Friday, September 11, 2015

There was good on 9/11

September 11, 2001, was quite a day in our history.  It was the day that we knew we would never forget.  It was a day that challenged the very fiber of our Nation's being.  It was a day that I remember almost minute by minute.

I remember sitting and wondering how calculated were these attacks, are they going to fly a plane into Pantex.  I thought this, and looking back what a shallow thing to think about in a moment of hysteria.  My mind went to me.  I even chided myself  at that moment. There were going to be thousands of families who would have empty seats at the dinner table that evening and forever. Families were going to grieve, and here I was, worried about my safety.  I remember having this internal dialogue with myself while I sat and watched the buildings fall in complete horror.

I found myself seeing the world differently, and fully all in the same time.  I could no longer feel like this isolated person who didn't care about others.  Because, I certainly did care about others.  I cared deeply for others.  My heart was hurting.  My soul wept for the families, for the broken and lost families.

This was the moment.  This was the moment that, what I am today, began.  I watched up on the TV the comradery of our nation.  I saw us united by tragedy,  Churches overflowing with people.  The connectedness and love being seen.  Everyone feeling like it was our duty to appreciate our neighbors.  We felt the melting pot of humanity was the tie that bound us together.  We were a strong nation that day and the months after.  We could not have been a more solid people.  There was an electrical current or love that seemed to keep us sane in the midst of an insane time.

We were intentional in our outpouring of support for our nation.  It was a time when there was a sense that we could accomplish anything.  We were united for a brief moment in history.

I loved that 9/11 brought that out in us.  What the heck happened.  We could not be more divided, and divisive.  We have gone back to throwing stones and being total jerks to one another.

It didn't take long, but those brief moments have shaped me, some would  say naively, into the person I am.  I believe we can work together to solve the problems that plague our society.  I think we can do it.  I believe it because we did.  We just have to get past ourselves to do so.

That's what changed our nation.  We thought of others even before ourselves.

Let's go back to that moment in September and discover ourselves again.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

#ClaireMusings: women in society

Since becoming a father of a little girl, I see the world very different.  I see what society is telling our daughters, and who they would like to mold them to be.  It's sickening.  Women/girls are hated by society, and we buy into it like it's an actual reality.

Women are strong.  Women are tough.  Women are equal to men.  Those are not the statements that we hear in our culture.  We typically hear that women are property or are less than men.  It's just really disgusting.  It happens in The Church even more than I think we realize, but then again aren't wives supposed to submit to their husbands?  I mean it's like the ladies can't get empowered or see their worth from anywhere. I was so proud of my Pastor that past weekend when he said, "Women and men are equal, God created them from one another."   That seems like it should be common knowledge, but it's not and that's why I am so proud of that statement.

We have a Presidential candidate that has said some repulsive things about women. I mean, has said the most misogynistic things, and is leading in the polls.  IS LEADING, by a HUGE MARGIN!  We start to believe when we follow blindly.

Today I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and saw this little gem:

This is a local high-priced boutique in Amarillo Texas.  It's usually associated with fashion brands, but today the store just didn't choose wisely.  Just what I want to get my daughter for Back To School; socks with self-proclaiming  character flaws. Having my daughter wear these like a banner, telling the world that she's a brat or trashy... is well trashy. 

You can look any number of places and see how devalued our society from every angle tells our girls how to look, how to dress, and how little worth they have.  It's up to us, dads included, to make sure we don't let the world tell our daughters who/why they are, but we must fight against the grain to ensure our daughters have a platform that will propel them to their individual excellentness.  

Friday, August 07, 2015

It's not about downtown

If you live in Amarillo, it's been quite a show at the City Council lately.  I mean, it's like watching the Real Housewives of Amarillo.  The cat fights, backbiting, name-calling, pandering, and puppetry has just gotten ridiculous.

The storm started as the plans for the catalyst projects to create a place to go and things to do in Amarillo.  Everything was going great, it's been over 10 years of planning until the news of a ballpark was unveiled.  Actually, it's being called an MPEV (Multi-Purpose Event Venue).  It is so needed in our community.  The critics claim it's just a ballpark... It's more.  The other two projects are a convention hotel and a parking garage.  The convention hotel is a much-needed space.  There is no facility in Amarillo to have a large (200+ people) convention. There is also nothing for them to do, in the off chance that someone wants to host a large convention with crazy transportation requirements, once they get here.  It has all just been a big mess, and very divisive,

Both sides of the issue point to other with accusations of being owned by donors and those that stand to make money on the downtown development.  Personally, I think the new councilmen are owned.  And I will tell you why.

What I am about to say might sound a little conspiracy theory-esque, but please know I do not subscribe that way of thinking.

But, mark these words:  I just observed some things, heard some things, and see who the puppeteers are and what their goals are.

(1) The MPEV is a vehicle to a large goal.  The goals are to stir up division and strife within the citizens of Amarillo.  ( I think it's safe to say that's working.  I have never seen people in Amarillo be so mean to each other)

(2) Perpetuate the strife.  You will see the strife and divisiveness continue.  Downtown revitalization is the vehicle.

(3) A new leader will be platformed.  One of the newly elected city officials will become the new mega-star and will run in the next mayoral election.  I bet you can guess who.  Watch and see how 2 of the new councilmen are creating antics while the other has public decorum (at least publically).  Research who was new candidate's campaign staff.

(4) Councilman becomes mayor.  This is where the plan is a gamble.  But if they platform and discontentment grows this is the next step.

(5) The push for single-member districts.  This is the final goal. I am sure you are asking why?  How does this benefit them?  It doesn't if you look at it with rationale.  Progress is never made or wielded when you divide the power.  Look at Congress.  The people that want single-member districts are behind the new councilmen. The main reason is power.  Never underestimate the power of bitter loser.

Yes it's a big plan, and yes I could be wrong, but look into this stuff.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

bread is essential

In my work, I am always seeing the world through two different channels of help.  I see the most well intentions folks who are really just wanting to make sure the crowd is taken care of with their help. A group of concerned citizens who are part of something larger than themselves. It's always intriguing to see even in the smallest towns in the Texas Panhandle. It's a vantage point where I can see the very best of people.  It feels like such an honor to see these things.

I was visiting a pantry and I was talking with the director and he shared with me that they have been doing this for over 35 years.  I asked what is the biggest misconception people have about what you do?  He immediately went into a story about how when he first started he would get so mad because there were people who would get help and not say thank you.  He said, "If I was in their shoes I know I would say thank you to those helping me."  I was puzzled and it must have registered with him because he just blurted out,  "No, I realized I had just put the wrong expectation on them."  He explained that after a while the people would come back and they ones who didn't say thank you, or seem grateful, would begin to make sure they were heard.  They would go to every volunteer and thank them personally.

He realized just what was happening.  When they had first come to the pantry they were in survival mode.  They were so desperate to meet the needs of their families that they could only just do that. Their needs had put blinders on them. They were obviously grateful, but they were just so focused. Later, as their emergency situation became less desperate they could see things they were blinded to earlier.

How many times have we helped someone and got offended because they didn't seem grateful enough?  I know I have, and after hearing this perspective it's majorly shifted my thoughts.  When you help, just do that.... HELP. If you think the person is ungrateful, and you get offended I think we miss something.  I think we should question our motives.  There are people so desperate that they can't see anything but surviving.

There is a great quote from Gandhi that has always made me think, "There are some people in this world that are so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."

If we meet people's physical needs, it opens them up to spiritual ones.  I think in the arc of life, invested time after time in others is befitting our intentions.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Your Voice, Your Choice

I read an article the other day.  It was a pretty devastating look at Texas' voter turnout. (

Yeah, this is my, you better vote, blog.

Texas is dead last in voter turnout.  Actually we are 51st.  How is this possible? Well, EVEN Puerto Rico votes better than us.  This is the one and only thing I HATE about Texas. It is actually embarrassing when you think about what 26 million people could accomplish if all of them voted.

I know what you're thinking.... But Broc, it's not even a Presidential election year.  You are right, but you need to understand that this is the biggest swing in Texas politics in 14 years.  Rick Perry has been Governor since 2000.  The Governor appoints state agencies.  If I were a teacher I'd be sure to vote because the Governor will appoint the head of the TEA.  With a new Governor, even if it's a Republican, there will be a new head appointed.  Even if the Republicans keep the Governors seat there will be many changes to the state.

Also, David Dewhurst has been Lieutenant Governor since 2013.  These are the two top Texas elected officials and they've been the same for over a decade.   This shift will affect all aspects of the politics of Texas.  It is my belief, that state politicians affect you more than federal ones do.  Yes, the Federal government makes laws but the state politicians interpret how those laws affect you.

You can see that voting this year has consequences.

If we don't vote we are giving our voice, our say, our rights, to someone else.  I love watching the women in Iraq vote. They know how important and significant it is because they know what it's like not to have the right.  We have the right, YET, are just too lazy to do so.


Monday, September 29, 2014

A Year of Claire-ity

I am sitting in our living room reminiscing with my wife, Kaylee, about the past year.  What a year. Why? Because this is the year that we became parents to the most amazing little girl who stole our hearts, named Claire Jewel.

I will be honest, I have always been fearful of being a parent.  I think it comes from my childhood and dysfunction I grew up in. I knew too much how the families can affect children, and especially parents to children.  Fear gripped me when Kaylee came bouncing down the hall to tell me we were pregnant with Claire.  Fear paralyzed me, it gripped me, it had me in it's vice.

Then I decide to just have faith.  Yes, there are times when I worry about things, like  how I respond to my sweet little girl.  I have fear that I will become like my past.  Then I let it go.  It's not easy, but faith never is.

By the time Claire was set to be born, I had started to see that just because I had known a way it didn't mean it was the only way it had to be. I can honestly say the fear of the past was lifted off of me.  I really enjoyed the last few minutes of our family being just the two of us.  

