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Priceless

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Manicure – $15
Dinner – $20
Bowling – $20
Daddy/Daughter Date Night – Priceless

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I had fun tonight SD. You’re a pretty amazing young lady!
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Don’l let the look on my face fool ya’.
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I’m looking forward to our next date night in a month…and many more to come.

Love,

Dad

Sunday Afternoon Nap

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The feeling that comes from knowing my legs are numb, my back feels broken from the angle we’re in when him climbed on, and my shoulder hurts so bad I can’t hardly take it. But I don’t dare move him for fear of waking him…knowing these moments are so far and few between nowadays that this may well be the last. Four (almost five) years has flown by way too fast! I’m gonna miss this bud! I already miss it from your brother and sister. There is no better feeling than the total and unconditional love of my child.

I’m Missing a Wheel, But Not The Point

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a note…been busy living life.  Today, I’m just checking in long enough to share my favorite part of this last week.  Last night, I got to hang out with all three of you for a couple hours, and we played Legos…building creations with our imaginations.  That was, by far, the most relaxing and fun night I’ve had in a couple weeks.

Hanging out with you is fun for me.  I don’t always show it, but I’m going to keep working on that.  I’m still learning the value of disconnecting from the outside world for awhile so that I can better connect with you.  I have a lot of forces competing for my time, and I know from your perspective it can often seem like I place spending time with you near the bottom of my priorities.  I want to assure you, though, that I may not always show it, but YOU are the most important of those forces to me.  Last night was a good wake up call for me…just chillaxing with you and creating with our imaginations…making up stories about our creations and just being silly.  Smiling.  Giggling.  Laughing.  Bonding.  I gotta get me some more of that.

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Props to SI for having the heart and spirit of a giver!  Dude, I couldn’t have built this thing without you.  Literally.  I was a wheel short.  I tried for 20 minutes to use the pieces we had left to make it into a 3-wheeler instead, but couldn’t find a way to get the front wheel mounted facing forward.  I finally said, “I don’t think I can make this work with just three wheels…I don’t know what to do now.”  Bubba, you just looked right at the pieces I was holding…looked back at the two you had…one with wheels and one without.  And you said “dad, you can have mine.”  And proceeded to take yours apart to give me a wheel.  There.  Are.  No.  Words.  Don’t ever change buddy!

Props to NE too for your creativity in helping me to piece together various parts of my creation…but also in telling stories about yours and mine throughout the night.  Your imagination is inspiring and just simply fun to be a part of.  Others are…and will continue to be…drawn to you for it.  Don’t ever change buddy!

By the way…one of my favorite memories of being a young boy your age is of playing with Hot Wheels and Legos.  It does this daddy proud to watch you enjoying the same now, 30+ years later.  Secretly between just you and me…last night brought out a little of the kid still in me.  I’m looking forward to doing that again.  Soon. 😉

Love,

Dad

My Son is My Brother

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I read Romans 8 in my quiet time this morning. And prayed. I’ve been praying for you for some time now. In more ways than I could ever share in just this note. You’ve had a handful of other Godly men praying for you for over a month now. An army of believers has prayed for you…and today I write this and etch into history the account of how those prayers have been answered.

A SINGLE PRAYER CHANGES EVERYTHING…

It was just over a month ago that we were sitting in church listening to the message when out of the corner of my eye I saw you clasp your hands, close your eyes and subtly move your lips as if whispering. Fifteen seconds later, you opened your eyes smiled like only you smile and whispered in your mom’s ear. As she smiled and whispered something back, motioning my direction, you leaned over and whispered,

“Guess what I just did?”
“What?”
“I ‘axeded’ Jesus into my heart.”
Heart knowledge…you first received it that day over a month ago.

FROM HEART TO HEAD…

As I mentioned earlier, I’d been praying for your faith to grow to the point of understanding and acceptance of the free gift of salvation through Christ for long before this moment. Now, as your heart became filled with the Spirit of God, it became time to begin praying for the understanding of what that means for your life and how to apply it. Over the course of a month of more in depth conversations…lots of questions. You’re so analytical and inquisitive. Finding ways to explain it in ways you can understand was a fun challenge. And then it finally sunk in.

