Saturday, April 21, 2018

Just Let It Go

2018 Give Way!

When things reach an End
Mercurial mood of Chicago
Diversey Harbor
March 26, 2018

End Of The Road by Boyz II Men
The Journey's End

Well, it's Chicago Day 2157. I feel exactly like this composite for the heading of my blog this month. What can I say now about life? Mercurial Uncertainty! I'm completely and utterly broken now. I never anticipated this year to be such a disappointment. Too many goodbyes this year and, now, I'm saying goodbye to a job. Yeah, a job. So much unhappiness now and hope seems lost. I remember what I went through before trying to find a job before and how painstakingly it was. I don't want to go through this again. What more can I say? It's a journey's end! I can't remember the last time this year where I was happy about something. So much grief and disappointment this year. Everything has flopped! The people I thought I were friends, have turned their backs on me. I'm alone here again in this Big, Blue Steel Jungle. So, is this meaning that it's time to get out of here? I'm lost. I'm just broken, very BROKEN now. The people I thought cared, don't. They have forsaken me. I'm on my own in this struggle.

No one understands how I feel! No one. I pray about this and whilst God wants me to have a job and self-supportive (this I know), why the struggle again? I talked to my friend Jeff about this, and he reminded me that Job had very little support in his tribulation. It wasn't very encouraging to hear but it makes sense. Where does this leave me now? I've opened up the job search again and actively looking for jobs everyday now with a lot of defeat! This big blue steel jungle just doesn't seem worth it anymore.

The Litany of Tears
“Tears of evil fall,Tears of glory rise,Tears of joy give hope andTears of pain provoke fear.The sea opens in two places, and there,Tears fall in the blue water that was formed by the scepter.Two seas there are but only one opening.What fate becomes of destiny must be borne alone.Awake the soul with forgiveness.With the bounty of tears, could there be forgiveness?With the flames of Croàta, could there be comfort in fire? With the ethereal divinity of Vaaluir, could there be rest?Or, would there be contentment in the ever-winding path into the Horizon?Tears of lust covet another, tears of agony provoke death; however, tears of laughter are good medicine and tears of mercy give forgiveness.”

What seems the problem here is once again being brushed off, ignored and ISOLATED! This has made living here in this blue city very tough. So, maybe it's time to move on. End of the Road. I moved here to this Big Blue Steel Jungle to find new hope and opportunity, but over the course of the past year, it's been nothing but disappointment. People mainly! What really bothers me is NO ONE HEARS MY VERSION OF EVENTS! This was something brought to the forefront recently. No one cares. I'm a magenta color as I've stated before. I'm neither blue or red, and this city has embittered me lately. So maybe, this is my sign to get out of here while I can. I used a photo of Montana I took back in 2013 when I was on a business trip from a prior job. I always told myself that I wanted to go here one day to retire and settle down. Another place that seems to fall in my life journey is WISCONSIN. This was another place in my life I failed in. Maybe that's my next journey! I just don't know at this point! Too much grief and mercurial uncertainty right now.

Give Way! A lot of doors have closed this year. I feel very alone and lucky for the few that support me and still call me friend. This year has been a lot of goodbyes. I need a light. It just seems hopeless now. In the recent crisis, you learn who your friends truly are and I'm thankful for the little support I have here in the "big, blue steel jungle." It's not a good thing when you discover that the friends you thought you had are not there for you in a troubling time. That means it's time to move on. I wrote about an Emerald Tree earlier this year. Maybe this is it! Maybe this is the repairing and healing phase of that! Whatever it might be, it's been a very mercurial time and brings no comfort when you go to bed each night with uncertainty what the next day will bring. I don't like when people say to me, "Oh, you'll be fine. You'll find a new job right away." I feel like telling them, "have you been in this situation before?" I HAVE! The last time I was looking for work, it took me 6 months to find a job AND relocate to Chicago. So, keep to that I say 'keep your day job' and let me do what I need to do. I really want to punch people that say, "Oh, you'll find a job with no problem." Dude, have you been in that situation before? I have. I KNOW exactly how it is and what I went through. I'm going through it again. So keep your effing day job and STFU. I'm tired of the presumptions that people have about what is actually involved with getting a job! It's a job in itself, a job with no pay involved. I'm doing my best to keep positive and optimistic especially in interviews, but it's really hard when there are a lot of other people also looking for a job too.

Spotify in my Blog. Something new I'm doing with my blogs. I've been creating the playlists in Spotify for the blogs so you can listen to the tunes while you read. I've been doing the song lists for my blogs now and it's funny how I look back at last month and the songs I picked for that blog. In Tapestry, all the songs I used seem relevant for THIS month! Shiver, shiver by Walk the Moon, The only way is up by Otis Clay,  Over the Horizon by Petra, Misery by Gwen Stefani and even Christ of Hope by Michelle Tumes! They all seem relevant to my journey this month. So, when you read my blog, go the bottom and click the Spotify link for the playlist. I went back to my blogs last year (up to my England Trip) for the playlist additions!

End of the Road
Chicago River
Streeterville, Chicago IL
August 24, 2017


This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads
Home is where I want to be

Where do I go from here? Where does one go from a mercurial uncertainty? Is this all have to do with a note I wrote 7 years ago? Is it "time's up" here in Chicago? All I can say is the last year here has been an embittering journey. The tension and anger just builds from people here. While this is not the attitude I should be taking. I feel it; all around me I just feel it! Is this a failure? Is it really time to move on? What the heck is going on? I am sick of playing games with people, sick of the politics, sick of the fake people, sick of all of it! I'm back where I was 7 years ago and playing the same games with people! I'm tired of being brushed off, overlooked, underestimated, last in and all that other crap! So, it just gets me thinking here. Do I leave the IT world behind for a more creative outlook, one that pays bills? Do I leave this city behind and is the next stop Wisconsin? I wrote the following note after the revelation of the November 15 date, and maybe this has something to do with it.

Why so restless, Oh my soul?

"I often have thought "what if?" What if I stayed in Wisconsin? What if I had stuck it out with things there? Maybe my decision to move back to Ohio was rash and not part of the plan. Well, that's not how life is. Life is a series of moments and decisions. You can't go back and change it; you just move on to the next moment. Maybe, this is the moment where time starts moving again for me. Maybe, dates just don't matter and it's mere coincidence. Tonight, and this past week with an unsettled soul, I don't think that at all. I believe there is something to learn here for me.


Now it's just taking the next step to get to where I need to be. Do the remnants of my life still remain in Chicago/Wisconsin? Is my home there? Is my career there? Is my wife there? And, are my kids there? New Faith!"

Does that journey now come to an end in Chicago? I failed in Wisconsin before and that also ties in with failure in my life. Maybe life's journey and next stop is Wisconsin? I just don't know. Mercurial uncertainty. I've spent a lot of time trying to find work here after last month. Being let go is never a good thing. I'm job hunting this month so my day job now is to get back to work. That search has extended out to Wisconsin, especially in the Milwaukee area. Also, I've been wanting to move back to the 'burbs and get out of the city. It's too expensive. After recent events, I think that's the best thing. Move out of the city or move to Wisconsin. This seems like the most logical step.

Just Let It Go!
You have a boat ride awaiting you!
Mt Orodruin, Mordor ME
March 25

I've also been hanging out with my friends Tom, Jocel and Johnny here a lot lately. They've been really supportive in my recent crisis. Tom and I have had dinner a few nights a week like at Huddle House and Popeye's by Kimball Station. We've talked about being roommates too in the city if I decide not to move out. First thing is first and that's finding a job, one where I fit in and don't feel awkward and isolated! Thank you, Tom, Jocel and JOHNNY! Johnny has been very helpful steering me towards good job opportunities. The frustration really is that I've just had to say GOODBYE to a lot of things this year. I just hope ... only hope now ... that there will be something better for me! People, career and new friendships.

So why did I choose Just Let It Go as the title of this blog? It has to do with March 25 and the destruction of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings. As most of you know, I celebrate the Lord of the Rings each year on my Facebook Page with calendar updates from Middle Earth. I've done this for 11 years now since I've had Facebook. However, it's just that. When I learned on March 26, I no longer had a job and I was laid off, I needed to "let it go" as well. Move ahead and forget the past -- even the people you thought were on your side. Sam teaches a lesson here after "sharing Frodo's burden" of the Ring. Give Way! JUST LET IT GO!

My childhood Street!
I see a bunch of block parties!
Lewis Drive, Maple Heights OH
April 14, 2018

Everything Comes To Life by We Are Messengers
I'll be with you in heavenly places

April 13! First time visiting Mom and Dad this year! I originally was planning to visit my folks for my Mom's birthday last month. A lot happened and I was sick that weekend. Little did I know it, but that following Monday would change my life with mercurial uncertainty. I had been putting off seeing my folks this year because of all the turmoil here in Chicago and being filled with a lot of uncertainty on what to expect next in life. After my job let me go this month, my folks urged me to come home to visit with them for the weekend to get out and away from Chicago! At first, I put it off a couple weekends, but after insistence, not only from them, but the counselor I'm talking to as well. SHE told me to get out of the city and see my family. Come back refreshed. So, the weekend of April 13, yeah Friday, I drove to my folks in Hinckley OH. It was April 12 actually and I was talking to my Dad. He said, "come home tomorrow! Clear your head for a weekend!"

So, that Thursday, I washed my clothes and packed my car for the weekend in Cleveland. Friday, it was raining but I took it slow on the roads. The Indiana Toll Road wasn't busy so it was a smooth ride to Ohio! It felt good to get out of the city for awhile. Arriving there, I was greeted by my Mom's cat and then both my folks. So, I unloaded the car and sat with them. They were watching the Carol Burnett Show on DVR and it's one of my favorite shows to watch with them if I do visit. The shows provide a good laugh! I also enjoy watching old "Star Trek" re-runs on Netflix with my Dad! The guest room was set up for me so I just had to jump into bed when I arrived. My folks treated me to Applebee's in Brunswick OH for dinner. They treated me for meals the whole weekend actually. Thank you Mom and Dad. I also shared my recipes with my Mom and brought a sample of my Vichyssoise Soup with me for them both to taste. The weekend was gloomy and rainy but I didn't care. That pretty much summed up how I was feeling, so in the time I was with my folks, I hung out with them at the house or at restaurants.

On Saturday, April 14, I visited my friend Rich in Garfield Heights where we talked photography and jobs. He said I should move back to Cleveland, but I tried explaining to him that it would feel like I was working backwards and I wasn't ready to do that. I saw Kelly too. It was also nice to help Rich out going to pick up his vehicle. We drove over to Bedford and it really brought back memories of growing up, especially driving by Bedford Commons. After Rich picked up his car in Downtown Bedford, I told him I was going to drive by my childhood street on the way back to his place. So, I drove up Broadway Avenue to South Boulevard and up towards Lewis Drive in Maple Heights. Wow, just wow, a flood of memories just hits you of your childhood.

Sunset over Missouri River
Farther over the Horizon
Great Falls MT
May 15, 2013

Laying Down the Law by INXS and Jimmy Barnes
I'm searching for a light to kill my sense of fear.

"And when you endure the crucible of fire, do not lose hope. Fire burns and water heals. The banners of water will be risen high, but the fire will fight it and the power of the elves. Beware you remaining, for when you see the shadow and the fire of his cloak fall on you, make haste, flee from your dwelling, take cover under night and fly like the dragon, soaring high. Do not turn back for your tunic. Do not return for your sword, and leave your treasure behind, for if you do, you will be saved and rescued. Do not fret on what you will eat and where you will go. Flee swiftly before destruction falls on you. Pray hard and look high, you remaining, for your salvation comes on swift wings. They will cover you and protect you from the dark cloak of his fire." Book of the Morning, Rhuína 2:18-19.

Montana is one place I would like to go back to one day, but Wisconsin seems more logical at this point. I went there one year for work and my most memorable and unforgettable drive was Helena to Great Falls up I-15; one of my best road trips especially going through the canyons! I tried explaining this to Rich and my folks. Moving back to Cleveland would be working against things I think. This year has been full of hopelessness and dissension, but it was nice to go back to revisit my childhood in Maple Heights that Saturday, April 14. It's amazing how long we've been friends. I'm thankful for the friends that still really matter in my life and care. Unfortunately, you learn too late who the ones aren't. The quote in this section is from a writing I did back in the early millennium. It speaks true right now about a "crucible of fire." There's more on this later in the blog. Both my Dadn Rich gave me some ideas about marketing and selling my photography. My Dad suggested making several photography sets with photos then sell them to customers as a set. Pick a theme. He said this is also useful if you are selling to a coffee shop or small hobby shop. You can advertise your best work in a themed set. My Dad used to do that. I never knew.

I presented those ideas to Rich and he said, "wow, those are great ideas. I didn't think of those." So we were talking about this at his house. He was also showing me his Model Shoots and giving me pointers for editing. We were talking about a guy who criticized Rich's work for "editing his photos," stating "you shouldn't need to edit your photos." Rich said the dude was rather arrogant and I said, "you should've told him then go back to film shooting then." Ha. Rich said I didn't think to say that but agreed lol. We both have come a long way in our photography and we're still sharing our work with each other. Gladly speaking, it's good to have a friend that likes the same things you do. Rich discovered his photography talent later in life though. Never the less, he's made the best of all of it! I, too, have been the same. I've always expressed myself in writing and photography. You may notice how that reflects in my blogging!

Memories...


Bosley House Fire
Maple Heights OH
April 3, 1986

Let it Go by Tim McGraw
Today, I'm going to keep on walking!

LEWIS DRIVE! Goodbyes are always hard, but with Rich it's never goodbye. Like I said, this year has been an awful year with goodbyes. It was good to go back to my roots in Maple Heights, with friends there and take in all the memories I had of childhood there ... all the good times. Lewis Drive was famous for its summer block parties headed up by all the neighbors on the street. It was a weekend of festivities, games, meeting with all your neighbors, band music put on by our next door neighbor at the time, and much more. Neighbors left their doors open during the day; there wasn't any worry about being robbed and people enjoyed each other. You don't see that in my picture here. I only see it all in the back of my mind; though that street looks grim in that picture, I can see all those good times, those wonderful times growing up on that street. Lewis Drive! Did anyone really know me? I originally wanted to be an ARCHITECT not an IT Professional! I took classes in High School like Mechanical Drawing and Graphic Arts for that journey. It never panned out beyond High School and even almost going to KENT STATE for classes. IT is where I ended up!

