Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Today I can't seem to get the word Metamorphosis out of my mind.

I guess it is because that I feel like I have changed so much over the past several years. However, with Chris now in my life, it is amazing at the deep and quick changes I have sensed about me. There is a deep and profound settling going on in my life right now that is marvelous. However, when I think about it in other ways, it just is so scary.

You see, I have waited so long, now that I have him, I don't want to do anything that blows this opportunity.

He is jut so special....and I've gone through so much stuff to prepare myself to have him cross my path. I have spent such a long time hoping and praying to find my soul-mate. At times I nearly gave up and thought it would never occur. I thought that love was just a figment of some people's imagination. Based on my rather limited experience, I thought it was just not ever going to be for me.

Then WHAM....almost out of no where in he walks. So together. So handsome. So perfect in in so many ways. I just am at a loss for words as to how awesome this truly is.

We talk several times a day. We have discussed a number of topics that are very heavy. We've discussed the kinds of things that you don't discuss with just any person. We've made ourselves vulnerable to each other. We've talked about our hopes and dreams...our failures...our successes....the awful truth of our humanity.

The amazing part of this is that in making ourselves vulnerable to each other, neither of us has felt anything other than authentic and total acceptance from the other. No rejection. No criticism. Just the comfort of unconditional love and respect for the other.

One of the big changes I sense is that my endless search for a partner is over. It's like walking in the desert forever dreaming about consuming a tall glass of water with ice cubes floating about. Then you finally reach that place. You're presented that tall glass filled to the brim with ice cold water. A part of you can hardly believe you're at this place But you are! You don't have to continue dreaming about it. What it tastes like. How satisfying the cold water is in your parched throat.

Get the idea?

My feelings for Chris are passionate and personal. They run very deep. I view him as my beloved. And with all these feelings I now have for him....I want to protect this relationship from any potential assault from external forces. I have quite a feeling of protectiveness for him. It's not something I've ever really had before.

I guess this is all part of the fact that I have literally spent a number of years looking for what I have found. I just don't want to take anything about him for granted. I want him to know how special and dear he is to me.

And from what he says to me...he feels the same way....

In three short weeks, the adventure begins -- up close and personal. He's going to be in my house. He's going to be living there...one of the family -- my family.

I could not be happier!

Yes I have changed....and I continue to do so.

Monday, February 27, 2017


It's been a busy few days. My 4 year old grand son came for a visit. On Saturday we took him to the National Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum. We had a grand time. The temperature was spring like...and it was good just being outside.

While out...the weather changed. Thunderstorms hit the area and, well, the advancing cold front dropped the temperature down into the lower 40s.... The rest of the evening I stayed huddled in my house...and on Saturday I went to church. For lunch I invited a new man from the congregation to join me.

We had a good visit...but it affected me profoundly -- not in a good way.

His history with his former wife was a mirror of what I had with Lovey....but his relationships with men are nothing compared to the special relationship I now have with Chris. My new friend was married to a man for many years. It sounds like it was indeed a strange relationship...in ways I can't really relate to. There was a disconnect on several levels. There was a serious lack of intimacy...and some anger management issues.

I hurt for my new friend as he told some of the horror stories he had to share.

Men are such sexual beings. I don't understand all the gay couples I've talked with who have no sex life.... I've also learned of profound sexual abuse and violence. I don't get that either.

So it is no wonder that by the end of the visit....and by the time I had gotten into my car, I felt drained emotionally. As he talked about his life with his ex-wife, I went right back there with him and relived the horrors of my marriage. I guess my emotional exhaustion should not be all that surprising.

The one factor that I did find surprising is the fact that I still have bitterness hanging around for Lovey.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sulverdaddies, Match and Scruff

Yup, it's me again. I feel inspired to write my second post of the day. So here goes...

In all those sites I have been a part of over the years, where I was searching in earnest for someone special...or a person with at least some potential, I was always taken with the comment, "I'm looking for someone to drop this app for..."

It made quite the impression on me and I always dreamed about doing just that. You see, I spent so much time looking for that special person...but I never got to that place with the. Sometimes I think that the majority of gay men are just looking for a sexual encounter -- no matter what they say or how sincere they seem.

I've met many such men. They talk a good game. The promise the sun, the moon, with some stars and a few galaxies thrown in to pique your interest. Then, when the moment of truth arrives and they have what they desire from you, something comes from left field. My most classic example was with a man who found tremendous comfort and pleasure in my arms. We saw each other over an extended period of time. I truly thought I fell for him. But in the end, he said, "My heart belongs to my wife. I owe her everything." He had discounted that she had demasculinized him. She had found that he was gay and due to her own insecurities she began a rather strong pattern of verbal and psychological abuse.

