It May Bear Fruit

This passage from Luke, chapter 13, resonates.

Don’t give up; try again; there is still hope; take action with care, try a different approach, Good can still result.

Yes. Yes it can.

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.'”


Beach Jottings

Beach Jottings

13, our lucky number these days of family vacation together. California coast, between Santa Cruz and Monterey, house, ocean, sand, good.

Eight adults, five kids, three families stem from one. Feels good to be together. Let the stress and structure fall away, let it be easy for a few days.

Seen along the way:

Early morning fishermen working the surf at high tide. Grey overcast skies, cool breeze, peaceful.

Red-tail hawk flying low over-head, back drop of gray morning coastal chased by two black crows, defending their land.

Further out, a brown pelican flies close to the blue-gray water, looking for fish. The surf nears high tide, the splashing waves leave the sand dark and wet higher up on the shore.

Kids play throughout the day. It’s vacation, adults have time to join in, make the time to join in. That’s one of the purposes of the whole thing. Join in. Be together. Have fun together. Piling up sand, splashing in the water, playing cards or checkers or Switch, loving and relating and being together.

Time to enjoy the sunset, make time for that, on the schedule for the day, part of the plan. It’s simple, purposeful; a way to pause to acknowledge another day, to be present and grateful and there. Be there. Soak it up.

So lucky, so lucky indeed. Along the way, throughout the day, in so many other simple, glorious ways, it is GOOD.

Operation: Little Kids

“Being a parent of little kids is sometimes like being a special forces operator.” That’s the way it’s been feeling these last few days.

Of course, we don’t have to apply lethal force in the course of conducting parenting operations; and certainly we are not in harms way (typically) when parenting. So no one is trying to kill us, and we’re not trying to kill anyone.

But there are similarities otherwise.

Sleep. Interrupted or otherwise, often there will not be enough sleep. You have to operate at the highest level possible all the same.

Frequently you will be operating at night. Therefore, stamina is critical.

Non-lethal, hand-to-hand combat might be necessary from time to time. Wrestling or JJT skills can help in this regard.

Attention to detail, ability to quickly adapt, and a sense calm and focus under mounting chaos and discomfort are all very helpful attributes for field operators and parents.

Often times things with little kids don’t go as planned. You might the best intentions and ideas as to how to proceed on a particular objective, and then things go sideways. You have to be able to quickly and complete adapt to move the mission forward, improvise, and make the best of it.

Finally, as in special operations, personal excellence, solid teamwork, and fundamental ability to leave your ego at the door will all help in parenting little kids. Parenting: It’s one of the highest callings there is anywhere.

#dadlife #dadslife #parenting #perspective #worthit

Inside the Box, Outside the Lines

There are many metaphors that convey one of the basic dichotomies of life: that middle ground between routine and spontaneity.  The concept comes to to mind thus:  put your life into a neat little box that is familiar, known, manageable.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to color outside the lines and create something new.

This concept is equally applicable and examples abound at work, at home, and everywhere in between.  I think I counted a dozen examples in my own life just yesterday.

I’ve written about routine here recently. This topic is certainly something that is frequently on my mind: striving to be efficient, productive, responsive, and responsible, that’s the main goal.

The other side of the coin though is equally compelling; it offers the energy and excitement of the immediate need, and sometimes that particular spark that fosters creativity and inspiration, as well.  It breaks the routine, marches off in its own direction, responding to the demand of the moment, chasing the muse.

So how do we reconcile the two? I’m not entirely sure.  What I am absolutely sure of is that the two must co-exist. We’re much better off if we learn and accept and master the art of flipping between the two worlds.

The fundamental take-away?

Make the most of what’s inside your box, be able to very familiar with every item in the box, and be ready to paint the outside with colorful splashes from the rainbow when given the chance.

Selfless Joy

Watching the Golden State Warriors win their second NBA championship  in three years tonight, the idea of selfless joy comes to mind. I’m no massive basketball fan, but I am a San Francisco Bay Area Native, so I route for the Warriors. Lot to cheer for of late, that’s for sure.

And like I said, I’m no big basketball fan. I don’t check stats regularly or go to games. I don’t follow the league season much. But like so many Bay Area peeps, I definitely have followed the Warriors.

Pretty well every time I heard commentators, analysts, coaches, or the players themselves talk about the team, it had the same theme: selfless play. What’s best for the team. How can they support each other to win. And that attitude served them well, all the way to lifting the trophy tonight.

But it goes further. It goes further to the possibilities of future years, with this team, these players, the organization remaining in tact, and focused on the fundamental goal of playing together at a very high level. Who knows how long the run might last?

And it goes still further. Listening to the players talk after the game, listening to Steve Kerr talk, seeing the kids on the podium, it’s clear that the selfless attitude goes well beyond the hardwood court. And when that joy spreads? Look out! Who knows how far it will spread? No doubt, a long, long way.

Friday Faves, #44

This week’s list is like a fine wine….it’s tasty, and it will grow on your.  ENJOY.

Destination of the Week:  Menlo Park, California.  Not just a pretty face, not just deep pockets, but a complex and cool, mid-peninsula town in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check it out. More than once.

Quote of the Week: ” We don’t want to try to pigeon anybody and say, ‘You’re only a third-down ‘back.’ I don’t believe in that. If you come to play football, you come to play every down.” – Tom Rathman.

Band of the Week:  Not a band, but an iconic figure in American folk music for a half a century.  Joan Baez. Sample?  HERE.

Meal of the Week:  Vietnamese sandwich.  Need one?  Me too.  Maybe HERE.

Website of the Week:  Like pro cycling?  Me too.  Might have shared this site before, but no matter. Twice is better than none!  Check it out for all the races, great pics, and as a portal to cool cycling info. HERE.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome.  Love to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse there. My handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Faves, Issue #43

This week’s list is all about beating the heat, ’cause it’s pretty hot in this neck of the woods….  ENJOY!

Destination of the Week:  Cambria, California is one of the many great, quaint coastal communities on the central coast.  Can’t beat the coast to stay cool when much of the state is bakin’!

Quote of the Week:  “Hydrate or die.”

Band of the Week:  Who else?  The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Here’s a classic.

Meal of the Week:   Ice Cream.  One of the best places to procure on the planet found here.

Website of the Week: Great Website. Great Tips.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome.  Love to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse there. My handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!