November 21, 2017

Jamie Grace and Morgan Harper Nichols – As Light Shines….

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(original photography by Cat Harper)

At the beginning of May, Jamie Grace and her sister, Morgan Harper Nichols, recently played their music at The Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit hosted at Brentwood Baptist Church, a world conference meant to advocate for orphans and foster care children.

While their performance touched the hearts of those who feel called to adopt, their personal journey captivates any child in distress or any parent who faces the challenges of a traumatized war-torn orphan from another country, recently brought home to the United States.

Over a lifetime, their father and mother, James and Mona Harper, have taken in approximately thirty-six children into their home – street kids, children of families who suffered from addiction, or really anyone lacking the love of parents who were absent, an environment that many take for granted. Bills were often tight with so many under one roof, but love resounded for those without anywhere to go, who otherwise might be homeless. Known as “Papa J” and “Mama Mona,” they are the founders and leaders of Kingdom City Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Beginning at just nineteen years of age, Jamie experienced many successes with her music career, including nominations for a Grammy, Billboard Award, and multiple Dove Awards, including her winning the Dove Award’s New Artist of the Year. No one will deny that Jamie is known and talented with millions of Youtube views and four number one singles, however a deeper story of adversity lies behind the scenes of this picturesque career.

At a young age, Jamie was diagnosed with Torette Syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, severe anxiety, among other mental hardships. Upon meeting Jamie face-to-face, one could not observe any such severe behaviors behind a beautiful face. With the loving home before mentioned, Jamie overcame what some considered uncontrollable behaviors to become a breakthrough artist, inspiring many and bringing awareness to mental illness on a national scale, especially in Christian communities. She was able to control her involuntary words and body movements that Torettes is often known for. Of course, Morgan served as part of her support system as sisters presently combine talents in joint performances.

Jamie formed an organization known as the I’m a Fighter campaign, which provides stable support and reassurance to those facing negative health complications and misfortunes, among other rendered services. Christian music was just what the sisters “listened to,” described as “music that was meant to uplift those who could relate to real life worldly problems.” Their soulful tunes were often influenced by the likes of Third Day, Switchfoot, Superchick, and ZOEgirl.  Both Jamie and Morgan were raised by their family to help others through inspirational words of original songs and poetry, meant to liven the distressed spirit.

Many fans and observers see the fame and television glamour of artists without knowing the true backdrop of a musician’s journey. Reality often reveals that the rise to success is rarely an easy road. Perils plague various artists around the world; however it is in those valleys where individuals transform into forces that change the lives of fans everywhere. Along with Morgan, Papa J., and Mama Mona, Jamie’s light shines to give hope to those in bleak circumstances where a song reaches beyond the soul.

One may find more information about these artists, their tour dates, discography, storytelling, and other interests at jamiegrace.com and morganharpernichols.com.

-James L. Cartee, III

Lisa – My Only True Companion – Like A Cold Beer, Baby!

www.brendonpinolaphotography.com

www.brendonpinolaphotography.com

In the previous three blog entries, I have dedicated those pieces to my father, mother, and sister, Allison.

Perhaps most significant of events in my life, I am getting married to Lisa Ciuffetelli in October of this year, and at this point in my life, she will become my best friend and closest companion.

Lisa and I talk at least twice a day, as we continue to carry forward a long distance relationship, for just a few more months. She lives in Texas and I in Nashville, Tennessee. Our communication methods also include Skype calls and of course, plenty of texting throughout the entire day.

This morning Lisa texted me something about a sarcastic comment with seasonal employment, something about working. Honestly, it was one of those long, late night conversations. I did not even remember her comment, seeing that I no longer hold onto little things I cannot control. It simply speaks of her character – she was fearful she had hurt my feelings. She cared enough to make a point of it this morning.

I am convinced Lisa is the most compassionate person I have ever met in my life, which is such an amazing quality to have. For better or worse, this personality trait also makes her a sincerely sensitive individual as well, someone who tries to empathize with those hurting from hard circumstances.

I recently wrote this poem about Lisa. She is my family’s new sibling. She is sweet. She is tasty. She is like a cold beer on a hot day, baby!

