Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 2

I wish I could sing. I mean, I can sing. Anyone can sing. But I wish I had a good singing voice. Like my daughter Cora. I love to hear her sing. When she sings, you can tell that she just loves doing it, despite that she might be nervous performing in front of an audience. Both my wife and I are not sure where the singing ability came from genetically but we are sure glad she has that talented voice. (If I were to guess, I would say she gets if from both of her grandmothers as they seem to have very good singing voices) When a song that I enjoy is playing, I often wonder what it would be like to hear my daughter's voice singing it instead of the original artist. At many high school singing competitions I have been rewarded with hearing her sing some popular songs and been amazed at how great the songs sound with her voice instead! The most amazing was when she sang "I See Fire" from "The Hobbit" movie by Peter Jackson. Sung originally by Ed Sheeran, Cora made the song her own (vocally) and killed it! It was amazing. I hope that she continues to sing throughout her entire life because I know it brings her joy. And what dad doesn't want their daughter to enjoy something she is so good at? So, Cora, if you are reading this... keep finding your voice and sing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 1

During the Spring, Summer and Fall, this sign hangs outside near our fire pit. It is the welcome sign for those family and friends that gather around our humble little fire pit for what my wife and I like to call our "Fire and Wine" gatherings. At our "Fire and Wine" nights we talk about everything. We share stories. We catch up. We complain and compliment, procrastinate and plan, lament and laugh. And usually we do it under the guise of sharing a glass of wine, but in reality, we are there just to gather together and share in each others company. Of all the things that our "Fire and Wine" nights do, it is the gathering of my family and friends and letting us connect and share more closely with each other that I enjoy the most. And a glass of wine or two doesn't hurt either!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Half a Century old, and completely happy about it!

In 8 days I will be turning 50, and seriously, I could not be happier about it. Why? Happy about being 50? How can I be happy about that? Easy! First off, it is better than not having made it to 50 to celebrate turning 50! Lord knows I have done some really stupid stuff as a younger person that by rights really should have snuffed my lights out a long time ago. Secondly, it's my birthday! I was raised in a family that acknowledged and celebrated every birthday. I have always held the belief that your birthday is that one day the God gives to YOU. It is not anyone else's. You might share a birthday but it is yours to celebrate as you wish, and in my family there was always some sort of celebration!

But it is more than that for me. Turning 50 is just a number to me. I know a bunch of people who are 50. A majority of them say it all goes downhill after that, or it just gets worse after that. I don't believe them. Or rather, I refuse to believe them. I don't feel 50. I certainly don't ACT 50! I am probably in as good of shape as I have ever been. I have no aches or pains. I can do as much, and sometimes probably more, than most fit 20 and 30 year olds. I am not bragging, I am just stating how I feel. I like where I am in life. I am happy. (I've always been happy though.) I have a great family. My wife, kids, parents and siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins and extended family, are people that I look forward to spending time with. We are the ones who are the loudest group in a room, the ones that take over a dance floor, and the ones that walk away from a family gathering with faces hurting from laughing too much. We sincerely enjoy each others company. (We, like all families have have problems and issues that we must deal with, but we work together as best we can to help each other.) I have dozens, no, hundreds of friends. (Some of them are the most solid people who have ever walked the earth and together with them I know we could survive an apocalypse.) I truly look forward to spending time with my friends and go out of my way to find ways to do that. I have a job that I absolutely love. I look forward to getting up to go to work. I own my own home. I have (or will soon) a party garage. (In my family, garages are where the parties are supposed to happen.) I have more than I need and I am now in a position where I can start to give back. I could go on but suffice it to say, I am happy with the way things are.

