Tag Archives: life

My Day So Far

4AM – Rise and shine.
4:30 – Take the girls to the airport for their trip to Cali.
5:30 – Bags checked, see the girls to Concourse A, give hugs, tell them I’m jealous.
5:35 – Leave the airport, no parking fee (wasn’t there long enough to incur one).
6:15 – Attempt to stop for gas. Twice. Neither station currently had working card readers. Lose my gas cap.
6:30 – Arrive back home and tumble back into bed for an hour.
7:45 – Roll out of bed for the second time.
7:50 – Feed animals and load car for market.
8:10 – Make breakfast for my wife.
8:15 – Leave for market.
8:30 – Stop for gas, again, successfully this time.
8:55 – Set up booth for market. Take off fleece because, hey, it’s actually warm in here this morning.
9:05 – Sit behind my table and bask in the fact that I’m nit freezing my backside off.

How’s your morning been?

Friend or Foe?

The crassness of the last frame aside, “today’s Ctrl+Alt+Del”:http://cad-comic.com/comic.php?d=20070917 actually makes me laugh because I can remember writing notes like that back when I was an insecure and outcast fifth grader. I’d recently transferred from a private Christian school into the public school system, and I was _very_ naive about the way people outside Christian circles worked. Aside from one bully in the Christian school I’d previously attended, I’d really had no idea just how mean and cruel other children could be.

By the fifth grade, kids already have well-established social groups and cliques – and they don’t always take to outsiders and strangers very easily, especially ones that are self-righteous, introverted nerds like I was. I really didn’t have more than one or two real friends during the fifth and sixth grade years, but shortly after entering the fifth grade, I’d made what I realize now was a pretty lame attempt at getting some more friends.

During our free time one class day, I’d written up a bunch of notes for everyone in my class that was something to the effect of, “Will you be my friend? Yes or no.” I got a lot of yeses and just about as many nos, even though in the long-run, most of the yeses still didn’t really go out of their way to get to know me. It wasn’t terribly funny to me then, but fortunately I can laugh about it now, which is why this Ctrl+Alt+Del strip makes me laugh. It takes something I relate to intimately and pushes it to an extreme that I find highly amusing.

Oh, and circling the ‘or’ – yeah, that’s something I would do, just to be a smartass.

Coincidence?

Ever notice how life seems to lump common themes closely together? For instance, I was chatting with a friend earlier today about his blog’s tagline, which originated from the Cheshire cat from Alice’s Wonderland. Then I receive a “story for Flashes of Speculation”:http://open-dialogue.com/fs/2007/02/19/cat-cunning-rod-drake/#comment-2726 that gives a nod to that famous feline, as well. This sort of thing happens to me all the time. ((I really need to start logging these things when they happen.)) Anyone else?

Full Moon

“In the absence of the sun, I’ll take a full moon.”

It’s funny how attuned a person can get to the cycles of the moon. I’d never really paid all that much attention to what phase the moon was in – I never had much cause to. It took buying land and actually moving our horses onto that property coupled with the short days of winter to change that. I miss those nights (or early mornings) where the moon hasn’t risen yet (or has just gone down) or where the moon is new, thus plunging the landscape into complete darkness. Those are the nights where I actually need the flashlight to see deliver the hay and grain out to the horses.

But when the moon is full, it’s almost as good as full sunlight. The human eye is able to make amazingly good use of exceedingly low light, and I love being able to walk around outside with just the moonlight to illuminate the way. There’s something about it that sparks the imagination. I can just see the plains of Middle Earth, men (and hobbits and dwarves and elves) traveling hard and fast to reach their destination before evil can catch them. I can see a special forces unit making a nighttime assault on a secret compound, their equipment amplifying the moonlight.

Of course, the moon hadn’t come up yet tonight when I went out to feed. Moonrise is still a little ways off, but at least it will be up for the morning feed. Things are always a little more spooky out there without the moonlight, especially when our local pack of coyotes is making a racket about a mile away. But it’s still a night for imagination, for creativity, and it’s always a lot of fun.

Resolutions

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions; I never have. I think they’re kind of a nice idea, mind you – it’s just that most people break them before January ever reaches its close. So, it seems to me that setting resolutions is a somewhat pointless endeavor.

Now, that said, I _have_ been thinking about setting some personal goals for myself for this year. They’re not really what I consider resolutions, in my mind, because if I don’t make these goals, there’s no pressure or guilt involved. These are just things that I’d _like_ accomplish this year. But if I don’t make it, it’s no big deal; life will go on.

  • I need to lose some weight again this year. I’ve been experiencing some health issues in recent months, due in large part to putting back on the weight that I’d lost earlier last year. So back to eating healthy and exercising for me.
  • I haven’t enjoyed writing the last couple of months. My life has been super busy and rather stressful, and I haven’t really given any of my stories much thought, let alone any time. So, I’d like to exercise a little discipline, now that weekends are my own again, and see what I can get written this year.
  • I have a “reading list”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/01/01/reading-list/ to get through that will likely take me a few weeks. Plus a friend is bringing me a bunch of books from his speculative fiction library. I think I’m going to be busy for a while.
  • I’d like to revive “Penitent Tangential”:http://open-dialogue.com/pt, if for no other reason than my own personal enjoyment. I think I’ll actually have time for it again now.

Aside from the weight issue, none of my goals this year are, in the long run, all that important. I have a fixer-upper house that is actually quite a bit more important to me and my wife, so I’ll work on fitting writing and reading around repairs and upgrades. Ultimately, I’ll just have to take it one day at a time and see how things work out.

A Slower Pace of Life

Moving out of the city and into the country has proven to be one of the best things I have been able to do in a long time. I’ve lived in Indianapolis for the past 2.5 years. My wife and I got married in ’03, and we moved to the city right after our honeymoon. I had signed on at Ball State University for my master’s degree, and we spent the next couple of years in the hustle and bustle that goes with a long commute and only just enough money to pay our bills. I-70 was our front yard, quite literally, and so the sound of heavy traffic was our constant companion. I completed my master’s degree this past summer, and I had started the job hunt in February. Finally, in November, I landed a professional position at Purdue University, with a start date of mid-December.

Then began the hustle and bustle of searching for a new place to live so that I wouldn’t have commute 3 hours round-trip from Indy to West Lafayette every day. We had the prerequisite of needing some land, since we needed a place to put our horses. We set goals of what we wanted, and God was gracious enough to provide us with exactly what we wanted. Now, we live in a small rural community, with a major highway close enough to be heard but not so close as to be obnoxious and with I-65 barely visible in the distance (at least at this time of year).

Since landing in our new home, our horses on our land with us, we are beginning to enjoy a much more laid-back way of life. Evenings are more open and available, weekends are busy while not being rushed. We have lots to do, but our timetable is stretched — we have the rest of our lives to get things done. It puts things into perspective a bit more, causes us to realize that there really is no hurry. I have to wonder now why we ever felt so rushed while living in Indy, and the best answer I can come up with is this — environment.

City living is, by nature, very rushed. Everyone is hurrying everywhere to get everything done. The idea is that life is short and so we must hurry to get everything done before we die. Living in the country brings a much different perspective to the table. Life is short, yes, but the important things have an entire lifetime to enjoy. All that hustling about is for things that, ultimately, end up being worthless. It’s about things that really don’t matter. What matters is serving God and spending time with family and touching the community. That gets lost in the city, where everyone is a stranger and everyone is in a rush to get unimportant things done.

My wife and I are looking forward to slowing down our way of life, relaxing and enjoying each other, and hosting people in our spacious home. Things are still somewhat busy for us — our apartment lease in Indy still has a few days until it expires and we have contractors in and out of our ‘new’ house on a regular basis as we start to collect quotes on home updates. But the prognosis is good, and already we both feel a greater sense of peace, happiness, and contentment.

We are obviously right where God wants us to be.

