Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Nobody Smokes in Church

Really nice spot on design theory here by Danielle Crane based on:


Have a look: https://vimeo.com/293368389

Monday, December 10, 2018

Listening for snow falling on snow

The last two days in Durham, North Carolina have produced roughly a foot of snow. That is a lot in any NC winter storm. That's a whole lot in early December.

Today, the second day of flakes falling from the sky, had me pulling from the shelf Robert J. Wicks excellent book on Spiritual Landscape, Snow Falling on Snow.

I am struck by a section called Listening (page 41):

Wicks writes: "One of the reasons listening is a rare gift today is that so many of us (possibly because of our anxiety) strive too hard to do something useful or to be immediately helpful in some tangible way. The problem is that in the process of doing this we fail to really listen to a person's pain. In becoming stressed out ourselves over what we need to do to be "successful" with someone in need, we often fail to realize the pure value that is listening, in and of itself. Furthermore, when we're not observing the situation for what it really is, we not only miss a chance for understanding, but occasionally may even make the situation worse by acting too impulsively."

Today is a great day to listen to the sound of snow falling on snow. That's no easy work. There is really not much sound, but then there is. Other sounds become quite distinct if we will listen for a while longer. 

Monday, September 3, 2018


Image result for couch to 5k

Learn more about an October 2018 training program with three face to face hour long sessions in Durham, NC with a culminating 5k in Chapel Hill, NC on October 27, 2018.

Learn more at: www.churchto5k.com

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Powerful Tips to Help You Overcome Addiction When It Seems Impossible

Photo via Pexels

a guest article by Adam Cook | Addictionhub.org | information@addictionhub.org

No matter how hopeless you may feel, overcoming substance abuse is possible. One of the hardest steps is already over once you’ve recognized that you have a problem and expressed a desire to change. However, it can be daunting to think about getting through life without the aid of substances. Kicking addiction for good involves caring for your mind and body like you never have before. You'll need patience, support, and motivation to change. But eventually, you'll be able to feel in control of your life again.

Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

How you treat your physical body plays a very important role in how you feel emotionally. If you’re prone to stress, anxiety, or depression, you may benefit from making some key lifestyle changes. Eating well and exercising regularly can helpbalance your moodand provide a motivating energy boost. For example, getting active results in a release of endorphins in your body, reducing your perceptions of pain in a similar way to opiates. This is why professionals often recommend that people in addiction recovery engage in regular physical activity. Getting enough sleep can also help settle problems with anxiety and promote healing in your brain. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and adopt goodsleep hygiene habits.

Seek Appropriate Treatment

Many people try one type of addiction treatment and give up when it doesn’t appear to be helping them. However, there are a huge variety of substance abuse treatments available. It's important that you find one that works for you, even if it means going through a couple ofdifferent treatmentsand facing disappointment.

For example, if you also suffer from mental health problems like anxiety and depression, you may benefit from treatments focused on mental therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) ordialectical behavior therapy(DBT) are effective in treating these mental disorders.

Other options for substance abuse treatment include group therapy sessions, holistic therapy, religious programs, gender-specific programs, and programs catered specifically to professionals and executives. These treatments can better meet the needs of individuals in different situations, such as professionals who need to remain discreet about their treatment. Similarly,holistic therapiesmay better suit people who value spirituality and whole-body healing. Inpatient rehabsare also valuable to people who need additional structure and support. This is a great way to completely remove yourself from temptation and triggering environments.

Stop Relying on Willpower Alone

Stopping addiction and changing bad habits is almost impossible with simple willpower. In fact, according toPsychology Today, addiction is caused by chemical changes in the brain, not simply a weakness of the mind. Although willpower can help you make the initial leap of discarding your abused substances and declaring your intentions to quit, it might not hold up well to withdrawal symptoms and cravings later on. A strong support network can help you when your own motivations fall short. Find friends, family, and peers who can be there to keep you on track throughout your treatment. On top of this, you'll need to make some lifestyle changes and develop new coping systems to avoid relapse.

Be Kind to Yourself

No matter what kind of difficult addiction recovery you’re facing, you can make it easier by being nicer to yourself.The Fix explains how important it is that recovering addicts learn to love themselves so they can stop self-destructive behaviors. You must find ways to stop thinking hateful, abusive thoughts about yourself. Instead, try toacknowledge your emotionswithout judgment. When you have negative thoughts, call a friend or therapist and talk to them about it. This can help you stay positive and avoid reaching for substances to numb your feelings. 

Importantly, patience is a key aspect of substance abuse recovery. Not only for the ex-addict but for their support network as well. Friends and families need to have patience and understand that sobriety can take a long time to achieve. In the end, full and long-term treatment will lead to the most successful recovery results.

Friday, July 13, 2018

MissionMan--2 Revs and an Ironman

I'm competing in a triathlon on July 28 where my performance could raise as much as $500 for Girls on the Run. My overall campaign goal is $2350.

Will you consider a gift to support Girls on the Run of the Triangle -- gotrtriangle.org

Read more and give: MissionMan--2 Revs and an Ironman: MissionMan--2 Revs and an Ironman

Saturday, July 7, 2018

This is Huck Finn

This is the Tennessee River. Last night, we camped along the river left bank amidst our only tumult of rain. The previous five days were sunny and clear in the Tennessee River Valley floating just over 20 miles on the French Broad (FB) River toward Knoxville, passing the Holston River as it merged with the FB. From this photo the merger is just upstream, a ways around that corner and this piece of water becomes the Tennessee River after two rivers become one.

This morning we have just a mile or two to float and paddle to the takeout in downtown Knoxville and a Noon pickup, then back to 43 Hart Road and Eagle’s Nest Camp. Our home, our final destination in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, must be 200 river miles upstream. It is very near the headwaters of the French Broad. I have paddled those headwaters many times. Near camp. Near Brevard. Even the North Fork of the FB after a hard rain, one mile of fast and furious creek boating. It’s a good circle, this river that runs through so much of our lives. And yes, that’s a metaphor. No, the river does not actually run in a circle. Though, this one does cut against the grain, running kinda North and kinda back West, because this river came before the mountains.

Eleven of us, eight about 12 yrs old and three about adult age floated, played, paddled, frolicked, cried a little, ate a lot, slept some, laughed often, saw the countryside, met her people, tanned.

Here is what camp has to say about this Added Adventure:
Have you ever dreamed of floating down a mighty river on a tiny self-built raft and experiencing Huck’s great adventure? Do you like telling tall tales and making mischief? On this adventure, campers venture into Mark Twain’s novel as Jim, the Duke, and Huck, floating down the French Broad River. Navigate by the river banks and stars as you make your way west. Participants prepare the rafts and learn from communities along the river!
Huck Finn is an add-on trip during Session II, and begins and ends at Eagle’s Nest. Description from website.
I have known about Huck Finn happenings for more than 30 years.  Never partook until this July. About broke my 43 year old body, but I am makin’ it, maybe even stronger. Will tell you next week.

As for the others,  best I can say they enjoyed it quite a bit. Many planning to springboard to Hante’s all over. Hante is an extended version of this type of trip and more intense with rocks to climb and faster rivers to navigate and longer paths to walk. But this was no easy trip, lest you be thinkin’ we had not a care in the world. Lots of gear on and off a heavy raft, day after day. Lots of exposure. Lots of downtime which is hard for young ones in 2018 in the age of constant blips and bleeps. But good for young ones in every year.

Learn more about life outside at enf.org | Eagle's Nest Foundation.
Here is the Huck Finn Crew from July 2018...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Long day on the river
That old border of GA and SC that Ron Rash writes about—a time when a little girl got drowned way on down
But not today
Happy endings and everyone safe, eddy hopping and ferrying, some surfing in open boats and kayaks
Many rapids
Many flats
leaving us boaters with tired triceps and worn out abs and sun-burnt forearms and scalded necks even on already weathered and chiseled bodies.
We played in the surf.  We joked with ‘twerry about it,” which thanks to Nathan I still share with friends today like Angel and TT.  If ever some friends needed to ‘twerry about it’, but another story for another day.

Dinner was a welcome treat of burritos and guac, sour cream and salsa
Not enough food to suffice, but I don’t think there could have been enough on counselor budgets, hungry stomachs,
And Roark guidance.  He taught me frugality—a lesson I rarely follow, but still good to know.

Long after dinner
We parted the old-like house
We headed down the stone steps, hundreds of them
Down, down, down
And there before us was our craft, a ski boat from the 70s
Wood paneled and mildewed
It was perfect.
We set out on the calm mountain lake in North Georgia
A setting so different from the jostling water of the Chattooga where we had played in the afternoon.
Now it was nearing midnight and
Hilltops, mountaintops surrounded us in an amphitheater where we were the stars and the moon up above lit up the lake bright
River and Anne, the latter later known as Enna Deer, broke into a harmonized duet that would have made Bonnie and John proud.

There’s flies in the kitchen
I can hear ‘em their buzzin’
But I ain’t done nothin’ since I woke up today

River, with her beautiful long hair and her New England hard edges being softened by a summer in Appalachia. 
She was soft in voice and demeanor like a down jacket
and as content to call North Georgia home as anyone who had lived in the Clayton vicinity for a half century or more. 
This paddler, ironically and beautifully, named after the streams and tributaries and fjords where she took comfort and solace and made a summer paycheck,
belted out the melody and Anne followed behind, the true master picking up the slack and making the song really come to life. 
I could see in the face of the professional that they were not perfect, but she let it go. 
It wasn’t a night for perfection. 
It was a night for improvisation and relaxation.  Friends of friends all becoming fast compadres by the miraculous beauty of the surroundings and the trust that these acquaintances were trusted by others near by.  Those who found themselves in such a place on a June evening, they had to be friends, long time friends, even if some of them met in the back of a shuttle pick-up truck eight hours before.

A note lower than the melody, Enna Deer came in clear and gritty

Make me an Angel
Flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold onto
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

The two sounded like angels.  I believed the song and that its' lyrical dreams, Make Me An Angel, were coming true because the long blond curls of River and the sharp features of Anne which I had for so long thought beautiful yet intimidating, they were softening and I was seeing her in her element, making magic with her voice.  I barely knew River.  Never saw her again.  She was Nathan's college friend and I have always loved her—inner beauty, outer beauty, whatever.  What’s the difference?  She was beautiful and I loved her.

I had never heard these words before
Like so much the Nest introduced me to
Classics that I thought came straight out of the Eagle’s Nest

This is a memory decades old, but was it yesterday?  Could be.  Thanks to John and Bonnie on the iPod I can get at all the vision and the dreams, the images and the symbols.  The song alone has many stories to tell.