March 1-15, 2014

S3-1 worked 4:35-16:54, church, visited Dad

S3-2 up at 6:45, worked 8:21-21:28, read Isaiah 14 and 15 at work

M3-3 worked 5:28-5:00

T3-4 worked 4:41-12:20. It’s currently 4:40 pm and I’m at Jess Parrish hospital again. I’ve been here since 12:35. They’re are finally doing a lipsotrypsy on Sheila’s two kidney stones. Once again, the past two days have been a maze of phone calls with three different doctors and Wuesthoff Hospital trying to get everything done for her hip replacement surgery this Friday. As I’ve said before, my heart aches for Sheila being in all this pain and having to deal with all these doctors phone calls. She’s broke down a time or two and says she’s having a meltdown. I’ve had to call doctors two times now to get things moving in the right direction. It’s very aggravating.

The hip surgery had been postponed, but thankfully her hip doctor vetoed that and told her to get her doctors to do what they’re supposed to do because this hip surgery MUST happen. I’m thankful that he feels that way and I am of the same opinion.

     We both are so thankful that all this is not life threatening or even life changing. It’s just a few things we’re going to have to get through.

     Left hospital at 7 pm, home, then back to hospital with Tina to pick up vette, then back to house to pick up prescription I had forgot to take with me, then back to Publix… Got home at 9 pm… Utterly exhausted… What a day…

W3-5 up at 7:15… I feel so tired… Feel hungover… Got another long day ahead of me… Help me Lord…

     Got a LOT accomplished today. Helped wash some clothes, got everything ready for next weeks income tax appt. with Janson. Publix to pick up a sandwich platter for tonight’s bible study home group. Ran 2.14 miles.

     Bible study home group, visited Dad.

T3-6 up at 6:30… Got home from Dad’s at 11pm last night.. Didn’t get to bed til 12:30 this morning… Once again, so tired and feel hungover again… Also once again, another long day ahead…

     Well, after about four hours in doctors offices, the final doctor we met with decided that we should postpone Sheila’s hip surgery until the kidney stone situation has been resolved. We’re both a little frustrated but we know it’s probably best.  Exhausting day for both of us. Ate at Sonny’s BBQ after the last doctors visit, then home and vegged out on the couch the rest of the evening.

F3-7 up at 5:45, read Isaiah 16 thru 18, watched an episode of TAGS, put together all the pool deck furniture… Chairs and table. Went to Home Depot to pick up stuff for drainage and sprinkler system. Fairly active and enjoyable day.

S3-8 worked 4:36-16:56, church, visited Dad

S3-9 up at 7, worked 9:50-22:01

M3-10 worked 5:35-4:04. Sat by the pool for the first time ever. Read Isaiah 19 and 20

T3-11 worked 4:36-2pm, income tax appt. with Janson. I always enjoy that. Visited Dad. Read Isaiah 21 while sitting by the pool. I think from now on that when I do anything that is outside by the pool, I’ll note it as “while sitting poolside.” 🙂

W3-12 up at 6:45, read Isaiah 22 and 23, watched an episode of TAGS, figured out and typed my AT itinerary for this year. Not sure exactly when I’ll get to hike this year. We’ll see… Sheila’s hip surgery is scheduled for April 4, but it could change. I may go hiking starting on Thursday May 29. We’ll see.

     Ran 4.04 miles, Sheila and I went to Dixie Crossroads for dinner.

T3-13 up at 6:25, read Isaiah 24 and 25, watched an episode of TAGS, mowed yard, watched an episode of TWY, visited Dad

F3-14 worked 4:35-1:59, read Isaiah 26 and 27

S3-15 worked 4:35-17:58, visited Dad. Got home about 9:15. Long day, Sheila’s been extremely sick all day. That’s got me worried.

Perspective from the present… Sheila having to deal with kidney stones and a scheduled hip replacement surgery was certainly no fun. My Mom had died about 6 months prior and my father would die about 5 months after this journal. Life was a blur at times… even now, it all seems a little out of focus.

February 2010

M2-1 worked 3:41-3:30

T2-2 worked 3:41-1:30

W2-3 worked 3:31-11:30, home, worked 2+ hours on seminary projects, back to Merritt Island to visit parents

T2-4 up at 7, worked 3+ hours on seminary projects, seminary class 7-9 pm

F2-5 up at 7, worked 2+ hours on seminary projects

S2-6 worked 3:41a-5:40p, church

S2-7 up at 4:30, ran 2nd Annual Melbourne to Beaches Half Marathon. Finished in 2:03:48. Last year was 2:11:21. Quite an improvement, yet breaking 2 hours continues to be elusive. A 14 hour workday, as well as being up about 19 hours the day before probably doesn’t help. Oh well… Worked 2+ hours on seminary projects

M2-8 worked 3:41a-4p

T2-9 worked 3:41a-2p

W2-10 worked 3:41a-12:45

T2-11 up at 7, worked 2+ on seminary projects, seminary class 7-9 pm

F2-12 worked 5:30a-11:30a, went and had coffee with Robin at mall to talk about Mom and Dad’s health, etc. Drove to Orlando Wetlands Park in Christmas to pick up race packet for Saturday’s Half Marathon

S2-13  Ran the 6th Annual Orlando Extreme Half-Marathon. 71st out of 117. Time was 2:13:10.126.  7th out of 10 in age group. 40th out of 58 males.  It was VERY COLD. 43F the entire race. I ran the whole thing wearing gloves and a toboggan. I’ve never done that before.  I ran this race for the first time in 2008. That day my time was 2:15:17. That was my fastest half marathon up to that point. Leisure day rest of day. Church.

S2-14 worked 3:41a-3:52p

M2-15 worked 3:41a-5:14p

T2-16 worked 3:39a-3:32p

W2-17 worked 3:41a-10:54a, got haircut, bought some homemade bread and pasta at Farmer’s Market in Cocoa Village. Worked 2 hours on lesson I’ll be teaching tomorrow night at my seminary class.

T2-18 worked 3:41a-12:30p, home, getting sick, lost my voice. Gotta teach part of my seminary class tonight.   Well I was able to talk enough to teach my part of the class. Not too sure how well I did. Oh well. I gave it my best.

F2-19 up at 7:20, leisure day all day. Read and studied bible-Gen 7-10

S2-20 worked 3:41-2:11, read and studied bible- Gen 11-13, church

S2-21 worked 5:35-1:11, ran 1.14 miles

M2-22 worked 3:41-1:13, ran 1.21 miles

T2-23 worked 3:40-12:28, home, back to Merritt Island to meet Dad at Dr. Leal’s office.  Blood work last week revealed that Dad’s prostate had enlarged quite a bit in the past year. It’s size is now a 4.7 I believe. He was referred to a urologist, Dr. Leal. Dad had prostate cancer back in 95 and it was successfully treated with radiation. The current plan of Dr. Leal is to have a bone scan and a CAT scan done first. This is just to make sure that no cancerous cells have been released from the prostate to other parts of the body. They have no reason to believe that’s the case, but they want to rule that out prior to any other action. Once they rule that out, they will take a biopsy of the prostate to see what may have caused a recent enlargement. Dad’s having both the scans done this Friday. I’m gonna go with him to the hospital to make sure everything goes okay. Visited with parents after the doctor visit.

W2-24 worked 3:42-12:36, drove to Town Country Outfitters in Orlando. Dropped off backpack to have them work on it to get it to stop squeaking so much… Long story… 🙂     Drove to Florida Mall to have my iPhone worked on again. FYI, today is Thursday, and the phone is no better. I’ve gone to Orlando twice now and suggested that a new battery might fix it but the “Geniuses” at the Genius Bar have suggested other things and it hasn’t fixed it either time. Grrrrrrrr.

These guys seem great and helpful and aren’t trying to sell you stuff, but now it looks like I’ll be making a THIRD trip there and I’ll push this time to get a new battery and hopefully that will fix it.   After I left Florida Mall, drove back to MI to Frankie’s and got takeout. LONG day, lotta driving. I used to LOVE driving all over heck and half of Georgia, now it kinda seems to wear me out. I still like it, but it has to be the right situation.

T2-25 up at 6:50, Steve came over and fixed the soffett on the house and stayed and visited awhile. Leisure day.  Read bible.  Seminary class from 7-8:30pm. Sheila went with me. It was our final class for this term. We had a pot luck dinner. We both had a good time.

F2-26 up at 6:40. It’s 8:58 and I’m at Wuesthoff with Dad. They just took him back to have a CAT scan. After that he’ll have an injection for a bone scan which will be done at noon I believe. Dad said he’s been up since 4:15 am and only got 2 hours sleep. He seems totally fine though and says he feels very good. All went well with Dad’s scans. Read Bible. Ran 1.26 miles, leisure day most of day.

S2-27 worked 3:43-4:33, church, Bizarro’s takeout after church

S2-28 worked 5:42-2:18

Perspective from the present: There was certainly A LOT going on in my life at this time. It’s good to look back and reminisce. I miss my Dad dearly, he passed away in Sept. 2014.

This was the first of 7 years that each February I would run two half marathons in a 6 day period. It was always neat to see how comparable the times would be. One of them was run on a wildlife preserve, the entire race being run on packed down sand that they called “berm” roads. The other ran on asphalt, had two fairly intense bridges to cross. Each one approx. a half mile or more in length… one at mile 6, the other at mile 12.

Speaking of bridges to cross, 2010 was about the halfway point of my seminary attendance. I was doing this alongside the 50-60 hours a week of the Publix life. In the words of the great theologian Joe Walsh, “Life’s been good to me so far…” he might have meant it in a different context. 🙂

January 1999

23 years ago, I was writing a full month of journals in one digital file. At this time I had been a divorcee/bachelor for almost 3 years, had about 4 more to go. I was seeing a lot of Sheila at this time. She had been a widow for almost 4 years. We were both working an insane amount of hours. It paid off… but it wasn’t easy.

