Tag Archives: Holiday

I’ve Been Busy—Not Ignoring You

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing the materials for an emergency communications course. It’s amazing that when someone else has prepared over 600 PowerPoint slides (with notes) that it would take so much time to update. Why? Because what we know today about dealing with disasters is more than what we knew before Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Personally, I believe that being better prepared for the future is a good thing.

On the other hand, I’m working on my short story—which has become at least a novelette (a short version of a short book? Huh?)—continues to develop. The more I learn about the characters (and more characters keep popping up), the more complex—but interesting—the story becomes. However, if a new character appears, a whole lot of the backstory changes. As a writer, I have a certain duty to the characters. Without me, they are doomed to shrivel away to nothingness, through no fault of their own. They deserve better, so I try to tell their stories. So far, the characters include a not-quite-dead aged business multi-multi-billionaire, several lawyers, most of whom are self-serving, but one of whom has a national security background, a distant relative who can see how the pieces fit, and someone (thing?) who seems to have many of the answers, but who is known as Zaznoz (sounds like a new drug or a new exercise routine to me).

Then I do need to devote time to the day job.

Not to mention that we celebrated Christmas with close friends, followed by my daughter-in-law and the grandchildren, who drove ten hours (I think she was being nice and understated the journey length) to visit us and to make for a wonderful time.

Oh, and my older son used his 3D printer to make my Christmas gift—a full size, accurate replica of Han Solo’s blaster. (Is that cool or what?)

Han Solo’s Blaster (Let’s me shoot first).

 

So, as you see, it’s not lack of interest in blogging, just lack of time.

Too Close to Home

Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it just causes us to ignore things.

Google “tourist attractions” and the name of the place where you live.

Go ahead—I’ll wait.

There will be a variety of listings, with most claiming to be the “top ten” or such. Jot them down. Now go back and open the next list; you’ll find that while some attractions are repeated, there are also new ones. Add them to the list.

Now look at the list. Are some of the sites interesting? When you were younger, did you ever wish you could see any of them?

Now that they are nearby, have you ever actually gone to any of them?

See what I mean?

Christmas Night

What more can be said about Christmas that hasn’t already been said?

Among the gifts, one that many overlook –

A gift whose value is beyond measure.

A gift that need not, and indeed cannot be returned.

A gift that surely elicits the response, “It’s just what I wanted and just what I needed.”

A gift that doesn’t need the label to say, “From:”

A Savior.

Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving – the traditional start of the second phase of the Christmas shopping season; the first phase began after Halloween.

Once upon a time, in my life, Thanksgiving was a time for the family to gather. For a few years I was in the right place at the right time to host the family Thanksgiving. Alas, I was the one whose destiny moved me away from the rest of my family.

This Thanksgiving was more different than most.

My 15 year old son was off on his first solo trip. He’s headed to Baton Rouge, LA to see an LSU game up close and personal. He’s an LSU fan both by genetics and environment. We’ll just leave it at that.

I’ve mentioned my father’s current situation in the past. Physically he’s still challenged; however, when I speak with him on our daily calls, I can still make him laugh. How can we laugh in the face of death? We’ve connected on a level that neither of us ever expected. I’d rather we share it with laughter even if it’s amidst any tears.

But back to Thanksgiving.

As I’ve gotten older, I worry less about the Holidays in terms of their spiritual significance.

I am not in the proverbial, privileged 1%. However, I am blessed that my family does not lack for anything critical. When an unexpected challenge occurs, the answer – like manna in the desert – always appears.

We Catholics are taught to begin and end our prayers with the sign of the cross. I told my dad that I rarely use the sign of the cross outside of Sunday Mass; on a daily basis, I never quite finish my prayer. In the morning, I wish God a good day (How stupid [but sincere] is that?) I walk down the hall at work and thank God that I have a job – and a good one at that. Sometimes I just say, “Hi. I’m thinking of you.” Oh, and by the way God, I love you and am happy that you love me.

My Thanksgiving is every day.

Of course, my begging for forgiveness and mercy is also every day.

So today, I give thanks for my family. I give thanks for the blessing of a God who is able to focus on me and every other one of His children so up close and personal. Tomorrow I expect to be thankful all over again.

There is so much to give thanks for.

Workers’ Day

Labor Day was not created to mark the end of summer. Those who labor to produce the products and services that fuel the American economy are far more important than we often think. We fall into the trap of thinking that my job is important, but the guy or gal who does [fill in the blank] is not quite as valuable.

We need to celebrate and honor all honest labor. If you don’t believe me, ask someone who’s dealt with a strike by the garbage collectors.

We college graduates like to think that our great thoughts are important, but compare that to someone who can make a car engine purr, or work with structural steel hundreds of feet in the air. How do you compete with that?

You don’t. You learn to stop and look and appreciate such work and those who can do such things.

There’s an old saying that “The worker is worth his wages.” We were taught that by a carpenter, who learned his trade from his father. He worked with his hands, then went on to change the world.

In Sickness and in Health

SONY DSC

I haven’t written much this week because we’ve had a few medical issues around here. Three were planned, but there was at least one middle-of-the-night exciting surprise. The kids needed to get one last viral ailment before school let out and the dog showed that although he’s very lovable, he’s equally stupid. So five trips to various hospitals, including a veterinarian one, one to the doc-in-a-box, several to various doctors’ offices later, it’s now the weekend.

When I was younger, like most guys (I can’t speak for the female of the species) I saw love in terms of a commitment to “climb the highest mountains and swim the deepest seas.” Now that I’m older and have acquired s modicum of wisdom, I see things differently.

I made my marriage vows to my wife before God. However those vows grew to include not only the two of us but the whole family. “In sickness (and in health”) seems to be more aimed at the kids than each other. Likewise, “for richer or for poorer” – well let’s just say that much of our material wealth has been invested in our children.

“All my worldly goods with thee I share” – when I can’t find a tool, or that ten dollar bill that I had in my wallet, or the nail clippers, or whatever (and the list is impressive) it’s far more likely that one of the kids has borrowed/absconded/taken title to it than my wife.

But what a wonderful life. God, in his wisdom, has given me countless opportunities to share that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. He’s blessed me with a closeness such that if sharing is not completely effortless it is at least totally natural.

Fathers’ Day is tomorrow. Let’s first thank Our Heavenly Father on this day. (Isn’t it quite appropriate that both Mothers’ and Fathers’ days are on Sundays?)

Then, as a father, I want to thank Him for blessing me with my family.

Happy New Year!

We finally made it! It’s now officially 2013!

Smokey isn't impressed with the New Year hype.

Smokey isn’t impressed with the New Year hype.

Personally, I’m off to a great start. The cold that had me sidelined for the past week seems to have given up in the face of the New Year and is about 80% gone. In my little corner of the world, that’s a fine start.

Feeling better, I got a few things done with my computers and radios. Some of my efforts didn’t work, but at least that means I’m that much closer to getting things set. I now know one more thing that doesn’t work. (Note to self – make note to self about efforts that didn’t work so I don’t repeat them.) Edison claimed he didn’t fail a thousand times, he merely discovered a thousand ways NOT to make a light bulb. If it’s good enough for Tom Edison, it’s good enough for me.

As you might have gathered, I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions. I find there’s always something to try to do better pretty much every day. Here’s my focus for today – It seems like it has been grey, dreary and rainy forever, but a big part of that perception was because I was fighting this cold and didn’t pay attention to the sunny days interspersed with the grey ones. It’s easy to pick and choose things that fit into our mood or state of mind and ignore those that don’t. I’m going to try to notice the good things, like a sunny day, even if I can’t personally enjoy them. So on that note,

Happy New Year, everybody.