My Tater

19 10 2008

Yesterday, my daughter Taylor turned 19 years old. I would normally joke that “it makes me feel old.” Not this time. In fact, watching her and my other two grow up has caused me to feel young again. She is grasping life and going after all that God has for her. So, in honor of her birthday, I am writing what I would call Random Thoughts about Taylor.

– she would eat sand as a toddler on the beach
– she loved being in front of the camera as child
– she was a beautiful flower girl in a couple of weddings
– she loved to read and be read to
– she listened to Fuschia Pickett when in the car as a child and even had the wonderful blessing of having this amazing preacher pray over her.
– she cried one day when her sister spent the night somewhere and said “how much she missed Abby”
– in first grade, she told a little boy who wanted her to be his girlfriend, “that he didn’t deserve her” (a dad’s proud moment until mom has a talkin’ to the dad)
-she looked so cool in her glasses
-she was so scared at her first tryout for the jr high band and she did so amazing while the rest of us wept for joy.
– she claims to love the movie Jaws, which is also her dad’s favorite, and both get in hot water with mom about our love of sharks movies.
– we decided what song we will dance to at her wedding. (Scary moment for the dad – almost like Jaws)
– First prom – enough said
– Second prom – not much better
– First time leading worship in the main sanctuary – wept like a baby and proud as could be
– So many date lunches – she is wiser than I was at her age and so much more creativity and personality
– She and Kristin went to France – larger than life experience – Ambien – never again.
– She is one of four great joys in my life that continue to challenge me and cause me to get on my knees in gratitude.

She turned 19 and so many doors are before her. I am such a fan of her…she is that amazing.


Want to be Young Again?

27 09 2008

I am writing this after a whole day of removing counters, installing a sink and all of its plumbing, replacing a toilet apparatus and riding 42 miles on a bike. I feel old and tired. In fact, to top off my day yesterday, I fell asleep 20 minutes after the movie I started watching with Kristin.

But there is something in my life that makes me feel young again. Uprising. It is eight young adults who have made the commitment from September to May to intern at the church. We finished our third week on Friday and these kids are amazing. They workout, have an hour of devotion, take a class for an hour and a half and then serve in ministries for an hour all before noon four days a week. They serve at our Jr. High service, Sr. High service, Second Saturday outreach and Sunday morning services. These kids are bright, energetic, and fun to see in action. They have worked really hard the last three weeks. Along the way, they have found out the importance of being on time, responsibility and pushing themselves when it hasn’t been easy.

How does that make me feel young again? They have all this opportunity before them without all the baggage of life. And they are growing and challenging themselves. Keep going guys! I am so proud and humbled that I get to see what God is going to do with you today and in the future!

Looking at Life over the Handlebars…

13 09 2008

I had the most beautiful morning. Not because of the radiance of the sunrise or the quietness over coffee. I started this morning at 6:00am trekking out on a 42 mile bike ride with two good friends and a whole bunch of spandex blackened by nights’ darkness. Now some might go “yuck!” how can that be anything close to beautiful? Let me share the magic that is God.

The first 21 miles were steady and sure. My friends were going 80 that day so when I got to my turn around point, they were only going to be at the quarter mark. This made all of us ride comfortably, not pushing or taxing our legs. When I said “goodbye,” that is when the beauty of the morning began. I had my ipod and planned on putting it on for the ride home. As I prepared to do so, something in me said, “I want to spend time with God and I have a whole hour of uninterrupted time.” So instead of cranking to the tunes, I started out with wind whistling in my ears and me pouring out to God. I find in the last six months that I am craving time with God like an athlete craves water. I shared all that I was feeling inside, the joys and frustrations. It was such a neat time of communion. I was able to spend time thanking God for my wife and each of my kids and intercede for all they are going through. When I was finished with all that, I had four miles to go. Since I haven’t been on my bike in a while, I was tired and sore. That was when the sun came out. I didn’t tell you that the whole daybreak was cloudy and humid. The last four miles was pure quiet. I didn’t talk to God and he didn’t talk to me. When I finished my ride and I had about half mile to cool down, I felt such a peace. It was so cool to want to spend time with God when there isn’t crisis or problems. Just being in the greatness of God but close and in sync. The more I grow, I learn that He is big and I am not.

The Sweetness of Vacation

29 06 2008

I just returned from a week of vacation at the beach with my family. It is a trek we take every year with my wife’s family and it was a great week. Couple of observations from this week that don’t refer to “getting away from it all.”

– When traveling on I-4, thanks for the Garmin.
– When traveling with a lot people, thanks for the headphones.
– When you hang with people who are alive and growing, there is never a shortage of stories.
– The spray on sunscreen is amazing and works wonderfully.
– The spray on sunscreen is gone in two days – so you better stock up.
– Ice cream at a 55 year old Dairy Queen is still mighty sweet!
– When you are over your head in the ocean, you have two options: kick or relax. Both work beautifully at the right time.
– Body surfing with your son – priceless!
– Seeing cousins and family for the first time in years – amazing and fun. (More stories)
– Looking a crab in the eye from six inches away is cool.
– Swimming in swarms of jellyfish and not getting stung is weird. (Want to live the moment – dump a jello mold in your bathtub and see what you do when it touches your arm.)
– The countless talks “under the umbrella.”
– Picking up “The Shack” to read what it is all about to find yourself tear stained and humbled.
– To pray, sleep and get suntanned without leaving your beach chair is not only cool, but way efficient.
– Getting the “Abby Road” picture to work like I saw it in my mind, yeah baby!
– Seeing the family without too many interuptions – the best!


Father’s Day Delight

15 06 2008

I am writing this in the quiet morning of Father’s Day. Everyone in my family is asleep (minus Lizzie, who wakes with me each morning.) I just read an article about what Dads love to get on Father’s Day. It made me wonder about what brings me the greatest joy of being a father. It happened last night.

After Saturday evening services, I went home in a wet bathing suit and shirt because we did baptisms during and after services. (Which is still one of the greatest joys in my experiences of being a pastor. I love seeing people get baptized.) I entered to a house full of kids (mine included) playing games and having fun. My wife and I got invited to join in and before I knew it, it was 11:00 and I was still up and still in my soaked bathing suit. What struck me is how much I love just being with my kids. If I spent an evening playing games, watching a movie, going to dinner, watching them use their talents ~ then, that would be a full day. My greatest joy in being a father is now to see what they bring to the table each day.

Already they are into a new stage of life where they are forging ahead on their own. It is time and I can appreciate all that lies before them. I will miss nights like last night when they are gone. Until then, we eat, we play, we love and we laugh…because we can.

A true Father’s Day delight!

God Does Have a Sense of Humor

8 06 2008

Who can tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor…

A couple months ago, I joined the ranks of the Facebook crowd. My reason for joining was to see what was going on with my daughters, since they were already on. They liked the idea and I was quickly added as a friend. (I gained a whole bunch of their friends as well. Wow!)

Fast forward to last Thursday. I am talking with my mom and she asks me about Facebook. She is telling me how my aunt has joined and connected with a bunch of people from her highschool. My mom ends up joining and invites me to be a friend. (Does this border on insanity…my mom asking to be my friend on a computer site!?) Now, I haven’t done anything on my profile and I end up adding my high school so I can see if anybody from my class is on.

That’s when I saw it…

When I would teach children’s church, I shared a story about a fellow classmate who was coming down the hall one day. His arms were filled with books and he was just like one of the smartest kids in the class should look like. Glasses, books, busy hallways and before you knew it – books and papers all over the place. Being the strong Christian I was back then, I looked at him, the books, the papers and then my friends….and turned my back and walked away. I always shared the shame I felt in turning my back when I could have reached out to someone in need. I received the approval of my friends but not myself. I concluded that story many times by saying, “if I ever see that guy again, I would ask him to forgive me.”

I looked at the screen and saw his name. It flashed at me and I could feel the emotion of the moment all over again. I began writing a note to someone I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. Brief as it was, I shared the experience and asked him to forgive me. I sent it with a sense of relief, joy and embarrassment. Later that day, I received a note back with a blessing of forgiveness, warmth and wit. It made my day.

Go figure…facebook, teenagers, mom on the internet, high school look up, email over hundreds of mile, forgiveness…yes Virginia, God does have a sense of humor.

Front seat to the highest bidder…

30 05 2008

I got in my daughter’s car early one morning to move it. This is a common occurence and although annoying, it is necesary with an “on the go” family with five drivers. As I got in, I noticed this cup with a hand written note – “Front seat to the highest bidder.” This was my son’s writing and he shares the two cars with his sisters. (Another story sometime). I was amazed but there was money in it. In fact, we were talking about it and he said there was about $17 in there, lots of them being quarters.

It got me thinking a couple thoughts:

Gas is expensive enough where cost is determining our destinations.
What an imaginative way to ask people to help out!
How bad do I want to sit in the front seat literally and figuratively?
What gas station wants to have someone pay in quarters?
When creativity meets a need correctly, how the sting of the issue lessens.
A statement can be said in many ways.

It is amazing what gets us thinking if we open ourselves to get outside the box~