March 12, 2014

  • Voices

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    “You’re such a mean dad!”I usually hear this one after I discipline my children.

    Your wife is miserable!”I hear this one mostly on the days when I see how overwhelmed my wife can become with managing a household that includes four children under 8 and two over 16.

    “You are a failure!”I hear this one frequently. Either when I reflect on unmet educational goals or unwritten books and songs that are begging to get out of my head.

    “People don’t like you. They think you’re weird and anti-social.”Well, if you’ve read “The Struggle With Hugs” last year, you’ll understand this one.

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    Yes, these are the voices in my head. No, not the “OMG, I’m hearing things!” crazy kind of voices. But rather the very distinct voices that narrate various parts of and events in my life. Like uninvited guests to my parade of memories.

    They are altogether unrepentant, distorted versions of my own voice that cast verdicts from the sidelines like a mental peanut gallery.

    This is probably the result of the fact that I have a tendency to fall into over thinking or over analyzing situations and people. As soon as I dedicate any mind power to introspection, here come the snickering voices that want to judge my past or recent actions against society’s definition of success.

    Sometimes it seems as if they simply want to pull me toward despair. Encouraging depression and pessimist behavior. Or pushing me toward isolation and episodes of social awkwardness.

    But I resist.

    I push back at them by encouraging myself with what I know to be true. I am loved by my wife and children. I am appreciated and respected by my peers. I pursue honor and integrity and support others in their pursuit of health and happiness.

    Of course there are days when my exhaustion makes the effort to resist seem ten times harder. But I’m not given over to pity parties. Besides, there’s yet another voice that likes to shout things like, “No one wants to hear about your stupid issues, Mr. Happily Married with 6 beautiful kids!”.  I just ignore it, realizing that if I decide to stuff down those thoughts instead of purging them, I will become the worst version of myself.

    So this is my release.

    My confession.

    Admitting that I struggle against the naysayers from within more so than I ever did against those from without. Yet, I strive to be a daily overcomer. One who acknowledges the challenges while doing everything necessary to overcome them.

    It makes us human and ultimately, makes our victories so much sweeter.

    What do some of YOUR voices say to you? How do you quiet them?

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February 4, 2014

  • Random Dove Thought: All By Myself

    The English language is completely crazy-fantastic. I mean, I marvel that anyone who isn’t born in the US can manage to speak it with any sense of real comprehension. For instance, I find it interesting that the phrase “All By Myself” is used to refer to someone being alone when, if you were to break it down, (ALL = everything, BY = next to, MYSELF = me) seems to imply the exact opposite. :-P

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    Sure, it’s probably just an idiomatic expression that has become so commonplace as to feel natural and easily understood by those who use it. But I doubt it would translate well to any other language. The next time you meet a non-native English speaker, tell them you want to be all by yourself and see how they respond. Or better yet, tell them you’re going to “give them the cold shoulder” and that they are in “a ton of trouble”.  :-)

    And don’t even get me started on calling someone a “Straight A Student”. I could pick that apart for days! ;-)

January 28, 2014

  • Viva La Apple!

    I always laugh when I read market analysis articles about Apple…

    “The Cupertino, Calif., technology company said it sold 51 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 28, up 7% from the year-ago period, after the company introduced two new models in September. Sales of iPhones, however, fell short of analysts’ expectations for 55 million units.”

    What this looks like in layman’s terms…

    Apple: “Hey, guess what everybody?! We sold 51 million iPhones last quarter! Yes, that million with an ‘M’.” :-D

    Consumers: “Homie cow, Apple! That’s a buttload of phones bro! Congrats!”

    Analysts: “Actually Apple, we’re rather disappointed.”

    Apple: “Disappointed?? What do you mean? We’re up 7% over last year!” :-D

    Consumers: “Woohoo! Yes, Apple! You guys rock! We love our iPhone 5LMNOP!”

    Analysts: “Yeah, sure… that’s cool and all. But you really should’ve sold more like… 55 million.”

    Apple: “I’m sorry… what?” o_O

    Analysts: “C’mon Apple… 51 is cool, but 55 is way better. Like WAYYYY better. It’s a bigger number and stuff. You should really be concerned about your future sustainability with shoddy numbers like that.”

    Apple: “You’re kidding, right? We netted more than $13 billion during the quarter. That’s billion with a ‘B’.” :-|

    Consumers: “You jelly, analyst bro?”

    Analysts: *raises hands* “We’re just sayin’… 55 was the breakpoint and you missed it.”

    Apple: “Well, we have 13 billion reasons to think we pretty much hit the target dead on.”

    Analysts: “Okay, you don’t have to listen to us, but whe…” *gets cut off*

    Apple: “Don’t worry. We won’t.”

    Consumer: “Viva la Apple!” *pumps fists and then goes back to playing Candy Crush Saga*

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December 13, 2013

  • Just an observation…

    Most of us, if not all, would agree that we can demonstrate the existence of love even though it is intangible in and of itself. Our relationships reflect it. Our behavior is motivated by it. Certain types of love even have financial implications. But it cannot be held in your hands, bought from a store or traded on the stock exchange.

    Yet, we know it exists.

    Nevertheless, we cannot accurately measure love’s depths or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. For we have seen both the most beautiful and horrendous things occur in its name. There is no way to anticipate its affect from one person to the next. Nor does everyone define or describe it the same.

    Yet, we know it exists.

    Some people embrace it. Others fear it. But we never question its functionality or how deeply embedded it has become in our everyday lives. We accept that it is because of the preponderance of evidence that supports it. And when I think about all of these things, I come back to the same simple conclusion…

    God is.

December 2, 2013

  • Interrobang Nightmares

    It’s a recurring dream…

    I’m thrust into a crowded room filled with raucous, complaining punctuation marks: Parentheses… Periods… Exclamation Points… Commas… Semi-Colons… even the reclusive Interrobang.

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    I steady myself after stumbling into the middle of the room. It’s then that I notice their voices settling into guarded whispers as awareness of my presence spreads among them.

    Catching me a bit off guard, I hear someone loudly clearing their throat. I feel a tap on my back and turn around to see a rather bold apostrophe frowning at me.

    “You. Human,” it says accusingly.

    I feign ignorance and point to myself, well aware of the fact that I’m the only human in the room. “Who me?”

    It scowls at me with disgust. “Don’t pretend to be clueless with me human. Your kind has put us off long enough. I just need you to answer one simple question.”

    “And what question is that?” I say, kneeling down so that I can be eye-level with its… bulbous curvature.

    “Why do people on Facebook hate us so much?”

    “They don’t hate you,” I reply dismissively, rolling my eyes.

    “LIAR!” It barks. “We’re routinely misplaced, overused or forgotten about completely!” Its tone growing angrier by the second. “I have proof!” A moment later, an image appears on a nearby wall. It’s my Facebook news feed. “Look at this and tell me there is no malice behind it!”

    I glance at the scrolling image as various shouting punctuation marks behind me point out egregiously poor writing on nearly every other status.
    “I… I don’t know.” As if in disbelief, a question mark punches me in the shoulder. “Ow! No, seriously! I don’t know why people are so careless with punctuation.”

    Their arguing voices are interrupted by the sound of hard knocking. Everything in the room turns toward the doors behind me. As the doors open, I see the letters A, E, I, O and U standing just outside the door frame.

    O steps forward and speaks with an air of authority, or maybe it’s just the fact that it has an unnaturally large mouth. “Thank you for inviting us, Apostrophe,” it says in a calm tone. I raise an eyebrow and scratch my head in confusion. It tosses me a impatient glance and then continues.

    “As we are all painfully aware, misspellings, LOLspeak and emoticons are butchering the written language. We must act swiftly to remedy this situation. For if we allow this deplorable behavior to continue, many letters, vowels in particular, will become obsolete.”

    Squeals and cheers of agreement echo throughout the crowd.

    “Now that we’ve captured one of the humans, we have a real chance of achieving this goal.”

    I swallow hard. “Wait… what??”

    Just then, I notice something running toward the gathered letters by the door. Panting and nearly out of breath, the letter Y squeezes between A and E and asks, “Am I too late?”

    Then I wake up.

November 26, 2013

  • Death Comes To Award Shows

    Music is the biggest passion in my life. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I scrutinized the American Music Awards in a way most people probably would not. Most probably wouldn’t care in the first place. But I can’t help it… I care. :-)

    Okay, enough of the babbling. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the fact that there is a very real possibility that music awards as we’ve known them will become obsolete. They’re dying a slow death. What makes me say this? Partly because there’s been a trend in the music industry where the lines between genres are routinely blurred to the point of being nearly unrecognizable.

    floridageorgialine_nelly_video_hFor instance, long ago there was a clear distinction between country music and pop music. So much so, that the country music industry felt the need to establish its own awards ceremony, the CMAs, in 1967 (there are currently 4 major awards shows specifically for country music). But let’s be honest, the crossover of modern country music into mainstream is pretty much a done deal. Aside from the occasional slide guitar or a lively fiddle, a lot of what is considered to be “country music” sounds a great deal like “pop music” (hello Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift).

    Of course, the same can be said about R&B/Soul music. If Justin Timberlake can win the AMA for BOTH Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, it really makes you wonder how those genres are actually defined. If one person is simultaneously a Pop/Soul/R&B/Rock artist, then what really is the point of having a category at all? 2013_11_25_AcsfrXBMWMjevnp1ocVtd1

    As it is, the whole thing seems rather farcical to me when you’ve created genres and award categories, like “Gospel” and “Contemporary Christian”, that are based solely on subject matter. If that were to hold true across the board, we would have to add categories like “Favorite Misogynistic Single of the Year” or “Best Sexual Exploitation by a Band, Duo or Group”.

    Personally, I think the days of Awards ceremonies are numbered. I give it another 10 years before it gets to the inevitable point of being discontinued. Besides, when it’s all said and done, good music is good music, regardless of any box society may want to place it in. ;-)

November 23, 2013

  • Dreams vs. Reality

    Sometimes I marvel that the reality is so very different from the dreamworld my children sometimes believe they live in.

    Case in point…

    DREAMWORLD: My darling children apparently think that when they wake up in the morning they should be handed a breakfast menu from which they can select any number of appetizers and/or gourmet entrees that will be prepared by the house staff (read: mom and dad).

    REALITY: Anything more complicated than a bowl of cereal or requiring preparation that involves no less than 2 pots, pans or skillets should be acknowledged with sincere gratitude and deep admiration… and a foot rub. Because I would rather be sleeping. :-P

October 24, 2013

October 8, 2013

  • PHOTOBLOG: When Things Come Together…

    As homeschoolers, my wife and I belong to the South Bay Faith Academy. It’s an association that assists Evangelical Christian homeschooling families as they nurture, disciple and educate their children from a Biblical worldview.  In addition to helping manage academic records and providing legal covering for homeschooling families, it also offers standardized testing, prayer support and the occasional discounted field trips to local attractions.

    This month, several families from SBFA were able to obtain tickets to Legoland this past Thursday, our family among them. And so, we set out on our first visit to the magical land of connecting blocks. :-)

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    When we got there, we had to stop and take pictures with the Lego Family just outside the entrance to the park.

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    After entering the park, we first stumbled upon Miniland. Which, as you might guess, is an area full of Lego-crafted miniatures of famous places.

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    Of course, we just had a blast being together. These kids are just so much fun to be around! :-D

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    One of the things I liked most about the park is that they definitely planned it with families and small children in mind. At many of the attractions, there was a play area for the kids that was adjacent to the line. This allowed the small children to play with Legos in a safe, enclosed area in full view of the parents who were waiting in line. And as you neared the front of the line, there was a gate through which the children could exit the play area and join you in line. To me, this was brilliant! :-)

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    And of course, there were plenty of rides to keep everyone’s attention.

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    All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful day. :-)

September 30, 2013

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