Lights Out!

I’m a little too young to have been an active listener to “Lights Out!”, the famous early horror radio show from the 1930’s and 40’s, but I recall my folks talking about it. And I do remember Bill Cosby talking about it in his famous bit “Chicken Heart.” I listened to hat bit over and over, and laughed anew every time. That funny story made my heart sing!

This piece isn’t about that radio show, however. It’s about learning good habits, including turning the lights off when not in active use. It’s a little about how we might attempt to teach our kids these values, how we might instill in them the lofty and also practical benefit of such a habit as turning the light off.

I find myself walking around the house pretty well constantly turning lights off on rooms where no one is.

It’s a simple lesson. Turn off the light if no one’s in the room. Learn that lesson, and apply it regularly. That same mindset can be applied to leaving the water running, and monitoring the thermostat. Using natural resources carefully, thoughtfully, that’s the underlying ideal I’d like our kids to absorb, and practice every day.

Walking around the kitchen this morning, I noticed a piece of broken tortilla chip; when I saw it I remembered seeing it yesterday. At the time I thought, “Let’s see if anyone else picks it up. No one did. So this morning, I picked it up and threw it away. There was a bit of wrapper next to it, too. That went to the trash as well.

That’s another fundamental ideal. If you see garbage, pick it up and throw it away. This approach might well apply only in your home, but on that planet. How much cleaner would things be, how much healthier would nature be, if everyone did that? And the pre-step of course too: Don’t litter.

So the turning off the lights, picking up around the house, and everything in between; do a little more, or at least, do what you should do. I know it’s often more complicated, but maybe it shouldn’t be, influencing our kids. Just do what you should do.

[Disclaimer: I suspect some reading this piece might object to even mentioning Bill Cosby in a positive way, given his falling from grace and crimes for which he’s been convicted. That said, he was also one of the great comedians and entertainers of his era. I do not condone in any way his behavior otherwise, Full Stop.]

Do What You Can Do

Two examples here I’d like to share. Two men who believe in taking care of the planet: Doing the right things around that every day.

The first guy I know; he’s family. He’s a dad and a public servant and a bike rider and an outdoorsman.

And he picks up the trash when he’s out in nature as well.

This next guy I know only by what I read and podcasts I’ve listened to. Similarly, this guy is a dad, public servant, and outdoorsman.

And he picks up the trash when he’s out in nature as well.

Love for Others…YES

From Francis yesterday:

“Our love for others, for who they are, moves us to seek the best for their lives.

Only by cultivating this way of relating to one another will we make possible a social friendship that excludes no one and a fraternity that is open to all.


And then today:

“It is not enough to accept the invitation to follow the Lord; one must be open to a journey of conversion, which changes the heart.

The garment of mercy, which God offers us unceasingly, is the free gift of his love; it is grace.


Amen, AMEN.

‘‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season, a playful way, to talk about a certain day, a certain way to be, to think, to be, most often ‘round Christmas we might hear it, say.

But another time comes to mind, a thoughtful stint of when we might find,

better insight as to how we might be, better for you, better for me.

A time to remember and honor those who have gone, of those whom we’ve loved, over, above,

And not just the times and the way we felt, but the power and the magic within us has dwelt,

And still there today, each and every day, if we think, and believe it’s within us, and for us, and is us, felt in a blink.

Practicing Moods

“Don’t touch my tiger. This is my ‘Don’t Touch Me Tiger.’”

This rather mean phrase one of our kids spoke to another kid, her sibling.

Oh, our three beautiful children. They can be rough on each other; like all kids, I suspect.

Rather than react outwardly to this comment one made to another I — must be getting a little more wise — paused and considered things more deeply, and more broadly.

Maybe they were practicing being mean to each other. Maybe they were testing how one can be mean, what’s acceptable, what’s not.

And then another time, more recently, one of our kids was in a foul mood to start the day; at the same time, the other two were in particularly good moods that same morning.

My normal “modus operandi” would have been to engage, try to cheer up, not let her alone; instead, I checked in with her and when she rebuked me with silence, I let her alone. I’m finally realizing after many years of parenting, sometimes it’s best, maybe often times, to let your kids sort things out on their own if they can.

