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Three Things – 10/7/2022

1. Back in the Saddle – After a two month break, the ‘long form’ of my blog will be back next week. It has been a good couple of months, but August and September stand in stark contrast to one another. In August, I had the opportunity to take a two week road trip with…

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Summertime

Taking Stock Though summer is often a time when things slow down a bit, I have found the past month has been one of the busiest of the year so far. School being out for summer means more activities for the kids and in our house, we have had something scheduled almost every night. A…

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Three Things – 7/8/22

Giving this another go this week. Some spare thoughts from the last two weeks of blog posts. Here are 3 Things for this week: Switching Costs – Cal Newport introduced me to the term “context switching” as a guest on a podcast I listened to a couple of years ago. The premise is that there…

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Back to the Well

Last week I wrote about my experience attending a retreat in 2018 and how that weekend has impacted my life since. When I had the opportunity to attend the same retreat in 2019, I did not hesitate to sign up again. On my journey of faith and personal growth, one important lesson I have learned…

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The Men’s Retreat

Origin Stories 2018 was the year that the trajectory of my life changed. It the year I discovered a path that I never anticipated taking, but one that I am so grateful to have found. There were a lot of things that happened in late 2017 and 2018 that I can look back at and…

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Three Things – 6/24/22

I thought I’d try something new this week. When publishing my Tuesday posts, I often end up with leftover pieces of information or reflections that don’t make it in, so I thought I’d try sharing some of it in short form. I’ll try to keep things digestible and light. It’s Friday after all. Let’s go.…

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In Search of Safe Harbour

Weariness I was tired last week. It was a busy and heavy week at work. The kids’ Spring sports are wrapping up, as is school, and life is extremely busy. There were a lot of acute factors that had me feeling worn down, but as I sat with a trusted sage, mentor, and friend on…

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Icons and Idols

Salty Snacks Imagine a man sitting on a couch, alone on a Saturday afternoon. He is watching a football game with a bowl of salty chips and a beer within arm’s reach. With this limited information, how would you describe the scene and the man within it? It was in a recent interview with podcaster…

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The Case for Joy

Timely Words Towards the end of 2019 and into January of 2020, I was trying to discern a word or phrase that would help guide the year ahead. Word of the Year was a new category for me, but I spent time in prayer and reflection listening for the word. Eventually, two words emerged: light…

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Called Into Greatness

Sandwich Talks I recently had lunch with a friend who has a parent going through some serious health issues. My friend’s father is in his eighties and while some of the issues are acute, there is also a realization that he is likely to need increasing care over the coming months and years. Throughout the…

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The Importance of Flossing

Lessons in Dentistry Following a recent visit to the dentist, we instituted a rule in our home that all the kids must floss every night before brushing their teeth. Keep in mind that we have four kids 8 and under, and it is dad’s job to make sure it gets done, which often means I…

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The End is Not Yet Written

You Still Hold the Pen In a recent interview, author and business coach Bedros Keuilian was asked what the biggest factor is in preventing people from reaching their full potential. Bedros’ answer was simple: the story. Everyone has a story, he said, hardwired into them about why things are the way they are. Why they…

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What’s Your Story?

Toy Ninjas As the father of young children, I often endure the shows they like to watch on Saturday mornings. I like to be present and pay attention to what they are watching, but the watching is not always entertaining. Recently, however, this changed. My older two kids (7 & 8) discovered Ninjago. The show…

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Die On Empty

Ending the Day on Fumes A few weeks ago, my soccer team played our final game of the season. It was on a Sunday afternoon, and there was a trophy at stake. Even though my league is for ‘older’ players, most of us still have a bit of competitive drive and we wanted to win…

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What Will Your Legacy Be?

Goals and Permanent Records I recently watched the Amazon Prime documentary, Rooney, which recounts much of the life and career of retired professional footballer, Wayne Rooney. Today, Rooney is only 36 years old, but he has been in the public eye since bursting into the English Premier League as a 16-year-old goal scorer and has…

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Do Hard Things

Creatures of Comfort I don’t need an alarm clock anymore. Every morning, between 5:30 and 6:30, my four-year-old daughter comes and wakes me up. Most mornings, I would give anything to have her sleep until 7, but at this stage it remains highly unlikely. Every morning I wish I could sleep more. I often wake…

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How to Bear the Weight of a Moment

Oh, Canada These last few weeks have been challenging for our country. Regardless of where you stand on the truck protests that took place in Ottawa, most of us find the images of riot police and horses breaking up crowds this past weekend jarring. Beyond the images, the lack of leadership on display in the…

