Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks!

Holy bologna! My son is going on ten, oldest daughter is almost four and my youngest three!

Have you ever just had one of those moments; as a father that you look at your child and in that second realize that they have grown so much?

Maybe it is because I work away from home and my wife working from home gets to see these things everyday that she is completely aware of them. My oldest daughter Grace is three going on ten. Grace is that little girl that will ask twenty questions about why we are driving down the road. She is also the little girl that will correct you when you give her an answer that isn’t true.

Example: “Dad where are we going?”     Me:  “Going to the store.”           Grace: “Dad this is the road home, not to the store.”

But one of things that I am extremely grateful this season is growth and health. Each day I get to wake up and see my children grow, learn, and be excited about the world. Sometimes the days are not as exciting as others but even those struggles are not without some enjoyment. So as this Thanksgivings passes us by I give thanks to the Lord for the health that he has given my children, the wisdom and patience of my wife, and joys that my children fill my heart with.

I hope that  each of you have your joys to be thankful for, and remember to thank those that bring joy into your world.

Adoption Complete!

It has finally been completed, signed, filed, and sealed shut. That’s right we get to celebrate the newest member of our family and finally get to move past the legal dealings of yesterday.  Yes! I have adopted my wife’s son and he is now our son legally. Now, we get to dive in, focus on the journey ahead and the new challenges that face our family.

Let me say to everyone that has ever gone through any adoption process, regardless of what side you were on, you are strong and courageous.

I started this blogging journey wanting to share my thoughts and lessons as a growing father. But as I got started I realized that I wouldn’t be able to say much. The last thing I wanted to do was to say something in an angry rage in this blog and that be a road block on the road to adopting my son. Now that legal process is completed and it feels like a weight has been lifted.

RECAP TIME

I fell in love with my wife and her son almost five years ago. My wife had my son when she was seventeen and not married. The reality of the situation soon became clear over the following year and she made the decision to leave my son’s father. Not to say negative things about the man, but at the time he was making decisions that didn’t start and end with family. Fast forward a few years, a week after New Years a man showed up at my door step to serve my wife with legal documents. We weren’t ready for it, but this was the motivation we needed to get rolling in the right direction. I will get into more details in later post.

So here we are almost three years later and the adoption is complete and I get to share.

I do look forward to sharing about the process and the places mentally the process took me; and in that maybe someone will find the comfort they need.

I will finish this post saying that it took me a long time to trust God with the adoption process. I didn’t let go of the controls until a month before, but when I did it became so much easier.

Long Time Coming….

So to everyone that has taken the time to read a post or anyone who finds their way to this remote location of the world wide web, I first thank you for your time, and second say that I have made it past my hump.

In the next coming weeks i will get back up on the horse again and head towards the horizon.

When I started this web page i had a goal in mind, I even had a plan on how to set that goal completed. But like a horse ready to take off down the road, I had blinders on that limited me from seeing that I was tied to a fence post.

But that rope has been cut and i am free to take off. So watch out internet (mostly friends and family) here we come!

Wedding Days

I remember that moment, when you walked in to the room

I remember a feeling washing over I had never felt before

I remember my heart stopping as I looked at you

And you smiled551535_563599023658335_289099154_n

That was all I needed, all I would ever need

Your smile started my heart

Your smile washed away the world

Your smile took one step closer to forever

I love you my dear wife and always will

The Monday after Sunday – Last Supper, First Communion

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Communion has always been an act that blows my mind and really causes me to open my heart to Jesus. I have been a Christian for almost five years now and each communion seems to have more meaning than the last. This past Sunday our pastor explored what he called the “grey Thursday.” Reading through Mark 14 12-72 we see as the Lord instructs the disciples in the first communion, predicts the betrayal, and the denial by Peter. As I listened I started to think about what it must have been like to be Peter in the middle of all the events taking place. Every time something would come up Jesus would send someone away with simple instructions and simple details.  Following those simple instructions men would find the path prepared for them. That in its self would’ve been crazy to be part of. But then I start to think about the things that have happen in my life that seemed prepared and I can’t help but to think how the Lord is preparing my steps.

Within my company I have had the fortune of moving around a lot. I started with the company working on a tooling production floor, then moved to our engineering department, then to a management position in production, then to inventory/shipping management, and lastly back to engineering. Most of this occurred in the span of a year! My high school guidance counselor would say not to put that on any resume, “it looks bad to move around so much, in such a little time.”  But I can now say that I have the experience I need to be really good at my job. If you have ever worked in the production field of anything I would be willing to bet you have said “I would like to see an engineer do this work” or “it’s easy to write these instructions staring at a screen” at least once. The people that have to complete the production of my work don’t really get to say that much because I can produce the things I engineer and I have been on the ground with my hands covered in materials; still do on most days. All of my experience comes from what the Lord has prepared for me and me stepping faithfully.

In my wife’s life it is clear as well that God has been preparing steps for her and setting up the circumstances in her favor. Being born into a large family and having to assist with the raising of her smaller siblings prepared her to be a teenage mother. As well it prepared her to be the mother my children need.

But looking at the scripture Jesus had prepared the communion so we could remember his sacrifice and renew the remembrance of the Passover. Jesus was preparing our heart, bodies, and souls for the removal of sin and just not just the acts of sin, but the nature of sin completely. John Orr, the pastor at The Stone Church, broke it down like this. We do communion to remember, remember God is the God that saves, that God is the one to forgive, and God is the only one who rescues us.

 “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

This past Sunday John touched on three scenes: The first communion and last supper, the disciples failing asleep, and Peter denying Jesus three times. Each one is a powerful scene that holds its own message. I honestly don’t think that I could relay the message in today’s blog as well as I should. So please if you enjoyed reading this take a moment and check out the Podcast @ TheStoneChurch.TV

Remembering Jesus Christ is what Easter is for and this Easter remember those around you that need that invite.

***Special Note: All of the Podcast have been corrected at TheStoneChurch.Tv so check out the ones you missed! ***

Looking Into the Past – Pictures of Our History

flip-book-birthday-invites-1Last year my family took a vacation. We managed to put together a plan and fight the world back enough to take a vacation. Crazy right?! I will say this though, we took it after vacation season had ended and the weather turned sour, but at least we can say we took a vacation. For an entire week we watched it rain and enjoyed being stuck inside somewhere besides our house. No pity necessary, we did get some sunshine and did manage to play at the beach a few times. All in all it was a huge success! Quick back step, as a reward for a great year prior I bought my wife a “nice” camera with our tax return money prior to our vacation. With that in mind, one can only imagine how many photos were taken over the course of a week.

Hundreds! No kidding, between my wife and I we took hundreds of photos.

Funny side story, my wife accidently deleted all of them. That’s when Super Husband managed to retrieve the data and save the day.

Today we are blessed with the access to a camera almost instantly no matter where we are or what time of the day it is. Between cameras, tablets, and cell phones almost nothing gets missed. My son’s last school performance was most likely recorded from 60 different angles. With two daughters strapped in to a double stroller my wife and sat in the back of the lunch room where the performance was being held. From where I sat I could see the stage without a problem; that was until the performance started. With the first note of the song a sea of arms went up with devices attached recording every second. It was like watching meerkats emerge from their hiding places in the ground. In front of me I watched as a lady leaned to the left because her phone’s view was blocked by a large tablet. I even found myself watching the whole performance through the screen of a tablet in front of me, I couldn’t see otherwise. I am no perfect person when it comes to my children, if I had the camera I would’ve most likely been at the back of the room, zooming in over the heads of those in front me, getting the perfect shot! And I am even willing to admit I have 300 hundred photos on my phone of my wife, son, and daughters.

Today I looked at those pictures. I was sitting in my car at lunch and had decided to flips though my photos. Picture by picture time was reversed and the days of a year ago played in front of my eyes. I watched as my daughter, only a year old and couldn’t speak barely a word, played at the playground. I watched as my son went from needing help holding a hammer to hit a nail; to needing no assistance at all for the whole assembly at our monthly Home Depot clinics. As I got closer to the pictures I took just the other day I reflected on growth of my children, reflected on the growth of our family, and took an honest look at my heart. Would you like to know what I found?

I am a blessed father and husband. I have three wonderful children that are happy, (most of the time) healthy, and smarter than I ever will be. I have a woman who showers me with her love and support every step I make (even the wrong ones).  Lastly I found that God has given me the last year to stretch, that’s right God asked very little of me last year, but tested my faith even more than the year before.

I encourage everyone when you lay your children down tonight, tell them good night and take mentally picture of your child’s face. Then pick up your cell phone and just flip through the photos.  Take that moment, that feeling, and honor God with praise.kid-sleeping

We all are the luckiest people alive; to be husbands and fathers.

Thank you for the comments, follows, and emails! Please continue to share, like, and comment. I enjoy the support and stories I get sent and look forward to reading them!

You’re a Dad now, Game over to Gaming?

kids-playing-video-gamesI am the Nintendo generation; I am the kid who started playing games in the arcades and grew with each new console. As I grew older Mario went from a handful of pixels to a well defined 3D character. I shot ducks will a hand gun and tried to shoot that stupid dog as it snickered at me when I missed. My parents weren’t gamers but they somehow they willingly supported my childhood addiction. I wasn’t defined by my games though; I played outside, played baseball, and the things of a normal kid. I can probably contribute that to the fact I had a little brother. It just was never the same when I had to take turns playing a game, which was always a good time to go outside and play. But gaming had an early foot hold in my life and it grew roots.

I can say that somehow I missed a lot of the so called cult classics that really demanded attention like the Final Fantasy and Zelda. Looking back now and understanding what those games meant to other people, I guess really was only a casual gamer. But there is no doubt about it though; I was a gamer as a child, birthday parties of gaming and all.

