|AUGUST - 2003 - A MONTH TO
It was one year ago this month that I sat down with David and spent several weeks writing and rewriting my goals for the year ahead! Never in my wildest imagination did I expect for us to achieve SO MUCH in such a short amount of time.
I will be the first to confess that some of the goals that were written down were simply dreams.
I have written a few of them down, some of them were personal and are not listed, but I can honestly say that almost every single one of the goals were MORE than achieved!
Here are a few of them - Click Here
I could not have done it without the support of my family and my friends.
It was an emotional year filled with a lot of pain and concern about the future. There were many dark days but there were also many AWESOME and AMAZING days!
Being with my family for Christmas again for the first time in years was one of the high points!
Watching my county be hit by an F4 tornado was one of the low points.
But even out of tragedy can come something good. I think we have all learned that. Even through the dark moments there were rays of light - there was hope.
I am proud of the achievements we have made! I will celebrate during this month knowing that we will accomplish even more in the year ahead.
Who would have thought that we would be nearing an end to my court case, I would be enrolled in school, I would be living in Paducah, Kentucky, we would be discussing starting the Shadow Angel Foundation. I would be drug free and the list goes on and on and on!
Thank you to everyone who has helped me on this journey! I am truly humbled by your forgiveness for my mistakes, your understanding of who I am, and your support and advice to help me make critical decisions. I look forward to the year ahead.
August 1, 2003!
Well I hope my friend Kristy is
having a blast in Hawaii!!!!! Getting married!
Looks like a stormy weekend coming up for this area. There is a chance for severe thunderstorms today and tomorrow. Sunday appears to be up for grabs right now.
I uploaded this map to show everyone where I am located - follow the blue lines :)
I am leaving for Cancun on August 7th and will return on the 17th.
Working around here today. Watching big storms blow up in Missouri. Should be an active night ahead with a lot of thunderstorms some with heavy rain.
Anyway, I will be in Paducah and Metropolis all weekend.
Up to SEVEN inches of rain fell across Southeast Missouri tonight along with wind damage and golfball size hail!
We had frequent cloud to ground lightning here in Paducah, several close hits with really loud thunder. Lightning was almost constant. Heavy rain fell as well.
Looks like more rain and storms for the next 24 hours.
August 2, 2003
Hello Everyone :)
Sleepy because of all the thunderstorms this morning. My weather radio alarm went off at 5 am. There was a severe thunderstorm watch issued. We did not have anything here this morning other areas had flash flooding and heavy rain. There was a lot of lightning again this morning.
So anyway, I spent almost the whole day getting ready for Cancun. Trying to get the laptop computer ready. I bought an external hard drive so I can store all my photos on it while I am down there. Also went ahead and got an extra digital camera - a cheap one. I will use this when I am learning to Scuba Dive and while I am near the water. :)
I am excited about being able to return to Mexico. It will be a lot of fun and my first trip using my passport.
This trip marks the one year anniversary of all of my goals! I am working on new ones for the year ahead!
More thunderstorms expected here later tonight. Not sure if we get more severe weather though.
Will post more later :)
Had dinner with my mother at Whalers Catch. We walked around for awhile. It is nice outside, the temperature is cooler than last night and the humidity is lower.
It is all moving so fast - but yet so slow. It seems like just yesterday that I was on the telephone with my mother, listening to the air raid sirens going off because of tornadoes. It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated my birthday in Toronto and I announced that I was going home. And yet it was almost three months ago.
The time it goes by so fast, sometimes I wish it would slow down. Sometimes I wish it would stop, just so everyone could have a little more time to see what is going on around them.
There is so much to see, so much to experience, so many little things that we take for granted.
The lightning at night, illuminating the clouds with orange and yellows. Heat lightning, as my mother calls it. It is amazing to watch all that electricity bursting in all directions. The warm summer breeze blowing against your face, the distant rumble of thunder, it always remind me of the old farm place during the summer months. You could always count on those distant thunderstorms to put on one of natures amazing shows.
