I’m not making it great… again!

It’s fun to see cute little things growing all around me.  Their developing and reaching seems to expand day by day. I’m impressed and proud at the constantly budding natural accomplishments. I would also love to take credit myself for masterminding their creation. How awesome would it be, to know that I’ve actually done the hard work of sculpting and crafting these amazing creatures!

Okay, okay. I’m sure you know what things I’m talking about, right!

It’s my tiny tomato plants of course!

Well actually, this paragraph could also describe the vibrant youthful crew at our restaurant!

And yeah, I suppose I could once again be typing up tidbits about all my precious girls!

This awareness actually applies to all three examples.

I’m not God. I didn’t create any of these blessings all around me. I know exactly why that is as well… These very best things in my life, I couldn’t possibly command into existence, even if I made them my life’s mission!

This year I neglected my garden. After it was tilled in early spring, I forgot about it until it was blanketed in weeds. Finally, I bought some seed, some seedlings and got out my hoe. I dug and tore at that green carpet of junk weeds, trying to make room for my new storebought supply of veggies.

During my back-straining stabbing at the ground, I noticed something. Not every green shoot in that soil was a weed. Several of them had the jagged edged leaves of a tomato. I began to leave some of them alone. Volunteer tomatoes had sprung up all over. God had already begun the planting of my garden, while I was ignoring it. God’s methods do that kind of thing…


Back in the too small, too hot, too hectic kitchen of our restaurant, gangly kids are growing into proficient adults, at an amazing rate. In the grinding blast of a Friday night rush, young people step up. They become decisive and action obsessed. They stretch beyond their capabilities. They become flexible and fantastically fast learners.

I can demand with volume of voice, but it’s all in vain. Their accomplishment comes from within. I believe they’re finding themselves to be stronger, smarter and more capable than they imagined when they walked in the door asking for ‘just a job.’ These moments in their development are authored by our almighty Creator. I am doing just enough to keep from hindering them too much. Their gifts and the way they use them, happens as they Volunteer to walk through our doors and get to work. It’s not me doing it at all.


Hearing that people find my kids cute, or darling, or precious is nice. I totally agree! And as you would expect, I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t anything that I have directly been able to affect.  All my girls are my pride and joy. Lindsay, my wife, however is the absolute most amazing blessing I’ve experienced in my whole life. There is a specific reason for this: My cute kids are God’s gift, they represent God’s smiles onto our marriage. Let’s face it though, these kids are involuntary captives. They are born into our household. They aren’t choosing us from amongst a wide range of possible families to live with. They know us and us alone as their only Mommy and Daddy.

Lindsay is different than the girls. Lindsay is my wife by choice. She is one half of a sacred and Voluntary union, between two wildly different entities. The truth is, that God alone has the power to shelter and embrace this volatile and fragile blend of explosive ingredients. There isn’t any way that I can claim to be the one making this possible; just ask her, I’m sure she’d agree, that’s a laughable thought really!! 🙂

So deep is my appreciation for the nature of the Volunteer.

I’m blessed constantly and richly and I notice, whenever I am seeing the amazing results around me, that I never could construct.

Until next week my friends, Volunteer your heart to God, and watch life flourish all around you.


Aaron Nichols


Unproductive Exercise: A New Trend!

Ten years ago this summer, I was in the best shape of my life. Sure I was a youngster at 28, but that wasn’t the reason why. For a couple years before that, I was a human balloon! Rounder and even more portly than I am today, and with my ten year class reunion on the horizon, I had decided it was time to trim down.

By the summer of 2007, my lifestyle changes were paying off. I regularly and rigorously exercised on my bicycles. I watched the portions at mealtime. I cut out junk-food like carbs and sugars. I had also drastically made adjustments to the calories I drank. It was a full-time commitment, and I even came close to sporting six-pack abs!

After lots of practice, I could easily pedal the 14 miles to Richmond and back right after work on a Friday night. I was fast on those two wheels and would make it home in plenty of time for the poker party in my garage. I’d then settle in for a long night of carousing with a bunch of golden tinted glasses of scotch and water and a several satisfying menthol cigarettes… Ahhh, those were my healthy days!

Funny isn’t it. I made it such a big priority to eat right and exercise, yet I couldn’t have tried harder to feast on my addictions and pollute the same body I was trying to transform! It should have been a good thing, that I was on the bike enough that I could ride for a quarter mile at a time no-handed.  The problem was, I learned that trick while lighting my cigarettes and putting the Bic and the box safely back into my fanny pack, without ever stopping or slowing down.

