Good day. My name is Lee Stratton. I like to go by the name “Mr. Lee“. For all the senior citizens out there, “Mr. Lee” was the title to a song by the Bobette’s back in the 50’s. I live in sunny southern San Diego, CA and I would now like to take this opportunity to share my poetic and artistic journey with you all which began in 1984, shortly after I had become a Christian. I had a dear sister in the Lord by the name of Jeanette York, who had written more than one poem for me. Once day I sat down and wrote her not one, but two poems and discovered the God given gift of poetry.
I have always been a quiet, reserved type of person so I found poetry to be an outlet for me. It has blessed me and more than one other person in my life. What I enjoy the most about poetry is to be given the chance to write poetry dedications for someone to give to a another loved one. All I need from them is 7 (could be more or less) simple thoughts that they long to share considering that it all needs to come from their hearts, not mine. I take their thoughts and write the dedication for them. If you know of anyone who would like such a dedication created for a loved one, have them send their thoughts to [email protected] along with their name and the name of the person whom they wish to bless. I never charge anything for these dedications. Witnessing the joy and happiness these poems can produce is payment enough for me.
So far I have published 3 books. “Expressions of the Heart” is a collection of 100 poems. “Thoughts Shared” is a collections of poems and other thoughts which I have published as an ebook. I have published the poetry as a paperback as well as an ebook. If you would like to check out either ebook go to the following links: store.bookbaby.com/book/thoughts-shared or store.book baby.com/book/expressions-of-the-heart. The third book is “Pencil Pleasures: which is a collection of 50 pencil puzzles. What is unique about Pencil Pleasures is that I published versions for both left and right handed people. I will be offering these two books on ArtWanted for $10 each..
At first I wrote pretty much all rhythmic poetry. I spent 20 years, 12 days and 6 hours in Uncle Sam’s canoe club (but who is counting?) sailing the seven seas. My poetry afforded me the opportunity to bless my fellow shipmates by composing poetry dedications for them to send home and share with their loved ones.
Even though I was enjoyed this God given gift, little did I know that changes were in the making. As it turned out, poetry was but a stepping stone to more fun and discovery. In March and April of 2000, there were 7 colleges in the Mid-west who were doing a month long study on effective poetic web sites. My site was one of the ones chosen to participate.
I had just resurrected my computer and my web site (Poetic Expressions.com) after my computer had crashed and burned (wasn’t a pretty sight!) Soon after my computer was back up and running again along with my web site, I looked at the web site’s counter and saw the number 188. The following day I looked at it again and now it said 18,888. (God does have a sense of humor!) I’m sitting there asking myself, “What? Did my computer throw in a couple extra 8”s just for good measure?” But the numbers continued to climb like this and on the 4th day I received an email from a dear Sister in the Lord by the name of Dayna Keegan. She had emailed me to inform me about the study.
When the study first started, their professor was telling her students that my site was an example of what a web site should not look like. I don’t think it was as much the content (or maybe so), but more the graphics, or lack thereof, that was the issue. Funny thing is, half way through the study, this professor was replaced by another one. Go figure! But thanks to my best friend, Don Anton, who was a computer guru, he helped me turn things around. I remember one particular Sunday afternoon we had published some changes to my site that contained some awesome graphics. The following Monday my site counter took over 100K hits. By the time the study was all said and done, my web site counter had taken over 800K hits, all in about 30 days. What was the most remarkable thing about it all was that every time the site counter on my computer came to an increment in the 100’s of thousands, be it 1, 2,3,4,6,7 or 800K, my computer was the one that landed directly on it. The world would say that this is nothing more than just a coincidence. I totally believe that it was a God incident. I believe that it was God’s way of saying, “Hey, I like what you’ve done with the place.” The only place where I did not land on the numbers was at 500,001. I was so used to the numbers that I felt that this was some kind of warning or message. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the case. After I had seen those numbers I opened an email from a friend that Dayna had introduced me to who lived across the pond over in England. In his email he asked me if I had heard about the fact that Dayna had gone home to be with the Lord after being involved in a fatal car accident.
When I first started emailing to her, I was a bit dubious about corresponding with a lady who, I thought, could be young enough to be my daughter. Turns out she was much closer to my age than I had imagined. So much so that the other ladies in her sorority referred to her as “Mom”. So a relationship started to develop to the point where she was considering transferring her college credits over to San Diego so we could be together and start street ministries.
So her loss was quite the blow for me. But life goes on.
