#ThirtyThankfuls Day 15: A smelly “barn.”

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Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (Prov. 14:4 ESV)

It’s a busy day, a tiring day. There is much to do. I’m working late tonight, mainly because every night until Sunday is booked with something or other.

My office is dirty. My mind is cluttered. I want to get away and leave all of this behind, escaping with my books and my wife to a far-off place without dinging email alerts and ringing phone alarms.

On these days when the responsibilities are stacked and I need to stay on my grind, I remind myself of the verse above.

Because the easiest way to have a clean barn is to shoot your oxen–but that’s also the quickest path to an empty belly. A productive life is usually a messy life. That isn’t meant simply to glorify “hustle culture,” which can become quite unhealthy and unbalanced. Rather, it is to say that making things happen and taking care of my family means there will often be busy days and late nights.

So instead of being grumpy about my stacked to-do list, I’ll thank God for my fruitful (if cluttered) desk and keep at my task.

Goodnight, friends.

#ThirtyThankfuls Day 7: Work.

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The insidious danger of complaining is that it often occupies a mouth that should instead be filled with praise and thanksgiving.

It’s easy to complain about work. It’s almost expected in our culture to talk about how terrible your job or boss is, how you are underpaid, how your customers are obnoxious.

To be honest, my attitude toward work isn’t always what it should be. I struggle with complaining about this or that situation or person, or how the upper management should be running things differently (based on all my great wisdom and insight, of course). I still fight the long-instilled idea that I should instead be “following my dreams.” Thankfully, the good thinking and preaching of faithful believers and pastors (including some men I know personally), as well as the wise insights of secular writers like Cal Newport, have been slowly disabusing me of that Disney-minted idea that simply “following your heart” is anything other than childish and disastrous.

I’m not working my dream job. Of course, my “dream job” would be to be given a comfortable leather arm chair, a bottomless cup of coffee, and all the time in the world to be left alone to read. I’ve looked into it, and in most cases, no one pays you to do that. (Also, if The Twilight Zone has taught us anything, it is to be careful what you wish for.)

By the grace of God, I don’t have a dream job, but I have a good job in which I can apply my skills and abilities with reasonable success. While there are still thorns and thistles on a regular basis, and there are days that are more drudgery that delight, I can apply myself, take care of my customers, and provide for my family. We have good insurance, flexibility, and top-tier benefits. I can afford housing, food, clothes, and some small luxuries for those under my care. God is kind.

The best part of my job is the commute: I walk down a hallway to my home office. After over 15 years of cars and buses and trains and traffic, the unexpected blessing of the #ForeverPlague is that my employer pays me to tap a keyboard for 9 or so hours a day while sitting in my house in sweatpants and a tee-shirt. I get a hug from my 1 1/2 year old every morning. I give my wife a kiss when I walk in to pour a second cup of coffee. God is kind.

So I am thankful for work. I’m thankful for the work that God has given me that will provide for my family and for the good of others. I’m thankful that He has given me the skill, ability, and strength to do good work and earn a living. I’m thankful he has given me a job that is pretty unique in its benefits and flexibility.

And on the busiest and most frustrating of days, I need to remember that this blessing is a gift to me from a loving Father who is teaching me how to lay my life down for others in a thousand tiny ways, so I can better reflect the Savior-King who came not to be served but to serve.

#Septemblog Day 27: Cutting it close.

You didn’t think I’d make it today, did you? Yeah, me neither. I guess the pull of the unbroken streak is too strong.

Time for a #TIWIARN (“This is Where I’m At Right Now”) update!

I’m up working and will be for a few more hours. This used to be the norm, but since getting a helping hand on some things from my team, I’ve been able to take more evenings off (as it should be). You’d think that would make the occasional late-night editing session more tolerable, but it just makes it harder. I’ve gotten a taste of the fewer-than-60-hours work week, and I just like that too much.

BUT. I also am trying really hard to amend some old work habits regarding turnaround times, so when there’s a sudden flood of email responses and tasks in the late afternoon, one does what one must. Plus, if I can wrangle all these wayward ducks into something resembling a row, I may be able to take an honest-to-goodness mid-week day-off without having to make up the hours on the other side of it. (Yes, yes, I’m front-loading the hours right now, but you know what I mean.) So, the midnight oil is getting burned tonight.

I’m also not telling my wife I’m taking a day off so I can just surprise her with the ol’ “I don’t feel like working today” routine. It’s the little things, ya know?