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Repost: A Warrior’s Heart

This post was published in May of 2021. I will be back next week with more original content, but this article fits in well with the theme of preparing ourselves, which I will discuss more next week. Sweet Science ‘Going out on your shield’ is a term commonly used in boxing and other combat sports. …

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Men Are Made

Masculinity is Bestowed Until a few years ago, Masculine Initiation was not a category that I had spent much time thinking about. I used to see things in terms of transactions. I have skills and abilities. I can see that some men are skilled and comfortable in parts of life that I am not. I…

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See It Through to the End

Morning Glory A few weeks ago, I experienced a ‘moment’ with my son. His response to a challenge he was experiencing created some tension in our family that was affecting everyone and I just needed it to end. This went on for a few days and was incredibly frustrating for me. I was struggling with…

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Why Fathers Need to Speak

Rainy Days On a recent Saturday, I was standing in the rain watching my third consecutive hour of youth soccer. My six-year-old daughter’s team was playing. She has wild curly hair that only gets curlier in the rain. This is a good thing, because her field was two fields away from the fence where I…

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A Father’s Presence

This post was originally published on February 16, 2021. Over the next few weeks, I will be pressing more into the theme of masculinity and initiation with new articles, but this post from almost a year ago fits in well with the topic I think. I hope you enjoy it. Are you talking to me?…

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Blessed Are The Meek

Monsters Inc. It is a confusing time to be a man. The definition of masculinity and what is expected of men seems to be a moving target. Further, Toxic masculinity, is a term we hear everywhere. It implies that there are masculine traits that are inherently bad. This is likely because of terrible actions carried…

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Through the Fog

Lessons in Snowmobiling My mom recently reminded me of the time I went for a ride on my uncle’s snowmobile.  My aunt and uncle live in Northern British Columbia and we visited one Christmas when I was a teenager. While I was out riding on the frozen lake, I got disoriented. There was low cloud…

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The Speed of Slow

Resisting the temptation to jump straight into my 2022 planning post, I am republishing a post that is really just good advice that I need to take this week: Slow Down. I am spending this week with family, disconnecting, and trying to not to jump straight out of Christmas and into the next thing. This…

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A Christmas Story

D-Day On June 6, 1944, Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. After months of planning and strategic activity designed to mislead the German command, soldiers from around the world began a siege with the goal of liberating France and Western Europe from Nazi control. Under the light of a full moon, thousands…

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Beds of Straw

Christmas in October Though it continues to fall on December 25th, each year Christmas seems to arrive a little earlier. I can remember a time when my family used to wait until December 1st before we would decorate our house in preparation for Christmas. This year I went to the store the week before Halloween…

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Tree Rings: A Year in Review

First Principles It is hard to believe a year has passed since I first pressed publish on The Cedar Life. When considering my ‘Why’ for starting the blog, I posed a theory. Over the last few years, I have discovered that there is more to life than what I had experienced before that point. The…

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Character Building

Artistic License Working in a public accounting firm, the opportunities to be expressive are somewhat limited. Dress codes have loosened in recent years. When I started out, most men wore a business suit, tie-optional, with some variation of a blue check shirt. Work processes were standardized throughout the organization. We all used the same computers…

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From Zero to Infinity

Math Lessons In a recent episode of the Order of Man podcast, host Ryan Michler interviewed Chris Williamson, host of another show I frequent, Modern Wisdom. The men covered a variety of topics and subjects, but towards the end of the show, Chris articulated an idea that I had not heard before: Never multiply by…

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The Devil Comes on Sunday

Sunday Practices One of the weekly pillars in the life of my family is going to church. Spending an hour together in community, in worship, and encounter is something that I am grateful for. Especially after the last 18 months, when we could not go at times due to the pandemic. I have come to…

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From Rome to Home

Lyrical Reminders Sometimes a song I have not heard in a while will come on and capture my attention.  It might remind me of the place I first heard it or the lyrics trigger a particular memory.  This happened recently.  A song called ‘Whispers’ by the artist, Passenger, popped up on a playlist.  For me,…

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Repost: Love Languages

Learning to Love Before getting married, I had never heard of Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. Marriage does not come with a manual, but if it did, the concepts within the book could cover off a few chapters. For those not familiar with it, the premise of the book is that there are…

