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Merry Christmas 2012

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Merry Christmas to all and may this be a great and blessed day for all.  Here we are again, it’s Christmas and a lot has happened since Christmas was here last.  There is much to be thankful for and  some tears shed as well during this past year and now as we near the new year we can only hope and pray for the best as we brace for all possibilities.

It is a beautiful, quiet Christmas morning here in eastern NC at 8:30 am.  It’s chilly and gray outside, a wintry morning for sure, just right for Christmas morning.  I was up early firing up the kerosene heaters and getting the coffee started in our new coffee pot, a gift to ourselves since our old pot started  to fail.

Thanks to Walmart and their offers we were able to have a nice Christmas and with work picking up some we may actually be able to pay for it.  Time will tell.  The world of construction has not been all that great these past 5 or 6 years and we have had to do without a lot but God has provided in some amazing and mysterious ways and these hard times have taught us some valuable lessons on faith.

I am so blessed this Christmas to have been able to bless my wife and young 15 year old daughter with lap top computers.  They have waited patiently for a long time for this moment to come and to have finally been able to pull it off is an amazing feeling.  Truly it is better to give than to receive.  To see the surprise and glee as the awareness sets in that it really is true.  Now they are both at the kitchen bar working on them and setting them up.

My Christmas blessings are having a new grand son and having my wife here with me still.  I almost lost her on Saturday morning,  October 13th, when her car was tee boned on the passenger side by a tractor trailer.  The car was destroyed as it rolled over three or four times after being slammed into full force.  She was trapped in the car, upside down and unconscious with a serious head injury, bleeding everywhere but thanks to those around was rescued and air-lifted to the nearest trauma center 60 miles away.  All I can do is thank God over and over again.  She was hurt but thankfully not killed, everyone who saw the car said it was a miracle that she is alive.  All the rescue workers who put her in the helicopter that day thought it was curtains for her and were pleasantly surprised later the hear she survived.  To think, our grandson was born September 10th and I almost lost her a month later.  I love him so and am so so glad that my wife gets to be here with him.  My best Christmas ever!!!!

She is recovering well now from all her injuries and we are able to have a wonderful holiday because of that. We know a lot of families this year have suffered tragedies that have forever altered their lives.  We understand this completely as each Christmas for the past 24 years, since we lost our son Ryan we see the empty spot his sweet little blond head should occupy and how the loss has  grown over the years.  Now he would be 30 years old.  I can only imagine what could have been, and I do, and shed tears over it even after all these years.  The loss never goes away, it just grows and we adjust, trusting God each day with it all because we truly believe that He knows best sometimes allows very painful, hard to deal with experiences in the lives of His children.

Still I praise Him and celebrate the birth of His Son Jesus each year and I give gifts to honor the giving of gifts to the Christ child each year.  I love God. I love Jesus and I love my family, friends and people all around.  May God Bless You All!!!  MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012

love and peace, to all and comfort to all those who mourn this year, you are in my heart and in my prayers. asa

photo by: asa

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Happy July

Happy July, and Happy Independance Day 2012!.  Wow! Nine months without one single blog entry. My journal is the same way, not many entries over the past 8 months or so. More there than here though. I hope I can turn that around soon because I miss writing and I need to write. I love to write. What I love to do most in life is writing, listening to and playing music and reading, collecting and selling books. Now if I could find a way to make those things my mainstays in life. At this point the income I get from writing, playing music and selling books is very limited. My main source of income right now is electrical work and I have made some money scraping metal when ever that come available. So in the past five years I went from being a professional with a real job to where I am now. I used to believe that I had it all worked out. My future looked bright. Then the economic tide started to change. I went from being a man who always had work and a decent income for an electrician in eastern NC, to a man always searching for (and often not finding) ways to make some sort of income. Some say the economic crisis is passing but not here in my house or in my county. I’m writing this while I wait for a call for some work for today and possibly tomorrow and I have another load of scarp the take to the scrap yard. Other than that all I have is faith and it’s been sorely tested these past years, but God has held me together.

