48, 17 1/2, 14 and 48

This post is part of JusJoJan:  Anyone can join in!

Rithmatic has never been one of my strong subjects, however I do like to keep track of numbers for specific reasons!

The first number is listed twice which will be explained. 48 that is my current age and I am truly blessed to be this age. God willing I will reach 49 in exactly 8 months.

The second number 17 1/2 is the number of years that I have been living with HIV/AIDS OPENLY. I was actually informed of my status 18 years ago on the 20th of January 1997 but chose to go into that wonderful place called DENIAL. Today I am so proud of my health and who I am because what does not kill us makes us stronger!!!

The third number 14 is the number of years that my partner Cruz and I will be celebrating together on February 14, 2015. The last few years have been rough because of my addictions to alcohol and cocaine, however he stuck with me and loved me unconditionally for the most part. I am extremely GRATEFUL for all of his continuous LOVE and SUPPORT during those tough times.

The number 48 is listed again because this is the number of weeks that I have been CLEAN and SOBER and GOD willing through my continuous hard work with my sponsor, other likeminded individuals in recovery and the love and support of Cruz, family, and friends I will celebrate 1 year of SOBRIETY in four weeks!!

Until next time, that’s what’s rattling my cage!!!!

When Will We Learn????

Let me start by saying that today’s world is a much different place than when I grew up in the early 1970’s when my mother drove a 1973 Pontiac Grand Am. Back then for reasons that are neither here nor there my mother would go shopping at the Ellington Air Force Base Commissary, or Safeway and leave me in the car with the windows open. She would tell me stay in the car and I am sure she would she probably told me not to talk to anybody. I would stay in the car and back in those days I more than likely was sitting in the floorboard of the back seat. I told my sister today when I called to make sure I had the year of the Grand Am right that even if they did look at the car, who would have wanted to take me????

Why am I telling you this? Well, there must be something rattling my cage today!!

I am watching ABC World News Tonight with David Muir when this story is reported. How a Kidnapped Toddler Helped Police Find Him . I also found the story on the Deseret News. We hear of these stories all the time and sometimes the child is not so quickly rescued. Sometimes the child goes through a horrific ordeal and the traumatization of the child is inexcusable.

I do not care if you are running in somewhere for one minute or an hour, and let me clarify my statements with saying that I understand that when you have multiple children to drop off at multiple places it can be time consuming to remove all of your children at each place. I also understand that when we go to the gas station, post office, or anywhere else that we make quick trips to that we often believe we will only be away from the car for a moment. I also understand that many of today’s young parents grew up in an era where you could leave a child in a running car without the fear of someone running up, jumping in your car and driving off with your child. You can not do that today – no ifs, ands, or buts – period!!!!!!

I can guarantee you that my sisters when they have their grandchildren with them, and I have three beautifully adorable great-nieces from two of my nieces and we are awaiting the arrival of great-niece number four from my youngest niece, they do not let those girls out of their sight. I hope that my words are true when I say that my nieces do not ever leave their children in the car whether the car is running and they lock the door or the car is not running and they lock the door.

I implore all  people who transport children – whether this be their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, even brothers and sister to really think and pay attention and make sure they take their child(ren) with them when they exit their car. Treat your child like your cell phone and purse!! The one saving grace I will give this mother is that she remember that she left her cell phone in the car. That being said, I guarantee that almost everyone makes sure that they have their cell phone or purses attached to them. Treat your child like you are protecting your identity with your life especially in todays uncertain and scary world!!!

Again, I ask when will we learn??? Until next time, that’s what’s rattling my cage!!!

Why I Disclosed My Mental Illness To My Employer

Cate I loved this post. I am a 48 year old gay man who has been living with HIV/AIDS for over 17 1/2 years. I also have struggled for years with alcohol and cocaine addictions. I always considered myself to be functioning. I have always been open about my sexuality and my HIV/AIDS status.

In August 2012 after a four day bender I disclosed to my director and associate director about my issues with alcohol and cocaine, This could have been a good thing if I had continued to follow through with their recommendations, however I did not.

In November 2012 I lost my paternal grandmother and then in February 2013 I lost my maternal grandmother whom I spoke to on a daily basis. In both cases I did not take time to truly grieve and take care of myself. Because of this, over the next few months I self-disintegrated and wound up losing a position that I loved dearly after over six years at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Finally in the summer of 2014 at the behest of my Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor I began seeing a psychiatrist and have been officially diagnosed with bipolar depression disorder – which I have probably been for years which contributed to my trouble with addictions. I am still unemployed but I have some things on the horizon. Would I ever self-disclose again – absolutely! I do believe that if we are not completely honest with ourselves and other regardless of the setting then we are opening the door for our mental illness, addictions and etc. to creep in and raise their ugly heads and disrupt our lives.

Thanks again for the great post!!!!

Stop Rewarding Bad Behavior

Two pieces of great leadership advice that I have received came from my former director of the University Career Center at The University of Texas at San Antonio, first always have a plan A, plan B, plan C, and if needed a plan D; the second don’t reward bad behavior!

