I feel like I notice the comfort of my dog the most when I’m feeling emotionally down.

Today as I sat in my office chair I felt lonely. My little dog Missy came walking into my office timidly, scanning my face.

In a subtle, yet sing-songy voice I said, “Hi Missy!”

Immediately she came and sat at my feet.

As soon as I started to say her name with more enthusiasm, with the intent of telling her to jump into my lap, she leaped up into me with overwhelming excitement. It’s like she had been waiting all day for me to call her up into my lap.

And in my moment of aloneness, Missy helped me to feel gratitude more deeply. Because I am thankful for this little animal which/who is constantly a reminder to me of the mystery of life and of science and of our universe.




Remembering the Journeys

Usually our girls are allowed to sleep in on Saturdays until about 10:30 am. Sometimes however, they get to go home for the weekend or for most of a day to spend time with their families. When this happens, they usually get up before 10:30, which means that I get some rare one on one time with them as they make breakfast and get ready to get picked up for their visit.

These times are special to me because I often get to have very real conversations with them. Yesterday was a prime example of that for me.

As one of my girls was waiting for her mom to come pick her up for the day she told me much of her mom’s story, and therefore much of her own. I can’t provide revealing details publicly, but I can say that her life’s story was full of struggle and perseverance.

I hope one day she is able to publicly tell her story. It’s a powerful one, and she’s a great storyteller.

But her story was a very good reminder of the stories and the journeys these girls carry with them each day. We have high expectations for each one of our girls, as we should, but sometimes it’s good to remember where they’s come from and how they got here.

Finally Friday


Tomorrow Sarah and I have our weekend off. (We get one weekend off a month.) It’s felt like a very long month, so we are really looking forward to tomorrow. On top of that, my mom is going to watch our boys for the weekend so that Sarah and I can have a nice weekend with each other without having to worry about the boys.

Our best friends here at Boys Town also have the weekend off, so we are going to get together on Saturday evening for a double date night out. This is the first time we’ve been able to do this, so it should be pretty nice!


One of my goals since starting to wake up with the boys and writing is that I’ll also take time to write letters or postcards to friends and family. I am not too bad at writing letters to people. But for whatever reason, I am horrible at making sure I get the letter or postcard into the mail.

So my goal should not simply be writing letters, but making sure to get the letter in the mail within 24 hours. I have a letter a wrote a dear friend of mine who was about to have a baby. It was a letter of encouragement as she prepares for her little one to arrive. And I didn’t get the letter in the mail. Time went by and she had the baby! And I didn’t get the letter in the mail in time.

I’ll still send the old letter, but I need to make sure to write a follow up to her and her family as well.


Today is our citizenship ceremony on campus. It’s the time when the new youth on campus swear in as “citizens of Boys Town.” They talk about behaviors they plan to work on and improve on campus and about what they are like about Boys Town thus far. It’s kind of a neat thing for them because they get provided lunch and after the ceremony they get to go into the gift shop to choose a Boys Town shirt or sweatshirt to be able to wear to various events or activities.

Two of our girls are swearing in today. So they’ll get dressed up and we’ll get dressed up to hear them swear in. After the ceremony they’ll also receive a certificate that we frame and put up next to their rooms in our home.


Today is the second Friday of lent, which means no meat. Cooking is sometimes a hassle on lenten Fridays, so a number of the girls’ houses get together on Fridays for a potluck. They play games. They all hang out together. It’s a fun time for everyone, and it makes each Friday during lent go very quickly and something for the girls to look forward to rather than being bummed their not eating any meat.


Every Friday I take the girls who had a good week to a late night trip to Taco Bell. That means they had to complete every homework assignment, they couldn’t have had any major behavioral problems at home or at school. This works as a surprisingly good motivator for our girls. In fact, one of our newest girls talks about it constantly as a reason why she wants to have a good week.

During lent it isn’t as much fun because they can’t have any meat, but I like to joke that they could still have anything on the menu because whatever Taco Bell uses isn’t truly meat.

Marathon Days

Yesterday was a marathon day. Once a month each girl in our home has a team meeting. A team meeting is where we meet with a girl and all her supports – her family, her PO, her GAL, her therapist, our consultant, and any other supports that might be involved in her life.

Yesterday we had five of those meetings.

Also, the girls didn’t have school because of their conferences. So I met with each one of their teachers and talked about their behaviors in class and about their effort and grades.

I met with a lot of teachers.

Micah has been throwing progressively worse and worse tantrums each day when he has to get dressed for school. Yesterday’s was so bad that Sarah didn’t know if she was even going to be able to get him dressed in time to get on the bus. It took me coming home in a rush from the conferences and practically forcing clothes on Micah to be able to get him dressed. And even then he kept saying over and over that he didn’t want to go to school.

