Coming out of the broom closet.

Throughout history, there have been those who did not fit into the societal norms. During times of persecution, it would take little more than a simple rumor to start a hunt against those who lived outside the accepted boundaries. This was not limited to just pagans and homosexuals. Just about anyone could have been criminalized for the most stupid reasons. But for their times, different was dangerous.

For those who were hunted, being open about their practices was not a possibility. Those who were caught were publicly ridiculed, tormented, and in some extreme cases, killed simply because they refused to live by societies rules. Some of the worst times linked to this way of living include the witch trials, the red scare, the Communist witch hunt after WWII, the holocaust, even the Chinese internment camps. All of these events had the power of fear and misunderstanding fuel a fire that would shape events in history based on those who were different.

And while I can honestly say that society has evolved, and it’s safer today than it was two hundred years ago, the fears of persecution still live. And with good reason.

Just about any member of the LGBT community will tell you that coming out is never easy. Not everyone is accepting of those who are different. A former coworker and a good friend of mine has been out of two closets for years, and yet, he still faces judgment and ridicule, some from his own family.

Why does being different make others uncomfortable?

In my own opinion, it’s because we’ve been painted a picture from birth on how to live our lives. We are born, we grow up in a nice Christian home, get a job, get married to someone of the opposite gender, have babies and start the cycle over again with the next generation. And this, in theory, will continue until the eventual extinction of the human race (either by self destruction or natural selection).

But this is not how it should be.

I was born to a baptised Mormon father and a baptised Christian mother. I’ve been baptised myself, (twice actually). And I started out as a good Christian boy. But I began thinking for myself and, after years of self-reflection, found my own peace in eclectic paganism.

My brother grew up in the same household I did, even if we had different fathers. I don’t believe he had as much exposure to Christian teachings as I did growing up. But he grew up to be his own man, and through his own experiences, he came to the realization that he likes both men and women.

And that’s ok in our household. Because we know that everyone is different, and we accept that.

But that’s not how things are in other homes. I’ve had friends who’ve come out as one thing or another and be completely alienated from their loved ones. One was sent off to boarding school to correct her “childish behaviour”. Another was kicked out to live her “godless harlot ways” on the streets. She was seventeen. Thankfully, her girlfriend (now wife) and her mother took her in.

A lot of what drives these actions is a combination of stereotypes and misunderstanding. And it’s easy to see why. People usually retaliate negatively against those things they don’t understand. And a large group of these individuals feel justified in their behavior, often quoting bible scriptures and feeling as if they are doing God’s work.

This way of thinking fuels ones views and makes them believe that those who act, dress, speak, or even think a certain way all fall into a category separate from themselves. Stereotyping this way doesn’t help anyone, especially since everyone falls under one stereotype or another. Whites are racists, blacks are criminals, Chinese are super smart, and Muslims are all terrorists are just a few of today’s discrimination tactics. And all are wrong.

I’ve made friends with all sorts of people from many different backgrounds; some with disabilities, others from extreme poverty, and others who had more than they needed. But I judged them on how they treated others different from themselves. I’m happy to say for the most part, my group of friends were pretty tolerant of others. But of course, I come from a smaller town, so that may have had something to do with it.

In today’s world, understanding and acceptance can be hard to find in the best of circumstances. And when your heart wants something that others say is wrong, it can make you doubt yourself, make you confused. But if you truly want something, and you know it’s right for you, then it is up to you to get it, no matter the obstacles.

And if others should put you down, and make you feel like you’re worthless and alone, know that there will always be someone to pick you up and dust you off. And from me to you who is reading this entry, I want you to know that no matter the circumstance, I’ll be your friend and brother under the moon.

Blessed be.

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So, you want to be pagan.

Maybe you saw The Craft a few to many times, or perhaps felt a connection to Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic. Or you read the Harry Potter series and it piqued your interests a bit. Or, you simply feel a connection to nature and animals on a level beyond emotional and wish to explore these feelings. Maybe a pagan path is for you. Let’s show you how to get started on your path.

First, understand that there are no clear directions to become a pagan. Unless you were born and raised in a family of pagans, you’ll most likely have to start with research. In this area, Google will become your new best friend, with your local library being the next alternative.

Second, understand that there are so many different paths to follow, and finding one that was custom made just for you may not happen. A lot of pagans, myself included, try to make their own paths, based on personal beliefs and values. In doing so, we have a better chance of staying on this road because we find joy in it without having to limit ourselves based on certain conflicts or doctrines. (I mean, how can die hard Christians say no to bacon?)

So, where do you start?

Start off by figuring yourself out. What values and codes do you follow? What is something you hold to high standards? Do you like repetitive ceremony, or do you prefer to be more spontaneous? These are a very few of the questions you’ll need to figure out. There is no complete list of these questions as each path is different. The best solution is to reflect on yourself, taking notes of your actions, desires, and goals. After this meditative period, you should then go on to the next step.

