A teacher breaking the rules, thankfully

In a middle school math class, the teacher broke some rules. I was confused at first. It was like she wasn’t following her own instructions to us. She acted like certain mathematical details in the problem didn’t matter… What? How can that be?

The lesson she showed us in this casual yet powerful moment of class, I still use almost every day. It was about more than just basic math. It’s an important thing to know that we don’t HAVE to always stick to the rules… I liked that!

This example happened a long time ago, so I may not have it all perfectly recollected, but it went something like this:

Mrs. Mackie issued the class a handful of multiplication problems.

What’s 49 times 61?

How about 24 times 11?

Or 93 times 5?

I can recall trying to write down my numbers and start to work the problems as we’d been shown before. (I always had instant anxiety at these moments, not wanting to be slow to figure it out.)

She stopped us in the middle of scribbling and said something like: “Don’t make these harder than they are. Just get close. C’mon, somebody give me an answer.”

Huh? Just get close?? What? I thought this was MATHEMATICS and specific answers with numbers were like IMPORTANT! In fact, that’s the only way I’d experienced math. I was given a problem and had to report my work as an exactly correct numerical expression. In math, it’s either exactly right, or exactly WRONG… right?

Well on this occasion, my mind was stretched and opened up. I clearly remember the specific feeling of that. Mrs. Mackie said it was okay to just get close by rounding things off. You know, make it a quick and simple thing in your mind to just get in the ballpark.  She was rattling off some answers within seconds.

But the solutions weren’t like we were used to hearing in math class. Instead of the number itself, she spoke in sentences and stories.

“Well 49 is close enough to 50, so lets’ just use that. 61 is close to 60. Break that down to 5 times 6 and then add the zeros back in. So 5 times 6 is 30, with a couple zeros more it’s 3000.  And that is a ballpark answer to what is 49 x 61.”

“Same thing for the other two problems.  24 x 11 would be close to 24 x 10 which is really easy, then add another 24 to it. So 240 plus 24 is 264. She said that 93 x 5 is going to be between 450 and 500 because 90 x 5 is an easy calculation of 9 x 5 (45) plus a zero and 100 x 5 is 500.”

What?? Umm… Wow. These were not the kinds of answers I was used to hearing when it came to this anxiety-inducing specifically detail-oriented subject!

Teaching Estimation and Rounding isn’t the cutting edge of complex mathematics. It’s probably common for lots of middle-schoolers.  The impact came from the way she presented the material. It really crystallized the concept for me. I could see the bigger picture utility, and it was about more than just math. It was a method to deal with life itself.

Her point was that it’s okay to generalize sometimes. She showed me that problems can be tackled from different perspectives. We can deconstruct things, round off and choose easier more familiar methods to work on them. In fact, there isn’t just one exactly correct way to handle an obstacle before you. There are several options and it depends how exact the answer needs to be.

This is real education. It’s something I’ve used almost every day since I learned it. It’s a mental tool passed down from a mentor. She taught me a way to use my own mind that I didn’t know existed before. I received transformation, not just information.

Thanks Mrs. Mackie. I appreciate to this day, the mind-stretching moments you delivered many years ago.

Until later this week my friends, go back to middle school if you have to. Don’t get stuck too deep into exact details. It’s okay to round it off and call it good. Estimate a generality of your goals, at least that’s better than skipping them altogether. Get yourself in the ballpark. It’s probably easier than you think.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

Gimme Some Lovin!

I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see my glowing pregnant bride mothering our child. I get almost teary when I when I consider how blessed I am to be with Lindsay. My wife is truly the most astoundingly amazing thing I’ve ever gotten in life and that in a nutshell explains my Love for her…

Except that definition of Love is a problem… I’ve got it wrong, if that’s all I think

One of my spiritual mentors (Rabbi Daniel Lapin) explained in a podcast that there is an important origin in the Hebrew definition of love. He showed how our current culture ‘loves’ to use that word to describe our ecstatic jubilant emotional responses to experiences in our lives. He said we misuse the word all the time.

