A Wing and A Prayer

IMG_20150419_080413Fifteen years ago we moved into this beaten down home. We knew the home would need a lot of TLC, time, and money, and in truth, it has taken all three.

For instance, when we first took up residence, the yard was a bare landscape, with only two pine trees in the back and lots of thistle in the flower bed (yes, one flower bed).  Surrounding the property was a broken down fence made up of picket, wire mesh, and another layer of picket.  The grass was spotty, gravel was used as landscaping cover, and a 12-foot tall street light (an ACTUAL street light) was shining brightly in the middle of the back yard.

After a decade and a half of hard work, planting more than two dozen bushes and 18 varieties of trees, we now have a beautiful oasis, perfect for hosting parties on beautiful spring days, sitting quietly in warm the evening shade, or sipping coffee in the cool shade of the early morning.

The change in plantings has also created a sanctuary for wildlife.  We now have squirrels raiding the feeder on a regular basis and bunnies munching on dewy clover.  We also can now enjoy for more than 30 species of birds of every shape and size: From speeding Hummingbirds to lazy Turkey Vultures.  From scolding Blue Jays to a comical pair of Mallards (named Fred and Ethel). From opportunistic Brown-headed Cow Birds to deadly silent Coopers Hawk.  Each one finds it’s place in the proverbial pecking order.

Beyond the visitors to the yard, we now have families taking up residence in Austin’s Acre.  This year, brooding pairs include House Sparrows, Robins, Grackles, Carolina Wrens, Mourning Doves, and a very loud and nervous pair of Chickadee. And as spring quickly turns to summer, I can only marvel at the wonderful wildlife that calls our yard their home. It is only possible because we took the time to turn the barren back yard into a heavenly hideaway for my aviary friends.

Day 238 – A Perfect Saturday to Breathe

Let’s just say that this week was a week for the books. From Friday afternoon of last week until last night, we were working hard, running fast and doing everything in our power to keep up.

A Quiet Sunday Walk in the Woods.
A Quiet Sunday Walk in the Woods.

It started this past weekend when we enjoyed the Columbus Day Holiday by going camping.  It was one of the most wonderful camping experiences of our married lives.  We hiked six miles each day, cooked out over an open fire, and slept snugly in our warm sleeping bags.  We enjoyed the autumn leaves falling like large snowflakes and celebrated fall with the smell of wood smoke, the crackle of dried leaves under our feet, and the knowledge that this was our last big fling until the wet winter weather is upon us.

Happy Birthday to my amazing daughter.
Happy Birthday to my amazing daughter.

Tuesday was my daughter’s 21st birthday.  In celebration, we shared a wonderful meal and fantastic fun playing the game “Fish Bowl”.  We laughed until there were tears in our eyes.  Emily and a few of her good friends came over and we were all sad knowing that hosting the entirety of her entourage would never be possible.  Someone as popular as Emily would require an auditorium to host a party in which everyone would come who knows and loves her.  It was a perfect evening.

Emily and a few of her friends celebrate the big day!
Emily and a few of her friends celebrate the big day!

Wednesday, the direction of the week shifted dramatically when I received a D on a paper for my class (not for a lack of effort but because of a lack of knowledge). This was the low point of my week and if it’s okay with you, I’d rather not talk about it any longer.  Please excuse me as I wipe a tear from my eye and blow my nose.

Friday Night Driving.
Friday Night Driving.

Thursday, was a normal day of work and family life.  I was in the office by 6:00 am and worked hard right up to the closing bell.

Friday, started off well until a bomb threat at work forced many of us to stand outside in the cold for a couple hours.  There’s nothing that breaks up your flow like passing a couple of hours standing around wondering if the building you work in will withstand the threat.

To top off the week, we had small group last night and it was one of our best gatherings in a long while.  I just love our friends and having the opportunity to live and love together is so special.

Today is a rainy, gray Saturday and I have big plans.  I’m going to go back and re-read the chapter that gave me the poor grade, write some responses to other posts of people who got it right the first time and work hard to stay ahead of my writing.

It isn’t fancy but it’s life on the Journey.

Day 222 – Deep Thoughts

2013.09.14Today a co-worker came into my office and sat to talk for a while.  It’s been a few weeks since I really had a chance to see her and it was wonderful catching up.

She talked about her kids, her husband, her work.  She mentioned her schedule and hectic life.  Our few short minutes together reminded me of something fundamental:  We really don’t know other people.

We see them only on a surface level.  We don’t really know them.  And that is a shame.  It’s only through truly knowing people that we can engage, encourage and love them.  And that is the kind of world I want to inhabit.  That is the type of world in which I wish to live.

Day 87 – Walk A Mile in My Shoes

2013.05.19This was a very good weekend for work-outs and physical activity.  Friday offered the opportunity to mow my yard and get another 3+ miles in.  Saturday was the start of my Couch to 5K program with 1.5 miles of walking and jogging.  Sunday meant extremely sore thighs and the desire to mow my yard again (I swear I can see it growing) and another 3.25 miles of push mowing.

We ate well (I mean we made good choices) and worked until I was too pooped to move.

All-in-all, it was a fantastic few days and so, as I sit on my patio, watching the sunset, I can say with pride that I worked hard and deserve these 10 minutes of rest.  But while I’m here, I think I’ll brush up on my newest language; Spanish.

That’s right, Sports Fans, I’m starting to learn Spanish.  I think by this time next year I should be fluent enough to order a glass of water and a loaf of bread.