The next step is research. If you are similar to me, you don’t want to rush into any one denomination just because you saw a few things you like, or are a reflection of yourself. Doing so may have a negative impact on you and you may start rethinking your choices. There are hundreds of set paths you can follow, and even more paths that are custom made for individuals. This is where research comes in handy. Use your computer to find as much information on paths that interest you and get your questions answered. Join forums, order books, look at Wikipedia; even Facebook has groups for pagans and newbies to join, and most are accepting and will gladly answer questions for those starting out.

During your research phase, it is wise to start a relationship with nature. This is a good opportunity to go for hikes in the forest, start a garden (if you plan to do a lot of plant based magick), or sit under a tree and meditate. While building this relationship, try to hear the spirits of nature speaking to you. There’s more on the wind than you can hear. The trees creaking are telling you their secrets, and the flowing creek is singing to your spirit. The more time you spend in nature, the better you will hear.

During your research, you should also consider whether or not you will find a mentor, a coven, or practice solo starting out. It may seem like a big deal, but in truth, is not. Each comes with its own positive and negative aspects.

If you desire to learn from a coven, you should look into local covens in your area. Even if they don’t advertise openly, they exist everywhere. Most practice in either private residences or areas that they rent when the needs arrive, such as solstice celebrations or similar. Getting into a coven, however, may not be easy. Most covens are selective of who they admit: some may only take certain genders, others may only take those of a certain age group. Some covens may have practices you do not agree with, such as specific deity worship, or blood magick (yes this is a thing), or may hold ceremonies in the nude (this also is a thing). And some covens may not admit you even if you’re a good candidate because they are trying to keep a certain member amount. Don’t take offense to this, they were here before you. If you find a coven you are interested in joining, and there is an opening, talk to a member to show your interest. Like a job interview, be prepared for lots of questions. Also see if they will allow you to sit in on one of their ceremonies to see if it’s truly meant for you. If it is, great! If not, keep looking.

If a coven is not for you, but you still want to learn from someone with experience, perhaps a mentor is suitable for you. This has its benefits because you can receive hands on training from a learned individual who can show you exactly what to do and correct you when needed. This will also help those who may not be comfortable in learning outside of home.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to a mentor. For starters, you have to find a mentor. Social media can help with this. Even wizards have Facebook. But, you don’t know if what they say is true or not. A person who claims they can teach you all about tarot cards may not know the difference between the wheel and the tower without looking it up. In short, you are taking a risk in who you select to mentor you. Plus, the mentor may only teach from his beliefs which may not mirror yours. Make sure you explain your beliefs and views in detail before committing to a mentor. This will also help with setting training boundaries. Much like sex, consent is everything. Never let a mentor force you to do something you’re not comfortable with. If he tries to force you, get out. Don’t worry, you’ll find a better mentor.

Best advice is, if you find someone to mentor you, ask for people they’ve mentored before to get a better idea of who they are and their training. Who knows, you may find enough people to form your own coven.

If neither of these ideas appeal to you, then solo study may be the best option you got. Surprisingly, a lot of well accomplished pagans started out as solo practitioners. And these days, solo study is becoming the norm. It’s not surprising, actually. You study at your pace, learning what you want to learn, and if you don’t follow any set path, you’re more than able to carve your own path. If you have friends who wish to study with you, this is a great way to practice in a non-judgemental setting. Who knows, maybe you and your friends will form your own coven in due time. And the disadvantages are few, with a majority of them being learning through trial and error and self discipline. And even if you’re practicing solo, you can still seek tips and guidance from social media pages.

Once you get beyond the research and start the practice, you’ll acquire a greater sense of self and your place in this world. But don’t rush anything. Even seeds take their time in becoming great trees. You’re a seed now. Breath the fresh air, soak up the sun, and plant your roots deep.

Blessed be.

Magick:  White, Black, and Gray? 

When a person hears the word magic, they may think of Harry Potter, someone changing clothes in a matter of seconds, or catching a bullet with their bare hands. Others may think of spell books, black cats, and women around a big fire summoning demons chanting in Latin. But those of us who practice real magick can be found with candles, stones, and bowls of water or wine. Real magick cannot be seen or heard, but it is felt and produces real results that can change our lives. Let’s talk about this form of magick.

As I’ve stated in my last post, magick is the manipulation of energy vibrations to get a desired result. But what does that mean? Is it waving your hands in the air while chanting a bunch of mumbo jumbo while surrounded by candles? Yes. Is it focused concentration on a goal you wish to achieve? Also yes. The root of all spellwork is focused intent, similar to project working. Only a vast majority of spell work takes place in the mind.

You’re probably asking, ” But if it takes place in the mind, why the candles, and stones, and stuff? ” While magick is mostly mental, we use natural elements to draw extra power from. Everything from the earth has power: stones, trees, plants, water, you name it. Each elemental power can be used to contribute to magick, and each element has a specific area it works in. An example would be using water for cleansing a person of bad habits, or using fire to generate passion in a relationship. Witches use these elements to literally shape their destinies.

