Homesick

“Saw The Wind”

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he SAW THE WIND, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

The movie “Pretty Woman” opens with a guy walking around the streets yelling “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?”. We all have dreams and visions of what we will be “when we grow up”. For some there is a calling on our life that is crystal clear as well. We know from an early age that we were created for (insert your gift here). But somewhere along the way, we got distracted. On Sunday morning. we looked at Acts 6:1-7 where an attempt was made to distract the Apostles. Last night at small group, we took a different approach by looking at Matthew 14:30.

Here we find Peter walking on water. In verse 30 we find those three words that are so odd, but telling of our story too. He “Saw The Wind”. Somewhere along the way to our goals, plans, dreams and visions, many of us “saw the wind” too. We got distracted and “life happened”. As I prepared the lesson I wondered what wind I have seen in my life. When are those moments when something took my eye off of my dreams and caused me to sink.

The good news is that we’re not left alone in those times. When life happens and we become distracted we see and hear what Peter heard. “IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out his hand”. When those roads turn in a direction we never thought they would, Jesus is there to reach out his hand. When we see the wind and our plans and dreams change course, Jesus is there to reach out his hand. Our challenge is to not become distracted, but to keep our eyes on Jesus. Keep the faith and don’t “see the wind”.

In the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, Richard Dreyfuss sets out to compose a symphony. Yet along the way, he “saw the wind” and got distracted. What started out as a way to earn some money became a career spent teaching children music in the local school district. The symphony sat on his piano and never gets finished. On his final day of school, he is surprised to find an entire auditorium filled with the lives and students he has impacted over the years. They are his “symphony”. They became the “music of his life”. He got distracted from his dream, but along the way he influenced lives and others dreams.

How about you? Was there a time when you “saw the wind”? Have you allowed distractions to get in the way? Have those distractions become Gods way of using your life to influence others and build their dreams? Maybe you’re writing your symphony and you don’t even know it.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jM9MC7t-8g

"Saw The Wind"

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he SAW THE WIND, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

The movie “Pretty Woman” opens with a guy walking around the streets yelling “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?”. We all have dreams and visions of what we will be “when we grow up”. For some there is a calling on our life that is crystal clear as well. We know from an early age that we were created for (insert your gift here). But somewhere along the way, we got distracted. On Sunday morning. we looked at Acts 6:1-7 where an attempt was made to distract the Apostles. Last night at small group, we took a different approach by looking at Matthew 14:30.

Here we find Peter walking on water. In verse 30 we find those three words that are so odd, but telling of our story too. He “Saw The Wind”. Somewhere along the way to our goals, plans, dreams and visions, many of us “saw the wind” too. We got distracted and “life happened”. As I prepared the lesson I wondered what wind I have seen in my life. When are those moments when something took my eye off of my dreams and caused me to sink.

The good news is that we’re not left alone in those times. When life happens and we become distracted we see and hear what Peter heard. “IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out his hand”. When those roads turn in a direction we never thought they would, Jesus is there to reach out his hand. When we see the wind and our plans and dreams change course, Jesus is there to reach out his hand. Our challenge is to not become distracted, but to keep our eyes on Jesus. Keep the faith and don’t “see the wind”.

In the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, Richard Dreyfuss sets out to compose a symphony. Yet along the way, he “saw the wind” and got distracted. What started out as a way to earn some money became a career spent teaching children music in the local school district. The symphony sat on his piano and never gets finished. On his final day of school, he is surprised to find an entire auditorium filled with the lives and students he has impacted over the years. They are his “symphony”. They became the “music of his life”. He got distracted from his dream, but along the way he influenced lives and others dreams.

How about you? Was there a time when you “saw the wind”? Have you allowed distractions to get in the way? Have those distractions become Gods way of using your life to influence others and build their dreams? Maybe you’re writing your symphony and you don’t even know it.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jM9MC7t-8g

Today

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Today I sat with a friend.

Today I was blessed with an opportunity to love on a friend that means much to me.

Today God gave me a few hours to know what Casting Crowns meant when they said to “Love him like Jesus.”

While we don’t have the answers to all of the questions, there is something so beautiful in the time with my dear friend.

Today is teaching us something.

Today I know his deepest desire in this journey is to bring God glory.

Today I can be just one of the many to testify that he has.

Today was an honor and a privilege.

Today I sat with a friend.

Today I prayed over my friend as he slept.

Today was not the first time and it won’t be the last.

Today I witnessed the heart of Jesus and the will of a warrior.

Today I was blessed, as so many others have been, to share a few steps in a journey.

Today I have again been changed.

Today I sat with a friend.

Today I was blessed to have an opportunity to love on one that means much to me.

Today God gave me a few hours to “Love him like Jesus.”

Today….I sat with a friend.

No Words

I sit here this evening with no words. All day I have pondered, prayed and tried to wrap my finite mind around the ways and wonders of an infinite God. My friends, I don’t have the words. I wish I could be a source of encouragement to you today, particularly those of us that are working through the emotions, thoughts and feelings for our dear friend and his family. What I have come to is this…God is still on his throne.

