Category Archives: Religion

Tim Tebow’s 316 yards inspire ‘John 3:16’ searches

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow prays after the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime in the NFL AFC wild-card playoff football game in Denver on Sunday. (MARC PISCOTTY – REUTERS)The Denver Broncos’ playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night was unlikely enough, but Tim Tebow’s passing yardage — the Christian quarterback threw 316 yards — sent commentators over the edge. The Associated Press reported that he also averaged 31.6 yards per completion. The religious connotations to John 3:16, a famous Bible verse, were too much for many to chalk up to chance.

For the true believersit was no coincidence.



View Photo Gallery: The quarterback for the Denver Broncos has become a polarizing figure in football, in part because of his outward displays of Christian faith.


Tebow has said previously that the Bible verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” is his favorite. When he wore the Scripture verse on his eye black during the National Championship Game in 2009, the term “John 3:16” was reportedly Googled more than 90 million times.

The Bible verse quickly became the most searched Google term Monday.

The Christian athlete has faced repeated criticism during this NFL season for wearing his faith on his sleeve. Bill Maher criticized Tebow (and Jesus) in a controversial Tweet after a Denver loss, and “Saturday Night Live” mocked the quarterback in a skit in which Jesus suggested that the quarterback “take it down a notch.”

Some say that the religious significance of Sunday’s game went deeper than the stats. In a column this weekend for The Washington Post’s Outlook section, David Kuo and Patton Dodd set up the showdown between Tebow and Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this way:


“Tebow and Roethlisberger point to the essential aspects of evangelicalism, the ones that make it persist — its missionary, proclamatory character on the one hand, and its private, searching piety on the other. The former wants to appeal to the whole world, which is why Tebow’s family raised him not only to preach, but to persuade others with a winning demeanor. The latter wants a changed life; Roethlisberger, in evangelical parlance, rededicated his life to Jesus after a period of backsliding, because he knew no other way to break his pattern of misbehavior.”


The Broncos’ win Sunday means that, for a week at least, Tebow mania is here to stay.


More On Faith and Tebow:

Tebow: God’s plan is for me to be a ‘role model for kids through football’

Sally Jenkins: Bill Maher and Tim Tebow: Why are so many offended by the quarterback’s faith?

By   |  10:38 PM ET, 01/08/2012


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Love is the Decision of an Adult

Love is the Decision of an Adult

I don’t remember where that quote came from, so I thought I’d look it up.  Can’t find it anywhere.  It feels good to know that there are some things that one cannot “Google.”  What does manifest itself is that after 6 brief years with my wife,  we love each other more every day.  Why?

An old and dear friend of mine, although she can be somewhat of a brat at times, taught me a cruel and beautiful lesson:  quit looking for the right person, and BE the right person. Love for another, although part of the general universe and the omnipresent Agape Love of The Creator, comes from within.  I am able to love another in direct proportion to my ability to love myself.

After being dismissed from by my ex-wife after 16 years of marriage because she didn’t “feel like” being married any more, I had the obligatory period of mourning.  Aside from the fact that I had been cast out of the house that I had inhabited for some 22 years, it was the loss of my family.  My girls were left in the care and nurturing of my ex’s new boyfriend, and the family holidays no longer required my presence.  It was a great time of self-pity and morbid reflection, followed by a resolve that it was indeed not all my fault, and that there was a self in there somewhere worth saving.

Figuring out that there was something to offer to the world was half the battle.  The next thing that came to mind was that it was imperative that this wonder be shared with a significant “other.”  What wiring the Universe, “God” if you will, put in us to make us feel that we need a mate is a great mystery, but for many it is irrefutable.  To me, life is at its fullest when being shared.  To this end began my summer of love via  I was determined that my life was not going to be lived alone.  It never occurred to me that I was really never alone, and that God, the Universe, and soooooo many wonderful people were all around me, but off I went in search for the “right” person.

