Unswept Corners

Wedding Vows
On August 1, 1992, I married a woman who would become the most important person in my life. We entered marriage completely ignorant about what to expect. As written before, Shanna married a youth pastor, coach, and male. I was not a man. She had some massive concerns about the man she was about to spend her life with and compelled me to promise certain things in front of our 300 friends and family.
        With vows in hand, I appeased her troubled heart with this vow, “I promise to do the best I can to pick up after myself around the house.”
        The crowd laughed thinking it was a joke. Shanna didn’t think it was funny. And neither did I. I knew how fierce my 22-year-old bride was about cleanliness.

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Cloud Peak 1 Ramos 0

Lessons Learned from the Tallest in the Bighorn Mountains

Inadvertently Undersold

He didn’t lie and he didn’t mean to undersell it. But he did. As I spoke to the leader of Summit Church’s Wilderness Adventure Weekend, I should have realized he was barely 30, lived at 5,000 feet above sea level, and was a wilderness search and rescue volunteer.
        But I didn’t.
        He casually laid out the schedule—day one climb 1500 feet of gain with full packs in 7 miles and camp at 10,000 feet. Day two travel light and summit Cloud Peak at 13,167 feet and twelve miles round trip with 4,200 feet of vertical gain. On day three walk 7 miles back to the trailhead.
        Two months prior, our annual Men in the Arena Death Ruck challenged us with 48 miles in less than two days, and 7,500 feet of vertical gain. So what if we were never higher than 1,300 feet in elevation. I’ve got this.
        Cloud Peak, I will own you.
        Mathematically it all added up.
        Did I tell you I’m not good at math?

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You are Supposed to Be Here

Something is Wrong with Me!

Here’s how I discovered “home row” on the keyboard. I’d been using my hunt-and-peck typing method for close to twenty years at the time. That, combined with an aversion to details, made reading my e-mails exciting. I once told my administrative assistant that I trusted her, but inadvertently added a wrong letter to my response she received as, “I THRUST you.” Thank God she was used to my typos. I still hear about that one!

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Fragility of Marriage

24-Hour Vacation

On August 1, Shanna and I celebrated twenty-seven years of marriage by flying to Maui while Shanna worked as my flight attendant. If I’m being honest, I went kicking and screaming to PDX about my busy schedule at work, but Shanna’s toughness won out in the end—off I went.

There we spent a wonderful day on Maui floating (and burning) in the aqua blue Pacific, eating Hawaiian food, working out, and eating more Hawaiian food. Her job has provided an amazing opportunity to master the 24-hour vacation.

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Non-Toxic Masculinity

2019 Mass Shootings

I was shocked to discover that as of mid-August there have been 248 mass shootings in the United States. Those shootings have claimed the lives of 246, wounded 979 others, and traumatized thousands more. The worst of 2019 happened on August 3 in an El Paso, Texas when a twenty-one-year-old male (not a man) entered a Wal-Mart and killed twenty-two people, wounding twenty-four others.

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