… from the bungalow


For This I Am Thankful

Dear Friends,

Today I am so honored to be featured as a guest blogger for the FTIAT series on Deborah Bryan’s blog, The Monster In Your Closet. Deb and I crossed paths over a year ago, when she had been blogging for only a short time, and I was a complete noob. We’ve since become real-life friends, and I am totally blessed for it.

I will not sit idly by…” was a difficult, yet rewarding piece to write. I do hope you’ll head over to Deb’s blog and read it. You have my gratitude.




12 days that amaze, Day 3: I keep good company.

This is the third of 12 amazing installments of “12 days that amaze” I am pushing myself to write 12 posts about things that amaze me leading up to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser in Chicago that Karin, Deb and I are participating in. In doing so, I must also be open to the everyday amazing things that happen around me.

Everyone has obstacles to overcome. Some obstacles are simply insurmountable and we lose the battle despite our best efforts. Other obstacles are merely challenges and we push right through them. And then there are those obstacles which seem insurmountable at times, and we have a choice to make: succeed or fail.

“I keep good company.”

I’ve said this phrase a lot over the past few days in response to all the positive energy surrounding the upcoming St. Baldrick’s event and fellow bloggers. You know, the internet is an amazing thing, isn’t it? For me, connectedness is at the top of my list of “things that energize me.” I’ve met some of the most amazing people through blogging. Well, I haven’t met them in person, yet, but I will meet some of them very soon.

I already talked about Deb in my first “amazing” post this past Monday. She’s one of the amazing people I’m looking forward to meeting in a week and a half. So today I want to talk about two other amazing new friends I’ll be meeting in person.

First up, Katy of I Want a Dumpster Baby. (I sometimes affectionately call her Kitty. It’s the glasses, I think.) Katy is an open book. She’s honest with herself and others, and she’s passionate about what she believes in. Every day on Facebook and on her blog when she writes, I see her humor and strength. The blog post that really hooked me was “Gratitude for 10 Years Sober.” That was the day I perked up and really started paying attention. So much strength. So much gratitude. She has taken on what I presume felt like an insurmountable task, and has continued to do so for 10 straight years. I suspect there are days when it starts to feel that way again, and she pushes through it. Amazing.

The other person probably goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: Sheila of Mary Tyler Mom. She’s a true inspiration. Again with the honesty, passion, and humor. As a parent of a child with special needs, I’ve always said, when faced with tragedy, you find purpose and meaning in it or risk self-destruction. Donna’s obstacle, despite everyone’s best efforts, was insurmountable, but there were many successfully cleared obstacles along the way. Sheila and her husband are heroes to me. And again, in their case, I know that there are gut-wrenching, seemingly impossible days, yet they push through it. Amazing.

Honestly, I don’t have words to describe how much folks like this inspire me, but that never stopped me from trying. March 24th promises to be an emotional day, and I’m so looking forward to it all. I’m proud and honored to call these people my friends. After all, I keep good company.

No–amazing company.

P.S. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like. 🙂


12 days that amaze, Day 1: TMiYC

The Baldman Cometh

As many of you know, Karin and I will be getting our heads shaved to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer and to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation on March 24th. Twelve days from now!

It’s all be cause of Donna, which you can read about here. (Don’t want to read the whole thing? There’s also a podcast version at that link.) As of right now, our team has raised $1,790! Some of those donations came from you guys, so thanks for that!

Side Effects May Include

What has amazed me is the residual joy and personal satisfaction that has come out of being involved in this event. As it turns out, this sort of thing has side effects. Signing up as a shavee, sharing info with others, writing about it as part of a Valentine’s Day blogging event, and every other aspect of participating in a St. Baldrick’s event has brought me ridiculous amounts of happiness.

And THAT is the purpose of this post: to share Continue reading


Answers: On embracing and letting go

Once in a while, a friend will come out of the shadows to ask for my thoughts on a particular matter. Somehow, they know I’ll act as a sounding board and a safe place for them to share. After chatting with one such friend the other day, I asked for her permission to share our conversation, and she agreed. This is the second post in my “Answers” series.*

Hi, Chris.

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts. They are always insightful. I love hearing your thoughts on parenting. You are a great dad to all three boys. They are lucky to have you.

Your advice a few months ago worked with my son. Things have gotten much better. I wonder if you’d share your wisdom with me again, but on a more personal problem. In your experience/opinion/training can a person “let go” and move on from a past physical/emotional trauma without experiencing the emotions that occurred at the time of trauma? Or does a person have to relive (fully remember: physically, emotionally and mentally) the traumatic event?

Thanks in advance.

Hi, Sandra.

Thanks for your confidence in me. I don’t know if a person can truly let go of something traumatic without revisiting some of those emotions. But I do think it’s more of a side-effect than the focus. In other words, I don’t think that’s where you need to start, but it’s likely to come up in the process.

In my experience, the most effective way to release myself from something is to embrace it first. That’s difficult to do. There are different ways to go about this. If I can make the time and create the space, I like to take myself through a meditation in which I release bad or constricting energy. This can be specific or non-specific, but I like to allow my thoughts to take me where my attention is most needed.

This tends to work better for “lighter” issues. Issues that are more deep-seated are like miscellaneous debris that get mixed up in the foundational concrete. It’s removable, but can be stubborn…

I once participated in a Continue reading


FtB Update: A week (or two) in review

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Since I haven’t made the time yet to write a new post, I wanted to do a quick recap. First, Blissfully Bald* was Freshly Pressed and had over 26k views. (I do hope to respond to everyone’s comments!) Then my son broke his leg. It took us a few days to get a wheel chair since he’s not coordinated enough to make safe use of crutches. (That’s all he needs; a fractured ulna to match his fractured tibia.) It took a few more days to get a ramp for the front of the house. (Thank you, United Cerebral Palsy of Metropolitan Detroit!!) Next, I recorded a podcast version of “Blissfully Bald” as an experiment. (Your feedback on that would be helpful!)

I was feeling pretty down after my son broke his leg, so I posed this humble request to everyone on the Facebook page:

Seeing as how I was away from work yesterday tending to my boy’s broken leg on one of my busiest days of the year, I’ll be disconnecting from Facebook as soon as I post this. In the meantime, could you all do me a favor? I’ve been feeling pretty lousy about the whole thing…

Please share something you’re grateful for!

For me, gratitude goes a long way, and I loved it when you shared your “Happiness is…” statements! Thanks in advance. I’m looking forward to reading these later! Also, there’s a chance I’ll use some of them in a blog post at the end of the week, so only participate if you don’t mind my doing so.

Christine: I hope your son heals quickly, FTB!!! As far as your request of what I’m grateful for:
I’m grateful for finally understanding and knowing what unconditional love is. And that I get it from my husband and my children.

Chris T: I’m grateful that I’m raising a seemingly well adjusted child. Its amazing considering who her father is!

Maegan: Hope the kiddo gets better fast. And the stress settles. I’m grateful for coffee (starting cup 2 shortly), the fact the Dude still naps and for the fact i don’t have to go to the store today. 🙂

The Hands Free Revolution: Sending healing thoughts you way. So sorry for what you and your family have endured. I am grateful that I have re-discovered life’s simple joys — expressions on my children’s faces, in the miracles of nature, in the unending love of my spouse, in other people’s stories of strength and triumph.

Michelle L: i’m grateful for big brothers who help teach you that sometimes shit just happens, and you cant always have control, but that does not make it your fault, and when bad shit happens there is always a life lesson to be learned. and sometimes that lesson is that run-on sentences are the debil~
♥ you Chris, it’ll be ok /hugz  (<–my baby sister)

Sarah: I am grateful for the love of my life partner who takes my hand and walks me through the hard times with any questions and helping me find something to laugh about each and every day.

Karin Z: When I put my head to the pillow while I snuggle my kids to bed, I am grateful for them 😉 and it makes me smile.

Michelle S: I’m grateful for the friends and family that love me in spite of myself sometimes. 🙂

Mary: I’m grateful that my son trusted me enough to tell me the truth!

Karin A: I am grateful for you, Chris. ♥ (<– my spouse)

Karin A: Oh, and cheese. And popcorn. Movies, sunshine, the ocean, hot chocolate, Lucas, perspective…so much to be grateful for!

Vicki: This week I am concentrating on being grateful for the little things in life such as…a surprise Starbucks delivery from the hubby, my children’s laughter, a HOT shower, camera phones, a fluffy pillow, warm boots, a phone call from a friend!

Amanda: I’m grateful for Chinese finger traps, sea monkeys, quarter machines, freshly laundered area rugs! And that I’ve finally embraced and love “my weird” 🙂 It’s so peaceful when you stop fighting against your true self and just go with the flow!

Karin A: I love your weird, too, Amanda. ♥

I am grateful for real-life friends and family who not only make life easier, but make this world a warmer place. I am grateful for medical insurance that helps pay for hospital visits and wheelchairs. I am grateful for the folks at Apria Healthcare for their efforts to get my son the equipment he needed despite some vague wording from a doctor. I am grateful for a loaner ramp from UCP-Detroit and for the friend of a friend–who doesn’t know me from Adam–who referred me to the QuickRamps for Kids program. AND I am grateful for YOU, my online friends. When I need a quick pick-me-up, all I have to do is visit some of my favorite pages or ask you folks for a little help. Your responses (above) helped a bunch. Thank you for that.

I am also grateful for humor in the midst of difficult times.

Is there anything in particular you’re grateful for today? Please share in the comments! As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing. It means a lot!

*Update regarding the fundraiser: We met our goal of $1,000 in a week! So we’ve updated the goal to $2,500 and we’re over halfway there! Take a look for yourself!

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook!


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.


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