Friday, August 29, 2014

You Never Know...

It's just not what I had planned.  I mean, I thought that my life was going to be this perfect little world I could arrange and build for myself, then, yes, then I started to realize I had no power or control over anything.  I always seemed to be reacting instead of acting.  I was easy going, accepting, okay with the curve balls life was pitching me.  I mean, afterall, at least I was still taking the pitches and was still holding a bat!

Then, I began to notice that I wasn't batting in a ball game at all.  I was in the cross fire of a fierce game of dodge ball.  Both sides were trying to take me out!  I all of sudden know what it's like to be standing all alone, and as you are keeping your eye on those you calculated as being your biggest threat, those "Goliaths" surrounding you... You realize, it's the little sneaky buggers that are the most dangerous and challenging.

Until... You realize that you have love.  You have care.  That you are in somebody's prayers and all those little somebodies are entirely the reason how it is possible to keep taking the hits.  That even though you never really know much at all... You do feel "heart strength" and "peace" from those you love.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All Things Are Balanced and Reconciled...


Today as midgey and I walked off the beach here at steamboat rock campgrounds, I spied this seagull with a broken wing.  My heart, my very soul, was just sickened by the peril I knew this little bird was in.  My mind raced with solutions; should I turn midgey lose on this bird knowing midgey would hunt it down and end it's life rather than prolong it's suffering?  Should I, myself, capture this bird and wring it's neck and put it out it's impending doom?  Should I snatch this bird and care for it the rest of its life, in its broken and hopeless state for which there would never be any recovery?  Then I stopped and which this little bird move along the beach, turning it's head from side to side, carefully staying next to where the beach met the cover of grass, thickets, tree roots and places to seek refuge from the elements and predators.  This little bird knee of its plight.  It's was aware of both it's challenge and the risk it took every moment of everyday in its plight to survive.  Matthew 10:29-31 came to my mind.

Matthew 10:29-31
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Yes, we are more valuable than my little feathered friend I happened upon today.  Our Father in Heaven is very aware of us each and together.  He knows our anguish as we miss Val.  He knows of our pains, our fears, our own perilous fight against all our challenges, be they; emotional, mental, physical, financial, spiritual or any other uphill battle we may be facing.  In the temple endowment we are promised a Savior to retrieve us from the "fall".  We are gifted an atoning elder brother who can balance the scales of all things, not just justice vs. mercy when we transgress and when others transgress against us, but we can find relieve and rest from all our hurts, our cares, our very woes in every categorical piece of our human experience.  Val has been with each of us, I promise you she DOES LIVE... she is near and she touches each of our lives in ways that (for now) we only hope she does.  I bless you all that "that" is real, it is within us and it is a powerful assuring gift I feel everyday.

So I watched that little seagull move on.  I wondered if it wasn't to bless the lives of some coyote cubs?  Or maybe just be a symbol of God's careful watch over us, just as I momentarily was watching over this little bird, being taught something far more meaningful than, "oh look, a bird with a broken wing."  Like it, don't we each have a broken wing that only our beloved Savior can mend?  I think so.

I love you each... Boo Boo

He who notes the fall of a sparrow
Surely hears the pleadings of our heart
Remember where’er we lack in wisdom
It’s through prayer that our Father imparts
To those who are struggling with challenges
With difficulties large or small
Prayer is what moves those door hinges
That the love of God may come to call
Speak to Him… then listen
As miracles are wrought
That, this time, as tears moisten
It’s from a wonderous hope filled thought
Know… no matter that where you live is crowded
And millions of people surround
Answers come heaven… though once doubted
When we’re searching… God can be found
Long ago… one named Daisy
Had been taught the seeds of truth
Time passed… something stirred her heart
She wished again for that time of reproof
She saw missionaries at a distance
And prayed fervently to Father in Heaven
There to promise… if given a new chance
She would open her door and heart unto them
Meanwhile… missionaries too were praying
And working to find someone to teach
They searched old records of tracting
And knew… Daisy was the one to reach
Such it was that very day
That they knocked upon her door
Through a passport of prayer and faith
All were taught… as love did pour
Matthew 10:
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

President Thomas S. Monson
“Be Your Best Self,” Liahona, May 2009, 67–70

Sent from my iPad

On Aug 21, 2014, at 2:26 AM, Kirsten <> wrote:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
-Mary Elisabeth Frye

Sent from my iPhone

Hello Woman Of My Dreams...

