“What’s Wrong With The World?”

I read an interesting tidbit recently about the London Times once posting a question to readers back at the turn of the twentieth century that asked, “What’s wrong with the world?” They received many responses with plenty of varying opinions as to what each thought was wrong and could be done to fix the state of where the world was heading at the time. I’m sure countless people would have just as much to say even now if this question got posed to the masses in a national publication. But, back then, there was one response in particular that stood out from the rest. It was from G.K. Chesterton, an English writer, poet, and philosopher. His answer was a mere four words that said, “Dear Sirs, I am.”, which I too feel I’d answer in the very same way.

Presently, especially in the United States, it’s quite obvious that there is notable division amongst a good majority of people and everyone seems to have an opinion on what needs to change to make our country better. There’s one school that says so long as we get Trump out of office and Biden gets elected everything will improve, while the other school of thought says so long as Trump stays in office and Biden loses the election, everything will be ok. This belief is no different as one makes their way down the political pipeline from the Supreme Court to the Senate and House, and into the governing bodies from within each state. Countless factions of people at every level believing the answer to that question on what’s wrong with our world is solely tied to someone getting into a political seat or being removed, or some policy getting enacted or being repealed, and so on and so forth. But, if you look back through history, this has never been the case and always been the illusion. I have tried so many times to convey this in my writing and when I talk with others, knowing that the only answer to that question is exactly how G.K. Chesterton answered it.

For the sake of argument, let’s say hypothetically Trump gets reelected. I have many friends who are going to be severely angry and maybe even shun those who supported his reelection. The same holds true if Biden gets elected. I know of a number of people who are going to be pissed and upset at those who supported his election. Sadly, there will be tension no matter who is in office for the next four years, so what’s the answer? The answer I’ve learned is to love a person no matter who they vote for. So long as I judge a person for their choices, I become the problem in the world and not the solution as to what’s wrong with it. The more I judge the world by saying it will only get better if “this” or “that’ happens, the more I avoid the real work of simply loving my neighbor as I would love myself.

While some have chosen to unfriend me because of my repeated stance of not officially taking a political side and not joining in some merry or rather unmerry bandwagon of protestation against one candidate versus another, I still choose to stand by my laurels and believe it really doesn’t matter who the next president will be, because so long as we continue to act like asses towards one another to put it bluntly, and the more we continue to judge each other and condemn each other, putting each other down for some belief or value, nothing will EVER get better in our world.

All it takes to add to what’s wrong with our world is two people to begin fighting over who should be the next president. All it takes to add to what’s wrong with our world is one person to begin judging another for their religious or spiritual stances. And all it takes to add to what’s wrong with our world is to start believing that I am right and you are wrong no matter what it’s in reference to. But to make this world a better place and to create unity amongst us all is to begin accepting and loving each other no matter what.

For as much as I may pump this unconditional love and acceptance message in much of my writing, I do more so to continue to deflate my ego which tries to convince me from time to time that the world would indeed become better if only “this” would happen. Ultimately, at the very core though, the problem with our world begins with me not blaming the world for the problem and thinking the world needs to change somehow to fix the problem, when the fix is, and has always been, within me…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs, and asked her what their names were. The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex. Her friend said, ‘Why in the heck would you ever name your dogs that? ‘HELLLOOOOOOO……,’ answered the blonde. ‘They’re watch dogs’!

Silly Joke #2

The graduate with a science degree asks, ‘Why does it work?’
The graduate with an engineering degree asks, ‘How does it work?’
The graduate with an accounting degree asks, ‘How much will it cost?’
The graduate with a liberal arts degree asks, ‘Do you want fries with that?’

Silly Joke #3

A guy goes into a bar. He’s sitting on the stool, enjoying his drink when he hears, “You look great!” He looks around – there’s nobody near him. He hears the voice again, “No really, you look terrific.” The guy looks around again. Nobody. He hears, “Is that a new shirt or something? Because you are absolutely glowing!” He then realizes that the voice is coming from a dish of nuts on the bar. “Hey,” the guy calls to the bartender, “What’s with these nuts?” “Oh,” the bartender answers, “They’re complimentary.”

Bonus Silly Joke (For Adults)

An old retired single sailor puts on his old uniform and decides to go down to the docks for old times sake to hire a prostitute. After finding one, he takes her to his home and gives it his best for a guy his age. After a couple of minutes he asks, “How am I doing?” The prostitute replies, “Well sailor, you’re doing about three knots.” “Three knots?” He asks. “What’s that supposed to mean?” She says, “Well, you’re knot hard, you’re knot in and you’re knot getting your money back.”

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

Thought For The Day

  • Quote #1

“There’s a difference between God and religion. God loves unconditionally and religion loves conditionally. Religion spends an awful lot of time dictating who God can love and can’t love.” (Sinead O’Connor)

Quote #2

“There’s a difference between knowing God and knowing about God. Knowing about God is all of the stuff we’ve been told and all of the books we’ve read and all of our religious experiences and what others have told us and tried to convince us of. But knowing God is when we make conscious contact.” (Wayne Dyer)

Quote #3

“With religion we divide people. With unconditional love we bring them under the same umbrella.” (Debasish Mridha)

Bonus Quote

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire or not whether they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” (Thomas Merton)

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

“I AM SO FILLED WITH CHRIST’S LOVE!!!”

One of my favorite exchanges of lines out of all the movies I’ve ever seen with religious overtures comes in the film “Saved” starring Jena Malone as Mary, Mandy Moore as Hilary Faye, and Macaulay Culkin as Roland, and it goes as follows:

Hilary Faye: “Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you.”
Mary: “You don’t know the first thing about love!”
Hilary Faye: [Throwing a Bible at Mary] “I am so filled with Christ’s love! You are just jealous of my success in the Lord!”
Mary: [Mary picking up the Bible] “This is not a weapon! You idiot!”

So, why do I consider this one of the best exchanges of lines ever in a religious movie, even if this one was in a religious comedy? Because it’s such a great depiction of why I don’t label myself a “Christian” anymore and why I maintain that I am instead simply a follower of Christ.

First of all, I just have to say this, in my humble opinion, Jesus Christ’s message wasn’t, “Hey, let’s create a whole new religion called Christianity, where we’ll have this book with a bunch of new chapters that we’re all going to follow. And hey, we’re going to use this book as a weapon at times for those we judge aren’t following it or doing things the way we think they should!” But sadly, that indeed is what much of Christianity has become and what many other religions have become as well around the world.

That’s why when I’m asked now what my faith is, I tell people I follow the true teachings of Christ to the best of my ability, which at their bare essence was not to follow a set of rules and laws, and create judgments and opinions from them. Rather, it was merely two principles.

“To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love others as much as you love yourself.”

