Friday, September 30, 2011


So, last month I decided I was going to try to start updating at least once a month.

This month, I'm updating a little early. Right now I am actually trying to use this new software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It's taking a little bit of a learning curve, (I apologize for all of the wrong homonyms) but I think once I get the hang of it, it's actually going to be quite a bit faster than typing.

For me this has been a month of growing, a month learning more about myself.

I've always been want to hold the things of this life too dear. I like my money, I like my dreams, I like to go spend money on my wife...

I've too often been critical of my friends who seem to get wrapped up in the monotony of life. I have to say that right now I am there. In the monotony of life.

But the nice thing is this period of life is growing me. It's going to make me taller, older, wiser.

I've been spending a lot of time contemplating what Christ meant when he said as "wise as serpents and as harmless as doves."

One day we'll be there.


I'm thrilled to have my younger sister living with me. It's so exciting to get to share some of the things I've learned in life with her. I think that I am learning that I like to be a teacher.

Not that I have any skill at being a teacher.

I guess some things are learned by doing aren't they?


Gavin is growing up so fast, he's walking, he's learning, he's listening. I'm so blessed he has a personality that is easy to connect with and that seems to just grab you every time you talk to him.

Too often I feel like we only like our kids when they are convenient. And, I have to say that in my life I find that to be true. Especially we dads, we really struggle with making time for our kids.

I never want our kids to think for a second that I wasn't involved enough. "Distant" is not a phrase I want anywhere near my name.


Okay, so I think this Dragon NaturallySpeaking could be a dangerous thing. Maybe I bare my heart a little more when speaking is that typing. But that's what this blog is for, isn't it? It's about asking questions.

I hope you ask questions of your own.

"In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet, the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul. "

Invictus -- William Ernest Henley

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homeward Bound

Most of my reader visit this page via facebook.  Which means you already follow my statusii and know what has happened in my life.  Which makes me wonder why you visit.

But you do, and that always warms my innards with happiness.  So thanks.

Oh, and a shout-out to who sends the second-most amount of traffic.  I'm not sure whether to be grateful, or creeped out by the thought the the big J might be stalking me.  But he's a cool dude, so I'm fine with his stalking, or creeping, or sharing some of his loyal blog fans, or whatever he's doing over there.


I wanted to buy a house.  My wife had 101 reasons why it would be a bad thing.

Reason #1: In an apartment, if something breaks, you just call the maintenance man and he will come fix it for you at no extra cost. Homeowners don't have that privilege.

Here I sit, sweltering in our wonderful little house with a broken air conditioner.  I don't think an A/C repairman was in the budget for this paycheck, so we may have a couple of weeks of 80-degree nights ahead of us.

But, dagnabbit, we're homeowners!

It's always tough to lose a family member, even when you know it is their time.

I'll admit, I've spent a few good months wrestling with the knowledge that we were nearing the end of our time together with him. It just seems wrong that death exists in the world. I mean, why not just all hang out here together until the rapture?

But that's not the way it is, and so we sit here with our memories and hold tenderly the mantle left in our arms as our loved ones depart.

Granpa Geo (He insisted that we spell it without the "d".  After all, you can't hear the d, right?) possessed a powerful knack to staying connected.  My relationship with him really started when we were in the Mennonites.  Dad had helped Granpa set up internet and email with Juno.

And then he helped me set up my own email account.

Who knows what the church bishops would've thought, but every week Granpa and I would send poorly spelled letters to each other.  I wish I still had them.

When we moved to Illinois, he insisted that Cory and I come over for breakfast once a week.  In spite of  family drama, college and work, Cory and I pulled up a chair to Thursday morning breakfast nearly every week.

Grandpa didn't like talking about the past
. He wanted to talk about our futures.And as young boys, we were thrilled to talk about them in detail.

I also got the feeling that he didn't want to brag about his successes and I think there were a lot of things from the war he didn't want to remember.

We did get little tid-bits from his past: There was a pretty serious air battle that he was a part of that I never could get him to tell me about.  Only that he was glad he survived. He talked about them dropping the fuel tanks before a gunfight.  He'd lean out and watch them explode on the ground.  And then he'd get scared, knowing it was about to get crazy.

He was proud of all the walking and traveling and camping and trailbuilding he and Mary had done. He told us about it in detail, trying to get our young minds infatuated with the things that had made their lives rich.
Christmas Time at The Hamp House

He told me to learn how to accept compliments.  For such a grouchy old dude, he sure handed them out, and then taught me not to be sniveling or overly humble when I was given one.  I think it must have been a sore spot with him when he was a manager.  He hated that his employees couldn't take an honest compliment.  

He forgave me for saying "crap" in front of him. I was mortified I had let it slip.  Later he called me to the side.  "Don't be ashamed of little cuss words.  As my mom once said, 'words like that are just our way of being lazy when we talk'. "

He always ended those conversations with his husky laugh that set the world all right. Like time I once got a little vehement telling my uncle not to use Jesus's name as a swear word.  (Probably a little too vehement -- trademark of a 13 year old). Granpa never really told me where he stood on the issue, just took time to tell me he thinks I should always stand up for what I believe in.

He had a list of people who's names he didn't want to forget.  He prayed for them each night. 

His coworker, Jim Cayne told me that "Your Grandfather was a principled man"

Sure, some of his principles were a little odd.  I've gathered from him that on many a work night he'd stop at the pub for a pint before going home.  His principle was that he didn't want to bring work home, and took some time to clear his head before going home.

Who knows how well that worked.  I have my own little rituals that I do to try to shake work off at the end of the day-- and I still haven't gotten it figured out.  But I like the principle.

I'm glad he got to meet my wife.  And his great-grandson.  Granpa never shied from sharing his opinion.  It meant a lot to have his approval.


I could ramble on -- I have all of these wonderful little tidbits that I've been tucking away in my memory.

I think this is a post more for myself.  As a chance to share some of these little things.  And to grin a little while I type. 

This morning, the Gavinator kept waving "bye" to everyone.  He wanted to leave the unfamiliar surroundings and go home.

I'm definitely looking forward to heaven.