September, 2022



“We few. We happy few.
We band of brothers, for he today
That sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.”


Shakespeare’s line from Henry V is often used in terms of war and the brotherhood that is formed among a group of soldiers as they fine-tune their craft. If I may offer another angle, I sometimes wonder if this brotherhood mentality can’t be seen and experienced in other teams and types of work. Caring for one another while making each other laugh, to embrace the challenge at hand and get through it together happens in coal mines, on top of cell phone towers, and in sewers. Here at the Plain Values office, where one of the most dangerous risks we face are rogue paper cuts, we routinely find ways to make each other laugh till bubbles of snot come gurgling out… somewhere!

A few weeks ago, I read through Ecclesiastes. Since then, I have been observing and thinking about all the meaninglessness I see today. Solomon, the wisest guy ever, tells us how pointless and futile our thinking often is in no uncertain terms. 

My friend Brian recently shared of his search for answers to a decades-long saga in which his grandpa disowned his family. As his grandpa had passed away years ago, my friend longed for closure. How and why did this happen? Without giving anything away, it was a massive miscommunication. Years went by, the grandpa passed into eternity, and still, the mutual mystification continued… until Brian dug in and began asking the hard questions. 

You might be wondering how in the world this goofball is going to tie three unrelated thoughts and stories into a knot and make his point; and that would be a fair question! Here it is: outside of our relationship with our Creator, the people around us, our spouses, our families, the folks we get to work with are the most important of our lives. You don’t build a brotherhood around truths that matter and bind us together without communication. Genuine and deep communication. I don’t care, nor did Solomon for that matter, how much or how little you have, who your parents were, or where you studied– we are all born with a longing to belong! We all hope to be part of a tribe bigger than ourselves and to build relationships that make eternal impacts. I dare you to find joy in the middle of hard things. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying it’s worth it!

As always, may you find joy in the simple things.

Plain Values Publisher


Exciting Steps in the Building Process – Update #9

Exciting Steps in the Building Process – Update #9

The juneberry tree in our backyard is in full bloom, as are some exciting steps in the building process! We are happy to announce that the IRS determination letter has been received and Juneberry Hill Schoolhouse is an officially approved 501(c)3 nonprofit...

May, 2023

May, 2023

ONE MINUTE WITH MARLIN   Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event featuring a visual artist I have come to appreciate very much. Makoto Fujimura shared of kintsugi, a 15th-century practice of mending broken tea bowls with a lacquer mixed with powdered...

Fundraising for Hayes

Fundraising for Hayes

Hayes is a delightful 2-year-old who is described as cute and clever. His absolute favorite activity is to swing on the swing set. Hayes is learning to call out to his on-site family care mom and dad when he needs their attention. They lavish the praise on him when he...