This is of course another example where I was convicted as soon as I heard his wisdom. He said that as people, we aren’t always correctly choosing our words when we tell our spouses we LOVE them. We might say this with the same enthusiasm that we would use to describe a most succulent and delicious steak dinner that completely satisfies a hungry appetite. When we feel contented, affectionate and happy within a moment, we might say ‘Honey I LOVE YOU!’ but that’s not the correct usage… hmmm

The word Love in Hebrew has nothing to do with our own personal fulfillment. This deeply layered ancient language actually matches the root for ‘Love’ with the word ‘Give’. In the Hebrew sense of the word, to tell my wife I Love Her, would actually mean I Give to Her…

Dang.

How often do I Hebrew-Love my wife vs how often I want to use the modern day version that means I’m GETTING something from her? It’s probably much too often; if I’m honest.

So Valentine’s Day is almost here and I want to practice the art of loving her in the Hebrew way, God’s way, the Giving way, as much I can. Wish me luck. All I have to change is just about everything.

She’s truly Loved and Given me so much… Not as repayment, but as a most worthy use of my energy, time, commitment and service, I want to Give to her, My Love.

Until next week… to all you love birds out there, get some givin’ goin on!

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

 

Almost a Hammer Blow to the Face

My only self defense weapon was a hammer; I kept it under the driver’s seat. On one occasion, I felt myself reaching for it, on another; I’d wished it fired bullets. Both were in Oregon, both times I ended up not needing it… Thank God.

Back in twenty-ten, I drove across the country and back on an epic personal journey. Little moments from that trip pop out from the dark cobwebbed-corners of my memory as I’m falling asleep sometimes. Last night, a vivid image flashed onto my inner eyelids. Just like the first time I’d seen it, warm tingly fear washed all over my body… Here is the story as best as I remember…

After a too-quick tour of Yellowstone, I’d spent a long day droning across Idaho, looking at nothing but grey and brown rock.  Another 12 or so hour day behind the wheel and I was glad to see the green irrigated fields near Vale, Oregon, it was just across the state line. My big road atlas showed the tiny green triangle of a campground just adjacent to town.

It was mid-evening when I talked to the elderly couple who had been caretakers at Bully Creek Reservior for over 25 years. They asked about me and where I was from. They proudly gave a short history of the lake. They probably offered a cup of coffee in the morning, but overall it was the trees they went on and on about. They told me how the desolate area had been dammed up by the city. The rocks of the high desert gave way to a vibrant lawnscape with shrubs and over 200 trees. They had done all that work themselves and they were outwardly proud of their accomplishments.

After meeting them, I picked the site and began to setup. My campout routine in-progress, I walked the dog and made the bed. This night I chose to drive back to town for dinner. I pulled into the dated Star-Lite diner, where they were packing up the buffet and getting ready to close. A decent plate of homecooking later, I was headed back to camp, feeling quite content with the small-town hospitality overall.

The campground had quieted down and I plugged in my computer next to the tent. I uploaded pictures and wrote a little blog about my day and all was well. It was just after that, when I decided on a hot shower before bed…

I entered the concrete blocked cube of the shower house with my bag of soaps and a rumbly tummy. It was probably dark outside and there might have been one of those yellow sodium lights drenching the room in a weirdish glow. I was the only person in there, and I felt just a little awkard for some reason.

I dropped my clothes bag on a shower bench and then headed for the metal-partitioned toilet stall. I entered, turned around, began to sit down, and swung the door closed right in front of me. I would normally have been reaching for the lock, but I was caught staring in shock at what I saw.

In very large, very black and VERY deliberate handwritten letters was the phrase:

YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE!

“Umm… okay… ha, I mean… huh, that’s a different form of bathroom vandalism…” My mind was trying to rationalize, while my body had instantly expressed a layer of cold sweat all over. “Umm, yeah, so that’s funny and strange, and some punk kid would laugh if he saw me right now… right?”

I was so set on not being bothered by this message, that I determined to continue with my bathing and dressing in fresh clothes. I did my best to efficiently make quick work of it all with my ears tuned to every click of a cricket, and my back to the cinder-block walls.

Yeah, I was a little bit bugged by those words…

Striding cleanly across the lawn to my tent and my tied-up dog, I contemplated tossing the whole campsite into my truck and peeling out in a cloud of dust…

Nothing seemed to be out place when I got there. Roxy was calm and the neighbors were too. I was parked in an open clearing with good visibility. I was trying to ease my racing thoughts and laugh off this little prank.

I wondered though, as I tucked into my sleeping bag, if I was being foolish for staying around here.

