First Days Never Get Easier

A collage of

A collage of past “first days” (photos by Julia Ozab)

Today, Julia and I sent Anna off on the school bus for her first day of fourth grade. Each year I think it will get easier, and each year I’m wrong. It never gets easier. If anything, it gets harder as we watch her grow up before our eyes. Year after year, photo after photo. It all happens too fast.

Why is that? Why do the days and the years rocket past for us? Why is she in such a hurry to grow up while we want it all to slow down so we can hold on to each moment just a little bit longer before it goes?

Is it because she grows more noticeably? Or because we don’t want to face how we’re getting older, but can’t deny that she’s growing up? Or is it because a year for us who’ve lived for many seems so much shorter than for those who’ve lived before?

Michael Stevens at VSauce (one of my favorite YouTube channels) has an interesting take on the last question. Perhaps it has to do with how we naturally perceive time. (Warning: Math ahead!)

(Go back to 2:07 for some background on additive vs. logarithmic counting, or to 0:00 to see people with too much time on their hands).

So if this is the case, and we who have passed the “middle age” of 9(!) can only look forward to our subsequent years racing past us faster and faster until their inevitable end, is there anyway at all for us to slow the rushing train down just a bit?


So if you want to slow time down a bit, go out and do something new. It’s the novel experiences that stick with us and make for richer memories and fuller lives.

I can think of someone that makes my life a whole lot fuller than it would be. Someone who helps me see the world through fresh eyes and re-experience familiar things with a new sense of wonder.

Someone who keeps me young.

Anna's first day of fourth grade


And as always, thanks for reading!

Bloggerhood Etc. 6/8/15

Oh no, baby GODZILLA!

Photo: Jeff Wysaski.

Best Photoblog.Prankster Replaces Pet Names With New Labels In Local Pet Store” by Jeff Wysaski at Sad and Useless (via Obvious Plant Care).

Best Diagram.The Shape of Story” by Christina Wodtke at Elegant Hack.

Best Comic.Beer” at xkcd.

Best List.5 Steps Toward Making Friends Out of Enemies” by Benjamin J. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Most Mind Bending. “The Moon Terminator Illusion” by VSauce (via YouTube).

Best Dad Post.Duck, Duck, Sloane” by Gary Mathews at Skipah’s Realm.

Best Special Needs PostHer Fight, Our Fight” by Laura Smith at SLP Mommy of Apraxia.

Best Request.Dear Donald Miller: Thank You, and Please Stop” by Emily A. Dause at Slivers of Hope.

 Most Tragic.Two Lanes to Accockeek” by Michael Graff at SB Nation.

Best Cover of a Cover.Mad World” by Peter Hollens via YouTube.

To catch up on all the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of future candidates, check out my Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

Consider the Birds

Perched bird.

Photo: Julia Ozab

I’m in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to my blog. First off, I’m a writer–if I wasn’t I wouldn’t use the word “conundrum.” And as a writer I need to find an audience. In the 21st Century, that means the Internet. As an up-and-coming writer, I need a net presence (blog and/or social media) or I’m invisible. So I need to put myself out there, but then I see my hits and follows and like stagnating while others’ seem to skyrocket and I wonder what I’m doing wrong.

I get so frustrated that I don’t want to blog or tweet or post or pin (or whatever) anymore. That’s the other reason why I’ve been so quiet. Yes, I was fighting a bad chest cold for most of May, but the slowdown began before that. Because the burnout began before that.

So what does this have to do with birds?

Two weekends ago, I took a day off, got away from my laptop, and drove to the Finley Wildlife Refuge with my wife and daughter. Birds were everywhere. We could see them flitting from tree to tree, but even when we couldn’t see them we could hear them.

At the first stop, while Julia and Anna had their cameras out waiting to spot a bird on a perch or in flight, I stood still, closed my eyes, and listened.

I heard music, a counterpoint of bird songs in surround sound. And through that wondrous polyphony, God spoke to me.

Listen to “the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” –Matthew 6:26

And I realized that all the worry wouldn’t add one more view, one more click, or one more meaningless web stat. That’s not why I write anyway. I write to capture just a snippet of the profound beauty we all experience in life.

And I was more inspired in that moment than I could be by a year’s worth of tweets or posts. Because in that moment, I got in touch with the Source of everything.

So consider the birds singing, or the leaves whispering their secrets to each other in a nearby tree, or a child praising her Creator in her infectious laugh. Consider the ongoing symphony, sonata, and song multiplied by a million that God conducts for his and our pleasure every day.

And leave tomorrow for tomorrow. That’s how I plan to write, blog, and live from now on.

With God’s help, I pray, at those times that I will inevitably stumble.


Bloggerhood Etc. 6/1/15

Second Battle of the Virginia Capes by V. Zveg (1962).

Second Battle of the Virginia Capes by V. Zveg (1962).

After a few weeks off (thanks to a stubborn chest cold), here is the best of the last twenty one days (give or take).

Best Dad Post.Why I Want My Daughter to Curse” by Lorne Jaffe at Mighty.

Best List.4 Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solid Foods” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best Confession. “We Quit Our Jobs” by Liz von Ehrenkrook at So I Married a Youth Pastor.

Best Transition Post. “Commencing” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know. 

Most Surprising.For One Irish Couple, Backing Gay Marriage Is a Matter of Family Values” by Hanna Ingber at The New York Times.

Best Commentary.When Mean, Scared, Scary People Have Stolen My Jesus” by John Pavlovitz.

Best Special Needs Post.A Writer in the Family” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Geekiest Post.On the Taxonomy of Spaceships” by Hageshii01 at Critical Sh*t.

Best Question.What’s in a Name?” by Andee Zomerman.

Best Insight.It’s a Good Life” by Alise Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best Parody. “The Kevin Smith Blog” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

To catch up on the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of future candidates, check out my Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

Reaching a Summit

Summit pin

Brownie Journey Summit Award

It’s a good thing that Anna is bridging to Juniors in August, because her Brownie vest is almost full! Together with the other brownies in her troop, Anna completed the World of Girls Journey in April. And in doing so, she also earned the Journey Summit Award for completing all three journeys.

world of girls badges

World of Girls Badges

We organized a condensed version of the World of Girls Journey, completing a badge each week, and finishing the whole journey in a month.

Week One: Hear a Story. We assigned a single story in the World of Girls book to each girl the week before, and they told the stories to their fellow Brownies during our first World of Girls Journey meeting. Then we “flew” around the room, traveling to where each story took place (Jordan, Thailand, and Nunavut, Canada) and talked about the ways people in each country shared stories. We created a story of our own using “Tell Me a Story” cards, and we finished with an “All About Me Limbo,” where each girl said something unique about herself while walking under a foam pool noodle.

Week Two: Change a Story (Part One). We talked about the stories from Week One, this time focusing on how each story could be changed. We then talked about stories in our own community and ways in which we could change them. Together, we decided to take some of the money we raised through cookie sales, and give it back to the community by going to a nearby St. Vincent de Paul and buying children’s books for kids staying at a local domestic abuse shelter.

Week Three: Change a Story (Part Two) and Tell a Story (Part One). We met at St. Vincent’s and spent about a half hour shopping for books. Each girl picked out five picture books and five chapter books at $0.50 each ($5 per girl charged to the troop account). Then each girl selected one of the books she chose, and agreed to write a short paragraph about why she selected it.

Week Four: Tell a Story (Part Two) and World of Girls. The girls each completed the “Tell a Story” step by recording their paragraph on their favorite book on video. Then we got out white poster sheets and colored pencils, and each girl made a bright and happy picture to cheer up the families living at the shelter. This last activity brought the journey to a close.

Two weeks later, we held our Cookie Celebration and handed out all the awards that the girls earned during Cookie Season. First, we called up all the Brownies and awarded them the two Cookie Business badges and the two Financial Literacy badges. As you can see, she went from two full rows of badges to almost three in one night!

Brownie badges

Four new cookie badges!

Then after the Juniors received their badges, each girl came up individually and received her patches and prizes based on the number of cookies sold. Everyone who sold cookies earned at least one patch, a certificate, and a prize. Anna, as top seller, got the most awards, the most prizes (tied with the top selling Junior), and a special certificate.

Cookie fun patches

Check out all the patches!

Ten fun patches total, just from cookie season, and as I said before her vest is almost full.

We're running out of room!

Just a little space left in the corner.

For being in Brownies only a year, and talking half that time to find a stable troop, she’s done a fantastic job. We’re so proud of her.

Bloggerhood Etc. 5/11/15

A cross amidst ashes.

Photo via

Best List.5 Reasons Why So Many Christians Are Feeling Burned Out Right Now” by Benjamin J. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Question.What’s the Point of a Professor?” by Mark Bauerlein at The New York Times.

Best Interview.We Are All the Ages We Have Ever Been: An Interview with Rachel Held Evans” by Greg Garrett at Faithful Citizenship.

Best Local Sports Story.Pressure point: The NFL hopes of an entire city will rest on Mariota’s shoulders” by Austin Meek at The Eugene Register Guard.

Best New Musical Instrument.The HUMMbucker Electric Kazoo, A Screeching Kazoo That Plugs Into an Amplifier” by Rebecca Escamilla at Laughing Squid.

Best Photoblog.37 Photos That Prove Little Kids Suck at Hide and Seek” by Ilana at MommyShorts.

Best Dad Post.Hey, Tom Brady” by John Pavlovitz.

Best Generational Landmark. The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before and After Mainstream Tech” by Anna Garvey at Social Media Week.

Best Story.The Man Who Broke the Music Business” by Stephen Witt at The New Yorker.

Best Video Guide.Airplane Etiquette” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

To catch up on the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of next week’s candidates, check out my new Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.