I had a dream last night that I was on a long, long flight to NYC, but I was only changing planes there and I was headed off to a foreign country.  The dream was rational, seemed very real, as did the people in it.  I had relationships with each of them, I knew them and they knew me...  My carry on bags were a concern to me, and I keep suspecting someone had been inside them, taking things I would need for my travels...

When I awoke, I realized that all the things I had been stuffing into my head and my heart were trying to come and make sense of all those "dream notions" I had been having...

Mostly, I was calm and had no need to worry, nothing to fear and all was well...  And, that is correct in my "real" world...

Its the end of summer soon...  It already smells like fall...  The Washington state fair is here soon, the night air is crisp...  My favorite season is just around the corner...  Good things are coming...  I can feel it.

(Val sitting in Banks Lake... We had our family trip there last week...  wonderful!)

Hello cowgirl in the sand
Is this place
at your command
Can I stay here
for a while
Can I see your
sweet sweet smile
Old enough now
to change your name
When so many love you
is it the same?
It's the woman in you
that makes you want
to play this game.

Hello ruby in the dust

Has your band
begun to rust
After all
the sin we've had
I was hopin' that
we'd turn bad
Old enough now
to change your name
When so many love you
is it the same
It's the woman in you
that makes you want
to play this game.

Hello woman of my dreams
This is not
the way it seems
Purple words
on a grey background
To be a woman
and to be turned down
Old enough now
to change your name
When so many love you
is it the same
It's the woman in you
that makes you want
to play this game. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Growing Old Didn't Happen...

I suppose we all have romantic, fantasy even, thoughts that we carry around with us from the time we are first aware of our cognitive thinking, processing, remembering... thoughts of what our lives will be like...  Most important just who we will spend our life with...  Little girls dream of their wedding days, little boys dream of hitting homers and winning the heart of that special girl as he rounds third for his victory stomp on home plate...

Most if not all of us are familiar with the movie, The Notebook, that great love story between the kid from the poor side of the tracks; Noah and how he won the live of his life; Allie...  Sadly Allie slips into memory loss as she ages and Noah, undaunted, reads to her every day from his journal, in an effort to reactivate Allie's memory of who they were together...  What their life was together...  There are short moments when he is successful, but as it happens we Alzheimer's, Allie far too soon isn't able for Noah to reclaim her... Yet in a romantic way, in their deepest love, in an "only in the movies" ending, one night they pass away together, holding each other, snuggled in Allie's care facility single/twin hospital bed...

Being happy, living life, growing old together with the love if your life is rowing your bait down that river where life is truly but a dream...  Yet, here I sit, at a family gathering, it's 2:51am, I am wide awake and I am saddened tonight for a couple reasons...  Some very important things in my life are changing, going away, ending...  When these things happen, all it does is call to my mind that I didn't get the Notebook life or ending...  There is no real princess at Disneyland and life is filled and chilled with far to many mysteries and there's too many questions that never seem to end or stop coming at you...  Val's been gone now nearly 1 1/2 years...  I am constantly aware of what that means...  On sum, my life as I knew it, as I wanted, it is now gone...   Anything I come around to now, achieve, or grasp onto is pretty much at "best" is a 2nd place award, but definitely no where near the first place winner, that #1 winner whose jacket remains out back, on a shovel handle awaiting his best judgement on what to do next... Being widowed is fraught with peril, without so many  "little" pieces of understanding that my  younger friends in cannot possibly understand and won't until they thrust themselves into their families life...  So yeah, growing old with Val didn't happen...  

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I am gifted...  In so many ways...  Blessings are thick, rich and I am filled with joy...  The joy is a breakthrough from the sorrow and the sadness, but...  I still remember...  It about 25 days shy of 4 years ago, when our family and many of our son's (Keith) business partners had joined our family for a summer ending outing at our beloved Banks Lake...  We have been going there now some 28 summers and oh what a beautiful, special, hallowed, sacred place this is for our family...  Yes, well, I remember every moment of Banks Lake...  How deep my gratitude is for this amazing place...  One might think we would avoid it because of the haunting memories of the times Val was in the hospital there and then when she collapsed on the beach in Sept of 2010 and I rushed her to the ER only to learn that her cancer was back...  Yes...  Well I remember...  But she said she would always be there...  There and the temple...  I am really looking forward to this next week...