It was tough to sleep that night. I thought back to my conversation with the almost-too-nice older couple. I noticed the quaintness of the little lake next to the Norman Rockwell town. I started to make up crazy stories in my head, and I might have started to believe them.

The caretakers’ stories about those trees seemed to be central to something. They kept mentioning the numbers of those things. Was it 224, or 218, or maybe 256? Anyway, the exact number was their point…

What did that number mean? What could I possibly NOT ESCAPE from? Don’t tell me there is something sinister buried at the base of these lush green trees dotted around this mini oasis in the desert??

I had the hammer next to my pillow, but I was wishing that damned thing was a gun!

I don’t even remember packing up that morning, I just know I did it really early. I might have grabbed a few minutes sleep at most. I did wake up alive though. I’d made it till morning at least!

My heart sunk again as I motored out of camp but realized that my gas tank was dry. I would have to go back into Vale and stop there to fill up. Was it not the lake that I couldn’t escape? Was it maybe this little picture postcard community itself?

I drove up next to the pumps at the mid-town station under a faded Sinclair dinosaur sign. Even before I’d stopped, I noticed a stoutly built man eyeing me and my truck. I didn’t want to let my nervousness show, and those words YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE, kept circling my consciousness.

Sitting in the driver’s seat I’d pulled out my log book to write down the mileage. I also watched the man moving among the cars around me, and I was remembering where I’d stashed the hammer. Sure enough, he was almost instantly inside my open driver’s window with his large face close to mine. I wrapped my fingers around the worn wooden handle. I began the yank from under my seat, pulling-up the heavy-ended tool when I realized what he was saying.

His barking words were about gasoline and what kind I wanted. I was shocked and stirred-up from the night before, and it took me a second to comprehend. He was there to pump the fuel. I didn’t expect that. I almost had just attempted to swing a hammer at close range, into this stranger’s face. Thank God, it wasn’t a gun!

I was probably shaking as I paid the bill and grabbed a bag of ice to deal with later. I was ready to get the hell out of Vale, Oregon. I just wanted it to be a tiny speck in my rear view mirror! About 5 or six miles west of town, I started to realize that things were probably ok. I was a couple hundred miles into the barren rock landscape of eastern Oregon, before I truly calmed down…

Maybe it was a prank. Very likely somebody had a good laugh thinking about freaking people out, just like me. I’m sure everything was fine the whole time… right? I mean, I did leave that place in one piece. I did make my ESCAPE. There isn’t any new tree to add to the orchard next to the shores of Bully Creek Reservoir with my name on it… right?

The mind is powerful my friends. It is our best friend, or worst enemy. Maybe even worse than the dangers of the ‘real’ world… and I’m not sure if we can truly ever Escape from it, can we?

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

In Truth we Trust

I can be completely captivated by a two hour debate that attempts to define and flesh out the concept of a profound five-letter word. In fact, these kinds of deliberations are so interesting to me, that I’ve filled my days with them lately.

I love podcasts and one I heard this week was all about the word Truth.

This kind of topic is right up my alley. I am fascinated anytime I can hear people discuss such a fundamental concept.

In this exchange, the intelligent atheist host had just begun his program when he and the guest found a divergent opinion on the definition and application of the idea of Truth.

I won’t go into each person’s argument and attempt to make interesting reading out of somebody else’s verbal chess match. I will say however that I LOVED the fact that they locked horns and dug so deeply into this deceptively simple notion.

I’m sure that we’ve all thrown the word Truth around in our lives, usually in order to cement an observation, recollection or prediction. We may even judge others in their behavior and claim to have some inside track on the Truth behind their ways.

In any case, I know that I don’t have a PhD in the usage of every word or phrase I spout. Therefore I find it so interesting when two people wear themselves out in argument over something as fundamental as this.

Don’t we too often take for granted wide swaths of understanding and assumption, when talking with ourselves or others? Don’t we just speak through a conversation like a drive to store and back home. Trying to get to the point and return as quickly as possible without expending real capital? Can you remember a time when you had the substructure of your very conception of a core value challenged openly and gentlemanly, with a chance to rebut? I really don’t find myself in these mental MMA matches and it’s a good thing too. I probably would tap out pretty quickly…

Hooray though, that we aren’t all just zombified, caring only about the next basketball game or Tee Vee Show. It does seem that as a culture we’re waking up more to questioning reality, politics and being outwardly opinionated. Many are constantly outraged and terrified too. I find it just a little disheartening though, to see so much barking and exclaiming online. It’s as if these clipart ideas are skipping across the top of the pond like stones flung with fury, but barely touching the surface.

