Where Do I Go From Here???

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Update on July 28, 2014. A video has been added at the end of the post.

Welcome back to moodyspeaks. I have reach the crossroads of my blog. Where do I go from here??? It has been a great experience, a healing experience, a spiritual experience and a learning experience writing my blog. I started my blog on October 3, 2012. I had no idea what I would write for each post and I never imagined my blog would be read in over 80 countries. The most amazing fact for me is since October 3, 2012, there has only been 1 day that someone somewhere in the world didn’t read a post in my blog. I have been humbled by the readership and responses. To date there has been over 16,183 views of my blog. I never dreamed my blog would go on this long, or the subject of being a childhood sexual abuse survivor would impact so many people in the world. This blog started as a way to celebrate 25 years in business yet God had another plan for my blog. My blog also shared the impact on my life from suffering from PTSD, panic attacks and other items from being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. My blog also talked about healing, hope, love and my walk with God on this journey of life and healing.

The responses to date have been overwhelming and positive. I use to feel all alone on this journey of healing before starting my blog. I have become aware of many survivors that exist in this world from sexual abuse.  I have kept writing about my journey of healing to keep giving hope to others and a voice to those that still suffer in silence. That is why I am asking now, where do I go from here??? How do I keep helping others heal? How do I keep giving others hope that not just surviving but thriving is possible in life? I want others to know who suffer from any type of childhood abuse that we can be happy, have great careers and a enjoyable life. We will never forget the past hurt and trauma, but it doesn’t have to consume us or take our joy. I remember when I hit my lowest point in 1992 and thought I would never recover from my panic attacks and PTSD. I look back and know there is a God, because only the grace of God, the good people God put in my life to recover, got me to where I am today. I wish I could have found someone who shared their story of overcoming childhood sexual abuse when I was suffering and didn’t think I would make it.

Where do I go from here??? Do I keep sharing my journey of healing? I never dreamed I would have the courage to tell the world I had been sexually abused as a child and I suffered from PTSD and panic attacks. I knew in my heart I had to one day help others that suffered in silence and I didn’t know how I would help. Then I started my blog and my blog became the way I would help other survivors. I have never been a writer or dreamed of writing. I just knew speaking from the heart and being transparent was the best way to get my journey of healing across to others in the world. .

I have no idea where I go from here on this journey of life. I am excited about the future, my business and this journey. Enjoy some recent pictures of nature, and a recently completed construction project. I am going to close with the names of every country that someone has read my blog. Until I write again. May God keep you, and you keep enjoying this journey of life. Embrace everyday like there is no tomorrow. Keep going for your dreams and never give up and smile everyday. Give love and allow yourself to receive love from others. Remove the things and people who keep you from your joy. Remember we all have a story, and it is up to us how it ends. I love you all and I pray that you exceed your greatest dreams. Please pray I hear and follow what is next on my journey of sharing my story to give others hope and help others heal. When you can, help someone else and expect nothing in return.

Here is the list of all the countries where my blog has been read. USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Brazil, India, Russian, Republic of Korea, Panama, South Africa, Philippines, Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bermuda, Jamaica, New Zealand, Malaysia, Bahamas, Japan, Jordan, Ireland, France, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Spain, Algeria, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Iraq, Pakistan, Italy, Costa Rico, Sweden, Argentina, Honduras, Morocco, Nigeria, Finland, Poland, Yemen, Portugal, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Thailand, Ghana, Cyprus, Dominica, Kenya, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Israel, Guyana, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Kuwait, Tunisia, Syrian, Peru, Guatemala, Djibouti, Romania, Taiwan, Chile, Lithuania, Qatar, Turkey, Slovenia, Angola, Oman, Denmark, Colombia, Bahrain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Greece, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Nicaragua

When you have time please view my survivor story video produced by Darkness to Light. The filming was done 2 years ago and recently this segment was released on YouTube.

Getting Outside of My Comfort Zone

 

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It has been a little while since I wrote my last post for my blog. I wanted to let some time go by and reflect on my journey on healing and life. I am now 58 years old and I have learned how fast times goes by and how much I still want to learn about life. This blog was started to celebrate 25 years in business. I quickly realized as I opened up and dug deep inside, I couldn’t tell an accurate story on my journey in business without telling the accurate story of my life. As I wrote each post early in my blog, I begin to realize I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor who kept it quiet most of my life. I learned that the abuse had changed and influenced my entire life. I never realized until writing this blog and going deep into myself, how my childhood trauma of sexual abuse had changed my life forever. I learned if I wanted to heal completely and help others heal, I had to get out my comfort zone.

In earlier post I wrote about suffering from panic attacks, PTSD and other affects of my childhood trauma. I want to focus more on the positive of my journey of healing since I started writing my blog. Here are the top ten positive things I have learned since starting my blog.

1. I am not alone in this struggle. Unfortunately childhood sexual abuse happens far to often to innocent children. Many of us suffer in silence. My positive is we are not alone, and we are strong. We not only survive, we can thrive. I speak for those that can’t talk and still suffer in silence.

2. It was not my fault I was sexually abused as a child. So often we blame ourselves for letting someone sexually abuse us as children. My positive, I finally accept I was the victim and the abuser took advantage of my innocence. It was not my fault and I can release this guilt.

3. Love is the greatest gift, to be able to give love and receive love. I have always been able to love, but it was hard for me to accept being loved because I always felt tarnished from being a sexual abuse survivor. My positive, real love is great to give and receive.

