Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Pic of the Day

People πŸ€”

I’ll admit it, I don’t understand a lot of people. One minute they are friendly, and the next, they won’t even talk to you. It’s always a mystery to me when people seemingly get pissed off at me. I ask myself, “What did I do to make them act this way?” Most people consider me a nice guy who’s smart and kind. I’d do anything for my friends. 

They are those who have a dislike of me from the start, usually either because I’m gay or Southern. You’d be amazed at the number of people up north who discriminate against Southerners. Of course, most people just want to hear my accent and have no problem with me being Southern, though sadly a lot of people hear a Southern accent and think you’re dumb. It’s a bad stereotype. Think of really dumb people in movies or television; they more often than not have a southern accent, though usually a really bad one.

Then, there are the people who you thought were your friend, but as Heidi Klum would say on Project Runway, “One day you’re in; the next day you’re out.” I think those are the ones that hurt you the most. There are few things as devastating as when someone you thought was a friend turns their back to you. As gay people, we often have to deal with this when we come out and you find out who your true friends are. 

Of course, there are also the users. They use you for their benefit and take advantage of your kindness only to turn on you when you say no. I had a boyfriend like that once. He liked me for exactly two things: I had a car that could take him places and the sex. I mostly didn’t mind the sex part, but only liking me because I could drive him places was something I did mind.

Finally, there are the true friends. When you need them, they are always there for you. They are always there with an encouraging word or an ear to listen to your problems. They are there when you just need to gossip but want to make sure no one else will hear what you have to say. Friends, true friends, will laugh with you and cry with you. They’ll give you a hug when you most need it, and when you’re upset and think you just want to be left alone, they realize that you really need someone, even if you don’t think you do.

I’m not sure why this all popped in my mind, but it’s probably because of a few things going on in my life right now that have me perplexed.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Pic of the Day

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)

By William Shakespeare - 1564-1616


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.

    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Since Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, I thought I’d post what is arguably the most well-known use of summer in a poem. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" is one of my favorite of Shakespeare's sonnets. 


"Sonnet 18" is perhaps the best known of all of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets, primarily due to the opening line, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day," which every true romantic knows by heart. But there is much more to this line than meets the eye. "Sonnet 18" focuses on the loveliness of a friend or lover, with the speaker initially asking a rhetorical question about comparing their subject to a summer's day. He then goes on to introduce the pros and cons of the weather, mentioning both an idyllic English summer's day and the less-welcome dim sun and rough winds of autumn. In the end, it is insinuated this very piece of poetry will keep the lover—the poem's subject—alive forever and allow them to defy even death.


When I would teach “Sonnet 18,” I loved to compare it with “Sonnet 130,” also known as, “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun.” “Sonnet 130” is an unusual poem because it turns the idea of female beauty on its head and offers the reader an alternative view of what it's like to love a woman, warts and all, despite her shortcomings. It is basically the opposite of the more famous “Sonnet 18.”


It parodies other sonnets of the Elizabethan era, which were heavily into Petrarchan ideals, where the woman is continually praised and seen as beyond reproach. In this sense, 'Sonnet 130' is an anomaly, a unique poem that flouts the rules of convention and breaks new ground in the process. Shakespeare must have known what he was doing when he wrote this sonnet, because he ridicules an art form he himself had mastered. 


My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)

By William Shakespeare - 1564-1616


My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

     As any she belied with false compare.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Pic of the Day

Memorial Day 🏳️‍🌈 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

For many of us, Memorial Day weekend is about cookouts, sales, watching fireworks, and fellowshipping with family and friends. However, this weekend is supposed to be about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their lives serving in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. As a military historian working at a military college, I am very much aware of the sacrifices made every day by military personnel. Historically, LGBTQ+ soldiers have sacrificed even more. For most of the history of the U.S. military, LGBTQ+ soldiers had to be closeted because being “out” wasn’t acceptable. Being outed could have cost them their military career. Many LGBTQ+ soldiers kept their mouths shut and their business to themselves to protect themselves from harm and protect the nation.

