negative return

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(courtesy NASA.gov)

I was 14 when Buzz Aldrin and Cmdr. Neil Armstrong walked /bounced on the moon. I recall clearly, looking at the grainy, blurred black-and-white images, trying hard to reconcile what I was seeing on a small television screen with reality. The American flag, in a place with no air, little atmosphere, stretched out as though it were held with wires.

This made a deep impression on me, but at the time (and my age) I was unable to articulate.

After the program was scuttled in 2011, today, watching this launch I actually cried.

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I felt a little silly, husky-mix rescue dog Lily walked over to me to comfort me but I wasn’t sad, just incredulous. Here we live in the most prosperous country on the planet and, with riots that serve no purpose, social divisions beyond COVID-19 ‘distancing’, political enmity, and censorship of freedoms including speech and worship, we are still reaching for the stars. Somehow I suppose I see it as a sort of escape from all these earthly woes. There is a place where people can be, far away from all of it.

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I don’t imagine, with all the poverty, persecution and environmental issues that exist, that all people see this as I do, but I have no answers. I know I do what I can to help. This man in Minneapolis who was allegedly murdered, his family has a fund that people have given to. There was a man featured amidst the infernal Minneapolis riots whose sports bar was looted and burned. He watched his life’s work be utterly and completely destroyed. He cried. A go-fund-me was started, cap set at $100,000. Last I heard it had $300,000. Americans, in general, are a compassionate, giving people.
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So I won’t begrudge my government reaching for the stars. A goal the beloved President John F. Kennedy yearned for.

And I will always know, no matter what happens or who is in government, God is sovereign.

God-speed, Astronauts Bob and Doug.
Safe journey. And safe return.

 

3770A7E2-342D-43D8-AFDB-82BBDED8A7B3 agodman.com

 

projects

Like most others in this forced lockdown I have sought out projects. It’s amazing how much you can find to do when you really look.

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Some shrubs had grown halfway up the window. How is it I did not notice I couldn’t see out of the window? So I pruned them. Amazing the difference an enlarged perspective made.

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My mom always told me books are my friends. Some are such good friends I had 2 or 3 of the same book, or very similar. So I culled through my bookshelves. I stored the boxes of books in a room I don’t use much. It looks like I am moving. Maybe the used bookstore will open soon, or the library will receive donations again.

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Next project— a couple of slow moving drains. This can be a pretty gross chore, but the all-natural cleaning method of baking soda, cleaning vinegar and salt is very gratifying. All that fizzing!

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A realtor who listed a former house for me told me to wash window sills and baseboards. Who knew these got dirty?? So I learned a new housekeeping chore. Check.

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My latest project will take longer. The caps on the fence posts around my yard are literally disintegrating. So I went to the hardware store. They all have 4×4, 6×6 but not 5×5 which is what I have so I looked online. There is a company called Post Cap Depot. Who’d have ever guessed? I had hoped to have a project for this Memorial Day weekend but this one will have to wait. So I am repotting some plants that are pot-bound. No one should be confined.

And I am going to reflect, in this time of harsh restrictions, on the brave American military who have fought to protect our God-given freedoms for over two centuries.

We are all fighting for those freedoms now.

CDF0FFD1-5D08-4313-9BB1-AFF7FD4D4FF8Lily and Lulu are worn out!

So I wish everyone a safe and healthy reopening, and I won’t ever take any freedom for granted again.

 

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strange

I should’ve taken a picture.

One thing this viral plague (not) has done for me is take my shopping outings down several degrees. Which is a good thing, though the shopping did keep me around people in my semi-reclusive life.

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I didn’t though, take the picture. A few weeks ago I read a blog post where the blogger was upset with shoppers who ignored or were oblivious to aisle signs directing shopper traffic. (I never actually imagined I would say words like that.) I laughed to myself thinking, seriously? Now there’s somewhere that directs people in how to walk in a grocery store??

I couldn’t imagine it. Until I got yelled at.

I had a shopping list for a local food pantry and could not find the rice aisle. A large woman on a shopping scooter cut the corner short into the aisle I was exiting, frowned at me and said “you’re going the wrong way.”

I stood dumbly for a second trying to process what she meant. And recalled the post I’d read.

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I looked down and saw the large stickers on the floor at each end of the aisle: green, go this way; red, don’t enter this way.

Oh My Gosh.

So I guess this better enables us to not breathe other people’s exhaled breath or something. So in addition to trying to find items that potentially, because of high demand, may not be available I have to watch which way I can go down the aisles. For me, in my simple little routined but free-form life this is a significant adjustment.

As long as I live (or as long as this fiasco lasts) I will not scold anyone for going the “wrong” way down a grocery aisle.

At least some of the beaches are open now. And considering some other states and their authorities restrictions it could be worse.

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So let’s don’t mention the new tropical storm coming this week. Maybe it will blow the bad germs out to sea.

 

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interruptions

My father was a very smart and talented person. He cultivated friendships. He genuinely liked people. Many were business associates and some provided serendipitous turns in our family’s life.

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One couple I recall very clearly from when I was around 9 or 10. They had a big picnic for families every summer, even with a clown to keep kids happy and out of the grown-ups hair. The couple owned a small business that was kind of faltering so my father offered to help support it and invested in it. As he retired years later, he learned the little company was in receivership and offered to pay its debts and bought it.

Begin phase two of our family’s life.

The business being in bankruptcy we knew we had nothing to lose. But it had offered an important service to the city so Dad was determined to get it going. And he did.

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Initially things went slowly. That first year, home for summer break I was sitting in a comfy chair reading one Saturday morning and as Dad came into the room he tossed a large manual beside me and said, “Read this. Monday morning you’re a typesetter.”

The company did not generate enough income to hire many people so at first our family did everything. My brother was applying to medical schools and interviewed people in his off time. My mother kept the books, paid the bills. Dad insisted on paying us, so I kept a tally of hours I actually worked during the workday. And so we went on until Dad got some impetus behind it.

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He asked people what they wanted to get out of it, what would be most helpful. He asked them to complete surveys and fine-tuned, tweaked and polished the little company until it was useful. And gradually hired a few more people and it started paying for itself.

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Some 30-years later Dad passed away and my brother and I kept the business. After a year or so it began to falter again, so I went back to see what it needed. It needed a lot. The years before he died, Dad had trusted others to manage things and neither my brother nor I were close by to help. So after a few months of tweaking, cleaning and many hundreds of hours of prayer, 14-15-hour days a friend of Dad’s approached us to ask about purchasing it. My brother and I discussed it and felt it was the best for the business.

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In a short span of 10 months or so I learned quite a lot. About a company, coworkers, stress management, keeping calm, and about myself. I understood how my father became successful.

Hard work. Selflessness. Redeeming the time. Wasting nothing.

So though that time was an unexpected interruption it was a crash course in humility, gratitude, inner strength, courage and complete reliance on God. Dad was no longer here to advise me. To this day I miss him, his deep belly-laugh, his wisdom, a no-nonsense approach to people and life. He never lied, and he always left people feeling better about themselves.

He was gifted.

7E2152C6-D744-468F-A7BE-084FFEA3EF4Fwisdomquotes.com

 

birdies

My brother plays golf. He and our mom hit the links every chance since he could walk. I never caught the bug so was not as close to Mom as my brother because she lived to play.

My birdies are the kind with feathers.

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Last spring I put a bluebird box. The backyard is not very big, so a lot of interest in the box but no residents. Rescue dogs Lily, Lulu and I spend a lot of time outside. I garden, terrier mix Lulu checks the perimeter, husky mix Lily suns herself or eats small lizards.

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This year we have a family. Barely audible baby cheeps are coming from the box. Conveniently there is a feeder of mealworms a mere few feet away. Lily and Lulu aren’t remotely interested in birds. Good thing. My dad had a setter bird dog that once ate a baby mockingbird. For the rest of her life she was kami-kazied every time she left the back porch.

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These beautiful creatures should have a lot to worry about— wind, rain, mites, ants, snakes, protecting their babies, food. But they don’t. They live in most areas where they are found year-round. And each year they find a home and raise their families. Their only brooding is with family-raising.

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And they sing. They sing with all their heart. It’s a pure, chaotic little song that has a random tune.

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If they aren’t happy someone should tell them they make others happy.

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