After all this time alone, I was just learning how to make a home cooked meal. Take-out and near starvation were more of my routine those first few years. Here’s the end of 98 and all of January 1999.

M 12-21-98 Worked 2:39a-9:02a. Went to FHP Station off 520, State Farm’s claim office, home (for title to mustang), Ronnie’s, back to State Farm, back to Ronnie’s!! Got dent fixed, made $469 on the deal. Wow! Home after that and crashed.

T 12-22-98 Worked 2:41a-5:03p, got gas, home, asleep at 10p.

W 12-23-98 Up at 12:45a, worked 1:53a-4:30p.

T 12-24-98 Worked 2a-8:03p!!!! Wow… Merry Christmas!!!!… Home……Alone…….passed out on couch at 10:30p

F 12-25-98 Up at 6:30, Washed a load of darks, went to parents at 10:30am, left at 5:30p, Sheila and I exchanged gifts

S 12-26-98 Up at 1:45, worked 3a-8:30p, 3 hour break, bought groceries, home, bed at 1 am

S 12-27-98 Up at 9a, washed whites, darks, towels, and dishes!!!

M 12-28-98 Worked 2:45a-11:42a.  Went to Big Frank’s and ordered tires. Having them put on tomorrow. In bed at 8p.

T 12-29-98 Up at 1:45a, worked 3:35a-12:13p.  Had tires put on. ($470.64)  Sheila and I walked through Cocoa Village. 

W 12-30-98 Up at 1:45, worked 2:40a-2:30p.

T 12-31-98 Worked 3a-9:02p. Watched ball drop, then I dropped.

F 1-1-99 Off all day. Played board games with Sheila.  She went to WD and bought pork chops and black-eyed peas. Good dinner.

S 1-2-99 Worked 2:39a-10p. Break from 1:30-5p, went home on break, slept some.  Felt lousy all day.  Home at 10:30p. Up till 3am. (25hr and 15min day)

S 1-3-99 Up at 10:55a, worked 2:42p-11:30p

M 1-4-99 Worked 10:51a-6:30p.  Daryl came by, good visit, total support from him on Lisa deal.  Dinner at KFC takeout.  Couldn’t sleep, up till midnight watching “Sleepless in Seattle”, Rat pack biography, and FSU vs. Tennessee 

T 1-5-99 Worked 4a-5p, home, no dinner, watched Dean Martin Biography

W 1-6-99 Up at 1:45a, worked 3:45a-12:10p, got haircut, home. Mowed grass, visited parents.

T 1-7-99 Up at noon, washed 3 loads of clothes, went through bills, went to Sears in Titusville (went to Sears in M.I. Wednesday night) to find crock-pot.  Didn’t have what I wanted.  Ate 3 hot dogs at Orange Julius, bought Jimmy Dean, Hank Sr. and Hank Jr. CD’s, went to bookstore, home, bed at 11:30p.

F 1-8-99 Up at 6, went to beach to watch sunrise. It was just a grey sky.

S 1-9-99 Worked 3a- 1:30am Sunday!!!!  Wow, what a day, had inventory.  Didn’t go to bed till 6 am Sunday morning.

S 1-10-99 Worked 2:47p-11:30p.  Up till 6 am Monday morning.

M 1-11-99 slept till noon, washed clothes, Wal-Mart – bought groceries and crock-pot.

T 1-12-99 up at 7, leisure day

W 1-13-99 worked 3a-5p

T 1-14-99 worked 12:46p-5:47p

F 1-15-99 worked 3a-2p

S 1-16-99 worked 3a-10p

S 1-17-99 worked 11:47-5p, fixed sauerkraut and wieners before work, ate it after work, my first crock-pot meal!!!

M 1-18-99 worked 3a-5p, bed at 2 am

T1-19-99 visited parents, leisure day

W1-20-99 up at 9, Hung out at house w/Sheila, made BBQ sauce and prepared crock pot meal for Thursday (BBQ Beef)

T1-21-99 worked 2:47a-8:47a, 3:35p-9:57p.  Home in between shifts, ate BBQ…DELICIOUS!!!  Went to Town & Country Mortgage in Indialantic the close on house.  $2058 later, the house is mine!!!  Bed at 12:30am

F1-22-99 up at 5:45, worked 6:46a-1:07p

S1-22 worked 2:46a-4:59p

S1-23 WOKE UP LATE!!! (3:18a), Debbie Garcia (Ralph’s wife) called to wake me up.  Made it to work at 3:46!!!!! Worked till 5p, crock pot roast for dinner

M1-24 worked 3-12

T1-25 worked 12p-10:27p

W1-27 worked 12:15p-10:30p

T1-28 worked 7a-10a

F1-29 washed dishes, towels. Fixed kitchen sink, took pictures to Eckerds for enlargement. 2 pc chicken dinner at KFC, asleep at midnight.

