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Archive for May, 2014

I wrote this four years ago. Today, we buried my wife’s uncle in the old cemetery behind this town called Hedley. Watching the family and friends together today, the life of this community has never felt larger…

Bing, Jeffrey Bing

Hedley, Texas: Donley County

Population in July 2009: 354. Population change since 2000: -6.6%

Median resident age:   42.3 years
Texas median age:   32.3 years

Estimated median household income in 2008:

Hedley:   $37,831
Texas:   $50,043

Estimated median house or condo value in 2008:

Hedley:   $35,142
Texas:   $126,800
County population in July 2009: 3,664 (all rural)
Land area: 930 sq. mi.
Water area: 3.3 sq. mi.
Population density: 4 people per square mile     (very low).

Dec. 2009 cost of living index in Donley County: 74.6 (low, U.S. average is 100)

Hedley, Texas was largely populated by early generation Irish American immigrants, farmers, in the mid to late 1,800’s.    Land was abundant, and the price was right (free) to those who were willing to make the long, arduous, and likely dangerous journey from the eastern United States to this new land known as Texas.    Farming has long been the primary economic…

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Let’s get one thing straight: I am not the Man from Snowy River. I don’t always know what to expect from the unexpected climate that is the mountains. And yet, even the mythical legendary Jim Craig, aka TMFSR, had his limitations, and he learned them the hard way. Which brings us to today.

As my family sleeps nearby, I am left to reflect on yesterday’s ascent. By one account, it was a failed attempt, but by another it was a great experience, with one left wishing for more of the same.

There’s a song that goes “oh Lord, I need a mountain to climb on: just a quiet place to go and know You’re there“. We can relate to that, and we plan accordingly.

It was Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which gave us the phrase: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men often go awry“.

Such is my experience with this mountain. My first time here, we planned, we prepared, and we came, not knowing what the experience would be. We reached the summit that day, with some fear and trembling, but also with a clouded view of all that was around us. A fuller experience called us to return.

Fast forward a few months. For our return, we planned, we prepared, and we came, not knowing what the experience would be. As we made or reservations, I was advised that our earlier in the year planned hike would require the use of snowshoes. “OK”, I thought, “I’ve never used snowshoes, but how hard can it be?”

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Suffice to say, we did not reach the summit yesterday. My young companion was stronger than me on this day, and my stamina and my stomach said “you can’t go on”. As I listened to my companion’s logic and his pleadings, and I stared up at five miles of snow covered switchbacks up 2,000 feet of additional elevation and added risk, my oxygen starved brain said “change your plan now, while you still can”.

There is a great analogy for life in there. Maybe there are several, if you look hard enough. Even in the most painful situation, whether it be self imposed physical stress, or simply enduring the harsh elements life throws our way, there is hope for making and pursuing new plans.

Jeremiah 29:10-14 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

We may not find ourselves in literal captivity today, but the harsh moments of life call us to stop and reflect on where we are and how we got there, whether in our relationships, our career, or on a snow covered trail at 11,000+ feet. As we were arriving a few days ago, only to see temperatures twenty degrees lower than that day’s forecast and unexpected heavy snow falling, my wife began singing “to face unafraid, the plans that we’ve made…”

Amen to that. We faced those plans, we had a challenging yet wonderful experience, and we changed our objective from summiting that day to living to tell about it, and to make new plans.

Hear what I’m saying. I love this mountain, and I may not climb it tomorrow as I have in the past, but I long to continually labor up its trails and share the stories as we climb together, unafraid.

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I just watched Ben Stiller’s “Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with my lovely bride of 25 years.

What a great movie.

Even more so, what a great life. Thanks, Little Frau, for a really fun ride so far. I can hardly wait for the next leg of the trip.

In the mean time, enjoy some of the lyrical musings from the movie, courtesy of Jose Gonzalez:

There’s a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don’t move and the colors don’t fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

Sometimes there’s things a man cannot know
Gears won’t turn and the leaves won’t grow
There’s no place to run and no gasoline
Engine won’t turn
And the train won’t leave

Engines won’t turn and the train won’t leave

I will stay with you tonight
Hold you close ’til the morning light
In the morning watch a new day rise
We’ll do whatever just to stay alive
We’ll do whatever just to stay alive

Well the way I feel is the way I write
It isn’t like the thoughts of the man who lies
There is a truth and it’s on our side
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Look into the sun as the new days rise

And I will wait for you tonight
You’re here forever and you’re by my side
I’ve been waiting all my life
To feel your heart as it’s keeping time
We’ll do whatever just to stay alive

Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes

Look into the sun as the new days rise
There’s a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don’t move and the colors don’t fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

But there is a truth and it’s on our side
Dawn is coming open your eyes
Look into the sun as a new days rise

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