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Thoughts On Turning 30

Posted on June 8, 2011

Dear Gracie and Boy,

Today your Dad turned 30. In case I haven’t said it enough, you guys and your mom are the best things in my life. I am thankful for you on a daily basis.

I spent a lot of the day reflecting on how quickly time has passed and how much things have changed over the last decade. I wanted to take some time to point out some lessons I’ve learned in case you are curious about who your Dad is/was.

Be Ready To Work On Your Marriage

This decade I got married, and its been hard at times. Though it has gotten better and I love your mom more today than when we first met. Be ready to work hard and seek to find a partner who wants to work hard too.

Be Wary Of Debt

The USA is currently experiencing the worst recession/depression in history. In fact the world faces some serious challenges moving forward. From this vantage we the people are owned by Corporations.

We got to this point by taking on way too much debt, which blew up in our faces. Please be wary of taking it on yourself. Ask the people you respect for their opinions before jumping into anything that ends with you signing a promissory note.

Never trust a bank.

Be Strategic In Your Search

In your youth, responsibly try as many things as you can. Get a feel for what challenges, opportunities, and tasks await. Also, use that time to learn how to be your best advocate. But let this search be strategic to narrow the scope of what satisfies your heart. Sitting here at the big 3-0, I can tell you your youth goes by all too fast.

Be Cautious Of Anyone Or Thing Wanting You To “Act Now!!!”

The best things in life take hard work and the most satisfying things take a long time to come into fruition. I have found that the longer I wait for something, the better off I am. And in this consumerist society, I know my slow actions are not the norm, but I think thats a good thing.

Be Kind To Your Mother

I was not always kind to your Mom. My personality can just be too strong at times. But she has been patient with me. I actually don’t think I’ve ever met anyone nicer than your mom. She loves you all. Respect her, love her, emulate her where applicable.

Be Aware Of Death

Make sure to show the people that are in your life, that you love and appreciate them on a daily basis. Its easy to forget, but very important to do. Always be aware that the time you have with them is limited, so you need to try and make the most of it.

Be Forgiving

Things won’t always work out for you. The bad guy may even appear to win at times. But forgiveness is not about them, its about you. And a lot of peace can be found in forgiving others. The people who I look up to right now, are the best ones at forgiving.

Be Strong

Choose the right time and place to confront, speak to, or act out. I’ve learned the hard way, that there are times to keep my head down and look for a better opportunity for my energy to have maximum impact. This decade, I realized that if my emotion is HIGH, then more likely than not, it is the wrong time. But also know, there comes a day when you must act. Be strong.

Be Full Of Questions

You will never know it all. Don’t act like it. Don’t try to even freaking attempt it. Just ask questions and listen, listen all the time. You will be mocked for this. In school especially. But pay no attention to those doing the mocking. You will end up far wiser and smarter than everyone around.

Be Different

I have a general theory that the majority of people are just sad sheep. Indifferent and uncaring to most everything around them of any major value. Main stream media and religious organizations for the most part are just forms of propaganda and control. There is truth in each, but I’ve spent the later half of this decade trying to figure out how to disseminate the truth. To read between the lines.

So when you see the herd moving in one direction, you probably should be moving in the opposite one. But please don’t just move in reaction, in accordance with trying to be different. Use it as a starting point to question. Ask yourself “If everyone is going this way, dad warned me that I need to probably move the other, why?”.

You’ll figure it out.

Be Willing To Not Succeed

When you try, you’ll soon learn that you will not always succeed. But the people around you, for the most part, are one step behind, they have stopped trying. They are the definition of failure. So when you do get knocked down after trying something new, and the world laughs and tells you that you suck, just say;

“I’ve not failed, I’m just currently not succeeding”

And then get back up and try again.

* * *

I hope this helps you, and if you have any questions, let me know. I will only be a bedroom door or two away.





Where Faith And Hope Are Requirements

Ever felt like you were losing your faith and lacking in hope?

I have.

These types of thoughts usually lead right into a nice bout of depression which is always a bitter battle. A downward mathematical equation calculating the slope of a line built on despair.

But one thing that I notice is that the fight begins when I felt that I no longer have questions. When the fullness of having things proves me safe in my supposed tangible security. Which I so arrogantly praised myself for acquiring. And with everything defined, categorized, and shelved so nicely, it would leave me in a place that no longer allowed for me to ask who I am and why I am here. Already summarizing that life had little meaning and even less value.

When I used to get to this spot, I would always voice that I no longer felt I had a reason to hope and that I had lost my faith. And go about looking for faith and hope not as objective solutions, but almost deities, defining the value using my subjective context.

And what would happen is that despair would seep right on in, dragging me deeper into feelings of pointlessness.

Lately I’ve been solving these issues by challenging my perspective. Going out and finding families and people who are in great need and have great pain. People whose lives have been torn apart by affairs, theft, drugs, or death.

These are the people who prove that we are not anywhere close to as knowing and mighty as we think. They are the ones to whom faith and hope are requirements. Simple reminders that we will all be broken someday and will cling to our faith and shout our hopes aloud.

Because when you are small, what else is there?

Let Me Think About It

You know what I admire about my Dad? Well in a society so focused on self. Where when asked for ones opinion, most blurt out words before substantive thoughts can form. My Dad doesn’t, and in fact, is far from this. When asked a question where he may not have a diffinitave thought or answer, he chooses to issue the following statement.

“Let me think about it son”

And indeed my Father will. Sometimes I’ll go several weeks, maybe even a month before hearing about the topic again. But he always gets back to me, and I know that he has been wrestling with whatever question I placed upon him. Trying to do his best to steer me in a direction of value and clarity.

So last night, when my wife asked me a question. What was the body of feedback that I gave her?

“No, its not going to work”

This was a topic that I didn’t know much about, and hadn’t given a lot of thought to. Yet despite this, I still was saying “Nay” with my body language. Closing my mind long before my wife closed her mouth.

I had formed my conclusion rapidly, and was poorer for doing so.

What did I do this morning to start to correct this action? Well I thought about my Dad, and what he would do. And then I did what I should have done in the first place. I sent my wife a text message saying basically;

“Let me think about it”

Love you Dad

To Love or to Loan

Posted on July 9, 2010

When Jaimi and I were first married, we were living in Oregon and had in our possession a Pontiac Grand Am, which even then was on its last legs. After a couple years, it was apparent that the car was not going to make it much further. So my brother, being the kind of guy he was, drove over for a visit.

“Hey man” he said one night “I was thinking of flying back home tomorrow and leaving you guys the mitsubishi pickup. I want to get a different rig anyway, so if you want, you could just give me a thousand for it” his smile was huge, and his dimples were deep. It was obvious, that Jaye was trying to help us. His little mitsubishi was easily valued at over four thousand dollars. But this was the type of person he was.

“Well-” I said stumbling “-we can’t really afford to pay that all at once.”

“I know, I know” he replied. Pulling his hands up, palms out, trying to reassure me. “Just pay me $25-$50 a month for however long it takes. Does that work?”

I smiled “Thanks Jaye, that will help out a lot.”

And so he flew home the next day and time flew right along with him. Days turned into months, and at the end of each, I would sit down and pay the bills. But every month, I would think to myself

You know, Jaye doesn’t need this money right now, he won’t care if I skip this month.

And so I would willingly choose to short my brother. The dude that I am supposed to love and protect.

Three months turned into six, six into nine, and pretty soon a year had passed.

Jaye called me one afternoon asking “Hey brother! I am driving over for Jaimi’s graduation next weekend, is that cool?”

“That will be awesome!” I replied. Though I knew in my heart, that I wasn’t totally stoked. Because as we all know, when you haven’t been fulfilling your part of a promise, you carry it around like a loose bag of stones.

Jaye arrived on a Friday, I remember him getting out of his new Honda accord and we embraced in a very long hug. Because of Jaye’s history with epilepsy, I remember holding him while thinking

Is this the last time I’ll get to hug my brother?

But this type of thought was fairly common for me. I was the one who originally had found Jaye suffering his first seizure. With all the close calls He had had throughout his life, my brain just digested his condition as increased risk. And at these moments, thoughts like this formed around that fear.

“Good to see you Jaye” I said.

“Well, it is great to see you” he laughed as he spoke. The inside joke being that he knew by using the word “great”, that he had one upped me in our faux sibling rivalry.

The weekend seemed to fly by. And it was filled with hanging out, laughing, and seeing Jaimi walk down the isle to receive her Masters in Education. But throughout all of this, never once did I feel any awkwardness from Jaye. Never once did I feel that he was letting my broken promise affect his love for me.

Before we knew it,  Sunday was upon us and Jaye was by the door starting the ritual goodbye.

He gave me a hug and said “I love you Jared”

“I love you too Jaye” I replied, letting him go. And I watched him reach down and grab his bag, turn his back, and walk out the door.

Realization hit like a lighting bolt as I recognized that Jaye was going to let me off and was not going to bring up the owed money. The grace he was offering me was easy to see, and through his actions, proved that he loved me more than the potential damage in trying to collect. And with this knowledge, my pride bent, and my body acted.

“Hey Jaye!” I called out towards his back. He stopped and slowly turned, walking back straight to the door. When we were standing in front of each other I started to speak.

“I just wanted to let you know-” I began, as my gaze found itself upon my feet and my fingers scratched the back of my neck in awkwardness. “-what I mean, is that I need to apologize to you, for not sending you any money for the pickup. That was wrong of me, and I am sorry.”

Jaye stood still, for what felt like a very long time. Then he took a step and leaned into me, giving a giant bear hug. Pulling back, he held me away from himself by gripping each of my shoulders in one of his hands. I could see that his bright blue eyes were happy, and the depth of his dimples forecasted this same joy.

All he said was “I knew you could do it.”

He then patted my shoulders and turned around taking off at a jog. Quickly escaping the depth of emotion that I knew we were both feeling, upon the newly recovered foundation that had been constructed.

Calling out over his shoulder. “I’ll see you soon!”

I yelled back “But Jaye, what about-”

Without turning to face me, and still in stride, he yelled “Don’t worry about it, I don’t care about the money!”

That was the last time I ever saw Jaye, for not a month later he was dead. But when I think of this remarkable life lesson, I am in awe of what he taught me. Which is that a loan is ruled by profit, but grace is entirely funded through love. And it is easy to see, that Jaye truly knew how to love.

* * *

June of this year, marked the five year anniversary of Jaye’s death.  The worst thing about this, is that Gracie was born into a world where her uncle will only exist in stories. I almost couldn’t complete this one, because of the emotion it brought. But if Gracie Jaye is going to learn about her namesake, I knew I had to get it out. Thanks for reading.

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