S1-30 up at 1:30!!! Hour and a half sleep!! Worked 2:30a-5p. Charlie and Jakes with Sheila for lunch. Left work at 5:45p. Good talk with Daryl (my supervisor) before I left. 

S1-31 worked 3a-5:45p, SSN, Broncos won Super Bowl, chicken chow mein for dinner, asleep at 10p

10 Minutes of Music #3- It’s Not Sane

At this time of year, a lot of people get their reports from Spotify or perhaps other streaming services, showing them their listening habits for the year. I’ve never subscribed to any streaming service but I do own A LOT of music. It’s all in my iTunes library with perhaps 60-70% of it from CD’s I owned and downloaded into my computer. The rest are songs I’ve purchased from iTunes.     

I’ve had an iTunes library since 2004, although 2-3 times I’ve had a computer crash and had to have someone restore the library. Of all the frustrating things that this involves, most upsetting to me has been losing playlists… and play counts. I’ve always enjoyed seeing what songs/artists/genres/decades that I own/play the most.     

I have printed and saved some of the play counts info from previous libraries. I have a fairly accurate listing of the most played songs. My recent library was restored on 8-31-20. I can see the play counts since then and can add them to previous totals.     

With all that said, this episode of 10 MOM includes the “most played song” in my library. I discovered this info about 5 years ago. It shocked me then and still does today. It’s just not a song that I would guess that I’d love. Music is that way sometimes… we can’t explain why, but we love certain songs for unknowable reasons.     

I knew nothing about the song or the band but just LOVED the song when I heard it regularly on the Muzak service playing at the Publix I worked at. It came out in 1993 and made it to #20 on Billboard.     

I purchased it on May 27, 2010 from iTunes, so I imagine I had been hearing it for 6 months or so before I bought it. I probably “sound hounded” it to find out the artist/title. To this day, it’s hypnotic to me, I love the 20 second opening, the other guitar riffs and the tone of Shannon Hoon’s voice is part of the hypnotism. Sadly he overdosed in 1995. The song is a bit famous due to its video. I don’t remember liking it or hearing it much when it came out. I wasn’t listening to much radio in 1995. It’s actually a sad song, but it’s uplifting to me. I like the lyrics and can relate to them on some levels.

Here’s some info I found on the internet about this song…  “No Rain” by Blind Melon.      Wikipedia — “No Rain” is in the key of E Mixolydian, and is performed in a moderately fast tempo. Although the song is credited to the whole band, it was bassist Brad Smith who wrote the greater part of “No Rain”. He said: “The song is about not being able to get out of bed and find excuses to face the day when you have really, in a way, nothing.” At the time, Smith had been dating a girl who was going through depression (she would sleep through sunny days and complain when it didn’t rain), and for a while he told himself that he was writing the song from her perspective, though Smith later realized that he was also writing about it himself.    

SONG FACTS — A hallmark of Brad Smith’s lyrics is a feeling of melancholy, which doesn’t always match the music he puts to the song. He describes the music to this song as a “jaunty little happy halfway island beat,” which sounds like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” He explained: “A lot of my songs come from a darker place. And if you just met me walking down the street, you’d say, ‘Oh, you’re such a happy guy, Brad. Why the dark songs?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ For me, it just has more meaning if you can get inside someone’s soul and identify with them on a heavier level and try to connect with them on that level. Because when you’re sad and you’re down, you’re the most vulnerable, and you feel the most alone.”    

I like Brad Smith’s description of the song. That’s exactly how I hear it.     

My second song today is another song that just does something for me. It’s goofy, odd and also hard for me to explain the allure it has for me. It’s a one hit wonder called “Ariel” by Dean Friedman.    

I won’t be writing nearly as much about this song. It’s not in my  all time Top 150 songs played. (I haven’t gone any further with the list.) It is, however, in my Top 50 played this year.     

This is just another feel good song for me, just like “No Rain”… it’s also a bit hypnotic in a different way… and I LOVE the “honkin’ sax solo” that starts at nearly the exact midpoint of the song. I believe the solo is only on the album version.     

I do remember this song well from the summer of 1977. I was 13 at the time. The song has an interesting story and chart run…

The last song today  was a huge hit in 1996 and another song that I remember hearing A LOT over the Muzak system. It spent 9 weeks at #2, the entire time being blocked by a horrible song called “Macarena”. This song, “I Love You Always and Forever” is another hypnotic song for me. Lewis’ voice is the sole cause of the hypnotism. It’s another happy, feel good, catchy song for me.     

These songs total 12 minutes worth of music. You probably won’t have a better 12 minutes today. As “No Rain” says … “it’s not sane, it’s not sane”… but I believe sometimes hypnotic feel good music will help keep your sanity. 

