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Stories from the journey of fatherhood & brotherhood
Why You Should Be A Poet creation naming poetry Aug 01, 2021

I’d imagine my foray into poetry was like any other third grade boy: forced. Our assignment was to write about lily pads. Nothing like picking a subtle and boring subject for a form of writing that is, well, subtle and boring. I have no idea what I wrote. I quickly cataloged poetry as a barely recognizable type of writing where you could indent and start new lines schizophrenically and have free license to describe things as oddly as you wanted. 

I had as many girlfriends in high...

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The Red Book Jul 25, 2021

The red book sitting on the desk stared at me inquisitively, asking the question: Why don’t you want to open me?

I’m a part of the Thrive Marriage Lab, a membership community that Restoration Counseling offers. A couple of weeks ago, in the large group time, Tracy Johnson shared these words, “The door to our hearts we’ve closed to keep pain away is the same door that keeps love at a distance.”  

Red book, that’s why I don’t want to open you.

...

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Financial and Relational Debt Jul 18, 2021

I never thought I would be ‘that dad.’

The dad who says he will come play and then doesn’t.

The other day at Collindale pool I was that dad. 

My precious 4 year old daughter Hallie had just learned to swim this summer. She walked excitedly up to me while I was talking to one of the other dads. Dripping with pool water, she looked up to me with her bright blue eyes, and asked “Can you come swim with me daddy? I want to show you how I learned to swim!” She...

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Remote Learning Jul 11, 2021

First was crack!! Then snap!! Then the crash when whatever was falling impacted the ground.

It was about 3:00 in the morning and I was rudely disrupted from my slumber. I lay still in my sleeping bag, listening for other noises. No one seemed to be stirring in the tents around me. And I couldn’t hear any other sounds from what I suspected was in our presence – a black bear.

I was guiding a group of dads and sons and we had discovered an excellent campsite on the Appalachian Trail...

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The Father of our Country Jul 04, 2021

His dad died when he was just eleven years old, which meant there wasn’t enough money to send him off for a proper education. Lawrence, his older half brother of 14 years, became a father figure to him.

When he visited Lawrence, he was stirred by the people he would meet there–people of influence, adults who were well-read and thoughtful, men who were leaders. The young boy determined that he would become one of them.

He worked hard to become a man of character, of etiquette, and...

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I get to choose. Jun 27, 2021
On the eve of our departure to a milestone anniversary trip overseas, my forlorn and lonely father said, "It would be nice to get a few pictures now and then." Knowing his world had gotten progressively smaller over the past decade due to my mother's failing health, and despite the subtle undercut of guilt, I decided to honor his request. I thought I'd give him what I could to live vicariously through our travels, and to experience the glory of the sites and tastes through a...
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Words At A Soccer Game Jun 20, 2021

I almost walked up to the window and gave her a piece of my mind. 

This last weekend was a long weekend of soccer games, ending the season. My son (11) had 4 games, while my daughter (7) had one. It was a lot of emotions, yelling, and celebrating.

There were two defining moments this weekend. 

The first was when I showed up super early to my daughters game, before she or the others had arrived, and about the time the previous games were wrapping up. As I parked and got out of the...

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Purity ≠ Perfection: Restoring A Rusty Old Saw Jun 10, 2021

Many times when wood working I find myself reaching for a hand tool instead of a power tool because my children are literally playing at my feet in the garage. Avoiding the mess, noise, and danger by working with tools that demand a bit more effort and skill allows my children to be present in my work; we get to talk and learn together while I try to get a little work done at the bench. But, surprisingly, a hand tool that functions as well as power tools (and in some cases, much better) is...

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Car Trouble Jun 06, 2021

Driving 75 miles an hour on the interstate, my stomach dropped. It was not a good feeling. 

We were on our way to visit family we hadn’t really seen since pre-pandemic. It was a five hour drive, but at the halfway point the transmission slipped out of gear. I pushed the gas pedal and it only revved, and no power was going to the wheels. 

I pushed down the slight panic I felt as I guided the coasting minivan to the shoulder. Meanwhile the kids looked up from their books and...

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Stewardship & Horse... Manure May 30, 2021

A friend told me once, 

 

“I could have saved a lot of time and had the same results to my body and bank account if every weekend instead of rodeoing I jumped off a two story building while lighting a $100 dollar bill on fire.”

 

His funny quip resurfaces my memory as I look at our horses at our house. They’re like reverse alchemists that transform painfully expensive hay into 31 pounds of steaming manure. Every day. In my selfish and cynical moments I...

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The Ambivalence of Brotherhood brotherhood pain restoration May 21, 2021

Last week, I read in the Brotherhood Primer, “Men have such ambivalence toward letting others know the landscape of their souls.  We want it, and we are so deeply terrified of it.”  

Get out of my head Chris Bruno.

Back in July of 2019 I learned that I had been sexually abused as a child.  The person who did the abusing would later become a spiritual leader, ministry trainer, mentor, friend…he would become a brother.  All the while, he never...

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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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