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Wide White: April 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The world's most typical human

Remember that National Geographic video that helped put 7 billion people into perspective?

Here's another from them about the "typical human."

(via 22 Words)


Friday, April 29, 2011

I remember where I was...

...on 10/3/95. I was in a Maine gift shop when an announcement came over the radio that OJ Simpson was declared not guilty.

...on 9/1/97. I had just returned home from camp when I learned that Princess Diana had died the day before. I don't know if I knew who she was, just that she was a big deal and my mom had been living in England when she was married in 1981.

...on 9/11/01. I was in class waiting for my professor to show up. She had been in New York and we thought her flight had just been delayed. Classmates started talking about a plane flying into a building. When my professor didn't show up, I headed to the bank, where every teller, banker and customer was glued to a TV, watching the Twin Towers burn and then collapse. My professor wound up spending a week in New York before she was able to get home.

...on 10/25/02. I was in class a couple of minutes early when a friend stopped by the classroom to tell me Paul Wellstone had died in a plane crash. I didn't believe her at first.

...on 4/28/11. I was in bed when a royal couple in Britain got married. I didn't think I was better than anyone else for not caring about the wedding. I just think I got more sleep than the people who cared though. I stand by my decision.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spend your summer vacation in Minneapolis!

Are you looking for a summer getaway? Why not consider a staycation? If you live in Minneapolis, you'll be vacationing in one of the 10 best summer destinations in the world!

Does that sound dramatic? Don't tell the folks at National Geographic. They ranked Minneapolis number 4 in their "10 Best Summer Trips of 2011."

While I don't think I could put Minneapolis up there in a top 10 international list (it's one of just 2 U.S. destinations that made the list), it is a pretty cool place to visit (and live!). Here's a short list of awesomeness that is the Twin Cities.
There's a LOT more that should be added. Jamie and I never really have trouble finding something to do when we happen to have an open afternoon.

What are some of your favorite Twin Cities places?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lock your Wi-Fi!

Today I bring you a public service announcement. If you use Wi-Fi, lock it up!

"Um...what do you mean, lock it up?

I'm glad you asked! If your wireless router is "locked up," that means it's using WEP, WPA, or WPA-2 encryption. In other words, it means you need to enter a password in order to access the internet through your wireless router.

When you check for an available wireless network, you should see a lock symbol, as you see on the network in my home as well as on all of my neighbors' (except for the last, which isn't a valid network):

"But why should I care if my neighbor wants to use my internet?"

Great question! For the answer, check out this story:
A New York man learned the hard way that leaving your wireless router open to the general public can have some very negative consequences, and that the authorities tend to act first and ask questions second.

You might think it's no big deal to share your wireless network with your neighbors. But that altruism can bite you in the butt when a less scrupulous neighbor, or a random stranger connects to the wireless network and uses it for illegal activity. As far as the authorities are concerned, that illegal activity originates from your wireless router, so you are the primary suspect.

So, what happened? Well, this guy left his home Wi-Fi network unprotected, and a slimy neighbor piggy-backed on his "free" wireless network to access thousands of child pornography images.
So if you or your neighbor wants to freeload off the other, go for it. But keep a lock on your router and know that if you give someone access to your network, you'll be the suspect for any of their illicit activity.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A $50 billion wedding

Until this week I had no idea when this British royal wedding was taking place (it's Friday). I haven't followed it and don't care.

But apparently a lot of other people do care and are following it intently. In fact, enough British people care that it could take Britain's economy down a notch.

Brits were off of work on Friday (Easter Friday) and Monday (Easter Monday). They'll be off of work this coming Monday (May Day) and have now been given the day off on Friday as well (Royal Wedding). With just 3 work days (today through Thursday) on the calendar in an 11-day stretch, many people are just taking those 3 days off for a full 11-day vacation.

In other words, for 11 days, Britain is effectively closed.

CBS News reports a potential economic loss of $50 billion due to missed work. But hey, the U.S. workforce probably loses that much every few weeks thanks to Angry Birds, Solitaire, Facebook...

