Time Hurries On – A Brief Update

It’s been forever since I’ve been able to write.  Life gets busy, but blogs also get hacked, and it’s taken me nearly eight months to get it working again. (But to be honest I didn’t dedicate my every waking minute to getting it going again.)

So much has changed since I last wrote.  If I remember right, my last post was about meeting the girl of my dreams.  That first date was a miracle, and the second was as well, and pretty much every moment spent together after that was an expression of joy and love.  She’s an answer to every prayer, and the perfect fit.

Anyway, I asked her to marry me and she said Yes!  (A Thousand times yes!)

Upcoming posts I plan on doing:

“A Driver in the House” in which I describe the learning and teaching process to get my oldest his drivers license.  It’s an amazing journey of discovery, with action, adventure, and thrills.

“She said A Thousand Times Yes” a proposal story.

Disneyland – A photo journal of the first trip to Disneyland with my beloved.

The Lord’s Hand – How my testimony has been strengthened through my failures and unanswered prayers.

And probably many more.  Hopefully the blog issues are resolved, and I’ll slowly (very slowly) restore it to what it was before.

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Swan Lake, a First Date

Everything begins from silence. But silence doesn’t reign, it’s only a pause, a rest in the symphony that allows the music to breathe.

There’s a thrum that echoes like the heartbeat of a li ving thing. A monster, a giant, an animal that purrs down the road until it’s called for. That’s really how the story begins. Taking one guided turn after another with my destination flashing on my stupid smart watch, right next to the time. Time was on my mind.

I told her I’d be there at 4, and I didn’t want her first impression of me to be of being late. And after two hours on the road I had spent time in my head. My minds eye painted the scene of our first meeting like some cheesy sixties film where my eye twinkles and we touch hands, feel sparks and move in to kiss because we have so much chemistry. In that play that unfolds in my mind I’d stop from kissing her and skillfully produce a thimble and she’d remember me from Neverland.

The play unfolding in my mind stopped as I got gas and took the final ten minutes to get to the house she was staying at. The neighborhood seemed on the nicer side of town, which meant my tux and shiny car didn’t feel as out of place as they had earlier on some of the detoured roads.

I found the house and sent a text, then waited. As the curtains closed on my mental play I knocked on the door and waited. This is the other play my mind wrote. The one where I meet her best friend and we talk. Small talk, people do that. I can do that. I fumbled a little. Spoke of some of the things I was proud of to a distracted audience of one. Her friend was cute, and definitely distracted. With my shiny sports car out front I was told that my date would have had a chance to sit in a Lamborghini had I come later. While the timer ticked in my head towards the dinner reservations I recognized that my car isn’t a Lamborghini.

The moment I waited for came suddenly. And all at once… she was there. This lady I’d been messaging walked into the room in elegant splendor and my world spun. You see, when you know someone virtually, then meet them in actuality it takes a second for these two images to blend together. Instead of the generous hug, we smiled and walked to the car.

This is what I’m good at. Opening her door. It’s a silly thing to be proud of, but I did it gratefully. With a short laugh and the gentle roar of the motor we began our first great adventure. Worlds spinning I looked into her eyes between traffic. Smiling and talking easily the car danced down the road. You don’t have to speed to soar and we were flying. Another sports car met us at the light, and even though they weren’t trying to break any records they made the dance a little sweeter but standing a dozen car lengths behind by the time we got up to speed.

What I was worried about, was that our chemistry would all be virtual. But with her fingers twining into mine the worry couldn’t keep up. When we pulled up to the high rise building in downtown Phoenix I had a magic moment. With the valet opening her door and treating us like royalty we walked into the monolithic building like movie stars.

I remember when I was a youth and heard about these rotating restaurants on the top of these concrete worlds and never imagining being able to go up there. It’s not my world, but I welcome the visit to it. Her hand fit in mine and we walked and talked. Never struggling with each other, feeling as natural as anyone around us who were celebrating many years of first dates. We laughed and talked. At first the elevator wouldn’t go, to the top, we were the perfect amount of early, but it didn’t feel like a hangup. I thought of other dates I’d been on where it might have been a moment of stress and awkwardness, but this was as natural as singing.

When I first went to Disneyland I felt every ounce of magic as if I’d inhaled it with all my might. Not because I, as an adult, appreciates magic, it was a little of that, but because I got to see the glowing eyes of my children, filled with wonder and awe. That’s how this rotating restaurant felt to me. Looking into her eyes as she smiled and took it in, I considered myself the luckiest guy right then to see that look of wonder and awe.

Was dinner amazing? Yes. Not because the chef had skill, not because the food I ordered stood out in any way. It was amazing because I watched her smile. We talked so naturally, and consumed the setting sun as it sparkled between the buildings at the top of that downtown world.

There’s chemistry, closeness and warmth, my favorite compliment is that someone is kind. And she was kind. She didn’t pull away from me as I put my arm around her in the glass elevator that brought us back to earth. In fact she leaned into me and looked up at me.  I felt unprepared. My big plan with the thimble wasn’t setup. It was in my pocket and there was no natural way to get it. As she moved in for the kiss I stepped back. Shocking myself as my fingers scrambled to find this little thing.

“Am I being denied?’ She said in shock. And I thought ‘oh no!’ She looked a little shocked, a tiny bit embarrassed, and perhaps confused. The doors opened and we stepped into the lobby as my fingers struck figurative gold. ‘Success!’ I thought. And, as gracefully as I could I moved up to her… feet sliding like a dancer as I held out her hand to me facing up. Then I placed the brass thimble into her palm. You know how things play out in your head. Graceful and smooth, elegant and well spoken. In real life I lack these gifts. Instead of quoting Peter Pan I stumbled over some words like a drunk mime and leaned in for a kiss, which wasn’t denied. But in that kiss I felt her smile and that was fuel to my own, plus there was a little glow from giving a gift that’s well received.

We walked hand in hand across the street to the symphony hall. I felt the pressure of that thimble and thought for a moment how she seemed to treasure it as if it had been a diamond.

‘I have the tickets.’ She said. Reading my mind as I had been reaching into my pocket with panic. Reminding me of the good part of being married in that moment when I wasn’t the only responsible adult who can make life better.

Timing was flawless. The venue was as impressive and beautiful as ever and we could nearly walk right in. I’ve been to that concert hall before, but never with seats like these. Standing there where we’d watch the show I was dumbfounded by the view. The orchestra close enough to touch and the stage was near enough to jump to.

Majesty and magic came together as the curtain rose. The beauty of the music, close enough to change the rhythm of your heart and strong enough to capture you in its flawless precision. I couldn’t get enough of it, of stolen kisses, of a stage full of dancers and a story that requires just enough imagination to keep up with.

This is the part of the night where fog and lighting come together in a starry eyed display of over saturated glowing hues. Everything flowed for the next two and a half hours. Music clanged around my skull as I got lost in moments streaming together.

Smiles and whispers, shared laughter and wonder as I once again basked in her wonder and joy. It was every good thing as, far too soon we were holding our hands against the dark in the heart of the city lights. The glow remained but the elegance faded as we raced to the car and another series of stolen moments alone.

It was a night I didn’t want to end, and I felt, as we neared where she was staying, that it wouldn’t be fair to end the night without an opportunity to practice a little more kissing. I felt out of practice and figured, given the opportunity, I needed to give it an honest try to do better. With casual conversation we agreed it was too good a spell to let slip away so easily and too nice a car to not drive to a nearby lake and count some stars.

As natural as breathing, and as comfortable as warmed up singing. We watched the stars, watched another parked car as a young couple seemed to break up, and we kissed once or twice holding onto each other. Grinning as she untied my stifling bow tie, and sharing our thoughts with a night that wouldn’t let the clock stop as time stood still.

With a final series of kisses goodbye my car again roared into the night after bringing her to her temporary home. I missed her already as I got lost on the detour that led me back to my house.

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Another Night Another Day

i almost left the house today. I didn’t. But I thought about it.

These days without the children on the weekends kill me, and I wonder what else I can do. When I was first single I’d go driving when they had to visit their moms. I’d explore, try new foods, date. All kinds of anything to occupy my time. But now over six years later I know the ends of the roads and how they always have to come back. I’ve had the food and tried the fancy hotels. I’ve seen what luck and love comes from dating and the motivation isn’t there anymore.

The real problem with dating right now is that I’m stuck. Anyone I’d want wouldn’t want to be here. I let someone borrow my heart once. It didn’t work out well. I feel like the road only leads one way.  But then I see the other road, I acknowledge that I’m shallow. My solitude hasn’t made me desperate, I worry it’s made me more of the opposite, what happens to the knight in shining armor when he keeps learning that his princess is in another castle? What happens when he shows up and the princess doesn’t care?

so I almost left the house today. But knowing there isn’t anywhere I wanted to come back from made me stay.

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Adventure, Excitement..

In Star Wars, Yoda says a Jedi doesn’t crave excitement, though I would say their profession embodies that. I’m not a Jedi. I crave something to keep going. Once a month, I get to keep one of the children for a weekend adventure. To them it’s a time away with their Dad. To me it’s a wonderful bonding experience as well as a chance to adventure! An opportunity to avoid the doldrums and bleak brown that happens when they’re gone.

For this month I got to keep my oldest boy, and we got to go scuba diving … in the desert.

When I was young… I became certified in scuba. I went once in Mexico and hadn’t gone again since. A very long time away from something I love so much! And we had such a great time that I think I might need to go back again. And again. It’s hard to do it alone. But maybe some day I won’t have to.

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A Quiet Beginning- Meditation

My thoughts come from every side, like enraged bees they sting from every direction. I feel like a lake in the midst of a hurricane, without a moment of tranquility anywhere near the surface. But there’s a secret, the truth and secret behind meditation is that even though the surface might be in turmoil, there’s a place below the waves where the water is calm, visibility is clear, and you can find peace, even in the midst of that hurricane.

Here, we let our mind drift, a lot of people find that peace through clearing their mind, and they find that when they stop struggling to swim, they sink very naturally there below. But then there are the rest of us, from tossed wave to crashing wave, it takes too much time, too much effort, and too much thought to reach that thoughtless state. For us it helps to have a guide, someone who knows the lake, can hold your hand, help you breathe, and take you down to a place where you don’t have to fight so hard to find that peace that will help you concentrate, and help you think.

Come with me as we take our first steps towards this state of mind, below conscious thought. One of the first things that might help is to remember to breathe, not the hyperventilation we are used to, but intentional and planned breathing. I breathe out, I pause for a moment, then I consciously breathe in using my stomach if I can, gently hold that breathe for a short pause, breathe out, hold that, then breathe in. Through this kind of circular breathing you will find the world around you slow down, the bees are still there, the waves are still crashing, but they are doing that above you and there’s no more need to think about them. Simply breathe, for some it helps to count, Breathe in, two three, breathe out, two, three… if you have the lung capacity give it a little more time and relax into it. Not consciously but let it happen.

Another thing that helps to bring us down to that moment of peace is for us to let go. Let go of the stress, it’s tied into your joints, and while you breath we’re going to let go of each joint, all of the unconscious strain we hold onto needs to drift away. Some people hold their stress in their shoulders, some in their backs, some in their stomachs, and some … in their hats. As you continue to breathe, let’s start with your feet. Consciously relax your feet, first one, and then the other. You might find that you exhale deeply here, letting that stress fall away and pour out of you, imagining bubbles floating away as you breathe in tranquility and peace, filling your joints with this cultivated sensation.

Now your knees, I feel that you and I so easily keep stress in our knees, the muscles that hold us together, need that conscious thought, that literal exhale, that gentle and peaceful relaxation that comes when you reach through your body with your mind and give your muscles in your legs permission to release. This conscious effort continues as you breathe so peacefully, moving up to your hips, your backside, and even your front side. All of the stress flowing out with your exhale as you purposefully relax these muscles, letting the muscles you’ve already let go of relax further with every exhale, breathing in fresh stress free air.

Here I want you to relax your stomach muscles, we often spend the day holding these muscles in, worrying how the world might see us, but here, in this moment, there’s no reason for such vanity, like a vice holding your anxiety in these muscles from your tummy to your lower back need to be released, like physically releasing some steel clamps that hold you trapped, take a deep breathe, let it go, sigh, relax, breathe, and feel that little extra peace.

Moving upwards to your chest and your back as you take a deep breath… hold it, bask in it, enjoy it, let it float through you and as you breathe out, let your tension flow with it. Your shoulders don’t need that tension right now, let them fall, and with every exhale let them fall, give a pause in your breathing and let your hands release, from your toes, from your fingertips, and from your lips the stress and toxic emotions flow out freely, finding the still calm waters that lay deep inside you, focus on nothing and simply breathe, let it out, let it in, and let each and every movement inspire your body to a greater and greater sense of relaxation. Let your eyebrows release, let your eyelids fall, even let your stress bank near your ears go as you exhale slowly and release the hold you have on the muscles there.

Last of all you let your scalp, your face muscles, and the rest of your face relax, here in the heart of serenity your mind moves faster, let it dance from one though to another, do not hold onto any specific thought, let them flow in and out of you freely with the calm and centered movement of your breathing. Imagine the calm lakebed, at this depth the water moves slowly little water plants sway back and forth with the movement of your breathing, muscles relax, the weight of the day is taken away by this cool and calming water. Every muscle relaxing with each breath, not holding onto any thought but letting them drift through you, easy and relaxed… peaceful tranquility.

Bask in this feeling, bask in this moment of relaxation and peace, and let’s breathe, slowly exhale let your body deflate with this breathe out, pause, be empty, and inhale let your body inflate, but keep your muscles relaxed. Pause for a second, just be at peace, and let the breath out.

When you feel the desire, open your eyes, slowly rising upwards, but keeping the peace that you find in the deep. Keep breathing steady and look at the stress and the chaos around you with new eyes, eyes that see the tranquility below the water. There is peace there, and you can keep with you. Be at peace.

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Close to the Heart

Happy a Valentine’s Day!!

Honestky I’ve gone through the day going through the motions. It’s a happy day. The children and I laughed and played but I never took the time to care or actually conceptualists what kind of day it is. All across Instagram I watch as mothers celebrate their love for their kids by decorating the doors, setting up colorful balloon booby traps that practically scream ‘you’re important!’ While I took the kids to the door the other day, pointed to the candy aisle, and said “go pick your favorite!” It’s not the same and on other years I went further out of my way, but this year I felt none of the drive and perhaps they didn’t actually care. I don’t think they preferred a candy bar bouquet to a simple bag of their choice.

It makes me wonder though … they may not care much, but when it is their time to serve their children will they celebrate as offhandedly and simply throw the child down the candy aisle? What level of responsibility do I have to show the girls how to make the world a special and decorated place?   How much more can I push the limits of failing at the little things as a parent? I admit I don’t fail at the big things, but these finishing touches may leave a few rough edges I simply can’t reach on my own.

A Hallmark holiday that simply means, to us, that the strawberries are going to be the freshest they’ll be all year round in the grocery store. And for that we celebrate.

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A Little Fever

Even though I have a nightly routine, no night is routine.

We take our time to talk individually about what is on our minds, what challenges we face, and where we can do better, and where we can do worse. It’s not easy, so we do it together despite having to do it all alone.

But there are nights like tonight where I feel drowned. Some nights I just feel too much. It’s been a long day, some days are like that. But it’s been an emotional day too. I hate to see my children sick, and today my youngest has had a fever that exhausts her little body. We’ve cuddled and napped, feeling the pain of fever contort the muscles in my back I’ve held her as we watched tv. Getting nothing done as I focus on being where I need to be.

The scales aren’t balanced or fair though. The middle children feel jealous of that singular attention even knowing why and agreeing with it, there’s still that primal feeling of being left behind, which I work on. We discuss and we all cuddle a little before bed, but I worry to think which one might be the next sick and hurting one.

This is where my mind is as I think of being alone, the children asleep and my heart exhaustsed. I think of how I’d like to soak in the tub but don’t have the energy to turn on the water. Laying like a discarded blanket across the foot of my bed as my daughter burns through the sheets. Sleep tramples across the night and I drift away like a lonely guard on night watch.

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The Longest Night

I felt the pillow hit my head.

“YES!” The voice in my mind exclaimed.  I don’t take sleeping medicine.  But I did tonight.  I lay in bed thinking “I’ll finally get the sleep my body wants, silly body.”  And oblivion overlapped and encapsulated me.  Then I rolled to the left… and rolled to the right.  Then slept on the floor, then the couch, then the bottom of the bed, and then across the bed sideways.

Somewhere during that long night one of the kids crawled into bed.  My sleeping space became limited, but I didn’t mind.  Maybe cuddling would help.  It did.  I slept an eternity, then rolled to the other side of the bed, then slept on the floor.  Finally I thought “You know… if sleep is going to elude me, perhaps I’ll get up, shave and do a little work before the day begins.”

I got up, I shaved.  I thought “This sleep medicine has me groggy, I shouldn’t have done that.”  Then I looked at the clock:

11:30 PM

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I thought… and am still thinking it.  C’mon sleep… really??

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The Sound of Silence

I come here to think of you.  I know you are not here, but I remember when you were, so I come here for that chance that you’ll be there and remember me.

There are a thousand words to say, but I find my mouth closed so often lately.  Is it that my words aren’t being heard, or is it that I’ve decided that the audience isn’t worth talking to?

We’ve recently returned from a modest vacation, exploring Eden, and I have discovered that, given the choice, I’d prefer my mountain home… while visiting Eden to get away is the dream, being there permanently would make me soft, and that isn’t happiness for me.  Happiness is being able to rise above and survive, to achieve, and desire to achieve.

For example, we stand on a beach and look into the ocean.  My vision of a calm sea and crystal clear water echoes beauty, but without waves there’s really no reason to get in.  If I want to swim, I can use a swimming pool, the ocean is for fighting to survive.

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When There’s Nothing to Say

Sometimes there are no words to say, and sometimes there are too many words to say, and usually when that happens, either one … or both, then there’s nothing to say.

In my writing I’ve been practicing transitions.  Often times in a story you want to skip the boring parts, sure your characters have to live it, but no one wants to read about the morning routine, especially when it’s the same as every morning routine, with nothing different and nothing to make it stand apart.

Lately life has had the adventures, time up in Idaho exploring national parks and places so remote even the wandering cell tower will not visit there.  While the time up there is worth writing about, and might be something I share, with pictures, another time… the time leading up to it, and the time after getting back are worthy of those practiced passages of time.

“Every day passed as though in a blur, time went by, work continued, and the routine tried with it’s daily quest to kill me, each day I survived the attempts, but not without the scars of mediocrity.  The brief flirtation with light and hope was not enough to bring a sunrise, and the black and white of the daily brown echoed through me, suffocating.”

or

“Day by day, everything changed, but nothing ever really changed.  The color brown saturated our lives, where before there was a hope, and a hint of light at the end of the tunnel, now I have come to realize it was just something in my eye.  Yet I kept to the daily cadence, the lonely sound of my own forward momentum the last slow heartbeats of a world in despair.  All is not lost, but all is not found either.  I kept on because keeping on is what I do.  Some would call this a depression and beg me to find some medication to dilute my vision and create an illusion of beauty, but I knew that with such a ‘solution’ the steady, yet pitiful pace, would come to a halt, stopping the heartbeat of the world.”

or

“Time passed, that’s what it does, kids got bigger, and I got older, but nothing really changed.”

or

“There’s nothing much to say.”

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