A Love Note. From God.

On particularly rough days, when doubt is easily harbored and I'm certain I can't possibly go on, I like to remind myself that my record for getting through bad days so far is 100%...and that's pretty good.

I took a rough little tumble...then I got up! I remain undefeated!

Challenges must be viewed as opportunities, portals for thoughtful reflection and personal growth. This gift came with a love note: "Joel, slow down. You're welcome, God." Such humor and irony!

The Gravel Road

One stone about With a beautiful view Just a rock in the road At piece with you.
We accumulate  Disseminate
And annotate In aggregate.
We touch, we talk Leave a place to walk For tomorrow's traveler We turn to chalk.

I came upon a Gate.

Riding through life one day…I came upon a gate. Fashioned from scrap metal and finished in Mother Nature's signature patina of rust, it was a long forgotten discouragement, left behind after the coal was gone.
Helplessly named Private Property, a custodian assigned to limit and control access to something…or somewhere; all while freely sharing through a holey, windowed construct, the remote beauty and intrigue within.
There, through her cold countenance, in a shroud of snowfall, a pearly path of ascension rolled and ranged ever up and out of view. Riding through life one day…I came upon a gate.

South State Street, Lewis, IN

I don’t know why I was so unsettled; the end was inevitable. But still, there is something deep within us always surprised by change. Here today, gone tomorrow.
Coasting down the slight grade on South State Street one September afternoon in 2015, I was moved to stop and take a picture. The bricks and mortar constituting the structure have stood for more or less 100 years. Thanks to a long-since changed demographic and the vicissitudes of time, the building was condemnable, making a last stand in what was once Lewis, Indiana’s business district. With roof missing, walls shifted and cracked, windows shuttered by plywood long turned grey, she spoke softly with the sadness of an unvisited grandmother.
Earlier this fall while on my way home from somewhere I took a detour through the increasingly unfamiliar streets of Lewis. My grandparents, Helen and Titus, lived on the corner of E. Green Drive and S. State Street. During childhood, my summer job was to patrol these streets on a bike. Hund…

Fifteen more Miles.

"Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal."  -Johann Von Goethe
Goals should be set high, pushing us to achieve what we thought was impossible. I am close.

there was Smoke. then Something Changed.

He wanted to quit. The pain was great and the effort had nearly reduced him to tears. But something was changing. 
A compelling tone of encouragement reverberated from somewhere inside. Still, he wanted to quit, but couldn't...or wouldn't. Either way, can't or won't, something was changing and it was good. 
Buried deep within the recesses of the soul, darkness and light dance together. In this place we find our limits are made of smoke. Here we find fire...and something is changed.
Find your fire.