Never Bored

The last year has never been boring. Between work, side projects, friends, ministry, hobbies, the family, and what else I have had nonstop, no significant breaks in between. And I’m not complaining at all. I’m actually glad I have things filling my schedule. I’m glad that I have things to do. Make no mistake, I still manage time to read, relax, and play some video games. And 2012 was a much better year than that infamous 2010. I’m hoping to not repeat that year ever again.

My mom and dad have been up to their usual shenanigans. Between month long expeditions to Lhasa or some remote Amazonian villages they spend time remodeling their home and driving me a little crazy. I enjoy them, though, and although we don’t always see eye to eye I have learned and grown to appreciate them much more. They’ve worked very hard and done the best that they could. And for all our disagreements I love them and hope that they live life to its fullest now that they’re both retired. It’s in these last few years that their health, still good, is seemingly starting to wane. It is causing me anxiety and depression at times. I have made an effort, as has Crystal, to get the children out in front of them as often as possible. Skype, at their place, at ours… whatever.

My kids are awesome. I love them to bits. Sure, when they break something my sanity and patience get tested but all said and done they are a fantastic bunch. Henry is learning to read, likes to totally own in World of Tanks, and has enough Legos to meticulously reconstruct Prague on his bedroom floor if Harrison would give him a chance. He often asks about things he sees or hears and Crystal and I always take the time to explain everything using adult language. So when he says words or recognizes things from around the globe I know what we’re doing is on track.

Helen is my sweet pea. She’s sweet and plays with her dolls and animals. Often she plays alone. She is learning to be a little lady. Within in her is a kind, gentle, and loving spirit which resembles that of her momma. It is incredibly precious to see. Of course, she’s also the loudest. When something doesn’t go her way – boy does she let everyone know! She also lovs to learn. She follows along on story books, feeds the puppy, and does the best she can to make sure she looks pretty with all her crazy clothing configurations she chooses. She whines like no other. Boy, does she wine. She walks slow. She dilli dallies. It can be frustrating but I remind myself that she’s a girl and developing in a way that’s different – even sweeter – than boys.

While Henry and Harrison are both my little men, Harrison is my little guy. He’s rough and tumble with no holds adventurous, curious, and boisterous. He finds things and explores them. He has a magnificent sense of humor and will head butt anyone coming into the house in an eager attempt for hugs. He like both Henry’s and Helen’s toys and makes sure both are amply frustrated when attempted to construct elaborate scenes with the various toys they have. He’s decided he’s had it with diapers and with that we close a chapter in our child rearing experience.

The Christmas break I took was much, much needed. Crystal and I had a chance to reconnect. We both work very hard. When I’m commuting and working she’s hauling and teaching kids, working out, sharing leadership goals with recovery house residents, leading fitness and running groups, blogging, and looking good. When we’re heads down, day to day, it is difficult to make time for one another. We rarely get to talk and be intimate.  Regardless of schedule we are blessed with the “quality over quantity” philosophy. We don’t need to spend gobs of time together if we both work hard to make the most of what time we spend together. I love her very dearly. More than when we met. More than when we married. More than when she bore my first child. More each day I grow more fond of her cherishing everything she does for me day in and day out. I think that is what makes what we have so special. We trust each other implicitly and whether she needs something for herself or I need to do something for myself or one of us needs to do something for any of our many chores and responsibilities or even just plain old amusement we make sure we get that. Our marriage is strong not just because of our mutual commitments but from our strengthening bonds through Christ who empowers us to accomplish everything and to rely that He maintains us through whatever we go through. A two-way roundabout circling around the Lord.

The winter months have brought with them cold which draws over us a canopy of rain, wind, and the usual delights of Washingtonian winters. This year we enjoyed a long summer. Since we really only have two seasons – rain or not rain – it was straight into the rainy season after the sunshine ended. I rode my motorcycle all the way until the first week of December shrugging off the occasional shower. I washed it, plugged it into a battery tended, and made a mental note that I’d ride as soon as it was a little warmer as to avoid the frost.

2012 saw the beginning of a couple food hobbies. We’ve made wine, several types of cheese, a couple types of sausages, and other delicious libations. We enjoyed some success and some failure. The first sausage was bland, one of our cheeses ended up not aging properly, and our apple cider went sour. It is a learning experience. We make food at home for many reasons but each creation, while not cost saving in the short term in any way, has been an immense learning opportunity for the entire family. We are very excited about self sufficiency, learning about skills, being healthy, eating things that won’t hurt us, and avoiding things that aren’t needed or good for the body. With that we’ve also taken it upon ourselves to lose some weight and gain some strength and endurance. Since that horrible year which I hope doesn’t repeat itself where I weighed a hefty 285 pounds, I’ve lost 54 pounds so far. My changes were small but reasonable. It isn’t a religion. Eat less, move around, and when I do eat I try and feed myself things that are unprocessed and unmodified. This tends to suggest things that are organic or at least GMO free but we do what and when we can.

Now Crystal and I are going to the gym consistently. Heck, since August I’ve been going at least 5 days a week with a couple exceptions. The Thanksgiving to New Year’s block stalled my weight loss journey. However, since the 1st of the year we’ve both become reinvigorated and have added to our list of daily checkins. It’s been fun to have something to work at together. We’d like to be in shape. It takes time but the rewards are all there.

It’s odd how food, attitude, and various inputs become important. I now catch myself thinking about my snacks, my food choices, my beer drinking. It sounds a little obsessive. The way I figure is that I have about a year or two worth of stringent attention to reversing about a decade of disgusting physical dilapidation.

Quite frankly I look back at my 20s – heck we both do – and look at it with some regret. Some say we shouldn’t have regrets and although I mostly agree I think that at some point acknowledgment of regretful missteps make us better people. It is in those regretful moments where we garner enough impetus to make necessary change. This may just be how I address my own short comings. With food, finances, education, work, friendships, marriage, and even our children. Things need changing. Life if short and spending it only on the most selfish behaviors, although legitimate for most folks, cause much of the sadness, dysfunction, and lack in many lives I see around me.

2013 is a new stone turned over it is already looking like a brighter part of my life’s journey. I like what I see already. I am planning out rides. I’m getting in shape. I’m a better husband. A better father. A better employee. A better manager. A better friend to those that want my friendship. I am in no ways all there but I think things are looking up.

Bon voyage!

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