Sunday, June 28, 2009

How To Stay Young....

How do you feel younger....? Hang out around young people!

OK, sometimes they actually make me feel older, but not usually. Each week, about 20 young adults (YA) meet at our home for food, Bible Study, and just hanging out. It's really a blast! We've been hosting them since the beginning of this year. They are a very impressive group of folks that are really deep thinkers. We get into some enthralling discussions about many topics, and they all have interesting and diverse viewpoints.

But we also have parties! We've had YA Super Bowl parties, Costume parties, Tacky Christmas Sweater parties, and Black and White parties. At the Christmas party we exchanged gag gifts - you know, "dirty Santa" gifts. I received a French dictionary. Nice, huh! Not a French to English translation book - just a French
dictionary. Not very useful for a guy that only speaks one language (English). I wanted to give a very special gag gift, but my wife wouldn't let me.... She still has the cremated ashes from our golden retriever in a nice little wooden box.... now, wouldn't that be a surprise to someone....!?

Our most recent event was a Black & White party. Everyone was to dress in B & W. We had blackened chicken, black M & Ms, blackberry pie, other black and white desserts (Lots of chocolate!), B & W balloons, etc. Everyone had a great time. A couple of guys didn't leave until about 1:30 AM. Yep, I'm feeling younger all the time.

My hope is that they will find our home to be a safe place to hang out, to be authentic, and to build relationships. My wife set this tone in our home for many years in Lexington....
the tone carries on in Madison Alabama.
Whether they are from KY or AL, we love Young Adults! They're keeping us young...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A New Personal Best !!

46 miles last Saturday morning!

Oh yeah... that's right! The big four-six!! Now, to the more elite weekend warrior on the bicycle, 46 miles isn't worth bragging about. But, it's a personal best for me - uncharted territory for the legs and the behind. I wasn't sure if my 50 year old body was up for it. Being in the saddle for 2.75 hours seemed like quite an achievement for me. Right?

So.... I came to work the following Monday, ready to brag about my extraordinary feat, only to find out that one of my co-workers had ridden in a race (in the Smokie Mountains no less) that covered over 100 miles - he was on his bike more than 7 hours!! Did you hear me.... 7 hours!! (Remember me?: 2 hours 45 minutes....) Now, granted, he is a young, lean, mean bicycle fanatic. After all, he rides to and from work everyday. It takes everything I have in me to get up at 5 AM just to ride in the mornings before I get ready for work.

Needless to say, I didn't do much bragging about my mediocre accomplishment any more. I guess everything is relative. I used to think that a 10 mile ride was a long ride. Then, my son and I went 30! and, last Saturday, he & I traveled 46.... This weekend, we'll try to break 50.... maybe even get a bit lost and travel even further... we'll see.

Look for me on the roads in North Alabama..... I'll be the guy pedalling hard to keep up with my son - trying to set, yet another, new personal best.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I was Impressed!

It's true... I drink coffee everyday! My wife may be addicted to Facebook, but I am addicted to coffee. It used to be Folger's or Maxwell House, but now, it's Starbucks. That's right, Starbucks. I don't usually buy a cup of this particular brand of java at a Starbucks kiosk - but instead, brew my own from freshly ground Starbucks beans.

So why did I make the shift to this public-favorite brand of coffee? To be honest, it was originally because my daughter works at Starbucks and she gave me a pound of beans as a gift. Since then, I've never turned back. I currently have 3 different flavors of beans in our pantry just waiting to meet "the grinder".

My daughter, Caitlin, is a shift supervisor at a Starbucks store in KY. I got the chance to see her in action when I visited her store on Father's Day. I must admit that I was impressed. She exuded confidence... she was giving polite directions... she was interacting well with customers & co-workers... the store looked clean, well stocked, and bright. I watched as a customer approached the counter and rattled off an unbelievable combination of preferences for his drink. She keyed in the formula and wrote on the cup until I thought she would run out of ink.... all while smiling and saying "Can I get you anything else?". Yes, I was impressed with Miss Caitlin!

Some people enjoy the experience of wine by observing the bouquet, the legs, the color, and the different tastes that create the wine in its entirety. Caitlin can do the same thing with coffee! It's amazing! I had no idea there was so much knowledge behind a cup of coffee... again, I'm impressed!