Or the river passing by, think about all that water constantly on the move. It is hard to believe that it never runs out. It just keeps coming and pays us no attention. Sitting on the banks of the Ohio River last week and watching the fireworks was so peaceful. It felt like the world around me had simply disappeared and it was just me and the river and those fireworks lighting up the sky.
Or even better each of us. Oh sure we see each other all the time so what is there to see? We are used to hearing each other laugh and we are used to seeing each others smiles. But it was not that long ago that we were all apart. Now I am apart from my friends in Canada and I miss those little laughs, those smiles those "what seemed like insignificant times" together. Watching the Simpsons, watching Seinfeld or Will and Grace or just sitting on the back patio looking up at the jet streaks in the daytime sky. See we take so many things for granted
If only time would slow down or stop for just a little while, so we could all look around us and see those little things that just simply pass us by.
August 3, 2003
Going to eat with mother and grandmother. I might go take photos of storms after that.
Saw some nice thunderstorms today, but didn't get any good photos.
Massac County had a flash flood warning for up to five inches of rain in the western portion of the county. Also severe thunderstorm watches were issued for the whole area.
Had a nice lunch with mother and grandmother. Mariah didn't get to go because she was not feeling well.
August 4, 2003
Busy packing and getting everything ready for my trip. I will post photos from Cancun while I am down there. :)
Packing...Packing...going through papers, working on the tornado book. Lots to do.
Received my "discovery" packet today from Brett Bloomston, my amazing attorney in Birmingham. These are the documents we have been waiting on. The next step will be to file a motion (I believe I have that correct) to the court. They will then set a court date. We then go to court. This should all happen in September. I will keep everyone posted. Oh, if you have not noticed everything in YELLOW on these web pages is court postings.
August 5, 2003
Busy Busy...Busy...trying to get everything ready for the trip.
Lots of stuff going on with immigration issues and on the legal front. We are having a meeting with Brett this afternoon at 1 p.m. to discuss the "discovery" documents. We will be talking about what was in the discovery and if there is anything beneficial to us contained within those documents.
Also a meeting has been set up for Wednesday with my immigration attorney in Toronto. Several of my friends will be meeting with him on my behalf to discuss a strategy to get me back into Canada - with a Visa. I will keep everyone updated as I find out what is going on. You know I started this blog so that my family could keep up with all of this. That and all of my friends around the country and in Canada. It would be impossible to call everyone and give them the details. So this journal is a good way for them to keep up. It is also a good reminder to me as to where we have been.
Otherwise...running errands and packing :)
I am signing off here till tomorrow. I will update from Cancun :) I will upload photographs from down there as I have time. I am going to get my scuba diving license. That will keep me busy.
Take Care Everyone...
August 6, 2003
MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT....
1 p.m. The plane boards in 30 minutes. I long for the rhythm of the ocean. I will be reminded of days past.
I have arrived in Cancun it was a bumpy flight in. I can see thunderstorms in the distance, bright orangish and yellowish clouds bubbling up. Perhaps there will be a lightning show this evening over the ocean.
Coming into the city the road in is
lined with palm trees. Down the middle they are two and three deep. They are
small palm trees - they stand about 15-20 feet tall. Some of their
branches touch the ground. Occasionally there is a flowering bush, red
and pink flowers sprinkled amongst the palm trees. The land is flat, a
swamp is to my right. I wonder if there are alligators in there. :)
Now we are coming to a place where I can see the water, it is a color of water that I have never seen before. This is what the water in heaven must look like. It is so pure, a blue like no other blue, words can not do it justice. I smile.
I am arriving at the hotel. I am safe and all is well.
August 7, 2003
Up at 8 am to get ready for Scuba Diving Class. :) Fun...Fun!
