Normalcy – Crazy is Normal Too!

It really hasn’t been all that bad. People say “oh I am so sorry for your loss” or they have very careful responses when we are forced to tell them “our home was damaged in the tornado”. People have been really kind, but guardedly careful in their responses to us – as if we might just break down and boo-hoo on the spot. We’ve even gotten to the point that if the subject comes up (for whatever reason) we are starting to avoid telling people of our plight.

There have been annoying aspects of having things change so quickly – but being displaced by a Christmas tornado is not the end of the world. We all have stuff in our homes – like clothes – and appliances – and tools and closets full of food, and other items we can’t seem to live without. But to put it bluntly, virtually everything at our home either got thrown in the trash, tossed hurriedly into a suitcase or moved to a warehouse in very short order.

In the middle of the really drastic changes of the past 50 days we’ve been able to gain back a little familiarity in the past few days, by simply getting our hands on a couple of our own chairs. Hotel and rental furniture leave a bit to be desired in the posterior and lumbar departments. And excitedly one of our cars came back “home” last week after an extended excursion to a tropical body shop. The other car hope to make its escape this afternoon. So instead of driving my beat up pickup truck or the wonderful borrowed car from our daughter (which we were very grateful to have), we are getting back a few things that we depend on to help make things seem “normal” again.

We are undoubtedly part of the “Golden Agers Club” in our trendy apartment home. It is definitely a change parking in a garage that has more than one level and wondering each day what choice spot we’ll score (and hoping it is close to the correct exit). Then there’s the walk from the garage to the mailbox, and then up the elevator to the frigid hallway to our new paradise. Was that a right then left, or other way around?

But somewhere in my past I heard that new experiences are supposed to stretch you keep you young, aren’t they? If so we should have trimmed about 20 years off by now! At least things are not mundane and boring. One positive is that we’ve found like twenty new places to eat while waiting for a place where we could actually cook a meal or two on our own. Making our own food this past Friday night, was fine dining indeed. Hog heaven was more like it.

Over the course of time we’re learning to sit back, see the scenery, and enjoy the ride! What comes around the next bend might be yet unknown, but it surely will be just another adventure in the twists and turns of a crazy trip!

 

Light Bulb Moment today

I had one of those light bulb moments early this morning.
It came to me as a single word – Mission.
What does Mission mean?
Webster defines this as: an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation, or an important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed: or sending or being sent for some duty or purpose.
 
For a number of years I felt like I had several missions in life. Among those were to be the provider for my family and to be the man God called me to be, for the protection and nurture of the wife  and brood he blessed me with. Another mission was to raise our kids in the “right” way. That mission was a joyous and rewarding endeavor.
 
A little later in my adult time I had a mission to be a leader among, and with, men of faith. That became a passion that was shared with other like minded guys who were in various stages of their lives. It was also a rewarding and fruitful experience and watch as God blessed and prospered that deepening faith experience. 
 
All the kids are gone now. They are pursuing their own missions now. So, for the most part my fathering mission is pretty much accomplished. My provider mission and role of provider has changed to being the provider for my wife and myself. The men’s ministry mission waned in recent years, as some of my closest allies and comrades left this place for a better land.
 
A discussion began last evening with my bride about the frustration we feel as believers in that the population at large are very much different than we are. Our society is very much “into themselves” and searching for happiness in things and events that we personally find no joy or purpose in. We sort of feel out of touch with the mainstream. We want to be and attempt to be relevant and “part of the crowd” yet we just can’t embrace many of the activities and attitudes that make the multitudes happy nowadays.
 
So, as often happens early in the morning, the Holy Spirit speaks. Not with great detail but with single words like MISSION. In the “mature age” of our lives I think we need a new mission. We need something that we are jazzed about. We need to throw ourselves into something that makes a difference in the lives of other people. And we need to be on the same page as a team for this mission. At this point I have not a clue what that might look like or be? But the same spirit that injected this new word into my thoughts, will also bring something to us that will energize our batteries and give us new meaning and purpose.
As we allow our spiritual gifts to be employed openly in the mighty hand of God, there will be purpose and drive and success. There will also come with that the fulfillment of knowing that what we are about is something that makes our creator smile.
I’m ready to find my new calling, whatever that might be. Stay tuned for further mission news!   

Trip of a Lifetime – Coming soon!

 

   I think we’ve all envisioned what it might be like to travel and experience places we’ve never been before. We fantasize about going to Europe, Australia, or Bora Bora, just to mention a few of the dream locations in the world. We’ve all had friends, relatives or co-workers who report back the fun they’ve had at locations where as they were bowled over with awe from their trip. My own kids have been and seen things in their young lives that I’ve only read or wondered about. From the great wall in China, to the outback in the great down under, to Europe and back. And even in the Americas my kids have traveled to places that make my own life seem boring.    

  As we age, our mind’s dreams of going to such locations grows farther and farther as our priorities change and as the old body just doesn’t have the same spring in the step of earlier years. I’ve always loved to travel. It never mattered what the destination was. Just leaving the comfort of normalcy for a weekender has always recharged my batteries. Always has. And hopefully always will.

   With my bride of 40 years we’ve been a few places when we’ve had the chance, that have provided wonderful and lasting memories. Our travels have taken us to and from Canada both in Ottawa for us both and Saskatchewan for my better half. On our joint trip we came back via Niagara Falls (you have to see it to believe it). We’ve taken time in both northern and southern California and we’ve seen some incredible sights. A few years back we had the opportunity to travel to the northeast, all the way to Maine. It included the wonderful drive through Tennessee, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and on through the Big Apple. It culminated in old New England. And the return down the Appalachian Trail was wonderful.  We’ve had shorter trips within our own little country, known as Texas.  From the tip top of the Panhandle down to the tip of Brownsville. And even from the southeast shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the dry and dusty El Paso. So even within the confines of the U.S. we’ve really been able to eat a good tasty slice of Americana pie.

So it was with a great deal of amazement last fall that our sneaky kids brought us all together for a Sunday dinner where they presented us with a copy of a large check in an amount beyond belief for a cruise! We were shocked with the size of the gift and how they had been saving for years. The gift is to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, that happens later this year. The kids were thinking we might do Europe, Hawaii or some other exotic location, but my very first thought was it HAD to be Alaska!

   The great state of Alaska is still considered a pioneer and pristine destination. It seems to be the only place in North America (and maybe the world) that is virtually untouched by the blight of man. The only experience I have with the 50th state is second hand knowledge from a friend who traveled there as a teenager and from my step dad who traveled there and stayed several weeks camping alone. He had the time of his life. The difficult adventure getting there and back was half of the adventure for him.

   We’ve all seen the photos, travel videos, documentaries, and even quirky sitcoms and dramas with the backdrop of beautiful Alaskan. The views are magnificent, even in photos. Ever been on vacation somewhere and snapped what you thought was an award winning photos only to have your viewers say nice. Nice? The photos and experience to me was WOW and I get a “nice” from someone that didn’t go. They just weren’t “there” and don’t really understand so they? That scenario is probably played out with most vacation photos for everyone. I tend to think after seeing a number of YouTube videos that those really do capture more closely the sights and sounds of the adventure. The missing components from a sensory standpoint is actual sights, actual sounds, and actually feeling whatever weather elements and scents only captured while “really” being there. 

So very soon (less than 3 weeks) we will be embarking on something wonderful. I’ll try and share as much of it with you, that I humanly can.