My childhood house!
Lewis Drive, Maple Heights OH
April 14, 2018

My childhood house!
Lewis Drive, Maple Heights OH
April 14, 2018

Looking back down Lewis Drive to South Blvd
No Bosley House on the corner!
Lewis Drive, Maple Heights OH
April 14, 2018

Maple Heights High School Memories!
Maple Heights OH
Class of 1992

Thank you Rich for having me over! As I look at those photos from the weekend of April 13, I see all the good times I had on that street and making many childhood friends which I still have today. I even remember the Bosley Fire of 1986. I went back to my old photos I scanned once and I put it here. I took the photos with a camera my Dad had bought me for my birthday one year. FILM CAMERA, yes! Actually, that house was rebuilt and became the newest house on the block. Well, shocked, when I drove down my old street, that house was GONE!  There was not even a hint of foundation there. It was covered with grass like it never existed. Parking in front of my old house was a touching moment! The house still was recognizable with the front yard walkway going through the middle of the yard instead of by the front of the house. This, being the only attribute that made the house unique on this street made it stand out on the block!

I also drove past my old High School and man did all those memories flood me about prom, going to school and all the teachers I had there. It was a bittersweet moment driving down Mapleboro Road and passingthe Wylie Athletic Complex. I didn't stop for pictures unfortunately but the images remain deep in my heart of those times. I remembered many of my classes like German, Mechanical Drawing and even having one photography class there. I remembered my favorite teachers like Mr Raiff, Frau Doehle, Mr Lloyd, Mr Bernath even and many more! I reflect on my journey in life. How that journey started in North Carolina (not remembering it obviously), Hawaii (remembering that awful earthquake of Mt Kilauea when I was 3); my first time living in Cleveland in 1977, the plane ride over downtown, my Mom pointing out the Terminal Tower as we landed at Hopkins; Berea Road in Cleveland, the moped rides in the backyard with Dad, the Big Wheels bikes with Joey; moving to Lakewood, McKinley Elementary School, Mr Kuzma stepping on my hand in Kindergarten; THEN, moving to Maple Heights in March of 1982. Man, it's been a ride. Here I am now in Chicago.

Chicago Day 0!
Cross Creek Apartments
Brunswick OH
April 29, 2012

Miracle of the Moment by Steven Curtis Chapman
Would we really want to go change everything

April 29, 2012! Chicago Day 0. That's when I moved back to Chicago. This Journey started. It's funny now looking back at my song list, but the first song here "End of the Road" was our Senior Class Song Theme for 1992 at Maple Heights High School. I just realized this now while working on my blog. What does the road ahead look like now? Since March 26, it's been a mercurial ride here. I came here on faith, hope and prayers! It was to pick up the pieces from the first time I failed here back in 1995. I truly believed at the time that this is where God wanted me! It's taken five years living here though to figure out what that is. Is the March 26 date part of this journey? Does it end here? Is this a new beginning. Does the road end here for Chicago just like the song title suggests at the beginning of the blog? Or is there "Magic" as another song title suggests? Am I laying down the law and searching for a new light here? I just hope and pray that I see a new light to help guide me on what I need to do. Is it Wisconsin? Is there a bigger reason I'm here in Chicago? I've been down this road of despair before in my life! Is this a full circle? With that April 29th date slowly approaching, I'm unemployed and trying my best here to get back into the world of my career. Is this a lesson I need to relearn? Again, I think of both Job and Joseph, how his brothers sold him into slavery. What they intended for evil, God intended it for good! God is powerful and I believe he can shape us in a despair just like he did for Joseph. He was wrongfully enslaved. It almost translates into my current situation here.

Chicago Days...
«   »

"Lord please guide my steps in these days ahead. Please give me rest and please take this burden. It's too heavy. Please show me a light ... not a sign ... a light, a path. You are the Light! Help me to JUST LET IT GO!" That's my prayer to God now. Time to let go of my "what ifs."

So breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

And just like the song title for the section promises me:

In the evening when my bones are tired
You’re my strength and my heart’s desire
You’re the light when the sun expires
I remember how far I’ve come
I’m not lost with You I’m home
I didn’t find You on my own

There’s a song, there’s a song
Rising from my heart

And when my days are done
I’ve got a Hope that I’m sure of
I’ll be with You in heavenly places

My blog this month has been about trial and tribulation and might've seen that from my photo choices and song titles. I've dabbled in Photoshop that past couple months and I've done a few photos of Chicago painting a grim, mercurial feel. There's that word again. That's how I feel now! I'm looking for hope here and something that will last! Nothing lasts here, and while last year was a year of anxiety, this year is summed up so far as MERCURIAL! As the days have passed since March 26, I just keep hoping each day something will come up. If you've been unemployed, then you can relate to this. Even the best people suitable for a job struggle with finding a job! Is this another comfort zone being put the test? I just don't know. Some things need to give way here though. Yeah, give way, my new year's theme! I'm hurting, and I might have to go through the worst! I'm hoping not. I've been here before even with the dark thoughts...

Give Way! The End of the Road!
Chicagohenge
The Loop, Chicago IL
September 22, 2017

Nothing Left to Say/Rocks by Imagine Dragons
Why can’t I see what’s right in front of me

Why can’t I see what’s right in front of me. Nothing left to say. Even though I've had to say my goodbyes without saying it, it's time to move on. I'm trying to keep my spirits raised. Right now, I miss working and I miss troubleshooting problems. It's sad when you lose a job and you are laid off. I'm glad I started my home network back with Broadvox back in 2007. This came by strong encouragement from a former manager and the decommissioning of my very first domain controller there. Since then, I've kept it alive with legitimate Microsoft licenses in Server 2008 and 2012, and CALS for Exchange Server. I've also just renewed my SSL cert with Go Daddy. In my interviews I've been using this as part of my IT experience! Oakbrook 17-102, Systems Aboot and www.shekinya.net. I've also told prospective employers about what I've been doing with it currently. Seems like I've impressed a few, which is helping me land that second interview. I've also incorporated VMWare virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. No, Oakbrook has NOTHING to do with the suburb here in Chicago. Oakbrook Gardens Apt. Complex in N. Royalton OH was the place my home lab started!


PRTG, pretty young thing!
I missed this software so I installed it on my home lab
KHAZAR!
Irving Park, Chicago IL
April 11, 2018

This month while looking for a job, I've been tooling around with my home network with things like setting up Wordpress on a new Linux VM, and also setting up the FREE version of Paessler PRTG which is the server monitoring software I used at my last company. I MISS IT and the free version allows you up to 100 sensors, so being the geek I am, I loaded it at home and even got the mobile app to work with my setup. I am also setting up Wordpress to replace my "Google Blogger Site" so this blog might be the very last one on Blogger as I start using the Wordpress site. So far, I've setup the VM, Apache and MySQL. I'm still locking down the admin features before I make it public.

Actually, the nice thing is just that fact I'm still tooling around with IT stuff and looking for work at the same time. I've been able to land that second interview with employers when I tell them I have a "home lab" at home with legitimate licensing and Exchange CALS. I was working at Broadvox in 2006 and it was my first IT job out of ITT Technical institute. I was hired on for my fist System Administrator role there. I worked under a great manager that encouraged me to succeed in Information Technology. That manager was Erik Hinderer. As one of my first projects, I was supposed to decommission a Domain Controller in the environment. My manager instructed to document everything. Read MS articles and TechNet. Take notes. Document everything into a cookbook (or as I have often called them Duzits – Thank you Mr. Bernath, 9th grade Algebra). At my current job, they call these SOPs (standard operation procedures). So, whatever they are called, I did just that. I documented the process.

The time came to turn the server off and unrack it. Erik was helping me take it off the racks. Afterwards, he looked up to me and handed me the server. “Here, it’s yours.”

Naturally, curious and hesitant. “Why?”

He stated that the vendor doesn’t support it anymore and it was a very old Dell PowerEdge server. “Take it, or it gets dumped.”

Systems Aboot
Oakbrook 17-102
Irving Park, Chicago IL
April 19, 2018

Before I started that project, my manager encouraged me to sign up for Microsoft’s MAPS program to receive montly subscriptions to all Microsoft’s latest current software with legitimate licensing. I did just that. I took the Microsoft Test for the MAPS subscription and received software including, Server 2003, Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, SQL Server 2005, and much more

“Take the server and put all the software on it, and learn,” Erik stated, handing me the server. “This will help you do your job and you can use it to test and refine your work at the company.”

The sandbox environment was started there while working at Broadvox in 2006. Erik was right. Many times over, this environment helped me do my job better – still to this day. Currently, I do the same, especially if I’m testing any type of Scripting (which we use for automation). I log into my stuff and test – NEVER THE CLIENT. This past summer, I had to say goodbye to that first server I was gifted from Erik. Over the years after Broadvox, I dedicated some of my own savings to building out my home sandbox into current releases of Microsoft and staying up to date. I incorporate both Microsoft products and GNU Linux, and VMWare into my sandbox environment. At my first IT Job, I worked under another manager, Sergey Galchenko. Working with him was a great pleasure. He did mostly everything in Linux, so this prompted me to implement Linux into my home sandbox environment.

I have working at home 2 domain controllers, an Apache Reverse Proxy, Various applications running on IIS, networking monitoring tools running on Apache, my website running on Apache, 1 ESX host with several virtual machines, mostly with Server 2008 R2 and CentOS Linux, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 with OWA and ActiveSync, and much more.

A Hopeful Sign over the city!
I believe it's magic. Please.
Lake View, Chicago IL
April 20, 2018

Magic by Mick Smiley
Please. Let's make some magic

It's April 19 and it's a bad day in the Realm of Arden.  Fire comes down! The following is an excerpt from my writing called the Book of the Morning or Tá Mishnach Gorg. It was a writing project I did while writing my first book entitled, The Chronicles of Tristan: Revelation back in 1997. "The Book of the Morning" was a place where I wrote backstories for characters and events for the main writing project. In the month of April, I go back and celebrate all my writing since April in my writings had a lot happening.

Empty woods, endless tunes
You see me, I see you
In a crowd, see my face

Please
Please
Please, let's make some
I believe it's magic
I believe it's magic
I believe it's magic, magic

It's my blog and I'm celebrating the writing I've done. I have nothing published, just saved and for hobby. The Chronicles of Tristan starts on October 21, 3 BA (VI:33) with the destruction of a major elfin city. 33 years after the coronation of the King in the stories which began the Fire Era, the sixth age in Arden. The 3 BA is 3 years before the main character's conversion or Revelation at a place called Kesky Point where he has a divine appointment with the "wounded light." The "wounded light" was spoken of Óurias on many instances after the one I put on FB page earlier. It's the Lord himself. Thousands of years after Ourias with the 1997 book I wrote, the "wounded light" or Yishav reveals himself to the main character for the first time. The locked doorway in the Horizon opens up finally. The following is a short story! Enjoy!

The Book of the Morning: Óurias and the Vision of the Dark Cloak
By Eric Chatham

It was a beautiful spring day on the Emerald Isle. Óurias had taken a walk through the fields of Srí near the Dublin coast to enjoy the refreshing breath of air and the warmth of the season. He needed time to reflect away from his Srí brethern (Srí which means Sun). The the tall grasses of the field sparkled as gold in the Spring. Soon, he heard the grasses of the field call out to him and whisper to him of an impending doom.

“Óurias, help us!” 

The sound became overwhelming to his third sight and he was taken in by the warning. While he walked, he limped and struggled through the tall grasses in the field as the warning intensified in his ears. No one came to his aid, but the fields hid him from the world and protected him. His elf ears were filled by the sound to the message of the fields and no longer attuned to this Arden. Soon, Óurias fell into a deep sleep and he fell to the ground; the Bain-Gabba saturated his senses, but the fields gently protected him as lay there. They carefully called out to him. While laying there on his face, his eyes opened up to a distant part of the Celeste. He was not wandering in the fields anymore.

Óurias was translated to the heavenly realms and hovered high over this Arden. He was standing between the horizon of the voice and this Arden, and he heard His voice call out to him. It sounded like the grasses of the Srí field but it was greater. The voice spoke to him with a warning about a time unknown of him on a day such as the one he experienced before his fall. There, he watched as the voice spoke; a dark shroud covered the sun and the moon turned to blood. It was a battle in the heavens. The sun fought back against the darkened cloak covering it but its light was dispelled into sackloth and the cloak covered the whole world with smoke and fire. A single tower stood on the world, but it brought no peace or hope. This tower had been long standing and it was old and became as a derelict. No one in the world climbed it any longer. Soon it crumbed to the ground and it was quickly forgotten under the layers of this world.

Now, all races of this Arden feared and wondered of this dark light in the world. "Will this light save us? We no longer remember our tower." They wondered.

Óurias watched as the blood moon received a crown of gold and its dark, fiery light filled the whole world with brilliance. Every race in this Arden watched and saw this wonder. They were stirred with hope, but it was a hope that would not last. Then, behold, Óurias blinked and he was standing on a crystal island of glass filled with intrigue and beauty. It was a breathtaking place, and at first, Óurias felt welcomed by its light. Its beauty was both mysterious and beautiful but the light enraged Óurias with anger and malice. A shaft of light from the moon created a moonbeam and it emblazed the whole island and its crystal malice. The moonbeam fell upon one of the crystals and a silhouette of an elf came forth. He was wearing a cloak of fire and the moon gave him his crown. It was stained with blood from the moonbeam. He wielded a scepter in his right hand, and all the races of this Arden turned their faces to him for hope. Óurias marveled at this sight. "This kingly, and dominant figure is not like any other in the line of Kings."

Back Porch Mood
Albany Park, Chicago IL
April 20, 2018

The dark elf king spoke out. "The line of Kings in the East prevail. You will be safe." He commanded the light and its power. The whole world marvelled and felt peace. Suddenly, almost unbeknownst to Óurias, the dark elf wielded the moon in his right hand; a golden helm replaced his crown and a blood-stained sword replaced his sceptre. A mesh of chainlinks fashioned from the helm covered his true face but he remained a dark silhouette with light of the moon enshrouding him. He commanded the crystal island.

