Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Slow Going....

Trying to get this house already for the big party is slow going at best. I the past few months I have gotten innumerable amounts of garbage back full of shredded papers, the kids junk, and my junk thrown out. But as I look around, I seem to have tons more. I'm simply worn out.

I'll just keep doing a little bit at a time....and it gets done when it gets done.

Meanwhile, I've gotten responses from 48 people saying they are coming to my gathering. I've still not heard from two or three key families that I hope to hear from. So, we'll see.

My professional landscaping was completed yesterday. I loved the big old boxwoods that adorned the front of my property. However, they were beginnin to die...and there wasn't anything I could do with them. So, I had them taken totally out...and I have 15 news ones installed in their place. I also had a host of plants put in that should guarantee that something is blooming year round. I'll run before and after shots after I make it through this weekend.

Mom and Dad are on their way here as I write this. They are riding the train. Dad is little bit scary driving his car....and mother doesn't wish to offend him. So, she suggested the train... They've never done this before so I hope they have a really good time.

Stay tuned for periodic updates...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Zinged Again!

What is it with gay men in particular?

All seems to go well, and then the next day....ZING!

All was not as it appeared.

They didn't feel a connection or "It's me, not you. I'm sorry!"

Or...."You need therapy because any gay man in his right mind would never marry a woman under any circumstance."

It's enough to give a guy like me a complex and ask the question, "What's wrong with me?"

I think I ought to dump the fairy dust and put my magic wand away!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Late Night

I've had a really busy day capped off by a little television. I find myself wired, so here I faithful pet at my side and I need to write this.

I guess right now the big thing in my life right now is the incredible loneliness that I feel on a personal level. The way I appear to be dealing with this is by keeping busy -- active in my church, working like crazy at the office and keeping very strange hours, and visiting with all my friends over meals...over cards.....on the telephone....via email.

While all this is a good way to deal with what's bugging the end of the day as I prepare for bed in my house this is when it strikes -- the yearning and need to have someone near or at least to talk to. That special someone that I could spoon with as I drift off to sleep.....and lay there in the dark and talk about our day.....and reflect on the adventures we've had.

I used to do this with Lovey.

One of the many complaints she used to level at me was my lack of physical affection towards her. She never could quite seem to get the fact that a great deal of the time she was cold and prickly....complaining about this ache or that pain. It became a litany of bodily part failure. It got old.

But at night...when the lights went out....and she drifted off to sleep, I'd put my arm around her......hold her close.....and pray for her. She never knew this and of course, I always heard about how unspiritual I was. I guess she thought I was a heathen. But I was always confident of my spirituality....and I was always praying for her. She just wasn't ever conscious of it.

I miss that.

The closeness.

The specialness.

The praying for a loved one.

Oh I guess I could continue praying for Lovey. But I just don't feel the need to. After all, I feel as though I've been kicked to the curb and nothing I can say or do, changes history or perception.

So, someway and somehow, I need to dust myself off and realize that as a gay man, there is a better than average possibility that I will spend the rest of my life alone.


That prospect hurts. It hurts really bad.

Especially late on a Sunday night after a very busy day at church.....and at home....

An Evening Out

Yesterday I was out late because I did something I've not ever done before. I attended an AIDS benefit for one of those big AIDS organizations here in Northern Virginia. It was held at the Torpedo Factory which is located on the Alexandria Waterfront.

What a neat place.....AND a neat function. My favorite activity was watching the DC Cowboys, an all male hunky dance troup, strut their stuff!

My church was involved in it as well....and we all met at my favorite MEXICAN RESTAURANT prior to the event.

As I've said before, it's wonderful just spending time with the "Boys".

Hundreds of people were at the gathering. I milled around and mingled. I bumped into other church people who had gone to this event. I also ran into a number of other people that I knew from other organizations I'm involved with. So, I was not a wall flower.

But as I mingled with the masses, I was still taken by all the couples that were there. Everywhere I seemed to turn, there were couples, lesbian couples, straight couples, etc.

That old familiar ache crept into my soul -- not a sexual lust, but rather the old familiar loneliness of feeling like the only single person there.

It's getting to be my constant companion these days and it scares me a bit. Why? Because I'm afraid that I'll want to jump at the "first thing" that comes along, which may not be the best thing. So, I'm trying to downplay the loneliness......the longing...the hoping....etc.

By the time I got home at midnight, I was totally worn out by the stress of it all.

This is so much harder than it seems it should be.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Several Giant Steps Backward!

I had a long talk with one of my coworkers today. She went through a painful divorce four years ago and had been married for 18 years.

She said that it was the most traumatic thing she has ever had to face....and that here, four years later, is she just now getting back to her "old self."

Well, I was feeling kind of smug about my on life when she was telling me about hers. I mean, here I sat, (I told myself) after over 25 years of marriage.....divorced for almost one.....and doing rather well....feeling foxy.....looking forward to turning 50 years old.


So I listened to all she said with interest....and kept silent.

When I got home this evening....all hell broke loose.

I received my first birthday card. It read:

"Happy 50th! Welcome to the club!" Then, in handwriting that I know all too well was written: "May 1, 2008. Dear Frank, I hope that the fifties and future decades are kind to you. You deserve it! Fondly, Lovey"

I really wish she hadn't done that.

It sent me into a tailspin....that certainly brought me to reality fairly quickly... I'm certainly not smug about where I am in my life after divorce after that.

It's as if she stabbed me with a sharp two edged knife....jammed it into me....and then for effect twisted it back and forth several times.

Now I'm left to bleed out all over everything....

It hurts.


Why did she do that?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Quiet Start

It's another new day. I'm awake...feeling halfway dog is snoring at my side.

There's something about mornings that are so conducive about reflecting. I do that a lot these days.

It's funny because I remember all the arguments Lovey and I used to have because she thought I was a carnal Christian...never thinking on spiritual things....being "crass".... She loved that word. Everything was "crass" to couldn't tell a joke to make people laugh....or a funny story even.

But, here I sit....with my dog....and allowing myself time to renew my spirit. Gee...I AM spiritual after all.

Those discussions of ours did nothing to help my self-esteem. I found myself just shutting down in so many areas.

When you're married to a spiritual giant, then why bother. There's enought there for all interested parties.


But the neat thing about all this is that as I approach 50, I'm enjoying the Frank that's living now. He's kind....he's gentle.....he's getting back to his happy-go-lucky self. He's content for the most part. AND, he's getting in touch with his spirituality. It has been such a long time coming.

The key is remaining centered in my life....and to remember what is important.....and what is not. Remember who is important in my life and who is not.

And most of all, to be thankful for all that I have had throughout my life.....and be thankful for the experience......the learning....the growing..

My church's retreat is in a few weeks. I'm looking forward to that time of renewal. Last year's was so very special. I've thought about it so many times....and tried to learn from that as well. This year, they've asked me to do a reading.

It is so good being involved in a church that cares about me....and that likes for me to part of things.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not a Real Good Day Here

Sometimes you meet a gay person that so turns you off, you want to turn in your case of fairy dust and just go home!

I'm having one of those days now.

I met a gay guy today that totally alienated me from the species. He was soooooo effeminate..... Well, It's made me want to just turn in my membership card and remain celibate.

I got some "vibes" from him when he first walked into the room. The vibes I got were not good ones....they were "this is a piece of work.....stay out of the way" vibes....and I am so glad that I did.

He zeroed in on me.....through gaydar I am sure....and proceeded to ask me a host of personal questions. Since really I have nothing to hide, I decided to tell him. He asked me if I had ever been involved in a long term relationship, I told him of my marriage.

In two seconds he was villifying me for making my wife's life hell....and for cheating on her..... How dare I.....he said. was awful.

I'm finding myself totally turned off....

If this is what the gay community is like....where flaming queens can be so judgmental and make assertions based on their feelings without trying to get to know the real me.....SCREW 'EM.

I was totally dumbfounded and mortified.

