20 Things I’ve Learned in My 50s

•Some days when you get out of bed, it’s just going to hurt.

•Ibuprofen is a wonderful drug, preventive and otherwise.

•No matter how much it disgusts you about yourself, a couple of hairs are going to grow around your ears. If there was any remaining hope of coolness, rest assured it’s forever gone.

•When it comes to physical work in a day, you are going to get less done, and it involves a lot more breaks.

•A daily afternoon nap is okay. I’ve earned it.

•I’m not too old to still dream and set high goals.

•It’s a worthy cause to invest in younger adults.

•At this point, and for many reasons, your spouse becomes more and more important to you.

•Do not set some magical, distant date when you’ll “start enjoying life.” Enjoy life and begin doing those things now. There is no promise of tomorrow.

•The newspaper obituary column is more significant to you than it once was.

•There is great pleasure just sitting watching it rain or snow.

•Always be a rookie at something.

•Convictions are worthless without action.

•Find a couple of things that when you do them daily, make you a better person. And do those things.

•Learn not to be so hard on yourself for past mistakes.

•Try to do a good deed every day. It’s even better if the deed cannot be returned.

•I am the only one who is responsible for reconciling the past.

•It is better to live my faith than to talk about it, though talking about it is worthy discussion.

•My greatest fear will always be acting a hypocrite.

•Some of the greatest moments happen around a big table with great food.

The King’s English

 

 

You’ll find a bonus story here and there through The King of Highbanks Road manuscript. One such bonus is a list of my dad’s favorite sayings. Several are toned down in color. Ha.

Are any of these tossed about in your family?

•She’s as nervous as a sinner in church. (as nervous as it gets)

•Never get in a fight with a pig in the mud. You get dirty, and the pig loves it. (some things just aren’t worth it.)

•He’s choppin’ in tall cotton. (acknowledging a nice accomplishment)

•Don’t know about you, but I’m wore plum out. (more than just tired – very tired)

•How’s your mom and them? (greeting between families close in friendship)

•You beat all I’ve ever seen. (hard to believe)

•Colder than a well digger’s @$#. (very cold)

•He’s gettin’ way too big for his britches. (braggart)

•Slow as molasses in winter. (usually reserved to describe an adolescent male)

•I’m full as a tick. (what you say after every meal in the South)

•Look to the West. It’s comin’ up a storm. (rain and wind will be here in twenty minutes)

•I’ll swan. (my, oh, my)

•Yes, sir, that (rain) was a toad strangler. (rain that leaves water standing in row middles)

•Tight as a banjo string. (a cheap old man, or a nut on a bolt that won’t budge)

•I swear to my time. (personal exasperation, disbelief)

•He doesn’t know his @$# from a hole in the ground. (downright dumb)

•He’s cruisin’ for a bruisin’. (luck is about to run out)

A Few Top Fives

MOVIES

  1. Lonesome Dove (technically a mini-series)
  2. Castaway
  3. The Way
  4. The Big Year
  5. The Right Stuff

SONGS

  1. Hotel California (the acoustic version on Hell Freezes Over)
  2. I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)
  3. All My Hope is in Jesus (Crowder)
  4. I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary (Gaither Vocal Group)
  5. Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder)

ACTORS

  1. Tom Hanks
  2. Philip Seymour Hoffman
  3. Robert Duvall
  4. Morgan Freeman
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio

ACTRESSES

  1. Jessica Lange
  2. Julianne Moore
  3. Meryl Streep
  4. Octavia Spencer
  5. Jodie Foster

BOOKS

  1. Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  2. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  3. Chesapeake by James Michener
  4. Somebody Told Me by Rick Bragg
  5. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony  Bourdain

PLACES I’VE BEEN

  1. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
  2. Kneeling at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  3. Isle of Palms, South Carolina
  4. Any sunset in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador
  5. Yellowstone National Park

