Years ago, my parents divorced, after a protacted period of contentious relations with one another. I'd learned to my dismay that my father had been having an affair with a divorced woman named Karen Brown. Eventually she married my father, and then she later divorced my father as well. (That second marriage really didn't last very long, although it seemed to me that it lasted longer than I'd have preferred.)
In the interim, however, I found myself in a weird state of existence in which I was being bounced between my father's household and my mother's. I really felt incredibly uncomfortable whenever I had to visit my father's house. Part of the reason was that Dad seemed to feel compelled to rub my face in the fact that he'd chosen to replace my mother with Karen Brown, for whom he seemed to feel an affection he no longer felt for my mother.
Karen Brown had two sons of her own, named Jeff and Doug. During those early years, I resented both of them, for reasons which were obviously not their fault. They clearly couldn't help the situation any more than I could, but in my mind, they were symbols of my father's abandonment of the values I had once incorrectly ascribed to him. I had a particularly hard time understanding why my dad would prefer them to me and my brother. (That may not have actually been the case, but that was how it felt to me.) My awareness of the fact that they were known to use illegal drugs during this period of time enhanced the extent to which I was puzzled by what appeared to be my father's preference for the Brown family.
I'd never wanted any siblings other than my own brother, and I felt as if Doug and Jeff were in a sense forced on me by my father. I suspect that that's pretty common in cases involving divorce and stepmothers or stepfathers.
But over the years, things changed. I can now say that I am pleased to have known Jeff Brown, who seems to have met the Lord Jesus, and who seems to have really turned his life around. http://altonwoods.wordpress.com/who-am-i/ contains Jeff's personal life story, and it also contains blog posts which, for the most part, are well worth reading.
Unfortunately, when I learned these things, I was in no position to personally visit with Jeff, since I was already living in Bellingham, WA, and I couldn't afford to travel to Missouri for a visit with Jeff. He isn't the only one to be touched by issues pertaining to foreclosure and the poor economy. My past year has been the worst year I've ever had in some respects, and that's saying a lot. Two strokes (one in June 2011 and one in February 2012) have been hard to deal with, and the same is true with regard to the fact that I've been living in a homeless shelter ever since December 2012. (I also spent a month at another such shelter in November 2011 when I visited Dallas Texas.)
In spite of these issues, however, I have hopes that my situation will improve in the upcoming year, and that eventually Jeff and I will be able to meet one another and fellowship with each other.
That seems more likely to me now that I have learned by visiting his blog that he's now living in Springfield, MO once again.