To Boldly Go

Captain’s Log – Star Date 12006.01:

Weird way to start this post but if you follow Posts From Along The Road on Facebook, then you should know I’m a Star Trek fan. All Star Trek series. Well except Deep Space Nine . It was just too far out there for me. It just wasn’t logical.

So with that in mind, here’s my captain’s log entry for today….

While taking our walk tonight around the perimeter of Base Sunbury, the First Officer and I were admiring the cloud formations and the way the sunlight accentuated the difference between light and dark. Actually the F.O., aka the Doodle, was admiring all the ground scents that the dogs from this past weekend left behind. We both enjoyed what our senses were revealing just in different ways from different perspectives.

It’s interesting how the angle of the sun gives a different perspective on the sky. One moment the sun is bright and the sky shines blue. The next moment clouds have come into view and we have a mix of blue and white. The next we see darkening skies and the light moving to the background, out of view. And just now because those darkening skies looked like a storm coming, I chose to turn my back to it and walk back to the Terra for shelter.

It’s still the same sky, or ground from the Doodle’s perspective, but we’re just seeing or sensing things a little differently due to the environment around us having changed. And this made me think about not just the sky and ground but the world as a whole that we’re living in these days.

Sometimes we don’t see what’s really around us until something or someone sheds new light on it. What we see now had always been there but for perhaps many reasons we didn’t recognize it. Or we chose to ignore it and look elsewhere. But now here it is before us and we need to deal with it. To believe it. To address it. To make changes because of it. Not to try and change the path of the storm but to change ourselves to go through it and overcome it.

I’ve been blessed to live 60 years in relative peace and safety. There’s been a few storms blow through my life but nothing that severely harmed me. That’s not true for many other people and I’m seeing that much more clearly. More clearly than I ever have. I’m not sure yet what I can specifically do about it but I do know I can’t ignore it. Not anymore.

Our world has so much potential. We have so much potential. To do good for one another. To love one another. To walk along side one another with respect and compassion. Not seeing each other as shades of darkness and differences but as beams of light and shared life. This current storm is an opportunity, no I think a necessity, to make our world a better place for all of us. And I’m finally ready.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39‬

Yes I’m a Sci-Fi nerd and a follower of the Christ. If these two identities can coexist equally within me then I know we as the people of this world can too. And with God’s help, or more like us finally realizing and living our lives the way He wishes we would, we can do it. We just need to help one another in love. Then we will truly go boldly where man has never gone before. Together. Kind of cheesy I know but we need to make it so.

Engage in the change my friends and see you down the road….

Trying To Be Perfect

Is this you? It’s me sometimes, mostly while I’m writing, but overall not too often these days. You see with age comes wisdom and part of that wisdom is knowing that no matter how hard I or you try, are you ready for this, we will NEVER be perfect. And honestly I’m not sure why you or I would ever want to be. I’ve learned that happiness is far from being found within perfection. It’s the messes in our lives that seem to hold the most meaning and even happiness for us.

As I continue to grow the seeds of thought and word within me (hey that’s pretty good writing right there), I’ve started reading the book ‘Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life’ written by Anne Lamott. It’s a great read for anyone. Funny and thought provoking as she describes her experiences and lessons learned from writing and from life.

In her book, Anne pens; “Perfection is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.. Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground – you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing (and I’ll add living) needs to breathe and move.”

What in your past did you want to be perfect at? What today? Is it really perfection you’re after or more of obtaining a sense of fullness, confidence, or maybe even validation? How much time have you spent on the minuscule details of trying to be perfect that you’ve missed out on the joys found within the infinite inconsistencies of imperfection? Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for not in the perfect and clean living of your life but in the mud puddles of each day.

It’s a sunny warmer day here in Central Ohio. Sitting in the Terra as I write this, I have the windows open letting the cool 60 degree breeze flow through. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty good. Honestly it’s really good. Starting tomorrow we have four days of wet yet warmer weather. I’m thinking there will be plenty of mud puddles for the Doodle and I to jump into this weekend and you know, in a way, that, in itself, is kind of perfect.

See you down the road….

Happy Mother’s Day

Just a quick shoutout to all the moms from a son and dad that really appreciate all you ladies do for your families. For many, you are the rock, the foundation, that our homes and lives are built upon. Your strength and love is what holds us together and keeps us going. I was blessed with a mom like that and my kids have been too.