The class lasted from 9 am until 6 pm. Today was mostly spent watching videos and taking tests. We spent about one hour doing practice dives and learning how to use all of the equipment. There is a lot more to scuba diving than one would think. It was fun though. Tomorrow we get to go out into the real water :) Now, do we call that the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, or the Atlantic? Depends on who you ask :) I would go with the Caribbean.
There is a huge Mexican Flag located right by the scuba diving building.
I had lunch with two other people that I met today, they are also taking the scuba classes. We ate lunch on the water front (you can see the photo of the restaurant below here). There was a iguana that kept coming up on the patio it would walk towards us then run back down the side. It was about 2 feet long.
Having lots of fun, too much to see and do. I am safe and everything is going great.
Went out to eat at Pericos with a friend, a neat Mexican Restaurant, with live music and an interesting atmosphere.
Friday, August 8, 2003
Today my brothers mother wrote me an email. It was so beautiful it made me cry :) It made me laugh. It made me look out the window and just think about how this journey must look to someone on the outside. Part confusing, part exciting, part dramatic. It has been an incredible journey. For all of us.
She wrote this, at the end of her letter
Some final thoughts:
My first Scuba Diving adventure and it
At first it was scary. I had a little bit of panic, it was all so different than being on land. First, everything is in motion and your perspective is thrown off. Everything in the water appears larger and closer to you. I tried to get control of my breathing, slow and paced. I then configured by floating so that I was floating eye level with the water, not too high and not too low. Then I headed for the oceans floor. Weightlessness, it takes a bit of time to get used to. Adjusting your speed, your direction, sinking, rising. Now I know what an astronaut must feel like :)
The scenery around me, it was beautiful. First you see different colors of water light greens and blues, then you see lots of bubbles :) coming up from your mask and they float upward, sparkling like little round diamonds. The next thing you see is the bottom of the sea floor. Hills, mountains of coral and rocks, and sand, flat areas and depressions. Fish are everywhere, not just any fish mind you, but beautifully colorful saltwater fish
Bright blue fish, yellow fish with orange
stripes, schools of fish, hundreds of them. At first they come close to you
then they dart away, watching you as much as you are watching them. It is
almost like they have lights inside of them, they glow, the colors they
shimmer and seem to almost change.
You then approach the bottom. You try to avoid touching it, so not to harm anything. At times, though, it is impossible and you touch. Sand goes in all directions, like a little bomb going off, then it settles back down just as quickly as it came upward.
You then look around in this strange new world you have entered and you see a painting. All colors, all shapes and sizes of weeds, coral fish, in the distance a large old metal cross that fell from a ship who knows how many years ago. It is a tapestry of artwork that few people probably ever see. Surely you think there must be a creator, someone who made all of this. It is all so perfect and untouched.
The plants they are amazing. The sway back and forth, some look like large fans, blue and gray in color, some are the color of rust, they wave at you. Back and forth they go with the rhythm of the oceans waves. There are thousands of plants. Some small, some large, and they cover a large portion of the sea floor.
It was an adventure I will never forget.
We stayed down for about 40 minutes the first time and 35 minutes the second time.
I can't wait to go again. I encourage anyone who doesn't have a diving license to get one. You are missing out on one of the greatest creations on this planet.
Here are a few photos taken before the dive and on the way out to the Isla Mujeres.
Mother sent me this poem about Angels
Evening in Cancun
My friend Erick, along with his sister and Doug, went to the Mariah Carey - Charmbracelet World Tour 2OO3 - Concert in Toronto! :) Looks like they were really close to the action.
Mariah Carey (photo taken by Erick)
Saturday, August 9th, 2003
Up early....have to be at the Scuba Diving place here in a bit...
I don't know if anyone caught Larry King Live last night but both MAX LUCADO :) AND MATTIE were on! It was about Angels! Mattie was awesome, as he normally is. Some of the things that he says you just shake your head and wonder how someone so young can know some much about the world around him. It was a GREAT show, I caught it the second time around at 11 p.m. down here. Anyway, two of my favorite people on at the same time! It was great.
