The valley of the flags

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Ever since our Route 66 experience a couple years ago, Chandler and I have been fond of seeing America from the vantage point of the winding narrow state highway versus the straight, wide Interstate. Like the Disney movie, “Cars,” we prefer to roll through the little towns rather than whizz past and never even know they were there. The one-lane roads — often without shoulders — disappear into the landscape much more easily than four lanes of divided highway that level hills, raise dips and create a sense of monotony where the most exciting thing is navigating through the big trucks. The state highway presents a view of America many don’t see anymore.

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These boots are made for walkin’

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My birthday was the day after Chandler and I arrived in Wyoming. Though we will celebrate as a family later, I celebrated by buying myself something I’ve been thinking about ever since we’ve been coming here to be with Chandler during his treatment. I got myself a pair of black cowboy boots.

Some of you will remember the Catch I wrote during our first visit about the boots I borrowed from Chandler to go riding with him that were three sizes too large for me. Each visit I’ve thought about going home with my own pair, and suddenly it seemed the right time. Besides, I wanted something to remember these trips by. Though Chandler’s memories of this place will no doubt improve over time, right now, he’s only thinking about getting out of here. Me — I’ve come to like Laramie and Wyoming in general.

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Narcissistic spirituality is back

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Our good friend Steve tweeted yesterday’s Catch, and for some reason, my email brought up an older Catch from last February instead, “Are we guilty of narcissistic spirituality?”. It turns out to be a divine mistake because the February 17 Catch is exactly what I need right now, and I have a hunch you do too.

Steve is the perfect one to comment on yesterday’s Catch since he used to work for (and with) Marti in marketing. They made an awesome team, and Steve will undoubtedly get the good nature ribbing in yesterday’s Catch. In rereading what I wrote yesterday, I realize I might have made Marti out to look like a big pain. That’s not the case. It’s just her people-oriented work ethic rubbing against my narcissistic procrastination. Thus, the appropriate nature of bringing back February’s Catch. (Some of these Catches really do need to go around again because we are so slow to get it.) But before I go to that, there are two things of importance I need to make clear.

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Saving the Princess of Power and Control

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In some circles and most certainly in our family, my wife, Marti, is known as the Princess of Power and Control. She even has a pseudo-business card with that title printed on it. I’m not sure when this moniker was first applied to her, but I can guess that it came from her years as an executive in the business world, and it most likely came from those who had to work for her. She is a hard driver who expects the impossible out of people. This is not because she is a particularly mean-spirited person. It’s because she drives herself extremely hard and cannot fathom, for the life of her, why everyone around her does not operate with the same intensity as she does. Marti will throw her whole being into something and wonder why everyone is standing around watching her.

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Can’t stay in Laramie forever

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A big thanks to so many of you who have offered Chandler and us congratulations over what we (and especially Chandler) have accomplished through the sometimes scary aspects of his treatment over the past ten months. It has indeed been a difficult journey, and we are so grateful for so many of your prayers. As a Christian leader, there have been things that have been hard to admit, but the encouragement and prayer support we have received have outweighed all that. Besides, the only thing really lost by living this story openly in front of all of you has been my ego. Ha! Good riddance.

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How embracing failure can guarantee the greatest success

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One of the unique things about the Catch, and we think worthy of your support, is that we are not afraid to reveal our own processes. No one is perfect, and leadership does not consist in the absence of failure, but in the ability to identify with failure and grow thereby.

Along these lines, my wife, Marti, pointed out something she felt was missing in my report of our son Chandler’s awards banquet last week (see Friday’s Catch). It’s probably something you wouldn’t have caught unless I revealed it to you, which is what I am going to do right now.

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The treatment center’s Most Improved Resident

Chandler and his good friend, Jalen.

Chandler and his good friend, Jalen.

“Congratulations and good luck when you go home.” That is how the speech introducing the Most Improved Resident award at Chandler’s treatment center ended at a very special Awards Banquet last night.

The banquet hall of the nicest hotel in town was packed, with everyone, including the kids, dressed to the nines. Besides the students, the audience was made up of staff, former staff, alumni of the program, major donors, and the Board of Directors of the 35-year-old treatment center.

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Time to join up with the Musketeers!

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Similar to the summer blockbuster movies we have become familiar with, the original novel, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is the 19th Century version of a buddy movie. It first appeared one chapter at a time in the Parisian newspaper Le Siècle from March 14, 1844 to July 1, 1844. It was a serial novel, guaranteeing newspaper sales, with each chapter ending with a real cliffhanger, so you had to find out what happened the next day. It was full of the ribald, swashbuckling, high-living humor that most of the 34 film versions in our modern era have captured. In other words, the humor, camaraderie, rivalry and naughtiness of later versions were not adaptations; they were built into the original story.

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