Over the course of the summer I met and “dated” probably thirty or forty different ladies.  A couple of times I felt the feelings of infatuation that manifest in the ways of youth:  dizzy dancing way I feel, weak in the knees, etc.  It was the second time that happened that the realization came to me that it was not about the women that I was with, because they were entirely different.  Upon reflection, the women that I have really loved and felt that way about throughout my life have had very few similarities.  That wonderful dizzy dancing way I feel is just that.  It is the dizzy dancing way I feel.

Love for another, although part of the general universe and the omnipresent Agape love of The Creator, comes from within.  I am able to love another in direct proportion to my ability to love myself.  The past couple of days have been very satisfying for me professionally:  I have a couple of clients that are really listening to my advice, and empowering me to be really creative and productive.  That is always a great feeling.  When my wife comes home at night there is no insecurity or self-pity to get in the way or our enjoyment of each other.

Giving of one’s self is the most satisfying aspect of a relationship.  Whether it is knowing your children will finally appreciate you when they “grow up” and not clinging to them when they do, or simply knowing when to say “that’s great dear, you go have fun” in general.   My wife is a senior executive in a global corporate travel management enterprise; therefore travel is a major factor in our relationship.  She also has many close friends and a huge family, all of which is very healthy and great.  I am envious, as both of my parents have long since passes, and my only siblings are half sisters that are a great deal older than I.  Mary is gone lots with her friends, and my life has evolved to be more introspective and solitary.  There are many great friends and activities in my life, just not as often as she is gone.  I still take great pride and joy in seeing her thrive and be able to take advantage of her many outside opportunities.  It is never healthy to have all of one’s eggs in one relational basket.  That is why it is so common to see one spouse pass away almost immediately after the other.

I have a deathly fear of heights.  I get dizzy at the top of a step-ladder.  It showed its head a few times in my youth, like at the top of the Eifel Tower, but really didn’t manifest itself totally until I suffered a severe concussion in a snowmobile accident (apparently they are not meant to jump 30 foot double motocross hills).  Mary, not keeping my phobia at the top of her mind at all times, got this wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of nights at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco.  Thinking that this would be a wonderful and romantic weekend for us in The City, she never thought to enquire as to the vertical parameters of the event.  Being aware of my own limitations, I made some queries, and found that the Hotel occupies floors 37 through 48 of a tower that looks down on the Transamerica Pyramid in downtown San Francisco.  Needless to say, I had to tell her to have a wonderful time in the five-star accommodations, while my own humble residence for the weekend will be a few blocks (and several hundred feet in elevation) down the street.

The examples could go on and on.  We’re going to visit her parents in Vancouver WA for Thanksgiving, and now were going back again at Christmas because all of her brothers and sisters will be there.  It happens to be a financial burden that was not expected at this time of year, but the joy in her face made it more than worth it.  The list is endless and it couldn’t be any sweeter.  I’m quite sure hers is twice as long with me.  She wakes up every morning before I do and puts a cloth over my eyes so that her reading lamp doesn’t disturb me.  The point is that we made a commitment to love and honor each other, and that is what has made it work.

The more each of us sacrifices and gives, the more we love ourselves.  It is a phenomenon that has existed in fable and fact for eons.  The more we love ourselves, the more we are able to love others, and I love her more every day.


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Step Up To The Slight Edge

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is all about altering your lifestyle. Folks implement “the slight edge” daily whilst not actually realizing it. Basic, daily judgments make up the slight edge. With time, tiny, daily judgments will yield huge outcomes. The outcomes created may either result in positive or negative repercussions, dependent upon the judgments which were made.

This specific publication assists individuals to accomplish their set goals. It’s about getting positive thinking into practice, making much more successful judgments, and also remaining consistent. Usually, achievements along with overall satisfaction won’t take place instantly. To be able to achieve your sought after goal or ideal, tenacity needs to be a part of the picture. By way of example, let’s assume that you need to shed something like 20 pounds; you already know this is simply not something you are able to in a single day. All your other desired goals are actually identical. Regardless of whether your main goal is to begin thinking more favorably, it probably will not be permanently accomplished in just a few hours.