He was a good catholic boy...and it was so painful to watch him be so upset by her, that he did not know what to do. It was also hurtful to me to know that I could have really loved him and watched blossom into a beautiful an that didn't owe anything to anybody -- much less her.

But now since I have found love...with Chris....I find that my love for the other man paled in comparison. He, along with the other men I have known physically, simply used me to feel better temporarily. To actually receive some pleasure and be reminded how good it feels to be a man.

Today, on Match.Com, I got a "flag" that said that so-and-so was "interested" in me. Really? It was actually a man that I had conversed with several times a year or so ago. He flaked out on me for whatever reason...and it brought home the fact that made me wonder "Why am I still here on this app?"

Several weeks ago I ditched GRINDR and GROWLR. Today I wiped out the remainders of Sulverdaddies, Match and Scruff. My profiles.....with my pictures.....with my prolific narrative....are gone. I had the Sulverdaddies profile the longest. It said I had over 50,000 visits over those years. But very few of them were seriously interested....and none of them had gone the distance or made the effort to get to know me better.

So, I'm history from them.

I've grown.

I don't need them.

I'm off to more adventures with a very special man....deeper adventures......

I am so thankful.

The Bed

So, the picture is of my NEW bed. It is the centerpiece of my new furniture I splurged on and had delivered this weekend. It's the first new bed and mattress I have had in about 25 years.

The old bed that I just ditched was purchased by Lovey and me when we moved into the townhouse that I still live in , back in 1992. It was solid OAK and had four very tall corner posts and an ornate headboard. It was a queen sized bed that stood far off the floor. I dare say that it could have accommodated an entire football team under there. In fact, it stood so high off the floor, my cocker spaniels had a hard time jumping up on that bed...and I had to make quite a leap to get into it.

That bed had lots of memories.

On Saturdays, my kids would come bursting into the room and pile into the bed. It was true family bonding time. They would watch TV in my room and sit on the bed...at the foot so that their feet were on the footboard. Small scratches and nicks adorn that footboard from all their "visits."

That bed also saw a lot of other action too. It saw me through two separate slut phases as I was navigating my self discovery as a gay man. Not sure why gay men go through this phase. I certainly wish I hadn't, but from what I've read, it seems fairly common. I've been with married men. Ministers. Policemen. Various military. Executives. Students. Those who have identified as gay, straight, and bi.

I learned who I was in that bed. I learned what I liked and what I didn't.

I fell in love in that bed too many times to count...only to have my heart broken.


The contrasts are many.

I've felt ecstasy in that bed. I've felt excruciating pain in that bed. It was in that bed that Lovey lowered the boom on me on June 9, 2005 that started my journey as a single, frightened and lonely closeted gay man.

That bedroom furniture was the last remaining vestige of my time with Lovey. You see, when she left me finally in 2006 (following a year of separation under the same roof -- which I don't recommend), she cleaned out the house of ALL furniture -- except that bedroom furniture.

So it was time for me to release it. Time for me to get something that I liked and wanted for me. With Chris' arrival into my household, it was time for me to begin again. Clean. Fresh. New.

The only man I plan to have in that bed with me is Chris. The only person I plan to ever make love to in that bed is Chris. There'll be no hookups or lunchtime quickies with anyone else.

In other words...I've finally settled and grown up.

It's time.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

And Now A Word From Chris...

Good afternoon folks....this is Chris, the guy Frank has been writing about on here as of late. I don't know where to start. I will say this, Frank is one awesome, loving, intelligent, sweet and handsome man that I have started to fall in love with over the short time we have known each other. A few of my friends have made the same remarks, as a few of Frank's relatives and friends have said, "so quick"! We both have said to them and to each other, what are we waiting for! We are both intelligent men who have experienced and seen a lot in this thing called LIFE! We know more now than ever before what we want in a partner, lover, soulmate and friend forever, "The One"! What we see when we look in each others eyes, what we hear, whether we are together or speaking on the phone at a long distance, what we feel inside in our guts, we know in our heart of hearts, soul of souls and in our minds eye, that to each other, we are "THE ONE"! Yes, we are that confident to say this about a time in our lives, that has come our way to have such a blessing and gift of each to each other, arrive! It is our turn folks!

So, I have taken a position in the Northern Virginia area to be with Frank, closer to my incredible son and daughter, Daniel and Joanna, and the many other family and friends that I am so blessed to have in my life. It is going to be the most joyful ride of my life being with THE ONE, this guy, Frank who woofed at me and I decided to say "hey handsome, Merry Christmas, what are you doing on this Christmas morning"? What a day to meet and speak, to take a chance that he might just respond, return the woof and say hi!

Oh, and by the way, never give Up on what you are looking for, what you want and have been praying for! God is still very much alive and answering prayers...He sure did answer ours! A new start on an incredible path and journey ahead for Frank and I folks! He is "THE ONE"!

