OK, I’m a bit behind on posting. I basically took a week off. No reason. Cool stuff was going on too but it just wasn’t posted. Nobody emailed or complained so no harm, no foul. I will do my best to catch you up.

Friday, May 27, 2005
I went into work late on Friday because of all the long days I had been pulling the rest of the week. I took the opportunity in the morning to plant 6 fruit trees and really put a good start to our mini-orchard. Remember, a while back I planted our first fruit trees with the kids. Well, I caught a great sale at Lowe’s — they were clearing out their fruit trees. The first time I went there, I picked up 8 that were normally $30 to $40 each. They rang up at $9.48 each! When I went back, they had a whole pallet marked for $5 each! I grabbed every last one and barely squeezed almost a dozen into my Suburban. I looked like George of the Jungle driving down the street. These were 7-9 foot tall fruit trees — peach, apple, pear and nectarine. My mini-orchard was now well on it’s way to being well stocked. But I had to start getting these trees into the ground and Friday was a good start.

Since Thursday was my middle daughter’s birthday and she wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese (for the fun, not the food), we went Friday afternoon. One of my wife’s friends went with her three kids too so we had an energetic and fun time.

Saturday, May 28, 2005
Since this was the long Memorial Day weekend (and official kick off of summer), I had three goals to complete before the weekend ended — to plant all the trees I bought for the mini-orchard, to finish putting together the swingset/activity center I started 2 weeks ago and to plant our garden which was finally prepped. In the morning, I planted a few trees while the soil was still moist. The rest of the day I focused on the swingset. I finished it in the afternoon and began the long process of putting away all my dangerous tools since my kids and a few of the neighborhood kids were swarming around the completed structure in test mode making sure everything worked and was safe.

This was also the day I got into some poison ivy. I was great in California at being able to spot a poison oak plant from 100 yards away. This was a valued skill for someone like me that gets a rash from the plant oil just by looking at a picture of it. Well, I’m not that good at poison ivy — yet. However, I know I didn’t touch the plant directly. I believe that my shoe collected some of the oil from a recently mowed trail down by the creek. I was using the trail with the wheelbarrow to dump excess dirt from the planted trees. I walked on a cut plant, got the urushiol oil on my shoe and then kneeled down to plant the trees and spread mulch. My shorts touched the shoe and transferred it to my knee and leg. Luckily, Dr Scott in Texas (the best man in my wedding) saved the day with some recommendations. Combine that with some local stuff from one of my neighbors and we have the best case of poison ivy rash I’ve ever had. Very little itching and discomfort. I also learned to wear long pants while doing yard work.

Sunday, May 29, 2005
Before church, I headed out to plant the last remaining three trees. That done, I jumped in the shower and we made it with lots of time to spare. This was another weekend where my wife was volunteering in the nursery.

While planting the trees, I got on a roll and was very tempted to just let my wife go to volunteer while I stayed at home with the kids to “get more stuff done”. I’ve been guilty of doing that in the past. It’s so easy in life to just let momentum run your course instead of doing the right thing and making the right choice. For our family and especially for the kids in their development, I know that church and the consistency of attending church is a vital part of our spiritual lives and fulfillment. However, it is just a piece of our total puzzle, not just one thing to do one day out of the week and then check off our Christian accomplishment for that week. Combine church attendance and involvement with daily prayer and thanks, time and monetary donations, giving back to the community, having a positive impact, and consistent living of values and I believe that is a good start to being a disciple of example — to myself, to my spouse, to my kids and to others. Now don’t get me wrong — I fall short on all of these quite often. But it is a constant beacon to set the course of my life to. I might get off track or blown off course but I make adjustments and continue on resetting the course all the while being led by that steadfast beacon.

Now fast forward to the afternoon and our garden preparation. Given that last philosophical paragraph above, the garden is a very nice metaphor for our lives. We are at the very beginning stages of it and will be involving the kids heavily in it. There are so many lessons that a garden can teach the kids…..and all of us. Delayed gratification, hard work equals benefits to be enjoyed, problems to be overcome, what you put into the garden (life) is what you will get out of it. So many different lessons to be drawn from this summer’s outdoor classroom. It will be fun, interesting and educational.

More to come.

…..Dan at aslowerpace