I suppose depression has played a big part in my struggle to write. So many different hurts in my life and they have all found a way to come to the surface over these past few years. As I started off with the beachcomber idea as a part of the internet business venture that my wife has been involved in I never knew what all I would dredge up. I was thinking of finding books and other treasures to sell as a part of her networking not digging up long buried wounds and sorrows of the past. I guess being striped of my job and all its so called importance reduced me back to what I really am, and that has been hard to face.

The one thing good about all the time I have missed from work is the fact that  I have become part of a band over the past year or so and have made some good friends and had some fun practicing and playing music out in several different venues.  I hope we can continue to grow and will get the chance to play some more gigs soon.  Music and friend ship have been one of the best medicines for dealing with hardship and depression.   Better than therapy.

So now I want to get back into more of my creativity and productivity and I am at least going to try.  I don’t care that Homer Simpson said that “trying was the first step towards failure.”  I am going to try in spite of old Homer.   I am  explore some music and poetry ideas I have had for a while now to try and expand myself.  I only hope work will not get in the way. I want to try and not get too busy but I definitely need to be busy enough to get some money. I finally have a few jobs lined up in a row. It has been a while since that has happened. It is hard work but I am thankful to have it. I just wish I could do something easier and without so much traveling. I am going to try and maintain my blog, my book store and my You-Tube account better and hopefully start to make some serious changes in my life as I approach 50 years old in just a few months.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ncbeachcombers?feature=mhee

These are my videos that I have posted for fun and to test the whole video thing out. I have a lot to learn but it is fun. So I will try and I will press on and I will try and not let my physical struggles get in the way of my muse. Being in the shape I’m in and doing electrical work is very hard and exhausting. I am glad to be posting something, finally after so long and I hope to post more soon and write some more poetry.

asa

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Peter Pan Inn Kopak Inn Hurricane Glass

 

Peter Pan Inn Restuarant 1

 

There was nothing like a 1970s vacation.  Especially one at the Peter Pan Inn.  It was every kids dream to go to a resort hotel and  have new experiences.  There was always a pool and game room and plenty of new halls to explore.  Especially enticing was the hotel restaurant which was know for it’s corn fritters, corn meal balls, fried and dusted with powdered sugar.  People waited in line to get in but the collection of Victorian antiques and other gaudy furnishings made waiting a feast for the eyes.  The Peter Pan Inn was known for it’s restaurant, which featured five dining rooms during its hey-day and was popular during the 70s.  but it all came to an end around Christmas 1983.

It remained closed for quite sometime before becoming the The Cracked Claw at Peter Pan Inn in the 1990s.  A lot of the dining space has been replaced by off track betting facilities but many of the old artifacts remain and you can still find corn fritters on the menu.  I’m sure many still go there just to catch a glimpse of the past.  The older I get the more I like glimpses into the past and the more past there is to glimpse back at.  I’m not sure if I like that so much, the getting older part that is.  Oh, it has it’s benefits I’m sure but getting older is not for the weak.

I have an original 1970s vintage drinking glass from the Peter Pan Inn restaurant and it is an neat collectors item.  Anyone who remembers those good old vacations of the 1960s and 70s and beyond will get a kick out of this treasure.  Like mugs, unique drinking glasses are another fun addition to the kitchen or the curio cabinet.  Special places from the past create wonderful memories and it is nice when an artifact of some by gone era finds it’s way into ones hands.

(The pictures of the dining room are from the internet, they are post cards that seem to be from different eras, I’m not sure about that, the one of the glass is from me, it’s the glass I have.)

And, in closing, as The Peter Pan Restaurant came to an end so does my relationship with the glass.  My wife Deborah and I have been cleaning out lately and now she has put the Peter Pan glass up for sale on Ebay so just if you want to buy it  just click on the picture and you can see her add.  It’s cool.  See ya soon, asa

 

Peter Pan Inn Restuarant 2

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Our Tree Of Grace

Tree Of Grace 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

It is Christmas time again and let me first say Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends whom I love very much. I hope and pray that you have a wonderful holiday season and that you are all richly blessed. 2010 has been a difficult and painful year in many ways yet a very blessed one all the same. My family and I have been through a lot and have learned a lot. We still have a long way to go but with God’s help and friends support we will reach the finish line.

