Changing Of The Seasons


Repost from last October.

I enjoy the changing of the seasons. If I had to pick my favorite one it would have to be Fall.

The cooling of the air seems to refresh not only my body but my brain as well. It’s more than just the relief to have made it through another summer, but more a sense of accomplishment for having done so.

When I smell the first burning of wood coming from distant fireplaces at the beginning of the fall season, it takes me back to a time and place when I was young…

One of the first Falls of my life, when I first recall that sense of accomplishment mixed with the smell of burning logs in the Fall air, was after football practice.

Summer was over. No more two-a-day football practices. I enjoyed walking home from practice taking in the cooling air while walking barefoot. The concrete actually felt good on my feet. No more sprinting from shade spot to shade spot when I was dumb enough to leave the house with no shoes on.

There hasn’t been a Fall of my life, when the air starts to change and I smell distant fireplaces burning, I don’t think of that Fall so many seasons past.

I fast forward some years and recall the smell of burning wood at the end of a work day. I still remember the gratification of having worked hard with my hands, and looked back at what I accomplished in a day. Surrounded by perfect air temperature, I actually felt bad for the people who didn’t get to experience what I was in my life.

Each changing season brings about new challenges. With each test or challenge, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I can’t say I come out on top every time, but that is my goal. Regardless of the outcome I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment for having stayed in the challenge, for not giving up, even when sometimes I wanted to.

I flip the fast forward switch in my mind yet again. This time I leave the button pressed a little longer to take me to a specific part of my history.

I land a couple decades further into the story. This remembrance of Fall lands me in a Lacrosse field. I remember the smell and feel of “my season.”

I recall stopping the practice for a few moments to have the girls look at the skyline, noting it’s progression north on the horizon. I asked them to take note of the smell of the air. The moist grass, the dampness in the air, and, in particular, the smell from distant wood burning fireplaces.

I encouraged them to remember the moment, the smell and the sense of accomplishment. I asked them to recall this time during the future seasons of their lives. I reminded them how special and fleeting each season is.

It was magical, just the sound of hard breathing from wind sprints, mixed with the inhaling of the smell of life. This is when the scent becomes more than a smell. The scent mixed with the hard work coupled by the gratification becomes a state of being that we can always travel back in time to visit.

The hard work that brings a sense of accomplishment mixed with the scent in the air becomes the trigger we engage to ride our minds back in time.

This year will be a different Fall season for me. As the seasons change, so do our lives. I will not be coaching Lacrosse this year. I’ll miss the smell of the grass, mixed with the smell of chewed up earth from cleats, and the aroma of wood burning in the distance.

Mostly I’ll miss the girls and the sense of gratification and accomplishment gained by having an impact on their lives.

This year when I smell my favorite Fall scent, I’ll remember the ones past. I’ll cherish the years and the paths that have brought me to this fork in the road.

I’ll choose the path less traveled. If I have too, I’ll blaze my own trail.

When I stop at dusk and breath in the Fall air bursting with the scent of burning wood, I’ll remember the good old days, and look forward to this day becoming one of them…


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As a youngster, I had several heroes. One of my favorites was Daniel Boone. He was an American frontiersman portrayed on a TV show by Fess Parker.

I even had the coonskin cap to emulate my hero. The hat was designed for warmth. It used a raccoon hide to wrap over and around your head. The coolest part of that hat was the fluffy raccoon tail that hung down the back.

In the opening credits of the show, Daniel Boone would throw his hatchet at a tree and split it in half. WOOOOW! He was cool!

Davy Crockett was another one of our heroes. I’m not sure who said it, but in honor of him, when we were playing Cowboys and Indians or Army, we’d scream with 5-year-old honor, “REMEMBER THE ALAMO”! Running full speed into a make-believe battle, pretending to be ready to risk our lives for a just cause.

Societies heroes in those days were people who lived principled lives. Those people who risked their real life for friends, family, and country. The sports celebrities were admired and appreciated for their talents but were still regarded as entertainment.