One of my favorite moments of the day and this life is when my children climb up in my lap. To rest my chin upon the top of their head and just feel them near is to know peace. In those moments of silence, the last thing we need are words. The closeness of the moment covers them all. Our Heavenly Father longs for these moments too. He longs to have us climb up in his lap and seek his grace, his wisdom, his peace and his strength. A time where we can be still. Even when there are no words…

Be Still” by Story Side B

The Foundation

There was one other quote that I had to commit to memory from the book “The Difference A Father Makes” by Ed Tandy McGlasson. When I read it, it practically jumped out off of the page and tapped me one the shoulder. I think it hit a fear that many of us have as parents. As my son has gotten older and we can communicate further why we do things like discipline, I have taken a new approach. I have recently let him on to the secret that “this is my first time at this too” and “I’ve never been a Dad before”. I hope one day he will appreciate the honesty that I’m learning as we go too.

Yet the fear that each one of us carries is that we will somehow get this wrong. That we will work so hard providing the right teaching, that we will miss something and they will go off course. I found a peace in the quote below because it gave me some courage. It gave me the confidence to know that I can rest in the fact that we are doing what we can to provide a foundation. I pray Gods grace over that foundation and that it will be strong, sturdy and worth building on.

Our job is to build the foundation; theirs is to build the house.

-Ed Tandy McGlasson

Arms Wide Open

Strange day for me today. When the calendar page turned to the 6th of October, my first born turned 8 years old. Not only is he our first born child, but he is my only son. I honestly cannot remember where the past 8 years have gone. When I think about the fact that when the same time period passes again, he will be driving, I really can’t believe it. Seems like just last summer we were trying to figure out a bicycle.

You’ll have to understand today if I am overly reflective and maybe a bit silent (is that even possible?). I get this way three times a year. One day for each child. I close with what I have prayed for “The Boy” since before he was born. Happy Birthday my son. May you always greet the world…”With Arms Wide Open”.

If I had just one wish
only one demand
I hope he’s not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
and he can greet the world
with arms wide open

-Creed

Damaged

“My heart’s so low, I’m so much to manage. I think you should know that I’ve been damaged” – TLC

I once read the book “To Own a Dragon” by Donald Miller. I really like Donald Miller’s writing. In this book, he told stories of portions of his life that left him “damaged”.

I have to admit that I am damaged too. I would also admit that in the course of my life, I’ve done plenty of damage. What is dangerous is there are times when I will re-visit those “damaged” times in my memory. It’s even more dangerous when you stay there. It can be defeating. Living life looking backwards is no way to live.

In some form or another, aren’t we all “damaged”? As John Ortberg said “we all have an as is tag”. We’ve all made a wrong turn, wrong choice, run with the wrong crowd and suffered the consequences. Maybe it wasn’t even our choices, but those of another that caused the damage. Here’s the key, our God is a God of second chances. He’s a God of restoration and healing. He’s a God that will one day right every wrong. He can and will repair our damage.

We are all damaged. The question today is have we allowed God to heal, to restore and to mend it? If so, what is our response?

These Small Hours

The kids and I watched “Meet The Robinson’s” the other night. I have this weird knack when watching films of picking up the soundtrack music and how it relates to the film. I have no idea how popular this song was, or if it even made it to radio, but it is rich. At the end of the movie a song called “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas played. The lyrics struck me. I won’t mess up the truth in the words by trying to put context around it. They pretty much say it all.Thank the Lord for “these small hours”.

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

In The Dash

I post this for a friend that I was emailing with today. May it bless and inspire you my friend. May it bless and inspire us all to seize opportunities. There is much work to be done….

“From the moment of our birth
To the moment of our death
There’s a dash in between
And the value of our lives
Will be defined by what’s found
in the dash.”
-Erwin McManus

True

A few weeks ago the family and I were on a road trip. The 80’s station on Sirius radio was the music of the moment and prompted the following discussion:

Me: “with a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue” what do you think he meant by that?

(Through the radio comes the exact lyric I just quoted)

Heather: “You’re a freak”.

You see I have this sickness. Some people can memorize scripture. Others know history. I have this crazy ability to remember lyrics. Particularly from the 80’s. I can’t tell you what a congruent triangle is (I even had to look up the spelling), but I can sure tell you the next line that Spandau Ballet is going to sing. Fast forward to this past weekend and Heather, for reasons I cannot remember, brings up that lyric. I proceeded to put on an acappella performance of “True” by Spandau Ballet for the entire family.

The kids think know I am crazy now and we’re not allowed to ever go back to that McDonalds again. For all of you that are children of the 80’s too. I give you…”True”

What About Now?

One of the curses blessings of a blog is that people (some you don’t even know) get a glimpse into your life. Depending on your level of disclosure, it can all be out there for the entire world (literally) to see. I sit here today wishing I could type the entire Charlotte story and the overwhelming peace which God has given us. I wish I could tell you about every single thing along the journey that has directed our decision and every doubt that has been answered. The truth is that the post would be VERY long. You might be surprised to hear that it has been 11 years in the making.

That being said, I’m sure there are questions about the who, what, why, where and when. I’ll do my best to cover some of those things as we walk along this path. When is the question of the day and we don’t have an answer for it. There is a little thing called the “housing market” that will dictate when it is official. We don’t know what our buyer looks like. We don’t know what our new home looks like. We don’t even know where the kids will attend school. We don’t know if every detail will be taken care of by August 25th when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools start the 2008-2009 school year. Did I mention the overwhelming peace we have?

