Simple Pleasures Part IV: New to Old


During my early years on this earth, my family would make the trek from Seibert, Colorado to Powell, Wyoming to visit my mom’s parents twice a year.  It was an all day adventure starting early in the morning, driving through Denver and then heading north through Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I would always hear this song ringing in my mother’s voice.  “Cheyenne, Cheyenne, hop on your pony, there’s room here for two dear, and after the ceremony.”  The song would end abruptly, or thats all my mom knew.  It had a cute ring to the melody, and I can still hear that song in my ear even as I write the words and I wish you could hear the melody as well.  You would love it (or maybe learn to hate it).

After writing the above paragraph, I decided to look up the song and found it was written in 1906.  The following is a partial rendition of the song and it’s not Cheyenne, but Shy Ann as you will see why.

Way out in old Wyoming long ago,                                                                                          Where coyotes lurk while night winds howl and blow                                                               A cowboy’s lusty voice rang out “Hello”                                                                                        And echoed through the valley down below,                                                                           Then came back a maiden’s answer sweet and clear                                                       Cowboy tossed his hat up in the air Said he,                                                                                                     “I’ve come to take you right away from here                                                                     Cheyenne they say is miles away, but they’ve a preacher there”                                         Then she just drooped her eye, she was so very shy                                                                    So shy, oh my!, and then he made reply                                                                                  Oooh-oooh-oooh                                                                                                                               Shy Ann, shy Ann, hop on my pony                                                                                        There’s room here for two, Dear                                                                                                         But after the ceremony                                                                                                                  We’ll both ride back home, Dear, as one On my pony from old Cheyenne

There is another verse, but you get the drift.  I never knew there was more to the story and am going to ask my mother when I see her next.  Well back to the story.

My grandpa was an irrigation farmer outside Powell and planted beets, green beans, and alfalfa for the cattle.  He had this old John Deere Tractor that he would use to plow the fields and would let me get on it with him and drive it around the farm.  I was never so proud when I sat on the lap of my granddad and drove that tractor.  I felt so big.

Well deja vu.  I took my grandson to Chatfield Gardens to look at the butterflies and farm animals.  After viewing the butterflies and animals, there was a sign that pointed to a play area for kids to play.  We walked down this winding path through the wooded landscape and rounded the bend to find something that brought back those memories of my childhood with my grandpa.

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Here is my grandson with my wife sitting on the same kind of tractor that my grandpa had me set on his lap.  Mind you, this tractor was dug in the ground and would never be able to move, but my new grandson was meeting the old and having the time of his life.  It involves the simple pleasures of re-introducing the old into our lives so that we can reclaim the joys of our youth when we were young.

On this journey we will come across things that are old that remind us of when we were young.  Take time to reminisce about those times as the simple pleasures can come flowing back into our lives.  The key is taking time.

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Simple Pleasures Part III: Knowing is Understanding


While we were at the butterfly pavilion, I took some time to talk to Bob.  Bob had worked  over the years and was now a volunteer in the pavilion.  He was very knowledgable about butterflies and spiked my interest with his information.  He was specifically knowledgable about Monach butterflies.  Below is a picture I took of one of them flying in the pavilion.

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They can only fly about 10-12 miles per hour but make a 1200 mile flight from North America to Mexico every year between September and October and back again.  Once I started calculating the average time a butterfly lives (2 weeks), the numbers didn’t add up.

What he said was that when they start their four stage transformation around March and April.  The four stages consist of eggs that hatch into caterpillars.  The caterpillars form  a chrysalis or a cocoon that then metamorphosis into a butterfly.  What they do before they die is lay eggs for their next generation to hatch and turn from a caterpillar to a butterfly.  The butterflies of the first three generations only live between 2-6 weeks and then lay their eggs and die.  The fourth generation butterfly is different.  This Monarch begins to fly south for the winter and has been known to fly up to 1200 miles before it lays it’s eggs and dies.  When it’s time to return from where their ancestors came from, off they go and the cycle begins again with each generation determined to make their path closer and closer to the final destination.

