Party Barge & Car Surfing In Daytona Beach (Memoir)

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It was 1986. I was a senior in High School, and somehow I ended up with a group of guys at school sanding down an old short school bus. Two of them (brothers) had gotten the bus as a Spring Break present from their Dad. We gutted the thing, painted it black, and I painted, “Party Barge” on the sides. I also painted “Party Barge” on the little flip-out stop sign. It was no longer the iconic red and white flashing stop sign; it was now the solid black with gold Def Leppard-esque lettering “Party Barge” on it.

SO cool.

Surprisingly, my parents said I could go. However, like all the times before when I really wanted to do something, the night before they said I couldn’t go. They got mad because the boy’s father wanted them to sign a liability waiver for me to be in the Party Barge during spring break.

I don’t remember having a fit, but I do remember being incredibly angry. My parents relented at the last-minute (there is a lot to be written about that at a later date) and the next day the “Party Barge” crew headed to Pensacola.

Pensacola was boring. We thought MTV was there. They weren’t. However, we quickly traveled a million more miles to Daytona Beach where the MTV Spring Fest was actually happening.

It was wild.

I will never forget pulling up on the beach where there were practically naked young adults and crazy old people … EVERYWHERE! I was mesmerized.

My parents weren’t. I called them … eventually … to tell them we left Pensacola and were now in Daytona. To describe them as “not happy” is an understatement.

Visiting George At The Local Gayopolis

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Sunday, August 3rd 2014 was the first time I had been in a gay bar in over 23 years. I went right after church to go visit my friend George (a.k.a. Carmella Marcella Garcia) who I hadn’t seen in 27 years.

It was a trip.

Yes, it is a gay bar, it is the famous (infamous?) Parliament House (PH). It is known around the world from what I have been told. I have never been to it or even driven by it… until that Sunday.

Fourth of July Sushi, Prayer Request For Elbow, And Down Again This Week! (Health & Fitness Update)

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Here is today’s health and fitness update!  I appreciate those of you who read these and are supportive. I find that these weekend updates are helpful for me to do because it gives me a chance to evaluate the week and enjoy this journey a little more deeply. It’s how I roll :)

The Weight Loss Part

As of today I weighed in for Weight Watchers(WW) at 222.2. I lost another 1.6 pounds last weekThe rundown:

  • May 14, 2013: Was at 270 … total net loss to date, 47.8 pounds
  • On May 17, 2014 (Rejoined WW after stopping for three months) I weighed 238.2. Since rejoining I have lost 16 pounds

“Exodus International To Close…” – One Year After The Announcement

exodus logoOne year ago today was one of the most adrenaline filled/stressed-out days of my life. I knew that Alan Chambers was going to announce that we were closing Exodus that June 19th night. It was an incredible moment. One I will not forget. I am very proud of, and love, Alan for his intellect, bravery, and compassion.

I was the guy to hit publish on the press release and distributed it online while Alan was speaking. Definitely a personally catalytic moment in time.

Today I am not writing this to re-argue about the rightness of our decision. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was the correct decision to make. I am confident the Lord had orchestrated the entire situation; that He lead the staff, Alan, and the Board to that conclusion. I have a peace in my heart and simply know it was the right decision. I remain convinced it was for the best on many levels. I also stopped trying to convince others who disagree to agree with me. It is what it is. I’ve moved on and I hope others will too.

It’s A Gay Pride Time of Year

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Today I am seeing a lot of pictures from my gay friends on social media of various gay pride events they are attending. Gay pride events happen throughout the year but June is kind of the launch of the yearly gay pride season (please correct me if I am wrong.) Anyway, seeing all those pictures reminded me of an article I wrote on my old blog that I want to share with you again today. I hope you find it worth the read. It’s been slightly edited from its original version.

It’s A Gay Pride Time of Year

It’s that time of year again, drag queens strolling down main street, the activists groups chanting their slogans, and gogo dancers causing parade float designers nightmares (they just won’t stand still!) Then there is the other 90% of parade people like your neighbor Sarah, or cousin Bill and his partner walking along hand in hand. They commit to completing a long parade route to show solidarity with the LGBT community and/or cause represented within that sphere of influence. Common + Unity = Community. Everyone belongs to one (a community), or several (communities), because we are wired to want to be known by others and to know others.

Boop … Boop Boop … BLAM!!! (Health & Fitness Update)

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It has been a great week on the health and fitness fronts. I lost more weight than I expected, made a rather large dietary shift, and am feeling more powerful (upping my game) at the gym. I am so grateful for the folks who send along regular encouragement and inspiration! I still have quite a bit to go, but thank God, we have traveled a long way already. Yay :)!

