29 September 2014
27 September 2014
For those of you of a certain age, I beg you to please not confuse our new life with that which was depicted in the massively awful late 80's/early 90's sitcom, 'Empty Nest,' which reminds us A) what a vast cultural wasteland was the state of television in those bleak years and B) that the male lead was actually the Bald Eagle in 'The Muppet Show.' Seriously, this new life of ours is far from a sitcom. What it has been and will continue to be is is a pretty simple, good life.
I mean today was fairly mundane. I had my version of a 'spa' day - in the barber''s chair, getting a haircut and watching a Premier League match. Then it was off to the grocery store where we spent about half what we normally do now that it's just the two of us. If this continues, this is a benefit of the Empty Nest Syndrome that I'm going to really, really like. We then hung out later in the afternoon at a little deli/market, grabbed a couple slices o'pizza, and watched people go by. It was nice to just soak up the sun, as this will probably be the last really nice weekend we have for awhile, and and just be together.
We still have a lot to figure out as we embrace this new life. But let me be clear, no one is depressed or suffering clinical anxiety as a result of our last one, The Missionary formerly known as The Boy, leaving. It's actually a pretty exciting time for us. Who knows what we'll do? Maybe we'll take up a hobby together. If you're expecting it to be ballroom dancing, you can just forget about that right now.
Bollywood dancing, maybe, as that would go nicely with my current obsession with the music of Panjabi MC; but ballroom dancing, no way, no how.
24 September 2014
|Why, yes, you are. Thanks for asking!|
22 September 2014
21 September 2014
After dropping The Boy off on Wednesday, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I split time behind the Zion Curtain between the Awesomes' and a BYU Alumni Chapter Chair conference. Spending time with our grandson was a soothing balm in the face of The Boy's departure. Watching him made us laugh a lot. Being back on campus was really good too. To say that it is a unique campus is a bit of an understatement, but it is a place I love.
Saturday morning we boarded an early flight to Phoenix in order to participate in our niece's baptismal service. It was good to be a part of that service, surrounded by family. It was good to catch up. We were relaxing in the backyard when one of Phoenix's infamous dust storms, I mean haboobs, literally swept in, sending us inside to take cover. When, may I ask, did a dust storm become a haboob? I grew up there and they were always called dust storms. What memo did I miss?
We wrapped up the day with a dinner with my family. Seeing my mom, brother, sister, and their families was a lot of fun. It was good to catch up. My mom's unparalleled ability to give gifts that you didn't know you needed was on full display. I am the proud new owner of Krazy Glue and rainbow-striped duct tape. Not only will my windows be securely sealed shut with Krazy Glue when the terrorists come for us, but they will be distracted by the rainbow hues of the duct tape. It's all good!
Indeed, it is all good with another year down. In the end, it's just another day, but it sure was good to be with family this go-round.
17 September 2014
15 September 2014
|Two years in three bags|
It's here. What began nineteen years ago with his birth is now here. Like the lyrics to the late John Denver's song 'Leaving On A Jet Plane', his bags are packed and he's ready to go (I can't be the only one who can't get over the irony of the fact that Denver died in a plane crash, am I?). He was set apart as a full-time missionary tonight (read more about that HERE in his mission blog. He's no longer The Boy. He is Elder Lyons.
Not only is it here, it's real. He's been saying good-bye to friends all day. He's turned over his phone to us. He's turned off his music. He leaves tomorrow for six weeks of intense training to ready him for his life in Mexico. He's getting in the 'zone' tonight. He knows his life is changing.
We can't wait to see this unfold. The next two years are going to be an adventure. I'm just glad we've got another day with him before it all begins. I'm even more grateful for the nineteen years of adventure he's already given us.
Godspeed, Elder Lyons.
14 September 2014
|Willowbend Country Club, Mashpee, MA|
It was a beautiful day. It had been threatening to rain, but in true quixotic Mother Nature behavior, no rain appeared until we began the drive home. This was a fun match because we were able to follow the golfers the entire time. We never had that opportunity during The Boy's high school golf team career. Watching The Boy act as caddie to his friend was a kick. Seeing them interact and listening to them joke and talk 'smack' on the three hour drive up to the Cape reminded me of how powerful the bonds of friendship can and should be. As men, we are typically rather reticent to acknowledge just how powerful those friendships are. To do so, we've been taught, somehow mars our masculinity. This is unfortunate. I've seen how good the influences of friends have been on my son. The examples of his friends is one of the reasons he is embarking on his mission in just a few days. I've seen him doing things to help his friends. I've seen him grow frustrated and saddened by some of the choices his friends made. I've seen him make a difference in his friends' lives.
