A Race in the Desert

rocknroll-marathon

I arrived in Phoenix late in the afternoon this past Saturday. It was January 14th and a storm system was moving in across the west. The flight from Denver was bumpy and I thanked God for bringing me here safely. I booked this flight a little over a month earlier when my college age daughter invited me to run with her and her roommate in the Rock’n’Roll half marathon in Phoenix. She brought this up while we were visiting her in Tucson for Thanksgiving. The allure of a warm January day in Phoenix took hold immediately and I quickly accepted. Okay, training to begin right after the cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie, I better have some ice cream with that, I’m going to need the energy! I had been an avid runner years before and had completed one half marathon (in Colorado Springs) and one full marathon (Baltimore) when I was still in my 30’s. Now I was 50 and not sure how age would play into my ability to finish the race. But I found a good 6 week training program and the weather cooperated, allowing me to get in my weekly long runs. Luckily, my progress was steady and I was able to avoid injury as I increased my distance and time. I also had competed in a Tough Mudder with my 21 year old son, in Aspen, just 2 months prior. So I had a good base to start my training.

I love running in the mountains of Colorado, but knee problems had pushed me towards mountain biking to meet my need for outdoor activity and my desire to stay physically fit. Now I was back to regular runs in high mountain trails and loving every minute of it. My dog Scout was loving it too. The crisp cool air was inviting to my lungs, providing a daily purge of work anxiety and allowing my mind to wander as I took in the beauty of the Colorado landscape. Scout also provided entertainment as he rolled in the snow or chased the occasional fox that roamed this part of the country. If we passed a watering hole, Scout was in it, despite the frigid temperature. He would proceed to roll in the snow or tall brown grass in an apparent attempt to dry himself. But he always popped up with a vigorous shake of his body and a wag of his tail. Silly dog.

In preparing for this race, I discovered a new approach to training than when I was younger. My training goals were focused on increasing my time and distance, but not as focused on my pace. This allowed me to progress without undue strain on my body that would create setbacks and down time to heal. I was making progress and enjoying the process.

The Christmas break brought the whole family back home and allowed my daughter and me to train together. This gave us time to talk about important things, and not so important things, but mostly just to reconnect. Preparation became a daily discussion. She was battling an IT-band injury and picked up a bad head cold two weeks before the race. But she is tough minded and made the necessary adjustments to her preparations. Christmas also brought a new toy, a Garmin watch that tracked my heart rate, distance, altitude profile, and every other metric that physics and a robust GPS system could provide. Suddenly I no longer depended on trail markings and my own judgement to determine how I was progressing. It was all there in digital form with elaborate analysis and documented results. Gone were the days of exaggerated distances or altitude variations, the truth was captured in my Garmin app for anyone to see. It even tracked my sleep patterns and rest cycles. Every hour my new watch would advise me to get up and “MOVE!” The adventurer in me mourned the loss of reliance on my own navigational skills and estimating techniques, but the engineer in me was fascinated with the detailed reports, colorful graphs, and 2 digit precision.

Back at Sky Harbor airport, I was waiting for my daughter to pick me up and debating if a heavy spaghetti dinner was still a good idea given the late hour. But I decided that carb loading the night before a race was a pre-race reward to honor the weeks of training and was necessary to complete the preparation rituals. Arriving at my in-laws place an hour or so later, we were blessed by a pot of spaghetti and meatballs that my sister-in-law had prepared for us, what hospitality!

The next morning brought the normal pre-race jitters and debate about how much to drink, eat, and dress. The weather report revealed overcast skies, 40-something degrees, and the possibility of rain. What to wear? We decided it was better to go light and leave the jacket, hat, and phone in the car. Slightly chilled, but ready, we headed towards the starting line. The air was full of the smell of desert just after a rain. A pleasant smell that reminded me of when my wife and I lived in Phoenix as we were just starting out. We loved to venture out after a rain to enjoy the cool air and see the colors that came to life when the desert plants were wet and vibrant. But it looked as if the rain would hold off, making this the perfect weather for a long run. Before the race began, I decide one last bathroom break was in order. I found the rows of well over a hundred port-a-potties, only to find a couple thousand people waiting in line. Nervous energy was everywhere and the bowels and bladders of the runners were responding with over activity! This was not going to be quick, so I abandon the idea and headed back to take my position in the starting corral.

At the starting corral, I looked ahead to the roughly 10,000 people in front of me and the starting line still about 500 yards ahead. My estimate was that we were about 1/3 of the way back in the crowd, leaving 15-20,000 heartbeats behind us. I wondered, from this position, if I would be passing people or being passed during the race. I decided to find a comfortable pace for my daughter and me and not to worry about those around me. Still, I know myself and my competitive spirit, I knew that I would work hard to avoid being passed. I hoped that Flash Gordon wasn’t hiding somewhere behind me! After a quick personal prayer, I was ready to go. Wait, is that Superman I see behind me!? And there is Spiderman. Up ahead I even saw Elvis. There is no way I’m letting Elvis beat me in this race! I’ll be “All Shook Up” if that guy beats me. But I was feeling good and I was ready to go, Elvis was not going to get the best of me today. I was, however, a bit worried about my daughter. She is a strong runner, but she had missed the last two weeks of training recovering from a head cold and to heal from the IT-Band injury in her knee. I knew she was mentally tough, but I was still worried about her injury. Time would tell.

As we waited for the starting gun to fire, I took a good look around and was amazed at the number of people participating in this event and at the pure excitement of the moment. It occurred to me that there would only be one person with the fastest time, but everyone here who crossed the finish line would secure some personal victory. People were here for a reason, and each reason was unique. Some of these reasons had deep meaning, and others were light hearted and fun. For me, I decided to do this because my daughter invited me to participate in something that was important to her. How could a Dad pass on the opportunity? But there were other motivations at play here. Preparing for this race strengthened a connection with my daughter, but it also represented a race against the ticking of a clock and the passage of time. I was 50 now. Could I still compete in a long distance race and be happy with the results? Crossing the finish line, for me, would be a reminder that I’m still in this game and that there are goals yet to be accomplished.

cheetah“BANG!” The starting gun fired. I could see the crowd ahead start to surge forward. I looked around and could see the excitement in the faces of those around me, except for Elvis, he looked determined to send anyone in his way to Heartbreak Hotel. As we crossed the start line, I pressed the start button on my Garmin watch and we were off. Here I come Elvis, It’s “Now or Never!” One hour and forty eight minutes later, my daughter and I cross the finish line, together. We had a strong finish and were happy with the results. In fact, we were only 44 minutes behind the winner, whoa-ho! But there were many other accomplishments that I witnessed that day. Like the fireman that ran the entire race while donning his Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), or “Bunker Gear” as it’s called. He even wore his Fire Helmet and had an oxygen tank strapped to his back, wow! There were runners wearing pink for breast cancer awareness and those raising money for St. Jude’s hospital. There were runners pushing wheelchairs and others in wheel chairs themselves. All ages were represented. Many goals were realized. Even Elvis, with his “Blue Suede Shoes”, crossed the finish line in under 2 hours (behind me of course). The finish line was full of proud faces and congratulatory hugs were happening everywhere. We had friends and family who greeted us at the finish line and shared in our joy of a race well run. Happy faces were all around. We felt good to be part of this group of 23 thousand champions.

The next morning, as I boarded the plane to head back to Colorado, I felt the soreness in my legs and smiled. The mild pain I felt was well worth the adventure. As I settled into my seat, I pulled out my phone to text my daughter, “Thanks for inviting me”. As the flight attendant closed the door, I received a reply, and once again smiled. It was well worth the trip. Maybe the full marathon next year…

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose”

– Dr. Seuss

Christmas: Just another day?

I was driving to work this December and barely paying attention to the radio station whenfamily-circus1 the DJ asked a simple question, “What are your strongest memories of Christmas?” Before I could consider my answer, two things popped into my head; 1) The year my father declared on Christmas Eve that he was cancelling Christmas and 2) Going to see the movie Misery, on Christmas day. The Misery movie was nothing more than a bad decision. I remember leaving the theater drained of any Christmas spirit. I made a mental note that going to the movies was probably not the best use of precious Christmas hours, maybe a game of scrabble or twister next year. As for my Dad cancelling Christmas, my Dad had it with the behavior of us kids leading up to Christmas and made this declaration out of pure frustration. The thought of not getting presents or a holiday ham was devastating and had an immediate effect on us kids. The dramatic behavior turn around resulted in my Dad reversing his decision. I’m pretty certain my mother helped persuade this reversal.