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Yes, meeting Chris at Bob Evans that Wednesday morning was indeed magical. He said that when he pulled his car next to m34 he looked over and though I looked like a minister. I got out of my car and he got out of his. We smiled and he bounded over to me, gave me a big hug and a peck on the lips -- right in front of God and the whole town of Fredericksburg. It felt like I knew him all my life..andI looks at him and said, "Are you hungry?" He said, "Yes, I ams." So I invited him to com into the restaurant with him. We turned and as we walked toward the front door -- it happened!

I felt his hand touch mr on my back. It wasn't anything lewd or inappropriate...but it was warm...friendly...comforting... I chatted up the waitress and she gave us a nice booth and Chris and I spent three hours becoming better acquainted.

It wasn't one of those typical gay meet and greets. You know the kind, the kind where you look each other over....find a motel....do the deed then get acquainted. This was truly about good conversation...experience the chemistry....enjoy the magic of attraction and enjoying each other's presence.

Besides, he was headed back to Milwaukee driving.

We clicked profoundly. Much in common. Even a few friends in common.

It began a wonderful time of getting to know each other. Of marathon discussions about everything under the sun. Turns out that the main thing that caught his eye about my profile was I had put in there that i was a man of faith. He also was attracted to my profile picture; Turns out he was a former pastor. He had been married to three women. He had try to change his orientation, but realized it wasn't happening -- sound familiar? He had three kids. Two boys and a girl. As opposed to my two girls and a boy. One of his died in infancy.

He loves his faith with God...and has a strong relationship with God. Both his kids are younger than mine. His daughter graduates from college this spring. She is into the whole actin, writing and directing aspect of the arts...much like my daughter who lives in Nashville.

His living son is a former marine...like my son....and he was at Camp leJeune during the same time my son was there!

We have similar values.....similar hopes and dreams. We're both tired of the hook ups and mechanical sex. We want something deeper...emotional

He's 60 to my 58. We love the ocean and beach. We like to travel.

A jog actually dropped into his lap and he came for an interview. Our time together then was magical too. We made plans and decided to move in together. So in a few weeks we will be enjoying the prospect of living together.

I met his daughter...she is ver similar to mine. We hit it off.

When he returned to his hoe in Milwaukee....I actually felt lost. I felt like my chest would explode. More marathon telephone conversations....

Yes it's all happened fast. But he and I both have felt God at work here in drawing us together. He loves my church...and he and i both feel thet there is a ministry to b had in ministering to guys like us who have struggled with being gay...those who may be older who may feel that love has passed them by.... It hasn't.

So we're excited about this new beginning.

This new chapter of both our lives.

Aw...the adventures that await. Oh the stories to share here in OUT OF THE ASHES. I am so happy...and it's just like the proverbial phoenix that has risen from the heap of ashes...

I've come a very long way. It feels so good to have the love of a good man. An authentic man. A real man of faith. So, I'm running a rare picture of me for the blog. That's me with the hat. He's that cutey on the left! Sigh!

About Chris

It has been a very full day today. I had the day off and I had scheduled a new furniture delivery for today. However, in order to have the new furniture in my bedroom delivered, I had to go about getting rid of the old furniture, some old junk and doing some very deep cleaning to get ready for the new.

It's definitely been out with the old and in with the new around here. So, as I write this, I am sitting up in my new bed..new mattress that provides massage and it tilts head and feet.

I've been able to talk with Chris a number of times today...and the neat thing about this is that although he currently lives in Wisconsin, I feel as close to him as ever. Within two to three weeks, he will be here and we will officially be together and ready to explore life as a full fledged couple.

If you have read this blog for any reasonable period of time, you know that I have been on a long quest to find my mate. With an fits and starts to my credit, I have to say that what I have with Chris has far surpassed those other relationships on a number of fronts. But, before I start talking about all that, I promised a few days ago to write a piece about how we met...something a bit more in depth than what I have written previously about him... I do this to actually fully document our meeting because as time marches on, some details become lost and I really don't want to lose any of this remarkable story.

Up until June of 2016 I had been dating a man named Stan. He seemed to be the closest thing to a full fledged relationship that until that moment, I had run across. He was attractive, seemingly emotionally available, and he said that he had been looking for a good partner to marry and to settle down with. He was the first man that I had seen that seemed to be on the same track as I. We had, from my perspective, a very close and passionate relationship that showed the promise of much, much more. We had discussed marriage, but all those were were discussions. To me it felt way too quick and I felt a "check" in my spirit. It was like this little tiny voice said, "you've got plenty of time, just proceed slowly..." I'm glad that I did.

