Tag Archives: artwork

New Artwork For A Saturday Morning

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jeremy-raglin-art

New Artwork

It’s 2:27 am on a Saturday morning and while the kids and my wife are asleep I’m up finishing new art and blogging…..

For me it’s passion that keeps me awake, it’s a passion to create, and I enjoy coming up with new artwork whenever I can.

By day I’m a blogger and I have my own business, but at night after my kids are in bed, and I have some quiet time,I’m an artist, and it’s something that I’ve loved since the day when I first picked up a brush and moved some paint on a canvas, I hope I will still be passionate about art and other things like music, movies and life as I grow older.

Lately I’ve had the sneaky feeling that life is speeding by very fast. Has this ever happened to you?

Days blend into weeks, and weeks blend into months then before I know it, it’s fall again, my kids are getting older and another year is almost over.

These are all reminders that life is gift and it’s time to really focus on if I’m doing the things that I was sent to earth to do because, nobody is guaranteed any time on this earth so we better figure it out and make sure we’re heading down the right path, doing what were supposed to be doing with our lives before they are over.

Over the last couple of years I’ve had relatives die, a parent get cancer, family members moving in different directions and I realize more and more every day that I have to make the moments that I have on earth count, do the best that I can at raising my kids, be a great husband and live the life that I was meant to live all within 24 hours per day.

Sometimes it’s hard to live a full life when you have 3 children in the home and a family that needs your attention but I keep on staying dedicated to my passions because I don’t want to wake up one morning regretting that I haven’t painted or written a word in years and now I’m just too old to do it.

I’m not up until 3 am every Saturday morning because there’s some Friday nights when I’m dead tired by 11:30 pm but when everything lines up just right, and I have a little caffeine in me, I find myself creating.

Picasso once said that artists live so long because they leave their bodies outside the door and I can relate to that because when I create art or write time stands still and the hours fly by fast.

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I recently saw a great movie called “The Shift”, it’s about following your life’s purpose and realizing that if life isn’t working out the way that you thought it should then maybe you’re not living a life that’s aligned with your souls purpose. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it! You can watch it for free on YouTube. 🙂

Stay passionate about whatever it is that moves you and don’t give up on it!

 

 

 

 

Jeremy

 

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Give Up On Your Dreams Or Keep Moving?

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When is it time for you to give up on your dreams? If the answer is never, you would be right…..

Over 20 years ago I fell in love with artwork and my passion for it has continued all these years later in spite of getting married, starting a business and having 3 children. Thankfully I still find time to create new artwork, even if it’s a night of drawing, because it’s important to me, and I can’t think of giving up on it in favor of just wasting time.

How do I do it? I find time to create when I could be doing other things like watching TV, or maybe playing a game on the computer. Not that I don’t love computer games, because I also am a Half Life fan, but for me art is more important to me than movies, TV and games especially as I grow older because I have the desire to spend my time doing things that really matter to me.

Sadly, I know many people who have given up on their dreams, including my old friend and mentor Joe who no longer paints and has settled into a life of just surviving. 

What’s your passion? Find time to keep it alive. Don’t settle for just existing, especially if people tell you that your life has to be the way it is. Keep it going, you will find time for it in spite of how busy your life is. 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Passion For Art Doesn’t Die

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Fish School

Fish School

It’s 3:00 am on Saturday morning and after creating a new painting, I’m still awake buzzing with energy, creative energy that is. 🙂

Since turning 40 in May I’ve stayed productive and continued creating art in spite of growing kids, a great marriage and a good business because I love art and wouldn’t have the heart to stop painting or drawing no matter how old I get.

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For me art literally is a form of time travel because I still feel the same inside like I did at 18 anytime I create art and now that I’m 40 I want to create even more but where does a busy dad with responsibilities fit the time to create art in?

The answer is to create smaller paintings and lately I’ve been knocking out art 8 1/2 x 11 in size, mostly on paper and it’s going great. I’ve even done some work in crayon too and had a great time.

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Where to from here? Hopefully soon I can show a few paintings in a gallery somewhere and maybe even sell a few, who knows?

 

Sucked into the dream.

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Walking-meditation

December finally came and with it came the month that Andy had to vacate the office building and begin the next chapter of his business life.

Andy planned on running his business out of his home office and within a week sold all of the office furniture and remnants of his company from the last 20 years to start over and full commit himself to his Pink Town Foundation and charitable event.

I wavered on my commitment to Andy and started looking for a new job with another website company, this scared Andy when he realized that I wasn’t committed to his business dreams anymore and he tried anything he could to lure me back into the business.