This information cost me nothing, but I gained an immense appreciation for the monarch butterfly that is determined to fulfill it’s goal and destiny.  We all have a mark from God as to what our gifts and abilities are in this world.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we like the Monarch knew what that destiny was and put our energy in fulfilling the plan that God had for us.  Part of that plan comes in the pages of the bible, old and new testaments.  I have spent a good portion of my life reading it from cover to cover and am learning what He wants me to do and be.

On this journey, we all have the opportunity to find out what His plan is for each of us.  That plan is different, based on our uniquenesses and personalities, but if we seek for and search for that plan with all of our heart, we will find it.

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Simple Pleasures Part II: Thru a Child’s Eyes


As I mentioned in Simple Pleasures Part I, Nadine and I journeyed up to Denver to take care of one of our grandkids and allow his parents some reprieve to get away for their anniversary.  We planned out our time with him by giving him some experiences that we would enjoy but that he would enjoy as well.

Today we ate a healthy breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit.  That was our healthy breakfast, but we threw in four small pancakes with peanut butter on top to satisfy his palate.  In looking at our options, we decided on _____________________ in Littleton, CO.  It had a butterfly pavilion with a petting farm and botanical gardens.  Something for every member of the family.

We packed up the snacks, extra diapers, more snacks for the adults, water, rain coats in case it rained, back packs, and snow shovels just in case (not really but to take a toddler it takes a lot).  We plotted the address on google maps and off we went.  It said it would take around 20 minutes and the time frame wasn’t far off.

Once we paid the entrance fee, we were off to the butterfly pavilion to see the beautiful butterflies.  I found out that there are 10-12 kinds of butterflies that exist in Colorado and they had all of them in the plastic hut.  Below are just a few of the species we saw.

At one point in our expedition, Greyson sat down on a log and just stared at one of the butterflies.  He was taken by the beauty of each one of them and I couldn’t help but take some time myself and see the beauty that God had created in these beautiful creations.

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All of us have been a child at one point in our lives and have experienced being amazed at God’s creation.  It could be a butterfly.  An ant.  Worm.  Caterpillar.  Frog.  You name it, a child has observed it and taken time to see the comings and goings of that animal or insect or rodent.  Children are not preoccupied with things they have to do.  They life in the moment.  They don’t worry about what they have to do tomorrow.  The most important thing for that child is living in the moment.  Every moment.

It reminds me of what Jesus said about worry.  He said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Each day has enough troubles of its own.”  Matthew 6:34.  He was telling us to focus on today and live in the moment.  Every moment like that of a child.

On this journey we have a choice today to live in the moment we are in.  The journey is not about taking someone elses journey, but our own.  Take time today to see what’s before you and enjoy the butterfly that flies by.

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Simple Pleasures: Part I


Nadine and I took a flight to Denver, Colorado to toddler sit for our grandson in Colorado.  We gave her son and wife some time at a resort so that they could celebrate their anniversary and offered to sit for their son.  We both are going back to our Colorado roots that brought us into the world.  Growing up in Colorado created many memories for me and just seeing Denver brings back so many memories of our family traveling 132 miles from Seibert, my real roots, west to see the huge metropolis of Denver.  We would make that trek on a monthly basis as my dad had to get supplies that couldn’t be obtained in such a small town of Seibert.

You see, I grew up in a town of 200, including the cats and dogs.  I went to school from first grade through high school with basically the same 9-10 other students, and graduated with a class of 10.  Every time the plane flies over Denver, I am brought back with memories of sitting outside a warehouse with my mom and sister while my dad got his supplies.

We decided to take a walk to get some exercise.  As we walked out of the house, there were some ominous clouds, but we decided to brave the potential weather without coats or umbrellas and risk what might happen.  About a block into our walk, it started to spit, but it wasn’t enough to stop us so on we went.  It went from a spitting to a drizzle.  It’s been awhile since I made a choice to walk in the rain.  I do remember decades ago when I was young and foolish that I would do that kind of thing with a girl I would date.  It seemed romantic to walk in the rain.  But long ago, I began to plan for inclement weather and took necessary rain gear, appropriate clothes and the like to prevent a drenching.

