Pro-Tip #2

When consoling someone who is grieving, refrain from immediately sharing your silver-lining perspective.  A wounded person rarely needs to hear that their loss makes sense to you.

TL;DR – Grieve with those who grieve

Pro-Tip #1

If you’re going to have a strong opinion on something, make sure it’s one worth fighting for. You may never know the quality of friends you’re passing over in order to remain right.

Sissies and the Men Who Fear Them


These belong to my 2-year-old son.  Why?  Because he loves Disney’s Frozen with reckless abandon.  As soon as I get home from work:  “Can watch Leddy Go, Dad?” I’m sure Disney backmasks subliminal messages into the main song. There’s no other explanation. Yes, my boy loves Elsa and Anna and I support him in his obnoxious obsession.

He plays with girl toys?! Some dads fear this would cause their boys to grow up effeminate. Some refuse to let their sons join ballet or sing in choir because these activities aren’t manly enough… meanwhile the mother, who has an absolute passion for the arts, is robbed of the opportunity of seeing her sons exercising their inherited talents.  The rationale varies, but the most common objection I hear is, “I don’t want my son growing up to be a sissy.”

Please realize that it’s not your child’s interests that measure the man, it’s your child’s heart.  Does my oldest son have an inherent desire to play with Barbies?  Nope.  Would he play with them for his sisters sake?  Yep.  Would he “man-up” and deny that it ever happened?  Absolutely not.  He’s altogether confident in who he isThis boldness is what wins the respect of his peers! He’s a defender who stands up for others and doesn’t distinguish between the outcast and the popular.  He’s learned to appreciate the interests of others and I couldn’t be prouder as a parent.

You can force your sons to play with G.I. Joes, but inwardly they’re pelting the world with frozen snowballs.  Give your kids the freedom to be honest about their interests… otherwise, they become the living embodiment of Conceal – Don’t Feel.  In my estimation, there’s no greater definition of weakness.

TL;DR – Prohibitions that are more about saving face than protecting innocence will inevitably lead to true frailty.

I want to hear you say it!


There’s a reason why this image absolutely crushes me. It’s a short exchange between my daughter’s iPod and my iPhone. The twist? I wasn’t a part of this conversation. She texted me and when I didn’t respond in a timely manner she found my phone and responded to herself.

Anyone who knows me realizes that there are no deficits of “I love you’s” between me and my children, but there are moments when they need to hear it at precisely the right time. I went and whispered this in her ear while she was sleeping but what I wouldn’t give to have sent this at 8:01 PM. This was her way of saying that she wanted to hear from ME and I intend to let her know that I’ve heard her loud and clear.

All that being said, If my son ever catches wind of this he’ll start texting himself from my phone with things like, “Hey, more video games!” I’ll need to play this carefully.

TL;DR – Pay attention to the ones you love. Gauge their love tank and make sure to fill it regularly with things that are meaningful to them.

I Name Drop… and You Should Too!

Crystal - Jovi

I asked on Facebook, “How many degrees separate you from someone famous?”  The replies I got back were fascinating! I mean, we all know a guy who knows a guy… but I found out that I was friends with someone who gets her own climatic frame in Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive video… It’s all, “I’ve seen a million faces, and I ROCKED them ALL!” – BOOM, there she is!  How she ever made it through middle-school without an entourage following her wherever she went will forever leave my mind blown.  Other lovely bits included folks who were related to the guy that wrote Human Nature on MJ’s Thriller album, an Alec Balwin plane ride, a friend who was in an undocumented Honda commercial and a couple of private messages about Jay Leno connections (I’m amazed at how many of my friends have met Jay Leno.)

I’m not sure why it’s so exhilarating to find connections with famous people, but perhaps it’s because we all want to feel a part of something greater than ourselves.  What’s even *more* exhilarating is knowing that you’re a part of someone ELSE’S story.  Have you ever met someone and they responded with, “Hey, I’ve heard of YOU!  So and so was telling me about *insert trivial fact here*.”  It’s cathartic.  It’s like that moment in Guardians of the Galaxy:


I try to make it a practice to name drop all the time.  My only problem is that I don’t know any famous people. I DO, however, know plenty of people who are just as worthy of mention.  Take time to boast about folks that NO ONE is talking about.  Talk about how much it lifted your spirits when Cara left a special note on your car window.  Talk about what a blessing it was when Nick covered your lunch when you were short on cash.  Call them out BY NAME.  It may or may not ever get back to them, but if it does, you’re one step closer to making them feel like they’re a part of something bigger.  There’s  a tapestry being woven… a greater story being told.  We’re all connected in at least a few ways and getting to be a part of that narrative is one of the highest honors I can imagine.

TL;DR – Speak openly of people’s good qualities and call them out by name. It strengthens them and encourages others.

Confession: We Would Bury Live Chickens


When we were little, my cousin and I thought it would be a great idea to grow chickens. I mean, seriously, can you really ever have too many? I remember distinctly going to the fridge, grabbing a dozen eggs, and taking them to the back yard.  He dug the hole, I placed the eggs.   After covering them with dirt and realizing it was 40 degrees outside, we knew we’d need a way to keep them warm.  I remember thinking that my mom’s comforter was perfect for the job so I placed it over the dirt pile. After digging the eggs up every 90 seconds and shaking them to hear the baby chickens inside, we finally gave up due to inclement weather. This is a memory I’ll never forget.  Looking back, however, the true magic was my mom allowing this nonsense to happen.  We were poor… much too needy to throw food away.  In her patience, she poured out some extravagant love and allowed us this little science experiment knowing full well that we would fail.  Was she spoiling us?  Absolutely not.  She made a calculated investment into our lives, allowing us to feel the thrill of exploration.  Everything I know about extravagance comes from a mother who refused to stop giving.  It cost her a dozen eggs, but helped us create a memory that will never be forgotten… plus, if we had succeeded… More eggs!

TL;DR – Don’t be afraid to be wasteful with the ones you love. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” -Jim Elliot

The Loneliest Number


All of us know someone who’s alone.  We all have a friend who is conditioned to ask for a table for one whenever they go out to catch lunch.  With the seasons changing, this feeling of isolation can be consuming.  The heart-ache associated with the memory of a parent or loss of a child is crippling.  Some of us wrestle with heroes who have let us down or friends who are no longer in the picture and the whole world seems to be upside down.  If you’re a person who feels like you have it somewhat together, start being intentional about being accessible to the silent and the brokenhearted.  Be present for someone, especially as we turn this corner into the upcoming holiday season.  It’s so easy to have the intention, but the follow-up can be life changing for someone else.  Please… notice someone this week.

If you happen to be the lonely one… the one who needs friendship right now… let someone know.   Don’t hint at it with vague status updates and out-of-the-blue blog sharing.  You might be surprised how many people need a friend like you, too.  Need a friend?  Please comment below.

TL;DR – Be a friend to someone.  You probably need each other just as much.

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