It’s been ten years since then. Eight since I last smoked a Marlboro. Over five since I last drank the Scotch. That was over 40lbs ago too.

My 20 year class reunion will be in the fall. I haven’t been nearly as anxious about this milestone as the first decade though.

I still live in a serious constant imbalance. My 28 year-old-self would be surprised and proud to know now about my amazing wife and two darling daughters. There are have been too many truly healthy changes to count. However, that same ironic scattered focus remains.

LIke here I am, again up till all hours, writing a story for you. In the morning. I will be glad to serve amongst my family of congregates at Westminster Presbyterian Church, yet my bible may stay closed again this week like the last several months have been.

I’ll probably drag tiredly through the rest of my one day “off” of the week. I could easily sleep away the afternoon and almost miss the evening before I head back for more work late tomorrow night.

I’ll enjoy little family moments in the day for sure. I might be so appreciative as I notice my wife nursing our infant daughter, and then I might snap sharply in response to some slight comment I deem abrasive.

A man of contrasts I remain. This moment finds my new version of that same ol’ story. Maybe ten years from now, I will look back and notice my stupidity that I’m blind to today.

Until next week my friends, pedal hard, party harder… until you realize that prayer works so much better than either of those. May God Bless Your Journey.


Aaron Nichols



A Varmint Marmot

It was a frantic emergency stop at the auto parts store that Saturday mid-morning. I was at decent elevation in Montrose, Colorado, so  my options were limited. I found a well-stocked NAPA and the mission included only one thing. I had to get some wire! And NOW!

Hmm… just today I was digging around in the toolbox that lives in the back of my trusty Toyota 4Runner, and I saw those two spools of black and white wire. They are still marked with their almost insanely high ‘mountain-region’ pricing tags.  Ironically, I’ve never used an inch of that wire.

What was my calamity? Why was I so worked up and hell-bent on getting that wire bought, while on my roadtrip last summer?

Earlier that morning, I awoke next to sky high pines, perched above a mountain lake, on the west side of the Continental Divide. My screen-ceilinged tent was pitched just behind my parked car. I had set it up in the dark, slept a little, froze a lot, but enjoyed the proximity to the stars that night before.

The area was Telluride, but I wasn’t heading there. Nope, I was returning to the Land of Oz, and heading east. Ophir Pass sounded like a fine way to get there from here.

It was very early when I quietly crunched the gravel on the road through Ophir. This tiny town sits the in the crook of a mountain valley. There are no businesses or services and the residents don’t like visitors. In fact, there isn’t a sign at the highway that even indicates their presence. I missed the turnoff previously and had to ask a local for directions.

Once I passed through town, the trail was only headed one way. UP that mountain.  It is a single lane road that begins in the trees, but goes well above their line. I hadn’t been driving for maybe 5 minutes up the pass, when I came to a small clearing. Off to my left was a newer, modified and slick-looking 4-Runner, with the drivers legs sticking out from behind the rear tires.

I stopped and yelled over to him, ‘Everything Ok?’

He indicated that he was stuck. His car wouldn’t start. Basically he was stranded.

I pulled my truck up near his and out of the way of the trail. I told him that I had a bunch of tools and was willing to try to help, but I’m no mechanic.

His problem was caused by a varmint he said. Overnight, he had camped at this spot. After dark he heard some rustling around. He said that while he was sleeping on the folded-down rear seats, when heard something climbing around the undercarriage.

It was a marmot, he was sure. He showed me an electric solenoid type unit on his rear axle. The wires had been chewed through. That little bugger had nibbled the pretty green wire in two and didn’t leave enough to reconnect them with.

Hmmm… Now’s the time you’re probably thinking that I ran to the store to get this guy some wire, right? Well, remember that I haven’t ever used any of it. So that’s not exactly the case.

I searched my toolkit. I grabbed wire strippers, electrical tape and side cutting pliers. I had small pinch-together connectors too.  Wire though, was one thing I was missing.  I needed just a couple inches of some type of automotive wire and I had none. He didn’t have any either.

After searching around some more, I came across my camping headlamp. It had a lens on the front and battery pack on the back, connected by a small wiggly wire. I told him I was willing to cut it up, if it might help him get his car started. It was really the only option we had.

A tiny almost threadlike wisp of copper did exist inside the black plastic insulation on this cheap imported headlamp unit.  I cut a length and carefully stripped both ends. The gauge of the ‘wire’ was comedically small, but he went to work on wrapping it around as best he could. We then taped it all up tight and held our breath at the moment of truth.  He headed to the cab and turned his key in the ignition.

