A Christmas Note To Myself

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On the day before December begins,

I’d like to remind myself.

That no matter how stressful work gets,

Nor how much I miss family,

Swirling down into the depression pit isn’t worth it.

At all.

I need to focus on my family around me,

My friends,

The anticipation of the Advent season.

Spending the entire month of December, in a funk, sucks.

You know it, and your wife knows it. 

So stop it!

Break the cycle this year.

Tell depression to get off your mental lawn.

You’re welcome, by the way.

– A note from November Bryan to December Bryan.

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

Not sure about you, but December is traditionally a tough month for me. All through November, I’ve been watching depression circle around outside the fire light. Beckoning me to step away from the comforts of clarity and embrace the dark/warm fuzzy jacket of depression. Wanted to write a quick note to remind myself not to go down that path this year. I want to encourage you also to stay near the fire and pay attention to the words you are speaking to yourself. We can do this.

In the fog of Quil, drinking snot

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How was your Thanksgiving?

We spent Thanksgiving at home and invited family over. Tab cooked an amazing meal (her Pioneer Woman Stuffing being my favorite).We had a nice day with great weather outside. Got to go for a walk, play a few games (Chicken Foot being a highlight), and enjoy time spent with family. Missed my family back in SoCal/Arkansas and my youngest brother-in-law, who was away in Houston with a special somebody/her family.

I’ve had the worst cold since Thanksgiving. NyQuil and DayQuil have been my best friends/enemies. I think a combo of allergies from mowing the yard and insane temperature shifts doomed me. Wash your hands, folks. Wash your hands and perhaps wear a mask while mowing.

Got a chance to dive into Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain over the holiday. Played all through the intro, where I encountered a fire horse/horseman (which was actually one of of the more normal things about the prologue):

Enjoyed watching video game’s Tarantino, Hideo Kojima, show off his craft.

There is something brave about opening a game with the protagonist in a weakened state. In this case, your character has been in a coma for 9 years only to wake up to special forces trying to kill you. Good times.

I’ve been a little gamer ADD lately. Picked up Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare last night. Nothing like boarding an expensive theme park ride a few years later. Price of admission is much cheaper ($4.50) but the thrills are just as good.

What have you been playing?

Adventure Is Out There – A Visit With The Arkansas Halls

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This past Friday, the Texas Halls took a trip to Norfork, Arkansas to see my brother and his family (the Arkansas Halls).

We had a good time:

  • Exploring the Blanchard Springs Caverns. I found it interesting to hear that the man who did the lighting for the caverns normally lit opera houses for a living. I also thought it was interesting that the Cathedral Room is long enough to hold three football fields. If you are ever in the Ozarks, I can’t recommend visiting the Blanchard Springs Caverns enough.
  • Sticking our feet in the White River/Norfork Lake junction. The water was freezing! Felt so good.
  • Eating some BBQ at Holy Smokes in Mountain Home, Arkansas. BBQ isn’t quite what I’m used to in Texas but the sauce was solid. The smoked macaroni and cheese–while good–screams for some bacon.
  • Mowing my brother’s yard on his new riding lawn mower.
  • Hanging out, swimming, talking, and launching fireworks.

I enjoyed getting to catch up with my brother and his family. Was fun to see where they live now and experience a little taste of their new surroundings. We will return… once my brother fixes his go-kart!

Should We Homeschool?

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Homeschooling is not for everyone. I was homeschooled from the fourth grade all the way through high school. I had been falling behind both academically and socially. Public school was failing me by passing me on from one teacher to the next. I had trouble with reading, math, etc. My parents realized what was going on and brought me home. I’m thankful.

Tabitha and I have always said that our children would attend public school. As long as the teachers and the overall district were willing to work with us, we’d stick with it. Our children would be good examples for others to follow. Salt and light.

Enter our son:

  • Helped teach his fellow students in kindergarten
  • Excelled through first grade
  • Has continued in second grade to consistently earn high grades
  • Reads on a middle school grade level

(I can brag as a dad, right?)

The boy wants to be pushed. He wants to learn multiplication and how to write in cursive. Our fear is that his enthusiasm for learning is going to be snuffed out unless he is challenged. We realize that public school can only do so much for him. A teacher has to teach so that all students are on the same middle ground. That means that the higher students in the class are often ignored. Not the teacher’s fault at all. Teaching is hard.

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So how do you make the decision to homeschool?

Throw some dice?

Spin a bottle?

What?

I know the challenges that are involved with it. I have seen them firsthand. I know the impact it has on a family and on a marriage.

Social outlets are essential. Support in the form of a homeschool group help a bunch. The kids never leave the house… ever. Mental fortitude is a requirement.

But how does one pull the trigger?

Trying to figure that out.

Let us share your joy

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I am not exactly sure how to write this. But I’m living at that point where friends and family don’t want to tell my wife and I that they are pregnant. Somehow afraid that our feelings will be hurt after years of dealing with infertility.

More than any birth announcement, I am hurt more by silence. Robbed of that shared joy that comes from living in community with others.

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I want to encourage those around my family to share their news. Allow us to come alongside them. Please don’t be silent. Let us share in your excitement.

When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other. – Ecclesiastes 7:14a (NIV)