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Archive for the ‘coming of age’ Category

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Greetings from the shores of Lake Pettijohn. As you can see here, it is a lush place. No, to be truthful, much like Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Wobegon, Lake Pettijohn is a prairie home companion of the heart and the mind, for the water is just not there. Or is it? We’ll come back to that after a few words from our sponsors.

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I drove a van load of young men down to PSCC yesterday. Prior to the blowout (on the luggage trailer, not our van, thankfully) it was a surreally quiet experience, much different from my sponsor driving past. In years gone by, this trip was filled with caffeinated young men one upping each other and making bold predictions of their planned exploits in the week to come.

Not so this year. I asked them all to buckle up, and they all promptly went to sleep. What was the difference, you might ask? I wondered that as well. My only answer was that they were tired, and more mature. You see, this was no van load of freshmen, these were seniors. They had been down this road before, and maybe they were conserving energy for the true excitement that would lie ahead. Maybe they had aged, both in place and with Grace.

The phrase “Aging in Place” is a term often used in the retirement care industry, in which I have some limited experience or exposure. It essentially means your population is getting older with you while staying in the same place over an extended period of time. In that regard, I should also talk about the run to PSCC not being my only jaunt up and down I-35 South this weekend. And yet, I have not been down this road before.

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We learned a few days ago that my Dad has cancer. The prognosis is pretty good, but the C word is the C word, and it makes you take pause in how you view your world. I spent the better part of a 24 hour window alone with my Dad in his hospital room, just us, and the team of nurses that he is of course now on a first name basis with. Them, and the good folks from Fox News, but I digress.

You see, “the cancer”, as Forrest Gump would say, is a humbling opponent. It makes you think. As my Dad and I visited Friday night and into the day Saturday, we talked about a lot of things. We talked about where he was when Kennedy was shot (that is President Kennedy, not Al boy’s good friend of the same name, but I digress again), and Reagan as well. We talked about a negative result on a medical test actually being positive, and the opposite as well. We talked about how he has led a good life, with Christian children and grandchildren to show for it. We talked about being strong. It seems that, much like the boys from the van, my dad has both aged in Place, and also in Grace. He knows who he is, and where he is going. My hope and prayer is that I, the boys from Sprinter Van 5, and many others who may follow this road can do as well. And, with no blowouts, prayerfully. If they don’t rock your world, they can certainly wake you up to the possibilities.

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So, with that, we will sign off today from the “Beautiful Shores” Lake Pettijohn. Come on in with us, the water’s Great. It is sweet, by and by….

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Actually, I do. Maybe I go to extremes to avoid going to extremes. Once upon a time, in a land not so far far away, I might have said that in reverse. Comprende?

So, as I thought on this earlier today, the words of a Billy Joel tune rattled in my head:

Call me a joker, call me a fool
Right at this moment I’m totally cool
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life
Sometimes it feels like I’m going too fast
I don’t know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it’s only tonight

Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes

Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot
Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got
Maybe I’m headed over the hill
Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill
Tell me how much do you think you can take
Until the heart in you is starting to break?
Sometimes it feels like it will

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
You can be sure when I’m gone
I won’t be out there too long
Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes

Out of the darkness, into the light
Leaving the scene of the crime
Either I’m wrong or I’m perfectly right every time
Sometimes I lie awake, night after night
Coming apart at the seams
Eager to please, ready to fight
Why do I go to extremes?

And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

I can relate, and not. I think I will keep going, especially for today. As the words to a Mandesa song related to me as I turned the key to the Jeep a few moments ago this morning Why am I waiting for tomorrow…?”“. I don’t think I am.

Darling, I think you know why.

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I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Till the landslide brought me down

As mentioned yesterday, we had an adventure, and a story yet to tell. That will come, in time, but as #1 son and I hoofed our way home yesterday, a flood of tunes library memories were conjured up as the music kept me alert and winging our way back home. Mark Shultz reminded me of the Sherpa. Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Stevie Nicks’ songwriting, reminded me of our mountain trek team.

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

The Sherpa told us on the mountaintop Wednesday how nothing can live up that high. Jesus went to the mountaintop to be close to God, but came back down to minister and to serve.

As I have been home today and dealing with the return to daily life, a landslide of sorts is in motion. I suspect my younger trek companions are feeling the same as they awoke in their own beds earlier today. Laundry, cleaning out the car, or maybe mowing the lawn was in order? Or, was there even more? A loved one’s illness? News of a family in trouble? Knowing that you go into an office full of week old tasks come Monday?

As a child, camp was always an emotional time: good emotional. Coming down off that high was always tough. This week’s mountain experience has been much the same. As an adult, coming down from the Rocky Mountain high is bittersweet, but not all that hard. I’ve been down this road before, and there are potential rewards around every turn, even at 1,000 feet above sea level.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I, I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down, down

And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down
Oh oh, the landslide will bring it down

Landslides can be good. Emotional landslides can bring us back to a level where the air is richer and the living is fuller. Take heart. Mountaintops are going nowhere fast. You will ascend once again. God promises just that. John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around….

