My Life !! I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alrightI don't want you to tell me it's time to come homeI don't care what you say anymore, this is my lifeGo ahead with your own life, and leave me alone - the prophet Billy Joel
Above are the lyrics of Piano Man Billy Joel, and YES I do realize Billy is neither a prophet or a contemporary worship leader. While these lyrics are neither biblically sound in content or message I find them a nice lead in to the following cartoon snippet of my life.
My Humble Beginnings... were found in the rural community of Cable Wisconsin with a population hovering around 280. I was born the son of loving parents Walter and Nellie Larson way back in the year 1957 shortly after the glaciers receded from Northern Wisconsin, and the last Cheesehead Woolly Mammoth went extinct .
My family all attended a little white country church (inside and out) in Cable where at age six I accepted Jesus in my Heart. Ironically,while sitting in 'The Back Pew' during Summer Bible School.
To no one's surprise I always loved cartoons and would spend hours at the kitchen table or on the floor in front of the television drawing popular cartoons (with my favorite being Popeye the Sailor man), or cartoons of my own creation. Just think how far I have come? I am now beyond the 1/2 century mark and still coloring between the lines every chance I can.
This was the very real beginning for me and my faith journey. My church, my family and this rural setting of the thriving metropolis of Cable was a priceless heritage for my life. Or in other words.. I BLAME EVERYTHING ON THEM!
As you can imagine a town of 280 people is about as rural as it gets. There are NO traffic lights, rush hour traffic exists between 7:58 AM until 8:03 AM, and returns from 3:58 PM through about 4:04 PM. and Traffic jams were only mythical folklore regarding trips to the big city told to scare the locals.
In the summers Cable is a great tourist town with a number of area lakes to fish and boat on. The winters were long with plenty of snow for our snowmobiles and we had our very own ski hill destination.. Mt. Telemark to SKI on. In the fall everyone brandished guns to shoot deer, ducks, polar bears, and revenuers. OK, there were no polar bears... and we don't shoot at revenuers.. any shots fired are only WARNING SHOTS.
It was a peaceful setting for me where the only stress I experienced was when was asked to work as the side aisle Usher at my home church with a Sunday night crowd sometimes over 30 people! THIS my friends is the definition of someone with a social anxiety disorder... and sadly was true.
Of course since I neither liked to hunt or fish.. it was time for me to move to the big city. Sorta like a Beverly Hillbilly but wearing a cheesehead. Since the big move to the big city, I got married, had some kids, owned a pet or two or three all while continuing my faith journey now way beyond the friendly confines of Cable Wisconsin.
My career paths have changed from working as a logger wielding a lo-tech but powerful chainsaw in Wisconsin to my years programming and/or supporting hi-tech computers, This all led me to my burning bush moment while writing programming code (poorly) I realized this was not how God wired me. It was time to break out a shiny new complete set of 64 crayola crayons for the Lord, and food.Back in the Back Pew.. So during my last years as a computer professional I was also working on my hobby of cartooning entitled The Back Pew. This title comes from my experiences as a youth sitting in church with my friends typically as far back in our church as possible. It was not until years later I remembered I was literally sitting in the Back Pew of summer bible school when I first accepted Jesus into my heart. I believe it was around January 2000 that I first purchased a web domain to showcase my cartoons and over time it became a growing passion for me.During this time I endured several bad job experiences resulting in me being unemployed for growing periods of time, and truth be told though my computer related jobs paid pretty well I was unhappy and unfullfilled.
So I did endure hard times culminating with a dream of me sitting on a park bench with Forrest Gump and Job helped encourage/force me to move on. Ok I confess I did not dream this only cartooned it, but seriously there were plenty of struggles during this time finding my way from a career in corporate America, which did include ...a letter stating I WAS DEAD which is never good news, and I did work a paper route one summer to supplement my income with the skilled paper tosses of a former high school athlete.
During this time of stress I did gain weight relted to a nervous eating habit.Now fast forward to present day Jeff.. Along with my passion for coloring between the lines (aka drawing cartoons) God provided me with a career managing sports officials.
There are unique blessings (every day is casual friday!) and curses (business calls interrupting me at church) to being self employed, but I believe I am now working as God intends.
I may never be rich, and all work is hard, but I now find myself supporting my family with sports and cartooning which are my two unique passions in life. I sure hope they work out.. CUZ.. I no longer fit into my interview suits.
So the moral of my story is Dream Big! Serve God uniquely as He has wired you even if it means taking a chance and stepping out of your boat to walk on water like Peter. I know, easier said then done, but this is the best way to live life.
GET OUT OF THE BOAT!
Let me round out this growing collection of cartoons based on my journey. I will call this collection FUN BEING JEFF
There was the My 2006 Knee Fiasco which can be summarized with a paraphrase of Ecclesiastes. There is a season for everything under the sun (or in Minnesota under a snowbank).. A time
Another small chink in my armor is.. I don't do SICK or any kind of pain well. Besides the above mentioned knee injury I struggle with anxiety, migraines, tendonitis in various and sundry places. I am bi-focaled, have a bad couple discs in my back and neck, arthritis in my toes, and.. FLAT FEET.
I am really not even whining here (ok a little), but simply stating a fact. Then this is besides the glaringly obvious fact I am living life on the other side of 55!
BBMD (blessed beyond my dreams) I live a life blessed with great family and life long friends like Ron (The Vicar) Sykes, and ( Mr. Science ) Bryan Anderson who I meet regulary with for Hoagies and laughs...
BUT these friends are not who I am talking as I live the lesson learned is it is NOT what you know, it's who ya know.note: Ron Sykes passed away in the summer of 2011 and is missed.
Random Family Photos
Back Pew Christmas Stylings and a pic of my son Curt, his wife Laura at the new Target Fields.
2010 Update.. I must confess an unexpected twist in my world of being the BP guy was all the hate mail and death threats in 2010. I have been going by the moniker of The BP Guy for years,
BUT THEN.. British Petroleum springs a leak in the Gulf and suddenly it is no longer safe to be go by the BP Guy lest I be confused with BP CEO Tony Hayward until they got their little spill cleaned up. IF.. you have any problem distinguishing between the two of us.. Tony is the one with the Yacht.
GRANDPARENT ANNOUNCEMENT: August 31st, 5:27am CST Everett John Larson was born to my son Curt and his wife Laura weighing in at 6lbs. 13oz. Praise God for this new blessing in all our lives.
2013 Update.. Curt and Laura delivered again in September 2013 with a little girl this time so the life of the Back Pew Guy will continue to evolve as grandchildren and other blessings from God continue..