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Stories from the journey of fatherhood & brotherhood
Into The Rapids We Go May 16, 2021

I was 24 years old the first time I positioned myself on the tube of a 6-man whitewater raft. I showed up to volunteer as a raft captain on a youth retreat week in Central Oregon. My training to captain the raft came on dry land from an experienced raft guide. He demonstrated what to do and what not to do. Then we practiced as much as can be practiced…in a raft…on dry land.

The next morning a couple dozen raft captains and more than 100 teenagers loaded into church buses to...

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Wanted May 07, 2021

From his slightly elevated mound of dirt at Tiger Stadium, Jack Morris stared down the slugger for the Yankees. Jack nodded through the catcher’s signs and settled in for the pitch. As the ball crossed the plate, the batter swung and connected on a long, fly ball to right-center. The crack of the bat on the ball shocked the team into action, but it was only the center fielder who had a chance to catch it. Covering half of the outfield in a couple seconds, everyone in the ballpark held...

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Landscape and Identity adventure landscape mountains May 02, 2021

“Do you ever get tired of people moving here?” 

My friend offered the thoughtful question as we discussed his forthcoming move to our town -  Fort Collins, Colorado. Over the past 15 years the town has grown fast enough to make the Irish guy pitching Scotts fertilizer proud. The population has tripled since I was born. I still shake my head in disbelief when my parents talk about where the edge of town used to be in the 1960’s. 

“In my selfish and insecure...

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Healing At Detroit Tigers Games baseball brotherhood healing Apr 17, 2021

The Detroit Tigers bring me back to my first story, the one that God authored for me.

When I was around 8 years old, my mom entered me in a raffle.  They used to have these in grocery stores in Michigan, just past the cashier.  Some were for experiences, some were for products.  This one was for an honorary bat boy or bat girl at a home game for the Detroit Tigers back in old Tiger Stadium.  

My mom and dad called me into the living room to tell me that I won the...

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Following the Rules, And Running Away From God fatherhood god relationship Apr 06, 2021

Last night, pangs of disappointment stabbed my heart. 

We had our nightly prayer time with our two 11 year old sons and seven year old daughter. For the last few days we had been using a family prayer guide that was recently put out by the church we’ve been attending, in which we are working through the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). 

When we sat down to do it at bedtime, we looked at the section where Jesus says in verse 10, “...Your kingdom come, your will be...

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Easter Us By Walter Brueggemann Apr 04, 2021

You God who terrified the waters,

who crashed your thunder,
who shook the earth,
and scared the wits out of chaos.

You God with strong arm saved your people

by miracle and wonder and majestic act. 

You are the same God to whom we turn,

we turn in our days of trouble
and in our weary nights;
we look for steadfast love and are dismayed,
we wait for your promises, but wait in fatigue,
we ponder your forgetfulness and lack of compassion, 
and we grow silent.

Our lives, addressed to you,

have...

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Making Maple Syrup creation holy spirit work Mar 05, 2021

About a month ago, Owen told us he wanted to make maple syrup. The youngest of our soon-to-be eleven-year-old twin boys, he has always had a mind for learning how things work, and had recently read a book in which the characters had tried making it. 

Pure maple syrup is delicious. It is all natural. Making it is a simple process. And unlike honey, its creation doesn’t leave you at risk of being stung. This was enough for me to say yes when my son asked. I’ve always thought it...

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3 Reasons We Should Live Like Tourists Feb 28, 2021

Act like you’ve been there.

This is one of my favorite manifestos. It evokes imagery of the weathered old guy who has seen it all. Countless miles and experiences have calloused your hands and broken in your gear. You’re unfazed, seasoned, and tested. You are what every man longs to be….competent.

This stands in sharp contrast to the tourist. By definition the tourist is someone who hasn’t been there before. To make matters worse, they don’t care that they...

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The Leviathan adventure brotherhood shared experience Feb 12, 2021

 Erik was older than I was, but I could run faster. One of these facts would be more important than the other. 

We were two boys at play, inseparable, always on the hunt for adventure. Basketball. Music. Laughter. Somehow it fit. We just fit. 

On this particular night, we were up late exploring a golf course full of ponds, waterways and channels that eventually led into the Gulf of Mexico. We had heard about manatees that swim up to the shore and munch on the grass. Evidently,...

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My First Black History Month fatherhood Feb 07, 2021

As I stare down my 46th year, I am engaging in Black History Month for the first time in my life. 

To say that the last 12 months has been extraordinary, does not feel like hyperbole. Between a global pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and an unprecedented presidential election cycle, this past year has defied convention, expectation and has turned upside down my sense of normal.

There have been some unexpected wins in the midst of the chaos and difficulty. We have been forced to slow...

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Why We Must Name change honesty humility naming Jan 31, 2021

He sighed weariness and said, “It is what it is” 

For 40 years my friend has raised cattle. He began humbly with two freshly weaned heifer calves. Over time he wisely and methodically expanded the operation. He acquired strategic pastures to rent, learned how to artificially inseminate his cows so genetic progress could be made faster, he even made the bold move to sell freezer beef directly to the consumer.

But things shifted in the past few years. Feeding cows twice a day...

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Damascus Steel creativity hope knives restoration Jan 21, 2021

Damascus Steel. It might be the coolest type of blade you can have. 

Known for its beautiful, wavy light and dark patterns, quality Damascus steel has a legendary ability to hold an edge while still being flexible and strong. When developed around 300 BC, it was a vastly innovative improvement over iron weapons. Unfortunately, the ancient process for making this material was lost to the ages, and just recently reinvented in the 20th century.

A blacksmith has to layer different types...

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