Larry the Mentor

Early in my Junior High years, this guy in my small community rented out the attic of an old office building in town. It was a Friday night and he invited any junior high kid from the community to come and hang out–no cost unless you wanted to buy a can of pop or a candy bar pretty much at cost. On Saturday nights, he invited the high schoolers to come out. I remember a few friends hanging out at the bottom of the steps that first night it was open. No one was sure about going in. Finally, I took the lead and ascended the steps. There was music, games, televisions, and a pool table. There was likely some shag carpet in a variety of colors and textures and a room full of mismatched furniture. And there were a few adults, one of them was Larry. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Drive in the Snow

Do you like to drive in the snow? I do but know I am biased. My father drove a plow and my mother loved to drive in the snow. Whenever she talks about  the opportunity, she begins talking about her dad and how he taught her. I remember getting a couple of inches just days after I got my driver’s license. I was ready for a new adventure and asked my dad (because mom would have said no) if I could run to town. I was eager to try out this  new surface and see how I did in the 1980 four-speed Chevette that I drove at the time (I often shortened the name and just told people I drove a ‘vette’). Things were going fine until I needed to make my first turn and nearly ended up in the ditch, taking the turn too fast. Eventually, I got home just fine and without damage to the car.
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More or Less?

In the first eight years of our marriage, my wife and I lived in eight different locations. For the last eight years, we have had one address. When we moved from Indiana to North Carolina, all our possessions fit into a 12 foot box truck. Five years later (and one kid), it took a 30 foot truck to move to Ohio. Today, it may take two of those trucks to move our family of four, but I have no plans to find out for fear it would.

Table-Saw-Assisted

Table-Saw (Photo credit: Jóvan Jules ρнσтσgяαρну)

I often walk to our basement, attic, and garage and see tools and other items I have not used for a very long time, if ever. Many of the tools were from my dad after he passed away. I thought I was going to make a lot of items of wood. There are also workbenches, storage boxes, and extra wood from my father-in-law, all waiting around for me to do something with them. Most of it has been sitting around for at least three years, some as long as five or six years. Add to that the kites we flew four Easters ago that have not moved since, a child’s dresser we moved out of her room two years ago, and several items sitting in corners of the attic that have been there since we moved in.

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Review of My 2012 Reading

Over a year ago, a friend of mine introduced me to GoodReads.com, a social app for avid readers. At the beginning of 2012, it had a reading challenge of how many books I could complete in a year. I set a goal for myself to read 48 books, just four a month. As I went through the year and kept track of my reading, I was surprised on December 31 to learn that I had actually read 52. So, now that we are more than a month into the new year, let me share some of my favorites with you and why I enjoyed them.

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman was encouraging to my heart. Mary Beth’s personality really comes out through the stories she tells of her family, the experience of losing a daughter, and love of the Christian community as they wrapped their arms, literally and spiritually, around the Chapman family during their personal tragedy. I laughed and cried as I read the touching memories, struggles, highs and lows. Throughout the story, the truth of a loving God who cares is marvelously woven onto each page.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is another biographical story of Louis Zamperini, a young lieutenant in the Army Air Force of WWII. Louis’ plane was shot down in the South Pacific in 1943 and the book is his story of survival until the end of the war. What I got out of the book was an account of life-giving hope. The hope Louis held and the vision of freedom from his captures allowed him to survive terrifying ordeals.
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne is a book that challenged me the most throughout the year. Shane describes his faith as he puts it into practice. Before writing the book, Shane served with Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Mercy in Calcutta, visited families in Iraq during the most recent war, and dumped thousands of dollars in coins on Wall Street as his way of redistributing wealth. Shane’s perspective of living a Christian life challenged me in a few ways. Most notably, it challenged my perspective of being an American Christian. A few things I thought about living a Christian life, were more likely views consistent with being a Christian in America.
This year I was introduced to Andy Andrews’ writing. I read several of his books, but Island of Saints really stuck out to me. A follow-up to The Traveler’s Gift, this book examines the question, “What is one thing humanity can do to change the course it is on?” Wise sages from across the ages are invited to help brainstorm the correct answer to this question. While they bring up many things, the correct answer will likely surprise you!
What books have you read recently that have inspired or challenged you? Please share in the comments below so that we can all build our reading lists!

Waking Up is Hard to Do

The other day, my alarm went off at the regular time of 5:10 a.m. My first thought was, “I really don’t want to get up.” But the alternative of picking up my phone and fumbling with it to snooze the alarm required too much thought and effort. I decided it was just easier to turn it off and get up. Read the rest of this entry »


For the Hundredth Time…

Silver table setting of the siblings Carl and ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does this play out in your house?

Dad: Cali, can you come set the table for dinner? [no response]
Dad, a little louder: Cali, it is about time for dinner, can you set the table? [no response]
Dad, yelling now: CALI! TIME TO SET THE TABLE!
Cali: Huh? Is supper ready? I’m hungry.

continue reading


Book Review: Dream New Dreams by Jai Pausch

I recently read Dream New Dreams: Reimagining My Life After Loss by Jai Paush. This memoir recounts the experiences of a caregiver while her young husband struggles through and eventually dies from pancreatic cancer. Adding to the story is that her deceased husband (Randy Pausch) is the best selling author of The Last Lecture, a memoir written prior to his death encouraging readers to live their dreams. Jai provides a very frank and honest look at the struggles of a cancer patient’s caregiver both throughout treatment and after their death. Throughout the book, Jai shares the lessons she learned throughout her young family’s ordeal.

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