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Being Thankful

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October and November tend to be the busiest season of the year for our family. And in the midst of all that’s going on, it is easy to miss the many things that we have to be grateful for. When we pause for a minute and reflect it becomes quite ridiculously clear how much we have to be thankful for. Living where we live, knowing the people we know, having the resources we have. Oh, how quickly I jump to frustration or criticism or just plain missing the point; but how desperately I need to jump just as quickly right back to a spirit of gratitude.

Last year we started our first ever thankful tree and through the month of November we took time at dinner every night to each write something that we’re thankful for and hang it on the tree. There she sits, in our living room, a daily reminder of how blessed we are. The tree made its way back out tonight and what a joy it was to not only pause and really reflect in gratitude in our lives, but to see the maturing minds of the kids express gratitude as well.

Slowing down the all-too-fast pace of life.

Curing the self-righteous attitude the creeps in ever so easily.

Building a legacy and a spirit of thanks.

May we embrace a spirit of gratitude in this season… and every season.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Ideas, Perspective

 

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Living Life to the Full…

I sit here with two littles effectively tucked into bed (I think the giggles are finally all out), apple bread baking in the oven (not-even-close-to-healthy breakfast for tomorrow), and the beauty of Pandora ushering some calm into the evening.

Each morning we awake and face all that the day has to offer. The good and the bad. The joy and the sorrow. The routine and the spontaneous. The appointments and the serendipitous. The tasks and the free space. We rush throughout the day, kicking our emotional arms and legs to stay afloat. Evening comes and it’s right before bedtime that the kiddos seem to get a burst of energy. (Surely ours aren’t the only ones like this, right?) Then, when they’re finally in bed and the door has latched closed for the final time (after several attempts, mind you), there’s a calm, solemn space. An odd feeling of relaxation — and yet missing the kids all at the same time. Just thirty minutes ago, the feeling was “please go to bed already”… and now… “I just want to hug them one more time.”

It’s not a bad thing. Just the nature of life, or at least this season of it. And yet as I sit here I’m forced to consider this thought: as I try to squeeze the most out of my day, am I trying to squeeze the most out of my relationship with my kids?

Certainly life has its responsibilities. There are things we simply have to do. Don’t pay the bills, utilities get shut off. Don’t do the work, lose the job. Don’t buy groceries, go hungry. There are consequences to not taking care of the responsibilities before us.

But when’s the last time that I thought to myself, “If I don’t spend this hour of free time with my kids, there will be negative consequences.”? Are we typically inclined to think of the negative consequences of not accomplishing the other, but not of missing time with the kiddos? Am I all too quick to make sure I rush the tired kids to Target to pick up a few things rather than embrace their exhaustion and just lay low at home?

How do I maximize every moment… certainly for the sake of this life we live, but also for the sake of the lives we’re building?

How do I effectively choose to say no to some things… in order to say yes to some other things that really do matter more?

How do I relax and soak up every moment… without being so concerned for the things that may not be getting done?

This parenting gig is hard. Heck, this life can be hard. Yet in the midst of it all, I still choose to believe that Jesus was speaking truth when He said he was coming to give us life to the full (John 10:10). I’m just not so sure I always do a good job of following His lead in the daily life and end up getting the ‘full’ out of life.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Perspective

 

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How to succeed in being a preschool ministry leader

IMG_8337.JPGLast night was my first night volunteering as a leader in Cubbies — the Awana program for preschoolers. After weeks of planning, we jumped into our first night with 16 three- to five-year olds. As we walked through the evening’s program, I came to a quick realization of three key tips to succeed as a leader among preschoolers.

Relax.
Relax.
Relax.

Yep. That’s it. We should plan, we should prepare, we should pray. Without a doubt. But at the end of the day, things will be crazy and go different from the plan. We’ve got to relax and let kids be kids, have a good time so they have a good time, and throw out our expectations of perfection so they can see Jesus–the only one truly perfect.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Ideas

 

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How to Teach Your Kids About St. Patrick

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland
(A site where St. Patrick is said to have baptized converts to Christianity.)

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day. Which means we’re in a flurry of celebration, your kids our probably wearing green, and you ate Lucky Charms for breakfast. Okay, maybe not. In any case, it is a big day full of celebration. And St. Patrick’s Day is full of historic significance that we can (and, I might argue, should!) use to teach our kids.

Tonight, our family will be sitting down for some corned beef and potatoes (sorry, I don’t do cabbage), while we walk through a little history of St. Patrick and this day we call his.

Feel free to download this quick one page guide to walk through some teaching points with your kids, too. I hope it’s helpful.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

How to Enjoy a Daddy-Daughter Dance

How to Enjoy a Daddy-Daughter Dance

1374166_10152002405928715_1847783410_nTonight, my eldest daughter and I went to her school’s annual Daddy-Daughter Dance. She’s been looking forward to this for the last 364 days and I couldn’t have been more excited to enjoy this night with her. To be clear, I’m not big into dancing myself. Nothing wrong with it; I just can’t dance. But that doesn’t matter to five year-olds. What matters is spending the time together. We had a blast. And here are 4 lessons I learned tonight about to effectively enjoy a daddy-daughter dance. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Ideas, Perspective

 

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Cognition Meets Action: What I’m Learning From my Five-Year-Old

Creative Commons. flickr user TZA.

Creative Commons. flickr user TZA.

Raising a kid can be tough. Raising two can be tougher. (I know what you’re thinking… “thanks for the newsflash.”) All standard reality aside, my wife and I are currently in the throes of the emotional stages of parenting our almost-six and just-over-two year old girls. Most of the time, things are a total joy and we absolutely adore these kiddos. Yet, at the very same time, day-to-day life can be challenging and we spend many an hour discussing what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, what’s up with our kids, and what to do about it.

Current issue deals with our eldest — what she listens to, what she follows up on, what she seems to get distracted by, etc. We often find ourselves simply asking the question, “Is this normal for a five-year old?” “Is there something we should be doing differently?” So after a bit of soul-searching and some super-rudimentary research, here are a few things I’m learning to conclude: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Perspective

 

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Why I Am Excited About My Kids and Technology

Several weeks ago, my wife and I were at a concert. In the row in front of us sat a teenage girl and her mom. During intermission, mom was posting pictures on Facebook while her daughter was rolling her eyes at her mom on Facebook. At the same time, the girl held her phone close to her chest to check out snapchat out of mom’s line of sight. How challenging it is for this mom trying to be cool and connected while her teenage daughter seems to be in her own little tech world that mom likely knows nothing about.

And that’s the tricky thing about technology. Many of us are neck-deep in frustration over the power that technology has on our lives. Some of us are sick and tired of seeing families out to eat all staring at their phones, void of conversation. The internet is abuzz in people talking about getting a divorce from their cell phone or going through some form of digital detox. Yet, the power of technology and media is so pervasive that we just can’t seem to live without it. 

My kids are five and two and both of them know how to unlock my cell phone and get to their favorite apps. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Perspective

 

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