Hello Friends,

Tonight, as I sit at my computer after a long day, I am thankful for the simple things. At times I can get caught up in the land of consumer society, the need for instant gratification, and the desire to do/obtain more – BUT- in reality all of my basic needs are met. I have clean running water, food to eat, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head. Beyond that, I have my health and an abundance of love from my family and friends.

I’m especially thankful for the things the universe does not give me; for sometimes I’m not ready to receive what I desire. We all are here on this planet to learn life lessons, but also to teach. I genuinely believe that the universe has a funny way of ensuring that I learn the lesson it is trying to teach me. Why? Well, the first time it tried to teach me it slapped me in the face. The second time, it punched me in the stomach. The third time, it knocked me to the ground. The fourth time … there was no fourth time…I learned my lesson.

When I finally understood the lesson, a world filled with abundance opened up to me. I was able to then reflect on the initial desire; seeing with wiser eyes my ignorance and need to grow before being worthy. We tend to want so much, but if we were given what we want right away:

Would we know what to do with it?

Would we appreciate it or would it go to waste?

The roadblocks oftentimes teach us more about ourselves and are greater gifts than the successes. When we look back on the road we are traveling, we remember the growing pains and the lessons far more than we remember the celebration of getting to the finish line. When all is said and done – it is the simple things that matter!

My simple things are my most cherished memories:

My Mom rocking me to sleep as she sang lullabies, washing the elephants at the Lincoln Park Zoo with my friend Marge, farting wars with my buddy Christian, eating a tub of ice cream discussing love and life with my friend Jessie, drinks out on the town with Bill Pritchard and subway rides for a penny, saving birds with Joanna, throwing up spaghetti-o’s on my first girl-friend after we kissed, fishing with Dad, roller-derby car racing in cub scouts with Gary, recording Grandma make animal noises, lemonade stands, cracking my head open in the bathroom of the public pool, riding in the motorcade with the Clinton Family, polishing off a few bottles of wine with Doug, Mario Party pizza nights with Shawn, steak dinners with Julie, making love with Sarah, the first time I masturbated, learning about the Stonewall Riots from Doric Wilson, Angel Readings with Grace, climbing a tree, Mom breaking a nail teaching me how to dribble a basketball, drawing a life diagram for Rudy as tears rolled down my face, taking bandit for a walk, rum and juice with Charlie, giving the cats a bath, feeding spiders with Kyle, hiking the canyon with Michael, Mashed Potato Club with Kat and Pookie, singing jazz until my heart was content, attending mass at The Apostolic Church of God on the South-Side of Chicago, living with roaches in my first apartment in Brooklyn, my first real kiss, stripper circus with my BFF, blue-cheese olives with Joe, Church Kids with Mrs. Peters, Snowball Retreat via the Skokie JCC, holding Koalas in Australia, bingo with Carmella, cigars with the Midnight Society, belting My Way from the depths of my soul after having too much sake with Taylor, painting the apartment and realize the colors were poo and pee, coffee and hazelnut creamer with Brother H, Tommy’s Toffee, Cast Party with Jim, the bedwomb, collecting baseball cards, black label with Bubbie, tanning my cheeks as a lifeguard, being the worst caddy ever, peddling Persian Rugs, late night pizza in the rain with Russell, walk along Venice with Ane, owning the dance floor with Graham, walking the runway for Malan, roller-skating with Steve, my first Pride Parade, losing my carnival fish “Goldie”, picking cherry tomatoes from the garden, fireworks at the American Legion, walks to the Jewel, watching a storm come in over the lake, random trips to Lake Tahoe, singing with Robert, losing my first tooth, falling off the bike and skinning my knee, Student Senate meetings with Deb and Ted, creative sessions with Elliot … I could go on for days.

What simple thing or memory are you most thankful for?