He eventually got on the bus and got to school. But it was a struggle and a half.

With the girls home from school we had to feed them lunch and have tasks and work for the girls who were in trouble and had lost their privileges for the day.

That actually takes up a good amount of energy.

We were down a good amount of ingredients for the house, and so Sarah took all the girls as well as our assistant to go to the store. I stayed home with the boys. It takes a while to go shopping for a family of 13 (if you count our assistant).

One fun thing about the day is that my cheap little lens adapter for my Fuji camera came in today. So I can now use my favorite 50mm F1.7 manual lens from my Pentax on my Fuji. Really makes it fun to shoot with my manual lens again.

I went out last night with my friend Jeff after a long day. It is so nice to have a friend to go out with every week to debrief and unwind. It makes me better at my job and it makes  me a better person.

Big Wooden Desk

When I was a little, before my brother was born, my dad’s office was the bedroom next to mine. I remember waking up early, probably around 5:30 or so, to see the light in the office on. Often I’d wake up and shuffle over to my dad’s office door. I’d carefully crack open the door to see my dad sitting at his computer working on something. To me, the computer just looked like a black screen with lots of letters and words on it, and his keyboard click and clacked loudly. There was often the smell of coffee wafting through the room. A smell that I grew to associate with my dad. I would quietly walk in and ask if I could sit next to him. He would always say I could sit next to him if I was quiet. And so I would pull up an old chair and simply sit next to him as he typed away on his computer. I just wanted to be close to my dad. It didn’t matter if I knew what he was doing.

He worked at a large wooden desk that he had always had, as far I as knew. Over the years the computers changed, but the desk they sat on remained. The desk made it through moves from various homes in Nebraska to two different homes in Indiana. I have no idea the brand or even the quality, but I remember it being big. When you opened the side door of the cabinet, it had a distinctive wood smell about it on the inside. I can smell it even now as I think about it.

No matter where the desk was, my dad hung many of the same photos and art above it. A couple baby pictures of me. A poster of Pete Townshend (that always kind of creeped me out), and a photo of my dad’s dad smoking a pipe in front of a back-lit window. An iconic Seaman family photo.


I always liked being with my dad in his various offices. It’s clear even in the time before I have memories I spent a lot of time with my dad at his desk. When I went through my family photo album quite a few years ago I found a number of photos of me with him at that desk.

So it’s unsurprising to me that as an adult I’ve had a deep-seated desire to have an office of my own with a nice big, wooden desk.


Yesterday, Sarah the boys and I went out to Nebraska Furniture Mart to look at desks. There were a few that stood out to me. I went there knowing that I wanted one made of wood. Not that cheap particle board stuff that might look nice for a few minutes before it disintegrates after a couple months of use.

I looked at a number of great desks. But one stood out to me from the beginning. I remember thinking that it reminded me of my sister’s desk that she had gotten quite a few years ago. It’s a sturdy oak desk with drawers on both sides. Not too big. Not too small. Just right. The goldilocks desk.

Sarah and I determined we would not make any decisions that day and come back another time before we were to purchase it. After we returned home I texted my sister and asked her to send me a picture of her desk. Sure enough, the desk that I caught my attention at the furniture store is the same desk that my sister has.

That seems fitting for many reasons. The beds that my sons sleep on were my set of bunk beds when I was a kid. They’re sturdy Ethan Allen oak bunk beds, clearly built to last. My brother used them for much of his childhood, and then my sister used them when she moved out of the house. And now my own children have them.

Me, sitting in my bunk beds on my sixth birthday.

My sister also has the same Amish-made oak side table that my dad got us when we were kids. We both still have them (although I’ve had to glue the drawer back together because my sons are destructive forces of nature).

Sarah and I determined we’d hold off on getting the desk for now even though I’m very sure it’s the desk I want because we can’t really afford it at the moment. But when we can, we will. There’s something about that having that desk seems extremely peace-giving to me. The idea of finally having an office with a nice big wooden desk where I work and type on my computer at 5:30 am seems to complete an unfinished circle for me.


Giving up or Giving in?

This past Saturday my two boys, age 3 and 5, made a mess of epic proportions in our kitchen. There are no words to describe the apocalyptic level of desecration and destruction that occurred. This is what I was referencing in my previous post as “the adventure.” But I still cannot describe the event because, well, I just can’t. Emotionally. I just can’t.

But what the adventure has triggered is a number of resolutions of life changes.

