Do You Ever Feel Like You Are Damaged Goods?

If you are one of those who’s gone through a lot in life where much of what you’ve endured has left you scarred spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically, then maybe you might feel like I do, like you are damaged goods that no one wants.

I fight this feeling on many days over the last few years, where I really do feel like I am damaged goods at some store, on some shelf, on sale for some very low price, that most people just pass on by because it looks too tattered and torn. While that’s how I feel quite often in life these days, I continue to do my best to overcome it.

Truth is, I do have a lot of “scars” in my life that have led so many to avoid getting to know me because I’m not always that upbeat self like I once was. Having gone through what I have has definitely affected me incredibly and carrying as much physical pain as I do on most days, I struggle to be that beacon of sunshine that people like to gravitate towards to get to know. Thankfully, my partner Chris, a few dear friends, and my sister Laura overlook all this, and accept me as I am, something I’m so grateful for. Because on most days, I do feel more alone than not carrying the scars that I do.

I have watched over the years so many people drift in and out of my life due to these scars. Some have left as soon as they find out I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict, as they think they’ll be judged if they drink or do drugs or enjoy any other thing that I don’t do anymore due to former addictions. Others leave when they learn how troubled my past was with my parent’s tragic deaths or being molested by a coach, as it’s too intense for them to hear, usually due to shadows they haven’t faced within themselves yet. And lately, many seem to disappear from my life when they see the amount of physical and emotional pain I’m in. While they usually try to solve it at first for me, they tend to get frustrated when they can’t, blaming me somehow for the pain still being there, and then distancing themselves in the process.

All of this has left me quite tattered and torn, and feeling battered and tired. But there is One that I believe still sees me as beautiful as the day I was born into this life, that sees the good I continue to bring into this world as best as I can, and knows the caring and loving heart I still have, and that’s God. While many in this world may continue to see me with tainted and judgmental eyes, I believe that God sees me like no other.

While I don’t know exactly who or what God is, I know there is Something out there, up there, around me, and in me, that is beyond my understanding, that continues to give me just enough to keep going, to not give up, and is still willing to pay full price for this damaged good sitting on that store’s lonely sale shelf.

So, if you have ever felt like this, like you are damaged goods in this world, please take a moment, breathe, and know you aren’t alone. Know that God sees you far differently, as I do as well. God loves you unconditionally and so do I. While we may appear to be damaged goods to the rest of the world, know we will always be priceless in God’s eyes and heart.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What would you say is at the top of your bucket list of things you want to see or do before this life ends for you?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole focus of my writing, which for today is for a recent trip to Chicago with my closest friend Cedric where I achieved over 10,000 steps, three days in a row.

On almost a last-minute whim before Cedric’s annual visit to Toledo, I booked a very affordable short trip for us to visit Chicago via Amtrak. (Airfare and driving were far more expensive overall.) As an aside, Cedric and I used to visit New York City in early December every year just to see the holiday lights and wanted to do something similar this year so we came up with this trip to Chicago.

We stayed at a relatively newer property there (StayPineapple) that was in good proximity to much of the things we had planned to see, which included the Macy’s holiday windows/Walnut Room, Willis Tower, Shake Shak, Millennium Park, Weber’s Grill, Magnificent Mile, ChristkindlMarket, Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Lou Manati’s Pizza, and the Shedd Aquarium.

Back in the day, I would never have thought twice about walking to all of those destinations when visiting a big city for a mini vacation. I used to walk the many streets of New York City in much of my youth and Washington, D.C. in a good majority of my young adulthood. But I am 49 now and laden with many health issues that I am not in control of, where most days feels like they are more in control of me.

Considering that, I am grateful to report that I had enough energy to push myself during this visit to walk to each of those destinations and a few others as well, getting to see much of the city with my feet on the ground rather than in a cab, bus, or subway. I honestly prefer walking in my life because I feel more connected to where I am at, than when on any form of public transportation.