Ok well, I am out of here for now :) More later...
Spent the day at the Scuba Diving school did not get to go out diving today. We stayed at the school and did book work and learned about water safety. Fun Fun :)
We go out diving tomorrow. It is also the last day of school so then I will be certified.
Right now I am getting ready to go out. It is Saturday Night so I am sure there will be plenty to see and do. Going downtown Cancun away from the hotel zone.
Oh for those who don't know who Mattie is click here :) Most of my friends and family should know who he is by now. Mattie is and always will be one of my heroes and a daily inspiration. If you don't own his books on poetry then you are missing out on nothing less than a gift from Heaven above!
These are some pictures from my first dive SORRY about the quality
The Alley...by Beau Dodson
I am on the bus, it is crowded. People fill the seats and the aisles, they stand in the aisle at times two deep, holding onto the rails above them. The bus, it moves down the street, the hotel zone - tourists, hundreds of tourists scattered everywhere. Shopping, eating, just walking around. The windows on the bus are open, there is no air condition this is not America. It is hot and the wind t brings little comfort.
The bus stops, everyone sways forward then back. There is laughter, people talking, a child below me sleeps his - little brother sits next to him.
Then there is a loud shout, then two, it is a woman and her son, perhaps he is fifteen years old. He is dressed as a clown, with makeup on his face, he comes to the front of the bus. He starts to speak loudly, I hear his mother shout back to him, from the back of the bus. They are entertainers, well sort of, not the type of entertainers you and I might think of, but hmmm let's call them "bus entertainers".
They are putting on a performance for the people on the bus, this is how they make their living. They are beggers of a sort. At the end of their performance they ask for money. People give them pesos, 5 here, 10 pesos, 2 pesos, until the son makes his way all the way to the back of the bus. They get off and await another bus, to perform again.
I am heading into the city. I want to get away from the commercial zone, the hotel zone, the tourists. I want to see Cancun, the city, the downtown. I want to find a place where there are no tourists, someplace hidden away from everything.
I am on the bus about 40 minutes, then I get off. I am in the middle of several roads, they go in different directions, a fork in the road is ahead of me. I walk to the sidewalk and see a grocery store. Everything is written in Spanish and many people shop here. Locals.
I keep walking, looking at everything, I want to breathe my surroundings in, I want to hear everything, I want to smell everything, I want to taste the air.
There are shops and restaurants, they line the street. People sit outside around tables, here and there, eating their dinner. Some are smoking cigars, I see a sign for Cuban Cigars, I smile and think about Doug in Cuba. I think about the day that perhaps I can go visit that country. A country we know little about, but yet their future we try to dictate.
I walk several blocks then I see an alley. It is dark, but yet there is light here and there, glowing light. I hear sounds, musical notes, they float through the air drifting towards me. I wonder where is this sound coming from, what is that sound, I have never heard this before. I turn into the alley and walk down it.
A man approaches me, he is handing me something, it is a menu, he walks with me he tells me "come eat come eat you much come see." I smile and walk along the concrete path, he continues to talk to me, I smile - I wave my hand I gesture later later I will return later. He smiles at me and turns away. I see him approaching another man "come eat come eat" I hear him say.
I am drawing closer to that sound, those musical notes they are becoming louder, they fill the air. I see in the distance a bright light and people roaming around. It is a dance, people are dancing, women and men on a stage. It is a dance.
The music it is strange to me these instruments I do not recognize, it is like hmmm perhaps pianos but instead of using their fingers to play them they are hitting the keys with some sort of stick like a large spoon. It is the sound of Maremba Marembas it is a beautiful sound. Then I see several hundred people, they are sitting and watching this performance on a stage. Mexican people, local people are everywhere. I do not see tourists.
