Finishing a Book…Again

Recently I decided I wanted to reread The Lord of the Rings.  I hadn’t read them since high school, which was well before the movies came out, so I wanted a little refresher.

I knew there had been parts left out, like Tom Bombadil, and other things added, like Arwen doing pretty much anything, but it was fun to go back through and read it all with so many great visuals from the movies.  

I just finished Return of the King tonight, and I must say that it really is an amazing series.  The pictures that Tolkien painted in words is just amazing.  He created an entire world of life and places and things, and he brought you there in a way that even a documentary about a real place would struggle to do.

I repeatedly found myself in complete awe of the intricacies of his world.  The detail that he utilized, while at the same time moving the story along, is simply incredible.  

I have always found it ironic that I actually find Frodo’s story the less interesting of the paths that are described.  With that being said, it is still a marvel to behold.  I only wish there had been a way to include the cleansing of the Shire into the movies.  

I realize it would be quite anticlimatic and ruin the flow of the movie, but I think it is some of the most powerful writing because of the way it shows how the Hobbits grew and changed their world when they needed to.  None of us would be called in to destroy a magic ring, but each of us has the chance everyday to change our world. 

We can clear out ruffians, and go about planting trees and such to beautify our world.  We can take on community leadership roles to help improve our neighborhoods.  We can stand up to those who carry a big stick, but are clearly in the wrong.  It is not usually easy, but if a couple of Hobbits can take down the greatest power of evil ever seen, then we can do it too.

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Waking Up to Snow

Ever since I was a kid I have always loved waking up to snow.  When I was younger it was because I was hoping they would cancel school, though more often than not it just meant I had to walk to school in it.

Now that I am older I just hope that it means I don’t have to go to work.  Okay, not most of the time, but still some of the time.  I have just always loved the peacefulness of snow in the morning.  

I remember waking up early to go to seminary and being the first person to drive down the roads.  Everything was covered in white and seemingly silent.  I almost felt bad breaking the silence and purity with the sound of my parents car.

Waking up to snow this morning was just one more reminder of how happy I am to be living here.

I Really Enjoy the Arts

I’ve never been a very artistic guy.  I was in band through Junior high and high school, and I was okay at it, but it was apparently it was never going to be my claim to fame.

Even before that though I had always had a great appreciation for the arts.  It is mostly music, but I also really love plays and and dance, and other forms of art as well.  I’ve never been a huge art museum kind of guy but I do appreciate some of that too.


It has been a really long time since we have really had the chance celebrate to go to many artistic events, so when my Queenie found a Christmas concert with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra she just bought the tickets and told me we were going.  Which is fine by me.

We ended up taking the two girls and they both seemed to really enjoy it, though Hannah definitely got worn out.  It was just such a fun, entertaining night.  Not only did they have a great Orchestra, they had a choir, hand bells, tap dancers, a dog show, and a lovely soloist.

The highlight for me though was the conductor.  He was dancing all over his platform, and even sang the Grinch song.  You could just tell he loves what he does and really puts his heart into it.  It is no wonder that his kids orchestras here in Reno have over 300 members, and they are adding two more to the three they already have.

It really makes me sad that the arts are slowly leaving schools in favor of chasing test scores.  I hope that we don’t realize to late that the arts are what make life beautiful and colorful.

To quote Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, or at least close, “Math, science, law, medicine, these are all necessary to sustain life.  But, art, music beauty, these are what we sustain life for.”

I really hope my kids appreciate the value of art in their lives.  You don’t have to love all of the different forms, but it is important to understand and appreciate the value that they are to life.

Feeling Useful Makes Life so Much Better

The last couple months has pretty really tough on me because I haven’t felt real useful at work.  I couldn’t fly and I didn’t have access to computer drives and such to be able to do other work.  

But this last week has been so much better.  Obviously I got to fly, which makes everything in life better, but I also have been more useful in some of the other admin stuff around the squadron.

I always prefer flying to paperwork, but I also understand the importance of paperwork for the smooth flow of such an operation.  I feel like I have actually earned my paycheck this week, which is not something I have been able to say for awhile.

It is always nice to get paid so you can take care of your family, but it is so much more fulfilling when you feel like you actually earned it.

I’m Grateful for My Life

It is amazing how close the line between happiness and misery is.  Maybe what is even more amazing is how much of it is a choice.

Sure I have struggles in my life.  I just got my first paycheck in a month and a half, I’m probably going to have to get a new roof in the spring, I have son with seizures and who knows what other issues because even though he is four, he can’t communicate with us.

But…

I have been able to pay my bills, I love where I live, and I have a family who loves me dearly.  I have the most amazing wife he loves me despite my crazy work life and schedule.  She trusted me that this move would be best for our family despite her very legitimate fears.  

I have a daughter that fights through painful feet because she would rather play hard that sit and feel sorry for herself.  I have a son that pretends he is super rough and tumble, but has one of the most tender hearts I know.  I have a sweet little daughter that just loves spending time with me even if it is just snuggling on a couch.  I have a son that 7 months ago had never met an American, cried for an hour at bedtime every night, and could barely walk, but now he runs after his siblings, smiles for most people, and will just melt your heart after he drives you nuts.

I stopped really caring about my birthdays probably about 20 years ago when I got my license since that was the last real beneficial age change in my life, but I will always be grateful for days that remind me just how blessed I am.  I don’t know what I did to deserve any of it, but I will always be grateful for all of it.

Turning Off Electronics

I really hate how much time my kids spend on their electronics.  I wouldn’t care so much if they were learning or starting a multi-million dollar business, but they are just watching stupid YouTube videos.

So tonight I told my kids no electronics. They could read books or play games or anything other than electronics.  They did ask for music which I was okay with, and other than that they didn’t even complain. A very pleasant surprise.

What ensued was a little rumbunctiousness followed by the three oldest sitting in the playroom reading stories together. Ty even came and sat with me for awhile just relaxing and dancing to the music that was playing.

This may not be an every night occurrence, but I will take it for now.  Technology is wonderful in so many ways, but it is so stinking important to make sure we all get away from it sometimes.

Friends Waiting on the Other Side

It has been two years since a dear friend of mine finally lost his battle with cancer.  Rare is the day that I don’t think about him and the beautiful mark he left on this world.

It has been nearly 20 years since his older brother took his own life, also leaving this world far too soon.

I think the thing that sucks most about getting older is that this list, which I have shared only a small part of, keeps getting longer.  While it sucks to lose the ones we love, how blessed are we to have known them here, and to know that we will see them again.

I know with all my heart that the people we love and cherish are on the proverbial “other side” awaiting our reunions with equal excitement.  It is not that either of us hope we end this mortal journey early, simply that the love we have for each other extends beyond the bounds of phyisical life, and rests in the deepest parts of our souls.

While it is true that love can be described through Neuro chemical reactions, there is a spiritual dimension that, while we don’t understand it, has a much more lasting affect on our relationships.  The joy that we experience with those special people in our lives is something that cannot be explained with words because it is truly beyond our mortal comprehension.

I guess this is just a really long way of saying I miss my friends and family that have already left this mortal world, and I look forward to the day where we will again be reunited.