80 going 80

Week 19, MKMMA, 2-1-16

One of the great benefits of this MKMMA thing for me is becoming less judgmental and seeing people again for who they are rather than my grouchy old self who had all the answers and looked at people with predetermined eyes. A few months ago I was headed home from Marshall, TX speeding as I always do. I am nowhere close to walking on water but traveling is certainly one where the Lord has to place more than one guardian angel. My uncle rides with me and said it is like herding cats because I am in a worn work truck, overloaded, and definitely speeding with no seatbelt, I never wear seatbelts. Anyway, I was scooting up Hwy. 59 and a Cadillac comes around me with a naturally white/grey-haired granny, going at least 80 and driving with her knees because she was putting on make-up with both hands. I had to get another look at that so I passed her, which meant I was running in the 90+ range and, sure enough, I was right. I loved it. I just laughed. Rock on granny! So much for the stereotypes. The other day I was in west Texas on a job and met a lady who is the supervisor. I knew she was not the frilly type because she got out of the truck with her jeans tucked inside her well-worn boots. We are walking around looking at the situation and she pulls out a can of snuff, pinches out a big dip, puts in her lip and offers me some. I told her I was not man enough to do that and work all day. We are walking the jobsite, having a great conversation, she was a super sweet and cool person, and laughing while she spit the snuff. So much for the stereotypes. Life is really fun when we quit judging others and placing them in molds in which we think they belong, without even knowing them. When we allow people to be who they are and love them anyway, because God knows I am nowhere near a saint, life is fun, people are fun, we can laugh, stress goes away, and we become much more open to life, love, harmony, the laws of the universe, and freedom.

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He trained his parents well

Week 18, MKMMA, 1-27-16

Our sons are grown and gone and we have no grandchildren so it is my wife and I, and quite honestly, I absolutely love this empty nest thing. My sons are the most awesome guys in the world, both are going through this course, have their own businesses, super productive, focused, and definite-purpose driven. So when you have sons like that, it makes being a parent super rewarding and proud. Yes, I love having my life back, come and go as I please, when I please, doing what I please, it is great. My wife (Patti) was having a little more struggle with the empty nest thing until my niece and her husband had their first-born son (Hoyt) about 9 months ago. My sister passed away when my niece was 7 years old so my wife has in ways been like a mother to my niece and they are super close. In the webinar Sunday they were talking about how babies are so open, excited to learn, and not bothered about being self-conscious until they learn it from someone else. Patti keeps Hoyt every chance she can and they are super close, he is a cool little dude, but he has trained his parents well. I watch at how he openly learns, crawls to explore something new, and has a zest for whatever peaks his interest, but he can turn on the water works at any given moment. The sprinkler on demand if it does not go his way, at 9 months old. Oh yeah, he sleeps in their bed, part of the night, the rest of the night they are up rocking and playing with him just hoping he will go back to sleep. It definitely defines the quote on the webinar Sunday: men are not the creatures of circumstances; circumstances are the creation of men. I told Patti if he lived in our house he would have a rude awakening because he would cry it out in the babybed, he would live in my house, I would not live in his. As an elder of the church said one time: “a 2 year old is not wise enough to run a household,” yet unfortunately that happens way too often. So training starts the day a kid comes home from the hospital and that training goes both ways, a parent can train the child or the child can train the parent. Often times that is why we have to retrain ourselves as adults to become the free, independent, goal-oriented people we are meant to be. I love freedom of the empty nest, but also of a virtually stress-free life respecting others and living towards my DMP. Yes, I had to retrain myself, as we all do, but freedom is not free.

Getting ready for the garden

Week 17, MKMMA, 1-19-16

Here it is the middle of winter and it is time to get ready for my garden in the spring. I have to put lime in my garden spot every year and lime is not like fertilizer. Fertilizer can be put out and tilled in when you are ready to plant but lime needs to be tilled in a couple of months before you are ready to plant. It takes time to break down and really prepare the soil before planting, much like the first part of this MKMMA thing. You sow and till knowing the big payoff will be coming in a few months. Yeah, in the spring when I plant my tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and other veggies, it will still be somewhere around the middle of the year before I get the big harvest but when it does and all the fresh garden veggies are on the plate and canned in jars for the winter it will be well worth it. Like changing and breaking off the old self and becoming our new reality, it takes time, sowing, tilling, planting, fertilizing, water, and months and years of work but the payoff is grand. Nothing beats a big homegrown tomato on a sandwich or cucumbers straight out of the garden, and nothing beats a positive, focused, directed, energized soul with a major purpose to share and love life. May God Bless!

And he had compassion on them

Week 16, MKMMA, 1-13-16

Six times in the Gospel accounts the writers tell where Christ was with the people in situations and state: “he had compassion on them.” Christ looked beyond his own needs to the needs of others. He saw and felt their human conditions and responded. There are so many ways we can respond to help others. Webster’s Dictionary defines compassion as: (a) a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc., (b) sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. The world is full of super people with hearts of love and care, unfortunately, they never make the news. It is the freaks and violent ones full of hate who make the news because it sells, what a sad commentary on our news media and society. In my work I go into over 100 homes and businesses a month and meet some of the most amazing people in the world. Incredible people of love who are making their way through life, minding their own business, and wishing the best for all, but we never hear about these blessed souls. We may not be able to feed 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes like Jesus did, but a $20 bill to an elderly person goes a long way towards medicine or groceries. Compassion goes way beyond meeting the physical needs. Nursing homes, elderly, disabled, and many others have incredible business, personal, and many other types of insight and experience but no place to share it because they sit alone wishing for someone with whom to talk. George Washington Carver once said: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” Kindness and compassion is giving of one’s self, not necessarily financial resources. It is having searching eyes of love, willing hands to serve, but most of all of our most precious resources, time to share, interact, and become involved.

The old songs still rock

Week 15, MKMMA, 1-4-16

A favorite song comes on the radio and it immediately takes us back to a favorite place, event, or time. We see the place and time where we met that special person, we can even see what they were wearing, or a defining moment in our life, or just a great, relaxing evening. The old southern rock classics still do it for me, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, The Eagles, Jon Bon Jovi, and country like Porter Wagoner, Waylon, Willie, Cal Smith, and Johnny Cash, this new stuff is not country. There are many evenings where me and Youtube still go back, did I ever just tell my age or what. Oh yeah, the old classic rock and country, the ones that played on the old 8-tracks, still fire up the old laptop in a rowdy, bang-out night of memories. But now, I am finding those times still more valuable than ever to my soul with Ray Boltz singing The Anchor Holds, What Faith can Do by Kutless, The Blood is Still There by Kevin Spencer, Why Me Lord by Kris Kristofferson, The Secret Place by The Booth Brothers, The Yard Sale by Sammy Kershaw and others really take me closer to the Lord. But we all have our favorites, the ones that really move us, when we are alone, the ones that really get deep in our souls such as How Great Thou Art by Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill, Turn the Wine Back into Water by T. Graham Brown, and the long-standing favorite for me, The Outlaw’s Prayer by Johnny Paycheck. As we become more reflective and honest through this MKMMA thing we find things that take us back, some to break the old habits and get rid of the things holding us back, but others to release the good that has been buried. I treasure those evenings of rocking the old laptop, I sing wide open, I may sound like a moose during mating season, but it is during those times that my soul is free.

My favorite obituary

Week 14, MKMMA, 12-28-15

Most obituaries are pretty much standard information, name, dates, survivors, etc. and what a good life that person lived. I, as many, many people do, read the obituaries every morning, not to wish ill or bad on anyone or even judge them after their passing, but to pray comfort and peace on the families. Sometimes the human side shows though, sometimes the obituary does not match the person being described and we know that as well. But the obituary of Michael Blanchard is one of brutal honesty. I somehow think I would have liked this guy, oh sure, he made a lot of people uncomfortable but you knew where things stood. Like this guy or not, there was no grey area.
Blanchard, Michael “Flathead”
1944 ~ 2012
A Celebration of the life of Michael “Flathead” Blanchard will be held on April 14th, 3 pm 8160 Rosemary St, Commerce City. Weary of reading obituaries noting someone’s courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.
Mike was born July 1944 in Colorado to Clyde and Ethel Blanchard. A community activist, he is noted for saving the Dr. Justina Ford house from demolition and defending those who could not defend themselves. He was a Republican delegate, life member of the NRA, founder and President of the Dead Cats MC. He loved music.
Mike was preceded in death by Clyde and Ethel Blanchard, survived by his beloved sons Mike and Chopper, former wife Jane Transue, brother Stephen Blanchard (Susan), Uncle Don and Aunt Cynthia Blanchard(his favorite); Uncle Dill and Aunt Dot, cousins and nephews, Baba Yaga can kiss his butt. So many of his childhood friends that weren’t killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. He asks that you stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell. As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.
Published in Denver Post on Apr. 12, 2012 – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/denverpost/obituary.aspx?pid=156944598#sthash.1st07hEJ.dpuf

What this brings to me is: what will my obituary say and will it be a true reflection of my life? I know some will think this may be a rather dark or inappropriate subject but if it makes you uncomfortable, then why? That type of honesty does make some uncomfortable. Life has become a joy, I could not always say that, for years I was very uncomfortable but not anymore. I now look forward to each and every morning and greet it with love.

A medically induced coma

Week 13, MKMMA, 12-28-15

Well, here we are half-way through this MKMMA thing and it is amazing to see the changes and do a self-inventory from the beginning of this thing. On May 20th I had to go to the emergency room at 3:00 am for shoulder pains that had been persistent for about a month. Before that I had 12 days off in over 13 months working 80-100 hours a week. They admitted me and I am in the hospital room still going on like mad about work. I had the most incredible nurse. She was a sweet little granny nurse who had seen my type way too many times. I was telling her I needed to be in Leonard, TX, Prescott, AR and I had jobs in 5 places. When were they going to do something? What were they going to do? When were we going to get results? When am I getting out of here? I do not have time for this s#%t! I have to go. On and on I went about the places I needed to be and the stuff I had to do. She ever so sweetly smiled at me, put her hand on my knee, and asked me how I felt about a medically-induced coma. Whammo! Instantly I was running on all flat tires. I knew what that meant, a happy little potion in a shot and they wake me up when they want to hear from me again, in case you haven’t figured out, I am a red. Well, I became a little more cooperative, amazing how that how happens when you figure out there are some things of which you are not in control. They did one stint because the main artery out of the right side of my heart was 100% blocked. The doc said I was running on borrowed time and it is by the grace of God I had not already had the sad songs and flowers. Well, everything happens for a reason. Shortly after that I blew up one of my work trucks and replaced it with something that will not carry tools, a big cruiser motorcycle. I have cut my work in about half, my stress has gone way down, and like I have posted in the blogs, the walls are coming down and the mean old me is going away. Priorities, life, and me are getting more in line and I am liking all of them way more than before. Sometimes we have to slow down a little to pull things back in line. Life sometimes gets like a big, tall waterslide at an amusement park, slip and slide until you hit bottom and hope you land safely. There is a reason our grandparents had rockers and a front porch swing and way fewer medically-induced comas.