Saturday, September 29, 2007

Schedule time for blog posts

I realize that I'm not fully taking advantage of this blog. I had all the best intentions, but I've spent nearly all of my time lately enjoying the presence of my family, diving into the new job and spending hours getting up to speed, or traveling to and from work. There are only a couple times typically when I might stop to assemble blog-worthy thoughts, and regretfully it's either when I am lying in bed at night or when I'm captive on a plane. In any given day there are dozens of situations that lead to streams of memories, spontaneous prayers of thanks to God for his goodness and grace, and sometimes new ideas. Even the one-sided conversations that I have in my mind could find some resolve in such posts, but instead they remain frustratingly imprisoned and doomed to be forgotten. So I haven't figured out when or how to consistently disengage from these moments and channel the inspiration into writing. I'll schedule time for it, which has worked for other worthwhile habits, and we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

All Pro Dad Article Published

One of the things I believe God has called me to do is reach out to dads, or guys thinking about being dads, who might be considering adoption. All Pro Dad asked if they could republish my story from a couple years ago. I made some updates and it was sent out as the “Play of the Day” on September 7 to almost 31,000 e-mail recipients, mostly men. I’ve had some really great responses from dads who have adopted, and others who are currently contemplating the decision with their wives and can relate to some of the concerns that I addressed. Feel free to pass it along to anyone you know who might benefit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Insights and Faith of My Teenage Son

Most on my mind today is my son Landen’s MySpace entry last night which describes his eighth grade weekend retreat called Fall Forward, the purpose of which Landen more aptly explains in his piece. From a parent’s perspective, it is one of the most overwhelming and satisfying sensations to read your thirteen year-old’s writing, more intelligent and insightful that most adults I know if asked to describe what they learned at a weekend church retreat. (See it on Melissa’s blog)

Reading Today: Simplicity, Focus

After finishing The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris on my flight to Fort Worth this morning, I date the last page and then grab this week’s Entertainment Weekly. Anyone else tired of seeing Britney in the news? The very first thing I read, since I read magazines back to front, is Stephen King’s column on traveling across Australia with his friend Carter Withey. He writes about how for the whole month of August he saw no movies and no news, realizing that “so much of what we watch, read and listen to… is disposable crap.” His piece simply reinforces what I’ve just finished reading in the Ferris book, that I do tend to distract myself too often with less meaningful activities, delaying what I know is time better spent on improving life, connecting with people who might share my career goals, going deeper in the gospel, or simply enjoying a shared experience with my family without the pressure of my perceived must-do’s. Ferris talks of eliminating “excuses for senseless pseudowork procrasturbating.” That’s hilarious, but so true.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Economy Plus

As if the antiquated notion of first class wasn't bad enough (I still don't get the sheer curtain that doesn't really hide anything but clearly sends the message that people in the front shan't be bothered), now there’s a new class in the middle of the plane: On United they call it “Economy Plus.” Anyway, you have all these extra seats that nobody wanted to upgrade to for an extra forty bucks or whatever, so instead we all sit closer than ever, knees pressed firmly against the magazine pouch on the back of the seat in front of us, praying that the guy in that seat won’t figure out how to use the recline function. I’m sure the idea thrown around in the sales & marketing think tank was something like: We could increase revenue by getting more seats in the back and charge the same as before, plus use the extra space left over to sell premium seats; but we can’t take away first class and their private lavatory, so we’ll leave that alone. And the please-use-the-lavatory-in-your-ticketed-cabin-because-this-is-for-security-purposes-and-for-your-safety thing just doesn’t make any sense. And I don't rant very often, so let me also mention that it must be hard for those poor airline attendants, because the same people ticked about not being able to move forward to an empty "Economy Plus" seat are also grimacing at the offer to purchase snack packs or headphones. So let this be my public declaration that United Airlines, among others that, frankly, are too much like them to tell the difference, could learn something from Southwest. They do it one easy way, they’re very successful, and they rule.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Frequent traveler

Because I’ve traveled weekly since the end of May, people often say, “You must be racking up those frequent flyer points!” The unfortunate truth is that I’ve earned only one ticket from Southwest, for which I’m grateful of course, but in our attempt to go budget in every way possible I’ve had to go with the cheapest available prices no matter which carrier I ended up with. Here’s how I commuted to work during the 14 weeks of summer: Twenty-six flights on six different airlines, fourteen car rentals with seven different companies, and only three nights at a motel before I was in my apartment. No points awarded for that! I also traveled around town using the T (Fort Worth transit buses), TRE (Trinity Railway Express), Coach USA (bus from Chicago to South Bend), airport shuttle, taxi, and walking.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Going home

On September 5, 2004, we were flying back home to San Diego after visiting my brother Paul and his family in Mishawaka, Indiana. It was that day, on that plane, that we decided it was time to sell our house in Eastlake, leave a good job at Kaiser Permanente and our dear family and friends, and embark on an adventure in the Midwest.

On September 5 this past week I was back in San Diego exploring a new job opportunity at Kaiser, and today while waiting in Cleveland for my connecting flight back to South Bend, my new boss called and told me that he’d received the approvals he needed to bring us to San Diego.

The adventure continues,
The one year plan is underway,
And we’re going home.

Getting ready to sell

When I turned on my cell phone in Cleveland on the way back from San Diego, I had a text from Melissa: "Oh my gosh! We might already have a buyer!" Within a few hours after Melissa and our real estate agent, Kristi, had arranged a meeting for this Sunday, Kristi called back and said she might already have a buyer for our house. So right now while I’m on the plane writing this, Melissa and her good friend Berette are at home working hard to prepare our basement to show. Apparently the prospective buyer wants a finished basement. We think they'd like ours (photo on right), so we'll see.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Finally a blogger

I want to thank my wife, Melissa, for setting up this blog spot for me. Writing has long been an outlet for me but only privately; the benefit has been my own without an audience or the possibility of interaction. And yet I'm highly driven by, dependent on, and drawn toward other people.

So far I've merely inserted some of my journal entries from this past summer traveling back and forth between home and Fort Worth, Texas, where I've been working. I'll add more, but probably just new stuff unless something I've written before ties together nicely with something I'm thinking in the present.

In the spirit of C.S. Lewis' Shadowlands or N.T. Wright's metaphor, I hope that my story might be a mere echo, faint and flawed as it is, that leads you to the voice of the One telling the real and true story.