Vanes

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One moment they stand as sentinels over the landscape and then they disappear, only to reveal themselves anew. Wind farms hidden by fog and juxtaposed against a backdrop of petroleum derelicts pumping crude oil into tanks. Fascinating harmony.

As we attempt to ween ourselves from fossil fuels, evidence abounds that this is actually occurring. Our electric utility company puts out an info letter with each bill. This last one stated that over 35% of our energy is now derived from wind and solar. Progress is being made, however, it will still take decades before total energy production comes from non-fossil fuel sources. America is behind other nations in this department, but we are also much larger then those nations going 100% non-oil.

This gives me mixed emotions. I know the need to clean the air we breath and all the ramifications that are attached to this statement, but I also recall it was oil that helped propel the industrial revolution and has been the energy source which produced almost everything that exists from a man-made perspective.

I will miss the reciprocating engine which powered the first automobiles, then the turbine which allowed air transportation to be a viable source available to most everyone. From trans-Atlantic ocean liners to narrow-gauge railroads to everyday transportation, petroleum has played a huge part in man’s lives and the advancement of most cultures. Hybrid cars are becoming more abundant and pure electric cars will one day be the norm. Coal for power plants vs nuclear energy is still a big issue among many countries.

Iceland is the only country I know of where modern mechanized life exists without petroleum. This island has lots of water, geo-thermal energy, and wind to harvest, and the Icelanders have put all of it to good use. Perhaps there are more to do so?

Before I ramble on further, please thank God for fossil fuels and man’s ingenuity to substitute other energy sources for them. When you turn the key in your gas or diesel powered vehicle, ride a bus, or fly across vast distances, please remember that it is petroleum that is taking you there.

As I recently viewed the landscape from Kansas to Texas and back I saw change. Best get used to it for it is a good thing…even with mixed feelings. BTW, I will miss drag racing!

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Reach for the Sky

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In the animated film named Toy Story, Woody is a wooden cowboy toy with a pull cord. When you pull his cord there are recorded sayings such as, “There’s a snake in my boot” and “Reach for the sky”. It is this saying that I choose to elaborate on just a little bit.

I took this photograph horizontally to show the breadth of the fabulous sky that day. However, if it were viewed vertically, it would reveal more for this post. Oh well… the view was beautiful anyway I looked at it.

The utility pole stretches beyond the limits of vision, as does life. So, maybe this is the best way to display this image!

We try really hard to map out our future, to see what life will be like in one, ten, twenty years from now. Occasionally things work out as we planned, but not usually. And for those who walk the line they mapped out, I guarantee there are many bumps and bruises along the way. Life is like that for all of us.

Some seek crystal balls to foretell the future. Others simply don’t care as long as their specific needs are met at the specific time. Somewhere in the middle is where most of us find ourselves. We wonder what the future will hold while dealing with the needs of today and tomorrow. Life can be tough. Life can also be amazingly wonderful.

There is a season for everything under the sun, as King Solomon stated in his synopsis of living. Although he was the wisest and richest person that ever lived, he still had questions about this thing we call ‘our lives’. Wealth nor poverty, location nor altitude can provide us with enough information to satisfy the mind of man. Only God can give us peace of mind, and then that takes effort on our part.

I dare you to “Reach for the Sky” and explore the unknown. Seek those things you fear may harm you. Become excited about life again! Too many of us have fallen asleep and simply plod along without expanding our minds or souls. I personally know this and it is not a pleasant place to be. Stretch yourselves and reach for whatever lures you to explore. Just be mindful of the consequences because not all exploring is healthy.

Good hunting !

A Little Bit of Pure Joy

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It’s hard not to smile when you see this photograph, is it? This is Elliot when he was two years old and was fascinated by water and electricity…not the best combination unless one wants to become a hydro-electric engineer! He is smart enough to be that.

Winter here has been bitter cold for our region with intermittent sleet and snow mixed in. Most everyone I talk to says they can’t wait for Summer. Elliot and Audrie, his younger sister, enjoy each season.  Bitter cold winters must be a getting-older-dynamic! Although, having mom and dad layer on the clothes and pull out the sleds is a plus for them. Us more mature folks have no such luxury.

P.S. I know that other parts of our country have been much harder hit with snow and blizzards and zero degree temps. We don’t whine here in the Midwest, just state the facts.

Hope you enjoy the photograph and the joy Elliot felt at the time…as did Cheryl and myself. Looking forward to not only warmer weather, but more joyful times!

 

Slow Burn

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Fire is such an amazing thing to watch…it is almost mesmerizing. The way flames dance and embers burn red hot is exciting to view. The heat generated from fire warms the body while the light illuminates the darkness. Even the crackling of moist wood has a surreal effect upon the soul.

I entitled this post “Slow Burn” for a reason.

Too often we run to conclusions, race to say things we will regret, boil over with anger over big or little matters, become defensive when we take words said innocently but deemed hurtful, react to situations negatively without thinking things through, succumb to bad peer pressure, seek revenge over trivial stuff, and the list goes on and on.

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The “Slow Burn” is just the opposite when it comes to how we react to life’s situations. I’ll be the first to admit that life can dish out a lot of painful garbage. I will also admit that watching a lazy fire burn is soothing to the soul.

It calms the nerves. It makes us forget, at least momentarily, that life isn’t so bad after-all. Relaxation sets in and the cares of this life just burn away with each flicker of flame. The warmth produced burrows deep within and holds us fast to what is good and right. Fires can rage, but eventually they diminish and extinguish. Our lives are like that, too.

Wouldn’t we rather live in the state in between where the fire burns slow and the embers are hot? Where blame has no room and guilt has long melted away? Revenge is dropped and egos fall apart among the glow? That is how I want to live. And, you?

A Time for Reflection

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A month into the new year which means we have eleven more months to go before we close out 2019 (simple math I can handle). Have you had or taken the time to reflect on just how fleeting time is? Age changes perspective, to be sure. Young usually means time is suspended while old views it running away from us. But, that’s not what I am getting at…not really, although this age thing may play into my point.

Reflection of ones’ self can be a tricky thing as we usually see our lives from a somewhat warped self-image. After all, we are looking in the mirror and may not see an accurate reflection of who and what we really are. Start with the present and with the understanding that the past certainly influences who you have become. But, don’t let that stop you from seeing who you are right now. An accurate gauge of yourself is invaluable in who and what you will become, what you will do and where you will go.

I have done a great deal of reflecting over the course of the past few months and have come to some conclusions which may be of some value to you. 1. Time stands still for no one so let’s make the best of what each day offers. 2. The past with all the pain, disappointments, betrayals, fractured relationships, illnesses, deaths, etc. must be be put to bed now or they will haunt you indefinitely. 3. Forgiveness is a much greater virtue to you than the forgiven cause they usually don’t even know your pain. 4. Uncomplicate your life. Get rid of all the debris-physical stuff and emotional baggage carried with us. 5. Have faith you can and will make better decisions from today going forward because you will be better equipped to make them. 6. Have faith in a Higher Being  (mine is Christ) who gives you the strength and courage to press on to a better tomorrow. 7. Enjoy today.

Nothing new here and I could have added a dozen more items to consider, but this is what I have been shown so I wanted to share it with you. Have a quality and joy-filled year and life !

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Breath of Life

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A few days ago a dear friend of one of my sisters underwent a twelve hour surgery at the University of Michigan for a double lung transplant. It was successful and she is on her way to a gradual recovery. More importantly, she is on her way to breathing fully again after a life of breathing difficulty due to cystic fibrosis. To inhale completely without pain or restriction will be exhilarating for her. I have asthma so I get it.

My emotional response was one of pure joy and amazement as to the ability of medical science to perform such a surgery. I recall the first open heart surgery and the successful separation of Siamese twins many years ago and was just as dazzled by these momentous operations. For the University of Michigan, they have performed 700 of these double lung replacements to-date. A wonderful statistic.

As amazed as I am of man’s keen abilities and all of science’s achievements, I stand most in awe of our Creator who gave man the intelligence and abilities to do such wonderful things. The human body alone is the most complex and wondrous entity in the universe.

I am reminded in Genesis 2:7 where God breathed the breath of life into man, and man has been breathing ever since. Isn’t this a beautiful thing? I think so!

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Up-Sizing

 

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With so much talk about down sizing these days, I thought it might be a bit thought provoking to explore the opposite end of this spectrum: up-sizing.

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Small house. Much larger house. 1,000 square feet. 10,000 square feet. Ten times larger. One house is old. The other is new. One house is short. The other house tall. Sounds like lines from a Dr. Suess book !

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Both houses serve the same purpose; to shelter humans from nature’s elements and to protect them from harm’s way. How many square feet does it take to do that? For some a Tiny House is just the thing…kind of like a camper on a permanent lot. And for others room to spread out including amenities that a small house cannot encompass. Things like eight bathrooms, ten bedrooms, a kitchen large enough for several families to cook in at the same time, a dining room that seats twenty-something, a family room with multiple TVs, a pool table, game tables, lots of couches, a wet bar and the list goes on.

Is a large house, the up-size one, built for practical purposes or for prestige? Maybe both. Not my place to judge. It appears the new house will be beautiful when completed. It appears the little house served its purpose for fifty-plus years. Times change and so has the economy. Values, needs, wants, locations and so much more are different than in the 1950s. So, which house would you choose to live in?