Friday, September 4, 2015

Drumroll Please...



The job that I have been praying about and that many of you have been praying with me about...Well, they called and left a message yesterday and want to fly me up a week from Tuesday.  I hate that I wasn't home to receive the call, because I had some questions, but I was working at my volunteer job. They didn't come out and say I had the job, but they had made it clear before that they would only be bringing one person up for an onsite visit.  I have a few things to iron out with them this morning, but I should know in a few hours if it's a done deal or not.  So check back this afternoon for an update.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Goodbye, Jay



In the early morning hours yesterday, Tray Murphy, who we all knew as Jay on this blog, took his own life.  Jay had felt that the problems he was facing were insurmountable. I will not elaborate because I don't think it's fair to Jay, but I will never believe that the cause of his problems were real.  That being said, I know it caused major problems in Jay's life.  Problems he could not deal with.  It broke my heart, and I have shed many tears since I heard the news.  

I have known Jay since the beginning of this blog.  For over five years, he commented almost everyday.  He even commented on the poetry, which few people ever do.  Jay was not only a blog reader but a true friend.  I always knew that if I found myself in Virginia, I had a place to stay, and I had a friend who'd welcome me with open arms.  Jay was kind and loving.  He always had a kind word and was always supportive.

Jay felt at the end that even God had deserted him.  I tried to make him understand that God never deserts us.  I just pray that God will help his family get through this tragedy.

Though Jay won't be able to read this, he would want to know that we loved him, cared about him, and he will be missed so very much.

Goodbye, Jay.  We love you.  We will always miss you.

Peace <3
Joe

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Patience and Prayer


I've been trying to decide what to write on today.  I could write about that idiot in Kentucky who is refusing to issue marriage licenses, even under a court order, but thinking of her stupidity isn't worth my time.  Plus, nobody seems to be worried about the dozen or so Alabama probate judges who aren't issuing licenses. I could talk about some of the books I've read recently, but quite honestly, I'm not up to it.

Truthfully, there is only one thing on my mind, it's the results of my job interview last Thursday.  I know the interview went well, but did the other candidates do as well?  Did they have qualifications that I didn't?  When will I know something? I honestly believe that I am a perfect fit for this job.  I hope they do too.  I should know something by the end of today.  I'd been told they were interviewing two other candidates this week and would make a decision this week.  They want to fly someone up next week for an on-site visit.  They need someone soon, and from what I gathered, they are not expecting to hire locally.  To get someone up next week, they will need to make the arrangements fairly soon, which in my thinking would be not later than today, but I may be wrong.  I do not believe they will wait until Friday because they have a big event scheduled for that day.  So it should be today or tomorrow.

I am so nervous.  I have gotten so many rejection letters, and I really don't want to hear from these people, “While we were very impressed with your qualifications, we were faced with a difficult decision, and I regret to inform you that we finally selected another candidate who we believe more closely matches what we are looking for in the position.”  I am tired of hearing how impressed someone is with my credentials, but that I'm just not what they are looking for. I need, not just want, but need someone to say, “We want you!”  One of the things that I enjoyed about my interview Thursday was that they seemed to be trying to convince me that I'd want to move up there and take the job just as much as I was trying to convey how much I thought I'd be the perfect fit.

I just need to be patient.  Also, I will continue to pray about the situation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mending Walls



Mending Wall
  by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn't it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'  I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'


The image at the heart of "Mending Wall" is arresting: two men meeting on terms of civility and neighborliness to build a barrier between them. They do so out of tradition, out of habit. The poem seems to meditate conventionally on three grand themes: barrier-building (segregation, in the broadest sense of the word), the doomed nature of this enterprise, and our persistence in this activity regardless.  But, as we so often see when we look closely at Frost's best poems, what begins in folksy straightforwardness ends in complex ambiguity. The speaker would have us believe that there are two types of people: those who stubbornly insist on building superfluous walls (with clich├ęs as their justification) and those who would dispense with this practice—wall-builders and wall-breakers. But are these impulses so easily separable? And what does the poem really say about the necessity of boundaries?

Frost's poem is often listed as one of the great friendship poems, and I believe it speaks wonderfully of some of the intricacies of friendships.  I have wonderful friends close to home and some who live far away from me and are part of my camaraderie of cyber friends.  My friends closer to home are those I went to school with, work with, or met through family or acquaintances.  All of my blog friends, who by the way mean as much to me as my friends who live nearby, live in far away places (with one or two exceptions).  I think though that with all friendships we build walls.  Just as the speaker in "Mending Wall" asks why we need the wall, I too ask why we need the walls.  I don't know that I have an answer for that, but I think I might have an idea.  I know there are certain things in real life that I don't share with my friends.  Different friends I will reveal different things to. It's not that I'm lying to them, at least I don't see it that way, but it is because different friends share different parts of my life.  Most of my friends know that I a gay, but not all of them. Why don't I tell them? I really don't know, but part of it is that the subject never came up.  They may or may not know or may think they do know, but it really doesn't matter to me.  It is really not my defining characteristic, so why should it matter. 

