Declared a Good Day

I’m up extra early this morning doing prep work and hosting lunch for my mom and aunt. It is quiet here at Tranquility Base at 4:30 and even though it’s still dark outside, through the blinds I see a heavy fog flowing like ribbons and creating its own currents across the White River channel. We’re not in the fall season yet, but it’s coming soon, and it will be glorious out there. Autumn brings me alive.

Drinking coffee in the same chair I sit in every single morning I am overwhelmed with gratitude almost to the point of tears. I have felt the constant presence of peace and joy for a couple of years now, and am further working on learning how to rest and just be. I have an amazing family.

Thinking about Dana just yesterday I reflected back over our years together and realized that as much as anything, she just loves us being together doing things. Now, this may come as a great shock, but I’m not the easiest guy to live with. She loves me still, and us together is what she cares about most. I’m not sure what a man could want more. It’s a joy to host my mom and aunt for lunch today. Mom will be a part-time resident here at the Base soon and I’ll feel good about that. We are friends, partners, and kin. And friendship with your adult children is a further joy. I love just sitting and talking with them. Watching them maneuver this tricky world in their twenties, I am confident of their bright futures. There is no pride in legacy here. I just love them.

I get to write for a living, and I write a lot these days. Between this ongoing and aspiring book career and my small role in community journalism I’m professionally fulfilled. As we produced our weekly paper yesterday I thought how great it was to be both competent and confident at something that makes a difference.

Recently, a friend asked why I live in Arkansas. There is so much out there in the world, he said, and I completely understood his question. Honestly, I was at a rare lack for words. I can only say that in recent years, and perhaps as part of that peace and joy, I have gained an all new appreciation for all things rural. I am truly “from the country.” I love dirt, tractors, a great home-cooked meal seasoned with love, and watching the Canada geese fly in perfect formation over my property honking and honking, searching the landscape for a spot to glide in, wind over wings, and gently settle down.

I spent so much of my time as a young adolescent lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and wondering what my future life would be like. I’m not sure I’ve walked a perfectly straight path to get here. I suppose all the detours and moments of being completely lost are what add the seasoning to all the stories, and the color to a grateful life.

I declare it a good day, and I am thankful.

Ten Things That Are Also 54

  • AstroTurf. AstroTurf hit it big in 1966 when the company was tapped to turf the newly opened Houson Astrodome.
  • Best Buy.
  • Doritos, only the world’s best snack.
  • Fresca. So refreshing for 54.
  • Quaker Instant Oatmeal. Bring me a variety pack to the old folks home each year at Christmas.
    • Toyota Corolla. Probably all made in 66 are still going!
  • Twister.
  • Super Bowl I. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-7.
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • Star Trek

WordServe News November 2018

November news from WordServe Literary. Better to make the very last paragraph than no paragraph at all! Still feeling so incredibly blessed to partner with this agency.

WordServe Water Cooler

As usual, some great things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

ForgettableCongratulations to author Martha Bolton and BroadStreet Publishing on the new release, Forgettable Jokes for Older Folks: Jokes You Wish You Could Remember about Things You Thought you’d Never Forget.

Laugh all the way to your next birthday … and beyond!

We all age, but why grumble about it? If you’re still here, have some fun and enjoy life. The best way you can do that is through laughter.

From well-known comedy writer Martha Bolton comes a refreshing book of jokes for older folks. Topics for laughter include senior foibles, doctor visits, grandchildren antics, travel, politics, pets, technology troubles, good ol’ days, and love.

Give yourself a laugh…

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Pilgrim Strong: An Interview with Author Steve Watkins

An interview with my Seattle friend, Beth Jusino who will release her own “camino” book in 2018.

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There are dozens of books written about people’s personal experience on the Camino. Today, a new one will be added to the list, and I’m particularly excited about it.

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This is Pilgrim Strong, by my friend (and tattoo buddy) Steve Watkins.

Steve walked the Camino Frances (St Jean Pied-de-Port to Santiago) in the fall of 2015, setting out just a few weeks after I returned from my own adventures. He traveled to Spain by himself, and he took full advantage of social media and his own storytelling skills, posting almost daily updates, videos, and photos to the American Pilgrims of the Camino Facebook group. He attracted thousands of followers who journeyed vicariously with him through a winter Camino, complete with snowstorms and empty albergues.

Screenshot 2017-10-28 14.39.13 A screenshot from one of Steve’s many videos from his Camino journey, shared on Facebook

Those posts, and the encouragement he got from his…

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Day 85: David Landis and Anna Dintaman Landis

My guidebook was, and is, like an old friend.

Note A Day

Every morning’s typical breakfast routine, planning the day ahead and thinking just a bit about tomorrow.

Dear David & Anna,

Everyone approaches things differently, I suppose. Some people try planning every detail as much as possible. Others go at it knowing almost nothing. Getting ready to solo walk 40 days across a country, I wanted a balance somewhere between the two. Your guidebook was the perfect planner.

It may be true that anticipation of an experience like pilgrimage is one of the very best parts. As part of my anticipation, I searched all the popular guidebooks and chose yours as my companion before, and during, the walk. It seemed it had everything a person could need.

Adventurers and authors, David and Anna Dintaman Landis

Reading through the sections in the weeks before departure, your descriptive narratives, elevation charts, beautiful photos, and historical sidebars only increased my excitement. If the trip…

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Day 66: Maite Sobrón

Another story about friendship and hospitality on Camino. So many stories.

Note A Day

Dear Maite,

It was a lovely Saturday for walking. The poplar trees stood reaching for the azure sky, golden and majestic, full of glory, leaves rustling gently in an easy western breeze. The late November weather was cool, but not cold, much as it would’ve been back home, and walking into Nájera my mind transported momentarily 4,000 miles west.

My imagination could practically smell the barbecue grills firing up for Saturday afternoon tailgates and SEC football games. It would be a good day to stop short, I reckoned, and enjoy a Saturday afternoon relaxing in your sweet Spanish town.

As I walked hesitantly inside Puerta de Nájera just a few minutes after noon, the furnishings practically said “welcome home.” You carried a mop and bucket working feverishly just behind the stairs and I noticed one young German pilgrim nursing his heavily bandaged wounds on a couch in a quaint sitting area…

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Day 64: Coach Steve Roberts

Not all my blog posts at Note a Day are appropriate for the Pilgrim Strong blog. This one includes a message that’s such a part of me, I felt it was okay today.

Note A Day

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-4-56-41-amDear Coach Roberts,

Before writing you this morning I spent time reflecting on your years as head coach here at Arkansas State. I was on academic staff much of your tenure and recall it as a new, refreshing, even glorious eight years. Something definitely felt different with you in charge. Something surely changed.

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Then a little quick research into your win-loss record at A-State honestly shocked me. I forgot, by the numbers, you never had a winning season. There was a conference championship, a remarkable program “turnaround,” in fact,  attendance numbers grew, you were a conference coach of the year, and we won at home much more than we lost, but we never had an outright winning season. That can’t be right, but the record speaks for itself. Or does it?

What I recall more about your ASU coaching career than wins and losses is the dynamic you brought to…

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