It's good to be back home.

Monday, April 21, 2008


If you've spent any time exploring this blog, you know that my children are my life.

Plain and simple.

I have twin daughters who will be 24 years old on June 14, 2008. My son is 22.

Jessica (Twin #1) is serving the Peace Corps in El Salvador. Laura (Twin #2) is seeking her fortune in Nashville. Josh, my son, is the Marine who will hopefully return stateside this week to North Carolina. He plans to come here and spend some time with me before he reports to his new assignment in Texas. He and I plan to drive across country and I will help him get settled. Then I will fly back home.

When my girls were quite young.....we read fairy tales....and laughed and talked.....and played at the Castle Park, which was a playground that had this humongous wooden structure that looked a bit like a castle. We'd go there and have picnics in the summer and I would chase them through the castle...

One time we got these play evening gowns with tiaras....and they became princesses...and occasionally I got to be their prince.

Oh what special times....and I look back on those times with such fondness.

Sadly, somewhere along the way....they grew up. My clock struck princesses are gone.....the marriage is over.....and here I am left with my treasure trove of wonderful memories of all my children.

I'm getting used to the idea of being alone.

It's okay.

This morning I got up early to head into the office to get a project completed before everyone else got there. I flipped on my satellite radio to the contemporary Christian Music station....and there it was.

A song I had never heard before that sounded like I had written.

By the time I got to the garage of my office....I was sobbing...and I had melted into puddles.

The song is entitled, "Cinderella"...and it's by Steven Curtis Chapman. f

When I got home this evening, I downloaded it from ITunes. I also found his Web site...and found that the song plays on it. Here's the link...give it a lesson.

If you're the father of daughters....tell me if you dissolved into puddles like me.

A Phone Call Out of the Blue

It was late Sunday Night.

My telephone rang.

It was Lovey.

I've had no communications with her of any kind for over a month.

She received my birthday invitation....and she said that it meant a lot to her to be invited.

I decided to take the "high road" because the kids would be here...and they wouldn't be seeing her unless she did come. So, I invited her.

That will certainly add an interesting dynamic to things, but whole adult life has been one interesting dynamic.

I won't be fawning over her.....or really paying any undue attention to everyone who has heard about Lovey will get to meet her in the flesh at my party.

She sounded a bit forlorn.

But that's not really my issue, is it?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An Interesting Read

I've been whining a little lately about the fact that I've now been officially single for almost a year....and the boys aren't exactly breaking down my door to date me. So, I'm wondering what is wrong with me.

One of those things I wonder about is if I'm coming across as being needy. Of course, when Yahoo posted an article that included ten ways to know if you're too needy, my curiosity was piqued. So, for your reading pleasure is what the article said. Of course it was targeted to a heterosexual audience, but what the heck. I'm proud to say that none of this really applies in my I must not be needy. Perhaps my problem is that I give off the appearance of not really caring!

1. You just walked a woman to her door at the end of a date. Instead of kissing her, you ask her if she had a good time. Women are attracted to confident men. They don't want to have to tell you that they had a good time on adate... they want you to be secure enough in yourself to assume that they had a good time.

2. You called a woman last night and she has not yet called you back, so you either email her or call her again to ask her if she received your message. If you want to push her away, this is one of the best ways to get her to quickly run away from you.

3. You start texting a woman you just began dating five or six times a day. You are over-texting her. You don't need to check in every two hours. That's a sign of neediness and clingy behavior that turns women off.

4. You miss a call on your cell phone from a phone number that you don't recognize. You call the woman you're dating, and to whom you talked just two hours before, and ask, "Did you just call me?" This kind of behavior is going to push and scare her away.

5. You agree with everything the woman you're dating says. Women are not looking for a man who agrees with everything they say. Women want a man who challenges them and from whom they can learn. When a man agrees with everything a woman says, he is telling her that he'll do anything to have a relationship (which is another sign of being needy).

6. The woman you're dating is out for the evening with her friends. She promised to call you when she got home. It's getting late and you haven't heard from her. You just can't resist and you call her cell phone several times until she answers it. This is a sign of being needy and insecure. She's out with her friends... not out with another guy. Let her have some personal space and she'll respect you more.

7. You are too available. If you have plans with a friend, keep those plans even if the woman you're dating asks you to do something that night. Women don't want men who are like a 7-Eleven -- convenient and ready 24/7.

8. You try to please a woman all the time. I'm all about men doing nice things for women, but she has to earn it. Some men will let a woman walk all over them, and then continue to be a sponge and allow it over and over again. Stand up for yourself and she'll respect you more. Letting a woman walk all over you is a clear sign to her that you're needy.

9. Don't be afraid to challenge a woman. If you don't agree with something a woman says, don't just sit there and agree with her thinking it's what she wants. Women are looking for someone who is going to stimulate their mind... not bore them. Women are not turned on by men they can completely control.

10. Be the man! Have a plan and stick with it. Women like men who plan out evenings of fun. Don't always ask a woman what she wants to do. Listen to what she likes when you're having conversations with her, then come up with a fun plan that you will already know she'll like. A needy man will do whatever a woman wants. A man of action will create plans for what they will do. Being a man of action will lead her to find you a lot more attractive in the long run.

Women are attracted to men who are confident and real. Women want to feel like you need them... but only after you already have your own life, your own ambitions, and your own goals.

The moment a man starts getting too clingy, a woman will run for the hills. This is exactly like how you will pull back from a woman who becomes clingy and needy.

Gosh....why is this so hard?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Asthma....Bloody Asthma!

As I have gotten older and have now lived in the DC metro area for 30 years, I've developed a host of health issues that I had never experienced until I moved here. As a matter of fact, my parents, who live in West Virginia have never faced the health issues I have...lucky them.

I have had severe allergies and one summer went into anaphylactic shock and nearly died one time. Well in the past 5 or so years, I was amazed to find out that I have asthma. Most kids have asthma and grow out of it.....I'm one of the many adults that aren't bothered by it as children, but grow into it as we get older.

So, today I visited with my internist who gave me a host of prescriptions to get me through this little bout. I also have two ear infections....throat issues....and my diabetes only makes it worse. I now have two inhalers......a z-pack.......and a prescription for Singulair. This is in addition to my various other drugs I consume on a daily basis.

She gave me a script for blood work....and we're going to see what my testosterone levels are...since I'm now reaching the magic age of 50. I go back to see her on May 24...and have my blood work in hand. Yippee.

I had a couple of nice long conversations with #2. I am happy to report that I am no longer the enemy. She reports that she is going to have a long talk with Mr. Bodybuilder tomorrow morning after church. So, I hope things go well for her.

My son leaves Iraq this week. I'm thrilled that he will be stateside.

I do appreciate your concern and prayers.

Frank Hosts A Sex Party?

I came home early yesterday to get some last minute things done before my movie night. To those of you who may not remember or even know, I host a movie night for one of the gay men's groups I am a member of. I have a 61" set in my rec room and I invite that group to come over and see a gay themed movie or a movie that has a gay theme as one of the story arcs.

During cold weather, I had stopped having it and this was the first I had hosted in about 4 months.

When I posted this to the group, I was amazed at the number of new guys who wanted to come. The only catch was, they interpreted it to be a night of porn, m2m sex, and overall debauchery...until I corrected them. So, that group somehow didn't show up.

A sex party? At my house? C'mon!

Can't a group of gay men get together for activities other than that?

The group that did show up at my house, devoured 4 pizzas....a sizeable amount of beer....and we talked and laughed and watched Maya Angelou's dramatic reading of CRAIG'S LIST entries on THE BIG GAY SKETCH SHOW from LOGO-TV. The feature presentation was SORDID LIVES.

Some of these men have been burdened by the gay thing for so long, it was good to see them have a hearty belly laugh.

I'm learning the joys of opening my home to such groups...and joining in with the laughter. The comraderie that exists between gay men is mind-boggling. Two of the guys talked about this last night. They have known each other for over 30 years...and have never been sexual. BUT...they remarked about the bond they have. I really do understand this and it is hard to describe.

