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….

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….

Just Look At Them And Sigh

Howdy! It’s been a while since I last entered a post from along the road. You’d think now that I’m retired and traveling the country in my condo on wheels I’d have plenty of time to write. Well, I have had the time just not the motivation these past few weeks. When I started this blog my plan was to only post/write when I felt the stirring to do so. Haven’t felt that much since the last entry but this week, getting back on the road after visiting with family and friends in Ohio, I’m feeling energized and eager to get back into it.
So here goes….

Have you ever noticed that you don’t really notice things around you until those things have meaning in your life? Like, for example, the way birds space themselves when sitting on a powerline. There must be some genetic avian programming then naturally causes them to sit equal distance from each other. Or have you noticed that people stopping at interstate rest areas are not very talkative? They all seem to jump out of their cars, walk as fast as they can to the restroom, and then return to their cars at a slightly slower pace. I’ve tried to strike up conversions with folks at almost every rest area but I get little response. I do wait until we’ve washed our hands so to not interfere with their main task at hand, per se.

These are just two of the many deep thoughts and amusing experiences I’ve had while traveling in the Terra these past four months. Hard to believe it’s already been four months living on the road but I’m here to tell ya I really like it. The two plus weeks I spent back in Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday were nice and I loved being with friends and my kids, but getting back on the road has brought me a new energy that sort of confirms I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing at this time in my life. Have you ever felt that sort of confirmation that what you’re doing is exactly what you should be doing? It’s a fantastic feeling of peace and strength.

Today while cleaning the Terra and getting it ready to roll on down the highway tomorrow, I asked Alexa to play some mellow 70s and 80s music. She happily complied and started playing songs from James Taylor, Jim Croce, Carole King, and Dan Fogelberg among others. Fogelberg has always been one of my favorite singers. His song “Leader of the Band” is a touching tribute to his father and pulls at my heart strings every time I hear it. He also recorded “Same Old Lang Syne” which we hear quite frequently this time of year. It’s another song that gets to me and brings a smile to my face while listening and thinking about friends from my past. Both are songs I love to sing along with. Just ask the Doodle.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young also popped up today on Alexa’s playlist. I was never much of a fan of their music when I was younger because I thought all their songs sounded the same. And while this is mostly true, over the years I’ve really come to appreciate their lyrics and harmonies. Their song “Teach Your Children” played today and even though I’ve heard and sang along to that songs hundreds of times, today I heard more in the lyrics and I’ve been thinking about it all day.

The song is mostly known as a war protest song released in 1970 to counteract the Vietnam War. But today when I was listening and not singing along I really focused in on the two verse/chorus combinations. Here’s the first:

“You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.”

Did you hear the song in your mind as you read this? The thought that came to me today had nothing to do with a war protest but instead I thought about my life. How I’m on the road, in many ways I have been my whole life, and how my experiences, choices, and actions have impacted my kids. While trying to become myself I’ve made a number of mistakes. Okay more like a lot of mistakes which have sort of created my own ‘father’s hell‘ as the lyrics state. Troubles and hard times I’ve caused in my children’s lives mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing as a parent. I feel regret because of those times but like the verse continues, I also feel hope.

The lyrics continue with ‘feed them on your dreams’. I think the wish of every parent is that the dreams you have for your children come true for them. I really like the words ‘the one they picks, the one you’ll know by’. Kind of broken English I guess but to me this is saying let your children decide for themselves what dreams they want to dream and achieve. Not easy for a lot of we parents to do but I’ve found that my kids are pretty good dreamers on their own and are quite good at achieving their dreams if I just let them and support them in ways they want me to support them. The second part of the lyrics go like this:

“And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”

I love the words ‘of tender years’. I think as parents we do see our children as tender in years. Even when they are parents themselves. But notice how the lyrics continue by telling the children to try to understand what their parents have been through. What they grew by. I really believe now, at this time in my life, that my kids are helping me with their youth. Feeding me by their dreams. Each one in their own way is showing me the truth that I’ve perhaps missed or misunderstood while trying to be a good parent. It’s humbling to realize that your kids can do this for you even though you are older and supposedly wiser.

I guess, for me, the bottom line in all this is each one of us has been a child and many of us are a parent. We may not always understand each other, the parent and the child, but we need to give each other the freedom to make our own dreams come true and decide for ourselves how we should live. Our ways and choices in life may be different but the song makes a lot of sense with the ending lyrics:

“The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

Parents trust you children. Children trust your parents. And all of us show respect towards one another. And as often as we can, “just look at them and sigh and know they love you”.

Here’s a link to the song on YouTube if you would like to listen: https://youtu.be/ztVaqZajq-I

See you down the road….

The Rocks and Stones

When Jesus Christ Superstar came out around 1970, I was just 10 years old. Through my teenage years this musical perspective of the days leading up to the Christ’s death on the cross, the songs from the musical, especially the lyrics, led me to want to learn more about the story.

I’ve always loved rock music and the JC Superstar production is one thing, possibly the main thing, that led me to read the Bible, talk to God, and 15 years later at age 25 accept Jesus as savior and begin to follow Him.

I’m still following and trying each day to live my life to the fullest. Not always easy and many days I fail in following Him. But because of the grace God has given me and the sacrifice the Christ made for me, I go on.

There’s really nothing in this world that can change that. Many things have tried but no pain, no sadness, no success or failure, not even death can stop the shouting in my soul of my thankfulness to God.

The song Hosanna from the musical has the following lyrics, which I believe for all of us that are followers of the Christ, really convey the joy we feel.

Why waste your breath moaning at the crowd?

Nothing can be done to stop the shouting.

If every tongue were stilled

The noise would still continue.

The rocks and stone themselves would start to sing

As we walk through this week leading to Easter Sunday, it is my hope and prayer that each of you are intrigued by some aspect of the story and the mystery of the Christ.

And that you explore what Easter is really about.

And who this Christ really is.

Happy Easter Friends.

See you down the road….

Front Porch Sittin’

It seems summer has come early to Central Ohio. Today, the temps were in the mid 80s as it has been for the past four or five days. Tonight there’s a cool breeze as the Doodle and I enjoy the front porch. That breeze also has the scent of rain so something is coming our way it seems.

Today was a really good day. Actually, the weekend has been very special.

Our family celebrated Mothers Day this afternoon to honor all the mom’s in our family. Three generations. This morning, our extended church family stood and affirmed our commitment to 10 young children being dedicated by their parents. Two were my grandchildren. That commitment of love makes my heart full.

Today was also my two-year-old granddaughter’s birthday and last evening we partied like a two-year-old to celebrate her presence in our lives. She and her little brother bring incomparable joy to my life.

And Friday night I was able to go with a group of friends to see a band perform the hits of Fleetwood Mac. One of my favorite groups from my youth. Music has always moved my soul.

So tonight while doing some front porch sittin’, I’m lingering in the stillness of the evening with a full heart, a joyful spirit, and a soul that is singing a song of gratitude and thanks.

Oh, how I wish my wife Barb was still here with us to celebrate these precious moments. They are the life events she loved. From the hanging out with friends to celebrating special days with her family, she deeply enjoyed times like these. And you know, I’m confident she did so this weekend.

I don’t really know if our loved ones, who have passed on, do have some heavenly view over our lives but I like to think so. Even though she is not physically present, I can sure feel her with us.

I felt her Friday night at the show and could visualize the two of us dancing away the night like we used to. She was with us last night as we enjoyed and celebrated the blessing of our granddaughter, and her spirit was with us today during the dedication of our grandchildren. Her joy tonight must be beyond abundant.

I find comfort in knowing Barb’s joy is abundant and complete. How awesome that must be. I can’t wait to experience it for myself some glorious day.

But for now, I remain here in this life. And I have to say it’s a pretty good one. I’m surrounded by family and friends that love me and one another. And with that love and grace, there isn’t any storm that can overcome the hope and joy I have.

So tonight I’ll leave the windows cracked and let the breeze blow in as I listen to the rain on the roof. It will give me peace. And there again I’m reminded of Barb and her love.

Peace to you my friends.

See you down the road…

The Ness Of March

The month of March has always meant the coming of Spring. Sure almost every year in Ohio, we would get a pretty decent snow in March but it usually didn’t last long. Soon the sun would warm up the ground to melt the mantle of white and flowers would start poking their way up through the soil. Daffadills, Crocus, and sometimes Tulips would begin blooming in all their colors as Spring arrived. Such wonderful colors. Nature in transition. The beauty of creation. March in all its fullness.

Since 1939, March has also been the month where brackets are drawn, teams compete, buzzer beaters ignite the crowd, nets are cut down, and a champion is crowned. If you’re a fan of college basketball then this is your month. Even if your team is not in the tourney, there’s something about these games that is unlike anything else in sports. Going through the season and all the transitions teams must deal with to reach the pinnacle of success. Such anticipation. Such excitement. The beauty of the game. March in all its madness.

And then there’s March of 2017. March 7th to be precise. The day our family said goodbye to the person that held our hearts together. The day my wife Barb finished her 19-month journey of transitioning from a healthy life to her death from cancer.

It truly is the saddest day I have ever experienced. No other pain or sorrow comes close to what I felt that morning as I kissed her goodbye and whispered in her ear it was ok for her to go. She had fought long enough and now she could fly high to her new home. My heart still aches as I think about that moment. Tears well up again as I experience one more time the loss of her beauty. March in all its sadness.

But there’s another Ness that surpasses all the others.

Some years, Easter occurs in March which brings with it the greatest beauty. The beauty of grace and sacrifice. If you are a follower of the Christ, Easter week is probably the most significant example of transition you can find.

From the joyous shouts of Hosanna, through the final days of teaching and preparation, and into the night of communion and betrayal. Then the Friday of trial, suffering, and death and the Sabbath of sadness, doubt, and despair.

But then, oh thank God then, coming with the rising of the sun, there is the gift of new life. The raising of the Son on Sunday morning. The world transitions from a place of darkness, confusion, and fear to a home of hope, light, and life as the Christ overcomes the grave. The beauty of the Creator. Easter with all its forgiveness and completeness.

This March has been a tough one for me. In some ways even tougher than that first March losing Barb. Everything I’ve seen and experienced this month has reminded me of her. At times bringing great happiness and smiles and other times such a strong feeling of loss and tears. Grief is a process that presents itself in many ways. I’m learning to allow the ways of grief to come and to accept them. The transition out of grief is long and perhaps I will never be rid of all of it. And that’s ok.

You see I know that this loss and grief will not keep me. It cannot keep me. Because the love I shared with Barb and the love our Saviour has shared with us, is greater than anything we have to endure in this world. I am so thankful for it. The goodness of God.

Tonight during our Good Friday service, we sang the song At The Cross by Christ Tomlin.  I heard the lyrics in a way I had not before. Singing this song tonight gave me a comfort, a hug from God if you will, which is what I needed to close out this month of March.

I hope you, no matter what you are going through, are able to see and take in the goodness of God and what He has done for you. It is my prayer that you do.

“There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down”

 

Happy Easter and see you down the road.