George Washington and the two Mohammeds…..

Today was a busy day on a very quick business trip. I had flown in last night to Philadelphia and made my way over to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where my one night hotel was for the following day’s conference. I was up early, read my devotional, grabbed breakfast and was on time at the seminar site. The all day conference was very educational and worthwhile.

————– Tangeant on ————–
I know you know this, but conferences can be a real crap shoot. I have been to some really suckie time sponges that weren’t worth the glossy paper the summaries were printed on. In fact, I could have done just as well just by reading their promotional brochures. And then others are pseudo worthwhile. And few others are well worth your time – along with the travel expenditures.

I have my own personal perspective on seminars and conferences. I believe that you can always find SOME kind of gold nugget to take back with you. It might be an idea, a concept, the way something is done. And sometimes it doesn’t necessarily come from the conference. It might be because you were out of your box; doing something different. But there is always a take home prize if you open your eyes enough to find it.

Anyway, conferences are like a box of chocolates…..
————– Tangeant off ————–

The conference ended early and I decided to turn to one of my past actions. You see, many years ago in a past job I used to travel 3 to 4 weeks out of the month. I flew all over the place for business. But I rarely saw much past the airports and hotels. However, whenever a job was finished early, or I had spare time, I really went out of my way to “see the sights”. I remember one time I had a half day available that I killed in south Florida on an airboat Everglades tour. It was very cool and I have never been back so I am glad I took the opportunity to get out and see stuff while I was there rather than rest up in a boring old hotel room.

So today with the conference finishing at 3:30pm I had a bit of time to kill before my 9:30pm flight. So I headed to the Valley Forge National Park. If you have never been there you must go. What a beautiful place dripping with history. I enjoyed my own private showing of their 18 minute movie in the theater building. And, because I was alone, I was able to slowly make my way through the Visitor’s Center and read every single little historical placard and fact – something that drives my wife and kids crazy any time we go to museums or such.

While in the Visitor’s Center right before they closed at 5pm, there were 3 very obviously Muslim men along with 2 completely clothed ladies with 3 children. The group piqued my interest and I observed them carefully from a distance. The men were heavily bearded, had the traditional skull caps on, and wore flowing robes. They were not unlike some of the pictures we have seen lately of those who have been attacking our country. The 5pm closing time gave me an excuse to depart the building and begin my outside self guided tour.

If you have never been to Valley Forge National Park, I highly encourage you to go. It is a beautiful expanse of 3400 acres devoted to retaining the feel of what General Washington’s encampment there the winter of 1777 was. The car tour takes you to many highlights throughout the park and all over there were people jogging, couples walking, deer eating the grass and staring, and tourists snapping pictures.

As I went from point of interest to point of interest, I would run into the same folks again and again. We would smile and say “hi”. I even offered to take a picture of a couple of work colleagues in front of the huge arch in the park. And I was able to snap some very grainy but very close pictures of the over tamed deer in the park. At one point I was able to roll my rental car up, roll my window down and “talk” to the deer 8 feet away just staring at me. They obviously weren’t Kentucky deer because they #1) run away and #2) get shot.

I was lollygagging and needed to speed up my self guided tour so I could make it to PHL for my late flight. So I told myself that General Washington’s headquarters house would be my last out of the car stop. I parked and walked down the gently sloped hill to the several buildings down by the creek. Wanting General Washington’s house to be last, I proceeded clockwise around the walking path – first with the General’s security staff huts. These were the first original Secret Service. The to the very nice statue of George. His family even said that this statue, which is a replica of one that stands in the Virginia Capital, is the most representative and lifelike one of him. It was here I said a prayer of thanks and for continued guidance for our country. I believe our country is very special because of the religious freedom which was one of the things being sought. This country has very spiritual roots and we need to continue to acknowledge them, not deny them or water them down.

I continued on to some support barns and out buildings. When I arrived in front of General Washington’s headquarters house I had a deep sense of feeling; like I was brushing history. As I stood on the front porch steps, I presumed General Washington probably did something similar about 233 years ago. I touched the stone walls as he might have and scanned the creek laid out in front of me. I circumnavigated the house and imagined all the activity back then.

I cut away from the concrete walkway to meander across the grass to the train station while watching the nearby mother doe and her two fawns grazing. And I saw one of the Muslim men carrying a boy walking towards me. I smiled as he approached and said “Good afternoon”. Accent-less, he responded likewise and asked if I knew which house was General Washington’s. I pointed behind me and then started talking and walking that way with him. It was completely out of my comfort zone. However, I had a different feeling than I had at the Visitor Center. This was my opportunity to learn. To represent. To act upon a quote I had heard Monday from Max Lucado – “If you have the chance to build a bridge, build it. If you have the chance to tear down a wall, take it.”

So I learned that his name was “Mohammed” and he was visiting from Illinois. He was well groomed and well spoken. He had not been to Valley Forge before and was visiting on his way back from Washington D.C where his local priest had been meeting and who was a part of the group I saw earlier. I did find it peculiar that he used the term priest. He was carrying his priest’s child who was a young boy of about 2 years old. They were taking in the old homes of the self guided tour like I was, as well as letting the kids get views of the deer, squirrels and birds in the park.

After a few more nice words, I left them to enjoy the scenery and began my walk back to the rental car. During that walk, I came across the “priest” in the group who was with his other two young boys. I said hi and introduced myself saying that I had met his friend and his son over by George Washinton’s headquarters. His name, too, was Mohammed and I said hi to his two young boys and then continued on up the hill to the parking lot. It was a very different experience and pushed my envelope.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

They’re here!…..

I am so excited. The business cards I ordered are finally here for me to put to good use.

Jesus Loves You!

You don’t know me but I wanted to let you know someone cares about you. I was inspired to do this because of the love of Jesus Christ.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” — John 13:34

If you don’t know what I am talking about, go check out my previous post — the Last Mile — from about two weeks ago.

I’ll blog post on how this goes. Also, for anyone who wants to do something similarly on a shoestring budget (under $5), go check out www.vistaprint.com .

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Goodbye summer…..

With today being Sept 21, we say goodbye to summer — in date and calendar only. Mother Nature and the weather man sure don’t know it. In fact, when (not if) we hit 90F degrees tomorrow we will TIE a record set back in 1895 of the most days in Louisville over 90F degrees. Thursday we break that record and Friday we will add some icing to the record.

Contrast this with our mild weather last summer where the whole month of July did not see a day with a temperature starting with a “9″.

And because of our 4-5 weeks without rain, our Fall leaves are going to go strait to brown and then the ground. Fall colors really won’t be.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Awesome football funny…..

My son recently started playing flag football. I have been spending time with him teaching him the different aspects of the game I love. We have been out throwing the pigskin, talking about professional football teams, and discussing the game basics.

So this evening, my son has been by my side watching the Saints-Niners Monday Night Football game. I used the DVR to stop plays, point out play development (fakes to the running back, long passes to receivers, etc) and discuss the hard concept of first downs. Now, remember, he is 10. And now with my guidance, he knows more about some of the basics than I did at his age.

While he and I were watching the game, the TV cameras panned the crowd. Someone in the crowd had the traditional “D” fence sign. My daughter turned to me and asked “What is D gate?”.

I cracked up and had to explain to her that the “gate” part was a fence and to try saying it. She said “D – fence” and then smiled knowing the innocent mistake she made. And then, of course, my son had to jump in and give her a hard time chanting “D-gate”, “D-gate”, “D-gate”.

I laughed again. Pretty funny.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Not a slower pace…..

Now that Fall is officially here (as assessed by the falling leaves, not the calendar or weather) our family has been in full swing of our daily, weekly and monthly calendars. We have had so much going on lately that my wife made the comment today that we were not doing a slower pace. And her observation is very accurate. Below was what was on tap each day last week.

Monday – wife’s Bible study and evening Emmaus Formation (she is preparing for the October women’s walk where she is on the agape team)
Tuesday – Scouts
Wednesday – church youth group
Thursday – football practice
Friday – football game

And this last Saturday we had a college visit for R to Georgetown College, had to drop off my son for an overnight Scout campout at Taylorsville Lake, and the wife and I had the Ohio dinner cruise that I posted pictures from. And this pace doesn’t look like it will be letting up through Thanksgiving.

What do y’all think — do I need to look into getting the “notaslowerpace” internet domain?

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Cruise down the Ohio…..

This evening I was lucky enough to have a date night with my wife. There was a work event where we took a dinner cruise in a nice boat down the Ohio river at sunset. We both had a lovely time with some good folks. And I was able to get some nice snapshots too.


Derby City from the water

With a river come bridges…..

And finally, a nice evening shot of the illuminated Louisville Water Tower.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Repost remembrance…..

The post below is a repost from 2008. But because I have had to repost all old blogs due to my web hosting transition back in Jan from suckie HoDaddy to wonderful American Discount Web Hosting, I haven’t gotten to it yet and today is a good time to revisit it.

Bernard Curtis Brown II…..

Every year for the 9/11 anniversary I try to make it special by honoring those who died by flying my flag at half staff, reflecting on the tragic events of the day and what we can do to make the world better, and hugging my family and letting them know I love them as a tribute to those who can no longer do the same.

However, what I am afraid of as we continue to add to the number of years from that tragic day, is that it will become a day of rote tribute kind of like Memorial Day where we fly the flags and have picnics.

So this year I decided to try something different and personalize the day. I spent some of the anniversary researching one of the victims so I could put a personal face on the tragedy. Not in a sick sort of way, but as a way to keep it human and as a reminder so we always remember.

We tend to watch the video of the planes colliding into the buildings, the buildings collapsing, the hole in the Pennsylvania field, and the Pentagon collapse and fire as events. I would rather we focus on the fact that there were some great human beings whose future and potential was cruelly cut short at that moment. There were moms, dads, sons, daughters, neighbors, church members, and co-workers on those planes and in those buildings.

Well, here is the story about one of those great people.

Bernard Curtis Brown II

Bernard was 11 years old and an energetic sixth grader at Leckie Elementary School who loved school and basketball. A tribute page says that he bounded out of his house every day and “lived to go to school”. In fact, he was headed to Los Angeles, CA to represent his school at a National Geographic Society-funded marine research project at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary near Santa Barbara. He had gained his teachers’ attention by his improvement over 4th and 5th grades and was selected to participate. Because of that accomplishment he and other school members and teachers were on American Airlines flight 77 that hijackers crashed into the Pentagon — the same building his dad works in. Thankfully, Bernard Brown Sr. was not in the building that morning. However, he lost many co-workers, friends, and a son.

The Military Child Education Coalition has set up a space camp scholarship honoring Bernard. The Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial Space Camp Scholarship will allow other military children the opportunity to attend space camp and pursue learning opportunities.

Look at Bernard’s picture. Look at that glowing smile and youthful enthusiasm. I am glad to know a bit more about him now and wish I could have met him. He would have been 18 years old now and probably a freshman in college. Throughout the day yesterday, I prayed for his mom, dad and family that they have healing and hope and that they might know that strangers out there care about their son. They are lucky to have had him for 11 years and I pray that they put hope and faith into their future reunion in heaven.

God bless the Brown family!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot com