The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Articles written by Erik Sietsema

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Patching Cracks

Before coming to Big Sandy, I worked with kids in a mental health facility. Most of the kids were pretty ordinary but had abusive or difficult upbringings. The result of their terrible life experiences was often a great deal of anger and...

 

Patching Cracks

Over the last few weeks, I have read a handful of articles in various publications on how to start an argument over politics with your family at Thanksgiving Dinner. The authors of these helpful guides included catchphrases and tricks you could play...

 

Patching Cracks

In 1929, Calvin Coolidge traveled to the Black Hills in North Dakota for a vacation. While there, he was photographed many times dressed in cowboy attire. The one catch being that it isn’t actually cowboy attire. It’s a very fancy, almost silly...

 

Patching Cracks

The treadmill was originally invented as a torture device for prisoners. Prisoners were chained in place on a cycling belt that simply continued to move. The prisoners were forced to run or walk in place for hours at a time as a form of torture....

 

Patching Cracks

In ancient Israel, every Jewish boy would learn the Torah in school. Specifically, they would memorize the Jewish religious writings starting at an early age until the rabbi teaching them decided they had reached their potential as students. At that...

 

Patching Cracks

One of the hardest parts of professional pastoring is ministering to families in times of loss. It is hard because our natural inclination when folks are hurting is to try to fix it. We want to make the sorrow stop, but it’s impossible. You can’t...

 

Patching Cracks

I hate shopping for cars. I would probably enjoy it more of I had a lot more money, but as it is, I typically go into car buying with a strict set of rules and a limited budget. The worst part is when you talk to a salesman and he has you test drive...

 

Patching Cracks

I have a work out schedule I follow from week to week. It is Tuesday morning as I write this, and I will confess honestly that I dread going to the gym on Tuesday mornings. My Tuesday workout is very difficult. I have to push myself to finish it...

 

Patching Cracks

I recently watched an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he talked about going from being a small, self-doubting kid to winning Mr. Universe 7 times. He described hanging photographs of boxers and athletes he idolized all over his room....

 

Patching Cracks

Last week, I listened to an interview with business coach/best selling author Steve Chandler. His business has been built up around the idea of being a “Time Warrior.” Put simply, he teaches folks how to overcome procrastination and accomplish...

 

Patching Cracks

My wife and I enjoy doing Escape Rooms. These are games where you are locked in a room and have an hour to escape by solving puzzles that provide you with keys, combinations, or directions for escaping the room. We have done a dozen or so over the ye...

 

Patching Cracks

Ancient rabbis used to tell a story about the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. At the climax of the story, God parted the Red Sea so that His people could cross on dry land and escape from the pursuing Egyptian army. In the story, two men were wa...

 

Patching Cracks

I do about 30 chin-ups at the gym several times a week. I don’t like doing chin-ups, and I couldn’t do them for many years. I’d try and try and couldn’t quite get myself up over the bar. Then, a crazy thing happened one day: I did one. After...

 

Patching Cracks

A few weeks ago, my 6 year old son and I were at the community pool for swimming lessons (for him, not me). It was the last session of the week, and they typically just play in the pool for the hour. I asked my son to go down the big slide, which...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    July 31, 2019

Patching Cracks

About 10 years ago, I started playing a Facebook game. It was one of those games where there’s almost no skill or thinking involved. A few of the guys I worked with started playing the same game, and before long we were discussing it at lunch and...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    July 24, 2019

Patching Cracks

This week, I have been married for 21 years, and I am happy. I thank God every day for my wife and the life we have shared, good and bad. This isn’t to say we never disagree or fight. Rather, that I love her dearly and she is my favorite person in...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    July 17, 2019

Patching Cracks

I am a procrastinator by nature. Though I’ve gotten better about it over the years, when I was in college, I turned it into an art. I began by waiting until a few days before an assignment was due to start working on it. Then as time went by, the...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    July 10, 2019

Patching cracks

This morning, I read an interesting op-ed written by a woman who is a lawyer and mom. She talks at length about the difficulty she has in that role and the hard truth that she often chooses her work life over her family because it fits her...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    June 26, 2019

Patching Cracks

I am allergic to dandelions. Every spring, my lawn begins to grow, the dandelions show up, and I start to develop headaches and sinus problems. When it gets tiresome enough, I mow in an effort to beat them back. Every home owner knows that mowing won...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    June 19, 2019

Patching Cracks

When I was a kid, I knew a handful of guys who were rabid baseball fans. They could tell you any stat for any player on their team going back 10 years. They collected baseball cards religiously, stored them in little plastic sleeves and studied them...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    June 12, 2019

Patching Cracks

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This quote, from motivational speaker Jim Rohn has made the rounds in the world of self-improvement for years, and it’s worth taking a moment to consider, because it has a...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    May 29, 2019

Patching Cracks

About 15 years ago, the church I was working for as a Youth Pastor made significant budget cuts that resulted in me taking a 50% pay cut. This meant being forced to start working a second job. The job I found was at a facility that worked with kids...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    May 22, 2019

Patching Cracks

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese word referring to their cultural understanding of beauty. It’s an interesting perspective that is very different from what we generally accept in the west. Whereas we tend to look at things that are perfect as beautiful,...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    May 8, 2019

Patching Cracks

I recently read the Wizard of Oz and was surprised at some of the differences between the film and the novel. The most interesting difference related to the story of the Tin Man, who was originally just a regular woodsman. He was cutting wood to...

 
 By Erik Sietsema    Opinion    May 1, 2019

Patching Cracks

“A man and a woman are walking up to a building. The man notices the woman and runs ahead to open and hold the door for her. As she walks in, she turns to the man and asks ‘Are you holding this door because I am a woman?’ He responds: ‘No. I...

 

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