Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What’s one thing that totally surprised you lately and was also a blessing for you?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, which for today is for one of my Facebook friends I have yet to meet in person, but someone who still made a big impact upon my life a few weeks ago when they reached out to me via Facebook Messenger. Due to the subject material of the conversation we had, I opted to leave their name anonymous in today’s entry.

I know many don’t use the Facebook messaging client anymore or never have. I still do though and tend to check my messages multiple times a day there. A few weeks ago, when this person reached out to me there via the video side of it, I was hesitant to answer because I had never communicated to them before, yet something told me I should at least respond via the texting side of it. They told me they were a fellow person in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction and would like to talk to me when I was available. I made time later that day and called them where I learned they had just come through a battle with cancer and were now in remission. They told me the purpose of wanting to talk to me through was more about how much my blog has helped them through many of the difficulties they’ve been facing in life.

Honestly, I was speechless. Here was someone who had just come through a serious health crisis that was taking the time to let me know how much I had helped them when I had never even met them. Sometimes I don’t really know the impact of the words I write in this blog. Sad to say I seem to irritate many with my writing, especially when I discuss things involving God or in recent years the pandemic or politics.

Nevertheless, I was told how much my words had moved them again and again, comforting them and helping them on their own spiritual journey. I think what moved my heart the most though in the conversation was being told how much they felt I was doing a good job in life and making an impact here in Toledo, a place where they were from as well.

I have lost count of the number of days over the years here in Toledo where the darkness has tried to convince me that my writing is pointless and that I should just hang the towel up. Given the fact that maintaining this site costs me several hundred dollars a year, it seems as God keeps giving me one reminder after another that the price I’m paying to keep it going is worth it. This is why I’m so grateful today for this individual who had the courage to reach out to a total stranger and share about their recovery, both from their addiction and from a cancer battle, and also provide me an invaluable message of love in their own words. Words that said I do matter in this world and words that said someone was proud of me too, things I never heard much of in my life ever since I was a kid.

So, thank you my friend, you know who you are because I know you said you continue to follow my writing. I’m grateful that you took the time amidst your own struggles and spiritual journey of life, all to thank me, and let me know in your own way, that God is watching me and is proud of me. You have no idea how much your words affected me greatly in a beautiful way, I dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to you my friend.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What do you often try to control in life that you really can’t ultimately control, and instead would benefit more from just accepting it? (Ex. Traffic, your boss, your partner, relationship status, etc.)

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


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What A Mid-Life Crisis And Acceptance Of Life On Life’s Terms Have In Common…

I have occasionally met people in this life who seem to be truly accepting of every part of themselves. They accept themselves so deeply that whatever their “conditions” of life are, they don’t let it faze them. They accept life on life’s terms so gracefully that they can move through life with far more peace. As I am about to turn 50, I feel like the mid-life crisis I’m having is all about a recovering addict’s last stand of truly letting go of control and finally accepting life on life’s terms.

Why I say this is because something so simple and unaffecting to another continues to affect me greatly. Take for example me coming home late one evening recently, after having left earlier in the day to my extremely well-groomed yard and swept-clean driveway, only to see a gazillion whirlybirds from all the maple trees surrounding my home covering it all. Immediately, my OCD kicks in. My mind quickly races ahead to all the work that will be required to clean it up, including whether my partner will even help me with any of it. I spin out of control in the process and feel a total lack of control. Instead, my lack of acceptance becomes quite apparent and creates the exact opposite of peace within me. I then enter my home feeling charged, where having acceptance of life on life’s terms would have another individual entering their home without having given any of those whirlybirds even the slightest bit of negative thought.

The idea I’m turning 50 in a few weeks has really shed light on a part of my recovery from addiction. I still worry far too much in life because of my lack of acceptance with living life on life’s terms, and I lose an insatiable amount of peace in life because of it. I don’t want to spend what life I have left beyond 50 being like this. Yet, I haven’t been successful moving beyond it either. Maybe that’s because I frequently find myself thinking more about what it really means to accept life on life’s terms than just doing it? Instead of just doing it, I mind screw myself by constantly asking questions like, “Does me accepting this mean it’s always going to be this way?” or “Will me accepting this lead to feeling some sense of loss somehow?” or “Is me accepting this simply giving up in life?”

Being raised in the dysfunctional addicted family I was created this pattern that became the exact opposite of accepting life on life’s terms. And becoming the addict I became in life for as long as I was only made that worse. I spent decades not accepting life on life’s terms and instead striving for this, and striving for that, fighting for this, and fighting for that, believing I deserved this, and believing that I deserved that, all for what? It’s done nothing for me in life but stress me out immensely, which in turn has only stressed out everyone that has grown close to me. It’s affected my partner deeply at times, and my closest of friends as well. All because I never truly learned how to just accept life on life’s terms.

Turning 50, what I desire the most for the rest of what life I have ahead is to learn how to fully accept life on life’s terms. I want to be able to look at things like whirlybirds falling everywhere in my yard and driveway and not be bothered by them at all, instead having a sense of peace surrounding it, a peace that can only come from having acceptance.

Acceptance is such the foreign thing for many-an-addict, especially for those who come from addict-based families, as addicts in general tend to try to control everything rather than accept them as is. Finding recovery from addiction is about a lot of things, but one very important one is learning how to accept life on life’s terms, instead of always trying to control life. I’ve been in recovery long enough now to realize it’s the one area I could still use improvement in. I really just want to let go of whatever control I think I still need and instead leave it in God’s hands.

So, I pray God helps me find this as I turn 50. I pray God helps me move beyond this mid-life crisis, a crisis of my own making, one that’s very much due to my lack of acceptance of life on life’s terms, and directly based upon me not feeling in control. Because letting go of that control and accepting life on life’s terms will actually allow me to see something like whirlybirds falling from the sky as a gift of creation and a beauty of nature, and not solely as another angst in life…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1 (2 Little Johnny quick jokes)

Teacher: “Does everyone know what a headache is?”
Class (in unison): “Yesss!!”
Teacher: “Great. Now then, what does your mother do to make her headache go away?”
Little Johnny (blurting out his answer as always): “She sends me out to play!”