The point of todays post was to get to NOW. As we began to dialog what God was up to in our lives and see how He had answered every question and doubt, only one remained…when? More than once in my life I have waited until the last minute and then called out to God to save me. You know…”Lord, if you can get me through this test in 15 minutes (which I didn’t study for)…..”. It was clear that getting to Charlotte in time for the kids to start school, we needed to give God every chance to be God we could. We needed to give him whatever time we had before the sand ticked through the glass. We knew we needed to get the house on the market and get it on the market quick.

Will it all happen in time? Will our plan be the same as His? We don’t know. But I know that NOW is the time which God has been stirring, directing and guiding us to. I don’t know that we have been more sure of anything in our lives or marriage. It’s time to jump into the unknown and trust that our Creator is waiting with Arms Wide Open.

What about now?
What about today?
What if you’re making me
All that I was meant to be?
What about now?
-Chris Daughtry

How about you? Have you been holding back on what you know God has clearly led you to do? Are you ignoring the stirring in your spirit to act on the unknown? What about now? What about today?

A Friend To Me

There’s times I’d rather kill you then listen to your honesty, but you’ve always been a friend to me” – Garth Brooks

You gotta love when you surround yourself with “truth tellers”. I made a commitment long ago to run everything in the discernment process through God, family and close friends. The catch was that I would not keep calling people until SOMEONE finally agreed with my point of view. Each persons input must be considered.

Today I spoke with 3 of my “truth tellers” and their responses reminded me why they are in my band of brothers. All three responses were different yet fed directly into my thought process as well. With respect to my friends, I share their comments with you too…

Friend #1 – “I knew this email was coming….”

Friend #2 – “While I can’t say I am thrilled about it, you have to be obedient to what you feel like God is calling you to do.”

Friend #3 – “Dude…you have not been able to find your groove for months now.”

Three friends with three insights. What I find amazing is that all three recognized something in my life. They didn’t offer their input until asked, but were kind enough to be honest in their responses. Not only were they honest, they were right. I couldn’t have put it any better myself. To my friends and brothers, I thank you.

I thank you for being a friend to me.

Waiting for Lightning

I once had a friend that would say he was “waiting for a sign” before he would believe or have faith. He once told me this as we sat in his lovely home surrounded by comfort. I looked at his children as they were happy, healthy and playing. I thought about his wife and how they had a happy marriage. I thought about how they were both employed with great jobs and comfortable incomes. As we left their home, I noticed the 2 new cars in the garage. I couldn’t help but think to myself…”what other sign do you need”. Please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say. None of those material things are a “sign”. I guess my point was that my friend has been blessed. Many believe and have much, much less.

I thought of that again this morning as I continue to try to “find my groove” in a decision making process. It’s been months. I find myself saying that I’m waiting for a sign.

Waiting for lightning,
A sign that its time for a change;
And you’re listening for thunder,
While He quietly whispers your name.

But the sign and the word
Have already been given,
And now its by faith
We must look and we must listen

– Steven Curtis Chapman

I think I’m waiting for lightning. I think I’m listening for thunder. We all want the big sign don’t we? We want the doubt removed. We want to know, with certainty that if we take that step that everything else will take care of itself. In the meantime that check you get in your spirit, the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach is saying everything you need to know. You can’t shake it. It won’t go away. It keeps coming back. You turned left and for some reason you can’t stop thinking how you should have gone right.

Are you waiting for lightning? Take it from one that is too, maybe it’s not in the forecast. Maybe we’ve already got all the “signs” we need. Maybe we have all the “signs” we will receive. Maybe everyone knows and sees it but us. Friends……let’s not wait for lightning. Let’s move forward with confidence and follow that check in your spirit. It just might be the sign you are looking for.

Call the Cops!

I need to be arrested. I have been stealing. Not only have I been stealing, but I have been letting others steal my joy. It’s no ones fault but my own. I can identify it, I just don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. So much of it is just the way I am wired.

For as long as I can remember I have approached everything in life “beginning with the end in mind”. Not only do I go directly to the end, I usually ask “what is the worst thing that can happen”? I am a certified, card carrying member and president of the “worst case scenario” club. I like to know what the worst is so I can anticipate and plan for it. I don’t think that is the problem. The real issue is when you stay there. You live in that. It consumes you and becomes the focus of your attention and thoughts.

In the meantime your joy, your moment, your life goes on right in front of you.

I am learning to live in the moment. I know my life would be so much more enjoyable if I would. The reality is that even if I know the worst case scenario, often there is not a darn thing I can do about it. I can only control here and now. What I do in this moment might even effect my “worst case”.

Lord grant me your patience and wisdom. There is a reason why you don’t give us the entire story and why the outcome is often never what we predicted. Your story is better anyway.

“Miracle of the Moment” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

What a weekend. The family and I left on Friday afternoon to head to our hometown of Bedford, Ohio for the wedding of Heather’s youngest sister. “My Girls”, “The Boy” and Heather were all in the wedding so it was an exciting time for everyone. There is always a part of me that still loves going “home” to where my roots are planted. While the condition of my old hometown is not what I remembered it to be, one thing is for sure…the people never change. You really can go home.

