Brief Autobiography (2018)
I am a single (divorced in 1990 from ex Virginia Ann Hearn, who died in 2016) old man born in 1940, raised in south Arkansas, mostly in the town of El Dorado, 14 miles from the Louisiana line and a deep south culture I’ve mostly tried to get away from since a teen.
A 1958 grad of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma (where my father managed a Froug’s Department Store) I spent three semesters at the University of Oklahoma in Norman and transferred to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas when my parents moved back to Arkansas and I became an out of state student at Oklahoma – too expensive to stay, though I liked it in some ways better than Ouachita.
After not making the grades in OU pre-med, I debated over a profession in Social Work or with the church, since “helping people” was my main goal all that time. A visit to a “real” male social worker in Little Rock overwhelmed with paperwork and a heavy caseload convinced me it would not be that! I worked for Boy Scouts the summer of my graduation, 1962 in Sociology and decided that though fun in some ways, it was not for me. So I decided to go to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth (long before Paige Patterson ruined its reputation) and graduated with a masters in religious education, becoming a full-time youth minister in churches in Texas and Florida until I was asked to be the national consultant for the youth program of Royal Ambassadors, the mission education program for Southern Baptist boys in which I excelled and it was sort of like my “Baptist Boy Scouts” where I even got to revise and update their campcraft manual.
I traveled the nation training volunteers for 6 years in that role during which
time I married a girl from Dallas and my last church there, Virginia Ann “Ginger” Hearn. Of course she did not like me traveling, especially after our son was born (1973). I held up to 2 years of her anti-travel pressure and in 1975 went back to Dallas as a Minister of Education & Administration in a local church and she liked that even less. (Living in a “Glass House” metaphor) So after 2 years there I went to Nashville as an editor of youth discipleship materials at the then Baptist Sunday School Board, which later became LifeWay Christian Resources. 22 years there in multiple roles, observing the “conservative takeover” that caused a diminished ministry & business. I was caught in one of their many “downsizings” and was given early retirement in 1999 at age 59.
The pension was less than half my salary and no Social Security for 3 more years! I was also now divorced, Ginger leaving me and two kids (one dying in ’97) for Texas in 1991, meaning I could no longer work for a Baptist church and who else would hire a 59 year old divorcee who had only worked for Baptists? But God opened a door for me to finally be a missionary (my desire/calling since high school) as the short-term Business Facilitator for the Southern Baptist Mission in The Gambia, West Africa for a specified 3 years, exactly the length of job needed before receiving Social Security at age 62. Many stories about all of the above are included on other pages in this website.
I worked and traveled in West Africa for three years (loved Africa!) through 2002 when I could get Social Security and returned to Nashville in full retirement. I tried selling nature photos for a while in arts & crafts fairs and some galleries , but neither practical nor profitable! I enjoyed life living in downtown Nashville in row houses with mostly young adults, bicycling all over town until I thought I was too old and moved into McKendree Village, an independent living retirement center that took most of my money, making travel more difficult. Plus I got tired of stepping over all the walkers in the dining room and hearing about ailments. 🙂 McKendree 2012-2014.
Ultimately I decided to move my retirement to Costa Rica where I would live on a constant nature photography trip! BEST DECISION I EVER MADE! This blog documents that decision beginning in June 2014 and many of the experiences since then. For more about my earlier life, see both the Biography Books page and the Little Bios & Resumes page and all other subpages under “About..” They are all just older or written before my move to Costa Rica.
Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.
Nature photography with a major focus on birds is my main activity now. I travel to a new place in Costa Rica about once a month or every 2months for 5-7 days at a time and have documented every one of these trips with photos. Enjoy! A perfect retirement for me!
What an exciting life I have lived!
I am thankful for it all, especially this final chapter in Costa Rica!