Thank You Construction Zones

Dear Construction Zones,

Though I hate you and your sneaky slower speeds and your ticket doubling ways, I do appreciate the progress you bring to the streets and boulevards and the highways and byways. Thanks for putting both my tax dollars and the proceeds from my speeding ticket to work.

-M&M

Definition of a Man’s Man…from an unlikely place

Just the other day, perusing a website I often visit, I came across this poignant and, to my belief, incredibly accurate defintion of a man’s man:

A man’s man is a man who meets his responsibilities, takes care of and provides for his family, no matter what. A man who makes sacrifices. A man who gets up every day, whether he wants to or not, and goes to work, whether he likes it or not, to take care of those whom he is obligated to care for. A man who isn’t afraid to love his wife and his children. A man who makes time for what’s important, and knows what that means.

By that definition, there are a whole bunch of “man’s men.” Or there aren’t nearly enough. I’m not sure which. Maybe both.

I couldn’t have said it better myself (obviously…or else I would have).

Here’s the crazy part. This quote is from a message board…for football fans of a particular university. This particular forum is, admittedly, an off-topic forum, but this definition is so profound and real that it stuck out among all the other not-so-serious stuff I tend to see on there. (I’m not linking to it only because I cannot officially endorse all the content on said message board.)

Anyway, I love writing on this blog because I get to explore, play around with, propogate, and just generally mull over lots of ideas about masculinity and manhood. But I figure if I can just live up to this succinct, clear definition of manhood, posted by internet poster “Brisketexan”, then I’ll be doing pretty well. Thank you, sir, err, I mean, Brisket, and thank you, random wisdom of this series of tubes.

Thank You Homophones

Dear Homophones,

Of all the linguistic phenomena that regularly cross my path, you my friend, are by far my favorite. The idea of being a cereal killer always makes me laugh. The idea of being a serial eater does not. Thank you for your humorous yet simultaneously serious ways.

-M&M

Positivity is Manly

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar at work on positivity. Though I’m usually pretty cynical about things like that, this one was actually pretty good. One of the things the facilitator had each of us do was write down a list of ten good things that had happened to us in the past year or so.

He then talked about how we all tend to focus too much on the negative things that happen in our lives when, in reality, there is always so much positive stuff happening to us if we only look around and notice it.

Last week wasn’t the best week of my life and it would have been really easy to let the external events that transpired rob me of my positive mojo, but somehow (in large part thanks to this seminar and me taking the time to write down a list of ten positive things in my life) I managed to finish what was a pretty difficult week in pretty good stride.

Below is my list of ten positive things from the last year of my life:

1. I celebrated 8 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. I don’t know the exact number but the percentage of marriages that end in divorce in the first 7 years is staggering. Having survived the 7 year itch and made it to 8 doesn’t mean we get to give up and stop trying, but it’s certainly something worth celebrating.

2. My wife and I found out she was pregnant with our first child. Our little girl is due in less than a month. I’m pretty ecstatic about this.

3. We were blessed to be able to take vacations to Destin and New York City. We love the beach and the big city. Does it get any better than those two locales? I think not.

4. I took on a new responsibility at work overseeing our fundraising phonathon AND I LOVE IT. Getting to work with, train, and mentor college students as we try to raise money for the university is a lot of fun. Not only does it keep me feeling young, but it also makes me feel old… in a good way. I love the dichotomy.

5. Watching the college ministry at our church blossom from nothing into a really good group of committed, Godly, young people. This time last year, I helped start a college ministry at church. Our first Sunday morning, the group consisted of 2 students and 4 adults. It’s not about numbers, but in less than 12 months, it’s gone from 2 students to between 20 and 40. I’m excited to see what’s in store for us this year.

6. Participating in a mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico in March. I’ve been meaning to write about this experience for a long time, and yet, in many ways it’s still indescribable.

7. New friends. I’ve made a lot of new friends this last year and I’m thankful for them all. Some of them are younger than me, some are older, and some are my peers. All of them encourage me to be a better person in some small way and so that’s been a real blessing.

8. It snowed on Christmas. Sure, my car got stuck in a snow drift as we traveled from one family gathering to the next forcing my wife and I to get out and walk about a quarter mile in snow drifts up to our waste. Sure, we ended up being snowed in at home on Christmas eve with nothing but frozen pizza and sparkling grape juice for our Christmas dinner. And yet, even at 28 years of age, there’s still just something magical about a white Christmas.

9. The lovely and talented wife got her Marriage and Family Therapy license and started her own counseling practice. She’s been working toward this goal for the last 5 years and it’s been really exciting to watch everything finally start to fall into place.

10. I was accepted to and started a doctoral program in the field of Education Leadership and Policy Studies. I work in Higher Education and the saying goes, “If you want to work in Higher Education, they value Higher Education.” I have a long way to go before I finish this degree but it’s something I’ve wanted and needed to do for a long time and it feels really good to have taken the first step.

In many ways, writing a list like this is a really personal experience and so sharing it feels a bit strange and awkward. However, I hope by reading my list, you will be challenged to come up with your own. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: life can be a grind sometimes and it’s easy to focus too much on the negative. Writing down a list like this forced me to see that despite all the challenges the last year  brought my way, I’ve still had a lot of positive experiences.

What are 10 good things that happened to you in the last year?

Less is More

Though I sometimes fail, I try not to spend too much time on Sunday blogging or doing other things that require mental or physical energy. In that spirit, instead of writing a post today, below is an excerpt from what I consider to be one of the best blogs out there on living a simple life:

a brief guide to life

less TV, more reading
less shopping, more outdoors
less clutter, more space
less rush, more slowness
less consuming, more creating
less junk, more real food
less busywork, more impact
less driving, more walking
less noise, more solitude
less focus on the future, more on the present
less work, more play
less worry, more smiles
breathe

And as always, these rules are meant to be broken. Life wouldn’t be any fun if they weren’t.

This list couldn’t have come at a better time for me. With the exception of the one about driving less, these are all habits I’m trying to cultivate in my life right now with varying degrees of success.

Enjoy your Sunday. Eat good food today. Speend time with friends and family. Take a nap. Be still. Carve out some time to reflect on your life. Go for a walk. Read a book. Play with your kids. Be a man.

-M&M

What Up Manhood?!?!?!?

Despite the whirlwhind day I had on Tuesday, and in addition to breaking into my house, starting a doctoral program, and eating strawberry cake for dinner at 10 p.m., I also managed to eek out 103 good form push-ups in just under 4 minutes.

As weird as Tuesday was for me this last week, being able to accomplish a goal that I set out to achieve over two months ago was a really great experience. I had every intention of videoing the feat, but in the busyness of the day, it just got away from me, though (thanks to PhotoBooth) I did manage to take a few pictures.

If you bet against me on this one, it’s now time to pay the piper… that is, if by piper I mean a really cool non-profit organization… and I do.

If you commented on the original post, please be a man or woman of honor and make a donation in the next week or so to Christian Services Adoption Agency or the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission. Thank you for helping encourage me to do this.

-M&M