Shoveling ****

I think my wife is right — I think mucking out horse stalls is actually a pretty relaxing way to end the day, provided you aren’t so cold that you can’t hang onto the manure fork for the shivering. This is the life I look forward to for the next 30, 40, 50 years — a long day at the office, running queries and performing data analysis, crunching the numbers into a usable format, generating reports that make sense to those who are not so skilled at geek-speak, coming home to my farm, changing shoes (and possibly clothes), and heading out to the barn to help pick out the stalls before dark. Frankly, I can’t wait. The solitude and the quiet of the barn after the noise and busyness of the office is amply refreshing and richly rewarding. It allows me time to simply think (already tonight, I came up with two new ideas for short stories), to process my day, to talk it over with my wife, and to spend time with our animals. I think it is one of God’s special blessings to those who are willing to take on the responsibility, to slow down long enough to breathe deeply of the fresh air, to enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed. People who run non-stop all the time don’t know the joy they are missing with the slower pace of life. Everything has to be done now, or yesterday, or else everything will fall apart around them. But there is great joy in caring for an animal, multiplied for each one in your charge. Sure, there are sacrifices to be made, money spent on food and vet bills, time devoted to putting up fences, giving baths, dropping feed, and a host of other obligations. But the rewards are worth it, seeing the look in their eyes as these wonderful creatures place their trust, their respect, their loyalty all on you. It’s all worth shoveling a little–

Shopping for Real Estate In a Whole New Way

My wife and I are shopping for real estate to move us a little closer to my new job. We have a piece of property that we have fallen in love with that has the option to buy any part of an additional 40 acres. We definitely want to buy a chunk of that land and have been pondering a way to figure exactly where around the initial 2.5 acres we want to lay claim to our additional 8. Turns out that “Google maps”:http://www.google.com/maps can help us in this respect. My wife got curious this morning and managed to locate the plot we want on Google’s satellite imaging. Suddenly, we have a bird’s-eye view of the 2.5 acres and the 40 around it. We’ll be spending some time this evening figuring out from the satellite images what shape we want our new property to take and from where to carve our land (provided everything goes smoothly with the house inspection).

Think anyone realized 20 years ago that great big cameras up in the sky would prove to be valuable assets in shopping for real estate?

Contentment

I have been blessed by a great contentment the last few weeks. God has been good, and it seems as though life is generally going well. I wouldn’t say that things are necessarily any easier than they were — quite the contrary, in fact. We still struggle to make sure all our bills are paid, it’s still tough to find enough time in the day (or the week) to get everything done, we still aren’t getting quite enough sleep every night. Yet, I am coming to a fuller understanding of what it means to be truly content. It probably helps that I am married to a wonderful example of contentment.

I must admit that I have confused my wife’s contentment with happiness. It seems that no matter how difficult things are for her (for example, she works far more hours in a week than I do, so she has far less time for herself than I), she never complains. It used to bother me because what I thought I was seeing was happiness, and that, to me, indicated that she had little desire to ‘fix’ the things in her life that were eating up all her time. What I have since come to learn is that she is simply content to be where God has her (and us) right now. I know now that she really does have desires and ambitions to drop quite a few of the hours she works, leaving room for other pursuits, possibly even to start a network of our own businesses. So, while she is not necessarily always happy with our life situation, she is, at least, content. Perhaps the distinction between contentment and happiness is subtle, but it is, I believe, an important to get a mental grasp on.

These last few weeks, I have found myself more and more content. Like my wife, I am not really where I want to be when it comes to a career. My training and background are in fields where the job market currently seems to be closed to new hires. Yet, God has seen fit to teach me contentment, to allow me to really begin to use the gifts He has given me for His glory, and in the process, while I am not always happy, I am content.

Learning how to be content is so often hard for all of us. Our desires and ambitions demand our attention and scream like spoiled schoolchildren when they are not satisfied. Life circumstances may be hard, they may be difficult, and we may not be happy, but with God as our ally, our friend, our father, it is possible to be content and to be able to say, “It is well, indeed.”