About Me: Mark D. Jones

Mark D. Jones

Life, Love and the Human Condition http://livelovethinkexist.com/ 

In Search of the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography)

http://insearchofthemeaningoflife.com/

The Adventures of Sam the Tugboat http://samthetugboat.com/

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)

http://jonathansamazingadventures.com/

The Many Portraits of life (A Novel)

http://themanyportraitsoflife.com/

Organizational Aerodynamics

http://organizationalaerodynamics.com

Writing has always been my passion over the years, but it has always taken a back seat to the rest of life.  I was discussing with a friend back in 2009 how little we both knew about blogs and she said to me, “Mark, you should write a blog!”  You always know when an idea hits you across the forehead or the little cartoon light bulb goes on above your head – this was just such a moment for me – serendipity we call it.  That night I struggled with the software to set this blog up, which is actually very easy for anyone with half a clue and wrote my first entry – “Welcome To My World!”  It was an exciting moment for me, and an opportunity to write down my thoughts and perhaps have someone actually read them.

Since I was in the 6th grade I had always wanted to be a Veterinarian and after a challenging year and a half of Preveterinary Medicine studies at Michigan State University, it became clear that Veterinary Medicine wasn’t in my future.  I had never really traveled much from my home state of Michigan, so I decided to go on a great adventure.  The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien were always my favorite books and I yearned to wander off down a winding path into a distant forest like Bilbo or Frodo Baggins.  So I decided to take a journey and go on a great adventure…

Since I didn’t have much money, didn’t own a car, motorcycle or a horse and walking would take much too long to get anywhere – I decided to bicycle around the United States.  Everyone thought I was foolish for dropping out of college, but I didn’t care – and I set about planning my trip.  I had maps everywhere in my dorm room as I pondered my upcoming quest – not quite the search for the Holy Grail but it was to be my own great adventure regardless.  I talked Bruce, a friend of mine, into going on the trip with me and in the Fall of 1976 – America’s Bi-Centennial Year – we rode on down the highway to start our great adventure.

After almost a year and 8,000 miles of pure adventure, no accidents or major injuries and most of our wits still about us, we ended our trip in Seattle.  We had traveled from Michigan to the east coast; down to Key West, Florida; along the Gulf coast to Texas; on to Colorado and up to Seattle, Washington.  Bruce returned to Michigan to continue his life, but I never really stopped living my adventure…it only took on many different aspects and filled many journals and yellow legal pads of my assorted ponderings and writings.

Before my bicycle trip I had written some poetry and had tried without success to write some song lyrics and music.  I knew that I enjoyed writing and during our bike trip I kept a journal of our travels.  After a few years in Seattle and various adventures in the northwest, including co-piloting a hot air balloon – I left on a Pan Am 747 bound for London, England, on a solo bicycle adventure through England, Scotland, Wales and France.  After a few months I flew home to Seattle, but my adventures continued on.  I later decided to return to college to study Business and earned my diploma in Business Administration from Michigan State University in 1981.  Pondering what my future life in an office cubicle would be like, I decided instead to choose adventure once again.  I had always wanted to be a fighter pilot and fly jets, so I joined the Air Force and spent 20 years as a Navigator (Weapon Systems Officer) in the fighter world – I couldn’t qualify as a fighter pilot because I wore glasses.

My Air Force adventure took me to Europe again for 16 more years.  I lived eight years in Germany – where I met and married my wife of 27+ years – and eight years in the quaint English countryside of Oxfordshire and Suffolk Counties.  I flew jets and lived my dream.  I deployed to the Persian Gulf War, so I really did become a Vet – just a different kind of Vet than I had imagined back in 6th grade – a military Veteran of the United States Armed Forces.  While overseas I was able to experience much of Europe, Africa and the Middle East – and what an adventure and experience it turned out to be!