The whole island became as a beacon to the East but its light razed the land, and killed off elf-kind and other races in all places of this Arden. The dark figure became part of this mysterious light, and they were one. Earthquakes, famine, death filled the land from its light, and the whole world cried out in agony. Their hope was lost and they no longer trusted the light. Nature and all living things shouted out with pain and for salvation. Though this blazing light was beyond beauty and awe, it was a dangerous light and Óurias quickly hid himself from its madness. Soon, the dark figure who wielded the moon, assumed powers of the sun, and became everywhere at once. Looking up and away from the madness all around him, Óurias was hopeful. It was the only direction that offered solace. He watched as the stars gave birth to wings of salvation and they carried off the remaining to a safe place for a time where they were protected from the dark cloak and where a new, safe light was found, even stretching to the Sha-Ímheáorcain, the lands of the free sea on the Horizon.

The wings caught them up and brought the remaining to a refuge and, there, the enemies became friends and were welcomed with gladness. The safe light protected them from the evil light, but the new light did not command or give off any colors as to be expected. No, it was a light that neither brightened in intesity or faltered in brilliance. It was constant and it protected the children of the stars from the crystal island. The evil light had wounded the new light, but it remained strong and constant, healing those it shielded. After a time, the moon was lit to its true light, the shadow over this Arden passed, but the price of its ill-fated light enslaved the world and killed off the pure of heart. The crystal island became dark by the power of the sun, and the dark elf dwelling there was taken up by the moonbeam, and it was not known what became of him. The moon returned to its brilliance but all races of this Arden remembered this time.

Tirnáin. A new tower!
To hope, pray. A tower
Sears Tower
April 19, 2018

Then, a new fire blazed and fought back to restore the powerful light of the sun. The heavens were filled with a host from the horizon and proclaimed victory. A doorway opened there, and one messenger stood there guarding it. He was the one from the wounded light. The remaining came out of their place of refuge and hiding. They built a new tower of hope, where they had forgotten their first tower. The tower stood high enough to see the new doorway open into the horizon. An endless path formed from the horizon and spread out towards the new tower but the two did not meet. Óurias did not know if they would ever meet. The messenger by the door graciously offered the remaining entrance into the lands of the free sea through the new doorway, and many of the remaining went into it where they had rest.

Soon, Óurias was quickened from his third sight and he came out of the realm of the Celeste where he had fallen face down in the field. The ravens had come to his aid there and restored his strength. The grasses of the field whispered once more to him saying, "Be steadfast. Water will save and cleanse us in the end." Óurias thought long and meditated for days on this vision. It troubled his spirit and he was taken ill by its meaning. For days he did not eat or go back to the fields.

Changes by David Bowie
Writing for the times we live in

Óurias was the first Warrior of the Sun that saved Arden from a "black sleep." He was the first Elvin Warrior of Srí and had a twin brother named Lail, both belonging to the "Order of the Wounded Light." You'll note "wounded light" from the story I posted. It's a common vision he sees. Óurias' name means "heaven's bright Sun," and the Sun or Srías was regarded as a powerful dominance in the world. Óurias has a vision of the rising of a dark king and subduing the world with destruction. This vision was recorded in the Book of the Morning (Tá Mishnach Gorg). In my first written book, his vision takes place, 33 years after the king is coronated on April 19. 33 years later, the book starts. This king buries the truth and forbids the Book of the Morning. The Warriors of Sri in this time period lived in the town of Conería and were threatened by this and feared him. This is my first book I wrote in 1997. Óurias later takes the surname "Noíragga" during the Black Sleep when it falls on Arden. This is where he becomes a Purifier as the name denotes. All the prophets of Arden thought and were sure the End of the World would come after the building of a Sacred Altar at Coneria (Connaírgha Glór) where the God of the Concordant Summit would appear. It didn't. Enter Age 3 (Earth Era), 4 (Sad Era), 5 (Kiette) and finally 6 (Fire Era) where my 1997 book starts. I also played Ourias in several D&D campaigns after him being banished to Ravenloft for striking the Altar of the Concordant Summit.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you're gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time

So, you're wondering here, Ireland? Yep, this fantasy land has the original Ireland BEFORE the earth became a void and its waters covered the surface of the deep. If you read Genesis 1:2, you'll get that. The destruction of Arden was a massive flood. Just remember, MY STUFF is fiction folks. THE BIBLE IS TRUTH. The original Ireland was "locked off" and protected by these warriors and no one other than them could reach the Emerald Island. It was locked off in sight and knowledge of the whole world. This island was kept apart from the time of the rest of the world. That is how the story gets out later actually.

The end of Arden fictionalized in Genesis 1:3. “And formless be the Earth as without and empty, binding darkness over face of deepening water. Is surrounded and bound by God(s) and Spirit of that over the face of the waters. And, God mentioned, ‘Be there light,’ and light then (being) was."

"There and back again and The Lord of the Rings" were discovered in the Red Book of Westmarch. The manuscripts of Arden were found in mound of the the Aos Si in Dublin, Ireland. Also, the "tower building" elves of Arden did not build towers to get to Heaven. They built towers to "see down the road farther" towards the Horizon. Heaven to them was the Horizon and the Lands of the Free Sea known as Sha-Ímheáorcain. They knew the horizon was shut off and built towers to see the doorway open one day! They did not see themselves like the "tower builders" of Babel in the Bible. Also, this blog is solely about trials and tribulation this month and these story clips and the April 19 motif also center around this. I'm a servant of Christ and I tend to also believe that other believers in Christ will go through part of if not all the Tribulation period. I once took a Pre-Tribulational rapture stance, but I tend to believe that believers go through part of it. That is illustrated in the fiction of the story I shared here!

Hopeful Rails
Chicago River
River North, Chicago IL
September 22, 2017

King of Pain by The Police
There's little black spot on the sun today!

It's my soul up there. A king of subversion arises! This story is about the times we live in and the changes we have in our world. This song title plays on a subversive and vile King I wrote into my stories. I started writing in 1997 when I moved back to Ohio after Wisconsin. I started this journey of writing on an old Smithsonian Typewriter before I bought my first computer and getting a copy of Office 1997 from my friend Todd who lived in the same building I did at Pinewood Apartments. Sadly, there is a lot of truth in what I wrote back then. One is the fact of the Book of the Morning. It included all the history and backstory to the entire mythos. In the MAIN book, guess what happens? A vile King subverts the truth and bans the "Book of the Morning." He didn't want people knowing their history and past, good or bad. Seems familiar in our day and age, y'think? I wrote the First book in 1997. The Book of the Morning just came as I wrote because I needed somewhere to write backstories. The Book of the Morning is referenced by characters in the actual stories as a valid book of teaching. It's the same ol' thing as yesterday!

April 19. Nothing good will come of it...
Atháir d gCull.  Fínn d nAilch.
Father of destruction, son of dread.

• Rodney King beating (1992).
• Branch Davidian Siege, Waco TX (1993).
• Oklahoma City Bombing (1995).
• Columbine (April 20, 1999).
• Hitler's Birthday (April 20, 1889)
• King Iluviuks, the Fire King, coronated on his birthday. (April 19.  Whaaa???)

This script was found over the Hearth of the Kinkayle Manor in The Chronicles of Tristan: Revelation, after the Kinkayle Massacre at Galf Orchards. This was the main character's family. It reminds the main character of the demise of his family, the rising of evil and tyranny in King Tristan's diminishing kingdom. The main character of this story was once an important figure in King Tristan's court, known as a Protector or Shield-guardian, called "Coímheádair" (Cowadair). He often went by the name Covad in the story. That title was later stripped of him and you lean why when reading the story...

"Á beá ní-fáuthaith odh Nheíthra-hÍlufain, gmeórchaith óig mheágbhíar. Ilubhí roídh an iá lhuíssa eábnoídh. Higgoínágh n’Luth cóa an rí í go ghalíernain láe ha, í-narch ber - melleóchadh hilubhí athlas an reáchas da háulainágh. Cóa bhleácain an gcátern, go mbeá dhacríemhaith mháiragh á hÍlufa-Óuicg beshíra áal pleáfadh ní odach, stír an mhaira-lóu, uámheáth gcí gceárthnain, uí coímheád dómh belnuír í argíláe sín an hÁshaárain, rí thaóumhnaimhóug a nóg. Sólaim s’áuphuá á naluín gcaláshá óig! Tref-shurr óig sra fhennáigh odair man! Tref shurr óig sra sháiseálagh odair, í naóg sruóseáchainó shuras marg! Beá go huítharaid í ghafhorch - dta, na-fór áal cóa go óisheámh í go óishaómh! Uínloíach óig, mhaórgbhíar croáchaith, ó mhírbhíar áupuáid odashach í mber. Uámheáth a nóg, ha phlefícadh gcuállain ní odach an dtír gcí mhoírlogh. Tírn ám staóch, í líemh an rí, o gcátern, sra hIósamháin odair go fáelain an hárgílainn steách an sreíg. Áal-go-Hoícs an ngráigh ám hEcsíemh mber - coímheádain odach gcí dtreácach s’mhoír da hÍlufa-Óuicg beshír." Book of the Morning, Rhuínna 2:18-21

I already translated this in my blog earlier. Essentially what this entry is saying is "when you see this darkness fall on you, get the EFF out!"  "Don't turn around to look where you left.  Don't take this or that.  Don't fight, don't worry about what to wear.  Don't worry about your belongings.  Just.  Get. the. eff. out. of. dodge!"  This writing was done back in 2002 when I was writing the back-story (Book of the Morning) stuff for my first book.  The back-story stuff really helped fill in a lot of holes.  It was interesting to go back and note the translation I had for this entry: "on you" in that part literally means "IN you."   I was inspired by the warning the LORD gave to the Jews regarding the future untimely appearance of Antichrist, which is the basis for the evil King I wrote about, a vile king much like Hitler.  "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel let the reader understand then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time." NIV (Matthew 24:15-25).  We all have a choice.  The story I wrote explains this.  Having an utter disgust for Hitler, especially having seen "Schindler's List," the purity of soul often needs to tested in a crucible, a crucible of fire.

Long ago, at the creation of Arden, the writer of the Book of the Morning, the creation story of the Realm or Arden, penned down the history of the elves in Arden and the "line of Kings" anointed by the Glory or Shekinya.  Anointed by the Glory, those Kings (and Queens) gave portents regarding the future of Arden and its destiny.   The first notable kings provided warnings to a dark time or a dark cloak which would fall ominously over the elves.  Some regarded this as the End of the World and some attributed the doom with another dark time in Arden's history called the Black Sleep.  The portents spoke of a "dark cloak of fire" spelling utter despair and annihilation with the elves, and warned the elves to watch carefully for this time [literally 'gCallas ám mbeóthair steách,' or eyes like sharp arrows].

Heaven's Bright Sun by Iona
Óuiras, guardian of the heavenly places

At the dawning of the Fire Era (the set up to the story of The Chronicles of Tristan), the writings of the Book of the Morning had been long forgotten through the ages by the elves, especially in the Fire Era due to the "dark cloak falling over Arden" by King Iluviuks..  The only "clan" of elves whom kept the history and record of Arden was a sacred clan in the small city of Conería.  There, the sacred order of Srí (Sun) maintained the Book of the Morning and its history with the line of kings and the anointing of Shekinya.  There, the monks still paid homage and offered up prayer at the great Altar of Concordant Summit, the Altar where Óurias the Purifier (link), the first "Warrior of Srí" saw a pillar of fire and smoke descend upon eras ago when the Black Sleep over Arden was ended (which also was recorded in the Book).  King Iluviuks, knowing that the traditions of the elves remained alive in Conería, banned all knowledge of the Book and declared the reading and learning of the Book to be outlawed in his kingdom.  Punishable by death, the King subverted the truth of his own existence and the role he would soon play as the "dark cloak of fire."  That Book (there was only one Book of the Morning) was later stolen.  The book remained in the Thria (Sun) Temple in Conería for ages upon ages, which sets up the Second Story.  By the end of the First Chronicle, this Book had been relocated to Kema Kot Castle in The Kue Mountains, the golden castle where King Tristan once dwelt.  From the castle, it was stolen and hidden.  This is the Second Book.

An dTír Theárs ("DEER thEARis" because of "gaelic" eclipsing in the "T" sound and  lenition in the "S" sound.  There is no "Z" sound in this language; there is a "Z" sound as in "azure" though). I started writing the Chronicles of Tristan back in August 1997.  My creative mind was probably one thing I could take with me for the next 15 years, because I started writing and actually tried getting published a few times.  From the Chronicles of Tristan spawned a couple "backstory" writings, which became the Book of the Morning accounts.  In the Chronicles of Tristan I reference this Book.  Anytime I had to create a backstory for something in the story, I added this to the Book of the Morning collection.  Writing, for now, is just a hobby of mine, just like my Home Business.  Maybe later on in life, I can put them to good use.  Here is an excerpt from my story, The Chronicles of Tristan: A Revelation.

"...Aidain focused deeply on Itheuks.  He spoke as a knife and his eyes gazed into the heart of Itheuks.  “The catalyst of the elves is fire.  The men of the west will stir the catalyst.  Our remedy is water.”  He paused and placed his hands on the reigns of Itheuks’ horse.  “Remember when you see the cloak of his fire fall on you to flee.  Don’t hesitate.  Flee!  The elves have entered a crucible of fire.  Please, allow us to defend you,” the Commander stated.  “Now, please go see your King Shadlier and tell him of the events that have transpired here.”

Itheuks recoiled and rebuked the Commander of his words.  “You speak from the Book which is outlawed and forbidden!  You are quoting text from the Book of the Morning.”  Itheuks knew of the sacred text and the Book, though having never studied it.  He knew that quoting the text was considered an act of treason in the new kingdom, but his heart and mind were at peace.  He paused a moment and gently chided the Commander.  “Please do not speak again from the Book.  My allegiance is to King Shadlier and King Iluviuks.”  He bowed his head towards the Commander.