Determination calls for patience, and while practicing patience and determination, you need to stay enthusiastic, or else, you are going to quit. The Slight Edge offers the inspiration necessary to keep moving ahead with all your ambitions.

A lot of people set up goals, and also have hopes for moving ahead with them, yet hardly ever try to make an effort to accomplish this. Jeff Olson highlights that whatever you undertake starts off with a thought and so brings about action. A lot of people only spend their days wondering about what they desire. All that a person needs within their lives (besides money and achievement) happen to be there when needed. You may want to create better associations with your pals, co-workers, and also husband or wife. You may want to captivate that person you have had your eye on for so very long.

The universe will align the elements, making the most perfect setting in which your own wishes can be easily procured providing you are taking basic steps each day to color the image you desire. The actual Slight Edge Philosophy can be employed by anyone. Take into account your own teeth. In the event you choose to not clean them today, it almost certainly is not going to make any difference. Nonetheless, if you decide to not clean them daily for the following two or three years, you are likely to see that you are having a few serious issues. That’s one more illustration showing exactly what the Slight Edge is centered on.

This book is made to help alter the manner in which you think – and not using a difficult approach like the majority of other self-help publications. There is not any “huge breakthrough” and no unrealistic claims – only straightforward common sense. The strategies presented within this book are generally discussed in such a way which will make putting them into practice instantly one of the simplest things any person is ever going to do.

Come To The Personal Development Company To Learn More About The Slight Edge Audiobook by Jeff Olson


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Too Much Media, Not Enough Message

“Kick em when their up, kick em when their down, kick em in the teeth, kick em all around.”
– Joe Walsh Dirty Laundry

 Do you really think that back in the day when Eric Severeid, Sander Van Ocher, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather actually reported news that a comment Aaron Rowand made about his love for a childhood idol (Chicago “da Bears”that he eventually got to play for albeit in a different sport) would ever have taken up hours upon hours of “talk show” air time.  To begin with, there weren’t hours upon hours of idle air time to fill necessitating having callers provide content that the hosts lacked.  Look at some of the examples from our not to distant past, and put this in perspective.  This is a far cry from Howard Kossel’s “Look at that little monkey move.” This would never have made the third page of  the sporting green during the “Cold War.”

The point is that were there used to be 3 stations in a market, shutting down at midnight each day, now there are 300 running 24/7.  The “need” to fill hundreds of more hours worth of “air time” has generated a thirst for information, ANY information, and drastically lowered the bar on what we deem “newsworthy.”

Secondarily, he has a big contract with the Giants (that they were foolish enough to give him) that he is not living up to.  Thirdly, although the Giants are still in first place, they are batting dead last in the National League, if not all of baseball.  Aaron hasn’t done squat this year, and when one of his old announcers got him to wax nostalgic about the first major league team he won a world series with (with something like 47 at bats during the combined playoffs) would it really seem that out of character for him to say that that memory “gave him Goosebumps?” He was in his “heyday” then compared even to the world championship the won with the Giants when he only had 11 at bats.  I would feel more part of the Chicago team too.

Yesterday three hours of idle bull stuff was taken up by the fact that another air personality (certainly not the kind of shock jock that Howard Stern turned into a personal fortune) but another person who is paid according to his ratings got spanked for showing the same volatility (they call it passion now) that has kept his job for him for 40 years.  Tony Bruno made the mortal mistake of calling “The City”  “Frisco.”  That to me was far more egregious (tongue in cheek as a native San Franciscan) than a hot headed spewing of an un-intended racial epilate at one of the SF Giants Latin pitchers by referring to him as an “illegal alien.”  Had Tony not had 40 years to disprove any serious motivation behind this comment, it might have been taken more seriously.  Was it stupid, hell yes?  Do we create this by our supersaturation of air time and the American appetite for the crude or sensational, hell yes?  Is he basically screwed for life with the Latin community, I bet so.

