Mended Spirits

Perhaps, like mine,

your spirit has been mended

in the broken places.

You know . . .

those wounds we sustain

from traveling halfway around

the Circle of Life.

For some of us, life begins

in the middle. . .

as a firestorm of loss and change,

and the deepest despair we’ve ever known.

And through it all we are kept aloft

like a feather caught by a breeze . . .

with nothing beneath us but the breath of angels.

We learn that scorched earth

is as much a beginning as it is an ending,

intended not to punish but to cleanse;

and that love and life are eternal.

Revealed are our seeds of Truth,

rooted in the fertile soil

of Wisdom and Gratitude.

And it is there that we grow and thrive

in the unfiltered brilliance of infinite possibility.

And so, this is the way our spirits are strengthened . . .

at first by the breaking; and at last by the mending.

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Living our Dreams 2.0

Our normally scheduled programming was just interrupted, yet again, with an opportunity for a new adventure!

Marty was selected to begin Ground School Training for Seaborne Airlines on the island of St. Croix (USVI), followed by Simulator Training in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. God willing, he will then be employed as a First Officer flying inter-island routes for Seaborne Airlines!

If all goes well, come February/March, Bridget will be busy with the relocation; purging ourselves of most worldly possessions, packing up and shipping what’s left, and fixing up and renting or selling the house. We hope to be together again, in the Caribbean, in a few short months.

What we do know is that it is Bridget’s life-long dream to live on a tropical island, and it’s Marty’s life-long dream to fly airplanes. To be able to do both, together, is the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Living our dreams 1.0

When Marty and I began our life together, we made a choice not to live exactly the way modern culture seemed to suggest. We prioritized quality over quantity, people over things, simplicity over complexity, peace over chaos. We chose to live in balance. We believed that less could be more, and it has been. Above all, we vowed to view life as an adventure!

The recession has shifted that balance at times. It has meant that we exchange more time for less money, partly in case it gets worse before it gets better. We are being leveraged more, and are leveraging less. Through the grace of God and a few good friends, we are most grateful to have been provided with everything we needed and more.

Marty spent Fall ’08 rebuilding and fixing up a snow plow for the tractor.  He had to wait until Spring ’09 to use it, and boy did he! We don’t have quite as big a driveway as the plow would suggest, but the justification lies somewhere between bad back and big boys and big toys.

Bridget had the good fortune of starting a new job with a wonderful company in February. Over the past two years she has trained for a new position or role nearly every three months. It’s proven to be quite absorbing, fantastically enriching in unexpected ways, and surprisingly rewarding at times. She also continued her freelance work, and was recently hired to create a website for a local business, and has requests from several others.

In March, Marty was accepted to Federal Flight Deck Officer training.  FFDOs are pilots trained to carry firearms in aircraft, to prevent hijacking and other nefarious activity. He spent seven days learning close quarter hand-to-hand fighting, Vulcan neck pinches, and most importantly, how to shoot ‘better than an FBI agent.’ When he finished, the US government issued him a badge and a gun…your tax dollars at work. 

More change came in April. On the 9th, Mesa Airlines furloughed Marty due to a downturn in business.  A furlough is like being laid off with a promise to rehire if the business ever picks up. For the record, it hasn’t picked up and if anyone needs someone to fly an airplane for them, Marty would be happy to entertain requests.

Just in time to keep him from going crazy at home, Marty was blessed to find a consulting gig in May. His services have been in demand steadily ever since. In July he began consulting for Jones International University, the first accredited online University in the country. 

We had an unusually wet spring and summer. Marty’s Dad visited in July, and essentially dared Marty into digging a drainage ditch around the house.  Approximately 140 feet of ditch later, Marty was tired, muddy, and proud that “Lake Skjordahl” would no longer form in the driveway and courtyard during heavy rains.

Over the summer, we took a trip into the hills to find hot springs, and stopped in Hot Sulfur Springs, CO. Marty bought a car for Bridget in celebration of our sixth wedding anniversary. We drove the new car to Indiana for the Foltz family reunion.  Soon after, Marty’s cousin and aunt (Skjordahl clan) visited from Florida. Our house was burgled.  Friends from Chicago visited, but inclement weather and Marty being down with a bad cold precluded the annual hike up a Fourteener.

In the Fall, we spent a weekend in Glenwood Springs (our favorite hot springs), and even dressed up for Halloween!

A new tradition was started by celebrating Thanksgiving at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. We were fortunate to be able to fly in and spend a couple of days with family, playing board games, drinking hot cocoa, and enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner that none of us had to prepare or clean up.

The snow started falling early this year (well before Halloween) and we’re having a spectacularly cold winter so far. We’re staying home for Christmas and plan to celebrate with Bridget’s family on Christmas Eve. The prime rib & Yorkshire pudding traditionally prepared by Bridget’s Mom is Marty’s favorite meal of the year!

Admittedly, 2009 was a rebuilding year, and was remarkable in its lack of a really big adventure. We’re sure to make up for it in 2010! Stay tuned!

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Finding the Gift in the Present

We continue to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of our world, and are thankful for every minute of the past year. Some have been more challenging than others, and all have been gifts.

Along the way we learned to embrace uncertainty, and to trust that we are Divinely guided and supported by Life itself.  Perhaps uncertainty is what brings about the kind of transformation our world needs. It has certainly helped us focus on gratitude, and not taking anything for granted. We realize just how abundantly blessed we truly are.

Uncertainty anchors us in the present.  Our grip on the controls of the future eventually succumbs to fatigue. We realize that “now” is all we truly have, and we are motivated to make the most of it.

Being present in the present, we notice the miracles happening before our very eyes, every day.  The present is where we find evidence of God.

Wishing you a year’s worth of presents and every day miracles!


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Dance of Compassion

I know life hasn’t been gentle with you lately . . .

I just want to help you remember

that many of life’s extraordinary blessings

come to us masquerading

as our most profound challenges.

For, how else are we to discover

the full depth and measure of ourselves?

How else are we to fully appreciate

that which matters most?

How else to experience

the fullness of our humanity?

And, to fully understand compassion?

Our ultimate comfort is not to be found in gaining control of life.

Rather, we are triumphant when we find ways to accept life

with a grateful heart. A heart that transcends our fears

with the eternal wisdom that, no matter what happens,

we are always whole and complete.

So, my friend, I simply wish to remind you that you are loved.

Allow yourself to rest in the knowledge

that you are all that you need to be,

have all you need to have,

and know all you need to know

to manage the fullness that is life’s perfection.

And then, even when it shows up

no matter its costume,

you have only to thank if for coming,

and then to invite it to dance.

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Bird Cage

It’s not the “art” that makes

the artist insane

It’s the mundane

that is the bane

of her existence.

The trick is transformation;

jumping over the fence of the mind

into the imagination.

For it is not being over there

that makes her crazy.

It is knowing, long before she leaps,

that she’ll have to break her own heart

just a little bit each time she

returns to the world of the everyday;

breathless, paint splattered,

the last word still dripping wet

off the end of the pen.

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