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 62 – Another Frosty Start

2013.04.24Every time I think about my Journey to 50 and my slow going, I simply remember my garden to re-assure myself.

Seeds and bulbs are planted.  New growth is beginning to show.  The green leaves and colorful flowers are peaking out.  It looks like it is almost time to bloom.

And then the frost hits.  Something cold and unplanned stunts their progress.  They don’t stop growing but they slow down their Journey to full bloom.

I’m getting there but I’m not there yet.  I’m walking.  I’m mowing.  I’m eating less and meditating more.  I’m finding positivity in all things and fretting less.  I’m reading pages and striding miles.

I won’t let a little cold air stop the journey.  Neither should you!

Day 60 – Monday, Monday, Monday

2013.04.22Some days are very productive.

This wasn’t one of those days.  But that doesn’t mean the day was bad.  It just wasn’t perfect.  In fact, when I think about it, the day was better than good.  The day was GREAT!

It started slow with our monthly meeting with our financial adviser who helped us learn about all the money we don’t have.  Next, I went to my first home visit where the patient decided he didn’t want a visit after all.  I suspected my day might be one of THOSE Mondays.

Thankfully, the day got better.  I had a great lunch with my friends/co-workers, got some good file work done and completed another home visit later in the evening.

At 7:30 I was on my way north and enjoying the fantastic weather.

Now I’m ready for bed.  But first, being true to my Journey, I willl drink three glasses of water, do 10 sit ups, 10 push ups and get in a good 15 minutes of meditation before I hit the hay.  That’s a good way to end a great day!

Day 53 – Tax Day

2013.04.15Despite the fact that today is Tax Day, I’ve had a very good day.

At 4:30 this morning, I drove my wife to the airport for her business trip.

I was at work by 6:30 and had a very productive day.

I left the office by 3:00 and had very little traffic.

Once home, I boned the chicken I roasted last night and made a pork roast for tomorrow.

A glass of red wine with dinner and a Corona on the back porch as I watched the setting sun were a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Then my daughter came home and we finished her taxes with minutes to spare….The only tense part of my day.

Not too bad for 19 hours of fun.

Day 38 – We Haven’t Changed A Bit

Lynn and I enjoy time together before Easter lunch.
Enjoying Easter with Lynn and Wendy.

We had a great day today.  Easter worship in Katy, Texas.  Lunch with my old friends, Lynn and Wendy.  Fun the boys and a super night’s sleep.

This trip is already shaping up to be a great experience.  Lynn and I worked together for a few years beginning in 1987.  We enjoyed one another 26 years ago and after only a few hours together this weekend, I realized why.

Lynn is brilliant, funny, and loving.  He might have more gray hair and a few extra wrinkles but he’s the same wonderful person today as he was nearly three decades ago.

Another wonderful day spent with my boys and my friends.  The journey can’t get any better.

Day 37 – My Traveling Buddies

2013.03.30Elliott and Ben will be with me for the next eight days as we travel to Texas and back.

We’re going to see things.  We’re going to do things.  We’re going to make the most of every moment; even if that means taking a nap in the middle of the day.

Spring break.  Senior year.  Finding friends.  Having fun.  Making the most of the journey.  Talking about girls, computers, video games.

I imagine I’ll cherish these moments with my youngest son and I hope he cherishes them, too.

A once in a lifetime trip.

Day 32 – Will It Ever End?

One last Winter Blast!
One last Winter Blast!

It is hard to imagine that we must endure another round of winter weather but it is true.  The snow blew in yesterday afternoon and it seems that winter will never loosen its grip.  I know in my head that spring is coming but my ice-cold fingers don’t believe it.

I am excited to think that I will soon be able to walk sidewalks that are ice-free.  I will soon have my spade and rake out preparing the earth for our waiting seeds.  I will soon experience the warm sun on my pale skin.

It isn’t happening today, but soon…very soon.

Day 23 – Staying Connected

2013.03.16Our friendship is long-standing.  In fact, my friendship with Dave is one of the longest-standing friendships of my life.

We first met in Seminary (circa 1988) and have been tried and true friends ever since.

Distance has always been a barrier.  Dave’s lived in norther Indiana for the past decade.  We’ve lived in the Indy area longer than that.  To get together, we have to commit a significant amount of time if we ever want to get together.  At one point we tried meeting half way.  Unfortunately, it still required half a day just to meet for breakfast.

But we’ve found that technology provides the answer.  For the past 6 weeks, we’ve connected on Saturday mornings, for an hour or more, via Google Hang Out.  In those 60-90 minute sessions we cover everything from the state of the church, the state of the family, computer technology and life dreams.

These weekly video chats are powerful.  They lift my spirit.  They support my immune system.  They encourage my soul.  They energize me for the day.  In a year in which I hope to grow as a person, reach beyond my day-to-day mundane life, become better…These discussions help in in that journey.  These connection points are just the boost I need to face another day, take another step and stay on the path that leads to my end goal.

These 365 days are not just about my intake of food and my output of energy.  They are about my spirit, my heart, my true self.

I’m so thankful that Dave helps me along that exposition.

Day 20 – Another Drive Home

2013.03.13Sometimes the journey isn’t about food.  It isn’t about exercise.  Sometimes the journey is about the relationships.

I’ve had the privilege of riding to work with my daughter for the past two years.  We worked in the same building together and would, from time to time, ride share to the office.

We enjoyed many moments together; sometimes in deep conversation, other times laughing together, most often with her asleep in the side-seat.

Her employed ends at this office ends this week and I must be honest, I’m going to miss her company in the car.

Day 18 – Better…Getting Better

2013.03.11Today was a pretty good day.  I woke up sick and decided to stay home from work.  My voice is barely back, my head hurts and I’m still coughing but staying home helped.

My kids were all home for dinner and it was a great meal and every ate well.

We had a lot of fun playing Perudo and everyone had a good night.

The day started rough but ended strong.  I stayed under my target calorie count by nearly 400 calories.  Each day takes me closer to my goal.

Now if I can just go one day without blowing my nose, I’d be happy.