The Many Freedoms I Still Have That Many Others Don’t In Other Places Around The World…

I read just recently about a guy that got caught smuggling copies of Netflix’s hit Korean series The Squid Game into North Korea. He was sentenced to death by firing squad! Reading this made me realize I probably have a lot more freedoms living in the United States than I ever would in plenty of other places around the world.

Take my sexuality for example. There are places in this world still that just for being in a same-sex relationship I could be arrested and even put to death. 69 countries in fact have laws that remain in place that criminalize homosexuality. Or take the many different types of religious practices I’ve participated in over the years that range from Pagan to Buddhist to Christian. There are places where I could be arrested and even put to death for some of them. 187 countries in fact have laws that remain that support religious persecution. After doing a little more research on the many freedoms I have as an American, I can honestly say I was surprised, maybe only because I often focus more on all the travesties continuing to happen within our borders. But truly if I look beyond that, there is a considerable number of freedoms I still have here that I wouldn’t elsewhere and I’m sure is precisely why so many refugees flee here.

Take for example how interesting some of the names we give our children in this country. Here you could name your kid “Firecracker” or “Dynamite” if you wanted to, but countries like Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland you are limited on what you can name your kids. Or how about the fact that we can wear what we want when out and about like a person I once knew who regularly wore a squirrel tail around for cosplay purposes. In countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Sudan, and France, wearing the wrong thing can be a punishable offense. And consider the fact that ending relationships and starting new ones through divorce or otherwise in our country is all the common these days, but in places like the Philippines and Malta for example, there are severe restrictions in place that prevent such a thing causing people to have to remain in relationships even if they don’t want to anymore. Even things down to hairstyles is a freedom here, where I’ve seen countless interesting hairdos over the years, but in Iran for example it’s a punishable offense to have a mullet or a fauxhawk! Oh, and I mustn’t forget that what I view on the Internet here is far more expansive than in other countries such as China or Russia who severely restrict what people see on it. And there are plenty of other freedoms that I rarely, if ever, think about as well that range from my ability to chew gum when and where I want to, to my right to defend myself, where doing the opposite for in some places in the world could be considered criminal acts.

The bottom line is that for as much as our country may still have its fair share of problems, as evident in unfair trials and blatant acts of racism that often seem to go unpunished, I still consider it a blessing to be living in this land versus many of the others around the world where many of my freedoms I have wouldn’t be present.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

One day, a bear walks into a bar. He sits down at the counter, and the bartender comes over.
“What’ll it be?” asks the bartender.
“I’ll have a………………………beer,” the bear says.
“Alright, one beer for the bear. But I gotta ask, why the big pause?” asks the bartender.
“I don’t know…” says the bear. “Maybe cuz I was born with them!”

Silly Joke #2

The middle aged man was visibly shaken when his Doctor advised that he had only 6 months to live because of the terminal disease that was detected during a recent physical check-up. The doctor suggested that he should get his “house in order”, make sure his will was current and ensure all final arrangements were in place for the funeral. He should then make plans to enjoy what might be left of his life, to the fullest. “What will you do for the last six months?” asked the doctor. His patient thought for a few minutes then replied, “Honestly, I think I’ll have my wife and I just go and live at her annoying mother’s place!” Surprised by the answer and wanting to know why, the doctor asked, “Of all the people, why in the would you want to live with an annoying mother-in-law for your last six months of life???” “Because it’ll feel like the longest six months of my life Doc!!!”

Silly Joke #3

A man was on trial for murder and if convicted, would get the life imprisonment. His brother found out that an Irish man was on the jury and figured he would be the one to bribe. He told the Irish man that he would be paid $100,000 if he could convince the rest of the jury to reduce the charge to manslaughter. The jury was out an entire week and returned with a verdict of manslaughter. After the trial, the brother went to the Irish man’s house, told him what a great job he had done and paid him the $100,000. The Irish man replied, “It wasn’t easy to convince the rest of the jury to change the charge to manslaughter. They all wanted to let him off!!!”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

Two young guys were picked up by the cops for smoking dope and appeared in court on Friday before the judge. The judge said, “You seem like nice young men, and I’d like to give you a second chance rather than jail time. I want you to go out this weekend and try to show others the evils of drug use and get them to give up drugs forever. I’ll see you back in court Monday.” Monday, the two guys were in court, and the judge said to the 1st one, “How did you do over the weekend?” “Well, your honor, I persuaded 17 people to give up drugs forever.” “17 people? That’s wonderful. What did you tell them?” “I used a diagram, your honor. I drew two circles like this… O o …and told them this (the big circle) is your brain before drugs and this (small circle) is your brain after drugs.” “That’s admirable,” said the judge.  “And you, how did you do?”, he asked the second boy, “Well, your honor, I persuaded 156 people to give up drugs forever.” “156 people! That’s incredible! How did you manage to do that?!?”, “Well, I used a similar approach. (draws two circles) o O Except, I said (pointing to the small circle) “this is your a$$hole before prison and this one (pointing to the big circle) is your a$$hole after prison…”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What do generally do when you need to escape a really stressful day? (Ex. sleep, watch a movie or tv show, cook, binge on some type of food, etc.)

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


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A Daily Prayer/Blessing That Can Benefit Us All…

I regularly struggle with what words to say during my morning prayers surrounding the rest of the world given how chaotic our world seems to be becoming these days. I tend to think that everyone needs prayers on some level lately, as so many of us seem to be broken in some way, shape, or form. Recently, I came across a great prayer/blessing on one of the Facebook groups I’m part of that I felt was the perfect summation of what I often fail to pull together during my prayer sessions. Considering that, I wanted to re-share it in my blog, partially to not forget it, but more so because I think its message and all the positive energy it’s sending outward can help a lot of others if they start saying it along with me daily. Below is that prayer. I hope you get out of it as much as I do and will join me in saying it each day as I have been doing for some time now. Many blessings to you all…

“I now send white light and love to every continent, every island, all the rivers, lakes and streams, and all the oceans and seas, and I release this light to go wherever it’s needed the most to light up the darkest parts of the world, and I send white light and love to every single person and being I meet or encounter today, including myself, thank you!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Which of the following home improvement type of issues are you able to do on your own?

  1. Electrical
  2. Plumbing
  3. Drywall
  4. Painting
  5. Carpeting
  6. Tiling
  7. All Of The Above
  8. Home Improvement? Meh!

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of gratitude for Grateful Heart Monday, which for today is for something simple that I am quite proud of doing successfully, which was a slight bit of bathroom plumbing.

But before I talk about that though, let me set the record straight, I am totally not the Bob Villa type on any level. Any home project that needs to be done other than rewiring a stereo system or home computing is generally beyond my expertise. And any type of urgent matter at home such as a plumbing issue, forget about it. My thought is that there’s always someone just a phone call away that can help. Except that wasn’t the case on a Sunday evening during my week of vacation on Tybee Island at the condo I was staying in, when a bathroom sink suddenly got seriously clogged up and nothing was going to be done about it by management until the next day.

For whatever the reason, maybe it was sheer boredom or outright curiosity, why I attempted to fix that sink was beyond me. Regardless, I attempted the obvious first by pouring a lot of hot water down the sink. Of course, that didn’t work. I then went below the sink and undid a clasp that released the drain plug. After pulling it up and out, I found a skinny piece of plastic in the condo that looked like an old blind pulley. I shoved it down the hole and tried to see if there was anything lodged up. I then ran some hot water again but forgot I had left that hole exposed below the sink where that drain plug got screwed in. A rookies mistake I know. I had water everywhere to mark the occasion. After screwing it back in, the sink still wasn’t really draining other than an extremely slow trickle.

Normally at this point, I would have given up and said well, I at least tried. This time I didn’t do that, as I was determined to fix the clog. It’s then I noticed this s-curve pipe below the sink had two “thingies” I could unscrew that would release it. Yes, I did call those plumbing parts “thingies!” LOL! Unfortunately, I forgot to place a bucket below, not knowing water was in that pipe I took off. Ugh, another rookie mistake! Because as I pulled that piece off, a ton of water and stinky water at that, went everywhere, along with clumps of black goop and God knows what else. It had definitely been clogged in at least one spot that’s for sure. Before I did anything else though, I had a big mess to clean up first. After doing so, I found a plastic wastepaper basket in another room and placed it under the drainpipe so I wouldn’t create a third big mess! I then cleaned that piece I took off, reconnected everything I had taken off, and ran the hot water again. Water came out of one of those “thingy” areas. Obviously, I hadn’t screwed it on right. By this point, I think I had dedicated a good hour already trying to fix this bathroom sink. When all was finally reconnected successfully, the sink drained far better, but still wasn’t fully draining the way it should. The final step, when all else fails, USE SOME DRAINO! And wouldn’t you know it, after leaving some of that in there for a good while, running some hot water, and doing it again for a second time, the clog was fully gone, and I had a normally functioning bathroom sink again.

I know this minor repair may sound silly to most. But, for a guy like me who truly struggles with all forms of home improvement, and normally has people do stuff like this for me, this was such a huge achievement for me and something I thought I needed to mark the occasion by sharing my gratitude about it and dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to me becoming Andy the Plumber for a brief, but successful moment, in my life.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

For caffeinated coffee or tea drinkers…how many cups would you say you consume per day?

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


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How High Blood Pressure And An Addiction Were Potentially Connected In My Life…

I recently did a home blood pressure test at a friend’s house who had one of those small machines you put on your left wrist that can register it. It registered high each time he tested it. I tried to tell myself that maybe his machine wasn’t calibrated right, so I went to a brand-new setup that can register it at a local Rite Aid where I took the test again…and three times at that! Each registered high as well, which alarmed me, as I’ve never had high blood pressure before in my entire life and have always registered in the “extremely well” range. Why it’s high? Beyond the stress I have over my health issues, I know it’s not because of my diet, because I eat very healthy more than not. I also know it’s not because of family genes because no one in my family roots have ever had high blood pressure either. What I do think is causing much of it is an addiction I’ve fallen back into yet again.

There are many health and doctor reports out there that show the chronic consumption of caffeinated beverages can raise one’s blood pressure, especially the more one becomes addicted to it. Truth be told, I’ve fallen back into this addiction all over again. I’ve now tried three times since I fell back into consuming caffeinated coffee in November of 2019 after more than a decade of being caffeine free. I consumed my first caffeinated coffee on November 1st that year, the day my cat Smokey suddenly passed away due to urinary tract issues. I was so upset over this I went to a Starbucks that night and consumed the equivalent of 5 cups of coffee in about an hour’s time. It was truly an addictive move to numb myself and one I’ve been paying the cost of ever since.

I’ve spent A LOT of money at Starbucks over the past two years. I’ve planned most days around my visits to Starbucks and even looked at maps before going on vacations just to see where the locations of Starbucks were. I’ve probably averaged the equivalent of 400mg of caffeine a day from there, all of which tends to be consumed in less than an hour’s time. I’ve been doing this because frankly, it’s kept me numb from dealing with a small portion of the pain I carry every day. But like any addiction, one must keep doing more and more of it to keep that effect going, which is how I’ve arrived at consuming as much as I have.

The effect of all this has led to unstable moods, rapid talking, heart pounding, overly sweating at times during physical tasks, increased anger, irritability, impatience, and a few other unpleasant side effects. Yet, I’ve continued to consume it, and now have realized it’s truly causing me more harm than good, which is why I am trying yet again to pull myself off of it.

People always talk about the headaches they get when they go a day without their coffee. When you get to the levels of consuming caffeine like I have, withdrawing from it is a much bigger bitch, to put it bluntly, then for the simple cup or two a day type of person. On some level, it’s reminded me of the serious withdrawals I went through from alcohol and drugs, as this morning alone, I woke up sobbing and wondering how the heck could I live my life without all my cold brews and five-shot lattes. To build my days around the consumption of coffee is ludicrous and I know this. I’ve been down this addictive path so many times in my life, and here I am again, battling another stupid addiction all over again.

I share this with you because it’s the first step in getting honest with myself. I don’t think I’m capable of moderating even something as minor as caffeinated coffee, because of the very reason why I choose to do it in the first place.

Caffeine really is an addiction and can cause serious complications with one’s health and life overall, especially when one comes to rely upon it to cope with any of their circumstances like I have. I lived without it for a very long time, always enjoying decaf instead. I know I need to return to that, as having high blood pressure at the moment is enough of a warning sign to me to finally do something about a crutch I’ve fallen back into these past few years…I pray to God I can do it…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

There’s a guy who’s one of those that just doesn’t like wearing a seatbelt when he drives, regardless of the risk. He was driving home from work one day when an officer sitting at a regular spot where people routinely run a stoplight noticed he didn’t have his seatbelt on. The driver was summed to pull over and got a ticket for it. Three days later, the same officer sitting at the same spot saw the same driver in the same car pull up to the light and didn’t have his seatbelt on again. He immediately put his lights on and summoned him to pull over. “So, I guess you didn’t learn anything from the last time I pulled you over?” asked the cop. “Well, actually, now I have sir,” I began. “I realize it’s time to find a new way home from work!”

Silly Joke #2

A big city 35-year-old lawyer decided to go duck hunting in a very rural area far from the city limits. His first shot hit and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.The lawyer responded, “I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I’m going to retrieve it.” The old farmer replied, “This is my property, and you are not coming over here.” The indignant lawyer said, “I am one of the best trial attorneys in the city and, if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own. The old farmer smiled and said, “Apparently, you don’t know how we settle disputes out here! We settle small disagreements like this with the ‘Three Kick Rule.'” The lawyer asked, “What is the ‘Three Kick Rule’?” The Farmer replied, “Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times, and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth until someone gives up.” The lawyer quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take this old codger. He agreed to abide by the strange local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the lawyer. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel toed work boot into the lawyer’s groin and dropped him to his knees! His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer’s last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was now on all fours when the farmer’s third kick to his rear end, sent him face-first into a fresh pile of horse poop nearby. The lawyer was so angry now and immediately got to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, “Okay, you old fart. Now it’s my turn!” The old farmer smiled and said, “Nah, I give up. I never wanted the duck in the first place. I just wanted a chance to kick a lawyer’s ass for once after the last one took all my money!”

Silly Joke #3

A woman announces to her friend that she is getting married for the fourth time…
“How wonderful! But I hope you don’t mind me asking what happened to your first husband?”
“He ate poisonous mushrooms and died.”
“Oh, how tragic! What about your second husband?”
“He ate poisonous mushrooms too and died.”
“Oh my, how terrible! I’m almost afraid to ask you about your third husband.”
“Well, he died of a broken neck.”
“A broken neck, how did that happen if you mind me asking?”
“Well, he wouldn’t eat the mushrooms…”

Bonus Silly Joke

A blond guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him. She says hello. He’s rather taken a back because he can’t place where he knows her. So he says, “Do you know me?” To which she replies, “I think you’re the father of one of my kids.” Now his mind travels back to the only time he was ever unfaithful to his wife, which happened to be on the night of his wild and crazy bachelor party, so he says, “I’m so embarrassed right now to ask this, but did you happen to be a stripper at one time and work a bachelor party years ago where celery was used as a flogging tool?” The woman looks noticeably upset now and says sternly, “No, I’m your son’s teacher!”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject of pain and suffering and how sometimes those things can be a good thing…

“Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it there is no way of life.” (Angelina Jolie)

“In order to have great happiness you have to have great pain and unhappiness – otherwise how would you know when you’re happy?” (Leslie Caron)

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.” (Rabindranath Tagore)

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

How My Pain Has Actually Led To A Good Thing…

Is it easier to be silent then to talk? Better to observe than participate? The longer I live and the longer I continue to remain with the pain I do in this body, waiting with hope and faith of a brighter day felt within, I seem to be going in the exact opposite direction of who I once was, that being a person who always had to be the center of attention. But maybe that’s a good thing, because I see now how it’s helping me to see things I wouldn’t see before, when I was constantly running my mouth.

About a week ago, I was at a friend’s house having fun doing a game night, something in my past I would make sure to be the center of attention during it, for the entire time. Other than guiding everyone in playing the game I brought over (Catch Phrase) though, I listened more than talked and noticed many things I wouldn’t in my past. Sometimes it was the frustration of those losing. Sometimes it was the gloating of those winning. But the one thing I seemed to notice the most was one person there who appeared to get more and more down with each passing game, especially because they were constantly on a losing team.

