Thursday, March 31, 2016

Extend yourself

We cannot choose who our family is, but that doesn't mean that you should just give up.  Families are the toughest of all relationships and can try your patience at the best of times and down right piss you off at the worst.  Like it or not you are stuck with them.  But just because you are stuck with them doesn't limit your options on what type of relationship you have or how close.  Let's face it families are dysfunctional and often hold you to a different standard than they do other people.  Sometimes, everything runs smoothly and others it can be a total uphill battle all the way.

Often a tragedy can tear a family apart and no matter how hard you try sometimes that hole just can't be mended.  My family was very close up until my grandmother passed away, once that happened the family drifted apart and years went by before lines of communication were once again tried.  Unfortunately, for the most part those attempts failed and my father's side of the family splintered.  A majority of the family remained in Pennsylvania while others moved away.  Facebook has become a way that I can keep track of some of the things that are going on with that side of the family.  Though not every member has an account, nor do they talk to me other than in passing.  I would assume that much of that has to do with my being gay and living so far away from them.

Now, my grandparents on my mother's side of the family have both passed.  My grandmother died first when I had just graduated high school, my grandfather more recently.  However, once my grandfather died my uncle turned very ugly towards my mother and tried to take everything that my grandfather left her.  This caused a huge rift that has never been mended, as a matter of fact my mother and her brother have not spoken since then.  Death can cause all sorts of ill feelings to come out, and there is always someone that feels that they deserve more than they got.  The truth of the matter is they didn't work for it, they didn't earn it, and whatever they got they should cherish, because at least they were thought of and not forgotten.  But, family dynamics are far from predictable.

No one is perfect, and siblings and parent can be harder on you and push you to your absolute limit.  However, as I have learned each of us can have an extended family, people that are like minded and accept you as you are.  Over the years I have cultivated and crafted my own unique group of brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles that are not related by blood, but by mindset and attitude.  These are the true friends that have stood by me through everything that I have been through, helped me pick up the pieces of my life when it has fallen apart.  They are the ones that have encouraged me and given me the moral support I needed when my health turned bad.  The are also the ones that have told me exactly how that felt, they have always been upfront and honest with me, no matter how much it hurt.  These are the friends that you need in your corner.  These are the ones that call you out on your bullshit and foolishness, and the same ones that are your cheering squad when you are on the right track and doing good.

Life doesn't give you any guaranties and you never know what might happen tomorrow.  So many people come through our lives and it is hard to know which ones are just there for a time or there to stay.  Think about it like this people are like dandelions that once their blooms fade away a puffy seed is sprouted that take flight on the breeze,  They drift and float driven by the whims and currents of the wind some of these seeds finally reach fertile ground and they spring roots and there they grow and become a new plant.  As an acquaintances come and go as if they are blown by the wind, but a few of these souls will actually take root and a friendship will grow and eventually bloom.

You would be amazed at how many individuals that I have come across that are only out for themselves and they had me in their sights to use and take advantage of.  I have been fooled on several occasions and have been hurt and abused, but we have to go through the bad to find the good ones.  Believe it or not there are still good people out there in the world, and if you are vigilant you will find them.  Any relationship that is toxic needs to be done away with, whether it is a family relationship or a friendship. If it is hurting you then you need to let it go and move on.

Families can be the most toxic of relationships if you let them.  No matter the circumstance, if they are not building you up and being supportive then I say cut them and let them be.  Find some way in which to have a relationship even if it is through Facebook or email.  Family is family, they are your blood. and they can hurt so much more deeply than anyone else you might come across.

I would leave you with this one piece of advice.  Extend yourself, create your own support structure and network with like minded people that care and nurture you. I think you will find yourself in a much brighter and happier place.  There is nothing wrong with a family of your own creation that supplements the one that you were born with.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Dawning of Understanding

You would be surprised where I come up with some of the thoughts that I write about here in my blog.  I have been writing in this blog since 2012 when I moved from Atlanta back to Florida.  You know it never dawned on me to question my daily existence till seriously till today.  What I am actually talking about is that I have never questioned in great detail why I have struggled so hard with money.  Of course like everyone I have toyed with it and complained about it but I never really truly took the time to actually explore this other than cursory.   But, tonight as I was walking out to the dumpster taking my kitchen trash out I got to thinking about the money problems my parents faced when I was growing up and began to compare them to the troubles that I have with my own expenses.  I came up with something a little bit startling.  I realized that the same problems my parents faced over and over again are no different then what I deal with from month to month, with one very big exception, instead of 4 mouths I am only feeding 2.  However, that is by my own choice and something that I have been thinking about a great deal lately.

I am now 47 years old and for the past 24 years or so, I have been supporting myself as well as others, these may have been family members, or people that I chose to help but all in all the absolute truth is that I was supporting them and they were living with me by my own choice.  As I have gotten older I now understand the sacrifices that my parents made to provide for me and my brother.  How they had to go out with things just so that we could have the things that we wanted and needed.  I am amazed at the strength and the commitment that went into the decisions that they made in order to work as hard as they did and pretty much just turn over that hard earned money to me and my brother so that we could do the things that we wanted to do when we were growing up.