During the study I had numerous students emailing me asking questions about my faith, the validity and reality of God and Jesus Christ. I answered their questions to the best of my ability and there were people who accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts during this study and I would like to think that many more seeds were planted. As the study progressed, I started receiving inspiration that would enable me to create what I refer to as “messages” where I could share with the reader examples of where Jesus could be found in every day things if we but just try to look beyond ourselves and see life with eyes of faith. More than one of the messages that I have written deal with subjects that many people would consider controversial. The following is an example of a “message” that I wrote which I would hope would not be seen as being controversial:
Have you ever been to a train race? It’s certifiably insane not too mention a lot of fun! What is a train race you ask? It’s sort of like a demolition derby and then some. A “train” consists of three cars all attached together by welding, ropes or however the engineers want to do it. The front car will have a driver and a very large 500 CC engine which will pull the other two cars around the track. The second car will either be placed behind the first car in frontward’s or backwards and will not have anybody in it. The third car will have a “driver” who will be the break man and who will also “try” to steer the “rear end” of the train around the corners.
The last train race I saw had eight trains in it. One of the trains had a horn on it that sounded just like a train and the engineer blew that thing throughout the race!
The race starts out in a circular configuration but after two laps changes to a figure eight configuration so it can get pretty hairy, especially at the cross of the figure eight. The race runs for eight laps, if all the trains can last that long and is a total crack up to watch. You’d be amazed at the punishment those cars can take!
Eventually the race ends. For everyone. Life is like a train race for just as a train has three cars linked together, we too are linked together in body, soul and spirit. Each part depending on the other two to make it through life. All too many times people neglect their spiritual beings. Or they don’t believe in God and don’t relate to Jesus Christ. It’s like your spiritual being is in the center car of the train but is empty. As you are going through life do you keep your “engine” in good working order so that it can pull you through the trials and valleys that life has in store for you? We will all go through tribulations in life, it’s just a part of being human. Do you break away from temptation that could lead to sin or do you find yourself running into walls or other “trains”? How often do you find other trains running into you? If in the course of the race should the first and last car of the train become separated from the middle car, it would no longer be considered a train so it would be black flagged and taken out of the race. This could be the same thing that is said of ourselves. If we do not have a spirit life, how can we expect our body and soul to survive in one piece? The same goes for the world around us. If this world continues to reject God and His Son, Jesus Christ, how can we expect the body and soul of the earth to survive? It won’t! Think about it!
My question to you is what condition will you be in when your race ends? Will you still be in one piece or will there be bits and pieces of you scattered all over the “race track”?
The glorious thing about having Jesus in your heart is that He will help you through your race and once it is over you will never have to worry about having to go through another race and you will be made whole again.
The best way I have found in helping to get through my race is to study and learn from the manual on life’s train races, namely the Bible. You can try to go through your race without it but with not having Jesus in your race what you will probably find waiting for you is an eternal “junk yard” in which you will be running a never ending “train race” which will go on forever. The choice is yours to make.
I think it’s safe to say that I have written more messages than I have poems. During this time I found myself beginning to write more prose poetry than rhythmic poetry. Praise the Lord! I no longer have to worry about finding something that rhymes with orange. I love receiving inspiration. I only wish that it would come at times other than 2 AM. But if you don’t at least get out of bed and write down the jest of it, you will have forgotten it by the time you crawl out of bed the next morning and you could be missing out on true blessings.
I have dabbled in art a bit. I have a dear Brother in the Lord by the name of David Whitecrow who is a very talented artist and painter. If you want to see some of his work do a search on Artwanted using his name and see what pops up. I had commissioned David to do a picture of me at the helm of a ship with Jesus standing behind me pointing to the way that I should go. Turned out awesome.
While David lived in southern California, he gave me some free art lessons which got me started. I also went to an attraction at California Adventure. I believe that it is located just on the left side as you enter the park. In this attraction they teach you how to draw Disney characters. I bought several of their books and have enjoyed learning how to be an artist. I built/created my own 20X30 inch light table that allows me to create artwork that is quite enjoyable and very therapeutic.
3 AM this time. I have received inspiration to where I am now creating what I refer to as “Poetic Pictures“. I start out with a 11X17 piece of blank paper upon which I draw half inch lines. I hand write my poetry of the sheet of paper and then place a 16X20 piece of plexi-glass glass over the top of it and trace out what I had already written on the paper, leaving out the lines of course. I have some borders that I also place underneath the plexi-glass and trace them out, too. I cheat on the poetry that I want centered on the paper. I start with two sheets of lined paper. I write each line out individually, cut out each line and then tape it to the second sheet of lined paper centering it on the paper. Afterwards I make 11X17 copies of those poems so that the paper will no longer be “in pieces“. I will be posting images of the finished poetic picture on my portfolio for you to enjoy.
Well, do you think that I’ve babbled on long enough? I do. Hope you’ve enjoyed what I have been sharing and I am open to any constructive dialog.
I’d like to close by saying thank you to the people who created ArtWanted and made it what it is and available to the public and to the multitude of artists and poets who long to share their gifts with the rest of the world. God bless. . .Mr. Lee