The Color of Spring

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerhaps the most powerful aspect of changing seasons from winter to spring is the burst of color.  Sure, warmer temperatures are nice.  Of course, singing birds add a song to the air.  Yes, growing plants are better than bare branches.  But with spring’s arrival, there is a celebration of color, a parade of pigment, a hoopla of hues.

Reds, blues and greens burst forth where just weeks before there was nothing more than dark browns and grays.

Violet, magenta and yellow expand and blossom with each passing day, replacing a blah background of winter’s sad colorless world.

Of course, with the color comes the work.  However, mowing a few times a week is a small price to pay to have a carpet of green grass return from the dead.  Trimming back expanding branches is no burden when I can spend the evenings lounging in the shade of the Maple’s verdant canopy.  Pulling some weeds in the garden beds is a price well-paid for the beauty of daffodils and tulips that spot the landscape with color.

The rainbow of color never ends in this season I love.  And I am so very grateful.

It’s Spring Again

20140423_182444-PANOLet’s be honest:  It was a really long winter.

Record-breaking snowfall.  Teeth-chatterinly cold.  An unending deep-freeze.  A ever-lasting blast of ice.

It was beginning to feel as if the season of would never end.  Even as the spring daffodils poked their delicate flowers out of the ground and the tulips began to bud, another dose of snow hit Central Indiana with one-last attempt to make its presence known.

Yet, spring eventually poked through: The trees push out new leaves.  The grass turns brilliant green and thick.  The birds collect nesting materials and proclaim the arrival of warmth from high atop spruce perches.  It is glorious.

It is finally spring.  The long winter is over.  We should celebrate.

Getting Back To My Roots

694Every so often, a person must look back into their past and evaluate the source of their genetic material.  While I have no documentation to prove it, I believe I have a little Scot in my blood.  I base this on the fact that I love the move, Braveheart and look pretty good in a Kilt.

Where do you get your DNA?  What is the root of your personality?  Are you somber and stern or lovable and filled with laughter?  Are you tall and strong or short and frail?

It doesn’t make you less-than to know your history, no matter the outcome.  In fact, knowing from where you come gives you strength and purpose.

Be proud of your heritage.  Own your history.  It’s made you who you are today.

P.S.  And if you have the legs for it, slip on a Kilt…It’s most liberating!

Day 107 – As Done As It Will Get

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have big dreams for our kitchen and have been working on the cabinets since November.  We’ve sanded and primed.  We’ve rearranged and painted.  We’ve cut counter tops and shimmed appliances.

But no amount of work allowed us to get the job done the way we ultimately want before Ben’s party.  Today, I mounted the upper cabinet doors and put on the final coat of trim paint.  That’s it.  I can’t do any more.

And I’m not going to bemoan the fact that there is still a counter top to install and subway tile to place.  I’m not going to apologize for a job that’s not quite done.  My guess is, when this little project is complete, we’ll move on to the next.

It’s the truth of life.  At every point on the journey, we are in process.  Sure, we might find that perfect body size, but our minds still need improving.  We’ve planted the flower beds just so, but there are still weeds that need pulled.  The house is in the perfect location but we need paint, there are pluming issues, the windows need washed.

It’s just the way it is.

So, I’ll enjoy the kitchen for now…But I won’t fool myself into ever thinking that we’re done.

Day 104 – A Little Hard Work Never Killed Anyone

2013.06.05A little hard work never killed anyone.

At least that’s how the saying goes.  But I beg to differ.  I’ve heard of men having heart attacks shoveling show.  People are killed when their riding mowers roll over on them.  Push a spade into the wrong spot and you can light up like a Christmas tree.

Oh, I think a little hard work has killed lots of people.

Even with this knowledge, I’ve been willing to risk death these past two weeks.  I’ve laughed in the face of danger as I’ve moved mulch, sealed my drive and trimmed bushes.  I’ve stared the Grim Reaper in his cold, dark eyes as I’ve put up baseboard, painted cabinets and scrubbed the toilet.  I’ve thrown caution to the wind as I’ve mowed the yard, watered the garden and swept the patio.

Yes…I live life on the edge and I have the dirty nails, sore muscles and a deep satisfaction of a job well done to prove it.

Day 80 – Mothers’ Day

2013.05.12Today is Mothers’ Day and my kids (when they are good they are Mine) did something very special for their mother today.  First, they all dressed up and came to church with her.  She loves to have her family together and it made the day very special.

Second, they took her to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and enjoyed the exhibits and the grounds.

As I write this, they are preparing Salmon and Vege’s with a salad of spinach and strawberries.

While they were all out gallivanting around the county, I stayed home to mow my yard, set out the lawn chairs and do what I do best:  Yard Work.

In the end, I walked four miles, pushing the mower, weed eater and blower the entire time.  It was a good work out!

I think we all had a great day when all was said and done.

Day 77 – Two Lessons, One Blessed Day

Peter, Agassi and Mary Birker pose for a quick picture after a wonderful Ethiopian meal.

While I didn’t get a morning walk in the neighborhood, I did start my day with a walk to the IUPUI campus and back.  It felt good to be out under beautiful trees with perfect weather.

Work was work and nothing more or less.  In my book, that’s a good day.