I would never have noticed something like this before at a party or any sort of get-together, particularly a game night. I tended to be so competitive, especially when playing games like Catch Phrase. So competitive, that I’d gleefully rub in other people’s faces when they weren’t doing well. But sitting in pain more than not, no matter where I am these days, has led me to be more silent and observing like I was that night when I noticed how this one individual was feeling. Their face looked more down than up, more despondent than cheerful and after three entire games of seeing this person’s frustration grow in their losses, I agreed to play one more game, but only if I could this person’s teammate in the game. My goal was to somehow help them cheer up during it.

Before the game started, I went into the bathroom, and asked God to help us win this game, not for me, but for this person, who I felt needed a win, if for any reason, in the hopes it might help them feel slightly better. I’m happy to report that we didn’t just win, we won with conviction, and I got to share a wonderful fist bump and smile from a person I barely know, but someone I feel had their soul connect to mine knowing I understood how they felt.

It’s those moments that I never got to see in my past when I would always try to be the center of attention at events like that. I think those moments have come more and more in my life the more I’ve been slowed down through all this mental and physical pain. Because in my being slowed down, I’ve found I see the world around me with a totally different set of eyes, ones that have more compassion. Ones that have more understanding. And ones that just somehow know when a person might need a helping hand of sorts. I’m thankful for the good my pain has led to on nights like that, when it helped me help another of God’s children, even if it was for a brief moment, a moment that never would have come in my self-absorbed center of attention past…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject of the lack of clean and potable water in so many areas around the world and what that causes…

People with water-borne diseases occupy more than 50% of hospital beds across the world. Does the answer lie in building more hospitals? Really, what is needed is to give them clean water.” (Manoj Bhargava)

“For may of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.” (Marcus Samuelsson)

“Water-related diseases are responsible for 80 percent of all illnesses and deaths in the developing world.” (Secretary-General Kofi Annan)

“I assure you, there needs to be no place on Earth where people cannot have access to clean, pure water – and whatever else is needed to “make life work” – if the people of Earth simply cared enough about each other.” (Neale Donald Walsch)

“Every two minutes, a child under the age of 5 dies from illnesses related to poor water and sanitation – amounting to nearly 300,000 child deaths a year.” (United Nations statistic)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday where gratitude continues to be the focus of my writing at the start of each week, which for today is for something I tend to think many of us in the United States often take for granted, which is having ample access to potable water.

Whenever I’m thirsty, I have countless choices here in my home to quench it, water being the most prevalent. My fridge has a filtered water dispenser, I have multiple sinks in the house where I can get clean city water, I always keep several 12-packs of flavored soda water on hand, and usually a few cases of 2-liter bottles of Smart Water as well. Add in the fact that I also have a nice hot shower to keep myself clean every single day, I generally never think about all those out there around the world who struggle just to get any water at all.

In one of the latest published facts from WHO and UNICEF, it is said that globally more than 785 million people do not have access to at least basic water services and more than 884 million people do not have safe water to drink. This alarming fact came even more to light to me when I was at a Lauren Daigle concert in Toledo a week ago. There, during an intermission, a guy came on stage and talked underprivileged children from Kenya who needed sponsorship. One of the things the speaker mentioned was how these children and their families in Kenya were taking their sweat-soaked shirts and squeezing the water out of them just to get any sort of moisture back into their bodies during some of the drought-stricken times! And some of the local villages have to walk over an hour just to get to the nearest well for drinking water!

After hearing this, I truly felt spoiled and ashamed of how good I have it when it comes to simple things like this. It really made me grateful for something that is so easy to take for granted.

So, on this Grateful Heart Monday, I’m wanting to express my gratitude for having always had access to water my entire life and never going without it on any level, from drinking to cleaning, when so many around the globe struggle to get even a few drops of it on many-a-days…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What level would you say you are living your life at on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is optimal and 1 is extremely poor?

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


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Living At A 4…

I’m a member of a Facebook group that deals with all the health symptoms individuals are going through presently on their spiritual journeys. This group helped a lot to know I’m not alone with the health issues I face daily. Recently, I came across a posting on that group where someone posed the question of what level of health was a person living at presently from a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 was optimal and 1 was extremely poor. Sadly, my answer was that I’m living at a 4 and have been for quite some time.

Living at a 5 using this scale when it comes to one’s health, at least in my book, is living at par, which is something I haven’t felt for a very long time. Rather, I’ve been living at a 4 for probably a solid six years now where on most days I feel more upside down than right side up. Living at a 4 is challenging because it often feels like I’m fighting to just keep my head above water.

Handling day-to-day tasks at this level is challenging. There are many days now where I’m struggling just to stand in the shower to wash myself and where my best friends are actually a heating pad and a hand massager. Most don’t understand what living at a 4 is like when it comes to me because from their perspective, it always looks like I’m at a 9 or 10. That’s only because I tend to do my very best to hide all my health issues seeing that when I don’t, it constantly becomes the topic of conversation where I usually receive more advice than compassion and understanding. Don’t get me wrong though, as I know most mean well.

Regardless, living below par every single day is not by choice and it makes my world feel very gray. It could be the sunniest of day, with the most pristine weather possible, yet the world within me feels cloudy, damp, and rainy. I have done my very best to change, but so far, I’ve remained unsuccessful. Contrary to what many have accused me of, which is thinking I haven’t done enough to change my level, I’ve actually explored medicinal care, natural remedies, healing modalities, diet changes, cleaning house from toxic people, 12 Step recovery work, therapy, prayer, meditation, affirmations, gratitude journals, writing in this blog, and more. But none have ever been successful at raising my level of health, which has led me to believe it’s out of my control.

