Good Soil

I gave up on the garden idea this year and have just tried to keep the weeds at bay and the birds happy. Then I realized some plants were growing from the seeds I put out for the birds—not in places where I would have planted them but in walkways and in tight corners against…

Option

Failure is always an option. It’s just not the preferred one.

Worldview

The things we see and experience produce feelings that form mental associations that connect with hints of reality, changing how we negotiate our way through life for better or worse. What we expose ourselves to creates short-term moods that turn into deep-seated attitudes that influence our perceptions and life choices for the long term. They…

Mothers

There’s a saying that I think is largely true for many of us—that you’re only ever as happy as your least happy child. I believe there’s another corollary—that children are only ever as happy as their mother or, as the case may be, the one who plays the maternal role in their lives. They can…

Hijacked

When you let your beliefs hijack your neutrality in what data you select and how you interpret them, you’ve fallen victim to confirmation bias. To correct for it, err on the side of disconfirmation. Seek evidence that challenges your beliefs—and raise the burden of proof for evidence that affirms them. ~Adam Grant Many of the…

Still Never Fails

Love never fails. That eternal, profound realization hit me long ago when my kids were small and I was still struggling just to keep my patience. How incredibly all-consuming and eternal. It extends universes beyond human politics, philosophies and bottom lines. It has no geographical limits or borders. It has continued to hold me accountable…

More To Me

There are endless hiking trails nearby, many much closer than this one. But I return to Big Mountain more often than not. It’s where I work out the stresses of recent weeks and the sorrows of recent years. “I climb so I can feel tired and sore in places other than my heart.” At first…

Kind of the Same

Some flavors—like apple and banana and cilantro—pervade and overpower anything and everything they’re mixed with. Other flavors are more subtle but just as delicious. It’s kind of the same with people.

So Little

There’s a passage in the Bible about becoming as little children that I often ponder. It’s worth considering whether or not you’re a Christian. I don’t think for a moment that it’s a call to become like fifth graders or even two-year-olds in terms of self-seeking behavior. What I do believe it means is flying…

Linger

Lost another dear friend to cancer. So many beloved friends and family fighting that fight, and I often contemplate the reality that I may soon join them. You never know when it’s the last conversation you’ll have with someone. You bump into them at the local mercantile—of all people, you bump into them. You catch…

Stupid Stuff

Don’t do stupid stuff. Own and apologize for the stupid stuff you’ve done. Don’t use the stupid stuff you’ve already done to justify doing more stupid stuff. Don’t use the stupid stuff that others have done to justify doing more stupid stuff. Don’t judge others by the stupid stuff they’ve done, because you’ve done equally…

Notice

Notice how the older people in your life tend to go silent as they age. Not because they have nothing to say. But because they no longer live simply to be heard.

Model for Life

I’ve tried out a few models for life in my 57 years. Some dictated by tradition, some by religion, some by the preferences and opinions of stronger personalities in my life who I looked up to or feared as the case may be. I’m still trying new things, but one model I’ve rejected is charting…

Enough

We often rail against the seemingly unreasonable expectations of others when really it’s our own expectations that are crushing us. The best gift we can give ourselves is to release our expectations as to what is going to happen in the next five minutes, much less the next five years—expectations of what others are going…

Must Begin

Love must begin with respect. Two people cannot move forward merely tolerating each other’s differences and looking down on each other as ignorant idiots who can’t see past the noses on your faces. No relationship can survive that. Neither can a country. There must be mutual respect for the genuine value that others bring to…

Most Dangerous Person

The person who flatters you and tells you what a fantastic job you’re doing is possibly the most dangerous person in your life.

Who You Really Are

The best test of who you really are is your internal response when something bad happens to someone you dislike or disagree with.

Reality

Reality exists somewhere between nothing is my fault and everything is my fault.