Saturday, December 14, 2013

Survivor party

Wednesday night I got to sneak out to the very end of a survivor viewing party. Laura and Ciera Morrett, who are on this season, were having a viewing party near where I live. I have not been able to get to one all season long because they are on Wednesdays and I have youth group that night. Tonight I snuck out in time after Kynzi's choir concert and got to the party.

When I got there Laura was sharing a couple of things that she was proud of her daughter for. Then she told us that Jeff had given her a call this week about the finale. He said so many people are wondering what in the world it is about her relationship with her daughter. He said, "Everyone seems to think there is something extremely special about your relationship that they don't normally see." She told him, "Jeff, I don't want to be preachy but it truly is because of our foundation in Jesus Christ."

He said, "I know, I know. But what is it really?" Ha ha. She said, "Faith, hope and love. And the greatest of those is love. Love always wins!" Jeff said to her, "That's it! And that's what I want you to say at the finale."

Laura was a volunteer at MorningStar church when I went to speak at a couple of their camps. Then we did some retreats together with our Youth-Ministry and theirs. So when she was on survivor the first time I came to a viewing party with my friend Steve and I was excited that she remembered me. She still hasn't forgotten. She's a great lady.
I'm thankful for people like her who are normal, everyday people that love Jesus and live their lives for him.

I'm hoping one of you wins!

Here is the video of her conversation. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dressing Up, winning prizes, eating candy

It's that time again. Sugar overload season! Haha. I know many people don't like to celebrate it and have a "trunk or treat" experience at their church, and that's fine.

I have a long history of going trick-or-treating since I was a little kid. Easily one of my favorite years was my senior year of high school. I was in New York and went with a bunch of friends around my neighborhood, that was considerably small.

One of our neighbors had a scarecrow sitting on their front porch for two or three weeks before Halloween. When we got to their house this scarecrow had a big bowl of king size candy on its lap with a note saying, "take just one please."

One of my friends grabbed a handful and all of a sudden this scarecrow grabbed his hand. It was our friend's dad who was sitting inside of the scarecrow costume. We laughed and screamed at the same time!

To this day I still remember the house I got the bag of M&Ms from. That night, as I was laying in bed, I wanted just one more thing of chocolate. I grabbed that bag of M&Ms and opened it up. It was the 50th anniversary of Mickey Mouse. So Disney and M&Ms were doing a promotion together. I finished my bag and saw some writing on the inside of it. It said, "first place bicycle!"

I was cautiously very excited. I say cautiously, because it was Mickey Mouse. Could it be a little kids bike? No! It turned out to be a forest green, 12 speed mountain bike! And it was amazing! (Sadly, that bike was stolen while I was in college after a friend had borrowed it without telling me)

I still love to dress up when I have the time. I love costumes. It's fun to dress up as someone completely different than who you are. My kids have carried on this tradition. Sadly, my older children seem to have other things they want to do. Karston was going to a capture the flag event by our house. Kynzi just wanted to hang out with the Littles. I'm okay with her wanting to be around us. Smile.

Last minute Kynzi and Karston threw together some costumes and went trick-or-treating for about 30 minutes before the party. 

I took the Littles out to stop at some of our neighbors doors. Jeanne-Ann stayed behind to give out candy. After hitting several homes, Jeanne-Ann decided to join us. In our neighborhood the fire department comes out and lets kids sit inside of their firetrucks and they give away candy and hot apple cider. So we make sure to go visit them.

Haak wanted to dress up in his cowboy outfit and it Nyah wanted to dress up in her Doc McStuffins outfit, but Jeanne-Ann had persuaded them to dress up in their Norwegian outfits. Read "promised candy if they dressed up in them they would get candy." Ha ha. She is a smart one. 

I just love running around with my family and enjoying our time together. These are moments I treasure. 

Scuse me while I settle into my candy coma. 

Here are a few pictures from the night.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I Had a Dream...

10 years ago I had a dream. I wanted to write a book. Kind of like those kids books that is about letters with cute little rhymes. You know, "S is for Sand" and it's all about the beach and it goes through the entire alphabet. I learned something about myself (something I probably already knew). I am a great starter and not such a great finisher. I have tons of ideas. TONS! I even have a million dollar idea that I think could revolutionize something that we all use, but I don't have the time/resources/connections/etc. to make it happen. Someday...

I have always wanted to write. I even had a chapter in a collaborative effort with Kent Julian in a book called The Inside Out Youth Worker. This was a self-published book that we had to "sell out of the trunks of our cars" kind of deal. It's not a terrible way to go, but I struggle to self-promote and don't like asking people if they want to buy my stuff. If I want to sell more, I suppose I need to be better at that. Haha. (you can email me if you would like a copy for $9.99)

It was helpful to have Kent push me with deadlines and editing, etc. I am good with deadlines. That was the problem with this book. I didn't have deadlines. No one knew about it. It was just something I dreamt about doing. I did jot down some ideas. I even went through the entire alphabet and added some youth ministry ideas for each letter. That was as far as I got. It sat in a file on my computer until last fall when I was in Colorado with Kurt Johnston. We were enjoying some Chick-fil-A and started sharing ideas we had. I told him about the book idea and he told me I needed to tell Nadim (the guy who, at the time, was the one who took all book ideas for Group publishing) at dinner that evening.

So I did. At dinner I grabbed Nadim and pitched the idea to him. He loved it. And so the ball began to roll. Now, almost a year later, it is done! Want to check it out? Click here!

My First Book!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry

The title to this post is filled with great wisdom. It is also something I think is very difficult for most people. I know that's the truth for me. I like to speak as soon as the thought comes to my mind. Often I speak before I think. That frequently gets me in trouble.

My listening skills are something I have been working on quite a bit over the years. With my job, one of the things I do is some life coaching. In coaching there are two major things that must happen 1) I have to listen. 2) I have to ask good questions. So listening is something I am discovering is really great wisdom.

If you are not a good listener, you are likely missing out on what is truly being said. I think it's really important to do this not only with our ears but with her eyes. Eye contact with someone, when they are talking, observing their body language, it's seeing all that is going on around in the conversation. Part of that is reading between the lines as you listen also.

When we stop and listen, we have the opportunity to find out what is going on. If we speak without really listening we miss much of what is being said or what is happening. When you're going to get angry, that anger is often passed to the person you get angry with. Anger is extremely contagious. So are smiles and joy, for that matter.

Last year I was driving on the interstate and suddenly was stuck in heavy traffic. It was not a rush hour time and it was very frustrating. I remember being irritated, frustrated, angry.  I turned on the radio and heard that there had been a shooting at Clackamas town Center. The traffic was backed up for miles and miles as a result of this. I remember the guilt I felt because I was upset about a little traffic when someone had been shot.

Often when we get angry at something we don't see what is happening immediately. If I had just waited and tried to find out why the traffic was happening I would never had to deal with that guilt. 

I remember when Karston was just a little boy. He suddenly had an extremely difficult time breathing. This freaked me out considerably. We called the doctor and immediately rushed to urgent care. On my way I was passing a vehicle and getting into the turn lane about 50 feet before the turn lane started. This was not dangerous because the other lane was wider there to compensate for the upcoming turn lane. BUT, there was a guy who was coming toward me and did not like that I was breaking the law and turned his car at me! WHAT?! Yes, I was in his lane, but there was PLENTY of space and my son couldn't breathe! He wanted to play police officer out of his anger. He had no idea that my son was in a life threatening situation.

I have imagined that moment many times in my mind and I pictured stopping my car, punching my fist through his window and sarcastically apologizing for being across the line while my son was not breathing. See? Anger is contagious! you want to join me on my quest to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry?

Oh, it's Biblical too. Check this out.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

It's illegal to take pictures of Shasta Lake?!!?

A while back...

I pulled off the highway to go down to Shasta Lake for a few minutes. I was looking for a rock to replace one that Karston lost. It was sunset, as you can see in the pictures below. I took several pictures because it was so beautiful out.

Usually you have to pay at the booth to come and park here but no one was there. There was a note that said you needed to go to the office to use the boat launch ramp. But I was just coming in and going out. It would only take a few minutes.

Moments later a guy pulled up in a park's truck. He said, "Do you have a forestry service permit?" I said "what?" He said, "I noticed you were taking pictures. You have to have a forestry service permit in order to do that." I couldn't believe what was happening. Was this guy for real? Then he told me I would have to go to the office and file a report. I was in shock. Then he dropped the bomb.

"I'm just kidding!" And then he laughed really hard. I began to laugh too because I couldn't believe he got me so good. We talked for about 15 minutes. He has been working here for eight years, and is "retiring" in two days. He's going to become a long-haul trucker. His name is Gerald and he is 47 years old. He grew up in Philadelphia married and moved to Texas. They got a divorce and he moved up here. He is engaged and told his fiancé he wants to live here or in Oregon.

Then he told me to enjoy my time and take as long as I wanted. I love moments like this.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

"Put Down Your Phone Daddy"

A few years ago I made a decision not to have my laptop out At home when my family was awake. For the most part, I still hold to that commitment. I even wait till everyone is in bed to do my homework for my masters classes. Unless I am really pressed for time and then I go back to my room.

A couple of years ago I decided I should add my iPhone to that list. I never want to hear my kids or my wife say, "Is your phone more important than me?" That would wreck me. This one is more difficult for me to keep. There are some phases where I find myself having it out.

Tonight I was enjoying the perfect weather and sunshine sitting outside of Jamba Juice. As I walked out I saw a guy with his three or four-year-old daughter. They were having a daddy daughter date. My heart was so thrilled to see that. I think this is so incredibly important! Especially for dads and daughters, but also for dads and sons and moms and sons and moms and daughters, for that matter. I try to take my kids out on special dates so they know they are important to me. Sometimes it's just for some ice cream, sometimes we go play games, but whatever it is, I'm spending quality time with them.

My back was to this dad and daughter and I heard, "Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off? Daddy, can you take the lid off?" Over 20 times! I turned around and saw he was playing a game on his Galaxy III. My heart was crushed. This little girl had the sweetest voice and she just wanted her daddy's attention. He didn't even acknowledge her once.

All of a sudden I discovered a tear rolling down my face. It caught me completely offguard. I don't want to judge this guy, but at the same time I do. I wanted to shake him and tell him that this was such a precious moment for him to capture but I couldn't. I wanted to hold this little girl and tell her it was okay. I never saw her face, but I could hear her voice. It was killing me. Another tear fell.

When he was done with his game he took her cup and pulled the lid off, after she asked him again. She reached over and he told her to calm down. They got up and left and I just had heavy wells at the base of my eyelids.

I completely recognize that I am no better than this guy. I have been there. I just don't want to be there again. I want to give my children and my wife the attention they deserve and need. So today I make a commitment to put my phone away. Would you join me?

(Side note: When you have your phone out on the table while we are out to lunch, you were telling me that you care more about any interruption that comes in than you do about me. I see your eyes dart down every time you get a text message, tweet, email, etc.)

*don't let this happen to me ever again*

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


I love firsts...

...first car
...first love
...first time my children recognized me as Pappa
...first steps
...first words

I have the first ever "gift" Kynzi gave me. No, not the poopie diaper kind of gift Jeanne-Ann tells me Haak has for me. She was collecting little rocks. She said they were great treasures. She held on to them tightly. I remember her telling me she wanted me to have her treasure. Yup. I cried. It meant so much to me. I still have it. It sits on my shelf.
Yes, it might look like gold to you, but it's worth more than that to me.