SPORTS MOMENTS I WITNESSED LIVE

  1. Mohammed Ali lighting the torch in the 1996 Olympic Games
  2. 1980 Miracle on Ice
  3. Reggie Jackson’s 3 home runs in Game 6, 1977 World Series
  4. Jack Nicklaus Masters Champion 1986
  5. #6 Auburn beats #1  Alabama in Iron Bowl Fiasco

FAVORITE SUPERBOWL SNACKS

  1. SONIC cheesesticks w/Route 44 Diet Dr Pepper w/cherry
  2. Doritos w/Velveeta/Rotel cheese dip
  3. Hot Chicken Dip
  4. Giant Gyro
  5. Little Smokies

THINGS YOU PROBABLY DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME

  1. You’d be hard pressed to find more of an expert on professional wrestling during the 1980s.
  2. I like Michael Bolton’s music.
  3. I cry pretty frequently.
  4. If it’s a working day inside involving heavy writing I’ll walk outside for a breath of fresh air and a reset at least twice a hour.
  5. Ninety percent of my shirt wardrobe is in the guayaberas style.

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2018 – My Best, Worst, and Other List

Favorite Books Read: Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller; My Southern Journey, Rick Bragg; Learning to Speak God from Scratch, Jonathan Merritt

Best Movies Seen: The Greatest Showman, Same Kind of Different as Me

Best Song: What Makes You Country, Luke Bryan;  Reckless Love, Cory Asbury

Great Professionals Lost: Aretha Franklin, Anthony Bourdain, sportscaster Keith Jackson

Worst Lie: Impossible to choose.

Best Thing That Was Old That is New Again: I’m bringing the fishing hobby back into my life. Bought a nice boat a few weeks ago.

Favorite New Dream: An around the world plane ticket, and apparently there’s a new 1,700-mile hiking trail in Chile that passes through dozens of national parks.

Most Surprising New Habit: Evaluating how every word written in every  social media post might actually make someone angry before the post gets made.

Most Surreal Moment I’d Always Thought About and Actually Did: Sitting at a bar sipping whiskey with locals in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Sounds crazy, but it was a real thrill.

Last Year’s Most Accurate Prediction About This Year: The danger of a national numbness.

Biggest Conversion: Yes, I will watch the occasional Hallmark movie now.

Favorite Personal Moment: Standing on the Cliffs of Moher, eyes closed, North Atlantic sea spray blowing against my face, breathing in the freshest air God ever created, and taking a mental picture of it all that I’ll carry with me always.

Best Sense of Personal Satisfaction: Not quitting after having three different book proposals rejected by some of the best agents in the country. We finally nailed one in November and I’m so fired up about it.

The Resulting Lesson from the Paragraph Above: Have a teachable spirit and never give up on a dream you know God puts in your heart.

Best Grassroots Experience: I got to travel all around the country speaking at REIs and signing books. But even better was the number of people who opened their homes and took me in as a guest. I’ll never forget spending time with such hospitable friends.

Most Disturbing Trends I See: “us vs. them” vocabulary; placing more value in symbols than the actual idea the symbols represent; an absence of shame.

Characterizing This Year in Two Words I’d Use: Sadly predictable.

Best Epiphany Experienced This Year:  Faith is not some notion that we come to as a matter of last resort. We don’t default to faith, but rather we come to it through an ongoing exercise of doubt and reason.  It’s all God’s design that faith is a reasoned trust. It’s His quest of choice for each of us. We come to faith just as we come to other conclusions in life.

Favorite New Gadget: A portable USB fan that travels with me everywhere.

Favorite New Obscure TV Series: Forever on Amazon.

Biggest Regret: Missing a trip to Morocco during a three-month stay in Spain.

Biggest Issue that I Was Once Set on and Now Taking Time to Carefully Reconsider: Is homosexuality consistent or inconsistent with biblical teaching, and what is the church’s role in all this?

Prediction for Next Year’s National Scene: It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it’s going to get better.

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