The Best Journey of My Life

I have done many things in the course of my 65 years, and I hope to do a lot more. There have been many journeys, like my solo motorcycle rides on the Pony Express Trail or the Oregon Trail, but none as good or as long as this one.

Today, May 23rd, 2016, is the 30-year anniversary of marriage to my best friend, my companion, my confidant, my lover, my wife, Lin.

Breakfast at Sharon Woods & biking on the Little Miami Recreational Trail

When you are dating, and trying to decide what your relationship is going to be with this other person, it’s not unusual to have doubts. Maybe that’s youth, or maybe it’s the fear of making a mistake. With Lin, I came to realize that this is the person I am supposed to be with. She is my soul mate. Maybe we were together in a previous life or will be again, but I know, that I know, that I know she is the one.

From the moment I met her, I knew she was unique, perhaps the most interesting and unique woman I ever met. While we were dating, she had a hand in the decision for me to enter the ministry. And even more so, she married me while I was pastoring a small rural church in Illinois. Not many women take on the role of Pastor’s Wife, but she did. She was a great PW and the congregation loved her. We left the formal ministry when decisions needed to be made and opportunities arose. We faced that together, and it gave our young marriage strength.

I am not sure if it is our love that creates the respect for each other, or the respect that strengthens our love. But, I do know this, respect is vital to a relationship and it carries over into friendships and business associations. Having respect for others is vital to building relationships, trust and community. And it is respect that motivates us to serve our family, friends and others.

We have had some wonderful travels and adventures, like our first trip to Florida together, spending some time in a condo overlooking the beach at Panama City Beach. Eating great food. Walking the beach during the day, and listening to the waves crash on shore at night with the patio doors wide open all night long.

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Our travels in 2004 and 2005 took us along the Lewis and Clark Trail for the L&C Bicentennial. With our birthdays in November, two days apart, we went to Oregon to celebrate the Lewis and Clark event at the Pacific, “Oh the Joy. Pacific in view.” William Clark wrote that in his diary on November 7, 1805. My birthday, November 7. What an incredible adventure.

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Then, for our 25th, we had to do some creative planning because Lin was attending a conference in Reno. So, I flew to Reno at the end of her conference to meet her. The next day, we boarded Amtrak for an 8-hour ride to San Francisco where we stayed for several nights in a motel in the Fisherman’s Wharf district.

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Great food, cable cars, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge and ferries. We enjoyed it all. Then we boarded a shuttle bus to the airport, and flew home. Our 25th was truly a journey of planes, trains and automobiles.

Years ago, there was that camping trip to Colorado where the nights were quite cold. There were the birthday and anniversary weekends to see art, musicians, theatrical performances and weekends away in a cabin in the woods. The journey has been a good one, a blessed one.

When we married, I remember sitting at breakfast the morning after our ceremony. I think we were still on a cloud, and of course, we still tell this story as we did the other night when we had dinner with friends. Lin said, “I have three rules for you. No beating. No cheating. No butt crack.” It’s good to have rules.

I don’t know where the time went. It doesn’t feel like 30 years. It has not been about the destinations in our travels. Destinations like Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville and more were wonderful travels and getaways. But it has been the every day routines of getting up, going to work, cooking and cleaning, building homes, taking walks while holding hands, and making a life together that has been the greatest journey. It has been the best journey of my life.

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“This is dedicated to the one I love.”

Brent

A new visitor to the neighborhood

What is that sound? is it mechanical? An animal?

Barely awake and certainly not dressed, the sound came in varying low pitches, and was barely discernable. Was I hearing things? Has the sump pump given up?

Through the window, it was soft. Hoooo, hoooo, hoo, hoot. But the next round of noise was different, like a different sentence from the same voice. Hoo, hoooo, hoooo, hoo, hoot.

Throwing on a pair of shoes and my winter jacket, I stepped to the front porch into a cold December morning. The noise was coming from the woods to the northeast, and louder now. HOOO, HOOO, HOOT.

Definitely an owl, calling out to or for a mate maybe?

Thank you for visiting this morning, my feathery friend. You have given me a smile to start the day. If you see him, say “hello” to the wily coyote that ran down the street two days ago.

Brent

Meeting friends at the coffee shop

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Every week, I meet up with friends at the coffee shop. It seems we talk about everything—politics, travel, motorcycles, movies. I look forward to Wednesdays for that small hour of socializing.

See you on the highway … or maybe at a coffee shop.

Brent

1st Hike of 2013

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For several months, I followed the invitations and hiking locations of the Tri-State Hiking Club in the Cincinnati area. I finally decided to join them, and ventured off for my first hike in 2013.

Brent

Gardens in the Spring

There must be farmer or gardener DNA in my genes. I am always calmed in the presence of Spring as new growth emerges from the ground.

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Take for example, the hardy hostas. They sprout up through the ground every year in dazzling greens and variations. Some are solid colored. Some have white edges with green in the middle of the leaf, and some are just the opposite, white with green edges. Such variety. They are just like people. We come in such a variety of colors and backgrounds, and when nurtured and allowed to grow, we flower for the benefit of others, for the community.

In the mornings, when the weather permits, I like to take my coffee outside to the edge of the garden. I listen to the birds, watch the sun rise, and revel in the growth of the garden. It is a peaceful place to start the day, and a reminder of the diversity of our world.

See you on the highway.

Brent