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Stillbirth is not miscarriage

Those who have not gone through a prenatal loss often lump all prenatal losses into the same category: "miscarriage." We've heard things like, "How's Jamie doing since the miscarriage?" or, "My friend had a miscarriage recently too."

Miscarriages are tremendously painful. My sister-in-law had 2 miscarriages last year and at Kaylee's service, I noted that she had 2 cousins to greet her in heaven. My brother and his wife were probably more emotionally impacted by Kaylee's death than any of my other siblings because they could relate to that loss in a way that was more understanding. Pointing out the difference in stillbirth and miscarriage does nothing to diminish the significance of a miscarriage.

But a stillbirth is not a miscarriage.

For the purpose of this post, I'm including "preterm deliveries" in the same category as "stillbirths" since some babies who are lost prenatally are actually born alive for a short time and are therefore not technically stillborn. These infant losses are usually cases in which a known birth defect will not allow the child to live for more than a few minutes or hours outside of the womb.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) defines miscarriage like this:
A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called preterm deliveries.)
I suspect the clarification regarding the difference between a pre- and post-20-week loss is due to confusion that people have. I also suspect this confusion is because miscarriage is so common, so it's the term people know.

And this is part of what makes stillbirth so different from miscarriage: miscarriage is a relatively common event. Many couples wait to announce a pregnancy until after the first 10 to 14 weeks gestation, knowing that their risk for a prenatal loss has significantly dropped after the first trimester.

The NCBI underscores the commonality of miscarriage with this data:
It is estimated that up to half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Among those women who know they are pregnant, the miscarriage rate is about 15-20%.
By contrast, the rate of stillbirth is less than 1%. Here's a summary from Wikipedia:
The mean stillbirth rate in the United States is approximately 1 in 115 births.... In Australia, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the rate is approximately 1 in every 200 births, in Scotland 1 in 167.
I should point out that a more common definition of stillbirth in other countries is any baby who weighs more than 1 pound (weight determinations vary from 350 to 500 grams). More broadly, online forums usually simply divide the two categories of prenatal loss into "miscarriages" and "2nd and 3rd trimester losses."

So it's well-established that miscarriage is far more common than stillbirth and that one occurrence is generally considered to be before 20 weeks gestation and the other is after. But still, a loss is a loss, right? Are the two losses really that different? Why get particular about the technical definitions?

We have friends who have had the awful experience of going through both a preterm delivery and a few miscarriages. They talk about the miscarriages as a footnote of life. By contrast, they often speak of their son who died at 28 weeks gestation. They have pictures with him on a wall in their home. They reached out to us as soon as they learned of Kaylee's diagnosis to relay their own experience with a preterm delivery.

Life is no less real in the first trimester of pregnancy than it is in the second or third. However, our experience with the child certainly changes in that time and we become more attached to the baby we're waiting to meet. Here are just a few things that make the connection to the baby so much more significant later in pregnancy:
  • A baby bump develops (~12-16 weeks)
  • Gender is often known (~16-20 weeks)
  • Baby kicks (~16-22 weeks)
  • Baby becomes viable outside the womb (~23 weeks)
  • Baby is often named
These are just a few of many developments that bring us closer to the baby we're about to welcome into the world.

Each one of us loves our children dearly from the moment we see that positive pregnancy test. Each one of us grieves our prenatal losses, the children we never got to meet here on earth.

But I've never seen a memorial service or a funeral for a child who was lost in the first trimester. A baby lost within the first month or two rarely has an empty nursery waiting for them. Parents of miscarried children have just begun to dream of the life they're going to give their new babies; parents of stillborn children have often purchased the going-home outfits, built the cradles, and bought the car seats.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. For every 5 people who reached out to me with their stillbirth story, 1 has reached out with their story of miscarriage. Miscarriage impacts each person who goes through it differently. For some, miscarriage is a footnote of life and for others it's one of the most significant events they've gone through. But while each family's experience with stillbirth is also different, I have yet to meet a parent who has gone through a second or third trimester loss and has not been permanently and tremendously affected by it.

