Thursday, October 25, 2012

Living in the Present(or Drifting with the Wind)

Over the past year - or maybe longer - I feel a change in myself. Not a drastic flip or any weird fundamental transformation, just an "easing" if one can call it that. It's nothing I can put my finger on but I definitely feel it. For all I know it's a function of getting older, but I suspect it's more than that.

For the longest time I felt like I've was just drifting through life, not taking control and descending into a rut where I would rather people just left me alone. This included my wife, my kids, my mother, my siblings, my friends and my co-workers. I was a daydreamer, a serious daydreamer. I was waiting for  this or that to happen so I could be free to pursue a real life. Of course those "things" never happened.

Last year I had some health issues - serious, yes, but I'm alright now. There's little doubt that this had an effect on my outlook, facing your mortality will do that I suppose. During the trying times I remember walking around our place and thinking I really need to buy one those, get one of these, fix up that, organize this before winter etc etc, and then stopping to think how utterly unimportant it all was. It was just stuff. Mostly stuff that will be tossed out when I'm gone anyway. The things I valued were just things. What I was missing was the value of the people in my life and the relationships I had put off. For so long, too long, people were a hassle to be endured - and that included myself. I needed to change that.

Don't for a minute think I've succeeded, not yet anyway. I am trying to stop, think and act like a decent human being, a citizen of a Godly kingdom instead of a self righteous, know-it-all of 21st century Earth. Reaching out, making an effort to connect and re-connect with family and friends or just engaging with the people in your daily walk is the first step. This is far more difficult than it would seem.

Our modern world has us focus on ourselves so much that we exclude or shut out everyone else. This busy, busy, hurry up existence saps our energy and provides the convenient excuse we all use to keep everything at arms length. I see it with young people, young men particularly. They build electronic/online relationships and then spend all their waking moments in cyber-land. They miss out on so much. For young women there's texting, e-mail and, of course, Facebook that gives the appearance of connecting with others but it's superficial at best. We ancients aren't immune to it - obviously - as I sit alone typing this out into an Internet blog.

The thing is computers, TV shows, football teams, smart phones and cars can disappoint us, but not like people do. People require real relationships, with these other things it's nearly always a one way street. They don't require much from us - no true emotion anyway. Our cats and dogs require a little love and attention but they give it back in spades, but people, people are so demanding - especially loved ones.

It's called living in the present, being present. It's difficult to do. When my wife and I started going to a new church earlier this year - a teaching church - this was one of the first "lessons". Being present, being engaged where you are with the people you're with. I am becoming convinced that it is the secret of success. And yes, this too, is difficult to do all the time.

Now that I'm conscious of the concept and have seen the benefit of engaging I plan to start to get involved with my own life - and then maybe I can pay attention to you too.


Sunday, October 21, 2012



20 x 24 acrylic

by Craig Willms

A commissioned painting (by my wife) for our good friend Jill. Ahti and Junior. Brothers, grown up and grown old together... I'm hoping this painting will help Jill remember these beloved dogs forever.

See more paintings at www.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Indespensible Tool for Listening to Joe Biden

Seriously though, would this face BS  you?


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A quiet, decent man

Perhaps one day the truth about the kind of person Mitt Romney is will come out. This most certainly won't be because of the mainstream media in the run up to the 2012 election. Once again as noted here before CBS at least shows some integrity. A while ago - in fact a few days before the attack in Benghazi, Libya - CBS revealed that Obama doesn't often attend his own daily intelligence briefings. Today they have run a story on their website (TV?) showing Romney in a flattering light, one that Romney himself won't elaborate on out of some sort of modesty.


That story begins in the aftermath of the wildfires that engulfed San Diego in the fall of 2007, consuming dozens of homes in Reed Fisher's neighborhood and nearly his own.

Fisher told CBS News the fire did burn a hole through a fence and caught the corner of his house.

While the house was being repaired Fisher got a call from a fellow Mormon, one of his son's friends, offering help. It was Matt Romney, one of Mitt Romney's five sons.

When asked what he said, Fisher said, "We would like to come help. We would like to come do something. And I said, 'Matt, I wish you could, but almost everything has been cleaned up.' But he pressed me, and I said, 'Well, there is this one thing. And I don't know if the insurance is going to cover it. There is a big tree stump in my front yard. They took the tree down, the tree was torched in the fire. But the stump was still there.' So Matt insisted, he said, 'We would like to bring a couple of guys and do some service at your house.'"

On that day, Fisher said he ran out to get some breakfast for the volunteers. Fisher said, "As I drove down to my house, there are four men working in the hole there, ... and one of them is running for President of the United States of America."

That man was Romney. When his son told him about the service project, he had asked if he could help.

"He had dirt under his fingernails," Fisher said. "He was the first one down the hole. He's the first one with the power saw. He's doing the hardest work of any of us."

And as Fisher made clear, not a single reporter was in sight.

"This wasn't a publicity event," Fisher said. "In fact, when they grew up as boys there was occasions where their dad...would get them up and they would go do a service project for someone."

There are other similar stories quietly creeping into the public conscience, but not because of Romney himself, but others who are dismayed by the "lying liar" label being foisted upon him.

One of the most compelling is the story of a business partner who's daughter was missing. Romney shut down Bain, his company, and organized the entire staff to help find the girl. They did. He was in no way seeking praise or triumph for himself he was genuinely helping a friend in need.

These are just a couple of unheralded examples of the kind of human being Mitt Romney is. He is among other thing a quietly decent man.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Great Debate

I wasn't going to watch the debate tonight and in fact I didn't. I turned on the radio while I filled the dishwasher and then went into to the office and worked on a painting while listening. I thought Romney was articulate and on his game, scoring points at will, President Obama, in contrast was a bit smarmy at times, filling his time with tired anecdotes and false premises of what a Romney presidency would do to the middle class.

I thought Romney won, clearly, but I was not prepared for the post debate analysis that is declaring it a blowout. Perhaps watching it on TV was much more compelling. Obviously the President didn't have much to go on. The country is in a world of hurt. It was hurting before he got the job (a job he wanted by the way) but it has gotten so much worse on his watch that his holster was completely out of bullets tonight. Romney, on the other hand, had the whole playground to run around in - as if he owned it.

Perhaps the memorable moment for me was Romney saying "But don't forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks, into -- into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?" The President was busy regurgitating his ads, misstating Romney's positions over and over, and setting up a straw men arguments.

The compelling sentiment for me was the number of times Romney had to say directly to the President "let me just start by saying virtually everything you just said is wrong" when rebutting Obama's critique of "Romney's" tax and deficit plans. Romney eventually said "you can choose your plane and your house but not your facts".

Right now on all the cable news shows they are declaring Romney the winner, hands down. Yes even MSNBC.