My Life Story in 31 Days.

Based on well kept written family history as well as records found through 2 well known online sources; Nancy is my 5th Great Grandmother:

“Nancy Elizabeth “Yellow Bird” “Chesquah-Teleana” “Yellow Bird (Cheesquatalawny)” Jenkins, (Full-Blooded Cherokee) (born Pack), 1757 – 1823
Nancy Elizabeth “Yellow Bird” “Chesquah-Teleana” Jenkins, (Full-Blooded Cherokee) (born Pack) was born in 1757, at birth place, North Carolina, to Edmond “Trail Killer” Pack and Rebecca J. Pack.
Edmond was born in 1737.
Rebecca was born in 1737.
Nancy married Roderick Jenkins on date, at marriage place, North Carolina.
Roderick was born in 1753, in Buncombe, NC, USA.
They had 10 children: Jane Parkhurst (born Jenkins), Rosetta “Zilly” Canady (born Jenkins) and 8 other children.

Nancy passed away in 1823, at age 66 at death place, Tennessee.”

My great grandparents on my mothers side (Mama & Granddaddy) were born, raised, married, and started their own family in Tennessee before moving to Indianapolis.

I was blessed to have been able to spend a week with them as a young child.

I have 2 very prominent memories; the very first thing Granddaddy, John (Johnny) William Jenkins did was lead me to where he kept his loaded shotgun and firmly told me to never touch it.

Mama, Amanda (Webb) Jenkins made the best homemade biscuits I’ve ever tasted, and we ate them with real butter and raw honey. She kept the leftover biscuits in the oven, covered with a white towel so we could snack on them throughout the day. 

Grandaddy was a farmer and bee keeper in Tennessee, and raw honey was an important staple in their diet.

I met my great grandmother (Granny White) on my father’s side when I was very young. We, as family, drove to Virginia to celebrate her 90th birthday. She lived with my grandmother’s twin sister, May (Stump) Whitlow.

Aunt May was a widow. Her husband, Dan was killed a few years earlier when his tractor rolled over on him while turning soil.

My most prominent memory is my father taking me outside to an unfinished concrete structure where he taught me how to shoot a rifle. He set up a rather crude target range using some old cans as targets. Then he handed me a box of bullets and, to my surprise, left me alone to finish off the box. My guess is that I was 7 or 8 years old.

My grandparents on my father’s side, Lynn Lester Kendall and Gay Vestella (Stump) Kendall were married in Michigan in 1928 where they had 4 children; My father, Lynn Willard Kendall was the eldest. He had 3 younger sisters; Mary, Virginia, and Joanne. They moved to Seymour Indiana to raise their family.

I spent a lot of time with all of them in Seymour when I was young. Many great memories there. 

My grandparents on my mom’s side; Francis Marshall Hill and Winnie “Lucille” (Jenkins) Hill were married in Indianapolis and had 2 daughters. Janet Sue (Hill) Kendall and Linda Diane (Hill) O’Neill.

I was blessed to spend a great deal of time with both Grandma and Grandpa Hill. They were, and will always be, a positive influence in my life.

While I’m not quite certain of all the timing, it seems that my father enlisted in the Army after my parents were married here in Indy before I was born, but I do know that he was stationed in Germany for a while.

My mother and I joined him over there when I was 15 months old. I’ve been told that my first words were a mixture of English and German. And it was common for me to call anyone in uniform, “Daddy”.

Not sure exactly how long we were there but we were back and living in California by the time I turned 2 years old, because my sister, Deborah Lucille Kendall (now Meyer) was born there the day after my 2nd birthday.

We were back in Indy and I’m pretty sure we were living in a half double on Milburn street when my sister Lisa Jean Kendall (Tuttle) was born. I was exactly 3 years and 5 months old on that day and I remember when she as born. I stayed with one of my parent’s friends for the night. Her name was June. She was the one who initially introduced them to each other.

Negotiations in progress

I guess you can say that I’m in negotiations with my earthly body.

No. I’m not talking about death, although the reality is that we all have to death at some point.

But first, a great number of us may face ill health along the way. And I guess you can say that’s where this chapter of my story begins.

If you read through my earlier posts, it’s my hope that you’ll picture a man in love with life and adventure. Someone who lives each day as if it was his last seeming to ignore reality while embracing the underlying belief that he’ll never die.

Well that’s who I was. I was a vegan, marathon runner, long distance cyclist, and extreme trail runner. And at 60 years old, I would have argued with anyone that I was in better health than I was at 30. In fact, what’s more I could prove it on paper using data from medical tests and analysis.

And to help reinforce my feeling of “immortality”, I had survived two near death accidents. The first in 1972 when I was hit head on by a drunk driver on my way home from work, spending 3 month in traction and missing a year of work. The second was a nasty crash while cycling with a group. I went down really hard, suffering a brain hemorrhage, shattered collar bone and a few other less serious injuries like a broken finger and a badly bruised hip.

Now, having been diagnosed with MS, I’ve begun the task of negotiating my return to health.

Night Visitors

 

 

Most or maybe all of us dream. It’s been said that those who say they don’t dream really do, but don’t remember their dreams. I’m not sure how one would prove or disprove that but I know that I dream most every night and appreciate many of them that I have.

I’m not one to analyze my dreams and although it may be possible that they all have a specific meaning, I tend to look at them as adventures. Many of which I’ll never be able to experience in real life. As an example, I was trapped in a cave in one of my recent dreams. While that may sound more like a nightmare, I was able to find my way out befor my dream ended to find my wife and sons waiting patiently for me outside. My wife said they all knew I would make it out and weren’t worried at all. Although I can’t be sure how they’d all react if happened in real life, I can’t begin to tell you how good it made me feel when I woke up.

I frequently have dreams where I’m running. Sometimes in a local race or marathon, but most of the time I’m just running for fun. These dreams are especially wonderful because running has been a great passion of mine for more than 20 years. But my days of running in real life ended in early July of 2017 when I lost my sense of balance leading to me being diagnosed with Multilple Sclerosis. Now and then, I have a dream where I discover that I can run again and you can imagine how happy that makes me.

 

It’s all Good

If you are now, or have been a philosophy student, it’s my guess that you have a “favorite” philosopher. Mine is Heraclitus of Ephesus.

Heraclitus is best known for his assertion that “Life is Flux” (Panta Rehi in Greek) meaning that everything or all things change. The more commonly heard expression is: “The Only thing Constant in Life is Change”. It would follow then, things that remain constant are uncommon or perhaps even rare.

Because so many of the changes I’ve seen in my life are outside of my control, I’ve learned to direct my focus to the things that remain constant. To relish the ones that are good while doing what I can to effect change on those that I feel are in need of change.

If it’s not within my power to change them, It’s up to me to manage my emotions as I learn to accept them as they are.

 

Fear. We Don’t like it, but we can so easily attach ourselves to it.

Despite the fact that I seem to thrive on extreme trail races and become exhilarated at times by deciding to move forward when there seems to be a great risk, I don’t like the feeling of “being afraid”.
Maybe my actions are caused by a deeply hidden belief that constant risk may the only way to dumb down the emotions that result from being afraid. It’s probably just conditioned response. I’m learning that what usually causes fear doesn’t generally hurt me and makes me feel so much more alive that I’m talking about it for days.

And what if it does hurt me? It’s unlikely I’ll die and I know I’ll find a way to recover. I’ll overcome it. Like pulling off a band aid, I know it will hurt, but I can only know how much after pulling it off.

Fear is necessary. Fear is part of our being. It’s considered to be needed for our survival as a species and I have no doubt that to be true: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-preservation

What bothers me is that fear is so often used to manipulate us. And fear can be transformed in to dislike or even hatred. It’s natural to hate what we fear or don’t understand.

The problem is, it’s not always possible to know when our fear is being used against us.

As an example, ask yourself these questions:

Would you be afraid to go travel to a foreign country where no one speaks your language.

Should you be?

If I had the money, time and resources, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Why? Because, it’s very possible that it would be no more dangerous than visiting Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami, (and I Love Chicago), but then again- if we never make the trip, how will we ever know?

~ Cheers!

What Would You Do If There Was Nothing You Had To Do?

Imagine. You wake up slowly one morning. No alarm. Just lay there a bit. There’s nothing in your calendar. You haven’t agreed to meet with anyone or go anywhere today. You lay there a little while longer just daydreaming about “whatever”. You get up, brush your teeth, shower and dress. Now- What you you do?

Doesn’t the idea seem inviting? I’m excited just thinking about it. In fact, I’m going to leave one day each quarter open to be one of these days. I hope I can pull it off. If that works out, I may add a second or third. If you can’t find me one day, maybe that’s why.

~Cheers!

The Paradox of Our Time..

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I have been struggling lately with having time to write. My days, although good, seem to be overflowing with things that I need to address, or should but sometimes just can’t get to. I just read this piece written by George Carlin today and felt compelled to re-post it here:

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. 

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom”

Note: George Carlin may not have been the original author of this text, but without him, we would not know of it.

This was posted on facebook by my best friend from High School. I think it’s time I blow off one of my seemingly urgent tasks and find a day to have a beer with him.

~Cheers

When it’s time for a change

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Has it been a good week, a good month, and a good year for you so far?

Forget about the bad day you had yesterday or the day before. We can’t judge how we’re doing by a single day or two. It’s a given that we will have bad days. Even if we were “gazillionaires” living on a tropical island, it’s not reasonable to believe that every day or moment would be easy. It’s the sum total of what the days, weeks and months look like that matters. It’s how you see them when they are all spread out in front of you and then totaled up.

It’s time for a change when that total is in the red. When looking back at the days and reviewing the total give you that queasy feeling in your stomach. When you start to feel the walls closing in, it means you’ve reached the tipping point and you need to accept that it’s time for a change of course.

Deciding what that change needs to be is the hard part. Understanding that it’s needed, and must take place, is not.

IF you realize it’s time for a change, don’t dread it. Think of it as an exciting time. A time for exploration and maybe even rebirth. This is the one time when you truly own the journey.

I believe we always know the right direction to take. If you just pay attention, you’ll see it and when you do, move on it without hesitation. Navigate towards your dreams with purpose and passion.

I think it helps me to remember two pieces of advice given by Steven Pressfield who wrote: “Trust the soup”, and “start before you are ready”. 

~Cheers!

Where did the day go?

I don’t really remember much of it.

Why do some days seem like a blur when they’re over? If I try, I’m sure that I can at least a few things out of my day.

I remember:

My first cup of morning coffee.

Good morning greetings and well wishes for a great day from my friends on Twitter.

Lunch with a good friend.

A quick chat with my son as I drove home.

Being greeted at the door by my wife and a happy canine friend.

A nice dinner followed by an evening cup of tea. 

That’s pretty much all that happened today….It might have been a blur, but nevertheless, it sure left behind some seemingly small but unforgettably special memories .

~Cheers

A new week, a fresh start…

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I’m looking forward to the new week. It’s always a great feeling to have a fresh start, and for me, this week is just that. No left over problems or baggage from last week. That’s certainly not always the case for any of us, but it is for me this week, and I’m feeling blessed.

I made some mistakes last week, and I’ve forgiven myself for those, whatever they were. Negative feelings from the past don’t belong in the present and they’re certainly not going to play a part my the future.

So here’s to a new week, a clean slate, meeting new people and enjoying life-

~Cheers!