Playing in the Puddles… Indoors!

I’m really glad that I have a leaky camper. Water gets in from the outside and that is great. The floor area gets wet, and some of the wood has soaked up the moisture, making it spongy and damp. The storage box located at the front of our popup Coleman rig took on quite a bit of water this week. It weathered a couple storms this week, and water came, I’m happy to report!

Why would I seem so jolly about a seemingly problematic issue with our family camping tent-on-wheels? Well, it is just that as I was prepping the pop-up this morning for a weekend at the lake, I was diagnosing the source of the water I found inside. I knew the general area to look and pinpointed at least one main area that rain could have drained through a crack. This is good news for several reasons.

  • The first is that I didn’t find water on the king size foam mattresses, or in any of the other cabinets.
  • I found that the roof probably didn’t leak at all, which is really good. I discovered that the one main crack in the front plastic was most likely the only place where the camper has water issues.
  • In the few minutes I had to work on it, I stretched some ugly black gorilla tape over it, layered the strips together, and poof! The quick fix will probably block most of the water and seriously improve the situation easily and cheaply.
  • Also, I have the thing stored under cover, so this is only a problem for very few days out of the entire year.

See, the water on the floor and what was soaked into a few items laying down there, was not a pleasant thing to find in and of itself. I did however appreciate that the H2O led me toward an issue that needed my attention. I was glad to only find this small leak, instead of many much larger ones.

No matter what though, I was helped to move forward, and either fix this camper or move on to another one, maybe with less damage repair needed, had it been really bad. The leak itself helped me, to address and improve a situation in my personal world.

I need to remember that in my regular everyday life, when I discover problems, they can be assisting me, not just aggravating me. These various annoyances can point and direct my attention to a place or activity that I have neglected. I can take the opportunity to examine the source. Maybe I’ll tweak and touch-up, or retool and rebuild. Maybe I’ll do nothing at all and come back to it later when the situation gets worse. Any way I handle it, is my conscious choice as a commitment to response.

Luckily today, I didn’t find that my camper was completely rotted, from the core, throughout. But I have had days where I found out devastating news about big things in my life. I’m sure you have too.

Eventually, I wonder if we will somehow come to realize and appreciate the divine nudges and enlightened paths of life. Sometimes it seems more like rough shoves and slamming doors from every direction. Opportunity must live within it all though. It’s a moment for us to engage in decision and reconnect the core values we really hold as most true. What will we do with the leaky shell and the unwanted puddles on the floor of our canvas topped world?

Today I chose to love the whole thing, somehow for the good points along with the bad. Today was a good day.

I hope your today is good too.

God’s Love and Blessings to You.


Aaron Nichols

Another sunny day in May – 33 years later

Back in 2011 I wrote the story of my life, memory by memory from the start to the present moment. Maybe you have done the same at some point yourself? I was in a class and this was an assignment. Reading it now, I can see that I have healed and grown as a person, even since then.

My writing style at age 32 was different. I hadn’t practiced as much as I have now. I was doing it as a personal project and because of the scope, my details were bullet pointed, short and brief. On this blog, I tend to elaborate and examine small moments of life, constructing 700 words out of a brief thought. The ‘My Story’ document wasn’t built like that. My experience of looking at the way I looked at things probably had long lasting transformational effects. I suggest you challenge yourself to it sometime.

Today marks 33 years since my Dad’s living bodily presence was felt by his loved ones and friends. He’s been gone now longer than he was here. Today is a Saturday, just like May 21st was back in 1983, the day he drowned in the river while boating with his friends. Already this morning has started as sunny and delightfully springy, maybe like that one. I have spent time with my little girl and we visited the garden together. I suppose that weekend in 83’ started out about like mine did. It’s ending though, changed the course of the trajectory of our family for sure.

Here and now, I just want to acknowledge that this life event (or death event)  came in a flash, and yet touches so many of us still to this very moment. During the recording of my life story, I tried to capture all the flashbacks that I could recall from actual family moments before my Dad died. I was four years old then, and interestingly the quantity of those memories with my Dad could easily be tallied on one hand.