Those who dare play on this field now are screwed.  (I think I’m getting sensational and worked up just thinking of the market and how volatile I need to be to be a player)!  You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  Unless your daddy was Frank Buck, you just cannot be an announcer of any kind of sports event without an edge.  If you do, no matter how great you are (look at Mike Krukow and Duane Kueiper) you are branded a ‘homer.” If you are young and just breaking into the industry, you will be banished to announce the rest of your life for the Kansas City JayHawks.

What are we encouraging on the internet today?  Without any real kind of watchdog, anyone can publish anything.  The downside for someone who tweets one racial epitaph like Tony Bruno, is that once your words are out there is no taking them back.  Good God, how many professional athletes would be publicly defenestrated (were they not so “untouchable” within their own little “tip top” community) for some of the unthinkable things that come out of their heads.

The real downside for humanity is that any bile spewing hate monger can rant for ages with no accountability about the relative evils of the opposing party, the inefficiency of their administration, or the viability of their ethnic or national origin (like it should even freeking matter).  Racism on either side of the coin is still racism.  I get as tired of being called “Vanilla Pud’in” as some of my brothers get being called other things.

Marshall McLuhan was a prophet with his 1970’s book “The Medium is the Message.”  Well here we are in the information age with unlimited bandwidth for audience, creation, information, fabrication, misinformation, deception, and abuse.

The sheer amount of opportunity to spew is indeed a double edged sword.  Don’t do it and you aren’t considered edgy.  Do it and be damned careful to stay EXACTLY on the correct side of that edge, and watch out – its razor sharp!  As Gary Radnich said yesterday:  Were all just one sentence away from the unemployment line.”


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What Happened to our Yankee Spirit, and What Will You Leave Behind?

My good friend Missy just posted a few photos of what had happened to her old favorite “Brainard Pool” in Ohio.  She returned home to find it is now a bathhouse and splash park.  Under her FaceBook comments I read one of her friends comments: OMG! I heard the same thing happened to Quarry. :(

Yesterday, riding back from the Giants game at AT&T Park ( which used to be  PacBell park, but at least it’s still there) I passed the Belmont theater.  God knows how many hundreds of hours I spent there as a kid.  It was where I had to watch for the first time some guy actually making out with a (yick) girl!  It is now a Planet Granite, whatever that is.  We continued on past Bruce Bower lumber, long since a vacant lot.  The train can be kind of a depressing, at least nostalgic.  Having grown up here, sitting on the upper deck allows me full view of El Camino Real (the main drag if you will) from my home town almost up to San Francisco.  It is amazing what a trip down memory lane that is.  Mile after mile of stores that are no more.  For some reason they actually swapped the locations of the Macy’s and Sears at Hillsdale shopping center.  That seemed odd to me, and for once it is fairly certain that this was not brought about by a senior moment, or alcohol induced Alzheimer’s.

This change is probably all for the best, and certainly unavoidable, but it does cause one to wonder just what it is that we are doing that will remain as our legacy.  Sales records, profits, successful product launches, all forms of recognized business success seem to pall under the harsh judge of father time.  Our best intentions and inventions seem to fall by the wayside as company after company fails or is acquired by a behemoth like Apple, Google, or Microsoft.  Our reputations are as good as gold, as long as we are in front of the right people.

Lately I have been digging into the old Ulrich family tree.  I was able to get lots of information on the family in old Russia, dating back to the  great great “whatever” being the right hand man to one of the Romanovs.  There is plenty of data on the Springfield Ulrich’s that were buddies with Abraham Lincoln while he was a budding attorney, then as president.  I was able to find the old town in Montana, “Two Dot” where my dad spent his childhood.  These places still exist.  That’s a good sign.

No wonder the Mormon’s refer to one’s children and grand-children as “posterity.”  When it comes right down to it that may be all we really have.  What kind of “posterity” are you building professionally?  Are you able to do something that you really love or are you just paying bills?  It seems that America was founded by people who had dreams and passions that we somehow have had eroded.

