time in a long time I actually have something, or rather lots of things, to write about. And for a change it all feels so positive and worthy of sharing. It seems that each day a new realization occurs to me, a little nugget of enlightenment or just a funny little anecdote about Ben, and I can't wait to sit down to write about it. Except the ebb and flow of sober living attracts me so much that I move on to the next thought, word, or action and I lose the time to physically tap out words to express my little brainstorm.

After saying that I have to confess there have been many moments over the last month that I've spent in the eyes of some just "wasting time" with my kids in the evenings. That may or may not include curling up on the couch with one of them for a big drooly smoochfest, or a passionate game of whatever Wii sport Jessie chooses to kick my ass in, or just lounging between two sleepy souls with two sets of long legs entangled on my lap admiring the incredibleness that defines my two kids.  95 days ago Jessie and Ben couldn't count on that foot-rubbing guy to be anything close to sociable later on in the evenings, much less having their dad even awake or alert enough to notice the value of such profound moments - moments that some parents never will get back. Thank God I am no longer one of those.

In between those short snippets of pure joy have been visits with my two brothers - the two most responsible people for my sobriety - including a trip to Tampa, Florida for spring training baseball games; a fun day-long excursion to a NASCAR race with two of the folks financially involved with renovations to Ben's living space; watching Jessie learn and play softball; and the not-so-great annual allergy roller-coaster of March many of us endure here in the southern United States. The irony of ironies? Ben has been the healthiest of us all the past month or so!

Life is indeed good. I guess if I looked hard enough I could find something to complain about but it is just too much fun right now noticing all of the terrific stuff - the family, the friends, the music, the laughter, the smiles, the colors - surrounding me at the moment. There's an old almost forgotten trick one of my art mentors taught me a long time ago to help me break out of a rut or encourage creativity when the painting ideas have dried up. "Take out a couple of your favorite paints and put a few blobs of color on your palette," he says to me. "Close your eyes and smell the fragrance of those pigments and binders. Now put your hand on your palette making sure you get a good amount of paint between your fingers - rub 'em together like your breaking up a clod of dirt." Finally he tells me, "Now open your eyes and look at your hand. You have a choice. Are you gonna go wash your hands or do something better with all that paint stuck to your paw?"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Dabs of Color: Character

"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."
"Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think."

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."

"Make yourself necessary to somebody."

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson