Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Book

I would say in a figurative sense we re-make ourselves everyday. A creation story, if you will, where we become who we are meant to be. Perhaps that is where logic goes astray for some when it comes to the Biblical account of creation. Perhaps the entire Book, rich in symbolism and metaphor, is not meant to be so literal and exact. When looked at in that way it can be quite an amazing Book where truth is hidden in each story and not merely judged by bare facts that can't be proved.

Have we not each experienced our own Garden of Eden? Have we not desired the forbidden fruit? Have we never felt exiled and forsaken? Have we not been held captive and enslaved? Have we never had the fear of Giants in our bones or been thrown into the lion's den? Have we not felt swallowed by our surroundings? Have we never been at the well alone and ashamed and had someone accept us for who we are? Have we not sacrificed our own well-being for others? Have we never felt redemption in the arms of a lover or been saved by the faithfulness of a friend?

Because the facts can't be proved doesn't mean it isn't true in the sense that something in the ancient text is deeper and more poignant than mere facts.

Throughout the ages man has tried to explain his existence and the events of his life. How he came to be and what his purpose is. It's a common thread in the written word of all civilizations. We desperately want to understand. But there are things we will never understand and so we are left with these canonized Words we hope will guide us.

I can't prove these things actually happened. Perhaps the only thing I can prove is the truth lies within those pages when applied to life as reflective stories and parables. Story is a powerful thing my friend and that, along with the God of my understanding, is more than enough for me.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Last Week of December

This week, which bridges the old year to the new, is a magical week. We are still flush with the warmth of the giving Holidays and openly hopeful for the year to come. There's no other week like it.
We set out on this journey with little more than our name. If we are fortunate we are encouraged to reach high and follow our dreams. If not we eventually find our own way because life is like that. It has a way of unfolding and coming together just as it should. Eventually we come to where we are. This week. This in-between week where we look back and forge ahead at the same time.
Whatever this past year was to you, either good or bad, remember this - you are the person you are because of all that happened. One small change, one slight modification, and you would be a different you. We will never know what that person would be like, but we do know who we are right now and that's a powerful place to stand.
Orient yourself. Take stock. This next year promises to be another life changer. Play your part and I'll play mine. Each and every attempt we make to love and care about each other is an affirmative statement. Each and every act of kindness and consideration speaks volumes about who we are. You are not insignificant in the grand scheme of things. One single atom's change and the world would be a different place.
So let's celebrate what is and what can be. Love those you hold dear and keep them close. And as far as the year to come? Reach high and far and dream big, my friend, because you never know what it could bring. It might just be the best one yet!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Evening News

I like how the evening news started adding feel good stories at the end of their program even though the rest of it is a waste land of sensationalism, disasters, and pharmaceutical advertisements. Let's face it, good news doesn't sell ads the way horrible news does. They know exactly what they're doing and how to make the most of it. Sometimes I think the feel good stories are there just to keep them from feeling too guilty about the garbage they feed us. Our maybe it's to prevent the news anchors from slitting their wrists right on the set!
To be sure, the news the networks feed us is such a small carefully selected part of what's really happening out in the world. Once in a while you'll either hear something or see something so extraordinarily heart warming or reaffirming of the goodness of people that it stops you in your tracks. As human beings we have this amazing ability to act out of kindnesses once we understand that selflessness is to life what water is to the drought stricken - life giving.
There's hundreds if not thousands of people out there doing great and wonderful deeds everyday. Let's not let the negativity and hatefulness of the news color what we know about ourselves or keep us from our potential. Inside of each of us is a giving heart. If we live true to our selves and aren't afraid to be exposed to rejection or ridicule we can make a difference. That's the real news. People still care about each other!
I'm not talking about giving money, although sometimes that's exactly what's needed, I'm taking about giving something that's even more priceless . . . yourself! Oh sure, you may not make the news, but to the person you reach out to you might be the best thing that happened all year.
So let's go out there and make our own personal headlines!

Sunday, December 11, 2016


We are a great entangled mystery of fleeting existence and powerful impact. A bit of fading mist with the ability to change the world.
Though we may be dust, my friend, we are the dust of the Universe! We are a galaxy in a thimble. The same life force that lives in all creation lives within us too. To think that there is that of God in such an fragile vessel as mankind is beyond understanding. And yet, that is what makes our brief existence so powerful. That is what gives our lives so much urgency and significance.
We are not nothingness, we are somethingness. Every breath that was ever taken from the beginning of time is still out there someplace. We take it into our lungs everyday and add our own to the mix. We build on the shoulders of all who have come before us. If we fail it is only to the extent that we do not care and will not love. If we succeed it is in direct relation to our understanding of how precious a gift we have.
There is much we can do in our short tenuous lives but there is so much more we can become. To love and be loved, to make this world a kinder place, this is the soul reason we are here. There is no greater thing we can do.
Cherish your life and give from your heart.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


"I didn't understand the difference between intelligence and knowledge. So I assumed I was an idiot." J.D. Vance ~ Hillbilly Elegy

In some respects I am and always will be a 7B1.