So many firsts. I am thankful for technology that lets me record so many of these firsts. Today I was reading an article about a bunch of first. First email sent. First tweet sent. First cell phone call made.(you can see that one below)

What are some of your favorite firsts?

Friday, February 22, 2013

The almost moments

You have had them haven't you? Those moments when something almost happened but it didn't. Today I was driving in Seattle and it was rush-hour traffic. It was raining and there was a lot of traffic. I wasn't going very fast but suddenly the car in front of me steps on the brakes.

Of course this caused me to step on my brakes. I have relatively new tires but because it was wet I slid a bit. You know how it goes from there. That type of thing causes a chain reaction. The pickup truck behind me slid to a stop. He just missed me. I was literally inches from the car in front of me.

I remember a Family Circle comic from a long time ago. Billy was about to step into the street and a car was coming. There was a large "invisible" hand that protected him. It kind of feels like that at times. I know accidents happen to good and bad people. That is just the picture I see in those moments.

It's those almost moments that remind me how fragile life truly is. We have no idea if we are going to have 100 years on this earth or if today is our last day. That may sound a bit morbid but it is reality.

These moments also cause me to think about is what is important. My family. My marriage. Being a good Pappa. Jesus. Telling others about God's love and forgiveness. Living my life in a way that builds others up and encourages them. How I use my words.

It also makes me think, "Why am I still here? What else does God have for me?"

What was your last "almost" moment?

Monday, February 04, 2013

Chick-fil-a and the Gay Community

I clearly remember last year when Campus Pride and the LGBT community decided to protest and boycott Chick-fil-a because of Dan Cathy's (COO) stand on marriage. I remember watching the news and reading all the blogs and tweets about what was happening. It was a pretty big controversy. I think it may have also been a record breaking day for Chick-fil-a as they had lines around the block of people waiting to get their own number 1 with lemonade.

I confess, I LOVE Chick-fil-a! I do not typically eat fast food anymore (ever since travel became more part of my life and watching Super-Size Me) but if there were an In-N-Out and a Chick-fil-a near where I lived I am sure I would have a problem. They didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich and they have done an amazing job at perfecting it. The waffle fries and the lemonade. I even get the diet lemonade and it is fantastic. And don't get me started on their shakes! One time, in Chandler, Arizona, I went to Chick-fil-A that shared a parking lot with in and out and I actually had both meals with Scott Erickson & Colby Martin! Heaven.

Enough of that and back to the story at hand. I just finished reading this article in the Huffington Post by Shane Windmeyer, who is the founder and executive director of Campus Pride. I was blown away. I really get upset when I read stories of people who get bullied because of how they live, whatever that may be. It is heartbreaking to hear about someone who commits suicide because they were bullied because they were gay or someone who has to move to another school because they always get picked on by a certain crowd. I get mad.

I think I would get mad no matter what, but perhaps the reason I get most mad is because I can identify with those kids. You see, when I was in middle school I was bullied as well. Back then I think we just said "picked on" but it was bullying. I was pantsed when I was wearing my swim shorts in front of the whole neighborhood. I had crabapples thrown at me and one time it hit my ear so that it was ringing two weeks. I was forced to put my tongue on a stop sign pole when it was freezing. Yeah. I get it. Kids can be mean. Interestingly, today I would call those guys friends at some level, for sure on Facebook.

Back to the story at hand. It is worse when I see these things done in "the name of Jesus." People who come off as representing what I believe in and then mistreating people because of a different opinion or belief. Then I read an article like this. Dan Cathy reached out to Shane Windmeyer and listened to him. He didn't waver from his beliefs, but he respected him and listened to him. They talked on the phone and even met in person. Dan asked him about his life and his family. He cared about Shane. He invited him to the Chick-fil-a bowl on New Year's eve. There, on the sidelines, stood Dan and his family and Shane. Enjoying the game and each others company.

This made my heart happy. This is a great example of how we should live our lives. I am encouraged and challenged.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...