Daily Reflection

“Don’t judge a book by its cover ‘til you’ve read the book.” (Jamie Lee Curtis)

I came home late one evening recently to find my freshly manicured yard I had left earlier in the day now strewn with leaves, branches, and a bunch of other debris. It was obvious a quick, but heavy storm had passed on through. Although it was dark outside, I opted to walk around it for about thirty minutes with a bucket and a flashlight to pick up all the remnants that the winds had left behind when suddenly one of my neighbors who was drinking quite heavily on his front porch loudly criticized what I was doing and told me it was pretty ridiculous.

It’s in moments like this where the decision to respond can either come from a Higher Place or a much lower one. Thankfully, my work in recovery from addiction helped me to choose the former. When I told him that it wasn’t too long ago that alcohol and drugs and a number of other addictions had ruled my life, where all of my energy would have been invested at times just like then in nothing but those very things, solely because of all the memories I used to hide from that included my father’s suicide and mother’s tragic drunken fall down the stairs, he immediately apologized, not once, but multiple times, and said he was sorry for judging me. Even though he had been very inebriated, the truth I shared from my Spirit had been enough to cross the threshold of his numbed state and reach his heart.

Most people don’t understand any of my OCD-based actions whatsoever. They don’t comprehend things like keeping my yard and gardens so neat and orderly because they don’t know me and haven’t read my entire book, one that is a hard read, yet one that will make far more sense to my actions they deem as crazy, once they have. As then they truly will be able to grasp how much healthier it is for me to focus late night energy into cleaning up my yard, instead of drinking or drugging or numbing myself into oblivion with anything else I was once addicted to, solely to calm any negative memories from my past.

It’s easy to judge a book by its cover, yet until you’ve read the whole story, you have no idea what someone has been through and aren’t ever going to be able to fully understand…

Dear God, I know I’ve been guilty of judging others by what I’ve seen without really knowing. Help me the next time I find myself doing this, to remember not to judge a book by its cover and maybe instead choose to start reading more into the entire story.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“The funny thing about my life is when I am being selfless and try to help someone, they think I am mean and selfish. And finally, when I decide to stop putting efforts and try to be selfish, they realize I was selfless.” (Kajal Rai)

Quote #2

“I have found that the people who accuse you of being selfish are only doing so because you are not doing what they want, when they want, in the way they want you to do it and if that makes you selfish then so be it because really they are the ones who are being selfish for expecting you to meet their demands and needs ahead of your own.” (Tony T Robinson)

Quote #3

“If you could leave your selfishness, you could see you’ve been torturing your soul.” (Rumi)

Bonus Quote

“Love is what is left in a relationship when the selfishness is taken out.” (Nick Richardson)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude becomes the focus to start the week off with, which for today is for a day trip my partner Chris, our friend Denise, and I recently took to Uniontown, Ohio on a Saturday afternoon.

I want to start this gratitude off by first thanking Denise who has been a very wonderful house and cat sitter for Chris and I a number of times. Our cat Smokey has definitely taken a huge liking to her and always seems to get super excited anytime she comes over. That being said, Chris and I invited Denise to go on this day trip to Uniontown as our way of thanking her for her ongoing help to us.

So what’s in Uniontown, Ohio you may be wondering?

It might sound silly to some, but Uniontown has probably the best miniature golf course in the state of Ohio and one Chris and I love playing. Originally built almost 60 years ago now, Rolling Greens Miniature Golf is an extremely unique course with holes that are both whimsical and extremely challenging, yet also combine the elements of regular golf where one must chip the ball a good distance away to actually reach several of the holes. Unfortunately, the weather this year caused half of the course to be shut down on our last visit there when my friend Cedric was in town, so we decided to go back one more time.

It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from our house to get there and along the way, I must say I had a lot of fun in the car laughing and joking with Chris and Denise, two things I haven’t done much of lately in my life. And while it was indeed incredibly hot when we arrived, I was surely grateful to know that both courses were finally open this time. It really was great watching Denise go through each hole and be challenged by it like Chris and I were the first time we played there. I was pretty proud of her because she got a whole lot better by the middle of the second game! I was also quite stoked that I finally got my first hole in one there, and on one of the most challenging holes at that! Although the heat did its best to dampen the spirit, we were all thankful that it wasn’t crowded and no one was constantly waiting on our heels to keep moving along, which is something that often irritates both Chris and I when playing miniature golf.

Nevertheless, after we were done playing mini golf for the day, I helped Denise find a t-shirt at a local store to replace the drenched one she had worn. We all had gotten pretty soaked from our sweat from the heat. For the life of me, I can’t remember exactly what the slogan on the shirt said, but it was perfect for her personality and totally made me smile! Shortly thereafter, we went to a new place for dinner in the same building as the store where Denise got her t-shirt, a restaurant called Hartville Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery. Known for everything being made from scratch and reminding me a lot of what Cracker Barrell was probably like early on when it wasn’t such a huge chain, I must say we all had an incredible meal, especially my sweet potato casserole and the blue cheese dressing I had on my salad! We have yet to try our homemade desserts we got from the bakery there on our way out, but I’m sure they will only add to my gratefulness from that day.

My last bit of gratitude came on our way home when I got to enjoy getting Denise her very first Frappucino from Starbucks, while my partner had an Iced Dragon fruit Tea, and I of course had my favorite, that being a decaf soy mocha, extra hot.

It’s honestly not often I can say I have good days like this, usually because my pain always seems to affect that, so I’m most certainly grateful to God for a day trip Chris, Denise, and I took to Uniontown, Ohio.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

I decided to ask an easy and light question today, so here goes…

At the present time, what color do you like the most in life and what color do you like the least?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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Why Do The Selfish Seem To Often Prosper On This Planet?

Why does it always seem like those who live hedonistically, that tend to put their own needs, wants, and desires in front of everyone else’s, often seem to succeed in comparison to those who regularly try their best to be selfless, kind, and good-natured people on this planet?

I honestly wish I had the answer to this question, especially as of late, because I keep finding myself getting frustrated at the number of people I know who are promiscuous and yet have suffered no consequences whatsoever from doing so, even after years, and maybe even decades of living that way.

That being said, my personal sexual conduct was quite atrocious between 1995 and 2011. I definitely lived a hedonistic life to say the least for much of that time period until eventually my mind and body began to suffer because of it. So, why isn’t it that those who are still living like I once did, going through multiple sex partners on some type of regular basis, or regularly living in other hedonistic ways ever seemingly paying for it?

