Settled in Unsettled

Weird feeling, let me attempt to explain a little.

My family structure, a new chapter, still searching for settled.

Single guy again. Single parent this time. But not all alone; co-parenting efforts in effect.

Trying to stabilize this new norm as the norm. Funky thing. So different. Unsettling still. But trying to settle into this unsettled feeling.

Weird. But fine too. The new normal. More time, different time, unplanned quiet, unplanned time, all possibilities, unexpected. Weird, somehow, weird.

What to do? How to be? Who to be now? All before, all in front, each day, each hour, find the way.

Make it good. Make it good. You’ll get settled. Focus on making it good each time. Each time. Settle in. To unsettled.

God’s Work

This concept comes to mind often for me. When am I closest to God? When am I doing what God wants me to do? When am I truly aligned?

Sometimes it seems obvious, immediate, powerful.

Like watching my son run along the beach.

Or standing in the ocean with him, teaching him to hold his ground and the water rushes in, rushes out.

The ocean often has that effect on my overall. Timeless.

But it could be something entirely different. Like blow-drying my daughter’s new, furry friend.

All snippets, all bits of being closer to God, just a bit, just a bit. And sometimes a bit more.

Beach

Funny thing, the beach.

Timeless, the waves, the sound, the water never stops.

Here with family, a little break, celebrating birthdays. Time with the kids, our reduced family, COVID-style. Would that we could be a bigger group, but the pandemic demands a different path.

All the same, the beach is our friend. The ocean is our friend. Magical friends, they are. They create this simple yet so special, wondrous place, space.

The beach, the ocean, it’s one of those places that might bring us a little closer to God, if you let it, if you’re open to it, if you believe in that sorta thing.

I believe in that sorta thing. With my family, in nature, all the more aware of the infinity of it all.

The beach. Family. Timeless. Joy.

Family

My mom used to say it, “family is most important.” It seemed like hyperbole when I was a teenager.

Of course family is important, I thought, but so is spending time with other friends, doing fun things, etc. Typical teenager thoughts, young person thoughts, natural. I thought at the time my mom was trying to convince us; as a parent now myself, I think I see a broader perspective.

As a parent I have this thought, and when it comes to mind I proclaim the same in my own head, “family is most important.” I think though, I’m not trying to convince anyone; I’m more making a sort of proclamation. I think maybe by saying it, stating it, it adds another layer of value, of meaning, somehow.

Maybe that proclamation is an outward expression to share the love a little more, and not so much convince.

That’s for sure what I feel. I want my kids to feel the value and the depth and the security of family. And I want them to know how much I value them.

Most important is family. It’s the foundation, if we make it so, if we let it be so. AMEN.

Lyrics Post: “Free Your Mind”

Quite unexpected, not really a genre I partake from too often; too often that’s where the gems lie.

Lots of folks know these ladies rock it, knowing the beats, words good too, message good too. Whether you’re en vogue or not, free your mind all the same. Maybe now more than ever.

“Prejudice, wrote a song about it.
Like to hear it? Here it go.

I wear tight clothing, high heeled shoes
It doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute, no no
I like rap music, wear hip hop clothes
That doesn’t mean that I’m out sellin’ dope no no
Oh my forgive me for having straight hair, no
It doesn’t mean there’s another blood in my heir yeah yeah
I might date another race or color
It doesn’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers.

Why oh why must it be this way
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow.
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow

So I’m a sistah
Buy things with cash
That really doesn’t mean that all my credit’s bad, oooh
So why dispute me and waste my time
Because you really think the price is high for me
I can’t look without being watched, and oh
You rang my buy before I made up my mind, OW!
Oh now attitude, why even bother
I can’t change your mind, you can’t change my color

Why oh why must it be this way?
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow…

Why oh why must it be this way?
Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color blind, don’t be so shallow… FREE YOUR MIND!”

Writer(s): Denzil Delano Foster, Gerald Edward Levert, Thomas Craig Mc Elroy

Lyrics Post: “Beast of Burden”

“Beast Of Burden”, The Rolling Stones. Not much needs to be said.

