A Walk through Daily Life

I enjoy walking at the local mall, and I do that at least five days a week in the early morning. Early morning is either 8:15 or 8:30, depending on which security guard lets us walkers in. There doesn’t seem to be any agreement about which time is officially correct.

Although a number of my fellow walkers walk with other people, I prefer to walk by myself. The practical reason is that the echoes in those empty hallways make it very difficult for me to understand what other people are saying. But the real reason, other than the fact that I enjoy my own company at that time of day, is that I enjoy God’s company even more.

Yep, I like to pray while walking. Although I make it a practice to always pray about certain specific needs (usually not my own), I try to leave my prayer time open to whatever God lays on my heart to talk to Him about.

Several days ago my prayer time revealed something I’d never thought about before. Walking at the mall has many similarities to living my daily life.

In both cases, I’m at it before much of the day has a chance to get away from me. And I’m not necessarily all that alert yet at the beginning, even though I’m theoretically wide awake.

Each activity has a definite starting and ending point. My day goes from bedtime to bedtime, and my walks go from the Food Court entrance back to the Food Court entrance…and then back to the same car I came in…and to the same house I left forty or so minutes earlier.

Just as I expect to see a number of familiar fellow walkers, custodians, and early store employees, my daily life involves a number of familiar activities–a mid-morning snack, working a while on my WIP (work-in-progress), lunch, afternoon nap, putting away the clean breakfast dishes in preparation for suppertime dishwashing.

I could keep going, but there’s no need to belabor the point.

Occasionally my walk involves a surprise. Maybe I see someone I suddenly realize I haven’t seen in a while.  Or I end up walking a short distance with one of the walkers I know is a Christian, too. (I’m not really anti-social.) Or seeing that an interesting looking new store is about to open.

Of course, the surprise may not be the least pleasant. Like when the security guard is really late letting us in. Or when I have to break my stride to tie a shoelace keeps coming loose. Or when I notice one more store going out of business.

Good or bad, my walk still resembles my daily life to a certain extent. Sometimes I write more words in my WIP than I’d expected to. Sometimes fewer. Sometimes something special comes in the mail. Or something unexpected interferes with my routine. Like the tire pressure light coming on in the car and having to get the charger out of the trunk and deal with it.

I wish I could recall more of the similarities that came to me while praying that day. One thing is certain, though: I’m always glad to safely reach the end, whether that means I’ve completed my walk and can sit down for as long as I want to or that I’ve plopped into bed at the end of the day, satisfied that I’ve “run the good race” that day, accomplishing whatever I wanted to accomplish, and thankful to have had God leading me each step along the way.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

    

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Best regards,
Roger

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Nature’s Truly Most Perfect Food

Since my wife and I don’t watch TV, I don’t know whether the dairy industry still touts milk as “Nature’s most perfect food.”

Nonetheless, I disagree. Not because I dislike milk. I don’t. I not only love it, I drink eight ounces of milk every morning. Skim, at that. And I have fond memories of drinking fresh milk at the dairy farm where I stayed many years ago on a mission trip to Wales.

No, maybe I’m exaggerating to say I disagree that milk is “Nature’s most perfect food.” I suppose it is.

But there is one food–and one only–that is “Nature’s truly most perfect food.” And that is PIZZA!

That’s me finishing up my half of the pizza we had for lunch last Sunday. Bacon on mine, pepperoni and mushrooms on hers.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always crazy about pizza. Not because I disliked it at all, but because I never had any until I was in the tenth or eleventh grade. My mother didn’t cook pizza, and those were the days before every corner that didn’t have a church on it had a pizza place.

Not that it would’ve mattered. We wouldn’t have gone there, and since I didn’t know what I was missing, I wouldn’t have bugged my parents about it.

Not that I would’ve bugged them, anyhow. They were fine people, but not very bug-able.

But then came that magic Sunday night when we were invited to somebody’s house for an after-church social. There I had my first pizza, and I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, that was probably also my father’s first pizza, and it made him SO sick. He’d never reacted to other food that way.

I couldn’t convince my parents that the problem was probably something specific to THAT pizza, not pizza in general. Alas, we continued never having it.

I don’t know when the one-eighty came. But definitely while I was in college. I have fond memories of walking the snowy streets of Frostburg, Md.–named after a family of Frosts, not the frigid weather that typified that area in winter–from where I was living off-campus (Frostburg State) to a place downtown where I’d buy two or three slices and eat them out of the box trudging back to my room through the snow and trying to keep from falling down and getting my pizza wet.

Once I was totally out on my own, pizza became a staple. Both with my ex-wife and Kathleen. We don’t splurge as much as we might enjoy, though. “Nature’s truly most perfect” still comes with a calorie-laden price tag.  At our age and stage, we can’t ignore that.

I don’t know what foods will be served in Heaven, but I assume pizza will be available at every meal. And that–Heaven being Heaven, and Heaven being perfect–I’ll not only never grow fat there, I’ll also never get tired of pizza.

What do you think? How about leaving a comment.

 

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

What Does a Guy like Me Do on Vacation?

Ah, we’re enjoying the midst of summer here in Virginia. The outside temperature right now is 94; it was 100 in the car before I turned on the A/C. That’s hotter than some days, cooler than others. But at least the sun is shining. What a perfect day to do…to do what?

That question is one I ask whenever my wife, Kathleen, starts talking about planning a vacation. And she understands. She knows that my vacations used to consist solely of visiting distant family members. And she understands that–no matter how much I love my family (I’m counting hers as mine since I have practically none of my own left)–that is NOT a vacation, even if we’re able to do one or two activities apart from family.

She understands something else. I have trouble thinking in terms of “vacation.” I can’t come up with activities that please me. Not vacation-worthy activities, anyhow.

Everything seems to have a drawback. Going on a cruise means endless eating…and having to diet for who knows how long afterwards to lose what I gained on the cruise. Going to a dude ranch would mean hours of horseback riding; a few months ago I learned that even an hour of riding caused enough pain to make that unappealing.

We could go to the beach, as we did recently with our daughters and their families–or by ourselves. But I’m not overly fond of the water. And walking the boardwalk time after time gets old after a while. I’ve avoided skin cancer so far, so I’m not tempted to lie out on the beach. I like certain kinds of seafood, but why go to the ocean just for seafood when I can enjoy it thawed and fixed at home?

Lest you think I’m just being picky and perhaps even a bit difficult–let me assure you you’re correct on both counts–let me point out that I am a better judge of what I dislike (or think I would dislike) than of what I actually like. And because I’m retired and sit around all day writing and/or piddling around, going somewhere just to sit around has no appeal. I can read my Kindle just as comfortably at home. However, I did enjoy a short time here by the pool while nobody else was around.

Going to see interesting and/or beautiful things might sound appealing, but I know me. I would spend my time taking pictures of them and then do hours of editing my photos with Affinity Photo software. I can’t wait till I get home to do that. I have to keep up with it as I go along. Go figure.

What vacation activities have I actually enjoyed? Two or three things really stand out from our recent beach week vacation. Although I hadn’t fished in years, being able to walk out the back door of our rented beach house and fish in the canal for catfish was really nice. I don’t think I could do it for endless hours, though. Especially in the hot Florida sun.

  

And a day trip to the Everglades was actually fun. I loved the wildlife we saw there–alligators galore, black buzzards, deer, a very tame wild racoon, and a good-sized grasshopper. And I’d always wanted to ride in one of those air boats. Nonetheless, I lived behind the camera, except when Kathleen was taking a picture of me holding a baby alligator, and then–not unexpectedly– I spent hours editing my pictures.

            

See? I couldn’t even write this blog post without “inpainting” the picture you see below to cover up the band that kept the alligator’s mouth shut so it couldn’t bite me. Don’t I look bold this way?

Hmm. But looking bold isn’t an exciting vacation activity.

I hasten to point out that I’ve been on numerous mission trips–to Nicaragua, England, Wales, Romania, and Australia. Mission trips are not vacations. If the host pastor has enough vision, he can work his team to death. But each mission trip also has times set aside for enjoying the locale. And I truly love that part. Who wouldn’t want to climb the steps to the Sydney Opera House?

Why can’t choosing a vacation be that simple?

I’m open to suggestions for inexpensive vacations that would suit a fuddy-duddy like me. Please comment.

 

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Guest Post: Key Car Driving Technologies to Assist with Seniors (conclusion)

I’d like to thank Craig Hammontree of Healthmax360.com for sharing this fascinating article, the first part of which appeared on this blog last Sunday.