Many religious folks often answer this question with passages that basically say it’ll catch up to them in the long run. But, I’ve most certainly known people in this life who lived out their entire lives promiscuously, never once suffering even remotely close to what I’ve experienced thus far. Others often tell me not to worry about any of those still living hedonistically, because God has a great plan for me and all this suffering is going to eventually lead to it, yet nine years later, I’m really struggling to keep on believing that. And then there’s those who make sure to adamantly state that on judgment day all will receive accordingly to how they lived their lives, but if I go on that logic, most of those same people who say this, also feel that me being in a monogamous gay relationship is just as bad, so this point doesn’t hold much weight to me either. Regardless, I’m frustrated. Frustrated for continuing to see people doing the exact same things I once did hedonistically, yet never facing any ramifications from it and having great lives.

The fact is, I don’t know why my former hedonistic ways affected me so deeply on such a negative level, one that stopped me dead in my tracks before I even turned 40, while others I know in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s are able to keep doing much of what I once did, and never experience any ill effects from it .

WAAAAH. I’m sure that’s how I sound at the moment, but here’s the deeper reality I’m seeing through all this. I never liked living hedonistically, because it consistently felt like I was stuck in a never-ending cycle of unfulfilled needs. Living that way made me so deeply insecure as well, always looking for something outside of myself to fill that deep pit of emptiness within me. So, on some level, all the pain and suffering I’ve experienced starting at the tail end of my former hedonistic life has actually helped me. Not only has it helped me to see how spiritually toxic a life I used to be living, but it’s also helped me to become a much more selfless being who has a whole heck of a lot of compassion now for others I never used to care about. In other words, it’s been through all this pain and suffering that an incredible spiritual transformation has been taking place. One that has helped me to become more of service to my Higher Power’s needs, wants, and desires, than me looking at how the world can service my own needs, wants, and desires.

So, while I may complain about my pain and suffering from time to time, especially because of how long it’s gone on for, in the same breath, I think it’s important to keep on thanking God for it, because at least I am able to look in the mirror these days and know I’m doing my best to give back to the world, instead of constantly being on the lookout for all the ways I can take from it…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

When my three-year-old son opened the birthday gift from his grandmother, he discovered a water pistol. He squealed with delight and headed for the nearest sink. I was not so pleased. I turned to Mom and said, “I’m surprised at you. Don’t you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water guns?” Mom smiled and then replied…..”OH…I remember!”

Silly Joke #2

A policeman pulls a man over for speeding and asks him to get out of the car. After looking the man over he says, “Sir, I couldn’t help but notice your eyes are bloodshot. Have you been drinking?” The man gets really indignant and says, “Officer, I couldn’t help but notice your eyes are glazed. Have you been eating doughnuts?” 

Silly Joke #3

A tourist had lost his way on a back road and stopped at a farmhouse to ask if he could be stay there for the night.“Well, we’re mighty crowded since there’s already someone in the spare room,” replied the farmer. “But I guess you can stay if you don’t mind sharing the bed with a tall blonde.” The tourist puffed out his chest and replied, “That’s fine by me and in case you’re worried, I want you to know I’m a gentleman!!!” “Well,” mused the farmer, “as far as I can tell, so is the tall blonde.”

Bonus Silly Joke

Mrs. Crabtree, the 6th grade teacher, posed the following problem to one of her classes: “A wealthy man dies and leaves ten million dollars. One-fifth is to go to his wife, one-fifth is to go to his son, one-sixth to his butler, and the rest to charity. Now, what does each get?”After a very long silence in the classroom, Little Johnny raised his hand. The teacher called on Little Johnny for his answer. With complete sincerity in his voice, Little Johnny answered, “A lawyer!!!”

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Close to a billion people, one-eighth of the world’s population, still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.” (Jonathan Sachs)

Quote #2

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Quote #3

“It is approximated that 925,000,000 million people are going hungry right now while 1,300,000,000 billion tons of food is being wasted in the same moment.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“The day hunger disappears, the world will see the greatest spiritual explosion humanity has ever seen.” (Federico Garcia Lorca)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35)

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting…” (Matthew 6:16-18)

A few week ago, I decided to fast for three straight days where I ate no food whatsoever and only drank pure water. At first, my decision to do this was solely motivated by the fact that I had been rather gluttonous over the previous few weeks and was beginning to feel the consequences of that. Yet, I decided on the day I began this fast that I wanted to use the time for a deeper meaning and purpose. You see, my entire life I’ve been provided for by God when it comes to food, and all the other basic necessities as well for that matter. But with food being so critical for sustaining life and with billions of people on this planet, many even right here in Toledo, all going without and starving every single day, I decided to use those 72 hours to think about them. Frankly, I wanted to feel what it might be like to live a day in their shoes by going hungry.

At first, it wasn’t so bad, as that first 24 hours felt more like a cleansing. I did everything I normally would that day including my ritual bathing, doing my chores in and around the house, attending my men’s group, and working with my sponsees in recovery. It wasn’t until the second day though that I really started feeling what it might actually feel like to live a day in the life of someone who goes without food on a regular basis, as it was the second day that I had to cut the grass and do a ton of yard work, which just so happened to also be an exceptionally hot day. And while the water did quench the amount of sweat that poured out of me that day, I must have burned through several thousand calories in the process. So that aching in the stomach that comes from hunger pains? Well, it became so incredibly strong the rest of that day that I really began feeling irritable, cranky, light-headed and weak. But, I did my best to hide that from the rest of the world while I went on with my daily activities including running the 12 Step meeting I put on at one of the local crisis centers. As I sat there in that meeting that night, my stomach squeezed into itself and actually hurt quite a bit from how hungry I was. Yet, I pushed on through and continued drinking nothing but water and by the end of that 2nd day of fasting, it was then I truly found a much higher level of compassion for all those who regularly go without food. How do they go through this every single day I wondered? It was that thought that I carried through my final 24 hours of fasting and in the end, after losing close to seven pounds, it made me seriously reflect on the billion or so people on this planet who are severely undernourished.

The fact is, hunger is a very real problem on this planet still and I often think far too many of us take for granted our own cupboards, refrigerators, and freezers always being stocked with so many things to consume when countless people are going without even a single cup of rice in a day. I’m thankful I had such a strong reminder of that during this 3-day fast and will definitely remember this the next time I find myself complaining about being hungry…

Lord, thank you for always providing me plenty when it comes to food and for helping to remind me during my 72-hour fast what it might feel to live in the shoes of those who go without it on a regular basis. Please forgive me for any ignorance I’ve had in the past when it comes to the world hunger problem and I pray for guidance on how I can make more of a difference with this global epidemic.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy.” (Jose N. Harris)

Quote #2

“The best thing to do when you find yourself in a hurting or vulnerable place is to surround yourself with the strongest, finest, most positive people you know.” (Kristin Armstrong)

Quote #3

“Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” (Booker T. Washington)

Bonus Quote

“Find people who love you unconditionally, surround yourself with them, and bring them the same level of intensity.” (Sean Stephenson)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Good day and welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday where gratitude begins each week, which for today is for my recent visit to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania vicinity for my dear friend Keith’s memorial service.