In 1982, the U.S. military enacted a policy explicitly banning gay men and lesbians from their ranks. Before that, however, same-sex relations were criminalized and a cause for discharge. And in the early 1940s, it was classified as a mental illness, disqualifying gay men and lesbians from service. In 1993, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT) went into effect, allowing closeted LGBTQ+ soldiers to serve in the military. Under the policy, service members would not be asked about their sexual orientation but would be discharged for disclosing it. 
Many LGBTQ+ soldiers were outed as gay or lesbian by fellow soldiers and not allowed to serve. Some soldiers were killed by their fellow comrades while on active duty. If you saw the 2003 film Soldier's Girl, you are aware of U.S. Army infantry soldier PFC Barry Winchell who was murdered on July 6, 1999, by a fellow soldier for dating a transgender woman, Calpernia Addams. The murder became a point of reference in the ongoing DADT debate. Eighteen years after DADT was enacted, Congress repealed the policy, allowing openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve in the military.

Another barrier was lifted in 2013 when spousal and family benefits were extended to same-sex married partners in the military. After ending temporarily in 2016, the ban on transgender individuals was again rescinded in 2021, allowing transgender individuals to enlist and serve in the armed forces. It’s been a long journey, but LGBTQ+ soldiers have always been part of the American military. In an era before gay marriage or open pride, military men fell in love, formed passionate friendships, and had same-sex encounters. Due to social and official discrimination, most of the stories of these LGBTQ+ soldiers have gone untold. One famous example was Baron Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian military man hired by George Washington to whip the Continental Army into shape during the darkest days of the Revolutionary War. He was known for his bravery and the discipline and grit he brought to the American troops. Historians also believe he was gay—and served as an openly gay man in the military when sex between men was punished as a crime.
So, if you have never considered the LGBTQ+ service members who lost their lives to serve a country that didn’t respect them, you should. We shouldn’t take our freedom for granted. It comes with a price tag, and we all need to remember this. As we celebrate another Memorial Day weekend, please note this isn’t just another time to party. Today is a day set aside to remember those who have sacrificed their lives so that we may live and be free, fight against discrimination, and love who we want. These brave, unsung heroes sacrificed the truth of themselves. Let us never forget them.

Be safe, be conscious, be proud, and remember our fallen LGBTQ+ service members who died in times when being “out” wasn’t allowed. Thankfully, things seemed to have changed drastically in the U.S. military. LGBTQ+ service members are able to serve openly and without harassment. While acceptance of LGBTQ+ service members is a relatively new development in the military’s long history, the Department of Defense is committed to maintaining a strong force that reflects the nation’s diversity.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Pic of the Day

Loyalty and Friendship

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

—Proverbs 17:17


Few things in this life are better than true friends. If I were ever to marry, I would want him to be my best friend. There is no greater love. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one's life for his friends." For true friends, we will never forsake them, and we will do anything for them. Proverbs 12:26 tells us, "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray."


Friendship should be the same love we have for Jesus; He is our friend and guide. As one of my favorite hymns says, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!" On more than one occasion, I poured out my soul to one of my friends; then, I realized how selfish I was in only talking about myself. My friends have always said, "That's what friends are for. We listen when you need us." I have said the same to my friends when they tell me their woes. Jesus is always there to listen to our troubles, and if we are to live a life that imitates Jesus, then we should listen to the good and the bad our friends go through.


Romans 8:38-39 illustrates to us what kind of love and friendship we have with God, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." When I think of how God is always there for us, I always think of the poem "Footprints in the Sand," or sometimes, it's simply called "Footprints." I'm sure that most of us know the poem. My grandmother kept this poem on the wall of her bedroom, so it has always had a special place in my heart and makes me think of her. 


One night I dreamed a dream.

As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

One belonging to me and one to my Lord.


After the last scene of my life flashed before me,

I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,

especially at the very lowest and saddest times,

there was only one set of footprints.


This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.

"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,

You'd walk with me all the way.

But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,

there was only one set of footprints.

I don't understand why, when I needed

You the most, You would leave me."


He whispered, "My precious child,

I love you and will never leave you

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you."


We sometimes forget that God is with us. In our most trying times, he is carrying us. The poem "Footprints," nobody actually knows who wrote it, was probably inspired by Deuteronomy 1:29-31, "Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.'"