In late June, (he told me much later), that he had decided it would be fun to hook with some stranger on GROWLR and to be the recipient of anal sex -- bareback. He in fact did the deed and literally afterwards as he was getting dressed afterwards, the stranger told him, "Stan, I forgot to tell you...I'm POZ, but undetectable." Stan literally went to the emergency room to receive treatment. In turn, this opened the door for a 6 month window where he could seroconvert and become positive himself. (Thankfully, that window has closed and he has remained negative.)

As if this were not enough, one week later, he hooked up with a stranger on SCRUFF. Whatever it was that they did must have been totally indescribable, because the next morning, they went to the county courthouse and got MARRIED. Needless to say, this played with my head because I felt like I had issues...or that I wasn't good enough....and he'd been with me for 7 months..but whatever happened that one night with this other man had made him run and get married.

After much soul searching and discussing the matter with my pastor, I learned that this said far more about Stan than it did with me. So I spent the remaining part of the summer and the entire fall, recovering from the shock and the hurt.

By Thanksgiving I had given up on the concept of ever finding love from another gay man. In fact, I told friends that it was time for me to fold up the rainbow flag and put it away...and turn in the gay card. By mid-December I was looking forward to the holidays.

In early December, Lovey contacted me and wanted me to consider having the family celebration at her house this year in Newport News, VA. This meant that my son and grandson and my daughter Jessica, and me would head down to that area on Christmas Eve morning.

At the appointed day, we loaded up our vehicles and headed to Lovey's house for a wonderful holiday celebration. We spent the time upon our arrival, getting last minute tasks taken care of before church that night. Lovey is a minister and pastors a large church in the area and so we were planning to attend the late service that night.

We got back to her place late. The grandson needed to get into bed. We needed to wrap a few presents and put them under the tree for the morning and then crash ourselves.

Having finally finishing all our tasks by around midnight, we all said our good night and found our respective beds to crash into. I had the couch in the living room. With the house very quiet, I decided to open my IPad and open SCRUFF to kill sometime before i got sleepy. I enjoyed looking at all the fine men, knowing confidently that I would never find anyone who would ever take me of any kind of interest.

As I scrolled through all the nice looking specimens, one man caught my eye. It was a selfie of a very attractive man taken in his car. He had on a black t-shirt that was sleeveless and showed quite a muscular arm. He was listed as CMW. He was listed as white, 6'0, 195 pounds. His profile said he was muscle, daddy, guy next door. His profile indicated that he was into muscle, daddies, and guys next door. His interests were that he was an outdoors guy, and he works our 5 days per week. It said that he lived in Wisconsin, but that he was a very few miles away at that moment.

I did not focus on the fact that he lived in Wisconsin...only that he was in very close proximity to Lovey's house.

So, I did what any red blooded american gay man would do on this app -- I woofed at him!

It has been my repeated experience that when I woof at men who are gym rats and into muscles, they generally ignore me when I woof! Still, I swallowed my pride and Woofed to let this stranger know that he had made an impression on me!

With that, I turned off my phone, and went to sleep, fully confident, the CMW would ignore my attention.

On Christmas Day, I awoke very early because of the grandson's excitement about seeing what Santa had left. So we spent a long time opening presents and watching the grandson with his toys. As breakfast was being prepared, I looked on my IPad and was amazed that I had a new message on SCRUFF.

It came from CMW...and was written early that morning at 7:36am. It said, "Great profile and handsome face! Merry Christmas!"

I had just had some nice photographs taken by a professional photographer friend, one of which showed me in a pair of nice underwear. So I sent him that shot...with the message, "Back Atcha!"

Shortly thereafter, he sent me a similar shot, to which I responded, "Nice. Merry christmas!"

A quick response happened. "Didn't think it was sent. Have a merry day too. Yours was nice btw too! Fixing breakfast for my son."

So my curiosity was piqued. The man has children. Obviously gay...but lives a ways from here...interesting man I thought. Didn't want to come off too nosy, so I wrote to quick messages, "Cool. You're very nice. So you're not from Va?"

He responded with the same underwear pic he had sent before. I responded with, "Love that pic."

He then responded with a slightly longer message: "Yes, I've been over in the Virginia Beach area for 40 years. I just relocated to Wisconsin to do some work last November. So I live in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. There's a strong possibility I will be back here in 2017 when my contract is up. When I leave here tomorrow I'm headed up to Colonial Beach where I had an office for 20 years. I see you live in Northern Virginia."

Well, as I thought about this, the man is friendly...he is asking me leading questions...so he must be open for at least a pen pal friendship...

I continued. "Visiting here now. Yes, live in Alexandria."

He responded, "Ahh...well I'm getting ready to do Christmas. My daughter is coming in too. Chris here btw. You are a handsome man."