Over all those years I continued to write.  I kept a logbook of my bicycle adventure through England, Scotland, Wales and France, started writing Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) around 1984, created the character of Sam the Tugboat through the bedtime stories I used to tell our son around 1990, wrote 200+ copyrighted songs (music and lyrics) from 1991-1993, began writing my autobiography in 1994 and another novel called The Many Portraits of Life around 2009.  I know my life has been unique and that I have experienced and seen many places in this world – however, I have never stopped thinking or viewing life as a great adventure.  If any of my writings prove to be of assistance to you as you contemplate your own adventures in life, then the entire process will have been worthwhile!

I’m staying close to home these days, but my adventures still continue – only now they’re more philosophical in nature – instead of on a bicycle or strapped into a jet.  I’m content with that…after all, adventures are hard work!  Now I can just sit down at the computer!

As for other interests of mine, my favorite music is Contemporary Christian as well as the Progressive Rock I loved growing up:  Genesis; Yes; Rush; Pink Floyd; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; King Crimson; etc.  My favorite books are the Bible, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  My favorite movies are The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings series and any good Romantic Comedy.  My favorite colors are soft pastels of any shade.  My favorite holiday is Christmas along with the entire Advent Season!

Thanks for stopping by – enjoy your day and come around for another visit sometime!  You can also contact me directly at:

Email: mark.d.jones2112@gmail.com

Twitter: @livelovethinkex

Google+: https://plus.google.com/106563039817258733819/posts

Cheers!  :)

Mark

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Responses

  1. Hello Mark.

    I was surfing the net as I am working on an autobiography myself. I was searching for a comfortable place to write a blog as I also travelled a lot but my journey started when my mother met an Air Force man in Japan, where I was born so travelling, while growing up, wasn’t really my choice but after my children grow up and leave the nest, I am planning to travel again.

    I came across your blog and it captured my interest. You have a very peaceful way of looking at life and what an amazing adventure you’ve experienced! I will be back to read the rest of your blog that I hope you will continue to write in :).

    Erika

    • Erika,

      I wanted to let you know that I used your email quote, “I am excited for you and I will be sure to check out your blog from time to time to watch it bloom into a beautiful garden of your thoughts and experiences. :)” as the beginning of the “Foreword” to my online novel, “Portraits of Life.” I pondered your words, and now – eight months later – I can look back and reflect on what I have accomplished to date with this blog. The most unexpected turn of events for me, has been to realize the opportunity to open up my photo albums to anyone that wants to look back through them, and as I continue posting photographs I reflect on the journey of where I’ve come and wonder what the next chapter holds. Once I’m finished posting pictures I’ll return to writing. There’s so much to do…and so little time to accomplish it all!

      Cheers,

      Mark

  2. Hi Mark,
    I was in Nav training at Mather AFB from February until November 1989. Assigned to the 2. DtLwAusStff and 450th / 455 th squadron.
    Later I flew the PA200 “TORNADO” as a WSO. I was surfing the web to find stories and pictures of that time period at Mather.
    So, whoever has pictures or stories, please let me know.

    Best regards from Germany
    Frank

    • Frank,

      Nice to hear from you. Our time at Mather AFB overlapped as I left Mather and arrived at Hahn AB, Germany in August of 1989. The internet really makes the world a much smaller place! I’ve been contacted by a few folks who also shared the 450th/455th experience – mostly instructors that worked with me. The most rewarding aspect of having been an instructor at Mather in those years is that many of our Tac Nav Student WSOs went on to fly in the Gulf War and the many contingencies that have since followed – with outstanding professionalism and airmanship. I’m glad to give you the opportunity to “walk down memory lane” with me in remembering our time at Mather. The good news is that the 455th FTS is standing up once again at NAS Pensacola – so a new generation of aviators can follow in our footsteps!

      Cheers,

      Mark

  3. I wanted to say hello from an old 480th TFS Aircrew life support guy.

    Daniel

  4. Thanks Dan for stopping by!

    Cheers,

    Mark

  5. I am not going to be original this time, so all I am going to say is that your blog rocks, sad that I don’t have such writing skills.