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We had an adventure. That much is true, and the full story will be shared as soon as the emotional packs are emptied and the thoughts are composed.

We made new friends, and but one of those stories is shared at this moment. The young friend pictured here who I will simply refer to as “The Sherpa” was one of our two guides on this mountain trek. His story inspired me, and his love for our Savior is evident.

As #1 son and I hoofed our way home yesterday, a flood of tunes library memories were conjured up as the music kept me alert and winging my way back home. As the Mark Schultz tune “When Mountains Fall” played on, my thoughts were on the Sherpa. It could almost be as if this song were written just for him.

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You stand on the edge
You followed the call
No turning back you are risking it all
He whispers your name
In a moment of truth
The rocks fall around you
The ground starts to move
You step out on faith
It’s all that you know
You jump into darkness and hold onto hope

When the mountains fall
When the rivers rise
Security crumbles before your eyes
The one thing you know
In faith you’ll find
Something to stand on or you will be taught to fly

So dream your dreams
And live your life
Knowing there’s more than to merely survive
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Fight through the rain and lean into the wind
‘Til you come to the edge of all that you know
Run right through the dark knowing you’re not alone

When you walk through the fire
It will not consume you
Though the water will rise
It won’t overtake you
Though the mountains will fall
Oh, still I am with you
I’ve called you by name
And I will not leave you
I’m learning to trust you
I’m learning to fly
I’m learning to trust you
I’m learning to fly

Thanks are in order, to both the Sherpa (and the Sherpette). They showed us Ptarmigan (a Ute Indian name for a bird), and we are learning to fly.

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She loves me, more than oregano. To what may I compare?

Yes, the lovely herbal companion we speak of is pictured here with my Little Frau. It looks like they enjoy a strong relationship. You know what they say: behind every good oregano plant is a great woman. Stated another way, behind every garden bare spot is a man with a runaway weedeater.

Frau has always had a mind for a green thumb, ever before the physical namesakes began to think twice about gripping a shovel. It times past, she would go to the nursery, lovingly pick a baby plant and place it in the garden with love, only to see a jealous husband lay waste to her little friend.

OK, maybe jealous is the wrong descriptor. Clueless may be the better term. Regardless (which, sadly, he was) the plant often found itself the victim of a premature end.

There is a scriptural reference that comes to mind here. Matthew 6:30-31: If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

Paraphrased, we might say: If that is how God clothes the oregano of the garden, which is here today and tomorrow is cut down by the husband, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

But, time has passed. My eye for gardening has improved. I am no longer the hatchet man. In this autoimmune era, I am now the shovel man. I gently bury the tender roots of new plants the way Kevin Durant buries three point shots. (yes, I can blog and watch the Thunder build a double digit 4th quarter lead at the same time!).

Fortunately for me, Little Frau’s patience for the yard man grew stronger with time. Now, her oregano plants can do just the same.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? She loves me, more than oregano, and that’s just the seasoning we needed.

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I’ve had this shirt for 20 years. I’ve only worn it once. Actually, twenty years, and a day.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “it takes a year and a day to get there”. Well, here we are, and it feels like mere moments have passed.

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The shirt became my property around 3:30 AM, May the 20th, 1992 as Little Frau was being sped into emergency surgery to allow Little Frauline to make a safe arrival into this world. It seems she’s always been a busy bee, and had herself entangled sufficient to prevent moving on to more productive activities.

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Breaking free was a lesson she did not have to be instructed on twice. In fact, she’s become quite the social ninja, if you will. She’s been to Japan and back, and many points in between. And today, at 4:05 AM, she turned 20 years of age. I’m glad to call her a friend.

Today, I have been cleaning out my closet. Some things are trash, some are garage sale fodder, but others carry more sentimental value and deserve a good home. I think I will give the scrub shirt to the Frauline. I shan’t be wearing it again. It just wouldn’t be the same.

So, Happy Birthday, Hannah. Love you so.

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I’ll admit, a Maroon 5 fan, I am not. A Mick Jagger fan, I am not. However, the artist once known as “de fif’d supa dude”? I will admit, I’m a fan. As evidenced at the bottom of the post, he’s got the moves.

However, I will borrow from the current pop genre to say “I want to move like Jagger”. Essentially, I want to move, especially when I’m older. I want others to move with me. TeamOC, 560 members strong, anyone? It feels right.

As for Mr. Jagger’s choice of attire? Wouldn’t be caught dead in it, unless it was for First Week Follies, and then only maybe.

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But, that never stopped the afore mentioned Supa Dude, aka Alfredo. He got the moves. As Jack Sparrow would say, “Spiritually, Ecumenically, Gramatically…”. I want to move like Alfredo.

He also tries to dance, and dive, as well, but that’s a whole ‘nother story entirely. Not going there, thank you.

I don’t even try to control you
Look into my eyes and I’ll own you
with the moves like jagger
I got the moves like jagger
I got the moooves… like jagger

Ohohohoh….. 🙂

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