Teacher: “Okay, class. Today we’re going to be talking about the tenses. If I say ‘I’m beautiful,’ which tense is it?”
Little Johnny (yelling out as always): “That’s obvious, it’s past tense!”

Silly Joke #2

A frustrated wife was talking to her blonde best friend. “I don’t know what’s wrong with my husband. He put a slice of cucumber up his nose, a piece of carrot in his left ear and a dab of banana in his right ear in our last few meals together. What do you think is wrong with him? The blonde replied calmly, “I think it’s pretty simple? He’s not eating properly…”

Silly Joke #3

Two young adult males were talking over a beer one night. Their conversation drifted from politics to cooking. “I got a cookbook a few weeks ago,” said the first, “but I wasn’t able to do anything with it.” “Way too complicated of recipes I bet right?” asked the second. “Nah. It was because each said you start by taking a clean dish….”

Bonus Silly Joke

A wealthy woman was sure that her wealthy husband was cheating on her with their live-in maid. So she laid down a trap. One evening she suddenly sent the maid home for the weekend after her husband had already gone upstairs for bed. When she turned in not too long later, the husband soon gave her the same old story. “Hon, I can’t sleep. I’m going to go downstairs and watch some tv for a little while. But first, I need to go to go to the bathroom.” As soon as he had left and went into the bathroom, with her assuming he was freshening up for the maid, she promptly ran into the maid’s bedroom and closed the door. She switched the lights off and got under the covers of the maid’s bed. The door to the maid’s room opened not too long after that. When he crawled in bed next to her and rolled on top of her she immediately screamed at him, “I knew it! You cheating louse of a husband!!!” She then switched on the light and saw their live-in gardener with his mouth gaping wide open in horror.

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

I Have A Dream With Phi Kappa Psi…

I have a dream, and I just want to place it out there today via this piece of writing, simply to claim it, knowing that even in this small action, I’m setting a ball in motion in a world where I believe anything can be possible, so long as I leave it in the hands of my Higher Power, whom I choose to refer to as God.

Look, I’ve spent much of my life trying to control my future. I’ve had many dreams and taken so many actions to make them come to fruition, except those that have, were never fulfilling, which is why I’m trying to do something different now by leaving this dream I have right now in life entirely within the control of God.

My dream is to work for the national side of my fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, with my fraternity’s headquarters in other words, where I would be sent around the country to each of our active chapters, presently there are over 83, to tell my story of addiction to recovery and all the trauma I experienced in between, a story I continue to tell here locally in the Toledo, Ohio area, day in and day out, as a volunteer.

I love what I do as a volunteer. I love helping out at detoxes, halfway houses, sober living situations, with the nursing students at the University of Toledo (UT), with UT’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter, and with those I sponsor in recovery as well, sharing my story of addiction to recovery from the depths of my heart, as it seems to truly be helping others, providing many a healing path from their own traumas of life and one that also leads them away from a life of addiction.

The idea of going from chapter to chapter, meeting with brothers around the country within my very own fraternity, who are just beginning their lives really would be a dream come true for me. My only hope in that job would be that in doing it, I could help many avert going down the long, dark, and circuitous path I went in life that took me nowhere but into the depths of despair and addiction. I honestly believe that doing this work would be invaluable with all that’s going on in our world right now.

The fact is alcohol and drug use are both rapidly on the rise throughout college campuses across the nation. Addiction continues to increase as well amongst the younger generations. Combine that with the hazing that still keeps happening in various social organizations, especially with fraternities and sororities, and terrible tragedies continue to happen. Each year it seems as if another death occurs due to this. A number of my own chapters over the years have lost their affiliations with their respective campuses due to these circumstances.

Most of my descent into addiction began during my collegiate years after I entered Greek life. There, I always felt like I had no one to talk to, no one to relate to, no one to open up to really. If I had just heard a story like mine from a fellow brother, it might have planted a necessary seed that could have sprouted far earlier in my life, preventing a lot of the pain and hardship I placed upon my life by living in so many addictions. This is precisely why I have this dream, because I’ve seen how my story has helped do this very thing within many individuals over the years and I give all that credit to God and not myself.

But a few years ago, I became overzealous and tried to control this dream by sending out 20 personal letters to 20 different Phi Kappa Psi chapters within driving distance of my home in Toledo. I was quite bold in those letters and honestly, I don’t think I was coming from a humble space at all back then. It’s probably why I never heard from a single chapter. Not one. So, I took that as a sign from my Higher Power that maybe it wasn’t the right time, or wasn’t my path, or I just needed to get humbler. Regardless, I backed off, and continued to do my volunteer work ever since, always hoping in the back of my mind, that one day I might work more closely with my fraternity I have come to love far more deeply, especially recently.

Nevertheless, I may not have a specific degree in what I’m doing right now in life by telling my story of addiction to recovery to everyone that I do. And I may not have a certificate that backs any of what I share from the depths of my heart each time either. But, what I do have is a passion and gift to speak, one I feel that comes from my Higher Power, which is why I’m leaving this with God, who knows I’m ready to go wherever and whenever it is I’m meant to go to help others. If that somehow, one day, can be with all my brothers of Phi Kappa Psi around the chapters of our nation, I truly would be finally living out a dream that I know would be 100% fulfilling…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What would you say would be the most fulfilling career/job you could ever have in life?

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


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Thought For The Day

I didn’t necessarily have a theme for today’s inspiring quotes. I merely wanted to share some I felt a connection with where I am at right now in life that I found helped me to keep going for one more day…

“Life is not about having everything. It’s about finding meaning in everything.” (Joel Randymar)

“Never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. Evaluate your words before you let them leave your lips. Sometimes it’s best to be quiet.” (Tony A. Gaskins Jr.)

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” (Mary Anne Radmacher)

“I have endured pain and loss. I have felt broken. I have known hardship, and I have felt lost and alone. But here I stand, trying to move forward, one day at a time. I will remember the lessons in my life because they are making me who I am. Stronger. A warrior.” (Unknown)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole focus of my writing for the day, which for today is for Ed. D., a fellow 12-stepper in recovery from the addiction world.

While my blog work does seem to get several comments a day via re-sharing them on Facebook, I normally don’t have much contact that comes via my personal website (andrewarthurdawson). So, when I received an email just over a week ago now from one of the readers of my blog, Ed. D., I was both surprised and grateful. Thankfully, I also received his permission to re-share his words, as they truly were heartfelt and ones that resonate within my own that have helped motivate me to keep writing, especially on those days when I struggle coming up with reasons to do so, as that does happen for me at times. The following are Ed’s words… (with location and precise 12 Step program removed per 12 Step tradition.)

Hi Andrew,

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your writing. The reflections are thought-provoking and inspiring. I chair an online meeting and sometimes use your reflections as a guide for meeting topics, and whenever I do so, the quality of the shares is spectacular and in many cases I am simply moved to tears.

Keep up the wonderful work and know that you are helping to change lives for the better.

Kindest Regards,
Ed D.

So, to my new recovery connection, Ed. D., I am dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to you, for being a beautiful reminder from my Higher Power that I do matter in this world, that my writing is continuing to help others, and that I need to keep trusting I’m making a positive difference in the lives of others. I truly am very much thankful for you Ed today and thank you as well for letting me re-share this with the rest of my readers.

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

Thought For The Day

One of the greatest changes that came out of my life from 12 Step recovery was the desire to help another without any other motivation but the desire to help another…today’s quotes are ones that I feel help to further explain this…

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” (Charles De Lint)

“The next time you want to withhold your help, or your love, or your support for another for whatever the reason, ask yourself a simple question: do the reasons you want to withhold it reflect more on them or on you? And which reasons do you want defining you forevermore?” (Dan Pearce)

 “Be nice to people… maybe it’ll be unappreciated, unreciprocated, or ignored, but spread the love anyway. We rise by lifting others.”  (Germany Kent)

“Don’t value your self-worth by others or external things but by appreciating who you are within. And if you must measure your success do it not by what you have gained personally but what you have contributed to a wider benefit.”  (Rasheed Ogunlaru)

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

When There No Longer Is Any Hidden Agenda To Doing Nice Things For Others…

My partner Chris and I got into an argument recently about the amount of time and effort I’ve been placing into maintaining a neighbor’s yard. I’ve been cutting, edging, weeding, and keeping up their yard care for well over a year and a half now simply because I care about what they’ve been going through and the struggles they’ve been facing in life. While many might question my motivation, thinking I have some hidden agenda, let me be clear in saying my only motive is to help another out of the kindness of my heart.

I frequently tell Chris that I do a lot for others these days because it makes me feel better in knowing I’m giving back now to a world that I once took so much from. Frankly, I’m trying to reverse my past where the addict I once was did far more in taking what it could out of people, places, and things, then in contributing something from my heart.

Sadly, active addicts are generally like that. They just take and take and take and take until the person they’re taking from becomes fully depleted and has nothing more to give, and that’s when the addict moves on to the next victim. I once was that addict, one who took so much from so many people. I don’t want to be that addict anymore, so I give back now and do things like taking care of a neighbor’s yard who’s struggling in life in many ways. My true motivation is merely to let them know someone cares about what they’re going through, and this is just one of those ways I show that.

I always tell Chris and others that I believe our Higher Power, whom I choose to refer to as God, sees the selfless things we do and occasionally gives us a little wink that says, “Hey, good job, I’m so proud of you.” I got one of those reminders the other day when I awoke late one morning and headed out to my mailbox to get the day’s mail. Within it was a card from this neighbor sincerely thanking me for all the yard work I’ve done for them and how appreciative they’ve been. When I saw they had also placed a $50 bill within it, I was immediately moved to tears because it’s something I didn’t ask for nor expect and felt it was one of those winks from God.

Nevertheless, I see the 12th Step of recovery as one that’s all about giving back. While its intention is more geared for helping another suffering addict once recovery is gained, I take it a step further by giving back to the world in as many ways as I can, including actions like me taking care of a neighbor’s yard. That’s a stark contrast from my old addict self who wouldn’t take care of anything for anyone else, unless I was going to regularly get something back. While I felt blessed to have received this gift from my neighbor, the fact remains I will continue doing the yard work for them, not for any future kickbacks, but simply because it’s in my spiritual makeup now to be there more for another than myself.

I hope to spend the rest of my life doing the best I can to keep helping others in this world know they do matter by continuing to do things just like this, by dedicating my time, my energy, and my love in a way that in the end will hopefully reverse the long stream of negative karma and selfish acts I lived in for so long when I was stuck in addiction. To wake up today and ask the God of my understanding how I may be of service to Him today, rather than wake up and ask myself who’s going to please me today, is the best gift that recovery from addiction has given me, one that continues placing myself more second than first in a world that was once quite the opposite…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house, they noticed a beautiful blonde looking out her kitchen window watching them as they checked her gas meter. Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one. The younger trainee took him up on his offer and they were off and running like bats out of hell. As they came running up to the truck neck to neck, they suddenly realized the blonde from that last house had just arrived behind them huffing and puffing. The senior training supervisor asked her if everything was ok. Gasping for breath, she replied, “Well, when I see two men from the gas company suddenly running as fast as you two were away after reading my meter, I figured I’d better run away as well!!!”

Silly Joke #2

An overly confident guy gets on a plane and finds himself seated next to a very attractive woman. He immediately turns to her and begins to make his move. “You know,” he says, “I’ve heard that flights will go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger sitting next to you. So I’d like to chat if you would?” The woman, who had just opened her book, closes it slowly and says to the guy, “Sure, what would you like to talk about?”  “Oh, I don’t know, how about nuclear power?”, says the guy trying to over-inflate his ego. “Hmmm,” says the woman. “That could be an interesting topic. But first, let me ask you a question. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff–grass. Yet the deer excretes little pellets, the cow turns out a flat patty, and the horse produces muffins of dried poop. Why do you suppose that is?” The ego-centric guy is dumbfounded. Finally he replies, “I haven’t the slightest idea?” “Well, if that’s the case…” says the woman, “How is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you really don’t know shit?”

Silly Joke #3

A man and a woman had been married some time when the woman began to question her husband. “I know you’ve been with a lot of woman before. I want to know exactly how many there were?” The husband replied, “Look hon, telling you that is only going to upset you. I really don’t want to do that because there were many. Can we just leave it alone?” The wife wouldn’t let it rest and finally, the husband gave in. “Well…” he said “There was one, two, three, four, five, six, YOU, eight, nine…”

Bonus Silly Joke

Voicemail Recording: “Hello there! It’s a great day and I’m out enjoying it right now and I hope you are too. Please leave me a message don’t forget to be positive and share the love ok?”

Voicemail Left After The Message:  “Um….this is the clinic calling…Speaking of being positive, your VD test is back. You may want to stop sharing the love for a while…”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What will matter the most to you when your time in this life comes to an end?

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


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What Will Really Matter The Most When Our Life Comes To An End…

Have you ever wondered if every one of those things many of us have worked so hard to obtain or achieve in life isn’t what really will matter when our life comes to an end?

Whether that’s achieving a dream position/title at some job with amazing pay and a great benefits package, or acquiring a dream home in a neighborhood you desired with a great backyard/view in a coveted school district, or owning a dream car or some other long sought-after valuable possession, or going on a dream vacation to some exotic locale, or reaching a level of income you always dreamed of earning, or experiencing a level of sex/intimacy that satisfied all your sensual dreams and desires, or reaching a level of popularity you only ever dreamed of having, or getting an award you only ever dreamed of achieving, whatever it is you’ve attained from your dreams in life, in the long run, has it left you feeling fully complete? I ask this because I’ve had enough of those things in my own life to realize that none of them made me feel any better or left me feeling fully complete in life after I had attained them for a while. Along the way, I discovered what left the biggest betterment upon my life were each of those loving marks I made upon another’s heart and soul, and never what I personally obtained or reached in life for myself.

Look, I once had that dream job, title, and income, owned that dream home, taken the dream vacation, garnered those dream possessions, experienced those dream sexual encounters, reached that dream level of popularity, earned that dream award, and achieved many of those self-desired dreams, yet none of them ever left any lasting impact upon my own heart and soul, and instead only left me coveting something else to seek in life.

So, what has mattered? What has made the biggest difference within me? What has left the most lasting of impact upon my life? It’s been in those hugs I’ve given to another when they’re in need of support. It’s been in telling someone I’m proud of them for an achievement they’ve made. It’s been in all those times I’ve let someone know they’re not alone in this lonely world. It’s been in all those tears I’ve shed alongside someone suffering from deep grief and loss. It’s been in helping someone desperately in need, especially through my 12 Step recovery. It’s been in all those gestures of kindness I’ve extended to another even as small as holding a door open for them. Ultimately, each of those times I’ve put someone else before myself, showing them unconditional love from my heart seems to leave the most lasting of impact upon my life. This is what I believe will truly matter the most when my life finally comes to an end, that being all those times I did my best to be there for another, rather than all those times I accomplished something for myself.

For that very reason, now I see that to live a life where I’m more there for another than myself, where my heart finds a way to connect to another soul in need, is what truly matters in this world and will consistently leave me feeling more full than empty. So, in the end, maybe that’s all that really matters and anything else we strive after for ourselves is really nothing more than a fruitless quest to please an ego that will never fully satisfy us and only leave us wanting something more…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

The biggest solar flare in our planet’s history hits our planet. When it’s over, everyone discovers they have a new ability (“a superpower of sorts”) in life, what’s yours?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter in gratitude. For this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, I’d like to express my gratefulness for my friendship with a guy named Ronn Musser.

A few weeks ago, when I messaged my friend Ronn, I inquired if he was open to going and seeing this movie I had a desire to go see at the time. His response was one I didn’t expect because it showed nothing but unconditional love for me. He said, “I’d be open to seeing any movie with you.” He further clarified he just wanted to spend time with me and that it didn’t matter what we did.

You see that’s what I’ve come to know about Ronn, he’s that type of guy who isn’t interested in what he can get out of a friendship, he’s more interested in what he can bring to it, including just being present with someone he cares about. Ronn is far more about simply being there with his friends just because, rather than expecting it to meet one of his own interests.

It often seems like that far too many people these days make plans with others only when it’s doing something they want to do, rather than simply because they just want to be with their friend. When my health went downhill years ago, I felt like I became an outcast in this world because many stopped spending time with me anymore mainly because I wasn’t able to do much. My best friend Cedric was the first to show me otherwise. Eventually others came into my life who I could add to that list, which can now include Ronn.

I desire to have people in my life today like Ronn, who want to be around me because they just like being around me. That they love me for me and enjoy my company, not because of what I can offer them or what we are going to be doing together.

That’s why Ronn is such a good friend to those in his life, as he does care about the people he spends time with. He’s also an incredible listener as well and I often feel far better after spending time with him because I feel heard in life. That’s in stark contrast to many I’ve spent time with where I felt more invisible than not, and left feeling more down than up.

So, I’m grateful today for Ronn Musser continuing to remind me there are people out there in this world and in my life who do care more about just spending time with me than meeting one of their own selfish interests. It’s people like Ronn who are priceless in a world where so many pursue friendships out of selfishness rather than selflessness…So, thank you Ronn for being my friend…and thank you for those friends in my life like Ronn who have stuck by my side as well just because they care about me, no matter what.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are a direct follow up to yesterday’s article on when we find ourselves playing that “What If” game that often takes us in a complete circle going nowhere in life…

“The trouble with the what-if game was that once you began to play it, you couldn’t just quit whenever you wanted. From one what-if grew another.” (Dean Koontz)

“But that’s the thing with the what-if game – you really never know the answer to that question. And maybe it’s better that way. Because underneath the surface of what-ifs are much worse ones.” (Elizabeth Eullberg)

“For years I played the what-if game. Maybe you’re acquainted with this pastime. The rules are simple: Rule #1: You’re only allowed to think of worst-case scenarios. Rule #2: You can only lose. Rule #3: The more you play, the greater your losses.” (Craig Groeschel)

“Playing the game of ‘what if’ never gets you anywhere except stuck in the past. The lesson in life is to move forward with what the universe hands you. You cannot expect others to know or understand your karma and your personal path. And you must allow them the grace of stepping on theirs, even when that leads them off in a direction that you cannot follow.” (Suzanne Wagner)

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

Playing That “What If” Game…

I’m sure every single one of us on this planet has played that “What If” game at some point or another in our lives. You know that one where we find ourselves questioning if we could have had a better outcome arise from making a different decision than the one we actually made in our past, one that typically has a less than desirable outcome.

Playing this game is one that only seems to occur when we think some present circumstance in our life could have been better if we had chosen differently in the past. While I recently wrote about a similar subject where sometimes those past decisions are ones that our Higher Power has a hand in to save us from experiencing greater pain, there’s still plenty of times I’m left wondering where my life would have headed if I had just chosen Option B over Option A.

Do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels from the 80’s where you reach a page in the book and have two options to choose from, where one option takes you down one path in the story, and the other takes you down a completely different path? That’s about the extent of what I’ve done in my brain far too much in life, wondering how things would have unfolded if I had chosen differently.

What if I hadn’t pursued that friendship with Carmine during my senior year of high school, that guy who led me to my first alcoholic drink and to quit the swim team? 

What if I hadn’t gone to Rochester Institute of Technology and instead chosen the other college I had been accepted into, that being Northeastern?

What if I hadn’t pledged Phi Kappa Psi, or any fraternity, and had instead focused on developing my sexuality and spirituality during my collegiate years?

What if I had spent more time getting to know my father prior to his suicide, instead of avoiding time with him? 

What if I hadn’t gotten into relationships with 1st Jerry, Kevin, 2nd Jerry, Barry, or Carl?

What if I hadn’t purchased that bed and breakfast and instead remained in my home outside Washington, D.C. working at my last corporate job with U.S. Customs.

What if…

What If…

What if…

The fact is, I realize today it’s a complete waste of time playing this “What If” game, writing out my own “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel in my head surrounding all the decisions of my past life. While this type of game may be great subject material for some science fiction series on television (ex. Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch on Netflix) or for some major theatrical release (ex. “Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow”), it’s only created more pain and suffering in real life the more I’ve dwelt on my past decisions with thoughts I could have done better.

I’ve made tons of decisions in my life I feel I could have done far better with, but after watching enough science fiction surrounding this and meditating on all those decisions I’ve labeled as poor ones, I’m inclined to believe that everything really does happen for a reason, including each decision we make. Because I’m just as inclined to believe that even if we had made a different decision, that eventually the outcome would still have been the same, it might just have taken a slightly circuitous path to get there.

So, maybe it’s a totally pointless exercise to play this game because who we are now, what we are now, what we stand for, and everything in between, is precisely the person we’re supposed to be at this very moment in time? Maybe every possible decision we could have made in our past would have resulted in us becoming the very same person we are now? And maybe all that’s important today is simply to accept ourselves right now, just as we are, and continue to explore our spiritual growth in life, learning as we do, rather than wasting any more time living in the past playing that “What If” game that never goes anywhere but in circles in our heads…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

The new minister stood at the church door greeting the members as they left the Sunday morning service. While most of the people told the minster how much they liked his message, one man seemingly had a different opinion. “That was a very dull and boring sermon, Pastor,” he said. The pastor was a bit baffled by this, but he continued shaking hands. A few minutes later, the same man re-appeared in line and said, “I don’t think you did much in the way of preparation for your message.” A few minutes later, the man circled back once more shuffling into the line. “You really blew it. You didn’t have a thing to say, Pastor.” Finally, the minister could stand it no longer. He went to one of the deacons later after everyone had left and asked if he knew the man. “Oh, don’t let him bother you,” said the deacon. “He has some diagnosed mental health issues. I was told that one of the things he does is go around repeating whatever he hears other people saying.”

Silly Joke #2

An exasperated mother, whose son Little Johnny was always getting into a lot of mischief, finally asked him one day after he got himself into deep trouble, “Little Johnny, how do you expect to get into Heaven acting like this?” Little Johnny thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll just keep running in and out and in and out and in and out slamming the door each time until St. Peter yells, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!!!’”

Silly Joke #3

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store for Thanksgiving, but couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked the blonde worker behind the counter, “Do these turkeys ever get any bigger than this?” The blonde replied, “No ma’am, unfortunately, they’re all dead.” 

Bonus Silly Joke

Cassie was taking two of her grandsons on their very first Amtrak ride heading to Washington, DC for a mini-vacation. At the snack bar on the train, she saw they were selling Pop Rocks, a candy she loved as a kid but one that she knew neither of her grandsons had ever seen or had before so she bought each a bag as a treat. Before they received it, she told them the story she heard as a kid about someone eating these and having soda along with it and it blowing up their stomach, but said it was all a silly rumor. She then gave them both their treat. The first one eagerly tore open the bag and popped one into his mouth just as the train went into a tunnel. When the train emerged from the tunnel, he looked across to his brother and said: “Well it didn’t blow up my stomach, but I still wouldn’t eat it if I were you.” “Why not?” replied the curious brother “Cuz, I took one bite and went blind for half a minute!!!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Which of the following do you prefer the most to connecting with a friend/loved one?

  1. Text
  2. Phone Call
  3. In Person
  4. Video Call
  5. You tend to avoid communication.

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


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Are We Moving Farther And Farther Away From Having Healthy Communication With Each Other?

One of the things I think I’m probably most concerned about with the direction our society is heading in, is the growing disconnection we seem to have with each other, especially when it comes to much of the new generations in life where the strongest form of “healthy” communication seems to be in texting.

I’ve been reading about how addictions are massively on the rise in our culture, especially since the pandemic first came upon us, and I tend to believe much of that is due to our present forms of “healthy” communication. Because the forms we are using now are really less about communicating and more about avoidance. How many times I’ve called people in recent years who’ve had voicemails that are full, I’ve lost count. I spoke to a college student last week here locally who told me they never listen to their voicemail and tend to leave it full. Most of their generation say the best way to reach them to communicate is via text.

People want to know why depression and suicide attempts continue to increase every year. This is why. Human beings weren’t born to simply immerse themselves in text messages, social media and the like. While one may have tons of friends or followers on their social media, that doesn’t translate to having healthy communication and connection. Isn’t having healthy communication and connection more about one person meeting another for a coffee or meal, or maybe taking a stroll through a local park with each other, to talk about life, and show  how much they matter to each other.

Many addicts have also been relapsing into old addictions in the past few years while others began a path of addiction, all because the pandemic moved them further away from having healthy communication due to quarantine and isolation. While video chats helped to alleviate some of the loneliness, it wasn’t enough for some who chose addictions to cope with the lack of real human connection.

Nevertheless, I miss those days when people actually had healthy communication with each other on buses, in stores, at restaurants, in public places, amongst strangers even. Today, not so much. Today, all it takes is a quick look around in public where you’ll see so many blankly staring into their phones rather than at the people they’re spending time with. Believe me, I’ve fallen into this pattern at times as well all because of the fear of missing out on something. But this is one of the main reasons why our world keeps digressing more and more from healthy communication.

Healthy communication is about being there for each other, learning about each other, supporting each other, making eye contact, and showing in those moments, that one doesn’t have to be alone in a world that these days seems so easy to feel alone.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling disconnected, alone, or isolated in this world, try reaching out to a friend over the phone, or better yet, meet one in person and be fully present with them, rather than immersed in whatever forms of the digital realm you carry with you. Because it’s in those moments you dedicate to another human soul, that often become the very thing that not only will help you feel less alone in this world, but also help another feel less alone as well, especially someone like me who has always felt more overlooked in society than embraced. I treasure real human interaction and thank all those who continue to call me or meet me in person. It’s each of you who have demonstrated healthy communication and reminded me I do matter in a world I often feel like I don’t…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround those who plant seeds of kindness, hope, love, generosity, and the like, never really knowing if they’re making a difference or not in life…

“The seeds of kindness you plant today will one day bloom in the hearts of all you touch.” (Katrina Mayer)

“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love. It will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.” (Steve Maraboli)

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)

“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Be patient and stay the course.” (Fabienne Frederickson)

“Every thought, word, and action plants seeds in the garden of your life. Are you planting seeds of love, compassion, peace, or those of anger, resentment, and dissatisfaction? Choose wisely and tend your garden well.” (John Bruna)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

It’s time for another chapter in gratitude, which for this Grateful Heart Monday, I wanted to officially express my thankfulness for the ongoing reminders I continue to get from time to time from Source to keep doing what I’m doing in life for work.

I often find myself getting caught up in my head wondering if I’m even doing what I’m meant to be doing in life, mostly because it’s quite far from what I once went to college for and presently it’s only volunteer based. Having gone to a major university to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and working 10 years in that field, then engaging myself in the bed and breakfast/inn-keeping industry for 7 years beyond that, never truly enjoying either other than the money both brought in, I’ve thankfully chosen to spend the last decade of my life doing something far different.

Over the last ten years, I’ve immersed myself in what I believe to be a third career iteration, one that’s primarily in the addiction recovery realm with me simply donating my time and energy just to help others via my speaking and writing. Doing this specific work has been both exceptionally fulfilling yet totally frustrating at times, only in that I frequently find myself wondering if it’s even making a difference. It’s easy to think that way when I see so many relapses and deaths from addiction with such regularity and when so many of my speaking presentations and articles I write receive little to no feedback. Thus, I’m extremely grateful when I get those occasional reminders from others telling me how much what I do has helped them.

One came recently from a fraternity brother who heard my alcohol and drug story at the chapter house years ago who just never let me know until recently how much it had impacted their life back then. Another came recently as well from a reader of my blog who told me how much my words continue to make an impact upon their life due to my openness and transparency with what I’ve been through. Other reminders have come at times via the addiction centers I volunteer at where me simply telling my story of addiction to recovery has planted seeds I never even knew sprouted until I randomly ran into them long down their road of recovery.

I have really seen the truth that one never really knows the depth of the seeds they plant from their acts of freely giving of themselves in life. Even though my current work path isn’t one that’s income bearing, I continue to remain grateful, especially on this Grateful Heart Monday, to God for the ongoing reminders I receive that the work I’m dong now is important and is what I’m meant to be doing in life presently, as it’s not only clearly helping others, it’s also providing me far more fulfillment, something I can most assuredly say never did happen in either of my prior careers…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Have you ever experienced an outcome from something you didn’t want, only to discover later that if you had gotten the outcome you wanted, it would have been far worse?

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


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Sometimes When We Don’t Get The Results We Want, Maybe We’re Actually Being Spared From Even Greater Pain…

A valuable lesson I continue to learn in life is that sometimes when things don’t go the way I think they should be going and I end up not getting the results I want, may actually be my Higher Power sparing me from even greater pain if I had actually gotten what I wanted.

In the beginning of January of 2010, I would experience a day where I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. On that day, I’d sign on a dotted line for the short sale of my business (a bed and breakfast) and my home, where I officially lost $660,000 of cash that I had invested into both over the previous 7 years.

When I began that path in 2003, acquiring that business and home, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so to speak when it came to the new life I was building. As each year passed, I kept sinking more and more money into the business attempting to keep it afloat, with constant promises by my partner at the time that one day we’d sell it for well over 7 figures, and all of it will have been worth it.

In 2009, during the tail end of the housing crisis/shortage, we weren’t even able to pay a single mortgage bill for the entire year. Frankly, I was amazed that we didn’t go through a foreclosure that year. With little money left in the bank and not enough customers to support the business, more money was going out than coming in. Through a miracle, the owners of a competing bed and breakfast in town purchased it from us at the 11th hour, allowing me personally to walk away from it with nothing more than the shirt on my back. As the years passed after that, I checked on my old business from time to time, even stopping by at one point to see how it was faring. I was amazed at how even more beautiful it had become and thought for sure it had more than earned a 7-figured value. The thought of that though made me sick with all the financial loss I incurred from it.

I let this occupy me for years, often making me very resentful at times. I frequently wrestled with the thought that maybe I could have re-financed or invested a little more into it to get out of the hole we were in. But then one day, when I was on my own personal website, checking the links on my “About Me” page, I realized the hyperlink to my old bed and breakfast had become a dead page. I hit the link a few times thinking maybe it was a mistake. I even typed in the URL directly and the result stayed the same. After some digging, I discovered the bed and breakfast I once owned was no longer a bed and breakfast and had become a weekly rental property. After further digging, I discovered the innkeepers who bought the place from us in 2010 had sold it at the beginning of the pandemic for $765,000, which was only $80,000 more than I had originally paid for it, a number I was at least spending every year to keep it afloat.

Learning this blew my mind! After 10 years had passed since I had last owned that business, it had never even came close to the value my ex had promised we’d get from our investment. I realized that If I had remained in that business, spending even more to keep it afloat, refinancing, or doing something more to not lose it, I would have experienced far more financial loss than I did.

So yes, while I learned an incredible number of spiritual lessons from my life surrounding my old bed and breakfast and home, the most recent one I learned is one that continues to show me that my Higher Power always sees the bigger picture, even when I often don’t, and does spare me at times from even greater pain if I had actually gotten what I wanted…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man was helping one of his cows give birth, when he noticed his 5-year-old son Little Johnny standing wide-eyed at the fence, soaking in the whole event. The man thought, “Little Johnny’s now 5 and I’m gonna have to start explaining the birds and bees soon. But, no need to jump the gun – I’ll just let him ask when he’s ready, and I’ll answer.” After everything was over, Little Johnny asks, “Daddy, how fast was that calf going to get lodged into the cow like that?”

Silly Joke #2

Maybe all those “Flat-Earthers” conspiracy theorists are right? Because despite what some people think, since the world is arguably 75% water, and none of it is carbonated…can’t one accurately deduct that the earth is technically flat?

Silly Joke #3

If the Lord came to a man named Noah in 2022…

“Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.” He then gave Noah the blueprints in saying, “You have 6 months to build the ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.” Six months later, the Lord saw Noah weeping in his yard and no ark present. “Noah! I’m about to start the rain! Where is the ark?” said God. “Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed. I needed a building permit and I’ve been arguing with the inspector about their need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I also have violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations so I had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl, but I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the spotted owl, but they weren’t hearing it! And when I finally started gathering the animals, PETA sued me. They insisted I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. Besides that, I’m also trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on the lack of minorities I had in my building crew while the trades unions say I can’t just use my sons. They insisted I had to hire Union workers with ark-building experience. “So, forgive me, Lord, but I think it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark given all these issues!” Suddenly, the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?” “No,” said the Lord. “I think it’s clear it’s already been destroyed…”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

Little Johnny’s mother is in the kitchen making supper for her family when Little Johnny walks in. Mommy, where do babies come from? Well, honey…you see it’s like this. A mommy and daddy fall in love and get married. One night they go into their room…they kiss and hug and share intimacy and eventually a baby comes from that. “What’s intimacy Mommy?” responds Little Johnny. ”That means the daddy puts his male part in the mommy’s female part. That’s how a baby gets made honey.” “But what about the other night Mommy, when I came into your room late at night when I couldn’t sleep and saw and daddy’s male part in Mommy’s mouth? What do you get when you do that Mommy?” Johnny said not quite understanding. “Expensive jewelry, honey!”

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

Thought For The Day

In alignment with my entry yesterday, I wanted to follow up with several inspiring quotes on how I tend to see God always moving in such strange and mysterious ways…

“God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident. God is working on your prayers.” (Unknown)

“One thing I love about God Almighty is that He works in mysterious ways. Sometime He will tell you; “Stand still and I will do all the work for you.” Isn’t He the one that can make all things possible?” (Temitope Owosela)

“The Lord works in mysterious ways. What’s true to one man, a wonder and a marvel, might not seem so to another, as God didn’t intend it for him.” (Katherine Howe)

“God does work in mysterious ways, but when we try to place God in a box, when we try to figure it all out ourselves, and remain in control, we are sure to miss out on knowing that when it happens. (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

As I finish reflecting on my trip to my 30th Alumni Reunion for the NY Theta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) through my writing, I thought it would be fitting to end with what I believe was another one of God’s mysterious ways that helped make my attendance to that reunion even possible.

I haven’t been back to visit my fraternity or my alma mater since the spring of 2014 mainly due to financial restraints in my life. Add in the distance I put between my fraternity and I over the years due to shame and guilt of where my life went and the reality I wasn’t even doing the career I went to school for anymore, nor had any paying job, I didn’t feel that attending any of the reunions was even practical for me. So, when I saw the 30th reunion was coming up, I quickly dismissed any idea of going.

Four weeks away from it though, I randomly received a call from a brother on the alumni reunion planning committee, someone I barely knew who had been initiated long after I had graduated and moved away. He took the time to get to know me during the call and at the end asked if I was going to attend the 30th reunion. I told him it just wasn’t in my budget, which he understood. I thanked him for the call and hung up grateful for the connection but sad over the distance I felt with the majority of my fraternity.

Not too long after his call, I decided to place a posting on our fraternity’s Facebook group. That action was solely precipitated after seeing a post from last fall where one of our brothers passed away tragically due to addictions and mental health issues. I wanted my brothers to know I too have faced much of the same thing so I poured my heart out, which at the end of it, I let my brothers know I wouldn’t be attending the 30th reunion due to financial constraints.

That night, I sent a prayer to God, something so many often tell me they think is a pointless action and is just us talking to ourselves. While I do understand why they feel this way given how many times prayers often go unanswered, sometimes prayers are answered in very direct ways, as was the case with this one.

I simply prayed that if God wanted me to attend this 30th alumni reunion of my fraternity, that He had to make it happen, as I had far too many reasons telling me why I couldn’t and shouldn’t go. I went to bed right after that prayer. When I awoke the next morning, I had a private message in my Facebook account from a brother I also didn’t know all too well and hadn’t spoken to in a very, very long time. In his message, he said he was moved by what I had shared our group’s Facebook page and that he believed God was leading him to pay for all my major expenses to attend the reunion. Because of the timeliness of his message, having uttered that prayer mere hours earlier before heading to bed, I honestly couldn’t refute that God does listen and does care.

Why other prayers don’t get answered, including the many health-based ones I’ve been muttering for years I don’t know. Why God answered this one, obviously wanting me to attend this reunion, I’m not sure if I know the depths to that answer either, but what I can say is that in attending this reunion, I was able to leave with both a rejuvenated feeling of reconnection to my brotherhood and closure to all my toxic and tainted addictive past that affected my relationship with so many of them for so long.

So, yes, I am quite thankful for seeing yet another one of God’s mysterious ways manifest in my life. Attending my 30th Alumni Reunion of the NY Theta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at RIT has left me with many beautiful memories, some new friends, and a release from all the shame and guilt I had carried for far too long with a fraternity I truly love from the bottom of my heart.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is something that means a lot to you, but might mean very little to someone else?

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


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Expressing My Gratitude For The 30th Alumni Reunion Of NY Theta Phi Kappa Psi…

Welcome to Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the only expression in my writing to start my week off, which for today is for my 30th Alumni Reunion of the New York Theta chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my hope for this reunion as I was holding great fear surrounding my toxic past that affected my relationship with my fraternity for a long time. I’m thankful to report how blessed I felt from this reunion and how connected I felt afterwards, the following is my gratitude to the brothers who made this truly special for me…

To Geoff Taylor, a brother whose heart runs deep, whose love for helping others and being a servant of God was more than prevalent through the entire weekend, and for helping me to see more of the positive side of life, I’m grateful for you.

To Chris Kay, a brother who has never given up on me, who has always believed in me, always supported me, and the only brother who makes me smile for being the only one taller than me!, I’m grateful for you.

To Brian Uhlin, a brother who showed me I’m loved by God even with having the tainted past I do, I’m grateful for you.

To Mike Van Bruinesse, Jay Williams, Eric Harrington, Tom Rehm, Phil Farchione, and Don Derrenbacher, six brothers who gave me amazingly huge hugs when they saw me, who each offered me many words of love, connection, and encouragement, I’m grateful for each of you.

To John Finter, Rob Parada, and Seth Gitner, three brothers who have remained incredibly active in our chapter for all these years, we wouldn’t have the chapter we have today or even have a reunion if it wasn’t for each of you, I’m grateful for each of you.

To John Hamblett, my pledge brother who spent much of the first day with me, treating me to an Indian meal and a Starbucks, reminiscing and laughing about the craziness during our undergraduate years and pledging days (“It’s making me do weird things!!!”), I’m grateful to you.

To Joel Feldman, a brother I have come to know over the years on a much deeper level, sharing a bond I don’t have with most, who spent time with me over coffee and during much of the weekend, reminding me of the good times we had together during our undergraduate days, I’m grateful for you.

To Daniel Sarata, a brother who has most assuredly helped me remain connected to our fraternity just by reading my blog and maintaining contact with me, who took the time at the barbecue to open up to me as he always does, sharing from his heart, and introducing me to his very spiritual and inspirational wife, those tears I shed there with you both were real, I’m grateful for you.

To Matt Christen, a brother who came long after I graduated that I met at the 20th but really came to know at the 30th, who spoke great words of wisdom with me, made me laugh A LOT, who truly has the kindest of heart, (and someone I’m definitely coming to in a zombie apocalypse with all those special set of hunting skills!), I’m grateful for you.

To Justin Steinhard, a brother who reached out to me personally on the phone prior to even coming to the reunion, letting me know I mattered to him, who checked in with me at every single event to make sure I was ok, and who did an incredible amount of work to make the reunion possible this year, I’m grateful for you.

To Craig Pettingill, a brother who took the time to introduce me to all of our family tree at the reunion, for helping to coordinate a huge family photo that I will always cherish, for the number of connecting conversations we had there and since I returned home, I’m grateful for you.

To Andy Molinaro, a brother who’s currently our chaplain, who reminded me so much of Jim Harmon, our chapter’s first chaplain, for playing a game of pool with me at The Landing Strip when I needed a double’s partner, and for spending time getting to know me and sharing about his life as well, I’m grateful for you.

To Bryan Takeuchi, a brother I continue to find great inspiration in, in the energy he carries, in the fatherhood principles he exudes, for continuing to follow the musings of my blog, and for the deep moments of connection I got with him prior to the reunion’s chapter meeting, I’m grateful for you.

To JaJuan Webster, a brother who shared with me a big hug, who helped me feel very much welcomed and embraced at the first event, and for sharing with me deeply on your career aspirations, I’m grateful for you.

To Greg Springer, a brother who has a story as deep as mine, for your open honesty on all the trials and tribulations you’ve faced in life, and for the hard work you’ve put into this weekend and our chapter in general, I’m grateful for you.

To Mark Butts, and all the other brothers who tagged along in my car to events, each of you reminded me why I always loved spending time on the road with my brothers way back when, talking and listening to music, I’m grateful for each of you.

To Trevor McClenon, a brother who although we only shared a quick hello during the weekend, reached out once I was home via messenger, who reminded me that the work I do in my 12 Step recovery often has blessings I may never know of, and has talked to me at length several times already, I’m grateful for you.

To Wade O’Brien and Jack Kalina, two undergraduate brothers who led much of the coordination of this reunion, for their leadership in general, and for the friendliness I had each time I talked to either of you, I’m grateful for both of you.

To Peter Radman, a brother who took the time to open up to me about his upcoming work in Croatia while roasting next to that blazing bonfire, I’m grateful for you.

To Greg Villafane, one of the newest brothers in my family tree, who I believe carries a level of energy that is destined for true leadership and greatness in this world, for learning you come from Glen Cove where my father’s family was from, and for really going out of your way to get to know me in a big way, I’m grateful for you.

And for all the rest of the attendees of this 30th reunion who I hugged, shook hands with, spent time connecting with for the moments we did, no matter how brief, each of you are why I remain a loyal Phi Kappa Psi brother, I’m so grateful for each of you.

Brothers, I love you all and dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to the 30th Reunion of the New York Theta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, to our fraternity in general, and to each of you…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are ones I would think unconditionally loving families would agree with and ones I often wish had emanated fully from my own family…

“The most beautiful thing in this world is to see your parents smiling and knowing that you are the reason behind that smile.” (Unknown)

“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” (Matthew Jacobson)

“As a parent, I will always be proud of my children, not because they have achieved something great, but because they simply. are my children.” (Unknown)

“Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.” (Gary Smalley)

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