|JULY - 2003
Tuesday, July 1st, 2003
I am heading for Alabama.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
Well it is Wednesday evening and I have made it back from Birmingham. It was a long drive down there and a long drive back. Being alone in the car helps me think though. It rained most of the way down so it took about 6 1/2 hours to get there. Coming back, however, was not as long and I made it in about 5 1/2 hours! So not bad.
While in Birmingham I had dinner with Kristy and her boyfriend (soon to be husband) Jason. We had a lot of fun talking and visiting. Jason works for the Housing Authority. He has been working on a large project to help rebuild the area that was completely devastated by the 1998 F5 tornado. It was really interesting listening to everything that they are doing. I was especially interested in hearing about how they are building the new homes with tornado proof closets. Jason is going to take me on a tour of the new development when I return down there next Friday.
This morning I went to get my hair cut (real exciting) and then stopped by the local coin store and bought some nice Morgan Dollars. Morgan Silver Dollars are my favorite coins. I have no idea why. I love the history of coinage in America. My dad collected coins so I guess that is why I like to do the same. I had fun at the coin store. David also collects coins! So we have something in common there.
I then went to my meeting with Jim Henderson (Jim works for the DEA and police in Birmingham) this meeting did not go very well. I think he thinks that I have more information to give him. It was three years ago. What am I supposed to remember. Half the people that I knew are dead or strung out somewhere. That is the life of the party scene. One day everyone is alive and well and the next...well let's just say it isn't the best place to be. I am thankful to have survived that time in my life. Lot of bad mistakes. Lessons learned.
The meeting only last 15 minutes. So that pretty much sums that up.
So, there is not much to say on the subject other than we will continue to move forward, in faith and in good spirits that this is all going to work out. I know in my heart that it will.
I am hopeful. I mean what's
the worst thing they can do to me? They didn't give me what I have inside
of me and they certainly can't take it away! It isn't the victory
that is important but rather how you handle the struggle. It is the
struggle and the fight that you will remember. It is the trials in life
that make you who you are. This is what is important.
I am so thankful that I am able to be home with my family and friends. I am thankful that I can walk the streets of Metropolis again without the fear of someone bothering me. I am thankful that I have a TREMENDOUS support system that has helped me in the past and is continuing to help me through these difficult days! I am blessed - nothing less. I can't complain about anything.
Sometimes I think that I am broken but then I realize that everyone has problems in life. Everyone has done something that they wished they wouldn't have done. Everyone has made mistakes. I went through a difficult period in my life when I lost a lot of friends to suicide and unexpected death. I cracked under the pressure. I lost sleep. I became a different person. I shocked those around me. Those who had higher expectations of me. Those who trusted me. Those who cared about me. I hurt a lot of people when I went off the "deep end". But that is life. There is nothing I can change about that now. At least I am alive to tell the story. I am fortunate to be blessed with a family that loves me and friends that care.
This journey will be a healing process. It won't happen overnight. Problems just don't go away - especially when you haven't dealt with them. I need to confront my demons. I need to confront that which causes me pain. I need to bring closure to my past. And so I will. It may take years but I know I can make it through the storms that might come my way.
In the end, if I can just be a better person because of all of this, then I will be happy.
I am leaving for St. Louis tomorrow (Thursday) and I am going to celebrate the Fourth of July up there, along with my friends Doug and Erick. They are flying down from Toronto. I am looking forward to celebrating my FREEDOM!
It was this time last year that I saw my family for the first time in 3 years! Norman came with me. It was a bit sketchy crossing the border but we managed. We flew into St Louis and then to Central Illinois. It was an incredible trip. My emotions. I think everyone was just glad to be reunited again. The kids have grown up. My grandmother had gotten older. My mother as well. We have all aged through this.
So since I will be in St Louis, Missouri, I may or may not be posting much over the next couple of days! Check back though.
I hope that everyone has a
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYONE!!!!!!! CELEBRATE FREEDOM!!!!!
Thursday, July 3rd, 2003
Well I am posting from the laptop from St Louis, Missouri.
Anyway, let me see here - I HAVE ARRIVED IN ST LOUIS, MISSOURI! It was this time last year that Norman and I flew into St. Louis, Missouri and then headed for my sisters in Central Illinois! What a GREAT Fourth of July that was!
It was a good drive up here, about 2 hours, traffic was not too bad until I got close to the city. Looks like more people are leaving than are coming into the city.
I am really looking forward to seeing my friends from Toronto, Doug and Erick.
I hope they have an awesome fireworks display tonight and tomorrow night, the display is supposed to be on the riverfront.
There is also a fair underway. So there is a lot to see and do.
Ok well enough of this, I am going out - It is a BEAUTIFUL day! I guess everyone can tell that I am excited. Everything in life is exciting right now. Freedom will do that for a person!
UPDATE - MIDNIGHT UPDATE
The fireworks tonight in St Louis were AWESOME! I am STILL SMILING - I said WOW all the way back to the hotel. I wish I could upload some photographs that were as BEAUTIFUL as what my eyes saw! I did take a TON of photos and some of them turned out okay. I LOVE fireworks and everything they represent on the Fourth of July! There is just something about the brilliant colors exploding above your head in the night sky. I can't explain my love for fireworks. Those who get it, get it. Those who don't, don't.
I sat on the steps of the Court House and directly in front of me was the St. Louis Arch. I could see the entire Arch and each firework that went off was brilliant it would light up the steel sides of the towering structure, illuminating it with shades of red, blue, green, and gold. The crowd was oooing and awing with each explosion. Occasionally, there would be a long stream of brilliant white light that would shoot high above the Arch and then a second or two of silence followed by a magnificent flowering of golden shooting stars that would twinkle and crackle, covering the sky and wrapping itself around the entire breadth of the Arch. I could hear the kids around me laughing and clapping in total awe of what they were seeing!
I can remember July 4th of 2000, in Acapulco, Mexico, after I fled the United States, watching the fireworks on CNN in Washington D.C. I watched them with tears in my eyes thinking about how much I wished I could be back in the U.S.A. Believing that I might never be able to return safely. Not knowing what the future held for me.
I can remember July 4th of 2002 (my first trip into the United States under an a friends name...this is the one time I crossed into the U.S. while I thought my ordeal was over. It ended up we were wrong) when I sat with my family and watched the fireworks in Central Illinois. I thought I would NEVER be able to do that! I always told my friends in Toronto that I wish I could see fireworks on my soil in the U.S. I even wrote about it a year earlier dreaming of that day that I thought would never come. But it did! Never think that dreams can't come true because they can and do. You have to believe. You have to keep the faith. You have to see that which is not in front of you today but rather what can be tomorrow.