Itheuks was not offended by the order, and he respected the Warriors of Sri as did most of the east.  Even though the mystery of the Sri confounded Itheuks, he held them with deep honor for their services with the elves in the past.  They were held with adoration by the elves and half-elves in the east and their hometown of Conería was the focus of divinity for the east.  “Commander Aidain, I will give the report but my two generals must go with me.  We will return to Vall where the King awaits us.  The weight of the east is on your shoulders, commander.  You must not allow this city to fall.  Understand!”  Itheuks trusted the Commander, but still wondered about their strange mysticism.  “We will ready the forces in Vall.”

I decided later I wanted to make this book into a trilogy (uncompleted as of now).  Here is an excerpt from the Second Book when Hope is rekindled.

“Through shadow and despair, there the coins remained in stone, so, not even he, the Fire Prince, could totally obtain the Kingdom for himself.  The coins remained embedded imperviously forever, covered under the ashes of the fallen, but not forgotten town of Conería, as symbol of hope, prosperity and restoration of the Remaining.  The vision of Forked Tree has sealed the lands forever by the Greater Light beyond Plíagge.”

NOTEWORTHY OF WORTH NOTES:

Dena and I
Barcode
Parma OH
October 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Dena! April 17! I don't know why I'm sweating here in this photo but I barely remember the photo. My friend Todd took the picture of us and I think we both had a little too much to drink. Dena's still been a great long distance friendship and I still talk to her very often each month. We both stay in touch and I couldn't forget her birthday!

Barbara Bush and her Robin, who died at the age of three from Leukemia, reunite in Heaven.
Credit: Marshall Ramsey

April 17, 2018! Farewell Fair First Lady! We had to say farewell to an extraordinary, strong lady. She sadly passed away this month. A woman of whit and remembered as one who could be my grandmother.

HOUSTON, Texas -- There has been an outpouring of support as people remember the life and legacy of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Bush passed away at the age of 92 today. She aided the President with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall on 9 Nov 1989, and she aided him again with Desert Storm. Her focus involved literacy and educating Americans that could not read.



Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars
Until Next Month

Last year was summed up in one word: ANXIETY. This year? It's summed up in one word: MERCURIAL. I never anticipated the bump in the journey here. It brings you out of your complacency and if I ever learned one thing in life and perhaps in preparation of the after-life is COMFORT ZONES! I got a swift kick to my own complacency last month and I just hope it doesn't get any worse. I'm praying for a light, some guidance and some hope. Something has to GIVE WAY just like my New Year's Theme states! 


I’m currently unemployed and it’s been a real struggle here finding work. Jobs are here but standing out amongst a big city of people looking for jobs is the challenge! If any of you know of anyone that might help (Thank you to those that have already helped). Please pray for me.  I’ve been here before and it’s not a fun place to be. It’s not easy finding a new job! I hope next month I'll be better spirits and can dance like this! Thanks for reading! Tuna noodles! Don't forget to check out my Spotify Playlist for this month if you are a music lover!


This blog's Spotify Playlist:
2018 Give Way | Just Let It Go

Connect to me elsewhere at your own risk.

FOUNDATIONAL BLOGS
My Life starts at the Chicago Water Tower!
Mark 0, 0, 0, 0. The last 0 is for the time parameter
Keeping a train of thought and keeping on track.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Tapestry

2018 Give Way!

Happy Chinese Woof Year
Year of the Dog
Chinatown, Chicago IL
February 25, 2018

Shiver, Shiver by Walk the Moon
Meaningful People, where art thou?

Woof! Woof! Who let the dogs out? Hello everyone. It's March! It's the year of the Dog! Woof! The Rooster has stopped its crowing. I look at that because last year was like a "wake up call" with life and faith. Rooster's have this annoying thing they do. They crow at the crack of dawn! Wake up! Well, here we are now. The year is already 1/4 through. It's Spring. Where to start? Well, I've been doing ok and things are doing a lot better than in January, even getting back out to do photography for the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown and some after work photography. I've been regularly meeting up with the psychologist on a weekly basis and she's been a great help. So, generally on Thursdays after work, I get off at the Irving Park brown line station and walk over to the location for the sessions. The sessions have been very helpful just to talk and get things out. They're not all about problems either; some are just about life situations. I find it interesting that she diverts many of the topics back to eHarmony lol, and asking me how that's going. In the last session, I told her that I've been "lazy" with it. When explaining what that meant, I told her that it's more like procrastinating with putting money into something that might not produce results. She understood this. Also, several of the session with her have been about goals and when I told her that I've started doing all my own "scratch cooking" and spending time looking for recipes online, her face lit up. I told her that my doctor strongly encouraged me to pursue this in the year AND it was a new year's goal. Among other topics we've discussed, freshening my approach meeting new people this year was up there too. With something that happened last month, I showed her the whole conversation I had with that person, and tenderly she told me, "...let that person go and find new people." Without taking sides on the matter, she wanted me to be happy and free of negativity. I'm leaving the counselor anonymous, even though I've been sharing my blogs with her.

"Even I can do a swan dive off your ego and still land gracefully in the pool." Me, after a confrontation with someone.

I chose Tapestry as my blog title for this month since I'm still watching Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series on Netflix. If you've watched the episode, Tapestry, it was one of those episodes dealing with "what if." The episode features the illustrious Q and he portrays the afterlife for Captain Picard. I will refuse to associate Q as God obviously, so I watched the episode with him portraying Picard's afterlife only ... not God. How does your life unravel? What is the tapestry of your life? Do you have a calling or a purpose? Do you know what it is? Are your eyes closed? They could be opened...

2018 Give Way! Chicago Day 2148
Short video clip of March
March 17, 2018

The Tapestry of your life unfolds. Don't pull on the threads! Prior to the episode, if you frequented the series run, you'll get backstory on Picard's artificial heart from the episode, "Samaritan Snare" in the second season. In that episode which featured for a brief season, Dr. Pulaski, the ship's CMO performs a risky medical procedure on Captain Picard. In that episode, Captain Picard and Wesley Crusher travel together in a shuttle. Wesley is on his way to take some Starfleet exams while Picard was on his way to the operation. In the shuttle journey, Picard and Crusher connect on a personal level probably for the first time. Picard explains the procedure with his artificial heart and how he lost his in a fight against some unruly Nauciscans. He was stabbed in the fight. I call it the "stab of laughter," because Picard informs Wesley that he laughed, but didn't know why. We also learn here about Picard's undisciplined, rowdy side of life which nearly cost him his life. The lesson here was about taking risks and Picard took an enormous risk coming to the aid of his friends in that fight which almost and nearly cost him his life. Taking laughter with him to a critical moment that almost brings him death, we don't get too much more in the discussion of this event in "Samaritan Snare." Picard's wild temperament may've stayed with him for awhile after the Academy, and we know about his heroism on the Stargazer, but we only know Picard in a more stoic, structured lifestyle from the series. There is no real backstory of Picard, other than Boothby's stories at the Academy remembering Picard and his unruly behavior so, at some point, before he takes command of the Enterprise, his life changes and becomes more disciplined and tamed. Was this because with his near death experience? We just don't know. Where am I going with this? Stay with me lol. 

Golden Hour on Irving Park Road
CTA Irving Park Brown Line
North Center, Chicago IL
March 8, 2018

Over the Horizon by Petra
There's a Light over the horizon...

Though I may not know what lies ahead! The Tapestry episode spoke to me on a personal level, having known the backstory of Picard from previous watching of the series. It's a story about "what if." After learning about the Captain's brush with death to the Nausicans, we come to present time where he's enroute to a risky medical procedure under the care of Dr. Pulaski (who I really enjoyed because she was the female version of Dr. McCoy and his attitude). In the opening to Tapestry, Picard is in the ER and dying. We see him pass into the afterlife where he confronts Q. Picard, obviously dismayed that the afterlife is with Q refuses to believe he's actually in the afterlife with him. In the discourse, Q offers Picard a chance to "make things right" and fix the problem which gave him the artificial heart in the first place. Little do we know at the time, but this becomes a life lesson to, not only Picard, but we the audience watching it. Many times in our life, including me now, we strive to find purpose and meaning in it. We forget that there are risks involved and if we don't take them, we miss out on opportunities. This is true of my own life. I often think back to how I got started here in Chicago and why I'm here, which I still don't know why.

In the episode, we watch the alternate life of Picard unfold. We watch as he avoids the fight with the Nausicans and how he alienates all his friends. His past life had a purpose just as his future life had. We learn that the two lives of past and present of Picard don't mix together but both are unique to him and his life. I believe Picard learns this later. We see the future life of Picard trying to correct the "mistakes" of his past. Oil and vinegar here! That's our own life. Oil and vinegar! Look at your own choices and how they play out in your own life. We all must take certain risks to get us to where we need to be. It's the tapestry of our own life. We watch this in Picard but how many of us actually take the moment to reflect on our choices? Do we make bad choices, or do they all work together for good? Is it fate ... predestination? Oh boy, I used that word. Jeff Korhorn.

Thanks, Rachel Kaiser of HR for taking this picture of me to remember two special women in my life! We are VelocityEHS!

Go Red for Karen and Mom!
We are VelocityEHS
Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL
February 2, 2018

Aware of Wonder by Geoff Moore & The Distance
I live in wonder, amazed at all you've done for me

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according go his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom he predestined, these he also called; and whom he called, these he also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified." Romans 8:29

Predestination? Delve deeper into God's plan for our lives if you are in Christ. I always felt uncomfortable of that word, predestination, since the context is derived mainly from the Bible, and God's predestination of individuals. The Bible records that some predestined unto vessels of wrath and some vessels of mercy. For instance, look at Pharaoh and Judas. God hardened Pharaoh's heart against Israel "to demonstrate his power." Judas, well, we know what he was planning. That's the unsettling discussion about predestination. God demonstrates power in our lives ultimately to bring glory to Him! If you keep reading in Romans, in chapter 9, Paul discusses this.

Though the episode, Tapestry, was far from Christian thought in the making but a lesson can be learned from watching it. Yeah, Q portrays the afterlife and gives Picard the opportunity to right his mistakes, but the lesson Picard learns in the end is that his life was meant to be what it was. Think of the analogy. His life brought glory to God (not Q) as it was predestined. He couldn't change it. Next time you watch that episode, stop and pray and ask God for guidance in your life. How does God manifest Himself in you? Predestination is topic in Christian doctrine better left unknown to us but known only to God. He calls us to bring glory to His name. Vessels of wrath, vessels of mercy. Think on this and your life. In the afterlife, God will want to know what you did with His Son, Jesus Christ! That will be how we're judged in the afterlife and there is no second chance. The second death (physical death) was your last chance.

The Road goes ever on and on...
Chicago Botanic Gardens
Glencoe IL
March 6, 2016 

Gollum's Story, another story of Predestination? Every year, I celebrate the Lord of the Rings books and movies by posting calendar updates of the events in the stories, that happened each day leading up to March 25, where Sauron is destroyed. I generally start the journey on September 22, break in October and pick it back up after Valentine's Day until March 25.  This has been a common Facebook tradition and I'm on my 11th year doing it ha. Another story about Tapestry takes place in the Lord of Rings. Vessel of mercy or vessel of wrath. The Fellowship is in the great halls of Moria and Frodo confronts Gandalf about Gollum following them. Frodo sneers, "it's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance." Gollum's story is a sad one. If you watched or read the entire series, follow Gollum once, not Frodo. Gandalf rebukes Frodo of his presumptuous remark. "Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand." Gandalf did have enough wisdom to give Frodo this advice.

"Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many."

The Pity of Bilbo
The Hobbit
Riddles in the Dark
Misery by Gwen Stefani
Enough, enough of this suffering

Go back now and do two things. Watch the Hobbit movie where Bilbo slips past Gollum with the ring hiding him. Watch that scene and listen to the music. Seem familiar to the Moria scene, where Frodo confronts Gandalf about Gollum? Bilbo had the chance to take out Gollum and be rid of him forever, but it was his pity of him that kept him. Fast forward to Return of the King where Frodo gives into the ring's power at the Crack of Doom. Who was there to bite it off his finger and fall into the lava? Gollum! Predestination has never been a comfortable topic and I never like talking about it. "What if I wasn't chosen? What would my life be like?" If Bilbo had slain Gollum in his escape, that could've had serious repercussions for Middle Earth ... for Frodo ... for Sauron! Think of it another. Bilbo's Pity saved Middle Earth. Again, there's the destiny and fate motif and Tolkien used his faith, education and military service to write these stories for us. He introduced us to the word "eucatastrophe" as well. Look it up. Put this into the mix now.

2018 Goal: "Identity Rescue." With Identity Theft this year, this involves many things. Stop being in crowds of people that make you alone. Not only does this reflect on my own identity theft in October, but also with who I am as a person and the 2017 goal about resilience. Thanks fellow INFJs, Chris Johnson and Tim Fargo! 

God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Judas was destined to betray the Lord. Make your stomach churn and your mind boggle?  Mine too. God did the hardening. Jesus said to Judas, knowing he was His betrayer. "Hurry and do what you're going to do." Why? Explain it. I can't! Frodo, humbled by Gandalf's rebuke feels this, and sums up how I feel about things many times watching things in my life and with things that happen to others. Why did God allow this to happen or where was God in all this? Frodo says, "I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened." This speaks to the core of us and the pain we see in the world. Why does God allow such things to happen? Why did I go through this? To which Gandalf encourages, "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil." This is Romans 8:28 I think ... at least that was what I gathered from it. Frodo's eyes were opened at this very point to his purpose, his destiny, fate and mission ... his calling! "There are other forces of work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil..." then BAM. "...and whom he predestined, these he also called."

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according go his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom he predestined, these he also called; and whom he called, these he also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified."

The fate of Gollum
Return of the King
Crack of Doom

Frodo enters "glory" at the end of his story when he hitches a ride to the Undying Lands with the other Ringbearers. "...these he also glorified." Not sure if that fits, but in a way it does and makes me think, and hopefully anyone else reading. To me, Romans 8:28 sums up that Moria confrontation with Frodo and Gandalf. Bilbo's purpose, his own role with the Ring and Gollum's. Now go back to Tapestry. Remember Picard and his confrontation with Q. "I can't live out my days as that person. That man is bereft of passion... and imagination! That is not who I am!" The sad thing is that was Picard. This probably one of my favorite Q responses to that. "That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. He never led the away team on Milika III to save the Ambassador; or take charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed. And no one ever offered him a command. He learned to play it safe - and he never, ever, got noticed by anyone." Picard's life changed sometime before the series started and he took command of the Enterprise. We just don't know when and where. It may've been his time aboard the Stargazer where he initiated the Picard Maneuver to save his ship after the captain was killed. It may've been after the academy. Clearly, The Picard that took command of the Enterprise was not the same Picard that was willful in his academy days. I loved this closing line of Picard. It speaks to each of us and sums up the title of the episode.

