All about me: I’m Jon. I’m dad to Philip, Anastasia, and Becca, & husband to Tishie. I’m a Episcopal deacon, a retired-because-of-my-health critical care RN, a writer, and an Ornery Old Bearded Dude®. My son is married to Elizabeth and they live in Savage, MN. My daughter is married to Ben Afton and they live in Blue Springs, MO, with my granddaughter Gila Rae. Becca lives with us; we adopted her and love her very very much. Tishie has two adult children, Michael and Jeremy, who live in Texas.
What’s a deacon? Deacons are servant ministers to and of the church. We can do anything that priests do except consecrate elements, bless in God’s name, or absolve sins. I’m retired now, but you never really retire from ordained ministry. I’m a major church nerd and love studying Scripture. I spend a minimum of 2 hours every day with my nose (and brain) inside my bible. My favorite bible translation is the NLT, the New Living Testament. Their study bible is amazing!
What I’m ornery about now: I had to retire from nursing because of a nasty disease I was diagnosed with called sarcoidosis. Stage IV. That’s the worst kind. My lung doc says that mean survival for Stage IV sarcoidosis is five years. I don’t believe him…and that’s not denial. I’m ornery. (Ornery will take you places, trust me on that, ok?) Sarcoidosis affects my lungs, my skin, my eyes, my liver, and maybe my brain. One-third of my lungs have turned to concrete (pulmonary fibrosis). I’m in 4th stage liver sarc, it’s full of granulomas. I’m not yellow yet, but I do itch a lot. I have the typical skin rashes and lesions of sarcoidosis, too, on my trunk and on my forehead and my tattoos get swollen, common in people with sarcoidosis. I have very dry eyes and problems with my left optic nerve. Flare-ups of sarcoidosis are treated with prednisone, which is like putting out a fire with gasoline. I hate this disease more than anything because it will eventually kill me. I also have fibromyalgia, a left carotid dissection and early renal failure. I am also living with early onset dementia. (That really sucks.) All these lovely conditions make me even more cranky. I don’t like being a patient, I don’t like doctor visits, pharmacies…all the minutiae that come with chronic illness. (Heck, I’m starting to hate bringing my cats to the vet! How weird is that?!?) I may live a long time with all of these issues or they may take me soon. This disease will kill my body eventually, but it will never kill my soul. For that I am grateful. So get used to me. I’ll be around for a while.
Ornery, say whaaaaa? Ornery, gentle reader, is all about ‘tude. I got me a ‘tude and most of the time it’s more stubborn than ornery. Knowing one’s ‘tude is really important and this keeps me out of trouble most of the time. I can be happy ornery or upset ornery. I choose the easier path most of the time. When I’m not doing anything I’m can be found in deep prayer or writing. I don’t say that with a pharisaical ‘tude; prayer is woven into the core of my being as it should be true for any Minister of the Gospel.
Why the stupid idiotic interesting blog title: The part after the ellipse is an oxymoron. Life is an oxymoron…full of contradictions. I am a cynical optimist. In that order. I came out of my mama a cynic and to this day it’s my Achilles heel. I’m usually an upbeat happy guy. (Cue music: “I feel pretty, oh so pretty…”) See? A cynical optimist. Life is full of contradictions…get used to them, Grasshopper.
What else is weird about me: I love cemeteries (there’s a name for this addiction, it’s called taphophilia.) I travel with my camera and I brake for cemeteries. To take photographs. Of monuments and grave markers. Call me weird. I don’t care. I’m a big boy. I can take it. I’m a US Civil War buff…the good guys won, so all you folks who hold onto your Confederate “pride” quit whining, take off that damned flag and burn it, will ya? I’m also one of those of those old-fashioned farts who believes in heroes. Mine are FDR, LBJ, Adlai Stevenson II, Abe Lincoln, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Jesus. (Of all of them, Jesus rawks the most and he’s my bestie! Pinkie swear. Trust me on this one, too.)
Time to run away screaming!!! This is me on Cocoa Beach, Florida, in June of 2008, when Dawn and I went to Orlando to visit her folks. It’s my cynical ornery old bearded dude look. The shirt’s so optimistic I can hardly look at the photo without cringing. My look has changed since this photo. I now sport earrings, a longer beard, and a pony tail.
What’s the dealio with water: I love water and I love the beach…any beach, any body of water. I think better by water. Water’s about life, baptism, change, power…there’s a million sermons in water. One of my favorite quotes about water is from the novella A River Runs Through It: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” I’m convinced that God lives on a beach somewhere. Maybe Florida, maybe not. It’s God’s call. God can be anywhere. Besides, God is dog spelled backwards.
What if I, the gentle reader, make you ornery? (And maybe even old and bearded?): That’s OK. Do not forget that anything you read on this site is my opinion alone, and does not represent the opinions or values of my delightful spouse Dawn Tish, my sister the Sister, my ethereal & erstwhile children or their spouses, my present (or past or future) employers, my cats, the Episcopal Church, my bishop (especially my bishop), my diocese, or anyone I may have forgotten. All rights reserved. Patent pending. Use no hooks. Other end up. Return seat back to original upright position. Cash within 90 business days. Try the veal.