Well gee...he has said I'm handsome twice now. Perhaps there is some modicum of interest perhaps? How do I respond to that? I got flustered.

"I'm Frank. Headed to church." Sent him another one of my professional shots. He responded, "Enjoy and Merry Christmas!"

So to make sure he knew that I was enjoying this conversation, I said, "Chat later?"

"Absolutely!" he responded.

I gave him the wrong phone number when I responded and told him to TEXT.

He said, "Sexy. And I will text you later!"

"OK" I said.

It didn't dawn on me that I had given him the wrong number...but the next day I texted and said, "Good morning! Never heard from you!"

We we got all that sorted out...and made arrangements to meet at Bob Evans Restaurant in Fredericksburg on the Wednesday following Christmas. It was magical.

Will write more next time...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Jolt From the Past...

Last night was quite a busy evening. I'm expecting the delivery of some brand new bedroom furniture. The old furniture was what Lovey left me when she cleaned the house out of everything. She had complained that the old furniture was just too big for her...even though she is the one who picked it out. So, for the last 13 years, I've been using this bed and finally decided I needed to make a change.

I purchased the bed before things with Chris intensified, and I have to say that the timing of this is rather fortuitous. I mean, the old bed has quite a history associated with it. That's where I learned who I really am and acted on my nature. It's where I felt my loneliest...and my most fulfilled.

Now I'm at the start of a brand new relationship...and I have a new bed to share. One that I have that contains no ghosts from the past.

The old set had two night stands. I have literally not touched the one that had been Lovey's until it came time for me to clear it out so that I could move the furniture out. While cleaning out her side, I found a number of her writings, including a seven page hand written journal entry from 2004.

It took me several days to gather up my courage to read it. After all, it had been sitting in that nightstand for 13 years...and apparently she had not missed it....

Of 7 pages, 1/4 of one page was entitled: "Things I Admire About Frank"...the remaining 6 and 3/4 pages were a stunning description of me. The person described is a stranger. Gosh if I believed that about me, I'd divorce me too. But it was written from a "Poor me" perspective...and "here is what that awful Frank did to me."

Even after all these years, it hurt. Clearly she wanted out of the marriage...but if she had only been honest about her feelings, we could have had a more amicable separation and divorce, instead of the one we had.

While recovering from the shock of reading about the Frank I do not know, Chris called. He could tell by my voice that something had happened...and I told him what I had done. After some thought he suggested I do something a bit ritualistic to destroy the entry. I decided to take it to my office. I sealed it into an envelope and on the outside I wrote in red, "Thanks for the memories.: and then dropped it down the sensitive document chute. There it will fall 6 floors, then shredded and burned. I wrote a brief rebuttal...then I thanked God for new beginnings. I signed and sealed the letter and dropped it down six floors.

It's now gone. But it reminds me of how much I have changed and how far I have come. I've also gotten a very sweet man that loves me regardless.

The journal is gone.

I'm ready to start anew.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


So this is the day after Valentine's Day 2017. It certainly has been a different one for me. I've not had anyone truly serious in my life for a very long time. Oh, last year at this time I had Stan...but to be honest,after Chris has materialized, I feel like everything with Stan was so juvenile. It had no depth...it didn't have those butterfly feelings in the pit of your stomach. It felt a little bit contrived. I feel bad about that...but its true and now I understand why. Especially after the drama of the summer when he married his one night stand and kicked me to the curb. I really learned a lot from that. My kids are still reeling from it because they had gotten used to him and thought he truly had potential.

As a result of that unfortunate experience, they are quick to criticize the fact that I am moving too fast with Chris. I suppose from their perspective it is a bit fast. But they've not been privy to the countless conversations...especially the marathon ones where we have each bared our souls to one another. We've spoken very openly and honestly of our failures as husbands...the countless hookups....the emptiness....the secret longing for connection and love.

I guess all my other boyfriends featured some aspects of love. But, it wasn't to the depth I have with Chris. I mean I think about him and I get emotional. I tear up. His voice on the telephone soothes me in ways that no other person on the planet has ever done so. Being wrapped in his arms is a feeling of total happiness...I don't need another thing. I'm at peace. I'm content.

It's just too hard to explain. It's like my missing piece has been found...and that I can go on living. He and I plan to do so. We have all kinds of dreams...and all kinds of aspirations. I just have to believe that God is going to allow this to happen. After all, he allowed us to meet...and literally cross paths and then something deep seated ignited....and literally exploded. We shake our heads. It is just too hard to comprehend. (Perhaps shortly I should write an in depth post as to how we met.)

Nonemtheless it happened.

And here we are...

On the cusp of a big adventure....

My kids are so afraid I'm setting myself up for hurt.