But, somehow, our world has drifted so far away from this and instead created a complexity that Jesus himself came two millennia ago to abolish. And sadly, now I’m seeing this complexity even in this presidential race.

Everyone seems to be waiting with baited breath presently on who’ll become our next president for the following four years, and many of them who label themselves as Christians are angrily shouting to the masses about who Christ would want as our next president and who carries the best values of Christianity. But do you know what I think? I think Christ wouldn’t have cared less about who our next president is going to be. He’d tell us all that the real work is not at that level and instead is within us to love each other no matter what our differences are.

That’s why every time I watch this Republican versus Democratic battle play itself out on the news or in social media or even amongst friends and loved ones, I think of Mandy Moore in Saved throwing her Bible at Jena Malone. The fact is, none of this is practicing the unconditional love that Christ came here to spread. Judging someone by saying, “It’s in the Bible” isn’t being unconditionally loving and doing so only makes the person sound like they’re speaking on behalf of God. I know many Christians who think it’s ok to do this, simply because, “The Bible says so.” But, no matter what way you put it, condemning a person using the Bible, or any other spiritual book for that matter, isn’t being unconditionally loving, it’s judging.

So, how did we all get so far away from truly loving and embracing each other like Christ once asked from all of his followers?

My answer would be fear, as to embrace everyone just as they are, no matter what walk of life they come from can be quite difficult for many, especially when it feels so different from what one’s mind thinks should be the norm. That’s why I feel the Bible has become such the tool of segregation and division in the world these days, as it’s sent far too many people into great places of darkness when passages get thrown at them, when they’re told they’re sinners in the eyes of God. I often feel that it’s religion itself that continues to drive our world into the very darkness that many religious people want to prevent.

Because of that very reason, the message I do my best to live now is to love all people, from all walks of life, to love followers of Trump and followers of Biden, to love both the gay and the straight and everyone in between, to love not only those who worship like me, but those who may not worship at all or worship quite differently, and to even love those who don’t or won’t ever love me because of who I am, because in their eyes I’m an abomination to God.

So, until I see Christianity living out the true message that Christ brought of loving each other unconditionally and until I see all those Bibles and those passages from it not being thrown anymore at others like Mandy Moore did so comically well in the film Saved, I remain simply a follower of Christ and won’t label myself as a Christian. And, you know what, I think God is quite ok with that, because Christ wasn’t the one who created Christianity anyway, human beings did.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

As a kid, what was the most favorite thing you liked to get in your trick-or-treat bag? (Note: It could be some type of candy or something else.)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

It’s Grateful Heart Monday, a time solely reserved for expression of gratitude from my life, which for today is for still having faith in God, even when there seems to not be any reason to keep that faith anymore.

Yes, I know this sounds rather drab and maybe not even sounding very grateful at all for a Grateful Heart Monday entry. But let me assure you, having this type of faith still in light of how I feel and been feeling for as long as I have, especially throughout most of 2020, is most definitely something to be grateful for in my life.

As I write this, (a week ago from when this actually is being posted), I feel every bit of despondency within. As most know, I’ve really struggled to keep going lately with all the health issues and chronic pain I continue to face after so many years of this now. In the past bunch of months, I’ve actually wished for my death more than I’d like to admit, but still remained grateful to those who continue to pray for me to keep going and acknowledged that as my piece of gratitude a few Monday’s ago. Regardless, somehow, I’ve continued to hold onto my faith in God as well, even though there are countless moments now where I feel like I shouldn’t anymore.

To be totally honest, having suffered for as long as I have with a number of painful ailments, no matter what I’ve tried to do to make any of them better, I still cling to my faith in God. Because you see without my faith, a faith that God still has a plan for me that’s far better than a life filled with daily bouts of chronic ailments, I feel there would be no reason for me to keep going.

I wholeheartedly believe this type of faith I’m living every day now is what you would call blind faith. Blind faith is something that transcends all rational thought. It’s when you dig your heels in the ground and hold your trust and belief that God won’t let you down, even when it feels like he already has and has totally abandoned you.

It was easy to have faith when God gave me lots of signs to keep going, when I felt every bit of God’s presence through even the most difficult of days. But now, in constant anguish and tears that typically start each of my days, and without experiencing any of those signs and presences of God for a long time, I STILL look to God anyway to get me through all this, which is exactly what I’ve come to know is blind faith. So, I trudge on by remaining grateful, grateful that I still have my faith in God, even when I can’t seem to even find enough energy to put a smile on my face, like I totally struggled with today.

It’s so hard to going on living like this and I cannot fathom why God wants me to keep suffering like this for as long as I have with no relief, no matter how many attempts I’ve made to ease it. Of course, I know there are plenty of others out there suffering just as much, if not more, but even that doesn’t seem to be of much help anymore in knowing that. The only thing that’s been of help is my blind faith, because it keeps propelling me forward, even on excruciatingly painful days like today, where I found myself angry at everything, including God, and even cursing the day I was born.

I would never wish this life upon anyone, and although I have a partner, as well as food, water, and shelter, each of which I’m grateful for, and although I have a sister who loves me, a few close friends who truly do care about me on levels I probably couldn’t even quantify, and plenty of people praying for me, none of that is what keeps me going anymore.

The only thing that keeps me going now is my blind faith in God, a type of faith that even though I don’t know why I keep on believing, I still do. I cling to this faith that I’ll be delivered from this life of pain-filled hell, and is precisely why I’ve dedicated today’s Grateful Heart Monday to the faith I still have. Because, I’ve arrived at a place in my life now where there seems to be no person, place, or thing that can convince me it’s worth it to keep going, yet my faith in God continues to do just that somehow and for that I’m filled with gratitude.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the dumbest thing you ever spent your money on that really wasn’t worth it?

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


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The Sobering Reality That Came From Learning What $5000 Of Amazon’s Initial Stock Is Now Worth…

Do you know how much $5000 invested in Amazon stock when it first went public would be worth now? I almost shudder as I write this. $4 million dollars!!! Why do I shudder, because in 1997, when Amazon was taking its company onto the stock market for people to begin investing their money into them, I was a naïve and angry young adult who had just lost his father to suicide and who also inherited about $400,000 from him!

At the time, I wasn’t thinking at all about what stocks to invest my newly acquired money in. In fact, I wasn’t thinking at all when it came to that money. Rather, I had a pure alcoholic and addict mentality that was thinking about all the physical things I could now buy with it, like the trips I could take, the gadgets I could own, the cars I could possess, and so on. And I went on to do that quite wastefully, like a good alcoholic and addict often does.

