Saturday, January 31, 2009

I’m glad we’re still friends

Pin It I have fallen behind on your lives, and for that I apologize.

I was reading…but like Gremlins, as quickly as I could get a few posts completed, even more of them sprung up.

I didn’t comment on many of your thoughts, stories, or varied experiences of life; just know that I read about them and let that be enough.

Now, tired, I drag myself to sleep.


Pin It Slightly updated at the end...

I have a lot to say.

Time is the problem.

So, what does one do?

Obviously, do what they really need or have to and let other things fall by the wayside.

Unfortunately, posting every day is one of those things.

I decided to make a donation to the Nie Nie Benefit Concert and Auction. If you’re interesting in bidding, please do, if not, my feelings will not be hurt…


Framed in either black or silver...Auctions #128 & 129.

Addendum: I added a few other prints as well; auctions #141 - 147

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Journal – The Search

Pin It There’s no other love quite like that of a mother.

Rewind: 12 or so years ago.

When I was living in Spokane, Washington, I was headed out to visit some friends late one night in Rockford. I was on the Argonne side of town, and had stopped off at SuperAmerica, a local gas station. When I went inside to pay for my fuel, I saw a woman—near hysterics—who was frantically telling the cashier that she was not familiar with this area, and had lost her car and her three young children who were in it.

My heart immediately went out to this woman, Rachel, who tearfully accepted my offer for help. As we began to drive down the side streets and alleyways she told her story. She and her three children, a ten year-old daughter, Savannah, and two sons, Ryan—who was eight, and Alex—who was two, had been driving to a friend’s house when their car had run out of gas. When it first started to splutter, she pulled off the main road to a side street. She figured that a gas station couldn’t be too far away. Thinking it was much too cold to take her children with her on a walk to find it, she told them to lock the doors and she would be right back.

It took Rachel nearly ten minutes to get to the gas station; once she got a borrowed gas can she found herself turned around, and couldn’t remember what direction she’d come from. She walked a bit in each direction, but soon realized that it was hopeless…she simply couldn’t remember where she’d left her car—and her children.

As we drove for the next 40 minutes I watched this woman as she broke into tears. She pleaded to the heavens. She even cursed at herself for her disorientation. There was nothing I could do…I could only to try to talk to her and be hopeful as we continued to drive up and down street after darkened street.

We couldn’t find them.

I was emitting silent prayers, imploring a loving God to show us the way…to help us to find her lost children.

No light or impressions came…we kept changing directions and cutting down street after street. “This looks familiar.” she’d say, becoming excited, but when her car was nowhere to be seen, she would begin to cry harder.

“What have I done!” she moaned. “I’ve lost my children!” She began to wring her hands and pull at her hair.

Rachel was at the breaking point.

I was starting to worry that something terrible had happened to her children.

Following a radical idea, I drove the other direction—opposite of where we’d been searching. In another few minutes we happened on a darkened street; in a bank parking lot I saw a police car.

The officer was standing next to a beige hatchback with three small children who were huddled together in the chilly evening air.

“It’s my kids!” Rachel shouted. Even before I had stopped the car Rachel had flung open the door and was sprinting toward her children. When she called their names they began to run to her…it was obvious that Savannah had tried to be brave for the sake of her brothers, but I could tell that she had been just as worried and scared as they were.

As I watched this little family embrace, I felt my heart flooding over with gratitude.

The officer asked a few questions as I emptied the contents of the gas can into her tank. In a few minutes the officer was finished, and Rachel’s children clambered back into the car; which was now running with the heater at full-throttle.

Savannah, Ryan, and Alex were relieved, they were safe.

Rachel faced me before climbing into her car. She had no words…nothing seemed to come. Her eyes again filled with tears as I asked if there was anything else they needed. She shook her head and then hugged me.

Words were not necessary, but she managed them anyway. “You’re an angel.” She whispered.