Like a Cold Beer, Baby

I like my women
Like a cold beer.
Whether a blonde, brown pilsner,
Pale, or IPA,
I am good with clear hops.
Smoothe, tasty, and tall to drink
Like anything that doesn’t think too hard,
Doesn’t go too fast,
Doesn’t chill too quick,
A beautiful sight makes me thirsty.
While quenching my need,
I drink another to rest,
To watch a good game,
And to relax after a day’s work.
The pretty refreshment makes me smirk.
Like my baby girl, it is pure enjoyment.
A good woman is like a good beer.
It is something to savor
And something to appreciate.
The love of a woman is to be a blessing
Like any moment with a beer.
Memories of community are irreplaceable.
Beer provides excuses for social enjoyment
As my lady lover stands in my corner.
The simple things are the best things.
I grab my beer. I grab my lady’s hand.
We remember a shared bliss.
I receive a sweet kiss.
For a brief minute,
It is my beer I no longer miss.
It is her touch.
It is her smile.
With a beer in my hand
And my lady on my shoulder,
I am as happy as a Georgia Peach.
I am the luckiest man in the world.

4/1/16

Let It Go! – The Spiral of No Control

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I wrote this poem as I asked myself three questions. I often struggle to let God take control of my life. I want to do things on my own initiative, even though I rarely have control over what occurs around me. With the obvious answers to these listed questions, it becomes apparent that our future is undetermined. Today must be enjoyed because the present is all we have. The moment, now on this day, is what matters most. The future lies beyond our reach. Therefore, without stressing too much over little things, it only makes sense to let go and wait for God to drive the steering wheel in the direction He will have us go. This mentality makes life a lot easier with less worries. Enjoy the poem of this related theme below, titled Spiral of No Control.

 

Spiral of No Control

Can I control it?

No, it was beyond me.

Did I cause it?

No, the cause I could not foresee.

Can I cure it?

No, illness sometimes just comes to be.

If the answer remains “No,”

Give the matter to God

And be certain to know

That we must just let it go.

3/28/16

Until The End of the Line – Poetry That Never Betrays (by Photographer, James Cartee)

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(original photograph by James L. Cartee, III)

Seaside Memorial Park and Funeral Home, Corpus Christi, Texas
Nothing Separates Our Shepherd Until The End of The Line
February 10, 2015

Until The End of the Line

While fighting against the supposed advocate, I did not know who you truly were.
You showed yourself in the blue punk daft of a teenage skateboard chick.
Society presents flakes at a sudden moment’s notice in the second;
However I saw a sudden fascination deeper inside cognitive health traumas.

After a few months’ time, starting again to realign priorities with opportunity,
Eyes open to sunrises and sunsets on ocean fronts to fit the pair created
In heavenly times from the very onset of the wombs’ conception to breathe.
I gaze from the Vulcan’s monument to realize the captivation of paths collided.

Darkness causes memories to fade in the mental drunkenness stupor
With continuous exertions to forget and even ignore the adversity in relationship
From a break-up in time from over a decade ago when roses wilted
And close relatives died in grief alone with no one around.

“I’m not going to fight you. You’re my friend.” – mentioned the cowboy city slicker.
Leadership, rather than management titles, brings forward examples set to inspire.
Inspired you were to work, write, educate, and bear my Ugandan children.
I believe that your hard work beats anyone’s talent when talent does not work hard.

You stand by me. You serve by me. You travel with me. Your share your soul with me.
No longer the bare essentials of survival mode, we push barriers to break for more
In the purpose-driven foundations that God has abundant blessings ready and given.
Our journey took an unexpected path to bring my belief in beauty, once again, back to life.

You took me by surprise. You stole my heart. You held my hand tighter
With fingers interwoven where I knew you would never let go
To die, to surmount, to live, to decline only to rise from death,
In April hotel room showers, fireworks sounded off at the bliss of a new beginning.

Hope arose. Angels cheered. Destiny prevailed.
And home-bound, you received the answer from heaven in your walk
That brought us closer, not farther in distance,
Because from Austin to the ocean, we made our 2,000 mile desert journey.

Tracks in sand simultaneous together stuck like Elmer’s glue,
With the example of Grandfather, Father, and now son, all of the same name,
I honorably commit myself to finish this race with where I eternally started,
Because I’m with you until the end of the line.

