Humble Operations - Meet Allard: Chief Engineer and Operator

Meet Allard, Allard is the Chief Engineer aboard the General MacArthur, a 24,000 HP - 32" Cutter-head Suction Dredge. It is the largest of its kind in North America and the Western World. I was privileged one afternoon to sit down with him to learn all about the dredge and what goes in to keeping it running.  Allard hails from the Netherlands and surrounding region, an epicenter for world class maritime industry and coastal engineering. Like his father, Allard became an expert in vessel operations and keeping the enormous steel sea creatures running constantly. Unlike the steel skiff your neighbor may have rusting away in their yard, the vessels Allard maintains are as complex as the space shuttle and require constant attention to manage the massive pumps, enormous diesel engines and generators, thousands of volts of switchgear and electronics, and of course the 25 plus human souls living aboard who need food, clothing, and shelter.  After sitting down with Allard for about thirty

God's Counterintuitive Affinity

 The spirit you receive does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." - Romans 8:15 How many times have I messed up and then been in fear that God will send down a bolt of lightning to kill me because he's sick and tired of my shenanigans? Short answer: too many times to count. There are plenty of stories in scripture of God exhibiting his anger towards people. However, when looking one layer deeper, it evident that God's affinity for his children is enormous. We are not slaves, but sons and daughters. God is a good father who cares about us. He rejoices with us, cries with us, jumps, mourns, defends, laughs, sings, etc...  A few (thousand) years ago, Israel was turning their backs on God and was about to get theirs. After a couple of pages of what seems to be Israel about to get seriously punished, God responds with this: "Therefore, I am not g

The Setting Sun

I was in San Diego in November 2017 preparing as best man for my best friend's wedding later that month. I rented a little beach condo less than a block away from the North end of Pacific Beach. I invited some friends, rented a surfboard, and was ready to call it home for a while. Something about being on the water has always fascinated me. Looking out beyond the horizon has and always will inspire an ultimate sense of awe and wonder. From my eyes alone, I cannot technically see what's beyond the horizon, which is part of what makes it so amazing. Something is there, yet I cannot see it. Beyond the horizon there is wind, light, life, and mystery. Anything your mind places there is possible. Despite my limitations to see past the horizon, there is one thing that has full permission and ability to go past the horizon every day. That "thing" is the sun. Not only does the sun go into the unknown, it brings light to the unknown, therefore making it known. From my poin

Tell Em' (Who They Are)

Bob Goff in his new book, Everybody Always, writes: "Instead of telling people what they want (or need), tell them who they are."  I think that most people are aware of their shortcomings, and probably hear about those more than their strengths. When one of my little league baseball players strikes out, they know it's counterproductive and are probably somewhat embarrassed. They don't need to hear that from their teammates and coaches also. As their coach, and with longer term goals in mind, it's my job to get them back to the plate batting feeling confident. The best way to do that is to tell them who they are in that moment. Telling them what they need to correct at that very moment is nothing but counterproductive, as there is no way it can be fixed in short time. Instead, I shout, "Hey Jimmy - show em' who you are man! You're a beast up there! Flex your muscles!"  Getting these players to be the best they can be requires placing an identi

A World Where I Belong

Well... "...If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world..." - C.S. Lewis This just really puts "it all" into perspective. Insert what ever desire, accomplishment, failure, longing, or maybe even a relationship into "it all." Why do our greatest accomplishments, material items, and experiences not satisfy our deepest longings and passions?  Maybe you and I were made for something more than our selves and this world. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe there is something so big, in which we cannot comprehend, that not only influences the entire universe, but also our day to day lives. It seems that these deepest desires which cannot be satisfied by this world were instilled so deep into our very being that there is no full satisfaction here on earth. Despite this, we are unable to lose hope in experiencing complete satisfaction. It's as if these desires

Love Your Neighbor

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The Second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment great than these" Mark 12:30-31 I am 99.9% convinced that if "we the people" spent more of our time loving our neighbors versus trying to change things that are nearly out of our control (I have a few in mind if you want to ask me about them. We are all guilty.) we would: 1. See more positive results 2. Develop stronger communities 3. See the needy's needs met better, faster, and more genuinely 4. See personal accountability go up 5. See violence go down 6. See overall quality of life skyrocket If you grew up like I did, you were taught to plan ahead by thinking at a higher level, and knowing how do get down into the weeds when you need to. I think the best approach to making Chicago (and other hurting areas, even the entire US)

60 Seconds of Wisdom - Making Your Bed

I do not remember why, but months ago I was watching a University of Texas commencement speech given by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven. I recently heard his name come up in a podcast I was listening to, and decided to share a practical thought from his speech: "If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right." If you haven't already noticed, I have great respect for our armed forces. I believe they do a dang good job in what they do. Therefore, considering what these men and women have to say is well worth your time.  Link to Adm. McRaven's Speech PS. Adm. McRa