Are You a Happy Camper?

Camping is in-tents.

As school concludes and the Summer gets rolling, several people will be rolling down the highway visiting the nation’s favorite campsites. That gets me to thinking about my summer plans that more than likely will be abnormal in that I probably won’t be camping.

I’ve never been accused of being outdoorsy by any means. I am much more of a homebody and enjoy the creature comforts of air conditioning in the Spring & Summer, and some heat in the Winter. But that’s not to say the outdoors never appeal to me.

Obviously, I enjoy the outdoors watching baseball games in person, and if you followed any of my social media I enjoyed the outdoors areas surrounded by trees, water, and dirt. Given those are palm trees, salt water, and sand but those still count right? I also grew up in a hand-built cabin the first 13 years of my life in Paoli surrounded by woods and the wildlife contained therein. But as I’ve gotten older and my metabolism has slowed down I like being inside more.

Having said all this about being inside, there’s still some innate sense about being in the outdoors and camping. I know lots of friends and family that have their fifth-wheel and pop-up trailer style RVs and camp at the local state parks as well as treks to state parks within a day’s drive. I can appreciate that as a valid means of camping.

relaxation forest break camping
Photo by Raj Tatavarthy on

I’ve camped once in a tent in the middle of summer, and that’s probably the first and last time that I’d camp like that. Burning up during the day and freezing at night just doesn’t seem all that much fun once you’ve tried it.

I’ve even entertained the thought that it might be neat to have my own RV trailer from Airstream® since I like their classic look, but then I remember I have no experience driving a trailer. Let’s face it, I struggle with reverse anyways, flipping the direction of reversing by adding a trailer is a recipe for disaster. Driving a Class-A Coach RV is out too since that’s way too much vehicle to try and handle. If I had the $50K+ maybe, I’d get a Class-C Coach RV. But, I think I’d like to try camping in someone else’s trailer or coach before I throw down any money on a project like that.

Right now I’m content if somebody invites me to go camping in their RV to go along and shoot the breeze around the campfire while eating s’mores and maybe an adult beverage while I pretend to be Davey Crocket or Daniel Boone. Thankfully, all that pretending is only for about a weekend and I can go back home and be Mr. Homebody that I usually am. That’s what makes me a happy camper.


Do you ever camp or would you like to camp and don’t? Why or why not?

Poetry Wednesday #7

The latest original poem entry for Poetry Wednesday.

After taking the last two days off on the blog, I’m back with the latest installment of Poetry Wednesday. I penned this as a reference to Memorial/Decoration Day that was originally celebrated every year on May 30 before moving to the last Monday of May. The poem also follows the pattern of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.

© Ryan Stroud 2018 (2).png

Current Event Friday #17

Time for #CurrentEventFriday once again

Time for another installment of #CurrentEventFriday as usual. We’re talking about a current event that we’re all probably connected to that may or may not be making the rounds in the news. It’s a current event that’s filled with lots of pomp and circumstance.

That’s right it’s graduation season, and I’d guess that we all know at least somebody close to us graduating from high school, and possibly undergraduate or graduate schools. Possibly some of you reading this are the graduate, and if you are let me say Congratulations to you.

Jordan with her graduation cap while holding her first school picture

I’ve mentioned my cousin Jordan before on here and I’m mentioning her because she’s graduating high school this year. It doesn’t seem possible she should be that old, I can remember it seemed like just a few years ago I remember watching her mother graduate the same high school. I’m sure it will be a memorable ceremony for Jordan and her parents. Sadly, as I’m still on vacation tonight, I’ll miss the ceremony and her open house tomorrow. Thankfully, we’ll be back Sunday so we can celebrate with the family at church.

Time flies though, because my own graduation happened fifteen years ago. So that means that our class president is likely trying to gather names and addresses of everyone in our class to send out invites to our class anniversary party. I haven’t seen anything in the mail yet, and we’ll see. Full disclosure: I may not attend if I’m invited. This isn’t because I have any ill feelings towards my class, it has more to do with already being aware of what much of my class is up to because of social media and my hometown newspaper. Plus, I never got the invitation for our 10-year anniversary and it didn’t seem like anyone noticed I wasn’t there.

It also amazes me that while my cousin Jordo is graduating, and my own 15-year anniversary is coming up, my dad’s class is celebrating 50 years since their graduation, mom’s class is celebrating 45 years, and my brother is celebrating 10 years. It’s neat that all my family’s significant class anniversaries all line up together.

I also realize that next year my undergraduate graduation will have happened a decade ago. That seems crazy to me as well. Assuming, everything goes according to plan for my course of study I’ll be graduating that in 2020. So, I’ll have two years of important graduation anniversaries followed by another graduation a year later.

So, for all those graduating, and those who are celebrating the anniversaries of graduation, take heed of these words part of the lyrics to “Pomp and Circumstance” (yes, there are lyrics to the song).

God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,

Let Go of My Lego

Lego builders assemble

I’m coming out of left field on this one today. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about hobbies and reflections about them for a while. But, since it’s been some time, I thought it was worth it and so I’m going to build on my previous good will from those earlier posts.


Here’s my latest attempt at this hobby. Yes, that’s a Lego® model and yes, I’m 30+ years old. I’m not the only one that apparently doesn’t read the suggested age on the box. My brother and many other men about my age and older build Lego® models much to the chagrin of some of their significant others.

I’ve played or built Lego® models since graduating from their toddler level Duplo® models. Practically every Christmas and birthday in my childhood included at least one Lego® model as one of my gifts. I still usually receive one even now in adulthood, and so does my brother. I’ll admit that has slowed down some at least recently since both he and I have been much busier than we used to, and the time spent putting together Lego® models might take up our limited free time and so the models still set unopened awaiting a time when there’s plenty of extra leisure time to put them together.

I’m guessing at least for Ross that he’ll have a better excuse to get more Lego® models in the next few years as my nephews get old enough to build them and their daddy can help them. Obviously, I don’t currently have that built-in reason to build them other than I just want to put together the models myself.



This is a picture of a non-standard model assembled at Legoland® in Florida. Most retail or standard models have instruction booklets and the predetermined pieces to complete the model and if you can follow instructions they’ll look like the picture on the box. Creative builders can assemble their own models like this one just based on their own imaginations and sometimes clever design software. These models are not designed for public access or the retail market.

Admittedly, I have built my own models with leftover pieces from model kits I had on hand and supplemental bricks. Building Lego® models in this manner are much more fun than following the instructional booklets. Yes, following the instructions is fun as you observe the model coming together, but getting to use your imagination to build your own models is much more satisfying since it’s a more personal approach to building.


What about you, have you ever played with Lego® models?

Poetry Wednesday #6

My latest original poem, titled “She Could Be Mine” an ode to the Lord Byron work “She Walks in Beauty.”

She could be mine, but I’m not seen.

Of all she is, it is allure.

Given the chance, she’d be my queen.

Her eyes, her smile, they do adjure.

My yen, her character both clean.

Her frame follows the best contour.

Does she know that she’s admired?

If she loved me, I would delight.

She must know she is desired.

My affection’s always polite

Does she wish it would be retired?

Her shyness and coyness excite

Would she grasp, “She is a stunner!”?

Could, oh could I call her sweetheart.

She’s the ribbon for this runner

I know I am just an upstart.

My aim is that I’ll have won her.

In the end, we won’t be apart.

© Ryan Stroud 2018

But, Oh Those Summer Nights

Summer Lovin’ had me a blast. Edward Hopper painted it on can-vas

I stumbled across this painting by following a curated account of fine art paintings on Twitter. It’s the heart of summer and this painting seems like a scene that would be common even today between two young people and their interplay with one another late one summer evening.

For reference, the name of the painting Summer Evening doesn’t give any indication of any underlying subject matter. The artist is Edward Hopper. Hopper is more famous for his painting Nighthawks.


I remember learning about Edward Hopper and Nighthawks during my Seventh Grade Art Class with Chris Jones. We learned that Nighthawks was painted in 1942 and sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, where it is displayed even to this day. Nighthawks is a 33.1” x 60” oil on canvas work. If those dimensions seem quite large, they are.

Anyways, back to the painting at hand — Summer Evening. While Nighthawks depicts a young couple at the conclusion of a date stopping by an all-night diner likely in New York City, Summer Evening conveys the same time of night and situation for a young couple, the location is likely somewhere more costal than cosmopolitan. Hopper continues to balance the darkness of night and the feeling of uncertainty, while also portraying light and its tone of innocence. In both works, the young man is still trying to prolong time spent with the young woman and she’s still not ready to make a commitment either way.  Summer Evening is also an oil on canvas painted in 1947 and measures 30” x 42” which makes it quite a bit smaller than Nighthawks, but still a decent size given the usual sizes of posters and framed art available at Hobby Lobby® and your local cafés.

Jay Sherman “The Critic” reviewing the latest films. Probably the only critic I’d believe.

There’s not much more information on Summer Evening, save for some commentary and critique by much more educated art critics than me. Some of them analyze the particular color choices and the inclusion of the open window and how these color choices and the open window symbolize something about the young lady, and other critics connect the painting to other works by Hopper and deeper meanings in those works and this one.

I’ll admit that I’m not going to try and critique the piece, and I’m used to artistic expressions of music, visual arts, and literature and how educators and critics in the arts find some deeper meaning that the layman rarely sees and to my mind are usually made up ideas that are as capricious as whatever mood the art interpreter is in at that time. I like Hopper’s works and in particular Summer Evening. I like it because of its simplicity in composition, the simplicity of its meaning, and the realistic nature of the subjects in the work. I’d be happy to be the young man in this painting. I love being in coastal locales and enjoying the beachside atmosphere on the porch/patio of the place I’m staying. Plus, I’d also like to have a girl to talk to as our night winds down and seeing how the relationship might unfold. I know my walls in my house are pretty well decorated in my living room already, but it might be worth finding a reproduction of this work and purchasing it to hang up somewhere else in my house.

What do you think, is this a work of art that interests you?

History Monday #14

It’s History Monday again and we’re looking at two events today.

Author’s Note: I’m on vacation this week enjoying sunny Florida and its beaches in Amelia Island. So, If I’m slow to respond to comments don’t be surprised. All these posts this week are previously scheduled, so I’m not tethered to my devices constantly checking the traffic on here. I’ll be back and live next Monday.

It’s time for #HistoryMonday today, and it’s a Two-for-One Special on important events today. I could’ve chosen only one event, but I chose two since they’re both important for the same reasons and only separated by five years difference.

On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, France. Also, five years later, Amelia Earhart landed near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Both of these feats are the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight and the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight by a women respectively. What had been scoffed at in 1927 regarding the upstart pilot Lindbergh was still subject to skepticism with renowned pilot Earhart.

Lindbergh’s accomplishment was first conceived by French hotelier Raymond Orteig and incentivized by a $25,000 prize for any pilot who could successfully complete a flight between New York and Paris. Orteig made the initial offer in 1919 and found no takers by the five-year deadline he set, so Orteig again made the offer in 1926 wagering that air travel would’ve made enough strides for this feat to be accomplished.

Orteig’s original wager was devised by a successful flight earlier in 1919 that included several stops at islands scattered throughout the Atlantic Ocean. A nonstop transatlantic flight completed by pilots John Alcock and Arthur Brown that same year convinced flight aficionados of the possibilities of transatlantic flight, but the use of multiple pilots made the possibility of a solo flight less than sure.

Lindbergh with sponsorship from the City of St. Louis was able to convince Ryan Airlines Corporation of San Diego to build his aircraft with specifications needed precisely for the flight that would make the trip much more complicated and treacherous than other such journeys.


On May 20, 1927 Lindbergh and his monoplane christened The Spirit of St. Louis took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York and 33.5 hours later the plane and Lindbergh still intact made their arrival in Paris to a sea of adoring fans.


Amelia Earhart’s flight began not far from the second stop of the first transatlantic flight in 1919. Departing from Newfoundland, Canada on May 20, Earhart was able to make the flight in only 15 hours compared to Lindbergh’s flight. Of course, the distance of Earhart’s flight was 1500 miles shorter than Lindbergh’s so it’s to be expected that the travel time would be relatively shorter.


What does this mean for us today, these accomplishments paved the way for the Jet Age in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Thanks to a joint effort with British and French companies, transatlantic flights became nothing more than some domestic flights with the Concorde Airplane. Many of us, think nothing of flying in modern airplanes. I’d guess if we flew in the single engine planes Earhart and Lindbergh would probably give us much more trepidation. I’m sure that the cash prizes offered to Lindbergh, Earhart, and other adventurous pilots would encourage us to travel more by plane, given that much of the flight costs today seem as exorbitant as the amount of money offered to the early pilots for their achievements.

Additionally, the accomplishments of Lindbergh and Earhart helped spur the creation and success of many airline manufacturers that still inspire airplane manufacturers today. Anyone having flown to San Diego and St. Louis have benefited from the boon that Lindbergh gave their respective airports due to his flight. Lindbergh had flown from Lambert Field in St. Louis to New York a week before the flight to Paris was set to take place, and San Diego International Airport was previously named Lindbergh Field in honor of the pilot who had tested his aircraft in close proximity to the airport at Ryan Airlines Corporation factory. Similarly, the airport in Earhart’s hometown bore her name, and the road near Oakland Airport where many of her flights originated from bears her name as well.

Current Event Friday #16

Time for #CurrentEventFriday

It’s the end of the week, so that means #CurrentEventFriday again. We’re discussing a weather/geological phenomenon happening in Hawaii.

After seismic activity was observed near Mt. Kilauea’s eastern side, the volcano began erupting at an alarming rate. Further adding to the eruption was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that opened larger fissures along the volcanic mountain.


The volcano has been somewhat active since 1983 but was relatively kept at bay until the series of minor earthquakes and the major earthquake a few days later. These recent eruptions have destroyed over two dozen homes in the area surrounding the volcanic zone. Additionally, seismological and geological experts observed a plume of volcanic ash spraying the explosive rock at least 30,000 feet into the air.

I’ll admit I’ve missed most of the reports on volcanic activity in the last three to four decades. Mt. Kilauea’s most recent explosive activity began two years before I was born, and similar activity nearby happening on Mauna Loa was in 1984 before my birth as well. Outside of the Hawaiian Islands, even Mt. St Helens’ eruption was a full five years before my birth.

I remember learning some of the science behind earthquakes and volcanoes during my elementary, secondary, and undergraduate schooling, but only the simple understanding that underground rock slabs cause friction as they contact one another, and we feel the effects on the surface as either earthquakes or volcanoes depending on where in the world we’re located. I also remember learning that the Hawaiian Islands are the result of underwater volcanic spouts that spew superheated lava into the ocean that is much cooler than the lava and forms the terrain and landmass we know as Hawaii.

The only other thing I can remember about volcanoes is learning about Mt. Krakatoa in the novel The Twenty-One Balloons. The story tells of a secret society of well-to-do families discovered by the main character a balloonist who crash lands on their island not far from Indonesia. Eventually, Prof. Sherman, the main character and the families escape to civilization using 21 balloons as the volcano explodes. I remember as we read the book in fifth grade, our teacher simulated the cafes listed in the novel, so we could have a more hands-on understanding of life on the island detailed in the novel.

I’m sure many of you reading this have seen the Hawaiian volcanoes while they were relatively dormant and taken pictures of the lava flow and perhaps purchased souvenirs from the volcanic zone and could speak better about what happens in Hawaii. I’m hopeful to eventually make a trip to Hawaii, but so far that hasn’t been in the credit cards and I also need a passport to travel there. 😉


I’ll close with this song about the location of Hawaii’s volcanoes and the volcanic zone of the Pacific:

Shhh…I’m Sleeping

Rock-a-bye Ryan in the treetop…


If you read my poem yesterday it was dedicated to my bouts of insomnia. Admittedly for the last 6 months I’ve had irregular sleep patterns (and eating patterns) that I’ve had to deal with. I’ve always had intermittent sleep during my in bed hours whether due to taking diuretics, diabetic side effects, or just randomly my subconscious wakes me up for no reason. I know when I turn in for the night I’m tired and ready to sleep, I just don’t stay asleep. I can’t just will myself and I’m leery of adding another prescription to my already loaded regimen. Yet I know that the body needs sleep

you're out there.png

I think every human knows that because it’s ingrained in us to observe Sabbath and rest. It is somewhat jarring that we need a command to rest, but we all know workaholics, so I think that’s why this command speaks to humanity. We all are prone at various times to be in a hyper-focused mode. There’s definitely times when I’m either writing on this blog, working on something for class, or even playing video games and I realize it’s midnight or later and I should be getting rest.

One of the best modes of resting that I have discovered even after my toddler years is naps. I was never a fan of naps in my teenage or college years, but as I’ve aged I have learned that they are often needed but also a gift. I know that one reason I was never a fan when I was younger is that it was almost impossible to take a nap. I would argue with most people that once I was awake for the day, I was awake for the day until it was bedtime and I was good and tired.

I’ve particularly discovered naps as both necessary and beneficial on the Sabbath. Yeah, I know as a pastor I only work one day a week for about an hour at a time. Ha! Still, a nap after service on Sunday afternoons is much needed. The rigors of being a pastor do take an emotional and mental toll on people, so rest is needed. I’d point out that Jesus also was purposeful about taking Sabbath and would take naps when needed. So, I’m in good company if even the Savior needed rest and naptime.

Of course, some sleepologist somnologist will likely point out that if I’m napping especially through the day that is affecting my sleep at night. Maybe I’ll ask my GP doctor who also specializes in sleep medicine if that’s ruining my nighttime sleep. Of course, I may or may not keep napping since there are sleepless nights when I don’t nap and uninterrupted nights of sleep when I’ve napped earlier that day.


What about you, do you sleep like a baby and wake up through the night quite often or do you sleep like the dead? I like to sleep like Garfield, sleep soundly at night and nap as often as possible.   

Poetry Wednesday #5

My latest poem for Poetry Wednesday titled “Sleep.”


Beloved sleep, some idle thoughts disrupt.

My mind had approached the moment relaxed.

Daily strain makes all my slumber corrupt.

I believed unsolved affairs had climaxed.


Thoughts inside are completely awake.

Like Rousseau’s complaints, sorrowed and profound.

Despaired since my mind they will not forsake.

A lot were curtained off, but now unwound.


Wondering sustained, keeps my head intrigued.

An activity to make me refreshed

Evermore, I’m going to be fatigued.

Cachettes of marvel in that dome enmeshed.


Let me now, yes somehow stop their invite.

Let me have just what I want — sleep tonight.


© Ryan Stroud 2018