We look forward to the year ahead as we say goodbye the this year and all of it’s trials and blessings. In 2011 we anticipate the return of our son Nathan from over seas and the wedding of our oldest daughter Amber to Gabriel and my brother Ben to Abby.   All still months off but the excitement and anticipation is already building.

There are some obstacles in the weeks and months ahead and we do not know what we may have to face but we are standing firm. We know from past experience that God will take our hand and guide us through what ever the year ahead brings. We hope for the best year ever and many blessings for us and for all of you.

One thing that has been in short supply is money and with the early arrival of winter is has been even more evident. Christmas is going to be old fashioned this year to say the least. A message from Nathan, some friends and family, a good holiday meal and a few small gifts for the children are all we are hoping for.  Hearing from Nate is most important and most unsure at this point.  We are not sure where he is, so we pray for him, and all the service members over seas and for all their safe returns. 

Due to the struggles of 2010 we almost did not get a tree. My wife and I were not too troubled by this but out 13 year old daughter was. That made me feel differently and I had no idea what to do so I ask God to help.  I was not sure what to do and I waited and He came through, as He always does.  Sometimes we have to wait and sometimes things do not turn out our way but He is always faithful and always sees us through.

Deborah was the answer to the question and to the prayer this time.  (As she often is for me.)  She was making a rice bag for a friend and had gotten some money for supplies and material to make it. When she left her friends house she went and bought the supplies needed and found there was some money left over. It had been agreed upon that since this rice bag was for free and not for sale so any money left over from supplies was Deb’s.

On the way home Deb stopped by a Salvation Army thrift store just to see if there were by chance any artificial trees there for sale. She found one tucked away in a corner. It had a run over by a truck look to it and seemed hardly worth any money or time. Still she felt that she should get it. “It had a lot of potential.” she said, it cost exactly the amount that she had left over which was not very much.  She bought it with a hope and prayer and a lot of thanksgiving.   We were not sure how it would turn out but we had a tree. Our miracle tree. Our “Tree Of Grace.” I am amazed at how it all came to pass from start to finish.

It started with a poem that turned into a prayer that turned into a little girl’s answer to prayer. It makes the struggles worth it all when the amazing and miraculous results come about. The tree ended up being a very nice artificial tree that was once a beautiful holiday treasure only to be injured and mistreated and ultimately discarded.  Only to be rescued by someone who saw the potential. Now it is once again what it was meant to be.  A magnificent symbol of grace. 

We worked hard undoing scrunched up and bent over branches but in the end it was a work of love and tenderness that paid off.  Just like Charlie Browns tree, ours was transformed from an ugly damaged thing to a beautiful work of our Father’s art.  Wow!!!!  Breathtaking!!!  We are all so thankful for this blessing and this symbol that has been placed in our lives when it was beyond our means.  Grace and mercy for today, hope for tomorrow.  A child and her families Christmas tree of grace from God. I am so blessed to be a part of it all. May you be blessed as this year ends and the new one begins. May your dreams all come true and when they don’t may you see the blessing even in that. Good always comes around if you wait. Happy Holidays to all.

asa

Tree Of Grace 1

photos by; asa

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alan

Greetings to all of my friends and fellow poets.  I just wanted to take a moment to write and let you all know that I have been sick and unable to do much on the computer as of late.  I hope to be in a better place soon so that I can write and post again.  I miss it, which is a good sign because for a while now I have not cared about writing or the computer or anything.  So I hope you are all well and I look forward to hooking up with you all again soon.

Also I have been wanting to share something with you.  I have a friend who makes dolls.  Her name is Jodi Gains and she has made over a thousand dolls and shipped then world wide.  As soon as I discovered her I knew that I had found the doll maker who could make my dreams come true.  She made a doll of me and my scarecrow (from when I was a boy), and Ryan and his monkey, (his boyhood toy that is in heaven with him now.)  Nathan also had a stuffed monkey when he was a boy.  The dolls remind me of Coraline who I love a lot.  She has Coraline dolls by the way!  She did  an awesome job and the dolls have been so comforting while I have been struggling with my mystery illness again.  This time I am seeing a neurologist and I hope she will shed some more light on a life long battle.

