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 64 – A Thing of Beauty

2013.04.26After a very long week of work and two or three long weeks without spending time away with my lovely wife, we FINALLY took an evening for ourselves.

It was a wonderful evening, enjoying Final Fridays at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, quiet conversation, and a wonderful dinner at Macaroni Grill.

We actually stayed out past 9:00 o’clock.  Yes, we are that wild and crazy couple.

The funny thing is that during our evening out, we remembered something  that we’ve remembered a hundred times before:  We Are All We Have and This Relationship Takes Time and Intention.

So often, way too often, we spend all our energies on the kids, the house, the yard, our work, our parents…but forget to spend time on what matters most – Our Relationship.  We fail to listen.  We forget to talk.  We pass one another quickly in the morning.  We land at home in the evening, breathless and tired, without really spending time together.

Our relationship, when it is at its worst, happens by accident.  Our relationship, at its best, happens when we slow down, put aside those things that will be there tomorrow or are not important at all, and look at one another closely, listen carefully, and love deeply.

My wife and I looked at a piece of modern art on the 4th floor of the IMA.  We analyzed it for a while and then she said with a laugh, “I really don’t like this…I just think that I could do that…if I wanted to.”  And I had to agree with her.  It seemed too simple.  It appeared too random.  But, the more we looked at the canvas, the color, the shapes, the brush strokes…the more we saw the subtle changes of direction, the amazing layers of color that were not accidental but, in fact intentional.  Some areas were thick with medium built up over days, weeks and months.  Others were thin to the point of exposing the raw canvas.  After a few more careful minutes of inspection, we realized that this piece of art took many, many hours and years of practice.  It didn’t happen by accident.  It could only be successful because of the intentionality and plan of the artist.  We stepped back with a fresh perspective and we both agreed that this was a nice piece of art.

I’m thankful for the times when our relationship receives the same careful attention.  The outcome is always a work of art.

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 50 – No Picture For You!

This is weird, I know.  But for the first time in a VERY long time, I did not take a picture today.

I didn’t take a picture of my dog, my yard, my food, myself or the sky.

But you only have to know my week and this Friday, specifically, to understand.  This was a killer of a week at my work.  We were running 100 mph and I wasn’t even able to snap a shot with my cell phone.  I went from meeting to meeting, never stopping for a break.  I performed work-related tasks and data entry without a bite of lunch.  I went on to our small group and was out late into the evening…

And I never once thought about the camera, the picture, capturing a moment.

And this informed me.  A lack of picture also instructed me that I lacked direction today.  I allowed the day to control me, instead of me controlling the day.

I didn’t have purpose in my food.  I didn’t have purpose in my activity.  I didn’t have purpose in my movement.  I responded rather than planned.  I reacted rather than act.

That is now way to live.  I am the captain of this ship.  I am the master of my soul.  It is up to me to determine the course of my days…even the most hectic of days.

Day 48 – Man’s Best Friend

2013.04.10My dog gives me joy.  She doesn’t care if I’m overweight.  She doesn’t flinch when I’m grouchy.  She doesn’t judge when I make the wrong decisions.

My dog loves me for who I am.

She’s been a part of my life for four years now and finally, and very thankfully, she is able to sit quietly at my feet without crazy-making.  She licks less and loves more.  She twitches when she sleeps.  She desires nothing more than to be with me, whether dreaming or awake.

I’m trying to take a lesson from her.  My life should be one of loyalty to others, without judgement.

My life should reflect the very best of others.

But most of all, I thinks she’s teaching me that I should nap more…Yes.  That’s it.  A nap is the perfect lesson.

Now where is my floor pillow?

Day 45 – Starting….NOW!

2013.04.07Okay, I’ll be honest.  My Journey to 50 has fallen off the track just a bit.  I’m eight weeks into this process of changing my life and I’m just as fat as I was 45 days ago.  In fact, I’m actually one pound heavier.  Weighing in after vacation, I’m now at 211 pounds.

Oh, sure, I’ve grown as a person.  I’ve learned more about art and positivity.  I’ve read books and taken nature walks.  I’ve experienced life and all its many wonderful colors and flavors.

But vacation ended yesterday.  TODAY it is back to the real world.  NOW…and I mean NOW!  everything changes.  NOW I start moving.  NOW I start exercising.  NOW I start eating like a rabbit six days a week and enjoying life’s bounty on the seventh.  NOW I’m on my complete journey.  Mind, Spirit, Soul AND Body.  I’m going to move until I sweat.  I’m going to do Yoga, Power 90 and Kickboxing (well, maybe not all three at the same time).  NOW is the time to start.

NOW.

Day 44 – Return Trip

Our return flight to Indy was uneventful and enjoyable.
Our return flight to Indy was uneventful and enjoyable.

Can I stop for moment and marvel at air travel?  How is it possible that 100 people can load a tin can, travel at 36,000 feet above the ground at 300 miles per hour and arrive at another destination half-way across the country in a matter of minutes?

How is it possible that we can take this for granted?

We pay a couple hundred dollars for this adventure, which seems pretty cheap considering the technology of the craft and the skill of the pilots.  But we take it for granted!  Despite the advanced aerodynamics and science, the hundreds of flights in the air at any given time and the amazing success rate, we are still easily frustrated when we don’t get our little bag of peanuts or they fail to serve our complimentary 1/2 a can of diet Coke due to turbulence.

No matter:  It is this exact plane that delivered me home, safe and sound.  The flight was on time and smooth as butter.  I love airplanes and the fact that they return me to my loved ones so very quickly!

Day 34 – Getting Ready for Taste

2013.03.27Our garden, though frozen solid, is doing quite well in the windows of our home.

My wife is planning ahead. She is taking the time to plant seeds, water the plants, and prepare for a bountiful harvest later this summer.

Do we have tilled soil now?  No.

Do we have red, ripe tomatoes now?  Of course not.

Do we enjoy fresh produce on our table in March?  I wish.

The point isn’t that we have it now.  The point is that we are preparing for the future.

I’m working on losing 1/2 pound a week to prepare for my future.  I want to be fit, not because it serves me right this minute but because I will reap the benefits for years to come.

My body will enjoy the benefits of the change but it will take time.  What I eat today prepares me for what I will be later.

How I move this morning will result in a change down the road.

We do things today and sometimes we enjoy the benefits immediately.  But more often than not, our actions today are preparing us for the future.

Some day this summer I’ll pick a red, ripe tomato from the vine.  But that day will never come if we don’t tend the garden today.

Day 33 – The Lunch Hour

Lunch time with co-workers is the favorite part of my job.
Lunch time with co-workers is the favorite part of my job.

I’m a hard worker.  I think my record is pretty clear on this point.

I show up on time and work late into the night.  I earn my keep and the respect of my co-workers.  However, if we were to take a poll of all the workers in our department, asking what the best part of the work day might be, I suspect that the results would be skewed toward two high points:

1.  Leaving at the end of the day.

2.  Lunch with co-workers.

I know it doesn’t pay the bills, but I’m convinced that this time, this mid-day break, this little pause from the routine makes all the difference in our journey through the eight-hour grind.

Several of the folks in our area choose to eat at their desks, away from the others isolated from their co-workers.  I’ve never understood this.  Why wouldn’t you want to break?  Why wouldn’t you desire the opportunity to laugh about things that don’t matter but make a difference?

I can’t imagine life without lunch with my friends and co-workers?

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 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?

Day 25 – Image Problems

2013.03.18My dog seems to have a problem with her image.  She’s been spending a little more time with her head in a corner.

Perhaps it has something to do with her recent weight gain or her non-stop licking.  Either way, I feel for her.

There are days when I’m not too proud of myself and wish I could join her in the 90 degree space.

For instance, I started my day with a healthy breakfast of Schwan’s chicken pot pie.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should report that I had two pot pies.

I know…I know…corner of shame.

But one just isn’t big enough and two are just right.  Who would have guessed that they totaled to 1300 calories!?

But the rest of the day I was pretty good and even though I’m 25 days into my year, this was only the second time that I was over my calorie target.  So it might be better to leave the dog in the corner by herself and go for a walk, with my head held high!

 

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 22 – Growing on the Inside, Shriking on the Out

2013.03.15
Some of my artwork is on display at the office. It is a good reminder to foster my creative side.

As I journey through my 49th year, I am striving to accomplish a few goals.  One if to decrease in my body mass.  Get smaller, lose weight.  Tone my tummy.  You get the idea.

Another goal is to increase the things that matter.  Read more.  Learn more.  Be more creative.  Try more new things.  Increase my intellect.  Build my brain.  Train my talent.

To that end, I’ve started eating less and walking more. I’ve put down the pizza and picked up a pen.

I’ve focused in on my photography.  I’ve found time with friends. I’ve listened to the birds.  I’ve stopped to smell the crocus (the only flower out right now). I’ve sketched my ideas and drafted my proposals.  I’ve laughed at my animals and laughed with my family.

In short, I’ve started living life in a way that brings me joy.  My goal is to learn to live in a way that brings me to a place of peace.  And so far, even on day 22, I’m finding success with that!  Who knows what I will accomplish in the remaining 343 days of this year!