So it took 50 years to get here. So what. At least I am here. If there is some advice I can give to my son and daughter, (and to my German son, Wolf) it would be this: Make life happen FOR you, not to you. Keep what you want forward in your mind. Think about it. Talk about it. Make it your intention to have it come to reality. Do what you want to do. If you can't right do it right now, or you can't get it, make it, or find it, (whatever "it" is...) right now, keep thinking about it and work at it. It will happen. But here's the trick. What you want is not what you need. You need a job. You need your health, your need education, you need family, friends, a stable environment. Make those needs a reality first before working on the things you want. The things you want will not just happen, but with you needs met, constant attention, hard work with progressive movement forward and an intention to see what you want become a reality, it will happen. And do it now. Do not wait until later. The longer you wait for the future, the shorter it will be.

So with the last few days of my 49th year, I think I will think on things and maybe put "pen to paper" in an electronic sense and post them to my blog.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 46 - Go

This is the final day in the Lenten Photo Challenge. The last one. It has truly been a challenge for me. Not that the words were hard, but the thoughts behind them certainly were. For those that have been reading these blogs, I hope you have enjoyed them, but now it is time for me to go. At least for a short while. A bit of a break. I am going to go on a trip to New Orleans with the high school band members and we are going to have a great time! But before I go I wanted to share something from the TV show "Outlander". (fantastic show by the way...) I found it captured a lot of what I think I talked about in the last 46 days in this challenge. Anyway, it is what I will leave you with today with the word, "Go". Thanks for following along with me.

When I was a lad I saw no path before me, I simply took a step and then another. Ever forward, ever onward, rushing toward someplace I knew not where. And one day I turned around and looked back and saw that each step I'd taken was a choice, to go left, to go right, to go forward or even to not go at all. Every day every man has a choice between right and wrong, between love and hate, and sometimes between life and death and the sum of those choices becomes your life.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 45 - Refuge

Hopefully you have a refuge. My refuge is a comfortable home in a wonderful little town called Paxton. I love living in a small town. I grew up in a small town. (Really small. 50 people) I love everything about my small town.

When Cordelia and I decided to buy a home, we knew that we could not live in Champaign. One, we could not afford to live there and two, I just had had enough of the big city. We decided to look outside of Champaign, but I wanted to make sure we were not any further away from my family home in Claytonville and not to far from Champaign for travelling to work.

We looked at a number of houses all over, and eventually we looked at homes in Paxton at the suggestion of our realtor. Thank goodness we did.

Moving to Paxton was the best thing we did as a couple, next to having kids. Living in Paxton has been more rewarding that you can imagine. This town and its people have given us so much in the way of comfort, friendship, social activities and community.

When people bad mouth small towns and say how much they hate them, it makes me mad. Maybe the town isn't the problem. Maybe they are. Maybe they are not giving the town a chance, or maybe they are looking for something that cannot be found in a small town. Maybe they need the anonymity of a big city or have bigger needs.

I for one could not imagine having the life I have in a town bigger than were I am living now.

My town in my comfort. It is were I feel safe to be what I want to be. It centers me.

When the world looks so scary and upside down, it is my refuge.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 44 - Prosper

I could so easily refer you to my blog post of a few days ago and the Lenten challenge word of LIVE but I won't because that would not be in the spirit of the challenge.

To truly prosper, and I mean this in a financial, physical, spiritual, familial and relationship way you will get out of that what you put into it.

If you don't work hard or don't care to work. Don't expect to be rich.

If you don't take good care of yourself and exercise everyday, don't expect to be in good physical shape.

If you don't hold firm to your beliefs and work on your relationship with God, then don't be surprised when you find your faith failing you.

If you don't work on strengthening and uplifting your family (even your extended family), then don't expect them to be there when you need them.

If you are not a friend or don't act like a friends, then don't expect have any friends.

You get out of life, what you put into it.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Lenten Photo Challenge: Day 43 - Breathe

"Keep Breathing. That's the key. Breathe."

Gimli, son of Gloin, says this in the Lord of the Rings movie. It's a light moment in a otherwise stressful point of the movie.

But there is truth in that statement. When things seem out of control, your ability to move on hindered or restricted, and there seems to be only chaos all around, all you must do is, breathe.

Breathe. Gather your thoughts, your power, and keep moving forward.

And breathe. That's the key.