Better is….

Got together yesterday with a few friends to catch up and talk about life.

Lots of coffee….lots of laughs…

Wife made a no-bake, blueberry cream cheese pie.

Wish you were here.¬† ūüôā

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Here are a couple of things that I shared…

A week ago, I stumbled across some  words written by an old fool at the end of his life:

“Better is a handful with quietness than two fists full and trouble with it.”

I’ve said something similar myself, probably started saying it about the time we started having children. ūüôā

I would say:¬†¬†“Peace and quiet is entirely under-rated.”¬†

Second quote (by the same guy) I have been chewing on:

Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work…”

We heated with wood growing up. On those rare times when I picked up an ax¬†instead of a chainsaw, I quickly realized a dull ax was worthless….

I was watching a class online  recently on how to build a timber-framed structure.  The first  thing  covered  was tool care, and keeping your chisel sharp, both literally and  figuratively.

Wow.¬† That was deep.¬† I’ve been thinking about what that means ever since.

(ie. how to keep my life “sharp”.)

I am a carpenter and nobody has ever taught me how to sharpen a chisel.   Ever.

In all fairness to me,¬† with the kind of work I do, (framing, siding, roofing, concrete)¬† I don’t use chisels all that often, but on those rare occasions when I need one, i usually end up buying a new one.

So I’ve¬† been on a mission the past week to learn how to sharpen my chisels.

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A friend of ours  recently updated us about  her son. Son  lives on the east coast.   Both he and his wife have great paying stress filled jobs.  Just had a new baby, (that makes 3)  Son recently decided to go back to school to finish his degree, (while still working full-time.)   Made me stressed just hearing about their lives..  I know her son just a little.  Good guy.  I like him.

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Dad is 86.¬† Didn’t stop farming until just 2 years ago.¬† Worked full-time as a general contractor into his late 70’s. One of his few regrets was working too much while the kids (myself included) were growing up.¬† We never saw him except on weekends.¬†Then my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in her mid 40’s.¬† I had moved out of the house and gotten married by this time. There was definitely a shift in¬† dad’s priorities after that.¬† He started taking each of us kids out on our birthday’s for breakfast.

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It’s all about balance.¬† Finding the balance between work, money, bills, wants, desires, relationships, life…

In my late 20’s as I was chasing my own mechanical rabbits around the track, I came across two quotes that stopped me dead in my tracks…“If you make it to the top of the company ladder, but loose your family in the process, you are a fool.”¬† and , “If you are a hero to others, yet strangers to your own children, you are a fool.”¬†

I’ve written about that season elsewhere on the blog so I won‘t repeat it right now.

 

The fifteen or so of you that regularly interact with me here are in a very real sense my on-line family.¬† I appreciate each and every one of you!¬† If you’re a somewhat regular reader that has never made a peep, I would love to hear from you..even if you just say, “I’m here.” ūüôā

Anyway, this is what has been on my mind the past week.

How about you?

Take care. DM

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From The World Of Bees…

My wife and I have been getting together for coffee at our local coffee-house with a small handful of people since 1999.  It is an open group.

Anyone is welcome.

What I have appreciated about this group (and why I think we have continued to get together  this many years) is because of what happens when we are together.

I come away feeling heard.

There has evolved a mutual give and take when it comes to our interactions.

The topics of conversation are rich and varied.

There is a lot of laughter.

It is hands down,  the high light of my week.

You’ll have to trust me on this next stuff, and believe me when I say, I am not embellishing anything.

Last week we were joined by Tim,  (who is a talker, and tends toward the negative).

The last time Tim joined¬† us,¬† was early last Fall, leading up to the election.¬† After a 3 minute angst and fear-mongering speech that felt like it was literally sucking the air out of the room, I couldn’t take it any more and asked him to stop.

Told him, that wasn’t the time or place.

I took everyone by surprise, including myself ūüôā

He had (and has) no idea, how his presence completely changes the dynamic of our time together.

Instead of a mutual, give and take, he (literally) has to say something

every

single

time

someone else has spoken.

(Have you ever known someone like that?)

I’ve known Tim for 30 years, this is how he rolls.¬† I’ve heard his wife call him out on his talkativeness.

Pause.

To give you another word picture¬† from the world of bees….

A bee hive  is a cohesive,  collaborative group, where everyone works together for the common good.  Their goal is to put up enough honey so everyone will have enough to eat through the winter...everyone.

Once in a while, bumble bees, or yellow jackets  will show up with the intention of stealing the honey.

There is not a sense of give and take.

It is all about them.

Pause.

The “honey” in this case¬† (I think) Tim is attracted to, is having the undivided attention 5 or 6 people who are all good listeners.

I decided to keep quiet last Saturday and watch as Tim dominated the interaction.¬† We hadn’t seen Tim since I’d laid into him last fall and it just didn’t seem appropriate that I say something again.

If I knew Tim was thinking about coming on a regular basis, I would find a time to visit  outside of Saturday morning and  as nicely and diplomatically as possible ask him to just come and listen for a few weeks.

Because this group is such an important and long standing part of my life, I refuse to just roll over and do nothing.

If Tim is not at coffee, this coming Saturday, I definitely plan to bring up his most recent visit, …

and if he is there,  we will just have to see.

yellow-jacket-stealing-honey

Yellow jackets stealing honey.

google image

Good Medicine

We get together with a few other people once a ¬†week for coffee, conversation¬†and laughter. ¬†We’ve been doing this ¬†for going on 16 years. This group, has helped me¬†stay sane¬†through thick and thin…¬†I’ve wanted to write about it occasionally, just because it has been and is such a source of encouragement¬†but never quite knew how.

Some of you may be familiar with Joey and Rory Feek. ¬†Wife has been following their story via Rory’s blog. ¬†Joey recently passed away after a couple of year battle with cancer. ¬†Anyway, when I got onto the computer this morning, I noticed a link to Rory’s most recent blog post. ¬†After I read it, I thought to myself...he just described our little get-together to T… ¬†Maybe this would be a way to describe it. What I experience isn’t unique, although it is kind of rare, and definitely precious. ¬†ūüėČ

His blog post starts out with this:

“One morning a week I meet a few of my buddies on our neighbor Gabe‚Äôs porch for coffee….While his wife and babies sleep inside, a bunch of us guys take over the porch of their little farmhouse and drink coffee and do man stuff ‚Äď whatever that is. ¬†Mostly talk and share stories and laugh. ¬†

There’s no agenda.  No plan to get to the bottom of anything… except our coffee cups.

Some are doctors and some are musicians that travel the world and perform. ¬†Two of the guys, Chris and Matt, own a little coffee shop nearby in Columbia called Muletown Coffee and they supply the inspiration. ¬†Both of them have little ones like I do and their wives used midwives when they had their babies, so we have a lot in common….

It might be something heavy and profound ‚Äď like what Joey and I‚Äôve been through the last year or two ‚Äď where you feel His presence and you know you can not get through a single day without Him. ¬†Or it might be something much smaller. ¬†A moment that seems insignificant, but most-likely it‚Äôs not.

Like having coffee with friends.  This is where lives change.  Where something is said and a path changes.  In my life, it’s never been the big events that change everything… it’s always been the small ones.  The ones that you don’t think matter.  But they do.

And so I will celebrate and capture the big stories and the small ones in my life.  Because they are all part of a much larger story that someone else is telling.  A story about healing a heart that is broken.  Too broken to talk about, so we don’t.   We just drink coffee.  And we laugh.

And maybe that really is after all…

The best medicine….”

Here’s a link to the rest of¬†¬†post¬†