When all was said and done, I was frankly surprised and very thankful for how many steps I had achieved, the hardest of which was on the final day there where we walked to the aquarium, almost 2 miles away. Add in our walk in the aquarium once there, I was quite spent by the end of our afternoon visit. Unfortunately, there was no public transportation in the immediate vicinity, and it was raining as well, so I just accepted the situation in as much pain as I was and walked back extremely slow. I had a good chuckle with God when I finally returned to the hotel that night. I was so thankful to be back only to discover as soon as we were that the hotel elevators had all broken down with no fix in site. Given we were on the 12th floor, I practiced acceptance and got a few last steps in.

Overall, pushing myself as much as I did on this trip to see all the sites on foot, I most assuredly paid the price as my body was very sore afterwards, But ultimately, I was very grateful for how much Cedric and I did enjoy our visit and for how many steps I did take during this trip, something I felt warranted another entry in my Grateful Heart Monday series.

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

Question To Ponder For The Day

Today’s question is…

What movie would you like to see be remade someday again?

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


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“West Side Story (2021)”, A Story Still Relevant Today That Needed To Be Retold

I never have seen the original West Side Story movie that was originally released back in 1961. Yes, I know how absurd that sounds for a movie aficionado like myself, especially in that the film is now deemed a classic and has 10 Oscars under its belt. You would think a guy like me who sees as many movies as I do and even took a film class in college would have opted to watch it at some point in my life thus far, but I never have. I’m not sure why, yet when I learned that Steven Spielberg was remaking it, I decided it would be worth seeing solely because I’ve rarely been disappointed with any of his directorial work in Hollywood.

Beyond Spielberg, the only name attached to this film that I even knew was Ansel Elgort, an actor from Baby Driver and The Fault in Our Stars, two movies I really enjoyed mostly because of Elgort’s incredible acting in them. In this modern retelling of West Side Story, I learned he would be playing one of the main leads, a guy by the name of Tony. While another big star was also attached to it, Rita Moreno, someone who had also been in the original, I honestly didn’t know her name or any of her prior work, so I went into this movie rather blindly about who else was in it or what it was even about. I knew of course that it was a musical, but given I’m not much of a musical fan, (which so many of my gay friends think is a travesty!) I went in with low expectations, unsure if I was even going to enjoy any part of it. But ironically, I did, and then some. I attribute that mostly to the genius of Spielberg, someone who seems to place magic in just about everything he puts his hands on in Hollywood.

For those like me who never saw the original film, the plot of West Side Story is simply about two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, fighting over territory in New York City in the 1950’s just as urban sprawl begins to truly take shape. The Jets are comprised of a bunch of young guys who want to keep their area filled with nothing but fellow whites, while the Sharks on the other hand, are made up of a bunch of guys from Puerto Rico just trying to defend themselves and make a new and better life in the big city. It’s clear the Jets don’t want them or any of their “kind” there right from the start, just as much as the same is true of the Sharks with them. But enter Tony, a former very active Jet who recently was just released from prison and is now trying to stay on the straight and narrow. When his eyes fall upon Maria (Rachel Zegler) one night at a local dance meant to try to integrate the two rival groups together, lines get crossed, tensions rise, and battle cries ensue. Will Tony and Maria be allowed to make it as an item? Will peace ever come between the two rival gangs? How far will Tony and Maria go for their instant love for each other?

While the plot overall of this 2021 version of West Side Story seemed like a rather subtle retelling of the story of Romeo and Juliet to me, Spielberg of course put his modern-day spin on it that felt very fresh. I did learn that he did make some big changes from its original counterpart, but so as not to ruin any of it, I simply want to say the story overall felt quite relevant even to this present day and one that I believe needed to be retold again in the way it was.

Our world has changed dramatically in the last five years. I have seen far too much of the racist overtones depicted in West Side Story emerge and take a front and center stage in our country during this period. While this racism has probably always been there, I feel there are far too many now who proudly and boldly display how much they desire a return to a predominantly, white-ruled America, something I’d totally abhor.

