Clear and strong

2013 is off to a fantastic start ... The other night I told Kates, I'm on fire.

As I write this, I'm fully aware that I'm in a lull in my graduate work and my attitude may be completely different in a couple weeks, but here's hoping that doesn't slow me down ...

I'm catching up -- and keeping up -- with projects like I haven't done in a long time. Not since Faye was born. Not since I started my graduate work. ...

And even though Faye is still waking us up every couple hours and neither Kates nor I can remember the last time we truly got a good night's sleep ...

I'm really happy and content.

Maybe it's the knowledge that I'm over the hump. That it's all downhill from here. ... The fall semester was a tough, draining one. And as it was winding down and I had completed my coursework, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulder. Something clicked. I've found some clarity again.

We had a refreshing and inspiring holiday vacation, and I hit the ground running upon returning.

As the new year has begun, I've resolved to conscientiously spend more time with the kids. Not just be present, but be there in the precious moments with them. ... I like to think I'm pretty good at balancing work with life. But I can do better.

So far so good on that one.

And I resolve to do a better job of updating my blog ... Even if it's just a breezy post about a snippet of my day. Too often I get buried in the unnecessary details. And I'm going to get back to sharing with you the good music I'm listening to, which tonight, for instance, is Augustana and The Avett Brothers.

So this morning was our all-employee meeting at the university. Leadership expert Tim Elmore was our keynote speaker, and he delivered
some fascinating insights to generational differences within our society today. I'd go into more detail, but I'm trying to be breezy, so check out his blog.

And this afternoon I went 700 feet underground and toured a cement mine with a university alumnus as part of the cover story I'm working on for our spring magazine. The experience was totally unexpected -- and totally amazing. And yes, a little bit scary. 

The university photographer and I suited up in protective gear and rode an elevator shaft below ground with the mine director. Then, we boarded a jeep-like vehicle and rode around the caverns -- just like driving on a state highway -- for nearly an hour, occassionally stepping out to talk to some of the miners and watch their processes.   

Miners have their own little community down there, with workshops and huge equipment, including dump trucks that are larger than some houses (... They're so large that they have to drop the pieces into the mine and assemble them underground). The  mine director described the pillars throughout the mine as a forest of rock. At the same time, I likened the high ceilings and arches in the rock to a cathedral. It was magestic. 

It was just another day in my lucky life. ...  

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