Let loose

A few weeks back, we visited my son at his university. This was significant — our first-born was graduating from college.

He gave us a tour of several significant sites, such as the classroom where he discovered that business was not the program of study to prepare him for a life of professional fulfillment.

Another site of significance was a building where he spent a huge number of hours studying. As we visited the top floor and looked into the courtyard, I was amused to see a large collection of paper airplanes sitting on nearly every surface that could not be easily reached.

And I laughed.

What better way to celebrate that vast interior space than watching a paper airplane take flight?

Sure, it may take quite a bit of effort to retrieve those planes. But maybe leaving them up on those lofty places will serve as a reminder that life is not all about studies and classes and achievements.

A moment of seeing a simple folded piece of paper float down and down can only bring delight.

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Sometimes things do get better

a really nice road in Centennial, Colorado

Almost a month ago, I posted a rather pessimistic view of the way life sometimes plays out (link).

The irony of life is that not two weeks after I wrote that post and took the photo that illustrated my point, pavement engineers provided a wonderful velvety-smooth surface for that very same stretch of road.

Little did I know, they had planned the poor surface as a temporary fix until they had the weather, materials or time in their schedules to spread the new surface.

I thought that road would never improve. But things changed for the better — and much faster than I could have imagined.

Take heart.

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Looking for the upside

the road that got worse

Sometimes things in life don’t get better. Or they do, but not on our timetable.

I ride my bicycle to work once or twice a week. My bike’s skinny tires and thin rims transmit variations in the road surface very accurately to my palms and rear end.

During the past four months, the city of Centennial tore up a road that’s part of my commute. It was much better before the destruction than after.

Maybe they will repave the whole road, but I am not expecting that to happen anytime soon.

So it is in our lives… injuries happen. We lose our jobs. People leave. Things happen that are the exact opposite of what we’d choose.

And then situations don’t always change the way we’d like.

But all is not lost. Sometimes we grow stronger because of a difficult situation.

One of the most inspiring people I know has a physical challenge that makes communication difficult. But she has not let that get in her way. She runs circles around many people who don’t face the challenges she does.

I’m not going to say, “Look for the silver lining.” You might be so deep in your challenge that a silver lining is not even on the far horizon.

One reality that I’ve found is God’s way of fixing stuff that appears unfixable. Ask God. Why not… what do you have to lose? (My caveat is that God is not a magic button that you push to get instant results. God’s timetable is usually different than ours.)


As to bad roads, one upside was remembering that the worst roads in Centennial, Colorado, are better than the best roads in some other places I’ve lived.


And one of the silver linings in my life is my son Ben. Today is his 21st birthday. Things got better when he arrived. (Sometimes it does get better.)

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It’s a luxury

sunset from the athletic club

I had a free week.

I won a visitor’s pass to a luxury athletic club not far from where I work. It was like getting to test drive a Ferrari — something mere mortals like me rarely experience.

If I were to rate the establishment on Google, I’d probably give it 5 stars. But would I ever join? No.

One simple barrier keeps me from making that part of my lifestyle… I can’t afford it.

Yes, it was great to put my clothes in a mahogany-faced locker. I loved the gourmet shampoo and body wash (in two flavors). I liked the fact that I could get a few free initial consultations with a professional trainer, so I could learn how to exercise better.

But for approximately five times what 24-Hour Fitness charges, I can’t justify the hit to our monthly expenses.

Heck, I can’t even justify 24-Hour Fitness at the moment.

Gotta stick with free bicycle commutes.


(I took the photo from the balcony, overlooking the tennis courts.)

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Under the surface

partially hidden gears

We just don’t know what’s going on beneath the surface.

People around us are going through a lot. They might be having a good day or a bad day. Their marriage might be in a difficult place.

And many of the people in our lives won’t tell us.

So let’s give everyone around us a little extra love today. One small act of kindness can make a big difference. Maybe we can nudge their dial a little in the direction of having a better day. Or just coping with their next 24 hours.

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White teeth

I don’t do teeth whitening.

Before you read further, please understand that I am not judging anyone who likes to do teeth whitening. This is merely a description of my personal journey.


The photo above is my teeth — altered by Photoshop. Reality is dark, stained teeth that have seen years of coffee drinking, tetracycline ingestion as a kid, and general abuse. (However, many of you know that I am a fan of toothpaste.)

Why don’t I invest in making my teeth whiter?

  1. Time. It would either require a laborious application of teeth-whitening strips or several visits to a dentist. And then, a year from now, more of the same.
  2. Money. Strips are expensive, and visits to the dentist for whitening are more so.
  3. Lack of caring about cultural trends. I don’t care enough about what our culture values to participate in this particular exercise.
  4. Saving the whales. Studies have shown that excessive use of white strips causes stunted growth in fetal whales, from the chemicals being washed out to sea and entering plankton.

Well, that last one is made up.

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My word for the new year

floof cat, relaxing on a couch

Relax.

As the stresses of life pile on me, as the weeks accumulate, I want to remember our kitty, Floof. He knows when to relax (most of the time) and where (anywhere).

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Not porpoises but cows

Bentley Continental convertible

Gray accent leather on the doors and the top of the instrument panel is called Porpoise, but, like other hides, it comes from land animals and not sea creatures” — from a Car and Driver article about the Bentley Continental GT V-8 S.

Why is it that the thought of someone killing porpoises for our use is more repellant than the thought of someone killing cows for our use?

Flipper.

When I was a kid, Flipper was a TV show about a friendly sea creature that came to the rescue of different people every week. Think Lassie in the sea.

I don’t know of any TV shows about friendly cows.

The quote about Bentley’s choice of an upholstery name made me think of the whole veganism culture and philosophies — one end of the animal rights spectrum. Porpoise killers might be the other end of the spectrum.

And then I thought of my friend who is a cattle rancher in Oklahoma. She loves her cows more than just about anybody I know. And yet she sells them to be slaughtered.

I don’t know how to reconcile all these things.


  • The photo is courtesy of the Bentley website and is used without permission.
  • If there are any modern TV shows starring animals, I wouldn’t know them, since I watch very little mainstream TV.
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Not everyone

rhythm-discovery-centerWe all love to make assumptions.

When we are at a busy intersection and see someone holding a sign asking for money, we assume they lack employment and a solid place to live.

When we see an older person in a car going 20 m.p.h. below the speed limit, we assume they are challenged in all that by takes to manage a 4,000-pound vehicle.

When we hear someone singing next to us and they can’t carry a tune, we assume — well, what do we assume?

I can definitely carry a tune — I’m close to having perfect pitch. However, I cannot carry a beat, for the life of me.

One of the most challenging aspects of living in Africa for five years was dancing in church. (Dancing is part of worship in Kenya, at least in many of the churches we attended.)

Since I can’t carry a beat, I can’t dance. I can’t clap and sing at the same time.

So the Rhythm Discovery Center is not the place for me. And I disagree — not everyone has rhythm.

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