The Weight Loss Part

As of today I weighed in for Weight Watchers (WW) at 227.6. I lost 4.2 more pounds last week! The rundown:

  • May 14, 2013: Was at 270 … total net loss to date, 42.4 pounds
  • Feb. 22, 2014: Weighed 228.4 after being on WW for six months and quitting after that weigh-in … today, now back on WW, I am down 0.8 pounds from that February weigh in.
  • May 17, 2014 (Rejoined WW ): Weighed 238.2 … in three weeks I have lost 10.6 pounds
  • Only 1.3 pounds left to lose to reach my next goal weight of 226.3. It’s not my final goal weight, just the first benchmark since restarting WW.

Last week I posted that I had lost 40 pounds… what was I thinking? I am not so great at on-the-fly math… I actually lost a net of 38.2 pounds (total) last week. This week I went past 40 pounds to a total loss of 42.4 pounds and I am so excited. :)

I am also very happy to be .8 pounds lighter than I was in February. I was kicking myself for gaining that almost ten pounds between February and May. However, that gain is now gone and then some!

#HappaRanda indeed :)

I will also probably drop that second bullet point in the rundown next week. Again, I do that rundown really to psyche myself up, but some of my bullet point friends appreciate the effort too. :)

Of Heart & Mind

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I can confidently say that God wired me to be an intuitive “feelings-first” type of person. I trust my feelings and intuition because that is, no question, how God made me. The problem is that in my efforts to test and find the meaning behind the intuition, I can be lazy and simply “assume” something to be true. Based on my gut feeling, I can explain away a situation or judge a relationship without actually paying attention to discovering the broader context of known facts. I do that much less now that I have gotten a bit older, but it can still be a struggle. I have learned to not act on my feelings before prayer, investigation, and reflection.

All that said, God also wired me with a brain and the ability to analyze and apply logic. I might be a feelings-first type of person, but I am not properly engaging the broad range of gifts God has given me if I only make decisions based on how I feel.

“LifeFlow” – The Journey Behind The Painting

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Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:38-42

Late February, maybe early March, I went to the art store. I had created a few paintings over the holidays and absolutely loved the refuge/communion that activity provided. While creating them I kept thinking, “This is a life-giving and affirming activity. This is a major part of who God created me to be.” However, as I stood looking at the blank canvasses in the art store, I was focusing on the smaller canvasses. It occurred to me to not “settle” for limiting my artistic vision.

So, I just went all hog-wild and chose a 3×4 foot canvas!

Buying this giant of a canvas literally made my stomach nervously rumble as I took it up to the counter to purchase.

I Want To Be A White Blood Cell

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When I was a new Christian, an older Christian was trying to help me find my “place” in the Body of Christ. She went with the common practice of using the “body” as an analogy since that is directly from the scriptures.

Randy, some of us are the heart of the Body of Christ; we have passion, love, feeling … Others of us are the hands of the Body of Christ; we serve, have the gift of hospitality … Jesus is of course our Head as the scripture states but others Believers are part of the brain of the Body of Christ; helping to teach …

I interrupted and asked, “I don’t think I rate being compared to a whole organ.” She looked confused. I continued, “For example, there are billions of Christians throughout time past, present, and future. What if we as an individual in this Great Big Beautiful Body are simply a red blood cell? A nephron? Capillary? A nose hair? I actually would LOVE to be a Neuron (nerve cell) or a Leukocyte (white blood cell)!”

She looked at me quizzically. I think she was amused. I was having fun, but I was also serious.

White blood cells rock. They look like little monster blob thingys. Like mutant superheroes, they kind of do their own specialized “mission.” See, when something foreign enters the body, or hurts the body, dun Dun … DUNNNN… white blood cells rush to the scene to defeat the enemy, clean up the mess, and help with the healing process.

What Is a Healthy Response To Harshly Judgmental People?

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The other day I saw a former friend ranting online. I judged him :) to be being super-duper mean-spirited and judgmental! At one point in our past friendship, he was all smiles and flattery. Now, I have been told he is telling people I am a false witness leading people to hell. I’ve never responded to him publicly and don’t plan to.

My initial response to him, in my heart and with a trusted friend, was FAR from a mature response. Eventually, I calmed down and asked God to give me wisdom for the situation. He reminded me of various things He has taught me over the years as well as a few new insights. I have discovered that I can apply the following to any situation regarding people I perceive to be harshly judgmental.