Phone Stack Your Life

Ever notice that in some situations people pay more attention to their phones than to the people around them? (Everyone with a teenager who has a phone is nodding their heads vigorously.)

Brian Perez is trying to change that with a dinner game called phone stacking. In a nutshell, when a group goes out to dinner, everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. The first one to check their phone pays the bill. You can read the official rules here. It’s a clever way to get people to love the ones their with, so to speak.

I think the phone stacking principle can be applied to other areas of life, especially for those of us who are married or have kids.

What are some things you can put aside to focus your attention on those who desire your attention? While my family doesn’t have a TV to pull me away, too often I’m guilty of hopping on the computer to “just check on one thing.” The problem for me is that I don’t have the discipline to do that. Before I know it, two minutes turn into ten which turn into more.

I need to “phone stack” my distractions until there is a time in my day when those activities won’t take me away from my family. They’re worthy of my attention.

How about you? What can you stack?


America’s Most Romantic Foods (Ladies, DON’T READ!!!)

It’s Valentine’s Day! Gentleman, I’m terribly sorry I didn’t get this posted earlier to let you know about the amazingly romantic foods you can give to your lover on this special day. Let’s get started.

1. Heart-shaped pizza


Papa John’s is lowering the boom again this holiday with a delicious heart-shaped doughy grease bomb. Here, honey! I love you!

2. Heart-shaped donuts


Dunkin Donuts offers lovely gut bombs for your loved one. I (310 calories) LOVE (14 g saturated fat) YOU! Krispy Kreme has ’em too!

3. Bagels


Why not?

But really, if you want to make something for your sweetheart, go for it! She’ll appreciate the effort much more than if you didn’t try (i.e. bought something from the list above).

Good luck!

Second Annual State of OUR Union

My Main Squeeze

Right about now, President Obama is giving his annual State of the Union address. Just like last year (and every year), the President’s address will have some impact on the overall workings of the country. But what he says won’t really have an impact on the daily life of my family. That’s up to my wife and I.

The First Lady and I are still going strong – nearly thirteen years into this marriage thing now. In the past year, we became debt-free (thanks Dave Ramsey!), bought a house (thanks GNND program!), and had some other cool stuff happen.

As far as unions go, ours had been fairly uneventful and void of earth-shattering events.

Until last week.

My eat-mostly-healthy-runner wife had a spinal infarction – fancy talk for a stroke in her spinal cord. Five days in the hospital and continued numbness and tingling in her legs have given us our first major medical problem. Even though she seems to be recovering quite rapidly, we’re still humbled and grateful that she is recovering.

The facts say that there is a good chance of full recovery. Reality says that not all situations follow that prognosis. If in fact this is our new normal, we’ll make the adjustments needed and go with it. As my dear wife has been telling everyone from our two year old to our nurses, “God’s got this.”

This possibly-new-normal isn’t easy. But just as I decided to eat some chocolate ice cream right now, we have to decide to stick it out.

In the hospital, my wife kept saying, “Thank you for being here.”

Where else would I be?

What’s the State of Your Union?


The Lion’s Den

As a US resident, I enjoy living in relative safety. My car has airbags. My pancake syrup has a seal on it to tell me if someone’s messed with it. We don’t have lions roaming around trying to eat us. We’ve got a pretty good thing going.

But…we DO have lions roaming around. One of the biggest “lions” is naked women.

The Lion’s Den is a perfect name for a porn shop. Lion’s Den Adult Superstores had 38 locations as of 2009 in the United States (so says this article). Almost all of them are located along interstates. Men drive on interstates. Men are prone to like looking at women. It makes good business sense to put porn shops on interstates where men who like to look at women drive by.

If you’ve seen The Ghost and the Darkness you saw the fear that a prowling lion can strike in a human’s heart. You probably don’t want to see a lion because they are relatively scary and fierce.

So how is it that we miss THE lion who plans on killing us? He’s a sneaky devil. Oh wait, he IS the devil.

The problem is that the nasty porn lion is everywhere, not just lonely truck stops. Billboards, bookstores, grocery-store checkouts, hotel pay-per-views, the mall. It’s hard to look anywhere and not see cleavage and leg. When you’re married or want to be married, cleavage and leg that aren’t your wife’s aren’t good for you.

Peter wrote “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Devouring is serious stuff. It’s not taste-testing.

If you’re a man, this is what porn does to you. You can’t taste-test porn or near-porn and come away unscathed. IT WILL KILL YOU! (And I don’t give a care about someone’s “rights” to be naked or semi-naked. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it beneficial.)

Are you married? Watch out! Do you have a girlfriend? Watch out! Do you have kids? Watch out! Are you alive? Watch out! Porn can getcha, for real.

Abigail Tucker wrote an interesting article called The Most Ferocious Man-Eating Lions. She opens with this:

    In encounters with the king of beasts, an unarmed person is “one of the most helpless creatures,” notes Charles Guggisberg in Simba: the Life of the Lion. “Man cannot run as fast as a zebra or a gazelle, he has not the horns of the sable antelope or the tusks of the warthog, and he cannot deal terrific blows like the giraffe.” People are, in other words, easy pickings.

In my fight against the porn lion, I am not defenseless. I’ve learned where the lion hides. Plus, I’ve got a secret weapon: I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

My family is better for it.

She’s My Cherry Pie

My parents have a cherry tree in their backyard that is loaded right now. Naturally my most awesomest wife wanted to make a pie. It only required a few steps.

Like a bad basketball team, we had a few cherry pickers.

The fruits of their labor.

Using the deluxe cherry stoner to remove the pits.

Add a little flour, sugar, and water…

On to the final step…

I love that my wife and kids all had a hand in making a pie from scratch. The cherries were on the tree outside but they’re about to be in our bellies. Gracious, it smells good!


On Painting and Marriage

As a teacher, I have some time off in the summer to do nothing. As a man, I can’t spend much time at all doing nothing. A few days of nothing was enough for me. So I was thankful when my brother-in-law asked me to paint some rooms in his house.

I don’t mind painting. I’m not fast by any means but I enjoy making a space look good when I’m finished. The other day, though, my painting taught me a lesson.

As I was turning a hallway bathroom from forest green to something more appealing, I took a shortcut. Well, it was supposed to be a shortcut. I thought I could paint around the toilet paper holder without taping it or removing it. You can guess what happened. Instead of having two steps (take off and replace) I now have three steps (take off, scrape off paint, replace). It would have saved me time and effort if I had made the effort in the first place!

My marriage can be the same as my painting job. It’s work, for sure. But it just takes a little prep work to make it easier. I can spend time and energy with my wife now building our relationship (even after 12 years of marriage) or I can have more work later when things inevitably become more challenging. There will be challenges.

The paint on the toilet paper holder taught me an important lesson. I choose to do the work now.


Why a TV is NOT the best Father’s Day gift…

You love your dad, right? Do you want him to look like this? Enough said. Don’t buy Dad a TV for Father’s Day.