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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Wow. It’s been almost 3 months since I have posted anything on the old bloggeroo. I have been somewhat idle, but not completely so. I have had several pieces published on another blog, The Arkansas Patriot. Here are some links to a few of those thoughts:

Searcy A&P Tax: What are our Rights?

The Beginning of the End of Private Healthcare

Fight to Keep Washington Style Politics Out of Searcy

I am also very active on Twitter; I usually post between 5 and 5,000 short thoughts and links per day. If you are into the Twitter thing, you can follow me by going here. My Twitter feed is also displayed on the bottom right corner of this blog page.

I will try my best to start updating this blog again on a regular basis. We have our 4th baby due in the next couple of weeks, so don’t expect a lot until that big event has transpired, but I fully intend to pick this thing up again. The times are too interesting to abandon commentary.

See you soon…

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shavingI have recently taken up traditional wetshaving as a hobby of sorts. Many of you say, “Shaving? Why shaving? That’s just a boring chore we have to do every day.” I used to feel that way, too. In fact, I used to hate shaving so much that I would only do it about two or three times a week, giving me the look of a borderline hobo and thoroughly annoying my wife and my employer. Then, while mindlessly wasting time on YouTube one afternoon, I stumbled on a video that changed the way I felt about shaving. Suddenly a whole new world opened up before me. I discovered that there are groups of men that get together online to talk about shaving (shaving forums). I found out that what I was using to shave was probably just about the worst thing possible for my skin and beard. I also learned that the number of alternative and vastly superior products available for shaving was nearly infinite.

So I got some inexpensive (but high quality) traditional wetshaving soaps and creams, a new double-edged safety razor (a gift from my wife) and a introductory level boar hair shaving brush. I watched every single one of mantic59‘s shaving videos (famous clear across the shaving universe) and read hours worth of forum posts at Badger & Blade. Finally I felt ready. I installed a fresh new razor blade in my Merkur HD, lathered up my face, and…shaved. The result? Well I won’t lie to you; it wasn’t pretty. Not only did I still have itchy patches of facial hair, but now I had large amounts of blood oozing from my face as well.

The thing is, you can’t approach traditional wetshaving like you approached what I call “mass-market quickshaving”, using a Mach 3 and a can of goo. There is technique involved. There is skill. And there is something spiritual you can’t quite explain…I’ll call it, shavatation. As my technique improved, I began to get the best shaves of my life while immensely enjoying myself. Suddenly the first half hour after waking up in the morning became one of the favorite parts of my day. I loved the smell and feel of the shaving cream, the song of the steel blade, and the cool burn of the aftershave. The more I learned about wetshaving, the more I realized that the process of daily shaving is a lot like life, a perfect metaphor if you will.

We are born with a smooth face: a fresh, clean slate. As we grow, we begin to acquire peach fuzz experiences; nothing especially disturbing or distracting, just enough so that you know it’s there. As the years go by, the real growth and life experiences come in: worry, sorrow, tragedy. For some it is thick and heavy, for others thin and light, but we all get the inevitable beard of life. Trouble is, if we let the beard grow and grow without thinning it out, our countenance is soon covered with a heavy, scraggly burden. We need a way to remove the troublesome beard that distracts us from what is deep below the surface, the true, genuine face we want to present to the world. We have to rediscover that fresh face again. We have to SHAVE.

We need something special with which to remove the beard of life, and, like I discovered in traditional shaving, the options are almost limitless. Your cream and razor of choice may be different than mine. We all have that someone or something that we turn to for help, rest, and rejuvenation. For many it is family, or faith, or friends. Some turn to recreation, travel, or hobbies. Whatever it may be, we all search for that special shaving kit that will help us remove the scratchy stubble of life. If you have taken the time to learn the technique, skill, and shavatation required, you can feel brand new again, almost like you were just reborn. Because we know that there ain’t nothing like a baby’s butt shave to make you look and feel a little better. And don’t worry about losing that beard, it will always grow back.

So there you have it, shaving as a metaphor for life. Search out the smoothest face you know and find out what they are shaving with, literally and metaphorically. You’ll be glad you did.

I dedicate this post to Josh, who seems to have it very together, even with the biggest, craziest beard on Planet Earth. And to Mark, who continues to show us the way.

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Girls with guns

I took Rachel to the range today. She has gotten much more comfortable shooting with just a little practice.

taurus1Here is a video of her shooting her Taurus 38 special revolver:

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Here is a video of her shooting my 40 S&W Glock 23:

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sesamestreet-group_previewIf you are still unwilling to even entertain the possibility that there are rough seas ahead, then I now feel absolutely justified in calling you “dumber than a Muppet”.

The Sesame Workshop has released a series of preparedness videos for kids, featuring the cast of the popular children’s program Sesame Street. The four videos:

#1 “Let’s Get Ready!”
#2 “Family Emergency Kit”
#3 “Know Your Name”
#4 “Prairie Dawn”

are available here, along with “tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies – together!”

So while today we may have “sunny days, sweeping the clouds away…”, even the Muppets know the future is extremely uncertain. Don’t be a grouch, get your family ready…muppetmask

Thanks to Mike for the link.

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brokenwallI am seeing more and more evidence that the United States is headed into a unprecedented period of turmoil and uncertainty. For many people this revelation will come as a great shock. The comfortable existence they have known all of their lives will be drastically changed. They will learn, out of absolute necessity, to survive on much less than they are accustomed. They will learn the hard lessons that their grandparents and great-grandparents knew and lived by: thrift, ingenuity, and faith in the Almighty.

It is possible that our society will be altered in ways that we can’t possibly imagine. The days of rugged individualism will be over. Those who shun the protection of their families and communities to strike out on their own will be hard-pressed. It is essential that now, before events unfold any further, we come together to learn as much as we can about our changing world and how we will exist within it.

Our advantage lies in our faith in God. He is unchanging. He is not concerned with earthly kingdoms or countries, but He is concerned about His people. God is willing to give us the wisdom we need to face the future, but only if we have faith in Him and do not doubt (James 1:5-8). Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Cry loudly, do not hold back;
Raise your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression
And to the house of Jacob their sins.
“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.
‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers.
“Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist
You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am ‘
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
“And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

We will soon have many opportunities to serve. May God give us the strength and wisdom to face an uncertain future, and may He bless us with friends and family to lean upon in the coming days.

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lrmarathon

In 490 B.C. a Persian army of at least 25,000 men landed on the Greek plains of Marathon, intending to destroy a small Greek army of perhaps 10,000 soldiers and then proceed to conquer the city state of Athens, the gateway to Greece and the rest of Europe. The Athenians sent Phidippides, a professional runner, on a brutal 140 mile trek south to Sparta to ask for reinforcements. Phidippides covered the rugged terrain on foot in about 36 hours, only to be told by the Spartans that they could not help until the moon was full (10 days later) due to a religious festival. Phidippides turned on his heel and ran the 140 miles back to Athens with the bad news.

Despite being snubbed by Sparta and outnumbered 4 to 1, the Athenians beat back the Persian army at the battle of Marathon, losing only 192 men to the Persians 6400. The Persians retreated to their ships, intending to sail south to Athens to attack the city before the Athenian army could reach it over land. According to Paul Ostapuk:

Phidippides was again called upon to run to Athens (26 miles away) to carry the news of the victory and the warning about the approaching Persian ships. Despite his fatigue after his recent run to Sparta and back and having fought all morning in heavy armor, Phidippides rose to the challenge. Pushing himself past normal limits of human endurance, he reached Athens in perhaps 3 hours, delivered his message and then died shortly thereafter from exhaustion. Sparta and the other Greek city states eventually came to the aid of Athens and were able to turn back the Persian attempt to conquer Greece.

Thus western civilization was saved by a lone runner and the modern sporting tradition of marathoning was born. This past Sunday morning I gathered with perhaps 2000 other insane individuals to pay tribute to this amazing feat by attempting to cover the same 26.2 mile distance at the Little Rock Marathon in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The amazing thing about this race was not that I finished it (which I did, in 4 hours 45 minutes and 21 seconds), but that so many different people could unite behind one another in total goodwill, tirelessly urging each other on to complete an improbable task. For that one Sunday morning we weren’t Americans or immigrants; we weren’t blacks, whites, Asians, or Hispanics; we weren’t Democrats, Republicans, or Independents; we weren’t men or women. For that 6 hours, we were runners. We weren’t running to save the world, but, like Phidippides and the Athenians, we showed that a small group of determined warriors can still beat the odds.

Thanks to my family and friends: Rachel, Emma, Libby, Marcus, Mom, Dad, Meredith, David, Allison, Tammy, Chris, and Angela. Your support got me through the training and through the wall.

Thanks to my running partner Jon. It was a tough 6 months but totally worth it. I look forward to our next race.

Thanks to my fellow runners, friends old and new: Brian, John, Tia, Tom Ed, Mikel, Randy, Dusty, Heather, and Carl. I hope you all enjoyed the race as much as I did.

garretmarathon-002

Cross-posted to Facebook.

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Marcus got a new hat

christmas-006By the way, his teeth aren’t rotten. He’s just got a mouth full of pancake.
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