I prefer the deeper dive. My heart was warmed to hear these two agents, staunch in their positions, trade blow after blow in defense of their idea of the concept named Truth.

It’s paramount that their discussion didn’t proceed beyond this little hiccup of difference in opinion, because that one little difference colored everything else that could be said afterward.

Our core beliefs are the womb that births all. If you and if I have opposite root perspectives, we will be spinning our wheels talking about situations and observations of life. The color of the lens that we see everything through, will convince us and solidify our opinion, in ways that another person can rarely alter.

So then, an in-depth study of the tiniest kernel of our ‘come-from’ and ‘inner stance’, is really the only conversation to have. It’s the thing, that will create all the other things that we have to say.

I will link to the podcast here. If you are like me, on a search for Truth, or find interesting the debate over an acceptable definition of the concept of the Truth, have at it. Otherwise, just take a moment to reflect on the last time you questioned yourself to the core. Could you articulate to someone else, and communicate on the nature of your human experience of life itself?

I haven’t tried to do that in any conversational debate. Maybe though, I’m hinting at it through the words you can read here. I’m compelled and provoked by stuff like this and maybe some of you are too. You must be, otherwise, why would you have read this far?

Until next week my friends, dive deep. Unpack and dissect the profound. I can’t wait to hear or see your Truth, so please share. 🙂

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

PS: if you want my take on the podcast I linked to, I tended to agree with the guest, rather than the host, on his interpretation of Truth. I appreciated the whole coversation however, obviously 🙂

The trouble with kids, when will they learn!

Better not set anything fragile or important on the end table. Surely it’ll be sent off with a zing, flying fast to the floor! Our little Angel is quick to dismiss a couple remotes, and a book or baby that she’d already put there before. We don’t let anything important rest on the end table anymore…

A one and almost a half-year-old can be a whirlwind to a tidy living room. Just this morning she instantly cleared a shelf full of books as soon as the babysitter arrived. They probably read at least a couple of them 🙂

The end table though is different. She doesn’t empty the top of it just for fun. Actually, I don’t think she is aware that it is a table at all. She is too young to understand the standards of livingroom furniture function. She doesn’t get it, and it may be awhile before she does!

It seems to be that she actually considers our solid oak end table to be a piece of gymnastic equipment. It happens to sit between the couch and the rocking recliner. To her, this slick flat wooden top is just perfect for belly sliding across. That’s it! There isn’t another reason for it to exist to her. She seems to think it’s just another part of the amusement park of our house.

In this child’s world, everything can be made into a game or a tool or can be torn apart, or fed to the dog. There are no ‘supposed to’s’ yet built into the way she interacts with life itself.

Along the same lines, she finds new families to join up with at our restaurant every evening. Any group of people with other little kids is fair game to her. She just climbs up on the Mom or Dad’s lap, and makes herself at home. Sometimes it goes too far, when she digs into the macaroni and cheese bought by our guests for their own kids. And for now, she’s cute enough to get away with it.

Luckily for me, I almost NEVER attack my day with same reckless abandon and pure intent on having silly fun at all expense. I am MUCH too adult for that! Yup, I know a lot more about the supposed to’s, the expected social norms, and the highly important opinion of other people! I won’t be making mistakes like my daughter, and enjoying myself just because I can!

Rest assured, that even though I’ve noticed my daughter acting ‘crazy’, I’ll try and stick to the upright and prudent script of ‘normality’, as best I can. And anyway, it’s not easy to just make everything into smiling funtimes, right? She must be too young to maturely understand ‘the real world’ yet…

Actually… now as I type these words… I’m beginning to think that I hope she never does…

Until next week my friends… Do Some Belly Sliding!!!

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
– Mark 10:15

This weather hits me right in the ‘feels!’

Even though I ‘feel’ like complaining and I can tell myself there are lots of real reasons to do so, it probably doesn’t help. This week there was a tragic Icemaggedon Storm predicted and so far, it hasn’t showed up. I notice a lot of emotions within myself about how the issue has played out. I could even write in detail about that here…

However, it seems that the focus on these negative ‘feelings’ wouldn’t help me out much. I can’t bring back lost revenues or un-ache my head from dealing with lots of conversations about ‘What if it gets real icy out!’ It almost seems to me that if I could forget about the flavor of those feelings altogether, I’d be better off.