The only way I ever seem to be able to get people to understand what this is like is asking them if they’ve ever had the flu. Most of course say they have, which at that point, I ask them how life would be for them if they had it every day for years and years and still had to go on with all their daily activities. Most at the point instantly understand, but there’s always those who think they know better than I do with my health and continue to offer one piece of advice after another, which only makes my living at a 4 feel even worse.

As I said before, living at a 4 isn’t by choice, which has led to me working quite a bit on my faith and having to trust blindly in God that one day I’ll be a 5 or higher again. I tend to tell myself that God didn’t bring me down this path this far to leave me like this and that alone helps me to keep functioning at a 4. So, one day at a time, I continue to exist below par, yet I’m still alive and kicking, doing my best to keep the faith that one day I’ll be at par or better…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

After writing a math equation on the board, the teacher asked if anyone could solve the problem. Little Johnny walked up to the board, completely erased it and wrote, “Problem Solved!”

Silly Joke #2

Having been married for twenty years and still living in an apartment, a wife often complained about anything, as she was tired of saving every penny and never getting her “dream home”. Trying to placate her, the husband finally found a new home within their budget. However, after the first week, she began complaining again. “Dear,” she said, “I don’t like this place at all. There are no curtains in the bathroom. The neighbors next door can see me every time I take a bath.” “Don’t worry.” replied her husband. “If the neighbors do see you, they’ll buy curtains….”

Silly Joke #3

The elderly Dean of an-all women’s university was introducing the new students to the college in the auditorium and thought fit to touch the subject of sex morality: “In moments of sexual temptation, ask yourselves just one question: Is an hour of pleasure worth a lifetime of shame?” At the end of the orientation, she asked if there were any questions. One of the freshman girls timidly raised her hand and said: “Could you please tell us ma’am how you make it last one hour?”

Bonus Silly Joke

A rather awkward freshman finally got up the nerve to ask a pretty junior for a dance at the homecoming. She gave him the once-over and said, “Sorry, I won’t dance with a child.” “Well, please forgive me then,” responded the underclassman. “As I didn’t realize you were pregnant.”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes deal with continuing to live in all the uncertainty I have with my life’s difficult circumstances, remaining in those maybes, keeping my faith, in God that He’s still there and got me in His hands…

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have faith.” (Paulo Coelho)

“My faith didn’t remove the pain, but it got me through the pain. Trusting God didn’t diminish or vanquish the anguish, but it enabled me to endure it.” (Robert Rogers)

“Faith is not an assurance that everything is going to be okay. Faith is the assurance that God is in control.” (Heather Zempel)

“If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity, it would just be a prudent insurance policy.” (Elizabeth Gilbert) 

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

Daily Reflection

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG)

I was amongst a few people recently having a very interesting conversation surrounding religion and spirituality. One of them would absolutely have labeled themselves as atheist. While I didn’t get too deep into the conversation, given far too often those types of discussions end in tension and arguments, I did express one truth surrounding why I have faith in God, and it dealt specifically with the benefit of living in the maybe.

I live in the maybe every, single day. The maybe I’m speaking of is God actually being real, even though I have no definitive proof of that, which is the very thing that atheists and agnostics alike want. Why I live in the maybe, rather than in a reality of needing definitive proof for my faith in God, is simply because living in the maybe gives me hope. Hope that there is something better than my current unfortunate circumstances in life.

To live each day believing that there is nothing beyond this life and having to accept that I just got dealt a bad hand of cards, especially over the last ten years or so with all my health issues, leaves me with no hope and no desire to keep going. But, living in the maybe, the maybe that there is something far Greater than I. The maybe that there is an actual reason for all of what I’ve been going through and that it’s on a far Higher level of comprehension than I could ever fathom. The maybe that God’s got this, meaning me, in His hands, even on my worst of days. The maybe that my prayers surrounding my health are indeed being answered in ways that are benefitting me even when my mind tries to convince me otherwise. And the maybe that God does have a joyful path for me still ahead. Living with this type of maybe guiding me leaves me with at least a shard of hope, a mustard seed of faith if you will, and a tiny ray of light in a sea of darkness, all of which being just enough for me to keep going and not give up.

Maybe the concept of God was originally created to cope with when life deals us a bad hand of cards, or maybe God has always been there through it all. Maybe God is nothing but something we’ve all made up to handle life on life’s terms, or maybe God is something far beyond anything we will ever be able to understand. I choose to live in the maybe that God is indeed real on every level. Living in this maybe is far more hopeful for my present difficult reality, one that often makes no sense to my limited thinking. So, I choose to live in the maybe that God does exist, because choosing to believe otherwise brings me no comfort whatsoever in a world that often feels unfair and not worth living in anymore.

God, it’s been very hard to have faith lately. But today, I’m asking You to help me to keep living in the maybe and trust that You are at work whether I’m 100 percent sure of You or not. I pray You fill me with joy and peace knowing You’ve got me in Your hands, even when I struggle to believe if You’re even real or there at all.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What might your closest friends say is one of your best traits/qualities?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday where I continue to start each week off with a slice of gratitude from my life, which for today is for something a close friend of mine said to me recently about a certain trait of mine, one that only developed because of all my 12-step recovery work.

Before I mention what that trait is that my friend said he appreciated so much and touched my heart, leading to this very piece of gratitude, it’s important to note that I once was a very untrustworthy person, who gossiped incredibly, and always got mad when people didn’t open up to me, never once looking in the mirror as to why they weren’t.

Considering that, a few weeks ago as I dropped my friend Lee off at the airport after his visit and had just given him a hug goodbye, he told me that while he wasn’t the type of person to ever really open up to people, he felt safe and comfortable doing so with me and that I was a person he believed he could talk to about anything, which said a lot for a guy like him, who truly is more of a listener in life than a sharer.

