My Life is Brilliant

I cannot but lean on this British bit of phrase as I reflect upon the infant year, my family, and my life. Not even a lesser patch rests unconsumed by hope and happiness for life, and for my children’s futures. They are beautiful, and happy, and far more resilient than we. Our sober and determined oldest. Our cheery, clever dancer. Our crimsoned & laughing redhead. And our Little Bits, the perfect one that we nearly lost. I wonder so very much what they will all be, and await the reveal with anticipation.


Now it is true that most friends of yesteryear are gone, but I think it is a winter that will not outlast the coming equinox. And I realize that no pleading is likely to convince my friends that the ebb of faith does not mean the end of happiness, but we have been told many myths. Uncluttered and unfettered, as a season of social quietus, it is the most unburdened that I can recall.

I reflect that the curious domino topple from Jericho has been an odd epiphany: what I began for my friends, many friends would not read. But others have in their stead, and they have leant a support as friends ought to. Cheers and a hearty thanks to you good folk. I’m dreadfully sorry for what I find to be my three and a half decades of down-looking. You’re the sort I should have been, had I been better.

Peace and Best Wishes, J.B.


  1. You have beautiful children. The crimson-haired one does beam. He smiles from his head to his toes!


  2. and may many good years follow …


  3. Beautiful, tender, honest. Tears in my eyes. 🙂 I see a resemblance to you in all of them. I’m sure they have mommy in them too. Hello Mommy.

    An exquisite photo too by the way. Love the fashion statements as well.


  4. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Speaking of your pixies, two thoughts, neither mine:

    Children Learn What They Live
    By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

    If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
    If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
    If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
    If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
    If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
    If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
    If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
    If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
    If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
    If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
    If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
    If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
    If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
    If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
    If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
    If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
    If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
    If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
    If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

    The second has religious references, but the message is so beautiful, they can be easily overlooked:

    <strongOn Children
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.


  5. Beautiful photo and beautifully stated. Happy New Year!


  6. Blane says:

    May I hire you to write my greeting cards? Beautiful family; your hope and happiness are well founded.


    • Hey Blane, sure, why not? 🙂

      Its funny, having them in two pairs, the separation makes it clear just how quick they change and grow, and how short the time with them at home really is. Happy to report that all but one of them are now literate, which is a step (LOL). Such a thirst to learn, all of them. And that’s gratifying in and of itself. I’ve been interested in the emphasis that the freethinking crowd puts on instilling wonder and questioning in kids. I dig that. Wonder and a thirst for knowledge are good.

      Stay thirsty my friend. 🙂


  7. Happy New Year Matt! Great post – You have a great looking family and your writing style is always impressive and very inspiring! I’m glad to have met you last year and hoping to read more of your posts this year. One of the best things about blogging has been meeting people I can relate to. No worries about the previous “down-looking”. 😉 Many of us understand that it’s kind of a natural thing that arises from the power of world-views and group influence (and a lot of us have been there before as well). 🙂


    • Thanks Howie, you too. Blogging is a whole world, isn’t it? And yes, you can get to know great folks, and there is just so much information. Amazing. Cheers!


  8. Life is what it is, so I still walk and work within the myth-world, but inside my head, where it counts, I am free, no longer bound by the fear of hell nor the bait of heaven. 2014 may bring changes to the external world; whether it does or not tho, the inner one tho will continue to revel in gratitude and freedom. Uncluttered, unfettered, unburdened . . beautiful words of simplicity. Not until you leave the fold of complicated rules and traditions and obligations do you understand freedom from religion. For the moment, I think, live and walk in both worlds. But my most inner self is grateful to have a quiet space of realness, and blogs like yours where I find understanding and strength.


    • Jbars says:

      I, like you, am reveling in freedom. It’s a new freedom, before unknown to me. For me, the freedom from fear (of so many things, places, and people) has been new and energizing. I, too, am so grateful.


    • Pollyann, excellent thoughts, thanks so much for them. I agree very much. It is kindof a myth world. But the inoculation from it seems permanent. The only struggle for me at this point is how to communicate. I continue to contemplate what it took for me to shake loose of my cocoon, and how I should dialogue with others.


      • The only struggle for me at this point is how to communicate. I continue to contemplate what it took for me to shake loose of my cocoon, and how I should dialogue with others.

        Hey Matt – That is a tough one. I try so hard to continually remind myself of how I used to believe the same (or similar) when I talk with others about religion. Luckily I no longer have to deal with family conflicts and that can get so tricky given the close relationships, but there are close religious friends (both new and old) that I still interact with. Some don’t want to broach the subject so it’s fine, but with the ones that do I just try to constantly remember that they are just as human as I am. What are some of your thoughts on this?


      • Cocoon. Bubble. Box. Enclosures that Christians don’t even know they are in until they are out. Breathing fresh air. Feeling light, almost weightless is my guess since I can only – at this point – imagine how being honest about what I believe would be like. I glimpse being out. From your thoughts, ‘out’ carries its own tasks and challenges. H-mmm. ‘The inoculation from it seems permanent.’ What a gift we give our children when we set them free to discover their identities. While it will never be done perfectly, at least the adventure of discovery will be done without the fear of ‘falling into the hands of an angry god.” This is indeed a good freedom.


      • Pollyann,

        I would say that you’ve spotted a pattern in my imagery. 🙂

        I had someone ask me the other day if I thought I was enlightened by all of this. I said no, of course, for two principal reasons. First, I know the euphoria of that enlightenment high, and there has been none of that. Its been too difficult a road, and there are no superpower or clairvoyance at the end. And second, “education” would be a far better word that enlightenment. Education comes by hard work, not by epiphany. I know more about the Bible at this point in my life than I ever have. I actually know something about where it came from, which believers generally do not know. But this is simply education, as with engineering or writing or history.

        So the breaking out has happened. I have come to peace with this new alignment of facts. But it will probably take a while to fully heal up as well. Perhaps my offspring will be spared some of the lumps. But I don’t think they will actually be inoculated unless they also have the education. At least that’s my operating assumption at the moment.


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