  6. Thanks for your kind words. Always remember, we are all original in our own way…unique and beautifully made. As for writing, practice improves most everything in life. I still find typos afterwards in things that I have written all the time! :)

    Cheers,

    Mark

  7. Mark,
    I went through many of your photos and did not see one of your wife. Is she there somewhere? Love to see a pic of the family. Thanks.

    • Rich,

      Thanks for the question. When I started the blog, my principle focus was to tell my personal story and have a place to post all of my writings. At the time my wife made the decision to remain a private person and not have her photos posted, and I respect her decision for that – the internet isn’t for everyone. If she ever changes her mind I’ll go back and add in her pictures through the years. This month it will be our 25th Wedding Anniversary!

      I look at the internet from a historical perspective, and if I don’t tell my own story, no one ever would or could piece it together on their own…sort of like the 480th saying, “The first one to the white board after the sortie wins the debrief.”

      Thanks for staying in touch through the years! :)

      Mark

  8. Hello – My name is Cynthia – I have been working on a family tree for a young person at my office. His name is Andrew. He is a grandson of William Howard Armstrong through his son, John Wayne Armstrong. I do not have many of the dates that would make his tree complete, such as death dates for William and Hazel, marriage dates for this couple, death dates for James A. and Mary Ellen Baughman, etc. I also do not have the Armstrong family back any farther than John and Lydia (Butler) Armstrong, and I need their death and marriage dates as well. However, I do have more information on the Baughman line and the Bowman/Henning line, so if you need info on these lines I am more than willing to share. Your photos will be very exciting for Andrew to see. Please e-mail me back – I live in Portland, Oregon.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks for your question and interest in my family photos archive! :) I researched your questions with our family “historian” and sent you a personal email with his suggestions. I love the internet and how it brings people closer…from all around the world! :) Say hi to Andy and his family for me!

      Cheers,

      Mark

  9. Dear Mark!

    A big HELLO for you and family from India. It is indeed a fascinating experience to enter ‘your world’ (or My World..or Our World..should I be so impertinent to say so!..) to have the opportunity to share a few thoughts passing by the mystic lane of Life. Our Eastern Masters and Saints and Prophets teach us ABUNDANCE in minds, to be WEALTHY in our souls and SERENE in our spirits. The depiction of Nature’s Abundance, Magnanimity of thoughts, Luminous Relationships and Innate Tranquility of this ‘WORLD’ brings out the ETERNITY and Sublimity to make us believe that Every Soul Is Potentially Divine, powered by The Divine Grace in perfect synchronicity with Nature. The pictures taken are Within Us as what we perceive Inside reflects Outwardly in our every single vision. Wisdom springs out from the abyss of Nothingness and graces us with Silence…just like the picturesque Silence Of Austerity projected through your Inner Projector to bless us with the Snaps of Our Inner Beauty and Elevation.

    Thank you Mark for a flowing friendship amidst all your preoccupations
    as I think, we the Brothers and Sisters in Our Divine World should become Connected in Space, Time, Manners and Unconditional Love…simulating what Mother Nature bestows upon us EVERY SINGLE MOMENT!

    Our Love goes out to you and to Everyone you know in this Beautiful World…may the Lord Bless you in your endeavour in your quest for Peace, Love and Raised Consciousness in Humans to help them really to pursue The Only Mission to Know…Who we Are and…From Where do we Come From…so as to gain Ultimate Wisdom to Merge with our Father and Emerge Infinite and Eternal !

    My sincere regards and gratitude again!

    Abheek

    Kolkata, India.

    • Abheek,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts! You have enlightened me with your gentle spirit, and I have learned so much about the beautiful culture of your people and homeland of India through our friendship! Our world is a closer and more interactive world than it has ever been before, which gives all peoples an opportunity to foster increased awareness, understanding and love across the miles that separate us! :)

      Thank you so much for your beautiful words; and please extend my love, blessings and greetings to your family, Abheek!

      Cheers,

      Mark

  10. For all of Mark’s loyal followers…I’m using a secret email to see if he knows who this is. Get those wheels spinning Jonesy.

