Of All The Whale Books…

…on all the shelves, in all the libraries, I pick the one that has a *photo* of the extended private parts of a Gray Whale. Which, incidentally, looks to be the size of our Suburban (that’s the boys’ theory anyway).

I can pick ’em.

Two Questions

1418 1418_ () 1418 1418 We can call this one You’re So Money Monday! even though I have two extremely specific questions this week.

1. Do you have a delicious recipe for pistachio cake? Someone has a birthday this week, and this is what he requests. Of course I’ve found a gajillion recipes online, but I’d like to speak with a professional.

2. Have you ever done a sprint triathlon? If so, what is your suggestion for practical attire?

Thanks! 1418″>


Love makes you (black and) blue

I offer a few quick thoughts on brotherly love over at F&F.

Slowing Down

1416 1416_ () 1416 1416 Weekly column

One recent morning, I got up early and deliberately did nothing. Instead of switching over laundry or making coffee or going to exercise, I walked over to my favorite chair in the front room and sat down. The house was peaceful and calm, and while I had a laundry list of things I could be doing, I had an urge to quiet myself.

I sat and tried not to think about the cares of the day, of where we would go and what we do. I said good morning to God, and instead of going on and on, I stopped talking so he could say hello back. In the still of the morning, my soul felt deeply connected to Christ.

A few minutes later, eight-year-old Charlie wandered down the stairs. He walked over to me and curled up next to me. He burrowed his head in my arm. We sat quietly for over twenty minutes, saying nothing and everything all at once.

Eventually, everyone else woke up and came downstairs and the quiet ended. The day began and off we went.

I have an ideal of summer, a vision of how a summer day should look and feel. Summer, to me, involves a pace that is much slower than the rest of the year, a luxury, but really one of those luxury’s you can’t afford to miss.

Slowing down affords a necessary reboot. The older the boys get, the faster we all seem to move. Life is now filled with a variety of wonderful and very good activities, but moving at that speed non-stop is a recipe for burnout.

And so, we have these months out of school with fewer places to go and less to do – in theory. Because summer is still filled with plenty to do. Families enjoy baseball or swim team, vacation and vacation bible school. There are summer camps and day trips and a whole host of exciting things to do.

If I’m not careful, I realized a few weeks ago, summer could have all the rest and relaxation of a normal school week – not a whole lot.

When I picture a perfect summer day, I see the boys sitting in the front room reading quietly or building a fort. I see me sipping a drink while I read a book. Maybe we’re all playing cards or creating art or just sitting in the backyard eating watermelon from the farmer’s market.

In my life, throughout each day, I want peace and tranquility. Sometimes I actually get it. But sometimes I am scurrying around the house, directing each boy in the direction I want him to go. “Go read,” I say in a hurried tone, “Go play with Legos.” When I am frantic, it inspires no one to want to slow down and relax.

How can my house chill out, I ask myself, if I’m unable to do the same?

In The Cloud of Unknowing, the author talks of our soul’s quest for God. The book is a practical guide to contemplation written by an unknown mystic from the 14th century. In it, he focuses on our need to connect with our Creator, and how we can find that connection through quieting ourselves before God.

“This is what you are to do,” writes the author, “lift your heart up to the Lord, with a gentle stirring of love desiring him for his own sake and not for his gifts…[I]f you strive to fix your love on him forgetting all else…I am confident that God in his goodness will bring you a deep experience of himself.”

Sometimes, I realized that morning with Charlie, the best way to get the peace you desire is to sit and wait. And then the peace will come to you. 1416″