In seventh grade we moved from Shawswick, a country school, to Bedford Junior High. I don't remember being tested, but what I do remember is ending up in the 7B1 class. It didn't take long to realize that 7B1 was the lowest level of the seventh grade class structure. Once that became clear to me I accepted the fact that wasn't as smart as some of the other kids my age, otherwise I would have been put in a higher bracket. It was just a fact of life evidenced by my continual struggle with math and reading.

That classification stuck with me for years. Even when my twin sister and I were accepted at college I figured it was because the school needed the money not because of my dazzling SATs. My family scratched together the additional money we needed to supplement the grants and loans we were awarded along with work study. It was a semester by semester endeavor.

It wasn't until late my Sophomore year in college that a friend majoring in Early Childhood Education suggested I take a skills test. Turns out I'm dyslexic. Not in the totally non-functional way, but in the just enough to flip digits when ciphering math and losing tracking when reading kind of way. Who knew?

So with that little bit of self knowledge I slowly started doing better in my studies. 

I majored in Art. 
I never dreamed of majoring in anything else. Truth is Art and Music saved me, although I never realized it was a special gift. It came so easy I thought everyone could do it. I just thought they put efforts in other more academic things. Of course learning to read music was out of the question.The first time I took Psychology in college I failed. A year later I aced it. I completely made up my final term paper using handmade drawings and diagrams to illustrate my thesis. I had to dig just to come up with a believable bibliography. When I got the paper back it had an A+ on it. The professor requested I see her after class. I bolted. I was afraid my fraud would be discovered. Now I wonder how my life would have changed if I had "fessed up". That was when I realized that I might actually be smarter than I thought.

And yet, it wasn't until after I had graduated from college that I got up the courage to try to read a book all the way through, cover to cover, for the first time. I was 23. I went to the bookstore and picked the thinnest classic I could find . . . The Scarlett Letter. After that I pushed myself to read another, and then another, and then another until I became a consistent reader. Oh sure, I might be slower than most, but now after all these years of reading and continual learning I feel that I truly understand the difference between intelligence and knowledge and the reality of disability vs. potential.

What's really funny is in the end I married into a family of Educators. When I first met my father-in-law he asked me what my career aspirations were. Poor guy never realized I actually made it up on the spot. Turns out what I told him was the exact path my work life took. I've been working in the IT field for nearly 20 years now.

So in the end the 7B1 classification was just a label and not reality. It's my history to be sure, part of who I am and the person I've become. Through persistence and perseverance I have to say I'm feeling pretty confident in my abilities these days and it turns out I'm a pretty smart person after all, if I do say so myself!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Real Friends

Something about clicking a link to add a friend and clicking a link to remove a friend has always seemed too easy to me anyway. Facebook isn't real-life. It's make believe. It's how folks create the life they want to present to the rest of the world. The REAL friends you have are the friends you care about. Friends you call regularly, go out to dinner with, sit on the beach with, take weekends or vacations with, who accept you for who you are, and can disagree with but still love dearly. And then there's your kindred spirit friends you don't see for months or years on end, but when you finally get together it's like time never passed. There's a lot to be said for that. Oh sure, it's fun to get in touch with old classmates, college acquaintances, and buddies from old jobs - but after its all said and done your real friends are right here by your elbow either in fact or in heart no matter what stupid things you might say it do.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Our United States

Our United States of America has always been a churning changing place. A delicately balanced, close to the edge, proposition. Each election we give her to another batch of dreamers who we hope will bring her to her glory. It's strange we never believe she is at her best in the present. Instead we are nostalgic for "the golden years" when she was that Great City on the Hill. But if we were honest we'd have to admit that that time only exits in our minds. She has always been in the throes of childbirth, a changeling, an elusive goal.

That doesn't mean we don't hope to make her great, to lift our lamp beside the golden door. But let's not fool ourselves. She is always in the making and never completely ready for the dance. She is a living breathing organism made up of this ever changing political stew of ideas and hopes and dreams. She is not breakable, she is resilient and shapeable.

We are the fortunate children of former immigrants who hoped to give us a better life. A life that has always been more perceived than actual. America is our ideal. A moldable framework we shape over and over again. She is not meant to be rigid institutions or stodgy legislation. She moves, she breathes, she flexes and stretches with the times. Our treasured Constitution is very much alive. We constantly apply it to our changing world. Even when we try to "hold to the original intent of the framers" we're basing our judgement on the current perception of history.

So here's what I have to say during this unsettling time. Don't be afraid. Hold on to your ideal of our country and its people. Fight for what you believe is right. Make your voice heard. Don't be shy. Be active in the making of this great country. Hold elected officials accountable. This is what America is all about. This is what makes Her great. This is what makes US great.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Being Right

As humans we need to feel special simply because we are ego based beings. It's at the core of who we are. And even though I can only see the world through my own eyes, don't have a frame of reference other than the one colored by my own experiences, and can't divorce myself from myself that doesn't give me a pass to do or say whatever I please.

Relationships are delicate things. The things we say to each other either without thinking, calculatedly, or in total disregard of someone else's feelings are some of the most ugly and unforgivable things we do as a species on this planet. It's a sad commentary on our society that this sort of behavior is so pervasive today.

When conversations devolve into competitions intent on showing off status (who we are, the people we know, what we do for a living, our political leanings, our religious dogmas and all the other things we think make us better than other people) we do a great disservice to the those around us. It's not like anyone else really cares about our status except us. If anything it becomes an obstacle.

But, if we can keep our egos at bay long enough to give each other room to share and talk and participate in the general conversation of life then we learn how important each and every one of us are to our own survival. We all have something to contribute. We all have value and purpose.

That one-sided conversation we were having was actually hurting us and preventing us from sharing our hopes and dreams and experiences. It was keeping us from being close to each other and caring about each other and getting through the tough times despite all our differences.

You see, my friend, in the end "being right" never out weighs being love.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Knowing our life will end someday should give us new eyes each and every day.

Most times we live life like it will go on forever. And while that's a lie we like to tell ourselves it robs us of the importance each hour holds - these fleeting present moments where we live our days.

What we should fear is not death, but not living life while we have it. Ignoring the sweetness of the days we have. Not to wish away the hours, but make each and every day special with the knowledge of its limits. To love and care about each other. To be there when we're needed because our actions and inactions have consequences that will far out live our lives.

Life is messy. I'll admit it. I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. Sometimes life is just what it is. Don't ignore it or waste it away. It's precious. It's special. It's the one thing you can call your own. You have something more valuable than anything else in the world - life and the freedom to make it whatever your want. It's the only gift you have to give this crazy mixed up world.

And in the end it will be the love you gave, the kindness you showed, and the care in which you lived your days that will live beyond the last breath you take.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Good Day Bad Day

Sometimes the difference between a good day and a bad day is so small you might not even notice. It cloud be as simple as a smile. As easy as a kind word. It could happen in a heartbeat or it could take all afternoon.

It's less what happens to you, and more what happens inside you. It's that one moment when you realize were all the same. Nobody is better than anyone else. Everyone has the same hopes and dreams and goals and concerns. We're all trying to get to the same place. The place that feels like home. Where we feel like we're supposed to be.

Imagine you and I meet in the hallway at work and suddenly we realize that's true. That the best way to make this crazy world work is to work together. To help each other instead of get in each others way. I help you and you help me. We both get what we need and where we need to go.

I don't think life is the battle we all think it is. I think it's about pulling together. Helping each other. Doing what we can to show kindness and understanding to each other. Sometimes life is easy, sometimes it's hard, and sometimes it's just what it is. Might as well help each other in the process. Might as well do our best to made things better if we can.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Problem Solver

Paulie said to me, "There are two different kinds of people in the world, problem creators and problem solvers, and you know which one you are, Kris? You're a problem solver!"

Wish that life were so simple.

It's true. I spend most of my time solving problems and fixing things. It's what I do. And for the most part it comes easy to me. I'm not sure why. Basically I just take the time to figure out how something should work and then go from there. It's amazing how things come together if you just take the time to examine it before you set out to fix it.

I learned this from watching my Dad. He knew enough about things mechanical, electrical, and spatial to figure out just about anything, and what he didn't know he just applied basic logic to. He was a master at improvising. If he didn't have the tool he needed he'd figure out how to make another work in its place. He was thoughtful, being sure not to create additional work for himself, and methodical. He was always a few steps ahead in his thinkingy as he went along making sure whatever he did in step one didn't affect the success of steps four and five. These are the qualities that make a good problem solver.

Some people comment about the amount of patience I have when I'm working on something. Not sure if I really am. Indeed there are things I can be very impatient about. But give me a good puzzle, something that takes a bit of logic, strategy, and planning and I could go all day long. It's just flat out fun to me.

So I guess Paulie was right and that's okay with me. It's satisfying to be able to tackle something successfully. You work at something long enough and you'll eventually fix it or at least turn it into something useful. Heck, you might even turn it into something you didn't even know you needed!

So don't be afraid to try. Just take your time and think the problem through. Get creative if you need to. And remember there's no such thing as failure, because you can always apply what you've learned next time.