Minification is an Art

Life in 140


I wanted to re-launch sooner than this. Seriously I did. I wanted to come back here and with my first post tell you about how I have been intricately planning every minor detail of the new blog. How I was working tirelessly for months choosing the right design, picking the typefaces, planning the structure, setting up guest bloggers, filming YouTube videos, and lining up sponsors.

I wanted my website to become huge and make my mark on the dad blogger world. A Canadian magazine on life and culture, yes I could be king. If only there were not things called kids, bills, and life. That pesky threesome always gets in the way of my best plans.  So there I sat one day, completely overwhelmed at the scope of what I wanted to do vs. what I could do. I often face this crossroad in my life and I bet if you look deeply inside you can relate on some level. I tend to over commit and try to go big. I want to do something I have the intthe best at it and I focus all of my attention and energy in its direction until the wheels start falling off everywhere else.

Sitting in a pit of hopelessness and anxiety I decided to just downsize! Why do I need to launch into a huge overly designed magazine utopia for modern day living when I just want to write? Perhaps someday the time will come to expand but for now could I just be happy being minimal and just write? I have thoughts and ideas that bang around in my head, I think people will appreciate my honesty and transparency and instead of seeking to become some kind of guru and guy people look to, why can’t I just concentrate on being…. me.

Free from the illusion that stuff equals happiness, that more of everything equals content, that upgrading equals filling a void.Free.

It is not just in my writing that I have decided to minimize. I am doing it with everything.

I have an unhealthy desire to make lists and really I don’t need an excuse to make one so here it goes.

WAYS I HAVE MINIMIZED MY LIFE. (If I had not minimized, this would be a graphic)

1. Downgrading my camera gear to the point where I can just get the job done.

2. Getting rid of tech that controls my life.

3. Spending much less time on the computer.

4. Examining my wants vs. needs list much closer.

5. Stripping Life in 140 to a personal blog from a magazine.

Minimizing is different for everyone. It requires sacrifice and is an art form. You have to fight against your own flesh and tell it that you will be better off. Do you really need 6o pairs of shoes? Is that new kitchen gadget going to improve your life? Will that new toy just sit unused in the basement? Once you get in the proper mind-frame and start fighting against yourself to implement it in your life, I promise you will feel… FREE.

Free from the illusion that stuff equals happiness, that more of everything equals content, that upgrading equals filling a void.Free.

Perhaps you won’t get it now or even a month from now. But one day you will look back and survey your choices and you will truly be happy. Your mind will feel spacious and you will be rid of things that likely caused you massive amounts of anxiety and stress.

In the meantime I have thought of a tag line to introduce this space back to the public. Here it is:

LIFEIN140 is back, smaller and lighter than ever.  Will you join me? This will be fun.

What ways have you downsized? Do you have any tips? Comment below!


Why is help so hard to ask for?

Swallowing your pride and asking for help is freeing, liberating, and overwhelmingly stressful all at the same time. It means making yourself vulnerable and showing the world that there are gaping cracks in the face you put on every day. I am not quite sure what the psychological reasons are that people let things go to hell before they reach out but I am going to guess that pride has a starring role.

I learned a lesson from Jeff last summer. I was talking to him at a weekly house-group meeting and he talked about the merits of just allowing people to help you. It is our pride that holds us back. If someone has a gift for us or wants to bless us then they are doing so because they want to. Not because they think you are a charity case, or that you can’t handle things on your own, but because they love you!

That summer my wife and I were on the verge of having our power shut off. We reached out for help and asked people to pray for us. We didn’t do it seeking money from anyone but we were just at a breaking point and had to put it out there. People helped us. It took everything within me to ask for help, I felt stupid, unable to provide, and inadequate as a father and husband.

Once I swallowed my pride and aired it out, something strange began to happen. I felt…free. I was holding on to this big financial secret and it was tearing me apart. Telling people about our problem made me feel free and liberated. When friends rallied around us it made us feel loved and humbled. It let our friends in past our exterior and let them see our hearts. There is something special about being vulnerable. I really feel that lives can be changed from a place of vulnerability… but that is a different story for a different day.

Today the story is about a man named Oren. Oren founded a group called “The Dad Bloggers”. We are a group of men who blog about our families and embrace fatherhood full on. I first came into this group last summer and I am not mincing words when I say that it has changed my life profoundly. It is quite a thing to have a group of men you can go to and ask questions without judgement. We laugh, we have fun, we hang out, and sometimes we lean on each other.

On June 3rd 2014 Oren made a blog post titled “Cancer”. In it he details that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer and the prognosis is not good. Oren is an amazing man, father, and husband. It isn’t fair. Cancer is never fair. Oren never had to ask for help because as our leader and friend we knew what we had to do.

A page was set up at Give Forward with an initial goal of $5000 to send Oren and family on a trip to get some family time. The fund now sits at 26k!  The folks at Give Forward have made an incredible challenge to us as Dad Bloggers to help us get the fund up to 30K. For every blog post we write they will donate $25 to the fund. They don’t have to do this for Oren but they are and I am incredibly grateful for that.

It is time for me to get vulnerable and ask you for help. Please go read Oren’s post and then visit the page and give even just 5 dollars. I know you don’t know Oren but imagine if this were you, your husband, your father, your friend. In the grand scheme of things what is 5 dollars? A meal at McDonalds? A large iced coffee? Instead this time your 5 dollars will go to help 2 beautiful children make memories with their father. It will help a wife get away from it all and spend much needed downtime with her husband. I don’t need to beg, we all know the right thing to do.



My Dad, The pioneer.


I learned everything about being a Dad from my Father- A mini essay.

Over the last year I have become friends with a group of men online that like to call themselves Dad Bloggers. We all write, in way or another, about our experience as Fathers. We also have a private group on Facebook where we come together and talk about things. Things like how we are portrayed in the media or issues fathers face like no changing stalls in the bathroom. We use it as a place to joke around and meet other men who are “engaged modern Dads”. We goof around a lot and have a lot of fun and sometimes things get serious. Such as when one of our own was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We all rallied around him and continue to do so because although a lot of us have never met in real life, we are a brotherhood. We are men who want to be great fathers and buck the stereotypes.

Joining this group has taught me a lot about my approach to fatherhood. It also got me thinking about my own father and the way he raised me. In the Dad Blogger group we like to think that the tides are turning for how men think about their children and families. Media would have you believe we are married to our jobs, let our wives handle all of the at home tasks, and that we leave the “mushy” stuff to the Moms. We as engaged fathers are seeking to buck those stereotypes despite some men perpetuating them every day. In joining this group I thought “I am joining a revolution, yes this is the beginning of something new, we are pioneering.”

Then it hit me. I am not pioneering. My Dad was pioneering… MY Dad was engaged modern father.

In an age where it was the norm to let women handle everything HE was bucking the trends. I always remember my father being there. Taking me to work with him on Saturdays, playing with me outside, taking us to Disney when he might not have wanted to go himself, reading stories to me, taking me to my first hockey games, playing ball hockey with me and my friends.

When I was a teenager I always heard from my friends “Your Dad is so cool, my Dad would never do (insert cool thing my Dad took us to or did with us here)”. I actually heard it often. One year there was a travelling concert that had all of my favourite bands in it. Supertones, Pillar, Relient K, John Reuben and Sanctus real. I was 17 and had a the great idea for me and my friends to drive down (6 hours) and go. Trouble was we needed a parent to go with us. First person all of my friends though of? My Dad. My Dad had been taking us down to a big music festival every summer for years so naturally we didn’t even think twice about asking him. And he took us.

He has also taught me a lot about my own life, having character, integrity, being Godly, and raising my own two kids. Every day I find myself saying things he would have said, approaching situations using the same (or close to it) wisdom he would impart. He shaped the way I see the world, see my kids. He taught me to never judge anyone and to always keep an open mind about people’s situations. The best part? He taught me by doing… not by saying.

I am 29 years old now and recently my wife decided to switch her degree so she could go into nursing. We knew it was a sacrifice when she did it and admittedly sometimes it has been hard on us financially emotionally,  and spiritually. But that was expected, it is a sacrifice after all. During some of our hard times financially he has been there. He has fixed my car, bought me new tires, threw me some money for groceries… things he has no idea he has done that have let us step back from the ledge in very trying times. He does it with no expectation of me paying him back, or for seeking any type of praise but because at 29… he is still my Dad.

He is now a grandfather and with no surprise a very engaged one. My kids love him and would often rather be at their house instead of home. How many of us can say we ALWAYS wanted to be at our grandparents? Just last week he messaged me and wanted to take Isaac with him on a day trip to a customers house in a town an hour and half away. The little things.

My Dad taught me everything about being a Dad. I love you Daddy, even when I don’t show it or I act like an idiot, I do. I appreciate everything you do, how you have kept us afloat not because you have a sense of obligation but because you are selfless and love us. You were being a “modern and engaged” father long before it was ever a thing. You are the pioneer.

Happy Fathers Day.

A moment in time

Something about photography that has always fascinated me is its ability to tell vivid and rich stories. 5000 people could view the same image and have 5000 different experiences and emotions.

Today I was going through my vast collection (10,000) images that I had taken over the last year, searching for one that may have missed my eye. As soon as I saw it I stopped. A smile slowly crept its way across my face as I took in the scene before me.

I remember this day well. Nah and Izzy are giddy with anticipation for seeing their favourite Disney Jr. characters come alive in front of them. The joy from the children in the room is palpable, it is a room that you just love to be in because it feels good. Children everywhere are laughing, dancing, singing… being kids.

Parents sit on the floor exhausted from a long day at the parks with their young ones. Relief plastered on their faces as they rest their sore feet knowing that for the next 30 minutes their kids will be entertained by someone else. 30 glorious minutes. The anticipation builds and then it happens. Joy erupts

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and cuts through the buzz as the music starts up and our kids rock stars take the stage.

I am on a bench in the back so I have a good view of the entire room. The children’s reaction to their favourite characters is

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not what I expected. I thought they would be going crazy… trying to run up on stage like 16-year-old girls at an Elvis concert. Something amazing, unique, and beautiful about children is that they will always (ALWAYS) surprise you. I look at my daughter and son and laugh. Instead of the roars and screaming one would expect they sit in awe and wonder while taking in every second of the show with only a slightly occasional smile or laugh. I sit screaming in my head “Guys look it’s MICKEY! IT”S FREAKING DOC MCSTUFFINS!! WHY ARE YOU JUST SITTING THERE! HOW CAN YOU NOT BE LOSING YOUR MIND! I’M LOSING MY MIND!!!” and then I notice it.

To me the characters are just puppets on sticks. Images created to entertain children (Who am I kidding Mickey is real as any person to me). For them these iconic characters are in front of them! They want to hear them, see them, play with them. They are captivated. I try to remember the last time I was truly captivated… Perhaps now? Captivated at their resolve and how they seem to just take everything in and allow it to transport their minds and imaginations. To my daughter they are not just puppets on sticks, they are joy. At 6 they are her world.

I smile as I realize how fast life is and how soon enough the Disney Jr. Live on Stage show will be bypassed for the Rock ‘n’ Roller-coaster…but not now. Enjoying the moment, I noticed my daughter just standing there. The kids were

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all sitting and singing and she just… stood. Soaking in every ounce of magic she could. She is my little girl

for now, princesses and stuffed animal veterinarians are her life heroes now. That is beautiful. Wanting to cherish

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the moment I pulled up the camera and snapped.

Disney Jr. Live on stage photo
Click image to see hi res version

A moment that will remain frozen in time. A photo telling its story. Forever.

When too much free time is a bad thing

Lately I find myself in a very odd predicament. It is one that a healthy majority would consider a luxury, in fact most (probably including yourself) would scoff at me if I were to tell them. They would put me in a corner and dismiss my “predicament” by spouting all the reasons why it is not really one at all.

I will just come out with it then… I have way to much free time.

I must admit from the outset it really sounds like a wondrous problem to have… one would think. Free time has a way of invading your mind and creates false perceptions of time and how much you really have of it. I have zero motivation to keep the house clean because in my mind I can just do it later. The same phrase recurs from my lips 200 more times that day. Later becomes supper time and the house is still a mess, no laundry washed, and I have made zero progress on anything meaningful. You can only imagine the mood this puts my wife in.

Yes I suppose the real issue at hand is procrastination but I really think that if there were a rigid schedule in place then I would be much more motivated for getting the mundane done.

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It has begun to seriously affect almost every area of my life. My weight, spending time with the kids, cleaning the house, laundry, making sure Nah gets all of her homework done… everything. Usually at the end of the day I feel awful and if I were being absolutely honest? Useless.

Most of all it is affecting my relationship with my wife and children. I have more than once promised that we would do something and then at the end of the day I find myself having to renege my promise. Every single time it happens, it rips my guts out.

It seems as though I have come to a very real and damning impasse. Things have to must change. I am a firm believer that the only thing that stands between you and getting life done is your decision to act (or not act). It is my decision… only I hold the power to get myself out of this rut. It is time to stop floating and putting things off. I will not sit in this computer chair one more night wondering where my time has gone or why I am not doing anything productive with it.

Hey time, let’s have a chat. It’s just not working out between us. It’s not you… it’s me.


How do you combat procrastination? Do you use any tools to help you? I would love your tips!