One take away from this weekend is that no matter how many miles, years or changes separate people, when there is a bond that is formed, nothing can ever break that. This weekend I was reminded of how strong and real friendships are as I spent some time with some old friends. I’m amazed how 10 years can seem like 10 minutes when you meet up with old friends. When I spent some time with guys like Gary and Ern, it was as if we were on the old softball fields again.

One other mark of friendships that last forever is that they still answer the bell when you are in a time of need. With Heather’s responsibilities in the wedding, I was flying solo trying to keep 2 little girls dresses clean neat and organized and one little boys tux from permanent damage. Just when I needed help most, there were old friends saying “You need a hand?” and “if there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know”. That’s friendship. That’s community. That’s going home.

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

What a weekend. The family and I left on Friday afternoon to head to our hometown of Bedford, Ohio for the wedding of Heather’s youngest sister. “My Girls”, “The Boy” and Heather were all in the wedding so it was an exciting time for everyone. There is always a part of me that still loves going “home” to where my roots are planted. While the condition of my old hometown is not what I remembered it to be, one thing is for sure…the people never change. You really can go home.

One take away from this weekend is that no matter how many miles, years or changes separate people, when there is a bond that is formed, nothing can ever break that. This weekend I was reminded of how strong and real friendships are as I spent some time with some old friends. I’m amazed how 10 years can seem like 10 minutes when you meet up with old friends. When I spent some time with guys like Gary and Ern, it was as if we were on the old softball fields again.

One other mark of friendships that last forever is that they still answer the bell when you are in a time of need. With Heather’s responsibilities in the wedding, I was flying solo trying to keep 2 little girls dresses clean neat and organized and one little boys tux from permanent damage. Just when I needed help most, there were old friends saying “You need a hand?” and “if there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know”. That’s friendship. That’s community. That’s going home.

Anniversary Tradition

Saturday marks 11 years since my wife Heather and I said “I Do”. It’s been quite a ride. We are going to celebrate the 11 years by taking part in another wedding. Heather’s sister is getting married on Saturday and she and the kids all have a part in the ceremony. What a better way to celebrate 11 great years than to be there as a wonderful couple begins their journey as well.

The post below was written several years ago, but I keep posting it every year as a tradition. Happy Anniversary to my wife. You are the grace in my life.

Twas the Night Before Our Anniversary…
Twas the Night before our Anniversary and all through the house
The children were all sleeping and so was my spouse
The family pictures all sat on the mantle with care
With hopes that no dust would soon settle there

It was a late hour and I was not in my bed
As visions of Blog posts danced in my head
Mom in her PJ’s and I in my Carolina Cap
Was thinking all day, how I could sure use a nap

When from the bathroom upstairs arose such a clatter
Then I realized it was just “the boy”, emptying his bladder.
He went back to bed and no one else awoke,
I was off to the kitchen for a cold Diet Coke

Then I thought “to the cupboard is where I must go”
For 2 Tylenol to relieve my back ache you know
When what to my sleepy eyes should appear
The reminder that our anniversary is near

The memories have come and gone so quick
Where does the time go? It must be some trick
It seems like just yesterday we played the “dating game”
Now we have 3 children that share our name.

Now Austin, now Emma
Now Brynn you count too
From marriage to parenting
The things we’ll go through
From the house to the park
Both diapers big and small
We are raising 3 kids together
And hanging their pictures on our wall

The girl of my dreams, better than everyone else
How did I get so lucky, I thought to myself.
With a wink of her eye and a twist of her head
The past was gone and our future lies ahead

The past 11 years we have learned so much
Who knew that we’d be married with children and such
But we made it this far, with all of our might
So Happy anniversary my wife, and to all a good night!

Spidey Wisdom

“Whatever comes our way, whatever battle we have raging inside us, we always have a choice. It’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what’s right.”

Peter Parker from Spiderman 3

Loose Lips

With only 4 days left in the school year, I scheduled to have lunch with “the boy” at school today. He enjoys having me come in (I think it’s the fast food I bring) and I enjoy stepping into his world for 30 minutes. I get the opportunity to observe his circles of influence and see what the other kids at his school are like. I took the opportunity today to ask about several people in the cafeteria. One of the men I inquired about was the guy in charge of keeping the cafeteria and lunch hour running like a well oiled machine.

When I asked about this gentleman, “the boy” asked me a question I was not prepared for. I’m still not sure I can answer it. He simply said “He always says that loose lips sink ships…what does that mean“? My attempt to answer that question was poor at best. How do you explain that to a 7 year old? I could give him several examples of how this can be applied in life (friends, churches, offices, families), but didn’t feel it appropriate. So I did what anyone in the 21st century would do….I googled it when I got home.

In case you wondered, below is where it comes from. In order to explain it…you’re on your own.

This phrase was coined as a slogan during WWII as part of the US Office of War Information’s attempt to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies. The slogan was actually ‘Loose Lips Might Sink Ships. This was one of several similar slogans which all came under the campaigns basic message – ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives‘.

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

I have had the absolute blessing on several occasions to meet people from the blog world either through my travel or theirs. It happened again tonight as my family and I had the honor of meeting a family that I have the ultimate respect for. Many of you in the blogging community know Rindy Walton and her son Matt. I don’t remember how or where, but somewhere “the matrix” connected our paths.

