Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks

Recently, some friends here in our old hometown had their house burn down.  To the ground.  So many things are just things and can be replaced or just done without.  But other family heirlooms passed down from one generation to the next flew into the heavens never to be seen again.  Gone.  It is hard to see such loss.

It is easy when one is young to think that this or that makes one a success or one's life worth living.  But as we age we find that our thinking changes.  Sometimes daily.  Life is worth living when we live it; with our eyes and hearts open. 

This Thanksgiving Day, transcend your limitations, your problems, your aches and pains, lay aside all of your wants and give thanks.  You are alive and you are known by a creator God who wants to commune with you.

  Longing for Humboldt, but enjoying the view here too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Week Away

It is easy to do the right thing when one feels noble and proud, it is harder when time goes by and you begin to feel the cold, wet, dirt of the trenches.  I am sure many men who enlisted felt the same way.  I feel a bit like that now.

My dad was drafted half way through his senior year of high school because he had enough credits to graduate.  He left behind his home, his baseball team and probably a sweet heart or two.  The army trained him to be small arms mechanic and when he arrived in Germany right after the war ended, there wasn't much need for gun repair, so they slapped some sergeant stripes on him and made him in charge of the motor pool.  He said it was a pretty easy gig.  He has lots of fun stories, but he said nothing can erase the smell from the concentration camps or the blank looks on peoples faces.

Here is a photo of him right before he left the States.  What youth.  Now he sits quietly at 84, unable to walk or talk much, even though his mind is still sharp.  A whole lifetime between that photo and now and he has no real regrets or apologies to make because he always lived very ethically and yet he still wonders where he will end up after he dies, or will he end up anywhere at all.

Unlike me, my dad is an agnostic. He was raised Baptist, but was blinded by all the hypocrisy.   Growing up he always said I could believe in whatever I wanted, so I went around town visiting all my friend's churches.  I prayed nightly.  For a time, in Jr. High,  I connected to my mom's heritage and went to the Catholic Church.  It was during this time, sitting all alone in a church full of people, that my faith started to grow.  I lit candles and prayed for a dying uncle, I believed.  God was close.  Later, as a young parent I went to a Lutheran church, and still later to a non denominational church.  Now, I don't attend church as regularly, but Jesus is still close.  His hand never lets me go.

I ask my dad how it feels to enter the shadow of death without faith in something Higher.  I know I couldn't do it.

This post was supposed to be about missing the ranch, which I do,  but it surprised me and went somewhere else. Instead of fixing it and changing it and re-titling it, I think I will just publish.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kate and the Calves

Johanna sent me a short video of my dog Kate with her little bottle fed calves.  It looks like they were having fun.  I miss my Kate, but know that she would not like it here and my parents have a little dog who would not definitely NOT like her enthusiasm.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dreamin' of Home

Small town America ain't bad, but it isn't home. Mark and I walk everyday, miles and miles in between helping my parents and we are enjoying the FLAT ground. Flat ground seems novel, new to us. Where did the incline go? We decided to go over an overpass yesterday, to add a little bit of a hill climb, but it really was a pitifully small hill. We didn't even feel a burn. We feel pretty powerful down here. With walking anyway.

I never thought I could do the things that I am doing in caring for my dying dad. Neither one of us thought we could do this, but the grace of God is sufficient. We have found that it really is true that you don't get what you need until you need it, so there really is no need to worry about the future, just deal with today. It says that somewhere in the Bible and I have read it many times, but I never lived it until now. Powerful stuff we are learning.

I found this quote attributed to Buddha and it says basically the same thing:
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

We are trying to do this daily, but I do dream of home. So I open up my computer and look at photos. I have a lot of photos and I find a whole set of them that I really should post about.

Right before I left I reconnected with my maid of honor from my wedding; my childhood sidekick, riding partner and best friend. We had lost contact for almost 30 years. She ran away from our hometown as fast as she could and I burrowed in to raise my family. Facebook brought us back together and we discovered we lived only a few hours apart. A weekend at the ranch was planned and we had a great time . She hadn't ridden horses in years and was worried she had forgotten how. Ha. Never.

Belle came right up to her when she arrived. Love at first sight. (photo by my friend)

We rode under a beautiful sky and her partner Bob joined us.

We rode and rode. And went on photography expeditions. Photography is her passion.She took a lot of beautiful sunset shots and scenery and, of course, of horses. She took this following photo of Stormy that brought about Stormy's sale on Craigslist.I have had Stormy on craiglist many times without too much interest. But now Stormy is living the good life down on the flats, by the beach. And with her arthritic knees it is the perfect place to be. She has a 3 acre pasture and a 3 horse stall. Stormy who usually is quite alpha with the other horses has a pony as her pasture friend and she has taken on the mothering role. Happy trails for Stormy and all brought about by my friend's great photos. Thanks T for being a friend then and now.

Until next time,

Enjoy today.