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.

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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.

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Recipe: Instant Pot Mediterranean chicken

It’s been a lazy, unscheduled Saturday at the end of a hectic week, perfect for some kitchen creativity. My mid-week grocery trip was more scattershot than tactical strike, so I didn’t have specific meals planned for the weekend. Tonight’s dinner would ad lib.

Chicken breast tenders (~1lb). Mushrooms (8 oz). That jar of Kalamata olives I’ve been staring at for weeks, salivating each time I open the pantry door. A jar of marinara and a can of crushed tomatoes. Sounds like a perfect Mediterranean-ish combo to throw in my Instant Pot.

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Stepping off our ideological icebergs

If we spend too much time watching cable news and Twitter feeds, the world looks like a giant dumpster fire burning out of control.

Hate.

Outrage.

Pain.

Division.

A year ago, that’s all I saw. We were a week into a new presidency that I couldn’t stomach or even fathom, and all I saw was an impending war for the soul of our country. I had my pitchfork out, entrenched and ready to strike. I’ve read the Facebook posts I made a year ago, and many of them are filled with the same things I saw in the world. Hate. Outrage. Pain. Division. 

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Giving him the love and space to create his own future

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My son and I stood at the summit of Baldy Mountain, on what felt like the top of the world. He wanted me to take his photo sitting on the edge. I have no idea what was going through his mind as he sat there, looking toward the dissipating haze of New Mexico’s eastern horizon, but my spirit brimmed with the emotional memories of the day he was born.

In the months before his birth, I voraciously read every how to be a parent manual out there. I believed that parenting could be treated as an academic enterprise, just another subject to learn, an expertise to be acquired. When challenges arose, I’d just flip to the right page for the answer.

The day we went to the hospital to be induced, I felt confident that we had this thing under control. I’d put myself through Dad 101 and was ready to roll.

Then everything went to hell.

Continue reading Giving him the love and space to create his own future