Rindy and Matt’s blogs are more examples of what I’d like mine to be when it grows up. It was even better to meet them live and in person! Rindy, Matt, Tim, Dan and my entire family met up on their way through town at Cheeseburger in Paradise for dinner. All of the parrot heads out there just made the connection between the post title and the place we met. However that is not the only reason why I called it that.

You see God’s timing is perfect. If you know Rindy or follow her blog, you know that God has called her on a journey. He’s called her to sell her home and move 7 hours to a new city. He has asked her to leave the comfort of what she has always known to go somewhere for the single purpose of advancing His kingdom. He has asked her and the boys to make changes in latitude and changes in attitude for Walls Down Church in Cincinnati, Ohio!

It was awesome to sit down for dinner and discuss how God is working and (literally) moving in our lives. My only regret is that we will be 2 hours away when Walls Down opens their doors. You can bet we’ll take a road trip to visit sometime though. I had to share this lyric from the song by Jimmie Buffet. The chorus pretty well explains what God’s up to with both of our families right now.

“It’s those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” – Jimmy Buffet

To Matt, Tim, Dan and Rindy I say thanks for sharing the laughs and the journey! May God bless your changes in latitudes and changes in attitudes. Keep blessing the world through your blogs and your lives. Lord knows you have blessed mine.

For The Love Of…

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane…shall we?

For those that have followed this thing since the beginning, you might remember when I wrote a post 3 years ago about a dilemma I was having (HERE). Matter of fact, last time the Tar Heels played for a championship, Heather almost had a baby…literally! (Details HERE) So it just seems appropriate that we are steamrolling our way into Final Four weekend and the Karma is everywhere. See if you can follow the bouncing ball on this one.

You might have noticed that I am trying to discern a major decision which involves the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Unrelated, but well documented is my undying love and devotion for my beloved Tar Heels. My son has the same sickness…maybe worse. The Tar Heels play in the Final Four this weekend and should they, if they, when they win, they will be playing for the National Championship on Monday night. I can’t think of anything better than celebrating Brynn’s birthday and watching the championship game with my son on Monday night. (deep breath) Here’s where it gets “messy”.

On Tuesday morning, I have to be in, you guessed it, Charlotte, North Carolina for a presentation at 10am. The original thought was that I would book in a little extra time for some further visiting, investigating, praying and discerning while I was there. I figured I would celebrate Brynn’s birthday and watch the game with “the boy” in Columbus Monday night, fly in Tuesday morning, attend said meeting, stay the night and then fly home late on Wednesday. So far so good.

The airlines and car rental clearly missed the memo regarding my plans. They were no cooperation at all. That’s when the extreme measures kicked in. It’s 8 hours to Charlotte and the game is over around 12am. I could drive all night, catch a quick nap and make the presentation. Or I could drive down on Monday, watch the game with a couple of thousand other Carolinaholics and call “the boy” and Brynn on the phone. Neither of those sounds appealing.

I have a room at a Charlotte Courtyard reserved for Monday and Tuesday night. Should The Heels lose on Saturday, we will celebrate Brynn’s birthday on Sunday and I’ll leave on Monday afternoon. The point of the whole story is the thing I am hoping for most in this world (a Tar Heel win Saturday) is the very thing that will throw my scheduling into a complete mess. To which I say, BRING ON THE MESS! We’ll figure out “the details” later!

Nothing like the love of your daughter, your son and the Tar Heels! Stay tuned and GO HEELS!!!

I said…You heard…

img_3956.jpgKids and lessons from our Heavenly Father go hand in hand don’t they? The timing is sometimes scary. This morning was one of those moments. Let me explain.

Last night as I tucked my daughter into bed, we were discussing “All Pro Dad” (APD) on Saturday. She gets very excited every month to attend APD. So when she awoke this morning, she was all excited to go. One problem, APD is on Saturday and today is Wednesday. I tried to explain that to her but it didn’t seem to help her disappointment. I explained that “I said it was on Saturday. You heard it was tomorrow”. Her excitement led her to believe the thing she wanted to do would be here right away.

Hmmm ever been there? Almost audibly, I sensed God saying “sound familiar?”. Lesson learned. It was almost as if our Heavenly Father said “I said wait, you heard now”. I believe that God speaks to us in many ways. I also believe that my time table hears and sees those answers coming faster, easier and when I want them. “I said…you heard”.

Lord give me patience in my excitement in what I know you have in store for me. While I rush to have it happen in my time frame, may you grant me the patience and understanding in yours.

You Said” by Hillsong

Signs and Wonders..

For those still wondering, here are a few more clues about “the voice”.

charlotte-north-carolina-us_01-360a040307.jpg

“Was trying to find me something but I wasn’t sure just what
Funny how they say that some things never change
Oh my sweet Carolina
What compels me to go
Oh my sweet disposition
May you one day carry me home”

From the song “Oh My Sweet Carolina” by Ryan Adams

Where Do You Turn?

decisions-714972.jpgInteresting time around this head of mine. I am flip flopping more than John Kerry in the 2004 Election. I am interested in what others do in times of decisions that involve hearing from God. It has been my experience that you sense God is speaking through one direction. You then try to accumulate the data or signs that might also be pointing in that direction as validation of what you think you sensed. Yet if you are like me, you need to speak to others to confirm, gain input, wisdom or understanding. Or do you?

That is what the past week has been for me. I’ve been collecting data, talking to friends and people I know. I’ve shared the information with accountability partners in my life, family members and those that pour Godly wisdom into my life. Yet here we are…still no decision. I know I am not as patient as I should be, so waiting is also very hard for me. Yet I keep looking and waiting for that silver bullet of wisdom to make the decision oh so clear.

So how about you? Where do you turn for big decisions? Where do you go when you need to gain wisdom in making a very large transition? What is your pattern of discernment when it comes to decisions that effect your entire family?

Live Forward…

You have got to love the timing of Gmail’s “Web Clips”. This one appeared today when I logged in:

“Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards”.
Soren Kierkegaard

I Knew This Day Would Come

ps2.jpgSomewhere in this bald head of mine, I guess I always knew this day would come. The day when I would officially start getting beat at Playstation 2 by “The Boy” on a regular basis. Don’t tell anyone, but tonight, he extended the winning streak to 4 games in a row. The games have been different (NCAA 08, NCAA 2k8, Backyard Basketball and NBA Live 06), but the results are starting to speak for themselves. Gone are the days of choosing Columbus State Community College while he chose North Carolina to keep things fair. He’s crushing me no matter who I choose.

Then telling me about it….

Tonights epic struggle went the distance though. It was the Suns (him) vs. the Pistons (me). We went three overtimes and he finally put me away by 10 points. Steve Nash ended the game with 108 points. Chauncey Billups had a measly 91. I kid you not. Ask “the boy” he’ll be happy to tell YOU about it.

I could have won, but I think Chauncey’s right arm fell off after the second overtime from taking so many 3 pointers. The good news is that it will be warm soon so we won’t be playing so much PS2. The bad news is that I figure he will be killing me in real basketball by then too.

Please Be Patient…

When I was growing up, I had a small cross stitch picture in my room that my mom made. It was a picture of a little cowboy with the words “Please be patient, God’s not through with me yet“. I couldn’t help but think of how prophetic that little picture was..and still is today. While I write this and ask for each of your patience with me…I think I write it to remind myself as well. God is not through with me yet.

I think so often I beat myself up over what I don’t do when it comes to my faith and family. I know I need to pray more. I know I need to be better about my devotions. I need more time with God. I need to be a better witness. I can always learn more about being a better husband, father and friend. More often than not, I set out to “live like Jesus” and before I know it, I make more mistakes than Peter. It becomes overwhelming. It can become defeating. These are my own thoughts….they don’t even count what others might think or believe.

That is where the picture came back to memory today. God is NOT done with me yet. He doesn’t demand perfection. He knew what He was getting when He created me. Nothing I do surprises Him. He knows I am a work in progress (can I get an Amen?). I’m the one that tends to forget that. I need to remember to be patient with myself…God is not finished with me yet.

10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Please Be Patient…

When I was growing up, I had a small cross stitch picture in my room that my mom made. It was a picture of a little cowboy with the words “Please be patient, God’s not through with me yet“. I couldn’t help but think of how prophetic that little picture was..and still is today. While I write this and ask for each of your patience with me…I think I write it to remind myself as well. God is not through with me yet.

I think so often I beat myself up over what I don’t do when it comes to my faith and family. I know I need to pray more. I know I need to be better about my devotions. I need more time with God. I need to be a better witness. I can always learn more about being a better husband, father and friend. More often than not, I set out to “live like Jesus” and before I know it, I make more mistakes than Peter. It becomes overwhelming. It can become defeating. These are my own thoughts….they don’t even count what others might think or believe.

That is where the picture came back to memory today. God is NOT done with me yet. He doesn’t demand perfection. He knew what He was getting when He created me. Nothing I do surprises Him. He knows I am a work in progress (can I get an Amen?). I’m the one that tends to forget that. I need to remember to be patient with myself…God is not finished with me yet.

10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Quotable

“Today there are thousands of people sitting in church pews every Sunday who look like they’ve got it together on the outside but are broken on the inside. People who want to grab a Christian brother or sister by the shoulders and shout, “I’m not together! I’m in trouble! My relationship with God is terrible! I feel like a fake!” Instead, they pass out another bulletin or stack another chair, afraid to reach out, because everyone else looks like they have life’s problems whipped”

Michael English from the book “The Prodigal Comes Home

Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns

The Week Ahead

calendar.jpgBig week in my little world. Check it out:

1. “90 Days in Heaven” landed at the library today. I’ll pick it up tonight.

2. The new Michael English CD hit the streets last week. Review coming soon

3. Tomorrow is Primary Day in Ohio. Get out and vote.

4. Really looking forward to the Casting Crowns concert on Thursday.

5. Pray for my friend and brother Stef this week. Especially on Thursday. Refuse to Lose brother!

6. I’m honored to be a part of Daily BlessingsFriday’s are Full of Blessings” starting this Friday.

7. What can be better than UNC vs. Dook on Saturday night at 9:00. Short of the rapture…you know where I will be. Revenge will be sweet and yes…I’m still bitter.

The Only Thing That’s Good In Me

200px-michaepose.jpgLet me begin by thanking Kerri for her recommendation of the new Michael English book “The Prodigal Comes Home” a few weeks ago. I started reading it on Friday and couldn’t put it down until I finished it last night. I am still thinking about it today. It’s not a fairy tale story. I won’t give away details, but I recommend this book to anyone. To those that struggle with addiction, self-doubt, Religion vs. Jesus, failure, doubt and self control…this book is a must read. It’s a story of Gods endless pursuit of our heart and His matchless grace.

Michael has also released a new single called “The Only Thing That’s Good In Me”. After reading his book, the lyrics take an entirely new meaning. The two parts that spoke to me directly were:

“If you would walk the hallways of my heart
And see things as they really are
I wonder if you might be surprised.
Seeing faded walls of pride and fear
Rooms I filled with faithless tears
Corners where I’ve stood in compromise”

“The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know
No matter what this life might show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus”

I’ve learned over the years that the web and blogs can make this big ol’ world pretty small. That being the case, if you know Michael English, or have any way to contact him, I post this message below to him directly.

Michael – Thank you for being transparent. Thank you for putting your struggles, failure, battles and long road home in print for others to read. I pray that you continue on your road to healing. I pray that God uses your journey to bring others into a loving relationship with him. I pray for his strength and power as you walk each day in a renewed relationship with him. Thank you again.

The Only Thing That's Good In Me

200px-michaepose.jpgLet me begin by thanking Kerri for her recommendation of the new Michael English book “The Prodigal Comes Home” a few weeks ago. I started reading it on Friday and couldn’t put it down until I finished it last night. I am still thinking about it today. It’s not a fairy tale story. I won’t give away details, but I recommend this book to anyone. To those that struggle with addiction, self-doubt, Religion vs. Jesus, failure, doubt and self control…this book is a must read. It’s a story of Gods endless pursuit of our heart and His matchless grace.

Michael has also released a new single called “The Only Thing That’s Good In Me”. After reading his book, the lyrics take an entirely new meaning. The two parts that spoke to me directly were:

“If you would walk the hallways of my heart
And see things as they really are
I wonder if you might be surprised.
Seeing faded walls of pride and fear
Rooms I filled with faithless tears
Corners where I’ve stood in compromise”

“The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know
No matter what this life might show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus”

I’ve learned over the years that the web and blogs can make this big ol’ world pretty small. That being the case, if you know Michael English, or have any way to contact him, I post this message below to him directly.

Michael – Thank you for being transparent. Thank you for putting your struggles, failure, battles and long road home in print for others to read. I pray that you continue on your road to healing. I pray that God uses your journey to bring others into a loving relationship with him. I pray for his strength and power as you walk each day in a renewed relationship with him. Thank you again.

Saturday’s All Pro Dad Day!

Hard to believe it, but this Saturday, March 1st is our next All Pro Dad day. The month of February went by in a blink didn’t it? This Saturday’s topic is “Your Relationship With Your Dad“. So Dad’s (and Mom’s), if you’re in the area and want to invest an hour or so with the little one’s your welcome to drop in.

Saturday's All Pro Dad Day!

Hard to believe it, but this Saturday, March 1st is our next All Pro Dad day. The month of February went by in a blink didn’t it? This Saturday’s topic is “Your Relationship With Your Dad“. So Dad’s (and Mom’s), if you’re in the area and want to invest an hour or so with the little one’s your welcome to drop in.

Have a Nice Day

haveaniceday.jpgYesterday was a great day.

It all started yesterday morning with Columbus being covered in snow. I smiled as I shoveled the driveway knowing that in a few short hours I would board a plane for Phoenix, Arizona. My biggest concern was what I would do with my winter coat when I got there.

I got an early morning laugh when my son asked me if I was going to watch the Carolina game that night on my plane. I explained that they didn’t have TV’s on airplanes, but I would probably be able to watch a movie. Little did I know that Delta Airlines now has TV ON AIRPLANES! I could barely contain my excitement as I watched the game from the comfort of my airplane seat last night. I even found a pocket of phone signal at 30,000 feet long enough to text my little man and tell him I too was watching the game.

Upon arriving in the 70 degree evening in Phoenix I was finally able to complete a friendship loop that started with Stef and a former neighbor that moved to Phoenix. About 6 months ago I made a promise to connect with Troy Plant, a friend of Stef’s and supporter of my blog if I ever made it to Arizona. Last night we shared a dinner and got to know one another in real time. Troy is a great guy and if he ever starts a blog I will be one of the first to feature it. Just another highlight to a special day.

My son called me this morning at 5am (7am EST) to deliver the news that put a bow on the entire evening. “Hey Dad….guess what? Dook lost”. I caught the highlights on ESPN before going to bed, but it sounded even better when delivered from a 7 year old.

As the great philosopher “Ice Cube” once said…”Today was a good day“.

Yep…it’s like that.

“Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly.

When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do.

Your twenties are a blur.

Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “What happened to my twenties?”

Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother.

Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery.

Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway.

Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?”

Billy Crystal from the movie “City Slickers”

Yep…it's like that.

“Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly.

When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do.

Your twenties are a blur.

Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “What happened to my twenties?”

Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother.

Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery.

Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway.

Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?”

Billy Crystal from the movie “City Slickers”

Words and Timing

What an interesting weekend. Late last week, the company I work for was saddened by the death of a man that was literally a walking miracle. He had been battling and beating cancer for many years. It was amazing. He was a living miracle to anyone that came into contact with him. He was loved by many.

