The Grateful List

On Monday, I went to a virtual conference on personal development and motivation. It was called Unstoppable and you can probably find portions of it on YouTube. It was fantastic! There were so many great speakers like Jamie Kern Lima, Victoria Osteen, Robin Roberts, Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Ed Mylett, Jay Shetty, Brendan Burchard, Sara Blakely, Lia Valencia-Key, etc. etc. The conference was great and I really felt energized afterwards by all the new ideas and perspectives. I’ve been trying to build on that momentum from the conference the past few days. My husband is away on a business trip, so I’ve had some time for introspection as well as some time to just focus on the kids and doing a few fun things with them. Last night, we rented the new FNAF Willy Wonderland movie together and they liked it.

A portion of the conference was about gratitude. There was a motivational speaker named Trent Shelton who is the founder of a nonprofit organization called Rehab Time. He is also a former football wide receiver. Trent said something that kinda stuck in my head and I wrote it down. He said, “Don’t let the 1% bad ruin the 99% good.” He was talking about attitude determines altitude and not letting one thing negative in your day ruin all the good stuff that happened to you along the way.

So I spent some time tonight writing out a short list of the things I’m grateful for. I thought this was something I could keep by my bed and kinda scan over in the morning. That’s another thing they really advocated. Several speakers suggested establishing a good morning routine that gives you some time for meditation or reflection or just prayer and such.

Anyways, here’s my list. I didn’t edit it much. It’s just directly what came first to mind. This could help you, if you don’t have a gratitude list already and need some ideas to get started with it.

Things I’m Grateful For:

  • My kids who inspire me and listen to me and encourage me.
  • My husband who makes me smile, laugh, and love.
  • My pets who offer continuous amusement and friendship.
  • My home that protects me.
  • The weather that makes me happy. Heat in the Summer.  Cool breeze in the Fall.  Snow in the Winter and perfection in Spring. 
  • The big blue sky filled with so many white clouds.
  • The warmth of the sunlight on my face.
  • My big oak trees that are beautiful and tall.
  • My birds outside my house that sing.
  • My squirrels that nibble on acorns and bounce around with big fluffy tails.
  • My gardens that bring me peace.
  • My lawn that is green and lush most of the year.
  • My outdoor patios that are inviting for BBQs.
  • The way my house is decorated cozy, eccentric, and just for me.
  • The utilities in my home: the clean water, the electricity, the gas, the flushable toilets, the hot showers, the trash collection.
  • My big fluffy couches that make me fall asleep every time.
  • My closet of quirky clothes I picked out.
  • My bedroom that is my place of rest and safety.
  • My kitchen that is a gathering place for friends and a place to explore cooking/baking.
  • My health that is good.  I am still alive and not suffering daily.
  • My vision so I can see.
  • My heart so I can feel.
  • My head so I can think.
  • My hands so I can build.
  • The tips of my fingers so I can touch softly. 
  • My legs so I can walk.
  • My arms so I can hug.
  • My ears so I can listen to all genres of music.
  • My nose so I can’t smell my dogs’ farts.  I’ve gone noseblind.  It is a blessing.  Trust me.
  • My cars that can drive me around town.
  • My community that is safe, secure, and non-threatening.
  • The people who work for the community:  the firefighters, the policemen, the utility workers, the librarians, the parks and rec, etc. 
  • My neighbors who bless me daily with their waves and smiles.
  • The crosswalk lady at the elementary school who always is kind to me. 
  • My church that is welcoming and so calming to my soul. 
  • My parents who guided me as a child and continue to help me and my children today. 
  • My religion that taught me to sustain and thrive.
  • My job that brings me small daily goals, hard work that makes me feel proud, and a paycheck at the end of the week that helps feed my family.
  • My doctors who take care of me. 
  • My grocery store and other stores around the town that give me daily adventures to find new things. 
  • My television/radio/computer/game consoles that connect me to the world and to new ideas or new people.

My life is little, but it is a good one. I didn’t realize how many great things I took for granted until I wrote this down.

Rejection is Just Redirection

Have you ever experienced an online troll?  What about a “hater” or even a “group of haters”? 

(By the way, this is a great song about the whole “haters gon’ hate” vibe.  To go off on a short tangent, I really love this song.)

What about someone in your environment who, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get them to treat you right?  Or maybe just someone or something that leaves you drained?    

Here’s some simple tips:

  1.  Take time out for you and practice self-care/self-love. 
  2. Be wise to the negative behaviors of others but hold yourself to a higher standard and do not stoop to that level. 

“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves, so be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16.

  • “Do not cast your pearls before swine.”  Matthew 7:6.  This is not to say that other people are necessarily bad.  Perhaps they are not at a point in their lives that they are willing and able to receive you with love and respect.  If this is so, do not waste your energy and time trying to prove your worth to them.  Life is short and precious, it should not be wasted continually trying to be perfect for someone else’s expectations of you.  Make your own expectations.  Meet your own goals.  Dress the way you want.  Think the way you want.   You are not unworthy.  You are enough.  They just fail to see the treasure that you are, even if you may appear to be a diamond in the rough.  Remember, in this life, we do not know who God treasures either.  Some people would be the least you would expect.  Treat people fairly and stand up for yourself when you feel in your heart that you are not being treated fairly by others. 
  • Let go of bitterness and get your spirit back.  Bounce back from hardship like you’re Walter Payton.  This is extremely hard.  First, learn to take the L.  Second, learn to forgive.  Third, vow to not let the pattern repeat itself.  Respect yourself enough not to allow it to happen again.  Fourth, understand that what others meant for your harm, God may have intended for your good.  This is called providence.  It was providence that made Joseph a powerful influence in Egypt to prevent the famines despite all he went through.  Providence worked in his life and it works in your life too.  It’s just hard to see when you’re in the trenches.   You just got to believe.  Sometimes, though, we pray and pray and pray on something and it still doesn’t happen.  That’s another life lesson right there.  The failure, the rejection, the divorce, the bad grades, the whatever is going on in your life…..it is teaching you to first lean not on your own understanding of things but on a spirituality, and second, it is teaching you to love yourself.  The full and total rejection moment will teach you to find value in you, to regain your self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth.  Remember as Rocky says in this short motivational speech, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.  It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.  You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.  But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit.   It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

 Keep moving forward towards your goals.  If you have to, start very small.  Work on your hygiene first.  Work on the way you dress.  Work on your hair, make-up, style, etc.  Go back to the gym or church or wherever you find positive vibes and happiness from meeting goals.  Don’t let others tell you not to do these things.  Do them because you need to do them to improve your self-esteem.   Raise that bar first and then move out from there to your surroundings and your interactions with others.  Begin, at the same time, to strip away that which does not serve you.  Are there behaviors or traits you have taken on that are not good?  Substance abuse problems?  Addictions?  Unhealthy habits?  What about people you interact with that wear you down?  Begin to set boundaries not just with certain people but with things you do throughout the day.  Ask yourself, do I really want to do this thing or is this something I am doing because so-and-so wants me to do it?  Once again, this comes back to self-love and self-respect.  It is not selfish to say no.  It is awareness that you need to raise the bar on your self-esteem/self-worth.  Likewise, choosing to not date certain people or hang out with certain folks that bring you down…..that is not arrogance but self-awareness that you need to protect your energy.  Your energy is vital to your overall health and success.  So start small.  Take the baby steps which can turn in to bigger steps down the road. 

These are the things I am telling myself now.  I too have faced a personal setback and I am re-learning this now.  It is a thing I have to continually re-learn painfully.  You would think I would get it the first time but no, I keep having to re-hash it over and over as I believe a lot of people do.  One thing that really helps me is YouTube.  Here’s some video advice from folks way, way, way smarter than me about how to do it.  The first three videos are about self-love.  The fourth is Maya Angelou reciting, And Still I Rise.  The two other videos are inspirational pastor sermons.  These are my two favorite sermons of all time that I must admit, I have to go back to again and again when “my chips are low” and I feel myself entering that defeated mindset mode.  I highly, highly recommend watching these sermons!  However, they are each long but packed with valuable info.  I hope that you like these videos too (please share with me as well, any videos you think would help me) and remember that whatever I am going through and whatever you are going through, we are in this together and you are enough, you are valuable, you are worthy.  Think like Walter Payton and bounce yourself back up.  Let’s get to it!    