Our true friends are there for us because of God. I think God brings people into our lives. We may sometimes wonder if God has forsaken us, but He never will. God is there with us, and our true friends will also be there. God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes when we need Him the most, he helps us through our friendships on Earth. A true friendship is eternal, just as our relationship with God is eternal.



*Some of you may notice that the man walking alone on the beach is naked. I don't usually use images of naked men on my Sunday posts, but I thought this picture was the best one for this post. If we think about it, we are all naked before God. He hears our innermost thoughts and sees everything we do. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Pic of the Day

I’ve been doing laundry today.

Friday Is Here

I woke with a terrible migraine yesterday, and sadly, I had to go to work regardless. Thankfully, I was able to leave early and go home to a dark room and my bed. It’s mostly better this morning, but I’m still glad to be working from home today in case my migraine comes back. I’ll still be working, but at least I’ll have the comforts of home. 

Isabella makes for an easy supervisor. She mostly just sleeps close by enough that when she opens her eyes, she can see me. Occasionally, she’ll wake up and walk across my desk to check on what I’m doing. Then, she’ll go back to sleep.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I have nothing planned for this weekend, but I’d love to be going to a beach somewhere. Alas, that won’t be happening. What are your plans for this holiday weekend?

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Pic of the Day

Thursday’s Quote

"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw."

- Nelson Mandela


Yesterday marked one year since the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. A gunman walked into a school and killed nineteen children and two adults in the deadliest shooting ever at a Texas public school. It made me think about the priorities in the United States. As far as I know, lawmakers have not passed a single law to try and curb access to the weapons used in these shootings. Though Vermont might with several bills currently moving through the legislature, that is if our Republican governor doesn’t veto them. Even if Vermont does the sensible thing, lawmakers in several states have passed, laws to curb the rights of LGBTQ+ people, and the MAGAts are harassing employees at stores like Target for selling Pride merchandise during the month of June, and it's not even June yet.


We must ask ourselves why some politicians are not afraid of a mass shooting incident in our schools, yet non-white and LGBTQ+ seem to scare them to death. Where are their priorities? Instead of having sensible gun laws like all other developed nations, which have significantly fewer mass shootings, they focus their fear on taking away rights and trying to shame "woke" individuals. They fear teachers mentioning anything LGBTQ+ related in the classroom. These right-wing legislatures are defunding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs because the thought of DEI policies scares them to death. They've banned drag queens from having Drag Queen Story Hour in public libraries or even performing in public. The greatest danger for these politicians is not worrying about students getting killed in their classrooms but that some may be transgender. They deny these kids healthcare because they don't conform to these bigots' ideas of heterosexual, Christian, and white racial superiority. They are scared to death that they will lose even the smallest amount of power and control over people.


When Nelson Mandela said, "When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw," he was talking about apartheid in South Africa. But if a person is denied the right to dress in a way that doesn't conform to "MAGA values" or even acknowledge diversity, they are making large sections of the LGBTQ+ population outlaws. Sadly, with the current ultra-conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, any lawsuits against these laws will probably stand, even if they violate the First Amendment, the most fundamental principle of freedom in the United States.

Let’s face it, if you are more afraid of what this might do to a kid in a library…

…than what this might do to a child in a school…

…then you are monumentally fucking stupid.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Pic of the Day

Almost There

The week is half over, and we are closer to the weekend. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer. Many people will be traveling this weekend; I will not. I’m going to stay home and just relax. If I do anything, I might take a hike. 

Not much interesting is going on this week. It’s been just about as boring as it can be at work this week. Today will probably be a long day. I woke up at 3:45 and was not able to fall back to sleep. It might be a struggle to stay awake at work today, but I do have a few things that need to be done, so maybe that will help.

In my personal life, I did have something really nice happen. It was something that has caused some angst, so I’m feeling better about the situation now. On another happy note, my increased medications seems to be helping my migraines and anxiety. Hopefully, this will continue. 🀞 I’m not migraine free, but I have longer amounts of time without pain than I usually do. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Pic of the Day

I Am No Good at Love

I Am No Good at Love

By NoΓ«l Coward


I am no good at love

My heart should be wise and free

I kill the unfortunate golden goose

Whoever it may be

With over-articulate tenderness

And too much intensity.


