Monday, December 29, 2014

Here's my little wolf cub, Wyatt, atop the same horse his Papa rides. It won't be long before he has his own boots, hat, duster, and reins in his hands. I can't wait!

Cary's horse, Cowboy. Justin and his daddy

Wyatt, and his beautiful mom, Erika!

Ready to ride!

Fearless and focused...

All Of It...

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Except for the sound of clothes tumbling in the dryer, for the first time since December 21, the house is quiet. On the 26th, our kids starting leaving: Josh left for Mexico with Sammy and her family, and on the same day, Meagan boarded a plane back to Seattle to resume another semester in pursuit of her master degree in psychology. Tears trickled down the cheeks of each and everyone of us when we parted. That kind of disengaging is painful, but unavoidable, especially, because as I said, we just came through a season -- within the Christmas season -- that was the best any of us remember and magnified by their departure. In the interim since then, Justin, Erika, Sandy, and the Amazing Wyatt have been here, and if you have been following any of these blogs, or my Facebook wall, you know that we have been having the time of our lives. Now, they too, are gone, winging their way back to the northeast.

Why the verse from Ecclesiastes?

The verse above, spoken by Solomon, is an introduction to a litany of changes that the adventure called Life throws at us. The ancient Sage reminds us that living is full of changing motions and emotions: from weeping to laughing, and from hugs to a lonely house. In an instant. While all the kids were here I had that truth amplified on several occasions…

As a chaplain, I am on call with CCA 24/7/365 days a year. Every 13 weeks we are off our in-business rounds schedule, and another chaplain covers for us. So, believe me, I am not complaining. I also work with one of the hospitals here in Columbus, GA. During the entire Christmas season and through New Year I am on call. Once again, no complaints. Being gifted to bring comfort to others brings no discomfort to me. But that commitment brought a reminder of just how quickly life changes. Life is a constant whirl of revolving seasons. Of course, like Solomon, I am not referring to spring, summer, winter, and fall.

No, I am thinking back to two different occasions. I was called in to minister to two different families who were deescalating a loved one (taking them off life support). It was particularly surreal for me. Why? Because I literally had to transition -- in seconds -- from rough-housing with my little wolf cub, Wyatt, to shedding my jeans and T and donning a suit and tie. Next, there was the process of disengaging from one season to engaging in another; an entirely different season. Sort of like being plucked from a sunny, edenic, invigorating, and exotic island and dropped into the frozen, snowy, life-sucking cold of Alaska in the dead of winter. That's how quick the seasons change when called upon to bring words of comfort to dear people carrying the burden of making the most final of all decisions -- it's time to die -- for a loved one who cannot decide for themselves.

Each time I got home I wobbled a bit trying to reengage in the sunshine of the prior season. Honestly, I felt a little guilt in doing so. But each night, in my thoughts, I returned to Solomon's words and reminded myself There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…  and I prayed for the grace and wisdom and freedom to make the best of all the time God gives me… all of it. 

Video Evidence...

The following frames are indisputable evidence that it's always an adventure when Papa and the Baby Wolf Cub are left unsupervised!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wolf Cub Wyatt

My little wolf cub had another fantastic day -- and made mine! Today we took him to Pine Mountain to see our friends Cary and Jeri. Jeri took Wyatt upstairs where she had a closet full of toys that her now adult children used to play with. Wyatt's favorite was a train that had a box car with animals, and an engine that tooted. We also walked across the pasture to the barn (little wolf cub purposefully tramped through several piles of puckies) where with wide-eyed wonder he saw Cary's two beautiful Tennessee Walkers. It was the first time he had seen real live horses (home is in the middle of Boston)! Big Red and Cowboy are beautiful creatures. Cowboy is the horse I ride. Wyatt fed them some oats, petted and brushed them, sat atop Cowboy, and explored the barn that houses them. We took pictures with Cary's phone that will soon be forthcoming.

I can't freeze time, but I can record my thoughts and pictures for days ahead when the Amazing Wyatt is no longer at The Shire...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Wyatt's First Christmas at The Shire

This was Wyatt's first Christmas at The Shire. Grandma and Papa were thrilled to have his mom and dad, his aunt Meg and uncle Josh, and Sammy here to celebrate the birth of Christ as family. Hundreds of pictures have been taken, and thousands of memories have been made! It's been a wonderful time! Later today, Wyatt is gonna see if that fishing rod works! It could be that he will catch his first fish!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fresh Tracks

I dozed off and dreamed that I was trekking across a long field and leaving tracks in a new fallen snow. Do you ever dream of going where no one has gone before? My dream was a reminder that every day is a new adventure...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unusual Experience

A few minutes ago, I looked out Sandy's office window and saw a deer bedded down on the very back edge of the pond. It's well over one hundred yards from my vantage point. I picked up my binoculars for a closer look. Bringing the lenses into focus, I could see that it was a young deer and that it had a scarlet red wound on its front leg. After a while it slowly stood up and and lethargically waded in the shallows along the banks. Surprisingly, it pointed its nose toward the center of the pond and began swimming. Slowly, it made a tired arc back toward the shore, rolled over on its side, and expired.

I dragged the young doe out of the pond. All the signs indicated that it had been hit by an automobile. The scarlet I could see through the binoculars proved to be a couple patches of severe road rash. Closer observation revealed a pair of jagged slashes that followed its spine.

It was an unusual experience to witness. The Shire is an unusual place...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Indian Summer

Behind the naked bony limbs of an oak tree the waxing moon's light is fragmented. The cottage is bathed in its soft light, and the pond reflects a perfect image of the horizon. A fire crackles in the ring of stones. Frogs sing, rejoicing at another day of warm temperatures. 

Christmas And The Amazing Wyatt Are On The Way

Soon, The Amazing Wyatt will be making his first journey to The Shire along with his mom and dad. Grandma and Papa are like a couple of excited children as we create a world of hundreds of twinkling colored lights, gracefully moving reindeer shrouded in points of white, a candy cane lane, snowmen that glow, stockings full of goodies, and a nativity that symbolizes the real meaning of Christmas! I have a tiny child's fishing rod for Wyatt, and I can't wait to see his eyes as big as saucers when he catches his first fish out of our pond! Acres and acres of fields are waiting for him to criss-cross their undulating terrain with his electric F150 pickup truck (we got two batteries for it)!

Josh and Sammy and Meg will be here too; it seems almost too good to be true! Firewood is stacked beside the outside fire pit, four wheelers are ready to be ridden, and Elf and Christmas Story are on standby. It's been a long time since we have sooo looked forward to Christmas...

P. S. Justin and Erika… I promise to be careful with Wyatt!