All Things Wise and Unpopular?

Is has been said that what is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. Einstein said that, I believe. 

I remember when I read that for the first time. It was in my seventh grade choir teacher’s class room above the chalk board. I didn’t start choir until eighth grade, but I had her for another class. And yes, I did say chalk board. For you spring chickens, it’s what we used in school before the dry erase board and before projection boards. 

I studied that line for several minutes to let it sink in. Soon, I began to recall other lines I knew. “If it feels good, do it” was one of the other ones that was popular at the time. I like the counter line that says something along he lines of “no, everyone is not doing it.” 

My mom would always tell us to do what she said and not what she did. “Do what I say, not as I do.” I used to always think this was a great thing to say because I heard it all the time. Then I grew up. 

We all grew up with those one-liners spoken as if they were a rule to live by. Some of them were and still are very useful to this day. One of them is “because I am the parent and I said so.” 

What do I mean by the title of this post? All things wise and Unpopular? Many of the things our parents said just aren’t that wise in the end. Truth is that the things that give us the most wisdom to live by, we don’t want to hear because they take the fun away from what we want to do. 

Bottom line is be careful what you do. Strive to do the right thing even if it means getting the shaft. 


A Man’s Man

I have read all the books on being a man and how to get there. I have read all the articles that talk about a man’s man. With each new insight, I walked away feeling even more depressed than I was before I read the newest tip.

I picture a man’s man as one who is masculine in every way and loves activities that are masculine in nature. Such things include hunting, fishing, camping, regular trips to the gym, sports, fixing things and the list goes on.

Growing up without a masculine influence left me wondering what it really means to be a man. What I am about to say will make some raise their eyebrows and get the wrong idea of my intent. To straighten things up right now, I am not nor have I ever been gay. That being said, I always feel out of place or less of a man when I am around what I consider a man’s man. I always want to spend as much time as possible with that person in hopes that somehow I might become a better man. Somehow if I spend a lot of time with that type of guy, something will rub off on me and I will suddenly become what I long to be as a man.

But I have learned something along the way. God created me how He wanted me to be. I have learned that the more I long for that masculinity I feel I am lacking, the more depressed I get and the more hopeless I feel.

Someone once told me it’s okay that I didn’t play sports growing up. That it was okay that I wasn’t part of the jock crowd because my love of music was part of what made me who I am.

Maybe you can relate. I think men in general all have that one image they desperately want to portray. John Eldredge wrote a book called Wild at Heart that addresses this desire. In it he writes that all men have a desire in their hearts to go back to nature, my paraphrase. He writes about a longing in our hearts to be that masculine man we want to be.

If you find yourself in that place, I want to encourage you to be happy with who you are unless you are in an unhealthy state and need to change. While it’s okay to admire other men who seem to have figured it out, don’t become obsessed. It is impossible to be someone you are not. If God had wanted you to be just like Harison Ford, You would have been born Harison Ford.

I also want to encourage you to find a “masculine” activity that you can do alone or with a group of other guys. Maybe a camping trip or an afternoon shooting. While not a permeates solution, it really does help fill that need to be a man’s man.


I was watching The Waltons yesterday and it hit me like a ton of bricks. If you’re a fan of the show, you might know what I’m talking about.

“Daddy” was a staple word in the show. All of the kids young and old alike call their dad that. At first, I thought it was kind of weird for a grown man to call his dad daddy, but after a while, it grew on me. Then I began to understand why.

The kids had strong relationship with their dad. The Bible uses the word abba, which is a word that suggests intimacy. In other words, it suggests a deep, loving bond between father and child.

Today when one gets called daddy, it is almost always in a dimeaning context and often has a sexual connotation. There’s also the sugar-daddy thing. in each of these contexts, there is an element of being old, much older, than the younger lady.