The other thing that struck me about this group is the fact that the majority traveled quite a distance to join me. This meant something...and they each thanked me for opening up my home to them and are looking forward to next month.

One long-time member of the group, who had never attended a Movie Night before said as he left, "Frank, thanks so much for this social outlet. You're hosting the only one these days for the group -- although we used to have a lot.... Please keep it going. You're doing a great service."

So, as long as it is doing some good, I'll keep it going -- for sure!


As I was getting ready for the activity last night...I had to go to the grocery store across the street. When I walked in....there was Lovey's younger sister with her lovely husband! They're the ones that own a palace in Herndon, VA...for just the two of them...and he commutes to his job in Boston. She refused to move because of "her" house. She works for the good dentist.

When I saw them, I made an immediate 90 degree turn because I didn't have anything to say to them....and didn't want to waste my time by being phonily-friendly. Ya' know?

So I kept moving. I don't know if they saw me or not....but no greetings were required.

They went their way.

I went mine!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh My!

I finally heard from #2 yesterday after a two-day silence. She's suffering badly....and this breakup has really almost sunk her emotionally. When she gets like this, she can be testy.....pyschotic.....and just plain evil! So, know this about her, I've left her alone.

So, yesterday she chewed me out about everything. Especially some emails that I wrote to her.

I'm a pretty direct sort of guy. If something is on my mind, I don't communicate in doublespeak....but I say what I mean and I mean what I say. So, it was quite interesting to me to hear about how a simple "R U OK" translates into not being her advocate....saying that she has made a big mistake......and that somehow I'm on "his" side and considered the enemy.

I wrote her back:

See? There you go again......trying to be clairvoyant. You read too many things into things...

The only thing I assumed when I hadn't heard from you in two days was that you were hurting and needed your space. Yes?

Ok...I'm just going to say some things. If you get mad....or be it. Read the message as it appears on the page....there is nothing between the lines unless you decide to put something there.

Your letter is ok. But I'm not so sure you're gonna get a response that you like....if you do at all. He's probably feeling hurt....and he's licking his wounds. He's probably feeling sorry for himself and feeling like a victim.

In a nutshell I think you cared for him a lot more than you thought. And, it's surfacing a little more now that you and he split. It's giving you a new perspective. Which is probably a healthy thing. (Breakups are painful aren't they? Until now it was only conceptual for you've experienced one first hand.)

Knowing you as I do...which is pretty dog gone well I'd say, I think what happened is pretty clear: you all were chugging down the path...things were going pretty nicely......BUT.....he started moving too fast.....and got way ahead of you...... It overwhelmed you. Maybe even frightened you a bit.....and so you put on the brakes BIG TIME. So you ended it! Sort of like killing a fly on a ceiling with a BAZOOKA. It certainly will get the job done, but what do you do about the hole in the roof? LOL!!

So, now, you've broken up with this guy. Western civilization has not stopped....the world keeps on moving. You will will be okay. It's just gonna take some time.

So, you've got several paths you could take. Which one is it gonna be?

Today she phoned me in much better spirits.

They've talked. They're meeting for coffee on Sunday after church!

Oh my goodness.

Thoughts from a Different Place

It's spring.

The weather has become a lot milder. All the trees are budding and the flowers are in the process of blooming.

It also seems that it is mating season.

Everywhere I turn, I see couples hand in hand walking everywhere: down the street, in the grocery store, at the mall, in the book store, along the river, under the cherry trees -- basically everywhere.

They are couples of every couples.....straight couples......older....younger........with kids.....without kids..... Literally everywhere!

Last night I worked late.....and stopped off at a restaurant for dinner -- alone.

Somehow it felt I had invaded a whole nest of couples. The place was literally filled.

As I ate and watched, some were discreet in their obvious affection for each other......some were blatant. Kisses were exchanged.......hands were heled.....goofy grins were made.

All there as I ate my dinner.

Over in an isolated corner was a man. He looked to be around my age....and he was not attractive in the least.... His clothing was on the unkempt...and a bit on the greasy side. His face was pock marked.

But there he was....huddled up nice and cozy with a pretty young thing.

They were in another world unto themselves.

All this love in the air made me wonder:

"What's wrong with me? Why am I sitting here all alone? Why don't I have someone?"

I took a quick inventory of myself: I'm divorced. I've got a good job. I have my own house. I'm financially secure. I'm pretty drama free. I think I'm decent looking. (I'm no longer young and pretty -- just pretty! LOL.) I turn 50 in a couple of weeks. So clearly I'm not dead.

I don't get it.

I got up quickly paid my bill and left.

In a funk.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

#2 and Mr. Bodybuilder SPLIT!

My daughter and the bodybuilder have apparently called it quits.

#2, who normally is on the phone with me…..seeking my advice…..spilling her guts, etc., is awfully quiet these past couple of days. As she was telling me about the split night before last, she got very testy with me after I had asked her a couple of questions to better understand what had happened.

Immediately I became the enemy.

Dads just never seem to be able to win….er…..maybe I should rephrase to say that men never seem to be able to win when there is some conflict with a woman. So, I’ve just left her alone.

Hopefully she is okay and not going through a lot of turmoil. Who knows? Maybe they’ve patched things up.

I just don’t know.

The only thing that I felt confident about…and I never shared this with her or anyone else for that matter was the fact that I felt that he was a godsend into her life. Yes, I felt confident that their relationship would lead to something deeper…..and that he was “the one”.

But as with everything, we have free will….and we can choose to not follow what seems clear.

Or then I could be plain wrong.

So, I remain silent….and will remain silent….whether they do or don’t get back together -- all in a day’s work at trying to be a good dad.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Spiritual Frank

Now, if religion, God, or a talk of spirituality is not your cup of tea, perhaps you should do something else today and not read this post.

Spirituality has always been very important to me. This is why I didn't see red flags when Lovey told me before we were married that her ministry/churchwork/ etc. would come first always in our relationship. I thought I could handle it. And in the early years, I did quite an admirable job.

I was a great minister's spouse. As a man in that role, stereotypes that fit for the minister's "wife" didn't fit for I was generally left to chart my own course. Although, while we were in the Church of God, headquartered in Cleveland, TN, I always seemed to get invited to the minister's wives' retreats.....or to come to the ladies' luncheons at Camp Meeting. One time in particular, I received a hand addressed envelope (so someone actually had to sit down and think as they were handwriting my name address on an envelope) with a letter from the State Overseer's wife telling me, Frank, that I was free to room with anyone I wanted to at the Ladies' Retreat.....and that it was my job to get all the women excited about it in my church!

Not only was I gay....but I had to put up with all this from my church....all because Lovey was a minister in a male-centric clergy denomination!

Still I persevered.

But somewhere in the midst of it all, things changed -- subtly, slowly, and imperceptibly and one day I discovered that I had pulled back from church activities....and I wasn't excited about church anymore. Lovey had succeeded in turning me off with the concept of churchwork, god....and even my spirituality.

At times, I felt sucked into a contest of seeing who was more spiritual....her or me.

When I voiced opinions that I believed which did not line up with what she had learned in seminary or what she believed period....I was rebuked -- harshly. So, I soon learned to keep my mouth shut.

And ultimately, as the marriage collapsed, one of the things she zinged me for was that I had lost my love of the Lord...I wasn't like I was when she had married me!

Sadly, she was a point.

You see, while I didn't want to engage in pointless and endless theological discussions 24/7, or pray for everything, or spend times in hushed meditation and Bible reading all the time, Frank has never lost his love of God....and his faith.

I could not have made it during the time of my crumbling marriage.....the painful separation and the awful divorce without his presence. It's just that simple. But in Lovey's eyes, I'm queer....and lost.....and headed -- first in line -- to hell.

She's out of my life now.