My response? How do you ever protect yourself from hurt? I was with Lovey for nearly 26 years. For most of that time, I hurt. When that horse was sadly beaten to death, it hurt. Every break up I've ever had has hurt. When my first FWB that I had for years got killed in a car crash -- it hurt. It hurt when my 12 year relationship with another married man ended -- it hurt. Even had a relationship with a much younger man who wound up running off with my former best friend --it hurt. I've even ben hurt by people turning against me. By awful things being spread about me behind my back. Especially been hurt by those relationships at church.

Hurt is part of living.

But you have to get back on the horse again when you get thrown. However, what I'm experiencing here is so complete...so wonderful...I can't see this ever ending...I actually can see it going the distance.

I'm blessed beyond words. I'm finally past the cycles of quick hookups and getting off. I'm tired of feeling used and being lonely. I'm tired of the emptiness of purely sexual relationships.

It's now time to experience love and to be true to myself....FINALLY.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Week

It's Monday and I'm in quite a reflective mood. I'm pondering my weekend.

The high point was yesterday. I went to church and since I'm the Vice-Morderato, which in terms you can understand means I'm kind of like the Chairman of the Board of Deacons -- and in that role, I get to meet a variety of people. Our church is doing really well at the moment. The folks that come in all have their stories of woe. It makes anything I have to pale in comparison. Today there was a man who was the victim of domestic violence which seems to be rampant in the gay community. I never have quite understood the concept, but nonetheless it happens all too frequently. Another man who just survived a painful gay divorce. Another couple whose one partner is dealing with the after effects of lyme disease. And a new guy who is still in shock over the loss of his husband of 18 years.

Such is the life of a church. On the outside everything looks great, but underneath are people suffering from hurts, failures and heartache.

I realize that I can't fix all these problems. But my job at the church is to help provide a warm and welcoming environment that is safe and caring. Where people from all walks of faith and life can come and find a safe harbor to recover from their wounds, and feel love and acceptance.

I find it quite rewarding to be in this role. It has helped me to become more grounded in my faith and has taught me to draw on the pain of my life experience to hopefully help others..

So I begin another week at the office. The most exciting thing scheduled for me is the arrival of brand new bedroom furniture. It arrives on Friday. So, I'm kind of stoked since the old furniture is from the days of Lovey and Me. Never liked it and it's the only thing she did not take out of my house when she left.

So...moving forward....

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bullying and It's Profound Impact

So today, after a long discussion with Chris, I realized that a term has popped into my head and memories of related events also crept in that I had not thought about in many years.

Chris continues to be like my knight in shining armor. As we talk about things I have learned that the more I know about his background, I see tremendous similarities with him that I have never verbalized to another soul. It's amazing how our conversations drive and meander onto different topics and we never seem to tire of talking.

I digress.

Last night as I drifted off to sleep I remembered an event from my past that was hurtful...shameful even from my childhood. I was ten years old and was at my first gym class with the new male phys ed teacher. Even at 10 I loved looking at him. I din't know why I liked looking at him. He was muscular. Masculine. Athletic. And my heart skipped a beat when he would smile.

Sadly my perceptions of him changed when he decided that he would show us the fundamentals of basketball. I didn't know the first thing about it. My dad was not into sports either. So he never taught me about the fine art of dribbling and shooting baskets. As Mr. Muscle was showing us how to do basket ball lay ups, I was horrified when he pulled me out to show the class. I was lost. I tried to dribble...but I slapped the ball like a girl. It didn't go unnoticed by him...and he called me out on it. In front of everyone he labeled me a "SISSY"...and made fun of me. The other kids joined in...and I felt lower than low. I felt so low in fact that it caused a part of me to shut down...and to this day....I can't stand phys ed. Or working out. Or anything close to any of this. It conjures up all these bad feelings: feelings of inadequacy, feelings of failure, feelings of being ashamed for being the person I was, feelings of rejection.

It goes on and on.

He never apologized. Eighteen years later he died from brain cancer.

Not long ago I stood at his grave and looked down at his marker and I told him that I forgave him.

But when you forgive someone it just doesn't take the pain away.

I also remember other times and events in elementary school. My first grade teacher was a bully. She held a grudge with me because I hadn't attended kindergarten. (It was optional at the time and I surely couldn't be blamed for my parents' decision of not sending me.) She was also mad because my mother took her to task for her mistreatment of the children under her charge and the fact that she had made fun of me for not being able to tie my shoe. Mother, god bless her, said to her "If this is such a big deal for you, why haven't you taken the time to teach him?" (Mother worked with me very hard...too..)

I was accused of having a big neck......I was a "baby" because I didn't see the world as she did.

The school year of 1964-65 was absolute hell for me. I couldn't do anything right for this woman -- an old maid who was very particular about signing her letters as MISS so and so. She was older....very much older...never married. In looking back I believe she was a frustrated and bitter old lesbian. Girls could do no wrong in her class...but all the boys were mistreated.