Here is a short excerpt of recollections, as written in 2011…

I don’t know the ages on these memories, but I would have to say Very Young. I’ll throw them out as scattered and incongruent, as I remember them to be.

  • My Dad coming home from work, and having Candy Necklaces for my sister and I, in his shirt pocket, and pretending not to. Every Day.
  • I had a pair of rubber boots that I liked they had a cartoon character on the bottom. And a cowboy hat too, my favorite outfits always included sweatpants.
  • I hated shoes in which I couldn’t wiggle my toes; drove me crazy.
  • Mom would lay on her back in the living room, with me on her bent knees, she’d hold my hands and bounce me and sing songs and play pattycake.
  • I had a little red dump truck that would hold a half a pack of Smarties, they tasted best eaten from it.
  • On Saturday mornings, we’d always be up early for cartoons. There was food too, maybe donuts, or cookies from the bakery or a trip with Dad to the family Restaurant downtown. I know at least one time I asked for ice in my chocolate milk, and got it.
  • I remember our house that had a transition. My parents remodeled it at some point. I heard later, that my Dad sold his motorcycle to pay for a new kitchen….

Maybe someday, I’ll return to this project and expand it where I can. Maybe then I could come up with more. To this day, I still hear new stories of my Dad from people I meet in public. He left a helluva mark on this place. I love though, the personal and intimate moments that I can access of my own. They are few but special. And yes, especially on days like this, I miss Him, a lot…

Dad-me-carwashUntil next week my friends, be well. You are loved beyond imagination. Your effect on this place is magnificent. You are important and someone somewhere will always be holding you in positive and warm thoughts, always…


Aaron Nichols


Make mistakes… at least Make Something!!

A camping cot is not the safest of playpens, but that is what I’m using to contain my speedy and curious daughter this morning. Several weeks ago, I bought this cot in preparation for a long roadtrip campout I’m planning for the summer. I set it up in the living room to test it out, and it’s been there ever since.

Usually I lounge on it in the early morning while she plays with her toys, but this morning, she’s wanting to crawl anywhere but the places I want her to stay. So for fifteen minutes at least, she has been content playing on the cot, throwing toys off the side and occasionally hanging off an arm, testing out a dismount.  I’m typing close by, and can reach over to dadgrab her if needed.

I’ve setup an artificially limited miniaturization of the world to contain her.

Earlier she knew there was more to explore, but for a short period of time this new playplace has amused her. As she gets more comfortable though, it takes more interaction to keep her happy there. A new toy or moving the cot away from the TV stand is necessary. She is too active and won’t stay put forever on this little canvas island in the living room.

It is our instinctive nature to explore.  We can’t help it at 9 months old to want to see every corner of the house, taste every toy and cardboard box and tipped over trash can that exists. We just do, uninhibited and without fear, constantly.

At age 37 now, I can’t quite recall when the desire faded to be in constant adventure mode, somewhere along the way though it happened. At the end of many days I can look back and notice that I inched my way along, just ‘getting through’ each task at hand, till the clock shows midnight. I didn’t crawl and push and grab and laugh, in all-out discovery and examination each and every step of the way. Avoiding this kind of strenuous activity was probably a more accurate description.

Some days I dabble in exploration of self. I appreciate our weekly Bible study, for the spiritual insights and unlocking of mystery that can happen there. I use this blog platform and my graphic design work to express creativity to the blank page. I dive deeper and deeper into strange subjects in documentaries online, freaking myself out, about the very nature of this nation and world as we know it…

Overall though, my physical traversing is quite limited. After for several days of the week, I move barely a mile from where I woke up, over to my work, then back to home again.

I remember roughly a quote from life coach Steve Hardison, it was about the complexity and magnitude and awesomeness of the lives we have already led. He talked about how amazing we are as people, just creating the story of us, with all the trials and tests we’ve already experienced. Then he went on to illustrate that the entirety of what we know, is but a fraction of a square inch, painted into the tiny corner of a massively huge blank canvas.

There is lot more to left to explore.

I am glad to be reminded by my earnestly active little daughter, that we are innately driven toward discovery.  There is no shame in pushing limits. There is value in trying new things. We cannot regret our attempting, even when it fails. Eventually, we will only be sorry about those things that we didn’t try at all.