They say that a girl will usually look for a husband just like her daddy. The idea is that daddy better treat his baby girl right so she knows what to look for in her future husband. The same is true for a mother and son bond, except that a boy will look for a woman like his mom because he will always need a motherly figure in his life to tell him what to do. Well, that’s what I imagine about the mom and son bond.

For real, though, a boy will always need his mom in his life, but there comes a time when mom isn’t enough. He needs his daddy to teach him how to be a man and how to work hard to provide for his family should he ever have one someday. Mom is always gonna be there for her little boy, even when he is a grown man. Mom will be there to wipe his tears away and kiss the boo-boos. Daddy will be there to kick his butt when he needs some sense knocked into him.

In an ideal world, the above would be normal.

I am gonna be real for a minute. The man who should have been my daddy left when I was real young. I grew up without my daddy being involved in my life. My mom did remarry when I was a young teenager, and I am now 37. Even as an adult man, I have a very difficult time thinking of him in terms of dad. I have been able to drop the “step” part when talking about him around other people, but have never been able to call him “daddy” much less “dad.” I believe this is because I grew up without my dad when I was really in need of one and when I did get one, he also grew up without a dad. So, it has really been a challenge for me not knowing even by my step dad what being a dad is all about.

Being a dad has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things in my life. I don’t claim to have it all down, but all of my kids call me dad and the youngest ones call me daddy. Makes me feel loved and special.




Tips For a Happy Wife

Here it is guys. I am going to share with you husbands some things I have learned about marriage. Some things might be funny and others not so much.

1. There are three dates you are required to remember. Forever. Your first date, her birthday and your wedding date. All three dates will become national holidays for the rest of time.

2. No matter what she tells you, your wife really does need a break from being mom sometimes.

3. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean the romance stops. Always take time out for just the two of you if you have kids. And yes, Grandma can take the kids for a night or two.

4. No matter what she says, your wife really does like to be surprised with gifts. They don’t have to be expensive. Flowers work very well. Pay attention to what flowers she likes best.

5. Make sure you have a dog house just in case you make her mad and doesn’t let you share the bed. Just kidding. Settle all arguments before you go to bed. It doesn’t pay to wake up grumpy and still mad at each other.

6. If your wife asks your opinion about a new shirt or pair of pants, give it to her, even if you have to make it up. But be honest. Don’t tell her you like it if you really don’t.

7. Don’t try to turn your wife into something she isn’t. If she didn’t dress like a fashion diva when you met her, don’t try to turn her into one.

8. Learn how to clean the house. It can lead to some fun times behind closed doors if you know what I mean.

9. You know that saying, “What’s your’s is mine and what’s mine is your’s”? It’s simply not true. What’s yours is hers and what’s her’s is her’s. There is just now other way.

10. If you got kids, teach them not to disrespect momma.

11. If you got kids, love them and invest quality time with them. Teach them to value themselves, life and other people. Most of all, teach them to love God

12. If any of you thought the cartoon at the top was what marriage is all about, much more needs to be learned.

If Only Those Eyes Could Talk

I work at an adult foster home. Since I have been here, I have worked with about 12 different people.I have been able to connect with some pretty good people, whether resident or their families. But I want to talk about Charlie. I have changed his name for privacy reasons.

Charlie came to us just over a year ago. November 2, 2015, to be exact. One week after his birthday. He had been a local pharmacist for 50 years or so and loved his work. Toward the end of his career, Charlie began to show symptoms of dimentia. Soon, he would begin to have seizures, which would eventually leave him speechless. Oh, he could say a few things, but it was very much like talking with cotton in your mouth and he would not be and be to complete the thought.

Charlie had this look about him that said he loved life and was a very happy man. Often I would catch him just staring outside as if lost in thought. He smiled all the time because that was all he could do to let you know what he was thinking or that he was willing to be cooperative with what you asked him to do.

His eyes were full of expression. Many times when I would talk to him about things, those eyes would just fix on me and what I was saying. Charlie really was interested in what I had to say. I felt he wanted to talk back so many times, but because of his illness, he was unable to. So, he would simply smile very big, gaze at me, and on his better days, I would hear him say, “yeah,” or “ok.”

One day I could see he was having a rough time. I knew he was having a struggle not being able to at least talk and tell us how he was feeling. I decided to pray with him and when I finished, he had been wiping the tears from his eyes. I knew that meant a lot to him.

Charlie almost always gave me a hard time when it came time for his meds. toward the end of his road, and many times throughout his stay here, he would fight taking his pills. It was as if a little kid was refusing to cooperate with a doctor or a nurse. A lot of times, I would have to disguise the pill in order to put it in his mouth. But Charlie was not dumb. He would grab your hand just before you got the spoon of applesauce or pudding to his mouth and look at it as if making sure it was safe. Sometimes, I would give him a pain pill and instead of swallowing it, Charlie would either keep it in his mouth and let it dissolve or he would chew it up. I’ll never know how he could tolerate that bitter taste.

I learned something from Charlie during the few months he was with us. Learn how to love life and enjoy it. Love your family and love them huge.

When Charlie passed, I was upset. I knew it was happening, but I didn’t want to accept it. He reminded my of my own grandpa with that twinkle in his eyes. Charlie left behind his wife and two grown kids, and his mother in-law. The kids live in different cities, but his wife and mother in-law still live here locally. They are a very special family. Whenever I visit them, they are so very gracious and kind. Charlie’s son looks just like him. The last time I saw Tim (name changed), I thought I was looking at his dad. I almost choked up.

I will always remember Charlie and the joy he was for me.

Christmas Orange, Yellow, and Red

As much as I hate when time changes, or daylight savings ends, I always love this time of year when the leaves change from green into red, yellow, and orange. There is just something about the autumn season with all the colors of the leaves and the crisp, aroma that flows through the air.

I make it a point every evening to go walk around my neighborhood twice. The first time is with my lab, Jet, and the second time is by myself. While I am out, my nose often gets filled with the many different aromas that remind me of my childhood. I have always loved being outside this time of year because there is something magical in the air.

The smell of fireplaces coming from the houses in my neighborhood   at the end of the day takes me back to my grandparent’s trailer house in the woods of Custer, South Dakota. They had a wood burning stove and a small lumber mill in their back yard. The smells were intoxicating. Everytime I smell a fireplace here, I am immediately transported back there.

But it quickly leads me to thinking about Christmas, my favorite time of year. It is also my least favorite holiday because so many people have turned it into a “buy-this-buy-that” holiday. I hate that when I find something I want to get for the kids, I can’t because I don’t have the money. I hate how he magic seems to be tied to how much you spend on your loved ones. Yet I know that is not what it is all about. It’s about giving, loving and being together.

But then, there are the cookies and the candy and the lights and the decorations. I remember my uncle’s house being the best lit house in the neighborhood.

I don’t know about you, but I learned that there is a right and wrong way to put lights on the tree. I apparently do it the wrong way. I guess for whatever reason between my wife and my mom, I will never be able to do the lights right, which would be my way. See, my mom firmly believes you can never have too many lights and ornaments on a tree. She has been known to have over 2000 lights on her tree at one time. She has at least five sets just on one layer of branches. Her tree is so bright that you can’t see the tree they are on. You can almost see it from space. Okay, maybe not, but pretty close. And let’s not start on the ornaments. The tree has so many ornaments on it that it competes with the lights. My mom could easily decorate two more trees with what she puts on one tree.

Anyone else have moms like that? Even though it’s not how I would do my tree, I don’t think Christmas would be the same if mom didn’t do her tree that way.

It’s just part of what makes Christmas for me. The lights, smells and decorations, however, don’t make Christmas without the snow. I grew up with white Christmases every year. Then I came to the west coast of Oregon. I have seen it snow maybe twice in ten years and neither time was for Christmas. The snow really makes the magic.