When I think back to all my active days of addiction, I never would have heard those words from anyone. Because most people saw how I went from person to person sharing things originally said out of confidence to me. Sometimes those private things made their way back to the person who shared them in confidence with me and even then, I’d make excuses, saying something like “I didn’t know it wasn’t meant be shared” rather than owning my character defect and doing the work to change that toxic part of myself.

If there is one thing that I know about myself today, it’s that I’m not that person anymore. Rather, I am a trustworthy person. I have had many people over the past decade during these hardcore years of recovery work share very deep things with me because they’ve seen my 12-Step dedication to being a spiritually healthier person. I’ve become a repository of sorts now of people telling me one thing after another that they wouldn’t ever tell another living soul. Sometimes it’s hard to hear some of those things, but I give gratitude to God for being a person now that people can come to and open up with about things they probably wouldn’t ever do with any other individual.

So, I’m grateful today on this Grateful Heart Monday, for Lee reminding me of that. I’m thankful to be far more of a trustworthy individual nowadays and that I occasionally have people like Lee who remind me of this, as it truly does show that 12 Step recovery works.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you were to leave a random simple message on a “kindness” board you just came across at a dining establishment you were in, what would it say?

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


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God’s Mysterious Ways

Thank you for joining in for another entry of my series, God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that may be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is about a random post-it note that was stuck to the floor at a Starbucks I went to recently.

In the last month or so at all the Starbucks I’ve been to, there has been a board of sorts near the front of each store with colorful pens and sticky notes below it to write out something one appreciates in life, is grateful about, or a gesture of general kindness for others. I’ve occasionally glanced at each of these boards, but never have I added any post-it note of my own. That’s only because each of them are usually so inundated with tons of messages already on them with sticky-note upon sticky-note, that the notes themselves become invisible to me, leaving me uninterested in the feel-good campaign. For the most part though, on those occasional glances to those boards, I’ve noticed a few generic messages like “Blessed” or “Have a beautiful life” or “I love my partner” and things of that sort, none of which have ever left me feeling moved at all. That was until a few weeks ago when I entered one of the local Starbucks in Toledo.

I was approaching the register feeling extremely blue, questioning like I do on most days lately whether God is ever going to deliver me from my chronic pain, when I glanced down on the ground for whatever the reason and saw one of those sticky-notes affixed to the floor all by itself. I found it odd and due to my OCD, I also found it annoying that it was there on the clean floor. So, I picked it up and was going to place it back on the board somewhere. But, when I picked it up, I noticed its message, one that has most definitely has stuck with me ever since. It said, “God Never Fails.”

Of course, my initial thoughts went to questions like why that post-it note was there in the first place and how long had it been there. After two days of thinking about this way too much, I brought it up to my therapist and as I spoke about it, I finally got into my heart and teared up. Because at my essence, I do believe God indeed never fails, and isn’t going to fail me with the long-endured healing process I undertook so long ago now.

While this may not have been the burning bush my ego often wishes for, it was a message that hit my heart in all its simplicity and something I felt warranted another entry in God’s Mysterious Ways.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Taking his seat in his chambers, the judge faced the opposing lawyers in his private room alone with them. “So,” he said, “I have been presented, by both of you, with a bribe.” Both lawyers squirmed uncomfortably. “You, attorney Leon, gave me $15,000. And you, attorney Campos, gave me $10,000.” The judge reached into his pocket and pulled out a check. He handed it to Leon. “Now then, I’m returning $5,000, and we’re going to decide this case solely on its merits!”

Silly Joke #2

Several weeks after a young man had been hired, he was called into the personnel manager’s office. “What is the meaning of this?” the manager asked. “When you applied for the job, you told us you had 5 years’ experience. Now we discovered that this is the first job you’ve ever had.” “Well,” the young man said, “in your ad you did say you wanted somebody with imagination right?!” 

Silly Joke #3

A young mother finds out she is pregnant again, and she tells the good news to anyone who will listen. One day when the woman and the boy are out shopping, a friend of the mother asks the little boy if he was excited about his Mommy’s new baby. “Oh, yes!” the little tyke says. Having overheard some of his parents’ private conversations, he adds, “And I know what we are going to name it, too. If it’s a girl we’re going to call it Mary, and if it’s another boy we’re going to call it Quits!”

Bonus Silly Joke

Two elderly folks in a nursing home wanted to get married. Their doctor on staff took each one into his office separately one day to try and talk them out of it. He called in the woman and told her that the man had already suffered two heart attacks. She told the doctor that she didn’t care. The doctor called in the man and told him the woman was suffering from acute angina. “I know!” he said. “I peeked.”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

You win a global contest. The prize is a salary of $1 million/year for life. The catch is you can only receive so long as you work 40 hours/week at any public business of your choosing. Where do you choose to work?

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


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“We Are Closed Today Due To Staffing Shortages…”

How many times I’ve seen those signs on business doors in recent months that say, “We are closed today due to staffing shortages…” is countless by this point. Personally, I’ve noticed it the most with the place I frequent the most in life, that being Starbucks. Many of them have been closed early for the day, been drive-thru only, or didn’t open for the day at all. People seem to be talking a lot about this lately, most of which wonder why these staffing shortages exist in the first place and where all the workers have gone. While I don’t exactly have an answer for that, I can at least speak for myself since I am presently not holding a paying job.