Now I am here in St. Louis, on the steps of their Court House, celebrating MY FREEDOM! My heart is filled with JOY and my spirits are high, as I think about how FAR I have come in the last 12 months, with the help of all of my friends in Toronto and all of my family in America! WHAT A JOURNEY THIS PAST YEAR HAS BEEN!
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR HELPING ME GET TO THIS POINT IN MY LIFE! :) I am forever indebted to you.
Next year when we CELEBRATE my freedom and all of this COURT mess is BEHIND US (and it will be behind us) I want to CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY in Washington D.C. and see their HUGE fireworks display!
Ok well that is all for tonight :) WOW! It was an exciting day.
JULY 4TH INDEPENDENCE DAY 2003
Well, it has been a GREAT morning so far! I went to the parade which was on Washington Street. The parade was very patriotic :) LOTS of flags! Everywhere you looked people were wearing red, white, and blue clothing, hats, buttons, bandanas, and carrying flags. It was great! I will post a few pictures later this weekend.
I am waiting on Doug and Erick to arrive. Their plane is supposed to land at 1 p.m. Hopefully everything went smoothly for them at the airport and they will be here soon.
Cheetah is decked out in red, white, and blue beads and is looking festive!
Doug, Erick, and myself walked around the fairgrounds down by the St Louis Arch. It was VERY hot...about 100 degrees! A thunderstorm popped up right over the city and we were soaked! But it was fun at least it cooled us off some. It is the soaking of a thunderstorm while walking around that you remember later. We laughed...what else could you do?
I went to the fireworks tonight with Doug and Erick. They were once again awesome! There were a lot more people out tonight than there was last night.
Saturday, July 5th, 2003
Drove back to Paducah and got into Massac County around 2:30 p.m. I took Doug and Erick to see some of the tornado damage. Then we headed for Paducah. I did take them on a brief tour of Metropolis showing them the Superman Statue!
I have some photos now from St. Louis
Sunday, July 6th 2003
Weekend is going really well :) Doug and Erick seem to be enjoying themselves down here in Paducah and Metropolis. We went to eat with Mariah, Grandmother and Mother this afternoon - umm late breakfast. After that we headed to Metropolis to go Bowling. OK, so I am sure Doug and Erick are not enjoying this as much as they would some exotic beach. But still.
Here is a photo or two :)
After that we went down to Superman Square - to see the big Superman Statue.
Ok that is all for now :) It is VERY VERY HOT down here! Almost 100 again today!
Monday, July 7th 2003
If someone could just turn down the temperature about 15 degrees???? That would be nice! The Heat Index today was 100-105 degrees! That is HOT. The sun was out all day, so it felt like a furnace. But I guess that is ok - since it is summer.
Erick left today and headed back to Toronto. He got on the plane at 10 a.m. Hopefully he had a good time while he was down here in southern Illinois and western Kentucky. It was his first time in the area.
Doug and I ran some errands and then I took him on a small tour of Metropolis. I showed him where the Teen Center was that I used to work at (MCTUFF), along with the Nazarene Church where I taught Sunday School and helped with the Children's Church. I also took him to see Fort Massac State Park.
I believe Danny's Computer will arrive tomorrow, if so we might take it to him and set it all up.
Otherwise, that is it for now. I am getting a bit anxious waiting to here from Brett (my attorney) concerning what might happen down in Alabama. I should know more this week. Court is on Friday. I will of course keep everyone updated as I get word.
Tuesday, July 8th 2003
I will keep it brief for today :) Not much going on. The computer should be here tomorrow.
I went to look for a gym and I think I found one. So that is good. I can start working out again. That will help relieve some of my stress.
Otherwise, it is hot hot hot - again today. Was hoping for rain but nothing so far. Perhaps tomorrow we will get some bigger storms - it does appear possible, looking at the weather map.
We ran around most of the early afternoon, went to look for a cell phone antenna and picked up a printer for Danny's computer. We also picked up some software for the computer.
Doug and I are having dinner with my mother this evening. Not sure where we are going. Maybe BBQ.
Nothing new from Brett today, hopefully we will hear something over the next few days. I will keep everyone posted!
That is about it for now.
I found this picture and it kind of describes how I feel right now
Mother, Grandmother, Doug and I went out to eat at Patti's for dinner. I had the 2" thick Pork Chops and so did Doug! :) It was good. I didn't even have room for dessert! I know that is a shocker. Oh well perhaps next time I can get the mile high pie.
Grandmother, on the other hand, did take home some apple pie. I swear it weighed about 2 pounds in the container they put it in. I guess that will be her lunch tomorrow :)
Mother had a good time although she was a bit red. I think she got burnt at Kentucky Lake on Monday. Next time, hopefully, she will remember the sunscreen.
Here are a few photos from dinner
Oh and here is the dessert that I missed out on - that is 8 YES 8 inches HIGH!!!!!!
Ok, well I am TIRED! Long day tomorrow.
Doug will be leaving on a plane at 10 a.m. :( I am sort of sad about that. Doug and I have grown close over the years. We are like brothers. He has helped me through some tremendous storms and I have tried to help him as well. I don't think he will ever know the influence he has had on my life. The strength that he has given to me. The endless ocean of feelings that we share. I will miss him when he returns home.
Wednesday, July 9th 2003
Well, Doug left today :( sorry to see him go. We had a great time though while he was here, along with Erick. He got to see all the tourist attractions in the area! I would imagine the bowling was the best part of his trip! :) Although, I would imagine my mother would say the dinners were the best part! :)
Anyway, after I dropped Doug off at the airport I had to go get drug tested my color came up today. I am color code blue which means when I call this number if the color is blue I have to get tested. Just part of the process, I suppose. I am okay with that. Don't really have a choice. It is what it is.
I then went to the gym. I have missed being able to go work out. It is a nice stress reliever. I was there about 30 minutes. Just long enough to get a good workout.
No computer today - have no idea where it is. I guess I will have to try to track it down. They said it would be here on Tuesday, then Wednesday. Perhaps it got lost in the mail!
Under the breaking news section
Just got a phone call from Doug and David and apparently my house, in Toronto, was broken into last night. They took several things, nothing that can't be replaced. THANKFULLY Erick was not in the house at the time as he had lost his key and had to stay at his parents. See everything really does happen for a reason! Anyway - lots of action up there tonight as they have people there replacing the back door window and the police are there taking a report.