I've been thinking about God....I've become active in my local MCC congregation. I love my pastor.....and I love all the people there. As I've said many times, it is so cool to be somewhere that I can be myself and not feel like I have to hide my thoughts and feelings. I'm a gay guy....but that's one of the things that make me so loveable.

God has nudged me about ministry. I'm taking my time discerning what that means. I've let him know that I'm open to whatever direction he leads. So, as I've trudged down my little spiritual path, doors have begun to open. I've been taking baby steps through them. God has blessed as a result.

Last night I met with a friend and my pastor about starting up a weekly Bible Study at my church. I've been asked to lead it...I'm honored and lookiing forward to it.

One more door opened to let me know that God hasn't forgotten me.

Monday, April 14, 2008


You know, you all have heard me spend so much time whining and being down and depressed about my situation. Well, I've come a VERRRRRRRRYYYYYYY LOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGG WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY...

I've been blessed with a great financial situation has settled and I've landed on my feet......I've got my car.....I've got my house...I've got my dog......I've got a great church.......tons of GREAT friends (YOU ALL)......I still have both my parents..........and I'm fixing to celebrate my big 50th birthday.

So tonight.....I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken to get a quick bite of dinner. I've spent the entire day going through very OLD paperwork. I've shredded so much shredder has given out..... I've been cleaning....and organizing. I am making some great headway....but still have so far to go. I'm exhausted.

As I was standing in line, a black lady was in front of me in line...and she was ordering all kinds of stuff. When she handed them her credit card...they told her that the credit card machine was broken and that they could only accept cash. Her order totaled over $12....and she only had $5.

So, she was looking in her wallet......looking through her purse......and she was beginning to panic...and to be flustered..... So, I happened to have enough cash.....and I stepped up...and paid her order. She looked at me dumbfounded. I said, "Let me do this for you. I've been very blessed in my life.....let me share it." She was speechless....but quite grateful. So, I put in my order...and sat down...and ate my dinner. The lady kept telling me how much it had meant to her for what I had done....and that it would come back to me.

It already has.

Had to share...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Missed Call From Jay!

Well, while I was off visiting a friend of mine who went through a stomach bypass procedure this week, I missed a call from my long lost friend, Jay. I've emailed...and called....only to constantly miss him. Well this round, I missed his call.

Here's his message:

Hey Frank this is Jay. I’m giving you a call from my home in Arkansas. I’m sorry I missed you, but it sure was good to hear from you. I know it’s been a long time, but I’ll sure be looking forward to talking with you whenver I can get a chance.

I guess you and I both are fixing to turn the big 5-0 here coming up. (Hearty Chuckle) But anyway I’m lookin’ forward to talkin’ with you. Give me a holler when you get a chance. So see ya, bye!

Well, I called him back as soon as things settled down here.....and I missed him again!

Gee he sounds a lot different from when I knew him. He has a thick southern accent he didn't have before...He sounds about as excited about reconnecting with I am with reconnecting with him. Am I silly?

But, again, he's one of those great guys that is unavailable: married.....and millions of miles away.

What is it with that?

Why can't I meet someone of this caliber here? It only seems that the guys I meet here are looking for Mr. Right Now, rather than having a special relationship with Mr. Right that will last until we are ready to move on from this planet.

Being gay is a tough deal....any way you look at it.

Just hearing Jay's voice really brought vivid memories of us together two decades ago. It was a special bond....that I never shared with a soul.....not even with Lovey...although I did spill almost all my guts to her....and I lived to regret it.

I'm thrilled that at least Jay knows where I am....and he has my email and phone numbers....

His voicemail made my day.


Since January 1, I have been dreading the tax season.

Maybe we all do, but I have been especially bummed out by it.

This is the first time I have filed as SINGLE since 1980's taxes. I hear the words of Lovey droning on and on about how it is because of all her ministry that we ever got any refunds. I also worried that because I had played with my exemptions at the office during the year that I had probably screwed myself up royally.

Last year I got to file as HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD because I was providing my daughter (now in El Salvador) a place to live and providing for her support. As it turned out, I got a hefty refund back then.....but Lovey called me up to complain that she had to pay out the nose.

So last weekend, I spent the entire weekend finding all the paperwork required in order for me to get them all to my accountant and to have the taxes taken care of.

Mid-week, he called me. Immediately when I heard his voice, my heart tanked. He never calls me. He just does my taxes, which he has been doing for 20 years.....and that's that. Hearing his voice on the other end of my phone only confirmed my dread.

"I need your bank account routing information and your account number so that you can get your refund back sooner," he said matter-of-factly.

"Refund?" I asked, incredulously.

"Yeah, and sizeable ones at that from both state and federal," he added.

I nearly dropped the telephone.

"What helped me the most?" I asked.

He paused and scoured the return in front of him. "The alimony was the biggest benefit," he said.

He then chuckled and said he would file the returns immediately.

I got my copies in the mail yesterday. So it's official.

What a great and EARLY birthday present!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I really do appreciate all the feedback that I have received from all of you who have taken the time to write me as a result of my post of a few days ago. It gives me insight as to who my audience is, where they are on their journey, and in general how I'm helping if at all.

It does touch me to know that I'm having some impact out there. If anything I pray that you realize that if you're gay and you're married.....and trying to come to terms with it -- there are others who have been on the journey before you....and there are others who are nipping at your heels behind you. AND, in this digital age of the Internet (God bless Al Gore!), there are so many resources out there just by searching communities of mena nd women like yourselves....and there are also communities and support for the wives of gay men.

It's just a matter of you finding the path that suits you best!

I've received a lot of comments from people about the picture that I posted that appears on my Birthday Invitation...many folks think I should use it as the "about me" section of the blog. To be honest, I'm torn by that because I really like the picture that's there already...the one with me walking down the country rode....approaching a dark curve......not knowing what's around the bend....alone and frightened. It sums up just where I was when that picture was taken.

But, I have done quite a bit of growing since then...and I'm happy to report that I'm doing pretty well.

Today was a good day. I got rid of some more junk.....and tried to organize a bit. But my allergies have flared up fiercely this week...and on top of that, today I came down with a stomach bug....that has really zapped me. So, I took a two hour nap this afternoon....and I awakened refreshed. Still I feel a bit washed out.

I received a couple of short and abrupt emails from Lovey. I can tell she is miffed about not having received an invitation to my birthday party celebration. Again, the evil me is at work. I've not fully decided whether to invite her or not. I'm still pondering it. If I did invite her it would only be on the account of the kids being here and she could see them. But really, this part is one rare occasion that is truly about ME.....and what I want for a change.

Then the appropriate questions is, "Do I want her here?"

Kind of tough to answer...given the residual anger and bitterness that have recentlly sprung to life in me.

Yes, dear readers, I still have some of that anger and bitterness I am dealing with. I being honest...and really don't need any admonishments about needing to "let it go". I am doing my best to deal with it in my own way and, if you go back and reread some of the oldest posts here, you'll see that really I have come a long way.

Twenty five and one-half years don't just evaporate over night.

But my life is moving in the right direction...and I'm learning to be happy and content.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And Now a Few Curves for the Journey...

Just when I think I have things kind of figured out….I find myself going around a curve….a BIG one.

We have discussed gay crushes many times here. I still have them.

They’re fun to experience.

Even more importantly, the object of such crushes are tremendous fun to look at and to think about.

Back when I was single the first time, I’d have crushes on men all the time. This happened really quite strongly after puberty and in my late teens and early 20s. I was so painfully shy. I never had the nerve to walk up and literally hit on people.

I’d do what I tend to do now…..look, drool……long for…….fantasize……and then realize that I wasn’t the guy for the subject at hand….I’d get depressed……and then I’d try to think about something else.

It was the first of many emotional roller coasters I experienced.

Even though now I still have that one man who sporadically comes to my church – who knows my name….that I long for so deeply……. Nothing compares to my earlier crushes….and the feelings afterward when I found out that such crushes were not reciprocated.