As I mentioned in an article a few days ago, probably the most important piece of gratitude I took away from this trip was how the memorial service truly was truly a beautiful celebration of Keith’s life. But given I was in the Pittsburgh area for two full days surrounding the funeral, I found a lot more to be grateful for, like even in my actual drive there.

I’m not a normal fan of driving these days, mostly because I get uncomfortable pretty quickly sitting in a car seat with all my physical pain issues, but man, the hills and valleys and all the foliage is simply amazing in Pennsylvania! With Ohio driving being mostly just farmland and flat, it was a welcomed treat to see a lot more of God’s natural creations all around me. I was especially impressed with the rivers I crossed high over and the huge hills that loomed above me as I drove through them. I fondly thought much about all the houses perched way up on top of those hills that looked so serene. I couldn’t imagine how amazing it most likely was to wake up to a cup of coffee and sit out on a porch overlooking such pristine views!

Once arrived at the Springhill Suites I stayed at, which was in a section of the locale called Pittsburgh Mills, the general manager Matt and his assistant manager Jesse were very helpful to offer a number of restaurant suggestions where two proved to be true gems. The first was going to the original “Primanti Bros” in the Strip District of downtown Pittsburgh. There, I got a pretty amazing cup of super spicy chili and followed that with their world-famous grilled pastrami sandwich that was piled high with coleslaw and fries and cheese all within it. The second suggestion was a place called the “Mighty Oak Barrell” in Oakmont, PA, which was unique in that the owners converted their home into a restaurant and began making homemade scratch meals every day for guests. The concept continues many years later there and it almost felt like I was eating with their family during my meal which was rather comforting. There I ate a delicious flatbread pizza filled with homemade sausage, bacon, caramelized onions, eggs, and cheese, as well as some tasty homemade pastries that accompanied it.

Of course, I ate more than twice while I was away on this trip. One of them came through a suggestion from the grill cook at “Primanti Bros.” and was located further into the downtown area. Called “Sierra Mercato”, which was essentially a three-floor building with three separate concepts of restaurants, I dined on the bottom floor that opened up onto the street, mostly because it well-known for being a homemade meatball factory. In all honesty, I’m not normally a big connoisseur of meatballs, but the homemade traditional meatball sub I had with provolone and marinara sauce, along with a side of fried parmesan brushed brussel sprouts, had to have been amongst the best I’ve ever tasted. All of it was so amazing that I actually packaged half of it up and stored it in the cooler I brought to bring home to my partner to try!

Beyond the meals I dined out at, I mustn’t forget mentioning two of the dessert places I visited during my trip as well. Being a huge dessert person, I always look for unique sweet treat places to go to when I’m out of town. The first I found was in Pittsburgh and was a joint called “The Milkshake Factory” which I’ve decided is now at the top of my list as the most incredible milkshake ever. There I had a death by chocolate peanut butter milkshake that was so thick I needed a spoon to finish it! The other dessert place is even more noteworthy to mention and was found in Oakmont, nearby the “Mighty Oak Barrell” I had one of my meals at. “The Oakmont Bakery” is its name and is about a football field long length of just about any delectable treat you could ever imagine, from cakes to cookies to donuts to pastries to chocolates to well, you get the picture. Everything is made fresh and I must admit, I got pretty overwhelmed trying to figure out what to buy and take home with me and what to try there. I ended up gorging on a dark chocolate raspberry mouse cup that was so rich I got a sugar rush and then took home several chocolate donuts, a s’mores cupcake, a slice of chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, and a huge cinnamon roll.

Even though it’s not specifically known for dessert, I should perhaps make another honorable mention of a place I went to for a cup of coffee and a sweet treat the night before I left. It was approximately 4 miles outside downtown Pittsburgh in a section called Lawrenceville. There I grabbed a decaf mocha latte and homemade cookie at The Abbey. What made this place memorable is that it’s formerly a funeral home that was converted into a bar, grill, and coffee shop. Much of the décor was kept from that and the pictures on the wall came from a number of horror movies that carried the funeral home theme, like the picture of Jack Nicholson in The Shining that was on the bathroom wall where he was in the bathroom in that movie talking to the ghost butler.

Last, but not least on this list of gratitude from this trip is how I’m exceptionally grateful for my friend Lee Lampos, who was also a friend of Keith’s and in our old board games group in the Washington D.C. area. He was the only one available to come meet me for the funeral. I was thankful for his company and support during the weekend trip. We shared a lot of great stories and memories after not having seen each other for ten years since I moved away long ago and I know his presence made for much of the blessings and gratitude I experienced.

So, even though this trip away to the Pittsburgh area had a solemn occasion underlying it all, I was able to take away from it far more gratitude than I originally thought I might and am truly grateful to have experienced as many blessings as I did throughout it all…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?” (Carson McCullers)

Quote #2

“The song has ended, but the melody lingers on…” (Irving Berlin)

Quote #3

“As is a tale, so is a life: Not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” (Seneca)

Bonus Quote

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” (Tecumseh)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Funeral That Was Actually A Celebration Of My Dear Friend Keith Genest’s Life…

This past week I was in the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania vicinity for my close friend Keith Genest’s funeral. While funerals are often thought of as somber occasions, I decided it felt more like a celebration of his life instead, and maybe that’s simply because so much of the service itself was far different than any other funeral I’ve ever attended.

Right off from the onset, sitting there in the very large and extremely modernized St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Lower Burrell, waiting for the service to begin, I was amazed at how the inside of the building reminded me more of a fundamental Christian church given its huge half octagon set of pews, a hefty section for the choir and live band, and the massive video screens that hung over the pulpit area showing pictures of my friend Keith on them grinning and holding an extremely sizable Dunkin Donuts coffee cup.