Yet, I am very honest about myself within the context of my blog.  A lot of that has to do with the anonymity of writing a blog.  Some people know me personally who read my blog.  I am very honest and open with those people.  I trust them to be open and honest with me and many of them are.  Some have become my greatest friends, and they know who I am talking about.  I love them dearly, and I hope they know it.  Others I'm just getting to know.  I feel as if I can often be more honest with them, but are their still walls involved?  Of course there are, usually that wall is the great distance between us, but I still endeavor to be completely honest with them.  Some may get to know me and not like my honesty or some other aspect about me.  When that happens, I rarely know what it is, even though I wish I did know.  If I knew what I said or did  I might could mend things.  Then again, I might just have a fundamental flaw that they see that I don't, but I would lie, to fix it if possible.  Sometimes, I just want to know what changed so suddenly in the friendship, but that wall is there and my southern upbringing taught me that it is rude to be impolite. The walls are around us, and I know that we don't need them, just as the speaker in this poem states.  Yet, you still have to wonder, do "Good fences make good neighbors"?

I want to add one more poem to end this post.  It is also from a favorite poet of mine and it speaks for itself.

Dear Friends
  by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Dear friends, reproach me not for what I do,  
Nor counsel me, nor pity me; nor say  
That I am wearing half my life away  
For bubble-work that only fools pursue.  
And if my bubbles be too small for you,
Blow bigger then your own: the games we play  
To fill the frittered minutes of a day,  
Good glasses are to read the spirit through.  
  
And whoso reads may get him some shrewd skill;  
And some unprofitable scorn resign,
To praise the very thing that he deplores;  
So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will,  
The shame I win for singing is all mine,  
The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Headache



All weekend, I have had a terrible headache.  It started Friday night and has been so bad, I've barely been able to sleep.  The only time I was able to sleep was when I took the maximum dose of my medicine.

Since I started my new headache treatments in March, the headaches have come with less frequency. I think I told y'all that I'd had a chronic cluster headache that lasted from November to March.  By mid-April, the headache had stopped completely and I was down to one headache every week or so, and even those were less intense than the worst of the never-ending headache that I had been experiencing. The one I have experienced this weekend has been pretty bad and has been accompanied with nausea.

I'm pretty sure this is just stress, and hopefully it will be better today.  I'm also hoping for some news on the results of my job interview this week.  My fingers are still crossed, and I continue to pray for me to get this job.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Power of Prayer



“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” - Matthew 21:22 

I've been asking do your prayers this week, and hopefully, by the middle or at least the end of this week, if all goes well, I will have great news to tell you.  We can never underestimate the power of prayer. When we are praying according to God's will, our prayers are unstoppable. 

Jesus made this promise: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7).

First John 5:14–15 says, "And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him."

Therefore, we should never give up or back down. We need to keep praying. That is why Jesus said, " Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8). 

Jesus is very clear that prayer is very powerful, but it's not for just when we want something for ourselves.  It can also be for guidance or wanting something for others. Often we pray because something bad has happened.  Hardships and tragedies are a constant reminder to keep connected to God through prayer, reading, and reflection. It's important to keep our hearts open so we may reach out to others who may be in that same kind of situation we found ourselves. In helping them, we provide someone in need with the remedy that will soothe their broken spirit.

To maintain God's peace, we must give up the need to be right, along with the need to control. We must humble ourselves and give it all to God, trusting that we will be shown the way to whatever it is we need to know, as well as Who is in control. God always answers our prayers, but it might just be “no” on occasion.  The most important thing though is that it is always God’s will.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Moment of Zen: You Are My Sunshine




Before my interview Thursday, I began to freak out a little, okay a lot. I knew I was prepared, but I still got incredibly nervous and on the verge of a full blown panic attack. My boyfriend was working, so I couldn't disturb him, so I texted a very good friend of mine who always seems to calm me down. When I told him I was freaking out he told me that everything would be okay and that I would do great. Then he texted me this:


You are my sunshine

My only sunshine

When I couldn't think clearly, he knew exactly how I am able to calm myself. Mama used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me when I was little. It has always calmed me when I have a panic attack. It's one of the few things that work. It's puts me back into perspective and allows things to slow down. So I sang:


You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head, and I cried

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

I'll always love you and make you happy
If you will only say the same
But if you leave me to love another,
You'll regret it all one day

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Please don't take my sunshine away

Before I knew it, I had calmed down and had been able to convince myself that I was ready for this interview and that it would go great. And it did. Thank you everyone for your prayers, but it's not over yet. I still need your prayers. They won't decide until next week after the other two people are interviewed. I'm hoping that I was memorable enough that they will offer me the job. But I have to be patient and wait. So my true Moment of Zen this week was a friend reminding me: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

And while I could have used most any picture for today's Moment of Zen, I chose the one above. It looks kind of sunshiny.  If you don't know who the guy in the middle is (and if you don't, what rock have you been living under?), it is Pietro Boselli. Boselli has a PhD in mathematics and paid his way through graduate school by modeling. He lectures at the University of London.  He's also Italian. (swoon) I'm not a math person, so I do not understand what he actually studies. Advanced mathematics is something that is way over my head. Isn't it just unfair that someone can be that beautiful and that brilliant? He posted the above picture to Instagram which shows the math teacher/model striking a pose with Spanish model River Viiperi and Texan model Parker Gregory.