I’m sure I’ve read that in parenting books before, but the light has finally turned on and is still shining now, making it more clear how to handle some of those more challenging, difficult situations.

Later in the day that same daughter had her witch hat on and was in a markedly better mood. Miraculous. She turned it around on her own. Good lesson for me.

Let them practice their moods. Let them figure out how to cope with their emotions, and get to a better place on their own. That’s how it is for adults, that’s how it is in the world. We all would do better to think that way more often.

And sometimes putting on a witch hat helps too.

Lyrics Post: “Ice Cream Man”, Van Halen

I came to know this band just as I was starting to come of age. I was 12. I heard them with some cousins back East; Van Halen II had just been released. It was the beginning of a love affair, a visceral experience that goes on to this day.

Eddie Van Halen was at the core, his guitar playing unique and master-class, a virtuoso. And his style, and his smile, and his energy, they all created musical magic.

Eddie died this week. His music will live on forever.

The band put a lot of music out over decades; this song was from an earlier album, and a cover of the 1953 John Brim original song.

John Brim

Van Halen’s version was a playful, rocking take on the original blues arrangement. And man did it rock!

ENJOY these fun lyrics~

“Dedicate one to the ladies…

Now summertime’s here babe, need somethin’ to keep you cool

Ah, now summertime’s here, babe, need somethin’ to keep you cool

Better look out now, though, Dave’s got somethin’ for you

Tell ya what it is

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

Oh my my

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

See now all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy

Hold on a second, baby

I got a puddin’ pie banana, ah, dixie cups

All flavors and push ups too

I’m your ice cream man, baby, stop me when I’m passin’ by

See now all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy

Hold on, one more

Well, I’m usually passin’ by just about eleven o’clock

Uh huh, I never stop, I’m usually passin’ by just around eleven o’clock

And if you let me cool you one time, you’ll be my regular stop

All right boys

I got a puddin’ pie banana, ah, dixie cups

All flavors and push ups too

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

See now all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy, yes

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

They say all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy

Ah, one time

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by

They say all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy

One time, boys

I’m your ice cream man

I’m your ice cream man


Oh my, my, my

All my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy

Writer(s): Brim John

The Unexpected

A bunch in life might go in this category.

I think we humans crave stability as a result. Trying to create predictable, repeatable outcomes. But it doesn’t always go that way.

The numbers you thought were correct aren’t. People you work with get sick or otherwise are unavailable to help with an important project. There’s an unexpected downpour that hampers everything.

What can result? Anxiety, heightened heart rate, shallowed breath…maybe a little panic…maybe a lot…?

Here’s the double whammy in my little world recently:

our regular support person for distance learning was sick, so we had to scramble to support ourselves; while on the hook for work of our own;

and then on my work side, some reporting problems to deal with; and behind otherwise.

So what to do?

Often life doesn’t go as planned. And it’s in those moments where Calm, Patience, Focus and Perseverance are paramount.

When the expected happens, pause, take a few breaths, and get after it.

Addendum: The image included below was from my son’s learning screen, and a little song the teacher put up for the kids to have a little pause, a little break, with “The Penguin Song.” Kids need to pause too, sometimes.

On Track

How do you stay on track?

Time is the obvious reference. How long does it take to complete a task? How much time do you have?

That’s the guide we might often use. Our gauge to “percentage completed.” And then when we fall behind, we go back and consider…

What can I do differently to get back on track? The assumption is, if you’re behind your targeted timeline, you’re “off track.”

But maybe this isn’t the sole measure. Maybe it’s not the most meaningful way to evaluate.

A good basic question is, “What’s your plan to get your work done?”

But even before that, and then regularly after ask,

What is the work I’m doing? And where does it fit into my life? And how can I balance all the work I want to accomplish, and not fore-sake one?

All good questions. All might give a good indication of you’re really on-track. And more than that, if you’re in balance.


What fills the void?

Not sure, what do I mean?

In your personal time? In your work time? In your soul? The times when things seem unsettled, uncertain, a little {or a lot} empty.

I find it’s things, the little things, day-to-day, these are the things that fill the void, that make it all worth while…

Early mornings.

Time with family.

Finding the reminders of good in the world.

Listening to music.

Being creative.

Focusing on the little things that make each day a little better.

This we pray. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Just enough. Finding it. Making it. Sharing it.