I am no good at love

I batter it out of shape

Suspicion tears at my sleepless mind

And, gibbering like an ape,

I lie alone in the endless dark

Knowing there's no escape.


I am no good at love

When my easy heart I yield

Wild words come tumbling from my mouth

Which should have stayed concealed;

And my jealousy turns a bed of bliss

Into a battlefield.


I am no good at love

I betray it with little sins

For I feel the misery of the end

In the moment that it begins

And the bitterness of the last good-bye

Is the bitterness that wins.



NoΓ«l Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor, and singer. What some might not realize is that he was also a poet. He was known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise.”


Coward was gay, but following the convention of his times, this was never publicly mentioned. Coward firmly believed his private business was not for public discussion, considering "any sexual activities when over-advertised" to be tasteless. Even in the 1960s, Coward refused to acknowledge his sexual orientation publicly, wryly observing, "There are still a few old ladies in Worthing who don't know." Despite this reticence, he encouraged his secretary Cole Lesley to write a frank biography once Coward was safely dead.


Coward's most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with the South African stage and film actor Graham Payn. Coward featured Payn in several of his London productions. Payn later co-edited with Sheridan Morley a collection of Coward's diaries, published in 1982. Coward's other relationships included the playwright Keith Winter, actors Louis Hayward and Alan Webb, his manager Jack Wilson and the composer Ned Rorem, who published details of their relationship in his diaries. Coward had a 19-year friendship with Prince George, Duke of Kent, but biographers differ on whether it was platonic. Payn believed that it was, although Coward reportedly admitted to the historian Michael Thornton that there had been "a little dalliance.” Coward said, on the duke's death, "I suddenly find that I loved him more than I knew."

Monday, May 22, 2023

Pic of the Day

The Weekend

There wasn’t much to this weekend. I really didn’t do anything of note. I guess I watched a little TV, though there wasn’t much to watch. Saturday, I had a migraine, so it was a wasted day. Yesterday, I just spent the day with Isabella. I had to do a presentation at one of the local historical societies last night. It went pretty well. The week ahead is a pretty simple one. There’s nothing on my calendar for today nor tomorrow. Wednesday, I’m giving a VIP tour. I have some meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, but nothing else seems to be scheduled. I’ll work from home on Friday and then have a nice three day weekend:

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Pic of the Day

Love and Acceptance

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

— Matthew 22:37-40


Christianity is in a time of crisis, and the LGBTQ+ community is suffering more and more because of it. We aren’t even allowed to be talked about in some schools. Books about us are banned from schools and libraries. When I hear someone say they are a Christian, I, sadly, have a visceral reaction and often equate it with homophobia and bigotry. Too many Christians, and especially the current Protestant leaders, are duplicitous, hypocritical bigots who do everything but follow the teachings of Christ. They wrap their words in biblical language while preaching hate and fear. They are the furthest from Christ’s teachings as they can be, yet they hide behind a cross. They are a disgrace to Christianity, and they are rejecting the teachings of Jesus for their own distorted and hate-filled beliefs. Jesus’s teachings can be summed up in two words: love and acceptance. Jesus’s love and acceptance are unconditional, yet for many Christians, it is very conditional. If you do not live by the hateful words spewed by Christian leaders, then you are rejected by their congregations. They may even claim they are accepting and affirming to all people, but they are only accepting and affirming on the condition that you follow their beliefs that have no basis in the teachings of Christ as seen in the Bible. When we look at the megachurches in the United States, you see ministers doing everything they can to get more and more people into their churches, but it’s not to grow Christianity and make the world a better place, it is so they can feed their greed for money and have control over people. It’s not about Christianity; it’s a power trip.