No Rain


I Love You

December 16-31, 2015

W12-16 worked 4:32-2:31, bible study home group Christmas get together. There were 14 of us altogether. I hope everyone had a great time. 

T12-17 up at 6:55. Started my day as I hope to EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE starting NEXT THURSDAY!!!!!!!! That will be the first day of my retirement. Here’s what I did… Within about 5 minutes of being up, I was sitting outside with my bible. I had a 5 or so minute prayer session and read one chapter of the bible. I hope to have even better prayer sessions and read more than one chapter of the bible… But the minimum will be at least that. I read Exodus chapter 4. Prayed with Sheila.  Ran 2.06 miles, spent more time catching up on magazine reading.

F12-18 worked 4:35-1:19
S12-19 worked 4:37-2:56, church 
S12-20 worked 6:32-5:09
M12-21 worked 4:26-16:53
T12-22 worked 4:35-17:37
W12-23 worked 6:12-18:28

T12-24 up at 5:30. First day of retirement. Unbelievable.  Read Exodus 5 and 6, ran 1.09, 30m prayer session. Worked at church from 3:30-8:30. Setting up chairs, ushering, handling money, etc., enjoyed it. We had a total of 353 people between the two services. God is good. I hope the people felt blessed. I certainly did. Well, that was the first day of the rest of my life… Day one of retirement. Christmas Eve. Quite different for sure. Much quieter, less hectic, than my last 35 Christmas Eve’s… I enjoyed it.

F12-25 up at 6:45, read Exodus chapter 7, good Christmas time… Kevin and all of his family came over and so did Steve. Tina is in Gatlinburg with some friends. I think everyone had a good time. Ran 2.07 miles. 

S12-26 up at 6:30, great 40m prayer session to start the day. Read Exodus 8 and 9, ran 2.1 miles. Went and bought dryer, they’re going to deliver tomorrow. Went and picked up Tina’s dogs from kennel and took them to her house. She’s coming home tomorrow from Gatlinburg.       

S12-27 up at 5:55, ran 1.06 miles. I started the run at 6:24 am. Good for me :-), church, grocery shopping, had Khloe for a few hours in the afternoon. 

M12-28 up at 6:25, read Exodus 10 and 11, ran 8.3 miles, edged, weedeated and mowed yard

T12-29 up at 5:45, read Exodus 12 and 13, ran 1.07 miles, spent approx. 2 hours reading, studying and typing notes for the gospel of John chapter 1. Had Khloe from 7:30a-7:30p

W12-30 up at 6, read Exodus 14-16. Great start to the day. Sat outside with Sheila and prayed shortly after we got up. Ran 1.52 miles. Leisure day for the most part. First complete day like this since I’ve retired. I enjoyed it. 

T12-31 up at 6, read Exodus 17-19, ran 1.05 miles, went to Robin’s house with Sheila and Khloe. Visited for a while. Blaine was there. We all went to McDonalds in Cape Canaveral.      Spent about 2 hours reading, studying and typing notes for John chapter 2. I’ve only studied the first two chapters of this gospel and it’s pretty intense in getting the proper meaning of everything. I’m really enjoying digging into it. I’m also TOTALLY enjoying having the time to do it. Thank You Lord!!!!!!


A few days ago, I wrote that I had essentially exhausted my treasure trove of writings that I planned to use for this poor attempt of blogging. A day or so after posting that, I realized that I had another set of files that had some writings as well. Not sure if any are “blog worthy”, but I do feel led to post this one. I wrote it almost exactly 5 years ago. She was all a kid could ask for and everything a grown man would want for a friend.

Norma Brittain Walker(April 29, 1937- October 2, 2013)
She was born Norma Lucille Brittain on April 29, 1937. On November 3, 1955 she became Norma B. Walker.  That was her name until she left this earth and entered heaven on October 2, 2013.  It was on June 2, 1964 however, that she became my Mom.  It’s been 1,175 days (a little over 3 years and 2 months) since she died.  I’ve planned for years now to write about her but time has its way of getting in the way.  Today’s date is December 20, 2016.  As we all do during the holidays, I’ve had Christmas’ past on my mind and that takes me back to my childhood, to my siblings and of course to my parents.

Like all children, I don’t remember the first time I met my Mom, but I know what was going on in her life and in her heart.  She loved me deeply, unconditionally and eternally the moment she first laid her eyes on me.  When she first held me, the first time she saw me smile, the first time I looked into her eyes… those things only deepened her love.  She was 27 years old and was mother to a soon to be 6 year old son and a soon to be 3 year old daughter.  Her heart was more than capable of providing enough love to all three children.

Some of my earliest memories of her are simple things… her smile, her eyes, her touch, her caring.  Caring is such an important trait.  So real, so genuine, so easily recognizable.  She absolutely cared for everyone in her life. Of course, her husband and children were first and foremost.  Caring often involves being completely unselfish.  She put everyone’s needs above her own.  