It didn’t take long for me to see that this funeral was going to be far different in a good way, shortly after sitting down, when a gentleman kicked things off by singing “I Can Only Imagine”. I got a ton of those spiritual goose pimples during it, because wow, could this man sing and move the masses! Not too long after he finished, I was pleasantly surprised that the first reading was taken from The Book of Wisdom, which is from the Apocrypha. For those who don’t know what that is, the Apocrypha contains a set of controversial Biblical books that are not included in the versions of the Bible that most churches use these days. I have to admit, I found it kind of funny watching people squirm in the pews around me, scratching their heads, and asking each other what the Book of Wisdom was. If they only knew just how much more knowledge was beyond those standard pages of the versions of the Bibles they normally read, I think their minds might actually explode!

I was so thankful that Keith’s sister Michelle asked me to do the second reading, which came next and was taken from a chapter in 1st Thessalonians. Although it was a passage from those standard versions of the Bibles most people read these days, it still nonetheless was an interesting selection to read and pleasure to enunciate, mostly because it included a reference to the archangels, something people often forget exist.

I think I was most impressed though with how the Priest handled the main part of the service, as his message was not the usual boring one that I always seem to hear at funerals about how the person will be missed and blah, blah, blah. Instead, he shared a story titled “Five More Minutes”, which was about a kid and their father hanging out at a playground where the kid kept asking for five more minutes to play and the father kept on granting it. When asked by another parent in attendance why he kept doing that, seemingly giving the kid full control, the father simply said he’ll never have those five minutes again and soon the kid will be off in college, never to be seen on that playground again. The Priest correlated that to how Keith was, and how Keith up to his very last breath gave the most to those he spent each of his five minutes with. Ironically, I’m not sure if the Priest really even knew Keith, but that truly was how Keith lived his life with anyone he spent it with.

I must say that the most moving part of this service came right after the sermon and was something that hit my heart quite deeply. It was when the same gentleman who sang “I Can Only Imagine” sung “Ave Maria.” I felt so much of Keith through every inflection that came out of his voice. His vibratos moved me so much that I found myself looking around the pews to see if maybe the veil might drop for me somehow where I could see Keith sitting nearby smiling at me like he always did whenever we were together.

When it came time for communion, although I know I’m not supposed to do it in a Catholic Church because I’m not Catholic and also because I’m gay, I did it anyway, because I believe Christ welcomes everyone to the table. And honestly, I’m glad I did. Because the prayer I said afterward kneeling on that bench, as I slowly took the last bit of the bread of life into my body, stirred my soul with great tears of joy and love for my dear friend Keith who I will always miss.

The closing eulogy was a fitting end to a funeral that never really felt like a traditional funeral from the start. It came from one of Keith’s old government bosses who spoke with zest and invigorated zeal about how much Keith made an impact in his life and everyone else’s on his team. The “Gentle Giant” he described Keith as was totally spot on, as Keith would never hurt a fly and yet his 6’6” stature and booming voice usually seemed to intimidate just about anyone at first glance.

After the service was over, I didn’t find myself crying tears of sadness, like I normally would at funerals of past. Rather, the tears that fell were ones of joy where I was reminded of how blessed I am from having had a 20-year friendship with a guy who always stuck by my side no matter what. Touching his urn of ashes and staring at his picture next to it before I left, I said my final goodbyes and asked for Keith to wait for me in Heaven so that I may get one more huge embrace from him again.

So yes, Keith’s funeral felt more like a celebration of his life, instead of a typical somber occasion, and honestly, it’s my deepest hope that when the day comes for my passing, that the service held on my behalf will end up being hopefully equally as uplifting as this one most definitely was…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

An old farmer went to town to see a movie. The ticket girl said, “Sir, what is that on your shoulder?” The old farmer said, “That is my pet rooster, Bud. Wherever I go, Bud goes.” “I’m sorry, Sir,” said the ticket girl, “We can’t allow animals in the theater. Not even a pet chicken. “The old farmer went around the corner and stuffed the chicken down his pants. He returned to the booth, bought a ticket and entered the theater. He sat down next to two old emergency room nurses named Mildred and Marge. The movie started and the chicken began to squirm. The old farmer un-zipped his pants so Bud could stick his head out and watch the movie. “Marge,” whispered Mildred. “What?” said Marge. “I think the guy next to me is a pervert.” “What makes you think so?” asked Marge. “He unzipped his pants and he has his thing out,” whispered Mildred. “Well, don’t worry about it,” said Marge, “At our age it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.” “Yes,” said Mildred, “But this one’s eating my popcorn!!!”

Silly Joke #2

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?””Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life,” her mother tried to explain, keeping it simple. The child thought about this for a moment, then said, “So why’s the groom wearing black?”

Silly Joke #3

An elderly woman went into the doctor’s office. When the doctor asked why she was there, she replied, “I’d like to have some birth-control pills.”Taken aback, the doctor thought for a minute and then said, “Excuse me, Mrs. Smith, but you’re 72 years old! What possible use could you have for birth control pills?” The woman responded, “They help me sleep better.” The doctor thought some more and continued, “How in the world do birth control pills help you to sleep?” The woman said, “Simple. I put them in my granddaughter’s orange juice every morning and I sleep better at night.”

Bonus Silly Joke

A married man goes into a confessional and says to his priest, “I had an affair with a woman… almost.” The priest says, “What do you mean, almost? “The man says, “Well, we got undressed and rubbed together, but then I stopped.” The priest says, “Rubbing together is the same as putting it in. You’re not to see that woman again. For your penance, say 5 Hail Mary’s and put $50 in the poor box.” The man leaves the confessional, says his prayers, then walks over to the poor box. He pauses for a moment and then starts to leave. The priest, who was watching, quickly runs over to him saying, “I saw that, you didn’t put any money in the poor box!” The man replies, “Yeah, but I rubbed the $50 on the box, and apparently that’s the same as putting it in.”

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

Today’s question of the day is…

Have you ever attended any of your high school reunions? If so, which ones and did you enjoy them? And if you haven’t ever attended one, why not?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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My Upcoming 30th High School Reunion

I wanted to impart some final thoughts about my recent visit to my hometown, Poughkeepsie, New York, chiefly in reference to the fact that I just learned that next year will be the 30threunion of my class of 1990 at Arlington High School.

Overall, I don’t have many fond memories of my high school years in my hometown, save the exception of my senior year, which only came after I put myself through a radical change in my dress attire, my overall style, my hairdo, abruptly quitting the swim team, and then immediately joining basketball intramurals. Even in light of that, I still wanted to show my partner Chris where I spent my schooling between the ages of 14 to 18 because it was a formative part of my younger years.

