Friday, June 12, 2015


I just finished reading "Art and Fear" (Bayless & Orland), and I must make a confession: I have been afraid.  I have held back on making art because I feared the unknown.  I wasn't sure I could "make it as an artist" or that my work would be "well received".  But the authors make a great point: the choice is between making your work and perhaps being frustrated, or NOT making your work and surely being frustrated.  So the uncertain is the best option.

The basic premise of the book is that fear is inevitable, but one must not quit in the face of it; one must get on with making work.  By making work one is able to learn more about making work (and really, there is no other way to gain this experience) and therefore create momentum.

So I have set an ambitious goal to create 20 new paintings between now and June 2016.  I have also started work on a website dedicated to my artwork.  Please visit and see what I'm up to.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Life With...


Simply put, life with Brandi is half as hard and twice as good.  I absolutely love my wife.  Obviously she is absolutely gorgeous, but looks can only take you so far, and where hers end is a sense of humor that keeps me laughing every day, and a gentle spirit that always serves and helps and is considerate of others.  What I am thankful for on a daily basis is the way we live as a "Dynamic Duo."  We bring out the best in each other.  We genuinely love and appreciate each other.  She is amazing.
 We were fortunate to travel to New York City for our honeymoon.  While we were there we took in "The Enchanted Island" at the Metropolitan opera...
 …attended "Wicked" on Broadway, as well as multiple museums, restaurants and shops….
 …and the emergency room.  For reasons still unexplained, Brandi began with flu-like symptoms that later developed into what seemed like near paralysis.  All tests, including a spinal tap, came back (thankfully negative).  Along with escaping a nearby explosion that leveled two buildings just blocks away in Harlem, we were happy to be married…and just to be leaving NYC alive!
 But we weren't out of the woods yet.  Brandi developed severe headaches that prevented her from returning to work; indeed, from even standing up.  It turns out that the spinal tap left a puncture wound that allowed spinal fluid to change levels as it was affected by gravity when she stood up.  A blood patch got her back to normal in no time (look at the dead center of the above photo very carefully).
I'm super glad I didn't lose her right after we got hitched.  And the past few months have proven what an amazing woman she is.  I love her immensely.  


And lots of them!  We have a pretty good approximation of the Brady Bunch going on, with two 14-year-olds, two Elevens, and one 8-year-old.  As you can see, we get along pretty well together and we definitely have fun.
But make no mistake, blending two families into one is no walk in the park.  There have been tears as well as smiles.  There have been misunderstandings and hurt feelings.  There is regularly the tension of one system or way of life butting heads radically with another.  But for the most part, God has been extremely gracious and has assisted greatly in helping open hearts and knit lives together.  We have had good, long talks about what is happening in our new family.  We take greater and greater strides toward becoming really and truly comfortable with each other.
 And I will tell you this: with all it's challenges and difficulties, I absolutely love all five of my kids and our family and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


I have had some great dogs before.  And I'll admit that I typically form a pretty strong bond with all my dogs.  But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Alpine stands the chance to be my favorite dog of all time.  There are lots of factors: he's the first pure bred I've ever owned.  Why someone gave an all white, blue-eyed Alaskan Husky to the pound is beyond me…but I'm thankful they did.  Huskies are peculiar in their own way.  They roam (so when he gets off the leash, he is NOT coming back).  But they also rarely bark--which I LOVE.  And although huskies have tons of energy, Alpine is super mellow.  Unlike any other dog I've had, he lounges well.  You can snuggle up next to him when he lies down, and rather than squirm all over and try to mess with you he will just rest with you.  I love it.  
HOWEVER…one day while petting Alps, I noticed that I had rubbed a hole into his side.  It was as if he had two layers and one simply blew away like the fluff on a dandelion.  After a little research, I learned that, in fact, it is exactly like that with huskies.  Twice each year, they "blow out" their undercoat in preparation for the new season. 
If you think you've seen shedding before, imagine a bath producing this kind of furry aftermath.  The fur doesn't sprinkle down in two or three hairs; it pulls out in tufts.  The first time I saw it I seriously thought Kacie had cut the hair off of a doll in chunks.  
…so maybe there was a reason he ended up in the pound, but the positives far outweigh this one pesky (but easily managed) problem.  


A "yeard"

Two years.  
(Note: the lack of growth on the beard is due to breakage, caused by chemically straightening it.)

Though I grew somewhat attached to it, and though it became an easily identified symbol around school…and though Brandi absolutely adored it (and for that, I adore her!), I was so happy to relieve myself of the beard.
My fried Josh took me to his barber (who uses a straight razor)/stylist, and it really was a great experience.  
And after two short hours, I was transformed.  
The biggest shock (beyond just seeing my neck again) was how much younger I look after such a simple change. 

Life marches on.  In fact, it flies by ridiculously fast, chocked full of changes and adjustments.  Ain't it grand?!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Few Things Going On

Dad--I have not forgotten your request about pictures of the kids.  It may seem like it…but I have not.

As with so many other things, I just keep telling myself, "If I can only make it to the summer…."

