I got my artistic talent from my mother who painted in oil. I started my art career in metal sculpture in 1994 after moving to Ruidoso. I had tried to paint with mom while growing up, but could not put paint on a canvas and make it look right, so I didn’t think I had any artistic talent. My sister was the one that suggested that I make some picture frames out of horseshoes, so I did and sold them, thus starting my art career. In November of 1994 I hit bottom on alcohol and went to Alcoholics Anonymous to learn how not to drink anymore. All I heard them talk about was God. I was agnostic and did not want to hear anything about God. They explained that I needed to be willing to believe in a Power greater than myself and that if I needed to use the AA group as my Higher Power I could. I used the acronyms of God (Group of Drunks and Good Orderly Direction) as my higher power and asked them what else I needed to do in order to recover. They told me to get a Big Book, read it, get a sponsor, and work the steps, which I did before I got my 90 day chip. I was sober and life was good, but something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. My sponsor had me read the “Chapter to the Agnostic” again in the Big Book. It talks a lot about faith and willingness in this chapter. I was at Grindstone Lake fishing one day in March of 1995 and I was really thinking about this faith, willingness, and spirituality. I was 95 days sober at this time. The wind was blowing about 30 MPH, not a day for fishing, but I was so stuck in my thoughts, and all of a sudden the wind stopped. It was completely still and I thought, “Now this is really strange for the wind to stop blowing so suddenly”, but I was so wrapped up in my thoughts about spirituality, willingness, and faith that I turned back to the lake and cast again. As I did, I looked into the water beside me and saw the shadow of a bird. I looked up and about 50 feet above me was a Bald Eagle hovering in the wind. For just a split second I literally saw through the eagles’ eyes and felt the wind blowing through my feathers. The Native American’s call this “Shape Shifting”. Right after that a line from the “Chapter to the Agnostic” in the Alcoholics Anonymous book popped into my head that says, “Who are you to say there is no God”. I looked at all the beauty around me, the mountains, lake, forest, etc. and realized that this couldn’t just happen by evolution or the “Big Bang” theory. Someone had to make it this way for it to be this perfect and beautiful and right there on the spot came to believe in God again. I felt whole again. Nothing was missing anymore, the whole in the donut was filled, and I couldn’t wait to tell the AA group about my profound spiritual experience. I told them that the eagle brought me back to God and that the eagle was my messenger bird. He is also the messenger bird in the Bible, Isaiah 40:31 – They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles”, and in Native American tales, the eagle would take messages to the Great Spirit from the tribes and bring messages back to them. I told the group I was going to take a piece of my steel, cut it in the shape of a bird, and make it balance. They laughed at me and said I couldn’t make steel balance. After 2 weeks of trial and error and frustration, I came up with my balancing eagle. This is my most profound piece of artwork, but I also have several others that I like to create. Crosses are my second most satisfying piece that I do. In July of 2009 I actually balanced a cross. I now call it the “Floating Cross”.