To this day I am sensitive.

Not long ago, I was told that I would not be invited to a family gathering. It hurt my feelings. And for just a split second I was the 5 year old in a classroom of people who were all invited to a birthday party of another class member...and I was the only one not invited.

The rejection caused me to reflect on all these old memories.

Yes, stuff that happens to us as a child does make its mark....and cause us to develop defense mechanisms....some good and some bad.

As a gay man, I've had to learn how to overcome. Perhaps it was due to all this and other drama in my formative years...but here I sit this morning in my swanky office in downtown Washington DC writing this to you to say that I have lived to tell this sad tale.

Oh...Don't think that I have arrived and that I am now the fount of all wisdom and knowledge of such things. I haven't. I'm very much a product of all that has brought me here.

Having Chris in my life and allowing him to see the real Frank -- warts and all -- has done some real good things for me. He wants to know these things. He wants to understand my hurts and why I feel the way I do. And in our marathon telephone conv3ersation this morning I told him that I truly admire him because he, too, is still standing after all the trauma and drama in his life.

He was married three times in order to try to change his gay identity. One of his children died. He lost his pulpit because of the gay thing. He was bullied. He suffered from abuse as a child. He was bullied by other clergy. The list goes on for him too.

But both he and I have decided that the men we are today are the results of our experiences -- both good and bad. The most miraculous thing is that God saw fit to bring us together.

It's wonderful!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Different Place/Time

I'm a man of fierce independence. This is due to the fact that over all my life, it felt like it was me against the world. I was and still am an only child. All the memories, good and bad, are only remembered by me. My parents are now long gone. Many times in life I felt like an alien from outer space. I couldn't relate well to my peers at school. I couldn't fully relate to women like men are supposed to. Although my father tried hard, for the life of me, I just couldn't ever muster up the masculine pursuits that the other boys in my extended family exhibited: I got no enjoyment skulking around the cold woods in the dark at 4:00 in the morning looking for things to kill like squirrels and deer. The automotive engine held no fascination for me. I was clumsy and awkward. I hated sports. I detested killing chickens. I couldn't farm. Everything I planted died.

And the list goes on...

So as a result of these and other failures, I grew into adulthood as a gay man with lots of deep seated issues. Some of my own making...some thrust upon me like an unwanted snowball making a direct hit on one's nose.

Today, I was in a mood. I refer to these as a fat and ugly day. It was time for a super big pity party about a host of dumb stuff. I'm a worrier...and I spend way too much time worrying about things that have yet to happen...or they may never happen. It's just part of my makeup and wiring.

But today was a bit different. Today I actually allowed my guard down enough to share with my boyfriend. It was kind of scary to make myself that vulnerable to actually let him know what was in my heart....and let him see the fears I have brewing deep within. The biggest worry I currently have concerns my physical health. I don't want to be a drain on him. He needed to know what he's signed up for with me.

But, Chris is a good man. A sincerely wonderful human being with a good heart who is sure of his feelings and is unafraid to express himself. He has the unique way to make me cry. I don't know why this is, but his sentiments are always so loving and so gentle. It's just hard for me to take it all in. At times I feel like a very dry sponge rolling around like a piece of tumbleweed in Death Valley. His genuine care and compassion come at me like a sudden flash flood and I guess I'm just not used to having that lavished upon me.

Last night after I went to sleep, he sent me this text: "I hope you have sweet dreams sweet Man of Mine! I'm so glad you're the man I'm going to end up with for the rest of my life. Love you..."

Well, when I awoke this morning and read the text I welled up. I didn't respond immediately....because it hit me powerfully. Then first thing this morning he texted and said, "I meant what I said in my text last late last night about ending up with you. I'm praying for your health sweet man." I responded by saying that I never want to be a burden for him.

He responded: "Eternal lovers, friends, partners...all of the above in one, carry each other through thick and thin. I'm here for you laying, walking and running right beside you. You're the first man I've felt like that about! Just love it...AWW, I love ya Frank!"

This exchange opened the door to a telephone conversation where I let my guard completely down.....and Chris was able to make it better.

As I hung up the telephone it occurred to me that I've never been in a relationship quite like this one. It exhibits all the hallmarks of going the distance. Yes, I'm in a different place and time.

Chris is most definitely a keeper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

AND FINALLY -- Some Good News

Hi all. Yes, I have been missing in action. It never is my intention to not communicate with you all, but life is busy and following the last relationship collapse, I was quite devastated and needed to lick my wounds. So, in typical Frank fashion, I have immersed myself in my work, in my church work, and in my homeowner's association duties. I've also had some health setbacks that I've had to focus on. The diabetes is doing what it does...my eyes and my kidneys. So, I'm laser focused on trying to get back some of my health that it has taken away from me.

