Vote for hope over fear

Ten years ago today, we elected the first person of color as our president — but what mattered more than the color of his skin was the way he made so many of us feel … hopeful. No matter where you stand on the political continuum today, there doesn’t seem to be much hope.

This afternoon, I attended a lecture by an entrepreneur alumnus whose family came to the US as asylum seekers from Uzbekistan when he was eight. He’s created thousands of jobs in the US economy. Then I read this story about an immigrant couple whose community is taking care of them in a time of need. This is who we are America, not the fearmongering racism of the president’s rallies and TV ads.

When you vote tomorrow, let’s see if we can find some of that hope and rekindle the American Dream for all of our citizens, and, yes, the world. Let’s find a way back to being that beacon of hope.

When you vote, remember who we are and aspire to be. Your vote does matter. It always matters.

Finding the way out of no man’s land

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now. It’s been swirling in my brain, heart, and gut for quite a while, but every time I feel like I’m close to putting fingers to keyboard, I shy away, worried of the reaction from all sides.

It’s a sensitive topic, you see. A white guy writing to other white guys about being a white guy in today’s society and culture.

Read More

This choice called love

IMG_2462

My son is in his first real relationship at 16. It’s wonderful to witness how he smiles and laughs around her, how they just seem comfortable around each other. What impresses me the most is how he gives of himself for her. There’s a quiet ease in which he cares for her, so natural it seems innate.

I don’t know what their future holds, but I do know this: For their relationship to last, to thrive, they will both need to understand that love is not a feeling.

Love is a choice. Love is an action. 

Read More

Presence over time

IMG_9271It’s interesting how those of us in four-season climates talk about the plants in our gardens — in terms of how long they’ll last. Annuals come and go in one growing season. Perennials come back every year, but mostly lie dormant below the ground in winter. Trees and shrubs — we think of them as the bones, the stalwart foundation, that last for years, perhaps a lifetime. We cherish them for their presence over time, rather than their value in the moment.

We do the same for people, don’t we? Read More

Our disappearing paths

img_2920

I bought this coffee mug in 2016 at the Glacier Point gift shop in Yosemite National Park to add to my collection of mug memories. My son and I were on day three of our summer trip to California. Printed on it is a quote from naturalist John Muir.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

It was the perfect senitiment to capture this adventure of ours through central California. We’ve hiked a lot of paths together over the years, and more than a few of them have been dirt.

IMG_5764

Read More

Fresh air and respite

I’m more determined than ever to #ShareBeauty — but that doesn’t mean I ignore all the ugliness in the world. My heart is heavy and hurting for our world right now, for the lack of compassion so evident in our civic conversation. But I can’t bear to amplify the ugliness and prolong its echo. I can only confront it along my daily path and focus on providing fresh air and respite for those on the right side of history.

Reminding us of our possibility

I watched Wonder Woman with breakfast and coffee this morning. Combined with last week’s Black Panther, I’m heartened by the different looks our superheros are getting in today’s pop culture. Both movies did a great job at exposing our human imperfection and history of violence — but also our unending optimism that we can rise above it. Perhaps that’s why superhero movies strike such a chord with us. They remind us of our possibility.

Choose kindness

My mind is still churning from last night’s scout meeting where we discussed bullying and personal protection. My scouts are all sixth graders. It’s hard to wrap my brain around how complex these kids’ lives are compared to my sixth grade experience. Cyber bullying wasn’t even possible. Active shooter drills unfathomable.

I left them with one simple entreaty.

“It’s really easy as a human being to let yourself be unkind. It comes naturally to us for some reason … but so does kindness. Choose kindness.”

Facing the monster we created

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Interspersed with the sounds of panic.

The sounds from inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.

The sounds so common that we instantly know what they are.

The sounds of an assault rifle shredding lives in another mass shooting in our country.

As the father of a high school student, each pop cuts through my soul, knowing that there’s nothing to prevent the same thing in our community.

Read More

Recipe: Corn and black bean nachos

Recipe: Corn and black bean nachos

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! There may be a widening gulf between those who are glued to the TV for the game and those watching for the commercials — and perhaps a few hundred thousand middle-aged NSYNC fans tuning in for a glimpse of Justin Timberlake at halftime — but the thing that brings all of us together for the big game is … FOOD!

I’m still trying to decide what appetizer that K and I will bring to the party we’re attending, but if you’re hosting at home, let me suggest the corn and black bean nachos I made for my son this week. They’re fast, delicious, and easy to make new batches as the game progresses.

Read More