Stillbirth is not miscarriage. Miscarriage is not stillbirth. No parent going through either experiences wishes to be in either camp, but no grieving parent wishes their camp to be confused with the other. To understand the place in which each prenatal loss falls is to understand just a little more what each family is going through. For the sake of grieving moms and dads, the distinction is worth understanding.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Global warming

This image comes to you in honor of Earth Day, which was 2 days ago.

(via Tastefully Offensive)

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Burnout, burnout, burnout

Nothing like a triple burnout to make a redneck's day awesome.

The fun starts at 0:29. The angle starting at 0:57 is best.



Friday, April 22, 2011

Craigslist ad: table & chairs, LIKE A BOSS!

Here's the South Minneapolis funny man's ad #6:

My favorite part is the last paragraph.

Here's the text:
Kitchen Table w/ 3 chairs - $25 (South Minneapolis)

I've got a lot of great memories of the meals I've eaten on this table and it'll be hard to say goodbye but like they say "If you love something, sell it on Craig's List for super cheap."

This table is not only excellent for eating off, but it is great for playing board games, doing arts and crafts projects or putting knickknacks and other things on top off. In all my time of doing any of these activities on it, I haven't had any problems. Just look at how those napkins sit on top of it! LIKE A BOSS!

One chair is a little wobbly but hey- it is only 25 bucks.

E-mail me to come on by and pick it up.

Search " SOUTHSIDE " to see all the other sweet stuff I have for sale.

Oh and the table is 42" diameter and about 29.5" high. So if your max height for a table is 29 inches, best keep on looking. Thanks.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Craigslist ad: sweet futon!

Here's the South Minneapolis funny man's ad #5:

Be sure to check out the photo at the bottom of his post with the dog in it.

Here's the full text of the ad:
Purple Futon Chair - $75 (South Minneapolis)

Whether it was your brother getting divorced, your kid failing out of art school or your best friend from high school following Phish around the country, they all say the same thing: "I just need a place to crash for a few days."

Let's examine that phrase for a moment: "A place to crash." How terrible is that? Crashes are horrible mistakes that usually result in pain, loss of property, death or all three. Why would we invite someone into our home that wants to do that to us?

They eat all the food, drink all the beer, mess up the guess bathroom towels and then leave. And yet, we'll invite them back in next time. But why???

Well, I have no idea- I'm no shrink. But on the bright side- here's a great futon for whenever the nomad you hold close your heart just needs "a place to crash."

It's 40" wide and when you fold it out, it's 81." It's got a hardly-used (thank God) purple pad, it's solid and heavy construction and there's a little storage bag/box thing underneath.

E-mail to come and get it. And search " SOUTHSIDE " to see my other great stuff for sell. Thanks!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Craigslist ad: a conversation

Here's the South Minneapolis funny man's ad #4:

Here's the text:
Big ole' Buffet - $100 (South Minneapolis)

YOU: I just realized I have a lot of "stuff" but I don't have anywhere to keep it all!

ME: Have you ever thought about a buffet? I've got a super sweet one for sale right here!

YOU: But I have a lot of little stuff like pens and pencils, forks and knives.

ME: Well, how does four drawers suit your fancy?

YOU: That works! But I have big stuff too!

ME: Problem solved! There's cabinets for big stuff too.

YOU: But what about my stuff I want to put out so other people can see?

ME: You mean like picture frames and knickknacks?

YOU: Duh.

ME: You can put all that stuff on top!

YOU: Wow! This hutch is so awesome. How big is it?

ME: It is 5 feet wide, 18" deep and 31" tall.

YOU: can I buy it?

ME: Just e-mail me to set up an appointment.

YOU: Do you have any other awesome stuff for sale?

ME: I'm glad you asked! Search " SOUTHSIDE " to see my other stuff for sale.

YOU: Wow! You're a funny, attractive person!

ME: Takes one to know one, my friend.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Craigslist ad: chefs, magic, Communists

Here's the South Minneapolis funny man's ad #3:

Here's the text:
Magic Chef Microwave - $40 (South Minneapolis)

Do you like your food hot but don't have time to wait for water to boil or an oven to heat up? Well, this Magic Chef microwave is the answer!

Hey- who doesn't like chefs or magic! Communists- that's who! And you're not Communist, you're a capitalist who loves making taquitos in less than 30 seconds!

The model number is MCD990W which sounds pretty impressive right?

Right now this model is on sale around the globe for over $90 but I'll sell you it for less than half that! Plus I'll throw in the rotating plate that comes with it...for FREE!

Buy this puppy and you'll be burning the roof of your mouth with pizza (flavored) Hot Pockets in no time!

E-mail to set up a time to come and get it. Thanks!

Search for " SOUTHSIDE " to see other super awesome items I have for sale.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Craigslist ad: dreaming on a box spring

Thanks to the generosity of a friend with a flight voucher and my parents for coming down to watch our kids for the week, I'm sitting in a hotel in San Diego, where we'll be until Saturday.

While I'm gone I'll be posting more Craigslist ads from the same guy who delivered the bookcase post from last Thursday.

Here's the South Minneapolis Craigslist funny man's ad #2:

Here's the text:
Queen Box Spring - $1000000 (South Minneapolis)

We just moved and couldn't fit this box spring up our stairs- so now it is waiting for you in my office.

It's a Serta Perfect sleeper- queen sized.

I set the price at 1000000 because how can you put a price on the awesome dreams I've had on it? I've won the Roller Derby, rescued Scarlett Johansson from evil alien warlords and was named MVP in the Super Bowl of a sport I dreamed up called "RUMBLE BALL." If that isn't worth over a million bucks, I don't know what is.

But hey- I'm a realist- I would be willing to knock something off the price if you're willing to come and pick it up. How about does $20 sound? Hurry up, before I remember more super awesome dreams and change my mind.

Search " SOUTHSIDE " for more of my amazing deals. No you're not dreaming...yet.
I think this one is my favorite, but it's tough to decide. More to come throughout the week...

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

No photos on blogs...

Stupid can be funny.


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Saturday, April 16, 2011


If you like the Wii and now the Kinect - games that translate user movements to the screen - you'll love the uMove!


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Friday, April 15, 2011

Google, Facebook, and your personal information

Whenever I get a phone call from a number I don't recognize, I Google it before answering. I simply enter "000-000-0000." I can always at least find out which geographic location is home to the area code, which often tells me who's calling. Sometimes I even get the name of the organization the call is coming from or, if I'm really lucky, the name of the person calling.

I ran a search on an unknown number that came in today and actually got the name of the caller, who turned out to be a coworker who was calling me from his cell phone. I'd never seen a Facebook post give me the caller's identity before.

The only search result in all of Google that actually told me this guy's identity is a crass Facebook post from a guy who lost his cell phone and just needs his buddies' phone numbers. My coworker had entered his number in the comments and likely never thought anything of it.

I told him about it and he immediately deleted his number from the comments, but of course that doesn't change the fact that Google has his phone number cached and still returns that page as its top result, regardless of the fact that his number is no longer listed there. It also doesn't help the 17 other people whose phone numbers are still listed on that page.

What makes this even stranger - or more unsettling, depending on your perspective - is how long this post had been sitting out there. I blacked out my colleague's name and number in the image above, but you can clearly see the date and time: "May 27, 2007 at 10:12am." This guy left his buddy his phone number almost 4 years ago on Facebook and it's still out there and is the number 1 Google search for his phone number.

Your Facebook privacy settings should protect what's on your own page, but they don't impact what you post on others' pages or group walls. Ultimately, you have to consider anything you post online to be public information forever, regardless of your settings. Google is returning results from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, using your discussions with friends to populate its search results.

A search of my phone number won't lead you to Facebook, but it will tell you that I used to lead a church small group. The church-related pages, which I didn't know existed, give the meeting location of that small group, which happens to be my home address. It also tells you my wife's name. Another page in the search results tells you that I used to umpire for the city of St. Paul. I don't lead that church group or umpire any longer, but my information is still out there.

I don't worry about my web presence. I figure if someone really wants to find out where I live, they'll figure it out one way or another. But a lot of people are concerned about this. Do you worry about your personal information being online?

And is it weird that I Google phone numbers I don't recognize?

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to make your Craigslist sale more exciting

I've bought and sold a lot of stuff on Craigslist, but I've never seen an ad for an item - much less a bookcase - as funny as this one out of South Minneapolis that Jamie sent me today:

Here's the text in case you don't want to click through to the image:
Man, my friends used to think I was so dumb. I could hear them at parties, whispering "Oh, that dude- I bet the most he's ever read was the manual for Super Mario Kart on Wii"

Well, guess what, I bought this bookshelf, filled it full of my Cracked Magazines, Hardy Boys novels and Sky Mall catalogues and showed them! HA! HA!

By the next party, I could hear them say:

"Wow! Look at the size of his bookshelf!"

"I bet his brain is full of knowledge!"

"I was wrong about him, I suddenly find him smarter and much more attractive!"

But...alas, it won't fit in my new house! Oh, the horror!

So my loss is your gain. Buy my bookcase and show all the naysayers in your life that you just might know what the definition of "naysayer" is.

It's solid construction, cherry colored wood and is 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall.

Oh and search " SOUTHSIDE " to see the other stuff I have for sale. Thanks!
This guy's got other posts that are just as good, if not better. I just might have to dedicate a few more posts to them.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Obama's birth certificate doesn't matter

Image courtesy of Mediaite & many other sources

Donald Trump is making a big deal out of President Barack Obama's birth certificate. As of July 2009, just 42% of Republicans believe Obama was born in the U.S. And Trump isn't the only doubter. Big shots like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee have raised doubts concerning Obama's citizenship.

There are a few reasons I think the debate is ridiculous. First, his birth certificate has been released. Second, both the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin both printed birth notices at the time of Obama's birth. Those notices were routinely sent to the papers by the Hawaii Department of Health and they listed his parents' Hawaiian address.

Image courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser

But I came across the best argument for why this debate is ridiculous when channel-surfing on the radio the other day. I came across Jason Lewis on KTLK. I'm not a talk radio guy but I have friends who like Lewis so I stuck around a bit to see what they're listening to. Lewis noted that even if Obama weren't a citizen and is removed from office, Joe Biden, whose policies hardly differ from Obama's, will take his place. He noted that the debate has to be about political issues and this doesn't fit into that category.

If you don't believe Obama was born in America, that's your right. I don't get it, but I don't have to. But let's make whatever debate is happening be about the issues. A debate about the issues just doesn't include Obama's birth certificate.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The pain of survival stories

When you go through a significant loss, there's nothing more helpful than the support of friends, family, and even strangers. While some well-intended comments aren't very supportive, I try to remember that the intentions are good, and honestly, I'd rather people say something and have it be relatively unhelpful than say nothing at all out of fear of saying the wrong thing.

Something that we've heard on a recurring basis is survival stories. Just 3 days after Kaylee was born we were at a concert. One of the songs was about a couple who was told their baby girl, 6 months along at that point, may not make it to birth and even if she did, she probably wouldn't make it past a year old. She's now 10 years old and doing fine.

Other stories have involved micro-preemies who've lived or people with Turner syndrome who are fully-functioning adults. I realize these stories remind people of Kaylee and they're just passing that along. They're just letting us know that they're thinking of her.

But each time I hear one of these stories, I'm reminded of the survival that didn't happen for us. This isn't to say that stories of pain and death are comforting to us in any way. But stories of survival are tough right now, and they're that much more difficult when they're linked to Kaylee.

The loss of Kaylee is still raw. Survival stories are one more reminder of just how raw it is.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

NCAA bracket 2011 results

I got busted this year. With a Final Four that had no 1 or 2 seeds, everybody did though. Only 2 people in the entire country picked the Final Four correctly with ESPN!

I didn't pick a single Final Four team correctly. Still, I managed to place 1/6, 2/8, 1/12, and 16/120. I was in the 85th percentile nationally in Yahoo and the 83rd in ESPN's nationwide group. Oh, and I beat my wife this year (by 4 points, or just 1 pick) for the first time in 3 years, so there's that.

Overall, not a bad year. Both the Badgers and Tar Heels went a few rounds into the tournament and made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Only 11 months till we get to do it all again!

How did your brackets do? Or are you like my wife before we were married, scratching your head and wondering, "What's March Madness?!?"


Sunday, April 10, 2011

A confused license plate

I wonder if this is worth as much on eBay as those misprinted baseball cards.



Saturday, April 09, 2011

Finding food where you'd least expect it

This isn't a landscape where I would expect a fox to find food. Let's just say the fox finds food.



Friday, April 08, 2011

New Creations, Rosemount, MN

I'm not one for using my blog to advertise anything. I threw a few Google ads up a while ago to cover the cost of the domain and web hosting (for when I move to WordPress) but trust me, I don't make any profit on blogging.

But I'm going to break my typical rule and put in a plug for a friend, though I suppose it doesn't really count as advertising when I'm not getting paid for it.

Steve Tuttle runs New Creations, a remodeling business out of Rosemount. I met Steve a while ago. We were in the same church and he has boy/girl twins about 2 years older than mine. I really got to know him, though, after we found out we were going to lose Kaylee. Steve and his wife Jennifer walked a very similar road when they lost their son Landon 4 years ago at 28 weeks.

The Tuttles were in the hospital with us the day after Kaylee was born. They were there when our pastor dedicated her. Steve graciously accepted the difficult task of giving a eulogy for Kaylee at her memorial service and he did a superb job.

Steve and Jennifer have become close friends very quickly. I could go on for a few paragraphs if I were to list all of the ways they have supported us over the last month and a half. We really would be a few steps behind where we are today if it weren't for them.

I have seen Steve's work with New Creations and it's impressive. If you live in the south metro of the Twin Cities, go ahead and like his Facebook page! He actually keeps it current with photos of current projects, promotions, and other updates. If you're looking for someone to tackle a project in your home, you won't find a more trustworthy, quality person to handle the job.


Thursday, April 07, 2011


Remember the Tide to Go "Talking Stain" commercial from the Super Bowl a few years ago?

Distractions are never helpful in communication and the smallest things can grab our attention.

On Sunday morning the pastor at church had his hand in his pocket at one point and when he took it out, it left his untucked shirt partially tucked into the pocket of his jeans. For the next 3-4 minutes I kept glancing at his shirt, waiting for the pocket to release its hold on the shirt.

Here's another good illustration of how we can get distracted reading something:

I often find myself removing specks of dust from my computer monitor when I'm reading anything on a white background.

What distracts you? Is there something that drives you crazy and draws your attention away from anything else going on?


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Which one was warned?

This headline of a recent story caught my eye:
Shark bites Cancun tourist in surf despite warning
My first thought was, "Who's out there warning sharks not to bite people?"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who read it that way.

They could have written something more like this:
Cancun tourist ignores warning, bitten by shark in surf
That's just 5 characters longer than the original headline and makes a lot more sense.

I think Twitter must have been invented by some guy who used to write headlines for the Associated Press. I imagine him telling his buddies in the newsroom, "Imagine what we could write if we had a whole 140 characters to work with!" It's all a matter of perspective...


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The closest we'll get to hell

Jamie was talking to a friend at church who had read my post last week on moving on with life after Kaylee. She said to Jamie, "Maybe this is the closest we'll ever get to hell."

A month ago I was talking to a friend of mine who lost his son at 28 weeks. He has also lost his father and since I've never gone through the loss of anyone in my immediate family, I asked him which loss was harder. He simply responded, "I've never gone through anything as difficult as losing my child."

Sunday morning was good. We got to church 10 minutes early with plenty of time to drop our kids off at the nursery and find a seat. The songs were good, the message was good, the songs at the end were good. Things were good!

Then I lost it. I don't remember why or even the song we were singing. I do remember being suddenly very conscious that my daughter was not in my arms. She was born but she's not here. I broke down crying. I'm not much for crying, especially in public. It felt even more awkward given that I was sitting in the front of the church.

But you don't choose the moments this hell knocks you down. You think after your first day without crying that just maybe it'll be smooth sailing from here. Then 5 days later you run into the toughest day you've had and you can't even put your finger on why the day was tough.

Death is as close as we'll get to hell on earth. Experiencing the death of someone close to us is a small taste of that hell. I don't wish hell on my worst enemy.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Small group awkwardness

For those who aren't familiar with church small groups, here's a brief summary: a small group is between 3 and 12 (or 30) people who get together, usually weekly, to hang out, study the Bible, pray together, etc. It's a way for people in a big church to get to know people and make the big church feel smaller. It's another way we work to apply our faith to our everyday lives.

Sounds simple, right? It is, really.

But there's this weird hyperventilating nervous breakdown that seems to happen when you're visiting a new group. You're not just getting together with the friends you see every week. You're starting to reach out and develop those friendships. You're not in a church of a few hundred people where you can just blend right in anymore. You're in the home of someone you don't know all that well yet with a bunch of people you've never met. That's not exactly something you do every day. The more I think about it, it's actually kind of weird, especially to an outsider.

We recently joined a new church. For the last 3.5 years we led a small group with our old church. The last time we were the ones looking for a new small group was almost 4 years ago.

The first group we visited when we last were looking for a small group we tried was a fail. The people weren't failures. We just didn't mix well for various reasons. We tried going back a second night but Jamie and I both knew it wasn't going to work out. The second group we found was awesome and we're still friends with the couple who led that group.

4 years later we're back to looking for a new group and we're visiting a group for the first time tonight. We have the advantage this time of having at least met the people who lead the group. They're good people.

We also know that no one in the group has kids, which could be good (we'll have to find something else to talk about!) or bad (what else do we talk about? what did we talk about before last year?).

We're excited to meet some new people and get plugged in with the church in another way, but there's an inherent awkwardness of meeting new people that I don't think I'll ever get over.

Is meeting new people in that kind of setting awkward for you, or are you in your element when you don't know a single person in the room?

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Why people don't read your blog

There's so much truth in this cartoon. Seriously, bloggers (and tweeters and facebookers), nobody - not even our friends - owes us their time.


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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Let's play a game of spoons!

If you have friends who would do this to you, I'm sorry. If you actually fall for it this many times, I'm sorrier.



Friday, April 01, 2011


I didn't post anything on the blog yesterday because the night before I hung out with Jamie instead.

Last night we were with some friends and didn't get back until after 1:00. I didn't have a post written until then and almost didn't write one at all until I considered that I could put this together in just a couple of minutes and it may be helpful for someone else.

I've tried to be more conscious lately of things that fill my time that I need to just cut out every once in a while. I'm not very good at it but I'm working on it.

For you, maybe you can cut out checking Facebook at the end of the day or reading another chapter in a book. For me it can be work, checking Twitter or Facebook, updating my fantasy baseball team, working on a new video, blogging...

We all probably have something that's part of our typical evening. Consider cutting it out once in a while - maybe once a week? - and spending some time with your spouse or friends. It sends a bigger message to them when you cut out something else to spend time with them rather than simply fitting them in when it works best for your current schedule.

Wow, I feel all Dr. Phil with this post. That can't be good...

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