Anyway, enough on the drama. Everyone is ok so that is all that really matters.
I did get my Red Cross CPR cards in the mail today - click below to see them (you know the little things in life are important to me right now - everything is a big deal it seems). I guess it would be since I have been away from the real world for so long.
Here are some more photos from when Doug and Erick went out to eat with my mother and I at Whalers Catch in Paducah
Doug attacking my mother with crab legs (I think my mother has a crush on Doug)
I leave for Birmingham, Alabama tomorrow morning. This will be a difficult trip, emotionally these trips tend to drain me. However, I will be fine and this will just bring us one step closer to closure.
I will update in the morning before I leave.
Thursday, July 10th 2003
Leaving for Birmingham, Alabama this morning.
It will be a 5-6 hour drive down there. I hope to arrive around 2 pm or so.
I will hopefully have some news about the case by Thursday Night when I post, if not then I certainly hope to know more by Friday Morning. I won't be able to post until Friday Evening.
I will try to post later tonight though and let everyone know what I have found out, if anything.
Working on some tornado stuff right now then I am leaving. It is 9 a.m.
Thursday Afternoon - I have arrived in Birmingham around 2:30 pm. BIG thunderstorm in the city, it was like hitting a wall of water with lots of lightning and some wind. Some of the streets were flooded. It was a lot of fun - since I like weather! Although I have to admit it was difficult driving, couldn't see very far in front of me. So I had to drive slow.
Otherwise the trip went well and I made it safely to the city.
Stopping by the coin shop to check out some Morgan Dollars! My favorite hobby, next to weather, is coin collecting.
Anyway, I am waiting on David to arrive from Toronto. We are supposed to be going to eat with Kristy and her boyfriend (soon to be husband) tonight at 8:30. Then court is at 8:30 in the morning.
Sounds like things are busy in Toronto. Doug and Erick are meeting with the security people and learning how to use the alarm system. Hopefully we won't have any more problems with people breaking into the house.
Friday, July 11th, 2003
6:30 a.m. - Tired, getting ready for court. I have to be at my attorneys office by 8 a.m. At court we will enter a plea of not guilty. Hopefully they will then tell us the next court date. I have a meeting with Brett (my attorney) immediately after court. We will be discussing the status of the case and what to expect over the next 4-8 weeks.
I am anxious to get to the next stage of all of this.
After my meeting with Brett I am going on a tour of where the F5 tornado hit Birmingham several years ago. Kristy's boyfriend Jason is going to show me how much the have built the area back up. I also will get a chance to see the new tornado shelters that they are now putting in the houses. They are supposed to be tornado proof.
SATURDAY, JULY 12th, 2003
WOW - what a day! There is so much to say - I don't even know where to begin with all of this.
I am deeply and profoundly humbled by everything that has happened in the past few months and I never take for granted my freedom, my family or my friends. I know that I have been given chances in life that I didn't earn or deserve. I have always tried my best to be true to myself - to be me. I have also always tried to treat people like I want to be treated.
It was a very difficult decision two weeks ago to basically walk away from the deal that we had on the table because I would not agree to turn other people in or set people up. It was difficult not because I am afraid to go to jail it was difficult because I knew what that would do to my family and friends.
I told my friend Bryen, in Toronto, that if you always do the right thing everything will work out in the end. Even if you can not see how that is possible - it will work out. Just do the right thing.
I was reminded today of a song that I like. It is called "Everyday".
When I look around I cannot take for granted Things given to me the favor I've been handed All the miracles and wonders I have witnessed I do not guess - I know that I am truly blessed I must keep the faith, no matter what I'm seeing 'Cuz that's the key unlocking or receiving The impossible taking place in my life The greatest steps ascending through those higher heights I got my health, I got my strength, I'm in my right mind I still have breath so I got hope that love is on my side And where I go I know I need not look behind me He keeps me safe and this is something he does everyday
I have tried to always do the right thing through all of this. Not everyone would agree with me on some of the choices I have made over the past three years but I know in my heart I always tried to do what was best for me and those around me. As difficult as that was at times.
Today was yet another reminder that the things that we can only dream about can happen and do happen.
Let me try to say everything in an orderly fashion, so perhaps you can all get a sense of what happened down in Birmingham.
I arrived at Brett's office and we discussed briefly what to expect from the District Attorney and the Judge.
When we arrived at the Court House we entered into the Court Room and David and I sat down. Brett went up to talk with Jim Neill (the Junior District Attorney). After about 15 minutes Brett came back out and asked David and I to follow him into a closed conference room. Brett told me that the District Attorney was making us an offer of 10 years, 3 years of which would be mandatory and we would have the possibility of a probation hearing.
Upon hearing this news I was thinking that this did not sound like a very good deal. I was discouraged by what Brett was saying and kept thinking "what if...what if...what if...this whole thing went to court and it ended up that we could win because of problems with the search warrant". I knew that I would always wonder and question myself if I took a plea bargain deal. However, it was too much of a gamble, as to take this route would mean having a hostile D.A. that most likely would not work with us. So I never thought it would be possible. It would not be worth the risk. But on the other hand I knew in my heart that the still small voice was telling me to go for it. To take the gamble. That everything would work out in my favor. This was going to be a pivotal moment in my life. Do I dare I take the risk. Risk everything for one outcome that seemed improbable to others?
Anyway, Brett told David and I the news but then said he was not finished talking with Jim Neill and the Judge. Brett wanted to talk with them both and try to explain the situation better as to what happened that led up to my arrest. Brett also wanted to tell them that there were definitely problems with the search warrant and the case.
So Brett left David and I for about 20 minutes. David and I sat there and talked about the court case for a couple of minutes then spent the rest of the time talking about Josh, the 8 year old boy in Waterloo that is sick (he has a tumor) and also talking about tornado projects we are working on in Metropolis. This seemed to get us in a better space. Otherwise one might melt from the pressure at hand.
Brett finally came back after awhile, checked in with us, told us he was talking with the judge and Jim Neill. Brett said that he had given Jim Neill and the judge the letters of reference from my friends and also the information about the teddy bear projects and other things from my past that I have done to help people. Brett was trying to show these people that I was not a bad person but rather a person that got caught up in the wrong crowd at a low point in my life. That I made a lot of mistakes, but was trying to do the right thing now.
David and I told Brett we were fine and nobody was in a hurry - what else did we have to do! This is the most important thing in my life right now. David and I were pretty busy working on other things. :) So I was not worried about how long it was taking.
