Friday, February 29, 2008

Openly Thankful

Recently my daughter, Brianna, had a small two week science project to do for school. Though she is a straight-A student we did not learn of it until the night before it was due. Being in such dire need, she didn't hesitate to ask me for help. Megan provided construction paper, poster board, and artistic direction. Meyson and myself contibuted furiously drawn illustrations of seahorses while Brianna completed and compiled research data. As we put it all together, Meyson added hand drawn bubbles (Megan's excellent idea) to the background.

The project came out pretty well with everyone's efforts and Brianna got a passing grade. I asked Bri' if she thought the end result would have been better with more time and effort. She agreed that it would have.

When she gave her presentation, Brianna openly told her class about the work we did. She showed open and frank appreciation for our efforts on her behalf. She wasn't ashamed to say... "my Daddy did that for me!" or "my brother helped me with this!". As a father, I thought this pretty cool. Perhaps our efforts as parents, to teach the kids to be gracious is paying off.

A day or two later I was visiting with my friend, Johnny. We were discussing our individual Bible studies and he brought up Philippians 4:6

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"

It seemed kind of familiar and the more I thought about it, the louder God's message spoke. How many times do we exaust ourselves with our own efforts before we seek His help, direction, or favor? I do it ALL the time. How often are we anxious or worried? I am more often than not. The Word says to ask with thanksgiving and have faith "do not be anxious..." Faith is pretty simply put in the bible and the best way I can see it, is in Brianna's actions here. Sure, she put off the project untill the last minute but never did she doubt that Dad would help her. Really, for the two weeks prior I would have been available for much more if she'd only said "Hey Dad, I need some help".

Brianna had no way of knowing how much help she would recieve that night from how many different sources. My relationship with God is sometimes like that. We just get so busy trying to do stuff or putting things off that we forget to ask our heavenly Father to step in. How much better would it be if we openly relied on Him and were thankful, even before the need. Just as I am my childrens' Dad; God promises to be ours...
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:18)

When Bri' needed help (even after bad planning and procrastination) her Dad and her brother and family stepped in. That happens to me. God has placed christian brothers and sisters all around in my life. Sometimes they come through with a timely word, a hug, or even a truck. Sometimes they pray with and for us and other times just knowing they are there is enough. I don't say often enough or openly enough that God helped me and is always there for me.

I have an amazing family; my Father helped with that. I love my new job; my Father helped with that too! Maybe one day I'll put that story here. My wife is a direct gift to my family and me from our Father in heaven. Yeah, I did meet her in sunday school. The first time I'd been in over 15 years in fact. I've got incredible friends ( I occasionally call them "Bro") They have enriched my life and been great sources of wisdom, support, and encouragement; my Father did that for me! My family has been there when when I was a single dad and couldn't see from one day to the next how we'd make it; my Father helped with that!

Why have I been so anxious? Even when my faith has waned, God has been there.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kids bite?

This neeverr eeverr happens at our house. Yeah right!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fading Light

A light is fading in my world, and yours though you may not know it. My Grandma turns 90 years old in August. She is ill, however and may not stay with us that long.
As long as I can remember I've never known her to be sick. Sure, she has had both knees replaced and uses a walker, but sick I've rarely, if ever, seen. Grandma is one of the most consistant persons I've had the pleasure to know. My whole life I could count on my Grandma's reaction to me, or to anyone for that matter. Love. Acceptance of you for you. Compassion.

She is Mother to 8 children (one of whom is my Mom) and Grandmother to... oh heck, I can't count that high. There are many great grandkids (5 being my own children), and quite a few great-greats. A full and thriving family tree is her legacy. We are varied and scattered and have more in common than blood. Some are children or grandchildren by marriage and name only, some by proximity only. We ALL are truly loved by Grandma, and every one of us love her back.

I've been lucky to live nearby most of my days. Others have been fortunate to enjoy extended visits in thier own homes far away. I've just taken it for granted that Grandma would always be here. She won't be. And that is hard to accept. She's always encouraged. Always celebrated our successes and achievements. Always cried for our pain and suffered loss alongside. How very fortunate I have been!

My Grandma has always been there. Right in the very house in which she lived when I was born. I wish I had visited more. I wish I had basked in her affection more. I wish I had said I love you more. I wish...
Grandma has lived a life of light. A full life. When you spend time with her you want to be a little warmer to those around you. A little more... loving, a little less judgemental. She has lived a life of faith. Faith in God. Faith in the better natures of all she encounters. Grandma has spread alot of light with her laughter, her smile, her pies & cakes (she spent time growing up in a bakery), but mostly through her incredible faith. I'm not in any way saying Grandma had an easy life; those are stories for another time; I am, however saying that Grandma CHOSE to spread Light and Joy and Love wherever she went to whomever she touched.
I love you Grandma!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Packing bags

I've got to pack my kids' bags! No, they're not really going anywhere in particular yet...but soon, eventually they will face this journey of life on thier own. In a limited time (18 yrs or so) my wife and I are supposed to prepare them for the trip.
As I have traveled, I've learned how devestating any journey can be if you don't bring the right stuff...or the airline loses your luggage. With Meyson being fourteen I wonder if there is time enough to fit it all in. I didn't come up with this metaphor(or is it analogy?) on my own. I heard the parenting process put this way in a sermon somewhere and it stuck. Boy, did it ever stick! I guess it is because I've spent so much time traveling over the last two or so years.
As with any trip, I guess I should start with a list of appropriate items to take... right? So here goes:
The list(so far)
A Warm Coat
Good Decision Making Skills
Comfortable Shoes
Clean Underwear
Love of Life
Strong Self Worth
Organizational Skills
A Hat
The Knowledge that no Matter What; I love them.
"Meyson, Brianna, Cody, Carson, Memphis,..Baby on the way; Know this:
The Ability to Find JOY Everyday...
I don't know maybe I'm making too much of this...but, it is our job right? As parents, to help them prepare for their own journey, their own life? Don't get me wrong here. I know that they will stumble, fall, and sometimes, flat out fail. But I think the better their bags are packed, the less they'll have to search for who they are and what they want and what they need...