Sunday, August 26, 2018

How We Celebrated 30 Years of Marriage

"Hey, Victoria, what should we do to celebrate our 30 years of marriage?"

"Take an Alaskan cruise?"

"Nah, we'd have to fly to Seattle or Vancouver for that."

"Hey, how about we take a road trip back to where it all began?"

"You mean Wichita Kansas?"

"Yeah, we can see some places we want to see on the way to and from, and we can visit Wichita Bible Church along with old friends while we are there for the weekend."

So, here's the route we planned and took:




Wednesday, August 15

We had a leisurely morning of packing and managed to get on the road by noon.

Out of Ohio and westward through KY that afternoon.

Serendipitously, the first picture we took was of sunflowers, the state flower of Kansas.


Wednesday evening when we arrived in Paducah, we took a mall walk and stayed at a hotel.

Thursday, August 16

After breakfast, we quickly left Kentucky and visited the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers near Cairo IL.


Near the end of our drive right before arriving in Springfield MO, we stumbled upon Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield MO.




Later in the afternoon, we arrived in Springfield MO where we stayed the night at the historic Rail Haven motel on Route 66.



Friday, August 17

After breakfast at the motel, we left MO and entered our destination state of KS.

Victoria really enjoyed the drive through the Flint Hills of southeast KS.

Friday evening we arrived at Victoria's Aunt's house, where we stayed the weekend.

Saturday, August 18

After visiting with Victoria's aunt most of the day, for dinner, we visited with our friends Don and Paula Henry who fed us grilled hamburgers, sweet corn, and heavenly chocolate cake.

Sunday, August 19

First thing in the morning, we were able to visit with our friends and mentors, Peter and Karen DeGraff. Unfortunately, Peter just had surgery on Friday and was still recovering.

After visiting briefly with the DeGraffs, we made it to the morning service at Wichita Bible Church where these "30 years later" pictures were taken.


We especially like the GRACE picture since that answers the question of how we achieved 30 years of marriage :-)

Sunday evening we had a nice dinner with Rob and Paula Raine at their home. Rob went above and beyond by presenting me with a home-made video of a 1987 RV trip six of us took from Wichita to Mackinac Island.

Monday, August 20

The day of our actual 30th wedding anniversary found us leisurely driving from Wichita to Kansas City.

We experienced a scenic drive up highway 177 through more of the Flint Hills and into Cottonwood Falls, where the oldest functioning courthouse in Kansas is located.



We enjoyed a nice BBQ dinner and a unique Airbnb stay near where I (Barak) was born in Kansas City MO.

Tuesday, August 21

In the morning, we left Kansas City and headed for Hannibal MO, the place I have wanted to visit ever since reading The Walk Series by Richard Paul Evans.




When we arrived, we visited the Mark Twain Boyhood Home, which includes the infamous Tom Sawyer's Fence.



Never wanting to miss an opportunity to climb some stairs, we climbed the approximately 250 steps to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse and were rewarded with a great overlook view of the Mississippi.



We even saw the Mark Twain Riverboat cruising on the river.



After completing our visit to Hannibal, we continued east on I-72 until we found lodging for the night in Decatur IL

Wednesday, August 22

Our last day of the road trip found us taking Highway 36 to Rockville IN which is known as "The Covered Bridge Capital of the World". Of course, we took one of the five self-driving covered bridge tours. Some of the bridges are drivable, others are not.






Late Wednesday afternoon, after a full week of driving, seeing people and places, we arrived Home. Sweet. Home.

Now on to the next "grace-filled" 30 years...

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Advice From Friends

For my 55th birthday, Victoria and I invited some friends out to dinner.


We asked them not to bring any gifts, but to bring their best advice.
Proverbs 12:26a says “The Godly give good advice to their friends..".

Here’s the good advice (paraphrased from memory) my friends gave me:

“Retire to something and not from something and stay involved”

“Learn something new every day”

“Laugh much and experience joy”

“Realize you are moving from an accumulation phase to a distribution phase and turn assets into income”

“Listen to counselors, and your spouse is your #1 counselor”

“Serve others, consider short-term missions”

Pretty good advice for anyone, eh?

What would be your advice for a soon to retire 55-year-old?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How's Your Year Going?

Do you realize we’re one-fourth (25%) through 2018?

Do you remember the hopes and dreams you had for this brand new 365 days / 52 weeks?


Are you following through on those things you said were important to you this year? If so, congratulations, keep up the good work! If not, I’d like to offer my help...no obligation.

I recently completed a study called Unique Ability. That study revealed that my unique ability is to analyze and organize plans and processes so they efficiently achieve desired results. 

Stated another way, when I recently took the John Maxwell Intentional Living Quiz, my answers indicated that I’m a planner. The recommendation was that I should offer to help others who are not planners establish or revise a plan to accomplish what is important to them. 

So, do you, or someone you know, want some planning help? If so, I’d love to chat and see what assistance I could provide. Again, there is no cost or obligation for this....just contact me and we’ll see if there is a good fit.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Victoria and I wish you all the best as 2016 comes to a close. Here's a quick recap of our year...




We rang in the New Year at Christ’s Church in Bellbrook, Ohio, with our friends the Walthall’s.







In March, we enjoyed a two-week spring road trip to and from Corpus Christi, Texas, to visit Darren for Easter. More details of the trip can be found at this previous post. Darren has since relocated back to Florida for advanced helicopter training.







During the month of April, I started my 5th year supporting C-5 aircraft modernization programs for the United States Air Force. During the year I traveled to both Georgia and Delaware several times.



In July, Victoria celebrated one year in her private practice, VTS Physical Therapy, LLC. We marked the occasion with an open house and enjoyed spending time with her patients and supporters. The learning curve has been steep, but the climb exciting and worthwhile.




On August 20th, Victoria and I celebrated 28 years of marriage by somewhat re-creating our first date - we played racquetball. Let's just say that we were a bit more nimble in our 20s. However, we still know how to serve up oodles of hilarity and follow it up with a good dinner.




In October, over the Columbus Day weekend, we enjoyed a road trip to and from Boston, Massachusets, to visit Kayla. 






She was an awesome tour guide and showed us a good time. One highlight was exploring Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau lived from July 1845 to September 1847. Thoreau’s experience there provided the material for the book Walden.






Throughout the year, using our recently vacated nest here in Xenia, we were able to host a dozen travelers through our Airbnb listing. It was fun to meet new and interesting people and to achieve Airbnb’s Superhost status.



As we write and post this update, Victoria and I are preparing for our trip to Paraguay, South America, to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with Victoria's family.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas…



Friday, April 1, 2016

Day Eleven - Tupelo MS to Xenia OH

We awoke Thursday morning to the sound of heavy rain as storms rolled through northern Mississippi. By the time we showered, ate breakfast, packed up, and checked out, the rain had stopped, and clear skies were visible to the west. Our plan for the day was to drive the northern part of the Natchez Trace. Before doing that though, we stopped by The Elvis Presley Birthplace.

Of course, there was the house Elvis was born in...


...the actual building where the Presley family attended church services...


...the Memorial Chapel...


...the Fountain of Life that illustrates the years of Elvis’ life with thirteen upper waterspouts representing the years that Elvis lived in Tupelo and 29 lower spouts symbolizing Elvis’ life in Memphis...


...and, of course, the outhouse :-)


After completing our brief tour of the Elvis Presley Birthplace, we headed west through downtown Tupelo and entered the Natchez Trace Parkway.


After stopping at the Visitor Center and Parkway Headquarters, some of the sites we visited along the Parkway included Twentymile Bottom Overlook...the Parkway runs through the middle of the picture...


...the Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) Monument...which is the actual gravesite of Lewis, who died "mysteriously" in this spot in 1809...


...Fall Hollow...


...and Baker Bluff Overlook...


We exited the Parkway at the Northern Terminus at TN Hwy 100 and began our Interstate travels again around Nashville, through Franklin, Bowling Green, Louisville, and Cincinnati. Our decision to push on brought us home a little after 11pm.

The purposes of this Spring Break Road Trip have been accomplished, plus a few bonuses along the way. We got to spend a long Easter weekend with Darren, enjoyed visiting with family and friends in MO, KS, and TX, and crossed off 2 of the 3 remaining states on Barak's list of 50. Now that Louisiana and Mississippi have been visited, only Alaska remains.

Thanks for following us along our journey.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day Ten - Hammond LA to New Orleans to Tupelo MS

We awoke Wednesday morning in Hammond LA. Both Victoria and I liked Louisiana and especially the Hammond area. This is the view from our hotel window.


After eating breakfast and packing up the car once again, we headed south to the Big Easy. Upon arriving at the Visitor Center, we were informed how easy it would be to walk the entire French Quarter from there. We parked the car and made our way across many streets, including the well-known Bourbon Street...


...to Jackson Square...


...over to Cafe Du Monde...


...where we got our obligatory bag of three beignets...


...and ate them while they were still warm on the Moonwalk with a beautiful view of the Mississippi River and New Orleans.


As we started to walk back to the Visitor's Center and the car it began to sprinkle. We made it back to the car without getting too wet and headed north out of Louisiana into Mississippi. We drove across Lake Pontchartrain on I-10, picked up I-59, stopped briefly in Hattiesburg (without seeing Hattie), picked up Highway 45 in Meridian, and ended our day in Tupelo MS, the birthplace of singer Elvis Presley. More about that tomorrow, I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day Nine - Houston TX to Hammond LA

Tuesday morning, packing up again and heading to breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Monika before escaping Houston.

We travelled without incident through Beaumont TX, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge to Hammond LA, about an hour north of New Orleans.

Once in Hammond, we checked into our hotel and proceeded to Tommy's on Thomas for my birthday dinner. I chose the Muffuletta pictured below. A traditional style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone.


After dinner, Victoria and I walked a couple of blocks to Eddie's Famous Frozen Custard and shared their speciality, a Tangi Turtle. I was NOT counting calories today :-)



Wednesday's plan is to drive down to New Orleans for a brief visit and then head north into Mississippi.