Category: Faith

6 Things My Kids Need For School

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Here we are again. Where did the summer go? Maybe you’re getting ready to send your first born off to school. You might be sending your oldest to college. Maybe you homeschool and you’re ramping up for another year. Wherever this post finds you, I thought I might share the 6 things that I firmly believe my kids need before they start school. These 6 things are part of that “hill I will die on” I often refer to. I know each child and home is different, so take these for what they are worth. Here we go….

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying they need respect, that comes when you GIVE respect. From the time our oldest began school, we chose one thing we really wanted for them that school year. His first year, my word was respect. I don’t know a lot and I’ve never been accused of being really book smart, but respect for others will take you a long, long way in this life. Like my father-in-law says “you earn your breaks.” One of the greatest things you can offer another person is your respect. Respect your elders. Respect your friends. Respect those who disagree with you. You don’t have to agree with every one, or everything, but you can respect their differences. There is an exception to this but thats another post for another day…

2. Treasured – This one REALLY applies to my girls. I wrote a post about being fifteen about a year ago and apparently I am incredibly naive to what that age is like now. While none of mine are fifteen yet, they are growing up faster than we did at their age. They have access to so much more. The only way I know to compat all that waits out there both virtually and in reality, is to make sure they all know they are treasured. They are treasured by me, they are treasured by God. They are my joy and the prize of their creator. They don’t need to settle for anything less than all that God planned for them before they were even born. There will be influences and voices to encourage otherwise, but my hope is they have a firm foundation in how treasured they are both at home and by their Creator.

3. Quiet Strength – There is confidence and then there is arrogance. Confidence crosses the goal line, hands the ball to the referee and heads back to the sideline. Arrogance takes off it’s helmet and makes sure every one knows who scored the touchdown. When it comes to achievements in everything from academics to athletics, I’ve always encouraged my children to be more like Barry Sanders and less like Dion Sanders. Act like you’ve been there. Consider the feelings of those that can’t or didn’t or won’t achieve their goal. Remember when you fell short and how that felt.  As they saying goes…

Work for a cause, not for applause.
Live life to express, not to impress.
Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.

4. Be The Change – In an age where “bullying” is a word thrown around a lot, I want my kids to be the change. Stand up for those that can’t or won’t stand up for themselves. Be “that friend” we all want, seek and need. Surround yourselves with those that are different and learn what makes them that way. Let your life be consistent. Let it be so consistent it changes others in ways that are positive. Be individul but be consistent. God created you to influence a circle of people. Be the change in your circle of influence.

5. Be Awesome – Before you click out and think I am “that dad” that demands perfection, let me put your mind at ease…I’m not. You can be last and still be awesome. You can not be at the top of your class and still be awesome. Bob Goff said it best…

Be Awesome…. God loves the humble ones, and the humble ones often don’t make it as first-round draft picks for the jobs with big titles or positions. But they always seem to be the first-round picks for God when He’s looking for someone to use in a big way.

To Be Awesome is to be humble and to be available. We get opportunities every day to be awesome to someone or for something. I want my kids to be available to any and all opportunities, especially with others. As the saying goes – “in 20 years they people won’t remember your name or achievements. But in 20 years they will remember how you made them feel and the memories you gave them.” Be awesome. Make others feel special and leave them with great memories.

6. Be Brave – How could I send them off without a charge that I set for myself in 2014? Be brave to try new things. Be brave to explore and learn. Be brave for those that can’t find the courage to be brave on their own. Let your bravery influence and encourage others to be brave too. God wired each of my kids differently. One will “be brave” with a quiet, calm influence. One will “be brave” in her compassion for others. One will “be brave” with an enthusiasm that is contagious. It’s they way they were built before they were ever born. Gods perfect design. Take each of those gifts and be brave.

As we send our kids off to school and college, my prayer is that these days will be rich with learning. Yes, I hope they fill their minds with book knowledge, but I also hope they are filled with moments and experiences that mold and shape who they will become. As I’ve posted before, it’s time to “Let That Pony Run.”

Broken and Beautiful

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My kids love birthday celebrations at the house. Especially our youngest (aka Princess 2.0). Throughout the day yesterday I was instructed that I “couldn’t go in the loft” and I “wasn’t allowed in the dining room.” Since I was running out of places in the house to go, I ended up in my office. Princess 2.0 would later come in, head down, tears streaming down her face. All I heard in between deep breaths and sniffles was “daddy…I tried to make a basketball…and it fell apart.” At this point, she handed me a broken beaded iron ornament….and she broke down. I mean, full blown tears. She was crushed.