My parents are some of the last baby boomers that generation that is now entering their late 60's and early 70's.  They worked all their lives and are just now getting to be able to retire. Unfortunately, for my mother she is now disabled and cannot enjoy her golden years like she would like too.  But, still the truth remains that I now understand some of what she and my father went through to make sure that there was always food on the table, a roof over our head, and clothes on our backs.  Not, only did they provide for those things, they went out of their way to make sure that we had allowance money, cars, and were able to go out and do the things that we desired to do.  Yes, I used the word desired! because in all reality, they probably couldn't afford to pay for the concerts that I went to see or pay for the rollerskating that I was fond of doing on the weekends.  Yet somehow the money was always there.  Yes, my parents bitched and complained, but I honestly think that they hid the worst of the financial issues from us kids and sheltered us from the harsh reality of bills and responsibility.

At first in my 20's I didn't understand why I was so sheltered and I often resented the fact that my parents were so strict and controlling.  But, let's face it money doesn't grow on trees and some of the things that I thought I should be able to do and experience, they probably just couldn't afford.  Now, that I have had this epiphany, I wonder if I didn't always know this on some level and maybe that is why I never rebelled too much when I was told NO?  I think in a dim recess of my mind I did know and I will be ever grateful to my parents for the things that I was able to do, things that some of my friends never had the privilege of doing because they came from homes that didn't have a dual income like mine did.

I worry about the young people today, that are having babies and children at such a young age.  I wonder how these young parents are going to be able to provide for their children in today's economy.  It is hard out there to find a decent job that pays sufficiently to raise a family on.  Especially when minimum wage is still so low.  Some states like California are making strides to try and help those young families by raising the minimum age to $15.00 per hour.  But not every state is in a financial situation to raise the minimum wage, and now that the food stamp program has been revamped to try break the cycle of people being dependent on the assistance.  However, what happens when the job placement programs fail to lead to sustained employment.  Or worse yet, what happens when that employment doesn't pay enough to keep these families fed and housed?    A band-aid fix is not what is needed in our country, we need more programs for job creation and a stronger economy. We tend to forget that America was once a manufacturing powerhouse and that factory and other blue collar jobs were easily found.  Skilled labor and tradesmen jobs used to proliferate our nation and allowed the birth of the middle class.  With today's inflation, national debt and soaring unemployment rate, the middle class is essentially evaporating.  There is a huge disparity between the lower and upper classes, and less middle class  to insulate the nation's economy.

Maybe you should take a good look at your own childhood, acknowledge the sacrifices and struggles that your parents went through.  Thank them for their efforts and tell them how much they appreciated everything that they did for you and that you finally have a dawning of understanding to what they went through while raising you.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Easter Weekend Holiday's

For those of us with Faith the Easter Holiday's are a time of reflection and rejoicing because from tragedy and betrayal comes rebirth, redemption and grace.  But more on that in a bit, it isn't surprising that Easter falls during the lasts weeks of March or the first Weeks of April depending on the leap year and how the calendar falls.  Before Jesus trial, execution and entombment and subsequent resurrection the earlier religions and faith's held spring rituals to usher in the new spring growth and the fertility of the land.  This custom varied in times and dates as well sometimes it would be held in April or as late as May 1.  It was also the annual time of year that the populace would come together in towns, villages, and cities. As the warm spring air denoted the earths return from it's dormant period and prior to the new years crops being sown in the fields, celebrations of life and birth could be found everywhere.  Spring is when these ancestors of ours would become betrothed and marriages performed and before the fall a new crop of children would be born.  Thus, was the world in ancient times.  Today life moves at a much faster pace, and people are waiting later in years to get married and some decide not to get tied down like that.  Putting their careers before family, and lets face it in today's world divorces are happening much faster than marriages are these days.

Yes, the earth goes through a long dormant season and when spring burst forth in the land and new growth can be seen and warmer temperatures arrive, we all feel more invigorated and full of life.  We do our spring cleaning and we get out in the warmer temperatures and explore the wonders of nature.  It is a busy time for farmers, because now work has to begin in earnest if they hope to get their crops planted in time. Fields must be plowed and soil fertilized and livestock must be moved to better pastures. It is also the time when we see life coming back to the land, birds returning from their southern homes and wondrous new birth of our woodland friends.  Every year the earth goes through this ritual and the endless circle of life continues.  In our modern world though it is almost as if the world awakes from a deep grey slumber that has held the land in hibernation and our moods in a dismal space that is hard for us to break through.  Of course we have just come through our Holiday traditions that ultimately begin with Halloween and end with the celebration of New Year, but from that time on we look forward to the first rays of spring with the hope that we will make it through the rest of the hard winter and get to once again have time off.   See much of the world has to toil and labor daily with only brief breaks in that endless drone of days in our established and practiced holidays.  So from Jan 1 to end of March there are no breaks for those in school or who work for a living. But as spring burst forth on the world hope looks forward to the time when we can once again have another break and spend it however we see fit, this has become known as Spring Break.  Which is celebrated across our nation and vary from school to school and also varies as to if you are in grade school or college.