I try to always learn something new each and every day and today was no exception.  In fact, I think I learned two things.

First, I learned that communication is everything.  Texting is NOT the way to make plans with your children.  Face-to-face conversations are best.  Telephone calls work wonders and often prevent unnecessary confusion, frustration, angry dads and upset children.  Text Scheduling results in a hug and apology nearly every time.

The second and more enjoyable thing I learned tonight is that the dearest friends always stay friends.  Mary Birkner has been a friend of ours from the time we first met her at Epworth Forest Sr. High Institute around 1980.  She latched on to our youth group and spent more time in our cabin than she did her own.  And we were all the better for it.  Her tender heart and infectious laugh made her instant friends with each and every one of our group.

Mary’s gift to us on our wedding day: Her expertly drawn picture of a man and his nose.

Tonight, Mary, Peter and their amazing son, Agassi, flew into town to visit family.  Thankfully, they requested a dinner with us on their way out of Indy.  It was such a pleasure to share an authentic Ethiopian meal.  It was our first time to enjoy the cuisine and Agassi gave us a good lesson on the art of eating with on hand.

We laughed over old times and caught up on life and family.  We celebrated our children’s accomplishments and bemoaned the aches that come with growing older.

The restaurant locked their doors and we decided it was time to leave.  As they drove off into the heavy rain, I gave thanks for the time we had together.

It truly was a blessed day.

Day 63 – A Long Road

2013.04.25My day was HUGE!!  Starting at 7:00 in the very early morning I picked up our ultrasound tech and all her equipment and we made two home visits, finishing up just in time for lunch in the office.

My next few hours was spent responding to emails and preparing for my weekly meeting that always requires a hand full of Tums to survive.

Once that meeting was over, I loaded the car again, this time with my sleep equipment.  I drove to Bloomington, Indiana where I connected a patient to an in-home sleep monitor, thanked the patient for their participation in our study and drove the two hours home.

Walking through my door at 10 o’clock at night, I decided I’d done my fair share of work for the day and am going to call it quits for another 6 hours while I sleep.

Tomorrow won’t be as long but just as many miles as I head back to Bloomington to pick up my equipment.

There is never a dull moment.

Day 30 – Another Day, Another Shoot

2013.03.23This was a fun day.  Long, but fun.

Up early (3:00 am), I delivered my son to the high school for his show choir performance.  He had to be on the bus, ready to travel at 4:00 am.

After a quick drive there and back, I took a short nap and ran my lines for later in the day.

My day was filled with another film shoot on location in Greenfield.  This was my fourth film in the last year and the second movie in which I’m the lead character.  I did a great job on a couple scenes but struggled with a few.  I’m excited to see the final product.

In my life-time, I’ve been an artist, a musician, a farmer, a fast-food worker, a paralegal and a researcher.  This newest venture doesn’t pay my electric bill but it does expand my creative opportunities.

I have 11 months remaining in my Journey to 50 and have been successful in my first 30 days in several ways.  I’ve found new ways of expression, new focus and increased joy in the presence of my family and friends.  It’s been a good year so far and I’m excited about what tomorrow brings!

Day 27 – Non Twins

2013.03.20Who you work with is often more important than the work you do.

My co-workers take joy in important accomplishments and celebrate those victories.  They get goofy about somethings as simple as matching clothes.  For instance, as much as Jason and Annie look alike, they become nearly identical when they wear the same clothing color scheme.

On a day like today, we need something to laugh about and these two set the tone.

I’ve decided that a good laugh is better than a good meal.

Thanks to Jason and Annie for hearty celebration of life!

Day 26 – Oh, To Be Young Again

2013.03.19My son and his singing group were honored tonight by the school board.  They received a gold at the state choral ensemble competition and they earned the praise.  It really was quite an accomplishment, especially since this was their first year as a group.

My son’s outfit was the perfect choice for the award.  It was also appropriate for the Madrigal singing group, of which he is a part.  He loved the outfit and even said that he was sad to have to turn it in.  You could tell, it fit his youthful mindset and his inner personality.

But watching him strut around in the velour robe and high-top boots reminded me of something I’ve forgotten over the years:  Sometimes it’s good to swagger.

After all, we were born to be Kings and Queens.

But somewhere along the way, life becomes burdensome, our memories become hazy, and our royal demeanor diminishes.

Over the decades we allow mortgages, car loans, countless hours of work, home repairs, and medical bills to distract us from our true calling.  We carry responsibilities that are too heavy and mundane and in the process, our shoulders sag under the weight.

But in truth, we were made to live larger.  We were designed to rule our lives, rather than allowing our lives to rule us.

Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten to wear the cape.  We’ve failed to lace up the gauntlets.  We no longer think to tighten the belt another notch and move forward with purpose.  We’ve forgotten that we are royalty; rulers of our own land and throne.  We have abdicated our position to the cares of this world and the search for riches and treasure.  We have failed to pursue the grand adventure that awaits us all.  We’ve forgotten that we must throw off the shackles that bind us and rush forth as one with authority and power.

After watching my son tonight, I desired nothing more than to lay aside my burdens and walk with pride and purpose, as is my royal privilege.  And, by Jove, I intend to do so!

Now, where did I put my crown and sword?