Friday, March 28, 2008

Advent Calendars

I sliced my Collin Street Bakery fruitcake into 24 tiny little equal slices last December. I was going to use it as my own Advent calendar -- a short prayer of thanks and one slice of fruitcake to kick off my day from December 1st through Christmas Eve.

Fruitcake has a lot of calories, which I don't need at Christmastime, so dividing a fruitcake by 24 (I was hoping) would allow me to enjoy it without too much guilt.

Also, I have developed an allergy to pecans over the past several years. On Thanksgiving, I ate a big ol' piece of pecan pie, and my mouth was instantly on fire and my throat started to swell and close up. Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes are 20% pecans by weight, so I was hoping 1/24th of a fruitcake wouldn't send me to the emergency room. And, that's how much I love fruitcake.

We Catholics love our Advent calendars -- especially the ones with chocolate in them. Every morning, the first thing my kids did was run from their bed to their Advent calendars and eat their little piece of chocolate.

Now, my kids are grown, so we bought Advent calendars for the two little boys next door. My son has moved to Pennsylvania, and my daughter is off at college, so these boys are our "babies" now. We love these boys like they're our own -- just beam with joy when we're with them. We visited them the day they were born, and now they're starting to grow up, too. We miss them when we don't see them everyday.

When we gave the boys their Advent calendars, they loved them. They made great Frisbees in the front yard.

Lost Dog

"Lost Dog" "Male German Shepherd" "Goes by Butch". Runners don't like signs like these.

I was out running early one morning when up ahead I saw a Rottweiler trying to attack drive-by cars. I stopped, he saw me, and he turned and started running towards me.

I said, "Lord, I guess today You're calling me home."

But, the Rottweiler slowed and walked up to me. I patted him on the back and said, "Good boy!" He ran off, kicking up his heels.

I picked up my pace again and continued on. He followed me for a bit, then stopped to attack another drive-by car.

"Lost Dog" -- a forboding sign.

Friday, March 21, 2008


The forecast may call for a winter weather "event" today, but I know spring is on its way. God told me this morning.

I reallllly didn't want to go for my run this morning. I was tired, and sleepy, and it was cold out, and the north wind was bending the trees.

I knew the 3 miles north would be brutal, but the 3 miles back would be OK. And, I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to run tomorrow morning because of the weather.

So, I put on an extra layer, knowing I'd be too warm on the trip back, but at least somewhat more comfortable at the start. 4:06 a.m.

I don't run with headphones because I love the sounds of the morning, and sometimes I need to hear the sounds of the morning for my safety. The sounds of a speeding GPD car headed north on Shiloh Rd., of the nails of a coyote scratching the pavement as he crosses the street behind me, of a mockingbird welcoming the sun.

I grew up in Corpus Christi and have been a sportsman my entire life. I know sounds. And, about 3 houses down from mine I heard my first faint whisper.

Then, by the end of my street, there they were. Flying low under the clouds. Directly over my head. Like ghosts in the night, their white underbellies reflecting the city lights below. A couple changing their positions in the pattern. Headed north, back to their summer home.

God's perfect timing sent them on their way days ago, and timed my morning and theirs perfectly so that we'd meet at the end of my street at 4:10 a.m. As I turned north and headed up Shiloh Rd. and towards 190, that north wind didn't seem quite as cold.

Spring is on its way. The geese know. God told me.