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366Today is my birthday. I’ve had lots of them before so it isn’t a big deal. It’s not one of the milestone birthdays with its own greeting card. I’m not even home today. By choice I am onsite for a consulting assignment in San Antonio. But today does mark the beginning of my last year in the 50s. As of today I am 59  with the aches and pains to prove it. But next year WILL be special – the big SIX-0. We already have the cruise booked to celebrate, and there is so much to do between now and May 14, 2016. Thankfully since 2016 is leap year I get an extra day to get ready.

This whole idea of taking a year to get ready came as we finished up the study of the Life of Moses in Bible Study Fellowship. Did you know Moses lived to be 120 years old? This time next year I will be at the midpoint of his life. Sixty might feel old some days, but Moses didn’t even start his desert trek until he was 80! I don’t expect to make 120, but I do want to be ready to live-out Ephesians 2:10 in the second half of my life.

I don’t have a book deal like Rachel Held Evans when she penned A Year of Biblical Womanhood, but following her lead I plan to focus on a different topic each month. May’s focus is health. I’ve already had my eyes checked, received new contacts and will pick up new glasses on Saturday. Yesterday I had my blood drawn before my trip to Starbucks and next week I see my primary care doctor for any annual checkup.

I’m still working out what each month will look like, but I’m predicting there will be both looking back (where I’ve been) and a focus forward (where I’m going.) There are lots of blessings to count and lessons to detail. I plan to document it all, which is really a step of faith. Journaling was never a habit I mastered as evidenced by the last blog post from four years ago.

I plan for less of some things (television) and more of others (exercise.) I am confident the year will be full of good books. My reading list will be varied, and maybe this year is the year I finally make it all the way though the Bible cover to cover. I managed to make it through the Old Testament last summer, but the pace was just too fast for me. I think God’s Word is designed to be savored.

So there you have it. My strategy to slow down and savor, enjoy each day, take deep breaths and record the journey. While I don’t plan to post every word (you’re welcome), I do intend to share some of what I discover along the way to #Celebrate60

Day 366 and counting…..

I honestly don’t have any idea where the time has gone.  How can I be 55 years old today? When did my towheaded locks turn to sliver so I now have “highlights” without paying anyone to help them be there? I know I’m older based on the aches, pains and expanding waistline, but when did it happen and how did I loose track of the time? I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle, I just never remember falling asleep and besides, I have all the memories of both good and bad times fully in place. To jog those memories I dug out some old photos this morning, and I won’t bore you with a year by year reflection of my life…that would waste WAY too much of your time as after all – it’s been 55 years!

First here are some pictures from my very early childhood. As you can see my gift of enthusiasm developed early on.

First Trip

I developed the travel bug early...

Excited

Enthusiasm, but before the happy clap...

Daddy's Girl

Daddy's girl...

First Grade in Abilene

Scouting runs deep...

And you can see I’ve had some interesting haircuts along the way – can you pick out the self inflicted one?

Step away from the scissors!

Step away from the scissors!!!

School Pic

Just look at those curls...

Long Ago Long Hair

Long ago long hair...

Sr Pic

1974 was a LONG time ago...

Plus here is the peek at the man who stole my heart coming up on 35 years ago. I’ve known and loved him over half my life and don’t want to even think what life would have been like without him.

RTK in Burton

My mountain man...

Because of that love we got to watch these kids morph into these kids – and beyond.

My Babies!

My babies...

My best work

My best work...

It has been a wonderful life, but I am sure God has some more interesting things ahead. Hopefully he will continue to use me for His glory and He is the one who has so richly and abundantly blessed me. Here’s to as many more years He grants me with arms wide open and an enthusiastic face to wherever He leads me!

Last weekend was a true taste of heaven. Rick and I reconnected at the Sheraton Friday evening after he flew in and when to the hotel to assist with logistic of almost 3,700 people checking into two downtown hotels at once. I joined him after work around 5:30. The teaching was amazing and the singing even more so. The topic of the study for the weekend was Revelations and truly stretched my thinking in ways I had never gone before. It was also great to hear about where BSF is making an impact across the world and they are living up to the International in the name.

It was also great to catch up with people I have known and lost contact with during my 9 years in BSF, along with spending quality time with great people Rick and I and have known and loved for years.

Could be the best part was this was a virtually technology free weekend. Part of the reason I have no pictures to share is that I left my phone in the room and didn’t check e-mail until Sunday evening. That will be hard for some who know me to believe, but it is true and I didn’t break out in hives or anything. BUT I did get hit by killer sinus issues on Tuesday. My guess is it had more to do with escalator hand rails than technology withdrawal. What ever it was, it came hard and fast and was so rough I left work shortly after lunch Tuesday to go to bed with a killer headache that was as close to a migraine as I ever want to venture. Wednesday I worked remotely so I wouldn’t share the joy and today I made it to the doctor for magic antibiotic to handle the secondary sinus ills. (TMI?) For the most part I am as close to normal as I get and will be headed back to Houston tomorrow afternoon.

I have some great books to listen to and keep me company, and I’ve found that a great way to redeem the 8 hours of windshield time each week if I’m not on planes. I’ve just finished Know and Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld and I really enjoyed my 26+ hours of listening to him telling his story. He spoke at Jason’s graduation from USNA, and I was very impressed. This book was WELL worth the time and provided some very interesting insight into life before and after 9/11/2001.  I’ve started Lead with LUV by Ken Blanchard and Collen Barrett, of One Minute Manager and Southwest Airline fame, respectively. It’s a short one, but so far I’m enjoying it as well.

For now, have a great rest of the week and makes some great memories…

Well we’re back to main land life again, and not nearly as caught up on laundry. I don’t quite resemble this commercial, but it can feel close sometimes!

While we enjoyed the week in paradise, this weekend Rick and I will both be focusing on Paradise with a capital P. In fact, that is how I came up with the name 7 days in paradise…..

One of the privileges Rick and I have is to serve as children’s leaders as a part of Bible Study Fellowship (aka BSF). As a part of that commitment, we each attend leaders training meetings on Saturdays in preparation for Monday evening class times. Because of our trip we each missed our respective training meetings on the 19th, but the beauty of the BSF program, which offers over 1,000 classes in 38 nations across six continents, is that when you travel it is possible to visit a different class for training. Prior to our trip I had contacted that class on Oahu to find out if they were having a leaders meeting we could attend. Unfortunately they were on spring break so it did not work out, but I had mentioned to my teaching leader how wonderful it would have been to talk about Paradise in paradise. From there the little p paradise name was hatched.

Well this week we DO get to focus on Paradise with a capital P in the paradise called Dallas, Texas. Rick and I both will be attending the BSF Leaders’ Retreat. Retreat happens once every three year. I missed the last one because, while I was attending a BSF Bible Study, I was not in leadership at the time. Living in Houston and working in Dallas made that next to impossible, but I have been blessed to work it out for the past two years. So this time I do get to attend with Rick! I am so looking forward to this weekend. Retreat six years ago was an amazing weekend enabling me to focus on life with an eternal perspective and I expect it to be the same amazing weekend this year. I am sure I won’t have time to post during the Retreat, but if I can manage to translate the experience into words, I will post about it next week.

Hopefully when we get back we can schedule a dinner date with our friends Ed & Pat. Their graciousness is beyond measure and we can never thank them enough for allowing us to share in their place in paradise.

We ended the trip with one final trip to the North Shore for shaved ice before heading to the airport for the trip back. Total count of Shaved Ice purchases was 13. Final count on Costco visits was 5.

The plan of the week was:

  1. See the great things Oahu has to offer – Done and then some.
  2. Share pictures – Not as many as I thought we would, but upload timing was an issue. Thanks to the magic of digital media and phones we shot a total of 1,857 pictures and videos. If you end up with some sleepless nights just let us know.
  3. Spend some time with Bart – Much more than expected with his more than full time job, both quality and quantity:-)
  4. Paula to learn blogging – I’m making my way through this, but still have lots to learn.
  5. Rick to learn all the cool features of his cool camera – Accomplished, but still always more to learn. HOWEVER, this could be more costly than expected as now Paula wants one too!
  6. Try not to spend too much time working on work – Thanks to the great teams both Rick and I work with, this was not an issue for either of us.

Here are other Highlights:

Favorite Pass Time...Shaved Ice! Memories in Magnets

A new hobby...Sea Glass

Best Buy...$3.50 straw bag that was the perfect size for phone and sunglasses.

Best Tech Toys...Quick phone battery charger and hot spot, couldn't live without them.

Smart Move...Easy sunscreen that really worked. Hours on end in the tropical sun with no burn.

Cool tip... 4@82 cents each kept drinks and picnics at perfect temps all day. Just refreeze overnight and go again the next day.

Amazing...With time for one final load on Saturday morning before check out, we had NO dirty laundry in our suitcases. WooHoo!

 

We are breakfast people. Always have been. We’ve been know to eat breakfast any time of the day or night. For are final full day here Rick took on the task of finding the best breakfast on Oahu, and he accomplished the task with Google search of exacting that – best breakfast on Oahu. The results brought back Cinnamons in Kailua, and it lived up to the reviews! The Cinnamon rolls were unbelievable and the Red Velvet Pancakes are as good as you think they would be. It was SO good we came back for a do-over on Saturday morning and brought along Bart and five of his friends since it was so close to K-Bay.

One of the side benefits of having a son on the island is he knows some of the best things to see and do.  After breakfast Friday we spent some time walking a beach Bart had told us about that is not only close by, but one of the top rated beaches in the world. We now know why.

Total different sand than we saw on the North Shore, and the water was at least 15 different shades for blue. The pictures don’t do it justice. After  walking the beach, finding two more pieces of sea glass and yes, checking Zillow once again with expected results we headed down the road to fulfill a task that started back in 1984 on our first trip to the island.

Another true confession here, I have been a Magnum PI fan since I first saw the show in 1980. There was something special about the show. It hit a special cord with my generation and to my mind was one the first to deal with the mixed feeling surrounding Vietnam and those who served our nation during the war. Well when we were here back in 1984, poor Rick drove me all over the island as we tried unsuccessfully to find the house where the show was filmed, aka Robin’s Nest. Well fast forward almost 27 years and add in Google maps and we have now completed the task! It is on HI-72, the Kalanianaole Highway just southeast of the Shriner’s Beach Club that shows up on Google Maps. You can find it by the tidal pool and tennis courts. Funny thing is we must have driven past it several times in 1984, but even now you would not know it if you didn’t have the satellite view. Back in 1984 and still today it is a private residence so we didn’t get a tour, but if you are a fan too see if you don’t recognize this photo of the ocean behind the estate  shot from the closest place with public access.

By the time we got this marked off the list, Bart was done for the week and we headed back to K-Bay to pick him up and run a few errands that included a trip to the Apple store in Waikiki (never say never;-) for some warranty work on his phone. Thankfully because Bart was with us we had access to military parking which is all that made the crowds and traffic tolerable.

We then headed back to Ko Olina for an early dinner at Roy’s. It came highly recommended and again with a Google search we discovered there is also a location in Plano! If it is half as good as what we had in Hawaii, we have found a new favorite Dallas area restaurant. We each had something different to sample both the surf and turf options and didn’t find anything that wasn’t excellent, and below is my Duet, which is a sample of two types of fish. It tasted as good as it looks….

For a final fling we also ordered three different deserts and every one of them was worth the calories and the prep time. We did neglect to take pictures. They were just too tempting to wait or remember to do that.

On Thursday we completed the military history portion of our trip with a visit to the National Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punch Bowl. We have been to the National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. But this one, so close to where WW II began for the US, hit a special cord. There is not the sea of white headstone, but rather flat grave markers set in place. During our walk though the grave sites we happened upon two names we recognized – Ernie Pyle, the WW II correspondent, and LT Col Ellison Onizuka, who died aboard the Challenger. While walking through the cemetery is humbling, especially when we were there as they were completing a burial service and taps was being played in the back ground. The hall of maps and the chapel at the top of the hill are worth the trip up the steps, but the part that really rocked me was the Courts of the Missing. Inscribed on the walls flanking the massive staircase are a total of 28,778 names whose “earthly resting place is known only to God.” I can not begin to  understand the anguish in the families represented by each name carved, or the stories of the sacrifices made. It brings to mind the final scene in Saving Private Ryan, but with a bigger question still. Are we as a nation or as individuals living lives that honor the price paid for our freedom? If not, why not? If you even a have passing interest in WWII, this memorial and Pearl Harbor are a must-do at some point in your life.