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Elementary school learning…

A birthday is a time for reflection.

One of the most miraculous things about my year likely went unnoticed.  I’ll talk about my move to Colorado, about the burst-from-the-seams love I feel in my heart, about my career…here.  I’ll do it here, and later.

As I said, now is a time of reflection.

One of the most miraculous things about my year was seeing Suzanne Calhoun.

Suzanne knew me in 1984 perhaps, when I was barely able to walk.  We infamously demanded from my mother a dinner of “pork chops and applesauce” after watching the Brady Bunch episode featuring a similar demand.

I hadn’t seen her in decades.  To embrace her again felt like the universe was in my grasp.

The second miraculous moment occurred just weeks ago when I decided to stop outside of Salt Lake City to see someone who I’ve known almost my entire life.  I also got to meet his fiance, and in a few weeks I’ll be attending their wedding.

Josh Doxey has been a spiritual guide and leader in my life for many years, an irregular presence with a lasting impact.

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Josh Doxey and me drinking cocoa in our kitchen in Park Ridge during a snow day.  Photo was taken by my mother.

True friendship.  Inexplicable friendship.  Uncomfortable friendship.  Impossible friendship.  Guilt free friendship.  It endures.  And it doesn’t need a single fucking thing from you other than what feels natural to give.  It’s just there when you need it.

Friendship will always be there when you need.

Friendship always has been.

The more distance I travel, the more I realize the truth of love and friendship.  It is instantaneous when you find it, you probably spend a ton of time not realizing how much of it you have, and its power is unlocked simply.

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The Brother’s Prosser are still a royal pain in my ass, I read everything that Tammy writes, Kylie and I girl talk, Elise bench presses me, and Lindsay is a lifer.

These pictures capture that, especially the one of my high school friends.  These are the people I still give a shit about today.

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My brother-in-law Andy and me.  He’s a rock in my life whether he knows it or not.

A couple of other lessons I’ve scratched out over the past couple of days:

  • Learn what you love, and surround yourself with it.
  • Seek knowledge just for the fun of it
  • Sex is amazingly life giving, but its true power isn’t unlocked until its with your best friend.  And you’ll know when that finally happens.  It’s far more mind blowing than just an orgasm.
  • Treasure your treaures.  It’s okay to have nice things, but do you get down on your knees and rub your dining table with orange oil for fun because you appreciate its beauty?  This could read “don’t take things for granted.”
  • Taste, try, and explore.  Never allow yourself to be restrained by guilt or driven to action by obligation.  Guilt/obligation and love/friendship are like oil and water and never mix when its real.
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I got to see my Aunt Alyce and Uncle Paul this year too.

And I found the love of my life.  Finally.

I said to someone the other day who was struggling to learn  the lesson of a particular situation,

“All of life…every single day…is an English paper, a History lesson, a Math problem, and a Science experiment.  Wisdom comes when you finally realize this.”

I couldn’t be happier in the sweet simplicity of finally realizing what really matters.

Thanks be to God.


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Journal: July 4, 2016

There’s a much more fun topic at the end of this blog post, but I start with some opining on the state of our democracy…

Today is considered America’s birthday – the date we enacted the Declaration of Independence and became a sovereign, independent, United States of America.

Our desire to stand alone and independent from British rule was largely a financial decision – “taxation without representation” – but had more personal undertones including establishing the freedom to worship (or not) based on your own personal self-interest, not that established for you by the state.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The indictment of British rule which comes next, which makes the case for why separation was needed, is important.  It spells out in detail the many specific ways that the British overlords were not addressing the needs of the people, and specific remedies which had been provided for this.

What it did not do is make some bullshit statements about not being the  1%, or being the 1%, or corruption, or big banks, blah blah blah.

I’m not saying that equality exists – but I also don’t believe we are actively being prevented from achieving it by our government.

  • Could they operate more effectively?  Yes.
  • Does our electoral system support considered, thoughtful choices of how we are represented and the laws we enact?  No.
  • Does everyone have an opportunity to participate?  Largely.
  • Do we participate?  No.  According to the 2014 US Census statistics, 38.5% of the available US population voted (split roughly equally male/female).

We’ve got 60%+ of the US population armchair quarterbacking, likely operating without clear understanding of the issues, and actually defining the disenfranchisement of the population from its governing body.

I wonder about the demographics of the anarchists who show up for the May Day riots with their non-specific bullshit declarations of how they’ve been wronged — are they in the  60% who voted, or the 40% who didn’t?

Beyond the intriguing way we declare our sovereign rights to things yet fail to show up when duty calls,  I think it’s very interesting to think of what a “Declaration of Independence” might read like today, in the era of technology, global connectedness, and broader respect for different people, cultures and religions:

  • I think we understand our interconnectedness more and more each day and thus would not declare “independence” so much as establish better boundaries for our cooperation.
  • I don’t think agreement would have been reached about grandiose statements like “all men are created equal” or “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Rather, I think those clauses, if they made it, would have subclauses which state, “unless you are gay, Muslim, dark skinned,  impoverished, obese, have a disability, are a veteran…”

On a less circumspect note, I’ve become obsessed with home organization.   One challenge I face personally that families likely face is the charging of multiple devices.

I personally carry every day a Surface Pro 4, iPad Pro, iPhone, 2 Androids, 1 Windows Phone.  I also have 6 “internet of things” devices:  a Microsoft Band, a Spire, 4 Meshs.  I also have a GoPro and a Feiyu Gimble.

I think that’s it.  Oh, I also have battery packs that I like to keep charged as I’m often mobile.

At one point, I had a surge protector strip with multiple cords emanating from it with a variety of devices just laying on the floor.

Recently, I created this…my home charging station.  Materials I used:

I used a couple of adhesive “felt pads” to create bumpers within the tray to stop things from sliding and I sewed together a pad for the bottom of the tray to prevent scratching.  This entire unit, including devices, can be unplugged from the wall and taken with me anywhere, just as is.

The cords are neat,, everything has a place, and I can also set my device there when I’m done “interacting” with the world versus keeping it on me all night long.

Food for thought.

What I can tell you absolutely is this:  the more organized I am, and the more forgiving I am when I’m not, the better each day feels.

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Advice to graduates – and a gift to Natalie and Andrew

Nat Nat Go Bombers, Little Shit;

You’re off to college this Fall and soon you will realize just how good you’ve had it. Real life starts now. Fortunately, you get to depend on your parents for money for a little while longer but there are only so many things money will ever fix.

What I believe I know to be true are these things…

Life is about being uncomfortable, stretched, challenged and even a bit hurt.  Fortunately, life is also about the other side of those same experiences where you understand comfort, satisfaction, accomplishment, and healing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It’d be great to think you would know one without the other, but I don’t think that’s the case. You wouldn’t know hot if you didn’t feel cold by comparison, right? Both are painful or deadly in their extreme, but in learning the comparison of one to the other, we navigate away from the harmful and situate comfortably when we can.

Love is truly best defined in the Bible – but you have no chance of ever achieving that in this lifetime – your job is to do as much as you can to get close and to live by those principles.

Developing a sense of your own faith and the very limited role you play in the entirety of existence will get you closer.

As you move in to the world, your childhood home will remain a safe place to return to while at the same time the home you create over time increasingly becomes your source of renewal and strength.

You’ll begin to define your own life without restriction, drawing from your past, cognizant of where you are today, and mindful that is your job alone to pave the way to your future.

It will be a long time before the first ephemeral second where you think, “Wow, maybe I have life finally figured out.”

It will be a lot longer until you have many of those moments in sequence.  Still further before you actually believe the truth of those moments and don’t just think you’re fooling yourself.

You will not believe the world around you has trusted you to _____________  (raise a kid, run a business, operate on patients, build a building), let alone manage your own life – yet that is exactly where you’ve found yourself.

This tension is a sign that you are alive. It exists when we are willing to explore and discover, develop new interests and passions, take risks not knowing the outcome.

This tension exists when we’ve let go of misplaced confidence and become humble and real about what we have to learn.  It represents a desire to achieve forward progress every day — but not via force and commitment alone, but powered by the wisdom we have not yet tapped in the world around us.

You will make errors, fail at something important.  Most painfully, you’ll fail yourself or a loved one.  Life is about fucking up sometimes, and I’ll give you a secret that will help you recover: take accountability, be honest, and most importantly – forgive yourself.

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Forgive others that mess up too.

Forgiveness is a favor to everyone involved, repaid by a commitment to something different ahead.  Resentment is only your own and ties you to a past that cannot be changed.

You will define your community and it will look and feel different than you imagined.  It will ultimately reflect the diversity of your life’s experiences.

This community will likely be smaller than you once imagined but its power is immeasurable and will not fail you.  90% of your life you’ll think you know who belongs in this community, and 90% of the time you’ll be wrong.  Learn to identify atypical signals, then learn to trust them.

From the moment you were conceived until the moment you die, life has been about change.  You felt some of it but probably didn’t learn to appreciate that it’s the only real constant (in this life, I’m ignoring God and Faith for a second here).

Be mindful of the moment in your life when change is no longer exciting but instead becomes bothersome.  Take a spontaneous vacation within a week of that moment.

In all of this that I think I know is true, there’s one thing I know will make it all easier: rest and sleep.  Having a comfortable bed that is yours (e.g. warm if you’re cold, cold if you’re hot), with pillows that are indulgent and sheets that are cool and smooth or soft and warm – having this bed is critical.

While everything changes, while you change, rest and relaxation and the comfort of those moments is something you can make sure you maintain.

To that end, TWINXL mattresses are total shit as is the available bedding available that fit them.

The bedding sucks.  It’s cheap, feels terrible, is ugly, doesn’t breath, is warm when its warm and cold when its cold…………………………………………….total shit.

So my gift to you for graduation is homemade bedding, which you can design based on your preferences.  Duvet Cover Design Patterns  You get to pick the colors, fabric, we can custom design a fabric, your call.  We’ll talk more about this.

At my loneliest or happiest,  strongest or when I feel I’m about to crumble, my bed is one place I know that is mine where I can recover and take care of myself.  I wish I could make every experience in your life feel so great, but for now, let me take care of the bed.