Awesome

I hate that word and the way people overuse and abuse it.

Awesome, dude!

That was awesome!

He/she was awesome.

Fuck awesome!

If everything is awesome, then nothing is awesome. We’ve reduced it to triviality.

But, then…

When you have the honor and privilege to know and love an awesome person.

Awesome because, though he was quadriplegic, he ran to you for a hug.

In his power chair.

Though his speech was difficult to understand, he spoke plainly

When he was on the phone with his girl friend.

Though he needed help with the meanest tasks,

His smile was AWESOME.

His love was awesome.

His humor was awesome.

His strength in the face of disability was awesome.

His love for his young nephew, yep, awesome.

It is not hyperbole when you are talking about him.

You have led the way for the rest of us.

Today I will try to be awesome too.

I guess awesome isn’t so bad after all,

When applied to the right person.

– Small town boy

Dedicated to Terrae O’Neal, 

1/6/80-4/6/17


Awesome!!!

Where does the flame go?

Where does the flame go when the candle goes out?

Where did it come from?

It’s a zen question like:

“You know the sound of two hands clapping; what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

The heat, the light, the flickering,

Where do they go?

A flame is not what you think it is,

While it dances there in the melted wax,

Hiding the wick it relies on,

Forgetting the required spark that got it going,

Regardless of its pending demise.

It is merely energized molecules,

Vibrating so,

That we are able to see that part if the spectrum it displays,

Light. The light.

And to feel the heat it radiates when we hold cold hands to the flame,

And feel it’s life.

Flames can join other flames,

Till there is a conflagration.

Is that where it went?

When life was snuffed?

Did it join the conflagration 

Of the universal flame?

Energy is neither created nor destroyed,

Nor are you, my love.

You have been,

We shared your brief life,

And you are 

Still, resurrected.

I know. I feel your warmth yet.

I bask in the light of you.

I love you.

– Small town boy

Today is the next day

Since I decided to live out each day I have been given,

My life is much simpler and anticipatory.

After experiencing grief over the loss of my eldest grandson this weekend,

I realized this morning that today is the next day

In a series that is ongoing 

Despite death, and grief, and sadness.

The moon still shines and becomes full again;

The sun rises; the rain falls; flowers bloom again.

Even as they will when I am gone.

Even as they have since my father, my mother, and my sister have gone.

One day after the next.

So, each day holds the promise of a next day.

And this is it.

I still love you, even in your absence;

I still have those around me who love me;

I await the gifts you have for me today,

With great anticipation.

Thank you.

– Small town boy

Grandpa’s field trip

This was the second field trip I have  gone on with my grandchildren.

The first was to a fishery with Dashawn, the third grader.

This trip was to a play at the restored Whiteside theater downtown,

With Angel, the first grader.

The teacher was confused when  I showed up. 

Had I checked in to the office computer that  confirmed that I was approved to volunteer?

Was Angel’s aunt Becca going to come?

Yes, no, and when do we go?

I must say right off that going with Angel is different than going with Dashawn.

There is much more touching, hand holding, and chatter. Chatter. Chatter.

So we got onto the school bus, eventually, having loaded two boxes and buckets of lunches,

And rode two miles to the theater.

I was not able to sit on the bus with my three charges: Bianca, Angel and Maecy (only three to a seat),

So I sat behind them next to Emma,

Who began to tell me all the people in her family who were dying or going to die.

Someone had brain cancer, an aunt had died last week, and the new born twins weren’t going to make it, etc.

Emma’s mother was in charge of the Whitside theater.

So we we’re dropped in front of the theater, en masse, two bus loads, plus others from other schools.

The hike up to our seats in the balcony was as far as my hike up Austen stadium to the 80th row at the University of Oregon.

We climbed three flights to the balcony, and I was beginning to feel faint.

I didn’t take  my charges down another flight when  we got into the balcony,

Choosing to sit halfway up on the aisle we came in on. The girls were fine with this.

Angel had my hand the whole way and held  it during the performance.

I dug out a bar I had brought to regain my energy, but it didn’t help.

My stomach felt queezy.

The play was great and we learned that girls could be swordsmen instead of princesses.

Upon leaving I received two hugs from Tavin, my grandson in kindergarden, who was also at the play with his mother, Becca.

After the play we walked three or four blocks to the gazebo in Central Park.

I had to stop and sit part way. My bloodsugar was plummeting.

And I had nothing to eat.

So the two girls (Maecy had been taken by another adult because she was constantly ahead of us) went to get their lunches which both had brought from  home.

I eyed them hungrily.

Then Alexandro came over by us, on the bench, to throw his lunch in the trash.

I asked if  he had finished it? He said no.

I asked if he would get it out of the trash can for me?

He was hesitant.

Another adult asked him what was going on and volunteered to retrieve the lunch, but I said no; I would do it.

It was a school packed lunch. It had an apple with one bite out of it, a P B&J sandwich (half eaten) and a bag of small carrots.

I was saved! Not only had I been  provided lunch but it fit with  my NutraSystems diet (having just lost 20 lbs).

The girls looked askance, and eagerly told anyone who would listen that grandpa was  eating Alexandro’s lunch which he  had dug out  of the trash barrel.

I felt it was a life  lesson about those less fortunate that went “dumpster diving” for food.

I think there was divine providence here.

The girls wanted to play on the playground at the park, and insisted that I had  to go along with them.

I agreed, since my blood sugar had recovered and I could be human again.

They had a wonderful  time building sand temples, with dndelions on tlhem.

We got on the bus and returned to the  school.

I’m home now and resting.

Phew, what a day!

-Small town boy

A Barking Dog

Oh, would that I were a barking dog,

Free to woof and growl,

I’d bark at kids on the way to school,

And on their way home again.

I’d bark in the day and awaken

So I could bark at a sound in the night.

If you think my bark discordant,

And it bothers you so much,

Just remember, as a dog, I’m immune.

I bark because I have to, my ancestors barked and barked,

And now it’s compulsive, like lightening and thunder.

The UPS driver, and the FedEx guy too, understand my dilemma,

So why don’t you?

I want not to bark, but as it is uncontrollable, so I will simply

Run to your side, as if to say, “I know, I know.”

You’ll be sorry when I’m quiet and gone,

You’ll wish I were there to help you carry on.

Just remember, if you will,

I’m just a dog,

And I love you still.

– Small town boy

Horses

My father was a vetrinarian, but

I don’t remember him treating horses,

Just piglets.

Though I never owned a horse,

I rode.

I rode at church camp and scout camp in the Colorado Rockies.

The wranglers often gave me the hard to handle riding horses, because I could handle them.

Except for the one who tried to brushing me off by going under a low hanging tree.

Although he was unsuccessful in this attempt, I had to eat Jello for dinner because of a bloody mouth.

We were charging, like wild Indians, and I couldn’t slow him down.

Five years later I worked in the kitchen of the Rawah Dude Ranch in northern Colorado, where the help was not permitted to ride the horses. Mostly they were work horses uses to pack into Rawah Lake in the Rawah Wilderness area, or as log pullers when timber harvesting was done.

He had a pair of horses, one black and one white to pull the logs.

But they had to hitch up the black one first and get him started, then the white one.

As she (the white) worked up the hill passed him, he would come to life and struggle to beat her to the top.

One of the largest pack horses, Tom, many hands high, was nortoriously spooky. One day as I was holding his reins after he was packed with camping and fishing gear, he spooked and tore off through the brush destroying the fishing gear and spreading camping gear everywhere..

The owner of the Rawah Guest Ranch raised Arabians, and provided stud service to interested mares from nearby ranches.

However, all the college kids on the ranch were required to be in the bunkhouse, so as not to see the stallion do his job.

It was thought by the owner that he didn’t want his employees behaving in a manner like those college kids in Estes Park, who came from all over the country to party.

The owner had bred his own Arabian mare, with the result being a beautiful colt, named Rawah.

However, Rawah got into the barbed wire and cut himself badly, but since the owner was a Christian Scientist, he would not call the vet, and the colt died.

Thirty years later, my wife and I decided our ten year old bossy daughter needed something large to boss around, so we signed her up at a nearby stable in Portland, Oregon, where she rode and cared for her horse.

I decided it looked like fun, and since I only knew how to ride western, that i would learn English as well.

When I fell after a stirrup broke, it was a soft landing in the bark feathers in the arena.

My instructor said that it takes twenty falls to be an expert.

Words to live by.

– Small town boy

A little at a time

I do things a little at a time now.

I’m teaching my self piano, a little at a time, one half hour in the morning and one half hour in the afternoon.

I’m clearing grass from between the flagstones on the  patio, fifteen minutes each day.

I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle, a little at a time, fifteen minutes several times a day.

I’m meditating in  small amounts, morning and evening, praying too.

I can interact with my grandchildren at breakfast and after school in moments.

I call my wife at the beach once a day; or  I call from the beach.

I’m losing weight, a little at a time, fourteen pounds now, in a month and a half, by eating smaller portions.

I’m reading several books, a little at  a time with each, each awaiting more  time to finish them.

I’m writing these  blogs in  small doses, for both me and my readers. If they get too big, I edit them down or break  them  up.

But, I love you a lot, all the time, for ever. A little at a time doesn’t work for me. You are constantly  on my mind and in my heart. 

– Small town boy

“For precept must be on precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isaiah 28:10

Puzzle pieces

My life is like a jigsaw puzzle.

I think I have all the pieces, 

Though I feel like some are missing.

My edge pieces, what you see, is mostly assembled.

