family

Don't let people be alone now that we're (mostly) work from home

I had hoped this would never happen, but I've already seen some friends of friends either get reduced hours or get some contracting gigs revoked. Hiring freezes aren't yet in place, but I know they're on some companies' radars.

I still hope this trend diminishes (and it might!), but if it doesn't, we should all be there for our friends—if it becomes anything like the 2008 recession, we will probably all have at least one close friend or coworker lose their livelihood.

While things like a small gift won't turn around someone's life, the gesture of being there for another person, and the knowing that someone is not alone, is priceless.

Especially as we are all shutting ourselves in (at least in most parts of the world), please make an effort to reach out to those you know. Let's be open to our family, friends, and co-workers and make sure nobody feels alone!

My Favorite Aunt

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. (Desmond Tutu)

This past week, while I was in the middle of recovering from surgery, and the day after my family celebrated my daughter's 2nd birthday, I learned of the death of my Aunt Mary, the eldest of my Mom's sisters.

Maryanne Newman / Hafner

Aunt Mary and her family have hosted almost every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas family gathering at their house, and were always gracious and loving hosts. Through these parties I grew in my bond with the rest of my extended family. But our bonds are deeper than most; starting with Grandpa Charlie and his beautiful wife (who's still with us!), then passed on through their wonderful daughters, the connection and love that my extended family shares is extraordinary.

Pater Nobis (Our Father)

Note: When migrating my blog over from Lifeisaprayer.com, I dug up a number of unpublished posts that I had completely forgotten about; this was one such post that I had written just prior to the birth of our first child (who is now three, and reminds us of the fact at least twice per hour—me: "How did you know how to do [some incredible new skill]?" - him: "Becawse I'm thWEEEE!"). I originally wrote this post in November of 2012, but am finally publishing it in 2016!

In the past few months, I've had much occasion to think over the words of the Our Father. Specifically, I've been thinking a lot about the relationship of a father and his children, and the love of a father.

In the Our Father, we hear of some of the traits of fatherly love:

Farewell, Grandpa Charlie

Less than two years ago, my family said farewell to Grandpa Geerling. Just a few days ago, my Grandfather on my mother's side passed away.

Grandpa Charlie

He was a humble man. Grandpa won't be mentioned in history books. He didn't do anything incredible in the world's eyes, but he was a great family man and role model.

Grandpa helped my Grandma (who is a saintly woman in her own right, and still with us, thanks be to God!) raise six girls in a modest home, with a modest sheet metal worker's salary. I can only imagine what it must've been like to come home to a wife and six lively daughters every day!

He also helped care for Nana, my great grandmother, for many years. She was another beautiful woman, though I only knew her for a short time (mostly through baking chocolate chip cookies with her!).

This Bud's for You, Grandpa

My Grandpa Geerling was a very ordinary man. He lived in a simple split-level with a loving wife, and raised nine children while working at a union job.

He loved golf, he loved tools, he loved his children, grandchildren, and more recently, great grandchildren. He had a strong faith that he proclaimed in word and deed throughout his life to all his friends and family—even especially when they needed it most.

He drank Bud Light, and always had golf, racing, football, baseball, or hockey on the TV—unless his team was losing.

His name won't be in any songs, nor will he have a page remembering him on Wikipedia. The world won't remember him—but he didn't have his eyes set on worldly recognition.

My grandparents, dancing

The Meaning of Life

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

Yesterday my wife and I experienced the birth of our first child, who was born just one day prior to his due date, and is as beautiful as any child I've ever known. But even more so because he's mine!

Labor is an emotional roller coaster, and I was incredibly privileged to be with Natalie throughout the entire process: from the early stages at home to the final push in the hospital. Especially in the last moments, my ability to love and experience God's love was radically altered.

Seeing mommy's radiant face moments after the birth, hearing the first gargling cries of our new child, and experiencing all the beautiful moments of agony and ecstasy involved in bringing the baby into our world has given me a new perspective on love.

This Changes Nothing (Contraception and Abortion) [Updated]

[Update: An enlightening look at the viability of the study mentioned in this post.]

A recent study supports the popular opinion (used to justify the HHS birth control mandate, among other things) that providing free contraceptives to women reduces the rate of abortion:

Free birth control led to greatly lower rates of abortions and births to teenagers, a large study concludes, offering strong evidence for how a bitterly contested Obama administration policy could benefit women’s health. The two-year project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured, who were given their choice of a range of free contraceptives.

Steve Jobs, on Pornography

As a follow-up to my previous post on this topic: Steve Jobs on "Freedom from Porn," with more details filled in from the biography Steve Jobs:

The pornography ban [in the App Store] also caused problems. "We believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone," Jobs declared in an email to a customer. "Folks who want porn can buy an Android."

This prompted an email exchange with Ryan Tate, the editor o the tech gossip site Valleywag. Sipping a stinger cocktail one evening, Tate shot off an email to Jobs decrying Apple's heavy-handed control over which apps passed muster. "If Dylan [one of Jobs' idols] was 20 today, how would he feel about your company?" Tate asked. "Would he think the iPad had the faintest thing to do with 'revolution'? Revolutions are about freedom."

Susan Geerling for Mayor of Florissant, MO

Just a heads up, and a shout out to those living in Florissant (Flo-town, as it's endearingly called by those not in it, but cool enough to admit they were born there): my mother, Susan Geerling, is running for mayor of the city of Florissant!

I believe—nay, I guarantee—she has the city's best interests in mind, and I will be helping her to become the next mayor of a city I'm proud to call my birthplace. Though many may fault her for being honest, genuine, and logical in her decision-making processes (as was evidenced time and time again during her work as Ward 1 Councilwoman), I think these are virtues. Virtues worthy of the office of mayor.

Check out her website—GeerlingForMayor.com*—as well as her presences on Facebook and Twitter!

I'm proud of you, Mom! I know you can weather the storm of the electoral race, and improve an even greater part of the great city of Florissant than you did in the turn of this century!