Brett then comes back and gives us news that none of us expected, probably the best news we could ever expect to hear. A number of times over the past few months I have mentioned to Doug, David and my mother and others that "wouldn't it be wild if in the end this case could be dismissed because of problems with the search warrant". David had hoped the same thing. WELL - Brett came back and said that in the midst of trying to negotiate a better deal he got a phone call and had to leave the room. This left the D.A. and the judge in the room alone to talk. When Brett came back they were no longer talking to Brett about working/negotiating a deal they started talking about taking this case to court and asking for a Suppression Hearing. The judge basically was telling Brett he should move for a suppression. A suppression hearing basically means Brett is asking the court to throw out the case based on deficiencies in the search warrant.
So what I only wished could happen is now basically being "forced" upon us. If the suppression doesn't work out there is still a deal on the table that would not include jail. So this is likely a WIN/WIN situation. There could not possibly be a better thing happen than what happened today.
So we are going to court. This is big news and probably the most exciting news that we could possibly get. Normally going to court would not be a good thing, however, the fact that the judge is encouraging this is most likely a good sign. Although, we should not read into it, I am VERY happy by this news. Brett also was happy about this news - everyone was happy.
I am extremely optimistic that Brett will be able to make a significant case for suppression.
There is the possibility that this whole case will simply disappear. There is also the possibility that is my case is thrown out then Rick's case will also be thrown out.
I am excited, I am optimistic, I am hopeful, I am encouraged.
We are now ONE step away from seeing this brought to conclusion.
After leaving court we then met with Jason and he took us on a tour of the area that has been rebuilt after the big 1998 tornado that hit Birmingham. He showed us the community center that is "tornado proof". It was built to withstand tornadic winds of over 200 miles per hour. It has 16 inch thick concrete walls and steel shutters on the windows. It was a nice building!
Jason then took us to show us one of the houses they are building (one of over 80) that has a built in "safe room". The safe room basically is a tornado shelter inside a house. It has 12 inch thick concrete walls...and a double door that closes behind you. These safe rooms they are putting in the houses will definitely save lives if another tornado hits that area.
Jason then took me back to the area where some of the churches were demolished by the tornado. One area in particular that I remembered seeing back in 1998. This area was completely leveled by the F5 tornado. There was nothing left but scraps of metal and little debris where houses used to be. Now it has all been rebuilt. It was strange seeing it now...after having walked through that area back in '98. You could still see where the tornado went through though. The trees that were left were all ragged and most were just completely gone.
While we were touring these areas my cell phone rang and it was someone from the Fick family in Massac County. They called me concerning their situation and what has happened or is not happening with the insurance companies and FEMA. They seem to be one of those people that have fallen through the cracks in the system. We talked for awhile then I called her back when we got to Bretts Office. She explained to me what was happening on their fish farm and the difficulties they have had with cleaning out the ponds. Wayne who runs the farm was severely injured in the storm and his wife has had cancer and has been getting radiation treatment. So neither has really been able to get much done. A difficult situation for them to say the least.
I have known the Fick family for years I went to church with some of them and used to run around some with their son. I told Wayne's wife that I would get back with her on Monday or Tuesday and see what we could do to help.
David and I then went to the coin shop and David bought me some BEAUTIFUL Rainbow Morgan Dollars for me to remember this day by. They will definitely be a nice addition to my coin collection.
While David was looking at coins I spoke with Julie Kohn on the phone. She said that Danny bought some really nice PlayMobil toys with the gift certificate we gave him from the Learning Railroad. I could hear Danny in the background yelling that he got a 4 story castle and it sounded like he was very happy with it all. I told Julie that the computer has arrived and is sitting in my apartment in Paducah. She told me that Danny is taking Drama classes in Paducah at the Market House Theatre. I told her I live right there next to it. So I am going to be meeting with her on Monday and taking Danny his computer. Danny was in the background telling her that he loves to play Sim City so we will have to see about getting that put on the computer.
Julie asked me a bit about my story, why I was down here in Birmingham and everything. I thought for a minute then I told her the Readers Digest Version of the story. I told her about how I used to run the youth center and everything that happened back in '97 and '98 and the difficult time that I went through. I explained to her that I went through a very dark time in my life where I felt lost and found myself in trouble with drugs and alcohol. I then told her how I got out of that dark time, how I got counseling, how I surrounded myself with an incredible network of friends who helped me get back on track. I told her that I have had a long and at times scary journey but that I never felt like God had left me and I never felt alone. I told her that everything, at least in my life, has happened for a reason. And that people come into our lives like angels, they are there for awhile and then they are gone. But that in the end everything works out or that something bad can be turned into something good. In the end Julie told me that she was glad that I told her my story, she needed to hear all of that. She told me I would have to tell her the WHOLE story some day.
I thought about "the story" and how I have always said that one day this story is going to help people, a story of survival, a beautiful sadness story, where beautiful things happened in the midst of great sadness. As is true with this tornado, there are stories of heroes and survivors, of angels in the midst of great sadness.
Today this story helped someone, even the short version of this story. There is a reason for everything that has happened I am not ashamed of my story. I am not ashamed of anything I have done. I am proud of the decisions I have made over the past year, I am proud of the people that have surrounded me, of where God has placed me. I am where I am supposed to be. I know that in my heart. Yes, I made mistakes in the past but those mistakes are just that - in the past.
It was an incredible day. In the midst of court, where Brett was discussing my future, my "deal", David and I are discussing the lives of other people, their needs and how we play a part in those needs. In the midst of Jason showing us a community rebuilt after the Birmingham F5 tornado my phone is ringing from someone trying to figure out how to rebuild their lives from the Massac County Tornado. And things like all of that is what reminds me that when I made the decision to turn myself in that it was the right decision. Not only for me but for those people around me. It was the most unselfish act I could possibly do for my family. I am thankful that I took these steps.
I wish everyone could see the whole painting - as it is impossible to put all of this into words. It never ceases to amaze me how there is obviously a greater plan than any of us could ever imagine.
Thank you Brett and Kristy for all of the hard work that you have put into this case so far. Thank you David, Norman, and Doug. So many people to thank.
Thank you to all of my incredible friends back in Toronto that have truly helped changed my life!
Thank you to my whole family for their forgiveness that they have shown to me over the past year and for their encouragement and support that they give me on a daily basis. My friends, John and others that are always praying for me. I do not know what God's purpose in the universe is. I know that something had to create all of this.
It is past midnight and I am sooooooo tired :) As you can imagine, it was a long day! But WOW what a day it was!