Last night, my wife and I made the drive over to Indianapolis to attend a going away part for my old boss, at the home of my new boss. In attendance at the party were almost all of our Senior Leadership and their wives. At some point in the evening, I was speaking to a man that spoke at the funeral for the man that died. He talked about how he used the opportunity to share how much he had meant to him.

About an hour later, we all gathered around and did the same for my old boss. We told stories and talked about how much he will be missed in the organization. Do you see the difference? I couldn’t help but think about it as the evening wore on and again during the drive home this afternoon.

One man never got to hear the people say such wonderful things about him. His impact was spoken of only after he was gone. We may never know, this side of heaven, if he literally heard what people said and how he had impacted their lives. The second man was able to sit in a room full of people and hear first hand how he had impacted them. It struck me. It reminded me.

You and I have an opportunity each day to let people know how much they mean to us. We have the choice to share the impact they have on us as they weave their way through our journey. Let’s not wait until they are gone to let them know. It maybe the only chance we get.

Late Night…Early Morning

Wow, it is EARLY. Due to an unanticipated stop to meet up with a friend last night in Cincinnati, I arrived in Kentucky roughly around 2am. I have no complaints though. There is no doubt in my mind that it was a divine moment. The friend I met up with is going through a storm. A big storm. He’s a guy that probably knows as much about me as my wife does. He’s one of those few friends that we let in to our very core. One that we let see what we keep others guarded from. I know the same about him. So when he is in the grips of a storm, how can you resist not taking whatever time necessary?

I got back in the car, and this song came on the CD player. I must have listened to it 30 times over and over. No song could have captured my thoughts and prayers at that moment any better. Lyric after lyric I was breathing these words…”Lord I lift my friend to you”

Prayer for a Friend” by Casting Crowns from the CD “Altar and the Door

Perseverance

This coming Saturday, February 2nd, is our next All Pro Dad Day. Our topic for this gathering is one word…”Perseverance”. Scheduled to appear as our guest speaker is a man and Dad that embodies that word, Stefan Tarapchak. For those Dads (or wives) that read this and can spare an hour on Saturday, I promise you it will be worth the investment. Not only in your life, but in the life of your child. No matter what age.

As we all prepare for the gathering, I would ask that each of you lift Stefan this week in prayer. I cannot thank him enough for making his life and his journey available to each one of us. I will also give you a preview of my closing statements. There is no greater moment that I can think of that captured the image of perseverance for a man and his father. May we all do what it takes to see our children finish the race.

If Only They Knew…

paper_mache_plain_masks.jpgI didn’t post anything on Heath Ledgers tragic death last week. I, like everyone else, was stunned at the news. To see a young life end so quickly and unexpectedly is hard to comprehend. Yet what I find so tragic is the reports after his death. It seemed like every web site, magazine and news paper were digging deeper and deeper into his life. Reports of drug use, insomnia, partying and depression were just a few that I read. Why do we do that? Why must we know that?

One of my favorite books is “Everybody’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them” by John Ortberg. I love his premise that we all come with an “as is” tag. It’s true. None of us are perfect. Hard as we may try to show that we are, we’re not. I don’t know about you, but trying to keep up the perfection is more tiring than simply admitting that I’m not perfect. What if, like “Cheers” we could go somewhere where everyone knows your name…and loves you anyway? What if there was a place where the masks weren’t required. If we could be who we are, see who others are? To know and be known. I wonder if it’s not our deepest desire.

I don’t know if that place exists. As long as we are human, we are prone to make assumptions, choose stereotypes and think we understand someone by getting a 30 second glimpse into their world. As long as we’re human, we all have one thing in common. We’re broken. While it may not show on the outside, on the inside we’re broken. We’re broken about something, for something, because of something or from something.

Lord, give us patience. Give us understanding. Forgive us for “not knowing what we do”. Your grace sees beyond our brokenness. Give us your eyes. Help us to extend your grace.

No One Else Knows” by Building 429

I'm a lucky man

23371676 I have told my wife many times that if you want to judge my sanity, take a look at the inbox of my work email. It is a pretty good indication that if that inbox is full, I am stressed and close to losing what is left of my mind. Folks, since the turn of the calendar to 2008 my inbox has never been close to empty. To say I am stressed would be the understatement of a year that is only 3 weeks old. SERENITY NOW!!!

All that to say, I’m a lucky man. It only took a song by Montgomery Gentry to remind me of that fact. I’m not forgetting all of the great conversation on the prideful post, I’m humbled by what I so easily take for granted. Before this day is over, I am sure to listen to this song a few more times for perspective. “Lord knows I’m a lucky man”.

Lucky Man” by Montgomery Gentry

I’m a lucky man

23371676 I have told my wife many times that if you want to judge my sanity, take a look at the inbox of my work email. It is a pretty good indication that if that inbox is full, I am stressed and close to losing what is left of my mind. Folks, since the turn of the calendar to 2008 my inbox has never been close to empty. To say I am stressed would be the understatement of a year that is only 3 weeks old. SERENITY NOW!!!

All that to say, I’m a lucky man. It only took a song by Montgomery Gentry to remind me of that fact. I’m not forgetting all of the great conversation on the prideful post, I’m humbled by what I so easily take for granted. Before this day is over, I am sure to listen to this song a few more times for perspective. “Lord knows I’m a lucky man”.

Lucky Man” by Montgomery Gentry