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Digging for Worms

Gone Fishing Last summer, my son asked me if I could take him fishing down at the river near where we live.  He had done this a few times with my father-in-law, but this was the first time I got to take him.  I was thrilled that he asked me.  Spending one on one time…

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The Saboteur

Early Warning “Beware the Saboteur.” The text on my phone did not make sense when I first looked at it, but as I thought about it for a moment, things became clearer. The text had come from a good friend.  Later that night Katie and I had plans to meet with him and his wife…

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Fellowship of the King

Long Nights In the early months of 2012, I was working at a large accounting firm in the midst of ‘busy season’.  This meant long days, late nights, and little room for anything other than work.  It was an annual season within the industry as we worked on client files.  Most clients closed their books…

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My Father’s Eyes

Side Part As a child, I parted my hair on the side.  Each morning before school, I would stand in front of the mirror and make sure it looked the way I wanted it to.  After a while, I got used to the way it looked.  My haircuts were never too adventurous, but I was…

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Heroic Moments

Clutch Shooting The 1998 NBA Finals ended with an iconic moment.  With the Jazz up by one point in Game 6 and the game on the line, the Chicago Bulls regained possession and handed the ball to Michael Jordan.  Seconds remained on the clock, as Jordan squared up his defender.  He then drove to the…

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In Pursuit of the Light

Practical Solutions Two weeks ago, I wrote a post, Light in the Darkness, in which I reflected on some of the unrest that has been unleashed on the globe over the last couple of years.  After I published it, I started to notice the theme of light overcoming darkness emerging in other places.  On the…

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Repost: The Sound of Silence

This post was originally published on March 1, 2021. I will be publishing a follow up to last week’s blog, Light in the Darkness, next week, but the theme of seeking quiet is one I have been reflecting on in the past week and wanted to re-share this post from earlier in the year. Life…

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Light in the Darkness

Time Out It is fair to say that humanity on the whole is not enjoying its best moment. We all experience difficult and dark moments.  But for most us alive in this time, we have never experienced anything with such global reach.  A time when the whole world is struggling and answers seem in short…

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Playing Catch

Pitch Perfect There is no feeling like the sweet sting of catching a well thrown baseball in the pocket of the glove.  It is accompanied by a distinct ‘pop’ and usually a knowing nod of the head from the receiver to the thrower.  Baseball is a game I loved as a younger child.  I loved…

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The Gatekeeper

An Intimidating Pass There is a scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in which the Fellowship is travelling by boat.  Approaching the border of Gondor, the ancient kingdom of men, they come to The Argonath.  Two huge stone carvings of the ancient kings.  The sentinels serve as a warning…

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Into the Mess

Lofty Aspirations A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of giving a talk on a part of my journey in faith over the past few years.  After the talk was complete, I took a few questions from the members of the group.  I enjoyed all the questions, but one in particular stands out in…

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Shed Happens

Anxious Moments “What happened?” My wife was at home and I was in the car, but she could hear that something wasn’t right.  “Nothing – I just left Home Depot.”  I could sense a sigh of relief from the other end of the phone, but it also came with an understanding.  Home Depot is one…

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True Calling

Misplaced Efforts The opening scene in the classic film Happy Gilmore finds the title character desperately trying to make an impression at hockey try-outs for some sort of men’s team.  Happy has desire and aggression and is willing to do anything to impress the coaches.  He only has one problem. Happy can’t skate. It is…

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The Speed of Slow

Motorcycle Lessons In a recent episode of the And Sons Podcast, the hosts discuss taking adventure motorcycle lessons.  I do not know much about any kind of motorcycling, adventure or otherwise, but they described a basic tenet explained by their course instructor.  Speed covers a lack of skill.  Going faster can hide deficiencies in handling…

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Wild Frontiers

Bubble Boy Not long ago, I would have described my life as typical for a married man with kids.  During the day, I worked hard, trying to advance my career.  After work and on weekends, I would spend time with my family.  Once or twice a year, we would go on a vacation.  Throw in…

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A Warrior’s Heart: Part II

I did not write last week’s post with the intention of writing a second part, but over the last few days I have found there are several thoughts connected to A Warrior’s Heart that I want to explore with more depth. Our Greatest Asset Having ‘the heart of a lion’ is a trait attributed to…

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A Warrior’s Heart

Sweet Science ‘Going out on your shield’ is a term commonly used in boxing and other combat sports.  I have heard it used when a fight is stopped either by the referee or by a fighter’s own corner when it appears the boxer is in danger and no longer able to protect himself.  The losing…

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The Length of a String

Wrong Question Through my years as an accounting and finance professional, I have learned there is one question that I should resist the urge to ask before hearing the whole idea.  That said, sometimes I cannot help myself: “How much is this going to cost?” Fortunately, I work with a good friend and colleague who…

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A Bowl of Beans

Give Away Have you ever been so hungry or thirsty that you cannot think straight?  Or said something like, “What I wouldn’t give for a drink right now?”  I certainly have. Over the last little while I have been listening to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s The Bible in a Year podcast.  I am a little behind…

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An Act of Surrender

On Good Friday, I had the opportunity to share a part of my personal journey at my parish through the sharing of a reflection on the last words of Jesus from the cross.  The topic of my reflection was surrender.  The link to the video of the reflection is here (I am the seventh speaker). …

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Childhood Part III: Safety

Entering the Scene Babies do not come into the world hoping for safety. They absolutely need it. Infants are helpless and completely dependent on others for basic care. As soon as they are born, babies form bonds with their parents, rooted in a deep love. Children are supposed to feel safe in the care of…

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Childhood Part II: Wounds

Headlines Like many people, I find myself numbed to the news headlines. As I have discussed before, constant consumption of news has little positive impact on my life. When I reflect on the lack of impact, I am saddened. I am capable of hearing of a double homicide in my own city (as I did…

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Childhood Part I: Wonder

This post is the first in a series I plan to share over the next few weeks exploring some themes associated with childhood and my reflections on what it means to be a child in the Kingdom. The idea for this was triggered by a song called “Child Again” by NEEDTOBREATHE. I have provided a…

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Love Languages

Learning to Love Before getting married, I had never heard of Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. Marriage does not come with a manual, but if it did, the concepts within the book could cover off a few chapters. For those not familiar with it, the premise of the book is that there are…

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The Sound of Silence

Life is Loud On a typical weeknight, our family will sit down together for dinner sometime between 6 and 6:30. Dinner is an important time for us as it is often the only time of day that all six of us are together at the same time. It is sometimes the first opportunity I have…

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Quality Craftsmanship

Magic Furniture At the conclusion of C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, the main character cannot bear to see a particular fallen tree chopped into firewood. Instead, he has the timber used to make a wardrobe and put in his house in the country. A minor detail in the context of the book, the implications of…

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A Father’s Presence

Are you talking to me? Moments after the birth of our fourth child, the midwife turned to me as she was filling out some paperwork and said, ‘Great job, Dad’. I froze. It felt like a trap. A quick review of the past few hours showed my biggest contribution to be holding my wife’s hand…

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Reserved Seating

Wrong Seat “Tickets, please” Sitting in the window seat on a train, backpack slung on the rack above, I know I have to get up. I have a ticket for the train, just not for this seat. Seeing it empty as I was standing against the luggage rack, I did not think anyone would mind…

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The Burden of Responsibility

Slow Starts I experienced a heavy morning recently. Going through my routine, I was very aware of some big challenges ahead of me.  Besides family responsibilities and work, I was thinking about an email from a teacher at the school and a call scheduled with a group I volunteer with to discuss some big decisions,…

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2020: What Was The Point?

Current Events The news headlines continue to be dominated by lockdowns, restrictions, case counts, and vaccines.  Those topics also turn up regularly in discussions I have with friends and family.  This is a reality of the time we live in, the continuous news cycle, and a never-ending supply of social media. As we start a…

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A Commodity in Short Supply

Economics At no point heading into 2020 was I concerned about running out of toilet paper. And whether it people taking up baking and buying out all the yeast or emptying sporting goods stores building home gyms, there were many products in high demand this year. The law of supply and demand tells us the…

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Staying Rooted

2020: Because Where Else Would We Start? There is a story I have heard a couple of times recently.  It involves a large and impressive looking tree growing in a suburban neighbourhood that is toppled in a freak storm.  The day after the storm, the nearby residents are shocked to see how small the root…

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Why The Cedar Life?

It is probably not a stretch to suggest that most accountants don’t have personal, tree-themed, blogs. Objectively, it seems an odd combination. My hope is that this post answers the ‘Why’ question. Words I’ll start with the writing part. For a few years, the idea of writing something like this blog has been on my…

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About Me

I am a husband to my beautiful wife, Katie, and father to four amazing children. I have been working as an accountant and finance leader since 2009 and currently serve as the Director of Finance at the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Like many people in the stage of life I am in, I am incredibly busy,…

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