There are still the inventors and innovators, the dreamers and visionaries that will lead us into the next “industrial” revolution, but there are also the blind capitalists.  I’m not saying this is wrong.  My good friend Rob came to me with a business plan and proposal last week for a company that wants to perform a certain service on the web.  Their goal in life is to provide this service well enough to be acquired within three years and have all of the investors return 5x on their money.  At the time it really didn’t seem odd to me, as that is what it’s all about, profit, right?  In writing this article, now it seems a bit disappointing.  Let’s sell off the company so the buyer can liquidate the assets and divisions and fire all the workers so we can “outsource” the functional business units that are still profitable.

What happened to that great Yankee ingenuity that wanted to do something great because it is fun to do, were good at it, and we love doing it?  If we are going to weather these recessions (and I believe we will) and “come back” on a global economic scale, I really think that this is the attitude that will get us there.

Don’t quit dreaming out there.  You have great ideas, a great spirit, and a great opportunity.  Yes, I am a sentimental old hokie, but I still believe that America is a land of opportunity.


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Do the Next Right Thing, No Matter How Much It Hurts, and You Will Feel Amazing!

Back when I was working with CityTeam, a local non-profit, we had lots of interaction with professional athletes as donors.  It was the heyday of the 1980’s 49ers and lots of hall of fame players were very active in philanthropy.  There was Ronnie Lott, Dwight Hicks, Merton Hanks, Jerry Rice, and Joe Montana.  In our group the “old man” who had been around the longest and known most of these guys was Don Pitts.

I had heard that he made several t-shirts for a benefit, and had Merton Hanks sign them.  I had just attended a signing with Jerry Rice and had him sign a football and a Wheaties box with his photo on it.  Over the years my friends had given me a signed Jerry Rice 49er game helmet, his SF Jersey, a couple of game balls, etc. so the Wheaties box was no big thing to me at the time…. Or so I thought.

At the prospect of giving up anything “Jerry” my kids whined a little, but to be honest it was my decision, and me having the second thoughts.  After all, a Jerry anything was worth far more than a Merton anything, and Don had a stack of the T-shirts.  I informed him that the box was not available.

Being the gentleman Don is, he said nothing and gave me a couple of the T-shirts anyhow.  The years went by, my wife and I were divorced, the man-cave was disbanded, all of my 49er trivia somehow dissipated and moved into my much smaller (because it has to double as a sound studio) garage.  Every time I went into the studio to play music, which was quite often, I would see the Wheatie box and think of Don.  There was always an accompanying pang of guilt, and a firm commitment to try to get hold of him and give him his box.

The guilt got a little worse every time I thought of him, his kindness, and my own selfishness.  The phone call to the people he had worked with to see if he could be located was never made.  The times that the guilt pricked away at me are too numerous to count.  It wasn’t until one of my friends actually LinkedIn with Don that the “update” came over my computer stating that Don was now friends with  Mike, and that the God of my understanding was putting him in front of me for a decision.

Don was contacted and graciously said that yes, indeed he would still very much appreciate my sending him the Wheatie box, settling my 11 year old debt.  He had never said a word to me about it, which probably added to my torture. Why is it that sometimes it takes an act of God to get us to do the right thing?

The simple act of going down to get a box to mail this thing to Don has made me feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.  If such a simple thing can have such an effect on my view of myself, how many other things can we think of that are things we can “set right?”  Have we shorted someone on a bonus due, refused to pay a commission or a referral, carried a grudge, backstabbed someone, or took home an extra ream of paper from work without asking the boss?

These things affect our karma, and how we regard ourselves.  Together they can form an unpardonable weight.  Each acts like a tiny stone in the backpack we carry around with us every day.   Empty that pack and you will walk much taller.


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Just When You Thought They Couldn’t Get Any Stupider: House GOP Cuts Food For Seniors And Babies But Funds Military Bands

July 7, 2011

House Republicans have rejected a proposal to cut $120 million from the military band budget in order to feed low income American women, children, and senior citizens.

House Republicans have stripped an appropriation from the Defense Authorization bill proposed by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) that would have taken $120 million away from the military band budget and used the money to feed low income Americans.

One of the programs that Republicans plan to cut is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which provides food assistance to 500,000-600,000 Americans. Almost all of the participants (96%) are senior citizens. The WIC program is also on the chopping block. Republicans are trying to slash $833 million from a program that feeds low income pregnant women, new moms, babies, and children under 5. If House Republicans get their way, 325,000-475,000 mothers, infants, and children will be denied food in 2012.

Republicans have defended the military bands’ budget as necessary for patriotism, but only the most warped of ideologues could possibly justify waving the flag when hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Americans will be denied food assistance. I am sure that if were left up to the military band members in our military they would want to see these Americans not starve. Unfortunately, the decision is not theirs to make.

This is another example of House Republicans being so thoroughly married to their ideology that they are completely out of step with the constituents that they were elected to serve. Do you think that the seniors who participate in the CSFP expected the Republicans to take power in the House and cut off food aid to those who are most in need?

As the Center For American Progress pointed out, the real tragedy here is that all of these programs could be funded by one week’s worth of revenue lost by the tax cuts for millionaires. Even worse, one day’s worth of the revenue from the tax cuts for millionaires could fund the CSFP for a whole year.

House Republicans have made a lot of mistakes which may cost them their majority in 2012. No mistake has been bigger than their support for the Ryan budget and the privatization of Medicare, but denying food to low income seniors and babies, so that the military band can keep their budget intact comes in a close second.

The Democratic television ads against Republican Reps. who support this almost write themselves. Shots of a peppy military band juxtaposed with images of hungry babies and grandmas with narration about how the incumbent Republican voted to both kill Medicare and deny food to seniors and children.

Republicans are about to learn that patriotism is poor substitute for food.

These hungry Americans can’t eat patriotism, but they can vote Democrat in November 2012.


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Dealing with Personal Politics in the Workplace

You know the old saying about never discussing politics or religion? Well, that couldn’t be more true in the workplace. Of course, when you combine a group of unrelated people and expect them to become teammates, personal issues are bound to rise to the surface as they get to know each other and find the best ways of working together. What may begin as a simple explanation for why a certain employee cannot work on a Sunday could erupt into a heated discussion about religion and, let’s face it, the office is just not the place for heated personal discussions. Besides leaving people squirming in their seats with discomfort, these debates tend to cause stress and sidetrack employees from optimally performing their job duties. Do your best to deal with personal politics in the workplace by following these tips:

Keep water cooler talk to a minimum. Every office has one (or more): a group of people who buddy-up around the break room and hash out details of their personal lives. They also tend to discuss workplace politics, and to gossip about fellow employees. Avoiding the water cooler scenario is one very effective way to minimize your involvement in personal discussions.

Leave your personal life at home, where it belongs. The office is no place to introduce your opinions about religion, sexuality, politics, and the like. If you want to avoid the drama of heated personal debates on the job, then keep yourself to yourself.

Adopt an office policy of diversity and acceptance. The more accepting you and other employees are toward differences in personality and belief systems, the less an issue diversity will be, and the less it will arise as a topic of heated discussion.

Participate in workplace team building activities. Maintaining a focus on working together as a team with a common goal will go a long way toward bridging the gap caused by differences in personal politics.

Make it a point to be open and honest about circumstances in which personal politics will affect job performance or availability. When an employee has an understanding with the employer about how issues pertaining to personal politics will be handled in the workplace, the tendency to call attention to such issues is lessened.

Everyone has a personal life, and everyone has certain beliefs about how personal issues should be dealt with. However different these personal issues and opinions are, there is one undeniable fact that most employees will agree with: the workplace is not the place to get personal. Avoid uncomfortable personal discussions by following these tips.

About the Author: Debra Blair is a full-time writer with a focus on management and business. She also enjoys writing about credit repair and finance and is a regular contributor at


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A True American Family: A Place Where it’s NOT All About Me

I just returned from my wife’s family reunion in New Harmony Utah.  No I’m not kidding; it’s a real name, and a real feeling.

