Tag Archives: family

1 Thing

15 Jul

One thing, can it really change anything?

It can, I’m proof.

One little change to a daily routine can send ripples through eternity.

One rock can change the current of a river.

One change can transform a marriage.

One change can bring a family closer.

One change can reveal the power of God.

One change can unlock the mysteries of heaven.

One change can radically alter the outcome of a life.

One change can redirect an army.

One change can turn the tide in a war.

One change can lead you down a different path.

One change can save a life.

 

What is this one change?

 

It started with a slumber.

The end effect was rage.

A lie had held us captive and screamed, you can never change!

The odds seemed overwhelming.

The list was far to long.

But HOPE was ever stirring, and LOVE had come with dawn.

Like a raindrop in an ocean, a tiny change proposed.

Lives forever altered by one change, this I know.

One change can rejoice heaven.

One change can enrage hell.

One change can change everything, but who can ever tell?

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If you liked 1 Thing, check out This Mess.

 

 

I Hear Voices

14 Jul

There are many voices rattling around in our heads. Which one’s are you listening too? If you like this post, go check out my post called “The Voice.

Mark Nicklas

At 38,000 feet over the North Sea, I am settling in for the long flight back to Portland from Amsterdam.  I want to talk about voices.  I don’t think I am unusual in saying that I hear voices.  The fact is, I’ve always heard voices – lots of them.  The churning of thoughts and ideas within is a cacophony of words.   They come from outside, from inside and from somewhere else.  There is a steady stream of them competing for my attention, often coming from points of confusion no different than my own.

voicesThe first voice I can remember is the voice of my mother.  She said amazing things to me; “you’re so good, you’re so handsome, you’re so wonderful…” There are times when I have failed or disappointed someone terribly and I really need to hear that voice.  Sometimes I will pick up the phone to hear it.  Other…

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This Mess

11 Jul

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My life’s a mess.
I woke up this morning and stepped on a pile of books.
I stumbled into the bathroom to take a shower, but had to remove a million toys from the tub.
A rubber ducky leaked on my leg.
I poured a bowl of granola, sat at the table, and felt something between my toes.
I wiped my brow in relief, it was only some black beans. It could have been much worse.
As I sat there crunching away I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about this beautiful mess called my life.
I smiled at the thought of Addie pouring oatmeal on her head as she learns how to use her spoon.
I thought about Ellie running out of the bathroom naked and sopping wet as she says, “I want Daddy.”
I thought about my beautiful wife who is adventuress enough to take a toddler and an infant camping, and then willing to document our disheveled self for all to see.
My life’s a mess.
Today, I’m embracing it.

You can embrace the mess today.
God’s willing to embrace you.
Regardless of your mess.

I won’t even tell you what my car looked like….

Disappearing Acts: A Whistle In The Dark Teaser

24 Apr

His heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest, and he knew if he didn’t act soon, he might not act at all. He counted to three slowly and then jumped up shocking the ducks like he was a human jack in the box with a gun. The sound of fluttering thunder filled the air as the ducks fled for their lives. Eaner’s legs wobbled slightly as he lifted his gun and took aim. Nervousness told him to shoot quickly before they were gone, but his dad’s reminder of the time he had steadied his trigger finger while he took aim. He flashed back to the round clay disc as he locked in on the bird letting his gun move a steady trail just ahead of the ducks projected flight pattern. His finger squeezed as he felt the instant impact shock his shoulder quick and powerfully, but not letting the force detour the guns pattern of motion until he saw the duck flutter and nose dive towards the golden brown ground. Just thinking back on it all lifted his countenance and brought a large grin to his face, but it slowly disappeared as the realization hit him that it would never happen again. His dad would never be able to take him duck hunting, or fishing, or too his favorite thing ever, a St. Louis Cardinals game.