Spring break has become a national tradition here in the U.S. and has made places famous for the millions of teenagers and students that flock to these destinations to celebrate the beginning of spring.  Places like Daytona Beach, South Beach, Pensacola, Miami and of course all over the west coast and far and wide in between.  Spring break has become major business and has brought billions of tourist dollars into communities all across the nation.  But to my dismay our religious holiday has once again become corrupted by the populace and has turned into a moneymaking and money driven beast and it just increases year after year.  Just look at how fast stores put up Christmas decorations now a days.  Industry and merchandising use these holiday's to pressure us into parting with that hard earned dollar that we struggle so hard to make and work all those extra hours to try and save.  Yet, before we know it everything saved has been spent on and around the holidays.  So what am I wanting you to take away from this entry is that the holiday is that the holiday isn't for going out and partying with your friends and spending all the money you have been working so hard to save.  It is supposed to be a religious holiday a time of reflection and give us time to break from our mundane worlds and for that brief period of time share reverence and fellowship with members of our own faith.

Do you know what the Easter Holiday is supposed to represent?  It represents just how fickle the people of the world can really become and how fear and prejudice can turn an adoring populace into a blood thirsty mob.  I am pretty sure most of you have heard the Story of Jesus Christ and His life on Earth.  But, I would like to remind you that our Lord and Savior just one week prior rode into Jerusalem to the cheering of the crowd and the laying of palm branches before his entry.  We call this Palm Sunday and it was foretold by the prophet Zechariah of Jesus's entry into Jerusalem.  Remember that even as He rode in to a cheering crowd Jesus was already aware of His fate and continued on into the city and did His Father's work.  Thus, on that following Thursday Jesus has His last supper with his disciples and then awaits in the Garden of Gethsemane for arrest.  From the wee hours of morning on Friday Jesus was to go through 6 trials and be tortured and ridiculed throughout by the very people He had come to witness to and turn them from their ways.  But, no the religious leaders and the very members of the church ultimately passed the buck and asked that the Roman Government do away with this heretic and blasphemer as they called him.  Remember when Jesus gave the sermon on Mount Olives He called the leaders of the church hypocrites and vipers, These men would not forget the slights they had heard from Jesus and so they beseeched Pilate the Roman governor to try Him.  Yet Pontius Pilate could find no guilt in Jesus and wanted to return free Him.  The religious leaders call together were called the Sanhedrin would not accept Pilate's rule and forced him to take Jesus to trial before Herod Antipas, but because Jesus refused to talk Herod return Him to Pilate.  Jesus by this time had been beaten repeated, abused in so many ways physically and mentally as well as emotionally, but Pilate repeatedly tried to return Jesus to the people having Him beaten to beyond recognition to try and satisfy the selfish whims of the church leaders.  They would not hear of it and so Jesus was forced to carry His own cross, wear a crown of thorns pushed down on his head and beaten all the way from Jerusalem to the hill of Galgatha, where even as the nails were driven into His hands and feet the soldiers gambled for His clothes, cursed Him and spit upon Him and still as He was raised up on that cross between 2 condemned thieves, He cried out "Forgive them for they know not what they do".  Even then Jesus still looked upon those who just a week before praised Him and rejoiced in His coming to Jerusalem, with compassion and understanding.

Before the execution was complete more atrocities were to befall Jesus, His side would be ruptured by a legionnaires spear, shouts and insults would be hurled and He was forced to drink vinegar and hyssop which would only increase His thirst and agony as He hung there.  Jesus' trial, torture and execution were drawn out from Midnight Thursday night/Friday morning to Noon.  The next 3 hours the populace stood around and watched as He hung there on that cross, and it was right before 3pm that Friday afternoon that Jesus lifted up His head and cried out in such anguish and pain "My God, My God why hast thou forsaken Me" and in those final moments the cloudy afternoon sky parted and a ray of golden sunlight broke through the heavens and shone upon His face and a white dove was seen to alight from a bush startling several of the roman guards and it flew directly over the 3 crosses that stood upon Galgotha's Hill.

