What do you do?

Flash Talk: You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?


The politician stood behind the bulletproof podium and gave a mediocre speech. His delivery ranged from a low mumble to blasting eruptions as he railed on about the record of his opponent compared to what he would do if he got elected. Tim and another man stood near the back of the room trying to stay awake.

The other man turned and asked, “What do you do?”

Tim stifled a yawn before replying, “I’m a husband to one, father to three, friend to some, sibling to others…”

The other man cut him off. “No, no. What do you DO?” he repeated. “Where do you work? What’s your job?”

“That doesn’t matter as much,” Tim replied. “In my day job, I help the company win contracts and keep other people employed. It’s good work, but there are other things more important in my life.”

“Like what?” the man asked.

“Well, it’s like this,” Tim explained, “My computer wallpaper is a series of images that fall into two categories. The first is scenery. You know, landscapes, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, prairies and so forth. Places I’ve been, pictures I’ve taken, and where I’d like to go again. The other category is pictures of my family. I’ve got them cycling through behind my work all day long as a reminder.”

“Of what?” the man inquired curiously.

“Of what’s important. The scenery images are where I’d like to be. The family pictures remind me why I work.”

Love Creates Beauty

Absolute Beauty

We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you agree? is all beauty contingent on a subjective point of view?


They met on New Year’s Day 1986. Tim was a young US Navy sailor on holiday leave and visiting his hometown. His older brother, Jim, invited Tim, and younger brother Dave to go over to his college girlfriend’s home for board games. They agreed.

Jim led Tim around the house and made quick introductions to the parents and Claire’s younger sisters. Tim just smiled and nodded to each one in turn before moving in to the living room for the games. He figured he was meeting his future in-laws since it looked like Jim and Claire were headed for marriage after they finished college. The right thing to do was make a positive impression.

Three pairs played Trivial Pursuit that evening.

  • Jim and Claire were too distracted with each other to concentrate on the game for more than fifteen seconds at a time.
  • Claire’s parents were not trivia buffs but politely played along.
  • Tim and Dave were two bachelors with voracious reading habits and minds that retained enormous quantities of useless data. They dominated the board.

At some point in the game, there was an interruption from Claire’s younger sister as she roughhoused with another visitor. The commotion spilled into the room almost upsetting the board pieces before ranging back into the kitchen. The living room group finished the game as Dave named the only native North American marsupial (Opossum) for the win.

Shortly thereafter, Tim and Dave made their exit and headed home for the night. It had been a pleasant enough evening with laughter and giggling (mostly from Jim and Claire), light snacks, and getting to know the future in-laws a little. Good people, nice family, becoming related would be okay.

Fast forward five months and Tim asked her after the movie, “Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“What?” he said, “Are you serious?”

“Are you?” she asked.

“Yes,” he answered more confidently.

“Me too,” she declared.

It was the younger sister. What began so casually had grown through letters and phone calls. They shared hopes, dreams, and plans. Distance was irrelevant. Their hearts knitted together.

He was fascinated with her. She was so different from everyone else; so joyful, creative, and beautiful. The way she looked at him emboldened him. He could tackle the future with her strength and support.

She made him more confident. He had always been cocky, this was better. She believed in him and his purpose became to live up to that faith, to be worthy of it and never fail.

27 years of marriage so far. People ask how we’ve made it.

“It’s easy when you’re married to your best friend.”

Got to get out of here…

Travel, adventure, gold. That’s what he wanted. Jason dreamed of horseback riding on a rugged mountain trail in search of a long-forgotten mine. Or maybe scuba diving in shark-infested waters to discover an ancient shipload of gold. Perhaps skydiving into a hostile jungle to locate a hidden temple full of jeweled treasure. But not today. Here he was pulling weeds from the garden as sweat trickled into his eyes.

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