I picked her up and just held her for awhile. Over and over again, I just kept telling her I loved it. I kept repeating that what meant more to me was the time, thought and heart that she put into this project. I kept telling her that her heart is what I love more than anything she could possibly make me. It was so important to me that she knew that. I don’t know if she understood or received that, but it really meant the world to me.

We then took all of the pieces of her project and together we rebuilt a new one. We took what she had worked on, added some new parts and when it was all done, I have a treasure for my office and she has something she is proud of. We took what was broken and made it beautiful.

Last night I went to bed and re-lived that moment over and over. Quietly I had one of those “Hello McFly” moments. Over and over in this life I have started something with the best of intentions. I have wanted to make something of my life for the God of this universe that He would be proud of. All too often, my best intentions fell apart. My fresh start turned to another failure. Slowly I approached the throne broken and frustrated. I started off with intentions of being holy and ended up saying “what do I know of holy?”

What hit me last night is that we are His children. Our broken, failed attempts at holy are beautiful in His eyes. Our time is what He cherishes. Just like 2.0, He knows my heart. It doesn’t end there. Over and over He reminds us that He loves us. He then takes the broken attempts and the failed intentions and, if we’re willing, creates something beautiful. Together we take what was broken, mix it with other elements and create our new story. It might not be exactly what we originally thought, but it is whole.

Feeling broken? Feeling like your best intentions and attempts at seeking a life of faith have failed? Take what you have to Him. He’ll take what was broken and make it beautiful.

#BeBrave

What You Believe…

My father-in-law was recently at the house and popped his head in my office. He said “so, are you ready for Monday?” I sat there going through my mental calendar and couldn’t come up with what significance Monday had. I finally had to ask “what’s Monday?” He then reminded me that Monday is a day on the calendar that I age one more year. He asked if I had a post ready to go to impart wisdom I’ve gained in my many years.

Nope.

I was glad he reminded me what Monday was because I needed to renew my drivers license this year. As I stood in that hateful long line at the DMV, I pondered what I could possibly share. What wisdom have I gained? What words can I put in a post?

I’ve got nothing.

I’ve spent the days since that conversation going round and round about this post I could write that would change the world. What I have learned in these years on this big rock that I can pass on to my kids and anyone else that might read this? Then one day it hit me….while I was making the bed (I kid you not). I thought back to a friend that had a birthday close to mine. Sadly he is no longer here. We lost him all too soon. I thought back to the words I spoke at his funeral. A simple sentence that I still believe sums it all up…

You can say what you think but you’ll live what you believe.

That’s it. It’s funny that I share that in a blog post. I’ve said multiple times that it is really easy to sit behind the keyboard and act like you’ve got the world on a string. For over 9 years I have posted thoughts and hopefully, shared the struggles too. Social media has exploded over the years. Now more than ever before I believe that statement has to be our filter. It’s easy to only post the great moments, the times when the kids did amazing things and when the house looked incredible. Hopefully you’ve seen our not so primetime moments through social media too. We’ve got them. I’ve got a ton of them.

I hope that whenever my number is called, those that knew me personally or from afar will all be able to say the same thing. I hope they will say that I said what I thought and it matched the way that I lived and what I believed.

I hope you’ll see that I didn’t just speak highly of my wife, I honestly treasure and honor her above all others.

I hope you’ll see that I wasn’t bragging on my kids, I made it my goal to treasure each moment and never leave a doubt in their mind as to how I felt about them.

I hope you’ll see that I didn’t throw around the word “friend” like it’s something you accept on a social media site. I believed that relationships are important and that people – no matter who they are – matter.

I hope you’ll see that I didn’t just talk about faith to be high and mighty. I live a life filled with questions, doubts, struggles, fears and wrestled through the journey to be not high and mighty, but second and humble.

So thats the best I’ve got. The calendar turns on another year older. It’s another chance to say what I think and most importantly….

Live what I believe.

#BeBrave

The Greatest Lesson My Dad Ever Taught Me

Fathers Day is this Sunday. How do you possibly honor your father for all he has done? Especially when you are a father now and know the requirements of the job. Today I wondered what the greatest lesson my father ever taught me was. The answer was simple and it took very little thought. Before I get to the answer, let me give you some other thoughts.

Now that I am older and a home and auto owner, one of the greatest regrets is that I didn’t pay closer attention when my dad would work on the house and cars. I was usually in the driveway shooting hoops at our garage while he was working away under one of our family vehicles. When it was time for home projects I was most likely in my room impersonating a rock star or playing Atari.

I never became a rock star, basketball star or great video gamer but I sure could use the knowledge I would have gained measuring, cutting, installing and removing. I thought it was important to point out that the teacher was always available. Sadly, the apprentice had other priorities. Thanks for always being willing dad and for still being a phone call away when I need the help.

So what is the greatest lesson I learned from my father? Three words….

Love your bride.

To the best of my recollection, these words were never once said to me by my dad. He never sat me down and gave me this lesson. As I have learned as a father myself, the best lessons are caught and not taught. Dad loved his bride. Every moment and every opportunity he honored his bride. My mom glowed because she was made to feel like she was the queen in his kingdom.

When my mom entertained in our home (which was often), it was a big deal. Behind the scenes, in the kitchen with an apron on was my dad. He would wash dishes, prepare food and make sure everything was as it should be. He supported her dreams and her spiritual gifts. He understood that when your bride is in her sweet spot in life, she radiates Gods glory.

My mom had a crush on Kenny Rogers. He was fine with this crush and every single time Kenny dropped a new album, she was one of the first to have it. The night or morning it came out, you would find my dad in a line at the record store buying one for his bride. He taught me the little things mean far more than the big trips to extravagant places.

In her final years, my mom needed constant care. While I have always respected my father, what I witnessed in the final years of my moms life was an entirely different level. He bathed, tended and provided for her every need. As the song says, he “walked her home.” He taught me what “in sickness and in health” really means.

Dad, Happy Fathers Day.

Thank you for the lessons you were willing to teach.

Thank you for the lessons you taught.

Thank you most of all for loving your bride.

I love you Pop.

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Knots In Your Rope

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We arrived home safely last night after a week in the Outer Banks. In case you missed it, I covered why this trip was important (HERE). I also gave a mid-week update of some of the not-so-brilliant moments (HERE). It was an incredible week on so many levels. I once again was reminded who I am on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (AKA – Gods Country).

My wife is a runner and I jog at a pace just a tick above walking so we typically map our various mileage routes when we arrive in OBX. One route we mapped out had a series of inclines and seemed to be a challenging 6 miler. I let my friend “D-Rich” somehow talk me into coming out of race retirement and sign up for a quarter marathon in August so I set a goal to get said challenging 6 miler before we left OBX. Saturday morning came calling and I always try to achieve goals I set. When I pushed off and hit my watch, I decided to take the 6 miles and compartmentalize all that had taken place on our week away. Immediately, my useless knowledge kicked in and this quote came to mind:

“Y’all come up here about the same time with the same problems. You spend 50 weeks a year getting knots in your rope and you think 2 weeks up here will untie them for you. None of you get it.”

-Curly (City Slickers)

Sure enough, old Curly was right. The only exception is I usually take 51 weeks a year to get knots in my rope. Then I spend a week in OBX thinking it will untie them for me. As I pounded away at the pavement, I kept wondering how a week off the grid somehow will solve all of the problems of the other 51 week mundane. Had I somehow found the magic I was seeking when we arrived 6 days earlier? Was there an “ah-ha moment” that I would now take home with me for the year ahead? If so, what was it?

“None of you get it”

If you’re familiar with the movie, Curly goes on to deliver his “One Thing” speech and it’s brilliant.

There is so much truth in such a silly little movie clip. Honestly.

While we were on our vacation, a good friend sent me a text asking for some advice. I called him a bit later and we discussed a decision that was weighing on his mind. As I ran those miles, I couldn’t help but think I shared my one thing with him without even realizing it. Our week away didn’t help me discover my one thing, it removed the distractions so I could focus on it much more clearly. It’s like his text and call were that ah-ha moment for me without flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder.

So what is that one thing?

What I told my friend is that he must decide on the hills that he is willing to die on. In other words, he must decide those things that are the non-negotiable things in his life. Everything else will fall into place and be viewed through this lens. They are the one thing. You figure that out and everything else just doesn’t matter.

Getting knots in your rope 50 or 51 weeks a year can’t be solved with a week or two away. It can’t and won’t untie them for you. Knowing your one thing and the hills that you will die on help keep from ever getting knots in your rope in the first place.

What are the hills that you are willing to die on?

What is your one thing?

It’s probably obvious by now, but these four are just one of mine. Every. Single. Time.

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