Category Archives: Inspirational

Saturday Morning Ramblings

Swing

Some highlights from the trip with the boys:

While I was applying anti-itch to his bug bite, Collin was reading the warning label on the box and asked, “Dad, do I have vaginal itch?”

Finn somehow got the notion to create a pee bottle, for convenience I guess.  For two days, he and Collin peed in an old cleaner bottle.  Luckily no spillage occurred.

Listening to Finn sing a nearly perfect rendition of Honky Tonk Heroes.

Body slams and power slams.

Two rafting trips.

Tubing with Heath.

Pool time with my best friend, Dagan, followed by Collin’s first tennis lessons.  He picked it up fairly well and fairly quickly.

On the ride home, singing with the boys each Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings song that came on Outlaw Country.  I’ve done something right since they knew every word of every one.

And though nothing can top vaginal itch, Collin asked me where babies come from.  I wasn’t prepared.

boys

Raftingpark 2013

Wednesday Morning Ramblings

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Only someone who has been torn down to nothing can fully appreciate getting back up and pressing onward. Only someone who has been wounded to the core of their being can understand the slow process of healing. People who have been through desperate trials and have come through the other side possess a wisdom and regard for life that fills us with soft light. We often recognize each other with little more than a glance and subtle nod. I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill heartache or grief. Everyone goes through that stuff, and while it usually grows and matures the individual, it rarely fills them with the soft light. For it, I’m talking specifically about the people who have been through overwhelming grief, complete loss of self, or a literal near death experience. Those of us who have been through those fires and come out reforged as better human beings understand and relish life differently from most.  Today, I’m asking my friends and readers who have been through those difficulties to step forward and help our country heal.

America is wounded right now, not just from the attack in Boston but from decades of political divisiveness and economic stagnation. As a nation, we are hurt and angry and on the verge of a complete breakdown. Our so-called leaders have failed us, concerning themselves more with special interests for the few than the well-being of the many. The church has failed us, focusing more on homosexuality than the care of the needy. Corporations have failed us, attending more to short-term profits than long-term sustainability. We as American citizens cannot count on these entities to help us rekindle and heal the American spirit. That onus falls to us as individuals, especially those of us who have survived real ordeals. We must reach out to each other on a personal level and communicate as individual human beings.

I ask each of you who understands what I’m talking about to reach out to someone in your community who opposes your viewpoint and have a real conversation with them. Not a political shouting match but a basic conversation about their children or grandchildren or jobs or dreams. Don’t push your ideology on them. Just listen. Share a story from your life. Those of us who have been through real ordeals can do a lot to help heal our communities by reaching out to those around us because we understand that healing doesn’t come from external sources. It comes from the inside, and the only way we will heal as a nation is on a grassroots level. It must begin with individuals.

Whatever darkness we now face, we can overcome it. People have faced much worse in the past. Whatever fractures in our society can be mended if enough individuals reach out to each other and find common ground. There may be difficult times ahead, but the basic human desire for individual freedom is still alive. The Civil Rights movement taught us that kindness and compassion can be contagious and are the best weapons against darkness and anger. Those of us who are filled with the soft light already know this, and it is our time to push back against the forces that want to rob us of our liberties and drown us in fear. Those of us who still believe in the promise of America must come together, regardless of political ideology, and help each other heal. The soft light is a powerful force. If you have it, now is the hour to let it shine.

Boston Marathon Ramblings

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I’m just a small voice from a small corner of a rural part of this big nation.  I have no delusions that my opinion carries much impact or will be noticed by more than a handful of people.  But a part of me hopes that somehow this message will reach the eyes of the person or people who planted those bombs yesterday.

You may believe you are carrying out some grand scheme designed to cripple my country, but you are simply a coward.  You may believe that we will fall to our knees and quiver before your cause, but we won’t.  I don’t care who you are or what purpose you had for this attack on unarmed civilians.  Your plan has already failed.  Sure, you may have taken lives and bloodied bodies, and we will mourn for those who died and cry with those who lost arms and legs, but we will not cower before you.  Your plan failed because you don’t understand the human spirit, the American spirit, and certainly not the Boston spirit.  You will be surprised by our response.

Since you don’t seem to grasp our spirit, let me explain it to you as best I can.  In this nation, despite our fractured politics and very real problems we now face, we are a people bound by a sense of optimism.  Nearly everyone who came to these lands did so to escape some form of tyranny, and we still carry the imprint left behind by our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents that America symbolizes something important.  Our forerunners often faced situations far more dire and sinister than anything we face today, and if they can overcome the darkness they endured to reach this country and build better lives for their children, we can overcome the darkness of today.  Their spirit lingers in us, whispers to us in our times of need, reminds us that liberty matters.

Sure, we quibble and disagree with each other, sometimes to an obnoxious level.  Sure, we often appear disjointed and chaotic, but one thing I know about my country is that in our darkest moments, we pull together.  It’s happened so many times I won’t bother recounting them to you, but yesterday is as good an example as any.  Despite the fear, despite the chaos, despite the uncertainty, people helped each other.  People, some first responders, others civilians, helped the wounded, carrying them to ambulances and getting them to safety.  Many rushed to the hospitals to donate blood.  That is America, and you will not change us.

America is not a land of laws, despite the beauty and precision of our Constitution.  It’s the spirit behind that Constitution that makes us who we are.  We are not a land of blind allegiance to one person or one way, no matter how our politics looks sometimes.  In America, we are a people of courage, love, and compassion because nearly all of us are just a generation or two removed from famine, persecution, and tyranny.  In our hearts we know, you might break our bodies but you will never break that spirit because it is the natural wellspring of humanity, the desire to live free.  Whoever you are and whatever your plan, you will never extinguish that desire.  Your cowardice will be rooted out, exposed to the world, and punished accordingly.  Your failed ideology will wilt under the shining beacon of liberty that illuminates the souls of my fellow citizens.  We will not quiver before cowards.  We will stand tall, bind together, and build a better future for ourselves.  We will do so because this country symbolizes something more than you will ever comprehend and because we are a stronger people than you will ever understand.  We are the sons and daughters of freedom.