Saturday Leaps of Faith

The Neighborhood at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska is teeming with activity! Homes have loads of fresh mulch or good black dirt dumped in their driveways. Yes, it is a beautiful, calm, sunny day for the first Saturday in April. The day before Easter. As kids we learned this was the day all of the followers of Jesus were on the low-down. They were gathered in groups in rooms with the lights off, windows and doors locked, wondering what they do now. They did not want to meet the same demise Jesus did. Their faith was shaken. They all had doubts, not just Thomas. It had to be the longest 24 hour period in all of their lives.

The nuns sort of told us we should be engaged in prayerful, quiet activity all day. Our mom’s all loved that. Then of course, we had to go to the Saturday evening service at 8 p.m. It lasted a very long time, and often we walked home at 10 p.m. It was safe back then! Of course, we were required to go to the Children’s Mass at 9 a.m. These were the days before Saturday services “fulfilled Sunday’s obligations.” I have to laugh, my Protestant friends say Catholics are the only ones who are concerned about things “counting,” and the world famous 15 minute Mass at St. Mary Magdalene’s Catholic Church in downtown Omaha. Ask us, we’ll tell you.

I’m glad the different religions finally realize God loves us all. Equally. Yes, equally. He doesn’t favor one over the other. Some religions are founded on mistaken ideas, and call for things far outside what God expects from each of us. Find yours and concentrate on how to have spirituality in your life. Be with people who reflect your beliefs. Be accepting, kind, tolerant, inclusive, and stand by your beliefs. It’s about integrity. One of the best things a person can have.

Two years! Wow! This is pretty cool, folks.

In other news, I didn’t realize this was my second anniversary with WordPress! How fun to have this milestone today. It took a leap of faith on my part. I didn’t blog much until that July 5, 2019, when we lost our Roxie. I had to get the distress and grief our of me. It was devastating. Someone entered our yard and left a gate open. There were still fireworks going off, she was scared, and ran into traffic on the highway, two blocks away. Her last minutes had to be full of terror. My book for kids is about her and our grandson, Gavin.

Speaking of a leap of faith; my featured header photo today is a collage of the CD’s I’m listening to today while I work. I’ve not met two of them (or you’d all know about it!), Kevin Costner & Modern West and Bruce Springsteen. I will say I do not agree with Bruce’s politics. He has done a lot of good for people through his career, he had food drives at his concert sites before we heard of them; he chronicled the demise of his hometown, closing factories, etc. He has a song on his “Magic” album called “Leap of Faith.” Give it a listen. I like it.

At any rate, the others are some local singer/songwriters who took their own leaps of faith and put themselves and their original songs out there. Billy McGuigan and Jimmy Weber are two local musicians who we enjoy a lot. They have special chemistry when they perform together, and they are both very dynamic solo or with their bands. Fine, fine musicians we’ve had the pleasure to get to know. They both never cease to amaze me with what they do. Billy has a new solo album, “Together,” it’s doing well. The Babe and I get to see him and his brothers in the band perform this great album in person next Saturday at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Looking forward to it!

And Jimmy Weber has a friend/road manager/sidekick, “Handsome” Jake Mayer. They are in Nashville, TN this week recording another new album of their original music. The just released one, “Black and Blue Heart,” hits so close to home if you’ve ever been alone. I have. I cannot wait to hear what those two have been up to. Jake is an amazing lyricist. One day, I hope to talk to him about his words as they relate to Jimmy’s amazing music. What those guys do with a guitar and a bunch of words (both carefully chosen), is pure magic. There they are, taking their leap of faith.

Ray Scott is someone I’ve never met, but I did just about see his show one night at Buck’s in Venice, Nebraska. Jimmy Weber opened for him, we saw Jimmy that night, but the Babe wasn’t feeling well. He had a wound vac attached to him and he just couldn’t sit up straight anymore for the evening, so we had to leave. Hopefully next time he’s up this way, we’ll be able to see him live. I’ve purchased a bunch of his CD’s and like his style. His voice is unique, and he just tells it like it is. Check the usual music outlets to listen and purchase. His leap of faith was to do things his way. And he’s a big man, I don’t think anyone questions him much.