After being out of communication with Andy for two weeks Andy called me one day with a desperate computer problem and asked me to come over to his house and help him out. I drove over to his house with the desire to help him with his computer problem, ask him for my last paycheck and go home.

“How are you Jeremy? I haven’t seen you in a while, come in,” Andy said to me when I arrived at his house. It was 5 p.m. and Andy was drinking a beer and asked me if I wanted one, I accepted and kicked back in his house until he was ready for me to look at his computer.

“I didn’t really call you over here for a computer problem,” Andy said.

“I figured you didn’t, what do you want?” I asked.

“I need you to help me launch the Pink Town Foundation,” Andy said.

“What about Mike and Steve?” I asked.

“Mike started his own business venture and I have no idea what Steve is doing,” Andy said.


 

I wasn’t excited about continuing to work for Andy because he hadn’t paid me in weeks and over the last few months had bounced three of my paychecks.

“I don’t know Andy, I’m tired, I just want a regular job where I can earn a regular paycheck,” I said.

“What about your dream to become an artist? What are you doing with that?” Andy asked.

“Hopefully when I get a regular job I can have the energy to get back to that,” I said.

“Jeremy, artists need to make lots of money so they can work on their artwork full time, where are you going to be able to find a job where you can make the money that you deserve?” Andy asked.

“Where had I heard that before?” I thought.

“I have a proposition for you. Would you be interested in owning your own website business?” Andy asked.

“Where would I get the money to invest in my own website business?” I asked.

“It’s easy, you don’t need a lot of money to start your own business, you can start reselling websites on our server under your own company name, you will have your own website builder like do but won’t have the hassle and responsibility of maintaining your own server,” Andy said.

“I don’t know, it seems like I would have to invest a lot of money for that,” I said.

“What would you say if I can make you a website re-seller for only, $500.000?” Andy asked, and then reclined in his office chair for dramatic effect.

$500.00 was money I could easily spend but would I be committed to the business to spending thousands on advertising, marketing and other business related expenses off the ground?

“I’ll have to think about it,” I said.

“What’s to think about? It’s a great opportunity. You can take all of your old leads that you had when you worked for me and sell those companies websites under your own business! You can start making thousands of dollars in sales next week!” Andy exclaimed.

I started dreaming of what it would be like to be making thousands of dollars in my own business and started to smile when I thought about the possibilities.

I could make it happen; I knew how to sell websites and could see myself making money in my own business. It would be a smart decision and I was going to go for it because I thought that if I was in business for myself I’d have the time to work on my art fulltime and develop my art into a full fledged career.

“What do you say?” Andy asked.

“I’ll do it!” I said.

“Great! I already have the contract ready for you to sign,” Andy said.

“What about the $500.00 payment? It’s going to take me a while to get you that money,” I said.

“I owe you $500.00 for your last paycheck don’t I? Well, that can be your payment to me and you can sign the paperwork today,” Andy said.

Andy always seemed to think two steps ahead whenever he owed anyone money. For instance, when he owed the IRS money, he sold his office building, when he couldn’t pay his credit cards, he sold his cars and now when he owed me money, he convinced me to invest in his business venture.

Investing in the website business seemed like a logical step because I knew the business, inside and out and realized that with my sales leads I could be making sales for my business within the next week.

“Where do I sign?” I asked.

Andy pulled out a contract he had written on Microsoft Word and handed it over to me. I signed the contract, he shook my hand, and I was in business.

The next day I went to the county recorders office and registered my business name and opened up a bank account for my new business. The future seemed bright and all I could do was see streets paved with gold in front of me.

A few nights later I went back to Andy’s to help him fix problems with his network and website, after I finished my work a group of Andy’s friends arrived with alcohol and party supplies.

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“It looks like you’re planning a party, I better go,” I said.

“You’re staying, we’re celebrating the launch of the Pink Town Foundation and since you’re a part of it, you’re going to party with us!” Andy said.

I stayed at Andy’s party until late that night and went home with a beer buzz, happy and optimistic about the future and decided to call Mike to tell him the good news about my new business and continued working relationship with Andy.

“You did what?” Mike asked.

“I invested in Andy’s website product and now I have my own business!” I said, excited.

Mike sighed, “Jeremy, you know that anything Andy does in business will fail. How many businesses did he start and give up during the time we worked for him?” Mike asked.

“It’s different now, my business will work,” I said.

“I have faith in your business but since you’re still working for Andy he’s going to keep using you like he used to and where are you going to find the time to make your business work?” Mike asked.

“Don’t worry Mike, my plan will work,” I said.

“Any website you sell is going to be on Andy’s server so what happens when he forgets to pay the bill to his data center and his server gets turned off? All of your websites will get turned off and you’ll have a lot of angry customers,” Mike said.

“I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen,” I said, optimistically.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Mike said.

“I heard you started your own business?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s great, I’m selling ‘how to’ books from home and I’m making a fortune from it. You should consider selling your own ‘how to’ book,” Mike said.

“Maybe I’ll consider it,” I said.

“Have you heard from Steve lately?” Mike asked.

“Nope, I haven’t seen him or heard from him in weeks,” I said.

“That guy was such a loser, I have no idea how he can afford to live the lifestyle he’s living without making any money,” Mike said.

“Maybe he’s a gigolo?” I joked.

“I wouldn’t be surprised.” Mike said.

Mike and I talked about business and old times back at the company and we said our goodbyes and promised to go to lunch in the future.

I went to be that night dreaming of a bright future and looked forward to getting started with my own business.


I spent the next six months working hard on developing my website business but didn’t get far with it because like Mike predicted, I was busier than ever working for Andy, every day, helping him launch his Pink Town Foundation and keep his other business ventures alive.

Mike continued selling “how to” books from his home and made a few hundred thousands dollars in a year and was able to customize his Corvette and buy a new condo in La Jolla, California.

And Steve eventually contacted Andy again, asking for money and Andy hired him to market his Pink Town Foundation but now that Andy was short on money to pay Steve he quickly became irritated when he saw that Steve never actually did any work and he fired him immediately.

Andy’s Pink Town Foundation never amounted to more than a business name and a logo because, left to market the event himself Andy floundered in a sea of paperwork and was unable to turn his idea into a profitable business. By May of 2003 I finally had enough of working for Andy and cut my ties with him and stopped working for him for good.

Since my Dad was re-hired at Rohr / Goodrich Aerospace my Mom was able to retire from her job that she worked at for over 10 years to help support the family and as my Dad got closer to retirement they enjoyed life even more and began dropping hints, wondering when I was going to get married, and hoping that they would have more grandchildren running around in their golden years.

My sister, Becky, was able to turn her life after her marriage to Joe finally ended and got her own apartment and went to college to get her degree while supporting her son Caleb who brought energy, joy and excitement to our family.

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As I got closer to turning 30 years old I started to review my life and asked myself, “What was most important to me?” Was money, security, success, family or wealth the things that motivated me in my life? It had now been almost ten years since I graduated from high school and I hadn’t accomplished much of anything other than learning some important life lessons and gaining a good education in sales and business that I could take with me wherever I went but, was that enough? Was I happy with where I was at in life or was there something missing?

One day, I went out into my garage studio, at the duplex I shared with my cousin Brian, and realized that due to my job, working for Andy for almost two years I had neglected working on my art and had left my paintings and art supplies in the garage to collect dust. I also realized, once again that my goal to be in business for myself, “So that I could have more time to work on my art”, actually took me away from my art more than ever and that if I continued on the road I was on, I would never realize my artistic dreams.

I decided to be honest with myself and realized that if I ever wanted to do anything with my art I had to sacrifice one of my goals for another if I truly wanted to be happy, and so I gave up on my business aspirations, to focus on my art, full time, in the evenings while I worked a regular job during the day.

“That decision was a long time coming,” My dad said one day.

Dad was right; it finally sank in that, the path to my happiness was in front of me all along and that all I ever had to do was be honest with myself and admit what I really wanted.

THE END.

Artsy fartsy

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After my conversation with Glen and Andy I grabbed all of my recent artwork and crammed it into my old art portfolio case from high school, took a shower, threw on my Sunday best clothes, jumped in my car and raced for the business meeting.

As I drove over 80 miles an hour on 5 South I kept replaying my conversation with Andy and dreaming of what could be. “You remind me of myself when I was your age, I also loved the same things that you do and didn’t conform to any accepted style in art or truth that the teachers were teaching. You know I might be able to show your work to a friend of mine in L.A. that owns a gallery up there; if he likes your work he might be able to show your work”

Being able to be a full time, working artist was everything that I ever wanted and I was going to do my best to win over Andy Lakey and hopefully get any opportunity to show my artwork.

I arrived at the Hilton in Del Mar an hour early, parked my old car in the parking lot next to BMW’s, Mercedes and other vehicles that cost more than I would make in three years salary. As I left the parking lot and entered the Hilton I joined a group of over 150 people who were attending the same business opportunity meeting as I was.

I quickly realized that “the meeting,” wasn’t going to be any intimate opportunity to learn about a new business opportunity and talk art with Andy Lakey. The meeting was a “cattle call” and I was a part of the herd corralled into a room for the indoctrination.