 

March 6, 2015

 

(original poetry by James L. Cartee III)

THE BOOK TOUR – one small step at a time….Auburn, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Corpus Christi

I often grow impatient with myself and where I think I should be in life, instead of where God has me, right now in this very moment. I overlook the obvious blessings and the successes currently in front of me. My two newly released books, through Woodson and Knowles Publishing Group, titled Twenty-Three Deeply Rooted Confessions and Thirty-Five Virtuous Blueprints, illustrates movement forward, going somewhere instead of nowhere. The first text contains 23 poems and 23 photographs and the other, 35 poems and 35 photographs.

While most never get rich off poetic words combined with photography, there is still pride in the creation of a traditionally published book. It is one more step in the right direction….an eternal direction where dreams eventually await me. The greatest of achievements in life involve climbing over the highest of mountains one step and hand hold at a time.

I have scheduled the following book tour and signings in the next month for the two books mentioned before. I would very much like for you to attend and celebrate this recent accomplishment with me.

FIRST STOP:

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 7:00-9:00 PM
At The Gnus Room
108 S 8th St
Opelika, Alabama 36801

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/668622926567700

SECOND STOP:

Thursday, October 9, 2014, 3:00-6:00 PM
At McKay’s Bookstore-Chattanooga
7734 Lee Hwy
Chattanooga, TN 37421

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1474528916149226

THIRD STOP:

Sunday, October 5, 2014, 7:00-10:00 PM
At the Inman Perk Coffee Bookstore
240 North Highland Ave., Suite H
Atlanta, GA 30307

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/854683257882835

FOURTH STOP:

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 2:00-4:30 PM
At Lori’s Booknook
1005 E Concho St
Rockport, TX 78382

Let Go of Control….then the Blessings We Will See (Guest Writer and Poet Entry)

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This intimate poem was given to me by someone very special. She has stood by to encourage my will to persist and self-confidence when down in midst of an island far from home. I believe this poem will touch your heart as it has touched mine.

For the Glory Given Up

I give up
Where’s my life going I have no lead
I give up
My heart is broken; its hope that I need
I give up
I am stuck in the middle of life’s road
I give up
Carrying many of life’s burdens like a heavy load
I give up
I fall on my knees in total surrender and submission
I give up
I give it all up to the One who makes my life’s final decision
I gave up
Now I can see life through a new light
I gave up
There is something great ahead that I am waiting to see with my sight
I gave up
I will praise God no matter the cost
I gave up
Without Him my life’s passion would be lost
I gave up
I thank him for all he has done and will do for me
I gave up
I know there are many more blessings He will soon let me see

-Lisa C., August 27, 2014

At the bottom of this poem given to me, the author wrote the reference for the following Scripture verse. One could say it inspired the poem above about our relationships with God.

Inspired by Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Legendary Grandparents – Heroes We Always Hope to Be (Poppi, Guy Allison)

The photograph below was taken at Poppi’s last Christmas this past year in 2013 with my sister, Allison. I thought the image depicted the warmth of a unforgettable hug.

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To honor my grandfather in addition to his previous dedication blog post, I also wanted to add this poem. I think the words for the piece speak for all us who have lost a loved one.

Poppi: The Moments Missed

I stare into open space before me in the Corpus Christi sunset skies.
Oh my, I think to myself, how quickly all time flies.
Then in the moment of unsettledness, I remember the warmth
And the gentleness expressed in your last words spoken by your side.

I think of the moments with you missed.
I think of my wedding day, the girl of mine, you never met
The love expressed through my forever wife kissed.

Two more graduations with degrees I continue to earn
The ceremonies you never made with recognition that
I will never stop to study and never stop to learn.

As a man of mature stature, tall, and farmer tanned with one good eye.
He and my blind Boston Terrier, King David, could play the pirate’s patch.
Poppi portrayed the wisdom of a Mister Miyagi and well-formed bonsai.

He served our country in the navy, raised five spirited girls,
Managed a business, adopted a son, ranched a farm,
And often complimented my great good looks and hansom curls.

Like my grandmother from the Cartee clan,
I continue to admire and wonder if I will ever be compared
To the Jesus example set and legend I met in this man.