Our minds moved from the obvious, the rain pelting us, to the beauty of the rivers we crossed, the barn filled with horses that had been put in out of the rain, the unique homes with acres and acres of beautiful landscape, and a family with a three-year old and two 18 month old children taking a walk as well.  We went from tree to tree where the water had not fallen and got more wet between the trees.

Not once did Nadine nor I complain about the rain or how we were getting rained on.  We appreciated the beauty around us and the walk we were taking.  We were experiencing the simple pleasures of life that had seemed to escape our life for decades.  Mind you, there are other simple pleasures we are seeking to incorporate into our lives, but walking in the rain without the necessary gear is one pleasure we plan to do in the future.

On this journey, there are going to be simple pleasures that are all around us.  It only takes the opening of our eyes and choosing to act on those pleasures that real joy for living emerges.

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What Is Most Important?


Being faced with death has an interesting way to get your attention and give you a different perspective of life.  I have asked these following questions more than I can count to people I have come in contact with.  “If you had one day to live and your life would be taken at the end of the day what would you do?  How would you plan your day?  What things would be on your agenda? ”  It seems easy enough to answer that question until you come face to face with the reality of that dilemma.

I was at the initial doctor that I visited for a follow-up on the stent that was put in.  He shocked me with the message that my LAD artery was not 99% blocked, but 99.5% blocked.  It doesn’t seem like much unless you are dealing with life and death.  He said I was living on borrowed time and told me that my wife was my savior in getting the help I needed before it was too late.  Let me ask you that question.  What would you invest your time in if you had one more day to live?  What things would you drop that you are presently doing?  How would you live your last day on earth?  What you choose to do the last day of your life becomes what is most important in your life.

For me, money was the least of my worries during this time.  I didn’t think about working more or having more clients come in.  I was not interested in buying anything, — period.  My only thought was seeking the Lord for guidance and spending time with the ones in my life whom I love.  God and others.  Nothing else.

Yet in our society, we seem to be exchanging the most important things in life for other things that we think will bring us happiness and fulfillment.  Striving for money seems to be a desire in our culture as we put it up on a pedestal and seek after more of it.  Withdrawing to secluded places that have beauty for rest and relaxation to take away our stress is another avenue that pops in the minds of those who walk around–vacationing.  Others think that getting the next car or next house, or more clothes will bring fulfillment to our lives–stuff.  The fact is, these things can bring temporary satisfaction, but the fulfillment wears off rather quickly and we find ourselves striving for more.  One of the richest men in the world was asked the question one time if he could have anything in the world, he replied, “One more dollar.”

We live in a society that seems to think that things will be the god that will ultimately satisfy.  But things, money, other places will pale in significance when your life is at stake.  Take my word for it.  I came across a passage where this message was being communicated to the nation of Israel.  “Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols. Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the LORD. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” ‭Jeremiah‬ ‭2:11-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

The Lord was speaking to the Israelite nation saying that they had made two mistakes.  The first mistake was forsaking the God who created all.  He is the source of live and living water, but they turned away from Him to other things.  The second mistake was depending upon themselves to provide for their lives, and not depending upon the God who is able.  Our plan to bring fulfillment to ourselves is broken and can never satisfy permanently.

On this journey, we only have one life to live.  It’s helpful to contemplate what we are seeking to bring fulfillment and change our vision before it is too late.

 

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PAIN: Part VI: Epilogue


I had been told by the cardiologist three things as I was leaving the hospital.  The first thing involved my weight.  I struggle with my weight, because I love my breads and desserts.  Anything sweet speaks to my palate and doesn’t usually get by my hands and feet who are in sink to accomplish what my palate says.  If only the hands and feet had their own minds to resist fulfilling the desires of my sweet teeth.  Right now I have my palate, my hands and feet working together along with the wonderful hands of my wife helping to put only healthy things into my body.