She climbed into her little car, and as I watched the taillights disappear into the darkness, I couldn’t help but whisper a prayer of thanks to a Heavenly Father who had watched out for these three little kids; and for their mother as she relentlessly searched for them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inversion Sunset

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I was driving home from school a few days ago and we were in the midst of this lovely inversion. The air was so polluted that you could see it like the hazy smoke of a distant fire.

It wasn’t great for the kids because they couldn’t go out to play; it wasn't good for the lungs either; however, it was wonderful for the sunsets.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Pin It I don’t know as if you came to my blog today looking for advice. If so, read on. If not, stop now, and click on somebody else’s.

Today’s post is the result of a proverbial ‘conversation’ I had with a friend who was feeling down. One who looked through a window of familiar ‘raintears’ streaking the glass.

I wonder…how often do we look at another person and think that they’re never sad, never have problems, or never worry?

If you’re anything like me, and have such amazing friends, you look at many of them and think that their life is perfect—or nearly so. It’s so easy to become envious of the monopoly they appear to have on the happiness of daily living.

Isn’t it?

I have recently been reminded that we all have problems—we all have struggles—we all have moments when we’re sad. There are even moments when we feel the weight of life pressing down on us, sometimes in a way which produces, genuine, physical pain. It doesn’t matter who we are—nobody is exempt from the pain life can sometimes induce.

There are times in my life, in my ‘adventures and misadventures’ where I reach a state when I just feel down. I hate my life. I almost wish to be someone else.

Have you ever felt that?

Sometimes, when these feelings come, I think that I just need to feel that way. I need these terrible moments to make the good times even more vivid and wonderful when they happen. However, I can’t allow the feelings of despair to consume me, for consume me they will.

I have to keep myself busy.
I need to remember why I’m here.
I need to do things which fill my life with purpose.
I have to create my own ‘holidays’ and celebrations which I can look forward to.
I must listen to songs which bring me up when I’m down.
I have to choose to remember all of the good times I once had, and know that I’m grateful that they were once mine.
I have to write to express what it is I am feeling.

So, do these always work?

Not always.

I had a thought while standing at the brink of Little Grand last week. In fact, I keep reminding myself of the decision I made while standing on the edge, with the winds of change buffeting me from all sides, and my incessant desire to fly: “To enjoy each and every moment, because before you know it, they’ll all be gone.”

I imagine how much I’ll laugh about my life existence when it’s over. How much I’ll put things into perspective. How much I’ll think to myself, “Self…that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

I envision those words when I am feeling down about my weight, about plans which didn’t work out, or when I find myself still struggling with habits.

Do I still feel sad?


There are times I allow the sadness to take me over, to engulf me, these are the times when I turn my eyes to the heavens and cry a penitent, “Why me?”

Always comes the same reply, “Why not you?”


In my life I’ve come to discover that when you're feeling that you're in a proverbial Hades...go through it. In fact, if you don't go through it, Hades is where you will stay.

Why I am I writing all of this? I guess because by writing this to you, I’m writing it to me. This is something I force myself to remember when the times get so bad I don’t want to go any further. I have to. If I let the pain or disappointment of life consume me, nothing will remain but the charred ashes of a worn-out soul.

I hope this helps. If not, simply click on another blog and pretend that you didn’t read this one. If so, I’m glad I was able to help with your own ‘raintears.’

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Journal – The Gift

Pin It I stumbled across my journals tonight. I was looking for something else when I found the stack of books I’d not looked at in years. One of these drew my attention. It was a blue, hardcover journal I’d written a flurry of years ago; in a time when I was making that transition from boyhood to manhood. In the front of this journal I wrote something a few years after my original entries:

“…In all the things in life we do, everything contains lessons…if only we look hard enough to see them.”

For the next few posts, I would like to share a few of the ‘gems’ hidden away in these pages…nestled amongst the frivolity and stupidity of a boy who has changed in so many ways from this person he once was, and in other ways, changed because of these experiences.

Rewind: 12 or so years ago.

When I graduated high school I moved to Spokane, Washington.

I worked at Ernst Home Center.

I also worked at a movie theater.