There are dark places, or at least all gray,

Inside that I haven’t fully put together; I’m waiting till I get the shapes I know identified and then put together.

I really don’t have a picture on a box to go by in this.

I never thought I was trying to make a coherent picture of my life, till now.

Now I’m heavily involved in finding the right pieces that snap together to show the image that is my life.

I thought of this as I started my morning meditation.

I had to stop meditating because this idea about puzzles was racing through my mind,

Else I would forget what I was thinking.

Assembling the puzzle pieces places disparate events in juxtaposition.

Now I see how getting spanked then relates to spanking my children later in my life.

And how that prohibits me from doing it now.

Get the picture?

There is an unfinished corner area that is the rest of my life.

I have learned to step away from the puzzle table sometimes, so that, upon my return, I will immediately find that piece I had been hunting for the last half hour.

My pieces are comingled with pieces others have given me,

People willing to share what they see in me.

I cannot give up on this picture puzzle, it haunts me day and night.

Do you have anything to add?

– Small town boy

The Ocean

God is like the ocean.

Powerful, beautiful, and dangerous.

S/He ebbs and flows with lunar cycles.

One can stand at the edge and watch or enter the surf and feel the power, straining against it.

In warmer climes, one can swim in the salty waters, until one is  out of their depth, but stll able to stay afloat, because of belief in the ability to float and swim.

There are boats on the water, large and small, some fishing the depths, some transporting cargo to unknown places.

There are animals near the shore, birds, crabs, sea lions, and sand shrimp, all occupying there own niche, all a part of the oceans ecology.

Am I part of God’s ecology?

In the depths, where I can not see, live giant whales, sharks, fish, octopi and squid, and so much more: diverse in nature but adapted to life in the sea, each having its own part to play, each a part of the food cycle.

Am I part of the spiritual food cycle? Whom do I prey (pray) upon, and who preys (prays) on me?

The sea has been here before me and will be here long after I’m gone.

As I stand here naked before it, arms upraised, willing myself to resonate with its roar, I await the day.

Resistance is futile, harmful, and not in keeping with why I was made, not in keeping with my basic, fundamental nature.

Being open and working with the forces present allow me to ride the crest of the wave, to receive the power offered, and to live with a force stronger than my own and feed as my soul requires.

Thank God for the ocean and it’s abundance.

The ocean is great and reaches far away past the horizon to where others stand by it and marvel at its grace, beauty and power, my brothers and sisters on this globe,

A planet, when seen from afar, is notable because it is blue,

Blue because of the ocean.

Let me sail forth today, find the spirit of God, and fish for the sustenance offered me.

Let me be with other sailors riding the wind and the waves, going together on life’s journey today.

Amen

– Small town boy

Acceptance

I learned the power of Acceptance in 2005 while I was working on Kausay Wasi Clinic in Coya, Peru.

I was there with twelve others from Portland, Oregon, on a construction mission sponsored by  Northwest Medical Teams, to change a prison into a medical center in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Sitting on a plastic five gallon bucket turned upside down, I was working on a wall socket that had been wired in series instead of in parallel, causing all to go out if one went out, like a Christmas tree light string.

As I listened to our hosts, Guido and Sandy Del Prado, discussing next year’s mission to continue this construction, I had an epiphany.

I could fund next year’s work.

I had fortuitously invested in Microsoft at it’s beginning and had the funds necessary.

As soon as I thought this I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of ? Of what? Of love? well-being? of I don’t know what, but it was powerful, emotional, and wonderfully frightening.

I was being loved and all my sins (?), past indiscretions, worries, guilt, negative energy, and more, were melted away by this feeling.

I was stunned. I felt of a sudden the power of love (acceptance). I felt good could  overcome evil, not because it was good, but because love is very, very strong. Strong enough that it could melt me with just a little more given to me then.

Love isn’t creamy and smooth. Love isn’t being starry eyed. Love is a very great, misunderstood power in the universe.

Like the mythological story of the wind and the sun trying to get the man to take off his coat (which sun won by warming him, doing what the wind could not by blustering). Love simply accepts you. I felt it. I felt it accept me.

I didn’t know I hadn’t felt accepted until this event happened.

I now knew what Acceptance was and that I had to accept myself.

I felt like a hot dog.

I felt like the bun, the relish, the catsup, the mustard, and the blemishes when stripped away and I felt accepted, allowed this glowing inner self to be revealed and seen and touched by me.

I hope you will feel this Acceptance one day. It seems more powerful than, but including, forgiveness.

Can you accept what I’m saying?

Can you see that you are accepted, no matter who you are, no matter what you have done or haven’t done?

And ultimately, can you accept yourself?

There is no need for forgiveness, just a need to understand.

You are accepted for who you are now.

You are loved more than you can know, because if you knew it would overwhelm you.

God is love. Love is power. Acceptance is how it manifests.

Peace.

-small town boy