Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yard Report May 22nd

It has been just over three weeks since my last update. The trees were all pretty much full then, so the only noticeable difference has been in the garden and fruit trees. I am actually kind of disappointed with the progress lately due to the fact that we haven’t had hardly any rain for the past two weeks. However, even though the garden may not be as lush or vibrant as could it be; our early spring means everything is still ahead of normal, and we have already enjoyed quite a bit of produce from our garden.

The Yard (you may notice that Teddy managed to sneak into three of these photos)
front
Home
side
back


The Trees
The apples and pears have actually grown slower lately since they are shaded by a large oak and other trees. The walnuts are soaking up lots of sun though

Pear
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Apple
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Walnut
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The Garden
I didn’t take pictures of everything, since carrots and other such stuff are not so exciting until they are actually harvested.

Grapes
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Pumpkin
pumpkin

Corn (chest high for me)
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A lady bug eating the eggs of some garden pest off of our corn
lady bug

Black Raspberries
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Red Raspberries
red raspberry

Broccoli (we have been enjoying fresh broccoli for the past couple weeks)
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Tomatoes, Onions, Broccoli, and Potatoes (Left to Right)
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Cucumbers are planted all along the fence
cucumbers

There were many more plants which didn’t make it into pictures including peppers, Romaine Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Squash, Carrots, and other things I am not sure about. It has been fun to take these photo updates as the trees and garden came alive this spring. It is pretty interesting to look back at my first post and compare the changes. Though the calendar says it is spring still, I have a sunburn which is telling me it’s summer. I do hope to do something like this again some time. Maybe on a smaller scale though.

Until next time….

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Work Shoes

Let me tell you about these shoes….
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With the preparation for a move comes many decisions. Decisions about which stuff to bring, which stuff to give to my younger brothers, and which stuff to throw away. Looking at the above picture, you might think that the fate of these shoes is not only obviously the latter of the choices, it is also a bit overdue in the making. But you don’t know their story. Let me tell you about these shoes….

The year was 2004. My older brother Michael was working his first job, as a cook at the Pizza Hut in North Topeka. IMG_3836Anyone who has ever worked fast food knows that one of the employee’s required out-of-pocket expenses is some black slip-resistant shoes. Often employers have a program where money can be withheld from your paycheck to purchase shoes which are usually more comfortable, more stylish, and cheaper then the selection at your local Wal-Mart shoe department. So from a Pizza Hut employee catalog, Michael bought these shoes.

It wasn’t long before I turned 16 and also entered the workforce. In January of 2005 I became a pizza-making apprentice under my brother’s trainingIMG_3837. Regretfully, I opted for a pair of not-so-stylish and not-so-comfortable shoes from K-mart. The long shifts (sometimes 12 hours with no breaks) were murdering my feet, so I quickly commandeered his shoes when Michael found a new job at Ace Hardware.

Some time later, Michael once again required the use of these shoes. On top of working full time at Ace, he also picked up a part time job as a fry cook for Sonic over the summer. So he would wear the shoes during the times he worked at Sonic, and I would use them whenever they were available to me. They saw a lot of use that summer. Finally, about two years after they were purchased I escaped Pizza Hut; and the shoes went into temporary retirement. They moved with Michael and I to Denver in August of 2008; where they periodically saw some use being the comfortable and quick-to-slip-on shoes that they were. Denver was an expensive place to live, and it was hard for me to find a job at first. So I lowered my job search standards back down to fast food; and in May of 2009 the shoes were once again employed full time. Actually that summer they became employed overtime. I worked three jobs for awhile that summer. Wendy's, Subway, and finally a third as the front desk clerk overnight at a Comfort Suites hotel. My job at the hotel didn’t require non-slip shoes though, so these shoes got a little rest. I was soon stabilizing financially, and was able settle down to working at Subway only. And then I had my bike accident….IMG_3840 Though it only would cover a portion of the medical costs, I had to sell my car. Which meant walking to work. IMG_3841Getting to Subway was a tedious 40 minute walk each way. And believe me, I walk fast. Since I worked in these shoes, I also walked in these shoes. The speed-walking commutes I made to work five days each week were starting to take a toll on these shoes which was many times greater than what the several thousand hours of employed standing had already done. The padding behind the heels started to fall out, which caused the comfort level of the shoes to fade almost as quickly as the once non-slip souls beneath my feet. Seven or so months later I was able to start biking again; but so much damage was already done. Still I took the shoes with me when I moved back to Kansas at the end of August, 2010.

Though living in Kansas is cheaper, I still needed to work. So these shoes accompanied me as I found a job at another Subway, and eventually also at Red Lobster. When I first got the job at Red Lobster I used the shoes which I had purchased long before at K-mart. They were almost never used, and looked much more presentable than this worn pair. But that didn’t last long since they were still much more uncomfortable than the worn pair. I would just have to be careful walking on slick floors, and hope nobody looked at my feet. Red Lobster puts more wear on shoes than a standing only fast food job would; so again their stability started to decline.

So here we are eight years after Michael originally bought them. What you see in these pictures is what the shoes look like today. Many times throughout the last year I nearly broke down and bought a new pair of work shoes. But each time the comfort and ease of these ones called back to me. I guess in that regard, these shoes are much like living here in Topeka. There are better places to live; but Topeka is comfortable, cheap, and what I’m use to. So, after learning the story behind these shoes I hope you will understand my choice when deciding their fate. You have to consider that it is hard to throw away memories; and besides, my younger brother Thomas might be getting a job in a few years. So…

.

.

.

.                                             GOODBYE!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Worry?

Around this time last year is when my stomach aches started significantly worsening. Just over a month later I learned that I had cancer. At that time anxieties started attacking me from every direction. Am I going to be alright? How will this effect my plans? Will I be able to pay all these bills?

Looking back, I realize how unnecessary my worries were. Apart from some recent post-chemo hair loss, I am fine now; and I have had over $165,000 in medical bills taken away. Yet I still face uncertainties and rough days from time to time. Today seems to be one of those days. And today as I caught myself worrying about things, I had to scold myself for not remembering how God got me through all of those other trying times. God never fails!

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:6-7

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit."
-Jeremiah 17:7-8

All I can do is to trust in God, and strive to be the best person I can be. Everything else will work itself out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Preparing to say ‘Goodbye’ to North Topeka

If all goes as planned, then I will be moving away from North Topeka in less than two weeks. (I haven’t decided on an exact date yet.)
I would be lying if I said that I am not eagerly anticipating my move; but I would also be lying if I said that I won’t miss this place.
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I spent 17 of out of the 22 years of my life in North Topeka.
Despite it’s oddities, Topeka has a feeling of stability to it.
I feel as though the ground beneath my feet is solid here, more than anywhere else I’ve ever been.
It is the simple things about North Topeka that I find relaxing.

4th of July fireworks on our street corner,
the old hound dog and chickens that reside on Jefferson street,
our tree-lined street,
the summery sound of cicadas,
and much more…

For better or for worse, there’s no place like home.
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One of the comforting oddities of North Topeka