I used to sell popcorn and tear tickets.

Yet, during this time I never realized just how much the people at the movie theater cared about me.

On November 14th I was just finishing my shift at the theater; Vince Brown, one of the managers, said that he needed to see me after work.

I waited at the box office until Vince was done counting deposits.

He saw me waiting and asked me to follow him outside. I walked with him to his car in the lightly-falling snow, the white flakes spotting my black vest like flakes of ash from a bonfire.

Vince said that he wanted to show me something.

When we got to his car, he unlocked the back door and reached inside, saying, “Now, this is just a little something from me, and someone else who wishes to remain anonymous.”

He pulled out a large J.C. Penny bag.

I knew what was in that bag, even before he handed it to me.

“Vince, I can’t take that.” I protested, holding up both hands.

Vince shook his head, thrust the bag into my hands and said, “People care about you, Jason. You need to let them do things for you every once and awhile.”

He looked at me for another second. As I made to protest again he added, “You’ve been on the ‘giving’ end for so long, you need to know what it’s like being on the ‘getting’ end.”

With that he turned and walked away, leaving me in the falling snow, clutching the plastic bag with trembling fingers.

I watched as Vince returned to the theater without looking back, and I realized that I was crying. I stood there for nearly another minute…snowflakes settling in my hair and on my shoulders.

I had been coming to work that winter without a coat. I had lost my last one nearly a year before, and hadn’t put the money aside to buy another one yet. I figured that I could get by for the time being with a sweatshirt…which I did.

I remember Vince, Diane Cahalan, & Cori Wetzel all asking me at one time or another where my coat was. I always told them that I didn’t need one.

They hadn’t believed me.

As I opened the bag I saw the black and blue St. John’s Bay winter coat.

I felt a little ashamed that I had this jacket. It was undoubtedly expensive, and I didn’t feel like I deserved it.

I trudged to my car, wiping the snow away from the windshield and looked up at the darkened heavens. The snow continued to fall, and everything about me was silent. It was as if the entire world was asleep and I was the only one awake.

I opened my car door and put the bag inside, standing out in the chilly air, my breath appearing before me as puffs of steam. I reached back into my car and took the bag out. I removed the coat and slipped it over my shoulders.

It felt warm. Warm from the kindness of others

Friday, January 23, 2009


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What if I had nothing to say?

Nothing of great significance?

Would you still come?

What if I rambled on senselessly for paragraph after paragraph?

Or had single words on a line?

Would you still want to read what I’ve written?

What if I was purely selfish?

Writing about only the things important to me?

Would you find yourself disappointed?

What if you were reading this right now?

Wondering, “Does he suspect that I lurk anonymously?”

Would you let me know you came by?

I do not require an answer.

I just wonder…

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I hope you’re not offended…

Pin It I have a confession.

I saw you at the store today. You were looking at the pancake batter. I was picking up a few various and sundry items. I have to be honest…I sped up and walked quickly, avoiding your aisle altogether. It was not because I wouldn’t have liked to talk to you, but because I had no time.

I love the fact that discussions with you can be quite lengthy; however, I did not have the time to spend this evening…there were too many other things which had already ‘taken a number’ and were waiting in the wings for their turn.

So instead of making my presence known, I subtly moved to the cashier and made my purchase, glancing over my shoulder every now and again.

I drove home.

After preparing dinner for 19 people, making rolls which turned into a loaf of bread from rising too long, and whipping up three batches of cookie dough, I still find myself looking at the pile of Math tests I have yet to correct. Even now, I can still hear the incessant call of my bed upstairs as the clock rolls past ten.

Thanks, I knew you’d understand.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The San Rafael

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Photojournalistic Journey

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As an alternative to writing an extensive blog this evening, I instead prefer to share a small sampling of images from my weekend trip to Hiawatha, Utah. I choose to let this be a photojournalistic journey of a day into my life.

I wish I could have stayed longer; however, I am thankful that I seized a chance, and took a road less traveled.

A brief description of most of these photos can be found here.
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