You are probably wondering, what? So in the beginning when I started this blog, I named it “The Musings of my Mind”. This was back in August and then the mid-term election came around and I told my sister that I was going to change the name to “What’s Rattling My Cage”. The reason for the change? My mind no longer has musings!!!! Since the fall began I have more things rattle my cage and yet have not taken the time to get it out there.

Let’s take the mid-term elections. I don’t know about your states, but the great State of Texas had some the worst campaigning I have seen in years. We can’t do a whole lot about the content of political ads that the political action committees (PAC) put on the air. But when the particular candidates in a race say for governor state things like, “I will double border security funding, and will add 500 border security patrol agents” as seen in this particular ad “Greg Abbott will double border security“. When I hear things like this I think to myself, how is this going to be paid for? Another example that my brother in law and I talked about over the holidays was how many candidates for positions like Railroad Commissioner, Land Commissioner and State Comptroller were running on the platform that they would secure the border. REALLY – not part of their job responsibilities – they have nothing to do with border security.

I got off on a tangent, sorry about that! Let me get back to the “stop rewarding bad behavior”. I must say that I have a true bitter dislike for this horrible obsession that the world has with the “24hour news cycle” where everything is regurgitated over and over and by the way did I say over!!

I still have feelings of depression and anger over 9/11. Some of it is because our country got into two wars that we did not have any business in – but along with that, that is when the world truly became obsessed with BAD BEHAVIOR regurgitation! For example, how many times has the story and follow up stories been repeated about the assault by Isis on the Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdoe.Now we have the new story that Isis hacked into the US Military Social Media Sites. Why are we having these issues?

Why do we continue to have issues of police officers being killed by angry mentally unstable individuals under the guise of doing it for those “unarmed” black men that were shot by police officers? 

Why do we continue to hear about George Zimmerman still getting arrested for many things after he was acquitted of second-degree murder in 2013 after shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old.

Why do we continue to hear how Isis and Al Qaeda are growing and we must be always diligently looking behind our backs? 

These are just a few examples. But the reason is because the world media is obsessed with REWARDING BAD BEHAVIOR!!! I say this because the more attention that you give to bad behavior the more bad behavior is going to continue. What is more troubling is that our media and government wants to always tell the world what we are doing and when. Tonight on CNN there was a rerun program called Double Agent Inside al Qaeda for the CIA. When we air shows like these we just add fuel to the fire so that we can continue to REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR when it takes place.

I am a firm advocate of reverting all the way back to the days when there was no television, no internet, and NO 24 HOUR NEWS CYCLE OF REGURGITATION!!! Until next time that’s “What’s Rattling My Cage”!!!!

Singing Songs With Unicorns: My Weekend With LGBT Christians

As a gay man who is also a faith filled believer in my Higher Power who I call Jesus Christ it makes me smile when I read your writings! We are blessed to have an advocate in you who reminds everybody that LGBTQ individuals can be and are Christians. Not only that, we tend to be more loving and forgiving than our heterosexual Christian counterparts often are.

john pavlovitz

unicorn2a
There are moments when you’re absolutely sure that you’re standing on holy ground, times when you feel the awe of something so big and so real, that you’re driven to your knees and moved to tears.

The Portland Convention Center became such sacred space for me this weekend.

As a pastor, walking into Christian conferences and into large rooms with people singing songs of praise to God is nothing new. In fact if I’m honest, over the years I’ve become somewhat jaded and apathetic and tired by gatherings that have so often felt like showy bits of religious entertainment, with Jesus being used simply to push product and manipulate people and build buildings.

This time was different. This was no show. This was The Church, as true and raw and desperate for God as I’ve ever experienced it.

The massive conference room was filled with 1,500 people, most of them LGBT Christians, along with their children…

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35 Photo Lessons With Words of Wisdom

#11 was my favorite – Once I quit blaming everyone else and quit arguing and fighting I became a better person!!!!

Kindness Blog

We simply adore them

When beautiful words of wisdom combine with the right image, profound life-lessons, words of encouragement and hope can reach deeply into our hearts and minds.

Here’s 39 of our favorites for your enjoyment.

1. The beauty of kindness.

With Words of Wisdom

2. Shhhh….Words of Wisdom

3. We must keep our eyes open…Words of Wisdom

4. Footprints…Words of Wisdom

5. Be the light…Words of Wisdom

6. So many people, so many stories…Words of Wisdom

7. Amen…Words of Wisdom

8. A lasting example set….Words of Wisdom

9. Tick tock, tick tock…Words of Wisdom

10. Attitude folks, attitude…Words of Wisdom

11. Lesson of the Lettuce…Words of Wisdom

12. Gentle talk…Words of Wisdom

13. Shining bright…Words of Wisdom

14. ZZZZzzzzzzzzWords of Wisdom

15. Kindness should be the main subject taught in ALL schools…

Words of Wisdom

16. Laughter is the best medicine…

Words of Wisdom

17. Now. Now. NOW…Words of Wisdom

18. MagnetismWords of Wisdom

19. As the father, so the son…Words of Wisdom

20. Show them the miracles all around them…

Words of Wisdom

21. A man (and woman’s) best friend.

Words of Wisdom

22. Give a dose = take a dose.Words of Wisdom

23. Gentleness and…

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