Now getting back to that initial public offering of Amazon stock, here’s a very sobering thought I’ve had to face lately when it comes to that inheritance I once received. If I had followed the wise council of a few financial investors in my life back then by taking $100,000 of the money left to me and placing it in Amazon, I’d now be worth over $80 million dollars!

$80 million dollars!!!!!!!!!!

It’s almost hard to fathom, especially knowing the path I took instead was one wanting to have fun with it right away, like a good alcoholic and addict. So, my life became one that was filled with gadgets that eventually became worthless, cars that long ago were either wrecked or sold for next to nothing, and plenty of memories of going places and wasting money on things that almost feel totally ridiculous now. Frankly, I spent all that money like it was never going to run out, but it did.

I know I shouldn’t do this, but I often wish I could go back in time to talk to my younger, overly addicted self, to not only give him a few stock tips that would eventually make him a millionaire, but also to tell him to get his ass into recovery and work the 12 Steps. But, there wasn’t any Higher Power in charge of my life then, but my ego was though. And ego drove me to quick and rash decisions that spend dollar after dollar after dollar of my father’s well-earned and saved money. It took me a long time to get over the shame of spending all of it on the dumbest of things in this world, but in doing so, a hard lesson was learned and one I am thankful to have learned.

That lesson? Well it’s one pretty much all of us in this world have heard before, that money can’t buy happiness. Regrettably, it took me spending all of my father’s money and most of the money my mother left me when she died years later to figure that lesson out. Most alcoholics and addicts, and maybe even people in general in this world, don’t ever get to learn this lesson though, because they constantly remain on the chase for money their entire life, never having enough to realize the truth.

Thankfully, this recovering addict did and I spent that vast majority of my parent’s money left to me to learn that not only does money not buy happiness, but that there also isn’t any person, place, or thing I need to ever chase after, that much of my addiction-fueled life once did with incredible regularity, that can ever fix any of the brokenness within me.

The only thing that can ever fix any brokenness within me is me under the guidance of the Higher Power I seek to follow, whom I choose to call God these days. While I may not be a millionaire now who invested wisely in Amazon stock when it first went public, and while I may be exactly the opposite of that now on some level financially from what I could have been if I had invested wisely from the start, I feel pretty priceless because of one thing I do have.

It isn’t what money ever brought me and it’s not something that investments ever gave me. Rather, it’s something that was only ever able to be cultivated within me once I stopped looking outside of myself in dollars and cents for the answers to all my emptiness. What makes me feel priceless is the unconditional love that is emanating from my heart more and more every day  now, for both myself and others, as that is something I never had when I was an active alcoholic and addict blowing through money like it was going out of style, when Amazon was first going public…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A nun is sitting with her Mother Superior, chatting.
“I used some horrible language this week and feel absolutely terrible about it.”
“When did you use this awful language?” asks the elder.
“Well, I was golfing and hit an incredible drive that looked like it was going to go over 280 yards, but it struck a phone line that’s hanging over the fairway and fell straight down to the ground after going only about 100 yards.”
“Is that when you swore?”
“No, Mother,” says the nun. “After that a squirrel ran out of the bushes and grabbed my ball in its mouth and began to run away.”
“Well, is THAT when you swore then?” asks the Mother Superior again.
“Well, no.” says the nun. “You see, as the squirrel was running, an eagle came down out of the sky, grabbed the squirrel in his talons and began to fly away!”
“Ah, so THAT is when you swore?” asks the amazed elder nun.
“No, not yet. Because you see, as the eagle carried the squirrel away in its claws, it flew near the green and the squirrel dropped my ball.”
“Well that must be when you swore THEN right?” asked Mother Superior, becoming impatient.
“No, because the ball then fell on a big rock, bounced over the sand trap, rolled onto the green, and stopped about a foot from the hole!”
The two nuns were silent for a moment.
Then Mother Superior sighed and asked, “You missed the putt, didn’t you?”

Silly Joke #2

A noted sex therapist realizes that people often lie about the frequency of their encounters, so he devises a test to tell for certain how often someone has sex. To prove his theory, he fills up an auditorium with people and goes down the line, asking each person to smile. Using the size of the person’s smile, the therapist is able to guess accurately until he comes to the last man in line, who is grinning from ear to ear.
“Twice a day,” the therapist guesses, but is surprised when the man says no.
“Once a day, then?” Again the answer is no.
“Twice a week?”
“No.”
“Twice a month?”
“No.”
The man finally says yes when the doctor gets to “once a year” and continues grinning from ear to ear.
The therapist is angry now that his theory isn’t working, and asks the man, “What are you so happy about then?”
The man answers, “Because tonight’s the night man!”

Silly Joke #3 (Two quick jokes)

A guy is walking down the street with his friend. He miserably says to his friend, “I’m a complete walking economy.” His friend replies, “And how’s that?” “Well, it’s like this — my hair line is in recession, my stomach is a victim of inflation, and the combination of these factors is putting me into a deep depression.”

The doorbell rings. A man opens the door and there’s his mother-in-law on the front step.
She asks, “Can I stay here for a few days?”
The man says, “Absolutely!” And he closes the door.

Bonus Silly Joke (NSFW)

A married man decided to work late to be with his sexy secretary, so he called his wife to make up an excuse. After work he invited his secretary to dinner. It soon became obvious that he was going to get lucky, so the two went back to her apartment and had great sex for two hours. Afterward the fellow went to the bathroom to straighten up for the trip home and noticed a huge hickey on his neck. He panicked, wondering what he was going to tell his wife. After the man unlocked his front door, his dog came bounding to greet him. Aha, the man thought, and promptly fell to the carpet, pretending to fight off the affectionate animal. Holding his neck with one hand, he said, “Honey, look what the dog did to my neck!” “Heck, that’s nothing” she answered with a sarcastic grin, ripping open her blouse. “Look at these marks he left on my boobs!!!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things instead of using people and loving things.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Takers know how to put on a warm friendly exterior to hide their cold and calculated motives. Some even use sweetness and tantrums alternately, whichever works best.” (Vincenzo)

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

“I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday For A Hamburger Today!”

There once was a cartoon character that used to really get under my skin back in the day when I watched the show he was in. His name was Wimpy and he used to be on this cartoon called Popeye. He constantly said this totally annoying phrase that went as follows: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!”  The worst part about this phrase was that everyone kept falling for it, time and time and time again, even though Wimpy rarely ever paid up! AARGH!

Why does this bother me so much? Because I’ve had far too many friends throughout my life who were just like Wimpy, who’d want something up front and always offer promises to repay the debt at some later date, only to never repay, unless you hounded them repeatedly, and even then, it still wasn’t a guarantee you’d ever see it get repaid.

Throughout my life in recovery from addiction, I’ve come to see this is very much of a regular character defect of those who are either deep in the throngs of some addiction or are sober but haven’t worked their 12 Step recovery programs well enough yet to see they’re still doing it.