Rick Tiger is a singer/songwriter from Louisiana. The Babe and I met him the first time we saw Jimmy Weber perform alone. Jimmy sang first, and Rick followed. We loved him. He has written many songs you’ll recognize, and any more you can relate to. That night, he sang about Coffee & Conversations, which reminded the Babe of waking up at his grandparents farm in South Dakota. Once he walked me through the property and identified where everything used to be. The barn was gone, but the memories of it weren’t. You will be reminded of something in your life if you listen to Rick long enough. And he’s the nicest man you can meet. His wife Joyce is such a kind woman. They are perfect with each other. Blessings abound in their life, and they will tell each other about it. Nice, nice people.

When you’ve spent a little time with people who are so talented, it’s inspiring. They are taking their leaps of faith. And I’m about to take mine, by publishing my first book. I’m excited beyond description. Thanks for being on this journey with me. Thanks for the examples and encouragement, guys! I appreciate it a lot.

Thanks for reading today. Tomorrow is what it’s all about. The renewal of Easter Sunday. I vow to renew habit I need to renew. I vow to exhibit behaviors to make me a better person. More patience. More understanding. More listening. And I’ll continue to love words and stories, whether they’re on the page or in a song. Good music makes me write better. What a motivator music is! What great music to be motivated by. Have a beautiful rest of the day. I’m going to the deck, where we’ll probably stay for the rest of the day. God’s been so good to us. See you tomorrow! #Grateful #Blessed

Awesome Monday Morning

I’m listening to Kevin Costner and Modern West. There are many songs that are perfect for the long, loving relationships, marriages, friendships. It’s where I find myself right now with the Babe. True Companions. “The One.” Being my protector, the one who helps me rise above the negativity in life. A true heart. I can protect him, too. From negativity, from himself, as he does for me. We’re so lucky to have this life together. I’ve been encouraged to go for my dream by this man. He may not understand it totally, but he’s on board for the duration.

This is a shot in the arm for my energy, in addition to losing about 20 pounds. We’re still doing Keto, and doing well. For me, I know it will be a slow but steady process. The whole point is to end up healthier, and it’s easy for us to keep going. I’m hoping for the longevity my Grandma Jewell had; she lived to 97. She was such a beautiful woman. Her heart was pure gold.

I told a little backstory yesterday about the craziness going on while I was trying to write the blog announcing Cartney McGuigan as my illustrator. The whole thing just came together, and I believe we all have opportunities that are golden, right in front of us. We have to be open to them; no idea is a crazy one; they’re ideas. They can be expanded and made into things that are not only possible but become vital to pursue. That is how I feel about writing. This whole prospect of possibilities makes me so happy!

I know I’m late, but our goal this week is to thoroughly clean the house while packing away all the Christmas decorations. So far, the tree is stowed, so we’re going well. The ornaments are all on the kitchen table, they’ll be put away later today. Having all the time in the world is helpful when you can only do so many things in a day. I always overestimate what we can accomplish, but never give up. We do what’s most important to us as a couple, and that is spend time with each other. Sure, we get grumpy at each other, but we’ve both learned what’s important and what isn’t. It saves a lot of petty disagreements most people have. It just isn’t worth it.

Next week, we go for sorting everything to do our income tax. That will be a wildebeest that needs taming. Seriously. Every year, I believe in my heart I will absolutely keep better track of our receipts, documentation, the whole thing. Every year, I have a box and desk like this:

Maybe next year I won’t do this again. LOL. Mom always says I had my father’s filing system genes. Oh well. I could have inherited worse!

It is snowing lightly outside my window. They are pretty flakes, that seem to be melting on contact. The view is nice, and I feel a warmth in my heart that I want to keep burning forever. It’s contentment, it’s satisfaction after creating. Any creative person can tell you what it is. It’s the feeling I used to get after expertly tailoring a suit for my business career; it’s the feeling I get after completing a beautiful quilt; it’s the feeling I have when I write. You made that thing; you wrote those words, you created those bridesmaid’s dresses, you created with ideas that filled your mind. It’s a purpose in life for some people. It makes others happy, too. It’s there for the sharing.

Thank you for reading today. I have a bunch of ornaments to wrap, stow, and some more instructional videos to watch and share with Cartney. Hope to get caught up and on the right track to have everything in order to allow for some more creativity. Quilting is calling to me right now.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Let’s all be kind to one another. How we behave in the next couple weeks can determine where we as a country will go in the future. I pray it’s a good path, I pray it’s a peaceful path, I pray it’s a kind and loving path. Let’s do our part. I’ll see you tomorrow!

9/18/2020

Today, September 18, is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It is most associated with the Vietnam War. There are many missing POW’s, evidence exists of torturing our men who were prisoners as far away as Russia. This is very upsetting. There is a Forensic ID Lab at our nearby Offutt Air Base in Bellevue, NE where remains have been identified. One ID was of Hadley Heavin, lost for many years. Our old neighbor was named after him. Our Hadley Heavin was named for his uncle. The remains were recovered and identified, and finally laid to rest a few weeks ago in his hometown in Kansas.

Even though a family probably has a conclusion, it helps to finally be able to put an end to the waiting, the unknown. You know where to go from the cemetery. You don’t know where to go from being suspended in time with no answer. God bless them and all their families. We will never forget.

We Will Never Forget

I’m a bit beside myself today. Our local newspaper, the Omaha World Herald, has fired our hometown Editorial Cartoonist, as a cost-cutting measure. Jeff grew up not far from our neighborhood. In his book, Inklings, he described areas of his neighborhood, and I knew exactly where he was talking about. I am a fan of his from way back, and have followed his career. He is a multi-talented man who will land on his feet, I’m sure, once he recovers from the shock. Jeff, I’m so sorry.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad worked there 37 years, retired and passing away in 1988. Jeff began his career one year later, and he may have known Dad from the Pressroom. For 50 years, I’ve been a subscriber, and had a fondness for the paper just since Dad worked there. It fed and clothed us as kids. It was my older brother’s long term career, too. I never thought I’d do this, but I’m going to cancel my subscription totally. I cut back to online only, but in protest, it’s all gone from my life.

I understand corporate takeovers and politics. I worked for ConAgra during their largest growth period, the 1980’s. You eliminate duplicity. You can’t tell me there wasn’t a middle manager somewhere who could have been let go. You can’t exactly find award winning cartoonists on every corner. I know, it’s silly, he doesn’t need me to be indignant for him. But I am. I’m tired of so many things. Instead, I’ll do my little bit, then go on and make the day better.

We need Jeff to tell the stories in his drawings during this crazy time. Just like a Springsteen fans needed to have him tell the story musically of 9/11 in his album, “The Rising.” We feel better when our feelings are depicted in their craft. We feel belonging and relief all at once. We won’t have that anymore. Thank you, Jeff. Omaha loves you.

The Babe and I are going to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Victory Veterans Apartments. Here’s a link to their website. It’s a beautiful program that helps a formerly homeless veteran have their own apartment, belongings, and learn to live a better way. Our Post has recently partnered with them to help provide items such as dishes, silverware, bedding, coffee, and many other things. We are honored to be involved, they do such great work.

Lastly, I did have a pleasant musical surprise today. I received Kevin Costner and Modern West’s CD, “From Where I Stand.” It’s phenomenal. I’d place it beside of Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars for good songs. Not bad for an old guy, you know?

How did I not know he sings, too?

Not sure what else I’ll work on today, might just sit on the deck with a glass of wine later on today. There is a lot going on and sometimes you just have to take a timeout and be with your people. “Babe!! What are your plans for later?” He always helps. I’m so lucky.

I’m grateful for you reading today. The days are cooler, and the nights are much cooler. Tuesday is the first day of fall. I hope it’s all you would like it to be. Be kind, be courteous, be safe out there. The world can be harsh. I hope it’s gentle with all of you. See you tomorrow! I have a phone call to make.