Then Claire was here.  She was screaming at the top of her lungs while enduring the Apgar tests. Not really knowing what to do, I just started talking to her.  "Hey, little girl, you're okay." BOOM, she stopped crying and looked over at me.  I turned to tell Kaylee just how precious she was.  She screamed louder than before. I turned and said, "Hey sweetheart, you are okay,"  She stopped crying and turned her head towards me.  She knew my voice and it brought her peace.  I felt the tear roll down my cheek.  This was surely God's way of showing me everything was going to be alright. She was comforted by my speech.  The world stopped and at the moment she had me wrapped around her little fingers.

The first two weeks of her life were, well, the hardest thing I have ever endured. Anxiety filled my every minute.  I mean between the new schedule, the amount of concern over pooping or not pooping, is she getting enough milk when nursing, is she staying awake while nursing, is she crying because she's hungry, is she crying because she's in pain, is it gas, are we missing something, is she at her birth weight, as she lost weight, and all those terrifying things .  I had taken off work for two weeks so I could "help" Kaylee.  I am pretty sure other than waking for a few minutes during late night feedings to talk to her, I wasn't much help.  Actually, I felt helpless. I couldn't do anything than change a diaper, a lot of the responsibility was squarely on Kaylee's shoulders.  She accepted the challenge and did so amazing.  I cannot express how proud I am of Kaylee and how great of a mother she is.  She really earned her cape as superwomen.
We fell in love with her. Although, all she did was eat, poop, and cry, we knew we had something special.  That something grew and grew.  She smiled at us, and acknowledged us, and was comforted by us.  This year I learned a lot about why people do this parenting thing.  I also learned a lot about myself.  Kaylee and I's daily conversation now include dialogue about poop and if Claire has had enough of them for the day. We talk an awfully lot about poop.  Really, is rather bazaar how much of our talk is about poop.

I learned also why mommy blogs are so popular and why they are so dangerous.  Usually a mom "discovers" that she's the great mom since Mary herself and they espouses her views on a blog, and in-so-doing effectively making all other mothers feel inadequate Also there are a lot of moms who are judgmental.  "You aren't breastfeeding?"  Is the new,  "You are a terrible mom."  The mommy shaming is ridiculous, and mothers should calm down and realize that there is not just one way to raise a child.   It's like no one can do anything right.  This is the only negative that I can recount from the year.

Sitting up, crawling, and then walking.  These three phases should come with an instruction manual.  I mean, it's like the craziest time, but fun all at the same time.  Then little Claire said, "dada." I thought, if she only knew how much power she had when she says that, she could take over the world, well maybe just get anything she ever wanted from me.

I can't tell you how much I love being her dad. It's just the best.  The first year didn't lack in troubles but it never lacked in love.  I realized throughout the entire process that all the fears I had were really unfounded, and that I love this little girl named Claire like none other! And my wife is literally superwomen. Life. Is. Good.

There is a song  that is a Schoolhouse Rocks song, that I have always loved. I will leave you with it.   Three oh, it's the magic number... A man and women had a little baby, there is three in the family, and it's the magic number.    

Monday, August 11, 2014

#ClaireMusings: Why I am not teaching my daughter "modest is hottest"

Ten months or so ago I became a father to a precious little girl. Her name is Claire Jewel, and she's been getting me to thinking a lot.  I have started to see the world in a very different way than I think I did before she was born.  It's just some of what churches and Christian based organizations are teaching girls seems to be quite flawed.  When I say the Church, I am not talking about any one church but Christian culture in America.

One of those things is teaching our daughters that "Modest is Hottest." Looking at that, it looks like a great statement, and that we should teach our daughters that being modest is appropriate, but that's not what this is saying. This is not the purpose of this "cute" little rhyme in my opinion.

We live in a very sexualized world.  Women and girls face a world where their worth is put into how "pretty" "beautiful" "sexy" the package is, and how they get what they want based on looks and appearance. We live in a culture that says if a women isn't pretty, by a photoshopped standard in the latest women's magazine or fashion brand's latest advertising,  then she isn't valuable, and even farther, she isn't worth our time.

See I believe that the teaching that modest is hottest came from a very genuinely good place.  I can see someone using the culture of the world to sell modesty to little girls who are exposed to what the world is doing to women through images of perfection.  I can see it's origins.  I can see a counter-culture trying to make sense of the current culture.

My beef with modest is hottest is that it's STILL sexualizing women!  It says, you still need to be hot, but modest at the same time. I believe that the teaching modesty is important, but based on teaching girls the VALUE of themselves.  I think my daughter is valuable because she is, not because of what she looks like.  When you say modest is hottest it's cheapening the worth of her, her intelligence, her abilities, and her as a human.

You shouldn't fight fire with fire.  You should use the current culture as an example but not in agreement.  My daughter is valuable, not because of what she looks like, but because she was created by a God full of love! We may not have control over how the world works or how it portrays women and girls, but we do have the ability to provide truth in the midst of chaos.  We have to teach our daughters from as early as possible to value themselves and to be examples; while addressing and exposing what's going on around them at the same time.