Written by Ronnie



Beads that my grandmother bought for me at my 5th birthday.
Also – I remembered stuff that I want to forget :D Like: I always was in “touch” with my cousins. …
Batistuta – soccer, my friends – D&O, childhood friend – A, sleeping with A – again :D LOL, painting school, some teachers …
… there are a lot… :)

Carlos Murillo

Even though i’m still young and full of dreams… and all that i seek is successes in my desires… indeed i’m thankful in my life because every time in my life that i had some roadblock, it led me to another way where i found new people who turned into friends and shared memorable moments with me that i will remember for my entire life.
I still hate roadblocks, though. There are dreams of mine, that I just can’t imagine myself failing… i think it might take me some more punches of life for me to understand how things work but i’m still not willing to voluntarily accept them.


The most favorite things when I was young was spending time with my great grandmother who taught me how to play cards and how to crochet every summer I stayed with my mother’s parents prior to her passing. I still crochet to this day, little rusty on the cards as no one wants to play anymore and I don’t like to gamble at a casino. I enjoyed the 18 years of spending every Thanksgiving, Christmas and every summer with mom’s mother for the holidays decorating the house for Christmas sometimes 4 trees in her house, making crosses for all the family members very decadent that passed and cleaning their burial plots every memorial day. Decorating my mom’s house for all the holidays before I went to her Mom’s. Even though my mother outed me when I was 18 to the entire family and seriously every family member disowned me and didn’t want me in their lives as they thought being gay was an abomination and the small town found out I was gay, I was mortified what was done to me and afraid if I stayed in the rural town in Oklahoma I would be killed, after all of the bullying I went through in Elementary through my first two years of college, the small town all found out and I knew I couldn’t go home again. I am HIV+ and have been since I was 19, I was unaware of the disease or anything as I was brought up in a small town and the guy I was seeing didn’t tell me he was positive and I went in denial for over 10 years until I ended up in the hospital and had to confront that, I went into a deep depression about 5 years ago about having to go on medications, I’ve had several side effects of the medications and now take 8 medications to try to live some sort of life, in the past year I had another curve ball thrown my way, I was in an accident at work and has damaged my spin, so I’m a bit home bound until I have surgery next week and hopefully be able to recover well to work again, but I will still persevere. I take one day at a time, I miss the closeness I used to have with all of my family, the grandparents that are still alive on my mom’s side, the aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m thankful to have been taught valuable lessons throughout my life for a naive young man from a small town in Oklahoma to a big city in New Orleans. I had a wonderful plethora of friends who taught me how to live. I will always be thankful to those people. After Hurricane Katrina, we are now all over the country and don’t keep those lines of communication open anymore, but I’m thankful for those memories. After about 7 years after I moved away to New Orleans, I got a call from my mom, as I always wrote and let her know I was okay, I never heard back, but she always had my number, she was coming to New Orleans for a visit and wanted me to be back in her life. After this I felt more comfortable to come home for either Thanksgiving or Christmas each year, and then life threw a few curve balls at me and my mom always told me I was always had a place in her home and stay until I figured out my next step…very thankful for that. I have had several times over the years that she has been there for me, she always said to come home after a bad breakup and I was out on the street or I lost my apartment after loosing a job. I treasure that my sister and I have started to repair our relationship just recently and text all the time now. My new friendships from the time I lived in Palm Springs, CA and where I live in Long Beach, CA has given me hope and keep me living. I decided to go back to college and I’m doing well with my bachelors program and will graduate next year. I may be in my 30’s now, but I’ve got a lot more life to live, even though times are tough sometimes, I’m thankful that I keep the thoughts of suicide at bay now, and the many attempts in my childhood and even when I was in my early 20’s I survived to go on. I’m thankful for spirituality that helps me know I am still needed and my life is worth more and I’m not done yet. I’m thankful to the Friend movement, because it breaks my heart that so much has changed since I was in middle school and high school, yet bullying people based on who they are is still happening. I’m thankful for the people who I have met in passing and have had a little inspiration rubbed off on to me. Ronnie for one, I treated myself for an Angel Reading and it gave me hope.

Thanks for listening!

Yours truly,

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