It cranked just once and fired to life! It was great to see our MacGuyver fix actually do the job!  He used some more tape to secure everything together and then we parted ways. He headed down the mountain and I headed up it.

On roadtrips I enjoy carrying along the tools I could need to handle things just like this. I topped over the mountain that morning and was enjoying the views, but kicking myself for not being more prepared. I thought I had everything. Of course, it was the one little piece of the puzzle that I lacked.

I was determined to stock up and be ready for the next instance with plenty of heavy duty wire in my toolbox! That’s why I was on a mission later that morning, when I arrived in the town of Montrose.

Funny though, I spent that morning worrying that I should’ve been better prepared. I was kicking myself. I could have had this guy’s car fixed in 10 minutes instead of 30. I was self-conscious even. Silly, huh?

In truth, I did have the means to fix things. I did offer my help. I had to make a small sacrifice, but it all worked out okay. Sometimes I forget to enjoy the outcome, when the process has had its challenges along the way.

In the end, I was helpful, and that feels good.  It was really nothing more than a memorable moment caused by a Marmot on the side of a mountain…

So I guess the point of this blog today, is that if you need some wire, call me. I’ve got it now.  It’s imported from Colorado, high quality stuff.  I’d be glad to lend you a hand.


Aaron Nichols

How dare they! Those church people!

It was almost exactly 20 years ago tonight when I remember anguish and gut-ache over a seemingly simple task. I was reminded of it recently, as I was asked to write letters of recommendation for some of my high-school seniors that staff our restaurant.

Right now a few of them are scrambling to fill out forms and apply for local scholarships that are due tomorrow. I have emphasized to them that they would be smart to sign those forms. I told them somebody’s going to get the money, it might as well be them! It’s easy to say for me now. I know the benefits of saving on school tuition from my ‘old-man’ point of view.

It wasn’t quite the same though back when I was their age. I had a hesitant approach to the whole idea of writing down my merits in a letter and submitting it to a group of unknown people. I’m sure I was a self-defeatist, claiming within that there were tons of other more qualified candidates than me. Why waste my time filling out forms and including references when everybody else was more involved, more active and more scholarly than me!

There was one application for scholarship that I remember above all others. It actually bothered me to the core. I know that my mother asked over and over, for me to check into it. She was urging me to do it, and I didn’t want to. She probably even told me that almost anything I turned in would be accepted and I would receive some money for my freshman college year.

She wanted me to apply for the Westminster Presbyterian Church Scholarship opportunity. The premise of the application was simple. I think I had to fill out my name, and maybe some basics about school, but not much more than that. It wasn’t a competition for the highest GPA or the most enthusiastically extra-curricularly engaged.

I only really remember that the form required a response to a simple question. “What does God mean to You.”….

WHAT!!! WHOA!! HOW DARE YOU!!! HOW SCARY!! HOW PERSONAL!! How could I possibly answer a question like THAT!! And write it down for other people to read??? AND THOSE JUDGEMENTAL CHURCH PEOPLE!?!?! NO Way!

That about sums up my recollection of the response to that essay question. Really!

Back then, and for so many years of my teenage and young adult life, any conversation or thought experiment that circled close to the idea of God, and especially to church, was jarring emotionally to me. I immediately would exhume loads of past hurts and mental wounds. I was insecure and held onto regrets and inadequacies that I had experienced in relation to church. As a teenager,  I thought that I didn’t understand God at all and didn’t really want to. God was a tough subject for me altogether.

Because of all this inner turmoil, I felt guilty and wrong about my relationship with this ‘God’ character. At that moment in life, honestly answering that scholarship form question was terrifying.

Even now, to write my current answer for ‘What does God mean to You?’ could occupy this blog for weeks, for months, probably years of weekly posts. And in fact I’m sure it has. My stories in response to this question have been typed out over and over in many different ways, right onto these digital pages. Beyond typing, I would have to say that my personal actions and also inactions reveal my true soulful answer to this question. The shape and substance of my being itself is a literal and figurative response, as I go about my life, day-by-day.

I really cannot remember if I did write out an essay of application for that scholarship. I probably didn’t. I likely shirked it and avoided it until the deadline had passed, thus eliminating the chance of this terrible pain I imagined it would cause me.

I know now, as a member of the session of that very same church, that anything written with sincerity would have been accepted with Christian love. Even if the letter I crafted was nothing more than a rant on the injustices I’d felt toward God, as a typical awkward teenager, going thru a critical growing-up moment of life, they would have understood. If I did nothing more than list my questions and confusions about God, they would have understood. If I only had the guts to say that I wasn’t sure I actually believed in God, they would have understood. And they would have loved me for it anyway.

The people of my church would have been happy that I shared. They would have been willing to pray for me. They would have been part of the process of supporting a young person struggling with his beliefs.

This is what I know now, because I eventually did reach out and ask Jesus Christ to come into my life. These truths are now obvious to me, where they were confusing and unnerving before. This is part of what happens when God’s grace begins to work on you from within.

All that said, I have such a looooooong way to go, on this journey. Instead of a high school senior, it’s like I’m an infant newborn, when it comes to my relationship with Almighty God. I am crying in the darkness so often, so unsure that I’m being nurtured always. I wail whenever I’m slightly uncomfortable. I forget to calmly rely on God. I don’t tend and nuture even the tiniest ember of faith that could warm me through a cold winter’s night. I know though, that if I did, it would be so worth it.

Until next week my friends, reflect on these words that I learned from our Pastor Ron. “The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”


Mr. Sinner Extraordinaire

Aaron Nichols

Plugged in, or Plugged Up?


I’m becoming more and more dependent on electronic gadgetry all the time. It seems that a constant part of my day now, is concerned with the battery levels of my various devices. I am usually trying to recharge my android phone, or my Bluetooth headphones or the portable battery that I use to restore either one of them. Now I have a Smart watch too, that will need juiced every couple days.

I will admit that I’m addicted to these gadgets!

The content though, is what I’m really after. I inform and entertain myself with several podcasts and YouTube Channels. I am a paid subscriber for a Motorsports website and a Political one. I am all the time catching up on their latest video installments.

I don’t watch TV, or do much socializing outside of work and family. My wife and kiddo are asleep when I get home late, so I unwind with some Flat Earth Theory before bed. Without the internet, I would have a major shift in the places I give my attention every day.

I saw a friend this week that is using a flip-phone instead of a smart one. He is possibly the only freshman on the Kansas State University campus with one. He is realizing the simplicity that comes with the lack of connection to the online world in his pocket.

I can remember when those phones were the new thing and yes, we probably didn’t imagine in those days of the flip phone, what was yet to come with the internet in the palm of our hands.

So now is the point of the blog where I’m supposed to condemn this technology and talk about the good ole days. I should preach on the values we’ve lost, and the upcoming generation’s lack of interpersonal connective skills… Well I won’t.

What good does that do? Again we miss the point when we blame the smartphone or the internet or even guns or democrats for everything. All these things exist and can be used inappropriately or for extreme harm, and that is a truth about the world. It won’t change with legislation or attempts to revive our past.

I remember being a kid when computers were new, and some said they were a waste of time, or the ruin of everything. Even if partially true, the wave has come, and it’s here to stay for awhile. No ‘thing’ it seems is permanent. Change is relentlessly cyclical.

Spiritual truths though, are rooted too deeply in the construct, to be moved by the winds of change. This is the realm where we have room to improve, always. As a culture our material fetish and pointing fingers of blame could pass someday, hopefully. Seeing beyond the stuff and tearing each down, we could introspect deeply into the calm embrace of God’s Love. That would bring the heaven we want to experience.

Sure we need action. We need to know where we stand and when to fight. I won’t though apologize for being both in this world, but not completely of this world. I think God has us positioned to benefit from both and be a benefit to both, the material and the spiritual.

I have to admit that internet is an amazing connector. Just this week I had a couple hundred people wish me Happy Birthday through Facebook, Snapchat and Text. Wow that felt really nice, and loving! Thanks everyone for taking the time to say hi!

Until next week, take a minute here and there to reflect. Ask those deeper questions, and make sure your batteries are charged, in case you need to post something profound!


Aaron Nichols

I tri, a scalene blog post

Another thing that happens in the daily bath with my daughter is this:

She plays in the stream from the faucet. A plastic cup, or the pudgy blue Nettie Pot catches the water. She pours it on herself and laughs. Crammed up at the end of the tub, she’s piled around with toys and having fun.

Then I decide to twist the knobs and shutoff the flow.

Whaaaaaaa! Daddy! She cries. She’s mad. I messed up her good time…

It takes a second, but I remind her to turn around and see the tub full of water. She has a literal swimming pool to splash in. She likes that too. Wiggling on her belly, blowing bubbles with a straw. Bath time continues.