I walk around, bubbles float past me, dozens of bubbles - from where they come I do not know or see, like the musical notes they come and then they fade away. I smile, I laugh at seeing bubbles in the air.
Children are everywhere, beautiful Spanish Children. The people of Mexico are a beautiful people. The children their eyes they speak of tales of wonder and amazement at everything around them.
I see a child sitting on the steps of the stage, hands on her chin she is watching the dancers, her eyes are wide and she is gazing - perhaps dreaming of the day that she can dance.
I make my way towards the front, where everyone is sitting, I find a spot and I sit there watching listening to what is being said and sung. It is all in Spanish. English is not spoken here - not tonight.
I walk around some more, I see a telescope, a man is charging 10 pesos to see the moon - Luna as they call it.
I pay the man and I look, it is the moon so far away, but yet it is right in front of me. I can see all the craters from the meteors that have hit it over the years - I just stand there gazing up at this neighbor of ours. I remember back to when I was a child living on the farm looking at the stars, the moon, the meteors zipping through the sky. How many nights did I look up at the milky way, dreaming of things to come. Wondering what else is out there, wondering and dreaming.
I then walk away towards another alley. This one takes me away from the song, the dance, the people, the children, the man with the telescope, the bubbles. This alley it takes me back to the street - the street where I first heard those notes floating through the air.
I smile, it is The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, where the kids walk through a doorway and enter another world then they enter another passageway and it takes them back home. It is the same these two alleys.
Sunday, August 10, 2003
If you read from day to day read up because sometimes I post late at night.
This morning I was greeted by what the locals called "The Angels Doorway" It is a very bright area on the surface of the ocean that will last only a minute or two. It is so bright that you can barely look at it. You can see a photo below. It moves towards you and expands to the left and right until it becomes so large that is just disappears across the entire surface of the water.
Scuba Diving School is over and now I am a certified open water diver. :)
We went on two dives today. One was 30 feet deep and the other was 40 feet deep. It was a lot of fun, the current was strong though. We saw a mantaray - two actually. I took some photos, will have to wait to post those though. Took a better camera down today, so I am hoping that I got some good shots :)
Here are some more pics
Monday...August 11, 2003
Good morning. It is a nice sunny day out. Not sure what I am doing today. Hard to decide.
I might have a few scuba diving photos later today, once I pick them up. They are not on a computer CD though so I will just have to take a picture of a picture for now.
Fun day. I went to the city to do a little bit of shopping, then went to a jungle about 40 minutes outside of Cancun. A squall came up while at the beach with a nice downpour.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
These two photos represent the mood
The 2004 goals will be finished this week. I will post them when I get back.
Sunny morning here in Cancun.
I went out two days ago and bought a couple of new CDs. One of them I immediately was drawn to as I had never seen this one before, it was by one of my favorite singers - Sarah McLachlan. I didn't even need to read what songs were on it. I just bought it and figured I would add it to my collection of her music.
I let the CD set in the room until this morning. I was heading down to the beach and decided to take my headphones. I grabbed the Sarah CD and unwrapped it. I stuck it in the CD player and hit the beach.
I went to lay out and listen to the ocean waves. I started playing the CD.
The first song of the CD went like this:
"Drawn To The Rhythm"
Now I refer you back to my post in my journal - August 6th - from the Memphis International Airport :)
"The clouds here hang low, a ray of sun finds its way through here and there, but the clouds they hold for now.
1 pm - The plane boards in 30
minutes. I long for the rhythm of the ocean, I will be reminded of days past."
I smiled this morning when I heard this song, sitting on the beach, watching the waves crash ashore, listening to that rhythm that I love so much!
All is well here in Cancun. My friend David is coming down from Toronto to visit for a few days.
Finishing my goals...
