Joyous Melancholy


As a matter of temperament, I don’t smile often in normal situations. I’m always kind, pleasant, and such, but if you were to judge how happy I was from my instagram, you’d send me to jail to prevent problems.

However, it’s not that I’m unhappy; most days, I’m fine. However, it takes a lot to make me smile or laugh because that’s overflow for me. When I say overflow, I mean to say that the joy is always there, but it takes something special to bring so much of it to the fore that it gets expressed physically.

Sometimes, it’s a phone call, a letter, a text message, a hug from a friend. Most times? It’s being lost in nature for a few hours without a drop of signal or talking to someone that speaks my language on all levels or listening to the ocean crashing against the shores like an applauding multitude.

I suppose that I’m in awe of the world at large, but the one that I live in day-to-day rarely sparks my interest except in small spurts. I wonder what you call that. I wonder what the word is for that.

Whatever it is, that’s why I’m always on a plane or in a car whenever the word vacation happens. My city is like a 5th-grade t-shirt; I was able to wear mine into my early 20s.

That’s OK. I think that’s the thing for me: even if no one understands my melancholy or my joy, I’m comfortable enough with both to not need additional approval of it. While I sit with them, I imagine places larger and farther away from here where I can write and dance and just be.

A Seed, A Flower


This week has been an interesting one in terms of things coming back home to find me. In one case, it was questions about streaming and helping me grow in that respect. In another, some of the guys at work asked me to guide them through their first D&D campaign.

If you do the work and till the ground, you’d be surprised what grows from it. Which is to say that to get out there and do the work is to also know that there will be a return. There always is.

When Times Are Hard


You’re going to walk into the office or desk or just to the front door and feel like everything is too heavy for either yourself or someone else and when that happens, professionally our approach is just to try to patch the wound with some sentiment like “Try to find the positive in this…” before patting someone on the shoulder and getting back to the grind.

However, I want to suggest that, the next time you find yourself or see someone else in this spot, I want to suggest a different tack.

  • Give someone a hug.
  • Talk to them, then listen, then (and only then) act. Always in that order.
  • When the dust clears, find them and do more listening.

There is a difference between caring and appearing as if you care. The people you interact with know the difference, so when it comes to you, be the care people are looking for.

Strategic Venting


Today I listened to a friend vent some frustrations related to work. It was a pretty intense list, long with issues. I let him vent for about 30 minutes with little interruption aside questions to clarify.

After that, I asked him:s so what now?

Because that’s the thing, right? We don’t want to walk away from the scene of a good vent, a good meeting, or a good idea without the answer to that question. Especially when we are frustrated; that very frustration might be your call to take a moment and address that what now question.

There’s a few ways to answer that question, but I’ll simplify it to three concepts:

  • Create
  • Refine
  • Destroy

Essentially, make something new, better, or failing those two things, get rid of what isn’t working. As for who should “own” that process, that might be the simplest thing to answer: you.

So here we are at the end of a pretty good idea.

What now?



Earlier on in my professional career, I was often told that I need to determine how to better manage my time. I mean often. Mind, it was very much needed at the time, but more and more I find that time isn’t my biggest issue. These days, it is my attention.

“So you mean priority, right?”

No, I don’t.

I work in the support department. Prioritizing is a given when you’ve been in that department as long as I have because, without the ability to prioritize, you drown in backlog. However, even with your best effort to prioritize the tasks before you and even with the ability to manage your time to be super productive, none of that matters if you can’t give yourself to those tasks and only those tasks.

So then, before I can prioritize and manage time to most effectively do the most I can, I have to decide what to pay attention to.

The thing that bears so much repeating is that attention is a limited resource.

One phrase I have at the office for this is “I can’t brain right now.”

What I mean by that is I’m out of attention to spend on anything else right now. Recognizing that your attention is a limited resource changed a few things for me in terms of just handling the day. One of them being making a shrine out of the time between 8:30-9:30AM every day. That’s my planning time where I have enough attention in the tank to prioritize things that day.

From there, it’s a mad dash to around 12:25PM to handle top priority, high attention stuff. Things that require me to focus on details in order to solve a problem. After lunch, I get into the lower attention stuff because, although I have a reserve of attention, it gets consumed with “Hey, I got a quick question” pretty quick. You’d be surprised how quickly that chews through what you have in the tank.

Sometimes, if I need that attention for something else, I have to pass out the occasion, “I can’t right now…” and that’s OK. Again, attention is a limited resource. Other things I do to help keep my attention where it should be:

  1. Wunderlist.
  2. Scheduling appointments with myself.
  3. Fitbit alarms.
  4. Headphones.
  5. These wallpapers (take them if you’d like, I made them):

How do you manage attention? Comments are yours.

Faith and Politics: Part One of Many


Full disclosure: I’m Christian and the crazy kind that makes religious and non-religious people very uncomfortable or completely at-ease depending.

With that in mind, I have got to have this conversation with my extended family about the way you are responding to these issues with the current presidency, political and social climate, and just in general.

I hear you: Jesus is Lord. You know what? You’re right. You’re very right.

…and people are still going to jail in disproportionate amounts.

…and people are still being deported.

…and people are still coming to your pews, putting money in the offering plate, and then going home and wondering when the other shoe will drop. If you have their back. If you ever cared at all.

Gotta say, on the whole, we’re doing a terrible job and responding to this stuff. We seem to be more about trying to get our shout on than trying to care for this family we got. Than trying to bring about this kingdom we play organ music about. A bit too focused on what we are going to say at these altar calls.

If I could have a wish, it’s that we could burn things like this into our hearts:

1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
That’s Isaiah 58. The entire chapter without emphasis or embellishment.
Imagine for a moment how it feels to walk into a building and know that God has a clear stance on the oppression of any person, so much so that He feels the need to say, “that’s it? You thought coming to church on Sunday was enough to get by while people are oppressed in the land where you lay your head? Come again” and in the same building of people that worship the same God you do, all you hear muttered or said aloud is that they wish people would shut up about politics and focus on Jesus.
I want you to imagine the heartbreak of hoping that your family – that you are called into – will be enough to get you through this storm only for them to tell you they don’t even see the storm.
Then I would like you to deeply consider that if this is the kind of thing that God says, but you feel free to ignore the grieving and groans of your brothers and sisters around you if you really believed in the first place.
And if you have the courage and conviction left, pray that you are filled to the point of breaking with courage to speak out against the injustices of this and any other day.

When Things Are Personal


One of the more frustrating things that I read are people in defense of things like the executive order which is, in effect, a muslim ban. It is my thought that these people are blithely unconcerned because it is an issue they are not touched by.

For me, this isn’t a matter of “trying to protect the nation from bad people” or “making sure the vetting process is working well”. I’ve actually seen what that process looks like thanks to my work experience.

It’s a 3-inch stack of paper. It’s questions that not even native-born Americans know about our country and history and laws. It’s having to submit that same paperwork multiple times.

I took this whole executive order to heart. I have a friend who is Iranian and is serving in the US Navy. He can’t go home. His family can’t go home. We have people in a Dubai office where I work. One of them is a dual citizen of the US. I’m hoping he’s in an unaffected area because, if not, he can’t see his family, either.

I wouldn’t be so bothered by it except that there was not a single check to whether or not there would be any negative repercussions in signing this order. Had that been done, it is possible people wouldn’t be stuck abroad while pursuing their academic goals.

How do you defend that? Especially if you have a single shred of respect for another human?

I don’t know. How do you defend any of this? At what point do we stop bending our brains and finally decide to do what is right by everyone?