Honestly, it’s hard to fathom that it’s been almost 30 years now since I last walked through the doors of Arlington High School. While my senior year was far different than all of my prior years of grammar school, notably because of that chameleon-like transformation and also because it’s when I started to pick up heavy drinking, the likelihood is that you won’t find me attending my 30threunion. Why that is, well, it’s more than you probably think.

Of course, first and foremost, is what I already said, that I really was a nobody in high school, at least in reference to others throughout most of those years. There isn’t a single person today that I have any regular contact with from high school. Sure, there are those I’m friended to on Facebook, but beyond that, I just have no deeper connection to anyone anymore from those days.

A second reason why I wouldn’t attend is that I did attend my 20th, only to stay for about an hour and feel the entire time just like I did throughout most of my grammar school years, that being invisible. I still saw those who were once considered “cool” hanging with each other, and those who fit more into the class I once did, the “geeks, nerds, etc.”, be off by themselves. I still tried to mingle and carry on conversation anyway, but I just couldn’t relate, which brings me to my 3rdreason.

Not being employed, dealing with health issues, and my only point of interest in my life is my writing and speaking in my recovery world from addiction, doesn’t make for much good conversation at functions like this. The first question anyone seems to ask at a reunion beyond where you might be living now is what you do for a living. Sometimes I think it’s all an ego show at events like this, where people want to feel better about themselves, especially if they have gone on to do things they perceive are great.

Last, but not least, is the notion that frankly, it’s just too painful to be back in my hometown period. I realized that pretty quickly during my recent trip there and opted to leave a day early because of it. It’s not that I have any unresolved traumas or anything of the sort there. It’s simply that the Poughkeepsie vicinity itself reminds me constantly of painful times. I think that if I was to ever return there again it would only be if my sister decides to go for one last visit herself, as I’d like to create some closure with her. Our last visit there together was to deal with my mother’s passing and truthfully, I was a total mess who acted out terribly in addiction during it, and made her life a living hell.

So yes, I probably won’t be attending my 30thhigh school reunion, nor heading back to Poughkeepsie, New York, any time soon. Yet, nevertheless, I’m still thankful that I had this recent trip there to share a little more of my past life with Chris, who really did appreciate and get to understand me much better because of it!

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

What is (or was, if you no longer live there) your most favorite thing to do in the town/city you grew up in?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday, which for today, in light of my solemn posting two days ago about the difficulty of revisiting my hometown in Poughkeepsie, New York, I wanted to express my gratitude for my visit there as well.

Just over a week ago now, I completed a trip to the place I grew up at and while it did have its challenges being there, mostly due to a slew of bad memories, there were plenty of experiences I believe are far more important to highlight that I’m extremely grateful for.

Probably the biggest of course is sharing a part of my past with my partner Chris. It was indeed the sole purpose of this trip and I can safely say that he has a much better connection to the life I had growing up, which has helped me to feel closer to him now because of it!

During the visit, besides enjoying driving him pretty much everywhere around town, I got to take him to Milanease, which is a Northern Italian restaurant that’s been there since 1971 and a place I dined at with my family countless times as a kid. Our meal there was absolutely fantastic and so was our waitress! Ironically the owner and his wife are still there running it and I got to spend a little time talking to them as well! Another thing to be grateful for from this trip was visiting the homes and grounds (that included some very pretty gardens) of Roosevelt and Vanderbilt, both being national parks in Hyde Park, which is the next town north of Poughkeepsie. Chris is a history buff and I really was grateful to see his eyes light up during the tours of both properties, places I absolutely enjoyed visiting frequently as a kid. And definitely something not to be forgotten in my gratitude list from this trip was our visit to a sweets shop called Café Aurora. Seeing Chris truly enjoy his blackberry Italian Ice at an establishment where I had tons of Italian Ices during my younger years was most certainly a treat! A few other grateful highlights included dining at an old-fashioned diner called The Palace, a place my father and I used to eat breakfast a lot at, taking a walk across the 1.3-mile railroad bridge that was converted back in 2009 into a state park walkway, and seeing the fireworks shot off from the middle of the Hudson River on July 4th.

While this trip’s focus was mostly on sharing pieces of my hometown with Chris, much of my childhood also included trips into New York City, so we opted to take one of the days to go there too. Riding on the Metro North train out of Beacon station was a lot of fun, as I got to show Chris all the cool things that you get to see along the Hudson River during the 1.5-hour travel time. He also had never seen Grand Central station where the train arrives into, so that quickly became a big highlight as well. From there, after splitting a freshly made croissant at one of my favorite bakeries in Grand Central, I took Chris to one of my preferred New York City pizza joints where we each got a large slice of pepperoni pizza, that was just as tasty as ever! Shortly after that, we headed to the top of World Trade One, something neither of us had ever done yet, even though we had both been up the former towers. I must say that technology has come a long way, as not only were the elevator walls fully digitized, but you’re also given an IPAD to carry around that shows you pretty much anything you are looking at! We made sure to get a few souvenirs to remember our visit as well, like the flattened penny I now have from both the old tower and the new one too. Without a doubt though, the highlight of the day was where we had dinner. For more than a decade, I’ve wanted to dine at Serendipity 3, an eclectic restaurant known for its frozen hot chocolate and huge desserts and for being used during the filming of two movies, that being One Fine Day and Serendipity. Chris and I actually got to sit in the same table used by Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, and Molly Shannon, which I must say made me totally geek out.

All in all, between our visit to New York City and Poughkeepsie, I was thankful to create a number of positive memories with Chris, ones that certainly overshadow the painful memories from my past. So yes, plenty to be grateful for once again on another Grateful Heart Monday in my life…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

Do you currently still live in or near your hometown OR have you moved far away, AND, if you have moved far away, why?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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The Difficulty Of Returning To My Hometown, Poughkeepsie, NY

For those who purposely moved far away from their hometown long ago, you may understand the subject of today’s entry. I grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY, and ever since my mother passed in 2005, I have only returned once, for a high school reunion in 2010, that is until I decided a few months ago that I wanted to share some of my childhood roots with my partner Chris. While I do have a Grateful Heart Monday entry coming up about this travel experience, I decided I wanted to share a little about the difficulty of me returning to the place where I grew up.

The main reason why I haven’t been back to Poughkeepsie in so long is simply for the fact that it holds so many difficult memories. My father’s heavy bouts of depression that eventually led to his suicide, my mother’s descent into alcoholism that ultimately led to her tragic fall down the stairs, being bullied throughout my grammar school years, getting molested by a coach on one of my swim teams, each happened in the small confines of a town that I spent 18 years of my life in. Also, given that I don’t have any family or close friends left in my hometown, I’m sure you can understand why my visits to Poughkeepsie have been pretty much nonexistent over the past decade and a half. Even so, I truly felt it was important to share some of my childhood roots with Chris, especially in light of how long we’ve been together now and the fact that we’re planning on actually getting married soon.

