Leaving Boston and Clicking Our Heels Together Three Times

Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Some thrill, some enlighten, and some just come into your life long enough to make the needed impression and move on. All are part of the great adventure that is our lives.

Four years ago April and I took one of those side-trips by moving to Boston. Literally, a few months before our arrival, Boston was not on our radar at all.

April was recruited here and accepted the job. Within two months, April, our black lab Mia, and I were on the road headed for Boston. Our time in New England has been extraordinary. We’ve often commented on how we still feel like we’re on vacation. This is truly one of the GREAT cities of the world. There’s so much culture, history, and there’s an ocean. It’s a place of poets and presidents; as much the birthplace of our nation as Philadelphia.

We got to experience the Boston Pops July 4th Concert twice. We’ve endured massive winter Nor’easters and blissfully soaked in fall colors found nowhere else on Earth. Coming from Kansas, we were surprised to learn that a heatwave is officially three days in a row above 90 degrees. We became old hands at the Mass Pike and the T. We experienced tall ships and and learned to sing “Sweet Caroline” at Sox games like the locals. We enjoyed Nantucket, The Vineyard, and The Cape. We walked Harvard Yard and the deck of the USS Constitution. We built the house we always wanted.

Yet, earlier this year we noticed a sea change in our thinking. When we moved here, only one of our two grown children was married and we had no grandkids. Now both are married. We have two grandkids and a third on the way. Suddenly, 1500 miles away felt like a million.

When we moved here, we had no expectation of how long we’d stay. We started talking about the possibility of moving back the second year. We also discussed living here for 20 and being the cool grandparents that our grandchildren would come to Boston to visit in the summers.

Alas, the gravity of family was too much and we decided to move back to Kansas. Our house spent three months on the market. Yesterday we accepted an offer and, barring hiccups, we now have an expiration date on this little adventure. By the end of June and four years to the week since we arrived, we’ll reverse course and traverse I-90 on a westerly heading.

Leaving Boston is bittersweet. This place got inside of us. It will never be just another place on the map again. Thankfully, April’s new job – still based here in Boston – will probably give us the opportunity to come back and visit. Perhaps, we’ll still bring our grandkids here when they’re old enough and show them the super-cool city where grandma and grandpa used to live.

The seven-week countdown is on. Soon we’ll be clicking our heels together three times and waking up in a Kansas bed. The tree-lined, windy roads of New England will be replaced by the wide-open spaces and skies of Kansas.

Yes! Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Thanks goodness for this one! It’s been truly wicked!

Ray

 

 

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The Power of Struggle in Our Lives – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday March 29, 2008

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Take your positive thoughts with you wherever you go. During the month of March Download any two mp3 affirmations from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third mp3 affirmation free.There are no limits! Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot! Click here to view, hear excerpts, or download affirmations.Today’s featured affirmation is:

“It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.” (repeats 4 times)

“It is not the mountain you conquer, but yourself. You are reaching for the top of the mountain and your day in the sun is here.” (repeats 4 times)

Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


A brief article in this week’s People Magazine reveals that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling once went through a bout of severe depression. The article, based on an interview by University of Edinburgh senior Adeel Amini, quotes Rowling as saying, “We’re talking suicidal thoughts here – not I’m a little miserable.” Obviously, Rowling was able to move through that difficult patch of life and move on to great things.

I live in Kansas. Our state motto is Ad Astra per Aspera – translated “to the stars with difficulty.” That really is the story of being human.  Struggle is a fact of life. Most successful people had to “overcome their demons” to succeed in life. It has certainly been the case in my own life.

I’m not saying that we should readily invite struggle and difficulty into our lives. Only that when we experience it we should remember that it presents an opportunity for growth, change, and self-improvement. The reason, I believe, struggle often is a precursor to success is that struggle is a point of decision.

We either give up and give in or we push forward. In the pushing, we often open new doors and new possibilities that would not have appeared in our complacency.

Struggle is a powerful catalyst that can transform us. It may be painful and our human nature is to avoid it or push it away. However, if we can find the strength to face it and seek its new opportunity, we may just wind up on our way to the next best thing.

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk. KU! – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 4, 2008

Today’s affirmation is:

“My ability to believe is the only limit on my success.”

mangino_orange_bowl.jpgIn one of the great rags to riches sports stories of the year, the Kansas Jayhawk football team completed a storybook 12-1 season last night with a 24-21 “upset” over perennial power Virginia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl.

 The story is truly inspirational. It about a group of under-recruited players who came together as a team and created something greater than the sum of its parts.

As a proud KU grad, I normally have to wait for basketball season to have something to cheer about. Not since 1969 had KU even played a football game in January or in a major bowl. Never  in 100+ years of football had the school won 11 games in a season. Never had a KU team made it to a BCS bowl game.

2007 was different. The Jayhawks began the season with big blowouts over lesser opponents. Many criticized the non-conference schedule as soft and it took the poll voters time to believe in this team. I understand because it took me until last night to really finally believe in them.

Surely, many thought, they will start losing when they reach Big 12 play. Only the Jayhawks kept rolling along. Piling up win after win against teams used to counting KU as a sure victory on their schedule. “Well,” the non-believers argued, “they didn’t have to play Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech.” True enough. The KU schedule benefited from not having to play these teams.

The problem with all this naysaying is that many KU fans can remember when there were no sure wins on the football schedule. They played “lesser” opponents and struggled or lost to them. A game against KU was an opportunity to pad the statistics for the Nebraskas, K-States, Oklahomas, and Texas’ of the world.

This year the Jayhawks beat K-State for the third time in four years after 11 straight losses. They pummeled Nebraska 73-39 in a game that surely sealed the fate of Nebraska coach Bill Callahan.

Sixth year coach Mark Mangino was simply following the game plan of mentor and former Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder. Play the games your scheduled to play and win them. Beginning in 1989, Snyder created another Kansas football miracle when he took the lowliest football program in college football history – K-State – and turned them into perennial contenders for Big 8, Big 12, and even national titles.

And now the student has achieved something similar down the road in Lawrence. There is another Kansas college football miracle in the making.

One word characterizes this year’s KU team – BELIEF. They believed in themselves and each other when no one else did. The pollsters did not believe. The media did not believe. Even many KU fans, myself included, were slow to believe.

But Coach Mangino, his coaches, and the players never stopped believing in themselves. That is the key to every success we ever have in life. Every great endeavor attracts a chorus of naysayers telling us it cannot be done. If you undertake an endeavor, you can count on it. As long as WE BELIEVE, anything is possible.

Afterall, people told the Wright Brothers they would never fly. People said TV was a fad. People said we could never go to the moon. People said KU could not beat a team like Virginia Tech. People are often wrong, but our belief that we can acheive some goal is never wrong.

As you begin to pursue your goals in 2008, you may encounter the naysayers. When you do remember the KU football team and keep believing.

Be peaceful Be prosperous.

Ray

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A Little Christmas Inspiration – The Affirmation Spot for Christmas Day 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“My dreams, however big I make them, belong to me. No force on earth can keep me from achieving them.”

I was looking for an inspirational story for the Christmas Day post and I found one closer to home than I expected. Dreams and pursuing them are a frequent topic on this blog. Belief and confidence are powerful companions when pursuing dreams, but they are empty without action.

Sometimes we need a reminder, even from an eleven-year-old, that the best way to catch a dream is to stop talking and do something about it. The eleven year old, in this case, is my nephew, Dakota Zinn. He has a dream and he is taking action on it.

How about you? The new year is coming. What are your dreams for the new year? Are you willing to take action on yours the way Dakota has.

The following article and photo are copyright The Lawrence Journal-World. Article by Kristi Johnson and photo by Nick Krug.

Dakota Zinn, 11, of Lawrence, is a fan of the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team and is so inspired by the sport that he is working to try to get a ice rink built in Lawrence.

Dakota Zinn, 11, of Lawrence, is a fan of the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team and is so inspired by the sport that he is working to try to get a ice rink built in Lawrence.


What’s a boy to do when he wants to play hockey in Lawrence?He could go to Overland Park, where Kansas University’s ice hockey club plays. Or, if the weather would stay cold enough, long enough, he could play on a frozen pond.But, if he’s like 11-year-old Dakota Zinn, he might try to get an arena built here in town. Dakota, a sixth-grader at Langston Hughes School, envisions an ice arena where youths and adults could play ice hockey and where KU’s hockey team could play. He also would want to offer open skating hours for the community and facilities for parties.And Dakota’s adamant on one point: No alcohol allowed. He has seen fans act up at Topeka RoadRunners hockey games and he wouldn’t want to see the same at his arena.“I’d rather be safe than have people there being crazy,” Dakota said.And just because Dakota is 11, don’t let that fool you. He’s taking this idea seriously.“He’s making business cards and he’s making T-shirts for all his friends,” Dakota’s dad, Rod Zinn, said. “He’s already got businesses calling him up.”Dakota thinks his age actually helps him. When adults pitch an idea, he said, it’s easy to ignore them. But when a kid has an idea, he said people take notice.

“When kids do it, they say, aw, it’s so cute,” Dakota said.

Dakota’s plan to build the Extreme Ice arena has become a family affair. He has drawn up building plans with the help of his dad, who works for Landplan Engineering. Dakota also has written surveys and fliers to get the word out. Some of the help there has come from his mom.

“We’re behind him and we’re along for the ride,” Rod Zinn said.

Dakota and his dad estimate that the arena would cost about $3 million, a cost the family’s not planning to cover alone. So Dakota also has been working to attract donors. He has even worked out different tiers for donors. For instance, a donation between $1 and $50 would get a donor a free puck signed by a hockey player.

Dakota’s dream of an ice arena has consumed much of his time the past few weeks, Zinn said. He said Dakota was sick last week, which he attributed to late nights spent working on ice arena plans.

Dakota became a fan of hockey only recently, and he doesn’t even play the sport yet. He has played other sports, such as football and baseball. But he got hooked on hockey when his dad got tickets for the Topeka RoadRunners’ home opener in September.

They had so much fun that his dad wrote a letter to the team’s owner, Mary Magdalene Lorang. She was so touched by the letter, Zinn said, that she gave his family season tickets.

And now, Dakota wants to play hockey. But he doesn’t want to leave town to do so.

He thinks having an ice arena or some other youth sports center in town is essential to attracting families with children.

“I think it’s going to become a city for older people to retire unless we get more stuff for kids,” Dakota said.

Originally published at: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/dec/25/boy_looks_score_ice_rink/

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

 

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