They say “If Mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.  That may be true, but in my house, if everyone was happy… safe, loved, cared for… then Mom was happy.  She loved my father with everything she had.  Understanding, forgiveness, patience, encouragement all seemed easy for her. I know they weren’t of course, but she took her love for her family seriously and whatever was required, she was willing to give.

That was perhaps some of the earliest lessons I learned from my Mom.  Learning from her was a lifetime journey.  She’d probably be surprised to hear that her children “learned” from her.  Dad was the one who was wise, the one who dispensed life lessons.  The one who usually offered words of advice.  Mom was just the supporter, the one who would “stand by her man”, the one who might say, “Well your father is right when he says…”  My father’s love, advice and influence in my life will be cause for another essay, but it must be written how much my Mom taught me.  How much I love her, how much I miss her, how much she met so many needs in my life.

Oftentimes it’s said that your Mom will be the only woman who will never leave you, never stop loving you, never cheat on you, never break your heart.  Those words are so true.  I was lucky enough to have my Mom in my life nearly 50 years.  As we both aged, we became such good friends.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending time together.  Most often our visits were just her, Dad and I.  We talked about everything and nothing, usually Dad and I doing most of the talking.  Her quiet involvement, her well chosen words, her looks, her eyes, her smile… I miss them so much.  I must admit, that tears have flowed most of the time while writing this.  It hurts… it feels good… it’s healing to feel this love again… to think about it… to attempt to put feelings into words.

When I was a child, she was fiercely protective of me if it was required.  I was your typical kid for the most part, but I had my challenges.  She didn’t let me make excuses for them, but also wouldn’t let others take advantage of them.  She encouraged me to go to speech therapy to work on my stuttering, she was so proud of my success in elementary school, so understanding of my struggles sometimes in junior high and high school years.  I often felt so awkward and introverted during those years, but never when I was with her. Being with Mom was always completely enjoyable… safe, comforting, relaxing, helpful, accepting.  There was no one better to be with, especially if you felt vulnerable in other parts of your life.  They say “There’s no place like home”… true… but I knew, “There’s no place better than being with Mom.”

As I became a man with my own life, career, marriage… Mom and Dad both became two of my best friends.  Mom and I didn’t spend as much time together, yet our love grew deeper. She loved me and loved those that I loved. As I learned about relationships, sacrifice, patience, understanding… all of Mom’s examples were right there.  I wasn’t as successful as her in some of these areas.  She never judged me though, never scolded me.  There were times that there was complete despair on my end, and it was Mom who passionately told me, “Rodney, you’re a good man, you’re gonna get though this, don’t beat yourself up over these things.”  Whether it was work, finances, love… she ALWAYS had the right answer, the right support, the right way of listening and just being there… once again with that look, those eyes, that smile.

My mind has rambled as I’m writing this.  Forgive my inability to to put all my thoughts into a smoothly flowing stream.  I could write forever about her and never truly capture who she was, her impact on me, my siblings, my father.  She was quite unassuming, perhaps a little bit of a wallflower, but oh so beautiful in her quiet loving ways.  I had planned to write perhaps a list of all the different great memories of her… people, places, things we did/shared.  I also thought I may write about her last couple of years and the times we spent together during that part of her life. Instead, I think I’ll end with two perhaps insignificant little stories of simple things.  

As a teen, when we would talk about whatever, we’d share our feelings about different subjects.  As I would say what my thoughts might be, she’d frequently reply “You said a mouthful there.”  Something about that struck a chord with me at that age… I felt validated, intelligent, respected, loved.  

Another completely random memory is from one Sunday afternoon, I was probably 6 years old, in the front yard with my brother and sister playing a game of croquet.  Mom and Dad were sitting on the front porch.  After one of my shots that I felt particularly good about, I excitedly jumped in the air.  I remember hearing my Mom saying to Dad, “Wow, did you see how high Rodney jumped, he can really jump high!”  It wasn’t said to make me feel good, she didn’t even know I heard.  It had an impact on my little mind… I surely must be able to jump really high… my Mom just said so… Certainly, there are thousands of those types of insignificant memories in my head.  I’m not able to share one or two stories that perfectly capture her influence in my life,  Every day there are different ones that come to my mind, stay awhile, then move on as others replace them.

She was always able to make me feel peaceful… loved… safe… good about life.  I miss her, she’s in my thoughts so often. I’m thankful for her.  She was entirely everything that any boy would want for a Mom and memories of her life are everything that any man would want to have in his heart and soul. Thanks Mom, I Love You, Merry Christmas.  The 3 years without you have been difficult at times, your absence the most difficult.  You should know that we’re all doing fine, we’re still close, keeping in touch, and missing you.  We all know that we’ll see you again, that all of our family will be together.  I know that’ll make you happy… and all of us too. 

Explanation #2

I’ve posted 12 “things” so far and thought I had A LOT of things that I’d be posting over the next year or so. I’ve written of the Evernote app that I use for many things… journals, lists, writing etc.