I have spent much of my adult life spending time with numerous people from many other cultures, immersing myself in practices and belief systems far different from the ones I was raised with. Sadly, I grew up in white America, in a middle to upper class Caucasian family. It wasn’t even until my junior to senior year of high school that I had a single person of color in my life. Finally in college that all changed when I grew to love and care about two women of color, Carlean and Renee, and saw how racist our world was even then, on both sides. African Americans hating the fact that a white man was dating one of theirs and whites constantly calling me a traitor and labelling me often with a racist word that instead of beginning with the letter “N” was replaced with a “W”. Over the many years that have passed since those collegiate days, I of course came out of the closet, and learned a lot more about other forms of racism that I eventually became a target of.

All in all, I’ve learned much over the years hanging out in one culture after another. Unfortunately, at their core I discovered there is still a gross disunity that exists in society no different than what was originally depicted between the fictious Jets and Sharks in both versions of West Side Story. The Sharks these days are all the non-white cultures just trying to make a life in this world where too often they have to defend themselves from far too many threats. Threats that come from the Jets of today, those from white society who are afraid of losing a dominance in their world that came only because of our country’s racist roots.

I am neither a Jet nor a Shark. I am someone though who only wishes to help foster a peace between both in this world, something that I continue to express through both my writing and speaking, and something I ask God every day for the strength to continue doing, while so many around me vie for me to take a side.

West Side Story’s 2021 release truly is a phenomenal film, one that inspired me enough to write about, and one that’s left me thinking long beyond the credits ended.

Peace, love, light, and joy
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

An artist asked the gallery owner if there had been any interest in her paintings that were on display. “Well, I have good news and bad news,” the owner responded. “The good news is that a gentleman noticed your work and wondered if it would appreciate in value after your death. I told him it would and he bought all 10 of your paintings!” “Well, that’s wonderful news!!!” the artist exclaimed. “So, what’s the bad news?” “Umm, well the gentleman was your doctor…”

Silly Joke #2

Arizona was having its worst heat wave in the state’s history. Jack decided one stifling afternoon to take a shower to cool down. “It’s just too hot to wear clothes today,” complained Jack to his wife as he stepped out of it 10 minutes later. “Honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this today?” “Probably that I married you for your money dear…”, she said with a sigh.

Silly Joke #3

A mother was trying very hard to get the catsup to come out of the bottle for her four-year-old daughter’s meal. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her daughter to answer the phone. “It’s the minister of your family’s church, dear” the man said to the little girl on the other end. “Is your Mommy available?” “No, Mommy can’t come to the phone right now…” the daughter said. “Cuz, she’s hitting the bottle really hard right now…”

Bonus Silly Joke (For Adults Only)

A young teenage girl was a prostitute and, for obvious reasons, kept it a secret from her very elderly Grandma. One day, the police raided a brothel and arrested a group of prostitutes, including the young girl. The prostitutes were instructed to line up in a straight line on the sidewalk outside. Well, who should be walking down the street in the neighborhood, but little old Grandma. The young girl became frantic. Sure enough, Grandma noticed her young granddaughter and asked curiously, “What are you lining up here for dear?” Not wanting to upset her Grandma, the young girl said that the police were giving out free oranges today and that she was lining up for some.” Mmmm, sounds lovely,” said Grandma, “I think I’ll have some myself,” she continued as she made her way to the back of the line. When a police officer made his way down the line, he got to the Grandma at the end of it and was totally bewildered. “Forgive me Ma’am but, you’re so old, how do you do it?” Grandma replied,” Oh, it’s quite easy sonny, I just remove my dentures and suck ’em dry.”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround more of the spirit of this holiday season and what I believe to be is more about the true nature of Christmas…

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” (Ruth Carter Stapleton)

“Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas likes in your heart.” (The Polar Express)

“Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.” (George F. McDougall)

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.” (Thomas S. Monson)

“The true Christmas spirit is putting others’ happiness before our own and finding you’ve never known such happiness.” (Toni Sorenson) 

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

I Feel Like I’m Living Out An Episode Of The Twilight Zone Titled “The Pandemic”

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” That was the original beginning monologue for The Twilight Zone many eons ago, which sometimes I really relate to and feel lately like I’m living in an episode of it titled “The Pandemic”.