FROM HEAD BACK TO HEART…

I read Romans 8 in my quiet time this morning. And prayed. God’s timing then to arrive at church this morning and have you tell me you were ready. Who am I to stop the Spirit from moving a person to action? 🙂

A NEW BROTHER…

I read Romans 8 in my quiet time this morning. And I read it again this afternoon. In a whole new light. The light of the joy found in having a new brother in Christ. And I share a part of it here now as my prayer over your new walk of faith (with emphasis and underlining added by me for effect.)

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bod(y) by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:1-17 (NLT, NIV)

SECURE FOR ETERNITY…

God answers prayers son. You are evidence of that truth. You are, now, not only my son, but now also my brother! My brother in Christ. My fellow co-heir to God’s glory! We have a date with eternity, you and I, that can never be snatched from us.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’ No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39

I’m going to “carry my cross” (Luke 9:23) and embrace my responsibility to live my life raising you as my son, and I’ll see you in heaven brother!

Love,

Dad, and fellow co-heir

First Day of First

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Just yesterday you were learning to walk. No really…it was just yesterday. And now today you’re heading off to first grade.

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My little man is becoming quite the young man. Overnight, you’ve matured right before my eyes. Okay, maybe not overnight…but when you have kids of your own you’ll understand what I mean. So this morning, as you scramble around the house looking for your new shoes…the ones you’ve been looking forward to wearing today for over two weeks, there are a few things I want to share with you before you head off into a world without your mom and I for the day.

1. Remember who you are. Your identity sets you apart from every other person trying to fit into the world around them. Don’t try to fit in, son. Don’t try to conform to everyone around you and blend in. Don’t try to please your friends or seek their approval. You don’t need it. You have the approval of both your heavenly Father and your earthly dad, and that’s all you need. Stick out. Stand apart. You’re God’s son. When you blend in, it becomes too easy to adopt the world’s values and morals (or lack thereof) as your own. You’re better than that. You have an identity in Christ that is yours alone. Claim it. Own it. Live it.

2. Remember why you’re here. Just as you’re set apart as God’s son, you have a purpose…a reason for being called into existence. It may take you years to discover what your purpose is, but trust that you have one. God has placed you right here right now to fill a purpose. To do something that no one else in all of creation has been able to do before now…or can do now. I can testify that part of your purpose has been to help me become a better dad and Christ-follower. Simply put, I’m a better man because of who you are…not by anything you’ve done…simply because of who you are. You bring out the best in the people around you, and you bring out the smile in everyone who gets to know you. Keep God close to your heart, son, and let people get to know you…and then share your story with them. Be the light to your friends today. Go out there and find your purpose.

3. Remember how to live. You are wonderfully made, righteous and holy. Your body is a living sacrifice. How you live today will directly impact who you become in Christ. The way you live today will directly affect your ability to be the light for Him. You are holy, not by your own actions, but because you are made holy though Christ in you. Understand that, and then live your life today in a way that reflects it.

4. I love you, and I’m proud of you. Not for what you’ve done, are doing, can do, or will do. I love you for who you are…my son. I’m proud of you for who you are…my son. There is nothing you could ever do to take that love and that pride away. EVER! Have a great day son!

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Love,

Dad

A Mile High on a Rusted Coffee Can

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It looked fun…at first. From the bottom looking up, it looked like a nice, leisurely ride to the top. I bet the view from up there is amazing. And the only thing standing between me and the top of this mountain peak is a mile of cable line and one tram ride. And the voice in my head yelling “are you out of your mind!!??”

If you’ve ever had a fear of heights, then you’ll understand when I say that standing at the base of a ski lift that traverses over a mile straight up the mountain to an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet can be a daunting view. Looking around and seeing more rusted bolts and dry-rotted boards than I could find in an abandoned lumber yard as we make our way to the loading area does little to reassure the growing-louder-by-the-second voice in my head that is trying to remind me that if God wanted me to do something that required my feet leave the ground for more than two seconds, He’d have given me wings.