As we grew up, we probably got read fairy tales, or saw Disney movies involving evil witches and sorcerers casting spells to hurt people. Yet, others like Glinda from the Wizard of Oz stories use magick to help people. These raise questions as to whether magick is good or bad. The answer is that it is both and neither. It is the heart of the witch that makes a spell good or bad. But where does the idea of black magic and white magic fall, then? This is easy. Black magic are spells intentionally designed to hurt, and white magic is designed to heal. But a majority of spells you’ll find fall under gray magic.

Gray magic counts for about eighty percent of all magic spells, and is neither black or white. Let’s use a money spell as an example. You cast a spell to draw money to yourself, and a few days later, you find a twenty dollar bill while out walking. This is gray magic. You got the benefits of the spell because you got an extra couple bucks in your pocket. But…. someone else had to lose it. There lies problem of labeling magic as black or white. You cast to get a job, someone else (who may have needed it just as badly) doesn’t. Does that make you good or bad?

There is a moral philosophy that most wiccans and some ecletic pagans follow, called the Wiccan Rede. It is a moral guide designed to help those seeking a more peaceful path. Below is an excerpt of the rede.

“Bide the Wiccan law ye must, In perfect love, in perfect trust, Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: And ye harm none, do what ye will. What ye sends forth comes back to thee, And ever mind the Rule of Three. Follow this with mind and heart, And merry ye meet and merry ye part.”

Take note of that middle part, “an’ it harm none, do what ye will”. In Wicca, this is one of three highly important rules. In modern English, it gives you permission to cast any spell you want as long as you don’t knowingly cast a spell designed to cause harm, either to yourself or your target. And look at the sentence immediately after. “What ye send forth comes back to thee, and ever mind the rule of three.” Translation: do good, good will come back threefold. Do bad, threefold bad.

But what about gray magick? What comes back at you then? There’s no real way to be sure with gray magic. Sometimes you get good back, sometimes bad. Or, you may get a mixture of both good and bad. In example, I once cast a spell on myself to get a job on a different shift from the one I was working at the time. Now, I’m working at a bigger company on my desired shift. With this spell, I got two positives and one negative blowback. The positives, I got a two dollar higher pay rate and I get more time with my kids because now I’m on first shift. The negative? I have to drive forty minutes to get there, which means I have to get up earlier in the morning. That is the threefold law in action.

There are very few real black or white spells out there these days, and most of the gray spells depend on the witch casting them. So the moral of the story is, if you come across a witch and you don’t know magic, be nice to them. They can help you or hinder you. It all depends on how you treat them. 😉

Blessed be.

What is paganism?

Over the last several hundred years, the idea of paganism has been considered a form of devil worship, and witches were labeled the servants of Satan, Lucifer, the Morning star, and every other name that was associated with the devil. Because of this combination of fear and misunderstanding, countless innocents were condemned, tortured, and executed by overly religious Christians, trying to do “God’s work”.
From my own experiences as a pagan, I can promise you that a vast majority of us do not worship Satan; most of us don’t even believe in the existence of Satan. I can also promise you we don’t go out of our way to make you go bald, we have no desire to steal and murder your children, and would like Taco Bell over eye of newt any day.
Yes, there are groups of Satanists out there, but they are a religion of their own, and not the establish rule of paganism. They have their own rules and beliefs, just like Christianity, and are no different from any other religion in this world.
So what is paganism?
That is a broad question; similar to asking, what does the color blue smell like? Ask that question to a thousand people, and you’ll get about the same amount of answers. And while I’m still learning my own path, I’m going to share my views on what paganism is and is not.
Paganism is not:

  • A mental illness
  • Is not devil worship
  • a way to get certain inhuman traits (examples include flying, breathing fire, and shooting lasers from your eyes, although they would all be cool to have)
  • A role play
  • A way to legally make animal sacrifices

Paganism is:

  • A spiritual and also a religious path
  • A way to honor ancestors
  • A way to get closer to nature
  • A way to learn more about one’s self
  • A way to learn magick if one chooses to

These are just some samples on the subject of what paganism is and isn’t, but it would take too long to list every single difference. But with this list, we can break down each of these points down to get to a better understanding of it.

Paganism is not a mental illness

This can’t be stressed enough. We choose to follow this path of our own free will. Those who follow it find it in their own time; some sooner rather than later. Our brains are healthy and we simply find comfort in this path. It’s our choice given to us by our free will.

Paganism is not devil worship

We who practice this lifestyle get told we’re going to hell, or we need Jesus Christ, or some similar phrase on almost a daily basis. Ok, let’s stop right there and take a look at something. First off, I don’t need Jesus. I personally was a Christian a majority of my life, and I found a lot of subjects in the bible I didn’t agree with, so I stopped being a Christian. I am happy as a pagan. Second, why are you a Christian? To the readers, next time a Christian gets on you for being a non- Christian, ask them that question. Why are you a Christian? Most people in the modern day are Christians simply because they were raised christian. Thats all they know. Oh, and another thing. Most pagans don’t believe in a devil. That is a purely Christian concept.