You Cannot Break Love

Love does not come from the heart.

Rather, the heart comes from love. 

The heart may break but the origin of the heart is eternity.

When you understand this,

You understand love. 

For love flows through all things and all times. 

It permeates everything…

The raindrop, the ant, the mountain, the tree.

Why do you cry, silly girl?

Why do you hang your head low? 

Do you think you have lost love?

Do you seek it?

Do you ask yourself when will you find it?

Love is within you.

Love is near, ever present surrounding you

In the winds, the foods, the waters, the books you read, the poems you write, the thoughts you think. 

Love is in all that you do and all that has been done before or will be done in the future. 

Love is life.

Love is reality. 

Love is the past.

Love is the present.

Love is the future. 

Love exists through creation, destruction, and renewal.

Love was there in your first breath and will be there for your last.

Love was there for your ancestors and will be there for your descendants. 

All creations of love will return to the source and then flow out again. 

You cannot lose that which is never lost, never broken, never entirely destroyed. 

Dry your tears. 

Stop dwelling on sadness.

Don’t expect another to provide you this love.

Open your eyes and see love for what it truly is…immortal.    

Connect to that source that flows through you

And no man shall break you anymore.      

You Have the Right to be Here

Perhaps I’ve told you this story before. I have told it so often. But, it does bear repeating I suppose….

There are certain moments in our lives that have a significant impact and will forever shape our destinies like perhaps the birth of your first child, the achievement of a college degree, or the attainment of an important goal. Some of these moments may even appear out of the blue on days which seem quite inconsequential to our existence. This is the story of one of those moments in my own life. It is a true story.

I am not a great writer. However, if I am able to effectively convey this positive message to you, the reader, then it will be worth all the effort.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. It occurred nearly 20 years ago when I was in my mid-20s. America was at war in the Middle East. I was a military spouse and my husband was deployed to Iraq. Also, through some great fortune or twist of fate, I had landed a Department of Defense Government Service Level 7 job south of Washington D.C. Although the title sounds quite auspicious, I assure you that I was merely a secretary. However, I worked for two important people.

They were military Colonels and engineers, highly intelligent and dedicated to their roles. My tasks were simple really. Once or twice a week, they would travel to the Pentagon to report their management of military building projects at bases all over the world. I would arrange their travel plans. Also, I was responsible for maintaining accurately their reports on these construction plans. One large and detailed report I worked on daily was called the War report.

One day, I royally screwed up the War report. We had a meeting and it was noted. I was publicly reprimanded. After all, I worked for the military. Admittedly, I fully deserved the reprimand considering the importance of the document. I endured the discipline in silence but my cheeks got real flush and later, I broke out in hives. It was the first and only time in my life that I broke out in hives.

The next couple of days, I worked diligently at my desk and tried not to mess up again. But, I was pretty quiet and feeling bad. On top of that, I was itchy and I was considering leaving the job.

The other Colonel called me in to his office politely. I rose from my desk and walked over there. He asked me to shut the door to his office and to “Please take a seat.” He remained seated at his desk and I sat down across from him and well,… kept my eyes down a bit.

He didn’t say anything at first. Perhaps he was looking for the right way to approach a conversation. I had assumed he wanted to talk about travel arrangements. He was leaving the very next day for D.C.

We didn’t share much in common, him and I, except our work perhaps. He was much older. He was male. I was female. He was African-American and I was Caucasian. The list of differences could probably go on and on.

Eventually, he motioned to the wall to his left and I looked over at the wall. On the wall were many military decorations that had been awarded to him through his 20+ years of service to the country. Some of them were quite large and prestigious looking. He waited for a moment, then he pointed to a small white piece of paper, handwritten, and framed under glass with just a plain small gold frame around it. It was placed at the center of the wall and seemed unimportant compared to the other items. In fact, I had sorta skipped over it as I had looked at the other awards.