Some knew him as a friend in his familiar name, Guy.
I knew the grandfather figure of silent strength called Poppi.
Without his presence in our lives, we still fail to say good bye.

He was the stone in our family foundations
As many continue lost in the journey
With no destination in the renewal of Christ inspirations.

The spark between us continues in my heart to electrify
In the angel around I know sitting still on my knees
As reality reminds me of your loss in the tears I cry.

In your honor, I will continually reach for my higher height.
Some doubt me. Some hate me. Some ridicule me.
Grandparents potentially speak beyond the dark with words of light.

After a long fight with demons and the suppression of cancer,
I asked for a miraculous healing for many nights of prayer,
But God planned differently in the spoken words he chose to answer.

I could not appear at your final burial where my heart aches.
My reality cannot accept the truth before me that you are gone.
The moment’s peace before ocean waves crumbles in the water breaks.

I stare into open space before me in the Corpus Christi sunset skies.
Oh my, I think to myself, how quickly all time flies.
Then in the moment of unsettledness, I remember the warmth
And the gentleness expressed in your last words spoken by your side.

August 24, 2014

Pictures with Dad on a Dusty Shelf – a poem dedicated to all good fathers. Happy Father’s Day!

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I wrote this poem almost ten years ago to capture a tale of what it would feel like to view pictures on a wall and then look on the life I shared with my father, together or perhaps one day after he passes.

The included picture captures the essence of a son leaning on his father’s shoulder, fishing, looking over him to learn the art. They spend time together, as Dad and son, at Folly’s Island, near the Morris Island Lighthouse, making memories. I capture the moment, from a distance, with a camera to create a photo that touched many of my readers over the last several years. The words of the poem reinforce the idea that moments with fathers are indeed always special and precious ones to be cherished and remembered.

Pictures with Dad on a Dusty Shelf

Pictures with memories are all around.
Truth and love in these memories is what I have found.
A Father and a Son-there is no force so strong.
It pains my heart when I have done you wrong
Or when I am away from family for periods so long.

Through these photographs, it is evident that you are my best friend.
As your son, I will serve you until one of our lives comes to an end.
Because of your will to work hard, my foundation has been set.
Against my family, I will stand up to any threat.

Pictures of you remind me to never, never quit.
Reflections of my father make me smile when I come to relax and sit.
Smiles in pictures make moments come alive.
To be a man of God becomes the passion for which I strive.

Fifty years is so much more than one can ask before they pass.
To my father on his fiftieth birthday, I must raise my glass.
Despite my selfishness, my flaws, and my pride,
As my father, you live honorably with your example in the choices you decide.

One day when you are unfortunately gone,
I will be paying the boy next door to mow my lawn.
I will stare at the pictures of the memories that will never fade.
Tears will flow, but I will always be grateful for those good times, the sacrifices that were paid,
And the abundant moments of love, together as father and son that we made.

December 2, 2006

I posted this picture today on Facebook to commemorate one of the many memories I spent with my father, both of us displaying our pride for Auburn University at Christmas time, Gus Malzahn style. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there who live and make kids like me proud to call “Dad” by the distinguished title of a parent who earns the privilege to care for a family.

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The Solo Stray Dog with Dark-Hued Angels (Poem Title) – Entranced by a remarkable individual!

Joshua 3:5 (NIV)

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

I would like to honor someone I recently met who continues to change my life on almost an everyday basis, with a poem I worked on throughout this past entire week. I believe the piece to be one of my recent best.

 

The Solo Stray Dog with Dark-Hued Angels

With truth in the hopeless romantic journey of another blogged poem,
Most cannot keep with the broken clock of lost time to the finish line,
But somehow, somewhere, and something within you gazes into my spirit.
You realize there is nothing you want more than to join me in relationship,
As the dark-hued angel joins her hand gently with mine.

I stray through ocean bay city walls searching for security and shelter.
Fresh from a grooming salon my shadowed angel arrives to rescue me.
She whispers sweet quotes of affirmation into my heart for safe self-keeping.
Her voice soothes the unrest that lays dormant in the chambers of my soul.

I never seek to be your excuse to cry. I never seek to upset the balance
Of our adventures through island beach scenes and Ugandan adoptions.
We find a way to make it through the periods of dry deserts
When we both know we never walk away from the hope of eyes staring.

Your brown beautiful circle gleam into my own shining blue sparkles
As I awe struck, under my breath, thank God for the angelic being before me.
With kisses so sweet and so serene, I stand captivated with smiles in this scene
As I barely wrap my head around the sinking ships sitting still in your memory.

You found me through cupid’s arrows on an internet search engine
To discover the deeper meaning of the darkness in a soul I long embraced.
With no judgment or negative thoughts present, you remembered the good
Of my narrative to save the world through the power of words in a pen.

What do I do when I lose the sound of the spring that fills my soul?
I scratch at chalk board screeches to wonder when the next prayer fulfills
The wish of your call to my ear, listening intentionally to concerns
Expressed from the depths of your heart resounding with harps so loud.

I hear you. I fear losing your presence, worried with what’s wrong
Inside from the outside looking in, with no words murmured to me.
Your grace in glamour presents a symmetrical body others jealously glare
At fine legs and slenderness models die in hopes to attain.

Always on my mind, stars eclipse in failure to shine in the bewilderment
Of love occurring close behind with short hair, body art,
And symbols that resemble miraculous meanings to strengthen the elegance
Of your name, personality, and aura of amazing wonders in light shining.

The girl with the dragon tattoo captures my attention unlike any before her.
In our name, I finding meaning so I am still holding onto you
With every effort, sweat soaked, tear, and blood drop I give
To further strengthen you’re okay with broken lights on the freeway.

This stray dog never forgets his way home to your arms in omnipotent
Love with arms wrapped around to collide sin to sin, connection
Stronger than we ever mated in dire and drastic circumstances before.
I am still holding onto your hand as I cliff dive into your life full board.

With truth in the hopeless romantic journey of another blogged poem,
Most cannot keep with the broken clock of lost time to the finish line,
But somehow, somewhere, and something within you gazes into my spirit.
You realize there is nothing you want more than to join me in relationship,
As the dark-hued angel joins her hand gently with mine.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Below you will notice some angelic artwork pictures that awed me and the words you read in this pieced blog entry. Please realize these images are not original works with the given citations and websites below.

 

1_Even_Angels_Cry_by_robinqm

2_spiral-enslaved-angel-i10930

3_angels-244743-480x320

4_8ddf9cb5fe6d9b5b3ce0480729b38829

5_6a00d8341bffb053ef0120a7596627970b-500wi

1- (http://naesnest.me/2012/02/06/angels-cry/)

2- (http://www.europosters.eu/posters/spiral-enslaved-angel-v16404)

3- (http://walls4joy.com/wallpaper/244743-angels)

4- (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/448671181597669937/)

5- (http://mattstone.blogs.com/photos/angel_art/dream-woman-dark-angel.html)

“The Roth Chronicles” – Quote the Raven Nevermore (Excellent Conclusion)

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The Roth Chronicles

“You are the worst writer I know,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
From an antique approach lonely and depressed.
Your words mean nothing in the guise of the suppressed.

“You are insane,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
The crazy contributed to the best poetic works of our times,
Even in the criticism of projects failed with your negligent crimes.

“I do not work under deadlines,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
Your professionalism soars to higher heights
As you claim you serve the best at Roth writes.

“I am not willing to listen to learn,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
With clients you have much still to process.
In your own venture and word, you make no progress.

“I need several months to edit a few poems,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
You portray a commitment of a flake’s notice.
You nauseate my conscious with your slowness and lack of focus.

“I always keep my word,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
Even with services paid in full upfront with no return,
You failed to follow through with writers you burn.

“I was recommended by another writer,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
In good due time, what comes around goes around.
You continue to play the role of a dramatic diva crowned.

“I do not know how to use PayPal,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
Technology and digital media breaks a reputation
For those who live in constant negation.

“I am worth your investment. I will deliver,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
For the oldies but goodies, I suggest you now retire
Because you cannot break those you disappoint to inspire.

“I know everything there is to know in the subject of poetry,”
Quote the Roth, “Nevermore.”
The educated provide lessons to teach to the ignorant
For those who fail to appreciate individuals clearly brilliant.

JLC iii, 5/28/14