Why have I shared this with you?  Because I want to turn you away from the Easter Bunny, the baskets, the coloring of eggs and remind you of the true miracles that took place over this weekend and what it signifies to me and my faith.  Jesus knew His fate, the time and hour of His death before ever entering into the city.  He would preach to those that gathered around him on Tuesday morning on the steps of the temple and tell that He would be arrested and put to death.  Yet, through it all He stayed and did what was expected and required of Him.  Men and women have always feared death since the time of Adam and Eve, for knowing that death was to come to them was one of the many truths learned when they ate of the forbidden fruit, yet He remarkably accepted His fate, and only once did He ask the Father to change it and that was while He waited and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  This is very significant to our walk of Faith for we should be fearless because through the sacrifice of Jesus, death has no hold over us any longer.  What else would I like you to know?  That He forgave those that persecuted, tried Him, condemned Him, and eventually killed Him.  But He didn't stop there, He heard the confession of the thief that hung next to Him and forgave Him too.  "He spoke that I will go there and prepare a place for you also".  So compassion, forgiveness and sorrow are traits that we as Christians should strive to emulate and share to the world around us.  But even more than that I would like to explain to you my belief as to why Jesus cried out in those final heartrending moments of His life "Why has thou forsaken Me?" In that instant Jesus felt the Father's gaze turn away from Him and He was troubled.  But in that moment it was not weakness, it was not fear, it was the acceptance of sin into Him and upon Him, for He was blameless and pure.  He took on our sins, now and forever, He became our sacrifice, He became the bridged that crossed the divide that resulted from Original Sin.  God could not look upon sin and took His eyes off of Jesus so that the promise of sacrifice could be fulfilled and the gap forever bridged.  Jesus became the intercessor.

But here are some other interesting things that you may not know that is significant about the Crucifixion of Jesus.  That golden beam of light that broke through the clouds and the white dove are both significant as well as the loud clap of thunder that took place as Jesus took His last breath.  The three things taken together are very significant indeed.  They mark the promise that God made to Abraham.  They also mark the end of being saved by Law.  Up until that point man was still under the law and yearly sacrifices had to be made and the high priest was the only one that could intercede on our behalf before God.  For you see the temple veil was torn in two, this veil separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple and it was where God Himself resided on Earth in the temple.  Only the high priest was allowed to enter.  Thus it marked the old testament and as such we are no longer bound by the law, for we are no saved by grace.  Jesus' teachings if heeded give us all the necessary ingredients we need to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  He only gave some very simple to follow rules and guidelines to follow.  So why is it so hard for today's Christians to get it together?  Why is there so much separation and strife within the Church?

In all of the teachings of Jesus, He stressed love for fellow man and to be accepting and forgiving.  Now many Bible scholar's believe that there are quite a few commandments given by Jesus throughout His ministry.  Yet, some of what these scholars deem as commandments are actually Jesus laying out the foundations for a whole new church that was not based on the original ten commandments that are in the Old Testament.  When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment Jesus replied " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second Is love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus stated that "all the law and the prophets hand on these two commandments." This can be found in Matthew 22:36-40). I hope you realize that this is my interpretation and I did not write the versus directly as they appear in the Bible.  I also find that the Golden Rule pretty much summarized the statements above.   For those of you that don't know the golden rule it can be found in Matthew 7:12 and it goes like this "Do unto others what you would have then do unto you",again not the entire verse, but the meaning has not been altered.  Jesus said "children obey your parents so that your days upon the earth may be many" and "go out and be fishers of men." and  "I am the way the truth and the light no man may come before the Father without me."  To me this sums up what is now expected of us.  Again, Bible scholars list quite a few more, but they are self explanatory and show a stark difference from the original ten commandments.

Jesus wants us to love and honor one another, to build up and not tear down each other.  Our reward is not here on earth but when we get to heaven.  Life is our proving ground and as a believer we should strive daily to live our life as Jesus did.  None of us are perfect and we must pick ourselves up and rebuke sin and our wicked self daily.

Easter to me is about remembering the sacrifice of our Savior, and it is a celebration of His life, His teaching and His death and Resurrection.  It shouldn't be another merchant corrupted holiday that is carefully crafted with bunnies, baskets and eggs.  We should remember that through Grace we are saved and sanctified with salvation.  For without the blood shed by Jesus on that cross the great divide that existed between God and man caused by eating of the forbidden fruit wouldn't have been bridged.

This is the time for us to reach out to our fellow man with a hand of love and compassion, to give of ourselves and turn away from vengence.  We are to hate the sin and love the person, our greatest gift we can give to those around us is compassion and love.  How much better a place the world would be if it was full of love.  That we could break the bigotry and hate that is so prevalent today.  Beware of any church or organizations that teach divisiveness and intolerance.  Who ostracize others because the are different in some way or don't believe the way they do for this is not the teachings of my Lord and Savior.

So as I leave you tonight I would like to remind you that each and everyone of us was created in the image of God, but we are human and we make mistakes.  How we handle and come back from those mistakes makes us unique and stronger.  Each of us has within us the capacity to do great good or great evil and the line between the two is very thin indeed.  So, appreciate those that love and care for you, pray for those that don't and be ever vigilant.  Love often and completely, you will be amazed at how much love you get in return.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tiny Boxes

I am sitting here tonight and I have dark thoughts running through my head.  Earlier today I was reading about star that have gone out of our lives by suicide.  Robin Williams was always someone that cheered me up and brightened my mood, no matter what he was performing in I was always interested.  He is gone by his own hand and it got me to thinking about the tiny boxes that surround each and everyone of us.  The boxes I am referring to are boxes we are placed in by others through stereotypes and labels.  Yet, that is just one type of box, I look out my window and I see all the boxes others live in and these too interest me.  But, no matter the type of box each one of them has a story hidden inside.