In reality, all is well in my world. I have a beautifully pregnant bride, a bright-eyed bundle of fun daughter and work hard in two successful small businesses. It’s hard to complain about much, from a birds-eye-view.

Those darn ‘feelings’ though can be tricky.

I’m wondering if the warm tension in my gut and dull throbbing of my head don’t come from ‘feeling’ too much of my ‘feelings’… I have probably spent a long time and lots of effort on dissecting the inner world of my emotional responses, and instead it may be more helpful to overlook them.

Discipline and determination, faith and perseverance all operate contrary to and in-spite-of feelings. These habits and character traits are forged straight through the burning desires to procrastinate, or to change course, or quit altogether. In this sense, the ‘feelings’ themselves can be an enemy!

We may put too much weight and importance on the existence and elaborate behavior of our feelings. I know I have done it myself this week. I wonder too, if THE Enemy, uses our feelings as bridle and bit, to direct our attention, our momentum toward his lies and corruption.

If effective and positive progress toward God’s will, is to be made, we may have to disregard our own feelings from time to time… Soooo, much easier said than done.

Until next week my friends, be well and operate beyond the boundaries of just what ‘feels good’.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

Watch that bottom line!

I was a little startled at the price I heard coming from the other end of the phone call.  A chunk of plastic should be cheaper than that, right? Then I was even more surprised when the person told me that if I looked up the part on Amazon, I could save our business $15.00… Well that was a NO BRAINER!!

‘Order it up please. I would much rather buy it from you locally for only $15.00 more. Thanks for your help on this!’

Especially when I’m spending money for our restaurant, The Brand’N Iron, I feel compelled to keep as many dollars as possible circulating within our local economy. We are patronized mostly by the community around us. There aren’t a large percentage of our customers from the City or other states. I feel responsible to trade in the neighborhood whenever common-sense shows it’s possible.

We are always appreciative when someone chooses to dine with us, instead of driving out of town. I want to treat other businesses the same way, with our equipment and supplies issues.

Of course spending more money when it could be saved happens to impact the bottom line. I understand that too. The bottom line is that we are a community establishment, and part of that is working together as much possible. That’s the real bottom line.

Until next week my friends, choose to support your hometown community, whenever you can.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

Happy New Now

A lot of anxiety is based on the possible ending of things. It’s more than just a physics law, and it seems we actually prefer the objects already in motion, to stay in motion. Another way to put it, as I’ve heard, is ‘The only person who likes change, is a baby with a dirty diaper.’ And I can add, that even the baby doesn’t always like that!

New Years is different on the surface level. The celebration is about the next thing coming, a fresh start, and excitement for possibilities to come. Ho hum, big deal, that’s not what you clicked here to hear.

The End and our relationship with it, has everything to do with… well… Everything.

I can create a stream of sentences describing the inner panic that washes over me, when I think of various ‘Ends’ that could and most likely will occur, in the average person’s life. As a self aware control freak, I could blame the mystery of the timing and circumstances surrounding those ‘Ends’ to be the problem, but I’m fooling myself there too.

I wonder though, if the truth isn’t even stranger than we can conceive. I think it would be easy to prove that our current understanding of our coordinates within this journey of life, are off. How else could we be thrown off, when changes come our way? If we had pinpoint accurate knowledge of our position in relation to work, or our relationships, or our intellectual and spiritual path, then how could surprises exist?

Therefore we must, at all times, be experiencing a margin of error in our own interpretation of the world around us. This error could be miniscule enough that we live out day after day, month and year after year as ‘same crap, different day’. We may be cycling around in the same ol ruts, and know it, finding comfort in the repetition. That’s not most of us. Would you agree?

I see my world unfolding in a constant version of California freeway driving: full throttle, slam on the brakes, full throttle again! This is most likely because of a slight misperception about what I am actually experiencing. Even though I feel the waves of emotional impact one after the other, it’s just because I stick to the idea that I’m in a concrete world, not a fluid one. No sailor would be surprised by the movement of a boat on the water, somehow I freak out at each dip or rise.

The illusion of linear time, the imagination of security vs uncertainty, the impression of permanence is all between my own ears. Believing untruths about nature, about God’s creation, when we repeatedly experience it otherwise could be defined as insanity.