In this episode, we are all living in a world where the Covid-19 virus has truly changed the course of society forever, where life has become a total division of vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals, where every thought, word, and action seems to surround this piece of information, including even being invited and subsequently uninvited to a Christmas party.

This year is the first year my partner Chris and I didn’t really have any solid Christmas Day plans to be away, to cook, or do anything specific. Tentatively, we and another friend were thinking about going to a local buffet, that was until I spoke with another friend who invited us to their annual Christmas Day feast, something we’ve been to before. Over the course of that invite process, I was asked if I was vaccinated or not, which of course I answered truthfully like I always do, and responded I wasn’t. This led to a long discourse back and forth, that ultimately ended with me being uninvited solely due to my vaccine status. Alone in my room after that conversation was me on my knees by my bedside, sobbing to God, asking why our world has become like this, especially during a time of the season when the true meaning is to share in unconditional love with each other.

As I continue to navigate through this very elongated episode of The Twilight Zone, remaining unvaccinated, not out of defiance, but more from fears over the many health complications I already have, I am left wondering how far this division will go. Several countries around the world already have locked unvaccinated individuals out of society, essentially barring them from going out at all and doing anything, with Germany being the latest to do so. Is it that far of a stretch to believe that all of us who remain unvaccinated for whatever our reasons, justified or not, will eventually be rounded up and forced to vaccinate or put into some sort of concentration camps where we are locked away from society?

I’ve had Covid, and a very bad case at that, one that almost landed me in the hospital, and it wasn’t fun. Yes, this is a serious virus and one that may be with us forever, something that I feel could play itself out so easily in an episode of The Twilight Zone. But I don’t believe this virus is still around in the way it is, as strong of a presence it still has, because of people like me. Yet, I continue to be the source of blame for many anyway, rounded into a group in society where hatred is directed more than anything.

I’m a child of God and I love ALL people, from ALL walks of society, and am a person that during this time of the season, would never…ever…consider banning anyone from coming to a Christmas get-together due to their vaccinate status. Because the meaning of this season for me is one of acceptance, inclusion, connection, and love. Isn’t that what the “Christ” in Christmas was supposed to be about?

Regardless, I really hope to wake up from this crazy episode of The Twilight Zone one day soon, where invitations to things like a Christmas party aren’t dependent on anything and are just freely given, where one’s vaccine status isn’t a factor in the acceptance for anything, and where the holidays themselves are back to focusing more on what the true meaning is meant to be, that being sharing unconditional love with others…vaccinated or not…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you could have an all-expenses paid trip to one place outside the borders of the United States that would be a dream place for you to visit before you die, where would it be to?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is the only focus of my writing for the day, which for today is for the many places I’ve been able to visit on this planet thus far.

While the last few years I’ve struggled to travel due to my health issues, the fact remains that it’s a part of who I am and something I do enjoy immensely on a soul level. There was a time when I was travelling both inside and outside our borders quite frequently. Sadly, I never expressed much gratitude surrounding all those trips I used to take, which is why I felt today it was absolutely necessary to put a place marker on my blog for the thankfulness I have to God for how many places I’ve been able to visit around the world so far in life.

Did you know that statistically speaking, only 6 percent of the world’s population travels internationally and only 2 percent travels domestically within their borders? I was shocked when I learned those statistics after doing a little research, given how much of my life has been spent on travelling from one place to the next. That being said the following is a list of all the places I’ve been to and have immense gratitude for seeing:

United States – New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Nashville, Charlotte, Savannah, Atlanta, Charleston, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Orlando, Tampa, Las Vegas, and many others.

Canada – Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls

England – Leeds, Bath, Dover, Canterbury, Winchester, London, and Manchester

Belgium – Brussels

Holland/Netherlands – Amsterdam, Kinderdijk

France – Paris

Caribbean – St. Thomas, St. Johns, St. Croix, Jamaica, St. Martin, Hispaniola, Grand Cayman, Nevis, St. Kitts, Barbuda, Antigua, St. Vincent, Cozumel, Bahamas, Aruba, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Haiti, St. Kitts, Martinique

Mexico – Playa Del Carmen, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta

Guatemala – Guatemala City

Costa Rica – San Jose

Panama – Panama City, Colon

After recollecting and writing all these places down for today’s article that I’ve visited thus far in life, I realized I truly have a lot to be grateful for given how much I’ve seen and especially given how many I’ve met who’ve never even left the state they were born in. While I know there are plenty who’ve travelled far more than I ever have or will, I’m very thankful to God to have been given the ability to see what I have on this planet.

And, for a final parting thought in today’s Grateful Heart Monday, I hope to one day be able to write about future gratitude for visiting the following places before I die: Hawaii and Anchorage in the United States, Sydney in Australia, Berlin in Germany, Rome, Sicily, Venice and Pisa in Italy, Reykjavik in Iceland, Cape Town in South Africa, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in China, Tokyo in Japan, Cairo in Egypt, Agra in India, Seoul in South Korea, Singapore City in Singapore, Bangkok in Thailand, Geneva in Switzerland, Stockholm in Sweden, Oslo in Norway, Dublin in Ireland, Edinburgh in Scotland, Madrid in Spain, Athens in Greece, Lisbon in Portugal, and Bora Bora in the French Polynesia.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

For coffee lovers, how do you prefer it when consuming it? Be specific. (Ex. regular coffee with a splash of half and half, 2-shot regular cappuccino, decaf mocha latte, etc.)

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


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21 Days…Without Caffeinated Beverages

21 days. That’s how long I’ve gone now without consuming any caffeinated beverages, after almost two solid years of binging on high quantities of them. A friend asked me the other day how the withdrawal process has been from them. Honestly, it’s not the withdrawal that’s been difficult, as that was over in about 3 to 5 days. What’s been more difficult than anything is choosing each day to stay away from consuming them again, all because of the numbing effect it gives me from my physical pain and other frustrations of my life.

Consuming high levels of caffeinated coffee as frequently as I did over the past two years, ever since relapsing from doing nothing more than decaf beverages for well over a decade, was a choice I made each day simply as a crutch. The effect helped me temporarily feel better in a world where I struggle to ever feel better. While I love coffee in general and was fine for the better part of 10 years drinking decaf, once I returned to consuming caffeinated coffees after my cat died abruptly, I fell in love with the effect it gave me.

It not only numbed out some of the pain receptors of my fibromyalgia, it also numbed out me caring much about all the people who seem to have a negative opinion of me. I also leaned hard on this addiction to cope with this pandemic as well, waiting as long as 45 minutes at Starbucks drive-thru’s sometimes just to get my fix. I’d always rationalize all this was ok, after all it’s just coffee right?

But I had many rage-out moments while on high levels of caffeine. I’ve thrown things, had Jekyll and Hyde moments, experienced severe mood changes from sad to happy to exuberant and back to sad in short periods of time, and even gone all day at times not eating anything while consuming multiple-shot espressos just because it hit me faster having nothing in my stomach. Yes, I’m one of those real hard-core addicts and at 21 days now without caffeine, on some days it often feels like I’m missing my best friend, which is no different than how I once felt with my alcohol and drug dependency.

While the withdrawal from caffeinated beverages hasn’t been anywhere as challenging as my withdrawal from alcohol and drugs were, the trying to find happiness in going back to decaf has been an immense struggle. I regularly find myself drinking my decaf coffee quick fast like I once did my caffeinated version, because having many of those high-level espressos was often not about the enjoyment of it, it was about seeking the high of them.

People have asked me so many times over the years how I know I’m still an alcoholic and addict, given I haven’t had either in my system in well over 26 years now. Seeing how I am acting and feeling at 21 days without caffeine and looking back over the last two years at how I was on it reminds me so very easily how much I know I am absolutely, 100 percent, still an alcoholic and addict.

