God Waits in the Wings and Blesses Us

Our 9-year-old daughter, Anastasia, is quickly outgrowing her bike. She likes to participate in the kid triathlons around town and is on the Youth Tri-team at the YMCA. Last fall, in the season’s last event, I watched her riding down the street, pedaling as hard as she could only to have a kid on a larger bike shoot past her. Not only was the bike bigger but it was a road bike. Needless to say, she noticed.

She decided then that she wanted to save up for her own road bike, sensing that she was losing most of her time on the bike (I know, she’s only 9 and already this competitive. Lord help me!).

If you’ve ever priced a road bike before, it doesn’t take long to see that they are crazily expensive – even the kid’s bikes (that they outgrow). Luckily cold weather was approaching so I told her if she really wanted one then to begin saving and we’d look for a used one the next spring. I gave her the amount we’d pay to help out with it if she could cover the rest. However, internally I figured she’d lose interest and settle for a larger, much cheaper, mountain bike.

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Raising Kingdom Bringing Kids

Here's a podcast of a talk I recently gave at the Children Pastors Conference.


Give Your Kids the Keys

“Oh no, oh no!” were the words I heard, along with a scream, as I woke up out of a dead sleep. I opened my eyes to find us heading toward a massive semi-trailer truck at 65 mph. It was the last day of our yearly snowboard pilgrimage to Mammoth Mountain, in California. My wife, Karie, was driving, and we were headed home. We were on HWY 395, about 20 minutes outside of Bishop, and just a few miles from the spot where you can often see herds of elk.

Startled by my wife’s scream, I awoke as my heart raced from a virtual 0 to 60. In front of us loomed a Mack truck. There was nothing I could do. In that moment, Karie had to make a decision that our family’s lives depended on. She had two options. She could slam on the brakes and hope to weave back in behind the truck that was to our right, praying that he would not also brake; or she could hit the gas...

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Watching a Father Die Slowly – How can you not weep?

Have you ever felt your heartbreak slowly and completely - when you know it is happening and can’t do anything to stop it?   

 

Today my wife came home from Target around lunch time and told me a story that broke me down.  She had bumped into a friend of ours who gave her the news that a friend of hers who we had met casually at family events was in the middle of a devastating three months.  Her husband had been diagnosed with late stage brain cancer and was given three months to live of which the first thirty days might be bearable.  They have a bunch of kids, boys and girls, and were struggling through the process of preparing for his death.  Creating photos and letters.  Purchasing and engraving meaningful items that each child would have when he passed.  We talked about what to give the boys – what I would give the boys.  We talked about how they were trying to figure out how to make three months or maybe just thirty days somehow matter in the lives of kids 4 to 14 years old.

 
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Dinner Disaster

Last night’s dinner was a disaster. Our 9-year-old son, Noah, was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and we’re in the process of removing gluten from our diet. It’s been a bit tricky, especially for me as I try to find tasty meals that don’t have gluten hidden in the ingredients and attempt to recreate our favorite dishes without it.

Noah has been a trooper so I thought I’d have a go and make his meal of choice, broccoli cheese quiche. It was a challenge. It took me an hour to perfect the gluten free piecrust enough for it to hold the other ingredients. Excited about my accomplishment, I popped it in the oven. Everyone was hungry and eager to try it.

Thirty minutes later the timer sounded. I pulled it out of the oven, unaware that our 70lb lab was behind me.

Could a Little Whistle End the World's Deadliest War?

In June of this year I highlighted NY Times jounalist Nicholas D. Kristof’s article Death by Gadget in this post.  Kristof did a great job of speaking the truth about the war in Eastern Congo and the driving force behind it. Yes that force is the demand for Congo’s minerals which are used to manufacture most electronics, Apple products included.

Since that post I’ve also posted a bit about an organization I am hearing more and more from called Falling Whistles.

Falling Whistles began because an American young man visiting Eastern Congo, ran into a few boys who had just ran away from the army they had been forced to join and who were now in hiding. This young American man listened to their stories of their kidnapping and the brutality they were forced to endure themselves and inflict on others. And then he heard something he could hardly believe was true.

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A Father’s Forgotten Delight

When Bridget and I had our first child, little Maeve, I began to consider for the first time what it meant to be a father.  I found my mind returning over and over to two concepts that more than anything have influenced my parenting over the last six years and I hope the next sixty.

The first was an image of a fatherly lion, like C.S. Lewis’ Aslan - good but not tame, with all that such an image might signify. I want my children to see me as the lion of the home and then to see God as the lion of their lives.  More on that some other time…

The second was the word delight.  Every time I think about being a father I think about the idea of delight. I want my children to experience my delight in them just as God delights in me.

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It Was a Good Day

Sometimes as a grownup it is hard to tell the good days from the bad.  Actually, sometimes it is just hard to tell one day from another.  Work smashes into home smashes into faith smashes into life and it all seems to just get lost in translation.  But every once in a while, a good day just sneaks up on you when you least expect it…that is if you stop to think about it.

Tonight, driving home at 8:30, my two year old son Brendan looked over at his six year old sister Maeve, and after finishing a deep yawn and fervent eye rub, put a fine point on things by saying in a tired yet satisfied voice, “Maeve, it was a good day huh.”

My wife Bridget smiled at me and I choked back a tear because, as anyone with two small children can tell you, sometimes we need to be reminded of just how good our days really are.

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Starving

Tonight, two of my kids went to bed hungry by their own choice.  Two of my kids complained.  Two of my kids got in trouble and went to bed early.

A few minutes ago, one of them got up and told me, "Dad, I'm Starving."

I explained to her how blessed we are, and that this is one of the reasons that mom and I will not tollerate complaints about food.  I explained that we have so much, and that there are starving children in the world that literally have not enough to eat.

She asked for pictures.

Here are a couple of them I found quickly on google.  My daughters face hard with stubbornness quickly changed to a face of compassion.  She began to ask questions.  The first one was, "why don't their parents just get them some food, or go hunt for some?"  I tried to explain, but words seem futile while looking at these pictures.  She went on to ask more questions about the inequality of food distribution.  

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Maybe, we don't like children anymore...

We’re in the season in which we celebrate Jesus being born as a human being. He came as a baby boy and we tend to get sentimental with candlelight versions of ‘Away in a Manger,’ and ‘Silent Night’. However, within two years of the birth of Christ, history tells us that an insecure, ruthless dictator slaughtered hundreds of baby boys in search of the one they labeled ‘King of the Jews.’ Obviously, Herod failed, but I wonder if our own modern insecurities are leading us down a path of child endangerment that isn’t as obnoxious and outright evil, but seems abhorrent nonetheless. Maybe, we don’t like children anymore….

Let me explain.

1) Have you ever noticed that in most U.S. budget cuts, one of the hardest hit areas is education? Arizona and California respectively have cut tens of millions out of their state education funds to ‘insure a better future’.

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