Some Photos From The Trip
We went tornado chasing on the way home Interesting clouds in a thunderstorm that formed ahead of us...David took a few pictures.
Saturday, July 12th, 2003
I dreamed of Freedom for so long. I dreamed of the day that I could walk down the streets of Metropolis without fearing someone would bother me. I dreamed of the day I could be back with my family and friends laughing and talking. I dreamed of the day I could dance again in my own country. I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed
And then one day it all came true, those dreams, those things that I only imagined - they happened - all of them.
Walking down the street in Paducah today I realized that there would come a day that I would look back on all of this in great wonder. There will come a day when I will be sitting somewhere, watching the sun setting on the western horizon, and as the sun disappears and explodes into hues of orange and red, I will gaze up at the clouds and I will look back on all of this and I will sigh and then - I will smile. I will smile at all of these memories and I figure a tear will roll down my cheek. A tear not of sadness but of happiness as I think about how blessed I truly am.
Dreams are journeys. They take
us into places that we may never go. Some people dream but never get to
realize those dreams. I am fortunate as my dreams and my journey have
But there are days when those walls find themselves weakened. And I find myself in my old world. Where my angels cry, where the warrior becomes a child, where the man standing becomes the man kneeling.
Today was one of those days where one minute you are watching a sunset, one of those sunsets where the light streaks in all directions, arching outward in a fan of orange yellow and purple. Where the clouds become like shadows, outlined in white. And as you sit there watching you just take a breathe and you think about how wonderful your world is. Then the next minute you find yourself on the phone, listening to news that makes you weak. There is not a word in the English language that describes how one feels when they hear that a child dies - let alone two. It is only knowing that they go straight into the arms of the waiting Angels that you can find comfort. I cried today, when I heard about Chase and Hailee, because what else can you do but cry
Now I have to figure out the words that you say to a dad who just lost his two children. I don't believe you need words to comfort as much as you do the ability to just listen or be there.
It has been a long time since I have seen Isaac, the father, but I am sure it will be just like yesterday in a moment like this.
The contrast of emotions today, where you lift your head and you tighter your shoulders and you gather your strength and you look upward to the sky and then you nod your head slightly in a gesture that only you can understand.
Eating with my mother, grandmother and David today at Olive Garden, I found myself looking at my grandma. I found myself wondering what she sees through those eyes of hers. How she sees this world, her world, my world. If she realizes how her youth has now passed her by, if she sees those wrinkles, those beauty marks of age, on her face. If she realizes how much I love her how much I missed her over the past few years. I wonder if she knows about my journey. I wonder how much she knows but never speaks, how much she hears but acts likes she doesn't. When you get her age, can you see the angels around you? Can you hear them singing, laughing, crying? Does God let you get a glimpse into Heaven. When she is smiling, at nothing in particular, does she see things that we cannot?
She is a beautiful person. I know she taught me a long time ago how to love, how to give, and most important how to forgive.
You can learn a lot from looking into the eyes of your grandmother. I have.
Ohio River Drowning Story - Isaac's children
Monday, July 14, 2003
Good morning everyone, busy busy around here. David is leaving for the airport shortly then I have to stop by the DRs Office, then I have to head to Metropolis to take Danny Kohn his computer. Pastor Keplinger is going to go with me to help get everything set up. Then there are a dozen other little things to do.
It is warm outside already this
morning and it is supposed to go up to 92 degrees today!!!
Wow what a day! Hmmm - where to start here.
Before taking David to the airport
he informed me that Josh (the eight year old boy in Waterloo, that had a brain
tumor) spoke yesterday for the first time since his surgery. David was
really excited by this news and said that this is a good sign. So happy
thoughts and prayers for Josh!
I phoned Julie after Danny got out of drama class and told her I was ready to bring the computer and would meet them over there in about an hour. I went to Metropolis and picked up Pastor Keplinger and we headed to Karnak, Illinois.
We were greeted by bright eyed Danny, who seemed pretty excited to get the SUV unloaded :) So Pastor Keplinger and I started unloading boxes and taking them into the house. All the while Danny is talking to us about his old computer and how he was happy to be able to play his games again. I showed him the two games that we had picked out, one was Sim 3000 which I knew he wanted and the other one (which I was not so sure on and had to figure out exactly what it was by the description of the "Cleopatra Game") ended up being the correct game. So he was thrilled to receive both of them.
Pastor Keplinger and I put the computer together, while Danny made a house of the boxes and played in them. He told us that his dad used to bring him boxes all the time and he loved to play in boxes. So that kept him busy while we tried to figure out which chord and wire went into what slot. Of course, we didn't bother reading the manuals, but we did ok :) We got it together at least! It turned on and worked.
Danny loved the computer he is a really smart kid. He was telling us all kinds of interesting facts about computers, history, sciene and so on. I was impressed! I think this kid knows more than me. Not that that is saying much!
Danny's mother Julie was talking with Pastor Keplinger for awhile along with her brother who was there today. She said that the whole family was very inspired by everything that has been done for them. She said that it was good to see that there are people out there that will intervene and help.
Danny told me that he is going to be
in a play on Friday (this is what his drama class has been for). The play
is Jack in the Beanstalk. Danny is playing the part of Jack. He
invited me to come, so I told his mother I would come and bring my digital
camera and take photos and print them out for Danny and her. I am also
going to see about taking Mariah and Dylan with me.
Both Danny and her are doing well.
Danny talked a lot about his dad today about how much his dad taught him.
After we were finished at Julie and Danny's we headed back to Metropolis. Pastor Keplinger and I talked about some of the other families that are still needing help and tried to figure out our plan for the next few weeks.
After taking Pastor Keplinger home I went to visit with my mother and grandmother for a bit. Grandma was happy as her ummm...."dried" roses from 2 months ago had been replaced with some fresh new ones ;)
After all of that I went to see Joe Hornback. :) one of my friends who went through a lot with me back in 1998. Joe has a beautiful girlfriend and a 3 year old child named Collin. He has a wonderful house and he seems to be doing great. This was the first time Joe and I have seen each other since 1999. He met me at the door with his hand out waiting for me t shake it. We talked for about 3 hours and he took me on a tour of some new sub-divisions in Massac County. I gave his little boy one of our Angel Teddy Bears. We decided we would try and go eat out next week.
Seeing Joe was one of the bigger
items on my list of things to do and I am glad I finally was able to make it
And BIG NEWS :) :) :) :) :) Mail Call
See dreams DO come true! I can remember
sitting in my room a year ago saying "I wish...I wish...I wish...I dream of the
day that I can get this in my name :)
OH and if that isn't enough for you guess what else came in the mail today! These got left behind in Atlanta, when I left the country. I am so happy to have them again!
Number 4 is missing have to call them about that!
I wish I could put into words, what my eyes saw today, what my heart felt today, what the painting looked like today. I wish I could express in words to everyone the feelings inside, but truly I can't. It was a masterpiece today that could never be painted in the same way.
It is these watercolors that await each one of us - everyday
And the paint brush that waits for us to pick up
I used to give my friends a gift,
watercolors, and I would tell them to set them by their bed and when they woke
up in the morning let it be a reminder that they have a blank canvas in which
they can paint a beautiful picture on. You never know when someone is
watching, when someone is waiting, for you to paint them a picture!
I had lunch with Cal, one of the local television meteorologists, and we caught up on all the news in each of our families and spent a lot of time talking about the storms back in May. I showed him a lot of the photos I had taken over the past few months. Cal is the local meteorologist for News Channel 6 here in Paducah. He is an amazing person and has always been an inspiration to me. It was good to see him again. He inspires me to be a better person. I doubt he knows the influence he has had on me.
After that I came back to the apartment and worked on photos for Julie and Danny. They have a lot of photographs of their house that got hit by the tornado. They do not have the negatives though so I am scanning them and printing out new copies for their family members.
Some of the damage from the storm
Julie and Danny's house (this is the basement where they were located when the tornado hit)
Went to the funeral home at 6 p.m. There were a lot of people there. I saw of lot of kids that used to come to the teen center. They are older now of course. Not much else to say on this subject - very sad and tragic.
Went to eat with my mother after
visitation. We went to Ponderosa. I gave her a bunch of the photos
that I printed out from the last three weeks. She was happy to get those.
I went back to the apartment after we finished eating.
Well now that I am down here and I had to go out and purchase some new bulletin boards and make a new wall :)
This wall has a lot of happy photos, instead of the sad photos from the tornadoes.
I have one bulletin board for the tornado projects.
I have one bulletin board for all the family and friend photographs. It is good to have photographs that remind you of the people who love you.
Never seen so many happy photos in my life!
The Bulletin Boards...
Above the Angel...it says
In The Arms Of An Angel
....from the song Angel
Loud thunder outside right now...going to rain a bit. Ok well that is it for today.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Another busy day around here. As most days seem to be! :) Busy is good, for me at least.
Got up this morning headed for Metropolis to pick my grandmother up. We went for lunch and ran a few errands. We ate at Ryans (finally someone wants to eat at Ryans). I had steak and she had salad bar. I think she ate twice as much as I did. I guess that is a good thing? She did have two pieces of cake for dessert. I guess I shouldn't be telling that as I might get in trouble :)
Anyway, after that I went to order my license plates for the SUV. I am trying to get Shadow1 but if that is not available then Shadow2 3 4 on up to 9. I hope I can get one of those! It will take about 2 months before I get them in the mail I have no idea why it takes so long. I guess there are a lot of people ordering plates! Anyway, then we went to wash Shadow.
After that we hung out at the house, talked, and watched some television. I also spent some time working on a few tornado projects. Trying to contact the Fick family who has had a very difficult time getting help. They lost everything in the tornado. I used to go to church with that family back in the late 80s and early 90s. I think I got everything set up to meet with the family tomorrow afternoon.
Also the Metropolis Planet today had a front page story about the "Tornado Book" I have scanned the article and you can see it below!
I met up with Bobby Vaughn at 5 p.m. and we headed for Paducah. I helped Bobby pick out a computer desk and some other items, including a web-cam :) I will be able to talk to him and see him now no matter where I am in the world! So this is good.
Bobby and I then came to my place and put the desk together. It is a small desk so it fits in my SUV. It took us about an hour to put it all together. Not bad, considering we were ummm tool challenged :) One screwdriver among us! We needed a hammer but managed to find other things to use. LOL
Anyway, after that we took the desk back to his house.
His mother was still awake and we talked for awhile. Bobby decided that Cheetah needed to meet Pooky. Pooky (Bobby named him this) is the teddy bear I gave to Bobby after he got out of the hospital when he was TWO years old! He still has the bear and I think he will prob always have that bear :) So I brought Cheetah along with us and we took a photo :)
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Will keep this short, as my nephew is staying over tonight.
Took Mariah to the coin shop and we got some coins for her. She is starting to get interested in collecting. Grandmother went with us. We then went to eat. All very exciting.
After that Mariah and I went to see a family that was hit very hard in the recent tornado. We were able to help them some and they were appreciative. They said that they were humbled by all of the help that they have received. They said that it is amazing how much the community has pulled together. The husband said that he hopes one day to be able to return the favor to others in need of help. I told him about paying it forward. That is what life is all about. That is why we are all here. To help each other on this journey of ours.
After that I went to eat with Deena and Tony and the rest of the kids. I was down in Mayfield all evening.
Ok well I have to get off the computer. Lots to do.
Long weekend coming up as I am going
to St Louis with Dione, Jeremy, Mariah and Dylan. It will be a blast!!!!
Friday, July 18, 2003
Looks like it is going to rain and storm here today. Cloudy and dark outside.
Will be spending the day with Dylan, then tonight Dylan, Mariah and I are going to see Jack In The Beanstalk - the play. Danny is Jack. :)
Otherwise, today won't be all that busy.
My friends are meeting in Toronto on Saturday to discuss my immigration issues and hopefully they will come up with a plan. David is leaving for Europe on Sunday. Perhaps next time I can go to Europe :) At this time I can't travel to Canada without a visa. So it is important to resolve these issues. It will be a long process. I know it will work out though!
OK everyone take care and have a Super Weekend. I will try to update later this evening with some photos from the play. I will also take my laptop and update from St Louis this weekend.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Massac County and the Paducah area at 12:50 p.m. this is what it looks like out my window.
Thunderstorm just as it hits you can see the heavy rain behind it
Mariah, Dylan, and I went to see Jack in the Beanstalk. Danny Kohn was Jack. Here are some photos - he did a SUPER job!
After that I took the kids to Pizza Hut - Dylan and Mariah. They are spending the night tonight as we are leaving out for St Louis in the morning. :) Going to be a long day ahead! But fun.
Saturday, July 19, 2003
Hi Everyone. I am leaving this morning at 7 a.m. for St Louis, Missouri. I will be there through the weekend. I am going with Dione, Jeremy, Mariah, and Dylan. We are all going to a big cave, Six Flags, the Arch, and some other places :) Should be a fun weekend!
Will update when I have time!
Arrived at the caves at noon. It was lots of fun. I will post a few pictures when I get back on Monday.
After the cave we headed for the City of St Louis, we went down to the Arch but there were too many people and too long of a line to go up in it. Soooo we headed for The City Museum, a big kids museum. It was a blast. Lots of things to climb on, a castle, big slides, an airplane and much more - will post a few pictures later.
After that we went to Union Station. Union Station is a mall. Now, I THOUGHT Union Station was more downtown when I was here two weeks ago. Apparently we were in the wrong location last time I was here. Which is too bad because Doug and Erick would have enjoyed the mall.
It is a nice mall. The kids played on the paddle boats - they have a pond outside of the mall.
Not too hot today but a bit muggy. Thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow.
On a more important note, Doug, David, and Norman all met to talk about my immigration issues. It sonnds like they have some good ideas. I will be anxious to see what they come up with. I will post more info on this later.
Otherwise, I am off here :) things to do!
Sunday, July 20, 2003
Going to Six Flags today - will be gone all day.
Monday, July 21, 2003
We are back home :) Just in time for some thunderstorms in downtown Paducah!
Here are some photos from the trip.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Hello Everyone :) Nice day here in Paducah the temperature is in the lower 80s! It is almost like Spring out there! Certainly a great week for the Paducah Summer Festival lots of action out on the street.
Working on multiple projects, some tornado projects, immigration issues and photographs :) So busy busy!
You know, I have the most beautiful family and friends that a person could possibly have. I was working on some photographs today and found myself lost in day dreams thinking about all of the amazing times I have had with those people that surround me. Angels they are nothing less than angels.
I took these photos today in case anyone up
there in Canada forgets what I look like. I guess I was momentarily bored. :)
***Wednesday, July 23, 2003***
This ship set sail from Canada into a storm that would take us deep into the unknown, with no promises of success, without the knowledge of whether this ship would indeed make it to the other side. We set out, not looking back, steadfast we held tight, we manned the sails, and we set our eyes on one thing - and one thing only
In setting my goals. Last month, I
told David, I would set my goals. There would be no outside influence
needed. I needed to choose my paint brushes, pick my paints, and create
The painting can be found through
these web pages, on my bulletin boards here at the Fox Briar, and throughout the
lives of those around me. It has been, so far, a masterpiece - a tapestry
of colors, like no other painting could ever be. It is my own creation.
We each create...and this is my creation.
But for now I am having a great time here at my new home with my family and friends! I would not trade it for anything in the world! Even though I want to be near my family here in Western Kentucky, I also have family in Canada. So I am torn between two worlds. Thus is life and there is nothing wrong with that. It is hard to let go of those feelings when you miss someone.
I had a dream…
That one day I would walk down the streets of Metropolis without being afraid
I had a dream…
That one day I would stand in front of the Superman Statue with my friends from Toronto, without fear of being seen
I had a dream…
That one day I would be able to watch fireworks, freely within my country
I had a dream…
That one day I would be able to see my family
It was not so long ago that I was sitting in my living room, watching the Iraqi people, in Dearborn, Michigan, celebrate in the streets as Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein. I remember seeing them dance, seeing them clap their hands, seeing their tears of joy, you could sense that they were celebrating something more than just freedom.
I took pause as I watched all of this and thought about their "freedom" I mean these Iraqis live in the United States of America why are they celebrating they are already "free" I realized that they were celebrating a greater freedom than they had ever known. They had been freed from something that was still "controlling" them at least in their minds.
Doug and I, we have had many talks
over the past two years, about what freedom is and what freedom is not. A number
of times he would tell me "but you are free" "you are free now...you have to let
the past go" I would explain to him that yes I am free now but that there are
two kinds of freedom. The freedom I wanted, was yet to come.
I have learned in the past FIVE
weeks, and yes it has only been a little over a month since I have been back
here in the States, what those Iraqis felt like dancing in the streets of
Dearborn, Michigan. A sense of true freedom. I dreamed that one day I would be
able to know how their hearts felt.
One only has to review the dozens of photographs on my web-site, or here on the wall in my apartment, to see what true freedom looks like. The expressions of happiness and the expressions of joy, on the faces of those being photographed, tell an awesome story!
We have fought a good battle we have already won the victory regardless of what happens over the next few months. Like warriors, we have fought hard for the freedom that I now enjoy.
Together we have let nothing - nothing - stand in our way to achieve this victory.
I promised my mother eight months
ago to hold tight, that rough seas were ahead of us, but that in the end we
would set sail, and we would see sunsets that would put even God Himself in AWE.
Today I enrolled in classes for the fall semester at the local college here in Paducah. Classes start August 18th and end the first week in December. I figure this is about how long it will take for us to see if I can enter back into Canada. Going back to school, to me at least, is a HUGE deal! I'm not sure how many people will actually understand how big of a step this is for me or how much this means to me.
Insert fireworks here...
and here :)
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Julie dropped off a photograph of Steve, her husband, for the Tornado Book. The photograph is for the memorial section of the book.
I am going to the St Johns Ice Cream Social tonight. This is a community event over in Massac County. I believe they have been doing this for more than 40 of 50 years.
Grandmother, mother and Pastor Keplinger are going. We should have fun :) I love homemade ice cream. I will try to take a few photos.
Ok well that is it for now :) Nice weather here almost like Spring.
Well the Ice Cream Social was a lot of fun. I was able to see people that I have not seen for ages. Heard several tornado stories and met a few people that were hit really hard. The social is held out at St John Lutheran Church. That church is about 5 miles from where the tornado tore through.
My grandmother had a lot of fun. I was so busy talking to people that I did not get any photographs.
The weather is just amazing, it feels like April instead of July. VERY NICE :)
Friday, July 25, 2003
Hello everyone :) so far today has been a good day. Mother had an "I Love You" party for Mariah. Mariah does not celebrate birthdays and holidays because of her religious beliefs. So every so often mother will do something else for her.
We went to Chucky Cheese for lunch, for those who do not know what Chucky Cheese is, well it is a big pizza place for kids. There are lots of games and children shows.
We were there about a little more than an hour. Mariah played a lot of games and won LOTS of tickets. You can trade the tickets in for prizes. Which reminds me, I have her ticket stub in my pocket :) I believe she got over 500 tickets!!!!!