So I will write more about the ragdolls and about what happens in the weeks ahead soon.  Don’t give up on me!  I will be back.  In the mean time check out my dolls and Jodi’s sight and blog.  She is so cool and the dolls are very nicely made.  One day she will be famous and these early works will be collectors items.  I will get more dolls from her if my fortunes ever change.  I already have some new ideas.  Please check her out!  She is most definitely worth the time and the dolls are priceless.

Thanks and hope to be back up and running again soon.

love, asa

http://jodiscreepydolls.blogspot.com/2008/02/rag-dolls.html

http://www.tatteredrags.net/

Alan Ryan Monkey Scarecrow Dolls

image collage by; asa, ragdolls by, Jodi Gains of Tattered Rags

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It was a house of excitement and we were up early, before sunrise, before the alarm even. We were ready to go. It was a day of excitement for Deb and I as we prepared for our grand getaway. The sun was rising on a beautiful late summers morn as Deb’s parents arrived for their turn to stay with Ryan and Amber during our much needed 3 day 2 night break.

We kissed and hugged the sleepy toddlers and got out the door without too much fuss, leaving the grandparents to assure them of our speedy return and of all the fun they would have while we were gone. I guess it all worked out well, but we were on our way and we let the grandparents handle that one. Being young with small children could be hard at times and we were ready to get away for a break for a couple of days.

I looked over at her and squeezed her hand. “Can you believe we are finally going?” I ask.

“No”, she replied,as our eyes met for a moment. Her gaze told me all I needed to know. I was more excited about being alone with her than anything else, but we were kids for the moment and we were heading for Busch Gardens and were ready to ride all of the rides and have a blast. Music that used to not be oldies was playing on the radio and we were in love. It was our moment to shine and as we arrived at the park we noticed that there were not a lot of cars at all.

“Looks like this is our day,” she bubbled, as we moved through the gates and into the park. “Lets hurry before more people get here.”

The aroma of food and the old country’s canned music wafted around us like old friends as we stepped into the surreal atmosphere of the park. Please check your life at the gate flashed like an invisible sign as we were immersed in the enchanted world of make believe. You are now entering the fun zone where you must ride and drink and eat to you hearts delight. I was ready for fun but she was my delight. We took the sky-lift over to the Loch Ness Monster. On the way we took advantage of our stolen moment alone for a kiss or two. All I can say is that we used to love to ride the sky lift, (my favorite ride back then,)especially at night. Nothing like being young and in love.

The first half of the day went by in a whirlwind of rides whisking and screams turned into laughter. We hugged and held hands as we went from ride to ride.

“Look honey,” I said,” there is hardly any one here,  lets ride the sky-lift again.”

“No silly,” she giggled, slapping me on the arm lightly. “There will be time for that later, there is stuff to do right now.”

“OK,” I replied, pretending to be downcast, “what shall we do next?” I grab her and hug her, and spin her around.

“Quit,” she replies,feigning me off, there are people around.

“Yeah but not many,” I quipped, “we have the place to ourselves, we can do anything we want.”

“Like ride more rides,” she answered, grabbing my hand and pulling me along. “Now lets get going, mister.”

So we rode and bantered and played like we were our little children until we were famished. We searched out a desirable shady place for lunch and relaxed together basking in the freedom of the day. Babies at the park are fun but they do not allow for the fun we were having on this particular day. During lunch we found a pay phone and called home to check on our beautiful angels. (no cell phones back then) The children were never far from our minds. We love them so much, they were our life. They were fine but wanted to know when we will be home. We were freed from the phone with out too much hassle, but little ones never want to let you go. Our duty done, we turned back to fun.

“Where now?” I asked.

“I don’t know, she answered with a big grin, “ How about a show and then we can ride the bumper cars and I will show you how to drive.” She will too, she thinks she is a race car driver.

The show went largely unnoticed but resting together in the AC side by side felt so good. We were hot and tired and full of lunch and ready for a moment of inactivity. Soon the show was over and we headed out into the summer evening for some more adventure. Now we were more low key and when we arrived at the bumper cars we found that we were the only ones riding at that moment. We had the whole bumper car arena to ourselves.

