No Storm Last Forever

River 8 BG

As I look back over my life I see many turbulent times. Between the mighty crests of the waves there were the calms of the troughs. The winds that wreak havoc on our spirits eventually die down. All clouds run out of rain.

During the storms we have to find the strength to continue. After the storms we work to repair the damage. Of course there will be scars. How we deal with the storms and the aftermaths are as independent as our fingerprints. Yes, some of us act in similar ways, but how we feel inside is known only to us. During most storms I tend to pull my emotions inside like a turtle when threatened. Some storms I tend to lash out like a rattlesnake when disturbed. Some storms I remain calm and just ride it out. Once the storm passes we must rationally assess the damage. If we don’t properly diagnose we spend too much time trying to correct the symptoms. We add X to our lives as a patch. Or remove Y from our lives because it hurts. Doing this only prolongs our pain. Acting rationally while we are hurt is not easy. In fact, it is almost impossible.Only after a cooling down period of introspection can we truly figure out where the roots of our pain exists. Looking at our own faults is scary. Blaming others comes easy.

Because I chose the turtle stance most of the time, I allowed others to take advantage of me. When I acted like a rattlesnake, I never gave an opportunity to the other people. When I approach problems rationally first, which is rare, I remain calm and a mutual agreement is usually found. People have used me, but I let them. People tried to help me, but I prevented them. When I realize the big picture I put myself back in control of me. I can’t control others, but I can choose not to let others control me. My happiness comes from how I interpret life, not how others act towards me.

There will always be storms. Its nice to know they will always end. They might be followed by another storm, but that also will eventually end.


A Glance Back

My Family Years Ago

This morning I read a post by Bare Naked in Public. I hope she doesn’t mind my reference to her blog. She always seems to be speaking directly to me, although I know that is not her intention. I would like to suggest you check out her blog and judge for yourself. After reading her post I felt inclined to reflect on my past.

The picture above was taken back in the early 80’s. My mother, on the left, was a single woman raising 3 children with no help from their father. My beautiful sister, on the right, now has 2 gorgeous daughters of her own and recently she was blessed with twin granddaughters. My brother, on the right, has a daughter entering college and a son in high-school that loves sports. I, on the left, have a son that is currently working as a chef at a local restaurant.

Back when this picture was taken I was in high-school. I didn’t think I was poor. I didn’t think working was a burden. I attended school and then went to work at my uncle’s crab shop in the afternoon. It all just seemed normal to me.Many of my friends didn’t have jobs and therefore had more time for other activities. At the time I was slightly jealous, now, I’m glad that I had the life I had. I don’t take things for granted. I have what I have because of the effort I extend and because others that truly love me have been there to support me along the way.

I have made many mistakes on life’s highway. As a husband I failed twice. As a father I made many wrong choices. I can’t change the past. I can only try to make each day worth remembering for the right reasons. My family loves me even knowing my faults. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all accepted each other as is.

Once upon a time, my mother, brother, sister and I all shared one bed at my grandparent’s home. Now, we are all separated by time and space. I wouldn’t trade a single day of my past for a day enjoyed by royalty. I don’t live a life of luxury, but I have what money can’t buy, LOVE!

A Gentle Reminder

KIMG0044Recently, during a very stressful day at work, I went outside to clear my head. Amid the acres of asphalt, parked cars and people shuffling around, I saw a small rabbit. It was nibbling on grass in one of the islands. Watching the rabbit moving from island to island as if it didn’t have a care in the world, made me think about all the beauty nature shows us every day. Even here in a parking lot GOD again gave me a reminder that there is much more to life than most of us participate in.

I used to find time for canoeing, hiking, visiting parks and science centers. Lately I have let my job consume so much of my time I forget to find time for me. Even this brief instance with the rabbit left me yearning to reconnect with nature. This Labor day weekend I’m committing to find time to enjoy the great outdoors.

I want so badly to resume my sustainable lifestyle. All of my batteries need to be replaced. That is an expense I currently can’t afford. Slowly I plan to replace them one at a time. My solar panels are doing their job, but without good batteries their generated energy is useless.

My garden has more weeds than edible plants. Fixing that issue is a great place to start. It isn’t expensive. I’ll get my hands dirty. I’ll get some much needed exercise. I’ll return my yard to a condition my neighbors can enjoy looking at.

Inspired by a brief encounter with a rabbit, I realized how many things I love that I’m not doing. I need to get back to who I was and not let my job get in my way. I will stop bringing my work home with me. GOD gave me talents and a love for nature. I will combine my gifts and moving forward live for me. Trying to be all things for others might make them happy, but I find little satisfaction in doing menial tasks just because I’m good at it. I like serving others, but all choices we make include an opportunity cost. Doing “A” means not doing “B”. I am learning to say no. Not because I don’t want to help others, rather that I deserve time for myself.

I am blessed. May GOD smile upon you and your life be filled with love. My gentle reminder from GOD got me to reexamine what I was doing, and more importantly why I was doing it. Putting yourself last is realistically unhealthy, both physically and emotionally. Take time for you, or you will never find true happiness. It took me 49 years to figure this out. It’s the little things in life that matter. Make the most of what you have. Hug your children, Chase your dreams. There is only one YOU. And only YOU can control your choices. I choose to live for me, mistakes and bad judgements are bound to occur. So be it. I refuse to be a pawn in others game of life.

This is my outlet to vent. If I’m the only one who ever reads it, I’m happy with that. If others read it and find even one thing they like  I will feel good knowing that even though I created this just for me, perhaps like minded people can work together to create a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t destroy the beauty nature gives us everyday.

Good night and GOD BLESS.


