Life from the rear-view mirror

I qweet! Vol 134

Sometimes you gotta know when to quit.

For the past couple of years I had waited for this day. I bought equipment…twice. I took the classes. I watched the videos. I hung artwork up in my office and in my home. I talked about it ad nauseam with friends and clients. But until this morning at 6:30 am, I had never taken a step into a stream in search of a trout. It was my first and last step. If you check Craigslist right now you will see my entire gambit of trout fishing finery for sale.
It was a romantic notionĀ of gargantuan proportions that died a slow death on the 1/2 mile walk slip-sliding here and entangling my rod there on the way to the Oatka with the group from the ORVIS 301 trout fishing class.

As it turns out, there is absolutely nothing I enjoyed about my 2 hours on the water. My back and knee hurt from standing, the moving water made me dizzy…my arthritic fingers fumbled around trying to tie a fly on… and within the first 45 minutes I had entwined my line with the dude’s right next to me so ferociously that I had to cut the fly off and start all over again … burning what was left of my leader and having to engage my fumble fingers again.
Note: When I purchased the one leader I own…the dude at Orvis said it should last me the season. It lasted just over 45 minutes and then I had none. You could almost hear the one trout in the Oatka mocking me.

When I had enough of the humiliation and failure, I decided it was time to vamoose the creek and save what was left of my dignity …but I had no idea where we were or which muddy path to take to get back to the car. A stranger took pity on me and walked a few hundred yards with me, then pointed and said “go that-a-way”

Once back at the car the real fun began as I tried to take my waders off. Let me first tell you that after two hip replacements and a ruptured patellar tendon, I am not very bendy…in fact all my hinges are pretty rusty. Add to that the fact that I hadn’t worn any socks in my neoprene wading booties and had been sweating in them for the past 2 hours. So there I stood. My waders in a pile beneath my knees, booties sweat-glued to my feet. It took me nearly 25 minutes and some of my darkest vocabulary, before I finally pried those beasts off. Even the mosquitoes left me alone in my embarrassing predicament.

The first thing I did when I got home was pull everything out of the trunk… lined it up real pretty-like on the lawn, shot some pics and posted it for sale on Craigslist.

As the frustrated French chef once said… “I qweet!”

God had given me the desire of my heart…I thought…and now I am giving it back!

dugz4 October 12, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink

One at a time Vol 133

One at a time…

In 2013 I set out on a mission that was motivated in part by the few paragraphs Pastor Derric Johnson would write to us on the back of our monthly Re’generation itineraries back in the 70’s. He called these mini-devotional/inspirational writings…”Parson to Person.” I still have most of them in a folder in my studio. I get them out every now and then…to brush off the cobwebs on some of those thoughts and memories.
This past weekend was the Re’generation reunion. It had been five years since the last one but It was the first one I’d made since I left the group in 1977.
As I walked up to Pastor Derric on Friday evening, I didn’t think he recognized me…in fact I was sure he didn’t. So I introduced myself. It had been 40 years after all…and I was not the young, brown-haired, svelt man of long ago. By the time I got my first name out of my mouth it all clicked with him.
We exchanged greetings and I introduced him to my son, Brendan, who had made the trip to Nashville with me.
In the moments that followed we exchanged a few pleasantries…all the usual stuff to try and catch up 40 years in a couple minutes. He was very kind… and as warm and positive as I had remembered him to be.
I talked briefly about how much the Parson to Person letters had influenced me and how that I had begun my own project to put some of my own inspirational and motivational thoughts together for a book of sorts. I explained that the writing process for me was slow. It had taken me 4 years to get 130 short devotions put together. I thought that based on the stuff that was floating around in my brain I should have had this done a whole lot sooner… but the stuff didn’t come out of my brain nearly as fast as it had gone in. Then he said what will be my take away for the weekend. “They only come one at a time”
The application of that thought immediately relieved a lot of the stress and the pressure I’ve put on myself to get this thing finished. And I might actually get 365 devotions put together. I might put a book together if someone (besides me) thinks there is any value in the making and selling of it. Or…It may only end up being a coffee table book for my kids to remember me by. Who knows?
“One at a time” packs a big punch if you think about it for a minute. “One at a time” no matter if it’s the next devotion, the next sale, the next soul…demands attention and focus and singleness of purpose. It requires a starting point and a stopping point with something meaningful in between the two.
There is no multi-tasking in doing “One at a time” It is by its definition a singular act. And…It is more about the quality of the effort than the quantity of it. At least that’s what I think.

I’m sitting in the lobby of our hotel, having my coffee and cozying up to my IPad this morning. Brendan is still sleeping. As things worked out, I was only able to spend a few hours with the Re’Gen folks this weekend. I missed a lot of the stories and the fellowship. I’d say I missed the singing…but if I’m honest…I really just missed the listening.

I’m in the car now…about 4 hours from home and I’m seeing the pictures from the weekend pop up on Facebook. (The police officer who pulled me over for distracted driving thought they were very nice.) kidding…

I’m glad I was there to see my friends if only for a few hours. The memories will last much longer.

dugz4 October 12, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink

What’s next? Vol. 132

It’s been a few months since the Re’Generation reunion in Nashville. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with everyone but even so…I can’t help thinking about the few minutes I spent casually with Derric that Friday night.
It’s 9am and I really need to be out the door to work…(I work for myself so I’m taking it easy on me this morning) As I get older there is less in my life that gets me out of bed in the morning…and less of me that wants to get out of bed. Kathy says “all my hinges are rusty” and with all the spare parts I have in me these days…that’s probably a good description.
I was impressed by a few things this past weekend most of them coming by way of Derric and my old roommate Barry Jennings.
The attitude of “What’s next?” permeated every conversation. Even though he just retired as president of Gaither Music, Barry is still devouring life in huge mouthfuls. New projects, new goals, growing his art, improving his tennis game, loving his family and moving forward in his faith. He is exactly my age but our lives and attitudes are vastly different.
Then there is Derric. He just turned 85, and he could still give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money! Always positive…looking both forward to projects in the works and those still sizzling on the back burner.
The weekend was incredibly inspiring to say the least.
Oh I realize I just saw a small slice of life from my mentor and my college friend, but their attitudes trumped their circumstances and made me realize that attitude is up to me. How I react to what’s on my plate is all on me. There is no reason I can’t be as excited in thinking about “What’s next?” as anybody else. I’m no red-haired step child in the Kingdom! God loves me as much as Derric or Barry or anyone else and he has something special and exciting ahead for me.
I do have to look for it…reach for it…pour myself into the “doing” of it…and continue to drink deeply from the fountain of “What’s next?”

dugz4 October 12, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink