Stories from the journey of fatherhood & brotherhood
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
“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...
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...
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...
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,
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...
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...