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Life In Eight Seconds…or Less

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Some of my most deeply though-provoking, meaningful and life-altering conversations with my boys take place in less time than it takes to win a championship bull ride. They start with an open of the gate, and whether I’m ready for the ride or not, we’re off and running. Sometimes I’m able to dig in, hold my ground and ride that bull for the whole eight seconds, leaving a small nugget of truth in their hearts and minds. Most times, (which is more often than I care to admit) the gate is opened when I least expect it, and that bull bucks me off with his opening line. Take last week as a prime example:

SI: (watching a toddler half his age walk past him…at church, no less!):
“She has a cute butt.”
“Umm, wait…wha…?”
He gone. Down the hall in the opposite direction, I didn’t even have a fightin’ chance.

Any trip in the car tends to be one bull ride after another.

SI:
“Dad, firemen are not afraid.”
“Uh, yeah I’m not sure I agree with that.”
“No! Firemen cannot be afraid.”
“Yeah, we can.”
“Wait, you’re afraid?”
“What makes a firefighter different from everyone else is we’re a little afraid, but we go in anyway…because someone has to. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid of anything that can kill you.”
“Fire can kill you?”
“Yes, son. It can.”
Turning to his brother, he’s gone…off to the next thing.

Two minutes later from NE:

“Dad?”
“Yes sir.”
“If you want to dig for oil, do not…because you might blow up.”
“Wha…”?”
He gone. And I’m left lying in the dust wondering what just happened as that bull runs off to the next thing.

Last week SI was was literally walking circles around a friend at church.
“Dude! What are you doing?”
“I’m mooning him.”
“You’re what?!”
“I’m being his moon.”
“Well, alrighty then.”

That’s our life. Eight-second bursts of attention that take every ounce of my concentration just to hold on as if my life depends on it. Can’t say, if given the chance, I’d change it for all the sanity in the world. Life…eight seconds at a time.

Love,

Dad

P.S. For the record, any “cute butt” comment coming from my 5 year old warrants a follow up conversation. Apparently, she had cute little flowers on the seat of her pants. Aha! So, the pants. The pants are cute, not the butt. Well, okay then. I can live with that.

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We Left Our Mark…Not Just Another Day

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This note is just a really fun opportunity for me to brag on how much I love you.  These are the days I will look back on when I’m old and remember fondly how much fun we had.  I love hanging out with and spending time with you.  Period.  End of story.

Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead, Tailgate

Leaving Our Mark with Sidewalk Chalk in the Parking Lot

Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead, Tailgate

Just Like His Momma…People Watching

Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead, Tailgate

All Smiles

Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead, Tailgate

Learning to BBQ a Hot Dog

Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead, Tailgate

Pregame, Still All Smiles

Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead, Tailgate

Getting in on the 12th Man Action on Defense

And, he’s out!  Sleep Eating 101.

I love you,

Dad

There’s a Onesie in the Rescue Pack

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In September, 2001 I was just five months into my initiation to the fraternity called fatherhood.  Like millions of Americans, I watched live as the the second plane crashed into that tower, and I knew instantly…that our lives would never be the same.  In the months following the  attack on our country, being a father took on a completely new meaning for me.

For starters, I reevaluated my faith and my commitment to God.  I recommitted my life to Christ and vowed to raise my family in the shadow of His Word.  Quite literally, a life-altering turn for me that continues to have ripple effects as I see my children growing closer to Jesus as they navigate their own faith walk.

On a lighter note, I began preparing our family for survival during and after an emergency.  There’s a saying in the emergency services field, that really is sound advice with many life applications.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

This was back in the days when SD was still a toddler navigating preschool.  She was really into the cartoon “Go Diego Go”, and our favorite character was (and still is if you asked me today) “Rescue Pack”.

Diego Rescue Pack

Diego’s Rescue Pack

Able to change into anything Diego needed at any given moment…”a parasail or kayake…a zipline, a snowboard…whatever you need“, Rescue Pack had our back.  So it seemed logical explaining to a 4-year old toddler that the backpack I was setting up as our emergency “go-bag” was our “Rescue Pack”.  And so it’s been called ever since, even as it grows into multiple bags to accommodate a growing family.