It wasn’t long ago when a handshake meant something, a persons word was their bond. Now? A signature promising to keep our word doesn’t really mean we’ll keep our word. It just means we’ll keep our word as long as it’s good and painless for us. This isn’t new to our society, it’s just more prevalent and accepted today than it was in the past.

Television in earlier years reflected a society and its values at the time. Many of the sitcoms still had at their core a lesson about principles. What are the values of our society today?

Sometimes I feel like Daniel Boone and want to throw a hatchet right into the middle of my TV! I bet the real Daniel Boone would do it!

Consider a real bonafide hero in Pat Tillman. The man who walked away from an NFL contract at the height of his career. His sole motivation was to serve his country. I’m not sure why that hasn’t been made into a movie. The only movie made about Tillman was the controversy after his life was over. It seems Hollywood avoids principled lives like they do morality.

It’s been a long time since this country saw the likes of Pat Tillman. He was a throwback. It looks to me like we need some more throwbacks, or what the old-fashioned preachers might call a revival. We need to revive our consciousness from a stupor of liberal media that celebrates immorality.

We need to revive the spirit of God in this country. Is it still possible for us to do the right thing instead of the easiest thing?

The lives lived by honorable people with a simple perspective was brought about by what they believed and how they thought. The principles that guide a great nation are the same principles that guide great people.

Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (partial) Putting others before ourselves is the example of the one we are named for, Christ himself.

The young ones in a society learn to cherish what the elders cherish. By our actions, what are we showing the young ones in our lives that they will learn to cherish?

While I liked the coonskin cap, that wasn’t why I admired the character of Daniel Boone. He wasn’t for sale, he stood for morality and backed it up physically if he had to.

That’s how I want to be remembered as well…




We learn early in life to hide how we feel and who we really are. It’s like preparing our children to play the game of life as if it were Poker.

Like our parents before us, we do it to protect our children. It’s common knowledge that the world is made up of a lot of people that will prey on who they perceive as weak.

This is true not only in physical predators that live among us, but sometimes also the ones closest to us. Certainly everyone else that falls in between.

Before our oldest two daughters went to college they spent some time in self-defense classes, learning how first to avoid an attack by being aware of potential dangers and looking the danger squarely in the eyes. Secondly, in the event of an attack how to turn the predator into the prey.

The mask worn in this scenario is a mask of courage. Put on to portray a strong confident person ready and willing to fight.

I read a book back in the 80’s by one of the pioneers of the secular “self-help” authors and speakers. In his book, he explained in detail how to act to get what you wanted in life. I recall one of his techniques was called “mirroring.”

This technique basically was to slowly do what the person you were trying to sell or persuade was doing. If the person crossed their legs, you would eventually cross yours. Thereby copying or “mirroring” the person being persuaded.

Subconsciously the person being persuaded would naturally become drawn to the seller, by seeing in the salesman the same characteristics as themselves. I guess we could call this form of manipulation the “mirror mask.”

Many times the most popular masks are the ones we wear in front of our spouse and family. There was a song in the 70’s by Billy Joel. This was the title track of the album that put him on the charts so to speak. The song is titled “The Stranger.”

The song was about a couple who wore masks around each other and never revealed themselves or the truth. My favorite line in the song wasn’t the chorus. It was the climax of the song-story. It went, “When I pressed her for the reason, she refused to even answer, it was then I felt the stranger kick me right between the eyes.”

At home should be the last place to wear a mask. Even The Lone Ranger and Batman didn’t wear their masks at home! If someone’s has to wear a mask at home, it can’t be a happy one.

When I’m in church, although hesitant to admit it, I fear there are more masks there than anywhere else. These are the Christian masks. The world accepts masks as part of our culture everywhere except there in God’s house, where truth is to be the foundation.

The masks that are worn there are usually supernaturally stripped away to reveal by their actions the hypocrite. God’s house isn’t a masquerade party and the Host frowns upon mockery.

“The truth will set you free.” If we have to walk around  with a mask on to “act” the part, by implication of this verse, we are slaves.

Truth is freedom. Masks are slavery to the flesh.

When I was young I heard my dad say more than once, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” My dad was a wise man. He knew and taught us what human nature looked like. Even though humans tend to take advantage of the weaker in our world, he never fell into the temptation to put on a mask. He was secure with himself and he knew who he was to God.

Some people would occasionally mistake his kindness for weakness, but not for long. It’s amazing how quickly weaker people wearing a “strong mask,” when confronted with the truth and power of “no mask” scatter like rats.

To write honestly takes removing my mask. I’ve noticed as my mask slowly comes down from my face, it reveals receding hair, moles, wrinkles, scars, my eyes, graying whiskers, and finally me.

Since I’ve done that, I see people around me as we speak, lowering their masks as well. The truth of who we are is much more masculine or beautiful than the ugly masks we were hiding behind.

Behind or without a mask we are all more alike than we are different.

For those reading from behind the mask of your computer screen, do me and everyone else a favor. Subscribe, comment, and pass it on to friends family and even the ones who might not know who’s behind your mask. It’s time to show them.

The mask we sometimes hide behind is choking the joy and life out of us..

Real life… Is sharing all of it, the good, bad, and the ugly.




It’s getting close to the time when I plant winter flowers in the pots in our backyard. We all enjoy the sharp color and contrast of the Annuals, especially in a cooling air.

This is like “The Little Red Hen” child’s story with an outdoor setting. Everyone enjoys the beautiful flowers, but no one wants to help plant them. I have to include myself in that category sometimes…

To be fair, I’m a little like the lazy animals in that children’s story, wanting to reap what I haven’t sewn inside the house as well, but then I’ve always been pretty good at eating!

I can still bribe my little one to hang out with me and help with the outdoor work occasionally. A few years back I bribed her into helping again. While we were flower shopping at the local do-it-yourself-mega-store, we found at the check out line, thin bags of sheer material. Inside those bags were what looked like hundreds of ladybugs, I wondered out loud, “Ladybugs in a bag?” “What’ll they think of next?”

This was a first for us, “Can we get some Dad”? My little one asked. “Sure, I’m all for them eating whatever it is that’s eating our flowers and shrubs”! I answered. We bought two for good measure.

Of course, when we got home the first thing my daughter wanted to do was to release the ladybugs. Oh No, my help and company would have been long gone. First things first, we removed the old dead flowers from all the pots, then we added water and remixed the mulch as needed.

We quickly developed a system, she handed me the little cubed roots of flowers and I’d secure them into their new more permanent homes. Hours and much work later, it was time to unleash our temporarily jailed aphid eaters.

Being a new experience for the both of us, we weren’t quite sure how to go about releasing them. I opened up the first bag and held it out in front of me… Nothing. These must have been the lazy ladybugs who were easy to catch. I shook the bag a little… Still nothing.

I reached my hand into the bag to gently grab some of the ladybugs and release them into the wonderland they had been born for. As I was reaching in the bag, I quickly stopped, looked wild-eyed at my daughter and yelled, “AAAAHHHHH”!!!— “THEY’RE EATING MY FLESH”!!!—“OH NO”!!—“THEY’RE MAN EATING LADYBUGS”!!!—“AAAAHHHHH”!!!

My daughter was frozen with fear for a couple of seconds, then she said, “NUH, UH”!!! It was as much a question as it was a statement. I still had a wild look in my eyes, but the fun of the moment got the best of me as I started to grin. “THEY ARE NOT DAD”!!! She declared, having solved the mystery.

We laughed for five minutes straight. She took her turn reaching into the bag and repeated our new found fun. “Ahh”! “Man Eating Ladybugs”! An instant family classic, the kind that happen out of the blue but define part of a childhood and will be recalled forever.

Since that Sunday afternoon, I’ve never looked upon a ladybug in the same light. I always think of our “Man-Eating-Ladybugs,” and the special time we spent working together to create something more special than just the random occasion.

It seems to always require effort to “create” something of lasting importance, especially fond memories, even if it’s just the menial tasks of responsibility coupled with the right perspective.

Looking back over my life so far, some of the best memories I have are of things that didn’t come easy, the tasks that required self-discipline and perseverance. I’ve heard it said, “In this life, for everything you get, you have to give up something.”

I recall that day and the simple ladybug memory. Whatever football game was on that day was worth giving up to gain the memories of a child and what a little thing, on a simple Sunday, would mean to her for the rest of her life. I think sometimes God is even bigger in the little things of this life.

Self-sacrifice, however, difficult at the any given time, is the cornerstone of any lasting gratification and a great way to teach a child the possibilities in even the smallest things in life.

The most treasured things gained can rarely be measured using a number. A person can spend time and energy filling their pockets with what can be measured by counting.

A life spent measuring happiness by a number, will come up short every time…

I pray my daughter will remember that lesson from her childhood… And, of course, the Man Eating Ladybugs…



Back in the 70’s the most popular show on TV was Happy Days. It was so popular that now even youngsters who weren’t born are familiar with it or have at least heard about it.

The biggest draw to the show was the “Hood” turned celebrity character of Fonzie. He was cool. He rode the cool bike and got all the girls. He was so cool, in fact, he could tap the jukebox or Coke machine with the side of his fist using the perfect amount of pressure to get a free play or drink.

At the beginning of the show during the credits, he walked into the bathroom at Arnold’s, the local hangout, to comb his slicked back hair. Right before he started to touch the comb to his scalp he hesitated, did a double take into the mirror, then smiled wide and held his arms out to his sides. As if to say, “I look so good, it couldn’t get any better than this”!

A few episodes portrayed Fonzie after having made a mistake, not be able to admit it. When he tried to say the word “wrong” he couldn’t spit it out. He’d say, “I was RRRRR”! “I was RRR, uuhhmm, RRRRR”!

I know a lot of people like that. Maybe that’s why it was so funny? The world’s full of people who don’t like to admit they’re wrong. I can’t say I’m guilt free in this area of self-development my darn self.

In my opinion, this trait is the purest example of insecurity at its ugliest. No one likes to be wrong, but we all get to take our turn. It’s difficult to be completely honest with ourselves and admit we’re not perfect. Even though that’s exactly what we should do, we have a hard time spitting it out.

In a similar way, we eat our words and don’t spit them out when they can and should be used to lift up others. There are different reasons to speak up. Sometimes we don’t want to be involved due to timing issues, dealing with what we perceive as more “drama” in our lives.

Other times we can’t spit it out because we have a fear of what someone might think about us and or ideas. It seems as though many of us in the world are walking through life biting our tongues. It usually is the people that aren’t saying anything that have the most to say.

In doing so, we leave the air open for people who shouldn’t be talking to fill it. If you’ve read much of this post, you know I prefer actions over talk. Sometimes words are the end of the action. The actions of walking over, picking up a phone or computer to ask, “Are you OK, what can I do to help”?

A friend and pastor Rick Efrid said this years ago, and I’ll never forget it. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I find that very insightful. This takes spitting it out in words and deeds.

I think most people will agree that the person who can’t say they’re “RRRR,” uuhhmm, Wrong,” show their insecurity and lose all credibility. On the other hand the ones who can freely admit their mistakes gain credibility.

The people that can voice their opinion with respect, even when it’s contrary to the popular opinion gain respect. Maybe not popularity votes, but were not trying to be popular, just honest.

The ones who speak up and reach out to the hurting are heroes.

I struggled for a year before starting this simple little blog. For those who know me, know I’m a very private person. I like living my life in anonymity. The wrestling match with God over this issue again ended with me “tapping out.”

When you come back to visit, this is where you’ll find me…”Spittin it out”!