Most people never look behind the labels or stereotypes to see the person that is staring back at them, and in our own homes there is a drama all of our own that is also obscured and unseen.  It is getting dark outside now and the light in each window are coming on and I wonder if the people behind them are thinking about me like I am sitting here thinking about them.  I am not a solitary person, have never liked to be alone and have never experienced for any length of time being on my own and alone.  My story intersects with a so many different lives that I sort of have a vicarious life through them.  But these boxes hold secrets, tears, pain, fears, longings and so many other things that I cry out feeling for each one wondering who is in their life that is helping them deal with life and existence.

I have been categorized so many times in my life that I defy one specific stereotype, but yet I still feel isolated and alone.  I sit here with my computer and reach out in to the night hoping that someone out there is in a better circumstance just because they know me.  I wonder how many lives I have helped, changed, inspired or nurtured and might they remember me after I am gone.  When I am left alone too long I start to fear that I haven't done enough, been enough or hear enough.  I cry on the inside because I cringe and am afraid of myself and who I am.

So many people on Facebook and throughout my life have passed on through few have ever taken root and stayed for any length of time, and I wonder is it me?  Could I have been more? done more? said more? felt more?  I don't think I will ever know.  I have been myself and that is all that anyone can ask for.  Those few who have taken root and who are still around and in my life today our relationship has changed, we are scattered far apart and we only talk every once in a while maybe by phone, email, facebook or text, but it just isn't the same.

So as I write to you tonight I want you to think about the people around you that are at home in there tiny box, think about their story, their truth, because each and every light on in those windows has a person behind it and a story that is uniquely their own.  Just like you and I have.  I would encourage you to be a helper, companion, friend, someone others can talk to and depend on.  I think if we can all do that and break down the walls that separate us the world will be a much happier and prettier place.

I don't want to die alone or feel like I am not cared for or loved, because I know that I am.  But so are each of you.  We have to get past those boxes, those walls that separate us and reach out to others, we are social creatures and we need others around us and in our lives, or at least I do.  I am thinking about all of you tonight as I sit in my chair here in my home all alone and wonder what is you are doing while I am writing?  I don't think anyone really ever wants to be alone or intends to be alone it just sort of happens and as we get older, it is hard for us to socialize and get around.  Maybe take a trip to a nursing home and visit some of the folks shut in there.  Each one of them has a history and a past, a story that they can share with you and trust me you will be better for hearing it and being a part of their life.

Bette Midler had a song called "Hello in There"  and if you really listen to the song she is telling the story of how as people get older they are sometimes alone and forgotten, I don't want to be forgotten, and I definitely don't want to be alone, but I have no children of my own, and my brother is far away, and most of my friends are either in another state or another city and I don't get to see them much at all.

We need to take care of one another we are the only ones that can.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Timing really is everything

You don't know how many times I shake my head in disbelief as I let opportunity and change slip through my fingers.  Now, today I am sitting here thinking about timing and just how important it really is in our lives.  How many times have you missed opportunities or relationships because your time is not the same as the other persons?  I know that this has happened too me so many times in my life and I have grown accustomed to settling for what has been left once that moment has passed. I couldn't have imagined a year ago that I would be a this place in my life, relying on others for help, rides and favors.  Even if I had, there have been so many things that I could have done had I just been careful and aware of my timing.

Today, I tried to get a dentist appointment rescheduled for several reasons, one because I have just gotten out of the hospital, two I really don't have transportation necessary to get to the appointment and three that asking my father for a ride has become very difficult.  When I called the dentist she told me that because funding was about to go away at the end of the month this appointment was really necessary if I wanted to get the work done that I need and have been approved for.  Once again that thing called timing.

I was speaking to an ex last night who has remained a very close friend of mine ever since we broke up.  He is moving to Philadelphia over the weekend and it troubled me.  See, I had come from Atlanta because my health was bottoming out and everyone thought that I was going to die.  But, when I got here I got better and pushed myself to get up on my feet and on my own.  I asked him then to come to Florida and begin again, but he wasn't really ready, and he kept putting it off.  Nearly two years went by and he finally had made a decision that it was time for him to change and get away from Atlanta, I had just gone through a very tough break up and ended up loosing my place to stay at this exact same time.  I thought we could figure it out and get a place together, but my health became a huge issue. It had been the start of the osteomylitis and the fracturing of my spine, and because I was back home at my parents house and had no place for him he ended up leaving and going to Jacksonville.  I ended up in a nursing home and then bounced around till I finally landed where I am at.  Our timing still way off from each other.  As I am writing this and thinking about what I am going through now, I wish things were different.  I really wanted him to come down here and at least be here while I go through these difficult health issues, but in a way that is totally unfair to him.  I need to do it for myself and maybe by myself.

I think about things that are going on in my daily life and I am not happy, I know that the person who is living with me is just here maybe in a way because he wants to be, but also due to circumstances and that isn't anyway to go forward.  I do dread being alone and being isolated.  In all honestly I have never lived alone before and I am not sure that I even know how.  I know that I need to sit down and talk with the person who is living with me now and changes need to happen.  But I am not sure what I really want nor do I have any real clue what he wants.  I just know that because of the tumor, life is going to get very difficult for me all over again.    I am not the most trusting soul in the world and I have pretty much no friends here in the Daytona Beach area.

Some people have uncanny timing and seem to glide through life effortlessly, I know that it is all a matter of perspective, but things seem to happen naturally for them.  I seem to never see the big picture until the time to act has passed.  In love and in life timing makes a big difference and impacts our daily lives in entirely different ways.  If you connect with some and they with you I suggest that no matter what is going on in your life, world or existence you owe it to yourself and them to explore it to the fullest.  Life is short and you don't want to live with regrets. Take stock of your situation and reach out to those you hold dear, and let them know it.  Don't use the excuse that the time is just not right, because if you don't act at that moment you may have lost it forever.   I am a big believer that we can create perfect moments for ourselves so we need use that ability to our advantage.

I can still remember when Bobby and I first met, we had just gotten off the train and were waiting for a bus to pull in to the station and take us where we needed to go.  We hit it off, found out that we had mutual likes and a definite attraction for one another.  He was homeless and I was just about to lose the place that I was living in, despite everything we managed to come together.  He kept telling me that he wasn't ready for a relationship that he had nothing to offer.  But the truth was we had one another and that was enough. Somehow we made it work and were together for 6 months or so before we let petty things get in the way such as drugs, addiction and a host of other things.  Since, that time we have never gotten back in sync and it seems that maybe our time will not ever come again.  Since, I am staying in Florida at least for a while and he is off to Pennsylvania at the beginning of the week.  Yet, somehow I have don't believe that never is an option, and I know that we will always be close friends.

I have to admit that I am lost right now, drifting on the waves of uncertainty and I don't know what to do to get my head on right.  Friends keep moving away or even dying and I wish that I had some people closer to me and who I could possibly talk to about the way that I am feeling, but unfortunately I don't. So I am at the hands of fate right now as I await the results of the biopsies and wonder which way I should look or turn too.  I have been in this location for 6 months and I am not happy, I feel isolated, lonely and afraid.  Where do I go?  Where should I turn?  I know that I am truly never alone that God is with me and has me in His hands but I spent much of the day home alone and been thinking and I know that change has got to come.  Though my days of adventure might be over for now, what should I do?

Any ideas?  Let me know,

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The death of Self

You may be wondering what I mean when I say that self must die.  During my recent hospitalizations I realized something profoundly important.  See, I know that God is with me and has His angels surrounding me at any given moment of the day.  We are truly never alone even when we feel that there is no one with us and feel weary and burdened.  Yet, the truth of the matter is that no matter what you are facing, going through, or experiencing we are truly never left alone and helpless.

Christians believe that when we are born again and baptized into our faith, that the Holy Spirit is imparted to us.  I believe this to mean that when we seek forgiveness for our sinful nature and repent of our sins before God, we are given a Comforter, whom I believe is the Holy Spirit and He takes up residence within us.  The Bible is pretty specific when talking about the Holy Spirit, rebirth and the indwelling and the Comforter is mentioned several times throughout the gospels.  However, when we are born again in Christ our spiritual body goes through a change and this change enables the Holy Spirit to take up residence within our being.  Remember that the body is a temple and should be treated as such and given the reverence and respect the House of the Lord deserves.

But what does it truly mean for one's self to die?  I believe that there comes a time when you realize that nothing you do would ever be enough to over come a problem or difficulty.  You may have some deep seeded fear or desire that you with the Lord to take care of. You bring it to Him in the form of prayer, and we are told that we are to leave it there.  What does that mean leave it there?  It means that once you present your problem to the Lord and lay it at His feet you must then walk away, do not think on it, dwell on it or worry about it ever again.  For if you do any of those things you have not truly left them at the feet of Jesus.

We all have had times when we feel that our prayers are going no higher than the ceiling and maybe you don't understand why, and you become anxious thinking that your prayer is not being answered or even heard. I want to reassure you that all prayers are heard, it is then our job to relinquish them and worry no more.  Know in your heart of hearts that the Lord is going to answer the prayer and deliver you from whatever circumstance you are going through.  Yet, here is the hard part, as humans we are used to doing things on our own, making a difference, and we almost always seem to use the term I.  I did this, I accomplished this, Look what I have done! etc.  Do you realize that you yourself are becoming a block to your own blessings?  Instead of giving credit where it is actually due, you are letting yourself get in the way.

So here I sit in a hospital bed, waiting to have a second surgery and hoping for the best possible outcome.  I know that there are hundreds of people out there right now praying for me.  They are praying for total healing, or maybe for skilled guidance of the surgeons hands or whatever the case maybe.  Those prayers are being heard even as they are thought of and uttered.  But, if I have not totally surrendered myself to the Will of God, I personally maybe the reason why those prayers are not fulfilled or realized.  I must let go of my fear, anxiety and worry and accept whatever God has planned for me and my life, I might miss out on all those powerful prayers that others are saying for me.