Crazily, I’ve got 692 “notes”. I can sort them all alphabetically and many other ways. I had planned to go through them and post lots of “stuff” over the upcoming years.

Of these 692 notes, 250-275 of them are “journals” of my daily life. Boring as they may be… to the reader that is.

I do plan to post a new “journal from the past” twice a month. These are two weeks of my life at a time. I post them around the 1st and 16th of the month.

Of the 400 and some other notes, after going through them… they either seem too boring, weird or personal to post as a blog. I do however have a few other ideas and some things I’ll publish at certain times during the year.

With all that said I have two thoughts-

1- People who’ve kept a blog going for years, some for a decade or more… that is amazing!! I aspire to be that way… just don’t know if time will allow, or if I’m inspired to, or if I could even find enough to say about anything … that would be worthy of readIng.

2- I do feel led to start writing some “new” things. My free time is somewhat limited, I’ll explain more about that some other time. I’ll perhaps write as maybe others do… 15 minutes here, 10 minutes there and over a week or a few weeks, perhaps I’ll have something to share.

In the next few weeks, it’ll be another journal posting and most likely another “10 Minutes of Music”. I’ll be working on that one. I’ve got the songs picked out, just gotta come up with my thoughts, their connection with each other (if there is one) and maybe a few facts about these songs.

For both of you reading this, Merry Christmas and I hope to give you those two nonrefundable “things” between now and the end of 2021. It is going to end isn’t it?

Being Something Without Actually Being It

A week or so ago, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I went to a local downtown area near my house called Cocoa Village to pick up my “race packet”. From 2007-March 2020, picking up a race packet meant walking through the vendor expo, seeing a few friends and talking about how we thought we’d do in the following days race.     

There was always some anxiety over how I’d perform. No matter if it was a 5K or a half marathon. Or even a marathon… I ran two… Nov. 2007 and Jan. 2009. The past 12 years however have only been 5k’s to half marathons. The longer the race though, there would be some dread as to “why do I keep doing these things” 🙂    

I’d come home and have the wife pin my race bib to the shirt I’d picked out to wear at the race. It was a ritual we had, I’d put the shirt on and she’d line it up just right so as not to annoy me during the race. There would be more anxiety that night as I set the alarm for whatever time I wanted to get up the next day. I’d want to sleep in as long as I could. I’d also want to have enough time to properly and hopefully leisurely get ready and travel to the race.     

I’d always have a restless nights sleep which would just add to the anxiety. I’d wake up tired and worried about what lay ahead of me. A 5K or 10k would be less worrisome but a 15K or Half Marathon caused LOTS of trepidation. Most of my races have been half marathons. I’ve run 100-125 races in my lifetime and 44 have been half marathons.    

Getting ready and driving to the race, I’d have to manage the nerves… all while anticipating and managing bowel movements. In the first year of my racing, I learned all the places open at 5 or 6 am that I could swing in and use the facilities. I always built in extra travel time to accommodate such activities 🙂    

Once the race began, the first 20-25% of it involved settling in on my pace, my breathing and my nerves. The halfway point would allow for a big release of anxiety and bring a bit of peace that I was gonna be able to do this… and maybe be happy with my results. The last quarter of the race would either involve pushing the body for a certain result, or sometimes just letting the body survive this kind of an effort.   

Completion normally allowed for a bit of elation… maybe a bit of “it is what it is”… and certainly a lot of “I DID IT!!!” For years I’ve had people ask me “How’d you do?” My answer was ALWAYS the same… “I finished, I was smiling and still standing” 🙂   

The drive home almost always felt good, I’d usually stop and get a coffee and be on an emotional high. That “runners high” mixed with a “caffeine high” 🙂    

The rest of the day involved going online looking at all the results, recording all my info of time and placings in age group, males and overall. I record these in my daily journal so as to be able to pull them up easily for future viewing/comparison. The rest of the day would be filled with reading a Sunday paper, watching some football, having a big meal in the evening and an overall sense of LIFE IS GOOD!!! 🙂

I wrote ALL of that to say… I kinda miss some/most of it. Since the pandemic, we’re now allowed to run these races “virtually”. Don’t know if this will last forever, but it’s convenient for me at this point in my life.     

Now that I’m a lead pastor at a church I feel guilty missing Sunday mornings so I run all the races virtually…. and it’s kinda bittersweet. I fully retired almost exactly 6 years ago. I have no need to earn a paycheck and work for almost nothing, but still feel selfish if I miss a week to do a race. In fact I haven’t taken a week off yet, for a race. I’m sure I will one day. I’ve been a lead pastor for about a year and a half.

“Virtual” runners are required to run the miles in some fashion. All at once is not required. I usually just run the total number of miles in a few different runs, two or three runs normally. Last February, I did run 13.1 miles in one run, just to make sure I could still survive it. Usually the races ask you to email screenshots of your runs that total the mileage of the race.