Why Kids don’t go outside anymore!

ImageHave you seen an electrical outlet on any trees where you live? Kids are so busy “connecting” with their “friends” across the internet they rarely, if ever, actually meet most of those “friends”.

I read a comic recently that got my attention. The cartoon showed two people watching a live sporting event while surrounded by a large crowd of spectators watching the same event on their “smart” devices. The caption read, “We are the only people here watching the game live”. Look around you, even in traffic you’ll find people texting, watching video on their “smart” phone, or multiple other distracting activities, instead of watching traffic.

It’s not just kids! Many adults are addicted to social media. Really, who actually has 6,000 or more actual friends? If parents and other influential adults are providing no positive structure, why should kids care?

It’s more fun to lay (or lie, or is it lye) in bed playing online video games, eating junk food and consuming massive quantities of sugary drinks, than riding a bike, hiking, canoeing, or any other outdoor activities. Says who? Not me!

Sugary food and drinks release chemicals in the brain, just like drugs do, making a person crave more of the same. The more you consume, the more you desire. The downside is, lower activity levels, higher obesity rates, and more children diagnosed with diseases such as Diabetes and ADD or ADHD. Of course a youngster full of of sugar and caffeine has trouble paying attention, are prescriptions the answer?  Not just No, but HELL NO!

We as a nation need to wake up, myself included, to the pitfalls facing our youth. Pretending this will fix itself is only going to compound the matter. Please take a minute or two to reflect on how we as a country are failing our kids.

China recently bought Smithfield, a major supplier of pork in America. America is one of the few major countries that charge for higher education, usually at rates that take decades to repay, no wonder foreigners answer our calls for tech support.

Think, Pray, Love. Buy Local when possible.


First day back on campus, and nature deficit

It might be hard to see, but that is a young gator warming up in the sun. There is a lot more on campus than classrooms. I usually park in the most underused parking garage the campus has. I enjoy the stroll across the wooden bridge as well as the sidewalk trek through nature. It takes a little longer to get to my classes clear on the other end of campus, but the views can be stunning. Most other students I see on the same path I take never look at what is absolutely surrounding them. When others use this garage or the lot beside it is often a choice of last resort, meaning the others are filled to capacity, and they are probably going to be late to class anyway. In most cases they either take the walk while talking or texting on their cell phones, never pausing to breathe in clear air and examine the beauty this world has to offer.

As stated, I purposely park in the most underused parking garage, just so I can walk through natural scenery before I go into the classrooms. Sure it’s a longer walk and I can’t always predict whether or not I need an umbrella, but just one good view of nature in motion per semester would be worth the added effort. I get a lot more than one, this is my last semester here as an undergrad and I don’t envision coming back as a graduate student any time soon. I will miss these walks. I’m sure I can still visit the campus and the many other places designed to expose young people to nature in the future, it just won’t feel the same.

I have heard the term nature deficit for quite some time now, but until observing that most of my fellow students walk through natures beauty and not even raise their eyes from whatever device has them captivated worries me. I am a student of computer information systems, so I see a significant use for technology in everyday life. But should we accept that being connected is so important that we fail to even notice all that nature is and can offer us? I hope not. I and my friends grew up playing outside everyday, a lot of children today only venture outside when forced to do so! What happened to us as a nation?

If all of us were so addicted to technology like video games and internet applications, who would be our doctors, policemen, firemen, military, leaders, not to mention providers of electricity and the stuff people are addicted to? I think almost all forms of recreation have a place in people’s lives, they should not however rule your life. Recreation is vital, take the word apart and examine it.

Please take a moment to observe something natural everyday!  Give thanks to GOD for all he has provided. Respect our environment.


Be Strong

Everyday seems to present its own set of new challenges. Today was no different. I didn’t want to get up, the rain hitting the windows reminded me that where I was going would most likely be muggy and mosquito ridden. I got up anyway. I promised my friend of many years to help him with a few projects he needed to complete rather quickly. I could have lied or made an excuse to get out of it, but this was a friend who has been there when others weren’t.

I was right about the mosquitoes and the humidity. It was hot, muddy, and generally uncomfortable. My friend didn’t push or rush me to do the chores in front of us, and after about 8 hours that felt like 20, we were done. When I got home I felt like an old worn out rag that needed a good soak in a fast moving creek. My heart told me over and over throughout the day to “Be strong, be patient. In the end, its the results that matter, not the problems during the fight”. The fight of everyday life isn’t wasted effort, we get stronger for our attempts. We aren’t always successful in our endeavors, but we learn to survive.

At the end of the day (this and every other), what really matters is what we hold dear. Family and friends can’t be replaced with things or money! 

Blessings to all!


Drying Fruit

Fruits and veggies are good for us so when they are on sale we tend to buy them. Sometimes we don’t use them all before they start to lose that fresh picked flavor and sometimes wind up in the compost bin. Bananas, no matter how green in the store or market, seem to go really fast. Two days ago I sliced several bananas and set up the dehydrator. While I was at it, I sliced apples, peaches, nectarines, and an orange. The dehydrating process is mostly unattended so it didn’t take me away from doing other important things. Some folks like to dip the fruits in lemon juice or other solutions to prevent browning in the process, since the browning doesn’t affect the taste or safety of the fruit I usually don’t bother to dip them. Once dehydrated, all the flavors are concentrated and the fruit is preserved to extend the amount of time it is edible. The orange didn’t do as well as the others, but is still quite tasty.

In the future we plan to try canning again. Our previous attempts didn’t go extremely well, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. There are tons of information about the canning processes commonly used, so perhaps it will go better next time around. If you have tips on canning feel free to leave a comment or two.

That’s all for now.