As I stand in the loading zone and the chair approaches from behind, I wait for the inevitable…and as it literally sweeps me off my feet as it knocks my legs out from under me, I plop down and feel the chair bounce and sway as the cable above us gives a little. Now we’re swaying back and forth as my feet leave the ground and we pull the bar over our heads…a bar that would no more hold me in this contraption than a paper bag would hold in a wild boar looking for its next meal. As the ground beneath us disappears and grows farther and farther away, I notice that this “seat” is no more than hollow metal pipes the thickness of a metal coffee can, held together by rusted bolts. Yeah…how’d I get here again?

Not Even Halfway Up

A Quarter Mile Up

Halfway up the mountain, it occurs to me that just about every muscle in my body is tense. I’m literally hanging on so tightly with one hand that my fingers are tingling because there is no blood left in them. My other hand is so firmly attached to my son that I’m sure I’ll be reported to DFS for child abuse when someone sees the hand-shaped indention I’ve surely left in his side. And my butt is clinched so tight, I’m pretty sure my two cheeks have become one. It does little to calm my mind when I’m looking down and realize that if I do fall from here, I most likely won’t die…just shatter a femur or two, blow out a knee, disintegrate my ankles, and maybe puncture a lung. I wonder how much my AFLAC policy pays per bone?

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Don’t Be Deceived – That’s a 75′ Drop

We like being in control, don’t we? We like the feeling that comes with knowing that we have a say in things…that we have the reigns and even if we’re flying by the seat of our pants, the decisions are ours to make, and we’re piloting this ship we call our life. Our feet are planted firmly on the ground, and we have the power…we’re in control. But are we? Are we really? Let’s be completely honest here. The feeling of “control” I had when holding on for dear life to that coffee can dangling seventy five feet above the ground on its way to the top of a mile-high mountain did nothing more than give me a false sense of security. Had something failed on that rusted piece of metal built back when moonshiners ran these hills, I would have no more been able to keep from falling to the rocks below and shattering every bone in my lower body than I could stand on a street corner and catch a bowling ball falling from the Empire State Building. It ain’t gonna happen.

Yet we walk through life unwilling to let go, don’t we? We hold on to the things (and the people) we love so tight, that letting go becomes too much to believe possible. And when you boil it down to the core of why we struggle with letting go, it’s one thing. All too often, we let our fear of letting go overwhelm us. It’s not that we don’t want to let go. No, deep down inside…I believe at the heart of us all…we don’t want to be wound so tight that we can’t breath. We long to let go and feel the exhilaration of adrenaline pumping through our veins as we live life to the fullest. But despite that yearning, if’s the fear that drives us to hold on so tight…fear of what might happen if we do let go. Make no mistake, friend…if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen whether we’re holding on or not. And when it does, us holding on is not going to stop it from hurting when we hit bottom.

God is calling us to let go. Our lives are not ours, and we certainly don’t have the control and power we think we have. All we have is an illusion…a false sense of security provided by what we see, hear, smell and feel. We have to look beyond that illusion and realize that life happens on the other side of the fear. Will it be easy to let go? Not always. Will it hurt to let go? Sometimes. Will it be worth it to let go? Absolutely!!! It’s time to truly give our lives to Christ. To give Him the reigns and let Him take His rightful place in the pilot seat of our life. It’s time to let go and let God. If you can, you’ll see for yourself that the view from the top IS worth it.

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It IS an Awesome View

And yes…you’ll even find you can have a lot of fun along the way.

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Thumbs Up

“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. – Proverbs 19:23

Love,

Dad

I Love You More Than Dirt

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Twenty years ago, two kids made a pact…a covenant before God, family, and friends. Forsaking all others, they vowed to love, honor, and cherish each other for the rest of their days on earth. Two kids who thought they knew it all, jumping feet first into a world that sought to pull them apart, forged a bond that, through the test of time, became unbreakable and grows stronger everyday.

Twenty years is a long time by today’s “norm”, but they’ll both tell you that it’s passed like a flash of lightning. The story of their lives continues to unfold daily, and only time will tell what the next twenty years holds for them. I can say that with every fiber of my being, I can’t imagine having spent the last twenty years with any other woman by my side. You are my best friend and soul mate. No one but Christ himself knows me any better than you, and I look forward with eager anticipation to what lies ahead for us. I look forward to spending the rest of my life trying to be the husband you deserve, and to show you half the love you’ve shown me in the first twenty.

I love you more than dirt baby!

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