"There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of. There were... loose threads - untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I... pulled on one of those threads - it'd unravel the tapestry of my life."

That's just life as it were for each of us. We can't change the past but we can learn from it and this resounds louder with God and His calling of us as believers. I had a nice discussion about this with my friend Jeff Korhorn. He suggested that "God opens our eyes to his love and truth." That's how we become saved, but right, why can't everyone be saved then? Those whom he foreknew. Does that imply favoritism of God? We're all given a choice, but why are many people's "eyes closed." Those whom he foreknew. I don't get it. I just don't. His ways are far above mine. His mind is higher than mine. I don't get it! Vessels of wrath. Vessels of mercy. Why are some eyes opened, why is there evil in the world. Ultimately, God works in the world to bring GLORY to him! He is a jealous God ... the righteous kind of jealous. He has every right to be. He created us! If you are reading this now and NOT a believer, PRAY, and ask God to open your eyes to his LOVE AND FORGIVENESS which was bought by the blood of Christ on the Cross! My eyes opened starting on September 13, 1992. I often go back to that day and the time after when I struggle in my faith. "God remember that day? Please remember it. I know I believed and trusted you. I followed you. You opened my eyes on that day!" That's often my prayer to him when I struggle with my faith. "...Go back to September 13, 1992, Lord!"

Some odd UFOness over Chicago!
Mom and Dad's Visit
River North, Chicago IL
July 22, 2017

"You matter! Until you multiply yourself times the speed of light squared, then you're energy."

The discussion of Predestination, our calling, fate and destiny may seem very UNEVENLY written in this blog, because I'm not God and I don't have an answer and I can't explain God's foreknowledge. It is something to be awed and revered though! May your eyes be open! He calls us all to repentance and we are given a choice to choose the sacrifice of His Son ... but he "foreknew" this beforehand. He's God. You can't argue with His mind! Does He choose for us? Do we choose? It's both here, but explain it? I can't. Genesis 3:15 is traditionally the first "clue" that mankind needed a Savior. There God foreknew that He would have to send His Son to die for us. He knew, but at the same time, we disobeyed shortly by committing the first sin in the Garden of Eden. He gave us a choice, but he foreknew the outcome. Explain it? I can't! Ha. The Pity of Bilbo saved Middle-Earth, not Frodo! Ok one more time, read it:

Picard: There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of. There were... loose threads - untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I... pulled on one of those threads - it'd unravel the tapestry of my life.

Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.”

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according go his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom he predestined, these he also called; and whom he called, these he also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified."

Rounding the Corner
Merchandise Mart Plaza
Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL
March 9, 2018

Back for Your Love (Ft. Giovanna) by Luque & Thiago
Gather all the time. Gather all the faith. Back for Your Love.

I have amazing friends. I only know my own life through my parents and my friends. I am awed by them and so thankful they are in my life. The few that are out there have been intricate to every waking moment. Going back to my roots even with Rich Trigg, I think about the predestination thing even more. "Those he foreknew..." I've told this story before but Rich's family and my family were friends before our births. My family helped Rich's family come over to the United States in the late 1800s just after my family arrived in the States. Little did we even know how that would impact both of us. "He also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son..." I attribute September 13, 1992 as the date I came to the Lord at the Gospel House Church in Walton Hills OH and, shortly after this, probably in the summer of 1993, I learned about our family connections at my Aunt's house in Hinckley OH. I stayed a summer there. It had to be 1993 because it was just around the time my Mom and Dad moved to Hinckley OH from Maple Heights OH. It was after the time I came to the Lord too. Also, for two years, I attended The Moody Bible Institute here in Chicago. This ties in with my own faith. Those times were 1994-1995. Then, in 1996 I moved to Wisconsin. Oddly, this topic ties in with my 2018 Goal of Location. Chicago! Purpose! Calling?

2018 Goal: "Location. Location" Do I move back to Waterfall Glen or stay in the city? The awful neighbors I once had are not a problem now. So question now; stay or leave? Thanks New Neighbor, Steve London, Keller-Williams Realty, Silver Property Group!

So, I think about the time how Rich was one person responsible leading me to Christ but also I think about how shortly after, I learned about our family connections even though my Dad, or anyone else in my Dad's family at the time knew. It took an old postcard from 1918 to make that connection between the Triggs and the Chathams ... actually Cheethams I think. The name got changed shortly after that. Rich has been "my family" since I was a kid but that "family" became more close after we both learned the truth of both our families and the roles they played. I've written about this previously, especially in a previous blog "A gust of August" in 2013, where I promoted Rich and his photography.

The beginnings of our families started in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It took a trip downstairs in my Aunt Gwen's basement in Hinckley OH in 1993 to make that connection. It's interesting how God works and you see amazing things when you step back and look. If my family hadn't helped Rich's family come over to the United States, where would that leave me, my friendship and even my commitment to Christ in 1992? Rich was instrumental in my journey to salvation in Christ. Where would that leave me? It's interesting how you see this and in this past month with the passing of Billy Graham, you can see a "spiritual lineage" and "spiritual family tree." The same can be said of Rich. He is on my spiritual family tree. He was there the day "my eyes were opened" to Christ's forgiveness and atonement of my sins. What would that be like if my family hadn't helped his move here? Interesting. Predestination. The Destination is There. Thanks, 2017.

Walking off alone
CTA Rockwell Brown Line Platform
Ravenswood, Chicago IL
March 17, 2018

Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on

How do I feel at this particular moment? So much can be said in just one song. Just like Whitesnake sang it, "down the street I only ever known." Lately, I've been seized with a lot of isolation and loneliness. This aspect of my life has always been a struggle for me and it's only gotten worse in the last year and a half. I thought the theme "Give Way" would be a turning point for me this year but, so far, it's only proving to be an isolated and disillusioned year at most. In the middle of March, I started feeling like I did in January and I reached out to the psychologist I've been talking to since then. Unfortunately, this isolation has carried over into my career life. This is my blog here and I'm allowed to express how I feel. I can't tell you how many times in the past year where I feel extremely excluded and isolated on a team. It's created extreme unhappiness. Yes, I used extreme twice there. I've put a lot of effort into a new career in the past year, not only physically and intellectually but emotionally as well. Work has never been an issue. It's group dynamic. Is it because I'm older than everyone else on my team? Or, simply, is it because I'm "last in." I've looked at my team and, just like last month, in Hollow Pursuits, I fail to "fit in" and fully appreciate the "group dynamic." So many times, I'm isolated which leaves me unhappy like I'm not allowed into the team. This is a real struggle.

I reached out to my supervisor regarding this and I'm hoping that things change because I really like the company I work for, the technology and mostly the social aspects of it. This past week was just awful and I finally expressed my unhappiness about it to my manager. I really hope that my feelings are taken into consideration because I like the work I do and the environment and technological platforms we have. I'm last in! All the setup and stuff that was created before was prior to my employment. I see this. It's not a problem obviously but it's hard to work past because I came in AFTER everything and everyone was in place. There isn't anything really new other than my project last Spring for "hybrid environment" and the "To Serenade A Rainbow" project. I've experienced a lot of discomfort and uncertainty as to where this leaves me and my own future. With recent promotions on our team, the uncomfortable uncertainty has built up and left me unhappy and, well, frustrated. The "refocus" of the team seemingly is putting me in an uncomfortable predicament.

A piece of the Berlin Wall
CTA Western Brown Line station
Lincoln Square, Chicago IL
January 27, 2018

I've reached out to the psychologist regarding this and the misfortunes of it. I have settled into a new career where I put a lot of effort into making work over the last year. How do I continue on but at the same time feel the discomfort I am now? While I'm extremely happy for the promotions on the team, this however leaves me with self-doubt and uncertainty. As of now, I expressed my feelings to my supervisor and he wants to sit down and discuss this with another manager in the week to come. I can only hope that some resolve is in the future.

Aside from the recent feelings of unhappiness, I've had to force myself to get out and do things I normally like doing like the photography. A couple friends I have told me that I should try something new.  I was supposed to go visit my Mom the weekend of her birthday, but I got the flu so I cancelled the trip to rest. Fortunately being sick was on planned PTO time off, but being sick I think was a mixture of recent events and stress. I did manage to get out somewhat this month to do some photography like the Chicago River Dyeing event. Also, I've been taking up a lot of my own "scratch cooking" at home as per Doctor's advice. As of now, I'm making own Chicken Broth for Vichyssoise. I also renewed my SSL Cert at home with GoDaddy on my webmail and website traffic. I think this year SSL encryption will be important for technology especially with GDPR compliance nearing on May 25 this year. More discussion on my photography, cooking and technical in the blog. So, right now, I am just hoping next week of work will be helpful in my career path.

Keep a balance
Work is work
Don't let that tip

My job is very important to me and I want to express here that I like my job, the work I'm doing and the technologies we dabble with at work. My friend Chris that I work with really wants me to make this work out for the good and he wants me to be happy. In fact, he's been most helpful trying to make sure I don't lose sight of that... whatever or wherever that might be. Recently, I cleaned up my Facebook Profile and removed anyone associated with work there. No, not to hide, but to limit my audience. I need to focus on the important things now. Career is very important. I need to keep sight on that in the current place I work at... or any future establishment. Actually recently, I've looked back at my life prior to IT. You'll read more about that in the Cooking section of this blog. I told a few people at work that I've been focusing more on WORK while I'm at work and not RELATIONSHIPS. Seeming as I'm going through a lot of isolation, that should keep the focus on the main reason I am at work... and that's work

Chinese New Year Parade 2018
I think the secret is out now.
Chinatown, Chicago IL
February 25, 2018

Frequency by Bielfield
I'm picking up your frequency...

...in a galaxy of a burning stars!!! Ok, I think the secret is out on this now. I find Asian women VERY attractive. I can't explain it but with recently setting up my eHarmony profile, my hope is maybe that would be part of my search in a future wife. Over the years, I've tried to find the right woman to spend the rest of my life. Where is she? Is she here in Chicago? Is she somewhere else? I keep thinking about my reasons for being here in Chicago with all that God has shown me but I just don't know what it is. I really have become disillusioned with all the hype. I've been talking to the psychologist once a week. Some ups but mainly a lot of downs. In all of the discussions we have, the one thing she (the psychologist) keeps going back to is eHarmony. Naturally intrigued and curious, she has told me that I need to pursue this and make it happen. I admitted to her that I've been putting this off each time I have the opportunity as far as subscribing to the full membership. I told her that I don't feel it's going to produce any results and just be a waste of my finances. Still, she has insisted I need to do it. I have the finances to afford it, so I suppose I should finally break down and try it to its fullest. I think there might be something to the psychologist continually redirecting the conversation to eHarmony and maybe it's something I need to put more effort into this year. Then I thought back to getting my taxes done last month:

"God is going to send you your wife. Not girlfriend. Wife. You just wait. You're both going to find each other broken."

Chinese Eloquence
Dragon Boat Racing
Chinatown, Chicago IL
June 27, 2015

In any effort, I picked "Love is out there" for one of my 2018 goals. X-Files Season 11 is coming to a close soon. Is the truth out there? Is love out there? I recently have updated my eHarmony profile to include cooking in there since over the past couple months, I've done a lot of cooking at home and a lot of that from scratch. I think it's important that men also know how to cook, do their own laundry, and cleaning. We live in an equal society. That means just what it means; equal! Men should know how to work in the kitchen and wash rooms. As a single guy living in Chicago, I maintain a clean apartment, and do my own cooking. Actually, with my own health issues, the "scratch cooking" has been important especially at my last doctor visit when he said I should start eating from scratch. I'll be sharing some of my recipes and concoctions later in the blog.

One year here in Chicago, I was dating a black woman and I worried how that might be perceived by my parents. I hesitated a couple times telling them about the woman I was dating until finally, I sent a picture of her to my Mom and Dad. The response back from both of them was encouraging and re-assuring. "Wow, she is really beautiful!" That was both of their reactions. I breathed a sigh of relief, so the next piece of advice I got from them was this. "Why did you worry about who you were dating and how that might be perceived by us? If you both are happy and love each other, that's what matters! We want you both to be happy and in love with each other." That nearly brought me to tears. You see, my parents don't see color or race when it comes to dating and I'm thankful for that. Unfortunately, that relationship did not last and it's too bad that the inside beauty wasn't there like the outside beauty! That matters too in matters of love and the heart! When a woman doesn't enjoy kids or animals, that should be a warning sign. So, knowing both my parents' take on dating, I'm hoping that will broaden my search for Miss Right. I still don't know if she's even here in Chicago. Maybe Wisconsin? I lived there once before (and failed). If the last 20 years have taught me, it's about correcting failure in my life, so maybe she's in Wisconsin. Maybe, that's my next stop on life's train!

The train to life. Where do I go?
CTA Grand/State Red Line subway tunnel
Streeterville, Chicago IL
March 17, 2018

2018 Goal: "Stop setting a goal to find love. It's out there." It's taken 11 seasons of X-Files for Mulder and Scully to get the truth and they still don't have it all. I will be signing up for the full membership on eHarmony but I need to stop making it goal. This almost sounds like a conundrum of a goal, but I know how I see it in my head lol.

I typically spend my leisure time...

"I try to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.  I enjoy walking around the city  and capturing moments as they unfold with my camera - every block has something different to offer.  I also like to hang out with friends, explore this steel jungle of Chicago, play games, watch movies, blog, and work on computer projects. I live in a city of restaurants but I do my own cooking for eating healthier. I occasionally will eat out."

This is a section of my eHarmony profile which I recently updated to include cooking for a healthier lifestyle. Yes, I hope my future wife appreciates a man that can do his own cooking, cleaning and laundry. I learned a lot from my own mother and a father that always encouraged me and my brothers to help Mom out on all occasions. You learn a whole lot from that, and the three of us can do our own cooking, cleaning and laundry. That was just how we were raised. Mom taught us Mom things, and Dad taught us Dad things.