I knew it’d been a while since I’d updated it, but I hadn’t realized it’d been this long…

boys, not babies anymore

Back when they fit in the palm of my hand

Yes…the last time I opened the bag packed with extra changes of clothing for every member of the family, you both apparently were able to fit in Onesies.  Arguably, I could hold you one-handed back then.  What a nostalgic afternoon last week held for your mother and me as we looked through that bag.

You’re both growing so fast that it’s all I can do to hold on to and embrace each moment as it comes.  Because one moment lends to another and another.  The moments in your lives are coming and going so fast.

There’s a duality to the mind of a parent that I pray you are able to experience one day.  In my mind, you will always be my little men, just learning to walk as you climb up onto my lap to rest your body on my chest for an afternoon nap.  At the very same time, I’m able to see you as the men you will become…boldly and courageously living out your faith as men of God with careers, wives, and children of your own.  It’s that duality that allows me to love you in the moment…while raising you to become the men God is calling you to be.  There will always be the dad in me who misses those days when I could hold you in the palm of my hand…and there will always be the dad in me who anxiously awaits the man you will become. The challenge is striving daily to recognize you for who you are now…young men navigating a world unlike the one I experienced at your age…and to not take one second for granted.

Really, this was just a fun opportunity to look back and write you to simply tell you that I love you…more and more every moment I am blessed to be in your lives.

Love,

Dad

My god was not my God

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I have come to realize I can’t go a day without it.  It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and while I haven’t touched it yet, I Can’t. Stop. Thinking. About. It.

Like, really can’t stop obsessing with how good it’d feel right now.  It’s over on the kitchen counter staring at me menacingly.  Calling me.  Beckoning me to come partake.  It knows I can’t function without it.  It knows!  It’s just sitting there…tempting me with the reality that the fog I’m in right now would go away almost instantly.  With just one cup.

Yes, I’ve come to realize it’s time for a change.  When I’ve become so reliant on something as small as a cup of coffee, I’ve become reliant on the wrong thing.  And I’ve been reliant on the wrong thing.  That’s not easy for me to admit, but there it is.

It’s the second Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” – Exodus 20:3, yet there it is staring me right in the face.  Coffee has become my god.  As I sat down to write this note, I honestly didn’t think I’ve put coffee before God.  I haven’t, have I?  Well, let’s see…

It’s the first thing I reach for in the morning.  Before my Bible and before my time with God.  Really, the two go together so well in the morning… a cop of coffee and the Word.

coffee and the Word

a little coffee and a whole lot of Word

But the coffee…oh how the coffee gets me through it.  Wait!  It “gets me through it?”  WOW!  Yeah…it’s time for a change.

I’m thankful that my God is bigger than my coffee.  Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the full armor of God.  It’s time to demolish this stronghold in my life.  With the Helmet of Salvation, I am claiming the mind of Christ as I thank Him that I am His child and praise Him for my eternal life.  I’ve affixed the Breastplate of Righteousness, asking God to search my heart and reveal the wickedness hidden within it.  I’ve confessed my sin and am claiming Christ’s righteousness to cover my sins.  With the Shield of Faith, I am claiming the victory and advancing in faith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked (Mark 11:24).

I am claiming victory in this through Christ.  My coffee is my god no more.

Love,

Dad

P.S. Ironic that immediately after posting this, I place a link to this note on the Decaf Dad page.  God really is good all the time.

God…Knocking Your Socks Off. With Socks!

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It was Crazy Sock Day at our Upward game today. My week leading up to today was CrAy. Zee. To say the least. So I woke up this morning unprepared, having forgotten about Crazy Sock Day, until now.

After twenty minutes searching the house, the only thing I could find was my 4year old’s mismatched soccer socks. Thinking to myself, “there’s no way I can show up without some kinda crazy sock”, I throw them on and head out the door.