During that time however, there was a man that I did cross paths with. It so happened that He and I were born in the same year and we had a whole lot in common. As I was making my way as a single person in a ghetto-like area here in Alexandria, he and his wife lived several states away with his two children. He was military and came to this area fairly frequently.

We happened to meet on a metrobus one day. I was headed to the Pentagon to catch the subway into the office. He was headed into the Pentagon for his job. Things started innocently enough. I, along with ¾ of the people on the bus was reading The World Accoding to Garp, He asked me what I thought of the book.

We chatted. We introduced ourselves.

From that moment,everytime I’d get on the bus, he’d have a seat waiting for me next to him. We talked about everything: the weather, politics.

We continued to get close….and well, it turned out that he was questioning his feelings for men.

By the time he disclosed all this, I had developed a serious crush on him. This man was almost god-like in physique. He was kind and gentle with quite a loving personality.

Well, to summarize a very long story…he and I began to spend intimate time together. He let it be known that he cared for me deeply…but because of his familial obligations, this relationship just couldn’t go anywhere.

I certainly understood all that. I couldn’t deal with that at the time anyway. But through the years, I have longed to see him…..and to wonder how things were going.

Just as things were settling into a routine for us, he was transferred to the other side of the planet. For a while we corresponded…but then we lost touch. He did have relatives that I had spent some time with who lived out in Vienna, VA. But as time often does, it got away from me and I lost touch with them too.

About two months ago, my phone woke me up on a Saturday morning. On the other end was this relative calling to catch up. He was amazed to find out that I was now divorced and trying to pull my life together.

“Jay still asks about you all the time,” he said. “Why don’t you give him a call?”

I explained that I had lost touch with Jay…..and that I had always wondered what was happening to him. The relative gave me his telephone number and his email address.

That evening I wrote a long email…and sent it to him. I gave him my email address, my home address, all my phone numbers and a picture.

No response.

I felt like perhaps he maybe felt a bit on edge with me, a single gay guy, pursuing him, now that he was married. So, I let it drop.

When I started putting together the birthday list….I decided to send him a note to see what might happen.

Well, I got a nice email from him today. It said:

Hello there Frank,
Happy, happy, birthday when you turn 50. I'm sorry I
didn't call you, but somehow--I lost your phone
number. So please e-mail me back with your phone
number so I can call you--I'd love to hear from you
and get caught up on old times. We had a problem with
our computer because I live in a rural area and we
just now got high speed internet. Please give me a

Your friend always, Jay

Hearing from him has sort of perked me up.

No one ever knows what lies around the next curve.

I would never have thought that I would be writing about this!

A Response from H & L!

This morning before 7am, I got a response from the minister "pal."

The other interesting thing to comment on about him before I go on, is that he is the pastor who married Lovey and I in the first place. I've written about him a couple of times. He's the one who allegedly cried when Lovey announced our divorce!

Oh well.

I'm the town queer....and so in his sight, I am truly The Great Satan.

Funny, I don't feel any different. And the picture shows that I don't really let my horns show. I'm running just the picture for you to see for yourself. LOL.

I don't think I am such a bad guy. I mean, really.

Go figure.

On with the story:

I was looking for H's email address and did a Google search on his name. I found an enforcement action taken against him about some sort of housing area he and his lovely bride had decided to build. They got into trouble with the local authorities...and there was the legal document....sitting all pretty....right there on the Internet!


Well, in today's response...he said:

Thanks for touching base.
The foundation I operate has started to keep homeless people..about 50 per says we are in violation of zoning...big political issue...also lots of fundraising...and.....
our Executive Pastor left after 7.5 years.

I must take off last of May.

Happy Birthday!
Please tell kids we love them.

So, he's in trouble again it looks like.

I probably need to continue to keep an eye on him through Google to see if he gets slapped with any more enforcement actions.

I digress.

This note is Obviously the universe twirls around his pretty little head. His Executive Pastor left after almost 8 years.....and he's forced to take off the last of May. Plus he wants me to tell them that he loves all my kids? He's not had any communications with him in about 3 years....he missed their graduation -- didn't even acknowledge son's in Iraq and he didn't write him or call him before he left?

But they love them.


How phony!

The bottom line is that he and his wife will NOT be at the party. Surprise.....surprise!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Y'all Gave Me A Real Big Belly Laugh!

I debated seriously on whether or not to post the birthday invitation here. I thought the picture would totally scare you away.

But in typical, supportive fashion, you've come back with some really cute quips. They made me laugh... I haven't laughed like that in months--perhaps even years! Thanks for being so kind and for giving me a wonderful time of laughter.

I've been daring with this birthday thingy. I've sent the invitation to a couple of individuals that at one time I was pretty close to. However, when they got wind of the divorce.....and of the fact that yours truly is gay as a goose.....well they dropped both Lovey and I.


They also dropped our two daughters....who they happen to be godparents of.

But that's another story.

I sent the invitation electronically as an attachment to the following e-mail.

H & L:

I haven’t heard from you all in ages! Hope you’re doing well! I’m doing terrific considering that the separation and divorce nearly did me in... But that’s all behind me...and it’s now time to get back on track...and move forward as best I can and get on with the business of living!

Well, my big day is fast approaching!

That's right, on May 1st I will be 50 Years Old! It's quite a milestone and to be honest, I am looking forward to it. You see, after all that I have been through, I finally feel that my life is getting back to normal....I'm happy and and looking for ways to have fun. My birthday is going to be the symbolic beginning of my brand new life...and to move on from the past.

So, on May 3, 2008, I'm gonna host an open house at my house in Alexandria from 1:00 - 5:00 in the afternoon. You can come as you have fun....and mingle with my mom and dad.....and two of my kids....and a few other folks that I've decided to invite: neighbors.....friends from church......and the office.

So, c'mon and drop by. Help me begin the next stage of my life with a wonderful time of celebrating the blessings of God....and my new beginning!

Hope you can come.

The flier that #2 dreamed up is attached. My niece A took the picture....she did her best given what she had to work with....LOL.

Let me know if you can come or not by April 28....that way I'll have enough food for ya!. I’ve also included some new pics of me with the kids... ENJOY!

Lots of love...


They stopped sending Christmas Cards....or calling. The bad thing is that HE is the pastor of a large mega church in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia.


But then, it's his loss isn't it? I'm not such a bad guy to have around. I'm decent, hardworking, a Christian, an active church goer, and, oh, by the way, I'm queer as they come!


Life IS Good!

When I compare where I was last year, with where I am emotionally this year, I can't begin to describe the difference....and it's all for the better!

I'm much more settled. Life has gotten a lot more routine. I don't feel so mistrustful or angry at myself.

Things are settling rather nicely.

My daughter in Nashville created my announcement and I've been sending them out to people. Out of all the ones I've sent so far, only 3 have turned me down. So, I'm very excited about all my friends coming!

So, for your viewing pleasure is the announcement. I think #2 did a splendid job.

Life IS good now!

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Wonder....

It's funny....but even though I have come a very long way in this journey.....and that I am quite comfortable in my skin, I must confess that there are still times where my old fundamental Christian upbringing bleeds through and causes me to question whether or not I am traveling the right road. I occasionally question whether I may being deceived.

I guess old habits die hard....and when one is young and impressionable...those early ideas and teachings aren't easily ignored.

I spoke with both my daughters today. They called and wanted to check in on the "old man" to see how he was getting along and if he was having a good day. I appreciate their phone calls. BUT, I do get the sense theat they worry about me perhaps a little too much.

I have come such a very long way on my journey....and I try to remain upbeat/positive and let them know that I'm doing well. For the most part, they are quite pleased with how things are going for me. It's all about maintaining a positive outlook and taking one step at a time.

My daughter in El Salvador is excited about getting tin for an inner lining to her tile roof. This layer of tin will help her cut down on the leaks and the dust getting into her house. She seems to be vascillating about whether or not she will stay an extra year there. I pray not. But then, this is a selfish daddy speaking here.