4. Don’t live in the past. For years I have lived in the past wishing it never happened. I felt guilty for not speaking up as child to prosecute legally my abuser. My positive, was learning forgiveness, especially forgiving myself. Having my faith in God and to trust God that things will be handled with my abuser even though I will not know how it is handled. I learned I had to let go of the past and live in the now.

5. It is ok to be transparent with others and share my story of being a sexual abuse survivor. My positive, it has been healing for me to speak up for those that suffer in silence. I realize sharing my journey of healing is helping others heal and most importantly giving myself and others hope our past doesn’t have to be our future.

6. Get out of my comfort zone. I learned I was staying in my comfort zone of life. I gained the knowledge that we can live in pain and get comfortable with that pain and stay in that place. I knew what living in that pain was like and it had become comfortable but not enjoyable, just livable. My positive, I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone of life. I was afraid what life might feel like to share my story. Would the pain be worst? Would people laugh, and distant themselves from me? Would my PTSD or panic attacks be worst if I got out my comfort zone? None of my fears came true. I have learned to truly embrace my family, the people close to me, and my business. I feel being in nature in a new way that I have never felt before in life. It is like my eyes are now open for the first time. I hike and take pictures so my pictures can tell a story without any words, I want my pictures to provide an enjoyable journey for people. Everyday I want to give someone hope by my actions and words.

7. Believe in your dreams, they might come true. I have suffered from low self-esteem my entire life after being sexually abused as a child, and I never believed I would get close to living my dream or good things happen for kids that had been tarnished by sexually abuse. My positive, I have exceeded my dreams. Good things will happen in life and I am stronger than I ever realized. I have worked hard, I keep learning and I refused to quit. What happened to me as child actually made me push myself even though I never felt worthy of anything good coming my way. I almost went through life missing all of the good in my life because for 47 years of my 58 years of living, I lived in fear of my childhood past.

8. Embrace every minute of life. My positive, find a reason to smile and be thankful for being able to wake up and face another day. Regardless of the challenges, I embrace everyday with thanks and know nothing stays the same for too long. Embrace my time on earth and make the most of it and do something to help others along the way. Hope is powerful, it helps me know I have a chance to do incredible things I dream about everyday.

9. Get my proper rest along with my physical, emotional and spiritual exercises. My positive, when I get my proper rest, I feel better and I am ready to face the world.  When I get my proper physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment I am like a well running finely turned engine. I can face the day and know I will survive and I feel I can do things I once thought were impossible.

10. God is in control of my life. My positive, a closer relationship with God and a desire to learn more about my religion and other religions. I have a healthy respect for God and what I can still learn everyday. I respect the earth, and the limited time we have on earth. I try not to waste time. I want to make our planet a better place for those that will come behind me.

Today, May 21 as I post this to my blog, I turned 58 years old. I feel like a young adult since I started this journey and full of emotion to seize the positive energy of life and those around me. I am enjoying life even though it is all unknown, it is the excitement of freeing myself of my past and setting new dreams to achieve. I am enjoying this journey of life. I pray I have many years to go and I promised God and myself, I won’t look back worrying and living in fear from my past trauma. I am going to embrace everyday with a smile and hopefully make a difference in small way to give someone else hope that life is worth living. We all have story to tell and it is up to us how our story ends.

Until next time, keep enjoying this journey of life and enjoy the pictures in the sideshow. By the way turning 58 is pretty cool. My life is like my passion of architecture and construction. We keep building and getting better with every project, everyday.

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Real Love is Healing

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Hello and welcome back to Moodyspeaks. The month since my last post has been inspiring, uplifting and educational. I have been inspired by my fellow survivors stories and the courage of their journey for healing of their mind, body and soul. I have learned the journey of healing has many paths and is different for each person. I have seen some common threads about being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Many of us suffer from panic attacks, PTSD, low self-esteem, and blame ourselves for the abuse. Many of us feel it is our fault that the abuse happened. Unfortunately many survivors because of the trauma and pain turn to drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors. I pray for all of us survivors to have the strength to heal. I have joined a few adult sexually abused survivor Facebook groups. I have been inspired by the courage of my fellow survivors. I realize that many of us survivors suffer in silence because of the guilt, shame and worry of what others will think about us as a sexual abuse survivor. I was like that for 45 years, afraid of what would people think of me being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I started this blog 18 months ago to help with my healing process and give a voice to those survivors that might never get comfortable enough to say it out loud, that they had been sexually abused. Everyone has to heal in their way, and I speak for those that suffer in silence. I write to give hope and show healing is possible and a great life is livable.

Recently I had an experience that shows what my title of this post is about; Real Love is Healing. Last month I had to get a root canal from my dentist. He has been my dentist for 20 years. I had never told him I suffer from panic attacks or why I suffer from them. Anyway he had to use a rubber dam in my mouth. Everything was going well but the laying flat in the dentist chair and trouble breathing from the rubber dam started a panic attack. I was getting very anxious and starting to breathe fast and I was starting to panic. I could see my dentist was getting frustrated because I was not cooperating very well at that moment. Because of my new peace from the healing process, I raised my hand to stop, and explained to my dentist I was having a panic attack and why I have them. I immediately saw his assistant and my dentist go from frustration to compassion for me. They gave me all of the time I needed to regain my composure and we completed the root canal. Once again I saw what love in people can do for another person. Their love poured out for me as a person in need and their action showed that love. My wife is the greatest person on earth. Her love over the years has been unconditional and her patience in this journey of healing has been my strength. My wife and my kids love for me, gives me the courage to keep healing and sharing my story. I have learned the power of true love from people.

My healing journey has helped me for the first time run my business with out the fear of having a panic attack in a meeting or letting anxiety get the best of me for no reason at all. In the past just certain things could trigger the thoughts of being abused and create panic. I am handling the triggers must better as I heal and speak out. I have more patience in business situations. I am not letting anxiety drive me to make emotional decisions. I am excited about running the business in the second half of my life. This healing process gives a calmness I have never had before in stressful situations. I still have my PTSD moments and panic moments, but they are fewer and less powerful than the past. In the past I enjoyed activities and events but it was short-lived. I would always worry about having a panic attack or what would people think if they knew I had been sexually abused as a child. I now fully enjoy activities and events until complete because I now know how to handle those anxious thoughts that try to creep in my mind. Because of the healing process, my blog and getting involved with organizations like the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, I feel like I am helping others heal. I always carried a guilt because I never spoke up and I let my abuser go free and unpunished. I am making a difference in my way now, and this gives me a release from the guilt of letting him go unpunished.

Every day is good day that I can wake up and face the challenges of the day, and hopefully give someone hope for healing. I pray my example of healing gives another survivor hope and the desire to go for their dreams. We are strong and not alone on this journey of life. My faith in God, and God’s grace and love gives me the courage to speak up about the power of healing from sexual abuse. We not only survive but can thrive. Never lose hope, we are in this world together, and together we can heal.

Please enjoy the slide show of some recent activities,  and the video of a recent day hiking. I enjoy hiking so much, the calmness and exercise from hiking is important to my healing.

Until next time keep enjoying life and healing. Go for your Dreams.

A New And Better Feeling Is Starting

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I want to wish everyone a new and exciting 2014. Welcome back to Moodyspeaks and my personal journey in life and business. Thanks for taking time for reading my blog and sharing my blog with others. My blog has been viewed over 14,175 times and in 65 countries. One of the things I have learned since starting my blog, and writing about being a sexual abuse survivor. I have learned there aren’t many places to go and read or listen to someone talk about the journey and impact sexual abuse has on their lives or the success in overcoming  the damage done. So often we read about successful people, athletes, entertainers, and other celebrities coming out and saying they had been sexually abused as a child, but they don’t really talk about their journey of healing.

By the feedback and number of readers, I realized so many people want to understand the journey of healing. I know first hand when you are going through the panic attacks and affects of PTSD from childhood sexual abuse, you feel so alone and weird. You really don’t want to discuss it with anyone. During my lowest points of dealing with being sexually abused as a child, I searched for stories of people who describe their journey of healing, and I could not find that story. I wanted to read and listen to others that overcame panic attacks, PTSD, and other affects survivors suffer from in life. Because I knew how much I needed to hear and read about the journey of healing.  I decided to be transparent with my blog and the journey of healing. I hope my story will help someone else heal and be able to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.

I want others to know we are not alone, we aren’t weird, and most importantly we can overcome and thrive with great lives. As I go through my science experiment of this journey, I have learned so much about the body and mind. I still have moments when a trigger, such as someone trying to take advantage of me in a daily life or business situation, or someone I trust breaks that trust, I can feel my PTSD start to overcome my body. My body starts to feel cold and I can’t seem to warm up, I feel my body tense up, I can get sluggish, and I might even get a low-grade headache. Sometimes I feel the doom and gloom kick in. I use to fight this feeling and it only made it worse.  Now when something triggers PTSD or the panic feeling, I just go with it, I let it run its course. I tell myself everything is ok and just allow my body and mind to go through the process. Because now I understand and allow the process to run its course, and it is over much quicker and easier.

I still have moments with the feelings of panic attacks. Even though I have not had a full-blown panic attack in 20 years, I have the feeling creep up more than I like, but I take time to breathe, relax and get back in the game of life. Because I had my first one driving 23 years ago, I still have some days when driving alone can take me back 23 years to my first panic attack. Even though I understand panic attacks. Just the thought of them can still make me nervous. I have missed meetings at times because of the panic attack feeling and I just want to stay in my safe zone. My safe zone is my office, home, exercises, or outdoors with nature. Sometimes I miss my rotary meetings and other business meetings because of that panic feeling and I just don’t feel like fighting the panic feeling of driving, even though I know everything really is ok. I know for some people reading this post will think this is weird, but those that have lived through panic attacks and or PTSD understands every word.

Over the last 23 years when it all started, I use to think I was weak because I couldn’t rid myself of panic attacks, PTSD and other affects from my childhood trauma. But since I started this journey in 2010 when I visited the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy and started on a true path of healing, I have realized how strong I really have been in my life. I had the courage to start a business from scratch, raise a family, be involved in my community, push myself when I didn’t want to drive alone. I push myself when the PTSD wanted me to stop trying. I have pushed myself and never lost the desire to be happy, to smile and enjoy life. I pushed myself to never lose my faith in God, I push myself to let my life and my actions give others hope for happiness. I have pushed myself to share my story with whomever wants to read about my journey of healing.

I am working hard in my business with running it with a new found freedom from my childhood trauma. I am at a new place in my life and it is very weird for me. I spent the last 47 years hiding from my childhood sexual abuse. For the first time I am transparent with myself about it, it happened, and I am stronger and better than I have given myself credit. I am already seeing the benefits of some decisions I have taken in my business, my personal life and photography. For the first time my eyes are wide open, my mind and heart is wide open to receive love and enjoy the beauty that awaits me in life.

I will continue to share this journey of healing, and please pray for all of us that have suffered a trauma that still impacts our lives. Pray we realize we are not alone and our past won’t control our present or future. We are more than surviving, we are thriving.

Keep going for your dreams and enjoy life. Life is great and jump in and enjoy it all. Please enjoy some recent pictures I took over the last month. We have a beaver and an otter taking over our pond. I have attached quick  video from me just saying a few words. I thought I would try something new by saying few words on a video to go along with my written words. The video is 55 seconds. I will be back soon to Moodyspeaks. Enjoy

What Could We Do If We Used 100% of Our Talents???

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Welcome back for my latest post. On December 8th, my wife and I were out-of-town in the Bahamas for a friend’s from college birthday party. That Sunday morning I was watching on my iPad a friend’s pastor give a sermon back in Atlanta. The pastor asked “what would an extraordinary person do?” That question started me thinking about something that has concerned me about myself. I have asked myself a certain question over the last few years, “what could I do if I used 100% of my talents, my brain, my heart in everything I did everyday?” The reason I asked this question was over the last few years I finally started to peel back the layers of my life and evaluate how childhood sexual abuse has affected my entire life.

Over the last 15 months since I started my blog, I started to get more information from professionals on the impact of childhood sexual abuse. I really started to understand more about myself and how sharing my story is helping others have hope and heal.  I learned most survivors like myself suffer in silence for many reasons. Most people who have spoken out about being sexually abused usually just say they were abused, but few talk about the journey of healing and the impact it is having on their life. After I started my blog and I began talking with professionals on sexual abuse, I realized some one has to speak up and tell the story of the impact of childhood sexual abuse and give hope that we can not only survive but thrive in our lives.

I share my journey in hope I free myself and others from the pain of childhood sexual abuse. I share my story of living with fear, anxiety and PTSD in hopes that it will help someone heal faster and find peace sooner than the 47 year journey I have been on dealing with my childhood past. When I started having panic attacks in 1992, I focused more on understanding panic attacks, my therapist helped me learn they started from me finally saying I had been sexually abused. Unfortunately I spent the next 20 years learning how to manage my panic attacks and PTSD, but I didn’t really dig into the long-term effect my childhood trauma has had on my life. I guess I still wasn’t ready to dig that deep inside. Overall my life is very good and I am very thankful for my blessings in my life. In 2010 I went to visit the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, an agency that helps abused children heal. I meet the executive director Nancy Chandler and after my tears, I felt a desire to learn more about the impact on my life. It would be the Penn State coach sexual abuse scandal that finally made me dig deeper and take a journey into the impact of my entire life from sexual abuse.

As I begin to dig over the last few years into my past and my inner chambers of mind and my heart. I learned some very helpful things about myself. I learned I suffered from many of the same things as other survivors. I also realized there isn’t many places for childhood sexual abuse survivors as adults to go and learn why we feel the way we do, react the way we do from our childhood sexual abuse. The feedback to date and the fact my blog has been read in 65 countries and over 13,800 views confirmed there is a need for a safe place for adult childhood survivors to go and get information about the journey of healing. I am not a professional in any way about sexual abuse, just a man who is sharing his story in hopes we can prevent sexual abuse to children and give other survivors hope for a peaceful and loving life.

Since I have started this journey I have found my senses have been heighten. I see nature more clearly and beautiful. I hear the noises of nature more clearly, I experience love from others more deeply. I use my pictures I take now as a way to tell a story without saying a word. I see through my camera lens more clearly. I look at people now and can feel their energy and no longer waste my time with people who have negative energy or thinking I can save them from themselves.

I am learning not to worry just to worry, I am learning not to live in fear and thinking the other shoe will drop at any minute. I have learned PTSD and anxiety is real and when it hits, I just have to ride it out. In the local paper a few days ago, a 28-year-old sexual abuse survivor spoke at the trial of the person convicted of sexually abusing him as child. He said it so well ” it doesn’t affect me on a day-to-day basis, but it is paralyzing when it does set in”, and he said “I want to let the court know even at 28 years old, it’s still something I deal with”.

This is why I tell my story, I want us survivors to know we are not alone and we can do great things. We don’t have to let it paralyze us forever. I think because I never got closure to see the person punished for their crime probably adds to my anxiety and fears.

I am learning to quiet my mind and enjoy the second half of life with my family, my business and myself. I have no idea where this journey will take me, but I am determined to keep healing and helping others heal and keep going for my dreams. I have promised myself let’s see what I can do if I use 100% of my talents, mind and my heart everyday. In the past I have probably only used 60% of my talents because of my childhood trauma. In the past I didn’t think I deserved anything good to happen in my life.

As I stated in my last post I am using myself as a science experiment on healing  and overcoming PTSD and anxiety. Life is good, the future is bright, let’s all keep growing and going for our dreams.

Enjoy the YouTube video I did for my wife a few weeks ago for our 31st wedding anniversary. I thank God everyday for a great family and life. I am going where God directs me with my life, business, and the sharing my journey.

Enjoy the slide show and talk to you soon. Never give up hope, we can overcome any challenges in our life. Smile and make someone else smile today.

Don’t Fight It – Go With The Flow

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Welcome back to moodyspeaks. I have been gone longer than usual between posts since I started my blog. I am being my own science experiment and I wanted to have some observations to share with you on this post. As I wrote in my last post, I was finally at a point in my life to start repairing myself from the damage done from withholding that I had been sexually abused as a child. In my healing process I decided to make my body and mind my personal science experiment. I must admit the last month has been very educational about my own PTSD, panic attacks, and how the body reacts to them and getting through them in day-to-day life. Over the last year or so I read a book called The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. There were a couple of key items I took away from the book but had not been able to carry out in my life. My blog and the healing it has done over the last year has been so unbelievable in a positive way for me. I still have moments of fear and the affects of PTSD, but I actually can see a positive change and a beautiful future for me and hopefully for others as I share my story of this journey.

One of the key things I remember from the book by Deepak Chopra and I am paraphrasing, was don’t fight the situation, go with it. Basically stop trying to fight a situation, the situation exist and will run its course, just flow with it and it will pass. I really understood those words, but I have struggled my entire life to adhere to those words. As I have pulled back the layers of my life and really started digging into my core. I realize why I react the way I do to things because of the impact from my past. I have learned so much about myself.

I will talk about a few things I have learned about myself  after I said out loud in 1992 I had been sexually abused. I have realized when I feel some one is trying to take advantage of me or what I feel is abusing me. I immediately want to fight back hard and fast. In business or life that is not good. I now realize I have often overreacted in a certain situations. In business, that is not good. I have spent a lot of positive energy, attorney fees over the years ready to go to war over feeling someone was trying to hurt me. Now I will say this, 95% of the time my gut instinct was right that someone was trying to take advantage of me or my business. I just could have spent a little more time trying to work through the situation before I immediately acted as though it was nuclear war. I have realized my childhood trauma and PTSD immediately wants to protect me. Before I ever said I had been sexually abused I didn’t react that way, I actually reacted the complete opposite, I would just say forget it and move on. I just wanted to pretend it didn’t happen as I did for 26 years before I said that I had been abused. I realized now when I finally said I had been sexually abused I had opened Pandora’s box to an emotional side I didn’t know existed. I never knew how bad panic attacks could be or what PTSD can do your body and mind. I was able until 1992, just keep busy and kept it buried. It has taken 21 years to get to the point I am at now to truly understand it all and how to just go with it and don’t fight it.

I have a situation now in business on a project where in the past I would have gone to nuclear war right away. Now I am working more from a place of just letting the facts and documentation speak for themselves and go with the flow of the situation. I find this new  and my body wants to still go nuclear but I am in control of my feelings a little better. I have seen so much growth in the last year from writing my blog. I know I will be a better person, and CEO.

I had the honor of speaking at crown forum for my alma mater Morehouse College during homecoming week. That was such a great experience for me to speak to the students about my life and the journey I am taking now to understand my past for a better present and brighter future. I am attaching the link so you can watch the speech if you wish. A couple of things I shared with the students was not to waste the opportunity of being in college and everything that is around them. I asked them not to quit and when people say bad things about you, that when it is all said and done, let the person they find in you be good, with character, love and integrity. My dad and mother taught me this and I have always believed it. That was my greatest fear in speaking up about being a sexually abused victim, how would people treat me? I was scared people would avoid me, think I was a freak. Over the last year people have embraced me and shared their own stories with me. Over the last month I have gotten some very uplifting emails and calls to just say thank you to me for speaking up. I had a close friend for over 20 years tell me a few weeks ago he really enjoyed my blog and then said it happened to him. As I always do, if they want to talk about it I will listen and if that is all they want to say, I don’t pry. I know how tough it is and the damage it does to your self-esteem and well-being. I know my blog and speaking up is helping me and many others heal. It is helping me become a better person.

The other thing I have learned over the last year while digging into my core, is I don’t like to see other people hurt and I want to help others not be in pain. That is good and bad because some people really don’t want help and they drain all of your energy. I am learning to focus on those that want to truly be helped. I also learned I can’t save the world from hurt. I have learned to just work in my small space and do what I can through great organizations that know how to help others get better in life. Over the last month I got two extremely meaningful awards to me for helping others in life. I got the Whitney M Young Jr service award from the Atlanta Area Boy Scouts. This award meant so much to me because what Whitney M Young Jr stood for in his life for service and helping young men have the opportunity to become great men means a lot to me. I was a scout and someone took time with me and scouting helped at a time I needed the outdoors and working on merit badges to keep my mind off what had happened to me as a child. The next award I received was the Partners in Healing award from the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. This award meant so much to me because this organization helps kids that have been sexually abused and they do a great job at helping kids.

I have reached the point in my life now where I can speak publicly about my journey and shed no tears. God’s grace and the last year has truly been a great lesson in life and working to release my past. I know I still have a journey in front of me to get through the panic attacks and PTSD, but with my wife, kids, family, my friends’ love and God’s grace I will have a great journey overcoming my past.

I have posted in the slide show a couple of pictures of my dad in the service for Veterans day. My dad was the first black officer in his company in Panama in 1955. I looked at his picture today as I wrote this post and thought about what it must have been like for him as a 22-year-old first black officer in his company in a foreign land with a 18-year-old bride, my mom. Wow, when I think of them in 1955, I know what they taught me about life and how much they love me has been a valuable lesson in my life. We all have story, make sure to make  it a great story over time. Enjoy a quick video I put together of my parents stationed in Panama in 1955 and 1956. http://youtu.be/FkvJpnzFBAw

I thought you might enjoy seeing my speech. Please click on the link below, click watch on the 10/24/13 event, and see my speech to the men of Morehouse. At the 12:25 mark is the intro by the student and at 15:45 mark I start speaking. I really enjoyed speaking to the young men and I hope you will enjoy the speech.
https://www.morehouse.edu/crownforum/index.html

Life is good and I am enjoying being my own science experiment learning about myself. See you and enjoy life. It is great to be alive.

Repairing Myself – The Journey Begins

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Welcome back to moodyspeaks. My wife and I just returned from an inspiring and emotional event in Charleston, South Carolina. The event was the movie premiere called the Stewards of Children. It is a training movie for sexual abuse prevention and healing. The movie featured 8 survivors including myself. The opportunity to speak with other survivors and hear their stories and see their courage was so inspiring for me. The movie will be available for viewing in the middle of October and I will post the link when it is up. The film is a great educational tool for sexual abuse prevention, how to see the signs and what to do if you suspect sexual abuse to a child. I will say I was nervous at first to watch the movie, but my fears were quickly removed as I watched the movie. It was so well done and listening to the other survivors and the information for prevention was comforting. The only real emotional moment for me was when they called us all on the stage after the premiere to get our awards for courage. As the audience stood to clap for us, the last 47 years of my life since being sexually abused raced through my mind. The survivors were a former Ms America, a 2 time Olympian medal winner, business owners, a college student and mothers.

This last year of my life has been interesting. When I started my blog in October 2012, it was to celebrate 25 years in business and tell of the journey in reaching 25 years in business. As I began to tell my story, I began to realize the impact my childhood sexual abuse had on me my entire life and affected my 25 years in business.

I begin to dig deep and peel back the layers of my life and see the damage done and I decided how do I repair this damage in my life. I realized I had a few panic attacks as a child. I had two events when I said I couldn’t breath and was rushed to the hospital. One time visiting my grand parents in Louisiana with my parents, and once in Chicago. Then when I was 15 years old, a few months shy of my 16 birthday, I started losing weight  and couldn’t stop, I dropped to 135 pounds and was 6 feet tall. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, I didn’t have a lot of energy, I was just wasting away. I turned 16 years, got my driver’s license and all of sudden I was better. It was very weird and I always wondered why. Could it be from my childhood and the one of those moments.

The more I have peeled back the layers of my life, the more I could see the damage that was done to me. I have so many of the symptoms of a child sexual abuse victim, low self-esteem, worrier, nervousness, panic attacks, PTSD, the desire to excel at something good so I could improve my self-worth. I always felt guilty about not saying no, it was my fault, I was a coward because I let him get away. Letting him get away has been one of my toughest affects to accept. It has eaten at me for years. I often wonder did I allow a predator to continue to hurt children? This is why I think I have for years tried to solve everyone’ s problems or hurts, because I felt I needed to take away others pain or problems because I left a predator on the street because I didn’t want anyone to know what was done to me.

When I look back over my life, I know there is a God that watches over me. I know some people will say how could you say that and God let you be abused as  a child. I often asked that question myself, then I reflect on all of the good in my life and how telling my story is helping others heal and hopefully someday prevent other children from being abused. God held my hand and got me through college, then architecture school, allowed me to marry the greatest woman I could have married, two great kids, great friends, build a business in a field I love. The list of great things in my life is too numerous to list. The best thing God did for me was allow me to see and know love and blessed me with a constant smile and joyful heart. The year 1992 will always be the year my faith was tested to the limit. That is the year I said for the first time to anyone I was sexually abused. I told my wife, and few months later my entire world turned upside down. I begin to have panic attacks so bad that I know only God could heal me. I had them so bad, that one day as I cried, I looked in the mirror and said Lord, I don’t know why or what is going on, but I will never give up my faith and trust in you. There is no other explanation for my recovery than God’s love, grace and mercy for me. I was in such a bad place I didn’t think I would ever recover. They were the worst ones I could have and not have a complete nervous and mental breakdown. ( Read the blog post from 1992 for more information )

Fast forward to September 30, 2013, I am now on a journey to repair myself. I am excited to try and run my business with confidence. I never had confidence the first 25 years, I was always fearful of failure and just waiting on the other shoe to drop. I have downsized my business over the last few years. I was seriously thinking about retiring because I was emotionally tired. I just wanted to take a year of doing nothing  and just find myself. I thought about retiring for a few other reasons when I peel back the layers of my life. I was tired of living in fear of my childhood. I was tired of being responsible for other people lives that work for the company. I was just tired of making decisions. I felt everyone was depending on me, my parents, my wife and kids, my friends, my employees, my church, I just felt overwhelmed with responsibility. I felt it because I never forgave myself for my past. I had forgiven everyone but me.

I have realized now the most important person to forgive is me. I heard a fellow survivor say in the movie a statement that is so true. When we don’t forgive, it is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. I realized by not forgiving myself I was drinking poison and hoping someone else died. I had forgiven my abuser, but not me. I was still carrying the  burden of it all and missing out on that internal peace I have always searched for in my life.

We all have a story to tell, my story has just taken longer than most, but I know it will have a happy ending. I know life will never be stress free or worry free. I am on the journey of finding myself free from my past and the releasing it day by day. I pray to God to give me at least 25 more years in business so I can see what I can do with my business with my past in the past.

I will keep you posted on my journey. I am going to take a 30 day walk about in the near future and go off the grid. I am going to go off with my wife and just enjoy nature, hike, bike and take pictures. I am going to kick-start feeling free for the first time in 47 years. I know my journey won’t be easy, but I am excited about trying. The affects of my past won’t control me forever.

Keep going for your dreams and never give up. Life is so great and worth living. We don’t only survive we can thrive with a smile. Enjoy some pictures of the movie premiere and of the city of Charleston. View the movie trailer from the premiere. Let’s protect the children. Thanks for the support. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW4_8-tmr7g

See you in a few weeks.

Not Only Survive But Thrive – Special Post On Training and Prevention

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This week’s Blog post is dedicated to the people and organizations that help heal sexual abuse survivors and provides training to prevent sexual abuse. It has taken me 47 years to get enough courage to say publicly that I am sexual abuse survivor. In the fall of 2010 I finally went to visit the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. Before that visit I avoided any thing or any place that dealt with childhood sexual abuse. In the past I thought if I never said it out loud or visited a place that dealt with childhood sexual abuse, it never really happened to me. Even though I suffered for 47 years in silence, staying silence was what I thought was best. I have learned in the last year that sharing my story not only helped other survivors, but has been healing for me. Please take time to read the information below and please watch the 2 minute YouTube video. It is inspiring and shares some information that you might find helpful. I pray to God daily to guide my steps on how I can help other survivors heal. We can do more than survive, we can thrive. God’s grace and guidance is helping me have the courage to become free from my past and share my story when asked to help others heal. I have provided some information below that I have found helpful, and I hope you will too. Please read and share the information with others.

Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences. The media is filled with accounts of child sexual abuse, in families, and in organizations. Children brave terrible abuses alone, with no protection. Sexual abuse is committed by adults and by youth against other youth. No youth environment, race, religion, or economic class is free of child sexual abuse. As a society, we often lack the ability to recognize signs. We haven’t known enough about it to prevent it. Sometimes people have denied it, and missed opportunities for courage. Some people have actively covered up sexual abuse at the expense of our children. Across generations, children have carried the weight of sexual abuse, often by themselves.

However, prevention of child sexual abuse is possible and necessary to end this epidemic. Whether as a parent, a volunteer or a youth-serving professional, every adult who has responsibility for children should be trained on how to prevent child sexual abuse from happening and how to react skillfully if it occurs. And, as a survivor of sexual abuse taking training may provide affirmation and empowerment. Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children (http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6243681/k.86C/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Prevention_Training.htm) training, developed in 2004, is the only internationally-available sexual abuse prevention program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child-protective behaviors. Last month, Darkness to Light released a NEW version of Stewards of Children featuring updated statistics and a training video with new survivors sharing their stories of healing and experts providing prevention education. I have been featured as one of the survivors on the film. On September 26th I will be honored at the Red Carpet Premiere of the new program in Charleston, SC. Watch this 2-minute clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AOd0b7S4p6o.

We are fortunate in Georgia to have the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy (www.georgiacenterforchildadvocacy.org) leading a statewide sexual abuse prevention initiative to bring the Stewards of Children training to every adult and institution that serves children in the state. In just seven years they have trained over 37,000 adults to minimize the opportunity for abuse within a variety of settings, to talk to children about their bodies and sexual boundaries, to recognize signs of abuse and to react responsibly. Contact the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, prevention@gacfca.org or (678) 904-2880 to find a training session in your area, to schedule one for your group/organization or to become a facilitator of the program.

The Stewards of Children training is available in all 50 states and in 16 countries. It is also available online and in Spanish. Wherever you are, find a Stewards training in your area or go online. It will be the most important 2 hours you spend learning to protect the children in your life. http://www.D2L.org

Enjoy some recent sunset pictures and a current project we are building. Architecture and construction helps in my healing. Nothing like constructing a new building or renovating the old and making it new. That is my life, rebuilding something new and better. Keep going for your dreams and never give up your faith or hope. Life is great.

Be an empowered adult. Take the training.

Personal Breakthrough Has Taken Place August 2013

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Instead of writing this post about my lessons learned in life. I want to write about a breakthrough that has taken place since I started writing my blog. I started my blog October 3, 2012. When I started my blog I had no idea about writing a blog, what the commitment to writing would require. I didn’t know if anyone would care or even read my blog. Because of all of you reading my blog in 50 countries and the positive uplifting calls, emails and comments. I have had a major breakthrough. I never really thought I could have this breakthrough in my lifetime. For the first time in 47 years I feel free. I’m free from the affects of my childhood trauma of being a sexual abuse survivor. I am like a 57-year-old kid starting over.

Let me explain what I mean by free. First I need to explain for those that might not have read all of my post. There are some key things that have held me back from being free. For me, being a victim of sexual abuse by a male babysitter has been traumatizing. Even though I buried it for 26 years, I never forgot it or the damage it did to my inner being. Even though I am blessed with an eternal flame of happiness. I suffered quietly with constant worry, low self-esteem, waiting on the other shoe to drop, would anybody really love me or want to be around me if they knew I had been sexually abused, and last, the most work was required to recover from panic attacks.

I had no idea how healing my blog would be for me. Each time I wrote a post, little did I know, I was freeing myself from my past. The calls from people as some cried telling their story and saying thank you to me for giving them the courage to speak up, was actually freeing me. When I spoke to groups about surviving sexual abuse or speaking to the kids that were just starting their healing of surviving sexual abuse. Little did I know my helping them was helping me too. Each event I got stronger. I must admit my first few events I cried more than I talked. I have realized the tears were tears of the past being released and freeing me from my childhood past.

My original plan for my blog was to celebrate 25 years in business and tell the story of the journey of building a business. As I wrote my post each week, I begin to realize how being a sexual abuse victim and survivor had really changed my entire life. I knew I couldn’t tell my journey of 25 years in business without telling the entire journey of my life. My past and building a business are all intertwined.

The biggest day ever for my blog for the number of daily readers, was the post when I said I had been sexually abused as a child. I knew then I must tell the entire story of my journey.

I know I will never forget what was done to me by my abuser, but he will not control my thoughts any more. I am excited about my business with a new way of looking at my life. When I started my business, I was scared to death, broke, had a young family, and no idea how to run a business. I now know I have spent the last 25 years in business scared and worried waiting on the other shoe to drop, because I was so worried nothing good stays for a sexual abuse victim like me. This blog and your support and feedback has made me realized I am not tarnished, my family and friends love me even more because I am a sexual abuse survivor. I am stronger than I believe I was, because I never quit or lost hope. I am thankful I never lost my faith in God or gave up hope in reaching this point in my life.

I am now pursuing clients that I never had confidence to chase. I am basically starting my business over by running a business being free from my past. I know I will have moments were my childhood trauma will want to creep into my thoughts, I am not going to let the past stand in my way in my way anymore. I am excited to see what I can do leading a business free from my childhood past holding me hostage.

To my other survivors or people being held back from your past, please keep going for your dreams and never lose hope. Thanks for reading my blog, keep going for your dreams, and know real happiness does exist. If you pray, keep praying for me to keep growing. I will keep praying for everyone that has a dream to be free of the past and enjoy life.

Next post I will continue with my lessons learned. I just needed to share a breakthrough that I thought was very important to share with my readers. Enjoy the slide show and a YouTube video of the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Academy we built for the Atlanta Public Schools.

Hope and Perseverance – Lesson 6

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Welcome back to moodyspeaks. Many people have said they really appreciate me being so open and transparent with my blog. It has been extremely helpful to me being this transparent with myself. I realized from this blog, that I never understood the impact certain things have had on my life. I have found being transparent with others is helpful and healing for me.

I must admit I am still thinking about the group of boys and male teenagers I met with a few weeks ago discussing my journey in life and being a sexual abuse survivor. There is one boy whose reaction I think about everyday. It was the 10-year-old boy who cried during our talk, raised his hand and said, ” When I first got here to this facility I didn’t think I would make it”. Then after our time together, he came to me and said after hearing my story and seeing my smile, he now knew he could make it. He too was a sexual abuse survivor. I think I saw myself in him because I was around his age when I was abused. As I reflect back, I often ask, how did I bury it so well and move on like nothing happened. Even though it has haunted me everyday since in ways I didn’t realize until 1992, when I said it out loud for the first time. I know God has a plan for me to give hope to other survivors.

The interaction with the group of boys and young men helped me see one of God’s plans for me. By telling my story God wants me to help others see among other things, the importance of hope and perseverance in life.

Writing this blog for over 8 months now has confirmed many things to me. The one thing that sticks out is the importance of hope and perseverance. I believe when a person has hope, it gives us the drive to keep trying. I look back and I realize hope and perseverance has always been a driving force in my life. It was hope and perseverance that help me survive and bury my sexual abuse until I could handle saying I had been sexually abused. It was hope and perseverance that has help me have a happy life and a great family. It was hope and perseverance that got me through college, then architectural school. It was hope and perseverance that help me start a business from scratch and still be in business 25 years later. It is hope and perseverance along with many other key things in life that carry me through every day. When people asked me how I am doing, I always respond with, I was able to get up this morning and face the challenges of the day.

Hope has always helped me when I am at my lowest point, because I know I can eventually overcome the situation. I know I must persevere and push myself through whatever I am dealing with at that moment. Hope is a life line for me. In some of my earlier post I talk about the affects sexual abuse has had on me, but I know hope, perseverance and God’s grace I not only survived, I have exceeded all of my dreams.

Right now I hope those young boys and teenagers I spoke too, can heal and have great lives. I hope we can reduce the number of hurt sexual abused kids and adults in the future. I hope I can continue to grow my business and be able to share my story in a positive way to help others heal. I hope to build some incredible buildings. I hope to find new dreams that will continue to make me push myself emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The things I hope for now, provides me the energy to keep pushing myself and persevere in my second half of life. I will close with my last hope of this post; I hope every reader of this blog, finds the hope and energy to keep going for your dreams, and doing something that will make the world where we live just a little better for all of us everyday.

As always I have posted some recent pictures of nature and construction. I have attached a video of a project we are doing at Tuskegee University. It is the Tompkins hall renovation. We gutted this 100 plus year old building down to the walls only and we are bringing it back to life. I am proud of my team on this project. I love architecture and construction. Construction and Architecture is the science of building and teamwork at it’s best. Architecture and construction gives hope to the client and the builders and designers persevere through the project in search of a great project at the end.

Enjoy life and keep going for your dreams. I pray you never lose hope or the energy to persevere in life. By the way my blog just reached be reading in 50 countries.

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