Legal update: Received word from
Brett Bloomston that he has found what could be a fatal flaw in the search
warrant. Emphasis on the word COULD...but nevertheless it is good
news. It won't be long now till we see what the end of this chapter is
going to look like. I think, in my heart, I already know.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Good morning. It is nice and sunny out. I think it is always nice
and sunny here in Cancun. They do get hurricanes from time to time.
this morning :)
is also on the menu today and then I think a boat cruise tonight. I will try to take some photos...not sure I can take my camera with me
on the jungle water tour though, it might get wet.
Well a long day - went on a jungle tour. This is David and I in the boat. I drove and managed to get lost and left behind. BUT they did come back for us. It was a lot of fun. We went snorkeling as well, lots of photos of that but we have to get them developed.
After that we headed to eat and talk about the upcoming year, some goals, and some Shadow Angel stuff.
Then we went to a boat cruise that took us to an island. Now I have no way of really describing this boat ride :) It was...ummm interesting :) to say the least! I will post a bunch of photos later.
They had a nice dinner and a show. The show consisted of different kinds of music from the islands, Africa., Mexico, South America and so on. It was pretty neat.
There was one lady that was having A REALLY GOOD time :) It was her birthday, they sat behind us and were doing a lot of yelling and singing and well just having fun.
She started talking to us towards the end and when they played some slow music I asked her if she wanted to dance, since it was her birthday. This made her really happy and we danced - two dances.
Ok well I am SOOOOOO tired. Here are a bunch of photos from the day - enjoy
Most of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada is without power - so the web=page has been down for awhile. If you are reading this then it is back up.
I was sitting on the beach this morning and I thought WOW just think about the thousands and thousands of children that for the first time were able to see the stars above them! Living in the city, well you can't see the stars.
I LOVED watching the meteors when I was little. There WAS a meteor shower last night, so perhaps people were able to watch the falling stars! Awesome!
Doug mentioned to me, in an email, that "you wouldn't believe how many stars you could see".
Anyway...hope everyone has power again.
This has been one of the largest blackouts in history. Portions of Canada
and the United States were hit hard. They are not sure what happened.
Maybe a squirrel did it (just kidding).
Anyway, David and I went parasailing this morning, that is where they drag you behind a boat and you go about 200 feet into the air with a parachute behind you :) Yeah...an adventure! We survived, so I guess that is all that matters!
Posted a few photos
After that we went to the beach, talked about goals, and enjoyed the sun.
Ok heading out...more later
Had a good evening, went to the downtown area and did a little bit of shopping. We then went to the park area and listened to some Mexican Music. It was nice :)
Nice cab sketches - but we did manage to get around! It was a great day. I think David is having a really good time and I know I am.
It has been an awesome get away down here. I love Mexico even more than I did before. I think I will always have a special place in my heart for this country.
I most likely won't get to update on Saturday, going to be gone all day to an area near Cancun. There are Mayan ruins there, a jungle, a park, and a big show. So it will be a LONG and BUSY day :) But it will be lots of fun.
I am sure we will be really tired by tomorrow night.
I should be back home by midnight on Sunday Night, unpacking on Monday, resting and getting ready to go to school on Monday Night.
The goals might be ready by Monday Night.
OK, I miss everyone :) Hope all is well back home and in Canada.
More later...time for bed now!
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Ok busy busy around here :) packing and getting ready to fly back home. I am supposed to arrive in Paducah around 11:30 pm tonight :) I am sure I will be wiped by then.
Had a blast yesterday at Xcaret. This is
a place near Cazumel...lots to see and do there. Went snorkeling, saw a
lot of wildlife, jungle, a show at night that lasted about 2 hours. It
was a lot of fun. I have photos but won't be able to post those until I
August 17th, Continued
It is Sunday and since I was busy last night packing and busy this morning. Here are the some more photos from the trip :)
OK, well that is it for now :) Perhaps I will find a few more pictures to post in the coming days.
I had a WONDERFUL trip and it was a
nice get away. I was able to work on my goals for the upcoming year(s)!
For Monday you have to click below: