An Implausibly Long New Year's Eve Post to Make Up for Christmas Blog Neglect-age

Yes, I’ve been neglecting the old blather blog here through the holidays. My excuse? Well, it’s certainly not because I’ve been covered up with work. On the contrary, it’s been decades since I’ve had less going on. Things work wise are s – l – o – w. I mean slower than Joe Biden on NyQuil.

Nor is it because I’ve been doing lots of holiday feasting. Not only have I not gained a couple of pounds through the holidays as in past years, I’ve actually lost about 12 pounds since before Thanksgiving. My secret? I’ll let you know after I’ve lost another 12 or 15 . . . or 20.

We had the first white Christmas this area has seen in more than 80 years. Of course, this added an appropriate finishing touch to all the other charm and wonder that Mrs. Blather always brings to Christmas at our house. It’s amazing how much light and cheer she can create, even in the leanest and sternest of times.

On Christmas morning, our girls–Female Offspring Units 1, 2 and 3–gave us one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever received. In our stockings the wife and I each found three rolled up pieces of paper secured with ribbon. On them, the girls had handwritten long, sweet notes expressing admiration and gratitude. Those notes are now filed away among my most precious documents.

Long time readers will recall that I spent the opening days of 2009 on walkabout in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. It was a long-overdue and badly needed few days of quiet, reading, prayer, hiking, stargazing, introspection, and personal inventory taking.

One of the most jarring yet beneficial aspects of the retreat was the complete cut off from all media noise. Until then, I hadn’t realized how I tend to spend every waking hour in a broadband media cocoon. The silence was good. I needed the silence. So I’ve scheduled another retreat for next week.

This time I’m off to the Hill Country of central Texas, northwest of San Antonio and southwest of Austin. Through the power of the internets, I found someone with a solitary cabin to rent a few miles outside of Utopia, Texas. From my cabin, it’s a short drive to two great hiking spots. On my first full day, I plan to hike Lost Maples Natural Area and the next day explore some of the trails at Garner State Park.


As last year, Mrs. Blather expressed some concern about me hiking steep canyon trails alone and in unfamiliar terrain. I reassured her by reminding her of all the Survivor Man episodes I’ve watched and therefore know how to build a fire using nothing but the power of my thoughts and know which grubs and slugs make the best eating.

These assurances didn’t seem to produce the level of comfort in her I had anticipated.

My hope is to come away with some fresh vision and a renewed sense of just what it is God wants to do with the gifts and desires He has deposited in me. You see, in a sense I’ve been hiking unfamiliar terrain for some time now. Having turned 50 a few weeks ago, I find myself in circumstances I’d never dreamed I’d be in at this stage of life. Frankly, I’d hoped for better, more comfortable times. But don’t we all.

It’s not just us, of course. For almost everyone I know, 2009 was tough. But for me, I’m leading my wonderful family up a new, unfamiliar trail.

I’ll let you know what we find around the bend.