I know that even as the Father watches the sparrow, He is watching over me.  He will not allow me to needlessly let me suffer, and no matter what I am going through there is a lesson there that I must grasp and understand.  God is the great physician, He created this thing we call the body and He knows it down to it's smallest component.  He has graced me with the gift of life and if it be my time to go home than I shall rejoice with the Heavenly Host, but if it isn't my time then I have a lesson to learn and strength to be gathered from the experience.  I must truly surrender and accept that God is in control and He has the best healthcare plan in all the universe.

So I leave you now, knowing that I must have some sleep before the surgery in the morning and that I must give over and totally surrender everything I am and what I believe in order for me to receive the full blessing of the prayers that are being spoken on my behalf.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Keep on coming back for more!

No matter how much we fuss and fight with each other we keep coming back for more.  The truth is that we can't get enough of each other.  You complete the other half of me, the fit might not be perfect but you are the only thing that makes me feel the way that you do.

It is true that I pick and find fault it is just my way of telling you that I love you. but the truth is I wouldn't want you any other way.   Love is an impossible creature to hold down and name, but we have tried on so many different names and styles, but is you that I have always dreamed of.

You are my one and only and I hope that I am the same to you.  I have found home in your arms and comfort in your eyes.  I surrender to you because you are the light I follow in the darkness,  I know that in you find safe harbor and rest.

No matter how from you I roam it is you that is always on my mind. I miss your kiss, you touch and your sweet embrace. I count the minutes, hours and days till I see you again. No matter what we have been through I just can't get enough of you.

So, if you were to throw me out the door, I want you to know that I would keep coming back for more.  Because you are my Love, light and everything.  Yes, it is true I treasure and love everything about you.

As always, my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dare to Dream Make it Happen

Earlier today I posted an entry about fear, I gave a very simple plan to overcome and face that fear.  A way in which we can eliminate some of the risk and weigh the consequences to sway our decision making process.  But, there is something else that I would like to talk to you about.  Dare to dream, because we live in a world today that makes it possible for us to attain our dreams, if we just apply ourselves.  Make every decision with the goal of your dream firmly ahead of you.

Dreams are a wonderful thing, they can propel us to be better than ourselves.  One person can change the world, one idea can spark a universe of change.  Great leaders are called to service and if you are wondering by what I mean when I say called? I am talking about sharing your passion with the world, exploring your dreams and soaring to the heights of your imagination.  Life is short and fleeting, but each of us adds our own unique signature to the world as we pass through it.  We are unique works of art and we enhance the world that knows us.

I bet the Benjamin Franklin never thought that any of his letters or works of writing would be remembered and quoted hundreds of years after his death.  He was a diplomat, inventor, writer, and many other things.  What makes us worthy of being remembered in the history books?  Will we be remembered like the President, or a famous person?  Maybe not on such a grand scale.  But I will tell you that someone in this world who has been touched by you and your life and presence  will remember you always.  Who knows my writing maybe remembered way after I have left this world. 

I have been told that my writing is simply easy to understand and extremely to the point on many issues facing those around me and who read my blog.  But, my blog for me is mainly as a coping mechanism and a place where I can purge my inner pain and issues.  I have never wanted to be famous, I just wanted to be liked and have the ability to help people who are dearly in need.  My dream has always been to leave my mark on this world by knowing that I have touched, helped, inspired as many people as I could and that they will always remember me. 

You cannot succeed in this world if you don't try and apply effort.  You will only find true happiness within yourself. Trust me when I tell you that you will only enjoy the work that you do if it is what you have a passion for.  Celebrate your talent and follow your hearts desires, you owe it to yourself to be true to your dream.  Remember, that life is but a fleeting thing and we cannot all be famous, but we all can be remembered by our friends and those that have loved us.  

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Uncontrolled Fear

For the past 2 weeks I have been facing a fear that has become uncontrollable the longer that I have been dealing with my medical situation.  If you are familiar with my blog you will have undoubtedly read that I was told that I have a tumor growing rapidly in my right kidney.  Even worse than that the lab results that were taken this past Thursday show that my kidney functions are steadily on the decline.  This coupled with the fact that I have several other terminal illnesses that my body is also dealing with.  This has not left me with a comfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I am not sure what the right course of action is at this moment in time is for me and the treatments that the doctors are suggesting.

What is funny is that I am not afraid for myself.  I am afraid for the ones that might be left alone if I were to die.  Now that I have broached the subject of death, I might as well elaborate on what I am talking about and dealing with.  See I have known for a little while that I had the tumor, what I didn't know was the possibility of it being cancerous.  That pushed it into a realm of unworldliness for me.  I have faced cancer 4 other times in my life and I have managed to get by and survive.  Sometimes in tact and other times not so unscathed by the tragedy.  The last round was back in 2012 and I ended up with a second stoma that I now have to take care of daily, as if one wasn't enough already right.   But through it all I managed to survive only to break my leg a few weeks later.  I am a person who just doesn't have good luck at all  when it comes to my body and my health. 

