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Goodbye, TV August 9, 2011

Posted by Steve "Oz" in Parenthood, Personal.
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I realized that I was spending nearly $100 a month on a cable bill.  I watched TV, but I found myself hating more and more how much time I spent doing it.  I found myself desiring to go to Redbox more and more.  I realized that I could purchase a Nintendo Wii for just a couple months worth of cable bills and drop cable completely by getting Netflix through the Wii.  Additionally, I’d have a Wii for me and The Boy to play!  I already switched to Sprint’s 4G for internet, so cable TV was all that was left.

So, I made the leap.  There were only two shows I’ve missed: White Collar and SYTYCD.  I’m sure I can find them on the internet, but that means I need to sit in front of my computer to watch them.  And, I’m delayed.  And I have to watch commercials.  Still, I’m glad I made the leap.  I have a library of movies at my disposal for having company over.  I watch less TV and what I do watch is commercial free saving me the time of even having to fast forward through them.  And, I’ve watched some things I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise and quite enjoyed thanks to Netflix’s suggestions.

I think The Boy’s watching less TV, too, though what we’re watching might be less educational, it’s still pretty awesome.  I’ve traded Noggin shows for super heroes.  Noggin shows are available, but I think we’re outgrowing them.  I’m not exactly sure what shows fill the void between Noggin and other TV that has redemptive attributes.  I’m not even sure if there is redemptive TV after Noggin.

Super heroes are essential to boys, I think.  We need adventure, fantasy, some pretty clear good vs. evil stuff at a young age.  We need to want to be as smart as Iron Man/Tony Stark, as good as Superman/Clark Kent, and choose well in moral dilemmas as SpiderMan/Peter Parker.  Somewhere in the back of our head, I think it’s the super hero in all of us boys that ultimately helps us choose to do the right thing, make the hard choice, be better than we thought we could be, and sacrifice ourselves for others.  Yes, the motivation, I hope, is actually based on a different super hero later in his life, but for now, the X-Men and Avengers will make a nice quasi-tangible example.

But, I’ve also traded a nice chunk of TV time for some active Wii play.  The Boy has broken a sweat on numerous occasions and he has a blast.  Plus, we play together all the time… Cooperatively… Versus… practice good winning and good losing… Eventually, I hope we can find more games to play together and connect with on top of the cuddles, wrestling, sports, and music that we already have.  I’m always open to suggestions… and, even better, I’m open to free games that you and yours don’t play anymore!

Anyway, I’m ultimately happy that I made the move.  There are times I wish I could just flip on the TV and channel surf to find something interesting.  But, typically, when the urge arises, I try to do something else.  Work out, chores, catch up, be social… and if couch time is just what I need, then I pick something from the Instant Queue and just watch it.  I would recommend the switch to anyone who needs to save money, time, and be more active.  It’s different, but not bad… just takes some getting used to…

Why you should date… August 7, 2011

Posted by Steve "Oz" in Misc..
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Why you should date a Chick-fil-A employee:
1.) They know how to mop.
2.) They know how to do dishes.
3.) They know how to sweep.
4.) They know how to clean stuff properly.
5.) They know how to serve you well.
6.) They know how to go the extra mile.
7.) They know how to treat you like an honored guest.
8.)  They know secret combos of food that aren’t on the menu.
9.) They know they should open doors for people.
10.) They know how to clean a bathroom.

Something new August 5, 2011

Posted by Steve "Oz" in Dating, Personal.
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Well, simply put, I found myself single and divorced.  I sat down and thought about dating.  What does it REALLY look like for me?  Because, I wasn’t going to go out seeking to bed women.  It would never be about quantity.  The purpose of dating was to find a woman that I could spend the rest of my life with.  Quantity was not where it was at.

But then a friend helped me realize that you still need to meet that special someone.  And kismet isn’t going to happen on the couch and probably not at the grocery store either.  So, I sat down and thought about how to meet women that I might be interested in dating.  In the end, I realized that I just needed to meet them, one way or another.  But, more importantly, I needed to befriend them.  I wasn’t planning on dating lots of women, as my friend implied he did.