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There’s other stuff going on, church stuff involving my pastoral responsibilities that I can’t get into here. It’s just sad and frustrating, and there are people I just want to shake really hard by the shoulders and yell, “Cut it out, you idiot! What are you thinking?!?” Which may sound harsh or unkind, but it isn’t. It’s about the kindest thing you can do to someone who seems full-bent on destroying themselves.

[I was going to continue but I’ll stop there. It doesn’t do you or me any good to grumble.]

I love my church family. I love being one of their shepherds. But sometimes the sheep you love and care for are the ones who kick and bite. When that happens, you push through and keep loving. That’s not easy. But that’s part of the job. You love your brothers and sisters with the same compassion and mercy that you yourself received from Jesus.

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My birthday’s in a few weeks. I’m…ambivalent about it this year. It just doesn’t seem to matter compared to whatever else is going on. Guess that means I’m well and truly middle-aged now.

[Ugh, what a bummer. Lighten up, Dave! Yikes.]

See? This is what happens when I stop mid-work to try to write a status update. I get all grumpy-bear and introspective.

Okay, gang, here’s where we try some audience participation to lighten the mood: What’s your favorite birthday cake/treat/dessert? Tell me in the comments. Go!

My wife is making me chocolate-peanut-butter whoopie pies, and I’m pretty hype about that, actually. See? I’m looking forward to my birthday after all! Everything is awesome!

See you, space cowboys.

#Septemblog Day 15: 19 Years.

I’ve been doing the same job for 19 years, as of today.

When I was in college, I studied English and had a vague notion that I’d like to write novels for a living (which is funny, since I wasn’t really writing much beyond sappy lovelorn poetry at the time). When some well-meaning soul suggested shifting my major to English Education, I scoffed at the thought, because that would mean fewer English classes and more education theory classes, and what’s the fun in that? (Note: I mistakenly thought going college was about the joy of learning. I don’t really believe that anymore.)

I made it halfway through my senior year before realizing in a panic that I would actually need gainful employment if I wanted to eat beyond May. After graduation, I moved back in with my parents and reached out to my small private Christian high school to ask if they had any openings. They brought me on as an English teacher, assigned me 6 class periods (2 electives), with the intention of earning “emergency certification” at the same time I taught my first year.

I had no idea what I was doing. Having just finished college, I tried to replicate what I had experienced in high school and college and idealistically ramped up the challenge for my students in order to prepare them for university the way I felt I was prepared. But I had no clue what that looked like from a pedagogical standpoint. All I had were my subjective experiences to draw upon and none of that pesky theory training that would have otherwise gotten in the way of my Fiction Genres and Literary Criticism classes.

My lack of understanding of how to be a teacher, combined with my over-eagerness to prove myself to my superiors, led to a lot of frustration on the part of both myself and my students. I loved being in the classroom, I loved the act of teaching, but I just couldn’t keep up with the daily grind of grading papers and tests, so I quickly got backlogged and overwhelmed. (This is the set-up for the a punchline later.)

I honestly don’t know what the school administrators were thinking when they hired me, other than “Dave was part of our first graduating class, so that would be quite a PR story!” and “We can pay him next to nothing!” (Side note: Be cautious of any Christian organization that refers to its clients as “customers” but justifies its low wages in terms of “being a ministry.” Just my experience, YMMV.) After a semester of floundering and some minor conflicts with administration, I was given an exit ramp, which I took.

I was out of full-time work for 9 months. Still living at home. Delivering pizzas and working as a temp at an air-compressor parts and maintenance company (while knowing literally nothing about air compressors, air compressor parts, or air compressor maintenance). Finally, after a long job hunt, I found an editorial job at a research hospital that listed its highest preferred qualification as having an English degree–no experience listed. It’s like it was tailor-made for me.

And now, almost 2 decades have passed. I probably should have moved up into management by now–blame my own lack of direction and motivation flaring up at exactly the wrong times, blame my tendency toward overwhelm and missed deadlines when I’m stressed–but I’m doing the exact same job I’ve been doing since the early part of George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

What job exactly? I’m editing and proofreading documents for grammar, clarity, and readability, making sure they follow all appropriate regulations and guidelines.

In other words, I’m grading papers all day, every day.

I don’t believe in karma, because I’m a Christian. But I do believe in God’s sense of humor.

Jokes aside, I’m thankful. It’s a rare thing to stick with an organization this long, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. God is kind.

An Ode to Skipper Dan.

I recently was reminded of this song by “Weird Al” Yankovic. Take a look.

This song was released in 2009 but I feel like it’s only taken on more meaning as I’ve moved into middle-age. There are definitely things I had hoped to accomplish before now, dreams I held onto in my 20’s and even 30’s that I haven’t really done the work to pursue because my goals changed or I just decided that my energy needed to be spent elsewhere.

But rather than reminisce and bemoan what might have been, I wanted to focus on a different aspect of the song: what Dan does and doesn’t do.

“Dusty, why don’t you just try acting?”

When I was in eighth grade, my class took an end-of-year trip to Universal Studios Florida. Back then (the early-mid 90’s), there were several themed rides that have long since been retired/replaced. The ones I remember most vividly were the Jaws boat ride and the King Kong cable-car/subway (?) ride.

When we got into the boat with our “captain” for the Jaws ride, she delivered her script with gusto, as if this were the first time she’d ever led a crew of people into the dangerous, shark-infested waters. When the great white surfaced, she yelled convincingly, “LOOK OUT, THERE HE IS!” and my little 13-year-old heart sank. At the climax of the ride, she pulled out a comically-large rocket-launcher style weapon and “fired” it at the deadly shark, who exploded in a splash of water and smoke and audio-visual flair. As we pulled safely back into harbor, our captain breathlessly congratulated us on surviving the ordeal, and everyone disembarked with smiles on their faces.

The King Kong ride could not have been a starker contrast. The “tour guide” for our New York adventure had all the gusto and excitement of a customer entering Hour 3 of waiting at the DMV. Her lines were so deadpanned that Aubrey Plaza would have seemed like Carrot Top by comparison. (How’s that for a wild mix of dated pop-culture references?) Even when the big ape seemed to be reaching out to grasp the car we were “riding” in, the tour guide could barely evoke vocal inflection. “Oh no. It looks like Kong is trying to grab us. Everyone hold on.”

Obviously, both rides held no real danger from the animatronic beasts and it was all in good fun, but when the Jaws captain really went for it, it made the suspension of belief that much easier.

Here’s my point: there is power in doing the mundane things well. However, in the song, Skipper Dan has realized that the theme-park job wasn’t the easy stepping stone to a dream career that he apparently expected it to be, and eventually he lets it grind him down so that he becomes resentful rather than trying to do something about it. He loses hope because he thinks that what matters most is what he’s doing rather than how and why he’s doing it.

Cal Newport, in his excellent book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, talks about how the path to career fulfillment isn’t in seeking the perfect job or the dream job. It’s in seeking out a job you can do well and becoming masterful at it, so that you can parlay that career capital into an adjacent line of work that’s closer to your “dream” or that provides you with quality-of-life benefits that you couldn’t achieve otherwise.

This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last few years, wrestling with it in my mind. In those times of career frustration and boredom, it’s often that I’ve lost sight of the power of daily excellence.

More than that, I’ve lost sight of my ultimate goal.

“Do it for her.”

There’s a famous moment in an early episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer (who, you will recall, works at a control panel in a nuclear plant) notices a poster on the office wall that says, “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever.” He strategically covers the wall (as well as certain parts of this poster) with a collage of pictures of his daughter Maggie, so that the visible letters now spell out “Do It For Her.”

I recently took the template from this moment in the show, and recreated it with pictures of my wife and daughters. Using Microsoft Paint and a little editing magic, my work computer wallpaper now says “Do It For Them.”

I’ll be honest, y’all: I’m not often super-jazzed about my job. I know that it matters, and I know the good that it accomplishes. There are just days or weeks (or even longer) where it feels like an endless field of thistles and thorns: the constant emptying of an inbox or work queue that gets refilled instantly, or non-stop email threads involving a parade of outside company reps who all inexplicably “just started recently” and don’t understand how my organization operates in regard to theirs. It adds up to a frequent feeling of pointlessness to the proceedings because I can’t see the fruit of my labor. (It’s not nearly as satisfying as mowing the yard, that’s for sure.)

I have to remember on those difficult days that I’m doing work that matters not only so that I can serve our clients, but so I can take care of my family. I have a wife and three little girls that count on me to get it done and provide.

And if that wasn’t motivation enough, there’s a greater reason that’s even easier to lose sight of: I’m working for the Lord.

It’s a reality that I can pay lip-service to but not really take to heart. When I work, I not only work in submission to and with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but I work on His behalf, representing Him (whether explicitly or implicitly) to the people I come in contact with, whether it’s the supervisor who knows if I hit or miss my daily deadlines, or the outside contractor rep who gets the sharp edge of my frustrated email exchanges. In all of these things, I work for the Lord. And in all these moments, I have the opportunity to use my work ethic and skill and compassion to honor and bless others, as a gift to them and an offering of thanksgiving to God for the privilege of being able to work (since it’s only by His grace that I have the strength to produce a harvest).

Which brings us back to Skipper Dan, and to you and me. Whether you’re a tour guide on a jungle cruise ride, or a customer service rep for an auto parts company, or a park ranger keeping fire watch, or a keyboard cowboy working from home–whatever you do to earn a paycheck, do it well. Do it with intention and excellence. Become masterful at it. Look for ways to make the experience better for your customers or clients.

Not because it will always pay off with a dream job or a big break, but because people count on you to do your best, and because the One whose opinion matters most is always watching.

Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance.

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Keeping the Stable Clean

An idea I keep coming back to in my thought process (and something I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed here to some degree) is the fact that for many people in the “knowledge work” fields (a.k.a. cubicle cowboys and work-from-home warriors like me), we spend our days trying to empty an inbox or work queue that keeps being refilled constantly.

This means that we a) never really reach a finish line so much as we just run until time runs out at the end of the day (and often beyond); and b) unless we intentionally build a system to do so, we never really see a finished product or evidence of our efforts, the way someone with a physical/mechanical/creative vocation may get to do so.

Our work is more along the lines of Proverbs 14:4 – “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” In other words, if you want to bring in a harvest, you’re gonna have to shovel an endless supply of “ox-pies.”

That’s how it feels sometimes when I look at my work queues and inbox: an endless supply of ox-pies.

And this is a good thing: I am abundantly aware that I have a great job, I make a good living to take care of my family and other obligations, and I don’t begrudge any of that. I’m thankful for how God has given me the strength and the skill to be able to support my family with my mind instead of my muscles.

But the downside of this is that I spend what seem like endless hours–as much as half of my waking life–staring at a screen and typing on a keyboard, responding, editing, filing, uploading. And at the end of the day, the screen seems just as full, or if it’s not, it will be by the time I sit down the next day.

I suspect my wife feels the same way, because even in the physical work of managing our home and caring for our daughters, she faces the same prospect endless “ox-pies”–sometimes in the form of actual dirty diapers (or puddles on the floor), as well as dirty dishes, cast-about toys and books, piles of laundry, and any number of other messes that get cleaned up in order to get dirty again almost instantly.

But while the endless loop of clean-up and reset is the same, there’s a subtle difference: when I wash a sink of dishes and wipe down the counters at the end of the day, I actually see progress, even if the progress is short-lived. I enjoy seeing that difference.

That’s why I both hate and love mowing my yard.

Welcome to the Jungle

We’re renting our current house–the second house I’ve rented as an adult after a decade of apartments as a single. At our previous house, I was only responsible for maintaining the backyard, which had the square-footage of a back bedroom. I could cut the grass with a weed-eater.

Our current yard has a huge (or, normal-sized for a suburban home) front yard and a much bigger back yard. My kids love it–plenty of room to run around and play and set up all kinds of toys and climbing structures. But now, halfway through our first summer at this location, I’m exhausted by how quickly the grass grows.

I really have two choices: mow it every 4-5 days (which is a bit tricky because where we are, we have gotten summer showers almost daily for the last month), or let it grow until a day when it’s convenient to me to mow it, which means our house looks like *that* house on the block and I can only mow a few feet at a time before having to clear the blades of the mulched grass. Also, it’s nearly 100 degrees. It takes a lot.

Yet with all that–the mowing, the edging, the heatstroke–the adage that is so often applied to writing fits here: I hate mowing. I love having mown.

When you push a lawnmower, it feels tedious; around and around and around the perimeter of the grass you go (unless you’re insane and use some sort of back-and-forth approach…weirdo). But even as it seems tedious, you’re making progress that can be seen. The rectangle of uncut grass gets smaller. The ground you just crossed shows an instant change. Once you go over the edges of the sidewalks with the edger, the soft lines of green become crisp around the concrete paths. Clippings are swept (at least back onto the yard where they somewhat blend in; I’m not THAT committed to perfection). The home looks more cared for. It feels a bit like the mandate that God gave Adam in the Garden of Eden: to keep it and cultivate it. Make it fruitful. Bring order to chaos.

I’m not a “lawn” guy; I don’t obsess on such things. If I didn’t absolutely have to do it, I wouldn’t usually give my lawn a single thought. But after cutting the grass, cleaning up the edges of the sidewalks, and sweeping the clippings away, I pass by the front windows a little more often for the first few days, just to admire my handiwork. It never looks perfect; I’m not going to win any Yard of the Month awards from the HOA. But it’s satisfying to be able to look at it and think, “I did that. That’s the difference I made.” If my wife doesn’t comment on the lawn enough (and really, why should she?), I’ll fish for compliments by saying, unprompted, “Yep, the lawn looks a lot better.” She’ll usually humor me and agree.

Maybe it comes down to this: I like being able to see that my strain and sweat and toil has produced something and made a difference in the world around me. And I like it when those closest to me can see it and appreciate it too. In my current job, it feels like I just go into my office, tap on a computer for 9 or 10 hours, and walk out (sometimes later), and nothing much seems to change, and then I get money deposited into my bank account twice a month. I’m a cog in a very important machine that helps sick people get well, but this cog only gets to see the gears on either side of him turn; he doesn’t get to see what happens down the line.

I dunno. Maybe I just need to stop overthinking things.

But I also need to mow my yard today, so I guess it’s just on my mind.

(No, I’m not using this post to procrastinate until it rains, shut up.)

“Could this have been an email?”

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Here’s a quick plea to folks who work in a “knowledge-work” industry or even just in an office environment: Recognize and try to minimize the time-cost of Zoom chats, in-person meetings, and phone calls.

Obviously I’m not the first to talk about this; I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve read from productivity and systems analyst types who address this idea. But I was reminded last week of how gallingly frustrating it is to be on the short-end of this situation.

In my line of work, I edit documents to meet certain specs and then send them back to “clients” to get feedback before finalization. Usually it’s pretty straightforward. Tracked-changes, in-line comments, easy. I was trying to finalize a project that needed to be expedited, and I sent the document to the client team, expecting a quick turnaround. When I didn’t hear from them for a couple of hours, I followed up by email and was told, “Oh, didn’t such-and-such reach out yet? She said she was going to call you. She said that it would probably be quicker than an email.

Somehow, I doubted that.

Her colleague assured me she’d call me back directly, so I sat for a few minutes with the document open on my desktop, waiting for her to call. I knew that as soon as I started something else, I’d have to stop and change gears to deal with this. After 5 minutes, I sighed and opened a different document to pick up working on another task, only to hear my phone ring 30 seconds later.

Now that she had me on the line, my contact then proceeded to open up the document I had sent the day before and read over it, line by line, making occasional comments–including a five-minute excursis in which she realized she was confusing this document with another project and had to check her email to confirm she was thinking of the right one. As I sat on the line with her.

Just to be clear: there were maybe 10 questions in this document to answer, most of which required a YES/NO response.

It took us 15 minutes to work through the short document so I could get the information I needed from her. Information that she could have typed up in-line in the document and emailed to me, adding little to no additional time on her end but possibly saving me about 10 minutes on mine.

That doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that 5 or 6 such events burn an hour of work time.

I know I’ve done things like this in the past, so I’m trying to be mindful not to do this myself because I don’t want to be the guy whose name gets muttered through gritted teeth. No one wants to be that guy.

So here’s my plea, on behalf of the people you work with or interact with professionally: If that phone call or Zoom meeting or in-person meeting (if you are so blessed) is merely an information check-in that can be summarized by a 3-paragraph email or a notated document providing feedback, just send that to them and give those people back their time.

(Of course, then there’s the whole discussion about whether or not email itself is all that it’s cracked up to be, but we’ll leave that aside for now.)

Do you have any “quick phone call / meeting” horror stories? Leave them in the comments!

Friday Feed (7/10/2020)

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Hey y’all! Here are a few things I’ve found fun or interesting in recent weeks. Enjoy, and I’ll be back next week with actual posts! Seriously!

 

In praise of simple solutions.

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Sometimes, simplicity beats sophistication.

Part of my day job involves creating, revising, and maintaining documents across different platforms, using a variety of templates. These templates often include a series of broken lines for signatures and dates.

One of my colleagues spent some time creating a specialized two-column template feature with specialized margins, lines as embedded objects, the whole nine–and plopped that into our template. It works great–as long as you don’t touch anything.

My preferred approach? Typing a line of underscores, tabbing over a couple times, and then typing a smaller line of underscores.

