Signed, Sealed, Delivered

If your mailbox is anything like mine, it likely attracts a lot of bills, marketing junk and political garbage along with the occasional package you have ordered.

This week, I was pleasantly surprised to open the mailbox to find a letter waiting for me. Someone I know took the time to send me handwritten words and it absolutely made my day.

Instead of unceremoniously clocking open a text, I took my post inside and sat down in my favorite chair before carefully opening the envelope to read the contents.

Technology has given us a host of ways to communicate quickly and efficiently but it’s just not the same as old school ink to paper.

I’m as guilty as anyone about not sending things by snail mail but the pure joy I felt at finding this letter waiting for me inspires me to do better. In fact, the whole experience made me want to run out and find a good old fashioned pen pal.

Do you still use snail mail for communicating with friends and family or is it email all the way?

NYC View

It’s the view from the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York City. I still want to visit the Empire State Building someday but the Top of the Rock tour gives you a great view of that landmark, Central Park and other City vistas. Want to go? Click here to learn more.

Happiness Is….

Happiness is living close to some beautiful state park hiking trails. I complain a lot about the tourists but there’s a reason why they flock from all over the country.

It’s gorgeous here.

There are three parks that are about 20 to 30 minutes from my home and I like to sneak in after work and after the visitors have cleared out. There’s no better to way to decompress after a long day than a couple of miles on a rocky, wooded trail.

Because these parks are extremely crowded, ODNR has taken steps to make social distancing easier in some of the more populated areas. For example, the trail to Ash Cave, where this picture was taken, is now one way. Normally I would skip seeing Ash Cave and instead hop on a trail that goes up the ridge and a couple of miles to another park.

The one way trail forced me to walk with the visitors and see Ash Cave before heading up some wooden stairs and to my target.

Honestly, the detour was a bit annoying but I hadn’t seen Ash Cave in a couple of years and I got a picture out of the deal.

A Pulpit Gets A New Home

Some objects come into our lives, not to stay forever, but so we can take care of them until they move on to their next destination.

That was the case with something that moved on from my life this week. I gave away a pulpit that has been occupying a corner in my home for a few years.

The pulpit was handmade by a relative named Jake. When I knew Jake, I was a kid and he was an old man with shaky hands and poor hearing. He lived like a pauper although he was believed to be quite wealthy. Jake was a humble man, gentle and evidently very talented.

He made the pulpit for the Athens Nazarene Church many years ago. When the church closed and sold, someone salvaged the pulpit and gave it to one of my relatives. I’m not sure but I think it was passed around in the family a couple of times before it came home with me when it was up for grabs at a yard sale.

I had no plan for it, no need for it, but hated the thought that it would be sold outside the family or to someone who wouldn’t give it a good home.

And then I got it home and realized that it really had no place in my house. But I wasn’t ready to part with it and had no one to take it anyway.

So I kept it safe. That was my job. I kept it safe until I was ready to part with it this summer. We were planning a garage sale and I compulsively knew that it was time for it to go. I posted a picture on Facebook and it found many admirers at the sale but there were no takers.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to sell it to just anyone and really wanted it to go to a church but had no leads.

So I posted it on Facebook Marketplace and waited. After just a few days, I received a message from a pastor asking if it was still available.

He came to get it on Saturday along with his youth pastor who will put it to good use. It was a gift for their church’s youth ministry. After he chatted with my family for a bit, I learned a little about his church – the MacFarlan Community Church in MacFarlan, West Virginia. It’s a country church and looks like the kind I would pull over to photograph, the kind that I go chasing on Saturday morning adventures.

And I knew that I had found the right home for Jake’s pulpit.

I was at peace, seeing it loaded up and moved down the road. It went to a church where someone will polish it up and speak to a new generation of believers. If inanimate objects have life, I am certain this one was exuding joy and pride at the prospects of soon being back to work.

The folks of MacFarlan should look out. Their church has a fascinating story and you never know when I might wander that way to photograph their church and to share that story with all of you!

New Shoes

New hiking shoes have been edging their way up my needs list this summer. Lots of hiking miles have been logged and my favorite shoes were wearing out. My secondary shoes are good on snowy trails but are too heavy to be comfortable on fair weather hikes.

These day hikers were on sale and comfortable in the store. Turns out they were a spectacular buy as they handle well on the trail too.

It took me months to settle on shoes partly because I can’t order them online and expect them to fit and be comfortable. However, I was also resisting the process because I adore my old shoes. They’re comfortable but they’ve also traveled with me to many places, never failing to take me everywhere I wish to go. They’re like old friends.

It sounds irrational to be so attached to a pair of shoes but these have helped me through some tough spots both literally and figuratively. I will always be grateful for them.

Are you attached to an object like this? I would love to hear your story!