After that we went to see the new 3D Spy Kids Movie. I didn't find the glasses very comfortable :) So I watched the movie without the 3D effect. It was still fun though :) Mariah liked it, mother liked it, and grandmother said she liked it. Grandmother said it was a clean movie - so I guess that is her stamp of approval!
After that we came back to my place to open gifts. Mother got Mariah a Snow Cone Machine, which is actually pretty ccol! :) Mariah also got a lot of little things, girly things, and some clothes. Mariah had fun. I took a few pictures and they are posted below.
It was a beautiful day again. A bit warmer than yesterday, but still nice.
The Paducah Summer Festival is still going on. This has been going on since last weekend. There are NO parking spaces for four blocks :) So, Shadow is parked somewhere WAY down the street.
Otherwise, all is well! Had BBQ for dinner from the little restaurant below my apartment.
Here are some photos from the day...
Doug's Mother up in
Toronto - got a Storm Bear today
Bobby had his Scooter Competition today. It was warm at 10 a.m. and hot by the time it go over at noon. Bobby did really great but they don't announce the winners until tonight (at a concert).
I would imagine Bobby did pretty good, his tricks were the best.
Here is one picture, while he is up
in the air with his scooter :)
Just walked in from eating dinner. While I was at the restaurant I realized what has been so obvious for so long. First I guess I should back up a bit and say that
Forever I have told Doug, David, Norman and others that one day I hoped that this story of mine would help a lot of people. That it would reach a lot of people and it would be used for good. I never knew how it would reach people but I knew inside of me that all of the things that have happened were for a reason.
While eating tonight, the obvious came over me. It made me have tears in my eyes as I realized that the idea of starting a foundation (The Shadow Angel Foundation - which started last year during the Summer) should center around the things that have happened to me.
From abuse, drug addiction, to leaving the country.
Losing everything and finding new paths, finding hope, and finding light where there seemed to be only darkness.
A story of survival. Of taking care of someone you care deeply about and then losing that person.
A story of how families can be torn apart and brought back together. A story of forgiveness.
This is a story of Beautiful Sadness.
Last week David sent me a book, called The Star Thrower, with a note inside the cover that says
"One day Beau your story will inspire millions too - this I have no doubt"
Inside that book, is the Starfish Story, a story that I have repeated dozens of times to my friends. It goes like this
The Starfish Story
There were fireworks tonight here on the banks of the Ohio River in Paducah. I went down there alone and found a nice spot away from everyone and laid back and watched the brilliant flashes of light.
The fireworks right outside my window
So the fireworks will cap off an awesome week. A week to celebrate :)
I am back in College
And now we are getting a better vision for what ShadowAngels will one day be
These are two life changing events for me. I don't know if everyone can fully appreciate how much being back in college means to me? David said it best when he said that everything I have done up until this point has been about clearing up my past and taking care of things that needed to be fixed.
The decision to go to school...is about my future.
And now there is an even bigger decision about the future - the Shadow Angel Foundation - and the direction it will take.
It is definitely a time to celebrate!
I am also coming up on my ONE YEAR anniversary of setting my goals.
One year ago in August I met for a lengthy period of time with several of my friends and wrote down all of my goals for the next three years.
After one year I can tell you that we have blown those goals out of the water. Shattered almost every single one of them. I will post some of them over the next few weeks.
Amazing, how this journey, this adventure we call life, how it can take us to where only our dreams used to be able to go!
Anyway, enough for now that is a lot to read!
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Went to Bobby's today to help him with setting up his computer. It was reallllllly humid today, but it is supposed to rain and cool off tomorrow. So that will be good.
Otherwise, listening to a remix cd that Doug made for me. Summer Of Freedom - Final Fireworks is the name of the mix. Lots of good music on it.
Monday, July 28, 2003
A SMALL TORNADO OR DOWNBURST HERE IN DOWNTOWN
PADUCAH. COUPLE OF BUILDINGS HAD THEIR ROOFS BLOWN OFF, TREES DOWN, LARGE
BRANCHES, SEVERAL PEOPLE INJURED. THE BUILDINGS WITH THE ROOF DAMAGE WAS
TWO BLOCKS FROM HERE. ANOTHER STORM IS ABOUT TO HIT.
A SECOND STORM IS HITTING NOW - FUNNEL CLOUD PASSED IN
FRONT OF THE PLACE I LIVE.
FREQUENT LIGHTNING AND VERY HEAVY RAIN.
FUNNEL CLOUD AS IT PASSED OVER THE FLOODWALL
IT IS SUPPOSED TO STILL BE DAYLIGHT OUTSIDE
Went to play golf today. Jungle Golf. :) With the kids, mother and grandmother. Lots of fun. We made it out of there right before the storms hit.
Here are some pictures
All of us (Mariah brought two friends with her)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
That is it for now - more later
I love collecting coins, this is a Jefferson Nickel CAMEO :) Beautiful Coin, thought I will post a picture of it. My dad got me interested in collecting coins when I was little.
There is a military ship docked out here at the foot of Broadway :) Perhaps you can see it there on the live camera shot!
Had lunch at Whalers Catch with a friend. We sat in the "Anne Rice" booth. What does that mean? I have no idea :) We asked the waitress about why there was a salad named after Ann Rice. Ann without an E, I guess for legal reasons :) and why there was an Anne Rice book behind class next to us on the wall, but she had no idea. Funny.
Anyway lunch was great. Afterwards it POURED rain for about an hour! The weather is always interesting around here.
My friend Bryen called me to tell me about the HUGE concert in Toronto tonight - Rolling Stones, along with several other artists. There were almost a 1/2 MILLION people there!
July 31, 2003
Early a.m. hours here. I heard from an old friend tonight - from Atlanta. Someone who helped me A LOT during my last two weeks in that city actually heard from two friends! Sharron and BJ. I never thought I would find them or hear from them again! They are both doing really well. BJ is in college, which I am so glad to hear! Nothing like hearing from long, lost friends!
I was looking back on the past 50 days. ALL the beautiful photographs and beautiful memories that have been made and in such a SHORT amount of time!! There are literally more than a hundred photographs, all of them with lots of smiles.
I would imagine my family has had more photographs of my grandmother in the past 2 months than in the past several years. Especially DIVA PHOTOGRAPHS!
Thunderstorms, here in Paducah, at 1:30 a.m. :) I am going to bed though. Nothing severe expected. Just some more heavy downpours!
9 a.m. - Heading out here in a bit, lots to do today. Will be over in Metropolis for awhile.
Looks like a severe weather weekend coming up. There is a chance for severe thunderstorms here on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!
Email beaudodson @ usawx.com (remove spaces)