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Monthly Archives: February 2014

What A Fool Believes

Rarely, if ever, will you find me talking about religion or politics on this blog. But every once in a while it’s fun to shake things up a bit. Look I get it. This nation was partly founded on a person’s right to religious freedom and ability to worship (or not worship for that matter) as they please without persecution. Freedom is what makes America great. Sure, sometimes the concept of freedom is lost on some, but still, we all have freedoms that allow us to believe what we believe and live accordingly.

The problem I’m having with all of these proposed laws pertaining to a person’s right to have their religious beliefs protected is the ambiguity that seems to come with them. By that I simply mean at what point does a Screenshot 2014-02-27 12.57.58person’s statement “it’s against my religious beliefs” have to be backed up? And is the person making that statement, sure that the religion they follow would back up what they’re saying? Basically are they accurate in their knowledge of their religion or are their “personal beliefs” influencing their “religious beliefs.”

I myself was raised Catholic. Much of what I understood about our religion I had learned from my parents. And they in turn had inherited that knowledge from their parents. What I learned later in life, was that a good portion of what they had taught me was actually inaccurate and more in line with what our ancestors “personally” believed rather than what the Catholic church actually taught. There were choices about our lives that pertained to meals, holidays, and interactions with others that were based primarily on what my parents considered to be the teachings of the Catholic church. These choices were, as far as they were concerned, based on their religious beliefs. However, the reality was that because their understanding of the Catholic faith was somewhat inaccurate, these choices were actually based more on personal beliefs. How awkward it would have been to have made the statement, “we don’t do that because it’s against our religious beliefs” only to have the church say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I’m fairly confident that the majority of Americans would be surprised to learn what their own church truly believes and how many times they’ve made choices that they thought were being made based on religious
beliefs, but were rather misunderstandings or misinterpretations of their own religion. So the question is, at
the-doobie-brothers-what-a-fool-believes-1979-5what point would a person have to back up a statement like, “I’m not going to provide you with that service because it’s against my religious beliefs?” Could they just say it and walk away or would they be obligated to prove it by providing documentation that verifies that those are in fact the beliefs of the religion they follow?

Religion in and of itself is such a private, personal matter and often interpreted differently by different people based on their own personal beliefs or how they were raised. It seems remarkably difficult to me to create a law which is very black and white in nature based on a religious belief which inherently has a lot of gray area. Even the bible itself is interpreted differently from faith to faith, congregation to congregation, individual to individual. So it seems impossible to me for someone to make the statement, “it’s against my religious beliefs,” without there being even a small percentage of personal biases interlaced within that statement.

Both my ex and I try to teach our children to learn about each other’s faiths and cultures to better understand the people around them and to recognize that we all think differently. I personally believe that the more you open yourself to understanding others, the more you recognize that despite our differences we’re very much the same. That is scary for some as it forces people to question what they’ve known as truth their entire life. And so they turn a blind eye to protect their own beliefs. But in doing so they very well may be living their life based on misinformation and making costly judgment errors.

Opening yourself up to understanding takes a certain amount of courage and, yes, faith. It doesn’t mean giving up your own beliefs, it simply means understanding the perspective of those we live with day to day. And why can’t we believe different things but still help each other. Sure it’s easier and may feel somewhat safer to live in a world of ignorant bliss. But to quote the Doobie Brothers, “What a fool believes … he sees.” And if all he sees is what he believes, then he’s actually quite blind.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Divorce, rules, Uncategorized

 

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I’ll Take The Mess

Well, it’s Sunday night and the house is a mess. There are clothes lying on the floor. Empty bags of snacks on the coffee table. Shoes and socks strewn about. A few dishes that never made it into the dishwasher. Floors need mopping. There’s laundry in the dryer to fold and still more ready to go into the washer. Odds and ends desperately need to find a home. Basically, to say our house looks lived in is an understatement. But I don’t care.

I will gladly take the messy house in exchange for a full two days of spending time together as a family. To spend an entire day playing softball together on the first truly nice Saturday of the new year. Seeing all three 2014-02-22 14.49.20kids playing together without pulling each others hair out (well, for the most part). Hanging out together in the house. Having meals together. Arguing together. Working it out together. Spending hours with one on a school project. Having a special dinner with another while the other two spent time celebrating a friend’s birthday. Shooting hoops and playing catch with the third. Weekends like that are too few and far between.

They don’t come easily either. As the girls get older they’d much rather spend the night at a friend’s or go skating with the gang. It took several no’s and turning down other offers to get us all in the same house at the same time for more than an afternoon. No softball practice. No soccer games. No sleepovers. But it was worth it. We had our moments of frustration and we had our share of stress points throughout the weekend. But we worked it out. And when it was all said and done I gathered the troops to thank them all for a terrific weekend together. I wanted them to recognize how special these days are and how important it is that from time to time we shut out the world and focus on each other to remind ourselves that we are a team.

For me personally, to have a weekend without too many projects or deadlines was too good to pass up. Those days are rare as well, especially after a busy week. There were several moments when an hour on the couch 2014-02-17 09.31.25sounded like heaven. But a moment throwing a baseball with my son or making breakfast with another sounded even better. We all had to push ourselves at times and I was proud to see all three of the kids make the effort. Maybe they all recognized they needed it more than any of us realized. It encouraged me to keep putting the mouse down to get back outside to shoot one more basket.

I love my kids. I really do. They push me to new limits on a daily basis. There are times when I throw my arms up in complete disbelief at how horrible a job I’ve done parenting these little demons. And then somehow it all comes together. Just when I’m convinced I completely suck as a parent, the kids remind me of what it means to be a family and how important we are to each other. Smiles and hugs goodnight and three kids laughing together tells us all it was well worth every effort and that sometimes a mess isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 

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P&G’s Epic Olympic Fail

I’d like to start by saying how much respect I have for moms and everything they (you) do for our children. That includes my ex-wife who is an amazing mom and is incredibly supportive of our kids. I’d also like to begin by stating that this is not a bitter retort on P&G’s Olympic ad campaign rather an attempt to point out how short sighted the company’s view may have been when they first conceived this brand initiative.

First I’d simply like to remind Proctor & Gamble that dads buy your products too. We’re also very much involved in encouraging our kids’ interests and dreams; sacrificing our time, money and sometimes even our careers to ensure we’re there for them every step of the way. We typically work in tandem with mom to ensure every practice is metproctor-and-gamble and every game watched. Whether we’re married, single, divorced, gay or straight, we are equally involved in helping our children pursue their dreams. This is not about who does more, it’s about everyone sharing the responsibility, the sacrifices and those precious moments of victory. Bottom line; there was a chance here to present to the world how much America still believes in working together as a family and you completely missed it.

I was under the impression that as a society, dads were becoming more and more recognized for how involved they are in their kids’ lives. How many soccer practices, dance rehearsals, volleyball matches, drama club meetings and countless other weekly if not daily events they get their kids to. The endless lunches, dinners, snacks, loads of laundry, doctors visits and bedtime stories they’re responsible for. How many times they volunteer to coach, mentor and encourage not only their own kids but their neighbor’s kids as well. Again, not taking away from what moms do, I simply can’t fathom why P&G felt it a good idea to single out one side of such an important equation rather than take this opportunity to encourage more dads to be a part of their kids lives as I believe kids need both their mom AND dad involved.

I’m going to bet that a good majority of moms rely on their spouses or ex’s to be a part of the team. An important word that seems to have been ignored by P&G for a sporting event by the way; team. Show me a dad who hasn’t cried procter_gamble_prodthe first time he saw his daughter complete a routine during a skating competition. Point me to a father who hasn’t had an out of body experience after watching his son or daughter score their first goal. By ignoring this half of the population and parental team (there’s that word again) P&G is not only ignoring an enormous piece of their profit pie, but they’re subtly insinuating that dad was too uninterested to take time to watch his kid’s practice.

As someone who has personally thrown thousands of pitches to my daughter, hit endless pop flies, tossed a million footballs, gotten up at 6 am to run 2 miles with my 8-year-old, and sat with all the other moms and dads for hours on a Saturday during dance rehearsals I can tell you my contributions are only a fraction of what many dads do. I have friends who drive hundreds of miles to their daughter’s gymnastics competitions and still others who coach travel baseball and softball teams which requires a commitment of 6-7 days a week for months on end. And when mom is the one driving the kids to practice, there’s a good chance it’s dad who’s at home doing the laundry and putting the dishes away.

P&G would no doubt respond by saying, “we aren’t discounting the efforts of dads.” And I’m sure that wasn’t by any means their intent. The problem with the campaign is the lack of understanding it shows for the struggles many fathers go through when fighting to even see their kids every other weekend. Or the perception of the role of fathers when they face a judge during a custody battle. Or how important it is that we take every opportunity to encourage those dads who may NOT be involved to care and take an interest in their children. To you it’s a celebration of mom, to me it’s a two generation step backward in our society’s growth in understanding the importance of a father in a child’s life. Proctor & Gamble, you had an amazing opportunity to celebrate the importance of family and everyone who is involved in advancing the dreams of our children not to mention how important it is to be not just a family, but a team regardless of how you define family. Why you chose the direction of your campaign I honestly don’t know, but I will tell you I’m personally deducting major points and will strongly consider leaving your product on the podium during my next trip to the grocery store, a trip I typically take with three kids in tow btw.

 

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50 Things You Can’t Do When You’re The Father Of Tween Girls

50 Things you can’t do when you’re the father of tween daughters:

#1 Have enough hours in the day
#2 Win any argument that involves a discussion about Beyonce
#3 Be able to explain why according to Facebook you just listened to Ke$ha on Spotify
#4 Get more than three words in at the dinner table
#5 Forget what you were like when you were a tween boy
#6 Get a hug when you’re within 100 yards of school or any school event
#7 Be considered young
#8 Leave the bathroom door unlocked
#9 Their math homework
#10 Drink a beer at dinner without being asked, “how many is that dad?”
#11 Not cringe every time a story starts with a boy’s name
#12 Believe them when they tell you they watched the “clean version” of a music video on YouTube
#13 Have any recording space left on the DVR
#14 Leave any form of chocolate where it can be seen or smelled
#15 Go to the bathroom without checking first to make sure there’s toilet paper
#16 Have enough shampoo and conditioner
#17 Expect anyone to get any sleep during a sleepover
#18 Get them to come down for dinner without having to text them that it’s ready
#19 Watch any sporting event on television beginning to end
#20 Be considered cool
#21 Know where your iPhone charger is
#22 Speak about “rules of the house” without getting an eye roll
#23 Expect to find more than 1/2 a scoop of ice cream in the freezer
#24 Get a response the first time
#25 See the bathroom floor
#26 “Understand”
#27 Know whose clothes are whose when folding laundry
#28 Watch a movie on television and hear any of the important dialogue
#29 Lower the water bill
#30 Know what mood they’re going to be in when they get off the bus
#31 Get why their friends laugh when they both look at you and then at each other
#32 Make it out the door in under five minutes
#33 Understand what’s so funny about the videos on Vine
#34 Sit with them at the school basketball game they desperately wanted to go to with you
#35 “Know where the pony tail holders are”
#36 Sit down for more than ten seconds without being beckoned
#37 Sleep with your eyes closed on April fools day
#38 Afford to buy a “new arrival” at Banana Republic
#39 Be able to hear the actual artist on the car radio
#40 Have nose hair
#41 Be allowed to stand within twenty feet of them while in Abercrombie
#42 Trust tween boys
#43 Go anywhere without like totally embarrassing them
#44 Explain Bob Dylan
#45 Take life too seriously
#46 Drive by a stray dog without being told to pull over and pick it up
#47 Get the correct shade of concealer
#48 Explain life before the internet
#49 Go a week without ruining their life at least once
#50 Know what it’s like to be a tween girl

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Daily Life, Divorce, Uncategorized

 

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One Small Step For Divorced Man

January proved to be one of the most difficult months for a runner in Nashville, and yet perhaps one of the most empowering at the same time. Mornings with single digit temperatures and minus zero windchills tested even the most dedicated. I will tell you there were evenings when every stride hurt like hell fighting the cold, the wind and sometimes the freezing rain on my face. At 47 I could feel my bones ache and my joints tighten. And I can’t tell you how many time I swore I felt more like 74.

Where I typically found running to build my energy and provide me with much needed umph, instead I found myself continually drained. I lacked motivation. Found myself going to bed earlier and earlier and sleeping in later and later. I felt overwhelmed and defeated. With a full life, fitting in workouts proved challenging. But ICrossfit-exhaustion-june-21-4 forced myself to see it through; some nights squeezing in a quick two miles. But eventually every mile was slow and arduous. Every stride evoked a grunt. This was the first time in my life that I perceived running to be a constant drain, having depleted my body of every last ounce of energy and drive.

But I’d made myself a promise and had professed it to many a close friend and colleague. And despite the mental and physical battles I managed to put in 25 workouts and 74.1 miles through the month of January. Still, though a goal had been met, I still found myself looking at running negatively for the first time I can remember. Never had I pushed myself so hard only to feel so unfulfilled and completely exhausted. My body ached consistently throughout the day. Every step walking to my car in the cold wind that had become our January brought me further down. I then recognized that not only had the month taken its toll on my mindset toward my workouts, it had also managed to push me to new limits in my view of life in general. Where I typically found desire and drive, I now found anxiety and exhaustion.

When you co-parent three kids as a divorced dad; your life is; shall we say quite full. To the point that it is near impossible to have a life outside of work and family. Maintaing the home, the bank account, the kids, the career and fitting in time for physical release at some point is enough to bring even the most determined individual down to their knees. And yet you push forward. You pick em’ up and put em’ down. Somewhere you fight for the strength to continue. Quitting simply isn’t an option. You truly have no choice but to keep … moving … forward.

And then it happens. Just when you’ve reached a point when you’re convinced you’re at a dead end. When you EXHAUSTED4have no more to give. When the thought of taking one more step, making one more lunch, folding one more pair of jeans, all of it is inconceivable; the clouds begin to dissipate. The sun begins to shine. And somewhere within, you feel a fire start and you find a new inner strength awaken. But what you don’t realize is that all of your efforts through the cold; every time you pushed yourself through the wind, rain and darkness; every extra effort you made to push yourself forward; has made you that much stronger.

A day of 61 degree sunshine squeezed itself in-between arctic vortex’s. And it was glorious. And I had perhaps one of the best five mile runs I’ve had in years. And I attribute it to each and every one of those horrible, painful, dreadful runs when I was convinced my time was over. Forcing myself through the mental muck and bitter cold rain. They were what built the foundation for this amazing feeling of rebirth. Had I not fought through all the crap, I’d have never experienced the joy I felt that day.

As a single dad (or mom) you accomplish things every day that would make most people crash and burn. You manage miracles on a regular basis. You battle life, work, traffic, the drama that is a nine-year-old, finances and lost keys. But each day makes you stronger as you recognize what you’re capable of. Each argument, struggle, battle leads to greater understanding and stronger relationships.

If you’re hitting a wall. If you feel stuck in a black hole that’s full of single digit temperatures, dark skies and gail force winds that freeze your very soul. I promise you, it gets better and every step you take is going to make you that much stronger. Just remember; we get so accustomed to handling so much so often, that we fail to give ourselves credit for the small victories. It’s easy to run five miles when you feel great. But what an accomplishment it is to run five feet when you have NOTHING in the tank and you’re down to your last breath. Remember; some days the very act of taking one step, in and of itself, can be an accomplishment worthy of a trophy. If all you had in you was one step today, that’s one more step than zero.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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