Oh well, all I could do is give up my lunacy, my death grip on delusion. Then when things come unhinged or doors slam shut in my face I could smile in the knowing that doors and hinges are made of smoky ether. This substance takes on lots of imagery, but any physical reaction is conducted from within.

I can celebrate the New Year, yes. 2017 seems like a high number right now. However, there aren’t even things like years, that can exist within the tiniest becoming moment we experience as Now. Here is where life actually happens. With faith, there is always a way to experience the touch of Almighty God, in that place, no matter what your perception tells you, about the End of this or even the Beginning of that.

Until next week my friends, find a tiny now, breathe and enjoy.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

Don’t Copy Me, Don’t Copy You

I prefer to create, although copying is easier. It’s been written that ‘there is nothing new under the Sun.’ So then, how can I even claim original creation, it’s probably more like the cleverly rearranged copying of existing ideas.

Take these words here that have been clicked out weekly for over 6 years. Are they fresh language, never before uttered and new to all ears? Not hardly. My limited vocabulary is easy to spot and the lack of higher education evident throughout my blogs.

However, the attempt at creation is made. The blank page is tackled character by squiggly character. Too often these days we want to repost instead of post. We want to acknowledge a word picture that someone else created, to identify ourselves. Social media is chock-full of ways to decorate your personal space online with cute, sarcastic or deeply profound images… most of which we don’t make ourselves.

What then will it look like, years from now, if one were to read back over the digital trail we leave behind as legacy? Decade after decade will be recorded into the future and I’m wondering if our personal story will be revealed as one simple idea expressed over and over, or if it will be like a kaleidoscope rotating to constantly reveal new patterns, colors and combinations of shapes?

In an English class a long time ago, I remember the lesson being about ‘flat’ characters in a story vs. ‘round’ characters. We had to identify those who ended the tale with the same outlook or actions that they started it with, vs. those who had transformed in some way. The ‘round’ characters interested me the most. I wanted to know about when and why it was that they had a change of heart, or how they lost an enthusiasm they once had, or watching hope arrive where none was before.

The birth of Emmanuel, the Christ Child, has given the roundness to an otherwise flat world. Barbarism existed before the Nativity and after, but the unmistakable impact of Jesus is a bending and re-shaping of the human collective consciousness. In the macro sense and the micro, in our culture at-large, and in the tiniest personal moment within our own minds, Jesus is catalyst for change.

I try not to be just a copy-cat, wanting to gather information, experiences and moments, and author my own new story out to the world. There is only one, that attempting to copy, is worth the try. There isn’t any part of life, that can’t be challenged, changed and left forever anew, through a connection with a baby in a manger, that we worship this Sunday.

Merry Christmas my friends, may you allow this moment to encircle and enlighten your heart in the truth of the Spirit of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World, our Good Sheppard and Savior.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

not drugs… hugs

Sometimes, very late in the evening, my daughter cries out from her crib. She’s tossed and turned and almost woken herself up. I go into the room and feel around for where she’s at. I pick her up and immediately she’s nestling her head on my shoulder, trying to get back to that deep sweet baby sleep.

She didn’t need a drink, or a diaper or late night snack. It seems to me, that she just wanted to know that someone is there. What is provided to her in the dark and the quiet is a comforting cuddle, and nothing else. This need for reassurance and closeness is born into us. We don’t grow out of it.

I don’t usually cry out in the middle of the night. I do however, throw tantrums and fits. My inner baby seems to be alive and well. In many instances I’m aiming my frustrations where they don’t belong. It’s juvenile, I admit that.

I forget though and fear. Somewhere within, I’m caught momentarily alone. As much as I value independence and self-reliance, I’m afraid of it too. In a flash I can find myself on an island.

God gives us strengths sure, but they are not absolute. We do need each other. We do require a warm embrace from time to time. We do flourish instantly with a text that says ‘I Love You’, from someone dear.

I hope on this windswept snowy night, that your cries out will be heard. I’m blessed that even through my tantrums, I have a warm home to return to. Maybe lil’ JoJo wasn’t fussing as much for her own needs, as for mine. Her calls gave me an excuse to hold her, and hug, and whisper lightly… ‘Daddy Loves You.’

Until next week, enjoy an embrace and hug on each other.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols