love, eric & eloise

Invest in yourself wisely


Hey Gonzales, where's the time go? It's mid-October already and the blackbirds, coming for the sunflower seeds, are starting to arrive. It amazes me how so many birds can fly in formation, making every twist and turn in unison. They won't be around for long, so take some time to enjoy the show.

This past week I was pleasantly surprised with an unexpected visit from our youngest son Matthew, who now lives in Oklahoma. He called and said he had some time off from work and wanted to come down. He's currently the Assistant Director of Latino Student Life at the University of Oklahoma. A picture of him giving one of his many presentations can be seen if you google “OU Named Top 50 Best College for Latino Students.” Working with students to make their experience better and more productive, while also planning and coordinating events, some of which bring in well over ten thousand visitors, keeps him extremely busy. His wife Ofelia couldn't make this trip as she is studying for her final licensing exam to become a full-fledged civil engineer, while also having a full degree in architecture. Unfortunately, Michael wasn't able to spend as much time with Matt this trip as he's currently working at three different hospitals as an x-ray and CAT scan tech, while hosting jewelry shows and playing keyboard for residents and staff at local retirement homes. Love it when they call me “Proud Pa-Pa.” Matt and I had a great visit, talking a lot while watching it rain from the rocking chairs on the front porch, even though the loss of Eloise is still fresh and painful for both of us. We did nothing but relax, eat, laugh, cry, watch TV and repeat. Thanks Lord, and Matt, I really needed that!

Last episode the home office was completed, now on to the kitchen. We decided to resurface the cabinets instead of replacing them. Eloise wanted to try a cranberry color, so off to Home Depot we went. We worked until after dark, going to bed quite proud of our accomplishment. We woke up excited to see how our latest project turned out, smiling with anticipation, we both headed for the kitchen. Whoa! We were blinded by the brightest, ugliest, most awful shade of pink we'd ever seen. It caused me to jump back, stepping on the dog and sending Eloise crashing into the wall. Yes, it was definitely time for Plan B.

We managed to get our first cup of coffee down without throwing up, laughing the whole time. We decided to go with a medium grey, to accent our lighter grey walls. Second cup of coffee in hand, back to the Depot we went. Fortunately, this color worked well. Eloise, being what I called a ninja shopper (always on the prowl for a great deal and willing to haggle, leaving her opponent a gelatinous, gooey puddle on the floor), had found some clear handles and knobs on clearance at Hobby Lobby. She managed to talk them into an even better deal than was advertised. Cabinets were complete and looking good next to our newly resurfaced black appliances. After installing speckled grey Formica counter tops, a new sink and faucet, light fixture and two additional seven foot tall cabinets, the kitchen was finally finished. Whew, that was fun and once again, Mama was happy! More renovations next time.

I'd like to offer my condolences to the families of both Chris Ortman and Dale Stewart. God will get you through this, even if it doesn't sometimes feel like it. Chris was my dentist for over a decade and Dale was a church friend who did incredible bronze sculptures. Both were good men and will be missed. Thanks Lord for helping these families, as you have ours, through this incredibly difficult time.

Talking about the loss of Eloise with Matt made me reflect not only on how temporary life is, but how short. As I've been sitting here writing these articles the last few months, our thousands of pictures will scroll across the screen whenever I take a short break. Realizing that over half of my adult life has been spent taking care of, and enjoying this family, it's still hard to grasp how fast it's gone by. When we're young it seems like we have all the time in the world. As we grow older and the finish line comes into view, most of us start to wonder if we've done enough, or wish we would have done things differently. Life is a complex learning curve and most of us can't get the quality of mentorship we need when we’re young, because our parents, teachers and society in general, are still in the middle of their learning curve. How can you pass on what you haven't figured out yet? Looking back at the first half of my adult life, I regret a lot of the things I did, as well as those I didn't. Wishing I would've done things differently, as it could have brought my life and those around me to a much higher level, then and now. Squandering too much time on foolish endeavors like chasing girls and partying, it would've been wiser to invest on building myself up, learning how not to be so self-centered, treating people with more respect and developing quality relationships. Something accepting and following Christ would've easily accomplished. Fortunately, it's not where we start, but where we finish that counts. We're all on the conveyor belt of life, babies being put on one end, old folks falling off the other, while we're somewhere in between. 1 Cor. 6:12 and 10:23 says that “all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.” We will all reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of our decisions, the choices we make now definitely affect our future, so please remember to invest yourself wisely!

Until next time, love you guys, Eric.