Fun Never Sleeps

It’s every grandparent’s dream!

“Would y’all mind keeping the boys for the weekend while we go out of town?”

YES!

And so it came to be that the two male fledglings stayed with PawPaw and JJ last weekend.  

Easton ages in for the Terrible Twos at 2 years 9 months, and Asher times in as a Light Weight at only 3 1/2 months old.

Janet likes babies, but they intimidate me like I was a lost kitten in a dog pound.  I like it when they can say what’s wrong, like Easton, so it was perfect! 

When my daughter and son-in-law dropped them off, they were semi-apologetic.  

“Hey! We’re no rookies! Besides, they’re both as laid back of kids that there are.” 

My son-in-law shook his head.  My daughter raised an eye brow with a smile, “Well, wait till nighttime”.

Psft! We got this!

Nighttime came.  

Easton laid down on a pallet in our room and was out like a light!    

Asher was in a pack-n-play.  He fell asleep right on que after his 8:30 PM bottle. 

Good grief! How much easier can it get? 

However, we should’ve gone to bed then, right then!  Instead, we laid down about 10:00ish.  

Continue reading Fun Never Sleeps

A New Life Chapter

His solid white beard was perfectly trimmed.  Occasionally, when he was trying to describe something, he’d take off his company cap and run his fingers through his full, thick head of equally white hair.  It was a stark contrast to his deep black, wire-rim glasses.

Today’s his last day on the job.  He’s been preparing a long time for retirement, and now, it’s here. 

As we all went through the day, I’d stop by and say things to acknowledge him.

“You know, this is the last 9:15 AM at work in your career”.

He stayed busy, in thanks partly to a number of phone calls from folks he’d worked with.  He said, “I’ve just been really surprised by how many nice things folks have said to me.”

I nodded my head.

Continue reading A New Life Chapter

The Mind Churn

My mind turns, twists, moves and churns. Earthquakes of urgent thoughts turn into raging thought tsunamis.

It’s not what isn ‘t. It’s what is.  

What’s isn’t, isn’t talked about.  What is, is.

Raging waters flow uphill, gather speed, then dribble down the mind’s mountainside spilling into the deepest depths, depths that do not surrender the issues of thought, whether forgotten or taught, surrendered or caught, given or bought.  

Words sound large, but quiet speaks loud. Its silence heals.  The healing rest, the energizing of silence slips away in our loud, boisterous, information-based system of living.  Yet the need to be still and hear the leaves rustle remains, even when it’s pushed aside.  

Continue reading The Mind Churn

An Inconspicuous Smile

A group of parents and kids were sitting around five or six tables strung together at a seafood restaurant.  They’d been at a sports tournament and the kids had on various versions of their team paraphernalia.

Most of the adults sat at one end of the long chain of tables. The kids instantly gravitated to the other, with the boys in the middle and girls on end.

As is usually the case, the girls were quietly enjoying themselves, but the boys, they were loud, excited and boisterous.

Whether by conscious decision or not, a mother was sitting in the middle between the adults and kids.  She was actively involved in the conversations on the adult side, but at the same time, completely aware of the actions and antics of the eleven to twelve year old boys at the table with her. Continue reading An Inconspicuous Smile

The Best Love Letter Ever!

Seriously, it was the best love letter!

I was in high school.  The summer before my sophomore year, I lived with and worked for my uncle in another town about an hour away. Through their church, I met two sisters, one also about to be a sophomore and one a junior. 

I was pretty naïve then, like Forest Gump at a dogfight naïve.

Continue reading The Best Love Letter Ever!

Why Do I Write?

Why do I write?

The question was asked in a conversation going on in my head.  I had to stop and think past the pat answer, like enjoyment, or just being able to creatively express myself. 

My head conversation continued:

But really, why do I write, Jeff?

Honestly, I don’t know.  Me, myself and I have often discussed this.

That’s not an answer, Jeff.  There has to be something, something inside or out, that brings you back again, and again, to fill an empty page with words.

Right now, I really don’t know.  Sometimes writing seems like a preordained calling from high above, one that cannot be disobeyed. 

Other times, it’s a good feeling to write, but that’s a feeling. Feelings can be so feeble, so fleeting, and they can move depending on the wind’s direction. 

Then that’s not all of what I believe writing is then, is it Jeff?

No, me, but part of it’s fun.  It’s building a simple shanty, a family home, or even a gorgeous mansion, word by word.  Ideas are the architect.  Punctuation marks are the nails. Grammar insulates the walls, and thoughts brick the exterior with meaning, both obvious and hidden.  

Continue reading Why Do I Write?

Stocks 101

The stock market is not my friend! An acquaintance, but not a friend!

Between my 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, cash account, and 529 plan, my semi-rational thought process nose dives into a stellular black hole!

There’s a reason people say they “play the market”.  It’s gambling. That’s all! There’s just no cards, dice or poker chips with stocks!

Instead, there’s EPS (earnings per share), PE (price to earnings ratio), Non-GAAP (Non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), and the really big BS (Balance Sheets).

And for trading stocks there’s Limit Orders, Market Orders, Trailing Stop %, and Selling Short!

Selling short really confuses me! How do you buy something and only make money if the price goes down? Isn’t that like trying to gain weight by not eating for a week?

Some stocks pay dividends, but that’s like getting a small rebate from a kidnapper’s ransom! 

Besides, I think I’d make more money pitching quarters in a prison riot lockdown than “investing” in stocks.

In old times, they locked people in stocks as a torturing punishment! Psft! No wonder they call them stocks today!!  It’s just a voluntary financial torture!

My success is limited, still better than most financial advisors I know, but still, limited. At least when I first started “trading” stocks 27 years ago, I had beginners’ luck, albeit bad. 

I started managing a rollover account from a previous job during the “dot-com bubble”. 

Good grief! If you couldn’t make money during that time on dot-com stocks then you were a complete dimwit!   

My wit is dim.

I spent hours studying and researching stocks.  After days of contemplation, then, and only then, did I invest my rollover account into painstakingly chosen stocks.

I marvel at it today! It was incredible!!

After just one year of investing in stocks during a bull market while the dot-com bubble was in its peak, I was able to turn a healthy sum of money into a sixty percent loss for the year! A 60% loss!!

Weightwatchers can’t touch those numbers!!

That money would’ve had less risk if I bet it all on a race horse! I could’ve done better by blindly picking a horse number!

Yes please! I’d like to bet my entire retirement account on horse #13. And what’s the horse’s name? Fat Boy you say? OK, great!!

I should’ve stopped then.  Maybe just bury cash and coins in glass mason jars in the backyard.  Even if I forgot where half the jars were, I’d still be money ahead!  

I stuck with mutual funds for a while, which is kind of like burying retirement money in Wall Street’s backyard. 

At least the mutual funds I picked were kind of OK. Not great, but OK. Kind of.

Fast forward 27 years.

Now with my vast array of investment brilliance, I realized in March that the stock sell-off from the Chinese Corona Virus was an investment opportunity. A big one!

So I started tapping into my online stock accounts.  I have stocks of some solid companies. Unfortunately, they all dropped like an apple on Isaac Newton’s head as soon as I hit the buy button!

Like one stock, it was a great deal at a measly $17.91 per share! I bought 200 shares on my iPad 2 ½ years ago while in the hospital waiting room waiting for one of my grandsons to be born.    

It’s fallen ever since!  I looked a minute ago. It’s a whopping $2.89 a share today, but as low as $1.61 earlier this year. 

I’m sure they say in Investing for Dummies 101 (a book I really need to read) that what goes up fast in the stock market can come down fast too. But what if everything you buy goes down fast?

Maybe I can sell my stock experience and knowledge to make money? 

I’ve lost money in the market, and if I carried a briefcase, then I could claim to be an expert!

Anyway, my strategy and advice would be super easy.  Whatever stocks I buy, you buy and sell them short! 

You’re guaranteed to make a killing!!

Need more advice?

Call 1-800-Rabbit trails. For a small fee, payable in three low monthly payments plus shipping and handling, I’ll let you know what NOT to buy!

In the meantime, diversify!!

Bury half your money in the backyard. Put the rest on Fat Boy, horse #13!

Cross Talk

From the time I was a seedling, I wanted to be something worthwhile. Every day I stretched higher, farther, reaching for the sun to bathe my leaves in life giving photosynthesis.

My life in the forest ended when soldiers wearing helmets, red cloaks and armor cut me down. 

I hoped the soldiers would form me into an honorable, useful item, like a fine chair, magnificent bed, or maybe a grand formal dining table. I would’ve even been satisfied to be a powerful support post in a house or mansion holding it all up.

Instead, their axes hacked me into a long, rough beam. Still, I hoped. 

They loaded me in a wagon and hauled me to a city. There they cut off a smaller beam from my top, notched a side to fit over the beam, and secured my pieces with long spikes and rope.

Continue reading Cross Talk

Brave

Nineteen years ago, at the moment this posts, 10:02 AM on September 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field killing all passengers, and the terrorists who hijacked the plane. 

No one will ever know for sure how many lives the passengers saved.  They had just learned that both Twin Towers and the Pentagon had been struck by hijacked planes.  Instead of becoming lambs to the slaughter, they fought back as wolves against evil snakes. 

The passengers weren’t looking for trouble, yet when chaos began, they met the challenge. The law-abiding citizens who had families, children, and jobs fought back to protect others on the ground.

That, my friend, is brave!

Continue reading Brave

Age to Age

When my first grandchild was born, I found it interesting how you can love a newborn so much.  Throughout his life, we’ll share DNA, and the same last name.

He’ll carry our family name down the generational rivers entering a sea of names.  Maybe it’s just a man thing, but that’s downright satisfying!

I looked back at a flash drive of old family pictures that included a scan of an article my grandfather wrote in 1974.  My Grandpa is my grandson’s Great, Great Grandfather.

He only had a 6th grade education, so to write a life summary and family history is phenomenal!  It was exhilarating to read! Continue reading Age to Age

Stories about family, faith, friends and funnies. Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of coffee and laugh, cry, ponder and inspire about ordinary events of this wonderful, ever changing, bubbling pot that we call "every day life".

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