Sophisticated? Obviously not. But the simplified approach works for me because it’s easy to create, easy to explain, and easy to fix if you accidentally “break” it with some errant copying and pasting. I’ve lost quite a bit of time trying to un-break sophisticated template formatting over the years.

Obviously, if you have more sophisticated needs or complex procedures, you should use the tools and techniques that are appropriate. But too often, I think we assume that the most sophisticated and complex tool or approach is always the best choice for the task.

A question we should consider instead is: How complicated does this solution really need to be? And how simple could it be and still do the job I need it to do?

Midweek Odds and Ends (2/13/2019)

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Happy Wednesday, friends! What can I say, I can’t bear to stay away too long. 

I don’t have anything specific prepared for today, so I figured I’d provide a little “This is Where I Am Right Now (TIWIARN)”-style update.  Brace yourself for the hail of bullets!

  • My current season of work is uniquely challenging. There have been times when the vibe around the office has been pretty light, pretty loose. The current atmosphere is…decidedly not that. Nevertheless, we persevere. I’ve been reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin and have had opportunity to put their personal discipline and leadership principles into practice (thinks like “taking ownership,” “prioritize-and-execute,” and “simplify”). And if that sounds like cubicle-jargon…well, whatever, man. It’s useful to me. All this to say, work has been a beast, and my lunchbreaks have become times to shut off my brain for a bit (usually watching Youtube or reading fiction). The downstream effect of that is that I’m not writing as many posts during that mid-day break. Sorry.
  • Man, I am LOVING this #52Stories project. I’ve got notes on 5 or 6 stories that I’m going to turn into posts soonish, but just the actual reading has been a joy. Plus, as I had hoped, it’s getting my brain clicking on some short-form ideas of my own. At some point (the procrastinator said), I’ll share the fruit of that brainstorming with you. But for now, just know: this project was a great idea. (Though not an *original* idea; check out Jay’s yearly “Deal Me In” Challenge! Dude has been killing it for YEARS!)
  • Interesting and providential confluence of events: the Houston Chronicle’s heartbreaking series on sexual abuse and cover-up inside Southern Baptist churches, coming just one month after I become an elder in my Southern Baptist church. Needless to say, I see addressing this issue as a serious and urgent responsibility. While I’m not aware of any concerns in our church, I’m also not naive enough to think something awful *couldn’t* happen. We have plans and policies in place to vet our children and youth workers, but we can always do more. If you know of any good resources for churches who want to do more to prevent abuse, drop it in the comments or shoot me a message in one of my other feeds. I’m happy to read and learn so I can serve my church family well.
  • Married life is great. We’re coming up on five years in June, which itself is amazing to me–it seems so much shorter, and yet longer (in a really good way). It’s becoming harder and harder to remember daily life before marrying H. She’s so much a part of my day to day, I couldn’t imagine life without her. She has my heart.
  • Not only that, but our little baby isn’t so little anymore. She’s 18 months old, talkative, fearless (climbs on EVERYTHING!), and a sweet kid. She’s also getting a head start into the “terrible twos.” We need prayer, y’all. Kidding aside, this little girl–ugh. She’s my delight.
  • I will try to post something on Friday, but realistically, my next post may be Monday. Lots going on. Thanks for hanging with me.

Quick round-up of my “currently’s”:

  • Currently watching: Life Below Zero on Netflix — a BBC docuseries about people who live near or above the Arctic circle in Alaska. FASCINATING program about what it takes to live in such an unforgiving environment. The language is often harsh, and the footage itself can be unflinching when it comes to hunting/trapping for subsistence and survival. My wife discovered this one, and I started watching it with her pretty early on. This is the only TV show I’m watching these days. I lost interest in what’s currently on network TV–which is probably for the best, to be honest.
  • Currently Listening: My favorite Pandora channel lately is “Coffee Shop Covers” because I am a SUCKER for good covers. My favorite track on there right now is “Wish You Were Here” by the Milk Carton Kids. At work, if I’m not listening to podcasts, I’ll listen to video game soundtracks as background music–today’s selection was Assassin’s Creed, I think, but SimCity is my usual go-to.
  • Currently Reading: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin; The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever; and a bunch of short stories!
  • “Currently” Playing: When I have a little bit of extra time once in a while, I fire up my SNES Classic. I’m about halfway through Super Metroid and a few hours into The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (my favorite video game of all time, I think). “Extra time,” however, is becoming more and more scarce.
  • Currently Thinking: Oh yeah! I have coffee brewed. See y’all later!

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What’s going on with you? Anything cool happening that you’d like to share? Drop it in the comments below!