Dear Jack: Initiating Trampoline Football During Christmas Break

9 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

It is customary that I always keep a Nerf football in my Jeep. The main reason is it help secures the convertible roof panels when I remove them and store them in the back.

But also, you never know when you might want to throw a football around.

During Christmas break, you saw me taking the top off the Jeep and noticed the football there and asked if you could play with it.

I replied, “Of course! That’s what it’s there for!”.

You then set up a simultaneous game with your sister and cousins on the trampoline. From what I can understand, the concept was this:

As you and your older cousin Calla saw how many times you could throw the football back and forth without missing, your sister and your younger cousin tried not to fall over.

I am proud of you for initiating this game and activity!

Love,

Daddy

3 Reasons Frozen 2 is Far Superior to the 1st Frozen Movie (Or It Isn’t, Based on the Viewer’s Own Current Perspective of Life)

There are two kinds of people in the world:

Those who prefer an upbeat, easy to follow story… and those who prefer a story that is more mature, mysterious, challenging, and darker.

I feel that I have always been very open about how overrated the first Frozen movie is. Over the years, I have expressed this multiple times in other blog posts.

My biggest beef with the first Frozen is that the true villain is not Hans, but instead, the parents; for psychologically damaging their daughters by ultimately locking them in their separate bedrooms without explaining why, while not allowing them to communicate with each other.

Seriously, that’s messed up!

So as you can imagine, I was not overly anxious to finally see Frozen 2 over Christmas break. It was just simply going to be a movie I sat through as my fatherly duty.

Fortunately instead, I was relieved, surprised, and impressed- to the point I knew even within the first 10 minutes that Disney had made the bold move to give Frozen a sequel that it (and an audience who is now 6 years older) deserves; as opposed to a copy-and-paste-of-the-original cash grab.

Granted, there are many people who do not agree with me on this.  As I’ve been talking to people about Frozen 2 in comparison to the first, this what I have consistently found:

Either you love Frozen 2 and think it is far superior to the first…

Or you don’t like Frozen 2 at all because the first one was so much better.

I have yet to meet a person who believes both movies are equally good. No in-between.

You can even see this on Rotten Tomatoes, where the first Frozen got a 15% higher score on the Tomato Meter, but Frozen 2 scored 15% higher with the Audience Score.

I have come up with 3 reasons Frozen 2 is either much better (or worse) than the original. My theory is that a person’s reaction to Frozen 2 is ultimately a reflection of the individual viewer’s perspective of their own life.

  1. Major Character Growth: Taking place 6 years (in real time) since the first movie, Frozen 2 gives us a realistic look at what “happily ever after” actually looks like. That means we need to see Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf experience the next new challenge to help their growth as individuals. (That’s because happiness requires character growth.) Specifically, Olaf openly encounters a full-on existential crisis, as noted in his song, “When I Am Older.”
  2. More Complex, Introspective Songs: Instead of using the easily likable universal guitar chord progression (G-D-Em-C) exploited in “Let It Go” (similar to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”), Frozen 2’s lead track “Into the Unknown” actually requires much more of the song performer and the listener. These songs aren’t as instantly catchy as those from the first Frozen- they grow on you, just like Frozen 2.
  3. More Challenging Plot for the Viewer: The first half of Frozen 2’s technically falls into the category of a thriller/horror movie, as Elsa follows a mystical and ominous voice only she can hear; which serves as a metaphor of how part of the human experience is simultaneously following our hearts, while not allowing our own questions about the future to turn us into our own worst enemies. Some of my favorite quotes of Frozen 2 illustrate how the characters (and the audience) began to understand the importance of emotional intelligence as individuals:

Elsa: “That’s just your fear. Fear is what can’t be trusted.”

Kristoff: “My love is not fragile.”

General Mattias: “Be prepared, just when you think you found your way, life will throw you into a new path.”

That last quote ultimately reveals the theme of Frozen 2. This sequel forces us to come to terms with whether or not we are willing to move on from what life was like 6 years ago.

That is fundamentally what determines whether a person believes Frozen 2 is superior, or inferior, to the first.

Image credit- Disney.

Hiking Gilliam Loop Trail and Pogo Ridge (9 Miles) in DeSoto State Park During Christmas 2019

Christmas 2019 was extra special in that my nephew Matt (who is in the Air Force, stationed on Mississippi) and my niece Sara (who is a school teacher in California) were able to spend the holidays with my family in Alabama.

With all the Christmas cargo we had to take down from where we actually live in Tennessee and then bring back from Alabama, my wife and I decided to take both her Hyundai Elantra and my Jeep Wrangler for the nearly 3 hour drive there.

For me, it was just an excuse to be able to serve as a Jeep tour guide during Christmas vacation. I started out by taking Matt and Sara (and their mother Jeanene) on a 23 mile drive along Little River Canyon on Christmas Eve.

And for the day after Christmas, I announced I would be heading up a 9 mile hike in a “hidden gem” of a trail in DeSoto State Park, called Gilliam Loop (which begins at Cabin 21)- or at least, my version of it.

Matt and Sara agreed to join me, with zero hesitation.

Gilliam Loop is actually a mountain biking trail, but if you know where to veer off the path, you can connect to Pogo Ridge.

Back in 1934, the Civilian Conversation Corps (known as CCC) built culverts along the trail, which runs parallel to Little River.

So it is really cool to see these 86 year-old structures still in place.

Pogo Ridge leads a crossing point of Little River itself. However, we opted not to cross through the river, which would have meant we would have had to hike the rest of the day in wet clothes.

Therefore, we took Exit 4 of the trail back to the Road 12.

When it was all said and done, we had hiked 9.25 miles in 3 hours.

Before heading back to the house, I took them by Howard’s Chapel; the church built into a giant rock, where the founding pastor’s ashes are contained.

Oh, and I failed to mention:

Christmas Week 2019 contained perfect Fall Weather, which allowed us to have this much fun!

I had the top off the Jeep the entire time, as the temperate remained in the 60s for most of the time.

It will be a Christmas I never forget!

Dear Jack: Our New Family Tradition of Visiting Bell Buckle the Weekend Before Christmas

9 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack,

As long as I’ve known Mommy, she’s always been curious about the exit on 1-24 for Bell Buckle, on the way back from Nonna and Papa’s house in Alabama as we make our way back home to Tennessee.

This year we decided to finally check it out, once Mommy found out that Bell Buckle hosts a Christmas parade on the weekends leading up to Christmas.

We enjoyed a hay ride with Santa, then got to check out the local shops in the town’s downtown area.

It was so much fun, we decided to make it a new family tradition!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Love S’mores… Maybe a Little Too Much!

3 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend when our family visited Bell Buckle, Tennessee with Nonna and Papa, there was a s’mores station set up in the area as we waited for the hay ride with Santa.

I had my doubts that you would actually eat the S’mores sandwich I made you. Instead, I assumed you would just each the chocolate bar.

To my surprise, you labored over eating the whole thing; as it was much, much bigger than your little mouth.

You were still finishing it off once we got to the hay ride; as seen in the family photo of us, where your mouth is wide open and you are clutching the s’mores in your hand.

Love,

Daddy

Should Christians Forfeit the Right to Be Offended?

If you know me at all, you know that a fundamental life motto of mine is this:

“It is your personal decision, 100% of the time, whether to be offended, insulted, disrespected, to let someone hurt your feelings, or to just simply be ready to instantly forgive.”

That’s an epiphany I had shortly after my 35th birthday. So for the past 3 years, I have been living in that knowledge. That nugget of wisdom has only improved the quality of my life and truly has given my freedom from arbitrary burdens I used to carry.

I have also accepted the reality that anything a person believes, in their own mind, is true.

If someone thinks I’m wrong, immoral, ignorant, immature, lazy, unqualified, too serious, too silly, too conservative, too liberal…

They are always right. To them, it is truth. To them, it is reality.

Therefore, it is a waste of my time, energy, and emotions to attempt to prove them wrong in their perception. It is most likely that they have identity protective cognition, so that my attempts to correct their perspective about me will only reinforce what they already believe about me.

I feel this is the example Jesus gave when he was being questioned by Pilate (in Mark, Chapter 15):

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Granted, I believe that often, when one person makes any kind of judgment call regarding another person’s character, there is a good chance that are simply broadcasting their own insecurities or uncertainties about their own identity.

As a human being, I forfeit my right to be offended. I openly invite the free world to call me every name in the book.

Ultimately, only I get to determine whether I am a victim, a villain, or a victor.

It is my opinion, as a Christian, that it is ideal for Christians to forfeit the right to be offended. Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek.

That implies the importance of not only taking the hit, but giving the “offender” the opportunity to strike again.

I see this is a healthy state of being: to be ready at any time to instantly forgive anyone.

Instead of being offended, I say we should use those opportunities to extend grace to the person; whether they are a believer or not.

Who knows? That surprising response of grace could prove to be the simple act of kindness to help minister to the would-be “offender”.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. And if that’s what you believe, I won’t try to prove otherwise.

What Power Tools Should a Professional Have?

What power tools should a professional have?

In this post, we are going to tell you about power tools, those that work via electric current or with batteries. Since their creation, these tools have become essential to the daily life of any professional.

Below we will list the advantages of these power tools as the best are sold by Mississauga Hardware.

The advantages of power tools

Power tools have many advantages over hand tools. Here are a few.

Speed: Thanks to electric power and a powerful machine, speed at work allows you to complete a task faster. When customers impose a limited time on us, speed is an important parameter to take into account.

Clarification: The goal of a professional is to go fast but without making a sloppy job. This is why speed and precision balance and complement each other.

Safety: Power tools have a safety system to prevent accidents. For safety to be complete, the user must wear protective devices such as gloves, masks, etc.

Power: We can use more rigid materials, dense or impossible to handle manually. In addition, the depth of the work is optimized: from a hole in the concrete to a perforation on a tarmac track.

Professional power tools 

When we are asked to name tool names, we list more power tools than hand tools. We have therefore compiled some essential machines for the professional both for industry and for the automotive sector.

Grinders

What is a grinder? What are the most important features of the grinder? What are the most suitable grinders for each trade? Here are the questions we will try to answer.

What is a grinder?

A grinder is a very useful and versatile power tool that consists of an electric motor with a mechanism that rotates an axis at high speed. A disc attaches to this axis to perform different tasks.

Its most usual uses are cutting, pickling, sanding, buffing and sharpening all types of materials.

The parameters to take into account before buying a grinder:

You have to choose between an angle or an axial grinder. The first is the most used because it is a universal tool that can be used for several different tasks. For its part, the axial grinder is more suitable for precision work, in places difficult to access, for exclusive sanding or sharpening work, etc.

The other factor to take into account is the disk to use. We distinguish mini grinders when the disc has a diameter of 115 mm or 125 mm and large grinders when they have the capacity to place a disc of 230 mm in diameter on its axis.

Power is important when choosing between a grinder or another. It is an element that determines the working capacity of the grinder. The more “W” you have in watts, the more work capacity you will have and therefore the better adaptation to different materials.

Finally, professional grinders are tools that are thought to work for many hours and with high levels of requirement. It is important to acquire a model of grinder that will match the work to be done and the use you will give it.

Heat guns 

A heat gun is a general-purpose tool that operates at very high temperatures. Here are its most common functions:

  • Tinning metal
  • Weld plastic pipes
  • Thaw water pipes in very low-temperature areas.
  • Remove stickers or decals
  • Remove sealing materials
  • Loosen the oxidized nuts,
  • Wax the wood,
  • Remove the paint,
  • Etc.

 

Impact wrenches

An electric shock wrench is a tool with a wrench created to provide high torsional power with minimal effort for the user.

Impact wrenches are available for all sizes of standard socket wrench discs, from small ¼ ” tools for small assembly and disassembly, to square discs up to 3 ½ ” for larger jobs.

The sanders

The use of a sander is indicated for correcting or eliminating the paintwork of a vehicle, whether partial or total. The sanders not only remove damage and defects from the paint, such as scratches it also makes it possible to shine in order to obtain an optimal finish.

Types of sanders: 

There are simply two types of electric sanders: Rotary (or circular) sander and a double-action (or orbital) sander. The fundamental difference between them is the mode of rotation of the cap or the sanding foam, hence the name of each machine.

With rotary sanders, the foam rotates on its axis in a circle and the speed is measured in revolutions per minute. Conversely, with double action sanders, the foam rotates not only circularly but also alternately, and speed is measured in movements per minute.

Rotary sanders were the first machines used for sanding vehicle bodywork and are still widely used. The fact that the foam follows a circular movement allows a more uniform distribution of the cutting abrasives and therefore transforms the machine into an extremely flexible instrument for the correction of paint.

As an added benefit, rotary sanders can be used with wool foam. The latter has much more cutting capacity, that’s why it should be used with caution. However, it is an essential and necessary tool to eliminate deep scratches.