Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Along about April while training for my anticipated second marathon in four months I was looking pretty slim. Slimmer than normal. Slim even for me.

Running 30 miles per week. Doing core work on the big purple ball that is too hard to hide from the kids. Making smarter choices in eating. Expecting six-pack abs to appear soon. Hearkening back to high school days & being as ripped - if you can call it that for a skinny boy - as I'd ever been. Thinking something like, "I won't be another bulgy belly daddy at the pool this summer," in my average-American-unrealistically-imaged vanity.

Then came six days of a stubborn kidney stone & a few other set backs that have had me running much less in the past two months. Still eating the same however. The pounds became sticky. The bulgy belly emerged again.

(Reader time out: Before you bemoan the skinny boy with the little bulgy belly issue, please hang on. We are moving toward a point. Don't get lost in body-type comparisons along the way. Okay? If you are past that, then you can resume reading.)

So, we're at the pool yesterday. Seth in swim lessons. JM & I sitting on the side of the kiddy pool. ME splashing around in front of us. I bend over toward her. She recoils scaredy faced. Transfixed by bulgy belly.

"Daddy, you've got a chubby tummy," floats out with a giggle. Popping my pride with a BANG.

I made some fatherly, "It's not nice to say things like that about other people's bodies even if it is true, Mary Elizabeth," comment. You have to add the "even if it is true" with ME due to the five-year old honesty she'd just exhibited.

Yet, while instructing her I was praying too. "So much for my pride. Thank you, Jesus, for having my innocent little sweetheart bring me back to your reality."

How about you, friend?

Not your body-type.

Your pride.

Is it skinny?

Or chubby?

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Wrapping presents after midnight. Sleeping a few hours. Waking with the birthday boy's excitement. Challenging conversations at the office. Enjoying a special lunch with family. More challenging conversations. Returning home balloon-laden. Partying superhero style with a dozen kids. Talking with friends into the evening. Bathing the kids after a day's play. Praying good-night with the sleepyheads. A full day.

A day like this one begged for some runtime. Sultry & still it was as I slinked out the door. Uncommon. Feverish feelings in my first running steps. Immediately sweaty & clammy. Like a sickness you don't want. Uncomfortable.

Yet within the passing miles arrived new thoughts. Familiar streets. Familiar turns. Familiar hills. Familiar footsteps. Familiar breathing. Familiar pace. These things are familiar. This is my 5k course. There are other runners in the neighborhood, but no one else would run this route. It's mine.

And in the familiar I find comfort. Safety. Security. Predictability.

Life is change. Life demands choices. Life leads to the unfamiliar.

In my run. On my course. Through the night. With new thoughts of the familiar. I pray something like this...

Father, I thank you that your character is unchanging from everlasting to everlasting, yet your mercies are new every morning. I celebrate that facing unfamiliar I can rely on you as familiar. I rejoice that you will never leave me or forsake me. I embrace that you hold for me a future & a hope. I rest from my burdens & labor under your gentle hand.

Running on. Praying further. The uncommon warmth of tonight somehow becomes comfortable too. As familiar as waking rested, warm & snuggled together with my wife on a cold winter's morning.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Melanie 24-100

Two years ago I wrote this to describe a day-in-the-life of Melanie in 100 words or less for a Mother's Day writing contest.  I publish it here today, however, for a special purpose.  June 7th marks twelve amazing years of treasuring this incredible God-given gift of a woman as my wife.

100 words. One day.  One wonderwoman.

Quiet. Sleeping. Still. One.

Cold. Snuggling. Warm. Two.

Dreaming. Wonder. Tossing. Three.

Crying. Baby. Nursing. Four.

Peaceful. Perfect. Rest. Five.

Sunlight. Footsteps. Children. Six.

Coffee. Husband. Breakfast. Seven.

Clothes. Dressing. Toothpaste. Eight.

Kisses. Daddy. Bye. Nine.

Buzz. Downstairs. Laundry. Ten.

Reading. Daughter. Laugh. Eleven.

Backpack. Son. School. Noon.

Blanket. Searching. Found. One.

Napping. Doorbell. Package. Two.

Stirring. Awake. Snack. Three.

Carpool. Home. Smiling. Four.

Fridge. Cooking. Supper. Five.

Dishes. Running. Backyard. Six.

Bath. Pajamas. Books. Seven.

Bedtime. Prayers. Goodnight. Eight.

Couch. Unwind. Novel. Nine.

Heavy. Eyes. Closing. Ten.

Bleary. Diaper. Changing. Eleven.

Quiet. Sleeping. Still. Midnight.

Melanie. Wife. Mama. Day.

And in case you are wondering: She won the contest.  Go, Melanie!

I love you always, Aaron.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Sweet, little Mary Elizabeth has been sick.  Not strep.  Not flu.  Tested for those.  Just a virus that won't let go.  She has had no desire to eat.  Feels yucky.  Little she does eat.  Won't stay too long.  Listless & hollow.  Wish I could make it all better.

Mama was taking ME to the Pediatrician today.  Infected cut on her hand may be complicating her virus recovery.  Weak immune system thing.  So, Mama, ME & John Mark did a little shopping before Doc.  I met them at the Docs office to take JM home just before noon.

Raiding the fridge at home this hungry Daddy says, "I'm gonna fix some lunch."  JM's toddlerspeak, "I wuhn to eee luhn too-ooo, Dah-dee!"  Fix me a sammy.  Fresh lunchmeat.  Sharp cheddar.  Good stuff.  Fix my boy a quesadilla.  Cheese only.  Microwaved.  Easy stuff.

JM is my linebacker toddler.  The boy can eat.  3/4s of his quesadilla.  A dozen cherries.  Dad knows we need fruit.  And a few bites of Dad's sammy too.  Did I tell you the boy can eat?

About then his Mama calls.  Doctor went well.  Going to get Rx.  What are we doing?

"Just ate lunch," I said.

"John Mark ate again?"  Is the not-too-surprised Mama question.

"I didn't know he ate the first time," I reply looking to see if my boy's belly is bursting.

"Yes, he had SEVEN McNuggets at Walmart.  What'd he eat this time?"  Comes the not-surprised-at-all-now Mama question.

And I told her the story I just told you.

My boy was hungry.

My boy ate.

My boy didn't tell me he'd already had lunch!

My boy.

Had to ask myself.  Am I hungry?  Like Mary Elizabeth with a sickness that keeps me from wanting to eat?  Or like John Mark who can't get enough?
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And, what am I hungry for?  What do I come back to the table for?  When I've already eaten?  Can't get enough of?  As the Daddy, the adult, what drives my life?

Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.  Matthew 5:6