When I really got down to it, what was the difference between friendship and dating anyway?  If you’re not fooling around sexually, then what’s the difference?  You sit close? You hold hands? You kiss good night?  Realistically, that’s about it!  So, if I’m dating for the purpose of seeking marriage, then I shouldn’t need to “date” at all, unless I’m pursuing marriage and I would only do that with one woman at a time!  What I need to do is make friends… just friends.  Hang out, watch movies, do stuff together, but sit on opposite ends of the couch, don’t hold hands, and no kisses.

So, I did that.  The thing is that I, of course, gravitated to the women I wanted to date.  And, to be honest, making that plural is giving myself too much credit.  I gravitated to a particular woman that I was attracted to and wouldn’t mind dating.  So, we started hanging out just as I described above.  And, as mentioned, I was interested in dating, so after a few times of hanging out, I simply asked… and was simply told, “No.”  OK, it was more than that, but the details don’t matter.  Still, hearing “no” actually wasn’t bad.  At this point, I found myself friends with this woman and without any “dating heart” vested, so to speak.  Since the relationship never went deeper than friendship, I just put the idea of dating her in a mental box, packed it up and put it away.  It was actually pretty easy.

With that I was free to continue making new friendships.  So, I tried.  Honestly, not nearly as hard as I tried with her though.  I didn’t persevere like I did with her.  And, frankly, I was still hanging out with her a lot.  And I really enjoyed my time with her.  We talked lots.  We just spent time together.  She challenged me, we fought, and kept being friends.  And talked through it all.  Our friendship felt so honest and true.  I found myself incredibly fond of the relationship.  In retrospect, I wasn’t sure I would find another friend like her, so I don’t think I looked very hard.  And, why should I?  She was my friend and I was her’s… no one’s going anywhere, so I don’t think I tried very hard to make more friends with women.

So, we just kept hanging out.  I recall one evening that was “awkward.”  That night felt different somehow.  We did a fairly normal hanging out for us… a meal… a movie on the couch… talking… laughing… hanging out.  But, it all felt different.  But before you think this was the beginning, it wasn’t.  Nothing happened.  But, we weren’t content letting it sit.  No, we don’t do that.  We talked about it.  “Why didn’t we kiss tonight?”  Ultimately, it was the question we were both thinking and wondering.  And when we asked it of each other, we might have faced the fact that our friendship was growing towards something bigger for the first time.  That box I packed up was taken back out, opened, unpacked, repacked and put back away.  But, it was honest… awkward… but honest and real.  I just figured that if I was going to lose the friendship over the awkwardness, I was at least going to be honest with myself and with her.

But, once again, we remained friends.  Maybe even better friends.  But, the box was put away again.  We shared more moments and continued to hang out.  Still friends, still growing in that… until…

One evening, again, no different from any other particular evening of us hanging out, we had the same feelings we did that one night.  This time, we knew where each other stood.  This time… we kissed.  Naturally, I thought this meant we were dating (see earlier in the post for definitions).  I also thought I knew where she stood.  I was mistaken.  Because in the following weeks, I was “dumped” a few times.  I was confused… and it turns out that she was, too.

Then, one day, in a moment of accidental honesty, more came out than I anticipated.  But, as is the crux of our relationship it seems, it was the catalyst for more honest conversation and, ultimately, a squelching of the fears that plagued us both regarding “officially” dating.  So, here I am.  I find myself in something new.  For the record, I love it.

Do to be February 5, 2011

Posted by Steve "Oz" in Dating, Personal.
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There was a concept that came up in my small group years ago.  A wise woman called it “do to be.”  The basic principle is that sometimes the action must precede the feeling.  And, frankly, not only does it work, but I think it’s crucial to a relationship.  Try it: If you’re unhappy, force yourself to smile.  People will smile back, treat you kindly, and even your internal body chemistry might change a little and you actually become happy.

So, if you’re seeking intimacy in a romantic relationship, then be intimate.  Now, that doesn’t mean your particular thought of intimacy is the same as your mate’s.  While you’re looking for sex, they’re looking for sleep.  So, maybe that means you *DO* something that let’s them get more rest.  Then, not only will they have the energy, they’ll have the desire to be intimate with you in the way YOU want.

If you’re craving passion, then be passionate.  Do whatever it is with heart and feel it deeply.  But, again, know your partner: If they speak the love language of “words of affirmation” and you passionately spend hours and days looking for the perfect gift, it may be completely lost on her.