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t wish I could be out there holding a paying job. Unfortunately, my health has gotten to the point now where I am struggling just to take care of my own basic needs on many-a-days. When people have seen me outside doing yard work and have questioned why I can’t hold a job, what they don’t see is me curled up after that outdoor work, lying on my bed, massager in hand, heating pad below me, crying in frustration. Sometimes I’m good for an hour or two with what physical labor I do and sometimes I don’t have any energy at all to do any of it. The same goes for any mental labor as well, including even writing for this blog. I’ve frequently tried to push myself beyond my limits, but the rebound effect on my mind and body is one that tends to set me back for many days afterwards, which is why I try to not push myself much anymore.

Many have asked me what I’d like to do if my health wasn’t so delimiting. If my life wasn’t so limited, the answer is simple. I’d like to start out back in the workforce by being a part-time barista at Starbucks. When my health wasn’t so limiting and painful, I was very much the people person. I used to like to talk to strangers a lot. I also liked to interact, smile, and do my part to help anyone who came into my life, if even for just a moment for them to feel better. In regards to working at a Starbucks, that can translate to simply remembering someone’s name and their drink order, as many baristas do with me when I’m at several of the local locations.

Personally, I think I’d make a good barista and even spoke to several managers at a few Starbucks locations, wondering if maybe I could somehow do the job even in my current state of health. But I learned the work their employees do is actually quite taxing at times, some of which would extend far beyond my present limits of what I can handle. Truth be told, I wish I could just get a job there sitting on a stool behind the order register, cheerfully greeting each customer, taking their drink order with a smile. That I know I could do well right now. But standing on my feet for at least four hours at a time is definitely not something I could do presently.

So, I keep praying that God will improve my health enough for me to do a part-time job as a barista one day. Sadly, all those prayers of restoration continue to remain thwarted though. What remains is simply a hope that one day I will return to the workforce, where this time around it will be more about me being there for others, rather than myself, where the pay isn’t what matters, and what does matter is being of service to others, something I thankfully am still doing with my 12 Step recovery work.

Regardless, I’d really like to make all these nationwide staffing shortages be at least one individual less one day soon by hopefully re-emerging into the workforce again. I pray God will strengthen my frail and ailing body enough to do so, but until then, I continue to dream every time I see those signs on all those business doors saying they are closed today due to staffing shortages.

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

Thought For The Day

After my friend Lee’s recent visit, I wanted to share a few quotes surrounding what I feel a true friend like him means, as each of the following could very easily describe him…

“A friend is someone who can see the truth and pain in you even when you are fooling everyone else.” (Unknown)

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” (Ed Cunningham)

“Being a good friend doesn’t mean you always have all the right words to say. Sometimes it means you just know when to be a good listener.” (Katrina Mayer)

“How beautiful it is to find someone who asks for nothing but your company.” (Brigitte Nicole)

“Friendship means understanding, not agreement. It means forgiveness, not forgetting. It means the memories last, even if contact is lost.” (Unknown)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains my sole focus of my writing, which for today is for my friend Lee’s recent visit to see me for a few days over 2021’s Halloween weekend.

My friend Lee and I go way back to the years when I once lived in the Washington, D.C. area. We used to bowl in a league there together and were also part of a very fun board games group that met once a month. Over the past 10 years, I’ve only gotten to see Lee for a friend’s funeral in 2018 and a few hours for dinner and coffee on a recent trip to DC. I truly miss him and my other close friends from the DC area and wish it was easier to see them more regularly. Nevertheless, when Lee said he was open to visiting me here in Toledo, I was ecstatic, not only because I haven’t been able to spend much time with him over the years, but also because most of my long-distance friends aren’t very keen on visiting this area. I often think if I lived in a place like Tampa or some other city with lots to do, that I’d probably have more of my friend’s visit. So, my first piece of gratitude is for Lee’s visit coming to fruition.

The second piece really deals with all the things we experienced together during Lee’s visit that I wanted to recap in today’s Grateful Heart Monday, as this blog is as much of a diary of my life as it is a daily column for the world to read too.

I’m truly thankful for the time Lee and I spent in Detroit’s Greektown with dinner at the Golden Fleece and getting pastries from Astoria Bakery, for the dinner we had at the Public House in Monroe and seeing the new film Last Night In Soho, which was phenomenal, for a day trip we took to Crane Creek State Park and Marblehead Light House, where the waves were close to 10 feet on Lake Erie, for lunch in Marblehead at The Galley, where our waitress there Beth was so kind, even though she had lost her husband a few weeks prior, for the hug she and I shared where I felt God’s presence, for the many coffees we had at a number of Starbucks, for the day trip we took to Frankenmuth, which is an authentic German village where we shopped at Bronner’s (the world’s largest Christmas store), had an early dinner at Zehnder’s, shopped in some local stores including my two favorites (the country store with penny candy and the mammoth cheese shop), for a lunch we had at Tony Packo’s, for Lee getting to meet a few of my friends here including Tony and Jym, for a few good scares we shared on Halloween night watching the new Paranormal Activity movie on Paramount Plus,, and for receiving Lee’s kindness and gentleness through it all, a trait he’s always carried from the very first day I met him.