Voice-activated driving help
While it’s great to have a map on your phone, it isn’t all that helpful when you’re driving. Looking down at a screen while behind the wheel is a very bad idea and not one that you should practice.

However, a GPS system can be a great help. Now, you can have the convenience of a digital map and some help avoiding traffic with a voice-activated navigation system.

These new systems are an extension of the basic map. They alert you to traffic snags to help you avoid them, give you options for alternative routes and find places based on what you already know.

Going to a new restaurant and not sure where it is? That’s okay – just say the name the system will do the rest.

Back-up Cameras


The United States Department of Transportation is a huge fan of these cameras and wants to see a lot more of them by 2018. According to the current data, this basic addition to help drivers back out of a parking space or driveway can make us up to 90 percent safer as we move around in cars. By being able to see what’s directly behind us with the help of some easy tech, we can avoid hitting animals and small children that happen to run into our paths.

The camera gives the driver a quick glance at what’s directly behind the car. The image is projected on a small screen just next to the driver, so no more twisting around to see what’s back there. Not having to guess what’s happening behind your large, heavy vehicle is a relief to any driver and can help us all move more safely on and off the road.

Swivel Seats
This technology is more basic and not as shiny and new as the others, but it deserves a mention because it solves the problem of getting in and out of a car.

The basic addition to your driver’s seat helps with stiff knees or longer legs as it swoops you over to the door side and lets you skip the difficult business of judging the distance between your leg and the car frame. The added handle can help with standing and sitting and just makes exiting a car much easier and smoother.

If you already have some great, slick tech in your car and just need a little boost for your mobility, this is the way to go.

A built-in helper
Automatic systems such as OnStar are made to help respond to crashes, assist in navigation or just make suggestions if you’re not quite sure which place to go for dinner. This quick connection to an actual human is the equivalent to having your phone on during the entire drive – if anything unsafe is taking place, your assistant jumps in and calls authorities, checks on you and keeps you calm. These are especially great if you live in a place where it can be difficult to get roadside assistance, or if you’re far away from law enforcement and want to be safe.

Other systems are 911Assist, BlueLink or SafetyConnect. While it can seem a little intimidating at first, these systems do work. If you get lost or disoriented, they can alert your family and let them know you need help, as well as where to find you. It may feel odd to have someone talking to you in your car, but that same person could save your life.

 


 

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Guest Post: Key Car Driving Technologies to Assist with Seniors (part one)

I’d like to thank Craig Hammontree of Healthmax360.com for sharing this fascinating article, the remainder of which will appear here next Sunday.

Everyone wants their freedom, none more so than the people who raised us and still want active lifestyles as they get older. Just because someone is aging, that shouldn’t mean they can’t have their mobility. Plus, the automotive industry has heard the cry for better technologies in cars. Today’s cars are safer, more aware of their environments and take convenience and ease of movement into account more than ever before.

You may already have a great car caddy to help you get in and out of a deep, soft seat, but how about knowing what’s behind you or getting a warning about speed changes? These and more are all on the horizon for drivers of all ages, standing to benefit senior drivers immensely.

Help with changing lanes
There are some great accessories you can add to a new car that makes sure you don’t stray out of your lane as you drive, helps your car keep centered between hard-to-see markings and even does some minimal steering for you, though you have to keep your hands on the wheel.

Many cities don’t take driving safety for those with poor vision into account as lines fade on the street or rain falls. This new technology steps in to keep you safe as you go along at night or in a storm. While it hasn’t been perfected yet and some versions rely on a camera to keep you centered, it’s worth considering. Staying centered in your lane will prevent accidents and minor fender benders and help everyone in the car feel that much safer.

Smarter headlights
This technology you can put in your car will make you wonder how you ever drove without it. Newer, more aware headlights are the next step in driver safety and help ensure that as the sun goes down, your lights go up to make everything clearer and safer for you and everyone else on the road. Some lights are even designed to move their beams around as the road changes and have special settings for curves and hills. Once you have them, you will never go back to manual.

Better brakes
You may have already heard about Autonomous Emergency Braking or AEB, as it’s something that many car manufacturers have committed to putting in all their new models. Essentially, the brakes help your car know when it’s about to have a collision and stops the car for the driver.

If your reaction time has slowed or if you just want the reassurance of knowing your car can help you out when danger is on the road, these brakes are a must.

A wake-up call
Many of us get relaxed as we drive, but some of us get far too relaxed. A drowsy driver alert system is designed to monitor the blinking patterns of the person at the wheel through a camera or take into account a lot of swerving or drifting. The Drowsy Driver Alert System kicks on and either wakes the driver up with sounds, vibrations or suggestions to the driver that it’s time to take a break.

Sleeping behind the wheel is extremely dangerous and one of the leading causes of accidents. If you know you tend to nod off as you drive, this could be a great addition to your vehicle. 

That’s the end of part one. How about leaving a comment to thank Mr. Hammontree for his willingness to guest post with this article. I don’t know about any of you, but as a seventy-year-old driver, I find this information to be greatly encouraging.

 


 

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Back from Vacation

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m writing this post before leaving for church in the hopes it won’t be too late.

Kathleen and I just got back last night from our week at the Isles of Capri, Florida. There we spent time with Kathleen’s single daughter, her younger daughter (with hubby and toddler), and my daughter (with her hubby and two kids, one of whom is still a todler). This trip had been in the planning stages for close to a year. We rented a huge beach house, where each of the four family groups had a separate bedroom and bathroom. This is the house.

And this is all of us.

Although the weather had threatened to be rainy all week, that prediction proved pleasantly inaccurate for the greater part. Although we enjoyed trips to the beach, we spent a lot of time at the house playing Uno and Five Crowns and in the pool. You may not realize this, but pools in Florida are typically totally enclosed and screened in. Unfortunately that didn’t keep the NoSeeUms from feasting on us the first day; I’m still covered with bite marks.

     

Although we opted not to rent a boat, our house backed up to a canal that was perfect for fishing. It had been years since I last fished, but I loved it. Especially the day I caught three catfish. We always threw the fish back, though.

We had our meals all planned out, with each family unit responsible for one dinner. I couldn’t count the number of runs we made to Marco Island (about three miles) to pick up additional food from the nearest Publix grocery store.

Kathleen and I did a few activities on our own. We ate breakfast out three times at this place, BREAKFAST & MORE. After eating there the first time, we didn’t want to go anywhere else.

Our biggest adventure was a trip to the Everglades, where we went on two air boat rides and a swamp buggy ride. To say the least, we learned a lot about the Everglades during the five hours we spent there. Did you know the Everglades is the only place in America that has both alligators and crocodiles? That’s because fresh and salt water come together in certain areas.

          

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve said enough for today. As so often happens, I served as the resident photographer of our family get together–I failed to mention earlier that we came from Richmond, Virginia; Las Vegas; New York City; and Orlando–and I spent a lot of my time editing pictures with the Affinity Photo software I’d bought just a few days before heading south.

Comments are welcome.

 

    

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

In Transit

Hmm. What’s a guy to write a blog post about when he’s sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for his connecting flight to Fort Myers, Florida?

It’s been a long day, even though only a little over an hour of it has been spent in the air. We had the alarm set for 5:30, but both of us were awake at least ten minutes before that and went ahead and got up.

Nobody was going to bother with showering today. Not before reaching our destination, anyhow. We were on our way to the Richmond airport by 6:00. It’s less than twenty-five miles, and we’re less than a mile from Rt. 95, and from there we turn off almost immediately on 295. In short, we were there in no time.

At least we would’ve been, but since we were hungry and running ahead of schedule, we stopped first at Hardee’s to eat.

Checking in online is great. Although the bag drop line was fairly long, it moved rapidly. On to security. Not a problem. The last few times we’ve flown, we’ve been TSA pre-checked or whatever they call it. We’re obviously not terrorists.

So we found our gate, and I started reading a novel on my Kindle. I’d just started it the day before, but it was fast moving. Especially when I found myself skipping unnecessary paragraphs. I’d read several books by this author, but found this one only vaguely intriguing. I’d do him a favor by not writing a three-star review.

So here I am in Atlanta. I’ve finished my lunch–the grilled chicken sandwich could’ve used LOTS of mustard, but the fries were great. I decided it was time to write something for my weekly post, and this is it.

I’m curious. Which would you have preferred, an account of my acceptably tame day (so far) or no post at all this Sunday? You won’t hurt my feelings, I can assure you.

     

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger