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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cupcake Funtime!

Gotta cut loose every now and then!! 

My friends took the opportunity last weekend to sled down a ridiculously steep hill behind the village and no one was killed or seriously injured. Why not push the limit?  

This weekend we gathered up a few rickety sleds, my snowboard, a toboggan, and a borrowed snogo for a romp up the hill we call "Cupcake."It didn't end well for all of us, but it was fun. 

Check it out:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

...I Took the One Less Traveled By.

"The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears." ~ David Whyte

If you could do anything, and I mean anything, what would you do for a "living"?

I thought about this last week after watching a video that has probably made it to your Facebook wall at some point. It basically says that we are all spinning our wheels in this rat race we call Modern America, the American Dream, etc... Nothing new there, of course, but what caught my attention was the vehicle in which this drama perpetuates itself: our children.

As an educator I fear that I have lied to numerous students about the character of Woodrow Wilson, denied them the truth of the Civil War, and exaggerated the importance of the dropping nuclear bombs at the end of WWII. Shame rolls over me as I learn new facts from first hand resources and an overwhelming urge to burn the propaganda generally referred to as history textbooks of the last 40 years.  I fear the thought of reentering a classroom. I fear my day of judgement the the summary of all that I have taught and believed. Yet I relish the chance to get in front of students and teachers alike.

I realize now that teaching is one of the hardest things a person could ever do. Standing in front of adults is tough, don't get me wrong. Been there, done that (do that). But the responsibility of carrying on the traditions and values of a society is something beyond profound. Will I maintain the status quo? Will I do something different from everyone else with their life and that of their family?

I guess I can't answer these questions just yet, but I will continue the quest. I want the Truth. Capital T, as in His Truth... I will find my center. I will do great things. I will be different. In the foreseeable future I will continue to be an agent of change for the Lower Yukon School District. "Two roads" will soon "diverge" and I hope that I will make the right decision. I'll keep you all posted on contracts for the next year, but until then I am 100% on board and ready for anything!

Living in western Alaska affords one a great deal of time to think. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the mind of Bush Sam.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Doubt & Success

"I think every man is asked by the world to do something he doubts he can be."

~John Eldredge

Every now and again I get down on myself and I think: "What makes me so special?" It's terrible, I know! The truth is that nagging doubt is part of life, part of the world we live in, part of the spiritual battle within us all. For every man that succeeds there are ten that fail. We are all told we can't. You can't win, can't be better than that guy, can't be smarter, can't... can't... can't. Then there is that moment when you decide you will. You just do it. Here is my life. 

My only fear is that I will not act heroically, passionately, or bravely when the time comes. This fear causes me to act in extremes sometimes. This extreme behavior is not always a good thing though. Extreme behavior in life leads to addiction and debt. In hopes of removing myself from these addictions and the slave-state we call the American Dream I constantly look for the newest way to alternately deprive and spoil myself. I move to the Bush to live frugally, then take frequent vacations. I have always enjoyed testing myself and finding new limits (1 Cor 9:27).

Like most things in life, moderation is the key. In terms of relationships I recently had a conversation with a friend about the pursuit of women with too much... um... passion. Frequently such vigor in pursuit of objects or ideas is a reflection of something that is missing in life or is related to a weakness of some kind. Basically an addiction to objects, feelings, or states of mind. Too often male friends fall into a trap of self-deception in which they fill a "hole" in their life with money (workaholic), intimacy (sexual addictions), or substances (drugs/alcohol). By friends mentioned above, I am of course talking about myself and men in general. 

Can I break this cycle and find personal success? Doubtful. Will I do it anyway? Absolutely

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lions and Boys

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and I seek to recenter myself. Always a good idea, reflection on one's life should be ongoing and with clear goals in mind. My moral and ethical "yardstick"is the Bible and I am a Christian man. All this being said I have a wealth of experiences, mostly failures, to draw from. I am far from perfect, really tiptoeing the line on "good guy," but I think I have a descent grasp on my reality. Here's what I think about myself, my life, and maybe men in general.

Men in the Biblical sense are to subdue the Earth, be fruitful, and multiply. From the biological perspective, boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Through the lens of emotions, I am cold and callous compared to most of the women in my life. Physically I am 230 lbs, 6 ft 4 inches, energetic, and tough as nails. I kill things, eat raw red meat, love to be dirty, and bench 325 lbs on good days. I jump out of planes, swim with sharks, love mixed martial arts, and can be very dangerous at times. I am a man.

Here is my problem then. I am a man. I am expected to be something else, though. I am expected to be sensitive, sit calmly in classrooms, not get "fired up" about guy-stuff, sports, and traffic.  I often were a tie, slacks, and gel my hair when I would much rather be shirtless and playing outside. I am not allowed to hit anyone, wrestle, and drive fast. Gentle, meek, safe, and even feminine, this is what I am told to be.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Fight Club, and yes the book is great, too, but the movie gives you the visual I enjoy so very much. In the movie, there is a scene with Tyler (Brad Pitt) and The Narrator (Edward Norton) in a grungy bathroom spitting out teeth. Tyler say to The Narrator, "If you could fight anyone in the world, who would it be?" The conversation goes on to uncover a wish to fight his (their) father. Tyler goes on to describe what is wrong with society and specifically men:

  • Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering... an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s**t we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Tyler describes men today as a boys raised by their mothers, and I agree. Politeness not power, dainty not dangerous, this is how I describe my upbringing. I am not a child, though, nor feminine. I am the masterpiece of my Creator and modeled after him. C. S. Lewis put it best when describing Aslan (God), "Safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he is good."

I am not safe. I am a lion.

I am wild, dangerous, and quick to anger at times. I am violent in my heart, though rarely permitted by my peers to express it. I am strong and daring. I am to be feared and I do indeed fear myself. I am not safe. But I will be good.