The need to control others leads to attempting to mold people into someone they are not. They want to preach the teachings of men and not the teachings of the Bible. God, who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, created all things and knows all that has been and will ever be. Revelation 1:8 says, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” He created us in His image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them.” Therefore, how can someone hate another for the way they were born? When people in our lives want us to be something we are not and try to change who we are, then they fail as Christians. How can someone follow God and at the same time try to be God by molding someone into their distorted vision of who they should be? It is not possible because they are rejecting the belief that God created man in His image and that Jesus taught acceptance. When the scribes and Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in adultery and demanded that she be stoned, John 8:7 tells us that Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  

Yet, Christians today have declared a crusade against the LGBTQ+ community. Are they all without sin? No, Romans 3:22-24 says, “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Christ commands us not to judge others. In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus preached, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” We must remember that nowhere, not a single time, is the LGBTQ+ community mentioned in the teachings of Christ. In the Old Testament, Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Yet this rule is amid numerous other laws that Christians ignore and do not follow. Eating bacon is just as much an abomination as lying with another man. So, is eating shellfish, wearing two different types of fabric, etc. Jesus came to this earth to bring a New Covenant. If the LGBTQ+ community should be condemned, Jesus would have mentioned it. Yet, there is nowhere in the Bible where He does. 


Being gay is an innate dimension of personality. For those of us who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, it is the way God made us in “His own image.” Sexual orientation was not even understood in biblical times. Yet, as stated before, God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. If He had felt that sexuality should be addressed, it would be mentioned in Jesus’s teachings. If you are like me and grew up in a rural area, you were not made aware of sexual diversity. Chasten Buttigieg, who I greatly admire and is the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, described his struggles growing up gay in a small town:

“When I was growing up in conservative rural Michigan, I thought I was the only gay person in the world. I thought something was twisted and wrong with me. I thought something in my DNA was compromised, and I spent 18 years of my life hating this fact about me [but] when you embrace the qualities about yourself that make you weird or make you different or make you feel like you stand out from the crowd, you start to see what actually makes you truly powerful and unique and beautiful. [You see] you’re not defined by the opinions of other people.”

LGBTQ+ people were never discussed in my church. If they were discussed in other churches, it was to say they are an “abomination” and God is punishing them with AIDS. In fact, in all the years I attended church, only once did one of my preachers mention any LGBTQ+ issues, and that was after the Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized gay marriage. That Sunday, my preacher gave a sermon in which he used verses out of context and verses exclusively from the Old Testament to condemn gay people. I wish I’d been brave enough to either stand up and tell him how wrong he was or had simply walked out of the church. Instead, I left at the end of the service and never went back. It angered me so much because I was raised Church of Christ, which is a New Testament church. We follow the teachings of Jesus, not the laws of Judaism. We don’t have musical instruments in church services because it is not mentioned in the New Testament, but musical instruments are mentioned as being part of Jewish religious celebrations. This preacher abandoned the beliefs of my church to preach hate and to twist the words of the Bible. Twisting the Words of God and abandoning the New Testament is an abomination in the beliefs of the Churches of Christ. Yet, the Churches of Christ are not an affirming Christian denomination. They have abandoned the teachings of the founders of the Christian Restoration Movement to put forward their own hatred of all things different.


When I was younger, and something bad would happen to me, I always thought it was because God was punishing me for being gay. I would have some gay things that I’d acquired, and I’d get rid of all of it. I’d throw any toys, magazines, or books away. I’d delete anything gay on my computer. I’d even delete my profiles on dating sites and the phone numbers of people I knew who were gay. I’d get rid of it all and try to make myself believe it would get better. If I just did away with my gayness, God would not punish me, and life would get better. But you know what? It didn’t. Either these bad things were because I caused them or just bad luck. They were not God punishing me. It took me years of prayer, meditation, and research to understand that I could not change who I am. I could not change my sexuality. Enforced celibacy was not the answer either. It just made me feel guilty and like a failure when I had gay thoughts or gay encounters. We need to have the option to find love, and romantic love does include intimacy. 

I think one of the reasons I gained weight is because it made me undesirable to other men. It wasn’t until I began to accept and love myself that I quit this destructive behavior and quit trying to do away with my sexuality. Everything I tried to do to make myself “straight” caused more problems, greater depression, and destructive behavior like drugs or alcohol. I used to drink way too much, though it was never to the point of being an alcoholic, and I never abused drugs too badly, but that was more because it usually made my migraines worse. I still get migraines if I smell marijuana. Those times when I struggled most with the denial of my sexuality were the times when my migraines were their absolute worst. I prayed at times for God to let me die just so the pain would stop. That led to using more powerful painkillers that could melt away the pain for a little while, but that just caused overmedication migraines which became a vicious cycle. Before I could stop that type of behavior, I had to love myself and accept my sexuality. It was the only way to heal. I still have migraines but for other reasons, not because I am struggling with my sexuality.


One of the things I have always endeavored to do with my Sunday devotionals is to give people who are looking for answers on how to be a good Christian and a gay Christian a place where they are welcomed. I wanted those who were struggling to see that they are not alone. Growing up, I felt very alone, and I thought something must be wrong with me. It took me a long time to come to terms with my sexuality because it went against what I was taught by my parents and community. When I realized that I could not change who I was and that God made me the way I am, I dove into the Bible for answers. James Neil Hollingworth, better known by the pseudonym Ambrose Redmoon, said, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." We must have the courage to believe in God’s Word. We need the courage to accept who we are. We need to fight for what is right and for the true message of Christianity. If we are Christians, we should not hate anyone, no matter what their beliefs are, but we can fight for what is right. James Baldwin is quoted as saying, "We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist." 


Too often throughout history, Christianity has been rooted in oppression and denial of the diversity of humanity and its right to exist. This is not God’s work. It is the work of evil and hatred. People who claim to be "Christian" yet are anything but completely reject Christ's teachings in their everyday lives, and Christianity is shrinking because of the hatred it fuels. While Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. populace, their share of the adult population was 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011. Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones”—people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. That number is nearly double what it was in 2007. Christians are driving people away from religion. In Acts 2:40, Peter said, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Today, we need to be saved from the perversity of Christians who are rejecting Christ for their own greed, desire to control others, and hunger for power. If Christianity in the world today continues on this trajectory, the “nones” will continue to grow.


Those who are attacked for their sexuality by “Christians” too often end their own lives. They are made to feel so guilty for how they choose to follow God’s word and to embrace their sexuality because God created them with a different sexuality than the majority of people. We must learn to love ourselves. If those who say they love us reject us and make us feel shame because of our sexuality, they do not really love us. They are putting conditions on their love, and by doing so, they reject all the teachings of Christ. They are doing evil’s work, not the work of God. Evil is destroying Christianity, and instead of fighting for what is right, too many are leaving the religion, or they try to mold themselves into the image that “Christians” want and end up destroying their own lives. There will always be people who care about you, who love you, and who want the best for you. Reach out to that person or those people and let them help you accept you for who you are. A true friend will not judge you. They will do everything they can to help you, but you can't be afraid to ask. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”


I leave you with this advice: Love who you are. Accept the person God created. Don’t be bullied by unchristian beliefs. Live your life in a way that makes Jesus proud. Spread God’s Word. Eschew hatred. Embrace LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. Seek out someone who truly loves you not for who they want you to be, but for who you are.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Pic of the Day

Does this diner seems to serve nice buns and delicious cake? Since there are two of them, I say, “Enjoy dinner and dessert too!”

Moment of Zen: Hammock Time

I’ll admit I don’t have a hammock nor do I have anywhere to hang one. I’ve also found them very awkward to get into, but once you’re in one, it is very relaxing.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Pic of the Day

Not in the Mood

I’m not in the mood to say much today. Thankfully, I am working from home. Yesterday was rough. Work was awful; I had a migraine; and I received some heartbreaking news. I’d like to just be in the fetal position all day, but I actually do have to work when I’m home, not to mention I have some work that needs to be done today. 

Work has become somewhat intolerable, which became all the more evident yesterday. I like my job but hate going to work for a variety of reasons that I can’t seem to fix. I’m actually looking at jobs elsewhere. I like where I live in Vermont, and I have grown to really like Vermont as a whole. But, it may be time to move on to bigger and better things. 

There are at least two that I think I’d be an excellent candidate for: one in Boston and another in New York State. I’d take the one in New York if the salary is good, but the salary was not listed in the job description, which is so aggravating . The one in Boston pays about twice what I’m currently making, and I’d take it in a heartbeat if offered. I think I’d really like living in Boston. The one in New York is not too far from New York City, so that would be nice too.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Pic of the Day

Thursday’s Inspiration

Thursday seems to be the day of the week that I struggle with the most to come up with a something to write about. Maybe it’s because it’s almost, but not quite, the end of the week. It’s on Thursdays that we need the motivation to make it until the weekend. In the Lorrie Morgan song “Except for Monday,” she talks about what each day of the week feels like for her:

Except for Monday, which was never good anyway
Tuesday, I get a little sideways
Wednesday, I feel better, just for spite
Thursday and Friday take too long
Before I know it, Saturday's gone
But it's Sunday now and you can bet that I'm alright

Thursday and Friday take too long” sums up a Thursday just about right. So, to help inspire us to get through Thursdays, I’m going to start posting an inspirational quote. Today’s quote will be from A.A. Milne:
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Pic of the Day


I went for a hike yesterday. There are hiking trails in a nearby town forest that I enjoy going to. Rarely is anyone around, and it’s nice to just be alone in nature. I hiked up to a small waterfall and just sat on a rock and listened to the water running over the rocks and the birds singing around me. It was peaceful, and I needed peaceful, if only for a little while.

I’m back at work today. I’m not really looking forward to it. I have a school group coming, and I hope they’ll enjoy what I have planned for them. I haven’t been at work much lately taking some much needed vacation time, so I may not be as prepared as I usually would be. However, this isn’t the type of thing that takes a lot of preparation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Pic of the Day

If You Knew

If You Knew

By Ruth Muskrat Bronson


If you could know the empty ache of loneliness,

          Masked well behind the calm indifferent face

Of us who pass you by in studied hurriedness,

          Intent upon our way, lest in the little space

Of one forgetful moment hungry eyes implore

          You to be kind, to open up your heart a little more,

I’m sure you’d smile a little kindlier, sometimes,

          To those of us you’ve never seen before.


If you could know the eagerness we’d grasp

          The hand you’d give to us in friendliness;

What vast, potential friendship in that clasp

          We’d press, and love you for your gentleness;

If you could know the wide, wide reach

          Of love that simple friendliness could teach,

I’m sure you’d say “Hello, my friend,” sometimes, 

          And now and then extend a hand in friendliness to each.


About the Poem

I wasn't going to write about this poem, but I changed my mind. The poet is talking about being invisible. She speaks of the invisibility of her people. In this case, her people are Native Americans, but she could be talking about any minority who feels invisible. Minorities are often ignored by others who don't see them as people who have feelings and desires. Bronson believes that if these other people would just stop and show a little kindness, they might realize the meaning of universal love and see them as fellow humans in need of some humanity.

"If You Knew" can speak to us in many ways. For me, it has two meanings. The first is that we hurry along in our life when we should slow down and look at the people around us. We should show kindness, extend a hand, or even just give someone a friendly smile. If we don't slow down, we may never see what is truly going on with a person. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in ourselves. Too often, we never see the other person's pain or loneliness until it's too late. What we need to do is show love and acceptance. 

The second meaning it has for me is that the poet is calling out to be seen. It's a poem about loneliness and how a little kindness can grow into a friendship. We all need a little help sometimes. Sometimes, the only thing we really need is for someone to notice us, to tell us that we are loved, and to show what a friend can be. No one wants to feel lonely, but we also have to trust in others, especially our friends and family, that we are loved because that's what true friendship is all about: love, caring, and being there for one another.

About the Poet


Ruth Muskrat Bronson, also known as Ruth Margaret Muskrat, was born on October 3, 1897, in the Delaware Nation Reservation. Remembered for her work as a leader in Native American education and as an activist for Native American rights, she is the author of Indians Are People Too (Friendship Press, 1944). She died on June 12, 1982, in Tucson, Arizona.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Pic of the Day

Weekend Retreat

I have realized that I need to get away. I have not taken a vacation just for me in nearly four years, i.e., before the pandemic. I have had so much on my mind recently, and it has not been good for me. I am thinking of going to a gay men’s retreat for a weekend in June. Have any of you ever visited Easton Mountain Retreat in Greenwich, NY? If you have, let me know what you think. It is described as:

Easton Mountain is a community, retreat center, and sanctuary created by gay men as a gift to the world. Through workshops, programs, and events, we provide opportunities to celebrate, heal, transform, and integrate body, mind, and spirit. We offer our land, rich in beauty and wisdom, as a home to a community that extends beyond the land. We are a worldwide fellowship of people enriched by our connection to Easton Mountain. This fellowship is a force for positive change in the world. Read More

Their Summer Splash Weekend is billed as a weekend to “get out of your mind.” Here is an excerpt from the description: “This weekend, we invite you to come to Easton Mountain to get out of your mind, to stop using your brain’s logic, forget about social standards and stop using words to try to understand the beauty of being a human and explore the primal self.” Honestly, this sounds like something I desperately need right now.