Back in the car, I was immediately disappointed that these were my strongest Christmas memories. “Wait!” I yelled, “I want a do-over, those can’t be the things I most remember about Christmas!” Actually, while these may be the strongest memories, they are clearly not my fondest memories. I love Christmas. I’m the guy who puts up his Christmas lights in early November while blaring Christmas carols on the radio. My wife pleads with me not to turn on the lights until after Thanksgiving! My fondest Christmas memories include; traveling as a young kid with my family on the Amtrak train from Maryland to Florida to spend Christmas in Disneyworld, organizing my co-workers to deliver presents and all the ingredients for Christmas dinner to family in need when we lived in Arizona, and Christmas 2010 when all our kids still lived at home and my parents came to spend Christmas with us two weeks after we moved into our new house in Colorado. When I stop and think about it, every Christmas has brought fond memories of family time and being amazed by the wonderful gift of salvation that was given to us some 2,000 years ago.

This year I will experience my 50th Christmas. These past 49 events have taught me that Christmas really comes down to two important things. The first being family. Mary and Joseph were away from their home, a warm bed, and extended family & friends that first Christmas. They spent that day in a barn, without heat, and delivered their first born with no medical resources or fresh linens in which to wrap their baby boy. But they were together as a family. This was the savior of the world, yet he entered this world in the most humble of ways. At his birth, Jesus was placed in a manger, with just his mother and earthly father there with him. The most significant moment in human history emphasized the importance of family.

The second is the gift of giving. I first learned the joy of giving one Christmas when my mother decided to give away our electric keyboard to a troubled teen named Quinten. Quinten was living at a place called Boys Village near our home in Maryland. He came from a broken family and was essentially living on the street before he made his way into the legal system. My parents opened our home to Quinten and he spent weekends with us. The keyboard was something that we all enjoyed playing with and learning about music. I remember being less than happy when I discovered that my mother was giving this treasured possession away. I sat with my arms cross as Quinten opened his gift that Christmas morning. I watched as his face lit up and he asked with disbelief, “is this really mine?” He spent the next several hours playing his new keyboard. I realized how much more that keyboard meant to him than it could ever mean to me. I learned that day the awesome feeling of giving (thanks Mom).

The birth of Christ represents both the importance of family and the gift of salvation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God welcomes us into his heavenly family through the gift of his son. We only need to accept this gift. He expects nothing fln_charlie_brown_christmore in return. And what an awesome gift. Like my siblings and me that Christmas Eve, we are not deserving of this gift of salvation, yet it is freely given, with love, from our Father in heaven. Little did I realize that Christmas Eve, but Christmas cannot be cancelled. We can take back the gifts, throw away the tree, and put the meal back in the fridge, but the gift of salvation, the true gift of Christmas remains. It is ours for the taking, we merely need to accept it.

I pray that the peace and joy of Christmas fills your home this Christmas. Thank you for visiting my blog, I am grateful for all your comments and support this past year. Sharing my experiences and reading about yours has allowed me to grow this year and I have enjoyed building this community of readers.

Merry Christmas!!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

My Mother Teresa

mom-teresaThere has been so much talk lately about Mother Teresa. And why not, it’s not often that sainthood is granted to someone who walked this earth in our lifetime. Mother Teresa was a small person who lived a very large life. My favorite quote of hers is: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Wow, that is something we each can easily accomplish! But when I think of that quote, I think of another mother Teresa, my mom Teresa, or Tess as her siblings call her.

While my mother, Teresa, would never put herself on the same stage as Saint Teresa, she certainly has had a huge impact on my life, especially my spiritual life. I remember my mother once telling us that she considered becoming a nun, entering the “Nunhood” I guess you could call it. My first reaction was, I am sure glad you decided against that idea! I had also heard stories of nun’s teaching at catholic schools and I was sure Mom was not mean enough to live up to that reputation. Just in case, I warned my siblings to hide all the rulers in the house and cover their knuckles! But actually, mom would have been an awesome nun. Tess has the one essential trait needed to become an effective servant, she always puts others ahead of herself. She taught us to be generous with both our time and our treasures. Growing up, I witnessed how she poured herself out to serve others. Even with 5 rambunctious kids and a husband who worked long hours, she opened our home to abused and neglected kids, kids stuck in the legal system. At the time, my siblings and I were not happy sharing our home and our mom with these troubled kids. Sometimes we rebelled against it. But, looking back on the experience now, I realize that opening up our lives and our home to those children shaped who we are today as adults. Mom used this experience to teach us to have a generous heart, even when it was inconvenient or difficult. My mother opened our house to anyone that needed a home, including my brother’s high school friend who stayed with us when he was having trouble with his dad. We also welcomed an exchange student from Mexico to live with us. She felt so welcomed that she came back the following year with her sister!  More than 30 years and many visits later, she and her sisters are still considered part of our extended family – mostly because of Mom.

All our friends knew my Mom, and our house was the neighborhood gathering place for the local kids. Even as an adult living 2,000 miles away, I have new friends that mom-homeworkhave come to know my mother. They are amazed at how giving she is with her love, always making everyone feel like family. Mom was involved in nearly everything we did as kids. She was always working the concession stands at high school games and organizing events for the PTA. My teachers all knew my Mom, which I was never thrilled about. One of the worst feelings as a kid is knowing that your Mom is on a first name basis with all your teachers…and the principal!  But as much as I felt I was “under the eye,” it was comforting to know that Mom cared enough to be involved.

mom-perksMom also knew how to keep life light. She taught me not to take myself too seriously. She always knew how to find humor in life and she laughed at herself all the time (she still does). For example, she laughs when we talk about the morning of her famous pancake recipe. With all those people in the house growing up, Mom was frugal and didn’t throw food away.  So, of course she had leftover pancake batter in the fridge (or so she thought!).  I had the honor of trying the first batch of pancakes that morning.  When she asked me how I liked them, I told her “great, but I’ve never had pancakes with mushrooms before.”  It turns out that the leftover pancake batter was actually mushroom soup! We still laugh about that, and every time I visit, I request her special mushroom pancakes.

I remember another time that she took my 3 kids to the movies. It was so dark in the theater that she had trouble finding her way, so my daughter helped her find her seat. On the way out of the movie, Mom commented to the kids on how dark it was in the theater and how difficult it was to see the screen. My 10 year old daughter calmly told her grandmother, “Well, you probably should have taken off your sunglasses when we got here.” Mom still laughs hard when telling that story!

My mother has a song in her heart, and on her lips for every occasion! She seems to know every children’s rhyme ever written, and my siblings and I have fond memories of long road trips with the whole family belting out songs from John Denver or Peter, Paul & Mary – led by mom! My sister still talks about visiting my Aunt Carolyn with Mom and singing songs around the campfire until the wee hours of the morning.

mom-workingMom also taught us about the rewards of hard work. Mom was on the go all day, keeping the house in order and running us kids around to all the activities we were involved in. But despite all the running around, there was no such thing as fast food for our family. It was a sit down warm meal every night. And anyone who stopped by was welcome to join us, there was always plenty to go around. My mom still believes in hard work and serving others today. She volunteers at the local food pantry and whenever I’m in town on a business trip, she makes sure I am well fed with a warm meal followed by the occasional apple pie (my favorite!) or banana bread. Ah, just thinking about her banana bread takes me back to cool fall evenings when the house was filled with the smell of something good in the oven and the Halloween decorations were all over the house.

mom-family-circusMost importantly, Mom was always in our corner; she still is. She was always so proud to talk about us kids and what we were doing and the accomplishments we achieved. She now boasts proudly about her grandkids. I’m always amazed at how well informed her neighbors and friends are about my family. To stay connected, mom puts in the time to make you feel special. I remember one Saturday when mom took several of her grandkids for an “all day with Grandma” (I believe it was 6 grandkids that weekend). She made them breakfast, took them to the amusement park, swimming, and out for ice cream. That evening, when all the kids were watching a movie, there was grandma on the floor snoring away in a sleeping bag! And that is just like her, always right there in the middle of whatever is going on in our lives, sharing the experience and encouraging us. It is such a blessing to know Mom is always there in your corner!

Thank you Mom, my Mother Teresa, for teaching me true generosity, kindness, and love and how to treat everyone as family. Thank you for always being there and staying involved in my life and the life of my children. Most importantly, thank you for not becoming a nun! Happy Birthday Mom!

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, and kindness in your smile.” – Mother Teresa

Riding the rapids….

img_0908It was finally summer time in Colorado and I was looking forward to a long weekend trip outdoors with an old friend, my nephew, and my son. A few months before we all agreed to take an early June rafting trip down the Arkansas River, when the water levels would be their highest. We decided on a 5-day getaway in the mountains; camping, fishing, mountain biking, and rafting! Wednesday morning finally arrived. I hooked up my camper to my suburban and headed for Denver International Airport to pick up my friend and nephew. From there we would head west on I-70 into the Rocky Mountains. I could feel the testosterone levels surge in my body as I anticipated a weekend of high adrenaline activities. It was a warm June morning and I was glad we would be heading for higher elevation and cooler temperatures. In just 3 hours, I expected to be camping on Turquoise Lake near Leadville, Colorado.

But the drive to Leadville was full of its own adventures, including a trailer tire blow out onimg_0914 the highway, engine trouble as we climbed up steep mountain roads, and getting pulled over as we were entering Leadville. But with all that behind us, we finally arrived at our campsite at 7 PM, still time to cook dinner before the sun dropped. We decided to make a quick dinner of hotdogs and baked beans, then walk down to the lake to enjoy the sunset over the snow covered mountains. There on the side of the lake, we skipped rocks and considered if we really wanted to get in a raft after the streak of bad luck we had getting to our campsite. The next two days were full of good luck fishing and great biking and hiking. So on Friday, we drove into the parking lot of Wilderness Aware Rafting ready for a 4 hour float down the river.

As we checked in, the guide informed us that the course we chose is their toughest trip and the water was running at record levels. They were waiting for today’s water flow readings to decide if it was too dangerous to proceed. In the meantime, we received our 30 minute safety briefing and practiced the paddling commands. The guide really laid it on and was doing a good job hyping up the trip. Our guide looked like Tom Cruise, so we felt like we were entering a filming of Mission Impossible. I leaned over to my nephew and assured him that these trips are long stretches of gentle floating with periods of excitement and maybe a brief moment of terror if we hit the biggest part of a rapid, but nothing to worry about. The verdict came back that the water flows were slightly under the flow limits that would cause the state to “close the river to rafters”, so we were “legal” to proceed. During the 20 minute drive to the put-in site, the guide continued to review safety procedures and paddling techniques and warning us to be ever vigilant. Geez, I thought, this guy is really laying it on thick! Okay Rambo, you got me scared, now let’s get into the water and have some fun!

The first thing I noticed as we got into the raft, was how fast the water was moving. The view downstream revealed nothing but white water. Wow, I thought, maybe the water really is running fast today. As we approached our second rapid, the guide barked out orders and demanded a rapid and strong response with our paddling. Calm down, I thought, this is supposed to be fun. About 2 seconds later, we hit a wall of water coming off a boulder and I saw the raft rise to my left, with my friends now above me and falling towards me. A second later, I was in the water under a pile of bodies that included my son, Tom Cruise, and my nephew. Okay, this was for real! As I swam to the surface, I saw the raft to my left with only one person left inside. The raft was a-drift and headed for more rapids. To my right I saw a boulder rapidly approaching and decided the boulder was the safer destination. As I clung to the boulder, I started seeing helmets resurface, which was a relief, but Tom Cruise was nowhere to be seen. I later learned that he was briefly trapped under the raft. As I climbed to shore, I saw Tom reappear and jump into the raft. One by one, he plucked my crew back into the raft, with me stranded on the shore. I climbed up the embankment where I found an abandon railroad track and began jogging down river to catch the raft. 10 minutes later, I was reunited with raft and crew. With some apprehension and a renewed focus, we pushed off and headed further downstream. At that moment, I tried hard to remember the details of the safety briefing we received about an hour before. Let’s see, right turn means back paddle on the right side, or was it forward paddle on the right side? Maybe I should have paid better attention!

rafting-8-june-2016By section 5, we were a well-oiled rafting crew with a determination to survive so we could tell the story of how we cheated death. This would be a great campfire story for sure, Tom just needed to get us through the next couple sets of rapids. As we entered section 6, we had renewed confidence and we were maneuvering the whitecaps with precision. That is, until we dropped over another large boulder and into the backwash on the other side. We survived the drop! But as I looked back to see our guide’s proud smile, I realized he was no longer in the raft with us. In fact, he was nowhere to be seen. Our crew was stunned and stared back looking for signs of our guide. Surely we couldn’t have just killed Tom Cruise, he survives everything! This was when I realized that we were once again a-drift with some large rapids dead ahead. I began to bark out orders hoping some secret guide wisdom had somehow found its way under my skull. As we maneuvered downstream, I glanced back at the spot where the guide had disappeared and noticed the end of an oar now poking out of the water. Then suddenly I saw him surface, gasping for air as he tried to backstroke his way out. Refocusing on the rapids ahead, I said a quick prayer and started paddling for a calm area up to the right. We gained a bit of luck and we were able to find a calm spot where we beached the raft on some rocks near the shore. I looked back and saw that our MI6 agent was now on the surface and swimming our way, thank you God.

Tom arrived clearly shaken and out of breath. He sat on the shore and quickly composed himself. Despite his clear anxiety, he tried hard to sound positive while trying to motivate us to take on the final 3 segments of the river. The rest of the trip proved adventurous, but we managed to all stay in the raft and actually did quite well managing raftig-9-june-2016the twist and turns of the rapids. It’s amazing what a little fear can do for concentration! In the end, we completed what should have been a 4 hour trip in 2.5 hours. The water was moving that fast! We spent the next several days retelling our rafting story. We even paid $60 to purchase 12 pictures that the rafting company took from shore. This was one for the memory books!

I’m not sure if there is a moral to this story, but it is a story that wants to be told. I guess my take away is that life is dangerous and sometimes we ignore the warning signs of perils ahead, leaving life to chance. But if we take the time to prepare, we can navigate the dangerous waters and have some fun along the way. And whether you prepare or not, the story will be just as exciting to tell. The difference is, if you are prepared, there is a better chance you will be around to tell it.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Are there dogs in heaven?

scout-colorado-trail-2016This questions keeps coming up, ever since I was a kid, running through my Maryland suburban home with my dog Socks. I never got a good answer as a child, or as an adult. I even researched the bible on this topic and could not find a definitive position on the subject. So I’ve had to think this one through and have concluded that dogs are in heaven (for cat lovers, this conclusion applies to cats as well). Why did I reach this conclusion, it just makes sense. I can’t imagine a heaven that does not include our canine companions. My current dog, Scout, and the 5 previous dogs I’ve had, all display the core attributes you would expect to encounter in a heavenly creature. Well, maybe not all 5, my mother’s poodle, would be an exception (sorry Mom!). But the others all had the sweet innocence of a two year old, the patience of a loving mother, and the loyalty of a fellow soldier under fire, and they are this way every day! Continue reading “Are there dogs in heaven?”

Losing Gee

beach

This week a close family friend, “Gee,” unexpectedly passed away. It appears he was getting ready for a morning workout and was enjoying a cup of coffee when his time came. He had recently retired and was thought to be in good health. His passing was a shock to us all. Gee was a man full of life, with a quick-whit humor that could bring you to tears from uncontrollable laughter. His personality took over a room as soon as he entered it. Gee could discuss serious topics with a light hearted humor that put everyone at ease and allowed others to open up. I imagine him in heaven cracking jokes about his experience encountering St. Peter at the pearly gates or searching his new home for a bathroom only to discover there aren’t any in heaven as they are not necessary, what will he do with the extra 15 minutes a day! I’m sure he is having lots of fun talking about his profession, see Gee was a mortician. Continue reading “Losing Gee”

Summertime is…

smores

I hope everyone is having a great summer! Mine has been busy, with little time to devote towards my blog. I’m guessing many of you are just as busy and may be limited in the time you have to read through long posts. Despite the busy summer, I still want to connect with the community we are building through NothingImportant2Say. So I’m trying something new today. A short blog topic that is intended to be a quick read while soliciting some feedback on how your summer is going. Below I posted a couple thoughts on what summertime is to me. I welcome you to post a response with your definition of summertime!

CTSummertime is…a cool morning on a scenic mountain trial with my dog Scout and nowhere I need to be all day. This gets even better when a mountain bike is involved!

Summertime is…a crackling campfire, graham crackers, chocolate, and extra large marshmallows.

patio fireplaceSummertime is…breaking out the lawn furniture for a Friday afternoon on the patio with neighbors and friends.

What is summertime to you?

Flowers appear on the earth, the season of signing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. – Song of Songs 2:12