Hobbies: More Than a Distraction

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I am a rock star.

Well, I do sometimes dream of impressing people by playing beautiful or exciting music. My instrument of choice in these brief flights from reality is the guitar. Most often it is a Gibson Les Paul—you know, the preferred instrument of rock stars for over 50 years.

I own a few different instruments, both electric and acoustic. What I lack is the skill to create anything worth listening to.

I know, I know…it takes an awful lot of practice ...

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Umbilical Cords are Hard to Cut!

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When our son was born the doctor generously offered to let me cut the umbilical cord connecting him to my wife. While that seemed like a lovely idea, I have to say that it was surprisingly tough, and a little on the gross side. So when our last child was born I graciously declined the do-it-yourself opportunity. (Perhaps had I known the doctor and hospital would charge $55,000 for the whole process I would have opted for the DIY route.)

Of ...

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Coming Apart Together

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Try as we might there are times that a marriage cannot be saved.

More specifically there are times and circumstances where one or both partners become convinced that they cannot/will not work together to create the type of family that meets the needs of its members. Perhaps divorce seems the best solution, dissolving the marriage and any legal obligations toward one another. In my experience, couples almost never divorce out of convenience but out of desperation.

I would argue that most marriages ...

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How to Build a Picket Fence

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I am embarrassed to say that this week’s column almost didn’t make it. Brian, my good friend and partner in crime building electric guitars, invited me to work in his shop during the time I usually write the column, and I go so excited I entirely forgot about it. Greg Little, Editor of the Standard Journal, was kind enough to remind me and let me sneak it under the wire. Thanks, Greg. I owe you one!

Today I offer you some ...

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Good Fences Make Good…Family

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“Good fences make good neighbors.”

I was a teenager and had no idea what Dad was talking about, so he explained:

There are plenty of opportunities for neighbors, even very good people, to get into conflict with one another. Well-built, well-maintained fences help to reduce many of those conflicts by keeping our business (pets, livestock, children, etc.) on our side of the fence and their business on their side.

While I didn’t necessarily appreciate that wisdom at that time, 27 years of counseling ...

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Passings, Passages and the Empty Nest

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This past weekend was a rather emotional one. Valentine’s Day was the 30th anniversary of our engagement to be married. The following day two beloved members of our household passed away.

Over 18 years ago I returned from work to find a long-haired, black and white kitten at our house. Ruth had been approached by children pulling a wagon full of kitties at five-year Tyler’s soccer practice. Needless to say this one came home and was aptly named Oreo.

Oreo’s beautiful long ...

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Marriage Lessons from An Unlikely Source

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It has often been said that a wise man learns from his mistakes. It could be stated that a really wise man learns from the mistakes—and successes—of others.

Cohabitation (couples living together without being married) is on the rise. According to one recent study about one-half of U.S .college graduates and three-fourths of non-college grads cohabit prior to marriage. The rate has doubled in a generation.

Though this living arrangement is now considered “normal”, cohabiting couples usually do not end up marrying, ...

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It Really Is “A Wonderful Life”

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Nary has a Christmas season gone by without watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the classic film in which Jimmy Stewart plays a normal, struggling guy who learns the value of his life by seeing what the world would be without him. I know of no other movie that so deftly sends the message of the season. But it is probably my favorite overall move of all time.

Perhaps my love for the film results, in part, from the times and ways ...

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Life is Precious

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I have to say that I was very surprised to see the strong response to my last column. Clearly I offended Steve Oakey with some of my statements on the topic of suicide. I like Steve, and agree that there is great value in public debate of important topics. And no topic could be more important than the sanctity of human life.

But I very much regret that Steve misunderstood me to suggest that his comments somehow related to or caused ...

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To Be, or Not to Be? Here Is the Answer.

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As I drove home from the office Saturday I picked up the Standard Journal (Nov 5) and was saddened to see the cover story about the young boy who took his own life, and his mother’s efforts to find some meaning in the loss and to protect others from a similar fate. So it seemed particularly ironic to see a feature letter to the editor in defense of doctor-assisted suicide.

In the span of those few pages one person sought to ...

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