Category Archives: family

Little house in the Big Woods

When we were children there wasn’t much for entertainment; we had dirt, rocks, sticks and water.  Mix them together and you could make some mighty fine toys.  The closest store was probably 10+ miles away – that doesn’t seem that far by today’s standards, but on bikes or by foot – it was.

The water came from a hand pump well; you’d have to pump and prime it over and over to get anything out – but the water was ice, ice cold, and had a very slight taste of iron… it was a good taste.  Showering involved heating water over a hot stove, and pouring it out of “showering cans”.  I always thought everyone in the world knew what a showering can is – but I’m not so sure now.

The bathroom was a hole in the ground, covered at least by  four walls and a roof – but in the winter or at night it was a daunting, cold or scary undertaking.  At the same time, in summer evenings, it was a great opportunity to sneak out into the night and catch fireflies or raid the garden, although the coyotes, bears, moose and other wild critters that frequently were heard stalking through the night requires great courage to venture forth.

There was very little that we ate that wasn’t grown or raised, that’s just how it was.  The planting, the tilling the weeding the gathering, and the canning.  The vegetables, the rabbits, the chickens, the turkeys, the wild berries, apples, elderberries, blueberries, strawberries.  They were all handpicked, or raked.  I had to help in the butchering, it was part of life.

When it was 20 below outside, it was 20 below inside.  The layers and layers of blankets, cast off when needing to make a run outside to the outhouse; but there was always a warm stove burning in the center of the house built with slat boards and no insulation.

The single pane of glass, frosted over in the winter with cold air creeping through the cracks around the door, around the window, through the wall boards and up through the floor boards.  But the sound of crickets in the summer, like they were sitting in the same room… they probably were.

The root cellar full of fresh vegetables, and lizards; damp, cold, dirt.  Just a whole in the floor of the closet, and a whole dug into the earth.

Life is so much different now than it was then.  Was it better?  It’s hard to say.  You worked hard every day of your life, you slept hard each night.  Our world is a very different place now.  My kids will never understand what life WAS like.  Which brings me to the topic at hand.

I have started reading Little House on the Prairie to my children.  It is amazing the number of emotions it stirs in me, not only as I recall it being read to me when I was a child – we had no other entertainment at night when the sticks and rocks and dirt and water were put away.  But, I remember what it was like to live off the land – Jeremiah Johnson style, I remember what it was like to live in a house that was made of drafty slats, to live in the wild woods, I even, to some extent, remember how hard it was to live – none of the high tech, drive over to the store and run a piece of plastic through a machine and they bring out food prepared and ready to eat.

Not that life today is bad; I’m not sure I could go back to the “good ‘ole days” – but I wonder, sometimes I even yearn for those more simple days.

I am going to love reading this series to my children it makes me homesick for childhood, nostalgic – and perhaps, just perhaps, they will get a small amount of vision as to what life used to be like.





Recommendations for books on Leadership

The last couple University courses in the graduate program have been focused on various aspects of leadership.  Over the years, I have read a lot of different books on leadership, all with their own perspective.

Some are written to help direct as a leader in the home (a father for me specifically), some for leadership in the Church, some as practical guides for leadership in general society, and others specifically geared towards leadership in professional organizations.

Each and every one one of these books has had a positive impact on me, and has helped me mature in my style of leadership and understanding.  As a result, I thought I would share some of the books near the top of my list.









These last three are on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.



Guess who’s back…

What? My Name is..

Who? My Name is..

Huh? My Name is..

Slicky, slicky Jed Shady!


It has been more than a year, and I had gone silent.  Why?  Because my server traveled the world.  What?  Well, actually – I traveled the world – more specifically we have traveled the world.

Ok, so not really across the whole world, just to the other side of the country – which coming from a boy who grew up in a tiny little town in back-water Maine without running water, or sewer – it has seemed like I am a whole new world away.

We are now in Texas.

In July of 2012 I decided it was time to move on from my company of almost 13 years; I put my resume up on the internet.  Within a matter of days, I had been contacted by a couple different companies that were offering great salaries and benefits, but they were either in the North East (I wanted to get out of the cold) or were on the west coast (I didn’t want to go that far).

Then one day on vacation up in the mountains with my family I received a call from this company that I had not heard of (interestingly, I had heard a lot about them, but just didn’t realize it).  The recruiter left a message.  As a curtsy call, I left him a return message letting him know that I did not ever intend to move as far as Texas.  The recruiter called me back and asked if I was at least interested in hearing what he had to offer.

Rewind 13 years and that is exactly what happened at my previous place of employment, they had 3 managers that reached out to me from the one company for three different positions.  I called the first back to tell him I wasn’t interested in moving to the mid-west, he asked me if I was at least interested in hearing what he had to offer.

I met with the first manager, he offered me the job a few weeks later, the rest is history.

Fast forward back to 2012, the recruiter told me about the company and the position, and I thought he must be joking.  I jumped online in my spotty internet connection the next night, in between homework assignments and I sent him a resume.

A few weeks later I was on a plane to Texas (shudder), a few weeks after that I gave my notice at my current place of employment, and just a few more weeks I was pulling away from our ‘dream house’ that we had built – hauling a camper, a wife and five children half-way across the country to the unknown.

And to think, I once read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” and thought – “Hey, this could be about me”.

We took almost a month to travel from Maine to Texas, and stopped to visit family along the way.  Stopped to say hello to our favorite place on the east coast: Tybee Island.  Even took a short detour to bring our kids to Disney – something my wife had always wanted to do – but I was always too busy working to ever find the time.

So here we are, only about a month after hearing about this new company, we left our home, our family and traveled to the other side of the country.  Living out of our camper (7 people), wondering if we would be able to sell our house, wondering when we could buy a new house.

Fast forward 8 months later.  We miss our friends and family back home; but we’ve made new friends too.  My family couldn’t be happier (except if our friends and family came to live in Texas).  The job is wonderful, the weather is amazing, Texas is super…  where has it been all my life?  I belong in this state – while I will miss the seasons and the trees and the land, Maine was really not my true home.

And now I come to the end, and I must sign off by saying that YHWH has really taken care of me and my family.  I’ve never done anything to deserve it, that’s for sure.  But He has watched over us, and listened to us, and directed us, and He has told us and showed us what and when.

The pages have turned, the next chapter has begun.  May it always be, Soli Deo Gloria.


The sun was bright, it was a self-timed photo-snap; but I have learned that I can go searching for happiness further than my back yard – because no matter where we are, as long as we are together – we are always at home!

Amanda on the beach

I think my beautiful wife is my second favorite thing to photograph (nature is still my #1 right now); here she is standing over a precipice on Marginal Way in Wells, Maine.


Amanda Beach


Here is a picture of the ocean on Marginal Way, it is beautiful out there!


He whispered my grace is sufficient for him

Today at lunch time I was thinking about the emotional pain my son has to live with due to the way God created him; and all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotion – like a typhoon.  First upset, then questioning, then anger, then humility – all within the space of about a minute.

Talk about holding on for your life.

Yet, through the torrent of emotion and weeping, I heard a still small voice say to me:

“My grace is sufficient for [him], for my power is made perfect in [his] weakness.”

LORD please do what you have promised your child… my child… please show the richness of your grace, and show your mighty power and strength through the cross you have asked him to bear…

I beg you.

Happy Birthday Jesus

Sitting in church tonight, I was thinking that the advent means so much more than I’ve ever thought of before. Our King and Creator came in such a strange way, to be born as a servant, to die, not a hero’s death as most Kings of renown, but to die a death most often of slaves, only then to triumph and be triumphant in His death… But, His advent was for my children, and my children’s children… He opened the door of salvation for them – and as a parent, I could never have asked or expected for anything more amazing than that. To know that the light of the world came in to overcome the darkness, to infiltrate and win back the hearts of his rebellious creation and in so doing, He gave me hope in that whatever life brings, there is hope for my children that goes beyond the hardships of this life alone. Regardless of the time of year Christ was really born: Happy Birthday Jesus, and thank you for such a wonderful gift – the gift of life for my children.

A new adventure

Yesterday I set up a merchant account, today I started advertising on Facebook. A short while ago I applied for a provisional patent, and now I’m dusting off my merchant taxid for the state. Don’t forget trying to keep Amanda’s head on straight. As much artistic talent as she has, she has no business sense at all!

Updated web pages, Facebook pages, marketing, merchandising, and product and trending analysis. Wow! So much work to sell such a little product.

They tell me that his story was violent…

So a public school teacher told me this afternoon that in thirteen years of teaching, she had never had a child illustrate a picture book the way my son had, so it had upset her, and she wouldn’t tolerate it.  I let her know that in thirteen years, she has never had a child as amazing as my son, end of story.

Here is a little more detail:

The teacher drew pictures of Santa, and he was supposed to write the story behind it. 

He started off with Santa not wanting to get up, so a bear hit him over the head with a bell (instead of ringing the bell while standing over him).  Then they tried to steal his pants (instead of helping him get his pants on).  Next, the reindeer chased Santa, and a dog tried to eat the reindeer, and Santa crashed his sled, got stuck in a chimney and went to jail for trespassing.

All very appropriate to the pictures (if you were to see them) – but none of them fitting the "perfect sheep like mold" setup by public schools.  The teacher tried to tell me that it was violent, and tried to use the fact that she had never had a child in thirteen years, teaching 3 sets of students each year, ever write a story like that, and she was deeply disturbed. 

Her version of "creative" was when one child said that Santa had to say "Ho Ho Ho" three times before he did anything.  I’m thinking that OCD is not creative, it’s a disease – and was left pondering what a sad existence she must have to think that "Ho Ho Ho" is creative, and think my son’s creativity "disturbing".  I made sure to point out what a tragedy it was that she never had a child as creative as my son. 

I then proceeded to ask her if she lived in the same world that I live in, if she had ever watched the loony toons, and finished my diatribe by letting her know, that without any question, the one thing I will not let public school do to any of my children is to file them into round pegs and strip them of their creativity and their identity.

Other than that though; the school system as a whole is doing very well to help him work through his anxiety, hyperactivity, and boredom regarding the pace of going to public school.  They have definitely been willing to work with him at his own pace on some of the issues that he does need to work on, so I have to give them the level of appreciation that is due. 

But dampening his creativity, and molding his identity into what they think a "good little child" should be, is something that I will never let happen!  Ever!