Friday, May 16, 2014

Possum Valley 5K

I just started running a couple months ago to help promote and maintain a healthier lifestyle. The first week or two I couldn't even make it to the end of the block without having to stop and gasp for air, but as I continued to work at it I was able to add to my distance achieving my minimum target run of 5K, hence "The Possum Valley 5K". Little did I know when I started that once you surpass a certain threshold, running appears to have an addictive effect.  I now feel an urge, a need, a desire to run. If I see someone else running I get all jealous and want to stop and join in beside them. Since I started running I feel better then I have in years, maybe even ever. My blood pressure is down, I'm sleeping better, I've noticed less stress and I'm maintaining a healthier body weight.

Today's run was different. I would go as far as to say it was the best yet. Not because of the pace or because of the distance. It's because it was so serene. It started out like any other, heading down the rural highway on which I live, turning and continuing down a blacktop county road that transitions briefly to gravel and then back to blacktop. The temperature was pleasant and mild, birds were chirping in the woods and I could hear the roll of thunder in the distance. The smell of sweet Honeysuckle filled the air. As I looked into the distance I saw an early evening thunder shower on the horizons with rays of sun shining around the clouds forming a breathtaking silhouette. I could see the rains streaking down from clouds to earth.

As I ran my thoughts wondered to a friend and colleague who had recently passed away due to cancer. She was a great K-12 school administrator and coach, a strong willed woman who had a lot of spunk and vigor. She's the type of person you know you can depend on as a true friend. Regardless of your circumstances she would be there for you, always encouraging, always pushing. I guess she came to mind because I had signed up for my first 5K run this weekend in her memory. The Hunka Hunka 5K the kick-off to the local Relay for Life, a cancer awareness and fundraiser event sponsored by the American Cancer Society and local communities all around the country. This will be my first running event where I'm actually running with others. For the last couple of months I've been solo.

As I reached my intended turn-around point I decided to go a bit further since it was cloudy, cool and I was feeling good. There was a threat of rain as the thunder showers moved closer. I find running in the rain refreshing as long as it's not pouring down or storming, "I'm wet with sweat already, what's a little rain going to hurt", I say.

I finally turned around and headed back toward the house, On the way back I started wondering what was different about this run, it seemed different from all my others... when I realized that I had not seen or heard any automobiles or humans during the entire run, it was just me, nature and the road, normally I have to deal with traffic, dogs or both. Then out of nowhere there was this brilliant pure white flash of light behind me, casting my shadow out before me, followed quickly by a deafening crash of thunder which seemed right on my heals, as if my friend was telling me to "get it in gear and pickup that pace...", that would definitely be the coach in her, so that's what I did. As I arrived back at the house a gentle rain had started to fall...

The Possum Valley 5K, a good run indeed...

Monday, May 18, 2009

KLove Friends and Family Cruise 2010

Well its time to start planning for the 2010 K-Love Friends and Family Cruise. The Twenty-Ten Cruise is headed to Cococay Island and Nassau, Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida, February 1-5, 2010. The entertainment lineup is fantastic with Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Big Daddy Weave, Mandisa, Francesca Battistelli, 33 Miles, Downhere, DecemberRadio, Tenth Avenue North, Addison Road, Fire Flight, and The Annie Moses Band. Speakers Louie Giglio, Tony Nolan, Lonnie Clouse, William Graham. Other Guest include 321 Improv Comedy, Harris III, Master Illusionist and for the kids Veggie Tales and Go Fish. Can’t wait for another great Christ Centered, Family Friendly Vacation, with rest, relaxation, meditation, rejuvenation and lots of GREAT Christian Music! It will be great to spend some time with Mercy Me, we’ve been following these guys since way-back when they toured with Shepherd Ministries’ Student Conference, before they hit the BIG TIME. We never miss a chance to see them when they’re in the area and now we get to float in the big blue with them, “Too Cool”.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens, RealD 3D vs. Traditional:

With all of the advertising hype for the new movie Monsters vs. Aliens the boys insisted on seeing the movie in 3D and the local theater was only showing the traditional version, so off to the Rave we go on opening day no-less (Friday 3/27), the showing was a total sell out, we’re like in the front row looking straight up, but it wasn’t bad they enjoyed the movie and the 3D was cool even from the front row. There are several more 3D movies coming out this summer so looks like more trips to Little Rock. I don’t know why the local theater doesn't show 3D’s, does it require a special projection system? If so I wish they would get one.  RealD 3D is the new wave in animation and unlike the old time 3D glasses like used with Jaws 3 3D or Friday the 13th Part III 3D (showing my age a little) you know with the red and blue lenses and paper frames which made the movie's colors all weird, the new polarized glasses with plastic frames fit and feel much like sunglasses and let the true color shine right through.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More on the Klove Cruise

More on the Klove Cruise - the cruise was great but what really made it special was getting to mingle with the artist. The boys ran into the guys from Third Day by the pool on Grand Turk and we ran into Brandon Heath every-time we turned around. It was not unusual to run into band members at the (24 hour) ice cream machine, in the elevator or even in the chase-lounge next to you on the lido deck.
10 things we learned:
  1. If you think your going to be seasick, take your medication before you sail.
  2. Pack light, recycle.
  3. Bring your own over-the-counter medication, they sell it on the ship but its $$$.
  4. Complete your pre-registration online 72 hours before sailing.
  5. Your cellphone will work on board but at offshore roaming rates (Still way way cheaper then using the room phone).
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Take a camera to muster-call.
  8. Noah adds, “Be careful not to hit your putt-putt golf ball overboard”, like he did.
  9. See the sunrise and sunset.
  10. Get your monies worth, do all you can, catch all of the shows -- you can sleep when you get home.
Klove Cruise 2010?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The 2009 K-Love Friends & Family Music Cruise

We just recently returned form an extraordinary trip to Miami and Grand Turk Island aboard The 2009 K-Love Friends & Family Music Cruise on The Carnival “Fun Ship” Destiny. Five days and four nights surrounded by fellow Christians and K-Love listeners while enjoying some of today's top contemporary Christian recording artist. During the trip we met and visited with many of the K-Love personalities, Musical Artist and Guest Speakers.

Here’s who all were aboard: Third Day, Mandisa, Matthew West, Phil Wickham, Building 429, Rush of Fools, Sanctus Real, Salvador, Brandon Heath, Nicole C. Mullen, Phil Joel, Denver & The Mile High Orchestra, The Annie Moses Band, 4Him, Degarmo & Key, David Nasser, Karen Kingsbury, Phil Newberry, Lonnie Clouse, Brock Gill, 321 Improve, Bob & Larry from the Veggie Tales, KLove’s Jon, Sherry and Lexi Rivers, Lisa Williams, JD Chandles, and David Pierce.

Here are a few pictures from the cruise. (First, the boys with the guys from Third Day poolside on Grant Turk; Second, Shirley, Debbi and the boys with Brandon Heath on the way back to the ship on Grand Turk).

I would encourage everyone to go on at least one Klove Christian Cruise with your family - This is a FAMILY cruise, no drunken parties, no fowl language, and no crowded and loud casinos, just family friendly entertainment and Christ centered worship. Check out Premier Productions for information on the latest Christian Cruise, Concert or Event in your area.

Here is a short video montage of our Klove Cruise trip.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Tree of Fire

There is this tree in town that each fall for a short time becomes ablaze with the spectacular color of vibrant amber as it prepares for it winter hibernation. Although its a bit off my beaten path I always try to get by each fall to have a look before all of the leaves have fallen to the ground. For the last several years the owners and caretakers of the tree, Wiley and Betty Avery have given us all an extra chance to see the beauty of this magnificent tree by illuminating it with spotlights after sundown; in fact the tree can be seen from several blocks away during this time and could be mistaken for a fire burning wildly out of control, but in reality its only a Ginkgo tree (not to be confused with “Gecko” the little green lizard we always see selling insurance on television).

The tree has become sort of a local tourist attraction during the fall of year. People love to have their picture made by the tree. Betty has a rather large collection of photographs with children posing under the tree. A neighbor once even ate some of the leaves since Ginkgo leaves are reputed to have healing properties. It is an well established part of Asian medicine, and has recently received attention in the U.S. as an herbal remedy that may improve mental functioning.

A few years ago Mr. Wiley and his son Kenny measured the tree at 36 feet tall and 17 feet wide. If the tree continues to grow at its current rate the Avery’s are going to have to soon move the house back. Ginkgo’s can grow 50-80 feet or more in height; and at maturity the width may exceed its height. Betty confessed to me privately that unknown to Wiley she trims the lower branches of the tree each spring to allow for the car to get into the driveway.

The Avery’s got their tree as a sapling in 1993 from their son Kenny. For the first several years after planting the tree didn’t amount to much, some neighbors even asked them why they had a puny little dead twig stuck out in the middle of their front yard, but once the tree got root, away it went. Now its a front yard full.

The Ginkgo is also refereed to as a Maidenhair Tree, it is truly unique in that it has no close living relatives. For centuries it was thought to be extinct in the wild, but is now known to grow wild in at least two small areas in Zhejiang province in eastern China , in the Tian Mu Shan Reserve.

During autumn, the leaves turn a bright yellow. A noteworthy attribute of the ginkgo is the speed with which it sheds its leaves during the Fall. Once the ginkgo’s leaves begin to fall, they typically go very quickly (within a couple of days). You’ll notice a few stray leaves starting to drift down one day and the next morning you may find the entire lawn a carpet of yellow. A combination of insect and disease resistance, along with the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts means that ginkgos are very long-lived, with some specimens claiming to be more than 2,500 years old.

As for me fall has always been my favorite season of the year, I look forward to the crisp cool starlit nights, football games, crackling outdoor campfires and for God’s paint brush to paint a picture of fall sometimes too beautiful to believe. The “Tree of Fire” is truly a ‘living’ local landmark, hopefully for many more years to come. Thanks to the Avery’s for sharing it with us all.