Paganism is not a way to get inhuman traits

I’m sorry, but if you join paganism because you want to be an X-Men, then get the hell out. There’s a common sense belief in pagan practices that, put simply, state you can’t use magick to make unrealistic things happen. If you couldn’t breath fire as a christian, you won’t breath fire as a pagan. Same rule applies to flying, lasers, elemental control, teleportation and anything else that you saw in a movie or read in a comic book. So please, stop… trying.

Paganism is not a role play

To us, this is a religion. We worship, we celebrate, we dance, and feast just like Christians. This is a lifestyle we live, not a game we play. Yes, some of us wear robes or cloaks and look like we’re LARPing when celebrating, but last I checked, so did the pope. At least we can customize ours.

Paganism is not a way to legally sacrifice animals

Just… just stop. Some of us are vegans. Some of us work in animal care. Not a single one of us sacrifices animals to appease the gods. We value life in all things, plant and animal alike. Yes, there are hunters in the pagan community who do hunt animals. But we still honor their lives and thank them for the meat. I personally pray that they find peace in the afterlife. This is my way. There are others who share it, and others who don’t, and that’s ok.
Now, let’s go to what paganism is, shall we? Maybe it will help shed some light on some unanswered questions.

Paganism is a spiritual and religious path

First and foremost, paganism in any form, is a spiritual belief system that works in harmony and balance with nature. Through this balance one learns to respect and nurture the earth, our mother. A lot of early civilization were pagan in practice, even if there was no name for it yet. The native Americans are a perfect example of paganism. Before the whites came from England, the natives had a near perfect society that lived in balance with nature. They fished and hunted the animals, and used all of it for a multitude of purposes: meat for food, bones for tools and weapons, furs for warmth and trade. They grew their own food and allowed the forest to provide them medicine. They never took more than was needed, and always gave back in song and dance and with their own deaths. This allowed them to live with nature for countless years. And it worked. Modern day pagans do their best to emulate similar practices with mother earth.

Paganism is a way to honor your ancestors

Halloween is the modern day name for an ancient festival that honors those we loved who have passed on. The name that’s used by pagans is Samhain, and is celebrated on the 31st of October every year. This is the time when the veil between the two worlds is thinnest and the spirits can grace us with their presence. It is customary to assemble an altar and give offerings to the spirits and seek guidance from our ancient ancestors. We respect them because without their existence, we as individuals could not exist. If you call on your ancestors, thank them for all they have done.

Paganism is a way to get closer to nature

Let me make this, once again, clear: paganism is a NATURE based path. As in, we spend a lot of time outdoors. Our church is the forest; we are baptized in the rivers and rains; we are given life with the air we breath. Nature is our home away from home. We do our best to protect nature in our own ways. Some of us volunteer at nature preserves while others plant certain herbs and flowers in their gardens. Some go around day by day cleaning up trash while others recycle everything. The earth is our mother, and we do what we can to help her. It is with that connection that we form the bond to her.
Paganism is a way to learn about one’s self

Before I started my path, I was a Christian. Growing up I tried several different styles of churches in an attempt to get closer to God, but there was always something in the back of my mind telling me something was wrong. I didn’t fully believe their teachings. How can an all knowing and all loving God allow such evil to exist in this world? As I grew up, I started asking questions to the pastors. I hoped that their answers would help me better understand God, but as I asked more questions, I got less answers. Finally, I stopped going to church, and was spiritually lost for a while.

Then I spoke to a coworker who was a Gardinarian wiccan, and he let me into his world. After many conversations together I started researching and learning until I found, what was to become, the basis of my pagan path.

Paganism allows greater freedom of choice than most other religions because they have very simple to follow codes, and little to no restrictions on who can be a part of it. No matter your background, your life choices, ethnicity, or who you love you can find or carve your own path in the pagan way.

Paganism is a way to learn magick if one chooses to

Note how I spelled magick. I added a k at the end, so that it can’t be confused with magic. The difference between the two is that magick is the manipulation of energy vibrations to get a desired result, or spell work. Magic, without the k, is stage magic, (think David Copperfield, Chris Angel, pulling a bunny out of a hat, and so on.) Magick is a separate path that pagans can follow. Users of magic are witches, spellcasters, sorcerers, and about a hundred other names. While all witches are pagans, not all pagans are witches. It is a choice of each individual to use magick or not.

So, what exactly is paganism? It is a path, an ancient path, that was once the dominant religion of the world. It was nearly destroyed, but is slowly making a comeback. We are here to stay, shaping our destinies based on our values.

Blessed be.

Merry meet.

Witches. Pagans. Wicca. Shamans. Many names have been given to those who practice a nature based spiritual path. A path that has been given a bad reputation by higher powered religious people over the centuries. Even to this day, most pagans are uncomfortable coming out of the broom closet.

But not this pagan.
I’m adding this section to my blog site to help shed light on this sacred path. It is my intention to help settle some age old myths and falsehoods about the pagan path, and hopefully help those seeking to find a path to call their own.
As I build this section, I will add pieces from my own experiences as well as from other more experienced pagans I’m in contact with. Hopefully, we can help others find themselves.
Until then, blessed be, my brothers and sisters.

A year of reflection.

“When you go through that spiritual awakening, nothing bothers you anymore. Because nothing matters. You realize you’re just a passenger on this earth with a limited time. You’re mission here is to observe and learn. And then you go back far away from here.” -Jim Carrey

It has been almost a full year since I last did a blog entry. A lot has happened during this time away from writing, and it’s time I share my last year.

When I started blogging, I was living alone with a cat in a crappy two bedroom upstairs apartment. I worked a third shift job and hardly got to see my children because of it. My nights were spent working. When I wasn’t working, I was up listening to the nightly calls of drunken neighbors partying and sirens wailing to and from the retirement building just two blocks away. During the days, I would sleep my best, despite being harassed by the cat and dealing with the traffic whizzing by my house.

In my free time, I would spend time with my children, or binge watch Netflix from the moment I woke up until the moment I left for work again. This cycle did not end for months. And it seemed like a never ending circle.

Then I got in touch with a life-long friend. You all know her as Camping Tiffany. I’ve known her my whole life. Our mothers were friends forever, and we grew up together. She came into my life when I was in my worst, and was patient enough to help me out of the darkest hours of my life. She saved me, then agreed to be my girlfriend.

In April of this year, we moved into an apartment together, back into my hometown. Shortly afterwards, we adopted two bearded dragons, named Lizzie and Starfire. Shortly afterwards, we took in Monty, the ball python, and followed shortly afterwards by a bunny, simply called…. Bunny. Our house is full of laughter and love, filled with many mouths and hearts. But it wasn’t enough. I wanted to have her meet my father’s side of the family.

July fourth week, the five of us went up to Michigan to camp and have Tiffany meet my family. It was apparent after about ten minutes that my family loved her. They did their best to make her feel welcome to the family. And welcomed she was. Several days of camping, hiking, swimming and meeting with my family. It was the best week that summer. Unfortunately, we needed to come home at the end of the week. The drive itself was not fun for one simple reason: we didn’t want to leave. Michigan is home to us. Someday, we’ll live there.

After our trip to Michigan, I did what any sane person would do for the woman he was dating who had earned the love and respect of not one, but both sides of his family. I bought a simple wedding band, and got down on one knee. And I popped the question.

She said yes.

We have yet to set a date, but we have agreed it should be an October wedding. The colors will be beautiful, and we get plenty of time to prepare. We’re working on a possible Labrynth themed wedding, (the one with David Bowie, not the Italian one). Perhaps some of you will get invited. 🙂 We’re also looking into buying a house together. With my three kids, and her four kids, plus all the animals, we’ll need a bigger place to live. And we’re nearly there.

It took a year to get to where I am now. Engaged to a wonderful woman, a houseful of happy kids and animals, and slowly building up to a house for all of us. And it all started with my living in a crappy apartment. But, as I believe in my pagan practices, the universe provides us what we need, when we need it.

A night of music and magic.

On December third, 2016, my friend Tiffany surprised me with a night of true magic. She had informed me of her intentions months prior, but until that night, I had no idea as to what to expect. By the end of the night, I felt truly alive for the first time in years.

I’m talking, of course, about her taking me to go see one of the greatest musical talents in the country, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

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I have been a fan of the laser shooting, pyrotechnical musical show for years, but have never had a chance to actually see them play in person. Tiffany changed all that.

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The night began with us dropping the kids off at my mom’s house, who was kind enough to watch the kids during the show,(as long as I brought back a t-shirt).

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We made the thirty minute drive to the Wright State Nutter Center, but traffic was backed up for almost two miles in both directions, with cops directing the excess flow of traffic away from the building to find other spaces to park.

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We found a space in the Taco Bell, about a mile away from the Nutter Center. After a quick meal, we trekked through the traffic and crowds making their own way to the center. After a small wait in line, they finally opened the doors. Cheers from people all around us still echo in my head. We proceeded slowly towards the door, each individual being checked via metal detector and hand scanner. When we got through and our tickets processed, I made my way over to the T-shirt counter, and bought a pair of shirts, figuring I’d let mom have first pick of which designed she wanted, and I’d keep the other.

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After making the purchase, we had about a half hour to find our seats and get ready for the show. I’ve never been to the Nutter Center before, and didn’t realize how good of seats we had. We were right in the middle of the stage area, in the middle seats, which gave us a perfect view of everything going on without us having to turn our heads or anything.

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We talked with some of the people around us, and even made a live Facebook status while waiting for the show to start. During the whole time, they played little snippets of some of their songs over the speakers.

Finally, the show got started with a brief introduction from lead Guitarist of TSO, the representative from the Nutter center, and several others from the charities that TSO donates to. When they said their piece, they said they would starting in a few minutes. By the time they left the stage, people were practically running to their seats. A few minutes of tense excitement passed, then the lights went out.

Everything from that moment on was a blur of music, lights, pyrotechnics, and magic. If you’ve been to a TSO concert, you know what i’m talking about.

But….

IF you have not had a chance to see the magical experience that we experienced last night, if you have never been to a TSO concert, and are asking, “What is it like?”

I was one of many people to have their phones out recording some of the show. 🙂

You can find the video and get a small taste of what we experienced Here, at my YouTube channel.

It is safe to say, after that night, I have no choice but to go back again, and again, and again, ever year for as long as I am able to go. And when my kids are of an age to appreciate theatre music, they shall join me as we go to this show of pure magic.

Birthdays, YouTube, and car troubles, oh my.

I wish to start this off with an apology.

I know it has been almost a month since I’ve posted anything on my blogsite.

This is because of several issues that has raised up between my last post and now.

First, I got distracted by my daughters birthday party, (always a fun time).

Second, my laptop crapped out on me and I had to send it in for repairs, (not a fun time).

Third, I spent a lot of time building and working on my new youtube channel, (more on that later).

Fourth, hoooooliiiiiiiidaaaaaaaays.

And finally, number five…… My car keeps breaking.


Well, lets go ahead and catch you up on everything in detail. Let’s start off with the fun stuff first. 😀

On November 10, 2009, the world was graced with the presence of a beautiful little angel of a baby. She was small, a warm bundle of cuddles, and slept through the night as much as possible.

Fast forward seven years

November twelve, 2016.

We see our angel, her brothers, and her father and his friends and family, gathered at Jumpy’s, a cheaper substitute to Chuck E. Cheese, for Leah’s birthday party.

Unfortunately, work was not kind to father dearest at this time, and the party was not going like he had hoped it would because of lack of token money for games and prizes.

Then, when all hope seemed lost, a savior came to help the family out, a savior in the shape of a child around the same age as the angel, who was kind enough to share his tokens with my children. Even though I was adamant at first to not allow it, the child insisted, stating that he wanted to.

I spoke to the parents, and they said it was his money to do as he wished. Two hours, and lots of fun later, we walked out with smiles on our faces, songs in our hearts, and cake in our bellies. The children had made a new friend, and all was good in the world.

Now, lets fast forward a week later.

After trying, (multiple times), to start a channel for youtube, I found a program that would allow me to live stream and record in the dual window fashion that’s becoming popular in this day in age, (look up Pewdiepie for examples of what I’m talking about, because he’s funny). After spending an hour downloading the necessary program, along with all it’s required plug in’s, I booted up the program, ready to learn how to use it.

First thing that happens, the webcam decided it didn’t want to work. Period.

I have no idea what happened, but somehow, my camera wasn’t properly installed or set up right, because after several days of trying to get the camera to work properly, we ended up sending the laptop, my source of blogging power and entertainment, to Dell to get fixed.

Thank the Gods’ for three year warranties.

But this was a good chance for me to really research on topics for the vlog channel I wanted to start on youtube. I watched many tutorials and how-to videos to get ideas, and finally, I’m more than pleased to announced the birth of Single Parent Living.

This channel was designed for parents of all ages and backgrounds who are handling the responsibilities of being a parent when the family is not exactly whole. In the videos, I offer tips and tricks to help give parents a chance to get the most out of parenting so they can raise happy, healthy, and responsible children while working on a budget. While it is still in it’s early stages, I believe that it can help a lot. As it progresses, my hope is that it will evolve into more, so that single parents can not feel so bad when times get tough. I’m also incorporating a vlog list to show raising kids from my perspective, using my real life experiences to show that, even when things go wrong, you can still get through it.


Let’s talk about my two trips to Michigan for the Thanksgiving holidays.

A week before Thanksgiving, I made one trip to Michigan to be at my cousin’s wedding. My cousin, Faith, got married to her husband, Jacob Martin, on November 18th. It was a justice of the peace wedding, but they did their best to get the most out of it. They plan to have a proper ceremony at a later time when the weather warms up, but that didn’t stop them from making the most of what they had that day. After the ceremony, we went to her mom’s house, where we had a reception that lasted well into the night.

Cake, food, dancing, and fire pits around, there was no end to the fun, even when it started raining that night. As a gift to the happy couple, I gave them one of my paintings.

The next day, I went hunting for deer, using a friend’s gun and land. Unfortunately, the weather decided it wasn’t going to let me have a deer. While in the tree stand, the temperature dropped and it started to snow. The wind was blowing hard, the air was cold, and I was not properly dressed for the occasion. After several hours, I had to call it quits.
The next day, I was driving home to Ohio, later in the afternoon, when I hit a piece of metal on the road. I swear I had a flat, so I pulled over to the side of the road between Findlay and Bluffton, and inspected the damage. Thankfully, there was no flats. But when I got back in and started the car, the starter messed up and wouldn’t turn over. Only a guy like me could have this amount of bad luck. After calling state highway patrol and a tow truck, I got towed the six miles back to Findlay, where they gave me a jump, which allowed me to get home. But I was not happy, because the towing company charged me an arm and a leg and half an eyeball for the tow.

Fast forward a week, and I’m back in Michigan with the kids, spending Thanksgiving day with my dad, grandma and great-grandma. Food was plenty, spirits were high, and there was just happiness everywhere.

The day after Thanksgiving, my dad and I took the kids to see Doctor Strange, something none of us had seen before. It turned out to be a good movie, and we all enjoyed ourselves. All in all, a good visit, one that was long overdue.

Unfortunately, the happy times were not to last.

On the trip back to Ohio, once again I had car troubles, this time a more troubling one. In between the Bluffton exits, my tire decided to blow out. No one was hurt, and there was no accident, but I had no spare, and three unhappy kids who were uncomfortable being next to the high traffic road. After making several phone calls and getting a ride from the state highway patrol, my kids’ grandparents drove up to pick them up and take them to their house, while I stayed behind in Bluffton to wait on my cousin to tow me and the car, (who I lovingly refer to as Rustbucket), back to my home. A trip that should have taken at most four hours, ended up being almost seven. But Rustbucket and me made it home safe and sound.

A lot can happen in a short amount of time, no matter how big or small. As bloggers, we record our experiences for others to enjoy and learn from. As you have read this, I hope you learned a few things about life. If not, I’ll spell it out for you.

First, bad things will happen, but that doesn’t mean give them power to ruin the good.

Second, don’t take life for granted. Stop and enjoy the little things, because they are the most important.

Third, and possibly the most important lesson you need to learn… always carry a spare. 🙂

And so it begins.

A week ago, I wrote a blog on the presidential nominees, and my opinions and views on each candidate. In it, I laid out my reasons for not wanting to vote for either one, how one was a criminal, the other a screaming toddler.

Yesterday, I did my duty and went to vote. This morning, while at work, I got the results on the election. And my worse fears came true.

Trump, the toddler, won the presidency.

Since the beginning of the of the election, it has been a toss up between the two, one currying favor for a time, until something happened and the loyalty shifted. But the American people voted, and chose Trump as the victor.

I am saddened by this, yet not surprised.

The average American is fueled by anger and fear that the terrorists, LGBT community, and those who are of different origin are out to get them, and in their fear, they turned to someone who promised to solve the problem by destruction and eviction. The one they chose promised to make America great again, by weeding out the undesireables and fighting against countries that we have shaky alliances with, and evicting those who do not fit the social norm.

I am ashamed of the people. We have become so blinded by fear and hate that I am afraid for my friends and family. I have friends who are from different countries, friends and family who are part of the LGBT community. Trump wants to change all of that we have worked hard to get over the last few years. And the fact that the only solution he has to solve our problems with the east is to “bomb the shit out of them” is terrifying. I can’t stand the idea that we just gave a man like Trump the ability to wipe out entire countries. Those of us who are not blinded by hate and fear can see what Trump is, the type of person he will become, and it scares us.

When I voted, I stood at the booth for a good two minutes trying to force myself to vote Hillary. I figured if given the choice, I would choose the one who would not pose a threat to my friends. But I couldn’t do it. I wrote in Bernie Sanders.

I am not ashamed of my choice.

I knew he would not win because he was not a write in candidate, and I knew I was just throwing my vote away. But I don’t care. I was not going to compromise my personal beliefs to choose between a criminal and a tyrant. I am American, and if democracy still exists, I exercised my right of free choice. And I chose Bernie. And I have no regrets.

I hope now that my friends and family, my friends from foreign countries, my LGBT friends, and everyone else who did not vote Trump, can forgive my choice. But I was not going to destroy my beliefs to become an aide to the corruption of America. I am still me.

I offer this now, to everyone who feels at risk from Trump’s new position.

We are a family, and we will get through this together.

The Sad Statue of Liberty, not just a song anymore.