As we were corralled into a large ballroom I tried to spot Andy or Glen but was unable to find them because I was given a number and pushed into a seat.

Once everyone was inside the lights quickly dimmed and a video presentation for Do it all Travel came on the screen and we watched a video of interviews with various members of the company that had made a six figure income with the company, bought a new home, cars and taken many fabulous vacations.

I soon became bored and looked at my watch and wondered when the video was going to end. The video finally ended thirty minutes later, the lights came on over the stage and a balding man in his early 40’s, wearing an Hawaiian shirt ran to the stage.

“How you all doing, does everyone in this room want to make more money?” The man asked.

“Yes!” The crowd replied.

“Does everyone want a new car?” The man asked.

“Yes!” The crowd replied.

People sitting next to me actually started to cry with excitement and the atmosphere quickly started to resemble a tent revival meeting.

“Does everyone want a new home or the ability to take nice vacations?” The man asked.

“Yes!” the crowd screamed.

“Good, my name is Roger Smith and I’m going to show everyone in this room how they can do all that and more with Do it all Travel” He said.

For the next 45 minutes Roger Smith and a series of managers and successful people in the company came on stage to share their success stories and sales pitch on why attendees like me should invest in the business opportunity. By the time the meeting was over I was emotionally wiped out, physically exhausted and like a new convert ready to hand over my credit card to invest in the company.

I reached in my back pocket for my wallet and credit cards and realized that I forgot it in my rush to leave for the meeting and smiled because I knew that I just saved myself $300.00 by not purchasing the quick start business kit.

I waited around for Glen in the ballroom, for a few minutes after the presentation and when I was prepared to leave a short, bald guy walked up to me with an excited look on his face.

“Jeremy! Glad to see you, I didn’t think you made it! I’m Glen!” He stuck out his hand and I shook it.

“It’s great to meet you Glen.” I said.

“How did you like the meeting tonight?” Glen asked.

“It was great. I’m very interested in the business opportunity,” I said, trying to act excited….

“Are you ready to invest tonight? The company had marked the quick start business kit down to only $300.00! It’s a steal.” Glen said.

I thought of my rent due the following week, bills and an upcoming car repair and thought of the best excuse in the sales world.

“I’d like to think about it,” I said.

“No problem, just don’t wait to long to get involved with this opportunity because you can get in on the ground floor now but in a few weeks that opportunity will be gone.” He said.

“I know, I’d still like to think about it.” I said.

“No problem, I’ll just give you some tapes to listen to keep you motivated until we talk again in a few days,” He said.

“That would be great, thank you.” I said.

I could tell that Glen was quickly growing disinterested with me because I didn’t want to purchase the “quick start business kit,” and he wasn’t going to earn a commission on the sale tonight. Glen quickly grew depressed and was prepared to leave when Andy walked up to introduce himself to me.

“Glen, this must be Jeremy with you right?” Andy asked.

Glen perked up, “It sure is, I was just talking with Jeremy about the importance of investing in the company tonight,” Glen said.

“Oh, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity, Jeremy, you won’t find a ‘ground floor’ opportunity like this again.” Andy said.

“I know, I can’t invest tonight, because I forgot my credit card.” I said.

“That’s ok, we can take a check,” Glen said with desperation.

 “I’d still like more time to think about it,” I said.

“I admire a man who knows what he wants,” Andy said.

“Me too,” Glen said as he acted depressed again.

“Jeremy, have you had dinner yet?” Andy asked.

“No, not yet,” I said.

“Good, I’m going out to dinner with a few people involved with the company and I’d like you and Glen to come along,” He said.

“I’d love to, where are we going to?” I asked.

“My favorite restaurant, Jonathan’s by the bay.” Andy said.

Jonathan’s by the bay was a high priced restaurant with nothing on the menu under $15.00 and with only $10.00 cash in my wallet I wasn’t sure if I could afford it but I also knew that the opportunity to show Andy my work might not come again so I decided to accept the invitation.

“I’d love to go to dinner with you guys,” I said.

“Great, you can follow me to the restaurant.” Andy said.

I followed Andy out to the parking lot and was about to get in my car when Andy invited me over to his Lexus SUV to show me his latest paintings.

“Come and see my new work,” Andy said.

Andy opened up the back door to his Lexus SUV and pulled out several different paintings that he had completed within the last week.

“What do you think?” Andy asked.

The paintings had all of the elements of color and shape that I loved about his work and I didn’t know what to say.

“Beautiful,” I said.

“I thought you would like them, did you bring your portfolio?” Andy asked.

“Yes sir,” I said.

“Good, you can show your work to me after we eat dinner, let’s go because I’m starving!” Andy said.