I’m truly grateful to you Lee, for being my friend for over 20 years now and for coming to visit me here in Toledo over Halloween weekend 2021, which is why I’ve dedicated today’s Grateful Heart Monday to you.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the sad reality that most addicts tend to blame others for their problems…

“Addiction, at its worst, is akin to having Stockholm syndrome. You’re like a hostage who has developed an irrational affection for your captor. They can abuse you, torture you, even threaten to kill you, and you’ll remain inexplicably and disturbingly loyal.” (Georges Simeon)

“Blaming is what addicts do in order to make themselves feel better about their addiction. Finding someone or something to blame helps them feel like their addiction isn’t the real issue.” (Unknown)

“Too often, the people closest to the addict don’t really want to admit there is a problem. They minimize or justify the addict’s destructive behaviors, like the addict erroneously blaming everyone else for their own problem, all while ignoring the glaring evidence of the one who is really sick, that being the addict themselves.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

“It’s important to fully understand the disease concept of addiction. That way you can step away from the “shame and blame game”, the one where you find yourself resenting the addict for always taking ownership of their disease.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

What Happens When Addict Parents Blame Their Kids For Everything…

For any of you who grew up in a dysfunctional home, where one or both parents suffered from some sort of an addiction, there’s a good chance you suffered from frequently being the recipient of blame, even when things weren’t your fault. There’s also a pretty good chance that as you got older, you started blaming yourself for everything that went wrong in your world, even when most of it probably wasn’t your fault either. I always feel sorry for those I meet in my 12 Step recovery world who are still strongly living out this pattern, especially if I learn their childhood was just like my own.

I’ve done my best to overcome this pattern, although I still struggle from time to time falling back into it. Kids in addict-based homes like the one I grew up in, tend to take the blame for things even when it’s not their fault solely out of fear, fear of being disciplined in harsher ways.

When my sister and I went back to our childhood home after our mother passed and were clearing out all that old stuff, we found a box of letters we had written our parents throughout our younger years where we apologized for one incident after another, consistently taking the blame, saying we’re sorry, that we’re bad kids, and will try harder to be better. I don’t remember writing those letters, but I can assume I wrote them out of fear. Fear of not being punished, yelled at, spanked, mouth washed out with soap, privileges taken away, or something worse. I always found that if I just took the blame, somehow the result was far less painful, as compared to if I didn’t. And, I often felt I was made out to be a liar when I didn’t take that ownership.

The fact is, my parents placed blame on my sister and I, because it was easier than looking at themselves and all their misery. As I grew older, I allowed this pattern to exist with most of my friends, partners, bosses, etc. What I realized in therapy though was that in most cases, I shouldn’t have been taking the blame at all and how toxic it was to my spirit each time I did. While I’m not perfect and do own a part in some of the negative things that happen in my life, I know now that more than not, I’m not the cause of everything people say of me and instead have been a magnet for this because I haven’t fully worked through it yet.

I often grow frustrated at how many try to blame me for things that have nothing to do with me whatsoever. My partner has done this with me many times, but I’m not innocent of it either. It’s taken a lot of work to identify this pattern and it happens most often with those I’m closest to, who I don’t want to lose. Because at the core of this pattern really is a little kid who just wanted his parents to love him unconditionally, who learned through their addiction that if he just owned what they were blaming him of, they seemed to love him better than if he didn’t.

Addicts love to blame the world for their problems. My parents were no exception in this and did this to my sister and I far too often, and so have I with others whenever a serious addiction has gotten a firm grip on me. I’m thankful I can identify this pattern far easier now when others are doing it with me, because at my core, I am a good person, who knows now that I’m not the blame for all the world’s problems, even though I was raised to feel like I was.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Seeing her friend Sally wearing a new locket, Meg asks if there is a memento of some sort inside. “Yes,” says Sally, “a lock of my husband’s hair.” “But Larry’s still alive.” “I know, but his hair is gone.”

Silly Joke #2

The President’s Chief Of Staff suggested the President do some much-needed public relations to boost his ratings. It’s decided to do that at a local nursing home in the Washington D.C. vicinity. The President begins his “tour” down the main hallway and passes by a little old man who doesn’t seem to notice him. Sensing this, the President backtracks to the resident and asks, “Do you know who I am?” The little old man looks up from his walker and says, “No, but if you go to the front desk, they can tell you your name.”

Silly Joke #3

A single blonde walks into a bar that has a sign marked: “For Men Only”. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” says the bartender. “We only serve men in this place.” “That’s perfect!” says the blonde. “I’ll take one please!!!”

Bonus Silly Joke

A wife decides to take her husband to a strip club for his birthday. They arrive at the club and the doorman says, “Hey, Dave! How ya doin’?” His wife is puzzled and asks if he’s been to this club before. “Oh, no,” says Dave. “He’s on my bowling team.” When they are seated, a waitress asks Dave if he’d like his usual and brings over a Budweiser. His wife is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and says, “How did she know that you drink Budweiser?” “She’s in the Ladies’ Bowling League, honey. We share lanes with them.” A stripper then comes over to their table, throws her arms around Dave, and says “Hi Davey. Want your usual lap dance, big boy?”Dave’s wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club. Dave follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the door, he jumps in beside her. He tries desperately to explain how the stripper must have mistaken him for someone else, but his wife is having none of it. She is screaming at him at the top of her lungs, calling him every name in the book. The cabby turns his head and says, “Looks like you picked up a real bitch tonight, Dave.”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround the subject of what it means to be a good listener and why listening is so important…

“Becoming a good listener, you are able to connect with others on more levels and develop stronger, deeper relationships.” (John C. Maxwell)

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” (Stephen Covey)

“Be a good listener…It makes the person who’s speaking to you feel loved, cared for and worthy of being heard.” (Wayne Dyer)

“Be a good listener, don’t judge and don’t put boundaries on someone else’s grief.” (Jodi Picoult)

“A good listener doesn’t fill the silence with chatter, make the conversation about themself, try and top the speaker’s story, sprinkle bits of wisdom that don’t apply, insert their own conclusions, wisdom and ideas until asked, or get uncomfortable with the emotions of the speaker.” (Unknown)

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