Well, I haven't posted for a long time. I was recently invited into a Facebook group of people from my high school graduating class. Some are sharing their life stories there and I wrote this for them. Thought I might as well put it here too.
My life has had many changes and the story is kinda long, so bear with me. Fasten your seat belt...
I went to a kinda wacky, very conservative (to put it mildly) Christian college called Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. You have either never heard of it or know it as a really strange place. You would be right. They had a fantastic film major in the late 70's and that was great for me. The rest, well that and why I went there is a long story. Got a master's there as well. Got married to my roommate's girlfriend (another long story).
Came back to DG for a couple years and did some freelance film production. Made a few films in Papua New Guinea and Taiwan/China. Then worked in Detroit for a couple of years for a corporate communications company. Then it was on to Toledo for a couple years doing industrial video production for a small chemical company. Then tried to build a company with a former college friend in Dayton - an opportunity of a lifetime and I gave it all I had for a couple of years. We had the coolest shop in town and made some award-winning shows but it all blew up on us and I was left scrambling.
Took an offer in San Bernardino, CA to work for my best friend from college at a govt. contractor at Norton Air Force base doing film editing. I worked on a monthly news-magazine type show called "Air Force Now," which if you were ever in the Air Force, you probably saw. While there I also edited lots of other films including a couple of classified ones that were seen by every aircrew member in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I would tell you about them but then I'd have to kill all of you. (Not really. They were common sense training, mostly) I lost that job due to the Graham-Rudman act that, you may remember, cut govt. spending across the board.
I ended up working for a Christian evangelical organization that was based out there at the time called Campus Crusade for Christ. I spent nine years with them and they sent me all over the world shooting stories documenting and promoting their work. In the middle of that time they moved their headquarters to Orlando and we moved with them. After I left them I had my own little one-man-band video company for about five years, working out of my house. I thought the international travel would end but it only increased. It was fascinating to see the world. I think I ended up getting to 34 countries. World travel was never something on my personal agenda, but I enjoyed it very much and it changed me and made me a better person in many ways. But it was very hard on my family to be gone so much. And when I was home I was constantly editing, so even though I was in the house I wasn't available to my family much during those years. It took it's toll.
I was offered a position teaching at a small college in Columbia, SC called Columbia International University teaching the courses of a video production minor in a communications program. My wife thought it would help us for me to have a more structured lifestyle and stop traveling. I did that for six years and thought I'd finish out my career there. I enjoyed the first few years a lot but eventually realized I wasn't cut out for teaching long term. And because it was such a small institution and our department was understaffed, it was still long hours. Also toward the end of that time a perfect storm of very difficult things hit our family and my wife and I hit the rocks. Separation and divorce followed.
I went back to Orlando where a lot of corporate production goes on and where I had many contacts. That went pretty well but eventually I got tired of the free-lance life. Living alone and with no regular co-workers or any kind of regular schedule or rhythm of life of any kind just got kind of unhealthy. I was offered a job in Fort Myers working on a daily TV show for an upscale retirement community with about 2,200 residents - the only show of it's kind as far as we have been able to determine. It sounded like it would be a sleepy, boring gig, but has turned out to be anything but. There are over 100 groups and clubs with things going on all the time. We tell stories about the interesting lives of these people. All kinds of stuff. It keeps us hopping but the three of us who work on it full-time are able to get it done during regular business hours, mostly, something that has never been possible in my life before. I'm making better money than ever (not that I've ever raked it in), have less stress, it's a paradise of an environment, and the people I work with and serve are wonderful. All in all it's a great gig. (You can see the place at shellpoint.org and you can see current-week episodes of our show at shellpoint.net/shellpointtoday) (oh, sometimes I'm one of the on-camera hosts, so you might find that amusing). I've been here three and a half years and have no intention of leaving any time soon.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Esther and I got back together. We had remained in communication throughout our divorce and eventually went through a season of mutual forgiveness for all that had gone on between us. After that we were friends again. During a visit I made up to Columbia to spend some time during Christmas with my grown kids, she and I ended up together quite a bit. A miracle that neither of us expected happened and we reconciled. We were re-married a few months later. That was two years ago. We are doing great now. In fact, though I would not wish the experience on my worst enemy, having gone through what we did, we are in a place that would not have been possible otherwise. I think if we had muddled through we would probably be miserable with each other now. Instead we have such a better understanding of each other and our relationship is better than I ever thought possible. I give God the credit for working a miracle with us.
Throughout all the craziness of our lives we managed to raise two incredible kids. Nathan is 27, married and living in Baltimore. Stacey is 25, still single, and working for a Christian ministry in Minneapolis. Neither has ever given us a minute of grief, they are just fantastic people. How that happened through all the chaos they grew up with, I'm not sure. I think it's a testament to how amazing their mother is.
As you can imagine, I have had some pretty incredible experiences. Nine trips to Russia during the 90's, on every continent except Africa - still want to get there sometime. Shooting video in jungles and war zones. Flying airplanes, riding motorcycles, sailing, scuba diving, playing music, writing a lot. And along the way meeting the most amazing people. It's been a wild ride. I never made much money doing any of it, but what a treasure of experiences and memories I have. I am blessed.