I got in my old 1987 Toyota Celica and followed Andy in his brand new Lexus SUV and several other BMW’s and a Mercedes to the restaurant. We arrived a few minutes later and I parked my car in the parking lot next to a Porsche, and I felt like I didn’t belong there.

“Don’t worry Jeremy; I don’t like eating here either. I only like coming here for celebrations.” Andy said.

“What are we celebrating?” I asked.

“It’s been a very good year for me in art and business and I want to celebrate.” Andy said.

I smiled at the thought of being able to dine in any restaurant in ease to just “celebrate” like Andy without a care in the world.

“Don’t worry about dinner Jeremy, I’m buying!” Andy enthused.

“Awesome! Thank you so much.” I gushed and followed him into the restaurant to enjoy a fine meal and good wine.

Glen and his wife and four other people from the conference also attended the dinner and Andy paid for everyone’s meals and after we had desert and coffee, by 10:30 p.m. and asked me to show him my art portfolio. I ran back to my car and brought it back to Andy, eager for him to examine it.

Andy looked through my artwork quickly and paused as he looked at a few of my best paintings. I waited with heavy anticipation for the verdict when he finally told me what I wanted to hear.

“I love all of it and I’m going to talk to my friend that owns the gallery up in L.A. and see if I can introduce you to him.” Andy said.

I was ecstatic and Andy saw it in my eyes.

 “Don’t get too excited yet Jeremy, it takes a lot of work to break into the L.A. art world but I’m going to do my best to get you a shot at it ok?” Andy said.

“Thank you!” Were the only words I could say as I felt like my dreams just came true, I gave Andy my phone number, address and e-mail address and he promised to call me with news from his gallery friend the following week.

Andy and I shook hands like old friends, said our goodbyes and I drove home on “cloud nine,” more excited than I had been in years, feeling like I was on the road to accomplishing my life’s ambition and nothing could stop me.

I felt happy and euphoric and was not prepared for how the world would change the following week.

Click here to read the next chapter!

Recovery

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Losing Becky again hurt. It was a pain that ate away at my heart every hour of the day for the first months after my attempt to bring her back from Oregon and I couldn’t get over it.

I couldn’t understand why she wanted to go back to the abusive relationship she had with her parents when I had tried so hard to save her and give her a normal life. I felt sad, betrayed, abused and could barely move or think.

After I mourned her and spent a long time in anger and denial I slowly began to recover. After a while the pain began to fade and I started to see things clearly again. One day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and told myself that I was going to pull through and survive the pain I had just been through.

I knew that it was time to move on from her and I finally signed the divorce papers and ended our marriage in court. Once I was single again, I took a good long rest and gave myself plenty of time to evaluate my life and emotions.

A few months after the Oregon trip I started to hear from Becky every few weeks when she was able to send me the occasional letter. Life for her was hard. After I left her at the airport in Portland she called her parents and begged them to pick her up. Of course, they came to get her but once she was home, they severely beat her and punished her for weeks.

The last I heard from her, she said that they finally let her outside without supervision from her other brothers and sisters. She continually professed her love for me in her letters but I never wrote her back or spoke with her again because I knew that if I tried to go after her again it would only lead to the same results.

In retrospect I think Becky was in love with the idea of being in love, but when it came time to do the actual work involved in a relationship she was immature and ran from it. I grew tired of the drama associated with her and finally closed the door on our relationship. As months passed I had time to rest, relax, think, and recover from the experience and I started to feel young and healthy inside once again.

One day my cousin, Brian, who I hadn’t heard from in a couple of years, called me to say that his parents planned to give him a two bedroom duplex, that they had owned for years, in Spring Valley, which was only a few miles away from the old house I grew up in.

He said that he was looking for a housemate and I was the first person who came to mind. I instantly liked this idea because I missed my old home town, the familiar streets, places, people, and I also looked forward to living a bachelor lifestyle with my cousin.

Brian and I had always had a great relationship so I immediately accepted his offer and a few weeks later I moved into the duplex and became housemates with him and his Labrador, Tyson.

Once we were together we reverted to our old youthful ways and enjoyed many nights together staying up late, watching movies, playing video games, reading comic books, partying with friends, and enjoying the freedom that came with youth and ignorance.

I was happy living with my cousin and living in the duplex I could regroup and gather my ambitions for the future. The best part about living with my cousin was the art that I created at that time. I finally had a space to work once again for the first time in years and took every advantage of feeding my artistic hunger. At that time nothing could shatter my dreams or break me emotionally again.