The Nashville daughter is totally smitten by Mr. Bodybuilder. I feel quite confident that he is the one for her....but I don't dare tell her this. I feel a real peace in my spirit that this is the guy I have been praying for since the kids were small. He's going to be my son-in-law. I feel it coming.

I now need to pray for the grace to let her go to be the woman she was meant to be. It is now that season of my life where I set my precious children free to find their own way in the world. Gosh this is so hard.

Where did the time go?

Thanks All

Thanks to those of you have written to me at It makes me feel a bit more connected to my readers and gives me an idea of where each of you are in your particular journey.

Even after all this time, I marvel at several facts:

First, there are so many men in the same boat. I remember so very well that early on in my journey, I felt like the only person alive that was married and was hopelessly gay.

Second, even though we may be worlds apart....and may have different names and have come from so many differing backgrounds, our stories are different, yet still strangely the same!

Third, I am humbled that so many of you are finding the OUT OF THE ASHES is helping you along....and giving you strength for your journey.

I am proud to be here...and will continue to write as long as I have a story to tell.

Thanks again for taking the time to write me.

If you would like to drop me a note, send it to Remember, you don't have to identify your exact name or location....just let me know a little of your story, how you found me and if my writing has helped you!

I'm Just Dying to Know....

The traffic on this blog is UP..... Thank you!

About once a least....I query my readership to see who is out there. I've noted that I have a number of new readers from other parts of the world....especially in the middle east!

Would y'all take a moment and drop me a note at

I'd love to see how you found me......why you hang around......and a little bit about your story.

I hope to hear from you....

And thanks for reading OUT OF THE ASHES.


Am I Headed Down The Right Path?

I just let the dog out and thought I'd write a note for the blog.

It's super early.

The sun isn't up yet...and all in my neighborhood is still.

I've had a fitful night's sleep. I just couldn't seem to let myself relax and go to sleep. I'm tired...but I've got a full day ahead.

The weekend was a good one. I just didn't get everything I wanted to get completed. Oh well.

Tonight I have a board of directors meeting for my homeowner's association. We're getting ready to do some massive improvements to our curbs, sidewalks, and streets. We're also working to prepare for the annual meeting of our homeowners which takes place in May. The notices and such have to be mailed 30 days in advance...and that's what I have to work on today.

Just as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to jump in the shower and get ready for work. That way I can get off early and return home and print out all the stuff so that it can be prepared for the meeting.

Even my dog is resting fitfully.....he's whimpering and whining at the moment. appears that he is chasing something. Oh my...he's so much like me.

I love this time of the morning. I lie here thinking about my life and how it has come full circle.

I'm doing lots of things that I used to do before I was married. For example, I generally arise early....and pray.....and meditate before my day starts. I then go about my daily routine. I worry about my spirituality....and pray that I'm on the right path.

Am I on the right path?

What does a normal gay guy look like? What does he struggle with? What does he worry about?

Am I him?

What do gay, formerly married guys look like? How do they behave? What are their fears? What are their dreams?

Do they struggle with rights and wrongs? How do they deal with the ex-wife? Do they deal with the pangs of guilt....of failure......of pain.......of sadness......of bitterness.......that I have dealt with?

Do they get lonely?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kinda Tough

I've spent all evenin going through very old paper work to shred.....and to try and get some things organized and cleaned before I throw my open house....on May 3.

Well, I've identified the stuff to the process I succeeded in bringing myself a whole lot of anguish...and downright sadness. It's silly -- I know. After three years of being separated and almost having 1 full year of divorce, some things still bring me down.

I ran across receipts from the installation of the hardwood floors that I began installing in March 2005. This was all done at the insistence of Lovey because of her various allergies. Literally as I put down the last planks is when Lovey announced that she wanted the divorce.

So that memory triggered a ton of "other" memories....and well, I find myself exhausted. So I stopped.

I have to get over it.

So let's focus on other things.

I went to church this morning. I got to visit with my friends and to enjoy the presence of God. Then I went to lunch with the Lunch Bunch -- a group that gets together every Sunday for sharing a meal and enjoying each other's company.

I'm really relishing the fact that I have found such a fine group of women and men that I can call my friends.

Tomorrow starts another week.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Simple Amusement!

All is still.

The dog is fast asleep at the foot of my bed.

It's raining outside. An occasional car passes and I hear that whish of water on the roadway.

My comforter is wrapped all around me as I write this entry.

I'm learning how to make myself content with just me (and with the dog of course!). I've washed laundry.....and folded it. I went to breakfast mid-morning and took myself to a nice dinner this evening. I've curled up on the couch with my dog.

In the midst of it all -- the emails came.

Lovey strikes again!

I'm somewhat amused by her latest notes. For instance, in one of them she thanks me for the alimony. It's the first thank you note I've received from her in over a year of alimony! Gee I must be dreaming.

Another note she speaks of my 50th Birthday party.....and it comes across as if she's already an invited and accepted guest! (Her mother does this too...and assumes she'll be assisting with party set up -- invitations have not been sent out.....and I haven't decided whether I'm inviting tem!

So here I sit....late at night contemplating all of this.

It actually gives me a chuckle.

Especially when I think back on last year. My 49th birthday was just as important to me. Perhaps it was even more important to me because with the exception of my parents, I was totally alone. It was the first time I had ever had a birthday when I didn't have at least one child with me.

I remember the pain....the gloom.....and all the doom that I felt. It hurt.

It hurt BAD.

I was also going through the stage of feeling alone...and not quite knowing what to do with myself. My mom and dad were concerned about me. Heck, I was concerned about me too.

Lovey and her mom and all her sisters ignored my birthday last year.

So, I guess now you can see why I am so amused when this year they have practically invited themselves to the party I'm throwing myself.

I'm not bitter.

The word is amused. I just never thought I'd feel this way about them.

I guess this is just one more sign of how much growth I have experienced....and just how far I have come on this journey of mine.

A number of my buddies out there in cyberland have just begun the sad process of going through divorces after longterm marriages. They've written me about how they feel numb at times.....and how they feel lost in a fog. They even liken their worlds now as being like living on a nonstop roller coaster.... all sounds so very familiar.

I just tell them to explore OUT OF THE ASHES......and they can see what it has been like for one guy.

But the neat thing about it is that those bad times do pass.

Your life does improve.

You just need to hold on....and to love yourself unconditionally.

Better days lie ahead.

From My Soldier Son in Iraq

I am so very sensitive when it comes to my kids. I just don't know why, but when I'm communicating with them or in their presence, now in adulthood I still see them as little children all helpless and vulnerable kids in need of protection. I guess that's just me being a dad.

That season of life is now here upon me....where my kids are all on their own....finding their way in the world. Coupled with the fact that they are thousands of miles away in other states or countries....if I let myself think about them too much....I'd become a babbling idiot....crazy as a loon with worry about them!

In the past few days I've communicated with all three of them. They all seem to be doing well and remain happy at what they currently do.

Josh, the marine, is in Iraq at this moment, but is preparing to return home to NC....with a stop here in the DC area before his next assignment begins in Texas June 1. He has asked me to take a road trip with him there to help him get settled and I agreed to do so. So, around May 23, he and I lieave for Dallas. Look out world! A road trip!

Today I received the following message from him. It did his daddy good to read it:


I will still be home NLT the 22nd as of right now. I am going to pick up my car the first day I get back, I got some stuff I need to do to it. I have to be in TX, checked in, by the first of June. So I would like to take my time a little bit and leave a week early at least. So I would say at least by the 23rd or something like that. I will be home for your b-day, well I am trying super hard to make that happen at least. I got you a present that I think will make you speechless. It isn't much but it will have the effect on you as if it were something HUGE! I love you pops and even though I haven't acted like it, I want you to know you mean the world to me and I love you and I appreciate everything you have done for me. You are the best father a kid could ask for and I only hope I can do as well as you have when I have my own kids.


