About a Boy


Of course, many possible topics exist after the events of this week, but I want to ask readers for a parenting tip. This is a great chance for you to help my family.

My son is eight. He’s a very smart boy with an enormous vocabulary. He reads at the grade level of kids nearly twice his age. His math skills are way above his peers. He reasons differently than most peers, too. Think “little professor” and you get the idea.

Other children notice this. He often gets labeled “Brain.” Boys his age treat him differently. He winds up in a group of one when other kids play. He’s an only child, which only compounds the issue.

We put him in public school to try to alleviate some of this problem, and it has helped from a socialization standpoint. He’s much better at being part of a group.

Still, he’s the odd man out in too many activities. Sadly, this is even evident at church. Other children simply do not include him in their groups. Often, they purposefully exclude him. Our son has no problem interacting with other children, though. He’s not shy at all and approaches peers easily.

My wife is concerned that our son doesn’t have friends. It’s sad for both of us to see him left out, eventually drifting off to do his own thing or attempting to remain part of the group when others don’t want him to be. We’re also concerned that the rare, spontaneous groups that do allow him to join are often comprised of maladjusted boys who look for trouble.

Anyone out there have advice on what we can do to help our son make solid friendships?

Really, It’s Not You, It’s Me


When you’ve been a consistent voice in the blogosphere for a few years, people start to notice you. It means a lot to me that Cerulean Sanctum has been a blessing to others. I get emails from readers that bless me, too, especially those that tell how much the writings here have been a benefit in other people’s lives.

Unfortunately, that same Web presence can spawn its own interpersonal trials and misunderstandings. That brings me to four relational issues I wish to discuss: post link acknowledgments, book reviews, charity mentions, and LinkedIn.

Acknowledging links to posts at Cerulean Sanctum

Early in my blogging life, I made it a mission that I would thank every blogger who linked to one of my posts and mentioned Cerulean Sanctum on their blog. It was important to me that I acknowledge other bloggers who referenced my writings as a way of showing my gratitude and to make the blogosphere a less cold and unfriendly place.

Sadly, as more and more people link to posts here, I have been unable to keep up with this duty. In fact, if I started today and tried to make up for the backlog of just the last month or two, I would spend all day every day for the rest of my life trying to catch up.

So if I don’t post a thankful comment on your blog for your link, it’s not that I’m not grateful; I really am. Economies of scale have just made it an impossible task.

So I say here, Thank you to everyone who links to posts at Cerulean Sanctum.

Book reviews

I am also grateful that anyone would see fit to ask me to review books that they have written. That major publishers write me and ask me to read galleys is not only a shock, but one of those “I’m not worthy” kind of events.

As a professional writer, I am ultrasympathetic to the plight of authors attempting to garner marketing publicity for their books. My heart goes out to you.

However, the day has so many hours. Because I need to make a living, and I am the sole breadwinner for my family, I am willing to review books but only for a fee.

Yes, for the rare book that is dead-on-target to issues I discuss here at Cerulean Sanctum, I am willing to reconsider. But if you have a book on dating for Christian seniors or some other not-discussed-on-this-blog subject, I can only review it for a fee.

I am sure your book is deserving. The problems are on my end: limited time and the need to feed my family. If I am reviewing a stack of books all day long gratis, then I’m falling down in my most important responsibilities.

Charity mentions

Recently, I’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of charities wishing me to acknowledge their organization on Cerulean Sanctum. I did this once and now face a flood of requests. That’s normally how these things go.

To those that folks who have approached me about their charity, I want to say that I pray that God richly blesses you. But I have decided I need to stick with a decision my wife and I made many years ago. We only support those charities that are run by people we know personally, people that we regularly meet face-to-face. In this way, the accountability remains high. It also means that we can dedicate our limited resources to the people who are doing the work in those charities because they are friends and neighbors in “real” life.


This will be perhaps the most contentious issue of the four here.

I like LinkedIn and use it. It is my only genuine social networking outlet on the Web (besides Cerulean Sanctum), and I believe it to be a decent way for me to keep my business presence alive on the Internet.

But LinkedIn is only as valuable as the strength of its relationships. Its primary purpose, as I see it,  is to allow others to recommend my work and for me to do the same for them. For that reason, it demands that I know the people well that I accept as connections. I have to have some history with my connections.

Do I accept connections from people I have never met face-to-face? Yes. However, those people have two things going for them:

  1. I know what my connections do for a living and have seen examples of their professional work. In this way, I can recommend them to others.
  2. My connections and I have developed a history outside of blogging. That means carrying on conversations in private emails or phone calls over the course of some time.

Nothing is harder for me to do than decline invitations to link up on LinkedIn. For every person I decline, it’s like a little death.

If you have offered to link up and I’ve not accepted, I want to say this: It is not because I don’t like you or am being a snob. It’s solely for the two reasons above.

It’s not you, it’s me

So, if I appear standoffish, it has nothing to do with you, your book, your charity, or your blog, and everything to do with my own limitations.

I genuinely care about the people who read Cerulean Sanctum. I’ve prayed for many, if not most, of you. Forgive me if I fail you in other regards.

Lessons from a Dream Car


Click for a larger view of this DB7 Vantage Volante

Boys and girls, that’s yours truly grinning madly from the cockpit of an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante. Yeah, that’s right: the car James Bond drives. All 12 cylinders of it.

As for Dan Edelen, he drives a 1993 Mazda B2600 4×4 pickup. To put this all in perspective, I’d be able to purchase a dozen of my fully-loaded $14,900 pickup new for what this lone Vantage cost new. (I’ll let y’all do the math. Yep, it’s a huge number.)

And it would be worth every dime—at least to me it would.

I’m not a car buff. Last week, a mechanic botched tightening the oil plug on my wife’s car and we lost most of the oil out of the darned thing. I had to call my neighbor over to ask him if he could help. In short, cars are akin to Chinese puzzle boxes to me.

I can talk car models…some. I can name all the manufacturers and most of the models, but that’s memory folks, not a love for cars. I hang with other guys and they start talking compression ratios and all that other stuff, and I’m lost. They’ll discuss one trick ride after another, and all I can mumble in response is “I’m crazy about Aston Martins.” Most of the time, the Mustang and Charger folks have no idea what I’m talking about.

I think the Astons possess a combination of elegance and raw power that just grabs me. The DB7 is universally considered by auto experts to be one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Pair that with the sensation of riding in a leather-seated cannonball, and perhaps you’ll understand the appeal.

Aston Martins are rare in this country. Only 19 states have a dealership. (Ohio’s is in Dublin, headquarters of Wendy’s.) Needless to say, I’ve never seen an Aston in person. I’ve been told that even at international auto shows they keep them behind glass—look but don’t touch.

My wife and I have been part of a small group for about six years. That’s where I met Tom. Now Tom’s a British car buff and drives a Lotus himself (and yes, he’s taken me for a spin in it), but I don’t think even he connected with my fascination with Aston Martin.

But this last Friday, on a picture perfect day, Tom dropped me a morning e-mail telling me to expect to see a DB7 at small group that evening.

I had to read the e-mail about five times. An Aston Martin in our fair city? Never. How would it be possible?

I spent all day Friday with goosebumps waiting…waiting.

When we pulled in that evening, there it sat, smiling at me with that gorgeous Aston grin. Solid. Confident. Refined. Flawless. Gleaming. And a Volante (convertible) to boot!

Words can’t describe how amazing this car is. It’s one of the few things I’ve ever experienced that lived up to the hype.

We all just stared at this incredible car until Tom finally said to me, “Well…?”

And we were off.

There’s something about being in a car that weighs nearly 4200 lbs with a top speed of 185 mph, 435 hp and a mind-blowing 410 ft/lbs of torque that verges on ecstacy. Tom floored it going up the entrance ramp to the major highway nearby, and I felt as if my ribcage was going to implode from the acceleration. We blew past a BMW 650i convertible and it boggled my mind that we were in a car that cost twice as much as that wickedly expensive BMW. (I think I even taunted the BMW’s driver—just a little.)

Tom and I talked (and used a normal speaking voice, even in a convertible—amazing) and he told me he’d borrowed the car from a former law partner. Ralph had only received the car a few weeks before.

Now the part about this that tore me up came when I asked Tom, “Did you do all this just for me?” He looked me in the eye, and with a big grin on his face, simply said, “Yes.” I had to glance away to the setting sun so he wouldn’t catch my eyes welling with tears.

That’s lesson one.

Of course, most of the folks at the small group wanted a ride, including my wife. With a gleaming smile, she said she needed to understand me just a little bit more, and what better way than to ride in one of those “Aston Martin cars you always talk about.” She jumped in the passenger seat and Tom came round to drive. I said to them both, “Now I’m doubly jealous.” At this Tom sauntered over to me and dangled the key. “Drive,” he said.

Now there’s something about me you all need to know. I do an excellent job of seeing all the things that could possibly go right and wrong in life. Sadly, I do a better job envisioning the wrong portion of that equation. In that second, my heart just about stopped when I pondered the possibilities: a rock tossed up by a truck cracks the windshield, my foot jams between the brake and the accelerator and it’s Audi 5000 time, or a car of joyriding teens making their way to the high school nearby gets caught up in the joyriding and misses a stop sign, WHAM, right into a British supercar that costs as much as a house. All those scenarios crashed in my brain.

It’s not my car. It’s not even Tom’s car. Our friendship would never be the same if anything happened to the DB7. I’d never live it down if something happened.

With my adrenal glands pumping out enough juice to wire an elephant, I waved him off and watched him drive away with my wife.

On walking back to the house, my heart still fluttering, I was greeted by the rest of the small group. “Tom offered to let me drive,” I said, “but I just couldn’t.” A cadre of incredulous faces greeted me. I asked, “I’m a moron, aren’t I?” “Yes” was the group consensus.

But it wasn’t right. It was too much responsibility! I have enough of a dilemma driving a friend’s car, but a friend of a friend’s? A plethora of gruesome possibilities for error and damage rose up again. Bankruptcy! Debtors’ prison! The worst possible outcome of a Dickens novel! Little Nell! Oh no, Little Nell!

How could I possibly handle it?

Did I mention this car costs as much as a nice house?

Yet I walked down to the curb and stood there, sweating. A few minutes later, they returned, and I nervously waved Tom out of the driver’s seat and hopped in. Carefully, I took my dream car, my gorgeous wife at my side, for a very short spin within the subdivision. All told, I think we drove less than a mile.

But that was enough for lesson number two.

Now what does it all mean?

I think that a lot of us don’t understand what Christ has done for us. What a friend we have in Jesus! My friend Tom heard that his former partner had just bought an Aston Martin and I’m sure he thought right away, “Dan would love this.”

God the Father looks at you, His child, and says, “Oh, you are so going to love what I have in store for you.”

Who here isn’t crying with joy? Do we know how much we are loved? The cattle on a thousand hills! The empowering of the Holy Spirit! Eternal life purchased by the blood of the One who loves us more than anything!

But some of us get handed the keys of that Kingdom and we back off. It’s too much. Too many things might go wrong! How can we handle the responsibility?

So we shrink away and miss grabbing onto that Kingdom of unrelenting joy and going to the unimaginable places the King intended us to go.

Something about me grew last Friday. Because of an amazing car. Because that car stood proxy for something priceless. More than anything, it stood for someone who loved me enough to go to extraordinary lengths to fill my life with joy. More than anything, it stood for the willingness of that someone to trust me to drive what he’d labored to secure for me.

Do you get it?

Now take the keys and drive.


(Thanks, Tom. You’re a true friend who loves at all times. Thanks Ralph, for making one dreamer’s dream come true. And to Eric for the nicely Aston Martin-ized Cerulean Sanctum banner modification.)