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.
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.
At first I wasn’t sure how to write about the passing of Robin Williams…. one more devastating loss (aren’t they all?) to suicide. I simply didn’t have the words till now. As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying him on he Mork & Mindy show. I have loved him in almost all of his movies, especially Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come.
Yet, he is gone. By his own hand. As many have said, “He brought the world to laughter but today he brought the world to tears.”
Suicide is a nightmare. On my old blog I wrote about my friend of 23 years (someone I dated for a little while at the beginning of our friendship) Michael committed suicide in January of 2013. I was devastated for a while after finding out. I will never forget that morning and talking with my dear friend Amira. Today I still weep for Michael, time heals and brings perspective yet there is something about suicide that always wants to haunt and question.
The suicide of a friend/loved one is one of the worst “What if?” mind-scrambles there ever was/is/could be…
Blogging is in my blood. I love blogging. This year’s Dog Days of Summer Bloggabatical is necessary because I have some extra editing/writing work that will continue through the next couple of weeks (for clients.) I am of course also writing my book which is a collection of stories (real life, real people :)). But … I need to get back to consistent blogging.
Yo, got a lot to say … so, I’mma say it!
When I get to feeling like this, the itch to blog and lots of ideas, I tend to go overboard. I say things like, “and I am going to do this on this day and this on that day and that over there on another day… oh and I should work with a choreographer … create spectacular graphics … bedazzle a new leotard … where can I find an R2D2?”
This post was published on Dr. Kathy’s blog back in June. She wrote this as an introduction:
Today I’ve invited Randy Thomas to blog for me. He begins with a beautiful illustration from friends and contrasts their father-son relationship with his own. You may be able to relate to Randy’s sadness and grief. But, keep reading, because Randy writes about God becoming his new Father and that changes everything. Everything. He writes about the chase and I love how it ends. I wonder if you’re familiar with it. Read to find out. – Kathy
Four-year-old Isaac, with a flash of his bright eyes and curly blond hair, could pretty much convince you to do just about anything. That boy is a handful and all you can do is smile as you pull him off the next piece of furniture.
The staff were all gathered together for lunch one day when Isaac came by the office, along with his mother and sister, to visit his dad. After the meal was over, Isaac ran around the conference table taunting his father, “Catch me Daddy!” Every time he passed one of the guys that had gathered around for lunch, we would growl and try to hook him with our arms. He giggled that 4-year-old sunshine of a giggle, eluding our scary traps as he playfully derided us, “I passed you!”
“Lately, he likes to be chased and get caught,” his dad later explained to me.
Lately I have helped other friends with their books and that has sparked a new personal book project! I have been so excited it has been hard to sleep the past couple of nights.
If you are someone I am connected with on social media, you might have seen various posts lately about how I have the honor of working with Dr. Kathy Koch as she writes her new book “Screens And Teens: Connecting With Our Kids In A Wireless World.” So far I have done background research and given feedback on what she is writing as she writes it.
This comes on the heels of doing the same type of content/writing feedback for another friend’s memoir, Jennifer Allison (aka The Rambunctious Kid.)
Seriously, I am loving these kind of projects. While I haven’t been a part of his writing process, I am of course very excited for Alan Chambers who has worked very hard on his new book that is due out next year.
This post from my old blog has been brought to my attention several times within the past couple of weeks so I thought I would repost it for the record. I have only slightly edited it for information (ongoing) that is no longer relevant. For those that don’t know, or didn’t read this on my old blog, the particular night referenced below is one of the most powerful experiences I have had. This post was originally written July 8th, 2013.
On June 19th 2013, during the opening night of the Exodus Freedom Conference, I sat on the front row. Leslie was to my right and Kathy and the Exodus board to my left. All of us were providing each other, and Alan, support as we knew that Alan was making one of the most important keynote speeches of his life. He announced that Exodus is closing.
It was excruciating. The tension, the excitement, the knowledge of what was about to be said … my heart was racing and the tears came and went … to come back again. I had known that night was coming for a while, but there is a difference between knowing and experiencing.
It was quite the profound experience.
A new reader to the blog contacted me privately with the following. It is edited slightly to maintain confidentiality and for readability:
I have a quick question to ask and would appreciate your advice. My company was invited to attend a(n) :::edit::: event to honor LGBT older adults during pride month. Everyone is going but I’m not sure if I should attend. My friends are saying if I attend, it means I’m endorsing their lifestyle, politics, propaganda, etc. Perhaps but I don’t think so and don’t mind attending. I just want to listen and I’m also curious since I used to keep my distance from these things. So what do you think? My friends are saying talking to a LGBT person is very different from attending an organized event (true). They say I should only go if I’m going to hand out tracts or share the gospel which I don’t think is appropriate. It gets complicated when all my co-workers who aren’t Christians are attending but my friends say that’s fine.
Thank you so much for your message and question.
Regardless of the purpose of an event, attending specifically themed events will always be a matter of personal conscience. I will assume that your company isn’t making this mandatory so the exercise of personal conscience won’t have as dramatic (but probably still impactful) effect. That said, the relational aspect with your co-workers could be greatly blessed when they see you’re interest, humility, and willingness to listen.
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.
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.
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.
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.