Here’s a brief history of the creation of Mother’s Day here in the U.S. (from Wikipedia):

“ The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday (the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. “

So here’s to you Mom, Mother, Mamma, Madra, Madre, Okaasan, Makuahine, Mutter, Maman, Ma. No matter the culture or language, one thing is the certain. The beauty and love our mothers share with us and live out each day is a gift and something we’ll cherish all our days.

Happy Mother’s Day!

And see you down the road….

The End Of The Line

Will someone please check the calendar? This is Spring, right? A cold 30 degrees this morning at the Terra but bright skies. As long as there’s some sunshine, the cold ain’t so bad. Hey, that might be a good lyrical line for a song. I’d better start working on that.

I’ve convinced myself to limit the news I watch and reading all the Facebook posts, no make those arguments and spend my mornings this week listening to music. It definitely helps to improve my mood and keeps my vocal cords in shape. Unfortunately, that’s about the only muscle group getting exercise these days. I need warmer drier weather to get back to walking in the woods.

This morning as I was singing along to the ‘Feel Good Classic Rock’ station on Prime Music, the song ‘The End of the Line’ started playing. The one that was done by the Traveling Wilburys. I had not heard it for quite some time but the lyrics came back to me immediately.

“Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand”

These days I think we’re all doing the best we can. Not too much living as we please but if we can get out and take a ride in the breeze while maintaining an appropriate social distance of course, I think we would all feel better. The Doodle and I are going to take a drive today and let the cold Ohio breeze blow through our hair. For about 30 seconds. Brrrr.

While we are all getting through this strange time, are you lending a hand as the last line of the verse above mentions? I’ve been cooped up in the Terra for three weeks now since driving back to Ohio from Florida, and for the Doodle’s sake (she has asked for her own social distancing), I’m connecting with different organizations in the area to see how I can help in serving the community. Not sure what I’ll end up doing but excited to be able to do so.

One thing on Facebook that has been encouraging for me to see is all the videos of people sharing simple acts of kindness with each other. I wish we had more of that on social media. So many ways to brighten the day of those around us. I encourage you to think of what would be fun for you to share with others and go for it.

Our church, Meadow Park, has a philosophy that we all need to ‘Live Love’. We pick multiple days each year to go out into the community as the body of Christ and share simple acts of kindness to whomever God brings our way. Those are some of the best days all year for those we meet (we hope) and for ourselves as well. Nothing fancy, just trying to Live Love. On those days and every day.

The last two verses to End of the Line are below. Or maybe they’re the chorus, forgive me, Mr. Havelka (my high school choir director), for not remembering my song structure correctly. But I guess it really doesn’t matter.

The point of the song, to me, is even if we’re old and gray and even if the sun don’t shine, we’re all still going to the end of the line. So why not remember to live (love) and let live and do our best to forgive.

“Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and gray
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive”

“Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line”

I hope you make time to ride around in the breeze over the days ahead. And find a way to do the best you can to lend a hand as we all ride out this crazy coronavirus together.

Be encouraged folks. And be encouragement to one another.

See you down the road….

Is This Surreal Life

Is this just fantasy.
Caught in a landslide.
No escape from quarantine.

Not quite the words you may remember from the song Bohemian Rhapsody but those are the words that have been playing in my mind since listening to the song this morning. It truly is a surreal time we are all living in.

Now don’t worry. I haven’t shot a man – yet. But as I listened, okay as I was singing to the song this morning I started to think about how the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty Freddie Mercury felt is very similar to what many of us are feeling now. I know there have been moments these past couple weeks that I have felt like a poor boy with shivers down my spine. No body aches yet and I sure do hope they don’t start.

But anyway, isn’t it crazy how quickly our world has changed? Both throughout the globe and in our own personal worlds? We’ve gone from every day living to waiting on the daily press conference from our President or Governor to see how we need to adjust our living for the next day. Can we, should we go to the park for a walk or grab some groceries from the store? Will I loose my job? How will I pay my bills? Will I get sick? Will someone I love? What can I do right now to help others in more need than I am?

So many questions and to make it even worse, so many opinions and news reports bombarding us each day on television or through social media. It’s a lot to take in and process. It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. I have at times so I’ve limited by news and social media time to just in the morning and then again in the early evening. And there’s the daily 2pm ‘Wine with DeWine’ press conference here in Ohio. I am running low on red wine in case anyone wants to help a guy out.

Self isolating, social distancing, and sheltering at home in some regards are really easy for me to do. I live in an RV. Just me and the Doodle. There’s plenty of room between our lot and the few others here at our current campground. Enough room to take a walk and still be able to say hi or have a short conversation from a six foot distance. Not quite as cordial as usual at the campground but still friendly enough. I’m looking forward to being able to gather around a campfire with folks again and share a few cold drinks.

Until that time is possible, I’m looking for ways to stay in contact with people. My family and friends. Especially my grand kids. Being able to call, text, FaceTime, Hangout, and Skype with them is really helpful but still there are times when loneliness creeps in. I’m comfortable being alone and pretty much always have been comfortable with it but when being alone is not just by choice it’s a little harder.

I found myself getting caught up in the vast uncertainty of what’s going on and decided to limit the input, like I mentioned above, and to substitute that and fill my time reading and with music. Most of my reading is in the Bible right now and devotional type books. I’ve been a follower of the Christ for 35 years and in good times and bad, I’m pulled back to the scriptures and the message of love and grace that has and always will be there for me. For all of us. For everyone. I find not just comfort in that but also confidence that no matter what is going on or how crazy the world around may be, I can face it.

And music. Since I was probably three or four years old, I’ve loved music. I can’t say all music, like that whole Ska thing a few years back, but almost every genre of music I do enjoy. Just depends upon my mood and the occasion. Lately in the mornings I’ve been listening to southern rock from the 70’s to get my day started. While cooking, I usually have mellow acoustic tunes playing either from the 70s or some pretty good current artists. I may change genres five or six times throughout the day. Basically just following where my spirit takes me. And of course I’m singing along. Scripture does tell us to make a joyful noise don’t you know. That’s one scripture lesson that I can pretty easily follow.

The Doodle and I came back to Ohio about four weeks early in case traveling within the US became more restricted. I wasn’t really excited to drive back into Ohio weather but it’s comforting to be back and to be close to my kids and friends. I am waiting ten to fourteen days before going to see anyone just in case I picked up the virus on my trip back. Can’t wait to hug, play with, and tickle my grand kids. And one or two other folks I know. You know who you are.

Sitting here tonight, riding out a pretty good thunderstorm, I’m writing this and thinking how thankful I really am. Life’s been good to me so far although very challenging at times. Even disappointing and tragic. But my life has taught me to enjoy today. To live in each moment as they come. To not worry about tomorrow because in all honestly I have very little control over it. That’s pretty obvious right now in my world and probably in yours too. To give my concerns and fears to the One that does know the future and to be at peace as much as I can each day. Some days are easier than others to do that but my faith keeps me trying. And my hope doesn’t fade.

So folks, I encourage you to turn off the news and decrease your time on social media over the weeks before us. Find a few good books and spend your time getting lost for a while in the worlds written in those pages. And turn on those old songs that you know by heart and sing along as loud as you can. Loud enough for your neighbors to hear you. You may just be giving them the song they need to hear and the courage to sing through the days ahead.

Any way the wind blows.

See you down the road….

Outside my window

Outside my window this morning, I see a blue sky. Clear blue with not a wisp of a cloud. The sun is shining bright and a gentle breeze is blowing as the day begins to warm. It’s going to be a lovely day here in Central Florida. One of many I’ve been enjoying this winter of 2020.

It’s been almost nine months now since Izzy the Doodle and I started full time RV living. We haven’t moved the Terra since arriving here at our winter camp in early December. It’s a nice camp filled with some really great snowbirds and I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of them. Izzy has enjoyed the camp’s dog park and playing with all her new friends. We both have really loved exploring the state parks and lakes around the area. And of course getting to both the Atlantic and Gulf beaches a number of times has made our stay extra enjoyable.

This is the first year I’ve ever spent winter someplace other than Ohio. And I’m pretty sure I won’t be in Ohio again for a winter for quite some time. Maybe it’s being 60 years old now or perhaps just finally coming to my senses, but sunshine and warm temps feel so much better than the gray cold of up north. I’d much rather see swaying palm trees outside my window that snow covered sidewalks that need shoveling.

The plan had been to only stay in Florida until mid January and then head west to Arizona but while driving the shuttle craft, our Honda CRV, back down from Ohio after the holidays, I decided to just stay in Florida this year. It was a good decision as our months spent here have been really relaxing. That’s what retirement is supposed to be all about right?