The second edict from the doctor centered around keeping a low profile in my driving and my exercise.  I was told that if we went to Flagstaff for the weekend, I was not to drive the whole way and that I couldn’t play golf.  Now those two things are very hard to not do.  Don’t get me wrong, Nadine is a very good driver, but not having that steering wheel in my hands forces me to deal with control issues that feel uncomfortable.  I don’t feel like I have control issues in our relationship, but I guess they manifest themselves when I am in the passenger seat and she is driving.  I had to shut my eyes and pretend to be sleeping in order to resist the temptation to tell her how to drive.  The golf was no real problem as we took three fairly long walks over the weekend and spent time together.

Well, yesterday was the follow-up appointment following the angiogram and stent they put in a little over a week ago.  I was put on the table and given an EKG which turned out very well.  After a brief wait in the room, Dr. Khaled came in and gave me the good news that the surgery was very successful and that everything looked normal including the incision into my femoral artery.  He told me that I was free to begin playing golf and could drive as well.  What great news.  I got a new chance at life with the stent and thanked him so much for what he had done.

Sometimes we are given a new chance on life and are so excited about the differences we see in our body that we fail to stop and express appreciation for those who were instrumental for giving us back that life.  I can think of three that have been an integral part of where I am right now.  First person to thank is the Lord for holding off a potential massive heart attack until the doctors could place the stent in my LAD artery.  The second person is my wife who stepped up to the plate and got the necessary help I needed so quickly.  She has also been instrumental in changing the diet I need to be on to continue to maintain a healthy heart.  The third person is obviously the doctor who saw the problem and took the necessary steps to fix the problem.

On this journey, we need the support of friends and family as well as professionals at times to handle issues we are unable to handle.  When they come along for support and guidance, give them the expressions of appreciation that they deserve.

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Appreciating Different Styles


One of the greatest joys Nadine and I have is coming up to our little retreat and gaining spiritual, emotional and physical retreat.  We pull away as often as we can to enjoy the pleasures of the mountain air.  This weekend it has rained every day so not only do we get the coolness of the environment but the smells that come during and after the rains.  This morning we have been sitting out on our deck, drinking coffee with our Cavalier King Charles, but I have begun to observe the way the chickadees, the black throat sparrow, and the hummingbirds come to the feeder to eat.

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There are some who come to the feeder and just get one seed and leave.  They take the seed to a ponderosa tree limb and sit there enjoying their new-found seed.  Once they have eaten it they come and get another seed, doing the same thing with it.

There are a couple of chickadees that love to come to the bird feeder and hang upside down.  They aren’t hungry, but hang on the side of the bottom of the feeder and look upside down, as if they were doing an acrobatics trick for us.  After a bit they leave without taking any seeds.  They woodpeckers do the same thing, except they put all their body on the bottom of the feeder with their heads above the bottom and take seeds in this awkward way.  They are so big that they can’t stand on the feeder like the other birds  and eat.

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There are some who are very shy and go from one limb to another limb, inching closer to the feeder, with the last step going onto the roof before jumping onto the feeder.  They are very cautious and can be spooked very easily.  They usually get one or two seeds and fly away.

There are others that have no shyness at all and fly right to the feeder and sit.  And sit.  And sit.  They are hungry and care less whether any other bird or person or dog is around.  They want their food and won’t leave until they get their fill.

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As for the hummingbirds, some come to the red delicious nectar and get its fill all the while flying in mid-air.  Others come to the feeder and sit and drink and drink and drink.

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It’s only as you take time to sit and observe that differences begin to emerge in their eating habits.  This experience began to give me some insight as to what happens with people.  There are so many different ways in which people live and move and pattern their lives.  Some are very shy, while others are very assertive.  Some have very conservative views of living while others make choices that would cause some to criticize or ridicule.

We may not pattern our lives with those we are critical of, but wouldn’t it be a better place if we were to live our lives like these birds?  They have all different kind of eating patterns, but are respectful of other birds who don’t eat the same as they do.

It reminds me of Jesus when He was criticized for eating with the tax collectors and sinners.  The conservatives were critical how He accepted and loved everyone with no strings attached.  How different it might be if Republicans and Democrats could apply this principle to running our government.  I guess that is wishful thinking.

On this journey we have the opportunity to turn our criticism of others into appreciating them as one of the family of God’s creation.  Let the birds of today begin to impact your perspective of how you fly in this world.

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