“I’ll get you now,” she shouted with glee, as the electricity zapped into the cars and they came to life.

“Oh no you don’t,” and I was off. She chased me down and cornered me and crashed me into the wall. “ Ha, ha, got you that time.” she laughed, and was off, now I was chasing her. Which is usually the way it is. We rode and crashed and laughed and fell deeper in love. That bumper car ride was the turning point that led to a wonderful night of romance.

The operator winked and let us ride longer. We were winded and flushed with excitement when we left the bumper cars. Arm in arm we glided through the darkening park as our mood shifted with the atmosphere. We stole a lingering kiss at every dark corner as we changed from our playful childish selves to our sultry adult selves. The electricity was in the air and we could feel it all around us like magic. We were hungry, but not for food and our attention was turned towards each other now. We were glowing and the aura was surrounding the both of us as if we were one. It was amazing at the transformation that took place as we continued on our journey.

“Lets play games now,” she asked, almost pleading, “you have to win me something.”

“But you have me,” I responded, acting dejected.

“Oh and I’m going to keep you too, but that’s not getting you out of winning something for me. A prize now for a prize later.” she smiled seductively and I was hooked. Love was dripping off of us liked invisible rain droplets. I was in a daze, and the rest of the night was a haze of thrills and moments of delicious young passion that was off the hook.

Coins flew and rings tossed, balloons popped and the carnivals droning MCs drove us on and……..ding, ding, ding…..bells went off and sirens wailed…….”what….did we win?”

“You sure did,” the over zealous attendant shouted above cacophony of carnival machines and music. He proceeded to pull down a huge stuffed dog and I realized that I was going to have to carry this fellow around with me for the rest of the night, which thankfully was getting shorter. I was ready for some other excitement now. I had a prize to play with all right and it was not the big stuffed puppy that I was now carrying around like an overgrown baby.

We decided to make the water ride our last stop and the attendants there graciously tended our baby while we got soaked. We were breathless and drenched when we reached the bottom but we loved it. The log ride was what we needed to complete the day. The fire was lit.

Chilly and snuggled together with our new found friend which we knew the kids would love, along with other prizes procured for them during the day, we proceeded back to the sky-lift and one last ride that would take us to the entrance and ultimately to our motel room.

“I love you so much,” I said, holding her in my arms and kissing her as the lift descended to the station. She answered my love with hers and we held each other close in anticipation. For the day was ending but the night of love was just beginning. We were young parents in love.

asa

Our romantic get aways have been far and few between over the years. Kids have been our way of life since before we were married and this is the first time in 28 years that we do not have someone to tend to. Our youngest is 13 and she is looking forward to young womanhood now. The other kids are out on their own. Ryan is in heaven and we have no grand kids yet. Once upon a time I expected that by now we would have many, so I am very sad about that, but I wait and dream with anticipation until that day arrives.

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alan and deborah andersen 7-27-10 alan and deborah andersen 7-27-10 1

 

 alan and deb 2 al and deb 4

 

 

 

alan andersen 7-27-10 deborah andersen 7-27-10

 

Deborah and I after 25 years of marriage.  We went out to eat and then went to Muddy Waters and got a cup of coffee and walked along the boardwalk by the Pasquotank River and enjoyed the pleasant breeze.  It was cool and no humidity for a change, what a relief.  It was a perfect evening for our time together.  We sat on the bench and took some pictures of ourselves and it reminded me of when we were young, only back then we had to go in one of those photo booths.  Now it is digital cameras and cell phones. We talked and laughed and were silent together too.   It was so good to be together and enjoy such a special low key moment. I love her so!  When we were sitting on the deck on the river a young couple were there also.  It reminded me of years gone by when Deb and I used go walking on the boardwalk on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Time keeps rolling on and we keep sticking together.  I am so thankful to have Deborah in my life.  She is my bestest friend and most wonderful lover.  We have been through a lot these past  25 years and we still love each other and are excited about spending the rest of our lives together.  It has been a great anniversary day together and now we are alone for the night.  Yee-Haw!! Sorry no more pictures.  But it ain’t over yet!!!

alan

images by asa

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