Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014 - Capturing What’s Important

Sometimes what’s truly important stares at me in the face all year long, and I not only ignore it, I antagonize it because this year was all about ME. Only when I pause long enough to rest, look around, look at my past year, do I notice.

What did I notice this week?

It’s captured in this photo:

A family I love, and who, I think, loves each other through all kinds of adventures good and bad.

History of past Christmases sprinkled across the tree…reminding me of how many adventure we’ve had.

A tired Greg who felt quite unsuccessful this year. But also that the things I struggled with? Not anywhere in the photo.

A 11 year old son who I am more impressed with every day…who is caring, thoughtful, and so smart that he actually could do anything he set his mind to. 

An almost 14 year old daughter who delights me with her confidence, laughter, and the way she feigns disgust with certain school subjects yet aces them. Her exploration into acting and singing fills me with antici...pation with what adventures will unfold before her.

Another almost 14 year old daughter who impresses me with her attitude and determination. Whether it’s taking instruction from me in math, the way she stays on top of school work, or the way she puts 20 hours of gymnastics in to become the best gymnast she can be. Her curiosity will propel her far.

A wife whom I adore so much. I haven’t told her that much this year. Like I said, most of the year was about me and my valley. She’s solo parented when I traveled, had her own valley yet was supportive and understanding the whole year...and she spoke her mind when I needed it.  Her picking the most awesome songs for her to sing and me to play this year have been wonderfully therapeutic. For me, my journey through this life sparkles because of her…not much different than the tree in the photo sparkles because of the lights that surround it.

An almost 18 year old son whom I am so proud of. He’s ready to launch, has his thrusters on, and is just waiting for graduation day to blast off. First to basic training, then to university, then to who-knows-where. All I know is that I can’t wait to watch through my telescope how his adventures unfold.

A dog. A damn dog. A heart-stealing, character-building, couldn’t-engineer-a-cuter-animal dog that through training, has taught me more than I ever imagined.

Finally, upon closer inspection, this photo captures a hopefully successful, but probably poor, attempt to bookend this family with LOVE and Jesus…on one side to approach every interaction this family has with a goal to build up, cherish, support, and teach how to act in the world, and on the other side build a foundation of faith in Jesus that can guide and inform each member of this family in everything they do.

For me, I cherish this photo. My hope is to be more intentional with what is in this photo. To not let little things distract me. Maybe I’ll have to write more to help focus…more posts, more songs...

Who knows, maybe the next year will be filled with awesomeness and adventures…not just because I'm more intentional with what I do, but because I'm more intentional with how I react to what happens.

Here’s to an amazing 2015.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What's Made Me Smile

September was a very difficult month. The details aren’t important, and compared to others struggling, my difficulties related to career, purpose, fear, value, and future are pretty lame.

However, it has made me pay attention to when I smile…

1) When my daughters choose AC/DC
My daughters are awesome and they like all kinds of music. Mostly country and pop, but sometimes hard rock (Flyleaf). Last week they were searching stations and all these songs blurted out of the radio…”na”, “no”, “ICK”, and then they turned it to classic rock. AC/DC…and they kept it. Later that week they stopped when they heard Aerosmith.

I instantly broke into a wide “Proud Dad” smile. Of all the crap that’s on the radio…they pick the SAME SONG I chose when I was their age, and feared my dad would find out! But this time, their dad smiled, and sang along.

2) When pup catches a frisbee
Ever since this damn dog arrived, I’ve invested countless hours training it so it would behave and be a reasonable member of the household. But beyond all the effort, when I throw a sailing frisbee, and she bolts down the yard…and catches it, it just makes me smile. Lately it’s been the first thing in the day that makes me smile...which is sad when it happens at 5:50pm, but it is just that much more appreciated.

What an amazing dog (dammit)

3) When the band hits the accents
I played last weekend with my wife singing and my oldest son drumming. Just that thought makes me smile, but in one song there’s a big build-up, with an accent on the “4 and”. We all nailed it, and it brought a smile.

Not just in a “love playing” kind of smile, but in a “What a rare treat to be so in sync with this young man whom I am so proud of … who he is and who he’s becoming ... that I cherish every moment I’m even around him... and delight when we’re playing music together and HITTING THE “4 AND”!!

4) When the ball gets past me
My youngest has recently been interested in soccer. Nearly daily when I get home from work, I’m worn out and sad (see above struggles).  One of the first things he asks is, “You wanna play soccer?” It’s usually the last thing I want to do, but I go out and do it. I’m not exercising enough so I figured 15 minutes of running around and jogging in place while goalie is something…and then he scores.

What a great feeling to play my best and be bested by my youngest. He scores, shows hustle, and I just can’t keep from smiling.

5) When my wife takes my hand
Lately I’ve been so distracted when I walk from point A to B that it completely surprises me when she walks up and holds my hand. That small gesture reaffirms that she still wants me around. I’m not sure why. I’ve seriously not earned any “you’re worthwhile” points. It sometimes surprises me when she still smiles at me. But it really makes me smile.

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me…I’m so focused on how to improve career, purpose, fear, value, and future, that I am forgetting that what makes me smile (relationships and music) really have nothing to do with that.

Maybe THAT’S what I should focus on and the rest will work itself out.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Love Where I Live

I honestly can’t tell you what our future holds in Rochester. I hope to host a double wedding here someday. I hope to compose the 'next great song out here. I hope to be here when they wheel me into hospice. However, I’m (hopefully) only 1/2 done with living and that’s a long time. My job might pull (or push) me to move to Austin, I might take some future opportunity to who-knows-where, or I might get fed up with the cold winters and just find something warmer.


All I know right now is that this summer has been fantastic where I am right now. This is my yard. My kids grew up here, I know every inch of these 5 acres of land, and when we have friends and family over and our yard is used, it means everything to me. Offering this space up for reunions, campfires, puppy play, kid summer fun, is what it’s here for.

Sometimes I sit out here and play guitar and write songs…but not often enough. Sometimes we fetch. Sometimes we walk the path through the park looking for wild raspberries. Sometimes we stand on the porch watching the rain come in from the view you see here.

No matter what happens, I cherish this Hinterland as the place where Karyn and I made, and continue to make, a great life. Is it hard? Time-consuming? Overwhelming? 


But nothing worth anything is easy…

…and right now where we are is precious.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Seriously, Funnest Party I Ever Threw

Our youngest wanted an ‘end of year’ party for his 4th grade classmates. We invited 20 and ended up with 13. The goal was to have a great time, have lots of things to do outside, and privately, to help my son feel loved by his fails-too-often dad.

First, we needed great weather. 

It was absolutely perfect!

Then, we needed some fun things to do, starting with "Water fun". I used a huge tarp, buckets of water for squirt-gun fights, and the lady of the house harvested water guns from the Dollar store.

Of course, water balloons are always a hit, so what better party event than a custom-HINTER built water balloon launcher! Thanks to Fleet Farm and their ‘horse care’ department, I was able to get 2 10’ latex tubes (don't ask. I have no idea...but poor, poor horses!). As for the launcher? They worked great! (some balloons traveled over 100 feet)

And then we brought the BIG ballistics out. However, those didn’t travel as well so we ran water balloon tosses. I announced the contest and some said “Don’t keep track or some may lose”. I instinctively channeled my inner robot and pronounced, “Life is filled with winning and losing…get use to it”. Then, when a team dropped a balloon and it popped, I yelled, “OK. Losers down here while we watch the winners!” (You’re welcome…just trying to prepare these kids for reality.)

Of course, a party isn’t all about water fun. I set up badminton, croquet, horse-shoe toss, bocce ball, and provided footballs and frisbees. There were hours of “free form” fun.

Then, these 10 year-olds turned into future IBMers and started an endless debate on the nuances of how to play “Capture the Football”. I eventually yelled, “ON MY MARK, TEAM ONE ATTACK TEAM TWO….ONE, TWO, THREE:  CHAAAAARGE!!!!” 

...and much fun was had by all.

I also fixed up our park: Mowed, fixed fort, slide, and made the path good for bare feet. It was awesome to see all the kids explore like pirates searching the jungle for treasure.

After dinner on the grill, the games, and the water, we started our evening with a fire. Thanks to my WWJD bracelet (What Would Jack Do), the height of the fire exceeded all expectations.

Not to lose an opportunity, the classic “end of school year” burning of the homework commenced and was enjoyed by all

The day ended with s’mores, s'moritos (a HINTER creation….they’re awesome!) and night games. Three separate times during the evening a classmate pronounced, “This was the best party I’ve ever been to!" That felt good. Then later I heard my son quietly whisper, "Thanks Dad". That, I'll never forget.

After the guests left, and the kids were in bed, I sat by the embers of the fire with my wife. I felt such contentment. We agreed to etch this day into our memories so that on hard days we don’t forget how blessed we are living here, able to host parties, and raise the kids we have. In a very real sense this was the best Father’s Day gift I’ve ever received…a reminder at the impact I have on my kids lives if I work hard, apply creativity, and work to serve them rather than focus on my own wants.

What a day…what a party

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Art Of War and Fetch - View From A Pup

Hello. I am the Hinter pup: Orchid (Princess Orchid Jane Isabelle Mary The Rut Killer according to my official pedigree documents). 

I love this family, and I'm pretty sure they love me, too because not only do they feed me, pet me and let me lay on the back of the couch like a cat, they do fun things with me like play fetch. 

However, while my family understands the depth of my joy in fetch, casual passers-by often just pass it off as "burning off energy" or make uninformed comments like, "it's cute when she growls when she catches it".

Therefore, as a PSA, I feel I need to walk you through the Art of Fetch to fully appreciate how deeply  impactful this activity is.

The Art of War Fetch

Anticipate The Moment
I am most happy in this position. You can't see the quivering in the picture but my mouth anticipates sinking into the object of my a-fetch-tion (don't groan...I'm a dog...puns are our love language). My paws are so stinking excited that they ever so slightly twitch waiting for Fetch to begin.
(click for larger, and more awesome pics)

Trust Your Companion
When he says "Go", I run...knowing that the ball or frisbee is on its way. We trust each other like that. It's like a dance...he knows my strengths, weaknesses, and skills. He lets me get a head start so I can catch it mid-air.

Fun and Serious Are Not Mutually Exclusive
Now, while I love playing, fetch is serious business! I don't have time to joke around. I've got 10-12 summers of fetch in me, and I can't take even one single session for granted. Every throw, every grab, every "Good Girl!" deepens my joy in life.

That's why I go from fun-loving "Princess Orchid Jane" you see here...

To "Wild-eyed-Orchid-Jane-The-Rut-Killer" here.

As you see, this is serious business, but in a crazy-fun "I freaking love this life!" kind of way.

Follow Your Instincts
In these moments I am "All In". Focused. Unwavering. Not to scare the children, but something from my ancient past boils up from my recessed DNA and I swear I can hear the pack lead howling "Take it down! Take it down!". Nothing can get in my way...

Go For The Kill
It's at this point I can nearly taste the fuzz...and hear the li'l green warrior scream for mercy as it bounces away quickly...but not quickly enough. Although, as evidence below, maybe the ball loves fetch just as much as I do? The ball is fulfilling its purpose and you can actually see it smile as it finishes its job (which is, of course, to be captured by a slobbery, wet-nosed opponent).

It seems we have something in common...the more we are being productive doing what we love, the happier we are.

It's in this moment that I wrap my jaws around my opponent, and with deep satisfaction, capture my prey. Those around me hear an intense growl...a guttural homage to my ancient ancestors (You should have heard me growl fetching at 3 months old...while my goal was sinister awe and an echo of past warriors, my family laughed. I first got back at them by peeing in a corner, but then I realized what all princess warriors realize in the Art of Fetch: I can use my cuteness to my advantage and now I am trusted, loved, well petted, and have companions for life. Hoo-Rah!)

In the end I show respect that it was a good-fought battle and even in victory I must be humble.  I wag my floofy tail as a victor waves a flag.

Live to Fetch Another Day
As I bound across the horizon,  another fetch session comes to a close. I am exhausted, full of joy, and feel closer to this human than ever. We walk together, hang it up for the day, and enjoy a long, cold drink.

Some day will be my last day of fetch. I know that. He knows that. That's just how it works. That's why we cherish each throw.

Until then, if you see me in the act of fetch, know that while I'm fiercely zoning in on my prey, and fiercely growling when I catch it, inside I'm feeling quite different. Inside I'm shouting...


Monday, May 26, 2014

Starting the Journey Where Memorial Day Hits Home

I've always tried to respect Memorial Day for what it is really for: Honoring those that are serving today and those that gave their lives while serving our country. To be honest I've greatly enjoyed the 3-day weekend of relaxing, campfires, and grilling. Maybe all that helps me personalize the gift those in the military provide.

But today is a bit different. This is the first Memorial Day that officially affects our home: Two months ago my 17 year old enlisted into the Army National Guard.

He is very excited, as are we. It's all good news right now, and I fully hope and pray it continues to be. The benefits of being in the guard are many. I'm sure that as this journey unfolds we will have many ups and downs, and some day some bad news may come. There is the remote possibility that some day some very very bad news will come.

Through it all we know our son chooses this on his own; it's his life, his journey, and we are honored to be along for the ride to see what countless other families of those serving see: How one life can be forever changed through serving while at the same time see how this one life can change countless other lives that are being served.

I'm very proud of you, Cole Gregory Hintermeister. I can't wait to see how your last year of high school, first year of National Guard, and the beginning of your great adventure unfolds.

...and while you are away exploring your dreams...

...we'll be here...

...saving you a seat in your honor...

...and looking proudly at the flag you serve...


Friday, May 23, 2014

Ready to Fly!

I’ve climbed hard

I’ve reached this plateau

The view is awesome

I’ve been recognized for being among the best

Others are continuing to climb towards the peak...

...they want to become even better

I will not continue with them

I am sad, but sure of my decision
The work to climb this far has made me who I am

I am satisfied with reaching this plateau


...there are other peaks to climb!

This plateau is a great place to launch from

Some want to reach the very top of this peak

Good for them

They’ll experience things I never will


I want to explore other peaks

I’ll experience things they never will

I’m ready…

I have my glider on...

I step back…

...and LEAP!


Instantly I look back and a wave of fear overcomes me…

…what if that peak was all that I’m really good at?

…what about my friends still climbing?

…what if all I do is glide to the bottom and whither?


Then I look forward…

There are peaks as far as I can see!

Some are small

Some are taller than the one I was climbing

My fear disappears and is replaced by…


I can’t wait to explore what’s out here



I’ve always wanted to climb that…

I could not even see it from the last peak

I land…

...not at the bottom…

…but at the beginning.


Dedicated to my wonderful, brave, and wise daughter who ended her gymnastics career today. I love you so completely and I can’t wait to see what you explore next!

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