As I worked harder on my art I also reconnected with my love for business after I became reacquainted with several of my high school friends that started their own home based businesses and were reaping the awards of the roaring economy of the late 1990’s.

“You have to start your own business! You will never make any money working for someone else!” They told me. I looked at their new cars, homes, vacations, clothing and decided to try starting my own business.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000 the economy was still roaring along, enjoying the prosperity that the country had seen during the Clinton years and in spite of a new president taking office in 2000 everyone, including myself believed that the economic prosperity and peace of mind we enjoyed would continue for many more years.

With this in mind I scoured the internet for home based business opportunities and attended workshops that promised riches from real estate, vitamins, get rich quick books and vacations. After reviewing every business opportunity and get rich quick scheme known to man I decided to pursue a business opportunity in the travel industry with a company called Do it all Travel.

One day I filled out an information request form on the website for Do it all Travel and within a few hours I received a call back from a sales representative in the company named Glen Ferguson.

I talked with Glen for several minutes, answering all his questions about my life, financial situation and ambitions when he asked me the famous question, “What do you want to do with your life?”

“I want to be a full time, working artist,” I said.

My response excited Glen and he told me that he had an artist working in his “down line” and would call him and ask him to join our telephone conversation. Glen put me on hold and I wanted for a minute while he called the member of his down line and within a few minutes he was joined on the line with his guest.

“Jeremy, I’d like to introduce you to Andy Lakey. He’s a member of my downline and has been involved with Vacation Dynamics for almost one year now.” Glen said.

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RIP: Andy Lakey 1960 – 2012

 

Once Glen said the name Andy Lakey,” I knew who he was instantly because he was well known for his famous life story and angel paintings that were sought after by rich and power players in Hollywood.

“Mr. Lakey, it’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m a big fan of your work,” I said, gushing into the phone like a teenage boy talking to a rock star for the first time.

“Glen tells me you’re an artist, what’s your style of art?” Andy asked.

I didn’t know what my ‘style’ of art was because I wasn’t showing any artwork at galleries yet so I said the first thing on the top of my head, “My style is abstract expressionism; I love color, shape, architecture, archeology and design.” I said.

“You remind me of myself when I was your age, I also loved the same things and didn’t conform to the theories or styles of the day.” He said.

“Jeremy is also an aspiring businessman and is interested in Do it all Travel,” Glen said.

 “That’s good Jeremy, because as you know artists need to make a lot of money to live off of and create our art on a full time basis.”

“I totally agree Mr. Lakey,” I said, still blown away that I was talking to an artist of his caliber. By that time in his career Andy Lakey was making millions per year selling his paintings all over the world and enjoying the fruits of his labor after many years of hard work.

Andy talked for a few more minutes and he told me about his successes in the art world and the wealthy clients purchased his paintings until he brought up the possibility of inviting me to the business opportunity meeting for Do it all Travel.

“Glen I think we should invite Jeremy to the ‘meeting’ tonight, what do you think?” Andy asked.

“I think that’s a great idea.” Glen said.

“The meeting,” would be my introduction to the business and my opportunity to meet Andy Lakey and show him my art.

“Mr. Lakey, could I show you my portfolio after the meeting tonight?” I asked.

“I’d love to see your work Jeremy, why don’t you bring it with you and I will take a look after it after the meeting is over.”

Andy said goodbye to Glen and I and clicked off the line leaving Glen and I to our conversation.

“Great guy huh?” Glen asked.

“Awesome, I never thought I’d get the opportunity to speak with him.” I said.

“Well you’ll get the opportunity to do more than that tonight.”

“I can’t wait!” I said.

“The meeting is at the Hilton in Del Mar, 7:00 p.m. tonight.” Glen said.

“I’ll see you there!” I said.

I said goodbye to Glen, hung up the phone and celebrated for a few seconds before getting my portfolio ready to show Andy in the evening. What would he think of my artwork? Would he be able to recommend me to any galleries and help me realize my dream of becoming an artist?

Even though I was supposed to be attending the business opportunity with a mind to get involved in a home based business, my sole purpose for attending was meeting Andy Lakey to see if he might be able to open the door for me to start my career in the art world.

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The good times and the bad

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Falling in love for the first time with a young, passionate woman who loved me back was a wonderful, new phase of my life.

Before falling in love, I constantly witnessed the closeness of couples around me on a regular basis but I never understood what they had.

But when it finally happened, I at last understood what it was all about. And I gave myself to it completely.

During the first few months of our relationship, we were white hot lovers who couldn’t bear to spend one moment apart; the yearning for each other was just too much to bear.

She was my North Star and every night after work, I followed her warm light home.

We even wrote letters to one another on days we couldn’t see each other, and our relationship blossomed more than ever.

Then came another big change.

My parents decided that they were ready to move from our home of 13 years in Spring Valley to a smaller, cozier home in nearby Chula Vista. It was closer to my dad’s job and was conclusive to taking care of my Grandma Hyatt, who was in her early 80’s and ready to leave the responsibility of her old home and move in with them.

I loved living in our house in Spring Valley because I had grown up there and it was the only home I had ever known.

That house was where I developed my love for gardening from our large flower garden, developed my passion for art from the wonderful sunsets I watched from our patio and fed my desire for knowledge in my room, my safe haven, I had known and loved since childhood.

It was extremely hard to leave for another home, in a different area, away from everything I knew and loved.

On my final night there, as we packed the final box and drove away from the cold dark shell that was our old house, my Mom and I cried because it was almost as if, symbolically one phase of life was closing, and another was opening.

But it didn’t take long to move beyond the sadness of moving from my old house and old life, to a new house and a new life because of my engagement to Becky and future wedding.

By this time I had already told my parents that I loved Becky and that we wanted to get married. They supported me in anything I did and told me that they were eager to welcome her into the family.

Our wedding plans sped up quickly as Becky and her mother were making wedding plans, trying on wedding dresses, contacting caterers, sending out invitations, making travel plans with relatives while all I had to do was buy the rings, rent a tux and show up for the ceremony.

Every day, the first things I was asked from Becky and her mother when I went over to her house was what I thought about this cake and that cake, how many people I wanted to invite and did I rent a tux?

I quickly realized that Becky, like most young women, had planned for her wedding all of her life and she wanted every detail like the flowers, brides maids gowns, wedding dress and cake to be very special.

I was ready for marriage but at the same time began to feel rushed by her parents who were pushing for an early wedding, even though I originally wanted for us to be engaged for one year.

Her parent’s philosophy was, “If two people really love each other, why should they wait to get married when God wants them to be together?”

When we got engaged I wanted our engagement to be for one year because I wanted to really wanted to fell confident about my job, find an apartment and save money for our future so that I could have a life ready for her once we were together.

Her parents told us that they were married after only dating for a few short months and even though they had little to no money throughout their lives and been on the verge of homelessness at times they always had their love to keep them together.

I felt differently than her parents and wanted to make sure I was ready financially for marriage and feeling rushed into marriage became very unsettling to me.

My relationship with Becky and her family was good, but their relationship with my parents and other people in the church quickly fell apart within a few months after Fred took over as pastor of the church.

Fred, was a pastor with a very “old fashioned” world view and demanded that all aspects of life should follow the Bible. This included how women dressed, wore their hair, did their makeup, performed jobs, treated their children, and handled their family life etc. This was something that the church elders claimed they didn’t know about him before he started as pastor.

His beliefs caused everyone in the church to get upset because Fred wanted to change every aspect of the congregation’s life to follow his world view.

Fred was turning into a cult leader before my very eyes but I couldn’t see it because I was in love with his daughter. And being an idealist, I though all of the problems Fred was causing wouldn’t affect Becky and I once we were married.

How wrong I was.

I quickly realized that Becky would follow her father with blind devotion and never question him on anything. No matter how hard I tried to convince her that she could make up her own mind and do what she wanted with her life she never agreed with me.

Becky’s beliefs included sex without birth control, having many children like her mother, residing in a rural area and shunning modern society.

“That’s not what I want in life,” I told her one night when we were talking, outside, alone.

“I’m from California, my family is here and our life is going to be here. I want to live here, build a life and raise a family.” I said.

Fred was contemplating what would happen if he was forced to leave the church because of his radical beliefs and Becky wanted us to follow her parents like sheep once we were married.

She didn’t agree with my goals and ambitions and we started to fight about what each of us wanted and we explored our core values to see if they matched the vision we had for our life together.

We both had the same faith, love of God, devotion to family but she wanted the traditions her father raised her on while I craved modernity.

I almost ended our relationship a few times but she always drew me back. Then after making up with her we felt like we could conquer any barrier in our relationship if we were together.

We were in our own little world and oblivious to what Fred was doing to destroy the church and ruin people’s lives.

My parents were not happy with what Fred was doing to destroy the church and they became increasingly concerned as I spent more time with Becky at her house. They wondered if I was getting brainwashed by Fred’s way of thinking while I was deeply in love with his daughter.

I assured my parents and everyone who cared to listen that, “I’m my own man! And nobody is going to brainwash me!” Even though I said this I didn’t realize that the power of love that I had for Becky and the desire I had to be with her would make me turn my back on everything I had known and loved.

As things got worse in the church Fred and his family began to “shun” or turn their backs on members of the congregation that he was supposed to be the spiritual leader of. My parents were also “shunned” by Fred and his family because my mom and dad didn’t want to adhere to Fred’s backward way of thinking. They told me what was Fred was doing in the church, and how they were being treated by him and his family and I didn’t want to believe it.

After a few months as pastor, the elders asked Fred to leave the church because the congregation was preparing to split up and the elders didn’t want that to happen.

One night after I had dinner with his family, I was talking with Becky about our marriage plans, in her living room, when Fred came in and told us the news that he would no longer be pastor of the church.

He made it sound like he was fired from his job and left with nothing to live on, when in reality, the elders had agreed to pay him his salary for the remainder of the year, and continue to let him live in the home that they had bought for his family only a few months before, while Fred looked for work and decided what he wanted to do next.

Fred had no desire to look for work and get a real world job while he was living off the salary the church was paying him. His desire was to start his own “church” right from the comfort of his own home and hopefully attract people who believed like him.

What I didn’t realize was, now that Fred would have his own “church” and didn’t have to answer to elders or have anyone question his authority he essentially became a full blown cult leader.

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Jim Jones

 

Of course I didn’t see him as a cult leader at the time because I was in love with his daughter and my rationality was clouded so I decided to leave the only church I had ever known and follow Fred’s leadership.

This disappointed my parents because I had always followed in their footsteps and for the first time, I went in a different direction then them.

My parents, friends and relatives tried to get me to see that I was following a blatant cult leader and that I was slowly being brainwashed by him but I didn’t see it that way.

This was a scary decision for me. But it was also a very liberating one because I was making a real “grownup” decision and hoped that it was the right one to make.

Despite the tribulation surrounding us, my relationship with Becky only got more intense. I experienced first hand how trying times bring couples together. So naturally our hunger for each other became hotter than ever and we made love whenever we could be alone from her parents prying eyes.

As I fell for her more and more and became part of her family, I slowly gave up on my own dreams and artistic endeavors because I didn’t have any time for art or writing because I was always with her and I didn’t see how my artistic goals would fit in to our plans once we were married.

Becky wanted to get pregnant and have children right after we were married and I couldn’t see how I could pursue my creative goals when I would have a wife and family of my own to support.

Although our relationship was heating up our marriage plans were slowing down.

Fred’s “church” wasn’t getting any interest or support from anyone in San Diego and as his salary from his brief stint as pastor was coming to an end he and his wife began to search for homes in cheaper parts of the country. Their plans took precedence over our marriage plans and we were left in “limbo” as they decided what they wanted to do next.

The question they asked me one night was, “would Becky and I go with them if they moved to another state to start a new life?”

I didn’t want to say no to them if going with them was their only condition to letting me marry Becky so I told them that once we were married we would move with them wherever they went.

This excited Becky’s parents and drew Fred closer to me as a friend and confidant than ever before because after he lost his job as pastor at the church he had no friends in California he trusted.

As Fred’s salary from his job at the church began to dwindle and his home church drew no interest from the community he became increasingly withdrawn and manic depressive around his family.

Fred blamed my parents and everyone who was still worshiping at the church that had kicked him out for his problems and imminent financial troubles. On a nightly basis he lashed out at the world around him and called anyone evil, who didn’t agree with his way of seeing the world or teaching from the Bible.

I became increasingly alarmed with Fred’s psychotic behavior and cult leader view points and began to question the choice I was making to follow him and marry his daughter.

My inner turmoil was horrible because, every day, as I fought with my own inbred desire to be independent and free of Fred’s dominating behavior I was still deeply in love with Becky and my love for her stopped any actions to exercise my independent personality.

I wanted to stand up to Fred and tell him how I really felt about him but I also feared that if I did stand up to him he would end my relationship with Becky and forbid us from seeing each other ever again.

Even though Becky was 21 years old and I was 24, legal adults and able to make our own decisions, she was essentially “owned” by Fred and if I wanted a life with her I had to be his, “yes man” and “whipping boy” until we were married.

I thought that once Becky and I were married I would speak up for myself and not let Fred dominate me or control what Becky and I did with our lives.

My parents were deeply concerned about me and made their feelings known whenever I was around them at home. I told them that once Becky and I were married I would assert myself and we would live our own lives, separate from Fred and his family.

I wanted to be optimistic with my parents and project my usual aura of confidence around them but inwardly I didn’t believe my confidence or think that Fred would let Becky and I go, once we were married.

I knew that if I wanted to be true to myself, to be my own person and have a life with Becky, away from Fred and his dominating ways, I would have to fight for what I wanted……….

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