Cleanup time

The Trip Guide isn’t quite ready for primetime yet (the print company is FedExing me a proof tonight, which means I should have it in my hands tomorrow), but it’s basically off my desk, which means it’s time to get it … uh … off my desk.

I’ve got bits and pieces of it everywhere in this office. The house looks OK on the surface, but everything beyond the living room, kitchen, and bathroom is a disaster. I can’t begin to relax with all the clutter in my bedroom, and I can’t think straight in this rat’s nest of an office. I’m exhausted, but every time I think about taking a nap, I look at the dust on the headboard of my bed and feel so guilty I can’t sleep.

I want my nice, orderly life back!

Failing that, I’m willing to devote my evening to giving myself a nice, orderly house instead. Film at 11….

Catching my breath

I haven’t been out to New Mexico in seven months.

That’s like asking a Karmann Ghia to go 10,000 miles without adjusting its valves or changing its oil. It’s a wonder I’m still running at all.

I need a sunset over Tucumcari Mountain and a weekend in the high desert air, stat. It’ll be a couple more weeks before I work a hand free, but if anybody in the Land of Enchantment has a little pixie dust to spare, I’d be most appreciative if you’d send it my way. Just sprinkle it into the west wind and let it blow on across the Texas Panhandle and down 66 into Red Fork to tide me over until I get out there.


In the long run

“God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.”
— Mary Baker Eddy

This afternoon, I learned that our Second Reader — a warm, wise, and compassionate woman who happened to share my fondness for long runs and good laughs — had passed on unexpectedly.

Tears have clouded my eyes several times this evening as I’ve thought about how much I’ll miss seeing Lynda around … but every time I’ve thought of her, those tears have evaporated into laughter, because every single memory I have of her includes something funny she did or said.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve caught her desperately trying to stifle a giggle during church. Many times, we’ve had to avoid looking at each other on a Wednesday night, lest we lose our last remaining shred of self-control and burst into uncontrollable laughter over some silly thing that struck us as funny.

I’ve even seen her manage to be funny under duress. I ran with her in November 2006 as she completed her first half-marathon. She wasn’t a particularly happy camper in those later miles, when the hills seemed terribly steep and our feet seemed terribly tired, but she still made me laugh with her apt — and utterly hilarious — observations about the whole experience.

She thought I was doing her a favor by adding a few minutes to my usual per-mile pace so I could keep her company along the way.

In point of fact, she did me a favor by allowing me to accompany her. I’ve run a lot of races and collected a lot of finisher’s ribbons and medals and things, but for all the pretty trinkets I’ve received, I’ve yet to take home anything as beautiful as that dazzling smile I saw on Lynda’s face as she reached the finish line.

Somewhere along the line, while I was off chasing butterflies instead of training, it seems that Lynda picked up her pace, and now she’s left the rest of us in the dust as we “run with patience the race that is set before us,” as the verse from Hebrews says.

And yet, somehow, the lovely qualities she expressed — qualities she got from her Father — are beside me still, her irrepressible joy echoing in a child’s laughter, her tireless work for the good of others buzzing along on my bees’ wings, and her warm love surrounding me in another friend’s embrace.

As I move forward with the work of drying my tears, conquering my own course, and learning to elevate my thought to embrace the Truth of being that lies somewhere far beyond the sometimes cruel limitations of mortal perception, I pray that the Father will never allow me to lose sight of Lynda or forget how to see — and express — the infinite good she reflected.

Keep running strong, girlfriend … and don’t drink up all the Gatorade before I catch up to you, hey?


Folk Thursday: The Long and Winding Road

This song could sum up the past week, really:

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door….

— The Beatles

Long story short: The long and winding road of my life is leading me back to a dream I abandoned 10 years ago. I never had any intention of going back, but circumstances have unfolded in the past week in ways that were so unexpected, so harmonious, and so obviously God-directed that in the end, all I could say was yes.

I’ll post details in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, suffice it to say that this has been the weirdest week of my entire life … and one of the most amazing.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

— Isaiah 55:8-9

May we all experience the indescribable wonder that comes from following the Father’s direction as He leads us down each of our long and winding roads….


Earth Day

I was going to write something about Earth Day, but really, there’s nothing I can say that’s going to one-up Iron Eyes Cody.

If you haven’t already, go do something kind for the planet today. Unplug the computer when you’re done using it, or shut off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth, or take a shorter shower tomorrow morning.

The little stuff really does add up.



Sorry I’ve been scarce the last couple of days. I’m putting the final edits on the Trip Guide to get it ready for press, and I had a busy weekend, so I haven’t had much time to blog.

Sunday was absolutely crazy — church in the morning, hymn sing and tour celebrating First Church’s centennial in the afternoon, trip to the zoo after the church thing (we were trying to attend an Earth Day event, but I got my wires crossed about the day and location, so we just went to the new Feather Fest exhibit and fed a big flock of budgies instead), and then I spent part of the evening shooting pictures at Lyrics on the Lawn and helping Gary and Linda and Shanna take everything down and pack it up afterwards. Got home around 9:30 and worked on the Trip Guide until bedtime.

