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A Week’s Prayer Covering – Day 2

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Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing of these two boys. To be chosen by you as their Earthly father is the pinnacle of the joy this life has brought me, and I am richly blessed. I stand in awe at your creation, for they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Imperfectly perfect creations made in your image.  
I’m grateful you brought them to us together, in the timing you did. As I watch them play and grow together, I see they will be close their whole lives, and I pray that to be your will. It’s my prayer that the memories they’re making and the experiences they’re sharing together throughout childhood will forge an unbreakable bond that will carry them through their entire lives. Grow within them a love for family and a responsibility to always care and provide for family. Instill in them the importance of working together toward common goals.

Develop in them humility, grace, honor, respect, courage, love, compassion, joy, kindness, forgiveness, honesty and mercy. Basically, Lord, please build them into the leaders of their generation, who will stand up against oppression and immorality and defend the defenseless. Raise them as your own children, Lord. For they are. I commend them unto you, oh Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit I pray. Amen

Love,

Their dad, your son

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I Saw The Future

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I saw the face of God yesterday. And I cried like a baby for a full thirty minutes.

My precious SD, throughout the last 15 years I’ve sat through countless ballet and dance recitals, choir performances, award shows, graduations, and a plethora of other events you’ve been a part of. Yesterday, as I sat watching your high school Christmas Show, the first fifteen years of your life flashed before me. Dancing you to sleep late at night as an infant. Your first words. Your first steps. Losing your first tooth. Your first day of kindergarten. Countless hours spent helping you learn how to ride a bike, usually ending with us both frustrated. The night you came home and without any prompting picked that bike up and rode circles around our cul-de-sac on your own for the first time like you’d known how all along. The day we finalized your
adoption into our family. Anxiously waiting 6 hours in a hospital waiting room during your open heart surgery. Every doctor visit since. All of it, the good and the not-so-good, flooded my mind in those thirty minutes.

Like I was Ebenezer Scrooge taking a walk through Christmas’ past, present the and future, images of your future intermingled with memories from past, all in that moment. For the first time in fifteen years, I saw a glimpse of what your life holds in the next fifteen. And I could no longer contain the bittersweet joy in recognizing that my daughter is becoming a young woman. The same daughter who still needs help tying her shoes opened my eyes to the life of independence that is possible for you as an adult. You and your friends gave me hope yesterday.

On that stage this weekend, I didn’t see your disability; I saw your ability. I didn’t see what holds you back; I saw what keeps you going. I saw more genuine, authentic Christlike character traits in you and your friends yesterday than I see walking through the doors of church on Sunday morning. I simply have no words to express what I experienced in being a part of your world outside our home…watching you in your environment. Watching how you interact with your friends gave me hope. Hope for what your life will be after your mom and I have gone to be with God. A hope that you will be able to continue on without us. For fifteen years, I’ve not been able to see you as thriving without us. Yesterday, I saw a glimpse of who you will be as an adult, and I’m proud. Proud to know you. Proud to love you. Proud of who you are. Proud of you will become. Proud to have been chosen by God to be your daddy! Keep on being the beautiful girl you’ve always been, ladybug! I love you so stinkin’ much it hurts. I love you to tears and back.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. Happy 15th birthday, princess!

Open Your Eyes and Be a Blessing

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This morning’s time with God was challenging.  As are most of the conversations we have in which I actually talk less and listen more.  From 1 Corinthians 12:12-31:

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.  So it is with the body of Christ.  Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free.  But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.  If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body?   If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear?  Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.  How strange a body would be if it had only one part!  Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.  The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’  The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.  And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care.  So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen,  while the more honorable parts do not require this special care.  So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.  This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.  If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”

As I read the last portion of that (the section I’ve highlighted) and allowed God to speak into my life this morning, He pricked my heart with more questions than answers:

  • “How well are you caring for the ‘less honorable‘ members of the body?”
  • “How caring are you toward those with ‘less dignity?'”
  • “How protective are you of the “weaker” members?”
  • “What are you doing to protect them?”
  • “How are you showing them honor?”
  • “How are you loving them?”
  • “How available and willing are you to humble yourself?”

What I’ve determined in this examination is that:

  •  There is no “less honorable“, “less dignified“, or “weaker” in His eyes.  These are our labels, as verse 22 so clearly demonstrates,

“In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.”

  • I am too often consumed with serving God, wrapped up in the details of a to-do list, that I am focused on the wrong things.  Too often, the blinders come on, the tunnel vision sets in, and I see only what’s right in front of me…a to-do list.  I’m much too task-oriented when I should be relationship-oriented.

My prayer today, “Lord thank you for opening my eyes and heart to my shortcomings in this area of my walk with you.  Please forgive me these failures, Lord.  Continue speaking truth into my mind and life through the Spirit.  You created me with the ability to bring order out of chaos and to provide structure and organization where it otherwise wouldn’t be.  I believe you alone have the power to mold me into a person who is relationship-oriented who can also use his task-oriented gifts to your glory.  Claiming your promise in John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you“, I pray according to your will that you open my eyes to those around me and allow me to be a blessing in someone’s life today.” Love, 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

A Walk Down the Aisle

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I quite honestly don’t know where the time has gone.  Each year seems to pass by so much more quickly than the last, and it’s all I can do to keep up.  It just doesn’t seem right that it’s gone this fast…like it was just yesterday we walked down the aisle together.  It’s been a wild ride indeed…and I wouldn’t change it if I could.

Adoption Day, Daughter Date,

Sixteen months old on Adoption Day on April 15, 2001 vs.
14 years old on a Daddy/Daughter Date Night in March 2014.

You amaze me every day, and I just don’t tell you that enough.  You’re beautiful inside and out.  From a hole in the heart  to a young lady on the edge of high school who is still silly and fun with a sense of wonder and awe that inspire.  I loved you the day I first met you in the hospital as a baby, and I love you more now.  Happy Adoption Day baby girl.

Love,

Dad

Dating Number Two

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Dinner and bowling…
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Some arcade games followed by ice cream…
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And lots and lots of silliness…
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It was a good night bud. We need to hang out together more often. I love you, and will remember tonight for a long time.

Love,

Dad

Bowling Bubba

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It was a good first date night Bubba. You’re one super cool dude and a lot of fun to hang out with. Looking forward to doing this again soon.

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Love,

Dad

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