So even though this kid has at time plucked my last nerve....caused me at times to question the wisdom of having adopted him when he was four........getting phone calls from jail in the middle of the night........, notes such as this make it worth it all.

I just continue to shake my head.....and savor the love I feel from and for him. He and his sisters have helped me so much to rise from the ash heap of my marriage.

What more can I say?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Being a Good Dad vs Being a Good Gay Dad

My daughter is struggling with letting go and enjoying her time fully with Mr. Bodybuilder.

It hurts me a bit too because it involves me.

Mr. Bodybuilder is any girl's dream. He's handsome, strong, affectionate, attentive, caring, romantic, gentle, kind, etc. My daughter has said on more than one occasion that he reminds her a lot of me.

This is what bother's her about the relationship.

She doesn't want to have a gay signficant other.

When she first told me all this, I lightheartedly said, "Well, being gay isn't the worst thing in the world! After all, it's what makes me so loveable...dontcha think?"

She didn't like the humor.

To her this is serious business.

I can understand why.

She then went on to say that she has spoken of me to a lot of her friends who say they would give their eye teeth to have a dad like me. But, #2 thinks that the main difference is that I'm gay.

Well, from my perspective, and I explained this to her as gently as possible.

There is a lot of difference in being a good dad.....and being a gay dad. I mean, fathers can be first rate jerks -- gay or straight. The mere fact that I'm gay....and that my kids think I'm a great dad are two separate issues.

She doesn't seem to get it.

Somehow being gay makes me more sensitive to my daughters' needs....and less likely to think of them in sexual terms.

Says she.

I then responded by saying that not all dads think of their children in sexual least the healthy dads don't think that way. I also pointed out that I'm the same way with my son and although I'm "gay as a goose"...I certainly don't think of him in sexual terms.

I think I caught a glimmer of the fact that she was beginning to get the idea.

But still, I see this as a potential issue with her and the bodybuilder.

I really feel very good about this relationship she has with him. I feel very good about him and I think that he is the stuff that good sons-in-law are made of. I believe he is answer #1 to my long running prayer for good mates for each of my children.

I just hope she doesn't allow the fact of my being gay.....or the resemblances of me to Mr. Bodybuilder...or to anyone in fact, cause her to back away from someone with excellent potential as a life mate.

That would not make me very happy.

It's Friday: The Weekend is Here!!!!

I have so much to do this weekend! First and foremost is getting my taxes done. I am missing one document and it is driving me crazy.

Of course, I also dread this…passionately. This is my first time to file as a single man….and I know that I’m going to be eaten alive. So, I just need to suck it up and do what I have to do.

In the meantime, I’m also going to be working on getting the house in order for the birthday party!

When the weather breaks, I have to pressure wash the deck and the fence on the patio. I need to also pressure wash the patio…and get it painted so that everything looks spiffy for the gathering of everyone. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and I’ll get to use the deck and patio as extra entertaining space.

I’ve also hired my niece as the official photographer of the day. That way I don’t have to worry about having the camera and running around getting shots and keeping all the food and beverages flowing. My daughter has volunteered to keep the food flowing.

I struggled with the idea of a caterer. But why worry with having all these strangers milling around in my kitchen? I’m just going to go to COSTCO. Get a ton of trays….fruit….veggies……wraps…….maybe macaroni salad……..potato salad…….coleslaw. Then a gigantic birthday cake….with my picture on it! (I’ve always wanted that….LOL!).

Then, I just want to kick back and enjoy my kids….and my parents…..after everyone has gone home.

Speaking of birthdays, I was invited to a wonderful small birthday celebration for my friend Ken who turned 39. A group of us took him to dinner at P. F. Chang’s and spent a couple of hours having stimulating conversation, scoping out the cute waiters, laughing and just enjoying one another.

Yesterday was a very GOOD day

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A Sense of Completeness and Wellbeing

I had lunch today with a group of about 12 gay married guys. Actually, I was one of two divorced men in attendance.

It’s a bit amazing for me to share this with you, but here goes anyway.

I’ve had a hard time with being friends with other men…all my life. I think this is because of the gay thing…and the fact that I felt that I had to erect very thick….and very tall walls to keep myself protected from anyone knowing….or learning about the real Frank.

As a result of this, I grew to be painfully shy and subdued.

In looking back over things, I think I used my marriage to hide from healthy male friendships. Oh, I’d wear myself out looking for furtive, physical encounters. But to develop friendships?

Oh my!


Let’s fast forward to the new old Frank, circa spring 2008.

I’ve virtually blossomed into quite a neat human being. I am actually pleased with how I’m turning out. And the gay thing? Well, I’m learning to embrace it more and more….and to just relax and let it be a part of me.

Somehow I don’t feel like I have to beat my chest and jump up and down and tell the world about my sexual proclivities.

But, when I’m in a group of other gay men….it’s kind of hard to describe. I feel a very strong bond with them. I feel an intimacy that I can’t fully describe.

I also have a genuine affection for them. No, it’s not the kind of thing where you get free feels…..or you have a strong lust.

It’s just a genuine love for them that strikes at your very core.

And when you leave their presence, well there is just a very soft and squishy feeling in your heart that is left behind……and you can’t wait to be with them again.

There’s an overflow of affection you want to share with them. A kiss on the cheek does very nicely…..and a warm bear hug works wonders.

Or…in the case of one of them, they put a hand on my shoulder and let it sit there for a long while until lunch arrived.

It was all so very wonderful….most of all it was great to feel that kind of love and intense affection in return.

I only wish I had known about all this before now.

What a feeling of completeness!


Plans continue to take shape for my 50th Birthday party. As it stands, my birthday will be on Thursday, May 1, 2008. I probably will take myself out to dinner that night and maybe get a few of my buddies to join me for this.

The big open house is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2008 from 1-5. I’m sending out invitations that will cover 130 people. (Gee, I didn’t know that I even knew that many people….much less to feel like I wanted them to join in on my big day!)

In the meantime, I am going to do a deep cleaning of the house. Get rid of additional junk and spruce up the deck and patio. With any luck, it will be a nice day and I can use the deck and patio as extra entertaining space.

My parents will be present. I’m also going to have 2 of my 3 children present. I’ve half way decided to include Lovey and her mother and aunt. I’m not planning to make a big deal of their attendance. Lovey will just be another guest….and that’s about it. I will have so many other people around me, that it shouldn’t be a problem with mingling with the others and allowing her to fend for herself.

Since this is going to be a symbolic start to the rest of my life, I want this party to convey several messages. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk….to be hateful…..but this is the honest truth: I want this party say that I am doing GREAT; I want this party to say that I have friends; and, mostly, I want this party to say that there is a good life after Lovey.

Plain and simple.

That’s all.

I mean, after all that I’ve been through….the tears shed….the sadness….the profound sense of failure……the shame of being gay…’s about time for me to lift up my head and have some fun……share some laughter…….enjoy my loved ones and my children….and enjoy my house.

2008 is MY year!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Readership of Out of the Ashes Continues to Climb

I'm very thankful that I appear to have gained a host of new readers to my little slice of blogdom. It's probably due to the fact that five other blogs have added me to their list of regular reads. So, I am very thankful that you have found me....and due to the soaring readership...and the number of repeats, I hope you're finding what I have to say useful.


I've heard from a couple of my friends who have just begun the long arduous process of separation....and headed to divorce -- all because of the gay thing.

My heart goes out to you.

I've been where you are.

I'm also here to say that there is life beyond....and as you grow.....and adjust to the'll find it can be a very happy and joyous existence.

I thought I'd never reach this point. But, after three years, I'm proud to say that I am a lot closer to recovery.

It also has helped me to surround myself with a host of affirming and healthy friendships, a strong faith community, and I love to read other blogs and online resources about being gay. I've also been fascinated with all the things I've learned about gay history and gay culture. There is just so much out there.

