Adult Times Two

Adult Times Two

For the longest time, this date felt so very far away.

Parenting is an interesting journey. You start off, for the most part, not knowing what you’re doing, and you pray a lot that you mostly get it right and avoid those huge mess-ups that can be life-altering. Then as you get older, you start to think about how wonderful it would have been back then to have the information you’ve accumulated in your head for so many years.

I like to think I did okay with my children given I actually did jump head-first into a huge mess up when they were little. That being the case, I am blessed to have to two healthy and amazing kids that are on their way to being adults and living their lives.

Actually … they’re there already.

Today is my son’s 18th birthday. He is my youngest, and I now stand at this point in my life where I am the father of two adults. It’s a weird feeling and one that – truth be told – kinda’ snuck up on me. It’s weird in that there are only two things I feel I’ve left to do as a parent.

The first is to continue to advise my children as they continue to learn and grow. I once heard someone say you stop being a parent when your kids are thirteen or fourteen and from then on you’re just a consultant. I think there is a lot of truth to that, which leads me to the second thing I’ve left to do. Pray all the advice and counsel I’ve provided my children has been sound and rooted in wisdom.

Specifically with my son Daniel, I’ve spent today looking back on the memories we’ve shared, mostly good but a couple of them painful. I think about all the times we’ve made each other laugh. I think about the times when he was small enough for me to toss him into the pool. I reminisce about all those weekend nights we’d stay up late playing video games. And I hang my hat on the series of heart-to-heart conversations he and I had this time last year as I was prepping to move to the Dominican Republic.

Uncle Jeff sends Danny flying back in 2007.

So on this milestone birthday, I think the only thing I can tell (continue to tell) my son is to love God, praise Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit guide him in all he does. There are so many good and relevant Bible verses I could select to use in this post, but I think I will go with the ever so wise words of the psalmist who is seeking direction, guidance, and provision on his journey:

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” – Psalms 119:105 NLT


Happy birthday, Daniel. These 500 words don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the pride and love I feel for you.

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Today is an extra special day here in Hahira, Georgia, as we celebrate the birthday of our friend (and current house-host) Lindsey Smith.

I’ve known Lindsey for over a decade, and to say we’ve done life together is an incredible understatement. When I think about some of the best, most fun, and amazing moments in my life, Lindsey is a part of them. In most recent years, the friendship and fellowship Lee and I have shared with her and her husband Jeff have been life-changing.

I could go on for pages and pages about how wonderful and special Lindsey is, but instead, I want to focus on a specific attribute of Lindsey’s: her faith. Lindsey is a spiritual leader who is moved and driven by the Holy Spirit. I greatly admire the relationship she shares with Christ, and not only has Lindsey made me a better person throughout the years, she’s also helped make me a better Christian.

So I think it fitting to share this picture of us from 2007 when we both jumped out of a plane for a good cause. There was a lot of excitement and frivolity leading up to the jump, but when it came time to suit up and get on the plane, Lindsey huddled us together and lead us in prayer. At that time in my life, I was still far away from God, and having her boldly pray out loud for us without hesitation or reservation really left an imprint in my heart.

OSD

I know her friendship will continue to leave an imprint on my heart for decades to come.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LINDSEY!

Birthday Blessings

Birthday Blessings

I am not one to celebrate birthdays. Although I greatly appreciate the thoughts and well wishes, making a big deal out of my birthday is not my speed.

That being said, I am overwhelmed by the love I’ve received today. I know a lot of people say non-positive things about Facebook (and many times rightfully so), but one of the magic things about that platform is the ability to quickly and easily connect. I am so fortunate to have the collection of family and friends I do, and I was just inundated today with birthday wishes. WOW! is all I can say.

I wrapped up the day by having dinner with my kids. The thought did cross my mind this would be the last birthday in a long time my kids and I will be able to celebrate in person (given Lee and I are moving to the Dominican Republic), but I did not want to dampen the mood, so I kept that thought to myself. Instead, we joked and laughed and just enjoyed the time together.

After dinner, we had dessert at a place called Icesmile that does ice cream rolls. In addition to the tasty treats, one of the schtick features of the restaurant is that people write or draw on post-its and place them all over the wall. It was fun finishing our dessert and then taking a stab at becoming a part of the creative culture of the store.

Life is good. God is great. I am blessed.

Happy birthday to me indeed.

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago today, my son Daniel came into this world. It’s been an interesting journey, watching him grow from being a little boy into the young man he is today. Although he is my second child, there is something wholly unique about having a son (in much the same way the relationship I share with my daughter is wholly unique).

With Danny, I see so much I want for him in terms of providing the right guidance in his life. With all apologies for the stereotypes, there’s a sense of recklessness towards which the male species tends to gravitate, and when I look at my son, one of my first thoughts is to ensure his is a restrained recklessness. My other thought is to ensure that his dependence is not on me or his mother, but rather on God.

I used to fill my thoughts with regards to my son with things like where will he go to college or what type of person will he marry or will he be successful in his career. I used to fall back on the cliché of, “as long as he’s healthy and happy.” That is still true for the most part. Bet when it comes to my kids, so long as they are right with God, everything else will fall into place.

Specific to my son, I understand it’s my responsibility to lead by example. If I want my son to be a man of God, then I need to be one first and foremost. I’ve written before about my faith journey and how much I’ve grown spiritually in the last five years. I am confident that I am setting a good example for Daniel, and I pray that he views me as a role model when it comes to having a relationship in and with Christ.

Thirteen is a milestone for kids. I don’t know if it’s as big for girls as it is for boys – I think girls have their eyes set on fifteen or sixteen, depending on the culture in which they’re raised – but I remember turning thirteen as being a big deal for me. Teenager. No longer a ‘little kid’. Rather an adolescent on the path to manhood. Being thirteen was a fun age for me, and I pray it’s equally filled with excellent memories for my son.

The number 13 gets a bad rap in terms of luck and superstition. I’m sure that won’t be the case for my little young man.

Happy birthday, Danny.

Daniel

 

Daniel

 

Daniel

 

Daniel

Birthdays and Memories

January 27, 1933. That’s the day my dad was born. In a hospital somewhere in Colorado Springs, my grandparents welcomed their fifth child into the world.

My dad would have been 81 years-old today. He passed away almost 10 years ago, and I can’t help but wonder what he would think of today’s times. In many ways, my father was a simpleton. A stereotypical blue collar man, he was both amazed by advances in technology yet at the same time not very impressed. Whenever I would introduce him to something new – I always think back to how he reacted to volume control buttons on a steering wheel – my father would respond with a very canned and dorky, “that’s cool, man.” I never could figure out if it was a flicker of whatever small, child-like innocence remained in him, or his coy way of being sarcastic.

I sit and contrast both our lives. How different my life as a grown man (allegedly) is from his. I’m weeks away from turning 41, and I have a son in middle school and a daughter in high school (whom I swear is itching today to move off to college). At 41, my my dad had two toddlers from his second marriage. Call me selfish, but I can’t imagine being my age and having to deal with baby stuff, especially in an era of non-disposable diapers.

I think about how my dad would drive me every weekday to football practice. I had no appreciation for that level of commitment, both in time and money. I have no idea what he did to pass the time while I sweated away on the fields. I don’t know what he did to entertain himself all those hot, Fall afternoons in Miami. What I do know is that he did it selflessly because he knew how much I loved playing football.

I contrast it to my life now, and it’s such a crazy juxtaposition. Now I’m the one that is shuttling my kids back and forth to practice. Except, I’m killing time by sitting in my air conditioned car, composing this blog post on my Samsung Chromebook, while connected to the Internet via my mobile phone, while listening to Mozart Piano Quartet #1 on satellite radio. I think my father’s head would have exploded if I tried to explain that all to him (although I think he would’ve been very proud about the classical music part).

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a decade since my father was called home to Heaven. I remember the pain of the first couple of days following his passing. The notion of how surreal it was to no longer have him around. Now, although I still ache for his companionship and I still long to have one more conversation with him, I also know that he is with me always. He’s with me in the wisdom he imparted and the lessons he taught me when I was a child. He’s with me in my interactions with my kids. In many ways, I’ve become him: the stubborn and thick-headed man who is really a push-over deep down inside.

I used to look back at the absence brought by my father’s death and feel only sorrow. Now I look back and feel gratitude for the great fortune of having that man as my father. I look at the blessing it is to have the parents I have, and hope that someday my kids will feel the same way about me.

Thanks for laying the foundation you did with me, dad, and for directing me to be the man I am today. You are forever missed, and I am forever thankful to you and to mom. Happy birthday, dad. I love you. 

Smile

027/365 Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 78.

My father passed away in 2004 from mesothelioma. His hard work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn is what exposed him to the asbestos that lead to him getting sick many years later. Still, I don’t think about how or why he died, but rather how and why he lived.

My dad lived for his family. For my mom, for my brother, and for me. My dad was as blue-collar as they come, and I learned so much from him in terms of what it means to be a dad.

So on this day, one on which seventy eight years ago a boy was born in a hospital in Colorado Springs, I raise a toast to the memory of my dad. A toast to the man the blazed the trail as set a standard as a father I so humbly hope to replicate with my children.

Salúd!