So the next time you raise a cup of brewed coffee in the mornings, take time to appreciate the intricacies in the aroma and on the taste buds.... and stop in & visit a Starbucks in Lexington - ask for Cait.... You'll be impressed too.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here's to a NEW Dad.....

My son-in-law is going to be a new Dad in mid-July! I'm betting he is really anxious, excited, scared, and thrilled. I was a new Dad almost 25 years ago. Now my almost 25 year old daughter is going to help make Daniel a new Dad.
I can't remember everything about my beginnings as a new Dad, but I do remember a few things:
  1. Being in the delivery room was a milestone in my life (I've been there 3 times).
  2. I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to do the right things at the right times. I never had any "new Dad training" before. Now they have plenty of training.
  3. I loved and appreciated my wife more.
  4. I was often frustrated because I couldn't figure out what a certain cry meant. (Later, you learn this.)
  5. When our 1st child dropped the pacifier, I boiled it in water to remove the germs. When the 2nd child dropped it, I picked it up and blew on it. When our 3rd child dropped his, I kicked it back over to him.... (sorry Jordan!)

I suspect Daniel will be a great father. He'll learn as he goes - as did I. He'll wake up in the mornings after only a few hours of sleep and go about his daily activities in "kind of a zombie" state - as did I. When he doesn't think the baby will ever stop crying, and he doesn't know what to do, she'll finally stop and go to sleep.... and he'll thank God for the quiet - as I did.

When he wants to do things as he did before the baby came, he'll realize that this is a partnership and he must change many diapers - as I did. When the baby falls asleep on his chest, he'll come to understand what a beautiful blessing he has received - as I did. And when he realizes that the total responsibility for another human being is squarely upon his shoulders, it will change his life's priorities - as it did mine.

I will pray for Daniel everyday. I'm not going to worry about his "Dad skills".... it's really just a matter of loving, laughing, and living. I think he can do these quite well.....

PS. Call if you need help, Daniel......

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Here's to Dad....

It's time to celebrate fathers next weekend. I have one.... I am one.... maybe my son will be one someday. I actually still have a grandfather still living and thriving at the age of 93. He is a quiet man, but pretty funny when he speaks. I suspect I will look a lot like him as I get older and lose more hair...

It's a blast being a Dad, even though it has had it's moments in the last 24+ years. I learned most of my fathering skills from my Dad. Makes sense, right? He taught me several key fundamentals that have become foundational in my life:
  1. Don't be afraid to do things yourself. It's the best way to learn how things work.
  2. Make God your top priority. Be sure and get this right.
  3. Help others. He is always helping others.
  4. Love your family and treat them with respect.
  5. Enjoy life. Laugh a lot. Appreciate the time you have.
He actually had a heart attack a few years ago. Luckily, he survived and had a couple of stints placed in his heart. The doctor said it was good that he was so close to the hospital when the heart attack hit. Actually, he was IN the hospital visiting a neighborhood friend who was recovery from surgery. Cool!!

My three kids have made me very proud throughout the years. They have turned out to be quite impressive young adults, in spite of my fathering skills. As I follow the road of my father and grandfather, I hope to keep honing my fathering techniques and altering them for grandkids in the future. I can't wait to play with grandkids, get them all fired up on a sugar high, and hand them back to their parents.... can't wait! It's kind of like vigorously shaking a can of pop and handing it back to Mom & Dad.... Smile.... Smile...

See ya on Father's Day Dad.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Why do we collect things? For what purpose? Is anything really worth collecting? What do you do with these things after you collect them? When have you collected enough?

To some degree we all do it.... You may not even know you are collecting things, but you most likely are. But, I'm thinking about intentional efforts.
Some collect coins. Some stamps. Some collect wine. Maybe china... maybe songs. Perhaps you collect pictures.

What does Jim Bolte collect??

Words of wisdom. Yep, quotes and phrases that are chocked full of insight. I read them often and I'm always on the hunt- always looking for them.

I can find them in many places: Internet, church, speeches, conversation, kids, advertisements, etc.

Check out some of my samples:
  1. Don't climb the ladder to the top only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall.

  2. Love from the center of who you are .... don't fake it.

  3. One of the hardest things for a person to do is "Wait". Waiting means you're not in control.

  4. You do not lead by hitting people over the head.... that's assault, not leadership.

  5. Marriage is a committed relationship that's "good to the grave".

  6. A smooth sea never created a skilled mariner.

  7. The difference between the "right" word and the "almost right" word is the difference between "lightning" and the "lightning bug".

  8. Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

Here's what I'm doing.....

I have a leather bound book that is filled with wise sayings that I've collected over the years. I keep adding to it every chance I get.

So, why am I doing this? To give it away! I intend to leave it as a gift
to my wife and kids someday.
I will continue to contribute to it until I no longer can. I think they'll find it very useful, sentimental, worthwhile, and heartfelt.

They might even heed some of the advice.

Or then again.... they could just read my blog....

Do you collect anything?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Look too Young.....

In July we are headed to Sydney, Australia to meet our new and 1st grandchild! Oh yeah ..... our daughter and son-in-law will be there too...

The new young lady is to be named Savannah Hope Windsor (excellent name!), and is set to meet everyone on July 12. Extremely cool, right? We are excited!!

My daughter asked me a few months ago, "what do you want Savannah to call you, Dad?". She suggested a few ideas: "grandpa, papa, papaw, granddaddy, peepee, poopoo, etc." My son gleefully offered "Grand Pawpoo and Grand Mamoo". My wife rejected those - "They sound too much like Shamou (the whale)".

Now, first of all, I still think I look & act too young to be a grandparent - at least I FEEL too young. There's no way I can think of myself as a papaw or grandpa. Those people are old...and grey....and can't see....and can't hear....and go to bed early...... and fall asleep on the couch during movies.....pause, pause..... OK, maybe I do qualify....

So what should my new granddaughter call me, once she can articulate a name? I told my daughter to start with "Mr. Bolte...and then we'll go from there."

Got any good name suggestions for me??

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Catch Me if You Can...

I've become a bike rider.  Not motorcycles - bicycles.... a cyclist!  I used to run long distances.  I actually ran 5 marathons when I was a bit younger.  Many half marathons as well.  But, now I cycle.  Why?  The "knees!"

I've run so many miles over the years that, now, the knees don't go so well.  No trouble walking - but if I run, even a couple of miles, my knees let me know.  So, I bought a bicycle.  First I got a Trek performance hybrid.  It was cheaper.  I wasn't even sure if this was an actual commitment yet.  I used it for one summer and quickly determined that I needed an actual road bike.  Why?  I couldn't keep up with folks on the road.  My son would leave me in the dust and was cruising with much less effort than me.

This spring I got a carbon fiber LeMond (Trek) road bike.  So much easier!!  The farthest I've gone is 30 miles.  I'm itching to go farther.  I hope this summer to get up to 50.  I could never consider that if I was still running.  You can cover such further distances on a bike.  Plus, you can coast if you need to rest a bit.  And the feeling of the wind through your hair at 22 MPH is pretty nice. (OK - not so much hair, but you get the idea.)

Cycling has rejuvenated my exercise program.  The problem is that you can't pack your bike in a suit case when traveling, like I could with my running shoes.  Maybe I just won't travel as much...

See you on the road!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Let's Get This Started !!

I've never blogged before.... I don't know the lingo.... the mechanics, nor if anything I have to say is even worth reading. But let's give it a try. My son is an avid blogger and much more of a deep thinker than me. He is at this site. I, on the other hand, tend to be a bit simpler - using smaller words and shorter sentences.

I hope to Think Out Loud about subjects such as leadership, relationships, life issues, generational topics..... maybe more.

Today, I'm just wondering if blogging will be worth my while. What do I expect from it? Why invest the time & effort? Will anyone actually read and comment? Let's get started.... and see!

Yesterday was our 27th wedding anniversary! Quite an accomplishment these days. I started something on our 1st anniversary that I have faithfully continued every year. I give my wife a rose for every year that we have been married. Sweet huh? Great idea 27 years ago.... now, it's getting pretty pricey. Don't get me wrong: she is worth every penny I paid for the bouquet...she's "priceless". But maybe 27 years ago I could have had better long range planning and started with a daisy, or carnation, or M & M, or car wash gift card.... Am I sounding cheap?

She tries to talk me out of it every year...."take a picture of 27 roses will be just as good". She says so, but I've got 27 years of quite a streak going here. I don't want to break the tradition! I love my wife.... and I know she loves me....and the Tradition.

Anyone have florist coupons???

Friday, June 5, 2009