Having the same view outside my window each day has at times felt monotonous as the nomad in me has been itching to move on down the road. But many times it does the soul good to just stay in one place for a while. To not be on the move so much. To have time to rest and to think about things.

I’ve been doing just that these past few months. A lot of thinking but not much writing. This morning the tug to get back to writing has pulled at me. March 7 is a day that will always tug at my heart because it’s on this day in 2017, that the kids and I said goodbye to Barb.

Early on that morning three years ago, she finished her life journey and conquered her cancer. We had spend the last few days with family and friends by her side saying our goodbyes and remembering all the great times Barb had shared with us over her almost 56 years of earthly life.

Life’s road since then has been full of adjustments and turns for the kids and I but because of the love and strength Barb showed and shared with us through her cancer, we have come out okay. Sad at times for sure. Missing her in more ways than you can know.

For me, knowing that with her last breath that morning, she was healed and whisked away to a much better place has given me great comfort and confidence. Comfort to fill the holes of missing her and confidence to continue living a life for myself as she would want me to do.

What do you see outside your window this morning? Is it bright and warm or dark and cold? I’ve seen both many times. If you’re in dark days right now, because of disease or other circumstance, I want to encourage you to hang in there. Lean on family, friends, and your faith to get you through. And watch.

Watch for that morning when a break in the darkness will come. Have hope. It will come and when it does be ready to step into the light and let it guide you to the next place in your life. Maybe that will be living in an RV or finishing your earthly race or maybe something else but whatever your next place is, know that it’s coming and be looking for it. The darkness cannot last forever as there is a light that has comes into the world and that light has overcome it. Barb knew this and she’s living in the source of that beautiful light today and for evermore.

Outside my window is a flowering bush. Roses of some type I believe. Barb loved roses and all her flowers. Last night here at the camp was karaoke night and one lady sang the song The Rose. Coincidence? Maybe but I tend to think it’s more of a confirmation.

‘When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose’

See you down the road my friends….

The Car Goes Where The Eyes Go

I just finished reading the book ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’. Some of you may have also read the book or perhaps you have seen the movie that came out in 2019. For those of you that have not read the book nor seen the movie, I can tell you it’s a story that many of us can we relate to. Especially if you’re a man that lost his wife to cancer.

That’s me and I’m not ashamed to say that I cried a few times across the pages of this book. I’m not going to give you a review or synopsis of the story but will tell you that in a number of ways at a number of times it brought me both tears and laughter while I read and it ultimately gave me a sense of gratitude as well.

The saying, ‘The car goes where the eyes go’ is a favorite and life guiding mantra of the man, the husband, the father, in the story. He is a race car driver so you can understand the saying from that perspective. But there is a higher meaning of the saying in that our life will go wherever we place our focus. I’ve found that to be true in my life since my wife’s cancer and the almost three years since her passing.

As in the story, my life has changed greatly since losing her. I have endured grief, pain, loss, and the missing of her. Those first many months were rough for me. But I never lost sight of what had happened. She had finished her race not in defeat but with victory. She had shown me and our kids strength and endurance by not complaining or dwelling on the uncertainty and fear of her situation. She remained strong as best she could right up until her last few days with us. She finished her race and I can imagine with a smile in my heart, her victory lap as she arrived in heaven.

Our life, call it a rat race or a race through the years, is just that. It’s our life. We never know for sure what will lay around the next bend but if we keep our focus on what our life should truly be all about, we’ll be able to stay on the road, the track, and complete our race as well. With victory.

We may get in crashes at times. Delays may occur. Even detours that take us to places we hadn’t planned to drive to. Our race may be a sprint, a 500 miler, or more like a 24 hour endurance grand prix but whatever our race becomes the key is to keep driving to reach the finish line. To let the road we’re on become an extension of who we are and where we’re going. To take every turn with confidence knowing that we can finish in strength and with gratitude for the race we ran.

I encourage you to read this book. The subtitle for it is ‘Meet the dog who will show the world how to be human’. The story is written from the dog’s perspective and is quite entertaining. Enzo and his human Denny shared a love of racing and had worked out a method of communicating where Enzo would bark twice when asked if he really wanted to do something. The Doodle and I have are own method as well. Not barking but a certain look and she’s giving me that now. Yep, it’s time for another walk. So as Enzo would have done, we’ll bark twice. Which meant ‘Let’s go, one more lap’.

Keep your eyes on your road by friends.

See you down the road….