I’ve seen 3 happy snowball fights on the way to the office. Good to see SC kids enjoying snow.

ThinkingDaily: Being a Divorced Dad

Challenging but good podcast to do today. We’re raising some pretty amazing women and I can’t wait to see how they change the world…

Sam talks about being a dad after divorce and how tools like Google Hangouts, Dropbox and Google Drive make all the difference despite the geographic differences.

via ThinkingDaily: Being a Divorced Dad | Thinking.FM.

ThinkingDaily 25 mp3 is here or you can click above to play in your browser (and subscribe in iTunes etc).

“Can I Handle the Seasons of My Life?”

Last night, I had a crisis.

On the way to celebrate Christmas with my wife’s family in Spartanburg, SC I realized that I had made a major mistake. I pounded the steering wheel and had an adrenaline-spurred moment of animal rage followed by the inevitable realization that the deed had been done and the only thing left to do was figure out how to fix the situation.

My daughters had been with us over the weekend and gone ahead with Merianna to the family party while I stayed back in Columbia and worked for a couple of hours. I had too much to do, left the house in a hurried panic to make the Christmas party, and completely forgot their elf. It was my duty to bring along “Leroy.”

Leroy is a four year old elf that has become part of the family in many ways and has transcended the elf-on-the-shelf cliche-ness into something akin to a family member that flies in for a couple of weeks. I suspect my six year old sees through the “Leroy is a real elf that does mischievous things for a couple of days then flies back home to the North Pole” and keeps the myth going for my three and a half year old. Regardless, Leroy isn’t as much as a creepy judging watcher as someone who has a past, present, and future with her experience of Christmas. It’s like advent on training wheels as Leroy and our family look forward to the twelve days of Christmas time that start tomorrow when we celebrate the presence of God in this world and the “at-handness” of the Kingdom of God.

As a dad, it’s insanely important for me to make sure that my girls cherish this time of the year and realize that Advent and expectation are just as important for our faith and family as the actual Christmas event.

So, I knew what I had to do. I had to drive. Drive a good deal.

I left the Christmas party, we dropped the girls off with their mother and they headed back to Asheville. I left Spartanburg and headed back to Columbia. I arrived in Columbia at 9pm, ran into the house, picked up Leroy from his last mischievousness (making smores with a candle) then headed back to Asheville. I got to their mom’s house at midnight and dropped Leroy off in a passed-out pose on the wood pile outside of her house. He and I felt the same at that point. Then I left to drive back to Columbia and finally crawled into bed at 3am.

During my ten hours on the road, I had a lot of time to think and listen. I’m completely fine with long drives. I loved driving from South Carolina to Connecticut when I was in graduate school and I always loved my late night drives in college. It’s been a few years, but I remembered my old tricks to get me through. A few hours on a current Audible audiobook, then a few minutes of silence, then a few songs that I sing/scream along with while on cruise control.

It was sometime around 2am near Clinton, SC that I realized I was listening to much of the same music that got me through late night drives to Wofford College then to Columbia and back to my hometown of Mullins fifteen years ago. There was Willie and Waylon, Johnny Cash and the Beatles, Beastie Boys and George Strait. Finally, I turned to Fleetwood Mac and John Lennon (the two that got me through late night drives in my old Jeep with headphones attached to my cassette player because there was no stereo and that I had recorded myself on a mixtape).

I thought of late night drives to see girlfriends in the past, or to see my best friend and college roommate. Then I thought even further back to my high school mentor who loved Stevie Nicks in an unhealthy but inspiring manner and how much he both changed my life and inspired me to be a teacher (and how many of his tricks I stole when I was a middle school teacher). I thought of what I thought I would be when I was 15 or 20 and how things have turned out.

And then Landslide came on.

“But time makes you bolder
Children get older I’m getting older too
Yes I’m getting older too, so”

I don’t know how or why my subconscious mind knew that I needed those ten hours away from a computer and work and building a company in complete and forced solitude. I was cut off from Twitter or Google Adwords or a CSS file that I’ve been struggling with and forced to focus on a single and seemingly absurd task of delivering a cloth elf.

It was beautiful and it was a great way to end an incredible year of my life. The best present I could have given myself despite my state of sleep deprivation today.

Thank you, Leroy.

Does Your Dog Love You?

Don’t read to the end if you have had dogs like my Schaefer or now Willie and Waylon in your life 🙂

You love your dog. Does your dog love you back? Is the love that an owner feels for her dog reciprocated? That’s the question that a group of Swedish and Danish researchers wanted to answer.

Clearly this was written by cat lovers…

via Does Your Dog Love You Back? | The Thoughtful Animal, Scientific American Blog Network.

The Four Quarters of My Week

four quarters

I was talking about calendars and work weeks with a friend earlier and I tried to explain how my convoluted brain processes the week. I don’t like to think of time in terms of hours or days. Rather, I’m much more productive (and happy) when I can segment things into their proper places in the flow of my life.

For me, that means having “4 Quarters” to what others would call a week.

This cycle of 4 quarters keeps me sane and focused. I look forward to each segment as you might look forward to a different class in high school or as a football team might prepare for a game of four quarters (see what I did there?).

Of course, there are unpredictable situations that pop up and cause a disruption in my cycle, but as I transition from a classroom teacher (wake at 6, work until 5, sleep, repeat) to running a business, this completely makes sense in my head.

Monday and Tuesday: Work Days. Sleep late. Work in the home office with the pups from 9’ish until lunch time. Go into downtown office at 1 until 7. Meet Merianna for dinner and week review. Work until 10 or 11 or 1 depending on volume. These are my “put on your headphones, put your nose down and get your work done” focus days. I’m up way too late and drink way too much coffee during this quarter. I normally look like this by Tuesday night.

Wednesday and Thursday: Travel and Meetings Days. This is the quarter when I have to take a deep breath and get out of introvert mode. It’s my travel, meetings, email catchup and phone calls quarter and I try to jam them all together so I can focus on work the other quarters. I travel to Asheville, Greenville, Charlotte or Charleston for client meetings during these two days. I’m usually working in my hotel room from 6’ish to midnight on either design work or meeting reviews. I’m constantly and purposefully on the road these two days and using the (headset) phone while driving. However, I’m trying to make it to more of our church’s Wednesday night suppers these days. This is usually me on the drive home Thursday night.

Friday: Brainstorm. Head to the office early (8 or 9) and catch up on reviews from Wednesday and Thursday travels and meetings and plan out the week ahead. This is my time to catch my breath and do some brainstorming for my clients and my own business. I normally look like this during the quarter. I work until 2 PM or so then go pick up my daughters for the weekend.

Saturday and Sunday: Family, Fun and Review. Normally includes sleeping late, working in either football and/or NASCAR for a couple of hours and some down time to cook and enjoy the family. Otherwise, I’m working but not as much as on Monday and Tuesday. On Sunday morning, there’s church and lunch with our congregation after. Sunday night from 8-10 PM is week prep time where I review my note cards, make sure they are scanned and in Evernote and everything from the previous week is either checked, archived or ready to be addressed Monday and Tuesday.

How do you think about your week?

My Jerry Maguire Moment


I’m writing this while sitting at the bar waiting for takeout from my fav pizza place dive in my old/new city of Columbia.

This time it feels more permanent. That’s most because I’vd started both my new business and my new life here. This is my Jerry Maguire moment in time and place.

Everyone here that I tell I picked this patch of famously hot dirt over Asheville looks at me a little curious and a lot of envious. However, this dirt is my home (well closer).

I called my grandmother today from my new offices downtown and wished her happy birthday. She was so excited to have me back in South Carolina just because it’s closer to home and my girls will have SC roots.

That made me realize some deep things about myself and my family.

It’s good to be home.

To quote Jerry Maguire, “I was 35. I had started my life.”

Posted from WordPress for Android

(Fe)Male Identity(ies)

My amazing friend (and a rare Baptist MDiv/MAR/PhD) Thomas writes this fantastic post:

Admittedly, the overall message of the post seems to be one of trying to teach children good social media practices, but it does much more than that. For starters, there is what appeared to many commenters as blatant hypocrisy: the mother decried certain photos of teenage girls while peppering her post with photos of her attractive and fit sons, bare-chested on the beach the author has since replaced these pictures. But this only scratches at the surface.

via Conservative Christian Slut-Shaming, Boys Will Be Boys, and Identity Formation.



Willie and Waylon during nap time on Mary Hudson’s  princess bed. Strong work, guys.

Uncle Herbert’s Autobiography

My Aunt Lib died this past Fall and while we were preparing for her funeral at her home, I happened upon my Uncle Herbert’s old wallet in a closet. I had to take a peek inside and found this piece of blue paper folded up…

2013 05 06 18 53 32

It was his autobiography.

I wish I had known more of this story when he was alive…

Here is the transcription with a few links that I’ve thrown in for my own benefit:


Uncle Herbert’s Autobiography

Born in Florence 1920 one block from American Bakery. Worked on farm. Worked Tyler Veener Mill, Roofing Co. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad at Station and in round house. Fueled first diesel train that came into Florence.

Joined Navy March 1942. Went to Newport Rhode Island Boot Camp then to Chicago Navy Pier Aviation Mechanical School about 10 months.

Then to Phila for Catapult School, then west coast waiting for ship corridor.

On ship went to Honolulu. Changed ships then to Marshall and Gilbert Islands in combat their. Liscomb Bay sunk. Then over Equator and then to invade Guam and Saipan. Typhoon on way 3 days.

5 battle stars.

To states for discharge after war. Started working at Koppers Wood Preserving after layed off at R.R. then back in Navy 1950 for 18 months Korea War on USS Saipan.

Then back to Koppers Co.

Heart attack in 1978. Retired 1980. 5 operation and 3 heart attacks one of them bypass.

Built 2 houses.

Post Dog Park Bliss


There’s really nothing like seeing a pup in post dog park bliss. It literally takes years off of your life to see such happiness (notice Willie’s missing two bottom teeth… we’re getting close to puppy adolescence).

Remembering Danny Goodman: Four Years Is Too Long

I miss you everyday, Prof Goodman.

Victory is sweet, even deep in the cheap seats…

Sam Harrelson: Oh Captain, My Captain: Prof Dan Goodman

Here’s how he described me four years ago just before his death:

“Fun guy, smart guy, obsessed with techno gadgets, a little overbearing in Trivial Pursuit, good taste in music (early REM), bad taste in music (early Glen Campbell), reads too many blogs, writes too many blogs, dresses snappy, beautiful family, loves history, hates theology, and likely running from his true calling to be an evangelist.”

He still haunts me daily with that description.

Thank you, Danny.

Collards for Christmas


Nom nom nom…

Collard Greens, How To Cook Collard Greens, Mess O’ Greens, History and Recipe of Collard Greens: “Collard greens became the official vegetable of South Carolina when Governor Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill No. 823 (S823) into Law on June 2, 2011.”

One of my favorite parts of being from SC is our love of collard greens. Sure, there are better tasting vegetables out there, but nothing says history like a good plate of collards.

I’ll be cooking some up for Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Missing Sylvia

It was hard enough to lose Schaefer back in September, but it’s also hard to look back at all the great pups I’ve had the privilege to share a few years with like Sylvia Blue (the infamous 3 legged husky):


Miss that old smelly dog these days.

Here’s To the Worst Dog Ever

Schaefer and Sam in Connecticut | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

To say he was a good dog is a far stretch. However, he was the best friend a young guy growing into a man could have. Ever since that first cold winter in Connecticut for grad school, I’ve had my troublesome buddy to keep me honest.

I’m heading into this winter without him physically here for the first time.

He and Mary Hudson were born on the same date (seven years apart), so that bond is beyond special.

Here’s to the only dog that ate bathroom drywall, laptop computers, entire steaks defrosting on the countertop, entire pizzas (that he would close the box on to cover his tracks), numerous shoes and gloves (including both the shoes and gloves pictured above), a Sam’s Club sized bottle of Advil and many incalculable objects made out of aluminum and/or other metals that would later require surgery and/or dialysis.

He was a terrible dog. But he was the best dog in the world. I needed him more than he needed me, and he left this universe a better place having known him.

Go crazy up in doggie heaven, Schaef.

I miss you.