I hope I don’t find out someday, that there was no government agency, or no elite bloodline, or no illuminati, that kept me penned up and corralled on my own little canvas island in the middle of this expansive beautiful world. I hope I don’t find out that the only thing holding me back, from seeing and experiencing, is my own self-imposed mental prison. If that is the real truth, the one that seems to be the great mystery right in front of my face, then I pray I will have at least tested the rigidity of the seemingly steel bars all around.

I hope to know that I attempted to continue pushing limits some way, some how, each day… even when it sounds like anything but fun.

Until next week my friends, explore, discover and create a mess! It could be more than fun, it could be pure exhilaration!


Aaron Nichols


Fixing the Fixations

Since I haven’t used shaving cream all week (and yes, I’ve been shaving) I thought I would mention my experience here. Several days ago, I watched a video that someone had posted to facebook about these gels and foams and creams being unnecessary. The video producer was very emphatic that we are wasting our money and even damaging our skin with this stuff, I thought what the heck, I’ll try it!

I haven’t used aftershave in years, and now no shaving cream either, sweet! My morning routine is quicker, cheaper and better than ever. This is just one actionable item, out of hundreds of things that I have learned from YouTube.

Earlier this week, at the end of the day, I was stuck to the computer screen and my wife mentions that ‘You may have a YouTube addiction’. My wife is right. My response was something about the fact that I used to have other addictions too, that I have now let go of. I used to like drinking and smoking and reckless living. I guess I have been addicted to things almost as long as I can remember.

Maybe instead of addiction, I could reframe the term and use ‘Fixation’. I can quickly sometimes choose to be fixated on an idea or a project or even the search for an idea, and all my other priorities fade into the background. Even though I may have been four and half years free of alcohol, or seven years free of cigarettes, I have not lost my ability to fixate in the least.

I have heard that at the AA meetings, people introduce themselves as an alcoholic, even when they have been sober for years. I guess this is a way to notice that fixation on a drug is possible, even after a long break from it.

Right now I am drinking from a colorful can of La Croix Curate naturally essenced sparkling water. I love these things. They are 0% everything on the nutrition label and refreshing to drink, now that I have become appreciative of the taste. When I first tried them, the sting of the carbonation was too strong for the ever so slight fruitiness of flavor. They are a ‘dry’ beverage, they aren’t sweet and a flavor that most people would pass on.

Actually, these little cans of hippy water remind me of my first experiences as a teenager of drinking beer. Natural Light or Busch or Bud or any of those things don’t actually have a good flavor. You could give a baby a sip of beer and their face will twist up in disgust. I remember having to learn to like the taste of beer because I wanted to drink it and be like the ‘guys’. Sure, once you’ve had anything in enough frequency and quantity, you begin to develop fondness and mental urges that suggest it’s good!

Good times with friends stir together with memories of beer, wine and music. Heck, I could go for cold mug of suds right now!

Buuuuut, I won’t.

Isn’t it funny, that a toxin and literal poison, can be so intriguing and beloved? I like drinking these little cans of La Croix in any flavor, like Pomme Baya or Cran-Raspberry, because of the tickle and burn. If I swish the bubbly drink around, it feels like a beer in the mouth. I reminisce with these silly sodas…

I guess I could say that I am Aaron Nichols and I’m an alcoholic… but whatever. That doesn’t seem empowering to me right now.

What I would rather notice, is that fixations can be positive or they can be negative. Fixation for a 12 year old boy could result in a life of major league baseball success, or of a life spent in and out of prison. Fixations like YouTube can overtake my free time. The computer is always on, another video is always suggested immediately. I miss moments right before bed to converse with my wife, and end the long day together.

But, I have now saved us tens of dollars per year, by giving up shaving cream! YES! The enormous value of this online video resource is staggering!!

Actually… uhhh… I guess I’d better get off this computer and back to my real life. Where my cute daughter will be waking soon and the real business that I manage is about to open for the day.

Till next week my friends be well, and may God Bless you.


Aaron Nichols