Let me just say…socks designed for a 4-year old’s foot do NOT bode well with this 40 year old large man’s body. 🙂 Twenty minutes in, I can’t feel my toes. No, literally! I can’t feel my toes! I’m driving down the interstate, and my toes are completely numb. Obviously, I’m not going to make it ten hours in these, so I’m praying…asking God for an answer. I stop by the church office on my way to the gym to pick up some supplies. Now twenty minutes late for having spent my morning looking for socks that are soon going to amputate my toes, I’m hurriedly walking down the hall past the office when God says something to me…and when I say He said it, I mean He actually grabbed my ear and whispered directly at me. “Slow down. Just. Slow. Down.”

So I stop, dead in my tracks, at the office door. Standing in the hall now, I remember the secretary emailing me earlier in the week to tell me I had a package delivered. Not expecting anything, I pushed it aside thinking I’ll get to it next week. So now, I walk in and open the package. To find this pair of socks from South Carolina! Meant as a marketing technique from Upward Sports with the intent to “knock my socks off” at this summer’s leadership training, I’m literally standing in the office laughing at how funny and amazing God really is. God reached into the life of someone thousands of miles away this week and said, “send that man some socks.” Amazing doesn’t begin to cover it.

Not the craziest pair of socks I’ve worn to Crazy Sock Day, but by far the craziest story I’ve shared about how God answers prayer in the smallest, yet biggest, ways. Can I just say? My God is an awesome God! Always there to meet my need, no matter how big or small. He’s there for you to. If you’ll trust Him.

God…sending socks in the mail so my toes wouldn’t fall off after ten hours in my 4-year old SI’s socks. God is funny! Keep your eyes open for those God Moments. They’re all around us. Keep your sense of awe and wonder and be ready! He may just knock your socks off. With socks!

Love,

Dad!

Slip Stops

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I love the many daily conversations I get to have with my kids…

Me: “Hey bud, my slip stops didn’t make it home. Do you know what happened to them?”
NE: “Nope. Probably still in the basket.”
Me: “Yeah, probably. Now we need to go back to Bass Pro tomorrow after church so we can get some before we leave on vacation.”
Mom: (shakes head ‘no’)
Me: “But it’s Father’s Day.”
Mom: (rolls eyes)
NE: “Daddy can go anywhere he wants on Father’s Day. That’s my one rule for Father’s Day. Daddy gets to go wherever he wants.”
Mom: (jaw drops wide open)
Me: (trying to contain my laughter) “Bass Pro it is.”

It’s Like Pulling Teeth…Unless the Tooth is Ripe for Pulling

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Sometimes getting my two youngest boys to lay still and fall asleep at bed time is like pulling teeth. But then again, sometimes the tooth is ripe for the pulling.

A father has the pleasure of filling so many roles in the life of his children through the years. Role model, leader, teacher, coach, hero, confidant, counselor, journeyman, dentist. Yes…you read that right. I said dentist. It’s been awhile since I was a dentist here at home, not since SD was young enough to be losing teeth as a toddler.

Now that NE is 5, we’re in the losing teeth stage again, and the need for emergency dental work pops up now and then. It’s been so long since we’ve had loose teeth up in here, I was wondering if my skills would still be good enough to do the job. The trick is using the right tool for the job.

20130210-210127.jpg

Yes, I would have preferred the needle-nose pliers, but I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old who love “fixing” things…and apparently toy tools are not good for fixing things anymore…daddy’s tools are never where they should be when daddy needs them. So, we remember the first rule of firefighting…and fatherhood. Adapt and overcome.

Lo and behold, regular pliers will do the trick in a pinch. Yes, you were a bit apprehensive about this procedure. Can’t say I blame you. But when I whispered two words in your ear, your mouth opened right up. Two words you say? Ice & Cream. Nothing like bribing a 5 year old with ice cream.

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Yes. That’s a tooth in my hand. It came out much easier than SD’s did eight years ago…but then again, I had needle nose pliers back in the day. Quite the brave young man you’re becoming buddy…you were so nervous and anxious today about it falling out and losing it…I just couldn’t help but offer to be the fixer. I like being the fixer. Even more, I love watching you step out of your comfort zone. And I love being here to walk you through these steps in your life. I look forward to many more years of filling various roles for you as you become a man. If walking you through the next stage of your life is like pulling teeth, I’m gonna love it!

Love,

Dad

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