The year: 2016.
The place: The United States of America.
The problem: corrupted individuals are fighting for control of the country, and the American people are too ignorant to understand their true power.
I wish this was the plot line of some cheesy 1980’s action flick, the type where you can find either Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean Claud-Van Damme fighting an all-powerful system using nothing but bullets and muscles in a post-apocalyptic world, where the powerful prey on the weak, and the hero gets the scantily clad femme fatale, who starts off as kind of shut in but becomes a total badass by the time the credits start to roll.
Sadly, this is not the case.
This is the blog that will make a lot of readers unhappy, because it’s political and it’s based in the real world that we all live in. I’m talking, of course, of the presidential elections of 2016. I’m sure you’ve all been hearing about it on the radio, reading about it in the newspaper, possibly might have seen a thing or two about it on the TV.. And if, by some chance, you have not been following what has been going on for the last few months, I’ll catch you up to speed.
In one corner, we have Donald Trump, a business man, former host of the show “The Apprentice”, and current presidential candidate for the republican party. His views on immigration, abortion, and guns have built up a high following of supporters and his rallies have made him, for the most part, a rather aggressive candidate for president of the United States
In the other corner, we have Hillary Clinton, wife of the former president Bill Clinton, a lawyer, and current presidential candidate for the Democratic party. Her movements to help the working class of Americans have allowed her to potentially become the first female president in this nation’s history.
But the issue that we have right now is that, in my own personal point of view, neither candidate is qualified enough to successfully run this country.
Take a moment for those I’ve pissed off to unsubscribed from my blog site.
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Okay, so if you’ve made it this far, you are most likely curious as to why I would say these things about the presidential candidates. Well, let me share with you what I see in each candidate, and why I think each are a poor choice for presidential candidates.
Let’s let the ladies go first.
Hillary Clinton has very nice views on immigration that will allow immigrants to come over and have a chance to become naturalized citizens. She also feels that woman’s body is her own personal choice, (which I agree with), and that if they feel the need to have an abortion, they should do it, (which I don’t agree with; If a woman’s body cannot support the health of both mother and child, or if the child is a result of rape, then I think an abortion will be ok. However, if you’re getting an abortion simply because you made very poor choices while drunk or stoned off your ass, then you should live with the consequences. It’s not fair to kill a child simply because you can’t be bothered to take some responsibilities for having sex.) She is also proposing to take on the gun lobby to “fight for commonsense reforms to keep guns away from terrorists, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals-including comprehensive background checks and closing loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands”
Okay, Madame, we need you to really think on this for one second. Since when do criminals follow the rules in the first place? If every criminal followed the rules, there would be no crime to begin with. Taking the guns or the rights to own guns from those who are responsible gun owners, (myself included), will not make the country a safer place. If anything, it will allow more people to become victims of violent attacks because they will have no ability to defend themselves. You want to cut down on the crime? Allow more people to own guns who follow the same gun safety classes that most gun owners follow. Then, allow those people to defend themselves and their loved ones. If more people do that, crime will definitely be deterred. Not removed completely, but deterred.
Now, if you have been following the news, you will remember a few months back when it came to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigations that Hillary had violated national security by allowing some 30,000 emails that contained sensitive information. Most people would think, Aw, she’s just deleting personal emails, no big deal. I’m sorry, but if the FBI has to get involved, then there’s more to worry about then emails about her grandchildren, or some stupid spam letters on how she could win 100,000 dollars a year for life, (like she really needs it.) Personally, when you’re under investigation by the FBI, and the crimes you’re being investigated for is treason, you should be removed from candidacy immediately. We have enough robbers and con artists in Congress and the Senate right now, we don’t need one in the oval office.
Now, let’s look at Donald Trump, businessman of the twenty-first century. Here, we have a man with years of running a business under his belt. His idea is to treat the country like a business, nurturing where needed, weeding out that which will hinder the benefits of the general population. His opinions on guns is similar to my own, that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. His proposals include arming citizens to defend themselves, removing violent criminals, gang members and drug dealers from the streets, and expanding on mental health programs to keep the violent mentally ill off the streets. I’m hoping that this last service will be free to our soldiers and veterans who are suffering from PTSD. His immigration policy, however, is a little concerning to me. His proposals include heavy enforcement of the immigration laws at both the border and the workplace. He wishes to build a wall and send criminal aliens home. He said he would allow those who embrace our way of life will be welcome to come, but will vet out those who chose not to.
I was raised in an area where you didn’t need to be afraid to be different. I’ve had friends of all walks of life over the years. But I’ve seen clips of Trump’s rallies where if you were not a white god-fearing Christian who was supporting Trump, you got the snot kicked out of you. Before this election year, I do not recall any other presidential election where there was more violence from one party over any other. In one of these clips, a man who went in as an undercover Trump supporter interviewed several people, and they were talking of starting riots, fires, and shooting and intimidating those who would not vote Trump. The scary part is that Trump not only knows that this is happening, he’s actually provoking and supporting the idea. In several speeches he gave, he has made numerous threats to foreign countries we are currently butting heads with, and in one such speech, he said he would, “Bomb the shit out of them”. I am almost positive that he, like many of his supporters, have forgotten that this country, the United States of America, was conquered, built, and grown by immigrants. If the original owners of this country still controlled it today, we would have free medicine, food for everyone, and no taxes, because the native American tribes who were here first had everything right. Then the white immigrants, our ancestors, came and messed it all up.
Trump is not the president we need, not the kind who is actively aggressive in his political battles at home. He’s been described as a toddler throwing a tantrum when things don’t go his way, and after seeing multiple clips from various sources of news, rallies, and interviews, I have to agree. A man who acts this way at home, who openly threatens other countries during a time when he is not yet president, a man who promotes hate, racial discrimination, and violence in the country, does not need to be that close to the nuclear button.
But as election day creeps closer, we all must ask ourselves, which candidate will I vote for?
After all, one of them will end up running the country for the next four to eight years, right?
Unfortunately, you’re right. One of these people will be in charge. They will impose their views on the mass population of people who live in this country, shaping the country in their own image, and be like a god to the masses. They will have the power and control of the military, the amount of taxes we will have to pay, and they will have direct access to the nuclear missiles that are currently buried in the ground of our country. With the flick of a switch, either one of them could start a war that will completely obliterate the country, if not the world. And congratulations, America. The choice is yours. May whatever God or Goddess you pray to have mercy on you when your time comes.