… from the bungalow


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Start small: you need only to love

“If I represent this, then I must represent that, and if I represent that, I need to follow the train of logic that supports this, that, and the other thing. And oh my glob, I’m just going to have to include every aspect of human knowledge of all time just to do this the right way and be taken seriously!”

Wanting to leave your mark on the world can feel like an overwhelming responsibility. Here’s what I’m realizing:

Your contribution to the world doesn't have to be grandiose, and it doesn't have to be perfect. It needs only to be loving.

If you’re a perfectionist or easily overwhelmed, I hope this provides some sense of ease for you. Let go of the idea that you have to do more of something, learn more about everythingor wait for anything.

Stop waiting and start living.

Love,
Chris

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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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The Best Birthday Present My Mom Ever Gave Me

This is my mom. Isn’t she beautiful?

This is her first Mother’s Day since being diagnosed with ALS. That also means it’s the first Mother’s Day I’ve really, truly struggled with. Lots of folks are estranged from their mothers or have lost them. Two of my mom’s sisters passed away years ago, and I’ve always felt a sort of sympathetic loss for my cousins on Mother’s Day, but I can’t know their pain. My siblings, cousins and I also lost our grandma last summer. She was a second mom–and in some ways a more “real” mom–to my cousins, and now they’ve lost her. It’s devastating.

I can’t bear the thought of losing my mom. So rather than focusing on the negative, I did something this morning that I thought would help bridge the physical distance between us; something she taught me; something that represents to me sweetness, thoughtfulness and love.

I made no-bake cookies.

Rows of perfectly imperfect no-bake cookies.

Rows of perfectly imperfect no-bake cookies.

For so many of my elementary school years, I brought a big Tupperware container filled with these cookies to school to share with my classmates on my birthday. As an adult, I botched many, many batches of this simple recipe trying to perfect it when I missed my mom and needed that sense of comfort. I’ve tried adding my own touches over the years, but I’ve returned to my mom’s basic, tried-and-true recipe. The soft, semi-dry texture of the sugary chocolate, oats and peanut butter take me back to those chilly almost-spring days of my childhood.

Feelings of sharing with friends and being in the spotlight for a moment wash over me. I was stiflingly shy when I was young, and I didn’t have many friends. But on my birthday, everyone was my friend. That was a gift to me from my mom. More than any toy my parents may have bought for me on my birthday, I hold this gift dearest.

Thank you, Mom, for this and so much more. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.

Chris

Friends, do you have a comfort food? A special way of honoring your mom on Mother’s Day? Anything else you want to share? Leave a comment! I love to read them.


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With Love from Dad: An open letter to my three kids

This post is dedicated to all the dads/parents who desperately love their kids, but have a hard time seeing through the visual din of life with depression.

Dear kids,

I have not been the kind of dad  that I want to be. In fact, I am not the man I thought I’d be in many ways. I walk through life viewing the world around me like a movie. I come home from work feeling like a zombie, only to spend a few hours in a house that doesn’t feel like my own. I am disengaged; from work, from you, from life in general.

I wish I could say that I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have, but I’m not sure I’m even doing that. I could spend five minutes each morning in silent meditation. I could talk to a doctor about medication options. I could exercise once in a while, even if it’s just running up and down the stairs for two minutes. I could go to bed half an hour earlier. There are plenty of things I could do; things of which I am fully aware that could have a positive affect on me and, subsequently, on you. By that same token, there are plenty of reasons I could cite for my apparent inability to do and be more, but they would be excuses.

The fact of the matter is: I have let you down, and I am sorry. Continue reading


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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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Happy National Coming Out Day!

In about two-and-a-half weeks, I’ll be getting married… for the second time. I am heterosexual. My fiancee is bisexual. I’ve been a proponent for equal rights my entire adult life. So it is with no small amount of sadness that while I’ll be joyfully celebrating the legal union between my partner and me, I will also be remembering the fact that many of our closest friends are not able to enjoy the same benefits. We plan to wear equality rings on our wedding day in support of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in six of our 50 United States, plus the District of Columbia. Two-thirds of those states are in New England, which also constitutes two-thirds of the New England region. It is currently legal in more states to marry your cousin than it is to marry a person of the same sex. However, SIX (!) of our 50 states have recognized the validity of a commitment between two loving people of the same sex. I’m thankful for the baby steps! The biggest changes in history began with baby steps.

Friends, how can we call ourselves a free society when so many of our brothers and sisters are oppressed? Establishing equal human rights is the responsibility of all humans. I’m taking a stand for equality today. Will you?

Yours in solidarity, support, equality and–most of all–love,

Chris

Are you also a straight supporter of equal human rights? Not sure what to expect if a friend or family member were to come out to you today? HRC has a guide for that! And if you are thinking about coming out, there are resources for you, too. You are not alone!

National Coming Out Day

Happy National Coming Out Day!


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Use-those-words Wednesday [disturbing] (via The Monster in Your Closet)

Today’s post from Deb of The Monster in Your Closet is poignant and eerily relevant to my post in week’s Blogger Idol assignment entitled Take Care of Each Other, Goddammit: A simple, three-step guide to maintaining your sanity. I hope you’ll read it, as this is something I believe passionately. (And while you’re there, please vote for me and keep me in this contest another week. Thank you!)

Here’s Deb’s post:

Use-those-words Wednesday [disturbing] On September 19, 2008, 14-month-old Nathan Coleman was beat to death by his mother’s boyfriend. His tiny body was discarded in a Dumpster behind my apartment. There will be no silver lining for that precious little boy, who has now been dead more than twice as long as he lived. While there can be no silver lining here, there is hope for all those who yet live and wait for the light that will lead them to safety. I urge you to think of Nathan—and … Read More

via The Monster in Your Closet