So, even though life has dealt me a few setbacks, I've had some very good things to happen.

First, as the vice-moderator of my church I'm in the lofty position of serving as my pastor's boss! I did not vy for this position, but somehow I have found myself in this role. So, I've worked very hard to do the best job that I know to do. Over the past several years, my church has struggled to stay afloat...and when I got the job I currently have, I thought I'd be in charge of shutting down the place and liquidating assets and walking away. But, to my surprise, the ship is turning and appears to sailing into the proper direction. At year end, for example, we closed the books with a surplus of $67,000. We've also increased our attendance dramatically, and our membership has grown!

I am so amazed and I can't wait to see what God does next.

Last Summer, the man I had been dating for almost a year dumped me abruptly. He met some guy on one of those silly telephone apps. They had an encounter and VROOM....it must have been something because the very next day after, they ran to the courthouse and got MARRIED! Yup! MARRIED! Kind of took my breath away. It also left me feeling a bit like chopped liver...after all, I gave him everything I could possibly do over almost 12 months...and MR WONDERFUL wiped all that out in one session of lust....or passion....or whatever....and they got married!

It played with my head. I felt as though something were wrong with me. It took several weeks for me to finally come to the conclusion that the breakup said a lot more about him than it did about me. So, I moved on...and figured it was time to fold up the rainbow flag and put it away and prepare to live my life alone.

So I immersed myself in all my activities. I didn't even allow myself to dream about someone, because, well, it was not in the cards. Well, one former flame did have a heart to heart talk with me to say, "You do know that I still love you, don't you?" I was taken totally off guard by his declaration and all I could muster was, "No, I didn't know that?" As the conversation progressed, I had to tell him that the ship had sailed and there would be no going back. He left me....he had his chance...and he told me I wasn't worthy at the time...

For Christmas, I was invited, along with my children and grandson, to join Lovey to celebrate "as a family" in her house in Newport News, VA. After all she has been through with the illness and long goodbye of her mother, and the very traumatic liquidation of assets and settling of the estate, I thought it would be a good thing for us to all be together. So I agreed.

On Christmas Eve, I was bored. The rest of the family was out doing some last minute stuff, and I was at the house alone. So to pass the time, I decided to see what guys were in the area that I could admire. After all, my thought reflected back on my former bf and the fact that he had used this very app to get a new husband! So I signed on.

As I looked at the very nice guys, one man totally caught my attention. I thought about writing him, but then I thought that would be way too bold.... So as I continued to study his picture and read his profile, I decided to use the WOOF feature. It's l basic flirting. Most of the guys I WOOF at tend to ignore me or block me.... So, I thought with his looks he would block me, but at least I was having fun WOOFING.

I thought no more about it.

Imagine my surprise -- no SHOCK -- when bright and early on Christmas Morning, he had written me a nice text message to say hello. Over the course of Christmas Day, we chatted back and forth at length. I learned his name was Chris. I found out that he had been a former pastor, and that he had been married to three different women as he sorted out his gay feelings. He finally accepted his identity, came out, divorced, lost his ministry, and now he was working in the Midwest on contract in a real estate firm. Originally from the Virginia Beach area, he said that he was wanting to come back to Virginia, because of his kids.

We continued becoming acquainted. We then moved our texts to phone conversations. He sounded like a normal, nice, and sweet man. He turned out to be two years older than me. We also found we had mutual friends and something ignited between us. By the Wednesday after Christmas, we had met face to face.

We scheduled a breakfast meeting at Bob Evans'. It was as if we had known each other for years and we wound up talking for three hours! Since then, he has made a cold call to the Northern VA area and was amazed to connect with people knew of him and his reputation. They flew him here for an interview and was offered the job on the spot! The office is only two miles from my house.

So he has signed a contract and will be here beginning March 1. We have wound up totally smitten with each other, and both feel that this is going to go the distance. I'm shocked because I had so given up on finding someone like this.

He is everything I had ever hoped for on my wish list...AND MORE!

The most amazing thing of all is that in typical gay relationships, you meet...you go to bed....then ask questions later. Sad but tru But in our case its more like an old fashioned courtship. We have found a lot of common ground that has drawn us together in very profound ways. We fell in love first before sex was introduced into the mix. In all my years on the planet...and in my nearly 26 years with Lovey, the seven years with Lee (Dirty Little Secret), the 12 years with ZACH, the interlude with Stephen, and the nearly one year with Stan, and all the other encounters I've had in between, I can honestly say that I have never had feelings quite like this! I now understand why love songs are written.....what makes up a love letter......and the desire to spend time with my beloved.

I am so goofy. But the happiness I have is beyond words. It feels right.....very right.