A glimpse under the hood: the ceaseless activity of my mind.

08 April 2007

Easter Sunday

A few weeks before Easter Sunday, I informed my wife I wanted our family to attend a community based (aka non-denominational) outdoor sunrise service for Easter Sunday worship. When asked if I intended to include our 4-year-old and 6-year old sons I responded, “Yes.”

She probably agreed, at that time, because I’m not a morning person and can rarely force myself out of bed, especially on a weekend. We rarely make our church’s earlier worship service on any Sunday because I cause the family to run late. Surely, she thought, the novelty would fade away before Easter.

It didn’t.

I jumped out of bed this morning and was actually the catalyst motivating everyone to welcome the bitter cold (for Alabama 26 F is bitter cold) predawn morning. We all bundled up and made it to the riverside outdoor service with a few minutes to spare.

The collection of one hundred or so worshippers combined with numerous clergy was refreshing. We sang along with an acoustic southern group, prayed together and listened to a fitting sermon. The different skin tones, worship styles and musical preferences of the worshippers didn’t matter for one hour this morning. My experience was one of reverence and equality.

My sons even commented how much they liked outside church and asked if we could attend it at least once each month. I still don’t think they understand why it only happens once per year, mainly because I don’t. But it doesn’t matter, after the service we did Younger Son’s favorite church activity: going out to eat. And after a big breakfast, church location was a distant memory.

01 April 2007

Blogging again

I’ve actually had a few requests to begin blogging again. That’s nice. Anyway, I’ve decided to try again. We’ll see how long it lasts…

Bam It Damn It

This weekend I took my two sons to dinner while there mom had girl time with a friend. I gazed out the window next to our corner table while the boys played games. I was lost in random thoughts, enjoying the few seconds of down time, when my younger son (YS) loudly announced: “Brother said damn it!”.

Both boys stared at me waiting for my reaction. YS’s eyes twinkled with excitement; he so rarely achieves the joy of exposing his older brother’s mistakes. Older Son’s (OS) eyes locked on me in a blank stare. I stayed silent and worked to restrain a smile. The pause on my part allowed them to pick up the conversation.

OS: I did not say damn it.
YS: You did. You said Damn it.
OS: No, I said Bam it. Buh-buh-buh, with a B, bam it. Not, duh-duh-duh, with a D, Damn it. I said buh-Bam it.
YS: Really? Ok.

And they returned to playing. Sometimes, no reaction on my part really is the best way to go. The hard part was not laughing, thus encouraging them to become more dramatic and heating up the fight. I was glad they kept calm and discussed the issue. They even resolved it. Maybe they are learning some of the life lessons we diligently try to teach.

08 September 2006


Officially, I’m growing older. Sure, by laws of the universe every second I’m alive counts as increasing age. What I’m really experiencing is the wearing out of my body. This is new to me: I’m finally feeling like I’m growing older. Gray hair, wrinkles, flab and my actual age don’t bother me. It’s the fact my joints are wearing out that is causing me to pause.

First, it was my knees. After years of jogging and hiking, they just can’t take it any more. More recently, I’ve caused my first shoulder injury. With my knees and shoulder, I’ve had two different doctors tell me it’s a result of my age and overuse of the joints. Age? I’m in my thirties. Overuse? I’m not a professional athlete.

Regardless, the simple fact remains that I’m currently on the injured list and can’t lift weights or perform strenuous activity involving my shoulder. My MRI is next week and then a follow up visit with the orthopedic doctor the week after next. I’m hoping it’s a quick fix, but the doc indicated it is probably something substantial. I’ll keep you posted.

07 September 2006

Running Water

I’ve always liked being around water. Natural running water is my favorite form. A fountain can be nice for a momentary escape in an urban setting, but nothing tops a natural river run. I’ve gone swimming, tubing, skiing, sailing, and various forms of paddling from as early as I can remember to as late as last week on numerous rivers.

I thoroughly enjoy the sounds of nature while being on the river: birds, frogs, crickets, trees creaking, fish jumping and rapids. The colors of my surroundings coupled with fresh air resonate with a part of me that I can’t pinpoint. My connection to and longing for this environment has always been with me and I’ve never fully understood it.

Being on a river usually relaxes me more than anything else. Sure, I have adrenaline rushes in rapids, enjoy spending time with family and friends and revel in being in nature. But relaxation is usually the long-term benefit.

Occasionally, I’ve had intense spiritual experiences while on a river, causing me to feel closer than usual to God. I guess it’s these deep spiritual moments I long for with each new trip on whatever river is before me.

In addition to God, I’ve also deepened many meaningful relationships with those I care about while sharing experiences on a river. I don’t know if it’s because I’m relaxed and more truly myself, letting my guard down, which encourages and enables openness resulting in deeper conversations and experience. Or maybe the type of people I’m attracted to have similar reactions to being in nature on water.

Regardless, I count myself as fortunate to have such a simple way to enjoy life, share experiences and grow relationships. After all, life does boil down to our relationships with self, others and our Creator.

06 September 2006


During this summer, my family and I have developed a friendship with one of the lifeguards at our local pool. He is a little older and more confident than the other lifeguards are and truly does his job with pride and confidence.

Our sons first took to him, probably because he is the strongest authority figure with a red float belt and because of curiosity about his tattoos. But Lifeguard actually proved to be excellent interacting with our sons. He is firm yet allows fun. He learned their names and spoke to them like they were older children (even thought they are toddlers).

Tonight, I had an unexpected dinner with Lifeguard. My wife and I offered to help him if ever he needed anything. I was a little surprised to receive a call from him this afternoon asking to meet me to discuss his current state in life.

I agreed and we met for a little more than one hour. From my perspective, it was a nice discussion. I did my best to listen, empathize and offer practical advice in small chunks. He’s a quiet guy, but I think he was receptive. It’s exciting to be involved with someone who is setting goals and pursuing a dream. My wife and I hope and pray for the best for Lifeguard. I hope Lifeguard and I can meet again.

05 September 2006


Luddite: one who opposes technical or technological change.

Today I made the decision to revert to a form of organization and technology I haven’t used for at least ten years: paper and pen. I’ve actually been pondering giving up my multiple, overlapping seldom synchronized electronic forms of organization for several months. What forced me to change, almost in an epiphany, was at the end of the hour I spent today consolidating paper meeting notes and drawings into Outlook tasks and notes with corresponding reminders.

It wasn’t so bad a few years ago. I’ve maintained work and personal Outlooks for years and synchronized them with a PDA as the middleware. Now I use a BlackBerry, have different versions of Outlook and can no longer keep up with personal and professional goals and responsibilities in one place. I stay confused and subsequently frustrated. Slowly, as alluded to, I’ve transitioned back to paper and pen.

What makes today the official transformation from electronic automation to archaic scribbling was my purchase of a binder system. I’ve used them before and found it easy and comfortable. In fact, I’m welcoming back an old friend. I hope we carry on as well as we did before. I’ll let you know how it goes.

30 July 2006

Boy Clout

In raising boys, I often witness the discovery and practice of their boy power. Boy power is the ability of a young male to exercise a false superiority over female counterparts. For instance, consider the kitchen.

My sons can easily have any food item they want, prepared to order, by simply asking any woman (it doesn’t work on men). Even if a request requires a supermarket run, it is almost always fulfilled. Unfortunately, this is an instance when boy-power actually trumps man-power. It’s usually a grandfather or me who makes the supply run. I’ve noticed girls can’t have what they want when it comes to food because the other older females are concerned the young female may consume the food in an inappropriate manner or gain weight.

Another great power of boys is the ability to wear anything anywhere at anytime. Colors, textures, styles and personal grooming aren’t a factor until we decide girls are something desirable. Upon this discovery, we dress like the pictures in the store or catalog and instantly receive female approval. Girls are expected to have impeccable style from the first onesie to the casket dress.

Finally, boys can express bodily functions easily and in any location without reprimand. If a boy needs to void his bladder or pass gas from either end he is free to do so without committing a faux pas. Girls aren’t so fortunate and subsequently become somewhat higher maintenance until full potty training is achieved.

Many of these powers continue into manhood, but as mentioned above, the man-power is often trumped by boy-power in the presence of women.