    • Tim,

      Despite your secret email account, I know this comment belongs to you! :) It was a blast from the past (1974 through 1976), during the period immediately after graduating from High School through my first two years at Michigan State University.

      To paraphrase your original comments (yes, I’m the editor here) we both joined the Marine Patrol Division of the Genessee County Sheriff Department in Flint, MI, as seasonal Marine Patrol Officers and Search and Rescue SCUBA Divers.

      In our off-duty time we often enjoyed pepperoni pizza at Mario’s Pizzeria and a drink or two along with it. The story you mentioned almost killed me on that cold, winter night in December, 1974…and that episode was the genesis of my decision to take the road less traveled in life.

      I’m glad to see that you’re doing well, Tim! Thanks for stopping by and checking in with me…35 years later! :)

      Cheers,

      Mark

  11. Can I remind you also of the Uriah Heep concert at the now demolished IMA back in March, 1976 and the Bob Seger concert?

    • Tim,

      I really enjoyed the concerts we went to and the tunes we rocked out to in your customized minivan back in the mid ’70s! It was almost a chapter out of a John Mellencamp or a Bruce Springsteen song! :)

      Thanks for the memories!

      Cheers,

      Mark

  12. Hey Jonesy. It’s been months again and I am amazed how fast our lives seem to fly by. I wanted to drop you a line and let you know that Dan Smith, the big guy with the beard that owned the dive shop we took our scuba training at on Fenton Rd. passed away yesterday. Not a big surprise but still I find I’m never ready to lose anyone any more.

    The people in our age group are starting to leave us now too. So I’m in search of what it is I am suppose to do with what I have left??? It’s no secret that for about 25 years, I led a pretty “partying” lifestyle and I now find that for the most part, they are all gone, for one reason or another. 2 killed in the line, heart attacks, more suicides than I can begin to count. But all that has dodged me so far. I just wonder why.

    Send me back a note and maybe your cell number. Id love to talk to you about things. You seem to be searching in some ways too. Time to take the Mrs., her name is Linda by the way, out to dinner so I’ll close for now. I hope to hear from you. I know you’re busy with your “followers” but we have history.

    Be Safe,
    Tim

  13. Thanks for your comment, Tim! I called your number and left a voice mail with my home phone number for you. Yes, the years have gone by quickly since our Search & Rescue SCUBA diving days with the Genessee County Sheriff Department! I still remember Dan sitting in his shop all those years ago, the pool we took our lessons in and our open water dive to that little boat in about 65′ of dark, cold water! Yes life is too short and oh, so precious…which is why I embrace Jesus – as any moment might be our last. I still don’t know what I’ll be when I grow up…but I’d love to be an author…which I am now, but only here on my blog. So I spend my evenings doing the things I love – writing and sharing with my friends around the world! Say hi to Linda for me! I’ve been married for 26+ years now…how time flies by!

    Cheers,

    Mark

  14. Hello Mark,
    My name is Cindy Kelley…I am looking for Mark Jones that I was so blessed to work with. I consider him a very valued friend. He would tell me he was writing children books and an adventure on his life…Mark please send me an email so I can read your stories and stay in contact with you.

    • Hi Cindy!

      Thanks so much for your email – I’m so glad you found my blog and checked in with me! :) I’ve emailed you back and edited your comment as I described to you. Now that you know where to find me you can read my stories and adventures online! I’ll keep posting my autobiography for some time now on the main page, but my children’s stories are found under the Categories section under the ‘Children’s Stories,’ ‘Jonathan’s Dream’ and ‘Sam the Tugboat’ sections. The entire autobiography to date is found in the ‘In Search of the Meaning of Life’ section. Keep in touch – it was lovely working with you, Cindy – and I wish you were still there! ♥ :)

      Cheers,

      Mark

  15. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for following my blog. :-) I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • BYNT,

      You’re very welcome! I try to follow every WordPress blog I come across, and only hope to have more time someday to look through them all!

      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours! :)

      Mark

      • Dear Mark,

        Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours! :-)

        Nicole


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