I’m sure some who read this might be wondering why I would choose to even write about something like this. Beyond the fact that this blog originally started out as a tool for my 12 Step recovery (hence the site’s name TheTwelfthStep), the deeper reason is to be accountable with others with what I’m going through in this.

I’ve woken up each day in the past 21 days asking, and sometimes even begging my Higher Power for the strength to stay away from caffeinated beverages for one more day, because it’s very clear to me now just how much they affect my stability on many levels.

I have noticed I’m calmer, more mentally and emotionally stable, less angry, had lower blood pressure, felt more connected in my heart with others, and maybe even closer to Source on some days by abstaining from caffeinated beverages these past 21 days. Those benefits do seem to outweigh the slight numbing caffeine gave me over these past two years. But for a true addict like me, sometimes even the smallest benefits are enough to keep an addiction going.

Regardless, one day at a time, as 12 Step recovery says, I continue to do my best to remain free from caffeine, sharing openly with all of you about my struggles and my triumphs.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Patient: “Doctor, I think I’m a moth.”
Doctor: “It’s not a doctor you need, it’s a psychiatrist.”
Patient: “Well, I was actually on my way there when I saw your light on!”

Silly Joke #2

An accountant got out of bed and complained that he had not slept a wink. “Why didn’t you count sheep?” his wife asked “I did, that is what got me into trouble” the accountant replied “I made a mistake during the first hour, and it took me until this morning to correct it.”

Silly Joke #3

Two old ladies were outside their assisted living home having a smoke, when it started to rain. One of the ladies pulled out a condom, cut off the end, put it over her cigarette, and continued smoking. 

Lady 1: What’s that? 
Lady 2: A condom. 
Lady 1: Where and when did you get that? 
Lady 2: The drugstore the other day when they took us there… 

The next time the assisted living home took them to the drugstore, the first lady hobbled into it and announced to the pharmacist that she wanted to buy a package of condoms. The guy looked at her kind of strangely (she was, after all, in her 80s), but politely asked what brand she preferred. “Doesn’t matter,” she replied, “as long as it fits a Camel.”

Bonus Silly Joke

Two couples were playing cards. Jeff accidentally dropped some cards on the floor. When he bent down under the table to pick them up, he noticed that Dave’s wife, Sandy, was not wearing any underwear! Shocked by this, Jeff hit his head on the table and emerged red-faced. Later when Jeff went to the kitchen to get some refreshments Sandy followed him and asked, “Did you see anything under the table that you liked?” Jeff admitted embarrassingly, “Well, yes I did.” She said “you can have it, but it will cost you $100.” After a minute or two, Jeff indicates that he is interested. She tells him that since Dave works Friday afternoons and Jeff doesn’t, that Jeff should come to their house around 2:00 PM on Friday. Friday came and Jeff went to her house at 2:00 PM. After paying her the $100, they went to the bedroom, had sex for a few hours and then Jeff left. Dave came home about 6:00 PM and asked his wife, “Did Jeff come by this afternoon?” Totally shocked, Sandy replied, “Yes, he did stop by for a few minutes.” Next Dave asked, “Did Jeff give you $100?” Sandy thought, ‘Oh God, he knows!’ Reluctantly she said, “Yes, he did give me $100.” “Good,” Dave says. “Jeff came by the office this morning and borrowed the $100 from me and said that he’d stop by our house on his way home and pay me back. It’s so good to have a friend you can trust!!!”

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes sum up much of what I feel is at the core of the Christmas holiday season and spirit…

“I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.” (Norman Vincent Peale)

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” (Calvin Coolidge)

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting.” (Thomas S. Monson)

“The is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.” (Frank McKibben)

“Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.” (Dr. Seuss)

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

A Far Different Take On Christmas 2021…

It most definitely feels strange to be experiencing Christmas this year in such a different way from prior ones.

Coming home after a long Thanksgiving vacation down South to a completely unlit and empty yard with only our outdoor garage and side porch lights on felt very odd. Odd compared to the typical Clark Griswold display I normally would put up every year well before mid-November even arrives.

