Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Time is Precious I Know...

That's right. Culture Club.

I need more time. Am I the only one? Surely not. There's just too much I want (and often need) to do to fit in 24 hours or even one piddly lifetime:

  1. Family time
  2. Family devotions
  3. Mountain biking
  4. Trail running
  5. Motorcycle/Classic car restoration
  6. Creating art
  7. So much reading (nearly 200 books on my to-read list)
  8. Woodworking
  9. Learning (art, martial arts, languages, etc)
How do I prioritize when it's clear there are things I'll likely never do? It's one thing to put something like Trail Running over Woodworking and say I'll do this first and the other second. That works if I have 90 minutes and I know I need 45 for each. Easy enough. But what if I only have 45 minutes? Then I'm really saying I'll do this instead of this.

If I try to fit everything in, it seems like I end up doing nothing all that well. I'm well rounded but mediocre. No focus. Also, I'm very tired.

I started this post about the time I took my break from publishing posts nearly 2 years ago.  It's sad to see how little has changed on my list in that time.

In the words of the bard: Time won't give me time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Dr. Meg Meeker

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
by Dr. Meg Meeker

Ballantine Books

As you may or may not know, we recently welcomed a new baby girl to our family. I'm also the first to admit that I don't know the first thing about girls. Never have. In raising our daughter, I need whatever help I can get.

I heard about Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know via Dave Ramsey's recommended reading list. Reading it was an eye-opening experience for me. I told my wife that it made me want to lock up all our kids (girls and boys) until they were thirty. There are a lot of scary, scary things in the world. It's a predatory society in which we live. And I am only partly talking about people deliberately trying to harm your daughter. But that's far from everything. On top of the obvious threats, it's clear that the world does not have the best interests of your child in mind. Kids are exposed to adulthood far too early. They play grown-up before they can even begin to understand what that means.

While I don't promote living in a constant state of paranoia, I really don't promote naivety. Kids--yes, even teens--are not grown ups. They need guidance. They need protection. Providing these things are the job of the parent. If the parent doesn't, someone else will. Kids will look to celebrities, friends, other parents, Victoria's Secret, and any number of other sources to decide what adulthood is. We can't trust those sources. And we can't expect politicians (despite their banner waving) or teachers to raise our kids. They can't. And it's not their job.

There's really too much for me to cover in any sort of detail. The table of contents hits the big points:

  1. You Are the Most Important Man in Her Life
  2. She Needs a Hero
  3. You Are Her First Love
  4. Teach Her Humility
  5. Protect Her, Defend Her
  6. Pragmatism and Grit: Two of Your Greatest Assets
  7. Be the Man You Want Her to Marry
  8. Teach Her Who God Is
  9. Teach Her to Fight
  10. Keep Her Connected
Raising kids is a big task. It cannot be done with passivity. Man up. Yeah...I said that.

And God help the kid that tries to date my baby girl.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goals Twenty-Ten

I welcome 2010. I'm going to own 2010. I think it's going to be a good year.

Like so many others at this time of year, I'm putting together some goals for the future. Goals have been a popular subject on the Dave Ramsey show recently. You can read/listen to a recent call about goal setting here. It was a good call. Dave identified several categories for goal setting: Career, Financial, Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, and Family. I've given these some thought and here's my initial list. I'll leave them open to ongoing review.


  • Do something with those picture books I've written. Write that cover letter. Send it out. That fits under Career, right?.

  • Tweak our envelope system. Already done.
  • Bump up college savings.
  • Replenish our savings (just bought a new HVAC system for the house...ouch).
  • Work on long range savings (vacation, car, etc).

  • Finish this read-through of the Bible.

  • Dig into my non-fiction reading list. At least one per month. Probably two with some fiction thrown in.

  • Run a local 5k trail run in the spring.
  • Put on another 10-15 pounds.

  • Family/Couples Devotions. Also falls under Spiritual
  • Family Vacation!

A less tangible goal for the year would be to pursue my strengths. That is, spend less time worrying about my weaknesses and, instead, invest more into what I do well. That doesn't mean I'll slack off on things I don't enjoy activities where I don't feel gifted. I just not worry about it as much. God gave me my strengths for a reason.

The real question, of course, is whether I'll follow through with this goals.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Soul Searching

I've been doing some soul searching recently.Maybe it's the New Year. Maybe it's our new baby girl. Whatever it is, I've been asking myself a lot of questions.

  1. What am doing?
  2. Where am I going?
  3. Is this what I want to be doing?
  4. Is this where I want to go?
Conveniently, these questions have fit in well with a couple other outside influences. I've been reading Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson. I may review it later but, related to this post, the book references a quotation:

All men dream: but not equally, Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
T.E. Lawrence from The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
It's not dreams that make the dreamers dangerous. No, it's the action. It's making those dreams real that's dangerous. I've been dreaming for, well, forever, but I haven't necessarily been dangerous. I need me some danger. I need to put legs on my dreams.

The second thing I've read recently came from an unlikely place. There's a site dedicated to, well, James Bond. Yes, 007. And, yes, I check the site out periodically. Anyway, there was a posting about finding your mission. Not necessarily infiltrating a villain's island hideout (sign me up) but identifying and pursuing you're own mission. Making the sacrifices for the greater reward. Always moving toward the goal. Huh? Life by 007.

I believe we achieve exactly what we set out for. It's all nicey-nice to set goals and say you're doing something but, if those dream just sit there in your head (or even on a blog) and you're comfortable where you are, you're not really trying. If, you set out for more of the same, you'll almost certainly achieve it. Pursue those goals...well...that's something different altogether.

To that end, I'm working on my goals for 2010. I see it being a big year. Huge.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nerdy Excitement!

I received some exciting nerdy news recently. Hamilton County (HamCo) currently has several separate library systems. We're in the Hamilton East Public Library district so we have access to library branches in Fishers and in Noblesville. There's also a Carmel Clay system with one large branch. We were briefly in this district during or various moves a couple years ago. There's also a system in Westfield where we lived for several years. Additionally, there are a couple more systems that aren't quite as close to our home.

The New Year brings a countywide borrowing program that will allow us to check out materials from any of the HamCo libraries. The systems will still be separate but we'll have access to them all. I'm seriously pumped about this. The Carmel Clay library is very close to my office so I imagine I'll be stopping there semi-regularly.

I am curious about the details. I know there will be some additional registration when I first want to check out from a different library. And materials will need to be returned to the same library from which they were checked out. But how will holds be handled? Or will they? And what happens if someone does return something to the wrong library? Should be interesting.

Anyway, good news. I know Carmel has some books that our home library does not. So far, here's the list:

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The adults are officially outnumbered in our house now. I was very blessed to have been able to spend the last two weeks home from work with the expanding family. It was terrific. Here’s the rundown on the last two weeks:

  • The induction started at around 7:30am on 11/5/2009. By 12:30pm, we had a baby girl. It was fast and Denisa rocked. I am again reminded of my wife’s awesomeness.
  • Our little Norah is beautiful. She’s sleeping and eating well. She has a couple of very loving older brothers.
  • The hospital stay was calm and uneventful. We had great visitors. Due to the whole flu scare, kids under 15 weren’t allowed as visitors so, sadly, Jesse and Jonah couldn’t come see us. On the other hand, that meant the hospital was a lot quieter than when we’ve been there before. Previously, there were kids running up and down the hallway.
  • Visited with a lot of friends/family.
  • A lot of people have been bringing us food. A LOT. Friends from our current Life Group, our old Life Group, MOPS, parents, and the play group. Seriously, it’s been amazing and we are truly grateful (and full).
  • I had guy’s morning out and took the boys to Half Price Books and the hobby shop. We played with the hobby shop’s train tables, checked out their train sets, stared at the RC planes hanging from the ceiling, and seriously trashed a couple planes with the RC plane video game/simulator.
  • The whole family went to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Brave. Good times.
  • Had the first guys meeting from our new Life Group.
  • Had a bunch of siding re-done.
  • Read some P.G. Wodehouse and a couple Graphic Novels.
  • Finished writing a children’s story.
  • Did a little woodworking.
  • Didn’t really sleep all that much.

I’ll get pictures posted shortly.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program is old news now. Some consider it a success but I'm not sold. I was never really a fan of it. Actually, my first thought when I heard about it was "But I already own a clunker. Why should my tax money buy more?"

I don't like that so many semi-decent cars were pulled off the road and destroyed. As someone that refuses to finance a car, I like the cash car. A lot of those inexpensive cars are no longer on the road. No, they weren't going to win beauty contests. No, they may not have gotten great mileage. But they worked, they were affordable, and, if purchased right, were interest-free.

There are also a lot of people that don't have any kind of transportation. A so-called clunker may have been very much appreciated. They could really have used a low priced Ford Explorer to safely carry their kids, commute to work, or even start their own business. Now that Ford Explorer has been destroyed. Was it green? No. But sometimes dirty brown is better than clean green.

While I can't blame people for taking advantage of the program, I hate to think about how many car loans were issued during the program. Did we not learn we couldn't loan/borrow our way out of the economic mess? From what I've read, I'm not the only one expressing remorse about the program. According to this article, the levels of buyer remorse for those using Cash 4 Clunkers is about twice the normal rate. Yikes!

Here's what really hurts me. The other day I heard about the actual cars that were turned in. Overwhelmingly, the list includes the expected SUVs, trucks, etc. But that's not all. AutoBlog offers a staggering lists of other vehicles. Here are a few that, when I read about them, made me feel like I'd been kicked in the stomach:

373 Mazda RX-7s
327 Toyota Supras
6 Porsche 928s
61 Pontiac Fieros -- based upon the mpg requires, I'm guessing these were the GT model
A GMC Typhoon
A 1989 20th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am
A 1987 Buick Grand National


I previously said I couldn't blame people for taking advantage of the program. I was wrong. I blame the person that traded that Buick. I blame the person that traded that TA. What were they thinking? That's wrong. So very wrong. I wonder if they traded these in for Ford Focuses? I wonder if they realize that, with immediate depreciation, their new car may now be worth less than what they traded in (even in crummy, but running condition). And that without considered the sheer awesomeness they gave up. Ugg.

Breathe, Brett. Breathe. I need to look at a Grand National. Here's one from Auburn a couple years back.