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Stories from the journey of fatherhood & brotherhood
Ill Fated Maiden Voyage adventure canoeing humility wonder Jun 28, 2020

Fifty dollars was a steal for our neighbor’s 17 foot aluminum Grumman canoe. Long scratches lined its left side, but that only added to its mystique as the worthy and first family vessel. My wife and I strapped it to the top of our car and visions of grandiose family adventures swirled in my mind. Stunning landscapes would be enjoyed, new skills would be acquired, and I would be in the trusty guide in the back of the canoe offering deft navigation and life changing memories. 

Make...

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What Every Dad Needs To Hear on Fathers Day fatherhood fathers day Jun 17, 2020

You are the most important man in the world.

Who you are, what you do, and the impact you have, shape our present reality and our family’s future. There is no one more influential in our lives than you. No one.

Your character and your presence set the stage for our well-being, creating a safe and secure atmosphere for the rest of us to thrive and live. You provide the strength to stand and the tenderness to sit, and hold us tightly in your protective arms. We need you.

You are a direction...

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911 Never Stops fatherhood job change restoration Jun 14, 2020

My job requires me to frequently be on call. My company provides phone systems to 911 call centers, which require high levels of support. My kids have often heard me say, “911 never stops, it has to work”, many times.

Many times when we have been engaged in family activities,  those getaways have been interrupted by my customers needing something fixed. On more than one occasion when I’ve been skiing with my son and daughter at Copper Mountain, or Winter Park, or...

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Birthday Blessing affirmation birthday blessing May 29, 2020

I rolled over in bed and smelled dark coffee and a cinnamon roll doused with melting frosting. I heard my three kids “sneaking” into my room with the stealth of a six legged moose. My wife wore that smile, the best one, the one that crinkles here eyes with sincerity and playfulness.  Could there be a better way to start one’s birthday?

Two cards made of bright green construction paper were proudly dropped in my lap. I grabbed the first and recognized the written...

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Lost In A Swamp direction hiking orientation May 20, 2020

After we delivered our youngest to college, my wife and I decided it would be a good idea to get a puppy. We had a couple dogs as part of our family over the years, and in the moment it seemed like a good idea. So a beautiful golden retriever was welcomed into our home as an 8-week old. I began to wonder, would she become a good hiking buddy for me someday?

Several months later, I decided to put that curiosity to the test. After a little research, I found a state wildlife refuge...

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She Just Needed To Sit With Me daughters fatherhood presence May 13, 2020
After the world turned upside down a few months ago with COVID, and the stay-at-home orders fell into place, I had to find a new rhythm to my days. Our girls were no longer rushing off to school in the morning, and my commute transformed from a drive through town into the descent down a flight of stairs. We all had to find a new way of being.
 
And yet despite my physical presence at home increasing significantly, I realize that my mental and emotional presence at home decreased even...
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My Mother's Music mothers day music May 10, 2020

 Once a week the family followed the Poudre River 40 miles into town. Three sisters sat in the backseat as they wound down the canyon road already rutting itself into their lives. Eyes full of wonder as they took in a town life decades ahead of their treasured world of rustic cabins, fishing stories, and summer vacationers. Because of these weekly drives, my mother began playing the piano. 

She was a self-described "sickly mountain girl with asthma." The phrase was a family joke,...

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Applying Firefighting Acronyms To Man Life brotherhood fatherhood firefighting response stress May 01, 2020

 The fire service has many traditions.  A few unique to Northern Colorado include: 

  • We are organized like the military and chain of command is alive and well.
  • We consider ourselves “family” not co-workers, employees, or associates.
  • We eat meals together and share a common table nearly every night on shift.
  • Expect to bring your own birthday cake on your birthday for everyone to celebrate you.
  • You owe “everyone” ice cream if you run over a curb driving an...
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States of Alone-ness covid-19 isolation solitude Apr 26, 2020

Two months ago my heart longed for a big pause button - one where I could slow down the fast-moving train of life. I may have even daydreamed about it more than a few times. Then, here we are and this pandemic has literally paused almost everything. Huge conferences and trade shows are cancelled, schools are online, there are no pro sports and even Disney World is closed. This forced social isolation and “stay at home,” order is not exactly how I saw it in my dreams.

When the...

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Speeding Ticket With My Son fatherhood mistake police speeding Apr 16, 2020

I saw the red and blue lights in my rearview mirror -  he was after me. Being pulled over reminded me of teenage irresponsibility where brushes with “the law” - school principals, parents, and yes, the cops - were common; just a part of the cost of the wreckless life I was living. Now living most certainly as a sophisticated, conscientious adult - one who’d never willingly break the law - I felt a mixture of frustration, anger, shame, and regret as I restarted my pickup...

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Baptizing My Son baptism fatherhood Apr 16, 2020

Spending three weeks each summer at our family lakeside cabin outside Spokane, Washington is among my earliest and fondest childhood memories. In the late 70’s, parents could walk their kids down the jetway to board a plane - do the hand-off to the “stewardess” and maybe get a peek inside the cockpit. This past summer I entered the same airport I had so many times as a young boy, but this time with my family next to me, headed off to that cabin, that familiar and sacred...

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My Losing Battle Against Monotony covid monotony repitition Apr 12, 2020

Lately the days feel like the standardized output from an assembly line.  We’re stuck in the film Groundhog Day - but without Bill Murray’s quirky genius. 

My days follow the same general outline:

  • Wake up. Savor a cup of coffee while watching the morning wake. 
  • Hear my son’s barefooted trot down the hallway. Play trucks with him. 
  • Feed our eager horses. 
  • Eat breakfast with my wife and kids before sheepishly “commute”  to my desk....
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