Seeing our now cold and dark yard brought out feelings of both relief and sorrow. Relief that I didn’t have thousands of lights to ensure remained on for the next month or so, but sorrow over how lonely my yard looked, especially when so many of our neighbors had holiday lights and decorations adorning theirs. As I took all that in though, something came to me I never quite saw before, and that’s how far I’ve grown away from what I feel the meaning of Christmas is meant to be.

The meaning of Christmas over the past bunch of years for me was more about making my house look amazing and then showing it off on Facebook and to friends. Christmas was always more about outdoing myself from prior years with my decorating. The pressure I put on myself to do so took far more precedence over the true meaning of the holiday season, which I believe to in the sharing unconditional love with everyone. As a kid, I didn’t experience that either.

While Christmas wasn’t so much about putting up huge holiday lights and displays, it still was very superficial in that our family did incredible amounts of holiday shopping and spending. That behavior carried well into my adulthood where big and lavish gifts meant lots of love. When I finally moved away from the gift-giving side of things for the holiday season, it became more about engaging in another aspect of holiday superficiality, in my decorating. Without that whatsoever this festive season, I clearly saw how most of my prior Christmas holidays have constantly been focused on one ego-aspect or another.

On average, if I was to guess, I probably spent close to $500 or more on my decorating during prior holiday seasons, which honestly is no different than now much I used to spend on gifts as well. That’s a big reason why this year I chose to do neither and instead simply focus on just being more unconditionally loving.

Having a completely Christmas-free home has surely helped with that because I haven’t been focusing on all those ego-based aspects of the holidays. Making my home shine so brightly in years past where you could see it from several streets over was definitely more about ego than unconditional love. The same can be said of many of the gifts I bought for former partners, friends, and family in holidays past.

Of course, it always felt good to have neighbors compliment my outdoor Christmas displays and see cars driving by slowly taking pictures. It also consistently felt good to see people’s jaws drop after opening the lavish gifts I once bought them during the holidays. But all of that was me just trying to outdo everyone else. Ego. Ego. Ego. And when so much ego is present, it’s pretty hard to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season.

So I’m glad that I have a dark home this year without all that ego in action. It’s very much helped to shift my thinking and place my focus more onto what should have always mattered during every prior holiday season. Because at the core of each holiday season, whether one is religious or not, believing in Jesus or not, is the desire to share unconditional love with each other, something that becomes very difficult to do when the focus becomes more about overly spending on gifts or outdoor displays and trying to outdo everyone, including even myself…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you were on a vacation, which of the following would you enjoy the most and which would you enjoy the least:

  1. Just walking around and sightseeing
  2. Dining out
  3. Sunbathing
  4. Sleeping
  5. Museums
  6. Shopping
  7. Spa treatments
  8. Playing family/board/card/group games
  9. Going on group tours
  10. Vacations? What’s a vacation?

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole focus of my writing, which for today is for my recent vacation with my partner Chris to Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia, two places neither of us had visited before in any of our worldly travels.

I’m always amazed at how different and unique every city, town, and well, just about every square inch of this country and world seem to be whenever I visit a new part of it. So, when my dear friend Michael invited Chris and I to attend his late November wedding in the Savannah vicinity well over a year ago, I was ecstatic because both Chris and I had always wanted to visit that part of the country. Because of it, we planned an entire vacation around it, booking a condo on the oceanfront on Tybee Island, which is the coastal area just outside Savannah.