Since 1992, I have been in a struggle for life versus cancer.  Each time I go into the battle weighing my options.  Most cases the quality of life is the most important factor I look at.  Because there are a few things that I fear such as living as a vegetable or being confined to a wheelchair or having another stroke that limits my mobility further than the spinal fractures have already produced.  My life has not been a paved road with roses, I have had more surgeries and procedures than most people have in an entire lifetime.  At the age of 23 I had my first bout with Cancer and here we are 24 years later and I am still dealing with it.  Sometimes the reason for the tumor has been because of radiation disease, however the treatment options have always been the same.  Surgery and then preventative chemotherapy.  What most people don't know is that each time you have chemotherapy the less likely the treatment will work for you.  Just like everytime you have an operation and go under anesthesia it is harder and harder to come back.  With both of these things being said having close to 29 abdominal surgeries and countless other biopsies, colonoscopies, and other treatments, how hard do you think this surgery is going to be for me?

I am a big proponent of hoping for the best and planning for the worst, because I know how much my body has been through over the years.  Which means I have every right to feel afraid.  Because time is very short on my end, I am trying to get everything wrapped up that I possibly can so that if a complication comes up there is a plan of action.  Now I am not saying that something is definitely crop up, but as my medical track record goes out of every 5 surgeries a complication had arose and I had to stay in the hospital way longer than was expected.  So at this point I have weighed this in my analysis of what is best way to proceed when dealing with the surgery and the doctor recommendations.  But here is another fun fact that goes into my equation.  I believe in the power of pray and I know that God is the ultimate healer and that if it is His will I will be completely healed from this an there will be no decline in my comfort of living.

Fear is one of the hardest emotions to pin down and overcome.  Fear is a force that needs to be reconned with.  It is an emotion that can hold you in place, and keep you from moving forward and taking the chance or surgery that is needed.  Fear is something that each of has from time to time.  Having fear doesn't mean that you are weak or that you are a chicken.  Fear is a normal reaction to scary situations and exploring unknown things.  Yet what makes one brave is confronting and dealing with the fear you are feeling.  You can also keep fear in check and use it to garner strength, the same with anger.  Anger is an emotion that can creep in at the most unexpected time, such as when you are frightened or scared.  It is triggered by the feeling of helplessness in that situation, but you must remain calm, know in your heart that this is only a momentary thing, that it will pass and you will not have to deal with it again.  Each time you conquer a fear you will be so much stronger and it will become easier to face the next fear that comes up,

Fear is something that can be beaten, you can gather greater strength and knowledge the more you face and control.  You may be wondering what my decision is about my surgery.  Since I have been worrying about this so much I decided that the best option for me was to have the surgery and face the outcome.  I doubt that my quality of life will improve, but I don't see how it could possibly diminish either by having it.  i have weighed both sides of the coin from the result of all the test that have come back.  My kidney function isn't improving and the medication that I take is building up a toxicity in my blood stream that the kidney can no longer filter out for me.  So at this point it seems that the best option for me to pursue is the one of having the tumor removed and sending off to see if it is malignant or benign.  Like I said earlier in the blog is that I am not afraid of dying and that is true.  I have a fear for those that I have left behind, for those people that I have been trying to help and all of those that I have helped and those that depend on my opinion and me.  But I know in the long run that everyone will be fine.  I just hope and pray that they remember me and do for someone else what I have done for them.

2016 was supposed to be a spectacular year with low or no incidences of health issues.  Lord knows that I would have love that, because in 2015 I only spent 4 days in the hospital versus the year before when I spend almost 10 full months in the hospital.  Life seemed to be getting better for me if you compare 2013 to now.  This time things feel different too me and I fear that I am going to have to face this surgery all by myself.  Long time readers will know that my biggest fear is dying alone and forgotten.  I have done so many things in my life for others that I believe that it will be very hard for anyone who has met me to forget me totally.  But the alone part is the hard thing that I am wrestling with now.  Because I am not sure what the outcome of this surgery is going to be, or where for that matter.  My VA doctors are wanting me to go to Tampa to the VA hospital there,  keep in mind that I live in Daytona Beach which is close to 3 hours away.  I do have an alternative plan when the Urologist here in Daytona could operate on me and bill the VA or medicare which ever one decides to pay. 

Weighing the pros and cons of a situation is one of my ways of dealing with problem situations and which ever column comes out with the list amount of entries is usually the way that I go.  But I also try to analyze the consequences of the choice that I have made.  If the cost and risk outweighs the benefit and least amount of consequence I move in that direction.  Each individual decision has a certain amount of risk involved and it is up to you to weigh the risks against the rewards and make a choice.  You can also try and mitigate some of the risks to make the rewards that much better.  I don't know what you are going through or if this might help someone else out there that might be going through something similar, but I hope that I can reach at least one person that might need the advice. 

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B