A beautiful smile speaks volumes. Woof!
Chinese New Year Parade 2018
Chinatown, Chicago IL
February 25, 2018

The most important thing I am looking for in a person...

"I'm a guy who has old fashioned values. So, if you're reading this and you understand what that means, you can understand the type of guy I am and the values I cling to. I have been dieting and exercising for a year now and I plan on keeping up with it. I like to go for walks or hiking. I drink socially and I do not smoke nor do I like being around smokers. I've done some traveling last year. I went to England. It was my first time outside the US. I don't do drugs. I'd like to meet a woman with the same values and outlook in life."

So this sums up pretty much how I was raised. I was raised in a strict household. Growing up, my parents were not my friends, they were my PARENTS! We live in a society where parents are friends with their kids, not teaching values, discipline and responsibility, things parents should teach their kids. My parents were not friends. That means they didn't act like a friend; they acted like a mother and a father. Love was tough, and we learned respect! We were taught to be respectful and courteous and we were disciplined if we were bad. The core here is that I had parents that taught the three of us values, the old-fashioned kind. They taught us responsibility, courtesy, love, long-suffering, and it was not easy and it was strict. We were punished as kids. Our Internet was outside. We didn't have gadgets or cellphones. We had two phones in the house, one in the kitchen and a "private" phone in my folks' bedroom which we were allowed to use to talk to girlfriends when we reached that age. We had Colecovision, but we played it mostly when it was raining outside. Summers were spent at Stafford Public Pool every year for swimming, or camping with the family. I look back at my childhood and I'm grateful and blessed to have the parents I did, especially in a world of gadget-implanted millennials. There is a time to look down at your gadgets but there is also a time to look up and pay attention. Focus on other people has been lost as we look down at our phones every minute of the day. There are only two eyes on your forehead. Use them wisely. We have not evolved to a point where there are an extra two at the top of our head. LOOK UP and PAY ATTENTION!

The most influential person in my life has been...

"This is a tough answer, because there are quite of few people in my life who have influenced me.  I can name both my parents, God, several teachers and even some supervisors at places of employment.  I think, most recently, the most influential person was a former boss I had.  He gave me advice how to succeed in my career path.  Out of all, I think my Grandma (God rest her soul).  'If there is something you want in life and you set your mind to it, it's yours!'"

This is how the sky looked at sunset the day I was born
Mercury, the messenger planet in Libra
Oak Island, Southport NC
October 13, 1973

Lucky Star by Madonna
Star light, star bright...

At home, I found this software for stargazing. Actually, the first place I was introduced to this software was on September 23, 2017, yeah you guessed it, the Revelation 12 sign, the end of the world and Day 1973 for me here in Chicago. The example picture is just around sunset on October 13, 1973 from Wilmington NC. I was born that day around 9:30pm, but according to my Mom, it must've been close to this time when she went into labor around sunset. It's interesting because Mercury, the messenger planet is near Libra, I guess that's letting my Mom that I was arriving soon lol. Also, I found it interesting but on the Hebrew Calendar, the day of my birth would be Tishrei 17, 5734, during the Feast of Tabernacles. Tishrei is the first month on the Hebrew Calendar. The software is called Stellarium and you can download it to your computer. I downloaded it recently, because again, I was analyzing night sky data when I came across some pretty irrefutable arguments regarding the day of Jesus' birthday. Guess what? It's not December 25, but you probably know that and the whole Roman thing. So, do some scientific research and using the Bible, the month and day Jesus was probably born is September 11, 3BC. 3BC because calendars didn't align properly and that's our fault. Years are off by 2 years and we don't count 0. So, yeah, September 11, 3BC which would make sense because it's also the Jewish Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah. This article was helpful understanding the 24 Jewish priest courses throughout the year. In the Bible, Luke says "Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived;Baby John the Baptist and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.’ Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary."

John the Baptist was half a year older than Jesus. He announced His coming. So Elizabeth's six month would've been December-ish. Remember, this is the Jewish calendar here which is lunar based, not solar based. That's when the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her she was child, who is Christ, the Lord! If you take account from then for normal gestation, this means Christ was probably born in September. Why September 11? We only see the unfortunate tragedy which occurred on the brisk Tuesday morning in 2001. Well, that's what takes us back to September 23, 2017 and what the sky looked like at sunrise that day. That's why I was intrigued with the software because I wanted to see September 11, 3BC for myself. It IS Revelation 12! The setup is exactly as John said it would be in the Book of Revelation, depicting the birth of Christ. Why is this important? To me, I've always been love with the night sky, but there is more to this. Here is what the sky looked like possibly at the time of Christ's birth on September 11, 3BC.

Let the heaven's rejoice
A Savior is born
Revelation 12:1-5
Bethlehem, Judea
September 11, 3BC

Current Astrology has skewed the real meaning of the constellations and the Zodiac. Look at that picture. What's the first thing that catches your eye? It's a virgin! Astrologists use it for profit and personal ego. You see, the Gospel of the Lord is in the skies! God tells a story of the ages in the stars in the sky, starting with, you guessed it, the Virgin or Virgo. Here is what the sky looked like (supposedly) at the time of the Lord's birth. Note here the "star" Jupiter. This planet has been regarded as the "Star of Bethlehem" and let's thank science again for explaining how a star apparently stops in the sky like mentioned in the Bible as the Wise Men watched. It's called planetary retrograde and it occurred shortly after September 11 as the Wise Men were journeying to see the Messiah. You know though what's important here? The Bible is, not this software or lining up the sky or the planets. The Bible already said this before we would make connections with science like this. If you download the software, you can toggle the days and watch Jupiter (by the way in Leo, or heavily known as the Lion, of the Tribe of Judah). It adorns the virgin's head in the sky. Virgo is Mary, the Lion is Judah. Note Venus here too.

2018 Goal: "Can't. Can't? Can." The power of the Cross. Dive deeper in faith. 2017 version of this goal smacked me in the face this past summer. Calm the storms in my life, Lord. 2017 was filled with a lot of anxiety and disbelief. This goal came into effect in a Small Group while diving into the book of Romans in October. Thanks Zac Coleman, Michael Lawrence and Jeff Korhorn!

Apparently, in some older star charts, Libra is part of Scorpio and this is hinted by Libra's two stars named "Northern claw" and "Southern claw." Scorpio would follow after Libra on the Zodiac. The Wise Men came from Babylonia and they are highly regarded for mapping out our sky today with the star names and the constellations. In fact one of constellations I find intriguing is Aries or the Lamb (on the Hebrew Mazzaroth). One of its principal stars is "Al Sheratan" which means BRUISED! Now, if that doesn't point you back to the Bible and open your eyes, what more will it take??? Wounded Lamb, and so that brings us April 3, 33 AD (The Day of the Cross) and what the sky looked then on a BLOOD MOON day. If you were to look up at noon on the day of the crucifixion, you would "see" the Sun occulting "Al Sheratan" in Aries, the LAMB. The Lamb was bruised for our inquities. Unfortunately, I can't get the time to load of the Crucifixion and the software crashes. However, if you try the software yourself, put Jerusalem in the city, and the date April 3, 33 AD where Nisan 14 occurs that year. There was a blood moon that day after the crucifixion. Hmmm? Remember what Peter said on the Day of Pentecost after the Ascension?

Acts 2:16-21 King James Version (KJV)
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The Last Days officially started on that first Pentecost after the Ascension of Christ! Peter was talking about the Blood Moon that appeared after Christ's crucifixion. The sun failed that day. Again, if you need more proof that Jesus paid for your sins, outside the Bible, here it is in a blood moon! Science can show us now that it did in fact occur! Also, if you push the time back to noon, when the Sun is overhead, look where the Sun is at! Yep, you guessed it Al Sheratan (Bruised) in Aries. Genesis 3:15. Here is another example how modern astrology and Greek myths destroyed a perfectly written story to our Gospel in the Stars. Aries is the Lamb! The name of the stars follow the story of Christ being the Lamb of God, and climax the "slain" for our sins. I would also like to point out how Greek myths have also destroyed the Big Dipper. Dubhe, one of the principal stars in the Big Dipper means FLOCK. The Big Dipper is not a bear. Bears don't have tails. Rather, the Big Dipper implies a FLOCK as denoted by the constellation star names. I also like to see the Arabic and Hebrew names to the stars, since the Wise Men of Babylonia  (even those that journeyed to see the birth of Christ) were accurate and kept the proper names and meanings to the stars. Aries is also not the precedence of the zodiac. Virgo is!

I was intrigued with all this because I like the night sky but I found it helpful for my faith. It's important to remember here the Bible is the central part of faith; however, seeing the Gospel in the Stars also seems pretty clear now too, and one can see how contemporary astrology has destroyed its real truths. "The heavens declare the wonder of the Lord his handiwork!" I also found this interesting with my faith too because originally when I was writing fantasy stories from old D&D adventures I played in the 80s, I recalled the calendar system I came up with. On that calendar, September 1 was the beginning of the Elvish Year. It aligned with Nissan 1, which oddly resembles the Hebrew month Nisan which aligns in March/April. I used the same constellations in my mythical realm as well and I always saw Virgo (Virgin) as the precedence of the Zodiac, just as the Hebrew Mazzaroth. So, actually September 1, 1989 was the actual FIRST Nissan 1, in my writings lol. I'm not going to calculate the reckoning now. 1989 was the year when I created the "Realm of Arden" originally. Later, in 1997, I started writing about those. That link was a link to my website. Actually the D&D campaigns began in June 1989.

The journey continues upward!
CTA Irving Park Brown Line platform
North Center, Chicago IL
March 9, 2018

Another thing I found interesting was my own timeline in relation to the proposed date of Christ's birth. Take a look at this...

December 2BC - Sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Septemer 11, 3BC - Christ is born. Glory to God in the Highest! Born unto you is a King who is Christ, the Lord. Jewish Feast of Trumpets. The shofar is blown. New Moon. Tishrei 1.

September 12, 2016 - I was hired on at VelocityEHS. This has been my career and my job. It's the place where I work.

September 13, 1992 (Sunday) - My 'eyes are opened' to Christ's forgiveness and washing clean of my sins. Rich Trigg helped me make this commitment at the Gospel House in Walton Hills OH. One month before my traditional birthday.

September 14, 2001 - This day doesn't belong to me. It's a miracle of sorts. It belongs to my dear, friend Karen Sobolewski, and this is her Heart Day, the day she was declared dead after complications from PPCM. She is highly regarded a loving friend, and my heart always goes to her and her family. She has a near-death experience!

October 13, 1973 - My own physical birth date. Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. Waning Full Moon. Tishrei 17, 5734

I think I see reasons now. God is perfect! He times everything precisely, yes even my Day 1973 day which followed the sky as seen on September 11, 3BC. It's all about bringing glory to God. Even the calendar seems to do that. Day 1973 was written last September here. So, where does this take me to now? Friday, March 23, 2018? That's today. I've battled with my faith a lot over the years and mostly "my heart attitude." Yeah, that's where God looks! Deep, deep down. Words mean nothing to him unless yeah they're are followed up with actions. I mean the deepest of commitment to Christ! Not just thinking it or saying it, but truly letting that truth change my heart. That is what I pray often and, in prayer, I often mention to God that I have committed myself to you and I go back to that September 13 day where things changed for me. I look at ministry and the heart attitude.

I struggle with some sin and a lot of times, it beats me down and makes me feel unworthy before God! It really does! Why do I do the things I shouldn't do and things not the things I should. Then, I'm reminded of Romans 7 (The Do-das). Paul reminds us about the struggle of sin and the law. Christ paid for all my sins, past, present and future. This ties in with the theme of Tapestry this month. We don't look for signs. God already provided the greatest sign to us: Christ, the Lord! "Those whom he foreknew," and "whosoever believeth on Him should not be condemned" (John 3:16). With 2018 Give Way, I need to remember I'm both.

2018 Give Way! I'm a "foreknown whosoever" in God's eyes.

I've been talking to God more about sin in my life and repentance. Serving! I've also been presented with some ideas for this. Actually, I'm "happy" to say sin in my life has greatly troubled me and how God views that. The "Power of the Cross" is the greatest force we know for eternal life but, that does not mean we should go on sinning. God calls us to repentance. That's where I'm at now and yes I do have a sin thorn in my side. I've only opened up to a few trusted Christian friends about this, and especially last August and September! 2017 The Destination is There was a year of anxiety with faith, sin and obedience to Christ! 2017 The Destination is There turned into a tale of The Predestination is There for this month and being reminded where I stand in God's heavenly kingdom. My hope is heaven. My hope is Christ will remember me and not turn away from me, saying I never knew you! Some nights, the thought of death quickens me! It's real. It's part of life. Where do you go after that? We determine that on the basis of what we did to God's only begotten Son. That's where the heart attitude comes to play here! Heart attitude!  Worshiping God with my heart! Jesus always went beyond the outer self of a person. He targeted the person's heart! ALWAYS!

This steel jungle has tension! You know, as I'm sitting here typing this up, I'm reminded that deeply myself. Jesus always targeted one's heart! Most times, I don't know mine. This city has made me angry and bitter! Is that what Jesus wants out of a servant! It goes back to why am I here ala November 15 and September 23? Why am I here? Honestly, the last couple times I left the Chicago city limits here, I paid attention but it's like a weight just lifts off my shoulders. The anger diminishes! One thing I've talked to the psychologist about that. I have a Christian friend who is from Chicago that admitted the same thing when I told him about how I feel. I mentioned to the psychologist that I tend to absorb from people. Does that mean I am absorbing all that from other people? Is that even a valid excuse? I mean from the start of my commute in the morning on the Brown Line to the end of the day, I feel all that around me! So, again, why am I here in Chicago ala November 15 and September 23 style? Is my next step on life's train to Wisconsin? That's where I failed after Chicago technically? Is there damage needing repaired there? The last time I was in Wisconsin was January 2013 when I stood on the very spot where I believed time froze in my life which was indeed November 15, 1996. I keep mentioning this because it's not by accident how this day has recycled in my life. I wrote about that in my October 2017 blog and used my trip in Avebury, Wiltshire UK to illustrate that.