But now I am an adult, no, now I am a dad, a father, a provider for my wife and children… and yet also a gamer. Today’s gaming is a completely different animal; with games like Skyrim, Minecraft, and Destiny requiring a huge investments of time. Then when you add the online requirements, the only way to succeed and enjoy the success of a game is to invest large quantities of time and energy. For a while there I had started playing online competitively on Halo 4. For those who don’t know Halo is a first person shooter. It’s pretty basic, red team against blue team or everyone shoots everyone else. To say that I play well at this would be a pretty good accounting of my skill. On the average I finished top three of the standings every time, but this was in singles matches. That meant me against everyone else. Where the fun and entertainment value is playing games like Halo is team play. The entertainment value is so high that there are currently tournament that pay millions of dollars to the winning team. But in order to be part of that I would have to invest time and energy into playing with other people on a regular basis.play

So before I was married this was an easy call. In fact I would say gaming probably kept me out of trouble a time or two, instead of going out drinking I made the call to stay in and beat up on some people. But now that I am married and have children it’s not an easy call. During the week when I get home from work its dinner, then an hour with the kids before they are off to bed, and then its choice time. The choice is do I spend the small amount of time prior to bed with my wife or with random strangers spread across the country. The weekends bare no better option either. In our house we try to stray away from letting the kids watch too much violence, including daddy’s video games. So that in its self limits my available time. But even then it becomes a choice to play with the kids or play a video game.

Some of you are saying well that’s an easy choice, a father always picks his children. To that I say, ba hum bug. As a father I can honestly say that there were days that I choose the selfish option, that I choose to feed my own addiction rather than spend time with my children.

So where does that leave me now? Where does it leave a dad that wants only the best for his kids, only the best for his wife, and wants to play some video games too?

It leaves me making the right choices now. It leaves me knowing that sometimes I am going to have to give up my selfish wants for the needs of my family. My wife needs some time with her husband and my children need their father’s attention.  Have I given up on gaming, NO! I just made myself more aware of those around me.  Now I choose mostly single player games that I can pause or coming back to later and now when I need some multiplayer action, I ask my sons to step in and play.

So is becoming a parent game over for a gamer? No, but being a good father and strong husband is worth far more points and the prize is even more amazing.

The choice between a game and marriage is an easy one…. Choose right.

happycouple

How do you make time for gaming? Did you give up gaming for family? What are games that can’t be played in your house? Comment and Share

Its Dangerous to go alone, Take this.

The Monday after Sunday – Lean In To

mary-anoints-the-feet-of-jesusWhat a great Sunday to spend at church! The sun was shining, it wasn’t freezing, and Pastor John Orr brought a strong message to the table.  If you didn’t know I have the great pleasure of serving at our church, I am one of the slide guys. Well this weekend was my weekend off and I got to make this most of it. Let me say this to everyone reading this, if you don’t serve at your church, then offer to do so. Just walk up to the pastor or church leader, say “Hi I would like to serve.” But what if they ask me to do something I am not accustomed to doing?! I promise you that you will get more joy from doing something you’re not accustomed to then you would just sitting in a seat. Have you walked into a church, sat down, looked around at empty seats, and got that feeling of uncomfort? I have! I hated that feeling and serving has helped me break down those walls. Now when I walk in I feel at home, I feel like I know the place, and I know the people. Please don’t take my word for it, volunteer one Sunday of a month and see how it changes your view of your church and the works of the body.

Back to the message John shared! A couple weeks ago we started reviewing the last week of Jesus’ life in the body of man, each Sunday taking on a day or two. This past Sunday we jumped into the Wednesday and one event particularly; the acts of Mary. In Mark 14:1-9/John 12:1-10 we find the story of Mary pouring the expensive oils onto Jesus and Judas stating it was a waste of expensive oils that could’ve been sold.

So what did it matter that Mary poured these expensive oil onto Jesus? What did Mary know that everyone else didn’t catch on too?

Mary knew that Jesus was going to die; she knew that Jesus wouldn’t be among them soon and that there would be no preparation of his body. She knew this and she made the most of it. Mary could be almost always be found at the feet of Jesus and in these verses she showed her love by pouring a years’ wage of oil onto Jesus and using her own hair to apply it.

What a crazy scene that must have been, to be standing there watch her pour the oils and smell of the fragrant oil just overtaking the room. I am people watcher and I have watched as people served with their hearts before and that is the closet I could imagine the feeling of being in that room. Mary was serving with all her heart and loving on Jesus with all her soul; Mary leaned to Jesus.

“Earth has no words that can convey the holy calm of a soul leaning on Jesus” – C.H. Spurgeon

That is the message I got this Sunday; Mary leaned to Jesus with all she had and was. Like Mary we also should lean to Jesus, with our faith, our relationships, and future. When we lean towards Jesus with our lives we put our trust in him and he responds. Do you hesitate to lean towards Jesus with your life? Lean on Jesus and find rest; he has promised that his yoke is light and he will handle the burden.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast @ TheStoneChurch.TV and get the whole message. I enjoy sharing what I got from it, but there was so much more that I only started to scratch.