On Relationship Apps & Coming Up For Air

There are a lot of “relationship strengthening” apps in the App Store. They promise things like better communication and more fulfilling relationships for couples.

We tend to live distracted lives. These apps attempt to remind users to come up for air once in a while so that they can show significant others the proper love and affection needed in every healthy relationship.

These apps can act as Band-Aid®s for the underlying issue: The person using the app is still regularly stuck below the surface in their Sea of Distraction; apps like this only help the user breach the surface long enough to check “love” off the to-do list before diving back down into the depths of Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit.

Instead of coming up for air only once in a while (e.g., when prompted by an app), how much healthier could our relationships be if we reclaimed real, intentional human connection as our normative behavior, kicking the Sea of Distraction but for those occasional splashes and dips? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Taking Time To Listen

When was the last time you let a friend finish their story? (Like… really finish their story?)

As generally well-meaning humans, we want to connect with other humans. When we realize we have experiences in common, it’s often exciting (and easiest) to point it out in the moment. This can be a tool that builds empathy between two individuals…

… but not always.

Sometimes when we interrupt someone mid-story to draw (perceived) similarities between our two experiences, we lose the opportunity to hear the rest of what they have to share. Further, even if we attempt to bring their train of thought back on track, they may end up “sparing us the details,” for fear that their experience is in fact very similar to our own, or that we’ll disagree with something they have to say, or that we may think they’re wasting our time explaining something we obviously already fully understand.

Most often, it’s best to let others finish their thoughts. If they’re particularly excited about something that’s happened in their life, we should consider withholding our particular experiences in the moment, however similar we think they may be, and ask them additional questions to draw out the intricacies of their unique perspective.

We may all be surprised at the depth and difference of other folks‘ experiences (even if, on the surface, their experience seems very similar our own).

Every Day Carry Joys — The Pen AND The Sword

So you’re online browsing Reddit the other day… and you stumble across r/EDC.

Since getting really into every day carry items, there are a couple items I’ve been gifted that have made their way into my daily carry for the foreseeable future.

The Machine Era Markup Solid Brass pen has been a pure joy to use. I don’t particularly like the refill it ships with, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Pilot G2 0.38 pens, and this brass pen only makes those refills write even more smoothly. The cap screws on, so you don’t have to worry about pen explosions in your pocket. Pairs nicely with Moleskine Cahier pocket notebooks on the go, and Rhodia Webnotebooks.

The Leatherman Free P4 multitool has already come in handy countless times. For a long time I only carried a knife, but turns out I have all sorts of daily uses for pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, package openers, and the like. The one-hand-operation of every tool, and the fact that they all lock in place is really what really makes this a valuable daily carry. Very glad I live somewhere where carrying a knife around is legal and not frowned upon… it would be hard to find a good multi-tool without a knife built in. (If you are in the market for a TSA-friendly travel multi-tool, you should check out the Leatherman Style PS.)

What’s your favorite EDC item?

Bridge-Lift Adventures (Support Local)

Not too long ago I had the terrible realization that the guitar I’ve been using for about ten years had quite a bit of bridge-lift. I didn’t know this was a thing. I bought it back in high school, and have used it on a regular basis since then.

I took it to a large, well established guitar retailer, who will remain unnamed, where I thought I’d bought it with an extended warranty back in the day. I was sorely mistaken. They told me that if they did do any repairs it would start at about $160, and go up from there based on complications, then proceeded to hold it for a week and a half without doing any work on it, even though I told them I would pay out of pocket if they couldn’t get any info on the manufacturer’s warranty.

So, I picked it up from the retailer, and took it to a local guitar repair shop (shoutout Austin Guitar Repair). Not only did they completely fix the bridge lift, but they also corrected the barreling on the front of the guitar, and did a full maintenance set up (fretboard cleaning, fret polishing, and guitar polishing). They were going to charge $125 for the bridge repair, and ended up doing the setup on top of that for free (they had asked me if I wanted to have the setup work done, and I had told them no, as I wasn’t prepared to pay for it).

The guitar plays and sounds better than it did the day I bought it.

All this to say… support local businesses. And if you’re a local business, or any kind if business, going the extra mile will make customers for life.


In about eleven weeks we’ll be welcoming our second child into the world, and we’re really excited. Our first just turned two, and is slowly but surely warming up to the idea of being a big brother to a little baby brother. One of the most adorable things that he does is talk about his brother in the third person, by name… he’s already bossing him around and telling him what he can and cannot do, and this poor chap’s still in the womb.

Raising our first up has been a journey so far, and we’ve learned a lot. I think it’s easy to say that we’re a lot more confident and ready for the second one than we were for the first, now what we at least know how to keep a little human alive and well.

We’re really excited about our growing family, and the growing families around us—both within our extended family and within our church community.

Kids are great.

That’s all.