 Val is walking atop of Steamboat Rock (summer of 2012, her last summer with us) the big butte you see to the right of the setting sun... in the picture below...


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Thought I Would Be In Trouble...

I have a dear departed friend named Robert, who died in March 2006 of Pancreatic Cancer...  The last time I saw him, I was helping him out of bed and as his frail, skin and bones body clung to me, he whimpered in a mix of pain and bewilderment, "Dan, I think I am in trouble here."  I didn't want to believe it.  Val was barely finished with her chemo, her hair was coming back, she had returned to playing tennis and I did not understand what Robert meant, nor did I know what to say to his plea to me.  All I remember thinking is, "Boy, we are so lucky Val is doing so well."

You know, when you rely on someone for as long as I did on Val, when I realized she would be leaving me, I wondered, "Am I going to be in trouble here?"  I thought of my pal Robert and how it was *me* saying, "I think I am in trouble here."

You see, Val is the diligent one.  The faithful one.  The prayerful one.  The committed one.  Me?  I am a flake.  I joke my way through life.  I must admit that the most stirring thought I had when I heard the news about Robin Williams was, "Another funny man who was hurting so badly, he had no alternative left."  Dimming silence and darkened thoughts that torment those who have lost all hope has got to be the worst feeling ever.  I know that Val's passing has been very hard for me, but I haven't lost hope or belief in what I know to be true, valued and eternal.
Last night, our hospice bereavement group had a potluck dinner.  It was a rain threatening evening, chilly for August, and yet, I felt a bounce of relief seeing where I have come from, what I have come through in the last 4 months...  I drove home feeling gifted and blessed.
Oh I know its not over, I know that until my last mortal breath I shall miss Val and think of her daily and often in someway all throughout the day...  But, I have realized that in the space and time that we live here in this human experience, it is but a brief moment in all of the never beginning and never ending scope of eternity...  When I heard Steve Jobs said, "WOW, OH WOW..." as he slipped from this life, I knew, "He is understating everything."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tan Arms...

I started a book back in 1995 called "Tan Arms".  As I would ride my Harley around the country (during the days I was a Harley dealer) I would photograph in black and white film, cool old towns, delapitated buildings and people who were in their 60s, 70s, 80s + and do a short little background interview on them.  I guess you could say I had visions of writing for a long, long time...

I have often thought about hands and arms...  How essential they are to so many things we do everyday...  And as I noticed with most of these people I was meeting, they all had very tan, weathered, leathery, tan arms....  Interestingly enough I also began to notice things about my own hands and arms that I was oblivious to before...  I learned I was a very touchy person...  I learned that when I spoke I used my arms and hands to gesture, to exaggerate my body language just about everytime I would speak...  Some have described me as a "big ol teddy bear" - I communicate alot with my hands and my arms...

I have also noticed that my own hands and arms are weathering...  The blood vessels in my hands are more pronounced, I am starting to remind myself of my dad in this regard...  My wedding ring is loose, I have been losing weight, no appetite anymore really...  The hair on my arms is starting to match the white hair on my head...  I also know that in it the longing of my arms for physical strength, that I had so easily when I was a young strapping man...  And I think the same is true for the love that my hands and arms can communicate to those whom I love and care for...  I watch my grandchildren feel comfort in my touch, I recall that was how Val liked to be "shown" that I loved and cared for her too...  Touch...  With my "tan arms"...  Even as old and "old man like" as they are now becoming...

When I hold you in my arms
it's a breath of fresh air,
when I hold you in my arms
I forget what's out there,
All those people with their faces
walkin' up the street,
They don't have to say a thing
just look around and you see.

New buildings going up,
old buildings coming down,
New signs going up,
old signs coming down,
You gotta hold onto something in this life.

Well the older generation
they got something to say,
But they better say it fast