Uncle (Flap) Jack

As a kid, he was simply “Uncle Jack.” Today, my kids all call him Uncle “Flap Jack.” Jack was my dad’s oldest brother. They were part of the Omaha, Nebraska Higley brood of five kids. Dad was brother number four. Like everyone in that depression era, they were raised in a world with little money. They also had a life…

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A Cure for, “Dad, I’m Bored!”

“Dad, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do around here.” As a dad of three, I’ve heard that line before. Once. Or twice. Or 2,488 other times. My high school son started in with it again a couple weeks ago. “Everyone’s bored. We’ve done everything there is to do this summer.” “Enjoy being bored,” I told him. “Bored’s good. Own it.”…

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Old Friends

Every once in a while my kids have to sit through my lecture about friends. I give it when one of their friendships fizzles, a pal peters out, or a BFF suddenly goes MIA. This well-oiled talk of mine is about how living life involves a series of friendships that fall into two buckets. One bucket is filled with an…

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My SPAM Adventure: A Bobblehead Dad Video

I ventured to our country’s heartland this past weekend–to my hometown of Fremont, Nebraska. While I was there, I found myself tossed into the middle of their annual SPAM (as in canned meat for all you internet-minded junkies) Cookoff at the John C. Fremont Days Celebrations. The video’s a few minutes longer than I had hoped. But dang, there was…

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Step One

I hate this. I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon in October several months ago. At the time, I was still 6ish months post having run the Rome Marathon. So, while not in fabulous shape, I still had a mindset of “no problem!” Call that mistake number one. Fast forward one really crappy Chicago winter. One really crappy Chicago…

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Helping Our Kids Feel Gratitude

Every so often, just when I think I’m doing an okay job with this parenting thing, something or someone comes along and shines a light on it all in a brand new way. A light that makes me stop and think. And realize I have a long way to go. Such was the case the other night when I had…

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My Dad's Squeaky Clean Love

I’ve been traveling a little bit these days. Nothing fun. Just travel. As any road warrior will tell you, time away from family and home gets very old. Very fast. My dad was also a frequent business traveler. I’m not exactly sure where he went. Or what he did while away. I just knew that every few weeks he’d leave…

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Blink

Step One: Take a close look at the little boy in the photo. Step Two: Blink Step Three: Well, you don’t get a step three. But I do. You see, the boy in the picture is my oldest son Kevin. He’s standing there – holding up five fingers to proudly tell his dad that he is “five” – and about…

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Headlines

I loved my dad for countless reasons. The list is long. Today, I’m loving him for his habit of saving copies of newspapers emblazoned with headlines announcing world-significant events. I still have every edition that he so carefully set aside. The assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, and Martin Luther King. The death of a pope. The landing on…

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Six! My Annual Celebration of Being Cancer Free

My annual story of thanks. Enjoy. My fifth birthday party has long been the gold standard in my life for celebrations. Just ask Kristin, Kirk, Kathy, Debbie or Nancy. They were there. And I know they all relished in – and probably were a little jealous of – my highly original cowboy theme, the amazing assortment of backyard games, and…

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