How often, do I get focused in on the little stream of new blessings in my day. I stare at it and play. I might think it’s the only thing that is nourishing my life. This trickle is keeping my spirits up… If it happens to stutter or slow down to a drip, I panic… If my message to JoJo were to myself, I’d say, ‘Turn Around. Take a Look Back, There are PLENTY of Blessings to sustain to you, for now, and for a long time to come, even if they aren’t gushing in 24-7.’


I didn’t do what my wife asked me to do. She’d bought an organizer to hang on the bathroom wall. I noticed it sitting in the box for a couple weeks, and then she finally installed it herself.

The picture on the package, showed a hairdryer, maybe a brush too. Ours now sit in the cradles of curly metal, but it doesn’t look quite like the box. Any real hairdryer has a long cord. It dangles in big loops along the wall. The picture didn’t show that.

My favorite band posted a new music video online. It’s a clean black and white theme. In solo shots they each rock out with their instruments to the song… I’ve seen them play a bunch of times in person, and the guys never look like in this video. The guitars are missing their wire leading to a vintage amp. There are no effects pedals on the floor. The drums aren’t mic’d and the electric piano appears to work without electricity also. None of their instruments are plugged in…

Why aren’t they there? How are they left out? How can the music play without the power?

The photoshopped product packaging looks better without dangling cords, right? The band too, it’s presented sans wires, it’s more ‘elegant’.

Someone must’ve thought the Heathens’ image would be cluttered with wires running all over the stark white movie set. In their concerts, the cables and amps and extra guitars hanging on racks are almost another member of the band. These guys are musicians, and their gear covers the stage like thick black spaghetti.

Real life has wires. It’s crowded with them. They are necessary and vital and yeah, kinda ugly to look at. When we let ourselves forget that real life is messy and not pretty from every angle, we can get discouraged by that truth. At least I can.


I heard on the radio the other day that a log cabin on the homestead of Little House on the Prairie is needing repair. In this article, you can find out that the cabin was built in the 1970’s. It’s not the original one. Anyway, it’s a tourist attraction for fans of the books, and a Gofundme campain is underway.

This log cabin and an outbuilding is estimated to cost around $48,000 to build.

I think I can remember reading all of those Little House Books. I was in awe at the simplicity and the suffering of pioneer life. It was a long time ago when I read it, but didn’t she mention her current day prices of goods. I think they were extremely different than now. She was even excited about simple Christmas gifts like an orange or a penny.

I think they were buying bolts of cloth, mules and land for what we spend on a nice dinner out. $48,000 now will only buy the cabin and a shed. I wonder what Laura Ingalls Wilder would think of that?


Until next week my friends, be mindful of the bounty of blessings in your life. You are probably swimming in them.

But don’t forget, that real life is messy, when someone is trying to sell you a sanitized version instead.

Overall, wherever we are in this crazy world, there is no way to imagine how it will all be valued out into the future. So today do something that you’ll glad you did tomorrow.


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.


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.


Aaron Nichols

A luckily painful childhood

My daughter is recently learning about pain. At 16 months old, she’s more mobile than ever. Her adventurous climbing and clamoring on-top-of, in-between or from-one-to-another is an all day activity. Sometimes a mistake or misstep causes a big crash.

Just this morning while in my half-asleep care, she fell hard. Lots of crying, some hysterical and big red drops of blood from her mouth, meant that she’d bit her tongue. A few moments in Mom’s arms and things improved quickly. She is quite resilient and was soon laughing and eating breakfast.

I said initially here, that she is learning ABOUT pain. Most of the time JoJo is rambunctious and everything goes okay. It’s all giggles and smiles. There are moments though of quick shock and surprise when the table corner catches her noggin, or the footy-jammies slip out from under her on the slick wood floor.

Pain hurts and she’s finding that out.

At her age, she quickly rebounds and goes back to her play. She will probably crash again and again and again…

That is unless at some point she begins to learn FROM the pain. The stings and ouchies she’s experiencing can be very useful if they help direct and guide her away from activities that cause them. The pain is a great tool that can educate our kid to either get better at balance and body-control or quit trying to climb from chair to end-table to couch and up the back of the couch and front flip off of the couch.

I wonder about my own world. Sometimes I think that I have noticed the reality of certain pains, and kinda stopped at that point. Just learning ABOUT pain, is only half of the lesson. Of course I’m not just talking about physical pain, but emotional pain, spiritual pain, monetary pain, social pain and others. Sometimes when I make mistakes in these areas, I shut down at the awareness of their existence. Rehashing and discussing these pains may be my primary focus.