Same old magic. The riff, the lyric, the feel…all I want…

“I’ll never be your beast of burden

My back is broad, but it’s a-hurting

All I want, for you to make love to me

I’ll never be your beast of burden

I’ve walked for miles, my feet are hurting

All I want is for you to make love to me

Am I hard enough?

Am I rough enough?

Am I rich enough?

I’m not too blind to see

I’ll never be your beast of burden

So let’s go home and draw the curtains

Music on the radio

Come on, baby, make sweet love to me

Am I hard enough?

Am I rough enough?

Am I rich enough?

I’m not too blind to see

Oh, little sister

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty girls

You’re a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty girl

Pretty, pretty, such a pretty, pretty, pretty girl

Come on, baby, please, please, please

I’ll tell you, you can put me out on the street

Put me out with no shoes on my feet

But put me out, put me out

Put me out of misery, yeah

All your sickness, I can suck it up

Throw it all at me, I can shrug it off

There’s one thing, baby, I don’t understand

You keep on telling me I ain’t your kind of man

Ain’t I rough enough? Ooh, honey

Ain’t I tough enough?

Ain’t I rich enough? In love enough?

Ooh, please

I’ll never be your beast of burden

I’ll never be your beast of burden

Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be

I’ll never be your beast of burden

I’ve walked for miles, my feet are hurting

All I want is you to make love to me, yeah

I don’t need no beast of burden

I need no fussing, I need no nursing

Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never”

Writer(s): Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

More Props

I just heard a piece on the radio about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the diversity of their coaching leadership. It’s expanded my appreciation for the team and my attitude about that team, Tom Brady joining the team, and their victory in Super Bowl LV.

Listening to Rod Graves, executive Director of the Fred’s Pollard foundation, it all comes quickly into focus. Lots of good from the Tampa Bay organization, their approach, their leadership, their victory.

Some of the insight came from this piece:

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers And Diversity In The Upper Ranks Of An NFL Franchise”

And here, the proof in the staff:

https://www.buccaneers.com/team/coaches-roster/

Then more insight from Rod Graves, ED of the Pollard Foundation, and about them, here:

https://www.fritzpollard.org/fritz-pollard

Bottom line?

More props, more GOOD. Let the colors wash together, let the very best rise to the top.

The Campers In The Shadows

Down Garcia Drive, and South / East Bayshore Frontage Road in Mountain View, amongst the many buildings that house the likes of Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, there are campers after campers after campers.

A long row, on the east side, the industrial side.

In the shadows of so many tech companies. I sit writing this in the same shadows, watching, wondering. Not all the buildings are full; some seem empty. But I bet these campers aren’t empty.

Who lives here on the shadows?

Where do they go?

Where do they come from?

Here in the campers, here in the shadows…

It’s All About Connections

I might have guessed this was true. Then I heard this interview with journalist Amanda Mull, from The Atlantic, who’s documented the effects of this Pandemic Time on the social fabric of our lives. Weak Ties. They matter.

Beyond our “main” connections and core, closest family and friends, it’s the people maybe one or two rings outside that add considerable quality of life and varied experience.

It’s the random, social connections and temporary intimacies that add much depth and breadth to our human experience. And much of this has been thwarted by the pandemic.

Let’s not let it have the last word. Let’s reconnect, people, RECONNECT! Let’s add those “weak ties” back into our day-to-day.

What awaits? As Amanda Hull put it, “a sense of grounding, of community, belonging to the bigger world outside of our selves”, that’s what is on the other side.

And here’s the piece if you’d like to hear it. Quite worth while for sure.

one.npr.org/i/962946851:962946852

Sitting With Lu

Sitting one evening at the table, talking to my younger daughter. She’s in her pajamas; me too. She’s playing with her dolls. I’m listening, face in my hands. Nodding off, I gently drift.

“Dad, you’re falling asleep…!”, she mocks me. And then she goes back to her story, recounting a “Full House” episode.

I’m focusing on her word selection. I love it. Love listening to her; love listening to them, their stories. So very thankful. This one, and the other two. Love them to pieces.

And that listening to them? Mostly a joy; 99.99%; a little less so when it’s time for bed.

Yawn.

Night night.