Moving On

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor those of you who’ve followed my Journey over the past year, Thank You.

One of my personal goals is to make the most of every post; to never waste your time.  With that in mind, I’ve consolidated my blogs, making my primary page the location for all my posts.

With that in mind, want to invite you to visit my main blog:  Austin’s Acre.

There you will find all my prior posts from My Journey to 50, Prayers of a Fool, Page Turners and Study Along with Me.

You can also click the “Follow Me” button and receive all the newest posts for Austin’s Acre.

Again, thank you to all who’ve read my blog, followed along, and offered your support.

I’ll see you on the Acre.


Ups and Downs

20140105_151935Here’s what I’ve seen in the past weeks:

  • One friend lost her job.
  • One friend received a promotion.
  • One marriage is falling apart.
  • One unborn child died.
  • One friend has rectal cancer.
  • One friend had surgery for prostate cancer.
  • One friend lost his father.
  • Sunny and warm days can turn into winter wonderlands overnight.
  • Dark times are always, always followed by sunny days.

And here’s what I’ve learned as a result of all this:

  • Life and health are frail.
  • Marriages are hard.
  • Winter wonderlands are beautiful…if only for a few days.
  • Life always ends in death.
  • In between birth and death, we make the most of every moment or we don’t…it’s our choice.

What will I learn next week?

Getting Back To My Roots

694Every so often, a person must look back into their past and evaluate the source of their genetic material.  While I have no documentation to prove it, I believe I have a little Scot in my blood.  I base this on the fact that I love the move, Braveheart and look pretty good in a Kilt.

Where do you get your DNA?  What is the root of your personality?  Are you somber and stern or lovable and filled with laughter?  Are you tall and strong or short and frail?

It doesn’t make you less-than to know your history, no matter the outcome.  In fact, knowing from where you come gives you strength and purpose.

Be proud of your heritage.  Own your history.  It’s made you who you are today.

P.S.  And if you have the legs for it, slip on a Kilt…It’s most liberating!

A New Day

20140301_074944Today begins the season of Lent.  For those of you who follow the liturgical calendar, this is the jumping off point for the journey to The Cross.  For many others, it’s just a few days in the month when we vow to give up chocolate or coffee or TV or social media in an effort to be better grounded individuals.

For me, it the start of a spiritual journey.  More than giving up those things that distract my being, I’ll pick up things that will enhance my life.  For instance, during these days that lead to Easter in 2014, I plan to engage in the following activities:

  • I will reduce my consumption of social media but increase opportunities for silence.
  • I will watch less TV and watch more sunsets.
  • I will think fewer mean-spirited thoughts and say more kind words.
  • I will escape chaos and run towards peace.
  • I will whine less and praise more.
  • I will grumble less and celebrate more.
  • I will look at my work as a gift.
  • I will look for birds singing in trees, marvel at cloud formations on the horizon, and dance for joy at every new spring flower that pushes through winter’s gloom.
  • I will sing loudly.
  • I will laugh heartily.
  • I will life life with enthusiasm and joy.

In short, this journey is going to be wonderful.  Won’t you join me?

A Preferred View

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow is it possible that just two weeks ago I was standing on white beaches at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.  How is it possible that just fourteen days ago I watched dolphins play alongside our tour boat?

An even more relevant question:  How is it possible that we are back in Indiana and under a winter storm warning today?

Something isn’t right about this picture!  It’s true, we escaped the winter to find the warmth.  I needed a break.  I mean, I love Indiana in the spring, summer and fall.  I actually enjoy Indiana in the winter.  I have fun in the cold and the snow…and it is nice to experience a change of seasons.

But any time you come close to breaking the historical record for the most snow in a season, a person’s heart and mind longs for the warm Gulf waters.

While I’m watching snow fall gently from the sky and cover my Indiana back yard, in my mind’s eye I’m seeing sleek aquatic mammals slide through the warm, shimmering light reflecting off emerald green waters.

I like that view much better!

Turning 50

20140222_191306I had a great day yesterday.  It was, after all, my birthday.  It was the Big One.  It was the milestone.  The half-century mark.  It was the Big 5-0.

And to make it even better, I did what everyone wants to do on their birthday:  I updated my blogs, deleting one and touching up another.  I cleaned my garage.  I had a beautiful dinner with my family.  What more can a guy ask for?

The dinner was amazing: My wife made skirt steak directly on the coals of the grill.  Alton Brown has nothing on my wife!  My son made gratin potatoes that melted in your mouth.  My daughter cooked up some asparagus and garlic.  It was all simply the best meal I’ve eaten in months!

For dessert, we enjoyed some fantastic cupcakes from Sweet Home Cupcakes and played a few rounds of Boggle.  As is fitting for the birthday boy, I won.  And gloated.

20140222_191322And here is the best part of the evening:  My wife, always one to promote sappy, happy experiences, invited each one of the kids to share one thing about their father that they are most thankful for.  I won’t bore you with details about how wonderful they think I am…but I will say this, everything they mentioned is something new to my personality and character over the past year.  They are not things that come naturally.  in fact, I have to attribute this change to the past 365 days of effort and attention to my life.  I have intentionally worked on keeping my mouth shut, growing from my mistakes and changing the way I view the world.  It was not accident.  It didn’t just happen by chance.  And still doesn’t happen all the time.

I’ve stopped talking and started listening.  I’ve tried hard not to come back with a quick retort, a humorous story or offer my opinion when it isn’t requested.  I’ve kept my mouth shut and opened my mind.  In the end, it results in the appearance that I am wiser than I really am.

Keeping my mouth shut, the gray hair and the 64 ounces of water I drank today:  That’s my secret for appearing wise.