… from the bungalow


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Five things I wish my wife knew

It seems that no matter how many times I compliment my wife, she doesn’t internalize it because it didn’t come from her. That’s true for pretty much everyone, though, right? So I’m sharing with you a short list of things I wish she really knew. Even if it doesn’t help her fully realize these things to be true, it’s my hope that it will help you or your partner feel more supported/supportive. Here we go!

1. She’s smart.

My wife knows she’s not dumb, but I don’t know exactly how smart she feels. I over-analyze things, which gives me the sometimes false impression that I know what I’m talking about. I have to be careful not to mistake over-thinking for thoughtful consideration. Truth is, she often has more insight than I when it comes to parenting. I could stand to listen with more intent when we butt heads about the kids.

She also has a level of emotional intelligence that allows her to walk away when something doesn’t feel right or productive. My lizard brain wants to resolve this shit right now! But it’s rarely productive. And she can really dig deep to find patience and gain perspective. I admire that tremendously.

2. She’s funny.

I’ll admit I don’t love sarcasm, but it has its place. Sometimes she uses it for good, sometimes not so much. BUT, she can be really funny when she’s feeling playful. I love that about her. When she laughs, it’s like a warm bath. I wish she did it more often.

3. She’s beautiful.

I think my wife is pretty, but what really makes her beautiful isn’t what she does or doesn’t do about her outward appearance. She has a child-like wonder about the world. As much as she may not like some aspects of life, she likes to say how much she likes it here. Not “here” as in “southeast Michigan,” but “here” as in “on planet Earth.” The stars and the ocean take her breath away. Images of space make her cry. She connects deeply with her feelings and with nature. It’s something I can relate to, and to me, it’s so, so beautiful. Continue reading

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Mixed Emotions: Happy Veterans Day

If you know me, you know I love peace. (That’s the peaceful way of saying that I abhor the exertion of force and the bringing of death upon others.) I’m a bit of a hippie that way. So Veterans Day, for me, means a veritable cavalcade of conflicting feelings. I believe in the wonder and magic of life, but the world is just as effed up as it is wondrous. I can’t blame the soldier for the mess we’re in.

Every day I see shining examples of love juxtaposed with the hate and anger and greed in this world, like colors popping out of a gray-scale backdrop. It’s humanity. And for better or worse, I love it all.

Hippies = people. Soldiers = people. People = people.

kneeling soldier, Veterans Day

I appreciate you. Happy Veterans Day.

   

P.S. For my friends in Commonwealth countries, Happy Remembrance Day.


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Pooping Rainbows: Not Just for Fools and Space Cats

Viper Top Gun "sunshine up your ass"

"Now I'm not gonna sit here and blow sunshine up your ass, Lieutenant."

Ever been accused of blowing sunshine up someone’s ass*? I haven’t yet, at least not to my face. But I feel like it’s only a matter of time. I sometimes hesitate to share thoughts and articles pertaining to joy and love and other such hippie-esque virtues because of what appears to be an overpopulation of online naysayers and trolls.

It seems that in this microcosm of electronic communication and semi-anonymity that we call the interwebz, cynicism has become the increasingly popular stance to take. (Not being friendly is much easier to do when you’re not standing eye-to-eye with someone.) Now, I do love me some good sarcasm here and there. Oh, you’re being sarcastic? I get it. Very funny. And witty. Congratulations. How’s that working for you? But as a Facebook/blogging friend (TMiYC) put it, “I used to be a huge fan of sarcasm. Now I prefer direct, honest human connection.” Exactly.

I often feel like positive thinking is being asked to take a back seat. Inspiration has gotten a bum rap. Not everything intended to be inspiring on the Internet is “blowing sunshine up your ass” or “shitting rainbows**.” It’s about GRATITUDE, one of the most powerful emotions we can experience. What’s more: it’s something we can choose to feel. How great is that?!

Nyan Cat

Nyan.Cat: Rocketing through space on a never-ending supply of rainbow ass-fuel since April, 2011.

So why does it seem like so many people Continue reading


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Take a Step of Faith

One autumn morning, 1999…

“Ummm, financial aid, I guess.”

I know: articulate, eloquent, well thought out… I’m a regular Alan Rickman. It’s the kind of statement entire careers are built around. /sarcasm

I had recently graduated college, was newly wed and my spouse had just landed a job at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. So I figured I’d enter the workforce through the U of M temp pool. I had scored exceptionally well on the office skills tests, received high praises for a temporary receptionist position that had just ended and I had first pick of three new temp jobs. The question was, “Would you like to work in this office, that office, or the financial aid office?”

direction signsThe rest of my history in financial aid is boring, so I’ll spare you the details. My point is: that’s all it took. No careful consideration of my career path, no educated decision making based on growth potential, nothing. Just a completely arbitrary stab in the dark. I can’t even call it a choice, because what did I choose, really? Eeny meeny miny moe would have been more methodical.

I’m sure my decision took no longer than five seconds. Yet, years later, here I am working in financial aid with a combined 6+ years under my belt. For a while in the middle, I was a stay-at-home dad and part-time music therapist (my chosen field), but I eventually came back to financial aid because of the predictable hours, salary and benefits.

Five seconds was all it took to create an outline that would help shape years of my life: knowledge I’ve gained, friends I’ve made in colleagues, conferences I’ve traveled to… Five. Seconds.

Of course, my experiences and thoughts leading up to that moment probably played some part in my decision. Every past thought leads to my current place in the world. Still, all it took was five measly seconds. So why on earth do I spend so many hours/days/years fretting over certain other decisions? How many personality profile questionnaires and career aptitude tests do I have to take before I finally decide that…

Where I am at any given moment is where I’m meant to be.

Faith. Contentedness. Acceptance. Gratitude.

When I’m feeling uncertain about my path in life, I try to remember to trust the process. I remind myself to have faith. I find contentment in being where I am right now by accepting the way things are. I thank the Universe for the experiences that led me here.

girl walking into waterI’ve gotten a little out of practice with all the transition over the past two years (divorce, new job, new house, new family responsibilities), but I’ve found that when I do these things–especially when I appreciate–life.gets.easy. And good. So good. When I remember to have faith, it’s like stones suddenly and magically appear beneath my feet as I step out onto the water, and I know with each step that the next step I take will not go unsupported.

So take a few steps of faith. Go ahead and spend only five seconds on a few decisions. Walk out onto the water and expect the stones to be there, then revel in your absolute confidence that “there’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…

“It’s easy.”

Chris

In what ways have you taken a step of faith or made a split second decision that had a significant impact on your life? Comment below. 🙂 And don’t forget to join the conversation on the Facebook page or Twitter.


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Quiet Is the New Loud

Music has always been a part of life for me. I started playing the clarinet in 5th grade and that was my main instrument through college. Over the years, I added a few instruments to my repertoire including the mellophone, acoustic guitar, alto saxophone, a bit of piano, and a handful of percussion instruments. I earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Michigan State University in 1999, and have worked in and out of the field since then. I’ve played in concert, symphony, jazz, community, marching and praise bands, and I’ve sung in MSU’s State Singers and Chamber Choir.

So it should go without saying that I listen to a fair bit of music. I’ve been exposed to music as a student, a parent, a therapist and as a general appreciator of the arts. I’ve heard lots and lots of music and discover new-t0-me artists on a regular basis, yet I always feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading


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An Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude. It’s at the top of my list of traits that can change the world. Number one is Love. Really “seeing” others and practicing genuine kindness; those things come from a place of love and can make the difference between peace and war. But gratitude–honest-to-God appreciation for the things in my life–is crucial. Giving thanks is one of the most powerful catalysts for change. I really believe that.

When I was a kid and going through First Communion Class (the Lutheran’s version of Catechism in the Catholic church), my pastor said something to us that has always stuck with me, even (especially) now as a non-Christian adult: Always start prayer by giving thanks. Gratitude shows humility and appreciation, which allows room in your heart for acceptance and growth. Continue reading