Getting a Little Closer to the Clouds

I called in.

Doing this in the middle of the week pushes me to really make it count. So this morning my beautiful wife and I wasted no time in getting dressed and hitting the trail. Eisenhower Park in San Antonio Texas is absolutely a great way to start the day with miles worth of accomplishment.

With our little man being taken care of by the in-law’s, we have the week to be more spontaneous and venture out into the city…and a few other cities in the surrounding area. The last time we hiked this trail, we weren’t as consistent as we are now. This is the first time the long way around–filled with higher elevations and boulders to climb over–felt like just another hike, in the best way possible.

In fact, had we not gone today, I wouldn’t have realized that our 1 yr 10 month old son is more than ready to be helped along. I may have to carry him towards the end, but that’s fine by me. He loves dirt, rocks, being outdoors, and hiking. Minimum and maximum criteria for this kind of an outing.

As far as the experience we shared together alone, we couldn’t have been more pleased. Fueled by a simple McDonald’s pit stop, we were ready to huff and puff up those hills. There’s something about filling the silence between conversations that makes you more aware of each other’s unique presence. We reflected on the week and our goals for the future. We talked about friends and family. We talked about work, but not for very long. You have to be intentional about seeking out the recesses of each other’s mind. It’s not a forced, but rather loving sense of commitment and curiosity that is usually hindered by the nuances of regular background noise and people you interact around.

At some point I stopped and gave Monica a long kiss.

“It’s just us.”

Those three words have carried us through trials and sums up the best part of working as a team. It says whatever we accomplish, we accomplish together. That’s already something to be proud of. That’s a success in itself. God watches us use a “fear-setting” technique in that phrase that allows us to acknowledge the odds of success are better in unity. There’s no other option. It’s all or nothing.

At the top of the watch tower, the city was laid out before us in all its distant appeal. That’s how far I want to be removed from the norm today. As far as this trail allows.

A lot of people refuse to be away from their kids for any long length of time. That’s admirable! For us, however, it’s done in moderation and with a purpose. There’s a time for everything. I highly encourage everyone that can to try it out. It gets easier the more you try it. The first time wasn’t easy.

It gives your kids a break from you and has proven to be a wonderful reminder to take things back to the basics every now and then, keeping each other’s hearts in their own special spotlight. It’s amazing how many light towers a couple can need even while they’re only a few feet apart. But these moments keep me moored to the love that hold us in place amidst the storms and sunny days of life.

What are some activities in your own life that can exclude the world and include only your spouse? Give it shot and make life happen.

And whatever you do, do it now.


This IS the Good Part

We value our family time together. In fact, “family” and “time” tend to be used in combination quite often around our home.

Lately, our son, Raiden, has been the prime motivation for getting outdoors on our days off. With Texas winters acting a lot like any other state’s summer, it’s easy to get sick with the constant change in temperature. We figured we’d power through the gut-busting, food-laden holidays, but with at least one of us sniffling at all times, we compensated with healthier foods and little movie nights as a family….now that we’re on the other side of that, our routine is finally taking shape again.

Raiden is my model for getting the most out of my day. It’s a simple strategy, really:

Nap when able, stay on your feet, and stay curious.

Translated into our adult world: get some rest, stay active, and put effort into keeping your interest in learning alive.

It’s not the same trail every week. It’s the trail where Raiden learned the difference between a boulder and a rock. That’s not the same trail running alongside that apartment complex. Last week he learned that Dad’s key ring can’t open every gate around him. Little things like that remind Dad to continue seeing analogies in life. And that bridge is where Raiden started to fear the sound of something he can’t see. The cars overhead. It’s easy to see how patient God is when you’re explaining something so simple, yet something not to be completely understood for a while longer. Belief, but not just by sight.

I try not to be anxious while we’re out there. A 30 minute walk with a stroller is a two and a half hour walk with all of us on foot. But this is what counts. “As good as it gets” will become more precious as he gets older. These simple walks are shaping him to become more independent and fearless than I’ll ever be. And this is all just my perspective. My wife has an entirely different experience than I do. Every time. Nature offers each of us a different serving of humility and reflection.

We’re not getting to the good part. This is the good part.

Rest. Stay active. Learn. ….and love.

And whatever you do, do it now.


Jogging: Enjoyment CAN be Learned.


“The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you’re not in shape for it, it’s too far to walk back.” ― Franklin P. Jones

I may use “jogging” and “running” interchangeably in this particular blog. Not because I don’t care about the disdain for a lack of distinction between the two (this is a conversation that can get messy), I simply don’t have the energy to please both camps. Not tonight.

So, on my not-so-daily-however-very-beneficial jog, I’m starting to laugh. Smile and laugh. This is the point I really wanted to get to. Not to run a mile in a little under 5 minutes (I’ll get there). Not to have the best form (working on it). Not because I hate breathing heavily (that’s a lie). But because I really wanted to experience that sense of euphoria that everyone who does it consistently seems to have. Several friends have expressed how “free” they feel when they run. It makes life and all its distractions seem to melt away. Or at least shrink back amidst a background of a more complex creation.

This being said, the severity of my problems will never outweigh the beauty of complex design in nature. The scent of the grass and trees intermingled with the air of the season, the sound of deer cracking the twigs while moving through a dry creek, squirrels spiraling through branches, lizards rustling in the brush… It all serves as a world away from the world. Where the only rule is one foot in front of the other and steps lead to milestones. If “walking it off” is therapeutic, then running is nirvana. Worried you’ll be alone with your stress? The echoes of your thoughts have too many natural walls to resound off of. They’ll never reach you if you breathe them out and keep your head down. The problem for your problems is your problems don’t jog. You do. So leave them behind for a while.

Back to the laughter. Jogging a lot like life. There are many blind curves. We won’t always be able to see what’s ahead, but your path is leading somewhere. And if you have clearly defined goals, the unknown is not as unsettling as the signs seem to suggest. “Caution” and “Danger” translate into “Challenges Ahead”. Roadblocks are temporary delays. Your mind is your biggest opponent. And the best way to keep from doing too little is to set yourself up with no choice but to finish big.

Want to double your max distance? Take a trail instead of a track. You’ll love it. Gone is the burden of choosing when enough is enough. As outlined with our humorous quote above, the beauty of a trail is that you have to go back whence the way you came. Don’t think about the return. Start and don’t stop. Walk between your running spurts, and go until you’re tired. Next, rest. Then, return. There you go. Now you don’t have a say-so in the matter! However far you travel out, that’s how far you’ll need to travel back. Instant growth. My respiratory system didn’t like me very much at first, but I’ve learned that wellness isn’t a popularity contest. I make the decision and my body follows. With a healthy regard towards indicators that can point towards the hospital, I err on the side of abandon.

It’s a joy that is definitely unlike any other. I do feel free. The bigger picture is found outside the walls of the shops and office. And if I could recommend any advice for the person interested in running, I’d say that it’s what you make it. A stroll can be your marathon. Your stage is the top of a hill overlooking the landscape. Trade in a roof for a cloud-filled firmament. In a world overwhelmed by so much progress at a standstill, use forward motion in one of its simplest forms. And whatever you do, do it now!