When JoJo is in the throes of that harsh discomfort, we try to distract her and move on to another acitivity. We grab a toy or book that she really likes to get her mind going in a new direction. We do comfort her, but only for so long. We want her to bounce back to her happy self, and not dwell too long on this passing sensation.

Honestly, I don’t do the same with myself. I find that my mind in pain, wants to search my memory banks for more instances of the same type of problem. I can look into the future and forsee more of these moments that haven’t happened yet. I can try to convince myself that the agony will never end and I might as well learn to live like this forever!

Well… hopefully, I can remind myself of this story sometime and begin to not only learn ABOUT pains in life, but learn FROM them. Maybe I can ask myself to take new steps to improve my abilities or avoid certain situations in the future. It’s possible that I could, at 37 years old, take lessons from my 16 month old, on how to grow and mature enjoying life more, even though pain exists as part of this world.

Until next week my friends, don’t be afraid to crash and burn, you just might learn something from it.

Take care, and God Bless.


Aaron Nichols

NOT your Typical Teenagers!

I can’t help but enjoy the moment and relish in sheer amazement at a job well done by our awesome staff of TEENAGERS and young adults at the restaurant… AFTER THE FACT that is…

I can’t stop myself from wanting to mentally watch the replay of our team coming together. They became a well-oiled machine and handled an absolute RUSH of hungry guests. It’s so fun to think about now… AFTER THE FACT that is…

It’s so satisfying and soothing to know that the heat of that battle has cooled. The challenge was met and conquered. The fight against the clock was furious but now it’s over, until next time…

It reminds me of my ski trips from many years ago. I never became a real pro, but after some practice, I did swoosh and slice down a couple steep runs. At the bottom I would turn around and look back up the hill. Looking up (instead of down) at that great slope, I wondered how on earth I had safely descended, with all my gear still attached, and in one piece. What a thrill!

Umm, yeah. So my point is that the exhilaration of victory, for me, comes directly AFTER the win…

And so that begs the question… What about the other side of this coin. How do I approach and begin into and commence these adventures? Am I so positively Polly-Anna and proud as I stare down an entire dining room of newly arrived guests? When I see that all of our tables have filled at once, and all l the menus have been passed out simultaneously, am I such a prancing peacock? Back on that ski mountain, at the top of those steep drops, was I a giddy schoolgirl, full of glee ready to rock and roll right down??


It would be an absolute lie and a pretty uninteresting story, if I were to exclaim that I am just some bouncing ball of bright-eyed buoyancy all the time. I can’t claim that I have even an ounce of optimism when up against a big challenge. In fact, it’s the opposite. I am maybe the worlds’ most gifted observer and foreseer of fatalistic flaws and future flub-ups!

Tonight in fact, just as the door to our dining room framed a constant stream of new faces, my mind offered up visions of pure catastrophe. I headed to the kitchen yelling aloud warnings and foreboding tales of woes to come. I wasn’t cheerleading and starting some rah-rah chant about ‘We can do it, Yes we can!” In fact, it was the opposite!

I was seeing complete meltdown imminent and barking threats right and left! Fear, tension, anxiety and instant depression banged out the too-quick rhythm of my heartbeats. Optimism?? Ha! More like the opposite. I saw all possibilities headed toward failure without a small miracle!

So there… These action-packed moments in my life, look quite different from either side of the timeline. In front of them, the inner roar of perturbation is deafening. Afterward, the velvety calm is so soothing and serene, it’s a reward all unto itself.

How do we get from there to here? How does it actually occur that the challenge is accomplished and measured as success? What can be done to create repetitious cycles of triumph instead of defeat???

Heck if I know. I haven’t begun to grasp anything reliably mechanical about winning in these situations. I can’t give any advice at all on the real reasons it all comes together. It’s so unpredictable. The variables are in constant flux. It’s probably a small miracle, and definitely nothing I can claim as my own personal achievement.

Tonight our team was magnificent. Our internal chemistry experiment yielded near perfect results. It was absolute chaos and disarray and yet I couldn’t be prouder to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our crew of young people. Their focus and execution was fantastic. At one point, when a question was yelled by one person to my left, it was instantly answered with enthusiasm by multiple voices to my right. Wow!

Way to go Team Iron. Job well done!

Until next week, find a moment to enjoy the ride. Whatever part of it you may be on at the time.


Aaron Nichols