The Lanyard: A Darn Good Poem

20 Apr

Excerpt from: The Trouble With Poetry And Other Poems by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricochetting slowly off the pale blue walls of this room, bouncing from typewriter to piano, from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor, I found myself in the L section of the dictionary where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist could send one more suddenly into the past–a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard or wear one, if that’s what you did with them, but that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand again and again until I had made a boxy red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her a lanyard. She nursed me in many a sickroom, lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips, set cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim, and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard. Here are thousands of meals, she said, and here is clothing and a good education. And here is your lanyard, I replied, which I made witha little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered, and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp. And here, I wish to say to her now, is a smaller gift–not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother, but the rueful admission that when she took the two-tone lanyard from my hands, I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Billy Collins

Five Reason Why I’m Not A Vegetarian

20 Apr

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While out shopping today I was struck with an odd thought. Chalk it up to the fact that I’m currently getting my oil changed and that kind I boredom can spark interesting thoughts a you wait for the pushy salesman to come back and tell you of all the other fluids your car needs. Along with wipers, a vacuum, and a radiator flush. So what’s the random thought you ask? I’m betting the suspense is killing you. Well, here it is, How in the world do people go with out meat? So, I came up with five reasons why I’m not a vegetarian. I could come up with more no doubt, but five sounded trendy and cool.

1. Costco-Have you been to Costco lately? Being a vegetarian at Costco must be the most depressing thing EVER! It’s like going to Diary Queen and deciding to just get a water. Going to Costco is all about the samples, and the best samples are always meat.

2. Bacon-I take pride in the fact that I’m a bacon connoisseur. I can still remember the two best bacon experiences I’ve had. One was in Seattle at this dive in Queen Ann Hill called, Cafe Mecca. My mouth still waters at the thought of that thick salty goodness. The other was on a mission trip to Africa. The whole time we ate really skinny chickens without salt, hot sauce, or any other flavor. After weeks of suppressing your tastebuds like that anything would taste good, right? It was on a tour of the Zambezi river that I tasted the most delectable meal I’ve ever encountered. I still wake up longing for those slabs of fatty meat. To become a vegetarian would be to deny that inner voice that colors my life.

3. Starbucks-This one doesn’t really have anything to do with meat, but I really love coffee and I just had to let the world know. I guess I could spin it to make it work. I don’t want to be a vegan either, so that counts right?

4. Bacon Cheeseburgers-Need I say anything else? Who doesn’t love bacon cheeseburgers. I have a philosophy that I live by; never trust anyone that doesn’t crave a good bacon cheeseburger every once in a while.

5. Jesus ate meat-this is the single biggest factor in me loathing being a vegetarian. Who doesn’t want to be like Jesus. It’s what we all aspire too, right? Well, at the end of the day, Jesus at meat.

 

Underground Sanctuary’s: A Whistle in the Dark Teaser

19 Apr

“Over here.” Eaner exclaimed jumping off the side of the stairs next to the secret storm drain as Henry followed close behind.  “You’re going to get a little dirty,” Eaner warned, “but it’s totally worth it I guarantee.” “That’s okay; I don’t mind a little dirt.”  Henry stated, watching Eaner lower himself to the ground next to the entrance.  “Follow me.  There’s a little bit of a drop off, but it’s not bad.”  Eaner told him.  Henry just nodded and lowered himself to the ground as well, as Eaner disappeared into the hole.  Henry landed just as Eaner flicked on the flashlight, revealing the spectacular hidden world before them.  “Whoa!  What is this place?”  “It’s an underground storm drain that runs underneath the whole town.”  “This is so cool.”  Henry exclaimed.  “You haven’t seen anything yet.  Wait till you see my secret place.”  Eaner said, gesturing for Henry to follow him down the tunnel.  They approached the massive metal red door as Eaner grabbed his stashed tools out of the tin can, and began jimmying the door open.

Eaner had the door opened in a matter of seconds in usual fashion as he pulled with might exposing his sacred chamber to unsuspecting eyes for the first time.  Eaner watched Henry’s expressions of delight and awe like a proud parent on Christmas morning as he took in the magical sights and smells revealed to him.  He was speechless for a few moments as he took in the endless possibilities of adventure presented to him.  “This place is so awesome!” He said dumbfounded as he watched Eaner grab the lighter on the table next to the door and begin lighting the candles placed around the room.  “I told you this was the greatest place ever!”  Eaner replied.  “There’s more down here as well.  I’ve found so many amazing things.  Maybe you can help me gather more stuff for our fort too?”  “Yeah, that would be great!  We need some more furniture down here, and then we could just live here forever.”  Henry replied excitedly.   “Yeah, no kidding,” Eaner chuckled as he walked over to an old faded orange metal cabinet.  He twisted on the long slender handle jolting the door back and forth as it refused to relinquish its stubborn grip as Eaner put his full weight into the effort.  The bending door finally surrendered, sending Eaner shooting backwards from the sudden release.

Anniversary Dates You Didn’t Know Existed

18 Apr

Last night my wife and I brought our 1 year old over to some friends house for dinner. As new parents we are always freaked out about other peoples things since our little girl could careless about stuff and just wants to put it all in her mouth or throw it on the floor. Thankfully, last night was the perfect house to bring her since their living room was showcased with stuffed animals, Build-A-Bears to be exact, and a small wooden rocking chair placed in the dinning area just for her riding enjoyment. As my daughter man handled ever animal she could get her grips on, we soon discovered that every bear came with a story. Most of the animals were gifts, and after further conversation we realized they were anniversary gifts at that. Now, as a newlywed, I’ve discovered that the term ‘anniversary’ has a very loose definition that no man on the planet can define or fully comprehend. Remember that time in sixth grade when they separated the boy’s and girl’s to give you the ‘big talk,’ and each gender was wondering what in the world the other was hearing about. Well, I ‘m convinced that in that class all little girls were informed of anniversary dates that should be adhered too in a marriage relationship. These are not dates that will come up until after the wedding bells, so don’t try to figure them out before the big day. Remember these dates or suffer the consequences.

1. The First Date: I decided to start with an easy one. The first date is a no brainer, right? Well, this would be the case if you knew the first date. The fact is, you only think you know the first date. In her mind the first date actually started two days before the actual date. Why, you might ask? Well, remember that time you and her were out with a bunch of friends. You didn’t classify it as a date, but believe me, she did. If you don’t remember this date, which you won’t because you don’t even know when it is, you will be in the dog house. Good luck.

2. The First Time You Met: I bet you didn’t realize this was an anniversary. It is. Don’t make the mistake of over looking this crucial day, because if you do, you’ll be sleeping on the futon in the kids room. In your mind, this date ranks right up there with the first time you guys ate spaghetti together, but to her it’s the beginning of it all. If you don’t remember this date, find out quick.

3. The First Gift: One day you’re going to walk in the door from work and she is going to hand you a present. Panic will immediately set in because you’ll know you forgot something, and then she’ll remind you of the first present you ever gave her. It’s in this moment you’ll realize this is a special anniversary date you have forgotten. At this point it’s to late to do anything, but by now you’re starting to realize there are a lot of dates you don’t seem to have marked down. If you’re smart you’ll buy a couple presents, wrap them, and keep them in your car. This way you can always say, “Oh, I forgot your present in the car.”

4. The First Time You Met Her Parents: Remember this awkward day? This event is one of the official markers of commitment in her mind, so don’t forget it. The day she invited you over to meet the parents was actually the day you proposed and didn’t know it.

5. The First Time You Talked Marriage: Remember that time you were watching the Princess Bride, and that funny look guy that say’s “Mawage, is what bings us togeber today?” Well, that was your first official conversation about marriage and you totally missed it. I can only pray you don’t forget this while she’s pregnant.

6. The First Time You Talked About Having Kids: This one will be a challenge for you to remember because it wasn’t an actual conversation. You were at Best Buy getting ink for the printer and you saw a cute little kid and said something like, “Wow, that’s a cute little guy. I can’t wait to have kids.” She won’t even have said a word, but that date was just logged into the database in her mind as a new anniversary date you are now expected to celebrate.

7. The First Argument: I know what you’re thinking; why in the world would she remember this day? In her mind, the first argument marks the day your relationship went from being a surface level relationship to one of depth and true love. Forgetting this day is the equivalent of taking off your ring and stomping on it. Don’t do this.

8. The First Time You Didn’t Die: Remember that time you were driving home from her house and you got caught in traffic? You usually always call her to let her know you’re home, but that day you decided you didn’t need too. Well, the second you made the decision not to call was also the second she started thinking you were dead. With every passing minute she planned your funeral and her tragic life without you. Once she had figured out every last detail is when you finally got home and made the call. After an outburst of anger she then book marked that event into her mind as a day to remember forever. You forgot all about it, but she has immortalized the fact that you didn’t die.

9. The First Picture Together: Here is a day no guy remembers. In our digital age, the first picture was likely taken on your iPhone at Chipotle’s, but in her mind is was as significant as any wedding photo. You probably have guacamole on your lip, but she was mentally marking that photo as a day to celebrate.

10. The First Prayer: There is no doubt this was a significant moment, but once again she probably remember it differently than you do. You remember asking God to bless your burrito’s, but she heard was a quote from Pride and Prejudice. “Elizabeth quietly answered “Undoubtedly;” and after an awkward pause, they returned to the rest of the family. Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard.  It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins’s making two offers of marriage within three days was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted.  She had always felt that Charlotte’s opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own, but she had not supposed it to be possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.” Scary stuff, but that’s the significance of the first prayer.

11. The First Time You Hurt Her Feelings: This day will never be forgotten because you’re a big jerk. End of story.

12. The First Time You Made Up: Need I say more.

13. The First Time Of Her Parents Anniversary: I know, right now you’re saying ‘what?’ Yes, at some point you’re going to celebrate the fact that her parents fell in love and got married. It’s going to confuse you, but go with it. It’s not that you don’t want to celebrate things like this, but you just don’t know what is celebratory and what isn’t. At this point it’s time for you to throw out an anniversary date of your own just to switch things up a bit. This is an opportunity for you to celebrate something like the first ball game you took her too. Once you tell her of the date, she will then inform you that you have the wrong date, and then she will go grab the ticket stub to prove you wrong.

14. The First Time You Made Her Laugh: This is a day she celebrates because once kids come along there is just a lot of crying and sleepless nights. The fact you don’t remember the first time you made her laugh will make her cry though, so be prepared.

15. The First Time You Did The Dishes: Before getting married we only did the dishes once, and that was just to wash off the mold growing on the side of our coffee cup. We probably didn’t even use soap to get it off. So you can appreciate the fact she celebrates this day. The day represents the day you as a man were domesticated and transformed from a disgusting bachelor to a well mannered family man.

16. The First Diaper You Changed: She celebrates this day because of the comic relief involved in it all. For most of us men we had no idea our babies could poop on their heads, let alone poop a sticky paste that is impossible to wipe off. This is the one date you don’t need to remember. She is celebrating this one all on her own.

17. The First Time You Touched: This one isn’t what you think. Remember that time you took her to Starbucks and ordered a triple grande four raw sugar soy latte for her, which she takes to sips of, and when you handed her the cup your fingers brushed. You didn’t think anything of it, but she immediately went to the bathroom and tweeted sixteen of her friends about the encounter. I hope you enjoyed that touch because during pregnancy her favorite words will be, “Don’t touch me.”

18. The First Time You Held Hands: Finally, a day you can understand, kind of anyway.

19. The First Time You Danced: 90% of men try with all their might to erase this moment from their memory, but she won’t let you. She might even make you dance in the living room. No doubt you have forgotten the moves you learned for your wedding, but don’t worry, she’ll remind you.

20. ?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve celebrated?

It’s All In The Follow Through

11 Apr

Remember back in little league, or swim lessons, or basketball camp, or underwater basket weaving school, and your coach kept telling you, “it’s all in the follow through,” and you had no idea what in the world they were talking about? They always over emphasized the second syllable when they said it too, driving home to our eight year old brains that everything in life somehow depended upon that moment in time, and the swing you were about to perform. Never mind that 98% of us missed that swing and are still dealing with the emotional aftermath of our epic failure. To this day we still flash back to the moment our lives spiraled out of control because we missed that pitch. We didn’t follow through.

Well, years have come and gone, and whether or not we’ve healed from the traumatic experiences of our childhood, we’re beginning to realize what our coaches told us is true. Follow through is everything. No matter what we put our hands to in life, we soon discover that only the things we follow through on actually come to fruition. For once the grown ups were right.

I’m pathetic at follow through. There are so many things I’ve started over the past few years that I just haven’t finished. Those things are like a splinter in my brain. Doing anything worth while takes determination to see it to it’s end. Easter is the perfect example of the ultimate follow through. In a garden long ago our ancestors succumbed to the temptation to be like God, and through disobedience spiraled all of mankind into darkness. But, it was in a garden two thousand years ago that another battle ensued. A battle for our freedom. It was at an olive press where our Lord was crushed in taking on the weight of our sins. It was in this garden that He delivered a death blow to self and surrendered Himself to the will of His father. What was once lost through disobedience was recovered once and for all through perfect obedience. In this garden His mind was made up, and we know the rest of the story well. He followed through.

I’m so glad Jesus isn’t as horrible at follow through as I am, but he’s calling us to something more. Like our coach’s in the past, Jesus is calling us to follow through. To follow through with that conversation you don’t want to have. To follow through with an apology we need to give. To follow through with forgiveness we need to extend. He even wants us to follow through with those dreams we’ve put off. Everything depends on the follow through.

What is it you need to follow through on today?

The Car Seat: The Best Contraception Known To Man

9 Apr

Are you thinking about having children? You MUST read this: Yes there are ten steps, and there’s a 41 page book that explains it all, plus a page for notes if you need it.

1. Set the straps: This first step seems like such a no brainer, but if you’re not careful you may find a headache the size of the Grand Canyon. Whatever you do don’t flippantly bypass this step and think you’ll be able to do it in the car quickly. Here’s what will happen of you do; you will already be running 15 minutes late to some engagement, but messing with straps sounds like such drag. You’ll grab your kiddo with a diaper bag in one hand, a blanket, sippy cup, 3 Sandra Boynton books about barnyard animals, a ball, a hungry caterpillar stuffed animal, a snack cup that is supposed to minimize messiness but doesn’t, and the house keys all in the other hand. Good luck locking the door. Once you’ve made it out to the car you’ll drop everything in the seat, except the baby hopefully, and then realize the straps are to loose. You then have to figure out what to do with your infant child as you mess with those lousy straps.

Your baby barely moves so you think it will be fine to lay him/her on the seat. Once you feel like you have the baby in a secure position you try to reset the straps, but soon find out you have to take apart the back of the car seat in order to accomplish this. You’ll take off the seat cover, remove some weird foam, and a plastic cover that will rip off two of your fingernails because it’s on there so firmly, and finally see the spot to reset the strap.  By now, your baby has almost rolled off the seat, which causes you to dive to stop it. You’re able to save the disaster, but whack your shin and scrape your arm on the exposed plastic from the car seat. After 20 minutes of juggling your baby and the car seat, you’ll have reset the straps, but you’ll never make this mistake again. This leads us to our next step.

2. Front or rear facing: If you’re a new dad, you probably have no clue whether or not your baby is supposed to face forward or backward. If you’re anything like me, you didn’t even have a car seat as a kid. How did we ever survive? Well, just to keep it simple all you have to do is answer one question to determine whether or not your car seat should face forward or backward. Is your baby still puking on you daily? If the answer is yes, your car seat needs to face backward (Yes, I know the picture is forward facing). Some of you are asking, how will I be able to see my child? Well, right next to the baby spa section at Babies ‘R’ Us is the mirrors that attach to back seat. Just ask you clerk if you can’t find it and they will show you that and a million other things you never dreamed you would need. If your child can run faster than you and try’s to evade you at every turn, your child is probably ready for the front facing. This way they can thrown their food at the back of your head on every car trip. Won’t that be fun.

3. What are these hooks for: Now that you’ve determined which way you car seat should face, you now have the task of securing it in the car. You would think there would only be one way of doing this, but you would be wrong, dead wrong. There are actually four ways. Two we already discussed, forward or backward, but now you must decide whether or not to use the seat belt or hooks to secure the seat. Let’s talk about the hooks first. Dangling at the bottom of the car seat and in the back is three hooks you will try to shove in every crevice and crack of your vehicle. After spending five minutes, and feeling like a complete moron because you couldn’t conquer the hooks, you will resign yourself to use the seat belt. You know how to use a seat belt after all, how hard could that be.

 

4. Where does the seat belt go: It goes in one of the three holes that says “feed seat belt here.” Keep in mind there is only one right hole. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

5. Why won’t the seat belt tighten: Once you’ve wedged yourself into the tiny seat, pull on the shoulder strap with all your might. You need to get a lot of strap because once you start feeding it into the seat belt, the belt is going to lock up and not allow you to adjust it if you need more length. Most likely, you will feed the seat belt through hole and be about two inches shy of being able to clip the belt in. Repeat this process four more times or until you consider strangling yourself with the seat belt.

 

 

6. Should it move like this: Once you’ve pulled so much you’ve strained your eyeball and probably sweat drops of blood, you’ve finally clipped the belt in. With a deep sense of satisfaction and confidence, you will lean back to get a good look at the feat you’ve accomplished. As you lean back you’ll notice the seat moves with you. This is when you realize you used the wrong hole. Repeat steps four through six again.

 

 

7. Sit on it: Now that you’ve realized the error of using the wrong hole, you’ll feed it into the right place, but realize you need some weight to get the seat tight. The only way to do this is to wedge yourself into the tiny seat and pull with all your might once again, careful not to rupture any capillaries.

 

 

 

8. Pull your hair out: Now is a good time to loose it. You’re 45 minutes late to where ever it was you were going, your baby is creaming uncontrollably, you’ve ripped two of your fingernails off, and your eyeball hurts. The only thing to do at this point is to have a good old fashion conniption fit. After a few minutes of this you’ll feel like a new man. Once you calm down, it’s time to move on to the next step. This step could take anywhere from five to ten minutes depending on pain levels.

 

 

9. Read the manual: Now that you’ve calmed down it’s time to resort to the one thing you never thought you would have to do. After pulling out your hair it’s time to read the 41 page manual that’s attached to your car seat. Yes, I said 41 pages. After 45 minutes of feeling like a total moron, you should be encouraged that it took the manufacturers 41 pages to explain the installation process. You’re still getting your man card taken away for your failure to figure it out on your own, but that’s another story.

 

 

10. Ask a woman to put it in: You’re late, hurt, frustrated, and emasculated. You’ve read the simple 41 page book explaining the process, but still you can’t figure it out. It’s time for the 10th and final step. Pick up your baby and step out of the vehicle. Look around you, if there is a woman (it can be any woman), ask them to put it in. In 45 seconds you’ll be on your way. Mother in laws work great for this.

Hopefully these instruction will help you overcome the adversities of installing a car seat, and if not, at least it will serve as a reminder that, the car seat is the best contraception known to man.

If you liked this post, check out: 10 Lessons Learned The Hard Way

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