Has any of the following “Wimpy-like” statements ever been said to you, where the debt was never repaid?

“If you can give me a ride to my appointment, I’ll give you a few bucks for gas (and/or) take you to lunch.”

“Could you spot me $10 bucks for some food, and I’ll pay you back when I get my next paycheck?” 

“Do you think there’s any way you could buy me a coffee (or my meal) and I’ll get the next one the next time we go out?”

“I really need to get this bill paid, but I don’t have the money to cover it right now. Is there any way you could cover it for me and I’ll pay you back and even give you a little extra in a week or so when I get some more money?

“Is there anyone who can spot me for “this” and I’ll make sure I have the money to pay you back the next time I see you?”

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve fallen for these types of requests from a number of “Wimpy’s” in the world, where the debt was never repaid, where accountability and integrity were grossly lacking.

Accountability and integrity are big with me today. I set healthy boundaries now because I’ve seen how spiritually toxic it is to support this Wimpy type of behavior, both for the person doing it, and for myself.

This doesn’t mean I don’t help out someone anymore when they ask for something with a promise to repay the debt a little later, because I have. But I approach it far differently now. Sometimes I just give what’s being asked for as a gift when I know the person truly has a serious need and has done everything they can to rectify their situation themselves and are still coming up short. Other times, I give it as a gift simply because I feel my Spirit move me to do so. Occasionally though, I do take someone at their word, and provide what they’re asking for, typically if I don’t know them, just to give them the chance to become a person of accountability and integrity.

These type of qualities are so important to me today. I’ve worked hard in my own life to keep my promises because there was a time when this addict definitely was very much like Wimpy, making many promises for things that I received, never to repay those promises, always hoping they’d forget my debt.

But let me tell you, most people don’t forget. They might tell you they do, but they truly don’t. They simply overlook it for a time, that is until one too many failed promises to “pay on Tuesday for a hamburger today” end up making the person resentful enough to cut the other from their life. Sometimes though, that resentment arises in another way, when you see the person spending money on things for themselves that aren’t necessities while you continue to wait for their debt to be repaid. 

I don’t ever let it get this far anymore. I simply give a person ONE chance to remain accountable and live in integrity with me. If I have to ask repeatedly for their debt to be repaid, I know I can’t trust the person to be accountable and in integrity and I don’t help them out anymore. While this doesn’t mean I don’t remain their friend, I just don’t give them “any more hamburgers”, because in doing so, I’ll only eventually become resentful at their lack of accountability and integrity.

Nevertheless, I’ve done what I can in my own recovering life from addiction to go back and repay all my debts because that indeed is a very important step to a healthy recovery. Thankfully, I don’t see myself as Wimpy anymore and neither do those around me. I’m not a mooch, I’m not a user and I pray I never am again. But, for all those out there who might still be acting like Wimpy, hopefully one day you’ll see the toxicity of this behavior and do everything you can to eradicate it from your life. Because I can promise you that when you do, your friends and loved ones will respect you far more, and you’ll feel far better about yourself as well…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is one thing you truly love/appreciate now, that you never used to, until your heart grew close to another who already had a passion for that thing?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another iteration of my Grateful Heart Monday series, where gratitude is my only focus of my writing for the day, which for today is for all the things I’ve come to appreciate in life that once were things I never had an appreciation for, that is until my heart grew close to someone who did.

A few weeks ago, I was standing atop Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron, Michigan, taking in the pristine view all around me, which included Canada just across the river, the Blue Water Bridge that led to it, the turquoise waters of Lake Huron, and the sandy beaches directly below me. I never used to have any appreciation for lighthouses and probably went past dozens of them regularly throughout my childhood travels simply ignoring their presence. But after spending seven years with a partner named Jerry whom I once loved very deeply, where one of his biggest passions in life was lighthouses, especially visiting them, I eventually saw the love for them through his eyes and fell in love with them myself. Ever since, I’ve done my best to visit as many of them as I can and am grateful that Jerry left me with a passion for a nautical treasure I never used to care about.

Walking around the grounds of the same lighthouse and around the waterfront of Port Huron nearby, there was something else that’s become a huge part in my life now as well, that I used to never care much about and that’s history. My current partner Chris loves history, in fact he once told me it was his favorite subject in school growing up. For the first bunch of years we were together, we went to a number of places that were considered historical, where those placards exist to solely provide tourists with a historical understanding of what’s directly in front or around them. As a kid I used to be so bored with these types of things and yawned my way through most museums, even when I went to places like the Louvre! I just rarely found any appreciation for history, except for something that was maybe was over a millennium old. But ever since meeting Chris, I’ve seen the importance of all types of history and take the time now to look at so many things considered historical, especially whenever we travel somewhere, like at Fort Gratiot and Port Huron. I found such an interest in taking a step back in time to well over 100 years prior when that lighthouse had active innkeepers and nearby was an active fort protecting the U.S. coastal waterways there.

It’s ironic as I write this and find myself pondering just how much of my life today really has become such the grateful conglomeration of passions for things I only grew to like because of my heart growing close to another. I see now how my love of bowling came solely from my first partner’s (also named Jerry) love for the game. I see now how my love for NASCAR came solely from a best friend named Randy’s love for the sport. I see now how my love of miniature golf came solely from my father’s love for the unique game. I see now how my love for sushi came solely from a close friend Keith’s love for it. I see now how my love for warm crackling fires in fireplaces came from my dear friend Dexter’s love for them. I see now how my love for playing cards and board games came solely from my mother love for both. And I see now how much my love for Christ and God and all 12 Step recovery came solely from the love my best friend Cedric always has had for each. The fact is, so much of who I am today with all the likes I have in life now, all stem from time spent with those I grew to love deeply, who had these passions to begin with that I never had much of a thirst for, that is until they came along and entered my heart.

Shooting pool, playing darts, visiting nature preserves, going to amusement parks, walking through haunted houses, hiking mountains, having domestic cats as pets, collecting crystals, holistic healing, and so much more have all been things I never used to like much at all or pay any mind towards, until God saw fit to bring into my life special individuals I grew to love, and opened my eyes a little wider each time.

So, as you can see, I truly am grateful today for so many things I initially had no interest in, that is until I met one unique individual after another in my life that I allowed my heart to connect to their, that through that process, I came to see the world in a vastly brighter way of appreciation.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Have you ever left a group/organization because its members weren’t all doing their part to help keep it going? If so, what was the group?

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


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When To Leave A Recovery Home Group…

I decided a few weeks ago it was time to leave my Sunday evening AA home group after five years of service there and I leave them with plenty of good memories, but I want you to know it wasn’t an easy decision to leave and one I definitely didn’t make in haste.

For those who might know what a home group is, it’s the main meeting a person in recovery from an addiction chooses to join and attends every week, pledging both their attendance, as well as their service, to the group itself. Unfortunately, what I’ve come to know over the years is that far too often people end up finding a home group they like, they join it by putting their name on the group list, but then only show up when they feel like it, and rarely do anything to help keep the meeting going. Sadly, many recovery meetings around the country and the world end up failing because of this.

Having been sober and in recovery for many years now, I’ve come to see the rise and fall of a number of different recovery meetings, always for the same reasons of people either not showing up or not helping to keep the meeting going. This tends to put the burden upon those members who are willing to help keep the meeting going, which then leads to them juggling multiple jobs, eventually burning out in the process. This is exactly what started happening to me about a year or so ago, long before COVID ever hit.

Before all this began though, the camaraderie of my home group was outstanding. It’s why I joined it in the first place. I was fully accepted there and never once questioned my desire to be a member. Frankly, I looked forward to attending every Sunday night and usually showed up quite early and left as the lights were being turned off. Even though this was expected of  members, I did it because I wanted to. Once a month, we’d have a business meeting to assign various group responsibilities and talk about the ongoing health of the group as well. There were typically plenty of us on hand for this where a number of us always were willing to take on the positions needed to fill. Years ago, I took on the position of secretary, as well as the “chip guy” who’d hand out anniversary tokens. At some point, I also took on social coordinator, setting up monthly events outside of the meeting for us all to connect a little more, as fellowshipping is very important to recovery.

The first time I noticed things were moving in the opposite direction of why I joined this group came during the summer of 2019 when most members had stopped attending the social gatherings. Shortly thereafter, I saw how many members weren’t showing up early anymore to help set up the meeting and were leaving as soon as it ended. A number weren’t attending the business meetings either, and for those who came, many didn’t want a duty, yet still wanted a say in the direction of the group. As an FYI, most AA home groups have the following positions: coffee/snacks person, a literature person, a chip person, a chairperson, a secretary, a treasurer, a GSR representative along with its alternate, and an Intergroup representative along with its alternate. Each month, I was noticing the same people remaining in the same positions and filling in where the rest didn’t. The one reason why people weren’t willing to take a position was frequently that they were too busy. The irony in that is that none of us were ever too busy to engage in our addiction when it had a grip upon us!

Regardless, when COVID finally hit, the overall sense of group lethargy and disunity only amplified. Those of us who were already doing our best to carry the group continued to do so, while the rest just seemed to disappear. During the past six months, my secretarial duties often felt like I was either pulling teeth to get feedback, or it was met with a sense of passive aggressiveness, even though I was merely just doing my job. After the last email I sent out was met with this repeated type of response, I decided it was time to leave the group.

I honestly never thought I’d leave this group though, but I feel secure in knowing it’s the best decision for my recovery. I’m often asked how a decision like this is actually made and this is it in a nutshell. I look for how many members actually show up at each meeting and how many come early and leave late as well. I look for laughter, connection, and fellowship amongst its members. And lastly, I look at how many members are willing to fill those group positions. But truly, at the very core, when you stop looking forward to going to your home group, it’s probably time to go.

So, as I say good bye to a group that’s been my home for over five years in AA here in Toledo, I’m excited for God to lead me to my next home where I look forward to new opportunities for fellowship and service.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man rushed into the doctor’s office and shouted, “Doctor! I think I’m shrinking!” The doctor calmly responded, “Now, settle down. You’ll just have to be a little patient.”

Silly Joke #2

A 90-year-old man said to his doctor, “I’ve never felt better. I have an 21-year-old bride who is pregnant with my child. What do you think about that?” The doctor considered his question for a minute and then said, “I have an elderly friend who is a hunter and never misses a season. One day when he was going out in a bit of a hurry, he accidentally picked up his umbrella instead of his gun. When he got to the Creek, he saw a beaver sitting beside the stream. He raised his umbrella and went, ‘bang, bang’ and the beaver fell dead. What do you think of that?” The 90-year-old said, “I’d say somebody else shot that beaver!”  The doctor replied, “My point exactly.”

Silly Joke #3

At the urging of his doctor, Bill moved to Florida. After settling in, he met a neighbor who was also an older man. “Say, is this really a healthy place?”  “It sure is,” the man replied. “When I first arrived here I couldn’t say one word. I had hardly any hair on my head. I didn’t have the strength to walk across a room and I had to be lifted out of bed.” “That’s wonderful!” said Bill. “How long have you been here?” “I was born here…” replied the man.

Bonus Silly Joke

Before performing a baptism, the priest approached the young father and said solemnly, “Baptism is a serious step. Are you prepared for it?” “I think so,” the man replied. “My wife has made appetizers and we have a caterer coming to provide plenty of cookies and cakes for all of our guests.” “I don’t mean that,” the priest responded. “I mean, are you prepared spiritually?” “Oh, sure,” came the reply. “I’ve got a a few fifths of vodka and a several cases of whiskey on hand!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Dear all future History teachers: When you give a test on the year 2020, please make it open book. Ain’t no way your students gonna remember all this!” (Diggy Moreland)

Quote #2

“Look 2020, I just think I should start seeing other years ok?” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“So far 2020 is like looking both ways before crossing the street and then getting hit by an airplane!” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“When does Season 2 of 2020 begin? I really don’t like Season 1.” (Unknown)

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

Hindsight Is 2020?!

The other day I read a funny blurb on Facebook making its rounds on social media that said, “I’m beginning to think ‘Hindsight is 2020’ was some kind of message from a future time traveler that we all misunderstood.” I laughed pretty hard at first but then thought about how much our world really has been turned upside down this year.

At first, the year began pretty awesome for me. I felt so much better in my mind, body, and soul, and was thinking 2020 was going to be pretty spectacular. Sadly, little did I know that whatever the antonym for the word spectacular is would become how I’d describe this calendar year a short while later.

It truly has been an exceptionally difficult year. Beyond the fact that all this social distancing has led to greater feelings of isolation and loneliness, I’ve been totally dismayed at all the divisions being drawn. Rather than allowing a pandemic to bring us all closer, I’ve seen such division amongst the masses that I’ve been concerned a civil war could be in our near future.

Racism, police brutality, climatic craziness, destructive wildfires, Republicans versus Democrats, Trump supporters versus Biden supporters, stock market volatility, massive unemployment, such great losses of life from this COVID-19 pandemic, mask rage-outs, multiple city-wide violent protests, deaths of people who’ve made a positive difference like Kobe Bryant and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a presidential impeachment, long-running business closures, world-wide hypochondria, name-calling and squabbling in presidential debates, it sure has been a year thus far hasn’t it?

It’s hard to believe that most of this has come in just over seven months of time.

The frequent conversation I hear around me now is whether 2021 will get any better. What will our world look like beyond all this? Will we remain primarily a mask-based, socially distant society with people staying more away from each other than not, avoiding touch, handshakes, and hugs? Will things that we once enjoyed going to like blockbuster movies, headliner concerts, and major sporting events in droves ever return? And for those like me, trying to still live a sober life in recovery, will we ever get back to regularly meeting in person?

To be honest, questions like these have been as difficult to deal with, as it has been with all the unknowingness related to my health over the past decade. I’ve had to live every single day with a total question mark about what tomorrow will bring with my health, where any sort of control I’ve tried to exert to make my life feel better and more rational has been met with an equal and opposite force of irrationality.

And that indeed is what 2020 has felt like for me, a year of irrationality where life has become completely paradoxical from what I first thought this year might bring.

I honestly can’t imagine what Jesus would be saying right now if he had to live through 2020. Maybe He wouldn’t be saying anything and instead, just be shaking his head in sorrow over all our disunity? Ultimately, I’m severely disappointed at how divided our nation and really all our peoples have become, when I would have thought a terrible pandemic might have united all of us on a greater path towards unconditional love.

Nevertheless, as our upcoming election rapidly approaches, I just want to say that no matter who becomes our president for the next four years, that for life to stabilize, it’s going to take a lot more acceptance and love and a lot less finger-pointing and judgment. And while I know plenty continue to say that I live in such an idealistic view of how to course correct all this, I choose to live out my life with hope and faith that there is something far Greater than all of this, that can not only heal all my health issues, but unite us all, and that is how I keep going, in a crazy world where “Hindsight Is 2020” has completely taken on a totally different meaning, even when it’s said in jest.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the first thing you would say comes to mind that you’re MOST grateful for in 2020 thus far? (and please not that it’s almost over! 🙂 )

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the only subject of my writing for the day, which for today is for those who have never stopped praying for my health and healing ever since they first learned of all that I go through in that part of my life and have kept the faith.

People often want to help me with my health and healing and tend to offer advice and suggestions as that seems to always be the norm and usually first reaction when someone sees me suffering in pain. Unfortunately, having gone down a very long road over the past decade, trying so many avenues of things that were suggested might help, has only led to greater frustration and hair (that I honestly don’t have much of!) being pulled out. So, when people ask me now how they can help with my health, I ask for only one thing. To pray for me, on a daily basis, and to not stop until they know I’m better.

I have never fully given up on myself with this healing journey and have instead kept my faith in God that I will one day be healthier. After exhausting the medical world for help years ago where it eventually was left with my solutions all being to numb what I felt through concoctions of drugs, medical marijuana, CBD, Lyrica or Cymbalta, or pain killers, I opted to pursue other avenues, as I wasn’t looking to numb myself from the pain, I was looking to heal from it. So, I tried many other healing modalities, from acupuncture to chiropractic and everything in between, but sadly, all to no avail. Eventually, I came to acceptance that whatever was going on in my mind and body was beyond the help of science and medicine and holistic healing.

For the past four years or so, which I’d say has been the darkest period of this entire healing journey, I’ve prayed countless prayers for relief and to not give up on myself, as on more days than not, I’ve wanted to. Thankfully, God has not only put into my life some who truly get my frustration and know suggestions don’t help, but also who have had a sincere desire to pray for me on a regular basis and have.

Some of you have privately emailed me over the years and told me you’re praying for me, while others have told me in person. I’m quite sure there are others as well who have never told me personally that they too are lifting me up regularly in their prayerful routines.

Nevertheless, this really was but a simple entry today to just thank each of you who are praying for me, who haven’t stopped praying, and continue to keep the faith like I do, that God will one day deliver me completely out of these depths of despair over my health and into a much healthier state of mind and body.

While I know there are plenty who have suggested that after all this time, that maybe God doesn’t plan to take it away, I choose to see it differently and am thankful for all those who do as well and have kept praying for me because of it. I really believe it’s because of you prayer warriors that I’m still kicking and I truly am grateful for all of you, which is why I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to each of you for continuing to keep me in your prayers without ceasing…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.” (Sade Andria Zabala)

Quote #2

“I used to think an addict was someone who lived on the far edges of society. Wild-eyed, shaven-head and living in a filthy squat. That is until I became one…” (Cathryn Kemp) 

Quote #3

“Death doesn’t scare an addict, it’s the life they are scared of.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“The only way ANYONE ever quits a severe addiction is that they eventually come to a place where the desire to be free from it exceeds their desire to continue to use it to cope in life.” (Unknown)

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

The 12 Steps Of Insanity

While it’s pretty obvious I’m a huge 12 Step recovery proponent and often feel that the 12 Steps themselves can be applied to anyone’s life, regardless of whether they have any sort of addiction to recover from or not, there are parodies of the 12 Steps out there that actually fall in line with how most recovering addicts once were when deep in their addiction. Thanks to my buddy Tom, I received one such iteration of those parodies that frankly, is eerily close to how I once lived, when my life was a total self-will run riot.

Here is “The 12 Steps Of Insanity” that my buddy sent me:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over nothing – that we could manage our lives perfectly and those of anyone else who would allow me.
  2. Came to believe there was no power greater than ourselves, and the rest of the world was insane.
  3. Made a decision to have our loved ones and friends turn their wills and lives over to our care even though they couldn’t understand us at all.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of everyone we knew.
  5. Admitted to the whole world at large the exact nature of everyone else’s wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to make others straighten up and do right.
  7. Demanded others to either “shape up or ship out.”
  8. Made a list of all persons who had harmed us and became willing to go to any length to get even with them all.
  9. Got direct revenge on such people wherever possible except when to do so would cost us our own lives or, at the very least, a jail sentence.
  10. Continued to take the inventory of others, and when they were wrong, promptly and repeatedly told them about it.
  11. Sought through bitching and nagging to improve our relations with others as we couldn’t understand them at all, asking only that they knuckle under and do things our way.
  12. Having had a complete physical, emotional, spiritual breakdown as the result of these steps, we tried to blame it on others and to get sympathy and pity in all our affairs.

I’m sure most 12 Step-based recovering addicts of any kind can probably relate to this parody of the 12 Steps, because ultimately it’s how we all used to live. I had to laugh at Step 4 and 5 here, because that indeed is precisely the toxic behaviors I once exhibited with such voracity that I regularly pissed tons of people off because of it. Ironically, those behaviors seem to be happening quite a bit these days with plenty of non-addict-based  individuals in this crazy COVID world we’re all living in presently. That’s why I continue to feel the 12 Steps can be applied to anyone.

Nevertheless, in regards to the final step in this parody, I had my own complete physical, emotional, and spiritual breakdown back in the 2011-2012 time frame when an unchecked sex and love addiction was completely ruling my life and a suicide attempt became the only rational option.

Thank God I do my best now to live the true 12 Steps in every area of my life and that all of my former severe addictions are in recovery mode. Thank God I really can’t relate anymore to The 12 Steps Of Insanity and am not living any of them out. And thank God I absolutely know now that taking my will back and using control to guide my life will only lead me straight back into those all those steps of insanity, which is most definitely not a place I ever want to return to ever again…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Susie: My husband is such a great handyman. He can repair almost anything.

Jane: Well, my mother always taught me to beware of a man who can fix everything because you’ll never get anything new!

Silly Joke #2

Visiting the modern art museum one afternoon, a lady turned to an attendant standing nearby. “This,” she said, “I suppose, is one of those hideous representations you call modern art?!” “No, Madam,” replied the attendant. “That one’s called a mirror.”

Silly Joke #3

A man entered the bus with both of his front pockets full of golf balls and sat down next to a beautiful blonde. The puzzled blonde kept looking at him and his bulging pockets. Finally, after many such glances from her, he said, “It’s golf balls”. Nevertheless, the blonde continued to look at him thoughtfully and finally, not being able to contain her curiosity any longer, asked, “Does that hurt as much as tennis elbow?”

Bonus Silly Joke

Teacher: Class, did you know that the Jewish people have observed more than 5758 years as a people and that the Chinese have observed more than 4695 as a people as well? What does this mean to you?”

Little Johnny: “Well, for one thing, it means the Jewish people had to go without Chinese takeout for at least 1063 years!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Have you traveled since the COVID pandemic began? If so, what have you noticed is different now while on travel?


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

Seeing The Harsh Reality of COVID While On Travel…

I felt it best to end my Austin, Texas getaway recap with an entry that dealt with something that became all the more real while on travel, that being the ongoing ramifications of a world that’s plagued by a pandemic.

Let me start with the first part of the trip, the flying. I really used to love flying. The whole experience of driving to the airport, to checking in, to going through security, to finding a tasty bite and a drink to consume while waiting at the gate, to the takeoff, to the flight itself, then the landing, and ultimately waiting for my bags to come down that huge chute into the terminal, it was always the most incredible experience for me as a kid and continued well into my adulthood. When 9/11 came, that began to change. Heightened security measures added complexities and often annoyances that weren’t present before thus taking away some of the fun. Then my difficult health issues came in my early 40’s, making it even more difficult to enjoy the experience. With COVID present now, it honestly felt like a chore to travel. For as much as I know how important it is to wear masks, it became a burden. Airline agents couldn’t quite understand me at the gate. The constant pulling down and putting back up when eating and drinking led to my mask smelling like the food I ate and the coffee I drank. I also used to see a lot of happy expressions and laughter at the airport, but I honestly didn’t see any on this trip and I did look for it. Most airport shops were closed. And yes, even my favorite, Starbucks, was closed in almost every location I walked to. And thank goodness I have good credit and a credit card because no one seems to be accepting cash where I did purchase anything!

As for my actual time at my destination, when out and about, it was evident how hard COVID has rocked our nation, as I’m sure the world. So many businesses have closed with signs on their doors and windows saying that this pandemic has forced them to close for good. I noticed this a lot in a number of my previous more local trips in the past month as well. Businesses that have operated for decades just couldn’t keep up with the social distancing rules that halved their profits or more. I honestly can’t even fathom what my life would have been like during this pandemic if I still was operating the bed and breakfast I once owned in Chincoteague, Virginia. That truly is one thing I’m grateful for that is out of my life during these crazy times! Phew!

Another thing I noticed during this trip was the serious lack of physical closeness due to COVID. I’m a huge hugger and handshaker. I like touch in empathetic ways to show I care. And I tend to notice others like me when I’m out and about doing the same as well. That is something that seems to just not be present right now, not even when meeting new people. There were plenty of times where I met others on this trip where our gazes met, where our arms or bodies twitched from that impulse to do what we normally would do in a pandemic-free world, but most of the time we just stood there, frozen in place, greeting awkwardly from a distance with masks on, unable to see any type of warmth emanating through facial expressions. The impersonal feeling in this world nowadays is extremely difficult for extroverts like me.

Lastly, the one thing that stood out the most to me was all the homelessness in Austin. Tent after tent after tent lining street after street after street there. Whether that was going on prior to COVID or not I don’t know, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to be having to live on the streets in a tent during a pandemic. Seeing so many homeless people made me very grateful though for the small humble home I knew I had waiting for me back in Toledo with my partner Chris.

In the end, for as much as I truly treasured my time with my friend Karen and her family, dealing with this mask-based, socially-distanced world, where touch and love and closeness wasn’t really present much, and where you never quite knew what’s going to be open from what you looked up on Google to go entertain yourself, made for a truly frustrating experience while on travel, and made even worse when combining that with all my health issues. In light of seeing the harsh reality of COVID while on travel, I’d say it’s a safe bet that I’ll be staying far closer to home until some sense of COVID-free normalcy returns…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

The thing I feel I’m most gifted in doing in life is…(fill in the blank and keep it clean please.)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Thank you for following along on another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always begins my week in writing. Today I’d like to express my gratitude for being a guest in the home of a dear friend from Austin, Texas for five days, where I saw something demonstrated quite beautifully that I never really saw within my own family growing up, that being unconditional love.

If you’ve followed along in my writing for my blog throughout any of the past seven years, then you already have probably read at some point how growing up in the alcoholic and emotionally imbalanced home that I did that there wasn’t much in the way of unconditional love ever being shown. Rather, it was quite the opposite with conditional love offered only when big leaps and hurdles were achieved to appease my parents, especially my mother. That’s why it was such a welcomed gift to be a guest in the home of my dear friend Karen Werner Cudzilo, along with her husband Marty and her two children, David and Sarah. There, I witnessed for the entire time I was there some family dynamics that were what I had always hoped to have as a kid but never got.

A great example of this that comes to mind right off the bat during this trip took place one morning as I sat on the backyard patio eating some oatmeal. Marty was putting this peanut-butter-looking paste on various trees in the backyard for the birds in such a strange pattern that didn’t make any sense until he finished, because when he did, it was him actually professing his deep love for his wife using their initials and some symbols. And they’ve been together for almost 30 years! This wasn’t an isolated incident of an act of unconditional love either.

I regularly witnessed them praise their kids, even for the simplest of achievements made. I saw hugs and tokens of affection offered repeatedly. There were daily phone calls and texts just saying hi to each other and sharing bits of their days with each other. All of which was so different from my upbringing where I rarely got my parents attention to just listen to me because they were either fighting, not talking to each other, or focused on their drinking and watching tv.

Karen’s family’s natural language felt so foreign to me, but so familiar to them, and yet it was incredibly refreshing to experience. As we played the cornhole beanbag game multiple times in their backyard for example, while I watched friendly competition amongst them, I also witnessed them all cheer each other on and congratulate each other for when good achievements were made in the game, like when David scored four beanbags in a row in the hole to win a game. That was such the opposite to gaming in my family where everything was so rigidly competitive, as when losses occurred it was normal to see things like playing cards being thrown across the room or ripped up, or board games getting toppled over.

The fact is I never once felt uncomfortable in the midst of Karen’s family. They all paid attention to me when I spoke. They didn’t spend their meals engrossed on their phones and weren’t disinterested in topics of conversation I brought up. They made it a point to make me feel truly welcomed, which really felt genuine, as I haven’t been embraced that well by any family in a very, long time, if ever. I almost wished I could have bottled it all up, all that unconditional love energy, as it alone helped me to feel better with the daily bouts of physical pain I still felt during my trip there.

I know some people might think that it could have all been for show just because I was there, but trust me when I say that I’m exceptionally good at picking up when people are faking it and Karen’s family was most definitely not.

While some may think that the biggest gratitude I would have had during my trip to Austin would have been the unique sightseeing I did in the area, it really was far more about spending time with a family where the true love of Christ was demonstrated repeatedly and without effort. That alone was the best gift I could have received on this trip, as it showed me what a family home looks like when unconditional love is at its core.

So, thank you Karen, Marty, David, and Sarah, for welcoming me into your home for a few days, as the love I experienced from each of you truly made for the most amazing blessing, which is why today’s Grateful Heart Monday is dedicated to all of you.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“People who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” (Neil Gaiman)

Quote #2

“When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” (La Rochefoucauld)

Quote #3

“True healing occurs when I give myself permission to feel whatever feelings live below the triggers, pain, and all that causes us to keep looking outside of ourselves for the solution when the only solution is to go within.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

Bonus Quote

“When you are finally tired and exhausted enough from constantly looking outside of yourself for a better life or better health or a better relationship or a better anything, maybe it’s finally time to just be still and go within, as it’s only there can any of that ever manifest.” (Unknown) 

Facing The Hard Truth About My Health On My Recent Trip To Austin, Texas…

It’s pretty easy to try to blame the source of one’s pain on those closest to you or on things around you. For as long as I’ve been dealing with the difficult health issues I have, I’ve occasionally and regrettably lashed out at my partner and others closest to my heart, and even with the region I’m currently living in too. Most recently, in the midst of doing this behavior, I opted to go visit a close high school friend named Karen whose family lives in Austin, Texas, solely in the hopes that my health might improve drastically by getting away from Toledo, the Midwest, and my partner. It was pretty obvious in the first 24 hours away though that what’s been going on within me has nothing to do with anyone or anything but me.

While at times my stress levels may indeed be higher due to where I live or tensions with my partner, I accept now that neither are major contributors to any of my health issues. For as much as alcohol or drugs or sex or love or any of the other things I once addictively fell prey to numbed various parts of my psyche that I didn’t like about myself, a small vacation taken many miles away merely did the same as well.

On some level, I’m actually thankful to discover this, as it quickly eliminated the many projections my ego has been giving me lately, especially during these COVID times. The saying “You are wherever you go” feels so apropos right about now with that stark realization. While my ego truly wanted to go to Austin and suddenly experience miraculous levels of relief and healing, that didn’t happen, thus crushing my ego’s last ditched effort to remain in control.

The reality I see now is that my health and healing really is out of my control. I’ve done the very best I can over the years to heal myself by desperately seeking answers and working so very hard to find the source of all my pain. Along the way I’ve attempted to fix all the brokenness and unhealthiness from my past and still have come up short in the physical healing department. Ultimately, I accept now it really is in God’s hands and maybe always was. I just needed to give my ego a last hurrah by going on this trip alone so it could see the ultimate truth.

So, while I’m blessed to have been a guest in Karen’s home for a few days in Austin and did experience some wonderful times, the biggest blessing quite possibly received on this trip was the crushing blow given to my ego when its final attempt to try to fix me failed. I see now the only thing that’s going to fix me is to keep trusting in God, as it’s God and not my ego that delivered me from a life of addiction hell, and it’s God who will do the same with my health when the time is right.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man was driving to work when a truck ran a stop sign, hit his car broadside, and knocked him out cold. A passersby pulled him from the wreckage and revived him. He began a terrific struggle and had to be tranquilized by the medics. Later, when he had calmed down, they asked him why he had struggled so. He said, a bit sheepishly, “I remember the impact, then nothing. I woke up on a concrete slab in front of this huge, flashing sign. Turns out the person helping me was standing in front of the ‘S’ on the ‘Shell’ sign!”

Silly Joke #2

Mrs. Hunter was called to serve for jury duty, but asked to be excused because she didn’t believe in capital punishment and didn’t want her personal thoughts to prevent the trial from running its proper course. But the public defender liked her thoughtfulness and quiet calm, and tried to convince her that she was appropriate to serve on the jury. “Madam,” he explained, “this is not a murder trial! It’s a simple civil lawsuit. A wife is bringing this case against her husband because he gambled away the $12,000 he had promised to use to remodel the kitchen for her birthday.” “Well, okay,” agreed Mrs. Hunter quite abruptly, “I’ll serve! I guess I could be wrong about capital punishment after all!”

Silly Joke #3

The teacher asked little Johnny if he knows his numbers.
“Yes,” he said. “I do. My father taught me.”
“Good. What comes after three.”
“Four,” answers the boy.
“What comes after six?”
“Seven.”
“Very good,” says the teacher. “Your dad did a good job. And what about what comes after ten?”
“A jack!” says lil’ Johnny quite proudly.

Bonus Silly Joke

An airline captain was helping a new blond stewardess get situated in her new job. The route they were flying had a layover in another city. Upon their arrival, the captain showed her the best place for airline personnel to eat, shop and stay overnight. The next morning, as the pilot was preparing the crew for the day’s route, he noticed the new stewardess was missing. He knew which room she was in at the hotel and called her up wondering what happened. She answered the phone, crying, and said she obviously needs a little more guidance from him because she couldn’t get out of her hotel room. ” You can’t get out of your room?” the captain asked a little shocked. “And why not?” The stewardess replied: “Well, there are only three doors in here,” she sobbed, “One is the bathroom, one is the closet, and one has a sign on it that says ‘Do Not Disturb’!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the happiest memory you can think of from your entire life?

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


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