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….

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….

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….

As The Cookie…

I love takeout! Or as they say in London, “takeaway”. Hunan Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein have become comfort foods for me. Just as the Beatles sang, “When I find myself in times of trouble, delivery comes to me. Bringing Chinese takeaway. Just for me.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still a hometown American boy and nothing will ever replace a bowl of mashed potatoes and noodles as my main comfort food. But still those soggy cartons of chicken, rice, and noodles not only fill my belly with deliciousness but also my soul with a warm feeling of peace and tranquility.

Or maybe it’s the fortune cookie that brings me comfort. Question for you. Do you read the fortune before eating the cookie or the other way around? Or maybe at the same time? Or not at all? Chinese legend tells us it’s bad luck to eat the cookie before reading the fortune. Not sure that’s true but I’m not taking any chances. Read first, eat second.

Have you ever taken that little slip of paper in the cookie seriously? Ever had it actually pertain to a situation you were currently in? Ever made a change in your life because of it? Sounds crazy doesn’t it. To make a change because of a message you received from an unexpected source.

I’m starting to think that the world, karma, cookies, and God are sending us unexpected messages all the time. It’s just most times we go on with what we want to do, eat the cookie, without reading the message first. We may even throw away the message without reading it. We’re looking for immediate comfort and some vague message, we feel, won’t bring the comfort we are looking for.

Life is full of messages. Some we hear or read which we take seriously and act upon. Others we dismiss as just funny little sayings or something that doesn’t apply to us. I’m learning that every message we receive is worthy of consideration. Something to think about. Sure many may not seem to be for us but perhaps the intent is for us to pass it on to someone else. Don’t we pass around the table the fortunes from our cookies?

I’m trying to watch and listen each day for those unique, surprising, and even somewhat weird messages that come to me. No, I don’t have voices inside my head. Well maybe sometimes I do but that’s another story. What I mean right now is that I’ve learned what I thought would bring me comfort is not necessarily what really will. I need to look beyond the temporary satisfaction to find what will give me a lasting fullness. To find what will really comfort my soul.

So the next time you crack open that real or metaphoric fortune cookie, don’t just crumble up the paper but take a moment to read it and think about it. It just may be the message you’ve been waiting for.

And remember, “Wise person never try to get even. Wise person get odder.”

See you down the road….

January 1, 2020

Welcome to the 1st day of the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Seems like we were just partying like it was 1999. Do you remember where you were that New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1999? How can it be 2020 already?

As the Doodle and I begin this new year, I’m thinking back over the past 20 years. So many happy times with friends and family. So many sad times as well.

There are days the happy memories are strong. The good old days. Births, weddings, reunions, kitchen table laughs, parties, camping, vacations, holidays at the Lonsingers. These are the memories that put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.

Then there are days the sad memories are in control. Fights with friends, family conflict, children struggles, loss of a job, breakups, deaths of those I love. These are the memories that darken the day and open again the anguish in my heart.

But it’s with strength and sincerity I can say that I’m thankful for everything and everyone that have been a part of my life. The good and the bad. The yin and the yang.

The Ancient Chinese concept of Yin and Yang can be described as follows:

“yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.”

Man has this been true in my life! An endless cycle of good and bad times. Ups and downs. Hope and despair. I’ve tried my best to live in the good but the bad always seems to creep back in. The yin and the yang.

‘It is what it is’ was what my late wife said through her journey with cancer. She had accepted the truth of her illness, the bad, and had decided to live out her days in the good. She understood that human life is a constant cycle of yin and yang. And through her example I too now understand.

So, as I roll along in the 61st year of my life, I’m at peace with the past and the future. Both the good and bad that has been and is to come. I know the past and do not know the future but today and each day, I will do my best to live in both the yin and the yang. To the fullest. And with an assurance that both are okay and I will be too.

Exciting good and bad days are ahead in 2020. I’m ready to get going.

See you down the road….