At my most recent half marathon, I asked the girl who handed me my packet how long I had to send in my proof (each race sometimes has different rules). She said “There’s no need for that, it’s all on the honor system.” Feels weird…     

FYI, I’m still running some of the Saturday races in person… they’re normally the 5K’s, occasionally a 10K. The longer runs are almost always on Sunday. I prefer doing the longer ones but they come with the extra training and anxiety. Oh well… 

The Merriam-Webster website has the following…Essential Meaning of virtual 1: very close to being something without actually being it… sounds about right.

December 1-15, 2015

Previously I posted November’s journal from 2011. December for that year and for every year through 2014 just don’t seem to “blog-worthy”. Being such a rookie at this blogging, I’m not so sure I know what constitutes something being “worthy” of posting.

Oh well, I’m going with December 2015… perhaps it will be a bit interesting…

T12-1 worked 4:36-2:11, dropped off vette at Bob Steele to have all kinds of stuff checked out. Hopefully it won’t cost me an arm and a leg… 🙂

W12-2 worked 4:34-1:43

T12-3 up at 6, it’s 7:44 and I’ve got a full morning ahead of me. Chiropractor at 8, Dr. Kirk at 9, after that I’m gonna go by a rehab center to try to visit my barber. Not sure if I’ve written about him, but I found out that something happened to him (not sure what… I’m thinking maybe a stroke)…He’s approx. 77 yo. I’ve always thought a lot of him and want to stop by just to check on him and let him know I’ve been praying for him. 

    Well, chiropractor went well, Dr. Kirk did too… Didn’t get to see my barber… He was out of his room doing physical therapy. Ran 2.12 miles. 

F12-4 worked 4:36-2:42

S12-5 worked 4:37-4:24, church 

S12-6 worked 6:32-2:15

M12-7 worked 4:35-4:17

T12-8 up at 7, 5m prayer session, went to see “Creed”, which is basically “Rocky 6″… It was awesome. Just like with Clint Eastwood movies, I enjoy seeing Sylvester Stallone as he ages. He’s 69 yo and is still enjoyable to watch as Rocky. My friend Dylan and his friend Alison went to the movie as well. Afterwards we ate at Ryan’s Pizza.

W12-9 worked 4:37- 8:55, ran 2.06 miles. Well this evening was kind of a big deal for me… I took all of my associates out to dinner at Beef O’Brady’s. I have 16 employees that work for me. This is the most I’ve ever had. They’re a great group of people and I just wanted to thank them somehow and that’s all I could come up with. We had a total of 17 of us there. Two of my crew couldn’t make it but three of them brought a guest with them. It was enjoyable just socializing and hanging out… away from Publix. 

T12-10 up at 6:30, ran 4.1 miles, got caught up reading a lot of my magazines. 

F12-11 worked 4:37-12:22

S12-12 worked 4:38-3:58, church 

S12-13 worked 6:36-5:08

M12-14 worked 4:37-4:30

T12-15 up at 7:30, ran 6.23 miles, put Khloe’s bike together. Spent an hour or two catching up on all my magazine reading. Still got a ways to go… 🙂

Perspective from the present…After owning it for 16 years, sold the vette in 2019. Never got to see my barber friend Rick, he passed a few days after my attempt to visit him.

Having been retired almost exactly 6 years now, I never seem to interact with my final crew from that time. I do keep up with a few others from years before that though.

I’ve since seen “Creed 2” and recently Clint’s latest “Cry Macho”. Loved them both.

Hurricane Blues

As a lifelong Floridian, I’m aware that the last day of Hurricane Season is November 30th. Most Floridians don’t think much about hurricanes after mid-September and certainly not in October/November.

As I anticipate a crowd of family this afternoon, I’m thankful for them and many other things. I use a simple app called “Thankful” on my iPhone and list something I’m thankful for each day. . Ive done this for 1,062 days as of today.

Of the many things I’ve listed, electricity is one of them. Sort of a weird thing to be thankful for… until a loss of power during a hurricanes brings it to the forefront of your existence.

Just over 4 years ago on 9-16-17, I wrote The Hurricane Blues…

Five days of no power
Makes me say “Grrr”
Five days of cold showers
Makes me say “Brrr”

During daylight
The house is quite hot
Come nighttime
We suffer the same lot

Don’t care bout the fridge
The computer or TV
Don’t care about the lights
Just want my sanity

Doing without
Seems to cause me such grief
I need to be tougher
Till I get some relief

I don’t like it at all
When the power is out
But I am thankful for the water
That comes out of the spout

It’s a simple life
When you live like this
If I didn’t know what I had
I wouldn’t know what I miss

It’ll soon be normal again
I’ll forget what is was like
I’ll take too much for granted
All in all, It’s a Wonderful Life

… Happy Thanksgiving, Be Thankful for all things, not the least of which is the lights, A/C and the cable TV…