Having been an only child, and one with older parents at that, this is a serious change from my day to day life.  Being able to have an internet business, and being a writer, one is afforded a degree of personal freedom that is unequalled.  I get to go where I want, do what I want any time I want to, and have my friends over or visit them when I want, but it’s all on my terms.  My life is quite organized.  When it’s time to shop the stops are all planned sequentially and the timing is such that the stores are usually quite empty.  Shopping in the morning (right after the commute dies down)  allows me to skip the traffic jams, not have to wait in long check-out lines, and generally avoid people.

This “planning” and organization went out the door the second we got to the airport.  The only two airports that grant access to New Harmony are Salt Lake City, about 4 hours away, and Las Vegas, about 3 hours away.

We chose the latter.  Despite the hedonistic appeal of the city to foreigners to gamble, drink, and purchase sex, Las Vegas is to me a quintessential arm pit.  After the obligatory visit to the Bellagio fountains, the city seems to run out of charm quickly, and have that replaced with street barkers handing out whore trading cards amid the rubble of a shabby tinsel town drowning in its own excrement.  There are other places to “party” and certainly other attractions around the area, but the “strip” doesn’t hold up well if you stray off a block or two, or have to behold it in daylight.

In three hours we went from 2,001 feet to 5,800 and that was among the least of the changes.  The skank of the bowels of Vegas yielded to the amazing desert and Zion Park.  The painted rocks and canyons were an absolutely stunning contrast to the city behind, and we quickly lost the hurried frustrated feeling and began to succumb to “vacation mode.”

Upon arrival at our hotel, we were greeted by a few family members (only about 10) milling around the grassy area by the swimming pool, next to the lobby.  It was not clear at the time, but this was to become the family conference room for the next few days.  There were Pace’s flown in from Florida, Denver, Portland, and Chicago.  My wife came from a family of 5 kids, and the families descended on this tiny “Little House on the Prairie” community with the eagerness of a cloud of locusts on a ripe corn field.  After serious deliberation it was decided that the cloud would migrate towards a local Mexican cafeteria.  Every place we descend upon immediately becomes Pace Place.  The kids range from 2 years old to 21, the eldest being my daughter who actually gave up another huge family reunion with her mother’s (we divorced a few years ago) side of the family.  The entourage of the Robert Leslie Pace “posterity” numbered 21 folks for this event, so getting everybody to agree on anything is nothing short of a miracle, but it gets done.

We held golf tournaments, the great 5K “Pace Race” the morning of the reunion, had the reunion itself, visited local aunts, parents, grandparents, and cousins, had a family softball game, field trip to Kolob canyon with another fairly long jaunt, and visited the family ranch and graveyard, all with absolutely minimal planning and discussion.  There was barely any dissent, actually none among the family, and a minimal amount from the resident “only child.”  Things didn’t go according to plan, because there basically wasn’t one.  Dinner, save for the structured events, seemed to simply occur.  The plans for breakfast got botched the first day, but we all got fed.  Nobody seemed to keep track of which kids were riding with whom, to what destination, but in the end everybody arrived safe and happy.  The girls all got along great.  My 21 year old daughter became the “pied piper” of the younger cousins, a role identical to that she would assume when she returned home and drove up to Pine Mountain Lake to be with her Mom’s family of 20 or so.

The weekend ended with an impromptu Fourth of July parade, the time actually not set until the passing thunder storm could be assessed, and a carnival on the baseball field at the end of the street.  It wasn’t clear who paid for all the prizes for the kids, but it’s a pretty small community (population 190 as of 2000) and they take care of each other.

On the way back in the plane there was a young adult that thought it would be a great idea if he plopped his head in the window to watch the landing, and make sure that nobody else could.  It seemed odd to observe the “it’s all about me” attitude that can be the mantra of so many.  It is my sincere hope that the feeling of community and family love that has been my experience this weekend, can linger a bit in my day to day life and help me to live it a bit more skillfully.

Thank you Mary for sharing your beautiful family with me.


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