Nevertheless, I arrived late at night in my hometown the day before Independence Day with some excitement and apprehension being felt at the same time. Excitement for seeing Chris’s reactions to all the things I grew up with and apprehension for all those difficult memories that immediately began flooding in as well.

Probably the most difficult thing I experienced during this trip was driving into my old neighborhood and seeing the home I grew up in again. My last time in that home was in dealing with my mother’s passing, which included cleaning the blood up from the bottom of the stairs after she died. The sadness I felt there as I showed the house to Chris was quite deep. But, maybe just as challenging to see again were all the old-fashioned diners and this one dessert café my father and I used to frequent. I have many fond memories of our times together at each of them.

In the end, I realized just how much I still miss my parents. I know it’s been almost 15 years since my mother passed and about 23 years since my father died, and even though I’ve processed through all of the grief from their deaths long ago, I found myself missing them more than not for the majority of my time there. And well, I guess I should mention as well the one other reason why I found it so difficult being home and it deals with how I dealt with all the family drama growing up.

During my younger years, before I ever succumbed to addictions, I found a great escape in engaging in a lot of physical sporting activities. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do any of them in a very long time due to health issues. Being back home and seeing all the basketball and tennis courts I used to play on, and the many mountain ranges I used to hike around, was rather saddening. In all honesty, it’s these activities I miss the most in life, as they often brought me closer to feeling the presence of my Higher Power.

Regardless, although we chose to depart Poughkeepsie a day early, I’m still thankful I was able to share my hometown with Chris, as he now can picture all the things I’ve talked about from my childhood since the day we met. Whether I ever return there in the future or not remains to be seen, but at least for now, I’ve most definitely had my fill of reliving childhood memories that’s for sure…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

PS – My sincerest apologies to any of those I’m friends with on Facebook who still live in the Poughkeepsie area for my not reaching out during the few days I visited. Chris asked that it be only us connecting on this trip and I wanted to honor that! 🙂

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Man: “Do you know how much it is to rent a church singing group?
Priest: “My son, do you mean a choir?”
Man: “Fine Father! Do you know how much it is to acquire a church singing group?”

Silly Joke #2

I am passing this on to you because it definitely worked for me, and we all could use more calm in our lives. By following the simple advice I heard on a Dr. Phil show, I have finally found inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started. So, I looked around my house to see things I started, and hadn’t finished; and, before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreo’s, a pot of coffee, the rest of the Cheesecake, some Ritz crackers, and a box of Godiva Chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel.

Silly Joke #3

A little boy walked up to home plate in an empty baseball field, with his bat and ball in hand. As he threw the ball up in the air, he proclaimed, “I am the best ball player ever!” He swung with all his might, but missed. He did the same thing and missed again. He picked up the ball, tossed it up one more time, said “I am the best ball player in the world!” Then he swung and missed again. “Wow!” he said. “I am the best pitcher ever on the planet!”

Bonus Silly Joke (For Adults Only)

Howard is 95 and lives in a senior citizen home. Every night after dinner, Howard goes to a secluded garden behind the center to sit and ponder his accomplishments and long life.One evening, Annabel, age 87, wanders into the garden. They begin to chat, and before they know it, several hours have passed. After a short lull in their conversation, Howard turns to Annabel and asks, “Do you know what I miss most of all? She asks, “What?” “SEX!!!” Annabel exclaims, “Why you old fart, you couldn’t get it up if I held a gun to your head!” “I know,” Howard says, “but it would be nice if a woman just held it for a while.” “Well, I can oblige”, says Annabel, who gently unzips his trousers, removes his manhood and proceeds to hold it. Afterward, they agree to meet secretly each night in the garden where they would sit and talk and Annabel would hold Howard’s manhood. Then, one night, Howard didn’t show up at their usual meeting place.Alarmed, Annabel decided to find Howard and make sure that he was O.K. She walked around the senior citizen home where she found him sitting by the pool with another female resident-who was holding Howard’s manhood! Furious, Annabel yelled, “You two-timing creep! What does she have that I don’t have?!” Howard smiled happily and replied, “Parkinson’s.”

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

Today’s question to ponder is…

If Jesus suddenly showed up in your life like he did with the fishermen from long ago (and you ABSOLUTELY knew it really was Jesus), and he asked you to cast your entire life aside and follow Him, would you?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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Daily Reflection

“As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, catching fish with a net. Jesus said to them, “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people.” At once they left their nets and went with him.” (Mark 1: 16-18)

I have often found myself pondering this Biblical passage, as it seems to come up quite regularly in my daily devotional readings. Was it really that simple? Did Jesus actually appear in the lives of these fishermen where they literally immediately abandoned what they were doing, their families, their livelihood, just like that, and proceeded to follow Him? Or was there more to this story? I honestly wish I knew, because I have a hard time believing it was that easy for them to instantly give up every part of their lives and start following Christ.

I’ve frequently tried to place myself in their shoes, or should I say their sandals, by picturing myself in my own gardens doing my day-to-day pruning, trimming, edging, etc., when out of the clear blue a guy with long hair and a beard abruptly appears on my sidewalk and says “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people.” In all honesty, in light all the sickness I’ve witnessed over the years in my recovery from addiction, my first thought most likely wouldn’t be that this was Jesus incarnate. Rather, I’d probably be thinking this person might need some mental help. Yet, I’d also like to believe that Jesus would know I’d react that way ahead of time and would in all likelihood not only bring a level of peace with Him that I’d feel right from the start, but would totally know the precise words to say to me that would connect to my soul.

So, did the disciples really just give everything up and follow Jesus right from the start? It really doesn’t matter, because the end result is the same, they saw something in Christ they wanted for themselves and were willing to follow Him anywhere. And that is exactly what I hope I’d do if Christ were to ever appear before me and ask me to follow Him.

Dear God, I pray that I’m open to following You wherever You wish to lead me, for I know that wherever You do, it will be a far better path than any of the ones I’ve ever taken on my own free will in this life.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.” (Barack Obama)

Quote #2

“Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a labor of love.” (Steve Pavlina)

Quote #3

“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” (David Bly)

Bonus Quote

“This is the real secret to life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” (Alan Watts)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Thanks for joining in to another Grateful Heart Monday where gratitude begins my week, which for today is for one of my sponsees, Aaron, who truly has lent me an incredible hand with my yard work so far this year.

As most of those who know me can testify to, I’m pretty obsessive-compulsive when it comes to my yard and gardens. Each year when spring arrives, one can usually find me outside doing work on them during much of the day. But over the past couple of years, I’ve been finding it harder to keep up with the attention to detail I like to place in them given my physical limitations I continue to endure. In light of that, this year I decided to ask for help, something in previous years I had too much pride and ego to do and usually paid the price in my body because of it. Thankfully though, I think God had a hand in placing Aaron in my life, not only for me to help guide him through the steps, but also for him to help me out with my outdoor burden.

While one might describe our property as the size of a postage stamp, you might be surprised at the amount of cleanup and upkeep it still takes to maintain. Being surrounded by a large number of 60+ year old maple trees (all in bordering neighbor’s yards), I must deal with an annual late spring onslaught of helicopters that pile up everywhere, from my gutters, to the ponds, in the gardens, and in the yard of course too. Many in my shoes might choose to just leave them be and let nature take care of itself, but given how many of them actually come down, it ends up causing more problems than not if I ignore them. One of my neighbors in fact ended up having clogged gutters and tons of little trees growing in them because he let them go for too long. On the other hand, I’m sure some would say how pretty they must look when falling, almost like large brown snow, but frankly, their beauty is grossly outweighed by the amount of late Spring cleanup I always get from them. Cleanup that even translates into having to remove all of my mulch and lay down close to 30 bags of new mulch.

That’s why I was so thankful that Aaron, who had been currently looking for work, agreed to come help me. Over the course of a few weeks, he always showed up on time and definitely was a hard and very thorough worker. I estimate that he probably saved me about 20 hours’ worth of work when all was said and done. While I’m sure most people think I’m crazy sitting out there with shop vacuums sucking up thousands of helicopters that land on my property, Aaron wasn’t one of them and never once complained or judged me for my OCD-based task.

I’m not going to deny the fact that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to maintaining my yard and gardens, because I really am. It’s definitely my outlet for former addiction energy, yet something far healthier that’s for sure. But, finding help that could meet my OCD-based standards is most certainly tough, except Aaron consistently met that and worked like a champ to keep to the detail I place in my yard and gardens.

Nevertheless, after hauling away at least several dozen hefty lawn and leaf bags filled with those helicopters, Aaron proceeded to assist me in removing all the mulch and place down the new batch as well. For most, this work would probably seem quite tedious and monotonous, yet Aaron gave it his all and simply jammed to music in his headphones the entire time he worked, never once complaining, even on days when the heat level was ridiculously high.

In the end, even though I did pay Aaron for his work, I believe it was far worth it because good help is often hard to come by these days. So yes, I’m truly grateful for Aaron who provided me much relief this year thus far in my outdoor work, both on a physical level, and in all honestly, on a mental and emotional one as well…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

In light of it being the week of July 4th, and thinking about the independence our forefathers fought so bravely for us hundreds of years ago, what does freedom mean to you today?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


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Daily Reflection

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?” Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him.” (John 9: 1-2)

 For quite a long time now, I’ve been dealing with plenty of health issues and chronic pain where a number of religious folks have suggested over the years that maybe it’s all been due to me living in sin. In almost every case, the sin their referring to is that I’m gay and living with my same-sex partner. For the more tolerant and accepting religious folks though, there have suggestions that maybe that which I’m going through is due to some sinful thing that maybe my parents or those that came before them did. Every time either of these things get brought up as an answer to why my pain and suffering has gone on as long as it has, I’m brought back to this Biblical passage as a reminder of something that feels far more unconditional loving and caring.

First and foremost, I don’t believe being gay is a sin, as God doesn’t make mistakes and made me exactly as I am. And as I always mention, if I could choose my sexuality, it most certainly wouldn’t have been homosexuality in light of how terrible gay people still get treated these days. Second, being gay has actually on some level been a spiritual gift, because it’s helped me to experience life in a minority. Essentially, I understand so well now what it feels like to be persecuted on this planet, like plenty of other minorities have had to endure, and because of it, I’ve become a far more compassionate being to ALL walks of life. And lastly, I strongly believe that even though I’ve suffered in pain for as long as I have, that it’s being used for a far Greater purpose, one that still hasn’t fully come to fruition yet for God. What I do know is that it is through all this pain and suffering that I’ve been able to break free from a life of addiction and become a more selfless instead of selfish being as well.

Regardless, one day, I believe it will all become clear and you can be sure that like Job who suffered immensely, never because of his sin or anyone else’s for that matter, that God’s power will be seen through it all, where His unconditional love will be the thing that prevails.

Dear God, I may not fully understand why it is that I must suffer in such pain and anguish on so many days for as long as I have. Yet, somehow, I just know that all this blindness has been so that Your power might be seen at work through me, and for that I’m externally grateful to have been chosen for such a spiritual calling.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man came home one day and said to his wife: “Honey, what would you do if I said I’d won the lottery?”She sneered: “I’d take half and then leave you.” “Are you serious?!,” he replied. “Absolutely, in a heartbeat!” “Well I just hit 3 numbers and won $10. Here’s $5, pack your bags and get out!”

Silly Joke #2

Boss to the potential new employee: “We here are very keen on cleanliness! Did you happen to wipe your feet on the mat as you came in?”
Interviewee: “Yes, sir!”
Boss: “We here are also keen on truthfulness! There is no mat. I think we’re done here, thanks for coming.”

Silly Joke #3

Aaron: “My neighbor had the nerve to ring my doorbell at 3 am…3 AM! Can you believe it!?”
John: “Really, that’s so disrespectful! Did you answer it to figure out what they wanted?”
Aaron: “Heck no! I was in one of my best jam sessions on my drums at the time!”

Bonus Silly Joke

Lee wasn’t the brightest guy in the world, and his co-workers were continually ribbing him on the job. One in particular, Rick, would greet him each morning and precipitate this exchange:
“Say Lee, you seen Ben?”
“Ben who?”
“Ben’ down and kiss my a$$!”
Tired of falling for the same joke day after day, Lee confided in his friend Susie who said, “Listen, next time you see Rick, ask him if he’s seen Eileen. Rick will ask, ‘Eileen who?’, and you say, ‘I lean over and you kiss MY a$$.'”
Memorizing his lines, Lee went to work early to wait for Rick. As soon as he arrived, Lee ran over to him.
“Hey Rick,” he said, “have you seen Eileen?”
“No,” Rick answered, “she ran off with Ben.”
Lee frowned, “Ben who?”

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“I think God has a sense of humor, and the way my lessons come from God is very funny. I have to laugh at myself even if it’s a tough lesson.” (Yvette Nicole Brown)

Quote #2

“Does God have a sense of humor? He must have if He created us!” (Jackie Gleason)

Quote #3

“God has a sense of humor. If you don’t believe me, tomorrow go to Wal-Mart and just look at people.” (Carlos Mencia)

Bonus Quote

“If man has a sense of humor about God, then surely God must have a sense of humor about man.” (Dave Allen)

I pray everyone has a happy and great 4th Of July!!!

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

I Think God Has A Huge Sense Of Humor!

Sometimes I think God has a huge sense of humor, because for as crazy as it feels with my best friend who’s been gay his entire life going through a total rejection of that now, receiving an email from someone who once did that very rejecting of gay people like he and I, yet now realizing how far off they were in their views from God’s higher and more loving truth, seems even crazier.

How all this came about requires going back to the beginning, which is over 25 years ago in fact, when I initially became best friends with a guy in college who would eventually become the first true love of my life, even though I was totally oblivious to what was transpiring within me then.

As I got to know this person during that period of my life, who I’ll refer to by his first initial “R”, I’d also go on to meet his mother, who I’d quickly learn was an extremely conservative Christian. I was ok with that at first because I really didn’t know what my sexuality was at the time nor did I even have much of a connection to God then either. A day came though when I’d realize what was going on within me and it came immediately after getting clean and sober from alcohol and drugs. It was then I fully grasped I was gay and always had been, but far more difficult, I also saw that I had fallen in love with “R”. It took me six months after starting my emergence from the closet to actually tell “R” about my sexuality and my feelings for him. “R” would completely reject me after that, even though we had shared many close moments during our drinking days that one would seriously have to put into question his sexuality as well. Regardless, a few years went by before I would work up enough courage to contact “R”’s mother to see if maybe “R” might be open to talking to me again. During my phone call with her, she asked why my friendship with her son had fallen apart and it was then I got fully honest with her as well. I told her about my sexuality, which was as far as I got before she began proselytizing about ex-gay ministries and how I wasn’t keeping to the will and love of God. I mailed her a letter after that call that was intended for “R”, while in turn she mailed me literature about leaving “the gay lifestyle”. I’d never read any of that literature she sent me and during my last contact with her over the phone, she told me “R” wanted nothing to do with me, even all those years later, and had no desire to read my letter either. She told me she’d also be praying for me, to be free of the “lifestyle” I was living and upon hanging up, I had no intention of ever speaking to her again, as both she and her son had caused me great pain and suffering.

But obviously God had other plans, as about a week ago, I’d open my email to see I had received something from my personal website. It was a personal correspondence from someone, which at first glance I thought was just spam, because I get a lot of that on my website. I had almost hit the delete button when I realized it was actually not spam and instead from “R”’s mother, the subject of which said two words: “An apology”.

While I feel her correspondence’s exact contents are probably best meant for her eyes and mine only, I will summarize by saying that she expressed her sincerest apologies for the way she treated me all those years ago due to my sexuality. She also spoke of how she used to be in such a narrow, fear-based evangelical arrogance and that she was in a completely different place today where she saw me with much more unconditionally loving eyes and heart. What’s interesting about this, and ironic for that matter, is how this contact from “R”’s mother came at a time when my own best friend has been going through a place of rejecting his own sexuality due to all the messages he’s been receiving no different from the ones I received from her long ago.

I’ve been pondering the sheer scope of all this and been left wondering if this was somehow God’s way of answering one of my prayers. Truth be told, I’ve been questioning my own sexuality in life all over again solely due to all the conservative Biblical-based messages my best friend has been preaching as of late. Most probably wouldn’t understand what it’s like to have a 22-year friendship with someone who’s gay suddenly say it’s a sin to be that way and reject it outright. Nevertheless, I feel “R”’s mother’s email came at the exact time I really needed a strong reminder from God that I was perfectly created just as I am and perfectly loved just as I am, that being gay.

So, for now, this story has been left with me sending a response to “R”’s mother asking to continue the conversation over the phone. I truly hope she’ll be open to it, as I’d love to know how she went from one end of the spectrum to another when it comes to her views on God. Whether that ever happens or not doesn’t matter so much as I’ve come to accept that maybe, just maybe, God really does have a huge sense of humor in how prayers get answered…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question Of The Day

Today’s Question To Ponder is…

If there was one gadget or type of technology that you wish existed (that currently does not), what would it be and why?

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson


The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step  The Twelfth Step


Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to yet another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always starts my week off on a positive note, which for today is for the time I got to spend with my best friend from Massachusetts on his annual visit here just recently.

For those who have been following along, this friend I’m speaking of is the very one who just over seven months ago or so decided that even though he’s gay, he can no longer engage in a homosexual lifestyle because he feels it’s going against the will of God and ultimately a sin.

Leading up to his annual visit here, I must say I had a lot of worry. Would he and I still have a good time like we always have with each other’s company? Would he be uncomfortable around me now, especially because he’d be staying in a house with a gay couple? And would he start throwing religion around like so many other conservative Christians have with me over the years? Thankfully, by the end of his visit, none of those worries came to fruition and that was pretty apparent from the onset after picking him up at the airport, as we were already laughing and joking from the moment he got into my car.

Although there were some heavy discussions from time to time during his visit surrounding the new religious path he has been embarking upon, I feel the unconditional love we share for each other and the good times we had far outweighed any of that heaviness. From seeing X-Men Dark Phoenix and Men In Black International at the theater, to taking a walk at Maumee Bay State Park, to a night drive in my old sports car jamming to some dance music, to a full day trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan that was filled with mini golf, great food, sights, a ferry ride, and scrumptious desserts, to nursery shopping for some new annuals for my garden that he helped me to plant, to plenty of Starbucks and other coffee house visits, to watching time travel movies at home late at night, to an afternoon trip to my favorite diner that has the best burgers, friends and pies around in a town called Archibold, to a day trip to Uniontown where we got to play my favorite miniature golf course in the state of Ohio, to our final day together spent at my partner’s company’s annual picnic and a visit to a truly beautiful state park named Lake St. Clair in Michigan, I truly have some great memories that can be added to the many others we have shared for over 22 years now.

While I may fear what the future holds for he and I, especially in light of how different of spiritual belief systems are from each other at the present time, I’m left filled with plenty of gratitude for all the time we got together during his ten day stay, as God showed that even through those spiritual differences, the unconditional love we have for each other and the laugher we always seem to share when together would still prevail…and probably always will…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson