The Rewards of Fatherhood, Fitness and Frugality
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Category — The Abyss of My Soul

50 Things My Parents Taught Me

Granddaddy and Duchess

Granddaddy and Duchess

Not long ago I was driving along and I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. I can’t recall exacly what it said but the following is proximal:

“Do not worry about whether or not your children listen to what you say. Worry that your children see what you do.”

I immediately thought of the babies and what they might be learning not from what I say, but from what I do. I thought of what my parents taught me. And when I think back, they really did teach me a lot. And most of it just by going through their daily lives. They weren’t big on the “son, it’s time we had a talk about the birds and bees” pow-wow sessions. In fact, the heart to hearts didn’t really start happening until I was out of college. And usually, I initiated those conversations. But nonetheless, I have learned and am still learning so much from my parents.

They celebrated another wedding anniversary a last June. They’ve been married for 50 years. Contemplating that, I felt a little pride brew up. Not that this accomplishment, if you can or should even call it that, was mine. I just felt like my parents have been able to do something which is difficult. In that moment of pride I posted they’d been married for 50 years on Facebook. The general response was overwhelmingly positive and folks seemed to be “wowed” by it. Which got me to thinking even more. Should a long marriage create such a wow-factor? [Read more →]

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January 3, 2013   1 Comment


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

– Max Ehrmann

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May 7, 2012   No Comments

F*ck You, “Can’t”

You exist in the subconscious without opposition. It’s but a quick trip to the tongue, where you roll off with ease. And with no real impediment, you penetrate the minds of those within earshot. But the utterance of you is not even necessary. You seep from the pores of those who let you live in them. You hang in the air like a foul stench. A simple waving of the hand in front of our nose doesn’t always rid you. You are resilient. You are very convincing. So much “evidence” proves you right. And before any of us know it, we are a slave to you.

To jump, to run, to improve, to love, to live, to earn, to forgive, to forget, to change. You will convince us none of this is within our grasp. To be intelligent, to recover, to heal, to be strong, to let ourselves cry, to take risk, to be happy, to be extraordinary. You will keep us from a life fulfilled if we allow you. [Read more →]

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January 12, 2011   1 Comment

Knowing Versus Doing

When I was in college I had a professor who knew just about everything. He could intelligently articulate some knowledge on nearly any subject. It was soon after entering his Urban Studies class that I discovered how this was so. His office consisted of three very large rooms filled to the brim with books. And I don’t mean books stacked neatly on shelves like you might find at your local Border’s Books. I mean, no-room-to-walk, filled with books. I’m sure he had upwards of 10,000 books, magazines and newspapers crammed in those three rooms.

The first time I visited his office, I asked had he read all those books. Without hesitation he said, “Yes.” I don’t know why but it struck me as one of the best things I’d ever heard. The pursuit of knowledge in and of itself just appealed to me. I thought to myself, “I want to know all there is to know about a bunch of stuff. I’m going to have a library like this too.” Over the next twenty years (sigh!), I’ve accumulated a hodgepodge collection of books, newspapers and magazines. And yes, I’ve read most of these items in whole and all at least in part.

A partial glimpse of my library

A partial glimpse of my library

As was my goal, over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge over a modest array of topics. However, as I’ve gotten older and perhaps a natural byproduct of doing so, I’ve become less interested in learning about a wide range of topics. I haven’t thought about that change too deeply, but every now and again the thought pops in my head as to why this might be so. I’ve brushed it off as simply being in a reading slump or being occupied with other things. But I’m also filled with the thought it’s more to it. [Read more →]

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December 8, 2009   2 Comments

Love Jones, Lions and Loyalty

The other day I told you I would be real-er and honest-er. I want those who come to this site to have a good idea of who I am. In attempting to be more open-book, I imagine in some instances I will be toeing the line of making a fool out of myself. But everybody plays the fool sometimes. There is no exception to this rule. (Hmm, that sounds familiar.)

I am not saying I want you to know me so well that we have to be BFFs or anything. But I think when you read you should offered the context of me. Of course you will not get it all in one sitting. I can’t go that deep. I can give you a little something. In terms of subject matter, there are three places I can start. Things I’d really rather not tell but would rather it be me than someone else, things you should know about me and things I’d like you know about me. So I put together this quick, preliminary list.

I absolutely, positively and wholeheartedly love these two ladies with all my heart and soul.

The Babies

The Babies

I am not foolhardy enough to think my relationship with each of them will always be happy-go-lucky. I know plenty of grown women who are estranged from their fathers for one reason or another. I hope The Babies and I are spared this fate. 

I won’t always understand them and they will not always understand me. They will not always like me. I hope they will each forgive my past, present and future f’ups and foibles. One thing is for certain, I’m going to work my rear end off to always let them know I love them and would do anything for each of them no matter if we’re together or apart or wherever else our lives lead each of us.

I smoked marijuana when I was 17 years old and never touched it again. I didn’t get what the big deal was. I have never done any other illegal drugs, I don’t smoke and I rarely drink alcohol. I have to admit though I think smoking and drinking are kinda cool looking. I defy anyone to tell me Humphrey Bogart wasn’t smooth as silk in every movie he ever did. He was chain-smoking and binge-drinking in every one of those movies. Legend has it he was smoking and drinking like it was going out of style in his personal life too. Apparently, it’s what contributed to his death. He was probably smooth as silk in the coffin too. Yeah, I think I’ll continue to stay away from the drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. [Read more →]

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March 26, 2009   15 Comments

Moving Toward An Open-Book Life

I value privacy. I value mine. I value yours. I feel like some things we have are simply our own and should not have to be shared with the world. Some things should not have to be shared with even your closest loved ones. Your thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and emotions are yours. It should be your choice if you want to share them or not. I, on a fundamental and deeply rooted level, have always felt this.

However, when I really think about it, my regard for privacy has not served me the way I expected or wanted. In some ways it has hurt me. To exercise privacy requires the active withholding of some information. The upside is you prevent people from judging your every nook and cranny. Get out of there! This is why diaries used to have locks. But there is a downside to being private. Inevitably, the private person allows room for others to implant or supplement a false reality about you, your feelings, your abilities and your intentions where there is a lack of information. While many times this may have no consequence on your life, in many ways I’ve found it to be detrimental in my life. Especially in my personal relationships.

I’ve been called mysterious, sneaky, someone with an agenda, up to something and the like just because I did not wish to disclose every aspect of my life. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am not mysterious or sneaky or anything else. I’m just private. My thoughts are mine, my ideas are mine, my feelings are mine. Mine! Mine! Mine! I do not wish to share it all. What I do share I feel is enough of a representation of me that you can get to know the “who” of who I am. With the things that I don’t share, I am just simply more comfortable having an internal dialogue with myself about those things. I don’t want you to know. Mind your business!

But here’s the thing. I know I’m fighting a losing battle. Privacy in this world is becoming elusive if not yet non-existent. We are living in a world moving toward being an open-book society.  [Read more →]

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March 21, 2009   18 Comments