Lastly, there’s a constant “snowball effect”, I believe, that is ALWAYS in play.  You are either snowballing one direction or another.  Either you’re waiting for the other person to be intimate, passionate, or whatever you need and they’re waiting on you to give them what they need with both of you waiting and growing a part until someone else offers one of you some lesser version of what you need and you take it out of desperation.  *OR*, you’re constantly committing to being giving of whatever the other person needs trusting that they’re going to give you what you need with both of you caring and feeding and growing each other and closer together.  And, if you think you’re standing still, then I promise you’re snowballing away from each other because there is no standing still.

Ultimately, this is about choice and communication.  If you want to be happy, then choose to BE happy even if you don’t FEEL happy… your heart will follow your mind.  And when life’s beat you up and you’re tired and you need some R&R, COMMUNICATE that to your partner!  If they truly love you, they will try to give you what you need to rest and recuperate.   Find out how she wants to be loved best and deliver… tell her how best to love you… and, of course, vice-versa.

Yes, it can be this simple.  You will get it wrong.  Both of you will.  But, hopefully, days, weeks, months, and years of getting it right will make it easy to overlook the mistakes.  Just don’t hold on to the mistakes or you’ll definitely start snowballing the other way no matter how hard either of you tries.  You’ve got to let them go.

To some, it sounds like you’re *DOING* something for selfish reasons, but the reasons, despite some popular belief do NOT matter.  In the case of altrustic actions, the end result is what matters, not motivation behind it.  In fact, for me, if someone doesn’t something they DON’T WANT to do, it means more than the person who does it because they wanted to.  The person who didn’t want to do it had to overcome… move out of their own way… choose to put me above them.  And the person who WANTS to do it probably has a selfish motivation at the core anyway.   Some say that there is no such thing as a truly selfless act… categorically, I don’t agree, but the idea is sound.  Almost all acts ultimately stem from selfish motivation.  So, if you get stuck on the motivation, you’ll never be happy because no one will ever REALLY act altruistically, selflessly on your behalf.  Be happy with the act and forget about the motivation… just remember that the act means that they ultimately chose to give you SOMETHING.  You’d be better off focusing on whatever sacrifice they might have made to give you that something: time, ego, money, energy, etc. and remembering to view the sacrifice through their eyes.  Because, while you think cleaning the house instead of playing video games is *NOT* a sacrifice, you need to remember that the video games are R&R time and he gave that up.  So, we have to get rid of expectations, too.  If you don’t, you overlook the sacrifices your partner makes for you.  You can’t expect him to clean or her to buy groceries.  You should be… you need to be grateful EVERY time recognizing that a sacrifice was indeed made.

Adventure January 7, 2011

Posted by Steve "Oz" in Personal, Road Trips.
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So, I’m starting my new year off with an adventure.  I’m in the airport about to fly to a state I’ve never been to… to temperatures I’m definitely not used to… meeting someone I’ve never actually met… and spending the weekend in this state.

I’m excited.  …And a little nervous, though maybe more for the adventure as a whole than any one particular thing.  More than anything, I’m happy to just be on an adventure.  Something that was missing from my past, not in whole, but definitely in part, was the fulfillment of going on adventures.  I think there is a need for most men to have adventures… to risk something… whether it be your heart, health, life, ego, money, or time.  To do it right, I think you have to properly way the risk with your responsbilities (for example, a husband and father should NOT risk all of the family’s savings on some stock market tip).  But, putting your heart or ego on the line typically doesn’t involve much but a little faith.

I realized two days ago that putting your heart on the line is a matter of faith.  Faith that, if you will put it out there, God can and will heal it if it gets broken.


I had to board.  I’m now at my layover.  Eating pancakes at a Chili’s in the airport.  Odd, but surprisingly tasty.

I was dozing in and out on the plane, but I remember praying a bit.  I was feeling nervous and I realized I was relying on myself again to power through.  That has gotten me so much less than submission in the past… so, i turned to Him.  I felt His peace and the only the advice to “be careful,” but not with regards to my heart, but to others’… “be gentle.”

The next leg of the trip should be quick, and, before I know it, by adventure will truly begin.  I’m not sure I’ll post again between now and the next big “milestone” in my life, which is scheduled in the next few days.  So, now, I’m just happy to be on an adventure, whatever the risk and whatever the cost… regardless, the reward is the adventure itself.