I had this afternoon off. I spent part of it in a meeting, part of it at the Reading Room, and part of it picking up a few groceries at Wild Oats and cleaning out the fridge to make room for them. Hope your Monday was productive.


Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay

RedFork Main Street had a cleanup day along Southwest Boulevard (Route 66) this morning. I was in Chandler really late, working on the Trip Guide, but I was back home and in bed by 2:30 or so, which gave me about four and a half hours of sleep before Ron and I had to be at the office to pick up some stuff so we could help Katy set up the volunteer sign-in table and stuff.

We got done at noon, went to lunch at 12:30, and headed out to the garden at 1 p.m. to start putting tomatoes in the ground. We’ve planted everything except the peppers, which can’t go out until the overnight temperatures are consistently in the 50s (probably mid-May). Our garden this year includes:

Sixteen different varieties of tomatoes (I have NO restraint when we go to the Tomato Man’s place)
Four varieties of cucumbers
Spaghetti squash
Lots of herbs
Two kinds of carrots
Brussels sprouts
Blackberries (the brambles are well-established and are already loaded with buds this year)
A wildflower mix we got for free from Burt’s Bees

I was happy that my golden thyme — a present from Mom last summer — had survived the winter, and my rosemary seems to be coming back. The mint is coming up in the front, too. I like the way the mint grows. It’s in the front flowerbeds, and it gets big and sort of spills out of them, so when you walk by, you brush against it and make the leaves release that lovely mint smell. It’s awesome.

I have dirt under my nails and little scratch marks on my arms and a pink sunburn across my nose and I’m tired and dirty and hot and happy.

I hope you’re happy, too, wherever you are.


Folk Saturday: Wayne Hancock

Apologies for the delay: I spent yesterday evening proofing the Trip Guide with the Oklahoma Route 66 Association administrator. On Thursday night, I was busy watching Wayne Hancock perform at Cain’s Ballroom … where there’s a gorgeous neon sign … and there was a thunderstorm, which kept the computer unplugged all night.

Not quite folk exactly, but nice anyway. If you’re not familiar with him, his voice and style are a dead ringer for Hank Williams Sr.


Attack of the killer procrastinators

I was supposed to be proofing the Trip Guide, studying, and working on my 101 Things list this evening … so what did I do as soon as I got home from church? Went out for ice cream and then spent an hour and a half watching Attack of the Killer Tomatoes on DVD, of course.

On a completely unrelated note, my bike, which has a grand total of maybe — maybe — 30 miles on it, is in the shop because the chain keeps slipping. I’m supposed to get it back Tuesday.

It’s a cheap bike, but I’d hoped it would at least pretend to work right for a few hundred miles.

I’m kind of sorry I didn’t go with my first instinct, which was to buy a single-gear cruiser with coaster brakes. They’re heavier and harder to ride, but they’re also virtually indestructible. I know somebody is still making them, because one of the local hospitals bought a whole bunch of them for people to use at River Parks. While my Schwinn is in the shop, I might seize the excuse to go down to the trail and try out the Tulsa Townie program. If I like the bikes, I’ll probably try to find out where they got them so I can order one of my own. You know they’re built to last if they’re loaning them out to everybody and their dog.

The good news is that I can now ride all the way up the steep side of the hill on the overpass behind Ollie’s without smacking into The Wall or having to get off and walk … and I don’t feel as exhausted and sore and shaky at the end of my morning commute now that I’ve done it a few times. I still feel too hot and a little wobbly when I get off the bike, but by the time I get into the office and drink a couple of mouthfuls of Gatorade, I’m OK.

It was kind of disheartening to feel so rotten at the end of such a short ride the first few times, but I keep reminding myself that when I started training for my first marathon, a slow half-mile jog around the indoor track at the Y jolly near killed me. Two marathons later, I more or less grasp the concept of building a base and staying focused on the end goal instead of fussing over the progress of my training, so I think a century is not entirely out of reach.



“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
— Ps. 46:1

Normally, Scout is a pretty saucy little dog — tough and fearless and funny — but storms seem to unnerve her, so when thunderclouds moved through our area late one night last week, Scout’s first order of business was to jump up on the bed, burrow under the covers, and snuggle up next to me until she felt safe.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but it occurred to me this evening that I could learn a lot from Scout.

When a storm is howling around her, Scout doesn’t waste time barking at it or whining about it or trying to make it go away on her own. She just runs straight to Mommy, who makes her feel loved and safe until the storm blows over.

Shouldn’t that be my first response, too? How many times, when the storms of material sense were raging all around me, have I tried to get rid of them by snarling and putting up my hackles, or by whining about them, or by taking some other ridiculous action that didn’t do anything to change the situation, when all I really needed to do was run straight to the Father for protection?