Admittedly, some pretty significant changes have happened in my life recently.  I got married.  My new marriage almost ended twice while honeymooning in New York.  Well, not really.  We could have blown up and Brandi could have died from illness, but neither happened.  Then we returned home to start our life together.  And new life is often mundane (paying bills, changing names, moving things from my house to hers) and certainly always busy.

One might think that the school year winds down in the spring, but in my experience it seems like things turn into a whirlwind that one must ride into the break.  So many deadlines and year-end showcases for art, etc., etc.

There you have my two-cent update.  Sure--I could expand on much of that information, but it would take me from my real motive for writing tonight.

Have you ever seen "Ed"?  It's an old NBC series about a bowling alley lawyer (actually, a man who practices law out of a bowling alley).  For years I have searched for one particular episode.  No joke.  Years.  I used to have in on VHS, but as technology advanced I guess I just threw it out.  I only noticed it was gone when I went back to watch this particular episode.  And it wasn't there.  I freaked out a little.  Then, not finding it, I started looking online.  I found a site that said it would sell the entire series…for a small fortune.  I checked with NBC to see if they planned to release a boxed set of the series.  Nope.  I even combed YouTube to no avail.  But then I found Skefte.  God bless this individual!  Finally, I found the entire series posted on a single YouTube channel.  My memory had cast a rosy glow over the "Ed" phenomenon as a whole, it seems; but it served me well for my favorite episode of all time.  I'm being quite sincere here.  Even better than Scrubs' "My Hero."  You should stop reading and watch this.  That's how good it is.

I could rave about the show all night.  Note the chiasmus of Ed's crisis and Warren's education.  Note Ed's folly as he tries to cling to his youth.  So much to love: Ecclesiastes, Thoreau, the meaning of life!  A fantastic episode.

Here is why I bring it up.  Two weeks ago, I attended the State VASE (Visual Art Scholastic Event) contest.  The best artists from all over the state of Texas.  A weekend of recognition of their talent.  It is inspiring ("I want to go home and paint!") and sobering ("This kid is already doing more and better work than me").  I left that weekend with a sketchbook full of notes.  I sat down and tried to chart out what really mattered to me.  As Kierkegaard says, "Purity of heart is to will one thing."  I entered into the exercise with the presupposition that what I wanted to do most, what I was made to do, my one thing…is to paint.  So I tried to deduce why I don't do it more.  The dissipation of time and energy into activities that are not painting.  I wanted to strip these things from my life.  SIMPLIFY!

But painting cannot be my one thing.  As Rich Mullins says, "Still I want to love and serve you more and more You're my One Thing."  Knowing Jesus--that's the tops.  And I want to love my kids and raise them well.  And I want to be a good husband to an awesome wife.  And I like the way I look when I eat well and work out.  And I love to travel and see lonely, isolated places and experience silence and solitude.  And…and…and…  DO EVERYTHING!

Go to VASE.  Read "Walden" and Ecclesiastes.  SIMPLIFY!

Watch "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (as I did tonight) and think, "Wouldn't it be great to bike around Iceland?" Hear Rich Mullins also sing, "There's so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see, but everywhere I go I'm looking."  DO EVERYTHING!

Do you see the tension?  That is why I love "Liver Deliberately" so much.  Nothing else I've encountered draws all these complex and beautiful threads into one tapestry quite so well.  It is the tug-of-war that I experience daily in my soul.  Which demand on my attention will tug at me today and it what direction will it pull?  I really struggle with this.  What is the most excellent way?

You'll have to excuse me now: I have to go build a wall for the house, place a supply order for school, plan a summer trip with Aydan…and try to carve out time this weekend to paint.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

16 Months

Has it really been since August that I last wrote?

My dad asked if I was continuing the beard project and commented that he hadn't seen a progress shot in a while.  Well here it is.

Happy 16 months (today)!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top of the World

Surrounded by towering peaks, on the Arkansas River just outside of Granite, CO the boys and I took our first whitewater rafting trip.  Geographically and emotionally we were on top of the world.

Trains, Automobiles, Motorcycles

I'm going out on a limb here, but I think I have travelled the most beautiful routes in America this summer.

The first route is the Seward Highway in Alaska.  I cannot claim to have actually taken this route, since I rode the train from Anchorage to Seward.  Still, I feel I saw most of the same sights, and it certainly was beautiful.  This was the most beautiful ride I've ever taken on a train.

Then I was finally able to realize my long-held ambition to drive the coastal highway in California.  The 101 is not all that impressive, but the 1 is incredible.  Big Sur is absolutely amazing.  The trip was only made better by my company.  It was great to spend some time with Brandi.  This was the best drive I have ever taken in a car.

And yesterday I just rode through the mountains of Colorado with my relatives Emil and Lorne.  Once again, the company only helped to enhance the experience.  The sites we saw were breath-taking.  This was the best ride I have ever taken on my motorcycle.  

And the road was only one part of my summer travels.  There have been so many great moments with the boys and with family and friends.  It was been a great summer.  I'll be sorry to see it end.