Category Archives: the living room

It’s Not Cool to Hate the Popularity Bubble-My Post at A Deeper Story

“We need to talk, Ed.”

My college roommate, Steve, sat down next to me on the couch where we roughly saw eye to eye. At 6’6”, it always seemed, to me at least, like there was too much of him. He crossed one leg over the other so that I could see his massive foot.

“I’m really concerned that you’re going to hurt Karen,” he began.

Steve didn’t know my girlfriend Karen personally. He hardly knew me. Between the basketball team, his girlfriend, and his many friends around campus, Steve wasn’t in our room all that often.

“Things are fine,” I assured him.

“I think she’s taking your relationship a lot more seriously than you are.”

Looking back, he was absolutely correct, but there was nothing I wanted more than for him to be wrong. In fact, I didn’t see how he could be right. It was impossible. We lived in two different worlds that rarely intersected. He lived in the popularity bubble, and I scratched together an existence outside of the bubble, vacillating between envy and hatred of those inside the bubble.

You’re wrong,” I said, mustering up a meager bit of courage to speak my mind with a sense of finality. “Karen and I have talked. Things are good.”

It was at best a half truth. We hadn’t really talked. Our talk was more like a check in—“Are you good? OK? Great!” I wanted Steve to know that I was on top of things.

Two months later everything fell to pieces, and I broke Karen’s heart. My check in hadn’t cleared up anything because I was a clueless, immature freshman. Steve had tried to help, but I wasn’t willing to listen to his advice. Steve lived in the popularity bubble, and we may as well have hailed from foreign countries with different customs and languages.


Shame Is Never Hidden-Even If We Can’t See It

If there’s one thing I hate doing on a Friday evening, it’s working on a plumbing project. It’s even worse if it’s in a tight space. And it’s especially miserable if a toilet is involved. A few weeks ago I had the holy trinity of plumbing misery, the hat trick of plumbing madness: a toilet project in a tight space on a Friday night.


This wasn’t a major repair. I just had to add a sprayer hose to our toilet for cloth diapering. Some may argue that the worst was yet to come (I’d be inclined to agree). Regardless, it was a really, really easy project.

I watched a video on YouTube just to make sure I had it right, worked my hand under the tank, gave the plastic washer a twist, and promptly sent water flooding the bathroom floor.

How did I manage to screw up a really simple project? I fiddled with it and mopped up my mess as I continued to struggle. This couldn’t be THAT hard?

As if a button had just been pushed, I started to fume, thinking angry thoughts and getting frustrated with myself. It evolved and compounded and expanded until I was completely undone, hardly able to think logically.


The Small Letting Go with Children

Ethan-side-cribI’m posting over at A Deeper Family today. Here’s a bit from my post:

My wife and I stood in the kitchen weeping as we held each other.

We weren’t making up from a fight.

Everyone in our family was healthy.

The problem was that our little boy had nearly outgrown his side crib—a crib that I’d made for him over the summer with my own hands, cutting the wood, fitting it together, sanding it down, staining it, and attaching it to the side of our bed. Ethan had grown long and wild, and now he was kicking at the end and whacking his left arm into the side.

He needed to move into his big crib full time, and the thought of it tore at our hearts…

Read the rest over at A Deeper Family.

In Which My Son Is Saving My Life Right Now

The other day Sarah Bessey asked, “What is saving your life right now?” Here’s my response:

I’m typing this post as fast as my fingers can fly across the keyboard since Ethan is waking up from his nap. He’s been in my life for 15 days now, and he has already left his mark.

He interrupts my sleep, my meals, my work, and my leisure time.

I burp him, change him, sit with him, and interpret his feeding cues. I wash his diapers and hang them on the line. I wipe the floor each day around his changing table because there’s always that one time when I don’t anticipate his active little bladder.

He fills my life to the point that I don’t have all that much time for sports, work, or even finishing my lunch.

This filling is wonderful. I used to spend so much time writing, working, and thinking about work. I took on projects that weren’t sustainable. I failed to stop and relax.

Julie always says she’s amazed when she sees me reading a book on the couch. That’s because I usually spend my free time either doing house work, gardening, or writing. I rarely think to just sit down and be still.

Ethan demands my full attention. He often demands that I be still with him—or at least as still as you can get in a rocking chair.

Ethan won’t let me multi-task with my writing.

Ethan forces me to stop working, stop cleaning, stop fixing things, and to just sit with him. He is a huge weight that stops me in my tracks and reminds me of just how fast I’ve been moving.

I can’t imagine much else stopping me. My wife and I spend  our free time together, but with her graduate school work, I can easily work a long week alongside her. Ethan has changed all of that.

The most important work will remain. I’m sure of that. The work I do is, in part, something I’m building for him one day. That’s a conversation I look forward to having with him: explaining that I’m building a career that I fit around him. The key is that he needs to be the focus of my home life now.

He’s already doing a marvelous job of occupying his space at the center of our lives. My wife and I do things together with him, and I can see how much we enjoy our new “mutual interest.”

My work will probably suffer for a season. I don’t know how I’ll ever find time to comment on blogs or to keep my own posts going, but that’s OK. As long as I give Ethan the time he needs, I’ll be just fine.

Read more posts at Sarah’s blog…

On Vacation Until June 25th

Starting June 15th Julie and I will be traveling to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island until June 25th. We plan on camping at some state/provincial parks along the way, and therefore we’ll not only be out of cell phone range (our carrier only works in the US), but we don’t plan on accessing internet often, if at all.

That means this blog, my e-mail account, and my social media accounts will be quite silent. We may run into an internet cafe and check in from time to time, but don’t expect much from me until the end of June. If you have an urgent message, check out for my e-mail address or contact form. I’ll check that before anything else.

If you want to learn more about a typical post here, scroll down for a list of the most popular posts. You can also sign up for e-mail updates at the top of the center column so you don’t miss a thing when I return. I also have a monthly e-mail newsletter that will go out a bit late in June.

Thanks for dropping by. I pray that this time off will lead to some great posts and conversations when I return.

To read some great blogs in my absence, check out:

Instead of Posting a Passive Aggressive Status Update, Use This…

I’m not in a passive aggressive mood today.

I was feeling that way last week. In fact, I was aggravated about a couple of things that seemed to be piling up all at once.

I was tempted to post a passive aggressive status update. Of course we all know that such things are not constructive, may offend others, and may leave us worse off than before. I thought that I needed a passive aggressive pass…

So I figured, well… Why not? It could be a handy way to confess I’m not in the best state, while still allowing me to post “something.” I wouldn’t be bottled up, but I wouldn’t be venting anything harmful.


I know you probably are all jealous and stuff, but don’t worry. Before you’re tempted to post your own passive aggressive message about my awesome idea, you too can download the pass or link to it. Enjoy! 😉


A Step by Step Guide to Create Your Wife a Valentine’s Day Card

The other day I picked up a Valentine’s Day card for my wife. I looked through about 30 different cards before I found one that closely resembled my sentiments for her. After scanning through sooooo many lame cards with dog heads on human bodies, terrible puns, and overblown sentimentality, I realized that I could do this.

And so can you.

After my thorough twenty minute study of the card section of our local store, I realized that there’s a certain formula to the typical Valentine’s Day card. The clip art, photos, and background may vary, but most cards will include a number of key ingredients—that is, most cards they try to sell you for $3. This has nothing to do with quality mind you.

As a writer I’d like to lend my talents to all of the men out there who are sweating out finding the Valentine’s Day card. Will you find the right card for your wife? Now you don’t have to. I have it all laid out for you.

If you’re still too intimidated, I created a generic card that utilizes all of the “top practices” of the greeting card industry. It’s a totally free AND totally awesome download that you can print out and sign in seconds while expressing all of the best sentiments of Valentine’s Day cards.


How to create an awesome Valentine’s Day card for your wife…

Step One

On page one make a list of your flaws. Keep in mind, this is a list of suggestions… I’m not indicting myself here! Well, OK, I do break the plumbing way too often, but I can explain…

  • I watch too much TV.
  • I don’t pick up my clothes.
  • I break plumbing when trying to fix it.
  • I never say nice things to my wife.
  • I have poor hygiene.

Step Two

On page two list the reasons why you appreciate your wife.

  • She’s patient and understanding.
  • She picks up after me.
  • She has good hygiene.

Step Three

On page 3 tell her how you feel.

  • I’m so lucky you married a loser like me.
  • I’m incomplete without you, like a taco without cheese.
  • I can’t imagine living without you… Really, I’d probably die.
  • Happy Valentine’s Day… or something like that.

Step Four

Use a nice font like Edwardian Script.

Step Five

Print it out and sign it.


Not sure you can hack it? Then download my awesome card FOR FREE!!!