As I listened to these two yak it up on the drive yesterday, and as us four parents laughed and, on occasion, rolled our eyes, I thought of the friends I've had with whom I shared experiences. Some of these friends have been in my life for close to forty years. Some a shorter time, but I am fortunate to call them friends. I'm mindful of what their examples mean to me. My life is better for friends, near and far, who have influenced me for the better. I hope I've done a little of the same for them.
So it was a good day yesterday, but it was long. I'd woken up, as per usual, way before any normal human being so as we began the three hour drive home, I was fighting to stay awake and lost. Fairly early into the car ride, I was out. Apparently I missed a whole new edition of the boys' story telling but I gave them fodder when I woke up. I must have been out because as I felt the car stop, I awoke completely unaware of where we were. I looked around, saw a log cabin-esque gas station and watched my friend fly out of the driver's seat and into the gas station as if he was on fire (as it happens, he kind of was - his need to go to the bathroom was fiery). I suddenly loudly blurted out, demanding, "Where are we? Where is K going? Wait....where are we?" I genuinely had no idea where we were. It took me a bit to get my bearings but I heard four people howling in laughter watching me try and figure out why we'd stopped at an oddly-themed gas station in Sturbridge, MA. I'm sure it's a lovely place but in my tired, hallucinatory state, I'm not sure I'm the best spokesperson for it. I'm still trying to understand why I bought a liter of Coke Zero there. Or why The Boy insisted I buy him Strawberry Quik. That's just not right.
11 September 2014
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was an unusually bright, clear late summer day in New York City. The images of those brilliant blue skies are seared into our collective memories; however, now we remember the smoke that choked that blue sky. We remember the image of a plane slamming into the now-fallen World Trade Center. We remember images of people jumping from the burning towers in order to escape the roaring flames. We also remember the pictures of firefighters and police personnel who ran into the towers in an epic, valiant struggle to save their fellowmen. We are haunted by the heroic words uttered by a passenger on board United 93, "Let's roll!" as those few passengers decided to stop the terrorists from hitting yet another target.
The terror of that day, ten years ago, is still fresh for so many of us. It is an event that touched us all and it is a defining moment in not only American history, but world history. In the days following these horrific events, our nation came together in a way that many said had not been since World War II. I remember standing in our front yard in our home in California with our neighbors as we joined our fellow countrymen in a national moment of prayer. It was as if our nation was seeking spiritual comfort as a whole in those dark days after the attacks.
That sense of unity and desire to seek spiritual comfort as a nation has abated in the ten years since that unforgettable day. Our nation has found its way back to its divisive ways. In his first official blog post printed earlier this week in the Washington Post's "On Faith" column, President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said, "Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow has moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well."
The Scriptures are rife with examples of how we, the children of a loving, caring Heavenly Father, have forgotten our Father and the lessons of lives time and time again. The Book of Mormon is especially illustrative of this cycle of forgetfulness but it also shows our Father's consistent, loving commitment to us. In his blog post, President Monson continued, saying, "Our Father's commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winter of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change."
In Midtown today, it appeared that many have forgotten that fateful day. Somehow getting a picture with the Naked Cowboy seemed more important. As I walked to Penn Station, I happened upon an older couple who clearly hadn't forgotten. On the lapel of her jacket was a large picture button emblazoned with a black ribbon. It was clear that the young man in the picture was their son and he'd lost his life day. His name, although unknown to me, was read today, I'm sure, as were the names of all the other victims. They are not forgotten.
May we never forget.
09 September 2014
06 September 2014
You had to admire her chuztpah. The city has been her home all her life, and she wasn't going to let a ruddy street stand in her way. She made me laugh. The encounter made my colleagues laugh as well and thus began an evening of good-natured teasing about the 'cougar' who had made me her prey. Thus is the British sense of humour.
I'm glad she asked me to help her. It only took a minute or two to do her that little favor. I like to think that as I do those things that some one will do the same for my mother or any one else's mother. It would serve me well to do more of those little things for others. Heck, if we all took just a minute or two to do something nice for others, and not to get all Pollyanna-ish here, wouldn't this world be a little bit better?