Although I know myself well enough to realize I will be nervous going to something like this and knowing no one else there, maybe, that is exactly what I need. The whole thing sounds fun and liberating. I need to get out of my head. One of the workshops is “The Liberating Power of Pride,” a reflective discussion focusing on what pride means, what it means to liberate ourselves from heteronormativity, and discover who we are as gay men in the world today. As someone who took a long time to be comfortable in my own skin as a gay man, and something I still struggle with, maybe this will be a bit therapeutic.


I need to learn to be more confident as a gay man. I worry too much about what others think of me or if I am going to accidentally offend or annoy someone. I do not expect a weekend gay men’s retreat is going to give me the self-esteem I need or to make me comfortable in my own body and show the world my true self. All of that takes much longer than three days. I have been working on it all my life, and I don’t think we ever fully reach it since we will always be our own worst enemies.


Furthermore, where else am I going to get an all-inclusive weekend away for just a few hundred bucks. I’d love to go up to Montreal, but that gets expensive, as is any number of other possibilities around here. What I know, though, is that I need to do something for myself. I spend too much time worrying about things that are beyond my control, feeling guilty for things that I either did not do or couldn’t do anything about.


So, if anyone has ever been to one of the weekend retreats at Easton Mountain, please let me know what you thought.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Pic of the Day


Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” 

—Isaiah 49:15


What the Bible is saying in this passage is: that while a mother can forget the love she has for her child, God never will. The design of this passage is apparent. It is to show that the love which God has for his people is stronger than that which is produced by the most tender ties created by any natural relation. The love of a mother for her infant child is one of the strongest attachments in nature. The question here implies that it was unusual for a mother to be unmindful of that tie and to forsake the child that she should nourish and love. With that being said, in the passage above, Isaiah was asking a theoretical question when he said, "Can a woman forget her nursing child?" This passage praises mothers as symbols of amazing compassion, never forgetting their beloved children.


Mothers are not perfect. Mine sure isn’t. Every mother is flawed, just as we are all flawed. However, no matter how flawed we may be, God's love for us is unchanging and unchangeable. He gives us generous grace and great compassion for all time and throughout eternity. While my mother and I may have our disagreements, we have a strong bond, though not nearly as strong as it once was. While it is not as strong as it was before I came out, it is still there. She is my comfort, even when she is not comforting. That may sound odd, but when I was young, my mother often sang to us. Sometimes it was silly little songs like “Fishy in a Bowl,” “Do Lord,” or "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," though she had her own versions of each one. However, the one I remember most is “You Are My Sunshine.” Even today, when I am sad and lonely or having anxiety or even a full-on panic attack, I can remember my mother singing ‘You Are My Sunshine,” and I am comforted. Part of it has to do with the rhythm of the song helping to slow my rapidly beating heart, but it’s also because I remember the good times when my mother would sing this to me. 


As she has gotten older, she tends to focus more on herself, and her doctor believes she is either in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Because I don’t have daily contact with her like the rest of my family, I think I am able to recognize the signs easier than they can. Sometimes, she can be a caring woman; she just shows it a little differently these days. It’s hard to find a Mother’s Day card for my mother. They all say things like: 

  • You’ve always been there for me.
  • Mothers like you are what makes families special.
  • World’s Greatest Mom!
  • The world is a better place because of you. (Well, that one may be true because she brought me into this world, and I hope I make it a slightly better place.)

Anyway, my point is that I don’t want to send a card that is completely insincere and disingenuous, so I search for the most generic one I can find that says, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

I want to leave you with a different verse because while we may see things very differently, my mother does still love me. I firmly believe that she always will. She can’t help but love me. (Who couldn’t? I’m quite loveable. LOL)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7