Our drive was split up into two days getting there, given it’s almost a 14-hour drive. When we first arrived in the area, it was dark, but the one thing I noticed as we drove through the city on our way out to the beach was all the Spanish moss hanging down from the trees. I had always seen pictures of it, but truly it was a site to behold, especially because it lives symbiotically with the trees it’s on, never hurting them. The second thing I noticed were all the gas lamps flickering on all the old buildings we drove by. For a minute, it almost felt like I had stepped back in time to the 19th century and earlier. All of which was a stark contrast to when we finally arrived at our modern condo situated directly on the beach’s edge on Tybee Island where the lull of the ocean surf and the healing energy of the saltwater air seemed to invigorate my soul. After an amazing first meal at the Sundae Café on Tybee Island and a good night’s sleep, our vacation truly began with the wedding itself the next day, which was held at The Ford River & Field Club in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

This wedding by far was the most amazing spectacle I’ve ever been to, not only because of its incredible location right on the Ogeechee River and the history of the place itself, but also because of it feeling like I was constantly on the set of some big Hollywood romantic movie. With foods matching much of the local customs and music doing the same from a well-known group called The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, which reminded me of either Michael Bublé’s or Harry Connick’s bands, I really felt immersed in a new culture I had never experienced before. Most weddings I always seem to leave as soon as dinner is over, but this one I stayed almost till it ended, which says how amazing it was for me. Over the course of the next five days after the wedding, I had much to be grateful for.

On the first day, it was for a visit from my nephews Noah and Jacob who drove down from Charleston, SC to see me, two people I hadn’t seen since well before COVID even began. Together, we all dined at Paula Dean’s Creekhouse, visited the Wormsloe Park where Forest Gump broke out of his leg’s shackles and ran down the mossy tree-lined street, and had ice cream at the world-famous Leopold’s where we waited well over 30 minutes, but was more than worth it.

On the second day, we visited Tybee Light where I climbed its 178 steps to the top and had the most pristine view of the entire island. I’m so thankful I’m not afraid of heights to enjoy moments like that. After the climb, we took a tour around an old fort nearby, then caught a showing of Ghostbusters: Afterlife at an AMC theater in Savannah where we opted for the “Big D” experience, which felt like I was immersed in the film, and finished the day having a great pepperoni, cheddar, sausage, and green olive pie at Lighthouse Pizza on Tybee Island.

On the third day, we took a trolley tour around Savannah, with an extremely funny and boisterous guide who taught us much about the cities history, some that astounded me, and some that saddened me, mostly due to the roots of slavery and racism that once were readily present in the area. Dinner that night was uniquely different from all the prior meals in that we opted for Indian food at the Himalayan Curry Kitchen. I must say it was some of the best I’ve ever had and some of the spiciest as well!

On the fourth day, I took a 2 mile walk on the beach alone, mostly for meditational purposes. While it challenged my health, it was rewarding because it truly helped to ground me and bring me closer to Source with my feet planted firmly in the sand feeling the cold water lap up under them. Later that day, we explored some of the unique shops on the island, including T.S. Chu’s, a place that has been there for more than 84 years! We dined at Spanky’s after that and drove around many of the local streets once we were done eating, just to see what homes looked like in the area.

Our final day was a Thanksgiving meal at Paula Dean’s Lady and Sons Restaurant, which served us so much food, we had to take our dessert back to the condo. To work some of it off, we walked the streets of Savannah for a good while and ended up in Chippewa Park where Forest Gump sat on the bench waiting for the bus.

Truly, overall, my visit to Tybee Island and Savannah, was beautiful and enriching on many levels. I felt more connected to Chris than I have in years and could actually see us living in that area someday. Sitting on the balcony with him listening to the tranquil ocean sounds on our final night there with the bright moon shining over the water was probably the most peaceful I’ve felt with both him and within myself in a long time. Beyond the culture, the foods, and the fact that the people there were very friendly, something I often feel is lacking in the Midwest and even in the Northeast where I’m from, the trip had much to be grateful for, on many levels, ones I will always remember probably for the rest of my life and ones I dedicate to today’s Grateful Heart Monday.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes follow on the heels of yesterday’s blog about all the many freedoms I often forget about here in the United States…

“May we think of freedom, not as the right do do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” (Peter Marshall)

“America is best described by one word, freedom.” (Dwight D Eisenhower)

“Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. Or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” (Ronald Reagan)

“Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” (Bob Marley)

“Freedom lies in being bold.” (Robert Frost)

“The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.” (Thucydides)

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

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