Waning Full Moon rising
The moon looks round here
Albany Park, Chicago IL
March 4, 2018

Another thing I've been praying about is deep devotion to a deity not some alien force out there. This might seem crass, but with all the alien hype on media, it questions your faith and deep commitment to a Living God as the Bible teaches us. Look at Earth. It is perfectly positioned in the universe with the zodiac in perfect harmony of God's story through the ages ala Gospel in the Stars. It sets perfectly from the sun. Ok, see the handiwork of God here? It goes beyond anything we know. There has to be a grand designer a grand architect. Every time, we increase our knowledge of our universe, we also increase the majesty, wonder and glory of God.

While curious about the actual birth date of Christ (just for no particular reason), I stumbled across this guy, Rob Skiba, on the Internet. He was one advocate to the September 11 theory of many. Looking more into this guy, he even had supporting information about the Nephilim, the giants that inhabited the Earth before the flood and even used this to explain the Alien conspiracy. Wow! It really helped put things into perspective, including a lot of how ancient myths started on this planet due to an "advanced society" before the Flood. Sounds great. I prayed about this and thanked God for directing me to this, because it helped me grasp my faith in Him. This was all great and I was thankful for God for directing me to this guy because it helped explain the UFOs and un-explained alien theories.

It really helps your belief UNTIL he advocates the EARTH BEING FLAT! With how convincing his faith was, this bothered me. I see through science why the EARTH IS ROUND. Here is another approach. We know by looking through the telescope that planets are out there and they are spherical. Why would the Earth be the only celestial body that's flat? So, I guess if anything I take some of what Rob said, but not all of it. I cannot subscribe to a flat Earth. It just goes against what I've SEEN in science and with my own eyes! The Earth is a sphere. Ships disappear over the horizon, bottom first!!! The Sun sets and rises in a fashion that subscribes to a spherical Earth! A Sun and Moon that circles above a flat Earth is not possible with your own eyes and explanation to ascension and declination. Even the stars! Yeah, go back to Genesis. Day one, light! Science has taught us that the Bible is indeed TRUE. We need to remember this when we read the Bible. Bible truth is is also plenary truth. You have to read it ALL in context; you can't take one verse or a couple verses out of the Bible and build a truth around it. The Bible is absolute PLENARY TRUTH not LITERAL TRUTH. All of it is ONE Truth together ... not apart or in pieces.

First time walking on Wells Street Bridge
Since January
River North, Chicago IL
March 9, 2018

Free by Ali Fox
Set me free, I can't breathe. 

Let me be. Your past is haunting me. This year has started out roughly. So far this year has not been an uppity-brand. Unlike 2017 The Destination is There, this year has not been forthcoming. What's worse is when you have to force yourself to do things you LIKE TO DO like photography. Last year, I had no problem breaking out the camera and doing photography. This year, a different story. I haven't had any interest in any fun activities I like including blogging. Oddly, this blog is turning into a long one by now. If you're still reading, kudos! Actually, the few times I did photography this month, it was because I wanted to join a friend on events. I hate to say I had to force myself but the "Chinese New Year Parade" and the "Chicago River Dyeing" events, I had to push myself to do them. I did them mainly for a friend since he'd never done the events before and wanted to experience it with a friend. Maybe that's a good thing and true "giving way" in a friendship. Talking to the psychologist about this, she said this. "You are sad, and depressed." I won't lie but it was fun to do those things with my friend, and it got me out of my apartment. My friend knew that I was interested in Chinese women and prodded me out that day to watch the parade. Also, I was able to step out onto Wells Street Bridge again after avoiding it since January. So, I got some nice pictures from it too.

Woof! Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, year of the Woof! On Sunday, February 25, we both met at Kimball early to get on the train towards Chinatown. After meeting up at the station and getting coffee at the Dunkin Donuts there, we boarded and transferred at Belmont to a Red Line Train. Tom had never seen the parade and he's a Chicago native. Knowing that I've seen the parade each year, he asked me to go. Actually, I used the word prodded because I wasn't up to it. I did this for him.

A familiar daily place.
Kimball...

Well hello there. Dunk your donuts! It's Kimball!
Good morning sir!
Albany Park, Chicago IL
February 25, 2018


We did a Belmont Transfer...

Waiting for our Red Line
Heading to Chinatown/Cermak
Belmont Station
Lakeview, Chicago IL
February 25, 2018

Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
It's the Year of the Dog!

We arrived in Chinatown to meet with a meetup group, the "Chicago Culture and Arts Club" led by Toni. Yeah, you'll notice here a year without "1001 things to see in Chicago before you die." Read about that here in Release if you want to know why. Actually, exactly a year before at the first meetup I planned with 1001 Things, that is when I stepped down from hosting it after I was the only member out of 20 that showed up for the meetup. That's where I drew the line, but the declination of the group activity continued after that when the new owner and his clique took over. I bet you no one really remembers what I contributed to the success of that group anymore!

Anyhow, after Tom and I met with the gang in "New Chinatown" by the plaza, we walked over near the corner of Confucius and Wentworth to watch the parade. In the first video clip near the top of this looonnnggg blog, you'll see some footage of the parade if you watch the video. Tom and I had a great time at the parade, and I'll share here some of my favorite pictures. I like the one photo in this section which has me piggybacking my camera onto someone's cellphone btw. One of the best views of the parades! Enjoy!
















Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson
Toasters will Dance! 

Chicago River Dyeing 2018. After the Chinese New Year Parade, I also did the Chicago River Dyeing event on March 17th with Tom. For this, I told Tom we need to meet at Kimball VERY early, like 6:30am. So, we did and hopped on a train. I told him that you want to be first to a rail along the river, let's get there early. This was the first year I did not drink Guinness at Lizzie McNeill's either. DIET! After the event, we did train back to Rockwell and eat at Rockwell Neighborhood Grill for brunch! Last year, I didn't do this. I SLEPT IN! Ha. 2013-2016, I participated in the events. So, what I'll do here in my blog is post pictures starting with those years. They are my most favorable and memorable Chicago events here through the years. The pictures will end with this years. Enjoy! 2016 was the only year I attended the parade as well. 2017, I used a work break to take pictures along the Chicago River since I work in the Merchandise Mart. Looking at these photos, I can see how my photography has improved over the years too!

Here we go...

2013 with "Venture Around" meetup group and Kurt Poppenhouse!
Lizzie McNeill's near Columbus Bridge
March 16, 2013...







2014 With Dena from Cleveland!
March 15, 2014...




2015 with "1001 things to see in Chicago before you die."
Lizzie McNeill's and Columbus Bridge
March 14, 2015...







2016 with "1001 things to see in Chicago before you die!"
Lizzie McNeill's and Columbus Bridge
March 12, 2016...








2017, I used a work break to get these photos
Wells Street Bridge and inside the Merchandise Mart
March 21, 2017...







In these last few, note the stages of Lake Effect Snow because it's the only time in Chicago, I experienced it here. Being raised in Cleveland OH, THERE, they have actual Lake Effect Snow each year and there they fasten their "snowbelts" every year for it. Chicago does not get Lake Effect Snow normally, in spite of what the weather people say on the news here in Chicago! They have no friggin idea what they're talking about!

Finally this year with Tom...
ON Columbus Bridge this year NOT the River Walk below
NBC Chicago was standing behind us on the bridge.
March 17, 2018














Mood Slime! Toasters were dancing to Jackie Wilson on those days!!! I hope yours were too. It was a River of slime...

Space Invaders by Uncle Vic
We fight to survive. Running to stay alive. Nowhere to hide.

Accolades for Crystal Caliburn. Jeff Korhorn, you'll never guess what I found on the Internet and started playing again on my Windows 10 PC? Remember those nights at Moody where we stayed up all night playing this...


Ha! Fun times. I just thought I'd post that little tribute here! This game took me back to those days in Culbertson Hall better known as Culby-4 when we would play this thing all night. "Oh, just one more game..." Yeah, right. Oh, look, there's the sun rising. This reminded me of that scene in Newsradio (S3 • E4 Arcade) where Dave plays Stargate Defender all night and realizes he's been playing the game all night when he looks up and the sun is rising! That was THIS game to us in Culby-4 in 1994.

Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
I could show you what you want to see

You just GoDaddy. This year, I renewed my SSL Certificate for my website to secure my webmail/website traffic. In previous years, I did SSL with Duo and Rapid SSL. This year, I didn't want to spend too much money on a Wildcard Cert as I did in previous years, so I did the more cost-effective route and purchased a SAN Cert with GoDaddy for 2 years. It saved me money. I have 5 SANs I can use with the cert so that's PLENTY. I got tired of seeing "your site is not secure" every time I opened webmail.shekinya.net or when I opened www.shekinya.net lol. So, I finally got around to doing the cert. I use a Frontend Apache Reverse Proxy for my sites. That server redirects traffic to my Exchange Server, webserver and application server. Yes, the servers do indeed set in my apartment here in Albany Park. They are not hosted. I host them... here at home.

Shekinya.net is SSL Secured!

I'm hoping this year that I can update my Virtual Environment to a newer version of VMWare, preferably vCenter 6.5! And, I would like to build out a new Exchange Server as well. I need to setup my RAS again. The one I had setup on my Windows Server 2012 R2 server broke recently. So, I have drive space on my virtual environment to build out another RAS server with more than one NIC to be used for VPN. I am still on Exchange Server 2010 but that's ok for now. I also want to implement some kind of backup solution for my VMs. I'm just happy now that my web traffic is secure once again. ESET and Office 365 have also been renewed at home too! I can rest a little easier now with this with all the cyber attacking and threats in the latest year!!! Yes, I used this section to PLUG and PROMOTE my website!

I made this! The ERC Kitchen
Ten Thirteen Productions lol.
Ribeye Steak with Meat Gravy.
Albany Park, Chicago IL
March 10, 2018


The Only Way is Up by Otis Clay
Bein' on the bottom line, sure ain't no fun

2018 Give Way! Eat healthier. Ok, so let me clarify this picture here. No, this was not food at a restaurant here in Chicago. I made this! Ha. Two people on my Instagram saw this and wanted to know which restaurant I ate this at. They were surprised to know that I made it, lol. So, with the new year, I've been trying to eat better. The last couple doctor visits have not been good visits and the doctor suggested cooking from scratch and avoiding the restaurants here in Chicago. I told him what I've been eating and he frowned on that especially considering my own health issues. So, since the last visit in February, I've gone back to my cooking roots. This is where I'm glad I had a Mom to teach me how to cook and I'm also thankful for those Home Ec classes in School. Ha. So, with the weekend of the the doctor visit, I had taken my car into Continental Honda in Countryside IL for a regular maintenance check-up. After the maintenance there, I pulled into the old Wal-Mart on Joliet Road and filled up the grocery basket with perishables and other food items. That was on February 24. When I got home, I surfed the net for some good recipes for BBQ sauce, meat/chicken marinades, salad dressing and some shortcuts to better cooking without processed sugary stuff. Luckily, honey is natural and sweet flavored substitute to white sugar. Yeah, I used brown sugar in my BBQ sauce but only to help glaze and caramelize better on the chicken.

After doing some cooking on my own again recently, this took me right back to the "beginning" in a way. What I mean is that before I found my career path in IT, I was a cook. When I was making the soup this weekend, it made me think about my job in Wisconsin in 1996 and how I failed there. Also, recently with praying and asking God how to serve Him, the cooking thing re-presented itself to me. That's how I was serving God before! I was cooking. That's what I was doing in Wisconsin in 1996. I failed there. Do I give up IT and return this? Do I incorporate this into my life? Should I be volunteering in a soup kitchen? It just got the wheels turning in my head. 2018 Give Way! Could this be what I am missing with my service to the Lord? Good, ol' fashioned cooking? This certainly made me think about my life again, how I ended back in Brunswick OH after Wisconsin and, yes, even the November 15th thing! Cooking was my life before IT. Cooking was one way I was serving the Lord! This certainly might be what I'm missing here!

I made this! The ERC Kitchen!
Ten Thirteen Productions lol.
Vichyssoise, French cream of leek soup.
Albany Park, Chicago IL
March 23, 2018

I'm devoting this space in the blog for a couple of recipes, especially this weekend of March 23, 2018. I have the flu and I made my first attempt of Vichyssoise. It's a French, cream of leek soup and it's served cold. I did all the prep work beforehand like my own chicken broth, heavy cream, and veggie prepping. I would like to think the flavor is how it should be. I've never had Vichyssoise before. As I was cooking the soup hot over the stove, I was tasting it. It tasted like "cream of broccoli" soup a little with an onion-y flavor to it. Also, when making my chicken broth, I added "turmeric." After reading a lot of the health benefits to turmeric, it seemed appropriate to add with the broth. It is best used with vegetable dishes, so that would include chicken broth.

2018 Goal: "To thine own self be true." 2017 was a year of doctors and health issues. Not only continue with a healthy lifestyle of exercise, dieting, weight loss, but becoming a better coach to my health issues and autoimmune disease. Thanks Dr Kenneth Gong and Dr Jang-Mi Johnson!

Steps in making my soup!
The left adjacent is the finished product.

I'm sharing my recipe of the soup here. I improvised a recipe I found online. Plus, instead of traditional whole fat milk for my heavy cream, I used Rice Milk. Instead of butter, I used Promise Butter. In my chicken broth, I used chicken wing bones and backs, carrots, white onions, leek greens (left over from the leek prep of the soup), turmeric, sea salt, pepper. The broth boiled so the veggies were tender, then simmered for 4 hours on the stove. I avoided using premade, processed broth and cream. As with the Ribeye Steak meal picture, everything was made from scratch! Recipe for Vichyssoise. The ERC Kitchen.

INGREDIENTS Nutrition (3 servings):

4 tablespoons butter
4 leeks, white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 medium potato, cut into small cubes
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
4 fresh chives, finely chopped
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt and fresh pepper

DIRECTIONS:

• In a large, heavy bottom pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add the leeks and sweat for 5 minutes, making sure they do not take on any color.

• Add potatoes and cook for a minute or two, stirring a few times.

• Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

• Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook on low heat, gently simmering for 35 minutes, or until the leeks and potatoes are very soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

• Slowly, and in SMALL batches, puree the soup at a high speed in the blender. Do this bit by bit, never filling the blender too high. Make sure the benders lid is on, and lean on the top when you turn on. If not the burn you will get is awful, and a most frequent accident in even professional kitchens.

• Return soup to the cooking pot and whisk in cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Return to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes. If you want to thin soup out, add more broth, if needed.

• Transfer soup to the mixing bowl an chill over the ice bath, stirring occasionally. When soup is at Room temperature, and only at room temperature, cover in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator to cool.

• Check seasoning, sprinkle with chives and serve in chilled bowls.
This soup DOES get better over time. Keep covered with plastic, not foil in the refrigerator, or it will pick up other tastes.

NOTES: I used the green leafy parts of the leek for my broth. I improvised the stock to cream ratio. Also when soup was nearing completion, I added a little more broth to the soup. It was too thick.

CHICKEN BROTH (prep):

• Use old chicken wing bones and skins. Two Carrots, Leek greens, 1 half of white onion. Turmeric, sea salt, pepper, fresh parsley.

• Bring to a boil for 15 minutes, then simmer for 4 hours.

• Let cool. Ladle out the cooked veggies. Strain with a colander.

HEAVY CREAM (prep):

• The ratio I used was 2/3 part milk to 1/3 part butter.

• I used Rice Milk and Promise Butter.

• Melt down butter in microwave. Whisk milk in thoroughly.

• Refrigerate. When using the cream for the soup, blend the cream thoroughly before adding into the soup preparation. The butter and the milk separate.

Magic Soup? This was the recipe I followed for my soup. So, now I'm wondering here. This weekend was my traditional "Cleveland Visit" to see my Mom for her birthday on March 24th. I got sick though so I had to use my planned PTO to stay home and "be sick." Fortunately, it coincided with planned PTO, but what a BUMMER and a WASTE of PTO!!!! I wanted to share some of my recipes with her and as I'm typing now, I feel better but it's already Friday night here. I didn't feel well enough to travel to Cleveland so I just wasted my planned PTO to recover. Yeah, somewhat disappointing, but this is when I made the soup. Although, not being hungry last night, I started the soup prepping. While I was making the soup, the aroma wafted throughout my apartment and you know what? The aroma cleared my head and sinuses! Tonight was the actual sampling of the soup. I refrigerated the soup over night since this soup is supposed to be eaten cold. I don't know what in the soup helped me, but my head cleared up and my sinuses opened up. Leeks, or turmeric? Whatever it was, it helped me against the flu symptoms. Plus, I was hungry today. Yesterday, I wasn't. I sampled the soup tonight. I never had Vichyssoise before. So the taste was somewhat like "Cream of Broccoli" soup but with more of an onion-y flavor. That's best described. The turmeric has health benefits to it as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. With all the pain I've been in with my joints, I've started supplementing this into my diet now. This might've what helped against my flu symptoms! Homemade chicken broth also has health benefits as well. Store bought varieties are loaded with sodium and preservatives. So these items and this being a homemade soup might've been a healthy cure to being sick with the flu this weekend!

I tried a couple other things like BBQ Chicken breasts, making my own marinades and my own recipe for red potatoes. In future blogs, I'll post more recipes. I just realized that my blog is getting toooooo long...

Chicago River Dyeing 2018
Sun trying to peek through
Streeterville, Chicago IL
March 17, 2018

Christ of Hope by Michelle Tumes
May the Christ of Hope embrace you evermore

A lot of emphasis of this blog has been on God, predestination, and the woven Tapestry of our lives. This past month on February 21 saw the passing of a servant of the Lord, Billy Graham! This is a tremendous loss! Also, on March 14, 2018 Stephen Hawking passed away. So I made this analysis on my Facebook page; who got most of the attention? Stephen Hawking. Who got little attention? Billy Graham. Now look at this from the afterlife! I truly believe ... fully ... that the heaven's rejoiced and angels were celebrating the arrival of Billy Graham into the "pearly gates." Who got that attention? Billy Graham. I don't know Stephen Hawking's heart. It's unfortunate that his life only demonstrated a world void of God, in spite of his contribution to theoretical physics. Who got the attention after his passing? I don't know!!! I doubt the heaven's were rejoicing though! The picture I used here, I attributed to Billy Graham's entrance into heaven. It was the photo I first thought of, even though I took it last year one day after work.

On February 21, we remember a servant of the Lord who God used to bring thousands of people to Him (RIP Billy Graham). It made me think my own life and my friend, Richard Trigg. It made me go back and think of my own spiritual lineage with Rich, and how our two families were linked together even before our births, even unbeknownst to our parents or grandparents even. It took one single postcard from 1918 to make that connection! I grew up in a Lutheran Church with my folks and, yes, I was exposed to faith and religion there. My folks encouraged us to follow God. When you are a kid, you don't question God's existence. You know! I went through catechism, communion and the lot, but you know what? I was still missing something. Yeah, following God is important, but I wasn't SEEKING God. I remember once watching a science program on PBS and I plainly remember my Dad pulling me aside and asking me if I believed Jesus died for my sins. I must've been 10 or 11. I said yes, but still, even at a young age, I didn't get it. 

Billy Graham Portal
Wells Street Bridge
River North, Chicago IL
August 14, 2017

Crack the Sky by Mylon & Broken Heart
Billy Graham has entered Heaven!

We switched churches when I was in High School. Still the same for me. Follow God, but I wasn't seeking Him. Little did I know then what the difference was. Well, enter Rich. We were friends since grade school. We did the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts thing and we were friends almost immediately. It just happened. I was actually introduced to Rich through another grade school friend, Chris! I watched Rich's life and his faith. 1992 roles around. I graduate High School. I still was good friends with Rich. Later that year, I knew immediately then what I was missing. Rich was dating someone that was going to The Gospel House Church & Evangelistic Center in Walton Hills OH. I was invited to go to church with them on September 13, 1992. Immediately, I knew what I was missing THIS WHOLE TIME ever since first going to church. I was missing a personal relationship with God through Christ. I was missing the gift of Grace.

Little after that would I recall the private conversation with my Dad that one day about asking Jesus for forgiveness of my sins. It clicked at what he meant. GOD'S WORD DOES NOT RETURN TO HIM VOID (Isaiah 55:11). That was immediately what I thought when I made that connection and telling my Dad yes. Soon after that, both Rich and I learned the whole truth about our two families and immigrating to the United States. I stayed one summer at my Aunt's house in Hinckley OH. Downstairs in the basement were old family artifacts. My eyes were instantly drawn to a postcard dated 1918 about the time our last name changed. The postcard was about a family member helping out and corresponding to a friend back in England. I had asked my Aunt about it and she said it was a relative of ours helping a family immigrate and find work in the United States. The post card was signed John Trigg!

Leaving for the Day
CTA Merchandise Mart Platform
River North, Chicago IL
March 9, 2018

Sing Aloud by Newsboys
You feel His power and the revelation flow

I showed this to my friend Rich. He was astounded by the last name but didn't know who it was. The postcard was definitely written in the style of the time. Soon, Rich's Dad looked at it and recognized the handwriting. "Where did you get this?" It was addressed to my Great, great Uncle. "THIS IS MY GRANDFATHER!" Rich's Dad exclaimed. Both Rich and I stared stupefied at each other. Rich helped me find Christ! I just find it amazing how God uses families and people. If it weren't for my family helping Rich's family to the US, I may've never been blessed for receiving Christ like that. On Sunday September 13, 1992, one month before my birthday, I knelt at an altar in Walton Hills while Bill Buhrows prayed over me.

Chicago! Fast forward! November 15 has played an important day for me with Chicago and failure; however, April 29. 2012 plays an even stranger start. That was the day I moved back here. I often look back at that day now and wonder why it had to be that day. The point? Fast forward to September 23, 2017. It was my 1973 day in Chicago. It was the day doomsayers were saying was the end of the world, a month after the eclipse. It also had a very peculiar celestial alignment in the heavens (Revelation 12). No, I don't believe in astrology or looking for signs, but it's hard not to notice how ominous that day was and how hyped up it was. 1973 was the year I was born; it wasn't about an end, it was about a birth. I look at that day and I've prayed about what it all means. I remember nights of endless prayer about that day and WHY! I knew after that day that again it was a BLESSING! Not a sign, a BLESSING! Could it be a way to encourage? I just don't know.

So to sum this all up in a statement: Jesus died for your sins on a cross more than 2000 years ago. It was full payment of every sin you and I have committed. He washed them clean! He did this so you could be set free and not endure the sting of death. We must believe. The relationship is personal. He gives us EACH a choice. It's your choice to say YAY to this or NAY. Open your heart. The invitation is for anyone. That was the same message Rev. Billy Graham shared with thousands! Remember one thing he said, "'I've read the last page of the Bible, it's all going to turn out all right."

Main Entrance to the Mart
Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL
March 9, 2018

Only Time by Enya
September 11, where the story starts

I was really encouraged to read a couple articles about the "Star of Bethlehem" and what it was, and how scientific research is marking September 11, 3BC as the ACTUAL birthday of Christ with backing from the Bible even to the point of Jupiter's "retrograde motion" as written in the Bible as the "star stopping." The same celestial alignment described in Revelation 12:1-5, which re-occurred last September 23. The one article goes on to describe the "retrograde motion" aka "star stopping" on September 14, 3BC. That means the wise men watching the sky saw this event.

What's even more amazing is Friday April 3, 33AD (Nisan 14) and its celestial events as well. Sun being darkened, and moon turning to blood corresponding to times that Christ died for our sins. There is SCIENCE to confirm the events! The zodiac was not created for ASTROLOGY! It was to herald the life of Christ! What's even more amazing is Daniel's prophecy about the "anointed one being cut off" gives the exact date as April 3, 33AD (accounting for the solar year and such)


If you know me and the night sky, imagine that feeling! Some references:

What does science say about the darkness during the Crucifixion?
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/what-does-science-say-about-the-darkness-during-the-crucifixion

When was Jesus born?
http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/when-was-jesus-born

Jupiter’s interesting behavior may explain the kingly aspect of the Star. 
http://www.bethlehemstar.com/starry-da…/the-birth-of-a-king/

Star of Bethlehem may have been caused by movement of planet Jupiter, scientist claims
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/8211389/Star-of-Bethlehem-may-have-been-caused-by-movement-of-planet-Jupiter-scientist-claims.html

Those Whom He Foreknew He Predestined
https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/those-whom-he-foreknew-he-predestined


Ok all, that is all I'm putting into this blog! I hope you enjoyed reading... if you did... if et all in pieces. This was was amazingly long blog!

NOTEWORTHY OF WORTHY NOTES:



» March 24: The Host camps in the Desolation of Morannon, the Black Gates. Frodo and Sam make their last journey to the foot of Mount Doom. They begin ascending the side. Sam teaches us the true meaning of Friendship, bearing each other's burdens. ONE OF THE BEST SCENES OF THIS MOVIE. "I can carry you!" A special day this occurs on since it's my Mom's birthday, values my Mom taught me as a kid.


Time Portal to Chicago!
Mom at the Bean!
Millennium Park, Chicago IL
July 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Mom! March 24 is a very special birthday for an amazing lady in my life!!! I love you Mom and a very Happy Birthday!!! You are one amazing mom. I’m luckier than the wealthiest lottery winner to have you as my mother. Thank you for teaching me love, tenderness, long-suffering, how to cook, clean, do laundry, fold clothes. Thank you for being with Dad; I'm ever so thankful to be raised in household where you accepted us who we are, loved us unconditionally, and even encouraged us to explore happiness and success in life, dating and careers. I'm thankful that you taught us not to see color or race in people, but to see a human being. Happy birthday! I'm feeling a little better today, but still resting. Love you. xxoo

I used this photo of the Bean to capture the remembrance of that wonderful day I had with my folks in Chicago, even remembering the tearful departure at the end.

You know, my mother really and truly deserves this attention! I relate to how she feels many times and each year I do this because she needs to know she is loved and appreciated if not from her sons. This is my mother. I'm proud of her and she deserves this. Over the years, I've just been unhappy with extended family. I've learned who my family is and unfortunately, on a special day like this, it will go overlooked by many. She needs to know that she is loved! She has worked hard her life to provide for a family, for her kids. It's sad to see a family crumble over the years. If anyone remembers her special day today, thank you! I am sure she greatly appreciates this. Without her, I would not know love, long-suffering, patience, and all those things that are part of life. Love you Mom!


Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte
Work it all the time. Jump in the saddle.

Quit celebrating this day in March! This is a stupid 'Murican holiday! It's March 14th. Europeans categorize their dates with day then month. Pi is an irrational number. March is 1/4th way through the year. It doesn't measure a circumference. It's the third month on the Gregorian Calendar. Not every country on Earth uses March as the third month. Not every country observes the Gregorian Calendar. It's just a stupid holiday! You can't equate month/days of the year to the circumference of a circle! This day drives me nuts and is a pet peeve. Stop celebrating it!!! I'm not a maths expert but this day is totally and irrefutably IRRATIONAL! It's just another dumb 'Murican invention.



Parents want school officials 'held responsible' after daughter kills herself

"March 21, 2018, FLORIDA. The parents of a 12-year-old girl who took her own life after they say she was severely bullied by peers, and even adults, at her Florida middle school are calling for school officials to "be held responsible, ultimately, for what they've allowed."

"She had all the love in the world when she came home," Shane Green said of his late daughter, Gabbie Green. "But the days that she went to school ... she would be isolated and manipulated and demoralized."

On Jan. 10 of this year, while her parents thought she was getting ready for church, Gabbie Green hanged herself in her closet..."

I found this news very sad! It made me think about the times I thought about suicide and how I overcame in spite of the overwhelming isolation I went through.. quite recently. My heart just SUNK when I read this. She was only 12 and this was the only way out for her. I am very against bullying and going back to my mother and her birthday wish here. We were never taught to look at other people with despise or maliciousness like this.

This story was very upsetting to read. I never approve of bullying most especially if teachers and students are in on it, just because someone is different! It was sad because many of us have been there like her. She was only 12 years old! I think to the times I was in that dark place like her. Dang!

Ok, until next time... thanks for reading! The main theme of this blog was about Tapestry and how each of our lives are woven together to form an image. We each have our own. There were ups and downs in this blog. One thing is for sure is I'm a "foreknown whosoever." That is the journey I've taken on whatever train of life I'm on! What about you?



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