He said, “That one is the most important.” He remained pointing at the little framed paper.

Then he motioned for me to go and look at the item. I got up from my chair and wandered over to the wall. It was a poem, a little poem copied down. The title read The Desiderata and it said it was written by some guy named Max Ehrmann, some guy I had never heard of.

He told me, “Read it.” That’s all he simply said. I stood there at that wall for a while and really read the poem, word for word. When, I finished the last portion of the poem where it read, you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here.

Well, I felt better and as I finished up the final section, I admit I got a little teary-eyed.

I sat back down across from him. We both looked at each other. He was a man of few words and he only really spoke when he had something important to say.

He said, “Go back and just do the best you can. That’s all you can do.”

In hindsight, that was probably about one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me whether he realized his impact or not. He didn’t have to help me but he did in his own unique and wise way. Perhaps this small story seems unimportant to you but it would go on to influence my future.

This poem has a special place in my heart because of that moment. Years later, I would buy a copy of it and I gave it to my children. I read it to them. Years later, I would tell someone here or there about the story. Years later, whenever I was down and out…I would read this poem and feel comforted and hopeful. Whenever I felt unworthy or not valued by others, I would remember the line about the child of the universe.

You have a right to be here.

And years later, today, I write this story to you with the intention that it will inspire you as well. The last few words of the poem are “Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” This is something as I grow older, that I firmly do believe in regarding attitude determining altitude.

I encourage you to take a moment and read The Desiderata. This world, despite all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, is still a beautiful place.

Positive Vibes

Hi guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been working on developing two writing projects and they are taking up a lot of my inner daydreams. Thinking about plots and characters and such.

I wonder how many of us have been taking a break from the heavy stuff. The news just makes me sad sometimes and I have to step away for a while, especially the back and forth comments on social media. I feel for the family of George Floyd. I couldn’t even watch that video all the way. It was horrible.

I’m hoping and praying for y’all that life gets better for everyone and things become more inclusive and kind. For all its drudgery and despair, this world is still a beautiful place. I’m sending positive vibes your way tonight.

Unity, peace, love, understanding….these are things I admire and wish for you all.

As the coronavirus ravages and the peaceful protests hit the streets…I’ll be here in my little corner of the world while working my garden, hanging out with my family and pets, and pouring my energies into creative writing.

It’s not much but maybe if we all collectively work on these little things in our lives, it will have a ripple effect of positivity. Focus on building and maybe it will counter the things separating us from our common human connection.

“When it is raining, look for rainbows. When it is night time, look for stars.” Find the silver lining. Keep your face to the sun like a sunflower. Nurture. Grow.

It reminds me of a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony I went to once. The monks spent an entire week building a beautiful, intricate sand design. At the end of the week, the sand was all blown away. Thus is life. But even knowing this reality did not stop the monks from building. And neither should it stop you or me.

Life goes on. We get older. Things fall apart. All is just dust in the wind. What we do now may matter very little in the long run as things we were, things we did, things we tried to accomplish fade away to memories and then become forgotten.

But build we must for what is the purpose of existence if not this. Hope lives through our building efforts and continues through our children. And civilization continues through them and their descendants.

Unity, peace, love, understanding…strive to build these and the world of tomorrow can prosper.

Helen Keller was Born in June, 1880

Helen Keller was born a normal, healthy baby on June 27, 1880, but, due to sudden illness, she lost both her sight and hearing at only 18 months of age. Her parents enlisted the help of Anne Sullivan, a recent graduate of Perkins Institute for the Blind, to teach Helen. Anne and Helen built a lifelong relationship. With Anne’s assistance, Helen was able to go on to gain a formal education at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston, where she learned not only to write, but also to speak.

After graduating from college at the top of her class, Helen became involved in social and political activism. Over the course of her life she received numerous honors and medals for her work and accomplishments as well as several honorary degrees.

Below are ten inspirational quotes from this extraordinary woman.

1. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched but must be felt with the heart.

2. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

3. Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

4. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

5. I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

6. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

7. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

8. Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.

9. It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.

10. Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.

Making Origami Ladybugs

It’s Sunday morning during the pandemic. It was raining and hailing hard outside so I decided to do some relaxing stuff. I like origami. Do you?

Here’s a great book of instructions to make about 50 different origami shapes. I’m on level 1 difficulty shapes right now. Here’s what I made:

Do you have a favorite hobby book on your shelf? I’d love to hear recommendations to order on Amazon.

Have a great Sunday!

Pink

It was the 80s.

I loved MTV, My Little Ponies, and Barbie Dolls that never looked like me.

My aunt bought me a Raggedy Ann doll for Christmas but I wouldn’t play with it.

She was ugly with stupid red yarn for hair.

In those days, I was encouraged not to wear pink.

“It clashes with your hair,” I was told.

This was a fashion rule I obeyed

Like wearing pantyhose and a slip under my church dress on Sundays.

White shoes I wore in the summer.

Black shoes I wore in the winter.

And I never mixed a black belt with a brown shirt.

…….but I had gone to a slumber party and seen Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink. 

I had my doubts. 

I grew up in a world of yellows, greens, blues, and browns.  Earth tones.

And I became quite the tomboy.

In my late 20s, I gave birth to a blonde. 

She was gorgeous and precious.

She had sandy blonde hair, blue eyes, and during the summer she could tan. 

Just like those Barbie Dolls of my youth. 

The Barbie Dolls that never matched my appearance’s visage in the mirror.

I counted my blessings and could not believe my good fortune.

Such a beautiful creature came from my plain womb. 

I stared at her like she was pink cotton candy.

I admired her hair in my hands and picked it up delicately as if it was gold. 

I bought her pink, lots of pink, showers of pink.

Pink clothes, pink sheets, pink blankets, pink pillows just like Barbie.

She read books about Pinkalicious,

In a world of soft and ultra-feminine pink,

Overflowing pink color from her bedroom.

Meanwhile, across the hallway, my bedroom was green.

Then something began to happen inside of me.

A transformation.

It was slow at first, the introduction of pink to my own wardrobe.

It felt daring and rebellious and wonderful

First in hidden undergarments and nightgowns,

Then a ring,

A scarf,

Pink shoes. 

One day my daughter and I stood at the mall

And she picked for me a hot pink blouse.

It was beautiful.

I remember standing there looking at it and wanting,

Just wanting to wear it.

And with my daughter’s encouraging smile and hand in mine……..I did.

When you think about it, this story about color

And how color controls and dominates what we do and what we don’t do…..

It’s kinda ridiculous. 

We do what we’re told.  We act the way we are told.  And we don’t even know why we act the ways we do.  Just cause somebody else told us to do this or that.   

Really, honestly, this is just a stupid story – as are a lot of stories about color.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, grey, white…….even pink.

I’m no angel.  I got a lot of learned hang-ups about colors…..just like everyone else.  But as I grow older, I am starting to learn to unlearn them. 

Wear what you like.  Love what you love and whom you love.  Be yourself whomever you want to be…..and the world will go along with your audacity.  Your boldness.  Your confidence.  Your true desire. 

Me, I’ll be pink.  Pinkaliciously pink. 

(This is an excerpt from the poetry book called Moment of Magic that was published a couple weeks ago by J. Speer. The poetry collection is about 60 pages and is $2.99 as an eBook on Amazon at the following link:)

Writing Prompt

I wrote a writing prompt for the readers to continue the story. If you like to write too, maybe you would want to try this out. It begins much like the prologue to Disney’s animated movie of Beauty and the Beast. I’m curious to see what the reader thinks should happen next in the story that follows. I’ve seen these writing prompts on Instagram and thought it might be fun for the reader to try. You are welcome to leave a continuation of the story in the comments or perhaps write your thoughts on your own blog. Here is the story beginning:

Mr. Anonymity

The Prologue

There once was a spoiled brat that lived in a penthouse in downtown Chicago during the Roaring 20s. It wasn’t entirely his fault that he was a rotten spoiled brat. His father was a wealthy banker. His mother was a fashionista. They both were more fond of the glamour and glitz of high society than of pampering and coddling their offspring. This particular 7 year old, well, his name was Theodore the III. He was named after his predecessor and grandfather, Theodore the first ….or rather, just simply Theodore.

The first Theodore was a self-made man, so to speak. He was industrious and pioneering in financial banking and quickly grew the family fortunes. He was a proud man. He diligently built an illustrious empire which his son slightly diminished through extravagant indulgences of Roaring 20s excess. In the near future, this behavior would prove quite disastrous. But that’s another story.

That particular night found Theodore the III yet again abandoned by another haggard and quickly worn nanny. She was the fifth, in fact, of a long string of exhausted nannies. You see, young Thedore the III had quite the reputation for driving these poor women away. He rivaled the children of a Mary Poppins story…….although far worse in temperament and quick, cutting wit.

As I suggested earlier, Theodore was not completely to blame. His parents bore some of the responsibility for casting him off as they attended various glittering social functions. His mother was a noted and consummate volunteer for charities which garnered her much praise, accolades, and attention.

That night, the typically resplendent couple was to attend yet another lavish dinner with an abundance of certain most illegal liquors. And, they were to participate in the great coming out or grand exhibition of one Ms. Cilindria Alexander, an already most renowned and self-proclaimed artist of the decade.

So, because a last attempt nanny could not be prevailed upon to follow the beck and order of young Theodore the III that evening, it was proposed that he tag along to the event. Young Theodore the III followed along behind his parents with much protest and reluctance.

The dinner was exquisitely decorated. The meal was most delicious. The company was of typical snobbery and yet also celebratory. The gallery event was on par to be one of the most talked about of the season. And yet, there was sour-faced Theodore the III complaining of his restrictive attire and grumbling quite vocally over the paintings and oddly designed sculptures. While the adults ooed and awed with much pomp fawning over Ms. Cilindria’s exhibit, Theodore guffawed and rudely remarked over this and that. He was a source of consternation to his poor parents, who ushered him promptly to the adjacent wing to sit alone and wait for their immediate return. Of course, both he and his parents knew that return would not be hence imminent and so he settled into a settee to pout.

At some point later in the evening, it was Ms. Cilindria herself who chose to make haste excuse to part from the upperclass high brows and wander down the hall for a break. She stumbled upon Thedore unexpectedly. She viewed him at first with compassion. She sat down beside him.

“Are you by yourself, young man?” she asked with concern.

He just shrugged and nodded no.

“What is your name?” she prompted.

“Theodore,” he said with tilted up chin.

“Well Theodore, do you like the exhibit?”

He shook his head vehemently.

She smiled at first at his apparent and refreshing honesty.

“I don’t like it,” he said pouting. “I don’t like it at all.”

“Why not?” she asked curiously.

“I can draw better than that,” he replied.

“You can?” she queried.

“Yes,” he said. “It is awful. Truly awful.” He only said that because his parents said otherwise.

“Hmm,” she said at this point, a little hurt now.

He went on to say he had seen better pictures in Kindergarten. She smiled wryly and got up from the couch.

“I see,” she said. She eventually returned to the gallery.

Young Theodore the III went to bed later that night with little care or concern for what had transpired. Ms. Cilindria Alexander, however, was quite reflective over the matter in her own quarters. Unbeknownst to those in attendance at the grand exhibit that night, Ms. Alexander was not only an aspiring and influential artist but also a sorceress of unmentionable religion.

She placed a spell upon young and spoiled Theodore the III in order to impart a valuable lesson. First, she offered him three great blessing of long life, immeasurably high talent in innovation, and a lofty degree of ambitious pursuit. Then, she applied the curse that he would retain anonymity all the days of his life unless by the age of 35 he could find the secret key to circumventing the curse. He must find true love of innovation itself. He would hence be known as Mr. Anonymity unless he learned to create without need of adulation. Only then, would the curse be broken.

And so the cursed and curious escapades of one Theodore the III commenced from that point onward.