In general recently I have been more reflective. I’ve been reading a number of books. I’ve been listening to a lot of great podcasts. I’ve been journaling more. I’ve been trying to be present throughout the moments of my days.

I am a person who enjoys ritual. Honestly, not religious ritual all that much, but like rituals that become almost religious (because everything is spiritual). Things like making coffee. Or showering at a certain time. Or journaling. Or making a certain type of breakfast. I like those sorts of morning rituals. But I’ve convinced myself that I like my fake sort of sleep/rest in the morning where I wake up at 5:30 when my boys do, and then go between checking my phone every few minutes and trying to get a few minutes of sleep in. But it’s not restful and the posts I read aren’t insightful or helpful to my health in any way. I’ve made a ritual out of this, but it’s not life giving at all.

I’m already up for the most part by 5:30. There’s no reason to stay in bed and look at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram over and over while drifting asleep when the boys are in the next room playing or getting into mischief.

So I give up. Or is it that I give in?

I am giving up on the social media morning routine and deciding to make my ritual more life-giving and helpful to my overall health. I’m already up. I might as well make use of that time to be reflective and productive.

I’m always thinking about writing. Always trying to notice the metaphors and parables around me. But I rarely take the time to write, and it’s really too bad.

So as of the last two days I’ve started the new routine and ritual of getting up and being with my boys as I either write or read. Not Facebook or Instagram, but an actual book. An actual journal.

For some reason I have it in my head that I won’t fully be able to do this until I have a desk at which to write. Currently I have a table that has my computer on it. And my pens and things. But it’s not a desk made of solid wood. Something warm and inviting. Something that makes me want to write.

I am giving in to the desires of my heart to be thoughtful and to write. To make my morning rituals meaningful.

I am giving up on trying to protect my image or the perception of who I am. I avoid confrontation most of the time with nearly anyone, especially in the professional setting. I avoid telling certain stories that perhaps makes me look not the greatest. I am constantly thinking about what other people think of me. But I’m kind of done with doing that. It takes too much energy. And it’s not good for me in the long run. It makes it so I slow down my own personal growth.

When I feel happy or joyful about something, I’ll say so.
When I feel sad or angry about something, I’ll say so.
When I feel miserable or worn out about something, I’ll say so.

Today I think I’ll head over to the furniture store to look at some desks. Maybe even a futon. I spent all day organizing and cleaning out a room that we had been using for storage so that it can now serve as a reading room, an office, and a second guest bedroom. That room is going to be my sacred space for morning ritual and reflection.

Five Senses: in the cactus room

Touch: There’s cool air coming in from the vent above me. I feel it on my skin. It makes me long for spring to finally get here and stay here. We’ve had really dark and gloomy days these past couple weeks, and it makes it so we can’t send the kids outside to play on the playground. It makes our days off harder too because then we’re stuck inside with not much to do. I look forward to feeling the sun on my skin and the cool breeze of the spring air. My favorite kind of weather is a day with lots of warm sunlight, but with a cool steady breeze.

Taste: I’m drinking coffee right now, and it actually tastes pretty good overall. Usually the morning coffee from the coffee maker isn’t very good. But I think it’s very much influenced by what I ate for breakfast and how tired I am. I had some cinnamon toast crunch this morning, which is pretty much the unanimous favorite cereal of the girls, and I think the cinnamon taste left my mouth prepped and ready to go for whatever kind of garbage coffee I might put into my body.

See: Right now I am sitting in the room that has the most light. It has the most life. It is the most welcoming room in our home. In front of three large windows we have a ledge with all sorts of succulents and cacti. I love this room. It brings me peace.

While I say that though I read and saw a video of some horrible atrocities in Syria with people being gassed and killed by their own government. Again. It’s just the worst thing. And I just don’t know how to process it. My brain and heart are too full to know how to even address it. That’s not even to mention trying to figure out how I categorize events like these theologically.

I know that people I respect also struggle to know what to do with events like this too:

Smell: Although I don’t smell anything specific right now, I am reminded that I can take a moment to breathe in a long, slow breath. To stop and reflect. I am sitting in the middle of the United States of America. I’m safe. How greatly has that shaped my perceptions about God, the Bible, and my faith? What would my faith look right now if I were in Syria?

Hear: The house is quiet. Micah is at school. Ezra is in the back with Sarah. I am sitting alone and I am enjoying this time. I hear trucks pass out the window from time to time, but otherwise it is very quiet.

Emotion: Right now I am feeling tender. I am not particularly happy, nor am I particularly sad. I’m sensitive. News stories about Trump, North Korea, Syria, etc. easily sway my mood and my heart right now.

After thinking for a while and looking at resources on suffering and things, I saw this great video about the book of Job.