Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Welcome to the year 2015.  Another year to live life a little better; to try to succeed at something.

Most people don't take New Year's Resolutions seriously.  Why?  Well, because they say that you can't keep them.  While I agree with that, I will argue that there is more to attempting to resolve to succeed at something than whether or not you actually succeed.

I would argue that actually trying something is, in fact, a small form of success.  A lot of people do not keep their New Years promises, but even more people don't even make any.

Last year I had a goal to jog for 300 miles.  It was a crazy goal, aiming for the stars, but I believed that if I stayed the course, I could achieve it in 2014.

That's my final tally.  I failed miserably.  I made up excuses about being tired or busy.  Some of my reasons were reasonable, some of them were just plain lazy.  In the end, I failed.

This year I am going to try it again!

I've thought about my lazy strategy last year.  I figured that having the Nike app would be motivation enough to get me my 300 miles.  That was very poor planning.  This year, I have thought about what it will take to get my Winter runs in at night, which was probably my biggest excuse last year.  And I will try to have a schedule to make sure I give a good effort 3 or 4 times a week instead of a mile a day.

Also, I am bumping up my goal to 365 miles.  That's a goal nearly 10 times as what I actually accomplished in 2014.

I'm not guaranteeing that I will succeed this year.  But I think that it's reasonable to think that I will get a lot closer to my goal than I did last year.  Little by little, I just might achieve my 2014 resolution sometime within the next few years.

We're all failures at something.  I just wanted to make my failure known as motivation to work harder for it.  Maybe you failed at something this last year, too.  Well, actually, you most certainly did!  What are you going to do about it this year?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Tis' been a while.  Months, actually.

I just wasn't feeling it.  I know that I should have pushed through the slump but, honestly, these last few months the well has been dry.  Not much to say.  I have been reading a lot; blogs, books, articles, magazines.  Maybe, for me, reading other people was a sufficient amount of noise for my life.

But yesterday I felt like I wanted to come back to say a few things.  I was busy then, so here I am now.

I've been flying solo for 5 days now.  Barbara is in the city waiting for the baby to arrive, so I am out at camp with the boys.  I cram in work and their lives into the waking hours.  It's a lot busier than usual, but it's not too bad.

I've been playing a lot of soccer with the boys.  The weather has been nice, so we've been out there kicking it around for 20 minutes or so after supper.  The darkness drops at around 5pm now, so we are limited these days.

We've also been playing a lot of NHL monopoly.  We throw our own twists and rules into it to give it a nice Gitzel boys flair.  We "draft" properties and make trades based on everyone's well-being.  No heists.  It's a pretty good time.  I won tonight.  No big deal.

Miles is almost 7 now.  Jonas is 5 and a half.  They are so big and grown up.  When I drop Jonas off at school he runs off without saying goodbye.  I chase him down and he half acknowledges me, embarrassed by his needy dad.  Forget hugs and kisses.  He's got a teenaged attitude.  At home he's a cuddle bear, but at school he's an independent, cool dude.

Last night I came across this video:

Here's the link if you can't see it:

This was about 2 and and half years ago.  I can't believe it.  You hear it from parents, how their kids grow up so fast, and then you become one and it's real.

I had an idea to write a kids book called "I miss you already".  It would be about a kid growing up in stages, not unlike "I love you forever".  At each stage, the parent mourns the loss of their child of the previous stage.  A baby into a toddler, a toddler into a kid, pre-teen, etc.

This video reminds me of that idea.  While I am pretty much the same in that video, that little 3 year old is gone.  Is it too morbid to think about it that way?  I can't really help it.  Although its great that he's grown up, in my heart it's a tragedy that that little fellow is no more.  Those lispy words are sharper now, more confident in his speech with each day.  Cars toys are all but forgotten, like Woody at different points of the Toy Story movies.

I mean, he's wearing a backpack in the house.  3 year old Jonas is one of the best things ever.

3 year old Jonas is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  It was a period of time when we hung out a lot.  Barbara was running a Kindergarten in China, Miles was attending.  It was me and Jo.  We were best buds.  I was feeling down and out and he was there for me.  To cheer me up.  To walk with me to the corner store.  To make it through a few more months in China.

I miss him.

Time moves on and there are a lot of good times with the boys these days.  I catch myself, in those moments, and realize that I am right where I want to be.  If I'm kicking a ball with Jonas or cutting out a craft with Miles, there is no better place to be.

It's really nice to find happiness in hanging out with my boys.  Jonas is particular is just like me when I was 5.  He loves playing goalie, he often runs off in a fit when he doesn't get his way.  He is picky.  It's like I'm hanging out with 5 year old me.

Miles is so smart and sneaky.  He's also hit another stage.  He lies.  Today he was allowed 1 candy from his bag.  I saw a wrapper and asked him if he had had one yet.  He said no.  I told him to open his mouth and I could see the little reminent of Rockets candy on his tongue.  I asked him again if he'd had one already.  No.  I told him to look me in the eye and say it and he did it without hesitation.  Finally, I told him about the crumbs on his tongue and his face reddened up.  He confessed and I forgave him and life moves on.

It sure is curious, these stages.  They grow up, it's good, but it's also terribly heartbreaking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd : a non-reviewer's review

I wish I could write good reviews.  I can never give a good book it's proper due.  I stumble over my words, hovering so where between "it's an honest read" and "I laughed 'til it hurt" most of the time.  It will help if I keep this short.

I would consider myself a pacifist.  I don't like violence.  I shy away from conflict.  I'm not into guns or hunting.  I have no desire to kill anything.  In fact, I eat meat mostly out of how inconvenient being a vegetarian is and because of the fact that I am a somewhat lazy person.  

A Farewell to Mars isn't just a book about nonviolence, it's a book about active peace.  It opens up to the ways of Jesus, the peacemaker himself, and shows that he had a new way of doing things here on Earth.  All these years later and it's still a new way because we are slow and stubborn people who like to see people pay.

This book sheds light on the person of Jesus having a lot to say about how people, individually as well as communally, should live in this violent world.  War and violence saturates our history, and Jesus came not to slay our enemies once and for all but to put to death the very idea of redemptive violence.  

I really appreciated Brian Zahnd's stories as this, too, is "an honest read.";). He opens up on his past failures as a pastor, revealing his honesty in changing his mind about something he had felt so right about all along.

The bare basics of this work is that we are to understand this Jesus as being the peacemaker.  He came to break apart the endless cycle of war.  Yet Christians continue to take sides, continuing to battle with flesh and a whole lot of blood.  This book proposes we do what we can to stop the cycle of violence.

I've read through this book twice now and I think it is a great read that helps quiet the soul.  Meditating on the path of Jesus is something we all need to do from time to time.  Thinking of the crowds and authorities that stood against him and his selfless reaction to it all is so otherworldly that we can't help but forget it the moment after we're reminded of it.  This book is a reminder of peace that would be helpful to read regularly.