If you're newly out....or just coming to terms with same sex attraction...I highly suggest that you begin looking at a lot of these historical documents and books. You'll be totally surprised at who some of your brothers and sisters are..... I'm amazed that some of my heroes that I had as a child...and who I looked up to, were GAY!


I'll provide details in a later posting...

The bottom line is that we gay folks are everywhere....even in IRAN.

You may live in a small town and perhaps feel like you're the only gay man or woman on the planet. However, I've got some earth shattering news for you: YOU'RE NOT ALONE!

More New Links

I've only just become aware of a number of new links to my blog. I'm honored that those bloggers have chosen to link to me....and because they are such good resources, I'm posting links to them as well.

They are listed in the sidebar on the right of this page.... Their names are:

Diary of a Gay Dad

The Greedy Maelstrom

Kids of Queers.

Check them out!

Blessings to Count

Today I had a few moments to regroup. I'm feeling much, much better from the way I felt over the weekend. While taking the time to think about my life, I've heard some distressing news from various co-workers and relatives.

It made me realize that I have so very much to be thank for. I really am counting all my blessings today.

I feel so guilty now for having felt so bad and be in such a dark place over the weekend. Look at all this and you'll see why I am especially thankful.

A co-worker has a 15 month old granddaughter who is suffering from a very large brain tumor that has caused her head to enlarge….it had paralyzed her and had stunted her overall congnitive development. Surgery has been performed to remove 70% of it. They're awaiting results to find out if the growth is malignant.

One of my subordinates had a new wife that tried to kill herself. She suffers from MS and they are having severe marital problems. The wife is planning to move out shortly. Divorce isn't far behind.

Another co-worker has blood clots in both lungs and in her leg and is hospitalized as they try to get rid of them.

Another co-worker, who retired about 3 years ago, is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimers. She nearly died this weekend from complications.

I have some relatives suffering from the onset of Alzheimers. Other relatives have been hit hard by the recession and are struggling to make ends meet on their measly monthly public assistance they receive.

I have a cousin who has terminal lung cancer. He buried his eldest brother due to lung cancer last August. His baby brother died from in 2002.

The list just goes on and on and on.

And here I complain about how awful my life is just because all I have living at my house with me is my dog!

Is that pathetic or what?

I'm working on improving my attitude....and my overall quality of life. I'm determined to make 2008 my best year ever!

I spoke with #2 in Nashville today. Her plane tickets are purchased for my birthday weekend. She’s excited about coming home to be with her daddy on this momentous 50th Birthday. I’m beginning to get excited about that too!

I plan to surround myself with special people...and continue counting my blessings. I want to make sure that people know that I am well and looking forward to the future with excitement.

It's time to slam the door on my past.



I’m slowly recovering from the awful migraine over the weekend.

These nasty little things are inherited and my mother used to get the optical migraines. In her case, she’d sense one coming on…..and her eyesight would vanish….then she would begin to see halfs of everything….and slowly things would return to normal. Rarely she had pain with hers…but they could be bad regardless.

I spoke with her yesterday.

We compared notes on how these migraines affected us. She described my feelings to a tee….down to the feeling of being “washed out” the day after.

The one good thing about all this is that my mood has drastically improved. I’m not depressed, but rather in a very pleasant mental state. I’m back to counting my blessings and enjoying my time alone.

I’m very thankful to have my friends – people who actually care about how things are going. They worry about me when I’m “down” or not feeling well.

What a comfort!

Onto other things:

Monday was an important anniversary that I didn’t really focus on because of my headache. It was what I refer to as my spiritual birthday.

Thirty-four years ago that day, I was converted in the Baptist church I had started to attend back then. It was a big deal for me. I started on an adventure that day that really hasn’t stopped.

I left that church two years later and became a member of the Church of God. In 1978, I moved to the Washington, DC area to seek my fortune working in the federal government, and to work at a Church of God in Alexandria, VA. That’s where I met Lovey. All my children were baptized in that denomination. Lovey and I worked in a host of churches in this area….serving in another Church of God in Bailey’s Crossroads; then became youth pastors in Forestville, Maryland; pastured another church in Arlington, VA; Mt. Vernon, VA, then we jumped denominations and became United Methodists. She stayed within that denomination, and due to the awful separation and divorce, I’m happily involved in MCC NoVA!

Looking back I see so many points where I could have changed the course of my life. I could have gone into ministry and become a Church of God minister. My ex and I had a very successful children’s ministry and were highly sought after within the denomination.

I wrote curriculum for the Church of God Publishing House and was published worldwide. I published articles of an inspirational nature for the various magazines published there too.

It was a good life.

But I wasn’t too authentic. Had I been authentic, I would have been ostracized and thrown out on my ear.

Now, I’m in a much better place. I’m happy. I’m content. I’ve traveled so far…but yet there is a long way to go.

I still have goals in my life. The most important one at the moment is to be excellent partner material for some lucky guy. I want to prove to myself that I’m monogamous….and that I can be faithful.

Another important goal that I have is to live happily ever after…content in my own skin.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Busy Day

This has been just the kind of day that I thrive on…one that is busy and full of activity. It seems that I ran from one meeting to another and another.

After my final meeting of the day, my good friend M called to invite me to ride with him to check out the cherry blossoms this afternoon. It was a wonderful day here. The temperature was in the low 70s and there were puffy white clouds everywhere.

A gentle breeze kept things moving.

M and I spent five hours together enjoying the sites and sounds of spring. I actually took time off from work and wandered around the Tidal Basin, the FDR Memorial and we finally had a late dinner at the Market Inn.

What a delightful time we had! M is someone that has a level head on his shoulders. He’s a gay buddy who has been going through some drama of his own with his partner. They seem to be in a cycle of breakup….make up…get along wonderfully well………things sour…….then they breakup……and makeup….and the cycle continues.

At any rate, he and I get along superbly. He told me about his troubles and trials….and love life problems……I told him about mine…..we laughed…..we watched all the young hot guys wandering around the cherry trees shirtless…..or jogging…. We counted our blessings……compared notes……and just enjoyed each other’s company.

I marvel at friendships such as this!

It’s amazing to have them.

I’m so thankful that M is in my life….to call me up on a whim and invite me to tag along with him to see the cherry trees.

God has been so good to bring many guys into my life like this!

I’m just shaking my head!

Time to Get Busy

A new day has begun and I’m at the office wading through the horrendous number of emails and other stuff I missed on my day off.

I slept fairly well last night….but this morning I’m suffering the residual effects of that BAD migraine. My head is a little sore….and I have occasional little flickers of pain in the area where the migraine originated. This is all to be expected due to the severity of the headache. I’m just glad to be here and among the living once more.

When I get ill like that, I’m always a bit frightened because of being ALONE and this was the first major migraine I have had since living ALONE.

I’m happy to report that I have have survived to live another day.

Thank goodness.

I spoke with daughter #2 in Nashville again yesterday. Her relationship with Mr. Bodybuilder seems to be heating up even further.

I’m very pleased for her.

She seems so happy about things and her life does seem to be coming together really nicely.

I can only imagine how it must feel.

As I reflect on the period of life when I was that age and life was just opening up for me, I don’t think I was nearly as happy. Everything just sort of got eclipsed by the gay thing and I felt like I was being swept out to see with a rushing tide of emotions – never quite sure of how to respond…or what was expected or even accepted.

I just went through all the emotions.

Before I die….or get too old to relish it…..for once I’d like to have a life that is exciting….and that is full of love…..full of fun…..and to have someone to enjoy it with.

For once I want someone that is mine…..that I don’t have to lie to to…..or pretend to be something other than I am. I want to throw the leftover aspect of my life away. I don’t want to be anyone’s leftovers or sloppy seconds. I want someone who can treat me as number one…..not be ashamed of it……..who is trustworthy…..and won’t go have a fling here….or a fling there. Someone that’s over the slut stage.

I’m willing to give a special someone my all in every aspect.

Is it too much to expect that too?